CROSS-REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
- STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
- REFERENCE TO “SEQUENCE LISTING”
- BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates to protective covers for internal combustion engines and, more particularly, to a flexible bag for enclosing a small gasoline engine in order to protect the engine from corrosion, and the like.
Small gasoline engines used on hand-held or manipulated equipment, of which chain saws, leaf blowers and lawn trimmers are typical, often are exposed to the elements after use. These engines, especially when still warm from use and fouled with combustion products, are vulnerable to corrosion and malfunction caused by rain, dew, condensation, dirt, and debris. Clearly, there is a need to provide some means for protecting these engines from the deterioration caused by a combination of engine characteristics and the outdoor environment to which they are exposed.
A proposal has been advanced to provide canvas bags to enclose and protect these motors from deterioration through exposure to atmospheric and other environmental conditions. A drawstring is provided to close the bag about the engine to enable the bag to remain in place during ordinary handling.
This proposal, however, is subject to a number of disadvantages. The fabric from which the bag is made, for example, is subject not only to swift deterioration through exposure to residual engine heat, gasoline, grease, and lubricating oil, but the fabric, being soaked in flammable liquids and exposed to engine exhaust products also presents a major fire hazard.
The drawstring, moreover, is a generally unsatisfactory way to secure the bag to the enclosed motor. Repeated use in pulling the drawstring tight tends to fray the drawstring, causing it to break. In this circumstance, the difficulty of inserting a replacement drawstring into the hem at the base of the bag is such that it is preferable to use a new bag and discard the old bag and its broken drawstring.
- BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Consequently, there is a need for protective covers for gasoline and other engines that are proof against deterioration, avoid potential fire hazards and are more lasting under conditions of hard and frequent use.
These and other disadvantages of the prior art are overcome, to a large extent, through the practice of the invention.
For example, by fashioning the protective cover from a marine grade vinyl fabric with an array of snap fasteners at the open end, all in accordance with the invention, avoids many of the shortcomings that have characterized prior art protective covers.
Thus, a suitable marine grade vinyl fabric is not only impermeable to rain, dew and condensation, but it also is inflammable and not subject to thermal deterioration from residual engine heat. By providing an array of snap fasteners on the hem at the open end of the cover, the protective cover contemplated by the invention can be readily adapted to small engine mountings through a range of different sizes and configurations. Further in this regard, the snap fasteners provide a much more durable and long-lasting means for securing the protective cover than the relatively fragile drawstring structure of the prior art.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING
These and other features of the invention are illustrated in the following detailed description of a preferred embodiment of the invention, when taken with the figures of the drawing. The scope of the invention, however, is limited only through the claims appended hereto.
FIG. 1 is a front elevation of a protective cover that characterizes features of the invention;
FIG. 2 is a side elevation of the protective cover shown in FIG. 1; and
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF INVENTION
FIG. 3 is a bottom view of the protective cover shown in FIG. 1.
The inadequacies of past protective cover proposals are overcome, to a great extent, through practice of the invention.
For example, attention is invited to FIG. 1 which shows a protective cover 10 that illustrates principles of the invention. The protective cover 10 is formed of a material that resists thermal degradation, is fire resistant, is waterproof, and does not deteriorate through exposure to oil, gasoline, grease, dirt, exhaust fumes and exhaust residue. A marine grade vinyl material and in particular, the marine grade vinyl material marketed under the trade name “Espirit 2000” has been found particularly suitable for the purpose of the invention.
The protective cover 10, as best shown in FIG. 3, comprises two rectangular sheets 11 and 12 of marine grade vinyl that are joined together at their respective common peripheries by stitches 13. So stitched together, the structure forms an internal seam 14 that establishes three common sides (FIG. 1) 15, 16 and 17. For the purposes of the invention, it has been found that a dimension of 16¾″ in length for the sides 15 and 17 and a dimension of 14½″ in length for the side 16 are adequate to enable the cover 10 to protect many of the internal combustion engines that are used in conjunction with hand-held tools, and the like from damage and deterioration. Naturally, to accommodate other size engines, the sheets 11 and 12 can be dimensioned accordingly.
Fourth side 20, opposite to the side 16, is open. The ends of the respective sheets 11, 12 (FIGS. 1 and 2) that form the side 20 are folded back into a hollow interior 21 (FIG. 3) for the cover 10 by about ¾″ and the ends of which are joined to the inner surface of their respective sheets 11, 12 (FIG. 2) by stitches 22, 23 to form opposing respective internal seams 24, 25 (FIG. 3).
Four female snap fasteners 26, 27 30, and 31 are riveted to the internal seam 24. Again, it has been found that for the specific embodiment of the protective cover described herein, the centers of the snap fasteners 26, 27 should be 1¼″ and 3¼″, respectively, from the side 15 and the snap fasteners 30, 31 should be spaced 3″ and 1½″, respectively, from the side 17.
Best illustrated in FIG. 3, the female snap fasteners 26, 27, 30, and 31 each have corresponding, oppositely mounted counterpart male snap fasteners 32, 33, 34, and 35. As shown in FIG. 3, only the sets of female and male snap fasteners 30, 34 and 31, 35 are pressed together to adjust the size of the opening in the fourth side 20 of the cover 10 to match that opening to the size of the mounting for the engine (not shown in the drawing) that is to be protected.
In operation, after a small internal combustion engine for a gardening tool or the like is de-energized, the fourth side 20 of the cover 10 is opened by applying manual pressure to the sides 15, 17 and the engine is inserted into the interior of the cover 21. According to a particular feature of the invention, it is not necessary to wait until the engine cools to an atmospheric temperature because the fabric from which the cover 10 is made is proof against both a fire hazard and thermal deterioration. This characteristic of the invention is particularly advantageous when it is realized that the need to protect the engine is likely to be overlooked or forgotten if the gardener is not able to slip a cover over a hot engine at the end of the working day, but must wait at the work site until the engine cools before applying the cover 10.
Having drawn the cover 10 over the deactivated engine, the sets of female and male snap fasteners 30, 34 and 31, 35 are pressed together to secure the cover 10 about the engine by pressing the open portion of the fourth side 20 of the cover 10 to the engine mounting on the implement.
Thus, in accordance with the invention, there is provided a fireproof and thermally stable protective cover 10, (i.e. a material that does not scorch at anticipated engine temperatures) that also resists deterioration from oil, grease, gasoline and engine exhaust. The cover 10, moreover, is equipped with fasteners, of which the sets of snap fasteners 26, 32; 27, 33; 30, 34; and 31, 35 are typical. Fasteners of this nature enjoy considerably longer service lives than the drawstrings that have been proposed in the prior art.