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U.S. PATENT 6,131,381

Issued: October 17, 2000



A new and novel lawn rake has been invented that embodies unique characteristics to the cross head assembly and tines. The lawn rake can be manipulated to provide conventional straight-ahead raking action. The lawn rake can also be manipulated with a lateral component of movement, or a swirling motion, or an arcuate motion, or any other lateral movement, or with a sudden change in direction. All of these movements can be achieved with the tines in contact with the ground. The capability for these movements increases the effectiveness, efficiency, and ease of use of the present invention compared to the prior art. The lawn rake can also be utilized in a pushing mode to move piles of leaves and lawn debris.

The elements that cooperatively work together are: a cross arm having a closed tubular cross section, that provides an attaching point and support for the tines; apertures having dimensions larger than the diameter of the tines, for ease of inserting the tines and for loosely positioning the tines on the cross arm; and individual tines that have a looped bend that allows ease of attachment to the cross arm and freedom of movement of the tines when mounted on the cross arm. The looped bend and apertures trap a tine on the cross arm without a rigid, fixedly secured connection. These elements provide attributes and benefits not seen in the prior art. A truncated tee is mounted on the cross arm to secure it to a handle. In particular, the tines are loosely constrained horizontally and vertically under most conditions of loading. However, the tines can adjust position to align with the direction of raking motion and to counteract imposed raking forces, thereby minimizing stresses. Furthermore, during raking action, a force acting upwardly on the ground engaging tip of a tine can cause release of the tine from the cross arm such that breakage of the tine is prevented.

The tines are individually installable, individually replaceable, individually releasable, and individually energy absorbing, without the interaction of any other tine of the lawn rake. In addition to a planar array, various curved or undulating arrays of tines can be formed. The rake configuration of a closed tube for the cross arm allows independent mounting of each tine without regard to structural relationship either to a neighboring tine or to the cross head assembly in general.

The lawn rake in general, and the cross head assembly in particular, can be manufactured from substantially mass-produced parts that are readily available. Polyvinylchloride or other thermoplastic materials are ideally suited for the manufacture of the lawn rake. Ease of removal and installation of the tines allow commercial distribution of the lawn rake as a compact kit of parts. The lawn rake of the present invention is thus easy and inexpensive to manufacture, lightweight, and durable under arduous and repetitive use. Replaceability of the tines in particular makes the present invention a long-lasting product. Thus, a lawn rake has been invented that is easier and more efficient to use.


The following links direct you to pages containing the actual write-up taken from the issued patent (you can also select from the sidebar):

  • Patent Information and Prior Art References Pertinent data concerning the patent, the patent application, and the inventor is listed together with all of the references in the prior art against which the new invention has been compared and judged.
  • Abstract and Summary The abstract is a brief legal summary that is primarily used for purposes of patent searching by subsequent inventors. However, it provides an encapulated version of the elements of the invention. The summary is a more detailed description of what the invention entails.
  • Background of the Invention A brief description of the field of application followed by a detailed discussion of prior art references.
  • Objects of the Invention A listing of the problems or needs which are lacking in the prior art, that the invention has resolved. A total of twenty-four objects of the invention are presented.
  • Drawings A tabulation of all of the drawings that are referenced in the detailed description.
  • Decription of the Preferred and Alternative Embodiments A complete, detailed description of the invention that is written in a manner which is technically accurate and legally precise from every possible facet of consideration.
  • Claims The scope of the intellectual property for which monopolistic claims are asserted. It is within the claims that the value of the patent lies. There are a total of 84 claims, 16 independent claims and 68 dependent claims.


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