United States Patent 3824635

A water-circulating hand-hold for swimming pools and a method for fabricating the same, the hand-hold forming one side of a peripheral gutter into which the water is skimmed over a lip structure of the hand-hold, and also providing a conduit for the water which is recirculated to the pool through openings in the hand-hold. The hand-hold is formed in sections, each comprising a fiber glass shell molded around a length of pressure-tight, prefabricated pipe, and has a shaped lip structure above the pipe, over which water is skimmed from the pool into the gutter. The lip structure is filled with polyurethane foam, and the remaining space within the shell, below the pipe, is filled with a hard-setting resin. The resin forms a rigid base for the hand-hold, the sections of which are installed around the pool in end-to-end relation, joined by telescoped connecting sleeves and miter-shaped corner sections, and leveled by means of screw jacks.

Application Number:
Publication Date:
Filing Date:
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04H4/12; (IPC1-7): E04H3/16; E04H3/18
Field of Search:
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3319264Coping assembly for swimming pools1967-05-16Scarano
1585736Construction of swimming pools1926-05-25Rohmer
1461026Swimmnig-pool construction1923-07-10Booraam

Primary Examiner:
Artis, Henry K.
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Lilly, Forrest J.
I claim

1. A water-circulating hand-hold in a flat-sided swimming pool, comprising:

2. A water-circulating hand-hold as defined in claim 1 in which at least one of said corner sections has means thereon for connecting it to an inlet pipe.

3. A water-circulating hand-hold as defined in claim 1 in which said sections are mounted on screw jacks for selectively leveling the sections during installation.

4. A water-circulating hand-hold as defined in claim 1 in which said pipes are pre-tested fiber glass pipes.

5. A section of a water-circulating hand-hold for skimming water from and returning water to a swimming pool, comprising:

6. A section of water-circulating hand-hold as defined in claim 5 further including polyurethane foam material filling said shell and said lip above said pipe.

7. A section of water-circulating hand-hold as defined in claim 5 in which said lip is offset forwardly relative to the pipe, to form the entire front wall as a flat surface, and in which said rear wall curves downwardly around said pipe from said lip.

8. A section of water-circulating hand-hold as defined in claim 5 further including a longitudinal groove in said rear wall adjacent said base, for assisting in anchoring the section in place.

9. A section of water-circulating hand-hold as defined in claim 5 further including at least one opening in said front wall, extending through said shell and into said pipe.

10. A section of water-circulating hand-hold as defined in claim 9 in which said opening is inclined from the lower portion of said front wall upwardly into said pipe.

11. A section of water-circulating hand-hold as defined in claim 5 in which the spacing of said front and rear walls is approximately the same as the width of said pipe.

12. A section of water-circulating hand-hold for skimming water from and returning water to a swimming pool, comprising:


This invention relates to swimming pools, and, more particularly, to the construction of gutters of the type often used in larger swimming pools. Such gutters extend around the perimeters of the pools, and are formed with peripheral lips or rims over which water is skimmed, to be circulated through water-treating equipment prior to recirculation into the pool. The lip forms a hand-hold along the sidewalls of the pool, and sometimes is made hollow for use as a water-return conduit for circulation of the pool water.

In pools of the type having a water-circulating hand-hold, the water skimmed into the gutter flows out through one or more drains to the water-treating and recirculating equipment which typically includes a pump, a filter, heating and chlorination elements, and sometimes a balancing tank in which water lost through evaporation and splashing may be replenished. The treated water is returned to the pool through the conduit in the hand-hold, which has a number of openings spaced along its inner side for directing the water in jets into the pool.

Such pools have several known advantages, including full-perimeter skimming, damping of wave action, simplified plumbing, and improved circulation with more uniform distribution of heat and chlorination. Prior pools of this type have, however, been relatively expensive and complex to construct and install with a commercially acceptable gutter configuration and with a gutter lip that is precisely horizontal for the full perimeter of the pool, for uniformity of skimming.

There has been a need for a satisfactory circulating hand-hold structure which can be manufactured at relatively low cost, and which uses durable materials and is installable in a simple and rapid manner. One previously available hand-hold which was introduced in an attempt to satisfy this need, but which has not met with widespread acceptance, is a relatively complex and expensive stainless steel unit. The present invention, however, provides an improved circulating hand-hold that may be fabricated and installed at a very competitive cost and, at the same time, is highly effective for its intended purpose.


