Title:
Portable Toilet Apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An apparatus for permitting portable installation and use of a toilet is disclosed. The apparatus is lightweight and transportable in an accompanying duffel bag. The apparatus provides privacy and protection from the elements as well as the presence of toilet facilities for receiving human waste in remote areas where permanent toilet facilities are lacking, such as beaches, parks, and the wilderness.



Inventors:
Land, Bobby (Nashville, NC, US)
Application Number:
11/752362
Publication Date:
10/25/2007
Filing Date:
05/23/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47K11/04
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
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20070209107Bathing support and entertainment apparatusSeptember, 2007Nassif
20080028508Emergency ToiletFebruary, 2008Ziegler et al.
20050235406Convection loop hot tub systemOctober, 2005August
20090094739SOAKING BASIN HAVING DISPOSABLE LINER AND SUPPORT FRAMEApril, 2009Vinokur et al.
20090151067CORNER PLATE FOR HOLDING A POOL LINERJune, 2009Mathis et al.
20080086809Overmolded hydrotherapy equipmentApril, 2008Wooten
20050241061Bathing bag for bedridden patientsNovember, 2005Copeland
20090044320Self-ventilating toiletFebruary, 2009Abunameh



Primary Examiner:
CRANE, LAUREN ASHLEY
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
JAY M. SCHLOFF (Aidenbaum Schloff and Bloom PLLC 6960 Orchard Lake Road Suite 250, West Bloomfield, MI, 48322, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A portable toilet apparatus comprising: a collapsible frame including a lower portion comprising four tubular sections that connect with each other to form a square base of the frame; a plurality of tubular sections that individually engage with a plurality of T-joints attached to the tubular sections of the lower portion of the frame, and which plurality of tubular sections extend upwardly therefrom; and an upper portion comprising four tubular sections that connect with each other to form the top of the frame and that individually engage with the tubular sections that extend upwardly from the lower portion; a openable door comprising a first and second tubular section, each of whose first end attaches to one of the frame's tubular sections extending upwardly from the base of the frame of the apparatus; each of which extends horizontally from the frame's tubular section to which each attaches; a tubular section that is attached to the second end of each of the horizontally-extending tubular sections; a hinge mechanism that connects the frame's tubular section to the tubular sections extending horizontally and that allows the tubular sections comprising the door to swing selectably away from the collapsible frame; and a handle a roof portion comprising an opaque cover that is disposed on top of the frame's upper portion; a medial support comprising an angled tubular section that attach to the midsection of apposite tubular sections of the upper portion and that engage the underside of the opaque cover; sheets of opaque material that removably attach to the collapsible frame; and a basin for collecting human waste.

2. The openable door of claim 1, wherein the hinge mechanism comprises two T-joints, each of which are disposed on a tubular section of the frame and each of which receives one end of the door's first and second tubular section, the T-joints being so disposed upon the tubular section of the frame so as to permit rotational movement of the T-joints about the tubular section.

3. The handle of the door of claim 1, wherein said handle comprises an L-shaped pivoting member and two non-pivoting members, said non-pivoting members having aligned holes capable of receiving one end of the pivoting member, said pivoting member including a hole on said end that is received by said non-pivoting member, said hole of said pivoting member capable of receiving a cotter pin to secure said pivoting member's reception by the non-pivoting members.

4. The first and second tubular sections of the door of claim 1, said tubular sections including a hook affixed thereto, said hooks being affixed at opposite respective of each tubular section, said hooks each capable of receiving and securing one end of a length of chain.

5. The sheets of opaque material of claim 1, one of said sheets including a vented section that permits the passage of air and gaseous matter therethough.

6. The basin of claim 1, wherein said basin comprises a bucket, a disposable bag, a seat and a lid wherein the disposable bag is removable inserted into the interior of the bucket to collect waste, the seat is mounted on the opening of the bucket with a bracket, and the lid is mounted onto the seat such that the mount is a hinge that permits the lid to open and close over the seat.

7. The basin of claim 6, wherein said basin includes a ground mounting means that permits the user to secure the basin to the ground on which the user positions the basin.

8. The basin of claim 6, wherein said ground mounting means comprise a plurality of L-shaped brackets attached to the base of the side wall of the basin that is adjacent to ground and a plurality of stakes, wherein said brackets are capable of receiving said stakes and said stakes are disposed through said brackets into the ground on which the basin is placed.

