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Title:
LAVATORY APPARATUS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2002/075064
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Lavatory apparatus comprises a lavatory bowl (1) with a tank (2) for retaining flush water. A lid (5) arranged to cover a top opening (33) of the lavatory bowl (1) comprises a reservoir (10) which is fixed in orientation relative to the lid. The reservoir (10) is preferably inside the lid (5), but alternatively could be arranged outside of the lid. Fluid communication means (4, 9) between the tank (2) and the lavatory bowl (1) is provided by a flush pipe (9) or a cavity (4), depending upon the particular design of lavatory and passes flush water from the tank to the lavatory bowl. Fluid retained in the reservoir (10) is dispensed into the flush water, either in the tank (2) or lavatory bowl (1), but preferably in the flush pipe (9) or cavity (4) in response to the lid (5) being moved from a substantially horizontal position to a substantially vertical position. A chamber (11) preferably mounted in the lid (5) regulates the flow of fluid to the flush pipe (9) or cavity (4) to approximately 1 ml in a dispensing action.

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Inventors:
Gillespie, Dennis Augustus (59 Young Court Charlotte Desparol Avenue Battersea London SW11 5JE, GB)
Application Number:
PCT/GB2002/001267
Publication Date:
September 26, 2002
Filing Date:
March 18, 2002
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
Gillespie, Dennis Augustus (59 Young Court Charlotte Desparol Avenue Battersea London SW11 5JE, GB)
International Classes:
A47K13/30; E03D9/00; (IPC1-7): E03D9/00; A47K13/30
Domestic Patent References:
WO1999063877A1
Foreign References:
US4216553A
US1421348A
DE3805561A1
DE2258397A1
DE20018585U1
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Edward, Evans Barker (Clifford's Inn Fetter Lane London EC4A 1BZ, GB)
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Claims:
Claims
1. : I. A lavatory lid having associated therewith a reservoir fixed in orientation relative to the lid for dispensing fluid retained in the reservoir into flush water in response to an arcuate change of orientation of the lid from a first position to another position.
2. A lavatory lid as claimed in Claim 1 in which the reservoir is located inside the lid.
3. Lavatory apparatus comprising a lavatory bowl ; a lavatory lid in accordance with either one of Claims 1 or 2 pivotally mounted to the lavatory bowl in which the first position is a closed position of the lid and the other position is an open position of the lid ; and fluid communication means providing a path for flush water to pass to the bowl.
4. Lavatory apparatus as claimed in Claim 3 in which fluid from the reservoir is dispensed into the path of flush water after the flush water has entered the lavatory bowl.
5. Lavatory apparatus as claimed in Claim 4 in which fluid from the reservoir is dispensed into the path of the flush water at a point that is at the rear of the lavatory bowl.
6. Lavatory apparatus as claimed in Claim 3 in which fluid from the reservoir is dispensed into the path of flush water before the flush water has entered the lavatory bowl via a further fluid path disposed between the reservoir and the fluid communication means.
7. Lavatory apparatus as claimed in Claim 6 in which fluid dispensed by the reservoir is retained by retention means located in the path of the flush water and dispersed by the flush water passing through the fluid communication means during a flushing action.
8. Lavatory apparatus as claimed in Claim 7 in which the retention means is a pipe end adapted to retain fluid dispensed thereto from the reservoir, the pipe end including outlet holes through which the flush water can flow.
9. Lavatory apparatus as claimed in Claim 8 in which the pipe end comprises a spongelike material to assist with retention of the fluid dispensed by the reservoir.
10. Lavatory apparatus as claimed in Claim 9 in which the further fluid path comprises a oneway valve to prevent any flush water which enters the pipe end from passing to the reservoir.
11. Lavatory apparatus as claimed in Claim 10 in which the further fluid path is provided by a flexible tube.
12. Lavatory apparatus as claimed in Claim I I in which the volume of fluid dispensed from the reservoir is regulated by a fixedvolume chamber which fills with fluid from the reservoir upon the lid being orientated into the closed position and which empties of fluid upon the lid being orientated to the open position.
13. Lavatory apparatus as claimed in Claim 12 in which the volume of fluid dispensed by the chamber is approximately I mi.
14. Lavatory apparatus as claimed in either one of Claims 12 or 13 in which the chamber is located inside the lid.
15. Lavatory apparatus as claimed in any one of Claims 3 to 14 in which the reservoir has an orifice for engaging with a removable stopper or cap to provide a salable filling port.
16. Lavatory apparatus as claimed in any preceding claim in which the fluid is a preparation that has disinfecting properties.
Description:
LIQUID DISPENSER FOR LAVATORIES This invention relates to lavatory apparatus and more particularly to lavatory apparatus that dispenses fluids to mix with flush water.