The present invention resides in an improved hand-hold for use in swimming pools of the foregoing general character, which has as its core a prefabricated, pressure-tested pipe to act as the water-return conduit, with a rigid external shell formed around the pipe to give the hand-hold its desired outside shape. The shell and the pipe are bonded together by a filler material which also forms a base for the assembly. Thus, the water-return conduit is formed from relatively inexpensive and readily available material that is known to be pressure-tight, while the outside shell need not be pressure-tight, but only of the proper shape and structural strength for the hand-hold.

More specifically, and as illustrated in the preferred embodiment shown herein, the circulating hand-hold is formed in sections around lengths of the prefabricated and pretested pipe, which may be relatively inexpensive fiber glass pipe. The external shell, which preferably has a raised upper portion forming the lip above and offset from the center of the conduit, and generally flat front and rear sidewalls, is molded around the pipe, preferably using fiber glass and a conventional contact molding technique.

The fiber glass shell may be laid up, upside down, in a mold of preselected length such as ten feet, before a pipe of the same length is placed in the mold. Then, the space between the pipe and the raised lip portion, i.e., the space beneath the pipe in the upside-down molding position, preferably is filled with a polyurethane foam to provide extra strength and resistance to entry of water should the lip be punctured. The remaining space above the pipe is filled with a suitable hard-setting material, such as casting resin mixed with asbestos fiber, to bond the combination into a rigid unitary structure and form the base of the ten-foot section. The exterior of the section is given a weather-resistant finish comprising a layer of gel coat which has the desired color for the pool, this finish being applied as a lining in the mold before the fiber glass materials are placed therein.

The above-described circulating hand-hold sections are installed in end-to-end relation around the pool, and are joined together by telescoping connectors, which fit snugly in the abutting ends of two sections and are sealed by a suitable sealant cement. The sections preferably are mounted on ledges on the sidewalls of the pool by selectively adjustable screw jacks for precise leveling of the hand-hold prior to grouting and finish-plastering of the pool. Installation is, therefore, a relatively simple and inexpensive operation, and the standard hand-hold sections may be easily adapted to fit pools of all sizes and straight-sided shapes.

At each corner of the pool, the sections of the hand-hold are joined by miter-shaped pieces, either inside corners or outside corners, with telescoping connectors similar to those joining the straight sections. One or more of the corner sections may include a fitting for connection to a pipe, usually embedded in the pool wall outside the gutter, for returning water to the conduit from the water-treating equipment.

Other aspects and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing.


FIG. 1 is a fragmentary perspective view, partly in cross-section, of a corner section of a swimming pool utilizing the circulating hand-hold of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged fragmentary cross-sectional view taken substantially along line 2--2 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a tubular connector for joining sections of the hand-hold together; and

FIG. 4 is a plan view of a corner section of the hand-hold, shown connected to a water-return pipe which is partly broken away and shown in cross-section.


As shown in the drawings for purposes of illustration, the invention is incorporated in a swimming pool 10, one corner section of which is shown in FIG. 1, of the type having a gutter 11 extending around the pool and bounded on one side, the inner side adjacent the water, by a hand-hold 12 which also functions as a skimmer over which water from the pool flows into the gutter. Inside the hand-hold 12 is an internal conduit 13 for receiving water from the usual circulation elements (not shown) and returning the water to the pool through a plurality of inlet openings 14 spaced along the hand-hold beneath the surface of the water 15.

The illustrative pool 10 has a gutter 11 recessed into the upper portion of the sidewalls 16 of the pool, beneath an overhanging coping 17 forming a deck 18 around the pool. It will be understood, however, that the invention can also be used in various types of pools other than the one with the overhanging coping construction illustrated herein. Each sidewall 16 of the pool has an upright inner surface 19 covered with a plaster coating 21 when the pool is complete, and a substantially horizontal ledge 22 on which the hand-hold 12 is mounted as an upward extension of the sidewall. The gutter 11 is defined by an outwardly facing inner surface 23, an upwardly facing bottom surface 24, and an inwardly facing outer surface 25 which curves upwardly and inwardly to overhang the hand-hold 12 and terminate close to the plane of the sidewall of the pool.

