Title:
Toilet seat control system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A toilet seat control system which includes a temperature controller that allows a user(s) to easily pre-set the temperature to keep the toilet seat comfortably warm no matter what the ambient temperature. An additional feature includes an adjustable timer which functions to automatically activate a seat lowering mechanism after a timed interval.



Inventors:
Hewton, Alfred (Arlington, VA, US)
Application Number:
10/278919
Publication Date:
04/29/2004
Filing Date:
10/24/2002
Assignee:
HEWTON ALFRED
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47K13/10; A47K13/30; (IPC1-7): A47K13/10
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
PHILLIPS, CHARLES E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Richard C. Litman (112 S. West Street, Alexandria, VA, 22314, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A toilet seat control system comprising: a toilet bowl; a toilet seat having an inner volume, a rear end and an outer surface; said rear end of said toilet seat being hinged to said toilet bowel, whereby said toilet seat can be pivotally moved to a raised position and a lowered position and whereby said toilet seat abuts said toilet bowl in said lowered position; first means for automatically lowering said toilet seat from said raised position after a pre-set time interval; and second means for supplying an adjustable amount of heat to said inner volume of said toilet seat.

2. A toilet seat control system as recited in claim 1, wherein said first means includes an electronically activated lowering mechanism attached to said toilet seat at said rear end.

3. A toilet seat control system as recited in claim 1, wherein said first means includes an electronically activated lowering mechanism attached to said toilet seat at said rear end and a control unit for supplying electric power to activate said electronically operated lowering mechanism after said pre-set time interval has elapsed.

4. A toilet seat control system as recited in claim 3, wherein said control unit includes an adjustable timer for determining said pre-set time interval.

5. A toilet seat control system as recited in claim 1, wherein said second means includes an array of electric heating coils disposed in said inner volume of said toilet seat.

6. A toilet seat control system as recited in claim 1, wherein said second means includes an array of electric heating coils disposed in said inner volume of said toilet seat and a control unit for supplying electric power to heat said heating coils.

7. A toilet seat control system as recited in claim 6, wherein said control unit includes an adjustment member for varying the amount of electric power to said heating coils.

8. A toilet seat control system comprising: a toilet bowl; a toilet seat having an inner volume, a rear end and an outer surface; said rear end of said toilet seat being hinged to said toilet bowel, whereby said toilet seat can be pivotally moved to a raised position and a lowered position and whereby said toilet seat abuts said toilet bowl in said lowered position; an electronically activated lowering mechanism attached to said toilet seat at said rear end; a wall mounted control unit for supplying electric power to activate said electronically operated lowering mechanism; an adjustable timer disposed on said control unit for determining a pre-set time interval before supplying electric power to activate said electronically operated lowering mechanism; and means for supplying an adjustable amount of heat to said inner volume of said toilet seat.

9. A toilet seat control system as recited in claim 8, wherein said means includes an array of electric heating coils disposed in said inner volume of said toilet seat.

10. A toilet seat control system as recited in claim 9, wherein said control unit supplies electric power to heat said heating coils and includes; an adjustment member disposed on said control unit for varying the amount of electric power to said heating coils.

11. A toilet seat control system as recited in claim 10, wherein said toilet seat has an outer surface and wherein said outer surface is fabricated from electrically insulated material.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention generally relates to bathroom fixtures. More specifically, the present invention is drawn to a system for controlling closing movement and supplying heat to a toilet seat.

[0003] 2. Description of the Related Art

[0004] Many spousal arguments have been initiated because the toilet seat was not returned to its lowered position. Once lowered, the fact that the seat is at an uncomfortably cold temperature has only served to exacerbate the impending arguments. A system that would provide for a timer-controlled, automatic lowering of a toilet seat and also incorporate an adjustable heat supply thereto would certainly be a welcome addition to the art.

[0005] The prior art is replete with patents which disclose mechanisms for automatically lowering toilet seats. Examples of such mechanisms are disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,289,593 (Lawrence), U.S. Pat. No. 5,819,327 (Miller), U.S. Pat. No. 6,035,454 (Birchall) and U.S. Pat. No. 6,085,360 (Yoke et al.). Although all of the above patents show various arrangements for automatically lowering a toilet seat, none show a system wherein activation of the automatic lowering function can be adjustably set. Further, no means to adjustably heat the toilet seat is contemplated by the patentees.

