Title:
Shower fitting
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention relates to a shower fitting. In particular, but not exclusively, the invention relates to a wall outlet and a shower elbow (100) that allows passage of water and also provides a means for supporting articles (101).



Inventors:
Cutts, Peter George (Auckland, NZ)
Application Number:
11/631031
Publication Date:
07/23/2009
Filing Date:
06/30/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47K3/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
CRANE, LAUREN ASHLEY
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
VENABLE LLP (P.O. BOX 34385, WASHINGTON, DC, 20043-9998, US)
Claims:
1. A shower elbow for a shower or shower/bath wall, the shower elbow being provided with an article holder.

2. The shower elbow according to claim 1 wherein the article holder is integral with the shower elbow.

3. The shower elbow according to any one of claim 1 wherein the article holder is releasably engageable with the shower elbow.

4. The shower elbow according to claim 1 wherein the article holder includes a spigot and the shower elbow includes a receiving means for the spigot.

5. The shower elbow according to claim 1 wherein the article holder is clamped to the shower elbow.

6. The shower elbow according to claim 1 wherein the shower elbow is releasably securable to the wall.

7. The shower elbow according to claim 1 wherein the shower elbow is secured using a locking device.

8. A shower elbow including an article holder for a shower or shower/bath wall, the elbow including a protruding extension and the article holder including a recess adapted to receive the protruding extension.

9. The shower elbow according to claim 8 wherein the shower elbow and article holder are integral.

10. The shower elbow according to claim 8 wherein the article holder is releasably engageable with the shower elbow.

11. A shower elbow including an article holder, the shower elbow being adapted to be attached to a shower or bath wall, the shower elbow including a clamp part adapted to hold the article holder in position.

12. The shower elbow according to claim 11 wherein the clamp part clamps the article holder to the shower elbow.

13. The shower elbow according to claim 11 wherein the shower elbow is releasably attached to the wall.

14. A kit including a shower elbow and the article holder of claim 1.

15. An article holder adapted to be releasably engagable with a shower elbow.

16. The article holder according to claim 15 wherein the article holder includes a spigot adapted to be received by the shower elbow.

17. The article holder according to claim 16 wherein the spigot is adapted to attach to the elbow via a snap fit or screw thread.

18. A kit including a shower elbow and the article holder of claim 8.

19. A kit including a shower elbow and the article holder of claim 11.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to a shower fitting. In particular, but not exclusively, the invention relates to a wall outlet and a shower elbow that allows passage of water and also provides a means for supporting articles.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

There is presently available a wide range of shower fittings for holding bathing articles such as soap, shampoo, face cloths etc. Such fittings include things like shelves, racks and hooks which are generally wall mounted or hanging. They typically hang or are fixed to the wall with double sided tape, screws and other known means.

Showers are commonly provided with a means by which water can pass through the shower wall. Such means are usually called a wall outlet/female flanged elbow. Elbows are usually present in showers that have a handheld shower head with the pipe leading from the elbow fitting in the wall being flexible. If the shower head is fixed then an elbow allowing access of water is unnecessary as the water access can be directed to the shower head.

The wall of a shower is a wet area which is susceptible to leaks behind the wall. It is important to minimize these leaks in order to prevent rot in the walls behind the shower. When shower fittings such as article holders are screw-fixed to the wall, the wall-lining, for example, tiles, wet-board, acrylic sheet, needs to be drilled. This creates an extra breach through the wall in addition to those required for the necessary plumbing fittings (for example, elbows) and therefore increases the risk of a leak behind the wall.

Another difficulty with the article holders presently available is that they tend to clutter the shower. Some types of article holders can be clipped onto (or otherwise attached to) hoses, spouts, faucets or arms of shower fittings, in addition to the taps and fittings already there. An example of such a device is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,387,811 and U.S. Pat. No. 3,789,996. By the nature of their attachment, they tend to be less secure than wall fitted article holders, and in some circumstances can only be used with specific models of faucet or sizes of hose. They can also interfere with the ease of access to the taps or the shower rose itself. Association of an article holder with the shower rose results in particular problems with regard to access to articles on the article holder and interference with water flow. Further, as the article holder and the rose will be in proximity to the user's head, the perception of increased interference is increased,

Other types of article holders which fit onto water outlet fittings can be retrofitted after the water outlets are installed in the shower. This can involve temporarily closing off the water supply and the removal of taps or hoses. This interference with the water outlet fitting can cause unintentional damage and interfere with the water integrity of the fitting.

