Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
DETERGENT-DISPENSING HANDHELD SHOWERHEAD
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/104292
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A detergent-dispensing handheld showerhead has a proximal end, including an elongated handle configured for grasping by a user, and a distal end opposite the proximal end, the distal end having defined therein an array of water-ejection apertures from which water can be selectively ejected. A water supply conduit extends through the handle and is configured to channel supply water introduced through an input opening in the proximal end to the distal end for forcible ejection through the water-ejection apertures. A detergent supply system is carried entirely by the handheld showerhead and includes a refillable detergent reservoir. By selective actuation of a detergent-supply actuator, a user can selectively obstruct or introduce a flow of liquid detergent from within the detergent reservoir into the water supply conduit to mix with water moving through the showerhead for ejection through the water-ejection apertures.

Inventors:
TARBELL, Ronald (695 Water Street, Fitchburg, MA, 01420, US)
Application Number:
US2018/062521
Publication Date:
May 31, 2019
Filing Date:
November 27, 2018
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
TARBELL, Ronald (695 Water Street, Fitchburg, MA, 01420, US)
International Classes:
B05B15/00
Foreign References:
US9643195B22017-05-09
US6687924B22004-02-10
US7251844B22007-08-07
US20090101733A12009-04-23
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FRANCO, Louis, J. (Law Office of Louis J. Franco, 250 Arbor StreetLunenburg, MA, 01462, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1 A detergent-dispensing handheld showerhead comprising:

a proximal end including an elongated handle configured for grasping by a user;

a distal end opposite the proximal end, the distal end being dimensionally enlarged relative to the handle and having defined therein an array of water-ejection apertures from which water can be selectively ejected; a water supply conduit extending longitudinally through the handle, the water supply conduit being in fluid communication with the water-ejection apertures and configured to channel supply water introduced through an input opening in the proximal end to the distal end for forcible ejection through the water-ejection apertures; and

a detergent supply system carried entirely by the handheld showerhead and including a detergent reservoir, the detergent reservoir being (i) selectively refillable through a selectively openable and closable filler opening and (ii) in fluid communication with a detergent port that facilitates the selective flow of detergent from within the detergent reservoir into the water supply conduit extending longitudinally through the handle for mixing with water flowing through the water supply conduit toward and out of the water- ejection apertures, the detergent supply system further including a button accessible to the user from the exterior of the handheld showerhead and mechanically linked to a port closure such that movement of the button in opposed first and second directions causes the port closure to, respectively, (a) close the detergent port and prevent the flow of detergent from the detergent reservoir into the water supply conduit and (b) open the detergent port and allow the flow of detergent from the detergent reservoir into the water supply conduit. 2. The detergent-dispending handheld showerhead of claim 1 wherein the detergent reservoir extends at least partially within the enlarged distal end.

3. The detergent-dispensing handheld showerhead of claim 2 wherein at least at two of (i) the filler opening, (ii) the detergent port, and (iii) the button of the detergent-supply actuator are situated more proximate the distal end than to the proximal end of the handheld showerhead.

4. The detergent-dispensing handheld showerhead of claim 1 wherein at least at two of (i) the filler opening, (ii) the detergent port, and (iii) the button of the detergent-supply actuator are situated more proximate the distal end than to the proximal end of the handheld showerhead.

5. The detergent-dispensing handheld showerhead of claim 1 configured with exfoliator tips protruding from the enlarged distal end.

6. The detergent-dispensing handheld showerhead of claim 5 wherein the water-ejection apertures are defined in and through the exfoliator tips.

7. The detergent-dispensing handheld showerhead of claim 5 wherein the water-ejection apertures are separate and distinct from the exfoliator tips. 8. The detergent-dispensing handheld showerhead of claim 5 further

including an exfoliator head that is selectively removable from and attachable to the distal end of the handheld showerhead, the exfoliator head carrying the exfoliator tips. 9. The detergent-dispensing handheld showerhead of claim 8 wherein the water-ejection apertures are defined in and through the exfoliator tips carried by the exfoliator head.

