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Title:
UNIT COMPRISING A MOVABLE ELEMENT AND A SPEED GOVERNOR
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2001/027491
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
A governor is disclosed which may be used to govern the speed or rotation of a shaft, such as a shaft (5) supporting a toilet seat lid (6). The shaft is provided with a portion having external threading (7), and a nut (9) is provided to engage the threaded portion of the shaft. The nut is constrained to permit the nut to move axially while preventing the nut from rotating. The nut is connected to means (14) which define part of a chamber so that rotation of the shaft moves the nut which consequently moves the means defining part of the chamber to alter the volume of the chamber. Means are provided defining a restricted air-flow passage communicating with the interior of the chamber. The chamber may comprise a bore having an air bleed valve (17) communicating with a closed end thereof, and the nut may be connected to a piston movable axially within the bore.

Inventors:
Keaveney, Enda (3 Waddeston Court Henry Close Clay Hill, Enfield Middlesex EN2 9JX, GB)
Application Number:
PCT/GB2000/003879
Publication Date:
April 19, 2001
Filing Date:
October 09, 2000
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
INTELLECT HIGHWAY LIMITED (2 Horseshoe Lane Enfield Middlesex EN2 6PY, GB)
Keaveney, Enda (3 Waddeston Court Henry Close Clay Hill, Enfield Middlesex EN2 9JX, GB)
International Classes:
A47K13/10; A47K13/30; E05F3/02; (IPC1-7): F16F/
Foreign References:
FR2688258A11993-09-10
AU3248384A1985-03-07
US5461734A1995-10-31
DE2055528A11971-05-19
US3653077A1972-04-04
DE1584077A11969-05-29
US1430228A1922-09-26
US1993625A1935-03-05
US5680674A1997-10-28
US5267356A1993-12-07
US4205483A1980-06-03
US4491989A1985-01-08
US4291422A1981-09-29
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Frankland, Nigel H. (Forrester Ketley & Co. Forrester House 52 Bounds Green Road London N11 2EY, GB)
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Claims:
CLAIMS:
1. A unit comprising a movable element and a governor adapted to govern the speed of movement of the element, the governor comprising a shaft member which rotates in response to movement of the element, the shaft being an associated follower member, one said member having a projection and the other member having a cam face to cooperate with the projection, the cam face presenting an inclined region relative to the axis of the shaft, means being provided to constrain the follower to permit the follower to move axially relative to the shaft whilst preventing the follower from rotating, the follower being connected to means which define part of a chamber, so that rotation of the shaft moves the follower which consequently moves the said means defining part of a chamber to alter the volume of the chamber, means being provided defining a restricted airflow passage communicating with the interior of the chamber.
2. A governor according to Claim I, wherein the shaft has an external projection in the form of a helical thread and the follower is a nut.
3. A governor according to Claim 1, wherein the shaft has the projection and the follower surrounds the shaft and defines an aperture, engaged by the projection, which aperture has a side edge which is inclined relative to the axis of the shaft to constitue the cam face.
4. A governor according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the inclined region has a plurality of regions inchldillg a first region with a first angle of inclination relative to the axis and a second region with a second greater angle of inclination to the axis and a third region substantially parallel with the first region.
5. A governor according to any one of Claims 1 to 3, wherein the inclined region is a straight inclined region.
6. A governor according to any one of the preceding Claims wherein the shaft is provided with a portion having extemal threading, a nut being provided adapted to engage the threaded portion of the shaft, means being provided to constrain the nut to permit the nut to move axially whilst preventing the nut from rotating, the nut being connected to means which define part of a chamber, so that rotation of the shaft moves the nut which consequently moves the said means defining part of a chamber to alter the volume of the chamber, means being provided defining a restricted airflow passage communicating with the interior of the chamber.
7. A unit comprising a movable element and a governor adapted to govern the speed of movement of the element, the governor comprising a shaft member which rotates in response to movement of the element, the shaft being provided with a portion having external threading, a nut being provided adapted to engage the threaded portion of the shaft, means being provided to constrain the nut to permit the nut to move axially whilst preventing the nut fiom rotating, the nut being connected to means which define part of a chamber, so that rotation of the shaft moves the nut which consequently moves the said means defining part of a chamber to alter the volume of the chamber, means being provided defining a restricted airflow passage communicating with the interior of the chamber.
8. A governor according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the means defining a restricted airflow passage to the interior of the chamber comprise an adjustable air bleed valve.
9. A governor according to Claim 9, wherein the adjustable air bleed valve comprises a passage incoyorating a conical tapering section and a flow regulating element inserted into said passage, the flow regulating element having a conical tapering portion within the conical tapering portion of the passage to define a relatively narrow, but adjustable, airflow space there between.
10. A governor according to any one of the Claims 1 to 8, wherein the means defining a chamber comprise a piston which is contained within a bore, the bore having a closed end, the chamber being defined between the piston and the closed end of the bore.
11. A governor according to Claim 10, wherein said restricted airflow passage is provided communicating with the closed end of the bore, and a supplementary airflow passage, of greater diameter than the restricted airflow passage, is provided communicating with part of the bore which is spaced from the closed end of the bore.
12. A governor according to any one of the preceding Claims wherein the means defining a chamber comprise a resilient cup and a substantially planar face engaged by the resilient cup.
13. A governor according to Claim 12 2 wherein the cup is connected to the nut.
14. A governor according to any one of Claims 6 to 11 incorporating a resilient element secured to the nut which initially engages a planar face to define a second chamber, there being a restricted airflow passage communicating with the chamber, the arrangement being such that after a predetermined movement of the nut, the resilient element becomes separated from the face.
15. A unit according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the element is adapted to move against a bias provided by a resilient element.
16. A unit according to Claim 15, wherein the resilient element is a spring.
17. A unit according to Claim 16, wherein the spring is a compression spring.
18. A unit according to Claim 16, wherein the spring is a torsion spring adapted to be secured to the shaft.
19. A unit according to any one of Claims I to 18, wherein the element is movable pivotally about a predetennined substantially horizontal axis between a first substantially horizontal position and a second substantially vertical position, the element being provided with at least two chambers which are interconnected by a constriction, one chamber being spaced further from the axis than the other chamber, the combination of the chambers being partially filled with a fluid, the chambers being configured so that when the element is in the first substantially horizontal position at least some of the fluid will flow into the said one chamber and so that when the element is then moved pivotally to the second substantially vertical position, the centre of gravity of the element and the fluid in the chambers is to one side of a vertical line through the pivot axis, and so that, when in the substantially vertical position, fluid from the said one chamber will flow through the constriction to the other chamber so that the centre of gravity will move to the other side of the vertical line to bias the element to rotate back to the first substantially horizontal position.
20. A unit incorporating at least one element, means being provided to mount the elememt so that the element is movable pivotally about a pre determined substantially horizontal axis between a first substantially horizontal position and a second substantially vertical position, the element being provided with at least two chambers which are interconnected by a constriction, one chamber being spaced further from the axis than the other chamber, the combination of the chambers being partially filled with a fluid, the chambers being configured so that when the element is in the first substantially horizontal position at least some of the fluid will flow into the said one chamber and so that when the element is then moved pivotally to the second substantially vertical position, the centre of gravity of the element and the fluid in the chambers is to one side of a vertical line through the pivot axis, and so that, when in the substantially vertical position, fluid from the said one chamber will flow through the constriction to the other chamber so that the centre of gravity will move to the other side of the vertical line to bias the element to rotate back to the first substantially horizontal position.
21. A unit according to Claim 19 or Claim 20, wherein the element is substantially planar, the predetermined substantially horizontal axis being located at a position offset from the plane of the element.
22. A unit according to Claim 19, 20 or 21, wherein the chambers are additionally interconnected by means which permit the fluid to flow relatively quickly from said other chamber to said one chamber whilst substantially preventing fluid flow from the one chamber to the other chamber.
23. A unit according to Claim 22, wherein the chambers are additionally interconnected by means constituting a conduit having a first end in communication with said one chamber and a second end in communication with said other chamber, the first end being in a position remote from the axis, the conduit defining a flow path having a larger crosssection than the cross section of the constriction.
24. A unit according to Claims 22 or 23, wherein the means that permit the quick flow of fluid also permit air to flow from said one chamber to said other chamber.
25. A unit according to any one of Claims 19 to 24, wherein an adjustable valve is provided to vaiy the crosssectional area of the constriction.
26. A unit according to any one of Claims 19 to 25, wherein the chambers are moulded integrally into the element.
27. A unit according to any one of Claims 19 to 26. wherein the chambers are in a separate component connected to the element.
28. A unit according to any one of Claims 19 to 27, comprising a reservoir adapted to be at least partially filled with a fluid, the reservoir further adapted to be pivotally mounted in the unit so that, when the element is in the second substantially vertical position, the centre of gravity of the reservoir and the fluid contained therein is substantially above the pivot axis.
29. A unit according to Claim 28, wherein the reservoir is connected to an outlet which opens onto an outer edge of the unit.
30. A unit according to Claim 29, wherein the outlet comprises an adjustable valve provided to vary the crosssectional area of the outlet.
31. A unit according to any one of the preceding claims, comprising two movable elements and wherein one movable element is adapted to corotate with a first axle wherein, when the second element is in a substantially horizontal position, a camping force may be exeuted on the first axle such that the first element will not be movable relative to the second element.
32. A unit according to any one of the preceding claims, comprising two movable elements, and a first magnet adapted to be mounted on a first element and a second magnet adapted to be mounted on a second element such that the first magnet is substantially aligned with this second magnet when the first element and the second element are in a substantially horizontal position.
33. A unit according to any one of the preceding claims, comprising two movable elements and a first governor adapted to govern the speed of movement of the first said element and a second governor adapted to govern the speed of movement of the second element.
34. A unit according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the element is a seat for a toilet.
35. A unit according to any one of Claims I to 25, wherein the element is a lid for a toilet.
Description:
"IMPROVEMENTS IN OR RELATING TO A UNIT INCORPORATING A MOVABLE ELEMENT" THE PRESENT INVENTION relates to a unit incorporating a movable element. One unit of the invention has a governor and more particularly a governor adapted to govern the speed at which a shaft may rotate. In particular, the invention has an application in the field of a self-lifting or self-closing toilet seat or lid, the governor being used to govern the rate of rotation of a shaft on which the toilet seat or lid is mounted.

