Title:
Drain stopper
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A drain stopper for use in closing a drain opening in a receptacle such as, but not limited to, a sink or a tub. The drain stopper has a central region for frictionally engaging the conduit defining the opening. The central region having a first surface and an opposing surface, each of the surfaces having respective protrusions allowing for removal thereof. The double-sided drain stopper allowing for removal of the stopper even if it becomes inverted.



Inventors:
Bart, Robert A. (Phoenix, AZ, US)
Application Number:
10/033675
Publication Date:
07/04/2002
Filing Date:
12/27/2001
Assignee:
BART ROBERT A.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47K1/14; (IPC1-7): A47K1/14
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
FETSUGA, ROBERT M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Milord A. Keshishian (LOS ANGELES, CA, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A stopper device for closing a drain opening, comprising a central region having a first surface and a second surface; a wall peripherally interconnecting said first surface and said second surface; a first protrusion extending from said first surface in a direction distal to said central region; a second protrusion extending from said second surface in a direction distal to said central region; whereby said central region is adapted to occlude said drain opening and is removable by use of at least said first protrusion and said second protrusion.

2. The device of claim 1, wherein a first top is attached to said first protrusion and is larger than said first protrusion to allow engagement by a plurality of fingers of a user.

3. The device of claim 2, wherein a second top is attached to said second protrusion and is larger than said second protrusion to allow engagement by a plurality of fingers of a user.

4. The device of claim 3, wherein said device is made of a unitary piece of material.

5. The device of claim 3, wherein said device is made of a flexible material.

6. The device of claim 3, wherein said device is made of a material selected from a group consisting of rubber, metal, and plastic.

7. The device of claim 3, wherein a lip extends peripherally from said wall at a point in between said first surface and said second surface.

8. The device of claim 3, wherein said wall has a top portion proximal to said first surface and a bottom portion proximal to said second surface and a middle portion therebetween; and the peripheral size of the wall increasing from said top portion to said middle portion and also decreasing from said middle portion to said bottom portion.

9. The device of claim 3, wherein said wall has a top portion proximal to said first surface and a bottom portion proximal to said second surface and a middle portion therebetween; and a diameter of the wall increasing uniformly from said top portion to said middle portion and the diameter also uniformly decreases from said middle portion to said bottom portion.

10. The device of claim 8, wherein a lip extends peripherally from said middle portion of said wall.

11. The device of claim 9, wherein a lip extends peripherally from said middle portion of said wall.

12. The device of claim 11, wherein said lip is flexible and resilient.

13. A stopper device for closing a drain opening, the drain opening being defined by walls of a conduit, comprising a central region having a first surface and a second surface; a wall peripherally interconnecting said first surface and said second surface; a first protrusion extending from said first surface in a direction distal to said central region; a first top is attached to said first protrusion and is larger than said first protrusion to allow engagement by a plurality of fingers of a user a second protrusion extending from said second surface in a direction distal to said central region; a second top is attached to said second protrusion and is larger than said second protrusion to allow engagement by a plurality of fingers of a user whereby said central region is adapted to occlude said drain opening by frictionally engaging the wall of a conduit defining the opening and is removable by use of at least said first top and said second top.

14. The device of claim 13, wherein said device is made of a unitary piece of material.

15. The device of claim 13, wherein said device is made of a flexible material.

16. The device of claim 13, wherein said device is made of a material selected from a group consisting of rubber, metal, and plastic.

17. The device of claim 13, wherein a lip extends peripherally from said wall at a point in between said first surface and said second surface.

18. The device of claim 13, wherein said wall has a top portion proximal to said first surface and a bottom portion proximal to said second surface and a middle portion therebetween; the peripheral size of the wall increasing from said top portion to said middle portion and also decreasing from said middle portion to said bottom portion; and a resilient and flexible lip extends peripherally from said middle portion of said wall.

19. The device of claim 3, wherein said wall has a top portion proximal to said first surface and a bottom portion proximal to said second surface and a middle portion therebetween; a diameter of the wall increasing uniformly from said top portion to said middle portion and the diameter also uniformly decreases from said middle portion to said bottom portion; and a resilient and flexible lip extends peripherally from said middle portion of said wall.