10. The detergent-dispensing handheld showerhead of claim 8 wherein, in addition to carrying the exfoliator tips, the exfoliator head carries and has defined therein the water-ejection apertures separate and distinct from the exfoliator tips.

Description:
DETERGENT-DISPENSING HANDHELD SHOWERHEAD

BACKGROUND

Currently, the most prevalent method of cleansing one’s body is to“take a shower” while standing in a shower stall. A typical shower stall includes valves for regulating the relative flows of hot and cold water and an overhead showerhead from which rinsing water is dispensed. Hair shampoo is stored in, and dispensed manually from, a container (typically plastic) from which it is either poured, squeezed, or manually pumped. Cleansing soap is typically rubbed and dissolved from a“bar” of soap or, somewhat less commonly, pumped, poured, or squeezed from a container. In any event, the most common methods of showering to which we have become accustomed result in the spillage of concentrated, slippery liquids onto the shower floor and cleansing-fluid waste. Moreover, certain aspects of showering are somewhat inconvenient and invariably involve the inefficient use of both hands to achieve such steps as dispensing soap for application to one’s body.

To address some of the issues associated with traditional showering methods, some shower-water dispensing systems have been developed that allow a user to selectively introduce into the stream of water dispensed through a showerhead a body-cleansing detergent, such as soap, shampoo, body wash, or an all-in-one such liquid body detergent. A few examples of systems capable of achieving this general objective are disclosed in (i) US Patent No. 3,446,438 for SHOWERHEAD MIXING ARRANGEMENT; (ii) US Patent No. 4,218,013 for SHOWER HEAD FLUID DISPENSER; (iii) US Patent No. 5,071 ,070 for APPARATUS FOR DISPENSING FLUID INTO THE WATER FLOW OF A SHOWER; and (iv) US Patent No. 6,293,294 for METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR FLUID MIXING AND DISPENSING. While the apparatuses disclosed in these references partially address some of the same issues addressed by embodiments of the present invention, they are distinguishable in certain key respects. For instance, in none of the listed references is the detergent to be selectively introduced into the flow of washing water contained within a detergent reservoir that is“onboard” the handheld showerhead. Instead, these references are invariably drawn to showerheads that are not removable from the shower wall to which they are attached for holding by a user and which have detergent reservoirs that are, for the most part, but not invariably, mounted on or inside the shower stall wall. In these prior references, the detergent is introduced into the water flow by either gravity or by being“drawn” in or up into the water flow by a pressure differential induced by the Venturi Effect. This latter characteristic is shared by embodiments of the present invention. For the foregoing, and other, reasons, there exists a need for apparatus that facilitate more convenient, efficient, and luxurious showering.

SUMMARY

In a first embodiment generally illustrative of the invention, a handheld showerhead has a proximal end and a distal end opposite the proximal end. An elongated handled by which a user grasps the showerhead extends from and along the proximal end toward the distal end. The distal end is dimensionally enlarged (e.g., bulbous) relative to the handle and has defined therein an array of water- ejection apertures from which water can be selectively ejected. A water supply conduit in fluid communication with the water-ejection apertures extends longitudinally through the handle.

In an exemplary configuration, the water supply conduit is defined by the showerhead itself. That is, the showerhead defines on its interior a channel that serves as the water supply conduit and extends from the proximal end, through the handle, and to the water ejection apertures at the distal end. The water supply conduit is configured to channel supply water introduced through an input opening in the proximal end to the distal end for forcible ejection through the water-ejection apertures.

Carried entirely within and by the handheld showerhead is a detergent supply system including a detergent reservoir. The detergent reservoir is selectively refillable through a selectively openable and closable filler opening through which a quantity of liquid detergent can be poured from a container for storage within the reservoir. The detergent reservoir is selectively rendered in fluid communication with the water supply conduit through a detergent port. More specifically, the detergent reservoir is in fluid communication with a detergent port that facilitates the selective flow of detergent from within the detergent reservoir into the water supply conduit extending longitudinally through the handle. Detergent that flows through the detergent port mixes with water flowing through the water supply conduit toward and out of the water-ejection apertures.

