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Title:
BACK WASHING APPARATUS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2009/138765
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
Back washing apparatus (2) for use with a shower fitting (4) and for washing a person's back, which back washing apparatus (2) comprises a diverter tap (8), a back washing device (10) which is not electrically powered, adhesive mounting means (12) for mounting the back washing device (10), conduit means (14) with screw threaded connectors for connecting the diverter tap (8) to a mixer tap (16) and for connecting the diverter tap (8) to the back washing device (10), and container means (44) for containing soap for the back washing device (10), and the back washing apparatus (2) being such that in use the conduit means (14) is exposed and not concealed, the diverter tap (8) is in communication with a shower head (18) such that water is divertible to the back washing device (10) and/or the shower head (18), and the person washes their back by rubbing their back against the back washing device (10).

Inventors:
DIXON, Roger, Colin (45 Slad Road, Stroud, Gloucestershire GL5 1QS, GB)
BOOTH, Douglas, Alexander, Henderson (132a Norton Road, Talbot ParkBournemouth, BH9 2QB, GB)
Application Number:
GB2009/001264
Publication Date:
November 19, 2009
Filing Date:
May 15, 2009
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
BALOOFAH LIMITED (45 Slad Road, Stroud, Gloucestershire GL5 1QS, GB)
DIXON, Roger, Colin (45 Slad Road, Stroud, Gloucestershire GL5 1QS, GB)
BOOTH, Douglas, Alexander, Henderson (132a Norton Road, Talbot ParkBournemouth, BH9 2QB, GB)
International Classes:
A47K7/04
Foreign References:
US5588160A1996-12-31
US3042949A1962-07-10
GB2219738A1989-12-20
US5774907A1998-07-07
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
JONES, Graham, Henry (Graham Jones & Company, 77 Beaconsfield RoadBlackheath, London SE3 7LG, GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:

CLAIMS

1. Back washing apparatus for use with a shower fitting and for washing a person's back, which back washing apparatus comprises a diverter tap, a back washing device which is not electrically powered, adhesive mounting means for mounting the back washing device, conduit means with screw- threaded connectors for connecting the diverter tap to a mixer tap and for connecting the diverter tap to the back washing device, and container means for containing soap for the back washing device, and the back washing apparatus being such that in use the conduit means is exposed and not concealed, the diverter tap is in communication with a shower head such that water is divertible to the back washing device and/or the shower head, and the person washes their back by rubbing their back against the back washing device.

2. Back washing apparatus according to claim 1 in which the conduit means is a flexible conduit means.

3. Back washing apparatus according to claim 1 or claim 2 in which the conduit means comprises a first conduit for connecting the diverter tap to the mixer tap, and a second conduit for connecting the diverter tap to the back washing device.

4. Back washing apparatus according to claim 3 in which the conduit means comprises a third conduit for connecting the diverter tap to the shower head.

5. Back washing apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims in which the container means is a Venturi container means.

6. Back washing apparatus according to any one of claims 1 - 4 in which the container means is a positive displacement container means.

7. Back washing apparatus according to claim 6 in which the positive displacement container means is a pump-operated positive displacement container means.

8. Back washing apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims in which the adhesive mounting means is such that it is a removable adhesive mounting means which is removable when stretched beyond a predetermined extent.

9. Back washing apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims in which the adhesive mounting means comprises a silicone pressure sensitive adhesive.

10. Back washing apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims in which the mounting means includes height adjustment means for enabling the back washing device to be adjustable in height.

11. Back washing apparatus according to claim 10 in which the height adjustment means comprises a rail on which the back washing device slides.

12. Back washing apparatus according to any one of claims 1 - 9 in which the mounting means is such that it secures the back washing device at one fixed height.

13. Back washing apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims in which the container means is located in the diverter tap.

14. Back washing apparatus according to any one of claims 1 - 12 in which the container means is located in the back washing device.

15. Back washing apparatus according to any one of claims 1 - 12 in which the container means is located along the conduit means.

