Title:
Kit for rail assembly
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A kit for assembling a wall mounted rail where the wall studs are greater than sixteen inches apart, includes at least a pair of tubular elements, each having a length of greater than sixteen inches, and a plurality of fittings or wall mountable fixtures. The fixtures include a female portion for directly or indirectly receiving an end of a tubular element.



Inventors:
Swartz, Irving R. (West Bloomfield, MI, US)
Application Number:
10/037641
Publication Date:
09/26/2002
Filing Date:
11/09/2001
Assignee:
SWARTZ IRVING R.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47K17/02; (IPC1-7): E04H17/14
View Patent Images:
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20090152521MANUFACTURING METHOD AND MULTIFUNCTIONAL TUBULAR POST FOR FENCES OBTAINED BY MEANS OF SAID METHODJune, 2009Serrano Vicario
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Primary Examiner:
COTTINGHAM, JOHN R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
The Weintraub Group, P.L.C. (Southfield, MI, US)
Claims:

Having, thus, described the invention, what is claimed is:



1. A kit for assembling a wall mounted rail, comprising: (a) at least a pair of tubular elements, each element having: (i) a first end and a second end; (ii) a diameter greater than one inch, a length greater than sixteen inches, (b) a plurality of female fittings, each of the fittings being securable to a wall stud and having an opening for receiving an end of a tubular element; and (c) a fastener for securing an end of a tubular element to a fitting upon the insertion of the end into the opening.

2. The kit of claim 1, wherein: one tubular element has a length of five feet and another element has a length of ten feet.

3. The kit of claim 2, wherein at least one fitting comprises: a plate member and central receptor extending upwardly therefrom, the receptor receiving an end of an associated tubular element, the plate being securable to a wall stud.

4. The kit of claim 3 wherein one of the fittings is an elbow fitting, the elbow fitting having a first leg of a first diameter and a second leg of a second diameter, one leg being insertable into a central receptor and the other leg defining a female receptor for receiving an end of a tubular element, the legs of the elbow being angularly disposed with respect to each other.

5. The kit of claim 4 wherein the legs of the elbow are disposed at an angle of about 90° to each other.

6. The kit of claim 3 wherein one of the fittings comprises a T-connector having a first leg having opposed first and second female ends for receiving an end of a tubular element, and a second leg extending normally outwardly from the first leg and disposed centrally thereof, the second leg defining a male leg and insertable into a receptor.

7. The kit of claim 1 wherein: (a) at least one fitting comprises: a plate member and central receptor extending upwardly therefrom, the receptor receiving an end of an associated tubular element, the plate being securable to a wall stud; (b) one of the fittings is an elbow fitting, the elbow fitting having a first leg of a first diameter and a second leg of a second diameter, one leg being insertable into an initial receptor and the other leg defining a female receptor for receiving an end of a tubular element, the legs of the elbow being angularly disposed with respect to each other; and (c) one of the fittings comprises a T-connector comprising a first leg having opposed first and second female ends for receiving an end of a tubular element, and a second leg, the second leg extending normally outwardly from the first leg and disposed centrally thereof, the second leg defining a male leg and insertable into a receptor.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application is a completion application of co-pending U.S. Provisional Application, Ser. No. 60/247,226, filed Nov. 10, 2001, for “Kit for Rail Assembly”, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] The present invention pertains to rail assemblies. More particularly, the present invention concerns handrail assemblies for assisting elderly and handicapped persons. Even more particularly, the present invention pertains to kits for installing handrail assemblies for assisting handicapped and elderly persons.

[0004] 2. Description of Prior Art

[0005] As is known to those skilled in the art to which the present invention pertains the mobility of both physically impaired and elderly persons is quite often limited. Therefore, in order to assist in their mobility handrail or grasping assemblies are often installed in areas around bathtubs, toilets etc. as well as on walls, and so forth. Typically, these commercially available hand rail assemblies comprise “fixed length” tubular elements formed of lightweight material such as aluminum, rolled steel or the like which are “oversized”, i.e. These tubular elements have a diameter which is greater than conventional rail assemblies installed in such environments. Thus, the tubular elements with which the present invention is concerned are deemed to be “oversized”. For example, a typical tubular element for a rail around a shower is usually of a one inch diameter. By the term “oversized” is meant those commercially available tubular rails or tubular elements of at least about 1 ¼ inch in diameter.