It has previously been proposed to provide a toilet seat or lid which is movable pivotally about a pre-determined axis, the seat or lid being moved manually from a first substantially horizontal position to a second substantially vertical position and visa versa.

Previous arrangements have been such that the position of the toilet seat or lid must be altered by hand. This clearly increases the likelihood of a user's hand coming into contact with unhygienic foreign matter. In addition, some users may prefer the seat or lid to revert to a substantially horizontal position subsequent to use of the toilet with the seat or lid in a substantially vertical position. In previous arrangements this adjustment has had to be made manually.

The present invention seeks to provide an improved arrangement for adjusting the position of the movable element such as a toilet seat or lid but it is to be appreciated that the features of the invention could be used in a unit where it is desirable for an element to move from a substantially vertical position to a substantially horizontal position after a pre-determined period of time.

According to this invention, there is provided a unit comprising a movable element and a governor adapted to govern the speed of movement of the element, the governor comprising a shaft member which rotates in response to movement of the element, the shaft being an associated follower member, one said member having a projection and the other member having a cam face to co-operate with the projection, the cam face presenting an inclined face inclined relative to the axis of the shaft, means being provided to constrain the follower to permit the follower to move axially relative to the shaft whilst preventing the follower from rotating, the follower being connected to means which define part of a chamber, so that rotation of the shaft moves the follower which consequently moves the said means defining part of a chamber to alter the volume of the chamber, means being provided defining a restricted air-flow passage communicating with the interior of the chamber.

Preferably, the shaft has an extemal projection in the form of a helical thread and the follower is a nut.

Alternatively, the shaft has the projection and the follower sun-ounds the shaft and defines an aperture, engaged by the projection, which aperture has a side edge which is inclined relative to the axis of the shaft to constitute the cam face.

Conveniently, the inclined region has a plurality of regions including a first region with a first angle of inclination relative to the axis and a second region with a second, greater angle of inclination to the axis and a third region substantially parallel with the first region.

Alternatively, the inclined region is a straight inclined region.

Preferably, the shaft is provided with a portion having external threading, a nut being provided adapted to engage the threaded portion of the shaft, means being provided to constrain the nut to permit the nut to move axially whilst preventing the nut from rotating, the nut being connected to means which define part of a chamber, so that rotation of the shaft moves the nut which consequently moves the said means defining part of a chamber to alter the volume of the chamber, means being provided defining a restricted air- flow passage communicating with the interior of the chamber.

According to this invention there is further provided a unit comprising a movable element and a governor adapted to govern the speed of movement of the element, the governor comprising a shaft member which rotates in response to movement of the element, the shaft being provided with a portion having external threading, a nut being provided adapted to engage the threaded portion of the shaft, means being provided to constrain the nut to permit the nut to move axially whilst preventing the nut from rotating, the nut being connected to means which define part of a chamber, so that rotation of the shaft moves the nut which consequently moves the said means defining part of a chamber to alter the volume of the chamber, means being provided defining a restricted air- flow passage communicating with the interior of the chamber.

Preferably, the means defining a restricted air-flow passage to the interior of the chamber comprise an adjustable air bleed valve.

Conveniently, the adjustable air bleed valve comprises a passage incorporating a conical tapering section and a flow regulating element inserted into said passage, the flow regulating element having a conical tapering portion within the conical tapering portion of the passage to define a relatively narrow, but adjustable, air-flow space there-between.

Advantageously, the means defining a chamber comprise a piston which is contained within a bore, the bore having a closed end, the chamber being defined between the piston and the closed end of the bore.

In a modified embodiment said restricted air-flow passage is provided communicating with the closed end of the bore, and a supplementary air-flow passage, of greater diameter than the restricted air-flow passage, is provided communicating with part of the bore which is spaced from the closed end of the bore.

Conveniently, the means defining a chamber comprise a resilient cup and a substantially planar face engaged by the resilient cup.

Preferably, the cup is connected to the nut.

Conveniently the governor incorporates a resilient element secured to the nut which initially engages a planar face to define a second chamber, there being a restricted air-flow passage communicating with the chamber, the arrangement being such that after a predetermined movement of the nut. the resilient element becomes separated from the face.

Preferably, the element is adapted to move against the bias provided by a resilient element.

Conveniently, the resilient element is a spring.

Preferably, the spring is a compression spring.

Alternatively, the spring is a torsion spring adapted to be secured to the shaft.

Conveniently, the element is movable pivotally about a pre-determined substantially horizontal axis between a first substantially horizontal position and a second substantially vertical position, the element being provided with at least two chambers which are interconnected by a constriction, one chamber being spaced further from the axis than the other chamber, the combination of the chambers being partially filled with a fluid, the chambers being configured so that when the element is in the first substantially horizontal position at least some of the fluid will flow into the said one chamber and so that when the element is then moved pivotally to the second substantially vertical position, the centre of gravity of the element and the fluid in the chambers is to one side of a vertical line through the pivot axis, and so that, when in the substantially vertical position, fluid from the said one chamber will flow through the constriction to the other chamber so that the centre of gravity will move to the other side of the vertical line to bias the element to rotate back to the first substantially horizontal position.

According to this invention there is further provided a unit incolpol-atin X at least one element, means being provided to mount the element so that the element is movable pivotally about a pre-detennined substantially horizontal axis between a first substantially horizontal position and a second substantially vertical position, the element being provided with at least two chambers which are interconnected by a constriction, one chamber being spaced further from the axis than the other chamber, the combination of the chambers being partially filled with a fluid, the chambers being configured so that when the element is in the first substantially horizontal position at least some of the fluid will flow into the said one chamber and so that when the element is then moved pivotally to the second substantially vertical position, the centre of gravity of the element and the fluid in the chambers is to one side of a vertical line through the pivot axis, and so that, when in the substantially vertical position, fluid from the said one chamber will flow through the constriction to the other chamber so that the centre of gravity will move to the other side of the vertical line to bias the element to rotate back to the first substantially horizontal position.