16. Back washing apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims in which the back washing device is made of a moulded material.

17. Back washing apparatus according to claim 16 in which the moulded material of a front surface is a thermoplastic elastomer.

18. Back washing apparatus according to any one of claims 1 - 15 in which a front surface of the back washing device is made of a foam material.

19. Back washing apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims in which the back washing device is a static back washing device.

20. Back washing apparatus according to any one of the claims 1 - 18 in which the back washing device is a water-powered back washing device.

21. Back washing apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims in which the back washing device is a non-changeable back washing device for use by a plurality of persons.

22. Back washing apparatus according to any one of claims 1 - 20 in which the back washing device has a changeable front surface.

23. Back washing apparatus according to claim 22 in which the plurality of surfaces of the back washing device are each such that they are of a different consistency for changing the effect of the back washing device on the person's back.

24. Back washing apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims and which is in the form of a kit of parts.

25. Back washing apparatus according to any one of claims 1 - 23 and which is in the form of an installation in a shower enclosure.

26. Back washing apparatus according to claim 25 in which the shower enclosure is a stand alone shower enclosure.

27. Back washing apparatus according to claim 25 in which the shower enclosure is in a bath.

28. Back washing apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims and including the shower head.

Description:

BACK WASHING APPARATUS

This invention relates to back washing apparatus and, more especially, this invention relates to back washing apparatus for use with a shower fitting and for washing a person's back.

Persons standing in showers traditionally have a problem in washing their backs. Various hand-held devices are known for helping a person to wash their back. These hand-held devices require a good degree of manual dexterity with the result that many persons do not use them, and persons that do use them often do not use them each time they take a shower. Fixed devices installed in a shower enclosure are also known. The known fixed devices suffer from various disadvantages in that they may not have a running water supply, or they may be difficult to install, or they may be prone to falling off after installation, or they may be expensive due to the fact that they use a back washing device which is electrically powered for movement against a person's back.

It is an aim of the present invention to reduce the above mentioned problems.

Accordingly, in one non-limiting embodiment of the present invention there is provided back washing apparatus for use with a shower fitting and for washing a person's back, which back washing apparatus comprises a diverter tap, a back washing device which is not electrically powered, adhesive mounting means for mounting the back washing device, conduit means with

screw-threaded connectors for connecting the diverter tap to a mixer tap and for connecting the diverter tap to the back washing device, and container means for containing soap for the back washing device, and the back washing apparatus being such that in use the conduit means is exposed and not concealed, the diverter tap is in communication with a shower head such that water is divertible to the back washing device and/or the shower head, and the person washes their back by rubbing their back against the back washing device.

The back washing device of the present invention is advantageous in that it is easy to fit, either as a retro-fit to existing fittings, or as original equipment manufacture in new shower fittings. More specifically, the adhesive mounting means enables the back washing device to be fitted without the need to screw holes in shower enclosures. The adhesive employed is water resistant so that the mounting means is able to remain securely fastened after long periods of use. The screw-threaded connectors enable the conduit means to be connected in place by hand, with only a spanner to effect simple tightening if sufficient tightening cannot be achieved by hand. The use of conduit means that are to be exposed avoids the need for chasing channels in walls, for example of shower enclosures.

The back washing apparatus of the present invention is also advantageous in that a water supply is available to the back washing device. Thus better washing is facilitated than would be the case if the back washing device were not to have its own supply of water. The back washing apparatus of the present invention is also advantageous in that the back washing device

is not electrically powered. Thus the back washing device is simpler than electrically powered back washing devices, which means that the back washing device of the present invention is able to be produced more cheaply than electrically powered back washing devices, and is also not so likely to go wrong as electrically powered back washing devices. Still further, because a person washes their back by rubbing their back against the back washing device, the person can choose how hard they wish to rub their back against the back washing device. For example, gentle rubbing ensures good washing of the person's back. Harder rubbing is able to promote a massaging effect which is complemented by the running water from the back washing device. The massaging of a person's back is especially advantageous in that the vast majority of people at one time or another in their lives will suffer from back problems which can be alleviated by massage. Additionally, the back washing device may operate with an exfoliating action which many people may find advantageous in rejuvenating their skin.

