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Title:
IMPROVEMENTS IN OR RELATING TO SANITARY WARE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/1995/007043
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Apparatus for raising and lowering a ring-seat member (12) that is mounted pivotally upon a toilet (15), said apparatus comprising an operating mechanism (10) including air-operable motion damping means (26) provided with adjustment means (34) to vary the setting for airflow from the damping means (26) during its damping operation.

Inventors:
Warwicker
Richard
Michael
Application Number:
PCT/GB1994/001920
Publication Date:
March 16, 1995
Filing Date:
September 05, 1994
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
Warwicker
Richard
Michael
International Classes:
A47K13/10; (IPC1-7): A47K13/10
Foreign References:
US3516095A
DE487892C
GB2219606A
US4592097A
US4534073A
US4150446A
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Claims:
CLAIMS
1. Apparatus for raising and lowering a member that is mounted pivotally upon a toilet, said apparatus comprising an operating mechanism including motion damping means provided with adjustment means to vary the motion retardation to be effected by the damping means during its damping operation.
2. Apparatus according to Claim 1 wherein said motion damping means comprises an air damper, and said adjustment means comprises an adjustable air valve to vary the setting for airflow from the air damper during its damping operation.
3. Apparatus according to Claim 1 or Claim 2 wherein the operating mechanism includes a lever that in use is operable by the user's foot to initiate raising of said member.
4. Apparatus according to any preceding Claim wherein the operating mechanism includes a lever that in use is operable by the user's foot to initiate raising of said member and to maintain it in raised condition.
5. Apparatus according to Claim 3 or Claim 4 wherein said lever is in use mounted pivotally on a support resting the floor.
6. Apparatus according to Claim 5 wherein said support is in use fixedly attached to the floor.
7. Apparatus according to Claim 5 or Claim 6 wherein said support additionally provides a pivotal mounting for said motion damping means.
8. Apparatus for raising and lowering a member that is mounted pivotally upon a toilet, said apparatus including a footoperable mechanism comprising a footoperable lever, mounting means for pivotally mounting the footoperable lever, linkage means to transfer movement of the foot operable lever to the said member, airoperable motion damping means to attenuate the rate of descent of the said member, and adjustable valve means for adjusting the airflow from the said airoperable motion damping means to a desired value and hence set the said rate of descent to a chosen rate.
9. Apparatus according to Claim 8 wherein the linkage means comprises a lengthadjustable link connected by one end to the footoperable lever and by its other end to a cranked lever in use fixedly attached to the underside of the said member.
10. Apparatus according to Claim 8 or Claim 9 wherein said airoperable motion damping means comprises an air damper in the form of a pistoncylinder arrangement, and said adjustable valve means is attached to the cylinder of said arrangement.
11. Apparatus according to Claim 10 wherein the said mounting means is in use attached to the floor, and the body o the adjustable valve means is in use connected pivotably to one of said cranked lever and said mounting means, whilst the piston rod of said arrangement is in use pivotally connected to the other.
12. Apparatus according to Claim 2 or Claim 8 wherein the body of the adjustable valve means is provided with a threaded bore in communication with the air outlet of the airoperable motion damping means, a needle valve being loosely threaded in said bore to provide for adjustment of the valve means as the needle valve is screwed inwards or outwards of said bore.
Description:
IMPROVEMENTS IN OR RELATING TO SANITARY WARE

DESCRIPTION

This invention relates to sanitary ware and in particular to toilets having a pivotally-mounted seat member and/or cover member.

It is considered improper and a discourtesy to a subsequent user to leave the toilet wholly uncovered - i.e. with the seat-ring member (and any cover member) in raised condition. Various forms of apparatus for raising and lowering said member(s) have already been proposed, e.g. in US-A-4150446, US-A-4534073, US-A-4592097 and GB-A-2219606. These earlier proposals suffer a number of disadvantages, not least the difficulty (if not impossibility) of adjusting the same mechanism to suit various forms of toilet installation which vary in size and/or shape of the toilet and/or the seat-ring member (and its associated cover member) .

