Title:
Non-wobbling toilet seat
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A retainer system and method of preventing lateral movement of a toilet seat in relation to a toilet bowl are disclosed. A retainer article having a base portion and an extender portion extending from the base portion is fastened to the underside of a toilet seat with a set of hook and loop fabric fastener materials comprising a hook piece and a loop piece.



Inventors:
Roblejo, Conrad (Marlton, NJ, US)
Application Number:
11/274000
Publication Date:
05/17/2007
Filing Date:
11/15/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E03D9/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PHILLIPS, CHARLES E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Cozen, O'connor P. C. (1900 MARKET STREET, PHILADELPHIA, PA, 19103-3508, US)
Claims:
1. A retainer system for the prevention of lateral slippage between a toilet seat having an underside and an underlying toilet bowl rim having a top, an inside edge, and an outside edge, the retainer system comprising: an article having a base portion and an extender portion extending from the base portion; and a set of hook and loop fabric fastener materials comprising a hook piece and a loop piece, the hook material adapted to removably adhere to the loop material; the hook piece or the loop piece being adhered to the base portion of the article and the other piece adapted to be adhered to the underside of a toilet seat.

2. The retainer system of claim 1 wherein the other piece comprises material having adhesive on one side and a release sheet disposed thereover.

3. A toilet seat having an underside having a lateral movement retainer article having a base portion and an extender portion extending from the base portion fastened to the underside of the toilet seat with a set of hook and loop fabric fastener materials comprising a hoop piece and a loop piece, one of the pieces being substantially permanently adhered to the underside and the other of the pieces being substantially adhered to the base portion of the lateral movement retainer article, the hook piece and the loop piece being removably fastened to each other.

4. The toilet seat of claim 3 wherein the extender portion of the lateral movement retainer article is positioned so that when the toilet seat is down and resting on an underlying toilet bowl rim, lateral movement of the seat in relation to the rim is substantially prevented.

5. The toilet seat of claim 3 wherein the extender portion is formed of an elastomer material.

6. A method of preventing lateral movement between a toilet seat and a toilet bowl wherein the toilet seat has an underside and the toilet bowl has an upper rim having an inside and an outside comprising fastening a retainer having a base portion and an extender portion to the underside of the seat by adhering one piece of a set of a hook fastener material and a loop fastener material to the base portion of the retainer and the other piece of the set to the underside of the toilet seat, positioning the retainer so that the extender portion will engage the inside or outside of the upper rim, pressing the hook fastener material and the loop fastener material together so that the retainer will face into the bowl when the toilet seat is closed and will prevent lateral movement of the seat in relation to the bowl.

7. A device for stabilizing a toilet seat in its desired position atop a toilet bowl, comprising at least one restraining means connectable to the bottom of the toilet seat for preventing lateral movement of the toilet seat relative to the toilet bowl, wherein the restraining means extends downward into the toilet bowl so as to rest immediately adjacent to an upper inside rim of the toilet bowl when the toilet seat is in its lowered position and further comprising a tapered portion on the restraining means to guide the toilet seat onto the toilet bowl, a substantially level portion connectable by means of a set of hoop and loop fastener material pieces to the bottom of the toilet seat to support the toilet seat and to connect the toilet bowl while separating the toilet seat from the toilet bowl when the seat is in the lowered position, and an edge portion located between the tapered portion and the level portion that is substantially perpendicular to the level portion and that is substantially parallel to the inside edge of the toilet bowl when the seat is in the lowered position, to stabilize the toilet seat by preventing lateral movement.

8. The device of claim 7 further comprising a toilet seat wherein the device is connected to the toilet seat.

9. The device of claim 8, wherein at least two devices are positioned on opposite sides of the toilet seat at a distance allowing for a secure fit to the toilet seat.

10. The device of claim 7, wherein the tapered configuration is at an angle of between 15 and 75 degrees to the toilet seat bottom when connected.

11. The device of claim 7, wherein the tapered configuration is at an angle of between 30 and 60 degrees to the toilet seat bottom when connected.

12. The device of claim 7, wherein the tapered configuration is at about a 45 degree angle.

13. The device of claim 7, wherein the level portion is between 0.75 and 2.25 inches.

14. The device of claim 7, wherein the level portion is between 1 and 2 inches.

15. The device of claim 7, wherein the level portion is 1.5 inches.

16. The device of claim 7, wherein the edge parallel to the inside edge of the toilet bowl is between 0.1 and 0.6 inches long.

