Title:
Collapsible outdoor shower assembly
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A collapsible shower device is disclosed that has an upper hoop affixed to a structure such as a wall and a lower hoop also affixed to the structure at a pivot point, and a privacy screen attached to both the lower hoop and the upper hoop in which the lower hoop is moveable from a lowered position to a raised position by rotation about the pivot point. The invention thus presents a collapsible shower assembly or privacy screen assembly that is space saving and weather resistant, but also presents an aesthetically pleasing experience.



Inventors:
Florig, William (Norristown, PA, US)
Application Number:
11/446636
Publication Date:
12/06/2007
Filing Date:
06/05/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47H23/01
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MITCHELL, KATHERINE W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WILLIAM FLORIG (2002 BYRD DRIVE, NORRISTOWN, PA, 19403, US)
Claims:
1. A privacy screen assembly comprising: an upper hoop affixed to a structure a lower hoop affixed to the structure at a pivot point; and a privacy screen attached to both the lower hoop and the upper hoop, whereby the lower hoop is moveable from a lowered position to a raised position by rotation about the pivot point.

2. The privacy screen assembly of claim 1 wherein the lower hoop comprises a locking mechanism.

3. The privacy screen assembly of claim 1 wherein the lower hoop locks in a first position that is substantially vertical and a second position that is substantially horizontal.

4. The privacy screen assembly of claim 3 wherein the lower hoop locks in a third position wherein a portion of the hoop is touching the ground.

5. The privacy screen assembly of claim 1 wherein the upper hoop is attached to an upper support rod.

6. The privacy screen assembly of claim 1 wherein the upper and lower support hoops are comprised of stainless steel.

7. The privacy screen assembly of claim 1 wherein the privacy screen is comprised of a woven fabric.

8. The privacy screen assembly of claim 1 wherein the privacy screen is comprised of a plastic material.

9. The privacy screen assembly of claim 1 wherein the upper and lower hoops are detachably affixed to a wall.

10. The privacy screen assembly of claim 9 further comprising one or more wall brackets.

11. A shower device comprising: an upper hoop affixed to a structure a lower hoop affixed to the structure at a pivot point; and a privacy screen attached to both the lower hoop and the upper hoop, whereby the lower hoop is moveable from a lowered position to a raised position by rotation about the pivot point.

Description:
The present invention relates to shower apparatus and more particularly relates to shower apparatus for use outdoors.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Outdoor showers are useful devices for numerous reasons. In particular, an outdoor shower is often used after visiting a beach to remove sand and salt from clothing and body. They also may be used prior to or after use of a swimming pool, hot tub or sauna. Outdoor showers are also used to cool down and clean off after exercise, running, or performing outdoor work. However, known showers that are located at the pool or the beach are typically permanent structures that are attached by pipes to a water source or supply. Additionally, such showers are typically utilitarian in nature and generally lack visual appeal. Although these showers are useful, they are not aesthetically pleasing, are not movable, and require ongoing maintenance. Further, during cold weather need to be disconnected to prevent freezing of the pipes.

Portable showers for uses such as camping or similar temporary installations are known. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,790,992—Ray and U.S. Pat. No. 5,970,536—Suarez both disclose typical outdoor shower structures that have a rigid frame covered with fabric to create an enclosure. Alternatives to the frame-and-cover style of shower are also known, such as U.S. Pat. No. 5,311,620—Ratje, which discloses a portable outdoor shower that is an inflatable structure with a top and a bottom tube and sections of material connecting the tubes to create a privacy screen. U.S. Pat. No. 5,216,763—Grenier discloses a collapsible shower that consists of a series of rigid wire rings that are connected by a fabric tube that can be raised from the ground to create an enclosure. However, these shower systems are meant to be completely portable and are generally made of lightweight materials that cannot withstand months or years of continuous exposure to the elements.

A space-saving interior shower that collapses into a wall panel is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,315,721—Okun. In the disclosed design, a metal ring is mounted to a wall and a conventional shower curtain hangs from the ring. A collapsible floor enclosure is provided for retaining water and directing water into a drain.

The present invention is designed to obviate and overcome many of the disadvantages and shortcomings associated with present showers. In particular, the present invention is a combination simulated palm tree and shower device that may be easily constructed and installed at various locations. Moreover, the combination simulated palm tree and shower device of the present invention is durable and can withstand prolonged exposure to the weather if installed outside and is easy to handle and move from an outside location for storage.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The shortcomings of the prior art are remedied by providing a privacy screen assembly comprising an upper hoop affixed to a structure and a lower hoop affixed to the structure at a pivot point along with a privacy screen attached to both the lower hoop and the upper hoop, so that the lower hoop is moveable from a lowered position to a raised position by rotation about the pivot point. Preferably, the lower hoop comprises a locking mechanism and most preferably the lower hoop locks in a first position that is substantially vertical and a second position that is substantially horizontal. In certain embodiments the lower hoop locks in a third position wherein a portion of the hoop is touching the ground. The upper hoop can be attached to an upper support rod and it is preferred that the upper and lower support hoops are comprised of stainless steel. The privacy screen or curtain can be made of a woven fabric or of a plastic material. In preferred embodiments, the upper and lower hoops are detachably affixed to a wall, most preferably using one or more wall brackets.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an isometric view of a shower assembly made in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an isometric view of a shower assembly made in accordance with the present invention similar to FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an isometric view of a mounting bracket;