With a view to overcoming one or more of these and/or other disadvantages of the prior art, the present invention, in one aspect, provides apparatus for raising and lowering a member that is mounted pivotally upon a toilet, said apparatus comprising an operating mechanism including motion damping means provided with adjustment means to vary the motion retardation to be effected by the damping means during its damping operation.

The motion damping means may comprise an air damper, and said adjustment means may comprise an adjustable air valve to vary the setting for airflow from the air damper during its damping operation.

Advantageously the operating mechanism includes a lever that in use is operable by the user's foot to initiate raising of said member - and preferably to maintain it in raised condition.

Advantageously said lever is in use mounted pivotally on a support resting on - preferably fixedly attached to - the floor.

Preferably, said air-operable damping means is pivotally mounted on the selfsame support.

According to another aspect of the present invention there is provided apparatus for raising and lowering a member that is mounted pivotally upon a toilet, said apparatus including a foot-operable mechanism comprising a foot- operable lever, mounting means for pivotally mounting the foot-operable lever, linkage means to transfer movement of the foot-operable lever to the said member, air-operable motion damping means to attenuate the rate of descent of the said member, and adjustable valve means for adjusting the airflow from the said air-operable motion damping means to a desired value and hence set the said rate of descent to a chosen rate.

Advantageously the said mounting means is in use attached to the floor.

Preferably the linkage means comprises a length-adjustable link connected by one end to the foot-operable lever and by its other end to a cranked lever in use fixedly attached to the underside of the said member.

Advantageously said air-operable motion damping means comprises an air damper in the form of a piston-cylinder arrangement, and said adjustable valve means is attached to the cylinder of said arrangement. In this case, the body of

the adjustable valve means may be in use connected pivotably to one of said cranked lever and said mounting means, whilst the piston rod of said arrangement is in use pivotally connected to the other.

The body of the adjustable valve is preferably provided with a threaded bore in communication with the air outlet of the air damper, a needle valve being loosely threaded in said bore to provide for adjustment of the valve means as the needle valve is screwed inwards or outwards of said bore.

By way of example, embodiments of this invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawings of which:

Figure 1 is a side view of a toilet (or w.c.) fitted with apparatus according to one embodiment of this invention,

Figure 2 is a partly-sectioned, partly-perspective, exploded side view of the apparatus shown in

Figure 1, Figure 3 is a partly-sectioned side view of air damper means 26 shown in Figs 1 and 2, and Figure 4 is a similar view to that of Figure 3 but of a modified form of the air damper means 26.

The illustrated apparatus comprises a foot-operable mechanism 10 for raising and lowering a seat-ring member 12 and a disk-like cover member 14 that are together mounted pivotally upon a toilet 15. The foot-operable mechanism 10 comprises a pillar-like support 16 secured to the floor beside the toilet 15, a tubular or rod-like link 18 pivotally mounted on the pillar 16, a length-adjustable link 20 interconnecting the rearward end 17 of link 18 with one limb 22 of a cranked lever 25 - that in use has its

other limb 24 secured (via screws through screw-holes 54) to the underside of the toilet seat - and an adjustable air damper 26 that is connected to the limb 22 of cranked lever 25 to dampen the downward motion of the seat-ring member 12 and the cover member 14 that surmounts it.

In detail (see Figs 2 and 3), the tubular link 18 is slotted intermediate its ends and support pillar 16 passes through the slot to extend upwardly above it. A pivot pin 28 extends through the pillar 16 and the walls of the slot.

The adjustable air damper 26 comprises a piston-cylinder arrangement 30. The piston rod 32 of the piston-cylinder arrangement is connected by its free end to the cranked lever's limb 22. The opposite end of the cylinder is in air communication with a needle valve 34. The needle valve 34 comprises a main body 35 (Fig 3) having an L-shaped bore 36 therein. The axial leg 37 of the bore 36 communicates with the interior of the cylinder whilst the radial leg 38 of bore 36 has a tapered 'seat' 39 and is internally threaded. An externally-threaded, taper-ended, grub screw 40 co¬ operates spacedly with seat 39 to vary the effective gap or orifice size of their co-operation and thereby adjust the air flow rate therethrough.