Preferably, the element is substantially planar, the pre-determined substantially horizontal axis being located at a position offset from the plane of the element.

Conveniently, the chambers are additionally interconnected by means which permit the fluid to flow relatively quickly from said other chamber to said one chamber whilst substantially preventing fluid flow from the one chamber to the other chamber.

Advantageously, the chambers are additionally interconnected by means constituting a conduit having a first end in communication with said one chamber and a second end in communication with said other chamber, the first end being in a position remote fi-om the axis. the conduit defining a flow path having a larger cross-section than the cross-section of the constriction.

Preferably, the means that permit the quick flow of fluid also permit air to flow from said one chamber to said other chamber.

Conveniently, an adjustable valve is provided to vary the cross-sectional area of the constriction.

Advantageously, the chambers are moulded integrally into the element.

Alternatively, the chambers are in a separate component connected to the element.

Preferably, the unit comprises a reservoir adapted to be at least partially filled with a fluid, the reservoir further adapted to be pivotally mounted in the unit so that, when the element is in the second substantially vertical position, the centre of gravity of the reservoir and the fluid contained therein is substantially above the pivot axis.

Conveniently, the reservoir is connected to an outlet which opens onto an outer edge of the unit.

Preferably, the outlet comprises an adjustable valve provided to vary the cross-sectional area of the outlet.

Conveniently, the unit comprises two movable elements wherein one movable element is adapted to rotate with a first axle and wherein, when the second element is in a substantially horizontal position, a camping force may be exented on the first axle such that the first element will not be movable relative to the second element.

Alternatively, the unit comprises two movable elements and a first magnet adapted to be mounted on a first element and a second magnet adapted to be mounted on a second element such that the first magnet is substantially aligned with the second magnet when the first element and the second element are in a substantially horizontal position.

Advantageously, the unit comprises two movable elements and a first governor adapted to govern speed of movement of the first said element and a second governor adapted to govern the speed of movement of the second element.

Preferably, the element is a seat for a toilet.

Alternatively, the element is a lid for a toilet.

In order that the invention may be more readily understood, and so that further features thereof may be appreciated, the invention will now be described, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings in which: FIGURE 1 is a part-diagrammatic side view of a governor forming part of a self-closing toilet seat mechanism, illustrating the toilet seat in an upright position; FIGURE 2 is a top plan view corresponding to Figure 1 ; FIGURE 3 is a sectional view taken on line 111-111 of Figure l ; FIGURE 4 is a side view of a piston forming part of the apparatus in Figures I to 3; FIGURE 5 is an exploded view of an air-bleed valve forming part of the governor of Figures 1 to 3; FIGURE 6 is a side view of a component of the air-bleed valve; FIGURE 7 is a diagrammatic view illustrating part of a modified embodiment of the invention ; FIGURE 8 is a view of a modified embodiment of the invention; FIGURE 9 is a part-diagrammatic side view of a governor forming part of a self-closing toilet seat mechanism, illustrating the toilet seat in an upright position; FIGURE 10 is a top plan view corresponding to Figure 9, FIGURE 11 is an end view corresponding to Figure 9, FIGURE 12 is a top plan view corresponding to Figure 10 showing the governor in an alternate position, FIGURE 13 is an exploded view of an air bleed valve forming part of the governor of Figures 9 to 11, FIGURE 14 is a side view of a component of the air bleed valve, FIGURE 15 is a side view of a resilient cup forming part of the governor of Figures 9 to 12, FIGURE 16 is a sectional view of the resilient cup of Figure 15, FIGURE 17 is a side of the insert present in the cup of Figures 15 and 16, FIGURE 18 is a front view of the insert of Figure 17, FIGURE 19 is a view partly in phantom of an alternate unit that may form part of a governor in accordance with the invention, FIGURE 20 is a sectional view of a piston forming part of the unit of Figure 19, FIGURE 21 is a view corresponding to Figure 19 illustrating an alternate arrangement, FIGURE 22 is a plan view of a unit forming part of a governor in accordance with the invention which incorporates a time delay mechanism, FIGURE 23 is a view corresponding to Figure 22 showing the unit of Figure 23 in an alternate configuration, FIGURE 24 is a side view of a piston forming part of the unit of Figures 22 and 23, and FIGURE 25 is a sectional view of the piston shown in Figure 24.

FIGURE 26 is a part diagrammatic side view of an alternative embodiment of a governor forming part of a self-closing toilet seat mechanism, illustrating the toilet seat in an upright position ; FIGURE 27 is a top plan view corresponding to Figure 26; FIGURE 28 is a sectional view taken on line 111-111 of Figure 26; FIGURE 29 is a view corresponding to Figure 26 but illustrating the toilet seat in a horizontal position ; FIGURE 30 is a top plan view colTesponding to Figure 29; FIGURE 31 is a part diagrammatic side view of a further alternative embodiment of a governor forming part of a self-closing toilet seat mechanism, illustrating the toilet seat in an upright position; FIGURE 32 is a top plan view corresponding to Figure 31 ; FIGURE 33 is a view corresponding to Figure 31 but illustrating the toilet seat in a horizontal position ; FIGURE 33 is a top plan view corresponding to Figure 32 ; FIGURE 34 is a side view of a toilet incorporating a unit m accordance with the invention having a toilet lid and a toilet seat ; FIGURE 35 is a sectional view of the toilet lid of Figure 34 as seen from above ; FIGURE 36 is a sectional view of the toilet lid in a first substantially horizontal position as seen from one side ; FIGURE 37 is a sectional view corresponding to Figure 36 showing the toilet lid in a second position; FIGURE 38 is a sectional view corresponding to Figure 37 showing the toilet lid in a third position; FIGURE 39 is a sectional view corresponding to Figure 38 showing the toilet lid in a fourth position; FIGURE 40 is a sectional view corresponding to Figure 39 showing the toilet lid in a final position; FIGURE 4lis a sectional view of the toilet seat of Figure 34 as seen from above ; FIGURE 42 is a sectional view of the toilet lid of Figure 34 as seen from above having a reservoir ; FIGURE 43 is a sectional view of the toilet lid of Figure 34 as seen from above having a second embodiment of the reservoir ; FIGURE 44 is a sectional view of the toilet lid and reservoir as seen from one side in a position cowesponding to Figure 36 ; FIGURE 45 is a sectional view of a toilet lid and reservoir as seen from one side showing the toilet lid in a position corresponding to Figure 38.

FIGURE 46 is a part diagrammatic side view of the governor of Figures 26 to 30 and the governor of Figures 31 to 34, both forming part of a self- closing toilet seat mechanism, illustrating the toilet seat in an upright position; FIGURE 47 is a side view of the toilet seat in a substantially horizontal position ; FIGURE 48 is a perspective, exploded view of the toilet seat of Figure 47 and an associated toilet lid; FIGURE 49 is a sectional view corresponding to Figure 48 taken through the pivot axis of part of the toilet seat and lid of Figure 48 ; and FIGURE 50 is a side view of a toilet seat and toilet lid in a substantially horizontal position.

Referring initially to Figure 1, a support I is provided incorporating a base plate 2 adapted to be secured to a toilet pan by an appropriate linkage.

The base plate 2 has two upstanding ales 3 4, and a shaft 5 extends between and is rotationally supporte by the arms 3 and 4, the shaft extending outwardly on either side of the amis 3 and 4.

The portion of the shaft 5 between the arms 3 and 4 is connected to a lug 6, the lug 6 being formed integrally with a toilet seat. The lug 6 is mounted fast with the shaft 5, and co-rotates with the shaft 5.

The end of the shaft 5 that extends beyond the arm 4 is provided with a coarse pitch thread 7. The threaded portion 7 on the shaft 5 is received within a threaded bore formed within a square nut 9. The nut 9 is provided, at its lower edge, with a depending lug 10, as can be seen most clearly in Figure 3, the lug 10 being received within a channel 11 provided in an upstanding projection 12 on the base plate 2. The arrangement is such that the nut 9 may move axially relative to the axis of the shaft 5, but may not rotate. The nut may move 20 mm per turn of the shaft.

