Title:
Frame for a bathroom seat
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A bathroom seat has a frame that includes a pair of substantially straight bars and a pair of side members. The pair of substantially straight bars have opposed ends. The pair of side members each have a pair of openings on opposite sides. Each of the openings is adapted to receive an end of a different one of the bars.



Inventors:
Chao, Andy (Villa Park, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/638055
Publication Date:
02/10/2005
Filing Date:
08/08/2003
Assignee:
CHAO ANDY
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47K3/12; A47K11/04; (IPC1-7): A47K3/022
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
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20050028255Toilet bowl with ventilating systemFebruary, 2005Ma et al.
20080222789Back Stress Reducing Kneeling DeviceSeptember, 2008Pfeiffer
20070151022Water outlet coupling headJuly, 2007Chung
20070062423Toilet systemMarch, 2007Johansson et al.
20060150315Sink access device for a public restroomJuly, 2006Sumpton et al.
20040040080Toilet assemblyMarch, 2004Prokopenko et al.
20010013143Quick coupling device, particularly for connecting the seat assembly to a toilet bowlAugust, 2001Cavagna
20080178373Toilet lid latchJuly, 2008Selle
20080276359DRAIN CLOG REMOVERNovember, 2008Morgan et al.
20080271238Integrated bathroom electronic systemNovember, 2008Reeder et al.



Primary Examiner:
FETSUGA, ROBERT M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Law Offices of Eric Karich (Aliso Viejo, CA, US)
Claims:
1. A frame for use in a bathroom seat, the frame comprising: a pair of substantially straight bars having opposed ends; and a pair of side members each having a pair of openings on opposite sides, wherein each of the openings is adapted to receive an end of a different one of the bars.

2. The frame as recited in claim 1, wherein each of the side members comprises a pair of legs, and wherein an upper end of each of the legs has a different one of the openings.

3. The frame as recited in claim 2, wherein the upper end of each of the legs is adapted to connect to the end of the bar received by the opening.

4. The frame as recited in claim 3, wherein each end of each of the bars comprises a spring-loaded button extending outward from an outer surface, and wherein the upper end of each of the legs has a hole adapted to receive a corresponding one of the buttons.

5. The frame as recited in claim 2, wherein each of the side members further comprises a support bar connected between the upper ends of the legs.

6. The frame as recited in claim 5, wherein the legs and the support bar are formed from metal tubing, and wherein the support bar is welded to the upper end s of the legs.

7. The frame as recited in claim 5, wherein at least one of the side members further comprises a hand rail connected to the upper ends of the legs and the support bar.

8. The frame as recited in claim 7, wherein the legs, the support bar, and the hand rail are formed from metal tubing, and wherein the hand rail is welded to the support bar and the upper ends of the legs.

9. A bathroom seat, comprising: a frame having: a pair of substantially straight bars having opposed ends; and a pair of side members each having a pair of openings on opposite sides, wherein each of the openings is adapted to receive an end of a different one of the bars; and a seat coupled to the frame.

10. The bathroom seat as recited in claim 9, wherein each of the side members of the frame comprises a pair of legs, and wherein an upper end of each of the legs has a different one of the openings.

11. The bathroom seat as recited in claim 10, wherein the upper end of each of the legs of the frame is adapted to connect to the end of the bar received by the opening.

12. The bathroom seat as recited in claim 9, wherein the seat is slidably mounted upon the frame.

13. The bathroom seat as recited in claim 10, wherein each of the side members of the frame further comprises a support bar connected between the upper ends of the legs.

14. The bathroom seat as recited in claim 13, wherein the legs and the support bar of the frame are formed from metal tubing, and wherein the support bar is welded to the upper ends of the legs.

15. The bathroom seat as recited in claim 13, wherein at least one of the side members of the frame further comprises a hand rail connecting the upper ends of the legs and the support bar.

16. The bathroom seat as recited in claim 15, wherein the legs, the support bar, and the hand rail are formed from metal tubing, and wherein the hand rail is welded to the support bar and the upper ends of the legs.

17. A bathroom seat comprising: a pair of substantially straight bars having opposed ends; a pair of side members each having a pair of openings on opposite sides, wherein each of the openings is adapted to receive an end of a different one of the bars, wherein each of the side members includes a pair of legs that each include a first portion that is generally vertical, a curved portion, and an upper end that is generally horizontal and terminates in one of the openings, and wherein each of the side members further comprises a support bar connected between the pair of legs; and a seat adapted to be mounted upon the pair of substantially straight bars.