Lavatories with self-cleaning functions are often desirable in situations where manual labour is considered too costly or is only available periodically. Various lavatories incorporating a self-cleaning function are known in the art. US Patent No. 4 984 307 describes a sanitizer attachment which is arranged in the path of flush water flowing between a tank and a lavatory bowl. This arrangement uses flush water itself to disperse cleaning fluid around a lavatory bowl. However, the effectiveness of the attachment deteriorates with usage, and access to the attachment is difficult. US Patent No. 5 040 246 describes a system in which a cleaning fluid is dispensed into the tank of a lavatory assembly in response to activation of a flush handle. The cleaning fluid is contained in a reservoir housed in the tank of the lavatory; access to the reservoir for the purposes of replenishing cleaning fluid is therefore difficult. US Patent No. 6 178 564 describes a cleaning fluid dispenser attachable to the rim of a lavatory bowl so as to hang under it. Flush water flowing over a platform of the dispenser disperses cleaning fluid dispensed thereupon. The dispenser includes a <BR> <BR> small reservoir in which cleaning fluid is retained. Although the dispenser is readily accessible, it suffers the disadvantages that the reservoir will require refilling or replacing on a regular basis, dispersion of cleaning fluid around the entire lavatory bowl is somewhat limited and the amount of cleaning fluid dispensed depends on the volume of cleaning fluid remaining in the reservoir.

It is therefore seen that there is a need for efficient and thorough dispersion of cleaning fluid, or the like, around a lavatory bowl in consistent amounts including a reservoir for the cleaning fluid that is easily accessible and of substantial volume.

In its broadest aspect, the invention provides a lavatory lid having associated therewith a reservoir fixed in orientation relative to the lid for dispensing fluid retained in the reservoir into flush water in response to an arcuate change of orientation of the lid from a first position to another position.

The lavatory lid may be pivotally attached to a conventional lavatory bowl.

Fixing the orientation of the reservoir relative to the lid provides apparatus with better access to the reservoir for refilling purposes than attaching it to the rim of the lavatory bowl or placing it in the tanlc. Fluid is dispensed in response to the lid being"opened" from its horizontal position and does not rely upon activation of a complicated flush mechanism. The apparatus is easily adapted to dispense a desired volume of fluid consistently with each flush and the reservoir may be of sufficient volume to permit many flushes, perhaps 500, before it requires refilling with fluid.

Advantageously, the fluid may be dispensed into the flush water before it has entered into the lavatory bowl. This may be into the tank, but is preferably into the fluid communication means. A further alternative is to dispense the fluid into the lavatory bowl ; if this arrangement is employed, it is preferable that the fluid is dispensed at the rear of the lavatory bowl, where movement of flush water is most turbulent.

Dispersion of the fluid is therefore more efficient at this point. Fluid may, of course, be dispensed at other points around the lavatory bowl.

Fluid dispensed into the fluid communication means could be retained therein and dispersed during a flushing action. Movement of flush water passing through the fluid communication means could achieve this dispersion, although other dispersion means are possible, for example squirting the fluid into the flush water as it passes through.

The retention means could advantageously be a pipe end adapted to retain fluid dispensed from the reservoir, having small holes through which flush water can flow, dispensing the fluid during a flushing action. The retention means could also be a further small reservoir that ejects the fluid during a flushing action. Advantageously, the pipe end could comprise a sponge material contained therein to assist with retention of the fluid before dispersion.