It is an object of the invention to provide a wall outlet and shower fitting (herein “shower elbow”) which overcomes or at least reduces some of the disadvantages of presently available article holders or which at least provides the public with a useful alternative.

Other objects of the invention may become apparent from the following description, which is given by way of example only.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to one aspect of this invention there is provided a shower elbow for a shower or shower/bath wall, the shower elbow being provided with an article holder.

Preferably the shower elbow allows passage of water through the shower or shower/bath wall

Preferably the article holder is integral with the shower elbow.

Preferably the article holder is releasably engageable with the shower elbow.

Preferably the article holder includes a spigot and the shower elbow includes a receiving means for the spigot.

Preferably the article holder is clamped to the shower elbow.

Preferably the shower elbow is releasably securable to the wall.

Preferably the shower elbow is secured using a locking device.

In another aspect of the invention there is provided a shower elbow including an article holder for a shower or shower/bath wall, the elbow including a protruding extension and the article holder including a recess adapted to receive the protruding extension.

Preferably the shower elbow and article holder are integral.

Preferably the article holder is releasably engageable with the shower elbow.

Preferably the shower elbow includes a separable body.

In another aspect, the invention provides a shower elbow including an article holder, the shower elbow being adapted to be attached to a shower or bath wall, the shower elbow including a clamp part adapted to hold the article holder in position.

Preferably the clamp part clamps the article holder to the shower elbow.

Preferably the shower elbow is releasably attached to the wall.

Preferably the article holder is releasably held to the shower elbow.

In another aspect, the invention provides an article holder adapted to be attached to a shower elbow.

In a further aspect, the invention provides a kit-of-parts including the shower elbow and at least one article holder as are defined above.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

This invention may be better understood with reference to the following Figures which illustrate preferred embodiments, in which:

FIG. 1: shows a side view of a first preferred embodiment of the invention with the receiving means shown in phantom outline.

FIG. 2: shows a side view of a second preferred embodiment of the invention with the receiving means shown in phantom outline.

FIG. 3: shows a top view of a third preferred embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 4: shows a top view of a fourth preferred embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 5: shows a top view of a fifth preferred embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 6: shows a bottom view of the article holder with reference to the embodiment shown in FIG. 5.

FIG. 7: shows a bottom view of a further preferred embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 8: shows a top view of the embodiment of FIG. 7.

FIG. 9: shows an exploded view of the embodiment of FIGS. 7 and 8.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF POSSIBLE EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

Where in this specification reference is made to the term “shower elbow”, this phrase is intended to mean water outlet fittings which attach to the water supply either through the shower wall, or external to the shower wall if the water supply pipes extend through the shower wall. The shower elbow allows passage of water through it to a hose or other such connection, and the hose leads onto a water outlet, which may be a hand held shower rose, separate to the shower elbow. The shower rose may also be wall-mounted via a wall bracket which will also be separate to the shower elbow. As will be readily apparent the hose may also lead to a fixed water outlet.

A shower elbow for the purposes of this specification is not a tap or faucet type product, nor is it directly associated with the tap or faucet. It is intended that the present invention avoids problems associated with article holders attached to taps, faucets, shower roses, etc, (or holders for hand held devices) for the reasons explained in the Background of this invention. The shower elbow can be positioned on the shower/bath wall as deemed suitable but it is intended that this be separated from the rose, taps, etc. or from fittings used to hold hand held shower roses, for example.

With specific reference to FIG. 1, a preferred embodiment of the invention includes a shower elbow 1 for a shower or shower/bath wall 4, which is provided with an article holder 3. The shower elbow 1 may be attached through the wall 4 directly to the water supply means 5. The water supply 5A can be provided to the shower head by a shower hose 6 in the usual way from the shower elbow 1.