The nut and thread comprise one example of a follower which is mounted on the shaft for axial movement relative to the shaft which is adapted to engage an external projection on the shaft, and it can be seen that in this example, both the helical tlu-eading on the shaft and also the co-operating helical threading on the nut present inclined faces which are inclined relative to the axis of the shaft. The consequence of the engagement between the external threading on the shaft and the internal threading present on the nut, is to cause the nut to move axially relative to the shaft in response to a rotational movement of the shaft.

The nut 9 is connected, by means of a connector 13 to a piston 14. An upstanding plate 15 is provided on the base 2. The plate 15 defines a bore 16 which receives the piston 14. The bore 16 has a closed end provided with an air-bleed valve 17.

A resilient element in the form of a spring 8 is provided located between the lug 4 and the nut 12. The spring is a helical spring surrounding the shaft 5.

As shown in Figure 4, the piston 14 is provided with a stalk carrying a generally flat transfers head 18 which terminates with a terminal radially outwardly extending flexible lip or skirt 19. The arrangement is such that as the piston 14 is introduced into the bore 16, the resilient skirt 19 may flex inwardly permitting gas to escape from the bore. However, when subsequently an attempt is made to withdraw the piston from the bore, thus moving the piston towards the left, as shown in Figures I and 2, the resilient skirt 19 would be biased outwardly and engage the side of the bore. Thus the piston will only be able to move as air is drawn into the chamber defined between the piston 14 and the closed end of the bore 11 through the bleed-valve 17.

The diameter of the bore 16 may be selected in dependence on the way to the toilet seat, with a large diameter bore of, for example, 32 mm being used for a heavy toilet seat such as wood is used, and a smaller diameter bore of, for example, 29 mm, being used if a light-weight plastic toilet seat is used.

Turning now to Figures 5 and 6, the bleed valve 19 is shown in greater detail. The bleed valve comprises a body member 20 provided at one end with exterior ribbing 21 to enable the body member to be secured in position. A through passage 22 is defined within the body member, the through passage having successive sections of reducing diameter.

An air control member 23 is provided having a leading substantially conical portion 24 adapted to be received as an almost air-tight fit within a conical portion of the through passage 22, and having a main threaded body section 25 which is bifurcated by means of an axially extending slit 26. The threaded section 25 may be received within a corresponding threaded portion of the passage 22. The position of the member 23 may be adjusted so that a predetermined quantity of air may flow through the slit 26 to the exterior of the tapering portion 24 of the member 23 and may then flow through a fine space between the tapering portion 24 and the conical portion of the through-bore 22 The position of the threaded body 25 may be axially adjusted so that the size of the fine space, that defines an air flow passage, may be adjusted.

It is to be appreciated that whilst one type of air bleed valve has been described, many alternative types of air bleed valve may be useful in embodiments of the invention.

The piston is illustrated, in Figures 1 and 2, in an initial position in which the toilet seat is upright. The piston is located towards the closed end of the bore 16 defined in the upstanding plate 15.

The toilet seat may be adapted to be lowered, automatically, to a lower position, with the toilet seat moving under the force of gravity, but against a generally upward bias provided by the spring 8. The spring 8 may simply be adapted to be compressed as the toilet seat is lowered, as the nut 9 moves towards the arm 4, as will now be described, or the spring may provide a "torsion"effect, being secured to the shaft.

As the toilet seat moves towards the closed position, the shaft 5 will rotate. Rotation of the shaft 5 will cause the nut 9 to move axially relative to the shaft, since the nut canot rotate due to the engagement of the depending lug 10 within the channel 11. As the nut moves relative to the shaft, so the nut applies an axial force to the piston 14, serving to withdraw the piston from the bore 16. As the piston moves within the bore, so air is drawn, through the air- bleed valve 17 into the chamber defined within the bore between the piston 14 and the closed end of the bore. Since air has to be drawn into the chamber through the bleed-valve 17, the speed at which the nut 9 may move is regulated, and thus the speed of rotation of the shaft 5 is regulated, and consequently the described apparatus provides a desired governing effect. The toilet seat may thus move slowly and evenly towards the lowered position.

Turning now to Figure 7, a modified embodiment of the invention is illustrated. However, in this embodiment the upstanding plate 18 defines a bore 30 which is of increased length as compared with the bore 16. Palt-way along the length of the bore 30 is an air-passage 31 communicating from the exterior of the upstanding plate 18 to the interior of the bore.

It is to be appreciated that in utilising an embodiment of the type illustrated in Figure 7, the bleed-valve 17 may be adjusted to permit only a very slow rate of flow of air into the bore 30. Thus the piston 14 will only be able to move very slowly during an initiai pant of the movement of the piston.

However, once the piston has moved past the transverse air-passage 31, air will be able to flow into the region of the bore 30 that communicates with the air- bleed valve 17 through the passage 31, and consequently the piston 14 may then move to the left with an increased velocity.

Thus in an embodiment incorporating a unit of the type shown in Figure 7, the toilet seat may move slowly for a period of time until the piston has reached the air-passage 31, and the piston may then move more swiftly, although the relatively swift movement will still be governed by the speed at which air may be drawn into the bore 30 through the air inlet 31 Thus this arrangement provides, effectively, a timing mechanism, with the seat only moving very slightly during the first period of time, and subsequently moving to the closed position more swiftly.

Figure 8 illustrates a modified embodiment of the invention which is very similar the embodiment described above with reference to Figures I to 4, but the nut 9 has been replaced by a follower 40 which surrounds the shaft 5, and which is provided with an aperture in the form of a slot 41 which extends in such a way that one side edge of the slot 41 is inclined relative to the axis of the shaft 5. The slot 41 is engaged by a radially outwardly extending projection 42 which extends outwardly from the shaft 5. The projection 42 is in the form of a rod having a diameter which is substantially equal to the width of the slot 41. Thus, as the shaft 5 rotates, the rod, or projection 42, is constrained to move along the slot 41. The rod engages one of the two side faces of the slot 41, and thus causes the follower 40 to move axially in response to rotational movement of the shaft 5. It can be seen that the described follower, and the co- operating projection 42 operate in the same way as the thread and nut arrangement described above, with particular reference to Figures 1 to 3.

The remaining features of the apparatus shown in Figure 8 correspond directly with the remaining features of the apparatus shown in Figure 1, and will thus not be re-described.

Referring now to Figures 9 to 11 of the accompanying drawings, an alternative governor is illustrated, which is incorporated within a toilet seat mechanism.

Referring initially to Figure 9, a support 43 is provided incorporating a base plate 44 adapted to be secured to a toilet pan by an appropriate linkage.

The base plate 44 has two upstanding anns 45, 46, and a shaft 47 extends between and is rotationally supported by the anns 45 and 46, the shaft extending outwardly on either side of the arms 45 and 46. One end of the shaft 47 is connected to a spring 48 contained within a housing 49. One end of the spring 48 is secured to the housing 49, and the housing 49 is secured to the shaft. The other end 50 of the spring 48 is secured to the upstanding arm 45.

The spring imparts a predetermined rotational bias to the shaft 47.

The portion of the shaft 47 between the supports 45 and 46 is connected to a lug 51, the lug 51 being formed integrally with a toilet seat. The lug 51 is mounted fast with the shaft 47, and co-rotates with the shaft 47.

The end of the shaft 47 remote from the spring 48 is provided with a coarse pitch thread 52. The threaded portion 52 at the end of the shaft 47 is received within a threaded bore 53 formed within a square nut 54. The nut 54 is provided, at its lower edge, with a depending lug 55, as can be seen most clearly in Figure 11, the lug 55 being received within a channel 56 provided in an upstanding projection 57 on the base plate 44. The arrangement is such that the nut 54 may move axially relative to the axis of the shaft 47, but may not rotate. The nut may move 20 mm per turn of the shaft.

The nut 54 is connected, by means of a connector 58 to a resilient cup 59. The resilient cup 59 will be described in greater detail below with reference to Figures 15 to 18.