At least one drain (not shown) is formed in the gutter 11, to open upwardly through a bottom surface 24 and receive water from the gutter for transmission to the water-treating elements. The bottom surfaces 24 are inclined toward the drain, or drains, to cause the water to flow in the right direction in the gutter.

After being filtered, heated and otherwise treated by whatever treatment elements that are included in the system, the water is returned to the pool 10 under pump pressure through an inlet pipe 26 (FIG. 4) at one corner of the pool, and through the conduit 13 in the hand-hold 12. The inlet pipe has an inner end portion which telescopes over a pipe fitting 27 projecting outwardly from a miter-shaped corner section 28 at the corner of the hand-hold adjacent the inlet pipe, the corner section having an angular internal passage 13a (FIG. 4) which communicates with, and connects, the straight sections of the conduit 13 on each side of the corner section.

Water pumped into the conduit 13 through the inlet pipe 26 and the corner section 28 flows through the conduit to the openings 14, which preferably are inclined downwardly and inwardly into the pool. The openings direct the water back into the pool as underwater jets, which properly distribute the heated water and any dissolved chemicals therein, and also agitate any solid particles tending to settle on the pool bottom. This agitation increases the effectiveness of the pool filtration.

In accordance with the present invention, the hand-hold 12 comprises a plurality of elongated, prefabricated sections that are joined and sealed together in end-to-end relation, each having a rigid exterior shell of the proper appearance and shape to serve as a hand-hold and skimming lip, and a generally central, hollow core comprising a length of prefabricated and pressure-tight pipe 29 forming a straight section of the water-return conduit 13. The shell 29 of each of these sections is fabricated around the length of pipe, preferably of fiber glass using conventional contact-molding techniques, to produce a composite end product in which the pipe 29 defines the necessary pressure-tight conduit, thus making it unnecessary to use the more complicated molding techniques for the specially shaped shell that would be required for a shell capable of holding water under high pressures. The pipe can be purchased inexpensively in pre-tested condition for reliability, and the shell can be economically molded around such pipe in an attractive, effective and durable form.

More specifically, in the preferred embodiment of the invention, the pipes 29 are simply straight cylindrical pipes, preferably composed of fiber glass and typically having an inside diameter on the order of four to five inches, the pipes being cut to a preselected standard length such as ten feet.

The shells are coextensive in length with the pipes 29 and are formed around the pipes with the latter extending generally through the centers of the shells. As shown most clearly in FIG. 2, each shell substantially surrounds the associated pipe, having a flat front or inside wall 30 extending both above and below the pipe, and an arcuate top wall 31 curving outwardly and then downwardly to a short rear or outside wall 32, thus cooperating with the upper portion of the front wall to form the skimming lip of the hand-hold in an inverted U-shape. The lip is offset forwardly relative to the pipe (the rear wall herein being approximately centered on the pipe) and should be about two and one-half inches wide.

From the lower end of the rear wall 32, the shell curves outwardly and downwardly at 33 around the outer side of the pipe, and a lower rear wall 34 thereof extends to a level near the level of the lower side of the pipe, substantially parallel to the front wall. A bottom wall 35 may connect the lower edges of the front and rear walls, but this is not necessary, because the bottom is not exposed after the hand-hold is installed.

To form a solid base 36 for each hand-hold section and to secure the pipe 29 in place in the shell, the space beneath the pipe and between the front and rear walls of the shell is filled with suitable material such as hard-setting polyester casting resin (preferably reinforced with asbestos fiber), which is smoothed off to form a substantially flat lower mounting surface. An elongated groove 37 is formed along the rear lower corner of the section, to serve as an anchoring key.

To minimize water penetration in case of a puncture of the lip 31, the space in the shell above the pipe 29 preferably is filled with lightweight filler material such as polyurethane foam 38. This is an optional, but desirable, element of the end combination.

For an attractive and durable exterior finish, the exposed surfaces of the shell are covered with a coating 39 (FIG. 2) which is resistant to weather and pool chemicals. This finish should be colored to match the desired pool finish, and preferably is a thin gel coat.