The main body 35 of the valve 34 is formed integrally with a pair of trunnion arms 42 that straddle the top of the pillar 16 and receive a pivot pin 44 therethrough whereby the air damper 26, with its associated adjustment valve 34, are pivotally mounted as a whole upon the top of pillar 16 (upon which the foot-operated lever 18 is also pivoted) . The other end of the piston-cylinder arrangement, i.e. the free end of piston rod 32, is connected to the cranked lever's limb 22 at a location 23 forwardly of the connection point 21 of that limb to the adjustable link 20.

In the embodiment shown in Fig 3, the body 35 is provided with an externally-threaded tubular spigot 31 by which it is threaded into the bottom closure member 33 of a conventional air-damper 26. In the modification shown in Fig 4, where like reference numerals refer to like parts, the body 35 is directly coupled into the cylinder and, by closing it, thus renders closure member 33 redundant.

The adjustable link 20 comprises a rod 46 pivotally connected by one end to the cranked lever's limb 22 (at location 21), and externally threaded at its other end for adjustable connection - by lock nuts 48 - to the bent end 52 of a cranked bracket 50 that is pivotally connected to the rearward end 17 of the link 18. This bracket 50 is formed from a flat metal strip, intermediate its ends, that is twisted through 90° to strengthen it (by work hardening) and to ensure that the axis of rod 46 intersects the connection between the bottom end of bracket 50 and end 17 of the lever-like link 18.

The forward end of 19 the tubular link 18 may be covered by a rubber cap for engagement, in an anti-slip fashion, by a user's foot. Depressing with the foot upon the free forward end of link 18 causes the ring-seat member 12 to rise; releasing the foot-pressure results in return of the ring- seat member 12 to its horizontal position upon the toilet 15 under.the force of gravity. However such downward motion is damped by the air damper 26, the rate of descent depending on the rate of air escape via the needle valve's seat 39 and tapered-end grub screw 40. In other words the rate of descent is settable by appropriate adjustment of the air valve 34.

Optionally, a spring (not shown), e.g. acting between pillar 16 and lever-link 17, may assist gravity and urge the mechanism to its return (rest) condition.

It will be appreciated that the adjustable link 20 enables the degree of rotation of the seat-member 12 (from the horizontal closed position) to be adjusted to an appropriate maximum angle - preferably not exceeding 90° - and also enables the mechanism 10 to be applied to existing toilet installations of varying dimensions.

It will be noted that, by locating the upper end of the air damper 26 forwardly of the upper end of the primary lifting link 20, i.e. location 23 is forwardly of location 21, the vertical component of the extension-contraction stroke of the piston-cylinder arrangement 30 exceeds the vertical component of the distance travelled by the adjustable link 20 whereby an extended length of damped downward motion can be provided by the air damper 26. In other words, during descent of the ring-seat member 12, the piston and piston rod 32 of the piston-cylinder arrangement travels vertically a distance greater than the distance travelled vertically by the link 20 thereby to provide an enhanced damping effect.

Moreover the use of pillar 16 as a support both for the foot-operable link 18 and for the adjustable air damping means (damper 26 and valve 34) ensures that a compact and neat-looking installation can be achieved. Nevertheless it will be appreciated that pillar 16 need not provide this dual support role and that separate supports may be provided respectively for the foot-operable lever or link 18 and for the air damping means.

Other modifications and embodiments of the invention will be readily apparent to those skilled in this art. For example the cranked lever 25 may be attached to the underside of the ring-seat member 12 by means other than screws through the illustrated holes 54. Alternatively, the cranked lever 25 may be of plastics material and molded integrally with a seat-ring 12 of plastics material.

Additionally or alternatively, the length-adjustable link 20 may comprise telescopic elements or a pair of elements having mutually co-registering apertures interconnected by a cross-pin therethrough. Additionally or alternatively, the clamping means 26 may be inverted and connected between lever 25 and support pillar 16 with the valve 34 uppermost. Furthermore it will be appreciated that the mechanism can be mounted on the left-hand side of the toilet 15 instead of on the right-hand side as illustrated. All such modifications and embodiments are to be deemed within the ambit and scope of the invention, and the invention is not to be deemed limited to the particular embodiment(s) hereinbefore described which may be varied in construction and detail without departing from the scope of the patent monopoly sought in the Claims.