Preferably, the conduit means is a flexible conduit means. This facilitates further the simple and easy assembly and installation of the back washing apparatus of the present invention. The flexible conduit means may be a chromium plated hose.

The back washing apparatus may be one in which the conduit means comprises a first conduit for connecting the diverter tap to the mixer tap, and a second conduit for connecting the diverter tap to the back washing device. Other arrangements may be employed.

Preferably, the back washing apparatus is one in which the conduit means comprises a third conduit for connecting the diverter tap to the shower head. Other arrangements may be employed.

In all embodiments of the invention, the container means is preferably a Venturi container means. Alternatively, in all embodiments of the invention, the container means may be a positive displacement container means. The positive displacement container means may be a pump-operated positive displacement container means. Other positive displacement container means may be employed, for example those working with a squeeze action.

The back washing apparatus may be one in which the adhesive mounting means is such that it is a removable adhesive mounting means which is removable when stretched beyond a predetermined extent. One adhesive mounting means currently preferred is that sold under the trade mark Command strips by 3M Company. The adhesive mounting means may comprise a silicone pressure sensitive adhesive. Other types of adhesive may be employed.

The back washing apparatus may be one in which the mounting means includes height adjustment means for enabling the back washing device to be adjustable in height. The height adjustment means may comprise a rail on which the back washing device slides. Other types of height adjustment means may be employed for enabling the back washing device to be adjustable in height.

Alternatively, the mounting means may be such that it secures the back washing device at one fixed height. With a relatively long and vertically

extending back washing device, persons of different heights may still be able to wash their backs even with a back washing device which is fixed at one height.

The container means may be located in the diverter tap. Soapy water may then be diverted to the shower head in addition to, or as an alternative to, going to the back washing device.

Alternatively, the container means may be located in the back washing device.

Alternatively, the container means may be located along the conduit means.

The components of the back washing device may be made of a variety of moulded materials. Generally, the moulded materials may be any suitable and appropriate polymers or co-polymers. The front surface is preferably a thermoplastic elastomer. The thermoplastic elastomer may feel like rubber. The moulded materials are able to be cleaned and be kept clean so that the back washing device can be used by different persons, with each person feeling that the back washing device is clean and hygienic.

The front surface of the back washing device may alternatively be made of a foam material. The foam material will usually be a foam plastics material and any suitable and appropriate foam plastics material may be employed. A natural foam material such as a sponge may also be employed.

The back washing device is preferably a static back washing device. If desired however, the back washing device may be a water-powered back washing device.

The back washing device may be a non-changeable back washing device for use by a plurality of persons. Alternatively, the back washing device may be a changeable back washing device.

With a changeable back washing device, each person may fit their own back washing device to the mounting means. The back washing device of each person may be a re-usable device or a disposable device, as may be desired for use by persons in hotels and other public establishments.

With a changeable back washing device, the back washing apparatus may include a plurality of back washing devices, with each back washing device being of a different consistency for changing the effect of the back washing device on the person's back.

In the back washing apparatus of the invention, any suitable and appropriate diverter tap may be employed. The diverter tap may have any suitable and appropriate valve, for example a ball valve. The diverter tap may be a separate component, or it may be integral to the back washing device.

The back washing apparatus of the present invention may be in the form of a kit of parts. The kit of parts may be packaged and sold for the do-it- yourself market, where the back washing apparatus may easily be fitted to existing shower enclosures.

Alternatively, the back washing apparatus of the present invention may be in the form of an installation in a new shower enclosure. In this case, the shower enclosure may be purchased with the back washing apparatus of the present invention so that the back washing apparatus of the present invention will be installed at the time of installation of the shower enclosure.

The shower enclosure may be a stand alone shower enclosure. Alternatively, the shower enclosure may be in a bath. The back washing apparatus of the present invention can be used with substantially any shower enclosure.