9. The sheets of claim 5, wherein said sheets include a series of fasteners disposed upon along at least one edge of each sheet wherein the user may wrap the edge with fasteners around the apparatus's tubular sections and close the fasteners such that the sheet is secured to at least a portion of the apparatus's frame.

10. The sheets of claim 5, wherein said fasteners comprise snap buttons.

11. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the apparatus includes a toilet paper holder disposed on the interior of the frame.

12. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the apparatus includes a flag-holder disposed upon the exterior of the frame of the apparatus.

13. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a bag that is capable of storing and transporting the component parts of the apparatus's frame, roof, and door.

14. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a plurality flanged stakes that may be driven into the ground adjacent to the base of the apparatus of the frame, wherein said flange of said stakes applies pressure on the base of the frame to secure the frame on the ground on which it the frame is positioned.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application is a continuation-in-part of, and entitled to the earlier filing date and priority of, co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/351,615 which is assigned to the same assignee as the current application entitled “BEACH JON,” which was filed on Feb. 11, 2006, the disclosure of which is incorporated by reference.

FIELD OF INVENTION

This invention relates to portable toilet facilities, and more specifically, to portable toilet facilities that are manipulable by an individual user such that the facilities may be erected and broken down by the individual user.

BACKGROUND

It is a natural human condition to expel waste, or, in colloquial terms, “use the restroom.” It is also usual human condition to travel from one's home, and, by extension, away from convenient restroom facilities. For instance, when one visits a campground, park, or beach, there may not be readily-accessible restroom facilities on such a site. When one finds space to set up his or her chair or towel at a crowded beach, that space may be a significant distance from the nearest restroom facility such that a walk thereto is tiring and otherwise inconvenient. Also, when one ventures into the wilderness or a national park, for example, while fishing a river or an oceanfront, there will often be no restroom facilities provided other than at the park entrance or ranger station. The fisherman will inevitably face the difficult decision of leaving the fishing spot and returning to the distant facilities to relieve himself or of polluting the environment by going to the bathroom in the wilderness area.

Therefore, having a proximate restroom facility is a desirable condition for campers, park visitors, outdoorsmen, and beachgoers. Certain attempts in the prior art have been made to address this need.

U.S. Pat. No. 7,200,878 to Payne discloses a collapsible portable toilet with a chair frame including a built-in foldable seat with a hole, a disposable absorbent fragrant flexible refuse bag extending through the hole in the seat and draped around the seat, the refuse bag attached to an underside of the seat, a roof support frame and a bag removably attached to a top of the roof with curtain material draped around the roof for privacy. The chair frame contemplated by the '878 presents a risk that the toilet apparatus might collapse during use, which could result in undesirable unsanitary conditions for the user.

U.S. Pat. No. 7,185,375 to Movsas discloses a collapsible portable toilet apparatus with a privacy screen. The '375 patent contemplates a folding chair with a platform and an opening therein containing a removable receptacle. Telescoping poles attached to the back of the chair and a collapsible planar frame attached to the top of the poles provide support for a foldable canopy and privacy screen. The folding chair in the '375 patent requires an additional step in setting up and collapsing the portable toilet device.

U.S. Pat. No. 7,103,926 to Rasberry shows a portable latrine with an annular seat with an opening formed therein and a lip formed with a perimeter of the opening that extends downwardly and orthogonally from a seat top surface. A biodegradable sack has an elastic open top end for fitting beneath the seat opening.

U.S. Pat. No. 7,020,909 to Ciotic discloses a portable self-contained vented commode with a frame, a pivoting toilet seat, and an aligned removable collection container capable of being dumped post receipt of human waste, which container is disposed beneath the toilet seat. A flexible hose with a DC powered fan thereon is attached to the frame for collection of vapors from the container and the disposal thereof, by creating a positive pressure to expel the vapors to a distant location relative to the frame, through a vent. The '909 patent presents an undesirable level of complexity in incorporating the use of electric or battery power.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,694,538 to Jones shows a portable toilet enclosure assembly with a base assembly including a support base, wheels upon which the support base is mounted; a height adjustable pole assembly being mounted upon the support base; and a curtain rod and curtain support assembly attached thereto. Notably, the '538 patent is not self-contained, rather, it attaches to and encloses an existing toilet.

Accordingly, there remains a need for an easily portable toilet capable of being erected and disassembled with relative ease, providing a space where a user may relieve him or herself in comfort and privacy, while at the same time avoiding the complexities of configuration, manufacturing and assembly to provide an easy-to-use and inexpensive device.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In view of the foregoing disadvantages inherent in the prior art, the general purpose of the present invention is to provide a portable toilet configured to include all the advantages of the prior art, and to overcome the drawbacks of the prior art.