18. The bathroom seat as recited in claim 17, wherein the seat adapted to be slidably mounted upon the pair of substantially straight bars.

19. The bathroom seat as recited in claim 18, wherein the seat is attached to a pair of gliding elements that fit around one of the substantially straight bars, thereby slibably connecting the seat with the one of the substantially straight bars.

20. The bathroom seat as recited in claim 17, wherein each of the legs includes an upper leg portion and a lower leg portion, the upper leg portion being adapted to telescopically engage the lower leg portion.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates generally to bathroom seats and the like, and more particularly to a bathroom seat having a frame that can be manufactured inexpensively and shipped and stored in a small and economical container.

2. Description of Related Art

To prevent bathroom accidents, many physically challenged persons use bathroom seats such as bath chairs, specialty comrnodes, and transfer benches. A bath chair is especially designed to aid a person's mobility within a bathroom. For example, a typical bath chair is positioned in the bath tub or shower prior to use, and a user sits in a seat of the bath chair while taking a bath or shower. Most bath chairs have legs with suction cups or rubber feet to keep the bath chair stable and to prevent surfaces contacted by the legs from being scratched. Many bath chairs have handgrips that aid those with balance problems and to make it easier to remove the bath chair from the tub.

Transfer benches aid those that find it difficult to get in and/or out of a bath tub. A typical transfer bench includes a seat that slides on a pair of rails such that the seat can be positioned partially in and partially out of the bath tub. A user sits on the seat positioned outside of the bath tub, then slides the seat along the rails until the seat is located in the bath tub.

FIG. 1 is a perspective, exploded view of a known transfer bench 20 including a seat 22 for a user to sit in while bathing. The transfer bench 20 includes a frame 24 having a front bar 26 and a rear bar 28 connected to a right support bar 30 and a left support bar 32. As shown in FIG. 1, the front bar 26, the rear bar 28, the right support bar 30, and the left support bar 32 are connected together via several fasteners 34. The seat 22 is connected to horizontal middle sections of the front bar 26 and the rear bar 28 via gliding elements 34. The horizontal middle sections of the front bar 26 and the rear bar 28 form a pair of rails that the seat 22 slides along.

Users of bathroom seats often need to take their seats with them when traveling. Unfortunately, assembled bathroom seats are relatively large and bulky. For example, a problem arises with the transfer bench 20 of FIG. 1 in that while the transfer bench 20 may be partially disassembled for transport by removing the fasteners 34, at least one tool is required to partially disassemble the transfer bench 20 for transport and to reassemble the transfer bench 20 at a destination. In addition, the fasteners 34 (and/or the tool or tools) may be lost during transport. It would be advantageous to have a bathroom seat that does not require a tool for disassembly and/or reassembly.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a frame for use in a bathroom seat. The frame includes a pair of substantially straight bars having opposed ends; and a pair of side members each having a pair of openings on opposite sides, wherein each of the openings is adapted to receive an end of a different one of the bars.

A primary objective of the present invention is to provide a bathroom seat having advantages not taught by the prior art.

Another objective is to provide a bathroom seat having a frame that can be manufactured inexpensively.

A further objective is to provide a bathroom seat having a frame that can be shipped and stored in a small and economical container.

Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following more detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, which illustrate, by way of example, the principles of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

The accompanying drawings illustrate the present invention. In such drawings:

FIG. 1 is a perspective, exploded view of a known transfer bench including a seat for a user to sit in while bathing;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a frame for a bathroom seat including a pair of bars coupled between a pair of side members, wherein upper ends of legs of the side members connect to ends of the bars;

FIG. 3 is a side elevation view of one of the connections of FIG. 2 between an upper end of one of the legs and an end of one of the bars;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of one embodiment of a transfer bench including a seat slidely coupled to the frame of FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of an alternate embodiment of the frame of FIG. 2 suitable for use in a bath chair;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the bath chair once the seat has been mounted upon the frame;

FIG. 7 another embodiment of the frame of FIG. 2 suitable for use in a commode; and

FIG. 8 is a perspective view thereof once the commode has been mounted upon the frame.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

As shown in FIGS. 2-8, the bathroom seat may be, for example, a transfer bench, a bath chair, or a commode, and the terms seat and bathroom seat should be construed to include of these variations, as well as alternative embodiments that would be obvious to one skilled in the art.