The resilient cup is illustrated in an initial position, firmly engaging a front face formed on an upstanding plate 60 carried by the base plate 44. The upstanding plate 60 is provided with an air bleed valve 61, which will be described hereinafter with reference to Figures 13 and 14. The air bleed valve communicates with a chamber defined by the interior of the resilient cup.

The governor mechanism illustrated in Figures 9 to 11 shows the situation that exists when the toilet seat is in the upright position.

The toilet seat may be adapted to be lowered, automatically, to the lowered position, with the toilet seat moving under the influence of a spring bias applied to the shaft 47 by the spring 48.

The spring 48 will tend to rotate the shaft 47 so that the lug 51 moves towards the closed position of the toilet seat, and the rotation of the shaft 47 causes the nut 54 to move axially relative to the shaft, since the nut cannot rotate. As the nut moves relative to the shaft 47, so the nut applies an axial force to part of the resilient cup 59, serving to withdraw the cup away from the upstanding plate 60. As the cup moves away, so air is drawn through the air bleed valve 61 into the chamber defined between the inside face of the cup 59 and the face of the upstanding plate 60 engaged by the cup 59. Since air has to be drawn into the chamber throughthe bleed valve 61, the speed at which the nut 54 may move is regulated, and thus the speed of rotation of the shaft 47 is regulated, and consequently the described apparatus provides a desired governing effect.

As shown in Figure 12, when the lug 51 has moved from the upright position of Figures 9 and 10 to a substantially horizontal position, the nut 54 has moved to the left, as compared with the position occupied by the nut 54 in Figure 10, and the resilient cup 59 has been substantially distorted, so that there is a much larger volume of air within the chamber defined by the interior of the resilient cup 59.

It is to be appreciated that the outer lip of the resilient cup 59 may be adhered or otherwise secured to the adjacent face of the upstanding plate 60.

Turning now to Figures 13 and 14, the bleed valve 61 is shown in greater detail. The bleed valve comprises a body member 62 provided at one end with exterior ribbing 63 to enable the body member to be secured in position. A through passage 64 is defined within the body member, the through passage having successive sections of reducing diameter.

An air control member 65 is provided having a leading substantially conical portion 66 adapted to be received as an almost air-tight fit within a conical portion of the through passage 64, and having a main threaded body section 67 which is bifurcated by means of an axially extending slit 68. The threaded section 67 may be received within a corresponding threaded portion of the passage 64. The position of the member 65 may be adjusted so that a predetermined quantity of air may flow tlu-ough the slit 68 to the exterior of the tapering portion 66 of the member 65 and may then flow through a fine space between the tapering portion 66 and the conical portion of the through-bore 64.

It is to be appreciated that whilst one type of air bleed valve has been described, many alternative types of air bleed valve may be useful in embodiments of the invention.

Figure 15 illust-ates one embodiment of a resilient cup 59 which may be used in embodiments of the invention. The resilient cup 59 is provided with a stalk 69 adapted to be engaged by the connector 58 carried by the nut 54. The stalk 69 communicates with a cup portion comprising a transverse base 70 and a forwardly and outwardly directed peripheral lip 71. The lip 71 is formed of resilient material.

As can be seen more clearly in Figure) 6, the main transverse base of the cup incorporates a reinforcing element 72 which may be formed of steel or other metal. The reinforciy element 72 comprises a shaft 73 having spaced apart ribs 74 which is accommodated within the stalk 69 and has a transverse plate 75, accommodated within the transverse base 70 of the cup. The plate 75 is provided, as can be seen in Figure 18, with a plurality of apertures 76 to ensure a good grip between the plate and the resilient material forming the cup.

Whilst, in the embodiment described above, a resilient cup is provided and air is drawn into a chamber between the resilient cup and an upstanding plate, a governor in accordance with the invention may be fabricated in which the upstanding plate 60 is provided with a bore 77 which receives a piston 78, as shown in Figure 19. An air bleed valve 61 is provided which permits air to enter the chamber within the base 77 behind the piston 78. As can be seen more clearly in Figure 18, the piston 78 is provided with a stalk which may be adapted to be connected to the connector 58 earned by the nut 54, the stalk carrying a generally flat transverse head 79 which terminates with a terminal radially outwardly extending flexible lip 80. The arrangement is such that as the piston 78 is introduced into the bore 77, the resilient skirt 80 may flex inwardly permitting gas to escape from the bore. However, when subsequently an attempt is made to withdraw the piston from the bore, thus moving the piston towards the left as shown in Figures 18 and 19, the resilient skirt 80 will deflect outwardly firmly engage the side of the bore. Thus the piston will only be able to move as air is drawn into the chamber through the bleed valve 61. It is to be appreciated, therefore, that the arrangement illustrated in Figures 18 to 20 may again be utilise as part of a governor The diameter of the bore 77 may be selected in dependence on the weight of the toilet seat, with a large diameter bore of, for exalnple. 32 mlll being used if a heavy toilet seat-such as wood-is used, and a small diameter bore of. for example, 20 mm being used if a light weight plastic toilet seat is used.

Figure 21 illustrates a modified embodiment of the invention which is generally similar to the embodiment illustrated in Figures t8 to 20, although the bore 77 is of increased length, and part way along the length of the bore 77 there is an air passage 81 communicating from the exterior of the upstanding plate 60 to the interior of the bore.

It is to be appreciated that in utilising an embodiment of the type illustrated in Figure 21, the bleed valve 61 may be adjusted to permit only a very slow rate of flow of air into the bore 77. Thus, the piston 78 will only be able to move very slowly during an initial part of the movement of the piston.

However, once the piston has moved past the n-ansverse air passage 81, air will be able to flow into the region of the bore 77 that communicates with the air bleed valve 61 through the passage 81, and consequently the piston 78 may move to the left with an increased velocity.

Thus, in an embodiment incoiporating a unit of the type shown in Figure 21, the toilet seat will move slowly for a period of time until the piston has reached the air passage 81, and may then move more swiftly, although the relatively swift movement will still be governed by the speed at which air may be drawn into the bore 77 through the air inlet 81. Thus the arrangement provides effectively a timing mechanism, with the seat only moving very slightly during a first period of time, and subsequently moving to the closed position.

Figure 22 and 23 illustrates an altemative embodiment provided with a timing mechanism.

In the embodiment of Figure 22 and 23, a modified nut 82 is provided which receives the threaded end 52 of the shaft 47. Again the nut is constrained so that it cannot rotate, but can move axially. The nut is again located adjacent an upstanding plate 60 formed on the support plate 44. The nut 82 is connected to a first resilient cup 59 which is the same as the resilient cup 59 described above, that resilient cup 59 being associated with an air bleed valve 61.

Consequently the resilient cup 59 will operate in precisely the same way as the resilient cup 59 of the embodiment of Figures 9 to 12.

However, the nut 82 is also connected to a second resilient cup 83. The resilient cup 83, as can be seen more clearly fi-om Figures 24 and 25, incorporates a stalk 85 by means of which the cup is connected to the nut 82, the stalk 85 carrying a substantially rigid transverse head 86 which is provided with a peripheral resilient lip 87. It is thus only the resilient lip 87 that constitutes the resilient cup. The resilient cup constituted by the resilient lip 87 engages a face of the upstanding plate 60 which is provided with an air bleed valve 84 of the same design as the air bleed valve 61.

When the nut 82 is in an initial position, corresponding to the position of the elevated seat as shown in Figures 9 to 12, the volume of air within the resilient cup 59 is at a minimum, and the resilient lip 87 constituting the second resilient cup is pressed against the face of the plate 60. The air bleed valve 84 may be adjusted to permit only a very slow rate of flow of air. Thus, if the shaft 47 begins to rotate, in such a sense as to lower a toilet seat secured to the shaft, the resilient cup 83 will only be able to move very slowly towards the left, even though the resilient cup 83 may be able to move with more speed However, as the cup 83 moves to the left, so air is drawn into the space between the resilient lip 87 and the front face of the upstanding plate 60. until there is sufficient air within that space for the resilient cup 83 to become detached from the plate 60. This is the condition illustrated in Figure 23. Air will now be drawn into the resilient cup 59 through the bleed valve 61, and the rate of flow of air may be adjusted so that the shaft 47 may move relatively swiftly, but still in a governed manner.

