Title:
Bathtub overflow stopper
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention includes an overflow stopper apparatus for reversably blocking the cut-outs in the overflow opening cover, thereby allowing a bathtub to be filled beyond the level of the overflow opening cover. The overflow stopper is formed from a laminar sheet of resilient material, such as closed-pore foam rubber. For additional strength, the overflow stopper may have a facing of stretchable cloth made of a water-impervious synthetic material, such as nylon or polyester, which is unaffected by mildew. The overflow stopper may be stamped or cut from a larger sheet of the resilient material, or it may be molded. The overflow stopper includes a laminar body having a circular aperture which has a diameter less than that of a typical overflow opening cover plate. The overflow stopper is stretched to fit around the periphery of the overflow opening cover plate. Preferred embodiments of the invention include tabs or corners which facilitate the stopper's installation on and removal from the overflow opening cover plate.



Inventors:
Bouchard, Paul L. (Provo, UT, US)
Application Number:
09/849932
Publication Date:
11/07/2002
Filing Date:
05/07/2001
Assignee:
BOUCHARD PAUL L.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E03C1/24; (IPC1-7): E03C1/12
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PHILLIPS, CHARLES E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Angus C. Fox, III (4093 N. Imperial Way, Provo, UT, 84604-5386, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A bathtub overflow stopper comprising a laminar body having first and second major planar faces, said body having a circular central aperture, the axis of which is perpendicular to said major planar faces, said aperture being sized to stretchably fit around a circumferential edge of a bathtub overflow opening cover plate.

2. The bathtub overflow stopper of claim 1, which further comprises a facing layer of stretchable cloth.

3. The bathtub overflow stopper of claim 1, wherein said facing layer is woven from fibers made of a water-impervious synthetic polymeric material.

4. The bathtub overflow stopper of claim 3, wherein said polymeric material is selected from the class of synthetic materials consisting of nylon, polyester, and acrylic.

5. The bathtub overflow stopper of claim 1, wherein said resilient material is closed-pore foam rubber.

6. The bathtub overflow stopper of claim 1, wherein said central aperture has a diameter that is about 75 to 95 percent of the diameter of the overflow opening cover plate with which it is to be used.

7. The bathtub overflow stopper of claim 1, wherein said central aperture has a diameter of between 65 and 81 mm.

8. The bathtub overflow stopper of claim 1, wherein said body is rectangularly shaped.

9. The bathtub overflow stopper of claim 8, wherein said body is square shaped.

10. The bathtub overflow stopper of claim 1, wherein said body is triangularly shaped with radiused apices.

11. The bathtub overflow stopper of claim 1, wherein said body is annularly shaped.

12. The bathtub overflow stopper of claim 1, wherein said body is primarily annularly shaped, but having at least one tab coextensive therewith.

13. A bathtub overflow stopper comprising: a laminar body having first and second major planar faces, said body made of resilient material, said body having a circular central aperture, the axis of which is perpendicular to said major planar faces, said aperture being sized to stretchably fit around a circumferential edge of a bathtub overflow opening cover plate; and at least one facing layer of stretchable cloth bonded to a major face.

14. The bathtub overflow stopper of claim 13, wherein said facing layer is woven from fibers made of a water-impervious synthetic polymeric material.

15. The bathtub overflow stopper of claim 14, wherein said polymeric material is selected from the class of synthetic materials consisting of nylon, polyester, and acrylic.

16. The bathtub overflow stopper of claim 1, wherein said resilient material is closed-pore foam rubber.

17. The bathtub overflow stopper of claim 13, wherein said central aperture has a diameter that is about 75 to 95 percent of the diameter of the overflow opening cover plate with which it is to be used.

18. The bathtub overflow stopper of claim 13, wherein said central aperture has a diameter of between 65 and 81 mm.

19. The bathtub overflow stopper of claim 8, wherein said body is square shaped.

20. The bathtub overflow stopper of claim 1, wherein said body is triangularly shaped with radiused apices.

21. The bathtub overflow stopper of claim 1, wherein said body is primarily annularly shaped, but having at least one tab coextensive therewith.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to bathtub overflow control devices.

[0002] For conventional bathtubs, the floor slopes from the back to the front thereof.

[0003] A drain is generally situated in the lower front portion of the floor, and generally includes a hidden stopper with which the drain opening may be opened and closed. The drain stopper is usually located within a cylindrical tube which couples an overflow opening in the front wall of the tub to the main drain. The stopper is operated by a handle that is pivotably mounted on a plate which also serves as a cover for an overflow opening. The handle is connected to the drain stopper via a linkage confined within the cylindrical tube. The overflow opening acts both to receive water above a certain height in the tub to prevent the overflow thereof, and as a mounting location for the pivotable handle. Typically, the overflow opening cover is equipped with cut-outs on its lower periphery, or around its entire periphery, that allow entrance of overflow water into the overflow opening. By draining water above a height set by the location of the cut-outs on the cover, the bathtub is prevented from overflowing. FIG. 1 depicts an overflow opening cover plate 101 and drain control lever 102 mounted on a portion of the front wall 103 of a typical bathtub.

[0004] One of the disadvantages to the aforedescribed arrangement is that those who desire to indulge themselves by taking a luxurious bath in a nearly-full tub are foiled in their attempts to fill the tub beyond the height of the cutouts in the overflow opening cover.