[0006] In installing these rails it is advantageous that fittings which are secured to the tubular element, be secured to the studs of the wall. Construction regulations and conventions conventionally space studs sixteen inches apart. The studs are usually 2″×4″ or 4″×4″. However, as a practical matter the sixteen inch convention or norm is not met. Thus the rails or the grasping members, being available only to accommodate a sixteen inch spacing between studs usually mandates the jerry-rigging of a fitting to accommodate the installation thereof.

[0007] If jerry-rigging is not prudent or practical the rail is secured solely to the wall itself and not the stud. This creates a weak structure and with the forces being applied by a handicapped or physically impaired person trying to elevate themselves using the rail this renders the installation susceptible to failure and the pulling away from the wall itself and the apparent hazards that arise therefrom, including the potential of injury from falling back into a bathtub or onto a floor.

[0008] The present invention, as detailed hereinbelow, provides a kit for a hand rail assembly which overcomes this deficiency in the prior art.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0009] The present invention comprises a rail assembly for installing “oversized” tubular elements into a wall stud or the like.

[0010] The kit includes: (a) at least a pair of “oversized” tubular elements, each tubular element having a diameter greater than one inch and a length greater than sixteen inches; and (b) a plurality of fittings, the fittings enabling the installation of an associated tubular element into a wall stud or the like.

[0011] Preferably, each of the fittings is a female fitting.

[0012] For a more complete understanding of the present invention, reference is made to the following detailed description and accompanying drawing. In the drawing like reference characters refer to like parts throughout the several views in which:

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0013] FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view of some components of the kit of the present invention;

[0014] FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the fitting shown in FIG. 1;

[0015] FIG. 3 is a side elevational view, partly in phantom, of a second fitting for use herein;

[0016] FIG. 4A is a perspective view of a third type of flitting for use herein;

[0017] FIG. 4B is a side elevational view of the fitting of FIG. 4A;

[0018] FIG. 5 is a perspective view of “T” fitting for use herein; and

[0019] FIG. 6 is a perspective view of still another fitting for use herein.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0020] As hereinabove noted, the present invention defines a rail assembly kit which, generally, comprises:

[0021] (a) at least a pair of tubular elements, each element having a first end and a second end, each element having a diameter greater than one inch and a length greater than sixteen inches,

[0022] (b) a plurality of female fittings, the fittings being securable to a wall stud

[0023] (c) a fastener for securing an associated end of a tubular element to an associated fitting upon insertion of an end of the associated element thereunto, and

[0024] (d) wherein the kit enables installation of a rail to a pair of spaced apart wall studs having a spacing of greater than sixteen inches therebetween.

[0025] With more particularity and as shown in the drawing the present kit comprises a pair of tubular elements 12 and 14. Each of the tubular elements are “oversized”. In other words, they have a diameter greater than one inch. The tubular elements are substantially cylindrical members of different lengths, each length being greater than sixteen inches. By providing lengths greater than sixteen inches there is enabled, by the present kit, the ability to secure a rail assembly constructed therefrom to wall studs which are greater than 16 inches apart. Preferably, each of the tubular elements 12 and 14 have a length of about five feet and, preferably, one tubular element 12 or 14 is five feet long and the other is ten feet long. Of course, these lengths can vary. Furthermore, preferably, the tube has a diameter of at least 1 ¼ inch. Thus, it is possible to assemble more than one rail herefrom.

[0026] The use of a tubular element is preferred because of the ease of grasping by a user without being exposed to sharp edges. However, it is to be appreciated that, if desired or necessary, other geometrically configured tubular elements can be used, such as square, rectangular, triangular, hexagonal or the like. But because cylindrical tubular elements are conventional, such is preferred herein.

[0027] The kit further includes at least one, and optimally, a plurality of fixtures or fittings, generally, denoted at 16, for enabling the securement of the tubular element 12 or 14 to the stud.

[0028] In the practice of the present invention it is contemplated that each of the fittings be a “female” fitting such that an associated or desired end of a tubular element may be inserted thereinto, directly or indirectly, and fixed in place with a fastener. In this manner, an installer need do nothing to the tubular element, other than cut it to size.

[0029] As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, a first fitting 20 comprises a substantially flat plate 22 having an upstanding cylindrical receptor 23 integrally formed with and extending substantially normal to the plate 22. The cylindrical receptor 23 has a diameter slightly larger than the diameter of a tubular element 12 or 14 such that an end of the element can be inserted thereinto. The cylindrical receptor 23 has an opening, aperture or hole 24 formed therein which receives an “Allen” screw or the like (not shown) for securely fixing an end of the tubular element 12 or 14 therewithin.

[0030] The plate member 22 may be provided with a plurality of openings 26 provided therearound through which projects at least one suitable fastener 26 such as a screw or the like for securing the fitting or fixture to a stud.