In order to facilitate a user’s control over detergent flow from within the detergent reservoir, the detergent supply system further includes a button accessible to the user from the exterior of the handheld showerhead. The button is mechanically linked to a port closure that selectively opens and closes the detergent port. More specifically, movement of the button in a first direction causes the port closure to close the detergent port and prevent the flow of detergent from the detergent reservoir into the water supply conduit. Conversely, movement of the button in a second direction opposite the first direction causes the port closure to open the detergent port and allow the flow of detergent from the detergent reservoir into the water supply conduit.

In various configurations, the detergent reservoir and the detergent port are situated more proximate the distal end than to the proximal end of the handheld showerhead. Moreover, the detergent reservoir extends at least partially within the enlarged distal end. While situating the detergent reservoir at least partially within the enlarged distal end is a counterintuitive arrangement, it will be appreciated through the present disclosure that such a configuration facilitates a larger capacity for detergent storage“onboard” the handheld showerhead. Additionally, if at least a portion of the detergent reservoir is incorporated within a bulbous distal end, the detergent supply system may include a larger, more-convenient filler opening and closure than might be accommodated elsewhere along the length of the handheld showerhead. A larger filler opening allows the detergent reservoir to be filled more quickly without wasteful and messy spillage of liquid detergent, while a larger closure associated with a larger filler opening is easier to open, close, and otherwise keep track of and manipulate.

Each of various embodiments is configured with exfoliator tips protruding from the enlarged distal end. The exfoliator tips themselves may be variously configured in shape, size, and relative hardness for example. While some exfoliator tips may be relatively smooth and/or soft to render them perhaps more suitable for massaging than exfoliating, all such similar protrusions at the distal end are nevertheless referred to as “exfoliator tips” for purposes of brevity and simplification in the description.

In some versions, the water-ejection apertures are defined in and through the exfoliator tips, while in other versions, the water-ejection apertures are separate and distinct from the exfoliator tips. Included within these possibilities are distal ends exhibiting various combinations of exfoliator tips and water-ejection apertures. More specifically, in any particular embodiment, (i) all exfoliating tips may be separate and exclusive of water-ejection apertures, (ii) some exfoliator tips may include water- ejection apertures, while other exfoliating tips do not, (iii) some water-ejection apertures may extend through exfoliator tips, while others do not, or (iv) all exfoliating tips include water-ejection apertures, while the distal end also includes no water-ejection apertures that are separate and apart from exfoliator tips.

According to still-additional embodiments, the distal end carries an exfoliator head that is selectively removable from and attachable to the distal end of the handheld showerhead. The exfoliator head carries the exfoliator tips. In this way, the exfoliator tips can be replaced through replacement of the exfoliator head. In association with some versions, it is envisioned that disparate exfoliator heads carrying disparate types of exfoliator tips will be selectively attachable to the distal end so that, for example, a user can change out exfoliator heads depending on desired effect (e.g., heavy exfoliation versus mild exfoliation combined with massage).

Representative embodiments are more completely described and depicted in the following detailed description and the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front view of a detergent-dispensing handheld showerhead;

FIG. 2 depicts a left-side view of the handheld showerhead of FIG. 1 ;

FIG. 3 is a back view of the handheld showerhead of FIGS. 1 and 2;

FIG. 4 is a left-side cross-sectional view of a detergent-dispensing handheld showerhead;

FIG. 4A is an enlarged detail sectional view of a subsection of the handheld showerhead shown in FIG. 4;

FIG. 5 is an exploded view of a detergent-dispensing showerhead;

FIG. 5A shows a first type of exfoliator head that is selectively attachable to the handheld showerhead shown in FIG. 5;

FIG. 5B depicts a second type of exfoliator head that is selectively attachable to the handheld showerhead shown in FIG. 5; and

FIG. 5C illustrates a third type of exfoliator head that is selectively attachable to the handheld showerhead shown in FIG. 5.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The following description of variously embodied detergent-dispensing handheld showerheads is demonstrative in nature and is not intended to limit the invention or its application of uses. Accordingly, the various implementations, aspects, versions and embodiments described in the summary and detailed description are in the nature of non-limiting examples falling within the scope of the appended claims and do not serve to constrict the maximum scope of the claims.