[0006] U.S. Pat. No. 5,642,531 (Holtom et al.), U.S. Pat. No. 5,940,895 (Wilson et al.) and French Patent 2,583,281 (Gonnot) show systems for providing heat to toilet seats. No provision is made in any of the systems to incorporate means to adjustably control the temperature of the seats.

[0007] U.S. Pat. No. 4,649,575 (Blair et al.) is drawn to a cover for insulating a toilet seat. The patentees are not concerned with automatically lowering the seat or providing heat to the seat.

[0008] French Patent 2,809,947 (Elia) employs a system of cables and pulleys actuated by a pedal to lift the toilet seat. When the pedal is released the seat drops down onto the toilet bowl. The patentee does not contemplate supplying heat to the seat.

[0009] None of the above inventions and patents, taken either singularly or in combination, is seen to disclose a toilet seat control system as will be subsequently described and claimed in the instant invention.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0010] The present invention is a toilet seat control system which includes a temperature controller that allows a user(s) to easily pre-set the temperature to keep the toilet seat comfortably warm, no matter what the ambient temperature. An additional feature includes an adjustable timer which functions to automatically activate a seat lowering mechanism after a timed interval.

[0011] Accordingly, it is a principal object of the invention to provide a toilet seat control system, which system functions to automatically lower the toilet seat from a raised position to a position whereby the seat abuts the bowl of the toilet.

[0012] It is another object of the invention to provide a toilet seat control system, which system functions to provide heat to the toilet seat to maintain the seat at a comfortable temperature.

[0013] It is a further object of the invention to provide a toilet seat control system, which system allows a user to determine a time interval for activation of the seat lowering mechanism.

[0014] Still another object of the invention is to provide a toilet seat control system, which system allows a user to vary the heat input to the seat.

[0015] It is an object of the invention to provide improved elements and arrangements thereof for the purposes described which are inexpensive, dependable and fully effective in accomplishing their intended purposes.

[0016] These and other objects of the present invention will become readily apparent upon further review of the following specification and drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0017] FIG. 1 is an environmental, perspective view of a toilet seat and control system therefor according to the present invention.

[0018] FIG. 2 is a partial cut-away view of a toilet seat according to the present invention.

[0019] Similar reference characters denote corresponding features consistently throughout the attached drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFER RED EMBODIMENT

[0020] Attention is first directed to FIG. 1 of the drawings wherein the toilet seat and control system of the present invention is generally indicated at 10. The toilet seat 12 rests atop and is hinged to the back of a conventional bowl 14. Seat 12 and lid 16 are adapted to pivot on bowl 14 to be raised in the usual manner. The outer surface of the seat is fabricated from electrically insulated material for reasons as will be apparent. An electronic control mechanism 18 receives electric power from electric power source 21 via one or more electric cables bound in insulated sheath 19. Mechanism 18 employs conventional gears and linkages (not shown) to automatically lower the seat 12 into abutment with bowl 14 after a pre-determined timed period. A wall mounted control unit 20 interposes power source 21 and mechanism 18. Control unit 20 incorporates a timer 22, which timer is provided to pre-set the interval for the timed period. For example, timer 22 may be set to cover any period from zero up to ninety seconds. When the timer reaches zero, mechanism 18 will be activated to lower seat 12 until it abuts bowl 14. It should be recognized that the zero to ninety second interval is an example and that the interval may be more or less as desired.

[0021] As best seen in FIG. 2, seat 12 is fabricated with a hollow interior so as to house electric heating coils 24 and wiring therefore. Heating coils 24 also receive electric power via control unit 20 and cable sheath 19 An adjustment member 26 functions to control the amount of electric power supplied to heating coils 24 thereby allowing a user to easily adjust the surface temperature of the seat.

[0022] It is apparent that the system of the instant invention will function to ensure that the toilet seat is always returned to a lowered state after being raised. Further, because the seat can be adjustably heated, comfort for the user is assured in spite of cooler ambient temperatures.

[0023] It is to be understood that the present invention is not limited to the embodiment described above, but encompasses any and all embodiments within the scope of the following claims.