Preferably, a further fluid path is present between the reservoir and the fluid communication means, having a one-way valve in the path which prevents flush water flowing from the fluid communication means to the reservoir. The further fluid path could be provided by a flexible tube.

In a particularly advantageous embodiment of the invention, a regulated volume of fluid is dispensed into the flush water in response to an arcuate change in orientation of the lid from the first position to another position. The volume of fluid dispensed, in response to an arcuate change in orientation of the lid, could be regulated by a fixed- volume chamber which fills with fluid from the reservoir upon the lid being orientated into the first position. The chamber could then empty of fluid upon the lid being orientated to another position having a substantively different orientation from the first position, thereby dispensing the fluid into the flush water.

An ideal volume of fluid to be dispersed in a flushing action is approximately I mi ; accordingly, the chamber preferably has a volume of lml, although other volumes are of course possible. The chamber could be located inside the lid, although it could be located underneath or above the lid or even off the lid completely. Furthermore, the reservoir could advantageously be located inside the lid, although it could also be located above or underneath the lid.

The reservoir could have an orifice with a removable stopper or cap to provide a salable filling port. The fluid may be any preparation that serves a desired function in the lavatory bowl, such as a deodourant, detergent or disinfectant.

In order that the invention may be more readily understood, exemplary embodiments thereof will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which like reference numerals are used throughout, and:- Figure I shows a side view of a common design lavatory apparatus in accordance with an embodiment of the invention ; Figure 2 shows a side view of another common design of lavatory apparatus in accordance with the embodiment of the invention shown in figure 1 ; Figure 3 shows a schematic cross-sectional side view of a lid in accordance with another embodiment of the invention ; Figure 4 shows a schematic cross-sectional top view of the lid shown in figure 3 ; Figure 5 shows a one-way valve and fluid retention means in accordance with a further embodiment of the invention ; and Figure 6 shows a perspective view of a lavatory bowl in accordance with another embodiment of the invention.

Referring firstly to figure 1, the lavatory apparatus comprises a lavatory bowl 1 with a tank 2 for retaining flush water (not shown) mounted on it. The tank 2 has a flush handle 3 and a cavity 4 provides fluid communication means fi-om the tank to the lavatory bowl I for the flush water. A lid 5 covers the lavatory bowl I when in a horizontal position (as shown) and is pivotally attached to the lavatory bowl at its end which is closest to the tank 2. The lid 5 is movable in an arcuate manner from the horizontal position to a position in which the other end of the lid is touching the tank 2. A flexible tube 6 providing a fluid path extends between the first-mentioned end of the lid 5 and the lavatory bowl 1, its function to be described later. The other end of the flexible tube 6 connects with a pipe end 7 situated inside the cavity 4, passing through an aperture on the top of the lavatory bowl I.

Referring now to figure 2, the lavatory apparatus shown is very similar in design to the lavatory apparatus shown in figure 1. The tank 2, however, is not mounted upon the lavatory bowl 1, but is arranged separately above it. A flush chain 8 is provided as an alternative to the flush handle 3, having the same function. Instead of having the cavity 4 of the lavatory apparatus of figure I, a flush pipe 9 provides fluid communication means from the tank 2 to the lavatory bowl 1. The pipe end 7 is situated in a horizontal portion of the ftush pipe 9. In both the above-described lavatory apparatuses, the pipe end 7 is situated beneath a lowermost point of the lid 5.

Referring now to figure 3, a more detailed schematic cross-sectional side view of the lid 5 is shown. Inside the lid 5 is a reservoir 10 for retaining disinfecting fluid. The reservoir 10 has a capacity of approximately 500ml. A chamber 11, in fluid communication with the reservoir 10 via a slit opening 12, has a capacity of approximately 1 ml. A fluid guide 13 connects the chamber 11 with the flexible tube 6, which passes through the lid 5. An orifice 14 provides access to the reservoir 10 from outside the lid 5 for refilling purposes and a stopper 15 is used to provide a seal for the orifice.