The back washing apparatus of the present invention may include the shower head. Alternatively, for example when the back washing apparatus is in the form of a kit of parts for installation in an existing shower, then the shower head may not form part of the back washing apparatus, and the existing shower head in the shower enclosure may be used. The conduit means for the back washing apparatus may fit to a bath mixer tap.

Embodiments of the invention will now be described solely by way of example and with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

Figure 1 is a perspective view of back washing apparatus of the present invention fitted in a stand-alone shower enclosure;

Figure 2 shows in exploded form the connection of conduit means to a diverter tap and a mixer tap shown in Figure 1 ;

Figure 3 shows a preferred type of container means for containing soap;

Figure 4 shows in cut-away form part of alternative back washing apparatus of the present invention;

Figure 5 shows the back washing apparatus of Figure 4 but not in cutaway form;

Figure 6 shows part of further alternative back washing apparatus of the present invention;

Figure 7 is a plan view of part of alternative back washing apparatus and shows a mixing tap and a diverter tap; and

Figure 8 shows the front face of a back washing device.

Referring to Figures 1 and 2, there is shown back washing apparatus 2 for use with a shower fitting 4 and for washing a person's back in a shower enclosure 6. The back washing apparatus 2 comprises a diverter tap 8, and a non-electrically powered back washing device 10. The back washing device 10 is mounted by adhesive mounting means 12. The back washing apparatus 2 also includes conduit means 14 with screw threaded connectors. The conduit means 14 connects the diverter tap 8 to a mixer tap 16. The conduit means 14 also connects the diverter tap 8 to the back washing device 10.

The back washing apparatus 2 is such that in use the conduit means is exposed and not concealed. Also, the diverter tap 8 is in communication with a shower head 18 such that water is divertible to the back washing device 10 and/or the shower head 18. The diverter tap 8 thus enables a person to stand under the shower 18 and shower without using the back washing device 10. The diverter tap 8 alternatively allows a person to wash their back only by rubbing their back against the back washing device 10, with the back washing device 10 having its own supply of water. As a further alternative, the person can wash their back against the back washing device 10 whilst at the same time showering under the shower head 18, with the water supply coming from both the shower head 18 and also the back washing device 10.

The conduit means 14 comprises a first conduit 20 for connecting the diverter tap 8 to the mixer tap 16. The conduit means 14 also comprises a

second conduit 22 for connecting the diverter tap 8 to the back washing device 10. The conduit means 14 further comprises a third conduit 24 for connecting the diverter tap 8 to the shower head 18. As can be seen from Figure 2, the first, second and third conduits 20, 22, 24 all make a screw connection 26 to the diverter tap 8. For this purpose, the diverter tap 8 has screw-threaded pipe portion 28, 30, 32. Operation of the diverter tap 8 is by means of a handle 34.

As can be seen from Figure 1, the first, second and third conduits 20, 22, 24 are exposed and not concealed, i.e. they are surface mounted. This surface mounting together with the screw connections 26 enable the body washing apparatus 2 to be packaged as a kit for do-it-yourself installation in existing showers. This enables the back washing apparatus of the present invention inexpensively to be purchased and easily and simply to be fitted to an existing mixer tap 16. The body washing apparatus 2 can also fit to an existing shower head 18 and even the third conduit 24 may be an existing conduit which previously fitted to a screw-threaded pipe portion 36 on the mixer tap 16, but which is moved to fit the screw-threaded pipe portion 32 as shown in Figures 1 and 2.

The mounting means 12 includes height adjustment means for enabling the back washing device 10 to be adjustable in height. More specifically, the height adjustment means comprises a rail 38 on which the back washing device 10 slides. The rail 38 has spacer members 40 which space the rail 38 from a shower wall 42 in order to enable the back washing device 10 easily to be gripped and slid up and down the rail 38 as may be

required. The spacer members 40 fix to the shower wall 42 by an adhesive. In an alternative design, the spacer members 40 may be dispensed with, and the rail 38 could be bent to afford the space from the wall.