Consequently it is to be appreciated that in use of the embodiment shown in Figures 22 to 25, initially the shaft may move only very slowly, during a predetermined period of time, and then the shaft, although still being governed, may rotate more swiftly.

Whilst in the described embodiments of the invention adjustable air bleed valves have been used, it is to be appreciated that in other embodiments of the invention bores of predetermined cross-section may be provided defining air-flow passages of a predetermined dimension. Such air-flow passages may be preferred in mass produced products. Also, whilst in the described embodiments a governing effect is achieved while air is drawn into a chamber, an equivalent effect may be obtained when air is expelled from a chamber.

Referring now to Figures 26 to 11 of the accompanying drawings, an alternative governor is illustrated, which is incoyorated within a toilet seat mechanism.

Referring now to Figure 26, a support 87 is provided incorporating a base plate 88 adapted to be secured to a toilet pan by an appropriate linkage The base plate 88 has two upstanding arms 89,90 and a shaft 91 extends between and is rotationally supporte by the arms 89, 90, the shaft extending outwardly on either side of the arms 89, 90.

The portion of the shaft 9 ! between the arms 89,90 is connected to a protrusion 9 or 10, the protrusion 9 or 10 being fonned integrally with the toilet lid. The protrusion 9 or 10 is mounted fast with the shaft 91 and co-rotates with the shaft 91.

The end of the shaft 91 that extends beyond the arm 90 is provided with a bore 93 extending diametrically across the shaft 91 at one end. An elongate pin 92 is provided to be inserted into a bore 93 at the end of the shaft 91 with an interference fit. The length of the pin 92 is approximately twice the diameter of the shaft 91 and is positioned in the bore 93 of the shaft 91 such that approximately half the length of the pin 92 is in the bore 93 and approximately half of the pin 92 extends from one end of the bore 93.

The end of the shaft 91 that extends beyond the arm 90 and the pin 92 are received within a slider 94. The slider 94 is provided, at its lower edge, with a depending lug 95, as can be seen most clearly in Figure 28, the lug 95 being received within a channel 96 provided in an upstanding projection 97 on the base plate 88. The arrangement is such that the slider 94 may move axially relative to the axis of the shaft 91, but may not rotate.

The slider 94 is provided with an aperture 98 opening onto part of the upper directed surface 99 of the slider 94. The aperture 98 has a side edge that defines a cam surface that extends fi-om the part of the upwardly directed surface 99 that is nearest the arm 90. The cam surface has a first relatively gentle decline which is substantially straight and which is inclined at a predetermined angle to the axis of the shaft 9), which leads to a second steeper decline which is also substantially straight and which is inclined at a greater angle to the axis of the shaft 91 which then leads to a third relatively gentle decline which is also substantially straight and which is substantially parallel with the first decline which terminates at the substantially horizontal edge 56 of the aperture 98.

As can be seen from Figures 26 and 27, the first, second and third regions of the cam surface decline in three dimensions such that, as the shaft 91 rotates, the part of the pin 92 that extends from the end of the shaft 91 will be in slidable contact with at least one of the regions of the aperture 98. It is to be appreciated that the region of the aperture 98 which is in contact with the pin 92 will depend on the angular position of the shaft 91. The consequence of the engagement between the pin 92 and the first, second and third region of the cam surface is to cause the slider 94 to move axially relative to the shaft 91 in response to a rotational movement of the shaft 91.

The slider 94 is connected, by means of a connector 101 to a piston 102.

An upstanding plate 103 is provided on the base 88, the plate 103 defining a bore 104 which receives the piston 102. The bore 104 has a closed end provided with an air bleed valve 105.

A spring 106 is provided located between the arm 90 and the slider 94.

The spring 106 is a helical spring surrounding the shaft 91.

The piston 102 carries a generally flat transfer head 107 which terminates with a terminal radially outwardly extending flexible lip or skirt 108 The arrangement is such that as the piston 102 is introduced into the bore 104, the resilient skirt 108 may flex inwardly permitting gas to escape from the bore However, when subsequently an attempt is made to withdraw the piston 102 from the bore, thus moving the piston 102 towards the left, as shown in Figures 9 and 10, the resilient skirt) 108 would be biased outwardly and engage the side of the bore 104. Thus the piston 102 will only be able to move as air is drawn into the chamber defined between the piston 102 and the closed end of the bore 104 through the bleed valve 105.

The diameter of the bore 104 may be selected independent on the dimensions of the toilet seat, with a large diameter bore for example being used for a heavy toilet seat such as wood and a small diameter bore being used if a lightweight plastics toilet seat is being used.

It is envisaged that bleed valve 105 used in this invention will be of a type well known in the art.

The piston 102 is illustrated, in Figures 9 and 10, in an initial position in which the toilet lid is upright. The piston 102 is located towards the closed end of the bore 104 to find in the upstanding plate 103.

The toilet lid may be adapted to be lowered, automatically, to a lower position but against a generally upward bias provided by the spring 106. The spring 106 may simply be adapted to be compressed as the toilet lid is lowered, as the slider 94 moves towards the arm 90, as will now be described, or the spring 106 may provide a torsion effect, being secured to the shaft 91.

As the toilet seat moves towards the closed position, the shaft 91 will rotate. Rotation of the shaft 91 will cause the slider 94 to move axially relative to the shaft 91, since the slider cannot rotate due to the engagement of the depending lug 95 within the channel 96. As the slider 94 moves relative to the shaft 91, so the slider 94 applies an axial force to the piston 102, serving to withdraw the piston from the bore 104. As the piston 102 moves within the bore 104, so air is drawn, through the air bleed valve 105 into the chamber defined within the bore 104 between the piston 102 and the closed end of the bore 104. Since air has to be drawn into the chamber through the bleed valve 105, the speed at which the slider 94 may move is regulated, and thus the speed of rotation of the shaft 91 is regulated and consequently the described apparatus provides a desired governing effect. The toilet lid may thus move slowly towards the lowered position.

As the toilet lid is lowered, the protruding end of the pin 92 moves along the first gently declined region of the cam surface of the slider 94 such that the slider 94 moves relatively slowly along the shaft 91 thus air is drawn relatively slowly through the air bleed valve 105 as the slider 94 moves along this first region. As the toilet lid is further lowered, the pin 92 slides down the second relatively steeply declined region of the cam surface and thus the slider 94 will move relatively quickly and thus the shaft 91 will rotate relatively quickly and the toilet lid will be lowered relatively quickly. However, as the pin 92 moves down the second region of the cam surface, the piston 102 will move relatively quickly within the bore 104 and thus air will be drawn into the chamber through the bleed valve 105 relatively quickly. It is to be noted that the rate the air is drawn into the chamber through the bleed valve 105 will still be regulated by the bleed valve 105 and thus the relatively rapid lowering of the toilet lid will still be executed in a controlled manner. As the toilet lid is further lowered, the pin 92 will slide down the third relatively gently declined region of the cam surface and thus the slider 94 will slide relatively slowly along the shaft 91 causing the toilet seat to be lowered in a controlled marner to the substantially horizontal position shown in Figures 29 and 30.

The toilet seat may thus move in a controlled manner initially relatively slowly, to allow the user of the toilet to move away, then secondly to move relatively rapidly so that the toilet lid is closed relatively quickly and thirdly and finally, to move relatively slowly so that the toilet lid will be brought gently into contact with the toilet seat without making an undesirable noise.

Moving now to Figures 31 to 34, an alternative embodiment of the slider 94 is shown wherein the aperture 98 defines only a single evenly declined substantially linear cam surface. The other features of the apparatus shown in Figures 31 and 34 correspond with the features of the apparatus shown in Figures 26 to 30 and thus will not be re-described.

However, it is envisaged that the single uniformly declined region of cam surface shown in Figures 31 and 32 will be used in conjunction with a toilet seat to effect a controlled, steady rate lowering of the toilet seat from a substantially vertical position to a substantially horizontal position.