The article holder 3 in the preferred form, as shown in FIG. 1, may include a shelf 9 and a spigot 8. The spigot 8 and the shelf 9 may be formed integrally, or joined after manufacture by any suitable method as would be known by a person skilled in the art.

The shower elbow 1 may include a receiving means 2 adapted to interact with the spigot 8 in a male/female fashion to securely, but releasably, hold the article holder.

Alternatively, the shelf 9 and the shower elbow 1 may be provided as an integral unit, such that the shelf 9 is not removable from the shower elbow 1. An option is also to allow the shelf 9 to swivel within a receiving means 2, whether or not the shelf is integral with the shower elbow 1.

Preferably the receiving means 2 can be located on the top surface of the shower elbow. However, it is to be appreciated that the receiving means 2 could be located in other positions on the shower elbow, for example, the sides or front surfaces. The receiving means 2 may also be situated on the lower-most surface of the shower elbow 1, and the article holder 2 suspended beneath the shower elbow 1, as would be appreciated by a person skilled in the art. The shelf 9 may also not include a spigot, but instead the body of the shelf 9 may interact directly with a surface of the shower elbow 1, for example, by adhesive, or integrally formed with it.

The shelf 9 is not essential and may be replaced by a variety of other article holders such as, for example, a tray, hook, rack or other such object.

In an alternate embodiment and with reference to FIG. 2, the shower elbow 1 may be external to the shower wall 4, and removeably engageable with the water supply means 5B which extends through the shower wall 4. The shower elbow 1 may also include a locking mechanism 7 which holds the shower elbow 1 in place when engaged with the water pipe 5B. The locking mechanism 7 may include a locking pin, or any other such locking mechanism as would be known in the art.

When the locking mechanism 7 is disengaged, the shower elbow 1 may be removed from the water pipe 5B and wall 4 to allow for ease of cleaning, maintenance, etc.

The shower elbow 1 may also include any one or combinations of the following: a non-return valve/dual check valve, a flow restrictor and/or a wall shut-off. The features would be included in a manner as would be understood by a person skilled in the art and would allow disengagement of the shower elbow without requiring the water supply 5A to be turned off at the source.

Preferably, the receiving means 2 (shown in phantom outline in FIGS. 1 and 2) is integral with the shower elbow 1. However, in an alternative embodiment, the receiving means 2 may extend from the shower elbow as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4. In FIG. 3, the receiving means 2 may be an arcuate receiving means, including arms 2a and 2b defining a recess 2c. The recess 2c being adapted to releasably receive the spigot 8 on the article holder (not shown in FIG. 3 but best seen in FIGS. 1 and 2)

In another embodiment as shown in FIG. 4, the receiving means 2 may be an extension of a shape able to interact with a spigot (not shown), for example a substantially ring shape. The spigot on the article holder may be adapted to interact with the receiving means in a male/female fashion. As will be apparent, the receiving means 2 need not be a ring shape but could be any suitable shape dependent on the shape of the spigot.

In another alternate embodiment, and with reference to FIGS. 5 and 6, the shower elbow 1 may itself include means to attach an article holder such as a protruding extension 10. The shelf 9 in this case will include a recess 11 which is capable of interacting with the protruding extension 10 in a male/female manner. Alternatives such snap fit and screw thread connections or the like, can be used as would be known to the skilled person.

The shelf 9, or other article holder 3, may be made out of any suitable material, for example, metals or plastics materials. The shape of the article holder may vary according to the required end use, for example, a tray for holding soap, razors, shampoo bottles etc, or a hook for hanging face cloths etc. Various sizes and styles of article holders may be used as required to allow the invention to blend in with the overall theme or style of the bathroom fit-out.

The shower elbow 1 can also be made of any suitable material as would be known to the skilled person. Suitable materials would include metal materials, such as stainless steel, or plastics materials provide d they are suitable for the purpose.

The shower elbow 1 and the article holder 3 could be provided as an integral unit or as a kit-of-parts. The product could also be adapted to receiving a variety of alternative article holders interchangeably and the variety of article holder 3 could be sold separately for use with a shower elbow, depending on customer requirements. A variety of colours, shapes and other options could be provided. An alternative aspect of this invention could therefore be seen to be a shower elbow 1 capable of receiving such article holders.