Figure 1 shows the body washing apparatus 2 with container means 44 for containing soap for the back washing device 10. In Figure 1, the container means 44 is shown schematically. This is because the back washing apparatus 2 may be such that the container means 44 is located in the diverter tap 8, or alternatively in the back washing device 10, or alternatively along the conduit means 14.

Figure 3 shows a preferred container means 46 for containing soap for the back washing device 10. The container means 46 comprises a container 48 containing liquid soap 50. Any suitable and appropriate liquid soap 50 may be employed including those soaps known as shower gels. The liquid soap 50 is accessed by a pipe 52 as shown in Figure 3. The pipe 52 connects to a Venturi device 54.

In use of the container means 46, water from an appropriate part of the conduit means 14 flows through an inlet 56 in the Venturi device 54. The water then flows through a Venturi 58 and then out through an outlet 60 in the Venturi device 54. The effect of the Venturi 58 is to increase the speed of the water which in turn sucks up the liquid soap 50 through the pipe 52.

Figures 4 and 5 show a non-electrically powered back washing device 60 with an integral diverter tap 62, an integral container means 64, and an integral water outlet 66.

The diverter tap 62 has a dial 68 and stub pipes 70, 72. The stub pipe 70 is for receiving a conduit along which water will pass from a shower mixer tap such for example as the shower mixer tap 16 shown in Figure 1. The stub pipe 72 is for receiving a conduit along which water will pass to a shower head such for example as the shower head 18 shown in Figure 1. The stub pipes 70 and 72 can also operate the other way around.

The container means 64 has walls 74, 76 and it is of a thin construction as shown. The container means 64 may contain any suitable and appropriate shower material, for example shower gel or other washing material.

Extending from the diverter tap 62 is a Venturi arrangement 78 having a Venturi 80. Conduit means in the form of a pipe 82 connects the Venturi 80 to a switch 84. When the switch 84 is switched on, water passing through the Venturi arrangement 78 sucks a constant dose of shower material from the container means 64, along the pipe 82, and through a further pipe 86 to the outlet 66. When the switch 84 is closed, then the shower material in the container means 64 stays in the container means 64, and plain water passes through the Venturi arrangement 78 and the pipe 86 before exiting from the outlet 66. Alternatively, the switch 84 may be graduated to allow for optimal dosing of shower gel or other washing material for varying water pressures and flow rates.

The wall 74 of the container means 64 is provided with an inlet 88 for the shower material. The wall 74 is also provided with transparent windows 90, 92, 94. These windows 90, 92, 94 are arranged at different heights in the

container means 64 so that the amount of shower material in the container means 64 is easily visible.

The back washing device 60 includes a moulded sleeve 96 for receiving a mounting rail such for example as the mounting rail 38 shown in Figure 1.

The back washing device 10 has four spacers 98 on its rear surface for locating against a shower wall such for example as the shower wall 42 shown in Figure 1.

Referring now to Figure 6, there is shown part of back washing apparatus 100 comprising a housing 102 having a transparent reservoir 104 containing shower material 106 such for example as shower gel. The upper part of the housing 102 may be in the form of a white opaque casing 108 having a water diverter control member 110 and a shower material regulator member 112. Mains water is provided along a conduit 114 which connects to the housing 102 as shown via a connector 116. The bottom of the housing 102 is provided with a conduit 118 leading to a back washing device. The conduit 118 is connected by a connector 120 to the housing 102. A conduit 122 provides water to a shower. The conduit 122 is connected via a connector 124 to the housing 102. In an alternative embodiment, the conduit 118 may lead to the shower, and the conduit 122 may lead to the back washing device. The back washing apparatus 100 is such that the water diverter control member 110 and the shower material regulator member 112 are combined together in the housing 102, and are separate from the back washing device. The housing 102 has a blank connection 126 providing an

in-feed option from another direction, for example opposite the direction afforded by the conduit 114 and the connector 116.

