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Title:
AUTOMATIC TOILET COVER CLOSURE DEVICE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2006/083713
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An apparatus (10) for automatically lowering a raised toilet seat pivotally attached to a back of a bowl of a toilet. The apparatus includes a preferably U-shaped support member (12) to be supported over a front wall (D) of the water tank (A). An elongated arm (14) is pivotally supported at an upper end thereof to an upper end of the support member (12). A float (16) is to be positioned in the water tank (A) and is moved vertically on the support member (12) when the tank (A) is flushed. A movable member (30) is positioned in contact between the support member (12) and the arm (14) and is attached to a flexible line (36) which extends along the support member (21) to the float (16). The movable member (30) is arranged to pivotally move the arm (14) outwardly when the toilet (T) is flushed, pushing the cover (C) and toilet seat (S) together away from the tank (A) a distance sufficient for the cover (C) and toilet seat (S) to then pivotally fall into a closed position atop the bowl (B).

Inventors:
Oprandi, Arthur V. (385 North Point Road #1001, Osprey, Florida, 34229, US)
Application Number:
PCT/US2006/002962
Publication Date:
August 10, 2006
Filing Date:
January 26, 2006
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
Oprandi, Arthur V. (385 North Point Road #1001, Osprey, Florida, 34229, US)
International Classes:
A47K13/10
Foreign References:
US6883186B1
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Prescott, Charles J. (2033 Wood Street, Suite 115 Sarasota, Florida, 34237, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIM OR CLAIMS
1. An apparatus for automatically lowering together a raised toilet seat and cover pivotally attached to a back of a bowl of a toilet, the toilet also including a water tank and a lid, said apparatus, comprising: a support member to be supported over a front upper open perimeter of the water tank; an elongated arm pivotally supported at an upper end thereof to said support member about a pivot axis oriented substantially transversely to said support member, said o axis positioned in proximity to an upper end of said support member; a float to be positioned in the tank and vertically movable on said support member responsive to corresponding changes in water level in the tank when the tank is flushed; 5 a movable member positioned in contact between said support member and said arm; a flexible line extending between said float and said movable member along said support member, said movable member arranged to pivotally move said arm outwardly o responsive to downward movement of said float when the toilet is flushed; a lower distal end of said arm contacting and pushing the cover and toilet seat together away from the tank a distance sufficient for the cover and toilet seat to pivotally fall by gravity onto the bowl.
2. An apparatus as set forth in Claim 1 , wherein: a distal lower end of said arm is transversely arcuately shaped for smooth engagement against the cover.
3. An apparatus as set forth in Claim 2, wherein: said distal lower end includes a narrow rib extending lengthwise of said arm for reduced frictional engagement against the cover during closure thereof.
4. An apparatus for automatically lowering together a raised toilet seat and cover pivotally attached to a back of a bowl of a toilet, the toilet also including a water tank and a lid, said apparatus, comprising: a Ushaped support member to be supported over a front upper open perimeter of the water tank; an elongated arm pivotally supported at an upper end thereof to said support member about a pivot axis oriented substantially transversely to said support member, said axis positioned in proximity to an upper end of said support member; a float to be positioned in the tank and held on one leg of said support member for substantially only sliding vertical movement responsive to corresponding changes in water level in the tank when the tank is flushed; an elongated strut member pivotally connected at one end thereof to said arm and freely movable at a second end of said strut member along and against a second leg of said support member; a flexible line extending along said support member between said float and said second end of said strut member to pivotally move said arm outwardly responsive to downward movement of said float when the toilet is flushed; a lower distal end of said arm contacting and pushing the cover and toilet seat together away from the tank a distance sufficient for the cover and toilet seat to pivotally fall by gravity onto the bowl.
5. An apparatus as set forth in Claim 4, wherein: a distal lower end of said arm is transversely arcuately shaped for smooth engagement against the cover.
6. An apparatus as set forth in Claim 5, wherein: said distal lower end includes a narrow rib extending lengthwise ot said arm tor reduced frictional engagement against the cover during closure thereof.
7. An apparatus for automatically lowering together a raised toilet seat and cover pivotally attached to a back of a bowl of a toilet, the toilet also including a water tank and a lid, said apparatus, comprising: a Ushaped support member having downwardly extending inner and outer legs adapted to be supported in saddlelike fashion over a front wall of an upper open perimeter of the water tank; an elongated arm pivotally supported at an upper end thereof to said support member about a pivot axis horizontally oriented substantially transversely to said support member, said axis positioned in proximity to an upper end of said support member; a float to be positioned in the tank and being held on said inner leg for free sliding movement therealong responsive to corresponding changes in water level in the tank when the tank is flushed; a separate movable wheeled member positioned in rolling substantially frictionless contact between said outer leg and an inward facing surface of said arm; a flexible line extending over an upper most portion of said support member and between said float and said wheeled member, said wheeled member arranged to pivotally move saϊdlarm outwardly responsive to" downward rho'vernenf "of said float when the toilet is flushed; a lower distal end of said arm contacting and pushing the cover and toilet seat together away from the tank a distance sufficient for the cover and toilet seat to pivotally fall by gravity onto the bowl.
8. An apparatus as set forth in Claim 7, wherein: a distal lower end of said arm is transversely arcuately shaped for smooth engagement against the cover.
9. An apparatus as set forth in Claim 8, wherein: said distal lower end includes a narrow rib extending lengthwise of said arm for reduced frictional engagement against the cover during closure thereof.
Description:
Automatic Toilet Cover Closure Device