Shown in FIGS. 1 , 2 and 3 are three views of a detergent-dispensing handheld showerhead 10. More specifically, in moving from left to right in the drawing sheet, there are shown (i) a front view in FIG. 1 , (ii) a left-side view in FIG. 2, and (iii) a back view in FIG. 3. The overall handheld showerhead 10 has a proximal end 12, including an elongated handle 13 configured for grasping by a user, and distal end 14 opposite the proximal end 12.

The distal end 14 is dimensionally enlarged relative to the handle 13 and has defined therein an array of water-ejection apertures 16 from which wash water is forcibly dispensed (ejected). “Enlargement” of the distal end 14 relative to the handle 13 may manifest in, for example, the distal end 14 extending laterally beyond (wider) than the handle 13 overall, or in being otherwise relatively“bulbous” relative to the handle 13. Defined and extending longitudinally through the handle 13 is a main water supply conduit CM. The water supply conduit CM is in fluid communication with the water-ejection apertures 16 and configured to channel supply water introduced through an input opening 12o into the proximal end 12 -- by, for example, a flexible supply hose (not shown) selectively coupleable to the proximal end 12 - to the distal end 14 for forcible ejection through the water-ejection apertures 16.

With continued reference to FIGS. 2 and 3, and to the sectional views of FIGS. 4 and 4A, wherein FIG. 4A represents an enlargement of the sub-section indicated by the dashed lines relative to FIG. 4, the showerhead 10 further includes a detergent supply system 20, which detergent supply system 20 itself includes a detergent reservoir 30. The entirety of the detergent supply system 20 is carried by and/or defined within the handheld showerhead 10, a characteristic that distinguishes it from the illustrative references listed in the background, and other existing systems that draw upon remote sources/reservoirs of detergent. It is envisioned that the detergent be a liquid or gel in the form of at least one of (i) body wash, (ii) hair shampoo, (iii) or a combination liquid intended for washing both hair and skin.

In at least the version depicted in FIGS. 1 -4A, the detergent reservoir 30 is selectively refillable through a filler opening 32, with the filler opening 32 being selectively openable and closable with a closure 34 (e.g., a threaded or snap-fit cap 34C). The detergent reservoir 30 further includes - or is at least in fluid communication with - a detergent port 36 that facilitates the selective flow of detergent from inside the reservoir 30 into the main water supply conduit CM for mixing with wash water flowing through the main water supply conduit CM toward the water-ejection apertures 16.

In addition to the selectively fillable and closable detergent reservoir 30, the detergent supply system 20 includes a detergent-supply actuator 40 including a button 42 that is accessible to the user from the exterior of the handheld showerhead 10. Movement of the button 42 in a first direction closes the detergent port 36, while movement in a second direction opens the detergent port 36. More specifically, the button 42 is mechanically linked through an actuator linkage 44 to a port closure 46 (e.g. a plug or gate) that selectively opens and closes the detergent port 36 in response to corresponding actuation of the button 42 in opposed first and second directions. In various embodiments, movement of the button 42 in first and second directions is slidable movement along the length of the handheld showerhead 10.

As depicted, the detergent reservoir 30 and the detergent port 36 are situated more proximate the distal end 14 than to the proximal end 12 of the handheld showerhead 10. Moreover, as in the embodiment depicted, it may be advantageous for the detergent reservoir 30 to extend at least partially within the enlarged distal end 14 in order to at least one of (i) facilitate a larger capacity for detergent storage and (ii) accommodate a larger, more-convenient filler opening 32 and closure 34 than might be accommodated elsewhere along the length of the handheld showerhead 10.

Additionally, in various embodiments, it is desirable and advantageous that the button 42 of the detergent-supply actuator 40 be more proximate the distal end 14 than to the proximal end 12 of the handheld showerhead 10. It will be appreciated that in embodiments so configured, the user would typically actuate the button 42 with the hand opposite the hand grasping the handle 13 when in use, which, in many instances, is more ergonomic than an arrangement in which the button 42 would be actuated by the same hand grasping and supporting the handle 13. Situating the button 42 more proximate the distal end 14 than to the proximal end 12 furthermore allows the length of the actuator linkage 44 to be minimized when the detergent port 36 and port closure 46 are also situated at or adjacent the distal end 14.