17. The device of claim 7, wherein the edge parallel to the inside edge of the toilet bowl is about 0.4 inches long.

18. The device of claim 7, wherein the width of the substantially level portion is between 0.2 and 0.6 inches.

19. The device of claim 7, wherein the width of the substantially level portion is about 0.4 inches.

20. A toilet seat having a top on which a person can sit, a generally horizontal bottom, an inside edge, an outside edge, and integral means for preventing lateral movement with respect to a toilet bowl when the seat is in a down position on top of the toilet bowl, the means comprising an integral extender portion extending generally perpendicularly from the bottom at either the inside edge of the outside edge; the toilet seat having an underside and the integral means having a base portion adhered to the underside of the toilet by means of a set of hook and loop fabric fastener materials comprising a hook piece and a loop piece, the hook material adapted to removably adhere to the loop material; the hook piece or the loop piece being adhered to the base portion of the integral means and the other piece adhered to the underside of a toilet seat.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to hinged toilet seats, and the lateral retaining of the seat on the underlying toilet bowl rim when in the seat is in a lowered position. The invention relates in particular to methods and means for fastening such retainers to the undersides of toilet seats.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Conventional toilet seats have plastic or metal hinges and fittings to a porcelain toilet bowl which, over time and due to use, become loose and allow the seat to wobble laterally when the weight of a person is applied on the seat.

This inevitable wobble or play in the attachment between the seat hinge brackets and the bowl is very annoying to people who use the seat, and in some cases can be dangerous and cause the person to fall or lose their balance.

The brackets, fittings and fasteners are usually formed of plastic and cannot be sufficiently tightened to avoid the wobble problem. Attempting such tightening often leads to stripping of the threads or other damage to the plastic fittings.

Conventional bumpers installed upon the bottom of a toilet seat serve to prevent the marring of the underlying bowl rim, but nothing to prevent the lateral wobble of the seat relative to the rim. In fact, the relatively small bumpers may even encourage such slippage or play, due to their relative height in combination with the possibly sloped and/or curved low friction surface of the bowl rim.

Toilet seats generally tend to align properly with bowl rims when no pressure is placed upon them, but when a person places weight upon the seat or lid, the seat bumpers often shift laterally on the bowl rim and the seat often shifts laterally so and drop down to rest directly upon the bowl rim. While the result may be annoying to some persons, others such as the elderly or infirm using such a toilet may be startled to the point of losing their balance and slipping from the seat, thus possibly risking serious injury.

In the prior art, retainers either integral with or installed to the bottom surface of a toilet seat have been described, the retainers preventing lateral movement of the seat relative to the bowl rim. The retainers grip the inner and possibly also the outer edges of the bowl rim, and provide some angular resilience in order to accommodate bowl rims having different slopes.

Moore, U.S. Pat. No. 2,104,714, discloses a toilet seat having two laterally spaced apart halves, with adjustable spacing therebetween. The bumpers beneath the seat halves are also adjustable and each include a single depending extension to catch the outer edge of the rim, but the bumpers must be manually adjusted with a tool (e.g., screwdriver) each time the spacing between the seat halves is adjusted.

McCawley, U.S. Pat. No. 3,646,620, discloses a toilet seat guide, two of which are immovably affixed to opposite sides of the seat bottom.

Adams, U.S. Pat. No. 4,747,167, discloses a non-shiftable toilet seat assembly in which the bumpers are immovably affixed to the seat bottom

Wofford, U.S. Pat. No. 4,893,360, discloses an apparatus for positioning a seat on the rim of a toilet bowl which requires at least two mating retainers to be immovably affixed to both the bowl rim and seat bottom

Caldwell, U.S. Pat. No. 5,212,840, discloses a stabilizing toilet seat guide which includes specific angles and dimensions for the depending retaining portion.

Armanno, Sr., U.S. Pat. No. 5,361,425, discloses retainers having a resilient intermediate portion which allows the depending retainer portions and member from which they depend to arcuately rock to accommodate uneven bowl rims.

All of the prior art retainers and retaining systems are difficult to install and adjust. Due to the difficulty of installing such prior art devices, it is believed that they have not become widely available commercially.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide anti-wobble toilet seat retaining systems which are extremely easy to install and adjust. It is another object of this invention to provide toilet seats which have strong, easily adjustable, anti-wobble retainers.

These objects and others which will become apparent from the following disclosure are achieved by the present invention which comprises in one aspect a toilet seat having integral anti-wobble means for prevention of lateral slippage of a toilet seat when placed in its normal, horizontal position on a toilet bowel, during normal use when a person sits on the toilet seat.

A different aspect of the invention is a system for the prevention of lateral slippage of a toilet seat comprising a retainer comprising a base portion which comprises a seat bottom contact surface and an extender portion which functions to extend against the side of the upper portion of the bowl so as to prevent lateral movement of the seat relative to the bowl, and hook and loop material for removably securing the contact surface against the bottom surface of a toilet seat. Either the hook material is adhered to the bottom of the seat and the loop material is adhered to the top of the retainer, or vice versa.

Another aspect of the invention is a toilet seat system comprising at least one retainer attached with hook and loop material so that the retainer can be removed and replaced, and can be easily adjusted to different positions. The retainer is positioned so that the extender just touches the inside of the bowl when the seat is down. In some embodiments, the retainer can touch the outside of the bowl, or with a U-shaped retainer, the retainer can touch both the inside and outside of the top rim of the bowl.