An object of the present invention is to provide a portable toilet that can be used in outdoor locations, such as a beach. The portable toilet of the present invention is lightweight and easy to assemble and disassemble, is low in cost and is effective in solving the problem of having a readily available toilet.

Another objective of the present invention is to provide a set of frames which can be assembled to become a temporary toilet. After assembly, a cloth cover is then used to cover the assembled frame. This will not only maintain personal privacy, but also provide a private environment and shield the user from wind, rain, and other external elements.

Still another objective of the present invention is to provide a portable toilet which, when not in use, can be easily disassembled and stored in a bag or trunk of a vehicle.

Another objective of the present invention is to provide a means of collecting human waste and ready disposal of such waste. The basin portion of the invention bowl is designed includes a removable waste bag that collects waste and allows the user to quickly and cleanly dispose of such collected waste.

According to the present invention, the foregoing and other objectives and advantages are attained by the portable toilet of the present invention comprising a base which includes tubular members connected to form a square. A bowl having a seat, a lid, and a disposable bag is also part of the portable toilet. The seat is situated upon a circular bucket, which bucket supports the seat and receives the disposable bag. The lid is attached to a side of the seat that is opposite the door of the present invention. The lid attaches such that it operates swingably to permit open and closed positions over the seat and bucket.

Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following description of the invention which refers to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The advantages and features of the present invention will become better understood with reference to the following detailed description and claims taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein like elements are identified with like symbols, and in which:

FIG. 1A shows a T-joint, FIG. 1B shows a base pole, and FIG. 1C shows a door jamb pole, according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 shows an included tote bag, according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 shows the constructed support frame of the present invention in the assembled state, according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the present invention toilet with opaque fabric covering attached to the support frame, according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 shows the assembled form of the component parts of a door, according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6A shows a disposable waste-collection bag, in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 6B shows a bucket with a seat and lid attached thereto, according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 6C shows another perspective view of the bucket with the lid in the closed position, according to an embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 6D shows a bracket that secures the seat and the lid to the bucket, in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7 shows the component parts of the door handle, according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIGS. 8A and 8B are perspective views of the door handle, according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 9 shows the plurality of base poles joined together by elbow joints to form a base of the frame in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 9 also shows a roof pole with attached elbow joints and two sets of two attached T-joints, each set of T-joints capable of receiving a flag pole, according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 9 also shows a toilet paper holder in connection with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 10 shows a stake that may secure the frame, in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 11 is another perspective view of the stake.

FIG. 12A shows a base pole received by a T-junction, in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 12B shows an angled roof pole in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 13A depicts a series of fasteners for securing opaque fabric sheets that comprise the opaque walls of the portable toilet invention, in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 14 shows a view of the vertical pole and T-joints upon which the door (not shown) hinges, in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 14 also shows a toilet paper holder attached to the vertical pole, in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. Also disclosed in FIG. 14 is a pin and a hole capable of accepting such pin to secure a T-joint, in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

Like reference numerals refer to like parts throughout the description of several views of the drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

For a thorough understanding of the present disclosure, refer to the following detailed description, including the appended claims, in connection with the above-described drawings. Although the present disclosure is described in connection with exemplary embodiments, the disclosure is not intended to be limited to the specific forms set forth herein. It is understood that various omissions and substitutions of equivalents are contemplated as circumstances may suggest or render expedient, but these are intended to cover the application or implementation without departing from the spirit or scope of the claims of the present disclosure. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology used herein is for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.

The terms “first,” “second,” and the like, herein do not denote any order, quantity, or importance, but rather are used to distinguish one element from another, and the terms “a” and “an” herein do not denote a limitation of quantity, but rather denote the presence of at least one of the referenced item.

In accordance with the present invention, a portable toilet is provided. The portable toilet includes a frame comprising a square-shaped base, a plurality of vertical poles affixed at their first end to each corner of said base, a roof portion that is attached at each corner thereof to the second end of each of the vertical poles. The invention further comprises an openable door that attaches to and hinges upon one of the vertical posts, and a breathable and opaque fabric covering attached to the vertical poles and roof portion. The portable toilet also comprises a bucket disposed inside the area bounded by the base and vertical poles, said bucket capable of receiving human waste. The bucket includes a seat and a lid that cover the open top of the bucket. The internal area bounded by the base and vertical poles also includes an attachable arm on one of the poles that may be used to store a roll of toilet paper.