[0031] Further, and as shown in FIG. 3, there is provided a second fitting or fixture 30 substantially similar to fixture 20 but wherein the plate 31 thereof has a central opening 31 formed therein and through which projects a lag bolt 32 for securing the fixture to the stud. In all other respects fitting 30 is similar to fitting 20.

[0032] Oftentimes, it is desired to secure the handrail at an angle different then the horizontal and vertical to accommodate easy grasping. Therefore, and now with reference to FIGS. 4A and 4B, it is contemplated that the kit further comprise an elbow 40. The elbow 40 is an integrally formed tubular member having a first leg 42 and a second leg 44 which are angularly inclined with respect to each other at an nominal angle of about 90°. The angle can be other than 90°. However, 90° is the preferred angular relationship between the two legs of the elbow. At least one leg of the elbow has at least one aperture formed therein as at 46 or 48, respectively. Each of the apertures may receive a threaded fastener, such as an Allen screw, therethrough, to securely fix one leg of the elbow to an associated fixture, e.g., the fitting 20, the fitting 30, etc. or the like. Preferably, one leg 42 or 44 of the elbow has a diameter less than the diameter of the associated cylindrical receptor 23 of the fixture 20 or 30 such that a leg 42 or 44 can be inserted thereinto and be securely fixed via the Allen screw through registration of the apertures associated with the cylindrical receptor and the associated leg. Similarly, the other leg of the elbow has a diameter greater than the diameter of an associated end of the tubular element 12 or 14 to enable such other leg to receive such end of the tubular element. Again, securement of the end of the tubular element to the leg of the elbow is accomplished via an Allen screw or similar fastening member. Since the elbow is rotatable with respect to the central axis of the cylindrical receptor it enables angular mounting of the tubular element against a wall in a manner well known to the skilled artisan. Thus, one leg 42 or 44 is a male fitting to fit within the receptor and the other a female fitting to receive an end of a tubular element.

[0033] The present kit further contemplates the inclusion of a T-connector 50 of the type well known and commercially available. A T-connector 50 comprises a member having a first cylindrical tubular leg 52 and a centrally disposed leg 54 normal or substantially perpendicular thereto. The legs 52 and 54 cooperate together to form a element shaped like the letter “T”. Again, either leg 52 or 54 of the “T” is insertable into the cylindrical receptor of a fitting or fixture or into the desired end of the tubular element 14 or 16. Thus, the leg 54 of the “T” may be dimensional to be male or female; either one or both legs of the leg 52 may be male; one end of leg 52 may be male and the other female. Thus, the kit may comprise a plurality of T-fittings to accommodate the possible diameter combinations outlined above.

[0034] It is further contemplated that where multiple lengths of tubular element are to be joined together that the kit include at least one “female” coupler 60. The coupler is an elongated tubular element which enables the joining of opposed ends of the tubular elements 14 and 16 to be secured together. Thus, the coupler 60 has a diameter greater than that of the tubular element 14 or 16.

[0035] In deploying the present kit it is contemplated that an installer determine the distance between adjacent studs to which the rail is to be affixed and, accordingly, select the appropriate length of tubular element 14 or 16. The element is then cut with a suitable device, such as a saw or the like, to the desired length. Thereafter, using the appropriate fixture of the kit, the tubular element is then secured to the wall via the fittings 20 or 30 with or without an elbow or T-fitting or the like. Since the fittings are female fittings, the tubular element is simply inserted into its receptor portion and its position can be regulated within tolerance due to the Allen screw fixing.

[0036] By providing a kit there is enabled the facilitation of installation while overcoming the differences in the sixteen inch spacing between adjacent studs, which is typically encountered. Furthermore, because of the “male-female” interconnection of the fittings, assembly is easy, requiring only that the tubular element(s) be cut to size.

[0037] In order to render the kit “decorative”, the tubular elements, as well as the fittings and other fixtures, may be provided with suitable coloring such as white, beige, etc. wherein such elements are typically powder coated or otherwise provided with the coloration.

[0038] It should be noted that the present tubular elements are fabricated from materials which can be readily cut to size, but which have sufficient structural rigidity to withstand the pressure applied to it by a user. Thus, a plastic, such as PVC, high density polyethylene, polypropylene or the like may be used herein.

[0039] It is to be appreciated from the preceding that there has been described herein a fit for installing an “oversized” handrail assembly for geriatric, physically impaired and other persons who need the assistance enabled by a handrail and which readily accommodates any disparities between the sixteen inch spacing of wall studs to enable the rail to be securely fixed to such studs.