In one embodiment, shown in FIG. 2, the frame 40 may include a first side member 42 and a second side member 44, and a first bar 46 and a second bar 48. The first and second bars 46 and 48 are adapted to be connected between the first side member 42 and the second side member 44. The first side member 42 may include two legs 50A and 50B, each having an upper leg portion 80 and a lower leg portion 82. The lower leg portions 82 of the legs 50A and 50B are substantially straight and define axes of the legs 50A and 50B that are substantially vertical. The upper leg portions 80 are shown in FIG. 3, and described in greater detail below.

In the embodiment shown in FIG. 2, the first side member 42 also includes a support bar 52 connected between the upper ends 80C of the legs 50A and 50B. The support bar 52 rigidly connects the upper ends 80C of the legs 50A and 50B and defines a distance between the upper ends 80C of the legs 50A and 50B. The support bar 52 has two opposed ends and a middle section. The middle section is substantially straight and defines an axis of the support bar 52. The ends of the support bar 52 are curved away from the axis in the same direction such that the ends of the support bar 52 are angular. The support bar 52 is substantially “U”-shaped, and is inverted when connected to the upper end 80C of the legs 50A and 50B. The legs 50A and 50B and the support bar 52 are preferably formed from metal tubing, and the support bar 52 is preferably welded to the upper ends 80C of the legs 50A and 50B. Welding is preferred other known connecting means as it not only reduces an overall size of connections, it also results in a product that has smooth lines and is visually appealing.

The first bar 46 and the second bar 48 are substantially identical. The first bar 46 and the second bar 48 are substantially straight, and each has two opposed ends and a middle section. As described in more detail below, the upper end 80C of the leg 50A of the first side member 42 has an opening adapted to receive one of the ends (i.e., a corresponding end) of the first bar 46. The upper end 80C of the leg 50A connects to the corresponding end of the first bar 46 at a connection 54. Similarly, the upper end 80C of the leg 50B of the first side member 42 has an opening adapted to receive one of the ends (i.e., a corresponding end) of the second bar 48. The upper end 80C of the leg 50B connects to the corresponding end of the second bar 48 at a connection 56.

In the embodiment of FIG. 2, the first side member 42 includes a hand rail 58 connected to the legs 50A and 50B and the support bar 52 of the first side member 42. The hand rail 58 has two ends and a middle section. As shown in FIG. 2, one end of the hand rail 58 is connected to the leg 50A and the corresponding end of the support bar 52, and the other end of the hand rail 58 is connected to the leg 50B and the corresponding end of the support bar 52. When the frame 40 is assembled as shown in FIG. 2, the middle section of the hand rail 58 is elevated above the middle section of the support bar 52. Like the legs 50A and SOB and the support bar 52, the hand rail 58 is preferably formed from metal tubing. The hand rail 58 is preferably welded to the upper ends 80C of the legs 50A and SOB and the ends of the support bar 52.

The second side member 42 includes two legs 60A and 60B that are constructed in a similar manner to the leg 50A.

The second side member 44 also includes a support bar 62 connected between the legs 60A and 60B. The support bar 62 is substantially similar to the support bar 52. The support bar 62 rigidly connects the legs 60A and 60B and defines a distance between the upper ends of the legs 60A and 60B. The support bar 62 has two opposed ends and a middle section. The middle section is substantially straight and defines an axis of the support bar 62. The ends of the support bar 62 are curved away from the axis in the same direction such that the ends of the support bar 62 are angular. The support bar 62 is substantially “U”-shaped, and is inverted when connected to the legs 60A and 60B. The legs 60A and 60B and the support bar 62 are preferably formed from metal tubing, and the support bar 62 is preferably welded to the legs 60A and 60B.

The upper end 80C of the leg 60A of the second side member 44 has an opening adapted to receive the other end (i.e., a corresponding end) of the first bar 46. The upper end 80C of the leg 60A connects to the corresponding end of the first bar 46 at a connection 64. Similarly, the upper end of the leg 60B of the second side member 44 has an opening adapted to receive the other end (i.e., a corresponding end) of the second bar 48. The upper end of the leg 60B connects to the corresponding end of the second bar 48 at a connection 66.

As described above, the legs 50A-SOD, the support bars 52 and 62, and the hand rail 58 are preferably formed from metal tubing. The metal tubing may be, for example, stainless steel tubing. Alternately, the metal tubing may be anodized aluminum tubing.