Description:

PRIORITY CLAIM

[0001] This application claims priority from provisional patent application No. 60/259,395 filed on Jan. 3, 2001 and Disclosure Document No. 478471 filed on Aug. 11, 2000.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] This invention relates to the field of drain stoppers in general, and particularly to a double-sided drain stopper for use with any drains that are known in the art.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] Various drain plugs or stoppers are known in the prior art for use in preventing fluid flow through various household drains. Several of the prior art inventions address the removal of the stoppers from the drain and utilize complex mechanisms therefor.

[0004] For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,915,847 to Spears discloses a drain stopper with a lift mechanism and a straining assembly attached thereto. The lift mechanism consists of lever having numerous rods and a cumbersome straining assembly which will result in increased expense in making the same.

[0005] U.S. Pat. No. 5,226,196 to Humlan discloses a drain stopper with an inverted conical head having a coaxially mounted shaft extending therefrom having a slidable piston therein to assist inn the insertion and the removal of the drain stopper. The moving parts of the Humlan invention may be susceptible to failure through repetitive use thereof.

[0006] U.S. Pat. No. 3,995,333 to Stephens discloses a drain stopper having a spring element therein and threaded elements for engaging the peripheral surface. The Stephens invention requires many components to be assembled and may increase the cost of manufacture thereof.

[0007] U.S. Pat. No. 4,926,507 to Craig et al. discloses an adjustable drain stopper that is mounted onto the plumbing fixture. The Craig invention does not allow use thereof independent of the plumbing fixture.

[0008] U.S. Pat. No. 4,077,430, to Brown et al. discloses an adapter for sink drains that accommodates and connects a pipe into a drain opening at the bottom of the sink. The Brown invention fails to provide a drain stopper that completely occludes the drain opening.

[0009] U.S. Pat. No. 4,683,597, to Taylor, Jr. et al. provides a drain plug assembly having a threaded bolt which extends through several rubberized components and screws the assembly into the drain opening. The Taylor invention has numerous components which increase the cost of manufacture and the complexity of use.

[0010] U.S. Pat. No. 5,819,328 to Lewis discloses a drain plug having a slidable member, inlet and outlet ports, a sealing member, and a spring element for allowing closure and opening thereof. The Lewis invention also requires numerous components which increase the cost of manufacture and possible failure thereof.

[0011] U.S. Pat. No. 5,832,545 to Pan discloses a drain plug having a main body fastened with a sink and numerous components attaching the cover body to the main body and operating the same. The Pan invention may not be used independently and has numerous components that may increase the cost of production and possibility of failure.

[0012] U.S. Pat. No. 6,088,844 to Killham discloses a drain plug having an outer housing enclosing a screen portion therein and a plurality of slots surrounding the housing to allow fluid flow there through. The Killham invention does not provide a means for easy removal of the same from the drain opening.

[0013] The prior art does not address the need for a drain stopper that is efficient in use and manufacture. Therefore, there remains a long-standing and continuing need for an advance in the art of drain stoppers that is simpler in both design and use, and is more effective in occluding a drain opening.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0014] In view of the foregoing disadvantages inherent in the known types of drain plugs now present in the prior art, a unique drain stopper is herein disclosed that is substantially two sided. The device has a first surface with a handle means thereon and an opposing second surface also having a handle means thereon. The first surface or the second surface are both insertable into a drain opening and occlude the same in a hermetic manner. There has thus been outlined, rather broadly, the more important features of the invention in order that the detailed description thereof that follows may be better understood.

[0015] Accordingly, it is a general object of the present invention to overcome the disadvantages of the prior art.

[0016] In particular, it is an object of the present invention to provide a drain stopper which may be easily and efficiently manufactured and marketed.

[0017] It is another object of the present invention to provide a drain stopper which is of a durable and reliable construction.

[0018] It is another object of the present invention to provide a drain stopper which is susceptible of a low cost of manufacture with regard to both materials and labor.

[0019] It is yet another object of the present invention to provide drain stopper which is economically available to the consuming public.