Field of the Invention

This invention relates generally to flush toilet mechanisms, and more particularly to an apparatus which automatically closes the toilet cover after each flush.

The desirability of maintaining the seat and cover of a toilet in a closed position after each flush has been well established. This closed configuration of the cover not only presents a more tidy appearance, but also insures that female toilet users are not inadvertently exposed to the hazards of sitting on an open toilet.

A great number of prior art devices have been shown in prior art to disclose such devices and apparatus for this purpose. U.S. Patent 4,491 ,989 to McGrail discloses a device for automatically lowering a toilet seat and/or lid, when the flushing handle of a toilet is actuated. Lawrence, in U.S. Patent 5,289,593, teaches an automatic closure for toilet seats employing weight-driven cords or cables for lowering the toilet seat upon flushing the toilet. .

A toilet flushing arrangement designed to keep the seat and cover in the closed position is taught by Metzger in U.S. Patent 5,319,810. Lavender, in U.S. Patent 5,430,897, teaches a toilet seat lowering device comprising a trip wire attached to the toilet flush crank arm.

U.S. Patent 5,592,700 to Genesse teaches an automatic toilet lid closer with an arm pivotally attached to a mounting pedestal attached to a

side of a toilet water tank. MacKenzie teaches an apparatus for lowering toilet seat and toilet lids automatically mounted on the water tank of a conventional toilet in U.S. Patent 5,689,838.

An apparatus for raising and lowering a toilet lid utilizing weights, one of which is located in the toilet tank is taught by Dias in U.S. Patent

5,745,985. Dysle teaches an automatic seat lowering system in U. S. Patent

6,185, 754 wherein the mounting assembly is in communication with the water line of the toilet for effecting lowering of the seat upon flushing.

Hernandez, in U.S. Patent 6,526,600 teaches a device for automatically o manipulating a toilet lid wherein an actuator associated therewith pivots said structure in response to lowering of the water level in the toilet tank.

Additional prior art patented teachings for more dissimilar devices intended to serve the same overall function are disclosed in the following U.S. patents: 5 U. S. Patent No. 1 , 907, 826 to Kapp

U. S. Patent No. 3, 579, 664 to Johnson U. S. Patent No. 4, 551 , 866 to Hibbs U. S. Patent No. 5, 058, 216 to Trayer, et al. U. S. Patent No. 5, 060, 318 to Jaskiewicz o U. S. Patent No. 5, 222, 260 to Piper

UT S. Patent No. 5, 307, 524 to Veal U. S. Patent No. 5, 369, 814 to Denys U.S. Patent No. 5,410,766 to Schumacher U.S. Patent No. 5,570,478 to Armstrong 5 U. S. Patent No. 5, 774, 904 to McWilliams

U. S. Patent No. 5, 781 , 938 to Anderson U. S. Patent No. 5, 867, 843 to Robello U.S. Patent No. 5,884,342 to Maake U.S. Patent No. 6,240,574 to Mayyak o U.S. Patent No. 6,438, 764 to Andersen