It is further envisaged that the arrangement described in connection with the toilet seat and the arrangement described in connection with the toilet lid will be used in conjunction with one another so that, after use, the toilet seat and the toilet lid may be lowered at different rates such that the toilet seat will be lowered more quickly than the toilet lid. This may be desirable if a user is sitting on the toilet seat and does not wish the toilet lid to begin lowering straightaway.

It is to be noted that while in the preferred embodiment the chambers are moulded integrally with the seat or lid, it is envisaged that the chambers could form part of a separate component to be mounted on the seat or lid.

It is to be noted that a feature of the current invention that if the cycle as described above is interrupted nothing within the toilet seat or lid will be subject to any damage or adverse effects as the fluid will simply flow into one of the two chambers depending upon the position of the toilet seat or lid.

While the invention has been described with reference to an embodiment in which both the seat and the lid have the described chambers, in simple embodiments only one of these components need be provided with the described chambers.

Referring now to Figure 35 a toilet comprises a bowl 109 connected to a cistern 110 via a water pipe 111 there being pivotally attached to the upper substantially horizontal face 112 of the bowl 109 a toilet seat 113 and a toilet lid 114. The seat 113 is a substantially planar element and the lid 114 is another substantially planar element. The toilet seat 113 and the toilet lid 114 are movable pivotally about a pre-deteimined axis 115 which is offset from the plane of the lid and from the plane of the seat 113 so that the toilet seat 113 and the toilet lid 114 may be rotated from a first substantially horizontal position in which the under part of the seat 113 engages the upper surface 112 of the toilet bowl 109, to a second substantially vertical position where the toilet seat 113 rests against the toilet lid 114 which in tum rests against a stop 116 mounted on the cistern 110.

Referring now to Figure 36 the lid 114 is provided with protrusions 117 and 118 extending from the part of the lid adjacent to the axis 115. The protrusions 117,118 extend rearwardly and upwardly when the lid is horizontal.

The protrusions 117,1 18 each define a bore which is offset from the plane of the lid 114 and which accommodates a shaft on which the lid 1 14 is pivotally mounted. The shaft is connected to the toilet bowl 109 in a conventional manner.

The lid 114 is provided with two chambers)) 9 and 120 one chamber 119 being spaced funher from the pre-deteunined axis I 1 S than the second chamber 120. The first chamber 119 and the second chamber 120 are interconnected by a constriction 77. The chambers 119, 120 are formed integrally with the lid 114 by moulding the lid 114 appropriately and are provided to receive a charge of fluid. When the lid 114 is horizontal the lower surface of the first chamber 119 is located at a level below the level of the lower surface of the second chamber 120.

In this embodiment the constriction 121 is provided with an adjustment valve 122 to allow the width or cross-sectional area of the constriction 121 to be varied.

In the preferred embodiment the chambers 119 and 120 are further interconnected by an elongate tube 123 which has a relatively large diameter or cross-sectional area in relation to that of the constriction 121. The tube 123 extends into the first chamber 119 by a substantial distance so that the open end of the tube 123 is located within the first chamber 119 at a point remote from the axis 115. The arrangement is such that if the charge of fluid is all, or substantially all, in the first chamber 119, the open end of the tube 123 will be above the level of the fluid of the lid t) 4 in a vertical position. The tube 123 does not extend into the second chamber 120 or extends only a short distance into the second chamber 120 so that the open end of the tube 123 is located at a point within the second chamber) 20 remote from the axis 115. The arrangement is such that if the charge of fluid is all, or substantially all, in the second chamber 120, the level of fluid will be below the open end of the tube 123 when the lid 114 is in a substantially vertical position. A more detailed description of the function of the elongate tube 123 will be given below.

Although not shown in Figure 36, it is a feature of the invention that the charge of fluid, shown as fluid ! 24 in Figures 37 to 42, will partially fill the combination of chambers 119 and 120. It is envisaged that water or a similar low cost liquid would be used, but it is to be noted that any material with similar fluid properties could be used as an alternative.

Figure 37 shows the toilet lid 114 in a first substantially horizontal position and it is to be noted that the chambers 119 and 120 and the constriction 77 are arranged such that when the lid 114 is in the substantially horizontal position shown the fluid 124 flows into the first chamber 119 which is spaced further from the pivot axis 115 than the second chamber 120. Thus substantially all of the fluid 124 is contained within said first chamber 119 when the lid 114 is in the first horizontal position.

If the lid 114 is then moved to a substantially vertical position as shown in Figure 38, the fluid 124 contained within the chamber 119 causes the centre of gravity of the lid 114 to be located on one side of the vertical line 81 which bisects the pivot axis 115. In this position the effect of gravity is that a first moment acts on the lid 114 about the axis 115 to bias the lid 114 towards the stop 116 provided to limit the pivotal movement of the lid 114 about the axis 115.

It is to be appreciated that the chambers 119 and 120 and the constriction 121 are arranged relative to one another such that the fluid 124 may flow from the chamber ! ! 9 through the constriction 121 into the chamber 120 when the lid 114 is in this substantially vertical position. Because the upper end of the pipe 123 is above the level of the fluid 124 contained in the first chamber ! 19 when the lid) 14 is in the substantially vertical position the fluid 124 may only flow through the constriction 121. As the fluid 124 flows through the constriction 121, so air contained initially in second chamber 120 is permitted to flow up the pipe 123 into the first chamber 1 19. As the fluid 124 flows from the upper chamber 119 to the lower chamber 120 the centre of gravity of the lid 114 will move towards the vertical line 125. As more fluid 124 flows from the chamber 119 spaced further from the pivot axis 115 into the second chamber 120 closest to the pivot axis 115 the centre of gravity of the lid 114 will move from the first side of the vertical line 125 to a second side such that a second moment, acting in an opposite direction to the first moment to bias the lid 114 away from the stop 116 will act on the lid 114 about the pivot axis 115. The lid 114 will then move pivotally away from the stop 116.

As the lid 114 moves away from the stop 116, it is to be noted that the greater proportion of fluid 124 will be contained within the chamber 120 and thus the centre of gravity of the lid 114 will remain on the second side of the vertical line 125. The second moment will therefore continue to act on the lid 114 about the axis 115 to cause the lid 114 to move fi-om the substantially vertical position to a substantially horizontal position as shown in Figure 40. A damper or spring, not shown, may be provided to control this movement.

When the lid 114 reaches the substantially horizontal position, the fluid 124 will flow from the second chamber 120 into the first chamber 119 with a substantial portion of the flow passing through the relatively large diameter tube 123 so that the flow into the second chamber 120 is completed rapidly. As previously described the chambers 119 and 120 are configured with the lower surface of the first chamber 119 below the level of the lower surface of the second chamber 120 and thus the fluid 124 will flow from the second chamber 120 to the first chamber 119 until the greater proportion of fluid 124 is contained in the first chamber 119 as shown in Figure 41. With the lid 1 14 in this final position the cycle as previously described herein may be repeated.

It is to be noted that the constriction) 21 is such that, when the lid 114 is in a substantially vertical position, the fluid 124 flows from the first chamber 119 spaced further from the pivot axis 115 into the second chamber 120 at a pre-determined speed or flow rate, determined by the constriction 121, such that the pivotal movement of the lid 114 from the substantially vertical position to the substantially horizontal position is effected a pre-determined time after the lid 114 has been moved to the vertical position. Thus the fluid flow from the first chamber 119 to the second chamber 120 is such that there is a time delay between the lid 114 being moved to the substantially vertical position and the lid 114 subsequently moving pivotally back to the substantially horizontal position.

The adjustable valve 122 may be used to vary the cross-sectional area of the constriction and, correspondingly, the flow rate. This enables control to be effected over the length of said time delay.

Figure 42 shows the toilet seat 113 in which features as described with reference to the toilet lid 114 are incorporated. The seat 113 comprises a planar element having an outer periphery 125 and defines an open central region 126. The seat 113 is provided with protrusions colTesponding to the protrusions 117 and 118 which mount the seat for rotation on the shaft, the shaft being offset from the plane of the seat 113. The outer periphery 125 is provided with at least two chambers 129 and 130 corresponding to chambers 119 and 120 provided in the lid 114. The chambel-129 fulthest fiom the pivot axis 115 is an invelted substantially U-shaped chamber, the other chamber 130 being substantially U-shaped. The chambers 129 and 130 are interconnected by constrictions 131 and 141, one or each side of the open central region 126 corresponding to constriction 121 provided in the lid 114. The chambers 129 and 130 are further interconnected by two elongate pipes 89 and 99, one or each side of the open region 126 corresponding to elongate pipe 79 provided in the lid 114 It is to be appreciated that the seat 113 will operate in a manner very similar to that of the lid 114.