In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the components used to form the frame comprise polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plumbing pipe and plumbing fittings. In another embodiment, the frame components comprise acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) plumbing pipe and plumbing fittings. The plumbing fittings may attach to and secure the pipe pieces in the desired configuration via compression by a fitting onto a pipe piece, or by compression by a pipe piece onto a fitting.

In one embodiment of the present disclosure, a flag pole holder may be attached to one of the vertical poles such that the user may insert a pole to which a flag is mounted.

The present invention is collapsible and the component parts thereof easily fit into and are transportable in an included duffel bag.

Referring now to the attached figures, FIG. 1A shows a T-joint 10 that is capable of receiving a first end of a vertical pole (not shown) in its central input and is capable of receiving a base pole 20 in each of its end inputs. FIG. 1B shows the base pole 20. FIG. 1C shows a doorjamb pole 110. A hook 112 on the doorjamb pole 110 permits the user to secure a water pouch (not shown) or shower bag (not shown) thereto.

FIG. 2 shows an included tote bag 300 that is capable of storing and transporting the various component parts of the present invention.

Referring to FIG. 3, the constructed form of the frame of the present invention is disclosed. The constructed frame comprises the plurality of base poles 20 joined together by elbow joints 30 to form a base 40. Joined to each base pole 20 is a cross fitting 50, each of which cross fitting receives a vertical pole 60 that extends upwardly from the base. Affixed to the upper end of each vertical pole 60 is the central input of a T-joint 70a. The end inputs of the T-joint 70a receive a roof pole 80. Attached on each end of each roof pole 80 is an elbow joint 90a. The elbow joints 90a attached to each end of each roof pole 80 are such that a square top 100 is formed. The square frame is of the identical dimensions as the base 40.

Referring again to FIG. 3., two roof poles 80 lying in parallel are each fitted with a T-joint 70b such that the roof poles run through the end inputs thereof. The central inputs of the T-joint 70b are aligned inwardly with respect to the square formed by the roof poles 80 such that an angled roof support pole 110 is disposed and received by the central inputs of the T-joints 70b. The angled roof support pole 110 is disposed and received by the T-joints 70b such that the pole 110 rises from the roof poles 80 to form a peak at its midpoint. In one embodiment of the present invention, the angle of the angled roof support pole 110 is 22.5 degrees.

Referring further to FIG. 3., two T-joints 70c are attached to at least one of the vertical poles 60, and each T-joint receives therein a complementary T-joint 70d such that a flag pole (not shown) may be inserted into and secured by the T-joints 70d. In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the T-joints 70c are separated by no more than 12 inches such that each corresponding T-joint 70d receives a flagpole.

On another vertical pole 60 FIG. 3 shows two T-joints 70e disposed at opposite ends of the pole 60. Each T-joint 70e receives one end of a door jamb pole 120, and the other end of each door jamb pole 120 accordingly receives an elbow joint 90b. The other ends of the elbow joints 90b are aligned to face each other such that they receive and secure opposite ends of a door edge pole 130. The door jamb poles 120 and door edge pole 130 are moveable in concert and hinge openably upon the corresponding vertical pole 80 to which the door jamb poles 120 attach such that a door is formed. The door jamb poles 120 further include a fastening hook 125 to which a door support 140 is affixed to each pole 120. In one embodiment of the present invention, the door support 140 comprises a chain. A handle (not shown) removably attaches to the door edge pole 130 to allow the user to open and shut the formed door.

Referring now to FIG. 4, the portable toilet with opaque fabric covering attached to the support frame is shown.

FIG. 5, shows a detailed depiction of the door comprising T-joints 70e, the door jamb poles 120, the elbow joints 90b, the door edge pole 130, and door support 140. A handle 150 removably attaches to the door edge pole 130 to facilitate opening and closing of the door. In one embodiment, the handle 150 is a metal clamp that secures to the door edge pole by means of bolts. Refer to FIG. 7, FIG. 8A, and FIG. 8B for a detailed view of the structure of the door handle 150, wherein the handle 150 comprises a grip 152 and clamps 154. The grip 152 attaches to the claims 154 and is secured by a cotter pin 156.

FIG. 6A shows the disposable bag 160 that is inserted into the bucket. FIG. 6B shows the bucket 170 with the seat 180 and lid 190 attached thereto. The lid 190 is attached to the seat 180 with a hinge 182 that permits the user to open and close the lid as desired. FIG. 6B also shows L-shaped mounting brackets 172 disposed on the base of the bucket, which may receive staking pins 174 to secure the bucket to the ground in the event that the ground on which the user has placed the bucket is not level or solid. FIG. 6C is another perspective view of the bucket 170 with the lid 190 in the closed position. FIG. 6D shows the bracket 182 that secures the seat 180 and the lid 190 to the bucket 160.