This invention is directed to an apparatus for automatically lowering a raised toilet seat pivotally attached to a back of a bowl of a toilet. The apparatus includes a preferably U-shaped support member to be supported over a front wall of the water tank. An elongated arm is pivotally supported at an upper end thereof to an upper end of the support member. A float is to be positioned in the water tank and is moved vertically on the support member when the tank is flushed. A movable member is positioned in contact between the support member and the arm and is attached to a flexible line which extends along the support member to the float. The movable member is arranged to pivotally move the arm outwardly when the toilet is flushed, pushing the cover and toilet seat together away from the tank a distance sufficient for the cover and toilet seat to then pivotally fall into a closed position atop the bowl. It is therefore an object of this invention to provide an apparatus for automatically lowering the toilet seat and cover of a toilet after each flush.

It is yet another object of this invention to provide an easily installable and economically manufacturer toilet seat lowering apparatus.

Yet another object of this invention is to provide a toilet seat lowering apparatus which automatically pushes the toilet seat cover a distance sufficient to allow gravity to carry the toilet seat downwardly to its closed position.

Still another object of this invention is to provide an apparatus for automatically lowering the toilet seat cover which has enhanced frictionless features for smooth, reliable operation.

In accordance with these and other objects which will become apparent

hereinafter, the instant invention will now be described with reference to the

accompanying drawings.

Figure 1 is a simplified pictorial view of the invention being installed in

phantom onto a tank of a toilet.

Figure 2 is a side elevation section view of the invention of Figure 1.

Figure 3 is an enlarged view of a portion of Figure 2 as a section view in

the direction of arrows 3-3 in Figure 4 showing the elongated arm movement in

phantom. Figure 4 is a section view in the direction of arrows 4-4 in Figure 3.

Figure 5 is an enlarged view of the upper portion of Figure 3 as a section

view in the direction of arrows 5-5 in Figure 6.

Figure 6 is a section view in the direction of arrows 6-6 in Figure 5.

Figure 7 is a side elevation section view in the direction of arrows 7-7 in Figure 8 showing an alternate embodiment of the invention.

Figure 8 is a section view in the direction of arrows 8-8 in Figure 7.

Figure 9 is a cross section view in the direction of arrows 9-9 in Figure

10 showing yet another embodiment.

Figure 10 is a section view in the direction of arrows 10-10 in Figure 9. Figure 1 1 is a front elevation view of the invention shown in Figure 2.

Figure 12 is a front elevation view of the invention shown in Figure 7.

Figure 13 is a front elevation view of Figure 9.

Referring now to the drawings, and firstly to Figure 1 , the invention in its

preferred embodiment is shown schematically generally at numeral 10 and in

phantom attached to the upper front wall D of a tank A of a toilet T. The

invention 10 generally includes an inverted U-shaped support member

assembly 12, a float assembly 16 and an arm assembly 14. With the lid L

removed as shown, the apparatus 10 is slidably engageable over the front wall D of the tank A by slidable downward engagement of a U-shaped support member 12 thereover.

Referring additionally to Figures 2 to 6 and 11 , the float assembly 16,

which is slidably held for vertical translation in the direction of arrow F, includes

an enlarged buoyant member 18 formed of STYRAFOAM® or other suitable buoyant material having a relative density less than that of water. Additionally, a weight 20 is provided so that the overall weight of the float assembly 16 is sufficient to function as described herebelow.

To accomplish smooth slidable translation of the float assembly 16 up and down in the direction of arrow F responsive to toilet flushing, the support member assembly 12, formed preferably of molded plastic material, includes an

inner leg 40 which defines a C-shaped channel as best seen in Figure 4. A

mating T-shaped channel 22 attached to mounting plate 24 connects to the buoyant member 18.

An elongated arm 26, also preferably plastic molded, is pivotally

connected at 28 to the outer upright elongated leg 42 about an axis pivotal

transverse to the support member assembly 14 as best seen in Figure 11. The

arm 26 is freely pivotable in the direction of arrow G about the pivotal

connection 28. As best seen in phantom in Figure 2, when the arm 26 is

moved to its full extent outwardly in the direction of arrow G, the cover C, which

is pivotally movable in the direction of E about transverse axis J, is responsively moved pivotally to the position shown in phantom whereupon gravity will then

automatically further pivot the cover C downwardly into the closed position atop

the seat S and toilet bowl B of Figure 1.