However, the arrangement is such that the time delay for the seat 113 to move from a substantially vertical position to a substantially horizontal position may be substantially less than the time delay for the lid 114 to move from the substantially vertical position to the substantially horizontal position. Thus if the seat 113 and lid 114 are both raised simultaneously the seat 113 will lower below the lid 114. However, if just the lid 114 is raised, the lid 114 will remain in the raised position long enough for the toilet to be used before the lid 114 starts to lower itself.

The toilet lid of Figures 36 to 41 or the toilet seat of Figure 42 may be provided with any of the governors shown in Figures 1 to 34.

Referring now to Figure 43, the toilet lid 114 is shown mounted on a shaft for rotation about the pivot axis 115 and provided with two chambers 139,140 interconnected by a constriction 151 and a tube 153, the function of which has been previously described with reference to the Figures 36 to 42.

In this palticular embodiment, the toilet lid 114 is additionally provided with an elongate reservoir 152. The reservoir 152, comprises a flexible bag, the end of the bag most remote from the pivot axis 115 being attached to a mounting plate 153 such that the reservoir 152 may pivot about the mounting plate 153. The mounting plate 153 is substantially rigid and is attached to the toilet lid 114 by means of a clip 154 which clips onto a protrusion 155.

Figure 44 shows an alternative embodiment of the reservoir) 52 wherein the reservoir 152 is a substantially rigid reservoir having two substantially vertical, opposing edges 156 and 157. A first lug 158 protrudes substantially perpendicularly from the first edge 156 and a second lug 117 protrudes substantially perpendicularly from the second edge 157. The lugs 158 and 117 are adapted to fit into corresponding recesses formed in or mounted on the toilet lid 156 such that the reservoir 152 is mounted pivotally in the toilet lid 156.

Referring now to Figure 45, it can be seen that the width of the reservoir 152 is substantially less than the width of the toilet lid 114 such that the reservoir 152 may move pivotally between the walls 156 and 157 of the toilet lid 114.

It is to be appreciated that, when the toilet lid 114 is in the position shown in Figure 45, the reservoir 152 will be substantially aligned with the vertical line 160 which passes through the pivot axis 115.

The end of the reservoir 152 that is nearest the pivot axis 115 is in communication with a flexible hose 161. The end of the hose 161 remote from the reservoir 152 is in communication with a valve 162 which, when open, constitutes an outlet in communication with the outer edge of the toilet lid 114.

Although not shown in the figure, it is envisaged that a charge of disinfectant or cleaning fluid will be contained within the reservoir 152 and may flow from the reservoir 152 through the flexible hose 16 1 and out of the toilet lid 114 when the valve 162 is open.

The outlet may comprise an adjustable valve provided to vary the cross- sectional area of the outlet so as to adjust the flow of disinfectant or cleaning fluid through the outlet..

It is to be appreciated that when the toilet lid 114 is in the position shown in Figure 45, the centre of gravity of the disinfectant or cleaning fluid contained in the reservoir 152 will act substantially through the pivot axis 115 and therefore will have little or no effect on the moment acting on the lid 114.

Referring now to Figure 47, the toilet seat 167 is shown provided with a first stop 162 and a second stop 163. The first stop 162 is attached to the underside of the toilet seat 167 at a position remote fi-om the pivot axis 115.

The second stop 163 is attached to the underside of the toilet seat 167 at a position nearer to the pivot axis 115.

The arrangement is such that, when the toilet seat 167 is in the position shown in Figure 47, the first stop 162 is in contact with the upper substantially horizontal face 112 of the toilet bowl 109 such that the toilet seat is partially supported by the first stop 162. The second stop 163 is not in contact with the face 112, when the toilet seat is in this position.

Referring now to Figure 48, a support 164 is shown to be mounted towards the rear of the upper substantially horizontal face 112 of the toilet bowl 109. The support 164 supports two axles 165 and 166 such that both the axles 165 and 166 are free to rotate within the support 164.

The toilet seat 167 is provided along its rear edge with two rearwardly directed lugs 168 and 169, the lugs 168 and 169 being provided with respective bores dimensioned to receive part of the first axle 165 and the second axle 166 respectively.

The toilet lid 170 is also provided at its lower edge with two lugs 171 and 172. The lug 171 defines a bore dimensioned to receive a part of the first axle 165 and the lug 172 defines a bore dimensioned to receive a part of the second axle 166.

The lug 168 extending from the rear of the toilet seat 167 and the first axle 165 are both provided with bores adapted to receive a pin 173.

The lug 172 extending from the toilet lid 170 and the second axle 166 are both provided with a bore dimensioned to receive a second pin 174.

As shown in Figure 49, the arrangement is such that the support 164 will fit between the lugs 168 and 169 of the toilet seat 167. The lugs 168 and 169 of the toilet seat 167 are dimensioned to fit between the lugs 171 and 172 of the toilet lid 170. The first axle 165 can then be inserted through the lug 171 and the lug 168 and into one end of the support 164. The second axle 166 can then be inserted tlu-ough the lug 172, the lug 169 and into the other end of the support 164.

The bores formed in the first axle 165 and the lug 168 may then be aligned such that the first pin 173 may be inselted, with an interference fit, into these bores. The bores formed in the second axle 166 and the lug 172 of the toilet seat 170 may be aligned such that the second pin 174 may be inserted. with an interference fit, into these bores. Thus, the first axle 165 will co-rotate with the toilet seat 167 and the second axle 166 will co-rotate with the toilet lid 170.

Therefore, when the toilet seat 167 is in a substantially horizontal position as shown in Figure 48 and the toilet lid 170 is in a substantially vertical position as shown in Figure 48, a user of the toilet may sit down on the toilet seat 167. A downwardly directed load will then be applied to the toilet seat 167 by the user of the toilet such that the toilet seat 167 will bend under the load such that the second stop 163 will be brought into contact with the face 112 of the toilet bowl. When the toilet seat 167 is bent in this way, the first axle 165 and the second axle 166 will be subject to a camping force caused by the downwardly directed load. When the first and second axles 165 and 166 are clamped in this way, they will not be able to rotate within the support 164.

Therefore, when the user is sitting on the toilet seat, the second axle 166 will be clamped such that it will not rotate within the housing 164. The toilet lid 170, as has been previously described, will only co-rotate with the second axle 166 and thus, when the second axle 166 is clamped, the lid will not move from the substantially vertical position to the substantially horizontal position.

In this way, when the user is using the toilet, he will not be impeded by the toilet lid 170 moving to the substantially horizontal position.

Referring now to Figure 49, the toilet lid and the toilet seat are shown in a substantially horizontal position. The toilet lid is provided, at the end of the lid remote from the pivot axis, with a first magnet 175. The toilet seat is provided at the end remote from the pivot axis, with a second axis 173. The first and second magnets 172 and 173 are positioned so that, when in the position shown, the first magnet 175 is substantially aligned with the second magnet 176.

The magnets 175 and 176 are oriente relative to one another in such a way that the first magnet 175 is attracted to the second magnet 176 to such a degree that the toilet seat will move with the toilet lid under the attracted magnetic force between the two magnets. Thus, when the toilet lid is moved from the substantially horizontal position shown in Figure 50 to a substantially vertical position, the toilet seat will automatically move with the toilet lid.

In the present specification"comprise"means"includes or consists of' and"comprising"means"including or consisting of'.

The features disclosed in the foregoing description, or the following claims, or the accompanying drawings, expressed in their specific forms or in terms of a means for performing the disclosed function, or a method or process for attaining the disclosed result, as appropriate may, separately, or in any combination of such features, be utilise for realising the invention in diverse forms thereof.