Referring to Figure 7, there is shown a mixing tap 128 having a screw- threaded pipe portion 130 for receiving a captive nut 132 on a diverter tap 134. The diverter tap 134 has a screw-threaded pipe portion 136 for connecting to a back washing device such for example as the back washing device 10 shown in Figure 1 or another design of back washing device. The diverter tap 134 also has a screw-threaded pipe portion 138 for directing water to a shower head (not shown), for example the shower head 18 shown in Figure 1 or another type of shower head. The diverter tap 134 also has a pair of flanges 140 which extend outwardly from a circular body part 142. The flanges 140 are able to be gripped and used to rotate a valve part within the body part 142. The effect of this rotation is to enable the water to be diverted downwardly through the screw-threaded pipe portion 138, or to the left through the screw-threaded pipe portion 136, or to be provided through both of the screw-threaded pipe portions 136, 138. If the water is provided through both of the screw-threaded pipe portions 136, 138, then the amount of water provided along each screw-threaded pipe portion 136, 138 is variable and is not restricted to being equally divided along each screw-threaded pipe portion 136, 138.

An advantage of using the diverter tap 134 is that it is able to avoid the use of a conduit such as a hose from the mixer tap 128 to the diverter tap 134, for example the conduit 20 shown in Figure 1. In this case, the first conduit of the conduit means comprises the nut 132 on its pipe portion 144

instead of the first conduit means 20 in the form of the hose shown in Figure 1.

Figure 8 shows a back washing device 146 which may be moulded in a dual-shot mould. The back washing device 146 may be made of a rigid polymer such for example as acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) with a thermoplastic elastomer injected through the holes. The ABS and the thermoplastic elastomer bond to form a single component.

It will be seen that the back washing device 146 has a plurality of raised members 148. The length of these raised members 148 varies. The different lengths are able to create extra pressure on appropriate parts of the person's back. The figure of eight shape of the back washing device 146 is pronounced to accommodate the usual profile of a person's back. Thus the back washing device 146 is anatomically designed.

The back washing device 146 has a curved rim 150. The rim 150 is on the top of the back washing device 146 as used. Soapy water is able to drop onto the rim 150 from two or three outlets. The curved surface of the rim 150 creates a Coander effect, whereby the water is dispersed sideways and cascades more evenly down the front surface of the back washing device 146.

It will be appreciated from the drawings that the back washing apparatus 2 can be inexpensively manufactured, easily installed, and simple and effective to use.

It is also to be appreciated that the embodiments of the invention described above with reference to the accompanying drawings have been

given by way of example only and that modifications may be effected. Thus, for example, the container means 46 shown in Figure 3 could alternatively be a pump-operated positive displacement container means. The back washing apparatus 2 may be sold as part of original equipment in new shower installations. The illustrated pipe portions 28, 30, 32 and 36 may be longer than shown. The back washing device 10 may be of a different shape to that shown. The diverter tap 134 may be operated by a single lever or other devices instead of being operated by the flanges 140. The diverter tap 134 may alternatively give the options of down/right diverting instead of the down/left configuration shown in Figure 7. This would mean that a consumer would be able to choose a configuration which suits the layout of their shower enclosure at the time of purchase. Such an alternative construction may essentially be a mirror image of Figure 7. Alternatively, a configuration may be employed that gives the option of either down/right or down/left within a single component, i.e. a consumer does not need to make the choice at the point of purchase but can either blank off the unwanted outlet during installation, or rotate the whole device so that front becomes back and left becomes right. The mounting means could be provided with optional holes for screw fixing the apparatus in place, e.g. to shower installation walls, if desired.

The back washing device used in the back washing apparatus of the present invention may be made of a variety of hard or soft materials, including rubber. The back washing device used in the back washing apparatus of the present invention may be made with a base support part on

which is attached, for example by clipping, different arrangements of different rubbing means. The back washing device of the present invention may additionally or alternatively be provided with a hard hygienic-looking surface but which also has an overall feeling of sponginess. Any suitable and appropriate diverter tap 8 may be employed.




 
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