FIG. 3 is a side elevation view of the connection 54 of FIG. 2, which illustrates the upper leg portion 80 of the leg 50A. The upper leg portion 80 includes a first portion 80A, a curved portion 80B, and an upper end 80C. The first portion 80A is straight along the axes of the leg 50A, to enable the telescopic engagement of the upper leg portion 80 with the lower leg portion 82. The curved portion 80B is curved away from the axes of the leg 50A such that the upper ends 80 of the legs 50A and 50B are angular and end in the upper end 80C that is substantially horizontal and approximately 90 degrees from the axes of the legs 50A and 50B. The upper end 80C is adapted to engage the corresponding end 72 of the first bar 46. It is noted that the other connections 56, 64, and 66 of FIG. 2 are similar to the connection 54. The upper end 80C is preferably generally horizontal, while the first portion 80A is preferably generally vertical. For purposes of this disclosure, the terms generally horizontal, generally vertical, and approximately 90 degrees should all be construed on the basis of functionality and not on precise geometric measurements. These terms should be constructed to include any angles with respect to the ground that are functionally equivalent for supporting the seat, and should not be construed to limit the claims to narrow and specific geometries.

As described above, the upper end 80C of the leg 50A has an opening 74 adapted to receive the corresponding end 72 of the first bar 46. In the embodiment of FIG. 3, the opening 74 in the upper end 80C of the leg 50A has an inner diameter that slightly exceeds an outer diameter of the corresponding end 72 of the first bar 46. That is, the end 72 of the first bar 46 is a “slip fit” into the opening 74 in the upper end 80C of the leg 50A.

Further, in the embodiment of FIG. 3 the connection 54 is a push-button lock connection. As shown in FIG. 3, the end 72 of the first bar 46 includes a spring-loaded button 76 extending outward from an outer surface, and the upper end 80C of the leg 50A has a corresponding hole 78. To form the connection 54 during assembly of the frame 40, the button 76 is depressed, and the end 72 of the first bar 46 is slid into the opening 74 in the upper end 80C of the leg 50A until the spring-loaded button 76 pops into the corresponding hole 78. When the button 76 is positioned in the hole 78, the first bar 46 is substantially rigidly connected to the upper end 80C of the leg 50A. To separate the first bar 46 from the upper end 80C of the leg 50A during disassembly of the frame 40, the button 76 positioned in the hole 78 is depressed, and the end 72 of the first bar 46 is slid out of the opening 74 in the upper end 80C of the leg 50A.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of one embodiment of a transfer bench 90 including seat 92 slidely coupled to the frame 40 of FIG. 2. In the embodiment of FIG. 4, the seat 92 is slidely coupled to the middle section of the first bar 46 (and optionally to the second bar 48) via gliding elements 94. The seat 92 is provided for a user to sit in while bathing in a bath tub. The substantially parallel middle sections of the first bar 46 and the second bar 48 form a pair of rails along which the seat 92 can slide via the gliding elements 94. The user may use the hand rail 58 to slide to the seat 92 along the middle sections of the first bar 46 and the second bar 48, thereby entering or leaving the bath tub.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of an alternate embodiment of the frame 40 of FIG. 2. As shown in FIG. 6, this embodiment is suitable for use when the seat is a bath chair 84. In the embodiment of FIG. 5, the first bar 46 and the second bar 46 are shorter, and the hand rail 58 is not included. The bath chair 84 may be coupled to the first bar 46 and the second bar 48 of the frame 40 of FIG. 5.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the frame 40 of FIG. 2 suitable for use when the seat is a commode 86, as shown in FIG. 8. In the embodiment of FIG. 7, the first bar 46 and the second bar 46 are shorter, and a second hand rail 100, similar to the hand rail 58, is connected to the legs 60A and 60B and the support bar 62 of the second side member 44. The commode 86, shown in FIG. 8, may be mounted on the first bar 46 and the second bar 48 of the frame 40 of FIG. 7 such that a tank 88 is supported thereunder.

As claimed, the invention focuses on the preferred embodiment wherein the upper end 80C of the leg 50A has the opening 74, and the corresponding end 72 of the first bar 46 fits into the opening 74. It should be understood, however, that this terminology is specifically defined to include the opposite configuration wherein the leg 50A fits into an opening (not shown) of the corresponding end 72 of the first bar 46.

While the invention has been described with reference to at least one preferred embodiment, it is to be clearly understood by those skilled in the art that the invention is not limited thereto. Rather, the scope of the invention is to be interpreted only in conjunction with the appended claims.