In the preferred method of fabricating the hand-hold sections, an elongated mold (not shown) is provided, with a cavity of the shape of the shell shown in FIG. 2, open on the side corresponding to the bottom wall 35. The gel coat may be applied to the mold as a lining, to set up before the fiber glass materials are laid in. Then, using conventional contact lay-up molding techniques, layers of resin and filter material are placed in the mold, with the open side of the latter facing up, until the shell has been completed. Extra thickness preferably is provided in the lip 31.

When the shell is complete, the ends of the mold are blocked, and the foam 38 is introduced, in measured liquid form. Conventional foam mixtures are known and readily available, which react and expand after mixing. The pipe 29 is placed in the mold after the foam, and properly located closely adjacent the inside surfaces of the shell. The expanding foam forces itself upwardly and partially between the pipe and the shell, the time for completion of this being about two minutes.

The final step is the pouring of the casting resin 36 to fill the mold. Asbestos fiber is added to the resin for extra strength. The mold may be shaped to form the key groove 37 in the resin, along the rear lower corner of the hand-hold section. When the resin has set, the completed section and mold can be separated.

Corner sections such as those shown in FIGS. 1 and 4 can be molded in one piece, with right-angle sections 13a of the conduit 13 therein, and shaped both for inside corners and for outside corners, inside corners being shown herein. For pools having only right-angle corners, two molds are needed for inside corners -- one with the inlet pipe fitting 27 and one without -- and for outside corners, a third corner-section mold is required.

Connectors 40 (FIG. 3) for joining adjacent sections together may be simply tubular sleeves sized to telescope with a close fit inside the open ends of the conduit sections defined in the straight sections and in the corner sections. A suitable adhesive sealant cement, such as silicone sealant, is applied to the telescoped surfaces of the connectors and the connected sections for a water-tight joint. With the adjacent ends of two sections butted against each other and a connector 40 adhesively sealed inside, in overlapped relation, a very secure connecting joint is provided.

It will be appreciated that the various sections of the hand-hold 12 can be prefabricated, using mass-production techniques, and stocked so as to be ready for use when the basic pool construction has been completed. The sections are prepared for installation by providing mounting fasteners, such as bolts 41 (FIG. 2) mounted in longitudinally spaced relation from inside the pipe 29, and extending downwardly through washers 42 and holes in the base material. Below the base material is another washer 43 that is clamped against the bottom of the section by a nut 44 threaded onto the shank of the bolt.

The bolts 41 are installed in preselected positions, to be received in screw jacks 45 that are installed in preselected positions on the ledges 22 around the pool. Each such jack comprises a bracket having one leg 46 that is secured to the ledge 22 by fasteners 47, and an upwardly offset leg 48 that receives the bolt 41. Nuts 49 above and below the offset leg of the bracket make it possible to set the level of the section quickly and with precision, to insure that the lip portions 31 of all of the hand-hold sections are properly leveled for uniform skimming action.

After all of the sections of the hand-hold 12 have been installed and leveled, with connectors 40 cemented and sealed in all of the joints and at least one inlet pipe 26 connected through a corner section 27 to the conduit 13, the integrity of the conduit can be pressure-tested in the usual way by subjecting it to high-pressure water. This is done before the openings 14 are formed in the hand-hold. If the conduit tests satisfactorily, the openings are drilled in the desired locations, for example, as one-quarter inch holes inclined downwardly and inwardly from the pipe 29 at angles about forty-five degrees.

After installation of the hand-hold 12 has been completed, construction of the pool 10 is completed by applying grout 50 below and behind the hand-hold, to extend the inside wall 19 up to the hand-hold and also to form an inclined spillway from the rear wall 34 down to the outside corner of the ledge 22. The grout fills the key groove 37 to interlock with the hand-hold sections and assist in anchoring them in place. Then the finish layer 21 of plaster may be applied to the pool wall 19, flush with the front wall of the hand-hold, so that the latter forms an upward extension of the wall and blends unobtrusively therewith.

From the foregoing, it can be seen that the present invention provides a hand-hold 12 that combines the advantages of prefabricated, pressure-tested pipes, with durable and attractive outside shells that are molded of fiber glass around the pipes, to produce an effective and economical water-circulating hand-hold that can be installed rapidly and with a minimum of difficulty. It also will be apparent that, while a particular embodiment of the invention has been illustrated and described, variations and changes therein may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.