[0005] What is needed by the indulgent bathers who desire to fill the tub beyond the pre-set level is a mechanism which will reversably block the cut-outs in the overflow opening cover.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] The present invention includes an overflow stopper apparatus for reversably blocking the cut-outs in the overflow opening cover, thereby allowing a bathtub to be filled beyond the level of the overflow opening cover. The overflow stopper is formed from a laminar sheet of resilient material, such as closed-pore foam rubber. For additional strength, the overflow stopper may have a facing of stretchable cloth made of a water-impervious synthetic material, such as nylon or polyester, which is unaffected by mildew. The overflow stopper may be stamped or cut from a larger sheet of the resilient material, or it may be molded. The overflow stopper includes a laminar body having a circular aperture which has a diameter less than that of a typical overflow opening cover plate. The overflow stopper is stretched to fit around the periphery of the overflow opening cover plate. A typical overflow cover plate has a diameter of about 85 mm. The ideal sized aperture has a diameter between 75 to 95 percent of the diameter of the cover plate on which it is used. For standard sized overflow opening cover plates, this equates to about 65 to 81 mm. The outer shape of the overflow stopper may take many forms. It may be circular, thereby imparting a annular appearance to the apparatus. However, a simple annular shape is not deemed to be the preferred embodiment. The preferred embodiments of the invention have tabs which are easily grasped. The tabs facilitate removal of the overflow stopper from the overflow opening cover plate. Several embodiments of the invention having this tab feature are disclosed herein. One of the embodiments has a square outer perimeter. Another has an equilateral triangular shape. A further embodiment is annular with a tab-like extension for easy removal. The invention may generally take any decorative form, such as a flower, a stylized sun, a star, etc.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0007] FIG. 1 is a front elevational view of an overflow opening cover plate and drain control lever mounted on a portion of the front wall of a typical bathtub;

[0008] FIG. 2 is an isometric view of a first embodiment of the new overflow stopper;

[0009] FIG. 3 is a front elevational view of the first embodiment of the overflow stopper;

[0010] FIG. 4 is a front elevational view of the overflow opening cover plate and drain control lever of FIG. 1 after being fitted with the first embodiment overflow stopper;

[0011] FIG. 5 is a front elevational view of a second embodiment of the overflow stopper;

[0012] FIG. 6 is a front elevational view of a third embodiment of the overflow stopper;

[0013] FIG. 7 is a front elevational view of a fourth embodiment of the overflow stopper; and

[0014] FIG. 8 is a front elevational view of a fifth embodiment of the overflow stopper.

PREFERRED EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION

[0015] Referring now to FIGS. 2 and 3, a first embodiment 200 of the overflow stopper includes a rectangular (in this case square) laminar body 201 having first and second major planar faces 202A and 202B. The body 201 has a circular central aperture 203, the axis 204 of which is perpendicular to the major planar faces 202A and 202B. The body 201 is stamped or cut from a laminar sheet of resilient material, such as closed-pore foam rubber. Though the material from which the body 201 of the overflow stopper is formed need not be a porous foam, the foam material is more easily stretchable around an overflow opening cover 101. For additional strength and to prevent tearing of the resilient material, the overflow stopper may have a facing layer 205 of stretchable cloth made of a water-impervious synthetic material, such as nylon or polyester, which is unaffected by mildew. Alternatively, the laminar body 201 may be molded to provide the desired shape.

[0016] Referring now to FIG. 4, the first embodiment overflow stopper 200 of FIGS. 2 and 3 has been stretched to fit around the outer rim, or periphery, of the overflow opening cover plate 101. It will be noted that the body 201 has deformed slightly as a consequence of installation on the cover plate 101. A typical overflow cover plate has a diameter of about 85 mm. The ideal sized aperture 203 for the overflow stopper body 201 is between about 75 to 95 percent of the diameter the cover plate on which it is used. For standard sized overflow opening cover plate, this equates to about 65 to 81 mm. If the body 201 is fabricated from a non-porous elastomeric compound such as rubber, the diameter of aperture 203 may be nearer the diameter of the cover plate 101 to facilitate the installation thereof around the rim of the cover plate 101. The corners 206 of the body 201 facilitate both installation on and removal from the cover plate 101.

[0017] Referring now to FIG. 5, a second embodiment 500 of the overflow stopper includes a triangularly shaped body 501 with radiused apices, or corners 502. Like the square body 201 of the first embodiment, it too has a central circular aperture 203. It may also include a facing layer 205. The three corners 502 facilitate installation and removal.

[0018] Referring now to FIG. 6, a third embodiment 600 of the overflow stopper includes an annular body 601 having a central circular aperture 203. It may also include a facing layer 205. This embodiment of the invention suffers from the slight disadvantage in that it has no corners which are easily grasped, thereby making this embodiment slightly more difficult to install on and remove from an overflow opening cover plate 101.

[0019] Referring now to FIG. 7, a fourth embodiment 700 is similar to the third embodiment of FIG. 6, with the exception that the body 701 includes a tab 702, which overcomes the disadvantage of the third embodiment by making installation and removal easier for the bather.

[0020] Referring now to FIG. 8, a fifth embodiment 800 of the overflow stopper is similar to the fourth embodiment of FIG. 7, with the exception that an additional tab 702 has been added opposite the first.

[0021] Although only several embodiments of the invention have been heretofore described, it will be obvious to those having ordinary skill in the art that changes and modifications may be made thereto without departing from the scope and the spirit of the invention.