Referring now to figure 5, a one-way valve, shown generally as 16, is connected to the flexible tube 6 and mounted above the cavity 4 or flush pipe 9. The one-way valve 16 comprises a plunger, shown generally as 17. The plunger 17 is constructed of a plastics material which floats on water. The plunger 17 comprises a base 18 with holes 19 in it to pass fluid, and a seal 20 made of rubber. The plunger 17 slides within a hollow cylindrical housing 21. The housing 21 further comprises a hollow cylindrical plunger guide 22, which guides the seal 20, and is held in position by support spokes 23. Contact between the base 18 and the housing 21 constitutes a substantially watertight seal. The housing 21 is sealed at its top end by a top end cap 24, which accommodates the flexible tube 6 with a tube end 25 of the flexible tube protruding slightly into the housing, which is located coaxially with the plunger guide 22. A bottom end cap 26 seals the bottom end of the housing 21. The bottom end cap 26 comprises some seating bumps 27 to support the plunger 17 and has a bottom end cap opening 28 which is connected to the pipe end 7 to provide fluid communication to it.

The pipe end 7 comprises sponge-lil<e material 29 arranged in layers. The pipe end 7 has a watertight planar end, inlet holes 30 an outlet holes 31 which are able to pass flush water moving in the direction of arrow 32 through the cavity 4 or flush pipe 9.

When the lid 5 is moved to a horizontal position (as shown), the chamber 11 fills with fluid from the reservoir 10 but, in this position, the fluid does not flow down the fluid guide 13. When the lid 5 is moved in an arcuate manner to a position where it touches the tank 2, fluid retained in the chamber I I passes down the fluid guide 13 to the flexible tube 6 by action of gravity. As the fluid enters the one-way valve 16 via the tube end 25, it fills the housing 21 and passes through the holes 19 and bottom end opening 28 and enters the pipe end 7. The pipe end 7 substantially retains the fluid in amongst the sponge-like material 29, with little or no fluid leaking from the inlet holes 30 or outlet holes 31. Although the pipe end 7 can cope with retaining the weight of the volume of fluid dispensed by the chamber 11 with no substantial leakage, it would not be able to cope with retaining the weight of the volume of fluid from reservoir 10 directly. This characteristic of the pipe end 7 is the cause of the requirement of the function of the chamber I I in this embodiment.

During a flushing action, fluid retained in the pipe end 7 in amongst the sponge-like material 29 is dispersed by the action of flush water passing through the cavity 4 or the flush pipe 9. The flush water has a lower viscosity than the fluid, and therefore is able to enter the inlet holes 30 and exit the outlet holes 31 with ease, owing to the pressure of the flush water flow. The pressure of the flush water also enables it to disperse the fluid retained in amongst the sponge-like material 29 through the outlet holes 31. The dispersed fluid then flows to the lavatory bowl 1 with the flush water where it performs its intended function.

The pressure of the flush water passing through the pipe end 7 is sufficient to urge it up into the housing 21. Upon entering the housing 21, the plunger 17 floats on the flush water and, as the housing fills further with flush water, the plunger moves towards the tube end 25 and the seal 20 makes contact with the tube end. The contact constitutes a watertight seal, preventing flush water from passing up the flexible tube 6 to the reservoir 10. Once the flushing action has ceased, flush water in the housing 21 trickles out of the inlet holes 30 and the outlet holes 31 back into the cavity 4 or the flush pipe 9. The plunger 17 lowers with the level of the flush water baclc to its position on the seating bumps 27, breaking the seal with the tube end 25. Any fluid dispensed by the reservoir 10 is then able to pass through the housing 21 to the pipe end 7 again.

Referring lastly to figure 6, a further embodiment of the invention is shown whereby fluid is dispensed directly to the lavatory bowl 1 through top opening 33, via the flexible tube 6. The lid 5 is not shown for clarity. A dispensing member 34 is connected to the flexible tube 6 and clipped under the rim at the rear of the lavatory bowl 1. Flush water moves turbulently in the lavatory bowl 1 during a flushing action, and fluid retained in the dispensing member 34 is dispersed around the lavatory bowl. The turbulence of the flush water is greatest at the rear of the lavatory bowl 1. The dispensing member 34 is a hollow plastic retainer with several holes to allow flush water to pass in and out. No one-way valve is required in this embodiment.