In alternative embodiments, opening of the detergent port 36 allows at least one force to act on detergent in the detergent reservoir 30 and cause it to flow into the main water supply conduit CM. In some embodiments, the“at least one force” includes gravity. However, in other embodiments, illustratively best depicted in the cross-sectional views of FIGS. 4 and 4A, the main water flow is constricted in the vicinity of the detergent port 36 so that the main water flow accelerates, thereby creating a localized drop in pressure that draws detergent out of the reservoir 30 through the detergent port 36 by action of the“Venturi Effect.” When this occurs, wash water mixed with detergent is ejected from the water-ejection apertures 16. It should be understood that within the scope of the invention are embodiments reliant on the Venturi Effect in which the main water flow is not constricted as depicted, and that these will still function, but that a higher velocity of the main water flow in the vicinity of the detergent port 36 facilitates the Venturi Effect, and that a localized constriction is one way to achieve high velocity flow.

Referring to FIGS. 1 , 2, 4, and 5-5C, various embodiments are configured with protrusions on the enlarged distal end 14. These protrusions are designated “exfoliator tips 18.” In various configurations, such as those depicted, the water- ejection apertures 16 are defined in and through the exfoliator tips 18. However, well within the scope and contemplation of the invention are configurations in which the water-ejection apertures 16 are separate and distinct from the exfoliator tips 18. The exfoliator tips 18 can be rubbed along a user’s body parts to exfoliate the skin as water or water and detergent are ejected through the water-ejection apertures 16.

With continued general reference to FIGS. 1 -3, but more specific reference to FIGS. 5, 5A, 5B, and 5C, various configurations include changeable exfoliator heads 70. In the example shown, there are three disparate exfoliator heads 70 carrying three distinct types of exfoliator tips 18: (i) soft, shown in FIG. 5A, (ii) medium, shown in FIG. 5B and (iii) hard, shown in FIG. 5C. The exfoliator heads 70 also carry and define the water-ejection apertures 16, and are selectively removable from and attachable to the distal end 14 of the handheld showerhead 10 through, for example, threads. It is envisioned that, in a retail setting, a handheld showerhead 10 may be sold as part of a kit including a plurality of at least two selectively changeable exfoliator heads 70. Additionally or alternatively, a handheld showerhead 10 may be sold with a single changeable exfoliator head 70, with aftermarket availability of additional and/or replacement exfoliator heads 70.

In an alternative version including exfoliator tips 18, the exfoliator tips 18 themselves are changeable by, for example, threading into and out of the exfoliator head 70. In alternative such versions, the exfoliator head 70 itself is either removable or non-removable from the enlarged distal end 14 handheld showerhead 10. In either event, the changeability of the exfoliator tips 18 renders them replaceable when worn out. Moreover, combinations of different types of exfoliator tips 18 can be incorporated contemporaneously into the exfoliator head 70. For instance, a user could create a customized arrangement of soft, medium, and/or hard exfoliator tips 18. In addition to variations in relative hardness of the exfoliator tips 18, there could be variations in other parameters such as, for example, size or shape. There could be relatively smooth convex-curved exfoliator tips 18 more conducive to tissue massaging or relatively pointed or spiked tips 18 more conducive to aggressive exfoliation.

The handle 13 of different embodiments is elongated to various alternative extents in order to facilitate ease of use and reachability of normally difficult-to-reach areas of the body, such as the upper back. An elongated handle 13 facilitates selective contact between the exfoliator tips 18 and every part of a user’s body.

The foregoing is considered to be illustrative of the principles of the invention. Furthermore, since modifications and changes to various aspects and implementations will occur to those skilled in the art without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention, it is to be understood that the foregoing does not limit the invention as expressed in the appended claims to the exact constructions, implementations and versions shown and described.