To translate the downward movement in the direction of arrow F of the float 16 responsive to toilet flushing into pivotal movement in the direction of

arrow G by the elongated arm 14, a flexible line 36, such as a nylon line, is connected at one end to the pivotal joint 28, then extends downwardly to wrap o around a guide wheel 32 which is connected to the distal end of an elongated movable member in the form of a strut 30, the opposite end of which is pivotally

connected at 34 to an inner mid point of arm 26. Thereafter, the flexible line

extends upwardly to continue over the top or apex 36a of the support member

12. As best seen in Figure 6, the apex 36a includes a central groove 46 over

5 which the flexible line 36 is fed which substantially prevents any lateral movement of the flexible line during flushing and refilling of the toilet tank A.

The flexible line 36 continues along a portion of the inner leg 40 to be

attached at 38 to the weight 20 of the float assembly 16. As the float assembly

16 moves downwardly in the direction of arrow F, the flexible line 36 thus

o causes the strut 30 to be moved pivotally from the position shown in solid in Figures 2 and 3 to the position shown in phantom. To reduce drag or friction,

note that the free lower distal end of the strut 30 includes reliable wheels 33

which rollably engage against the outer surface of leg 42 of support member 12

responsive to the tensioning force applied by the flexible line 36 as the float 16 moves downwardly in the direction of arrow F.

As best seen in Figures 4 and 11 , it is preferred that the movable strut 30 be formed in two segments having an elongated A-shape, the distal lower ends being attachable to the spaced apart rollers 33 strattling the smaller guide wheel 32. Note further that, to improve smooth operation and to reduce

frictional losses, the lower distal end 14a of the arm assembly 14 is arcuately

contoured so that, as best seen in Figure 2, a smooth uniform contact at M

against the mating surface of the cover C is effected during closing movement of the cover C as the arm assembly 14 is pivoted outwardly in the direction of arrow G into the position shown in phantom.

Referring now to Figures 7, 8 and 12, an alternate embodiment of the invention is there shown generally at numeral 10'. All of the corresponding numbered components there shown are identical to those previously described. However, in this embodiment 10", the arm 26" of arm assembly 14 is modified by the deletion of the pivotal connection at 36 no longer required. To

translate the downward movement of the float assembly 16 in the direction of

arrow F into pivotal movement of the arm assembly 14' outwardly to close the cover C as previously described, a separate movable wheeled member or

carriage 50 is provided having spaced flat plates 52 supporting spaced freely rotatable wheel pairs 56 and 58 and central wheel guides 54 for receiving the

flexible line 36b as previously described.

By this arrangement, the downward movement of the float assembly 16 in the direction of arrow F causes the wheeled carriage member 50 to move

upwardly in the direction of arrow H about the central grooved wheel 54 into the

position shown in phantom. While doing so, wheels 56 rollably engage against leg 42 while wheels 58 rollably engage against the inner surface of arm 26".

This embodiment 10' thus provides virtually frictionless rolling movement of the movable wheeled carriage member 50 upwardly and then back downwardly as

the water in the tank is restored to its at-rest filled level.

Referring now to Figures 9, 10 and 13, another alternate embodiment of the invention is there shown generally at numeral 10" and is identically configured with respect to the embodiment 10 of Figures 1 to 6. However, in

this embodiment 10", the movable arm 26" of the movable arm assembly 14'

includes an additional sharp outwardly extending rib 60 extending longitudinally

downwardly from the pivotal connection at 34 to the distal edge of the arcuate portion 14a. By providing this outwardly extending edge or bead 60, the friction caused by pressure against the cover C during closure thereof is further

reduced.

While the instant invention has been shown and described herein in what are conceived to be the most practical and preferred embodiments, it is recognized that departures may be made therefrom within the scope of the invention, which is therefore not to be limited to the details disclosed herein, but is to be afforded the full scope of the claims so as to embrace any and all equivalent apparatus and articles.