The use of hook and loop mating tape allows the one or more retainers to be very easily installed and adjusted, and also easily removed for cleaning or other purposes.

The invention consists in the novel combination and arrangement of parts hereinafter more fully described, illustrated and claimed with reference being made to the attached drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a cross-sectional view of a retainer according to the invention.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a toilet, illustrating a toilet seat according to the invention having two retainers adhered thereon, and in addition a toilet bowl, a toilet tank which are not part of the invention.

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of a toilet seat with loop tape adhered thereto.

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of a toilet seat having an integral anti-wobble downward extension, illustrated on top of a toilet bowl rim and bowl shown in phantom.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring now to the drawings wherein similar reference characters denote corresponding features consistently throughout the several figures of the drawings, FIG. 1 illustrates a retainer 14 having a base portion 16 and an extender portion 15. The extender portion 15 or the entire retainer 14 may be elastomeric material such as Nylon, rubber, and the like. On the side of the base portion 16 which will mate with the bottom of a toilet seat 13 as illustrated in FIG. 2 is the hook piece of a set of Velcro® tape, with the hook fabric 18 adhered with contact adhesive 17.

FIG. 3 illustrates a cross-section of a toilet seat 13 with a top 12, bottom 11, and a piece of Velcro® fabric having adhesive 21 and loop portion 10.

FIG. 2 shows a toilet system having a conventional bowl rim 19, conventional brackets 20, and a toilet seat 13. On the underside of the toilet seat 13 are two retainers 14, each having a base portion 16 and an extender portion 15. The retainers are fastened by means of Velcro®, with the hook fabric fastener material 18 on either the bottom of the retainer as shown in FIG. 1 and the loop fabric fastener material 10 on the bottom of the toilet seat as shown in FIG. 3, or vice versa.

As shown in FIG. 2, the retainers are in a position to engage the inner side of the upper edge of the rim 19 of the toilet bowl when the seat is lowered to a horizontal position. A unique feature of the present invention is that the retainers can be easily removed and adjusted so that the extender portion is approximately flush with the inside of the top of the rim of the bowl 19 due to the remove and replace feature of Velcro® fastening systems.

Although one retainer can be used in cases where the retainer has a U-shaped configuration (not illustrated), it is preferred to have two retainers, one on each side of the toilet seat to mate with insides of the left side and right side of the upper side of a toilet bowl. The extender is preferably of a tapered configuration. An angle of between 15 and 75 degrees to the toilet seat bottom when connected is preferred, and an angle of 30 to 60 degrees to the toilet seat bottom is more preferred. In some embodiments, an angle of 45 degrees is very suitable.

The base or level portion can be of any length not exceeding the radial width of the bottom of a toilet seat, with a length of between 0.75 and 2.25 inches being preferred, a length of between 1 and 2 inches more preferred, and a length of 1.5 inches most preferred. The edge parallel to the inside edge of the toilet bowl is preferably between 0.1 and 0.6 inches long.

While others have proposed similar retainer systems to prevent lateral movement of toilet seats on toilet bowl rims, a common problem due to the design of the hinges 20, no one has previously proposed a fastening system which has the advantages of the present invention with respect to adjustability and removability for cleaning. Other systems were permanently adhered, typically with screws or adhesive, and as a result have not become widely available commercially.

Referring now to FIG. 4, an embodiment of a toilet seat with integral anti-wobbling means is illustrated. Rather than providing an aftermarket retainer system which is adhered to the bottom of a toilet seat, the toilet seat can be manufactured with an extender 25 at two or more locations along the inside circumference or opening of a toilet seat 22. At least two extenders 25 are required, or the extender can be continuous, thereby extending down into the bowl 26 (shown in phantom) either around the entire toilet seat. Some toilet seats have an oval opening, some have a round opening, and some are U-Shaped. The molded in extenders are usually formed at the factory when the toilet seat is made, rather than being a separate item which must be attached by the consumer.

When the toilet seat 22 is in the down position, with customary bumpers 23 resting on top 19 of the bowl 26, the novel extender portions 25 optionally touch the inside of the toilet bowl 26. Alternatively a slight space, for example 0.10 to 0.30 inch, is provide between the extender portions 25 and the vertical edge of the top of the toilet bowl.

The integral extender portions can alternatively be on the outside of the toilet seat 22 so as to engage the outside 24 of bowl 26 when in the down position (not illustrated). When the extender is on the outside toilet seat, it can not extend for the entire outer circumference of the toilet seat because the back portion of the top surface of a normal, typical bowl extends backwards.

A toilet seat 22 having built in extender portions 25 made of the same material as the main portion of the toilet seat has many advantages. If the seat is made of wood or plastic, it can be made in one piece. However, the seat must be made with the extender portions the factory during original manufacture rather than being an aftermarket item to be added or installed by the consumer.

While the invention has been described and illustrated with respect to one embodiment, other embodiments, alternatives, and modifications should become readily apparent to those skilled in this art without departing from the spirit and scope of this invention.