FIG. 7 shows the component parts of the door handle 150. The handle 150 includes pivoting member 152 and non-pivoting members 154. The pivoting member is in the form of an “L.” One extension of the pivoting member 152 is disposed through matching receiving holes of the non-pivoting members and is secured to the non-pivoting members with a cotter pin 156.

FIG. 8A is perspective of the handle 150 in a closed position, wherein the pivoting member 152 of the handle 150 is aligned with the non-pivoting member 154 of the handle 150. When the two members of the handle are so aligned, the pivoting member 152 flanks the vertical pole 60 that mates with the door edge pole 130 and secures the door in a closed position. The handle 150 attaches to the door edge pole 130 by aligning the non-pivoting member 154 with the door edge pole 130 and fastening the non-pivoting member 154 to the door edge pole 130 with sheet metal screws (not shown) passed through the screw holes 156 of the non-pivoting member 154. FIG. 8B is another perspective of the handle 150.

FIG. 9 shows the plurality of base poles 20 joined together by elbow joints 30 to form a base 40. Joined to each base pole 20 is a cross fitting 50, each of which fitting receives a vertical pole 60 that extends upwardly from the base. FIG. 9 also shows a roof pole 80 with attached elbow joints 82 that permit attachment of the roof pole 80 to the vertical poles 60. FIG. 9 shows further two sets of two attached T-joints 70c and 70d, each set of T-joints capable of receiving a flag pole (not shown). The T-joints 70c and 70d may, in one embodiment of the present invention, be attached and secured with glue or other similar adhesive material. FIG. 9 also discloses a toilet paper holder 270 that comprises a T-joint 272, and elbow joint 274, and a longitudinal length of pipe 276. The T-joint 272 is received by a vertical pole 60 (not shown) and is oriented toward the interior of the portable toilet apparatus. The elbow joint 274 attaches to the T-joint 272 and is oriented upward. The length of pipe 276 is received by the elbow joint 274 such that a user can place a standard roll of toilet paper onto the length of pipe 276. In one embodiment of the present invention, the T-joint 272 is glued to the vertical pole.

FIG. 10 shows a stake 200 that may be driven into the surface on which the user erects the frame. The stake 200 includes a flange 210 that overlaps the base pole 20 such that the stake secures the base pole 20. FIG. 11 is another perspective of the stake 200.

FIG. 12A shows a base pole 20 received by a T-junction 10. FIG. 12B shows the angled roof pole 110.

FIG. 13A depicts a series of fasteners 210 that includes buttons 220 for securing opaque fabric sheets that comprise the opaque walls of the portable toilet invention. In one embodiment of the present invention, the opaque walls are canvas material. In one embodiment, the fasteners 210 are disposed on the edges of the fabric sheet. The edge of the sheet is wrapped around the vertical poles 60 and back onto itself so that the buttons can snap. In this way, the user may attach an appropriately-sized piece of fabric (featuring corresponding buttons) to cover an area defined by two vertical poles 60, a base pole 20, and a roof pole 80. FIG. 4 shows the present invention with such fabric sheets secured and attached to form opaque walls 240 and an opaque roof 250. Preferably, one vertical wall 240 will include a vented portion 260 to permit air and odors to escape from the interior of the enclosed frame.

FIG. 14 shows a another view the vertical pole 60 and T-joints 70e upon which the door (not shown) hinges. FIG. 14 also shows a toilet paper holder 270 attached to the vertical pole 60. Also disclosed in FIG. 14 is a pin 280 and a hole 290 capable of accepting such pin to secure the upper T-joint 70e.

The foregoing descriptions of specific embodiments of the present disclosure have been presented for purposes of illustration and description. They are not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the disclosure to the precise forms disclosed, and obviously many modifications and variations are possible in light of the above teaching. The embodiments were chosen and described in order to best explain the principles of the disclosure and its practical application, to thereby enable others skilled in the art to best utilize the disclosure and various embodiments with various modifications as are suited to the particular use contemplated. It is understood that various omission and substitutions of equivalents are contemplated as circumstance may suggest or render expedient, but such are intended to cover the application or implementation without departing from the spirit or scope of the claims of the present disclosure.





 
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