FIG. 4 is a plan view of a preferred embodiment of a curtain for use in the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view, similar to FIG. 1 showing the shower assembly in a stored position;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view, similar to FIG. 5 showing the shower assembly being readied for use; and

FIG. 7 a perspective view, similar to FIG. 5 showing the shower assembly just prior to beginning use.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring now to FIG. 1, an isometric view of a shower assembly 100 made in accordance with the present invention is illustrated. The shower assembly comprises a lower hoop 102 and an upper hoop 104. A curtain or flexible privacy screen 110 extends between the two hoops 102,104. Each of the hoops 102,104 are firmly mounted to a wall 50 or the like, preferably using brackets that permit the entire assembly 100 to be detached, as explained in further detail below. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, an additional upper support rod 105 connects the mid-point of the upper hoop 104 to the wall 50 for added stability. A shower head 52 and drain are also illustrated, although these items are typically installed and existing, moreover the shower assembly 100 is also useful as a cabana screen or wherever a privacy enclosure is desirable either for personal privacy or to hide a piece of equipment or for other aesthetic reasons.

Referring now to FIG. 2, additional aspects of the present invention are illustrated. FIG. 2 is similar to FIG. 1 except that the curtain 110 is folded to either side and the lower hoop 104 is folded in the stored position. As explained in further detail below, the lower hoop 104 is secured to the wall 50 by hinged or pivot brackets 114 that permit the lower hoop 104 to rotate between a number of positions and in certain preferred embodiments, lock in one or more of those positions. As illustrated below, the ability of the lower hoop to move from the position shown in FIG. 1 to that which is shown in FIG. 2 allows the present invention to be usefully installed in locations where space does not permit a permanent shower structure to be erected, such as in a narrow breezeway between homes or any locale where space is a premium. As illustrated in FIG. 2, in this position, passersby can walk beneath the upper hoop 102 and not trip over or need to avoid the lower hoop 104. Additionally, by folding the curtain 120 as shown it is protected from fading and deterioration from exposure to the elements.

Details of preferred mounting plates 108 for mounting the shower assembly 100 illustrated in FIGS. 1-2 is shown in FIG. 3. In these preferred embodiments, a keyhole 109 is provided that permits the free ends of the hoops 102, 104 to be inserted and locked in place without tools. However, the hoops 102,104 can be readily removed whenever the shower assembly 100 is to be disassembled for cleaning, maintenance, storage or replacement. It will be readily understood that a wide variety of mounting hardware can be used or that the upper and lower hoops 102,104 can be mounted more or less permanently into the wall using conventional hardware such as lag bolts and the mounting place 108 or their equivalents can be welded to the rod ends of the hoops 102,104.

Preferably, all of the structural elements discussed above such s the hoops 102,104 and the associated hardware is made from stainless steel for maximum weather resistance and low maintenance. Other metals such as bronze or aluminum may also be useful and it will be appreciated that various combinations of wood, metal, plastic and other composite materials can all be used in accordance with the concepts of the invention disclosed.

Referring now to FIG. 4, a plan view of a curtain 300 for use in preferred embodiments of the present invention is illustrated. In accordance with the present invention, the curtain 300 is designed to attach to both the upper hoop 102 and the lower hoop 104 in the manner illustrated in FIG. 1. The curtain 300 may be made of any of a number of materials including but not limited to plastic, fabric and other materials and may either be flexible or made of rigid sections connected by flexible sections so the curtain can me folded or moved to allow access and to be put in a stored position as illustrated in FIG. 3.

A view of the shower assembly 100 in a stored position is illustrated in FIG. 5, which is a perspective view, similar to FIG. 1. This view is a typical arrangement of the assembly 100 prior to use. The lower hoop 104 is raised and is preferably tied to the curtain 300 as shown, which results in a compact and neat appearance that will remain in place during wind and rain storms. A similar view is seen in FIG. 6, which is also a perspective view, similar to FIG. 5, which shows the shower assembly 100 being readied for use. As illustrated, the lower hoop 104 is untied and lowered, preferably so that the front edge touches the ground. This is preferred since it permits the easiest access, but is not necessary. In any event, the user steps through the lower hoop 104 and if the lower hoop 104 is in fact touching the ground raise it slightly. The result is shown in FIG. 7, which is another perspective view, similar to FIG. 5 showing the shower assembly just prior to beginning use. It can be seen that with the lower hoop 104 locked in place, the curtain 300 can be drawn around and is restrained at the top and bottom so that it cannot flap or move due to wind or to the forces created by the water inside the shower.

In use, the present invention transforms a typical outdoor shower into a spacious, retractable shower enclosure that is both useful and visually appealing. Because the assembly is easy to use, it is more likely that showers will be taken and thus the positive effects of reducing sand, debris, stains, etc. and the hygienic effects from showering will be enhanced. The retractable features discussed above allow the present invention to neatly fold-up against a wall after use making efficient use of the often-limited space around the home. In accordance with the preferred embodiments described herein, the design resembles vintage beach tents. As discussed above, by choosing materials made specifically for the outdoors, the present invention is durable enough to withstand even the harshest elements nature can bring and will hold-up to both continual use and exposure to the elements.

From all that has been said, it will be clear that there has thus been shown and described herein a collapsible shower device which fulfills the various objects and advantages sought therefor. It will become apparent to those skilled in the art, however, that many changes, modifications, variations, and other uses and applications of the subject invention are possible and contemplated. All changes, modifications, variations, and other uses and applications which do not depart from the spirit and scope of the invention are deemed to be covered by the invention, which is limited only by the claims which follow.





 
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