[0020] It is a further object of the present invention to provide a drain stopper which provides in the apparatuses and methods of the prior art some of the advantages thereof, while simultaneously overcoming some of the disadvantages normally associated therewith.

[0021] Such stated objects and advantages of the invention are only examples and should not be construed as limiting the present invention. These and other objects, features, aspects, and advantages of the invention herein will become more apparent from the following detailed description of the embodiments of the invention when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings and the claims that follow.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0022] It is to be understood that the drawings are to be used for purposes of illustration only and not as a definition of the limits of the invention.

[0023] In the drawings, wherein similar reference characters denote similar elements throughout the several views:

[0024] FIG. 1 is an elevational view of a device that serves as a drain stopper.

[0025] FIG. 2 is a top perspective view of the device.

[0026] FIG. 3 is an elevational view of an alternate preferred embodiment of the device.

[0027] FIG. 4 is a top perspective view of the alternate preferred embodiment of the device.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0028] Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, therein is illustrated one preferred embodiment of device 10 that serves as a drain stopper to close a drain port in a receptacle such as a bathtub or sink. Device 10 has a central region 12 which is preferably disc shaped but can be of any desired shape to occlude an opening having a corresponding shape. Central region 12 has a first surface 14 and a second surface 16 which are peripherally interconnected by a wall 18. The size and shape of central region 12 can be adjusted to occlude openings of varying sizes such that a hermetic seal is achieved.

[0029] First surface 14 has a first protrusion 20 extending therefrom in a direction distal to central region 12. First protrusion 20 may have a first top 22 attached thereto and first top 22 may have a larger diameter than first protrusion 20 to accommodate the fingers of a user while removing device 10 from engagement with an opening. Second surface 16 has a second protrusion 24 extending therefrom in a direction distal to central region 12. Second protrusion 24 may have a second top 26 attached thereto and second top 26 may have a larger diameter than second protrusion 24 to accommodate the fingers of a user while removing device 10 from engagement with an opening.

[0030] Now also referring to FIGS. 3 and 4, an alternate preferred embodiment of device 10 is therein illustrated. The wall 18 of central region 12 is modified to allow closure of various sized openings by device 10 without modification to device 110. Wall 118 has a top portion 28 that is proximal to first surface 14, a middle portion 30, and a bottom portion 32 that is proximal to second surface 16. The diameter of wall 18 of central region 12 of device 10 increases uniformly from top portion 28 to middle portion 30, and the diameter uniformly decreases from middle portion 30 to bottom portion 32 such that wall 18 has a substantially concave shape. As a result, when device 10 is inserted into an opening of a drain, wall 18 will engage the opening of the drain at a predetermined diameter along wall 18 as the diameter thereof increases. In order to provide further engagement, a lip 34 extends peripherally from middle portion 30 of wall 18 and allows engagement of openings having greater diameters than wall 18. In addition, lip 34 may also engage the bottom of a sink around the drain opening while wall 18 engages the drain itself and thereby provide greater occlusion of the opening in a hermetic manner.

[0031] Device 10 may be made of one integral body of material through methods that are known in the art. In addition, device 10 is preferably constructed of a material that has elasticity and resiliency such as, but not limited to, rubber, plastic, or metals. Accordingly, device 10 and the elements thereof are substantially supple and flexible in nature, yet are of sufficient rigidity to frictionally engage a drain opening and maintain device 10 securely yet removably therein. However, the flexibility of device 10 allows for memory so as to return to its original configuration when removed from frictional engagement with the drain opening. In addition, the unique construction of device 10 allows use of both surfaces 14 and 16 thereof as the lead surface in engaging the drain opening and thereby eliminates the difficulty experienced when a drain stopper of the prior art becomes inverted and stuck within the drain opening.

[0032] While the above description contains many specificities, these should not be construed as limitation on the scope of the invention, but rather as an exemplification of preferred embodiment thereof. Many other variations are possible without departing from the essential spirit of this invention. Accordingly, the scope of the invention should be determined not by the embodiments illustrated, but by the appended claim and their legal equivalents.