FIG. 7 shows an alternative embodiment of the present invention. The view of the embodiment shown in FIG. 7 is from the bottom and shows a shower elbow 100 which supports a tray 101. The tray 101 includes a rail 102 for supporting any articles (not shown) which are placed on the tray 101. The rail 102 as shown in FIG. 7 is attached to the tray 101 using screws 105. The rail 102 is therefore optional and is removable in the embodiment shown in FIG. 7. Alternative attachment means for the rail 102 would of course be possible as would be known to a skilled person in this art. The rail 102 could also be integral with the tray 101 if desired. The shower elbow 100 includes a threaded connection 103 which is adapted to connect to a pipe or similar device that will allow the passage of water through a shower wall (not shown). The shower elbow 100 also includes a conduit 104 which is adapted to transferring water from the shower elbow 100 to the shower fitting or like device.

FIG. 8 shows a top view of the preferred embodiment shown in FIG. 7. As seen in FIG. 8 the tray 101 is supported by shower elbow 100 (obscured in FIG. 8) by insertion between clamp part 106 and the top portion of shower elbow 100. The combination of clamp part 106 and the top portion of shower elbow 100 holds tray 101 in place while allowing sufficient space on tray 101 to support whatever articles a user may wish to place on it.

FIG. 9 shows an exploded view of the preferred embodiment as shown in FIGS. 7 and 8.

Clamp part 106 is shown as including protrusions 120 which are adapted to be inserted into slots 121 in tray 101. Clamp part 106 also includes extension 130 which incorporates sleeve 131 which is adapted to allow passage of threaded part 103 of shower elbow 100. Rail 102 and the screws 105 are shown as being connectable through holes 132 in tray 101.

Shower elbow 100 is shown as including a body part 140 having a flat top part 141. the flat top part 141 includes at least one cavity 142 adapted to receive one of the protrusions 120 on clamp part 106, after passage of the protrusion 120 through slot 121 in tray 101. In this way, tray 101 is securely attached to the shower elbow 100.

Shower elbow 100 also includes a second threaded means 143 which is adapted to be attached to conduit 104 by threaded sleeve 144 which sits about conduit 104. Conduit 104 also includes lip 145 which is adapted to interact with threaded sleeve 144 to allow secure connection between the second threaded means 143 and conduit 104. As shown in FIG. 9, washer 146 is also included within the connection between conduit 104 and shower elbow 100.

Shower elbow 100 further includes a snap fit connector 150 that releasably, but securely, connects with the body 141 of shower elbow 100. Connector 150 includes threaded means 103 at the end of connector 150 distal to the body 141 of shower elbow 100. The snap fit connection between connector 150 is facilitated by the use of O ring 151.

Finally, a gasket 160 is shown as being positioned between sleeve 131 of clamp part 106 and connector 150 of shower elbow 100. Screws 161 have been positioned to connect extension 130 of clamp part 106 to connector 150 such that gasket 160 is positioned between extension 130 and connector 150 such that threaded part 103 extends through gasket 160 and sleeve 131. Grub screw 165 is then used to secure connector 150 to body part 140.

The shower elbow plus article holder according to the invention is able to be positioned at positions on the wall of the shower (or both) that maximises the space available to the user. This allows the article holder to be at ankle or waist height (for example), thus providing a flexibility of positioning not otherwise attainable. Other positions on a wall, such as at shoulder height, etc., are also possible, should such positions be considered useful. In addition, as the article holder is combined with the shower elbow, it minimises the number of protrusions into the shower space. By combining the shower elbow with the article holder, it allows positioning of both items at a position conducive to shower use, but without interfering with access to the shower rose and the water flow.

As discussed earlier, the shower elbow and one or more article holders could be sold as a kit of parts or separately. The present invention should be seen to extend to the individual component parts when adapted for use in a connectable manner.

Where in the foregoing description there has been made reference to specific components or integers of the invention having known equivalents, then such equivalents are herein incorporated as is individually set forth.

Although this invention has been described by way of example only and with reference to possible embodiments thereof, it is to be understood that modifications or improvements may be made without departing from the scope or spirit of the invention as defined in the attached claims.





 
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