Title:
Shower curtain support device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A shower curtain support comprises a non-circular curtain rod and a plurality of non-circular sliding shower rings. Selected rings include depending rib members which hold the shower curtain away from the shower or bathing area. The non circularity of the engaging curtain rod and sliding rings prevent relative rotation, so that the dependent ribs continually push the curtain out avoiding “billowing” and undesired, unhygienic contact with the skin of the user.



Inventors:
Tsvok, Igor (Richmond Hill, CA)
Application Number:
11/249427
Publication Date:
04/27/2006
Filing Date:
10/14/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47K3/08; A47K3/14
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HUYNH, KHOA D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Ridout & Maybee LLP (Toronto, ON, CA)
Claims:
1. A shower curtain support device, comprising: a shower curtain rod for horizontal mounting adjacent a shower or bathing area to suspend a shower curtain; and a plurality of curtain ring members slidably engageable over said shower curtain rod and attachable at selected positions along the upper edge of the shower curtain for sliding movement along the shower curtain rod, wherein the outer perimetrical contour of the shower curtain rod and the inner perimetrical contour of said ring members are non-circular and substantially congruent to each other, to prevent rotational motion of said ring members about the long axis of the curtain rod, and selected ring members of said plurality include an integral depending rib member having a lower portion extending outwardly to bear against the inner face of said shower curtain, whereby the rib members hold the shower curtain away from said shower or bathing area.

2. A shower curtain support device according to claim 1, wherein said non-circular contours of the shower curtain rod and the curtain rings are substantially elliptical.

3. A shower curtain support device, wherein said non-circular contours of the shower curtain rod and the curtain rings are substantially in the shape of an inverted regular triangle.

4. A shower curtain support device according to claim 1, wherein said non-circular contours of the shower rod and the curtain rings are substantially rectangular.

5. A shower curtain support device according to claim 1, wherein said shower curtain rod comprises jointly the circular shower rod of a conventional shower installation and an adaptor sleeve having a part-circular recess along the length thereof to receive said circular rod, thereby forming the shower curtain rod having a non-circular outer perimetrical counter.

6. A shower curtain support device according to claim 5, wherein said adaptor sleeve is formed of a resilient plastic material and said circular shower rod is removably mountable with said part-circular recess in a snap fit.

7. A shower curtain support device according to claim 6, wherein said part-circular recess includes a high-friction liner for preventing rotation of said adaptor sleeve relative to said circular shower rod.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATION

This application replaces and claims priority from Provisional Application No. 60/618,176 filed on Oct. 14, 2004 and entitled “SHOWER CURTAIN SUPPORT DEVICE”, hereby incorporated herein in its entirety by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a curtain supporting device and the components thereof, particularly for preventing a shower curtain from blowing inwardly against a person taking a shower (“billowing”) and for associated hygienic reasons. Additionally, the supporting device holds the curtain in an outward displacement, effectively enlarging the showering area.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

A familiar annoyance to a person showering in a tub or stall equipped with a conventional shower curtain (circular rod and circular rings) is the tendency of the curtain to be drawn inwardly into the shower space during shower use.

A number of shower curtain supports, control devices and adapters have been made which provide supporting frames or arms mounted to a shower rod to hold the curtain away from the shower spray. See for example U.S. Pat. No. 2,878,487 (Foote); U.S. Pat. No. 3,872,520 (Tyconik); U.S. Pat. No. 5,007,120 (Annand); and U.S. Pat. No. 6,032,306 (Gummin). With these and similar arrangements, the curtain rod and rings holding the shower curtain are of conventional circular contour and the supporting means are pivotally or otherwise mounted to the shower rod independently of the circular shower rings.

I have found that simple and effective shower control can be achieved by providing a shower rod of a non-circular cross-section and a plurality of likewise non-circular sliding rings, some of which are provided with integral arms or rib members to push the shower curtain outward. The non-circular rings are precluded, by their shape and fit over the curtain rod, from rotating about the rod axis, so that the curtain-holding ribs on selected of the curtain rings are held outward to support the curtain as desired.

Use of a shower curtain support device according to my invention minimizes the need for skin contact with a shower curtain. Particularly with shower curtains in hotels, the wish to avoid touching the shower curtains is not mere fastidiousness. It has been established that the “soap scum” accumulated on vinyl shower curtains over time contain significant microbial populations, including potential opportunistic pathogens. A study published by Kelley et al, In Applied Environmental Microbiology, July 2004, pp. 4187-4192 concludes that the potential opportunistic pathogens harboured in shower curtains can threaten immune-compromised or otherwise ill patients in a hospital environment. More generally, for immune-compromised people any consistent exposure to sources of infection, such as shower curtains, constitutes a public health problem. While exposure can be minimized by regular cleaning or by changing shower curtains, that is often a matter out of the control of the shower user.

Other features of the invention and the advantages resulting therefrom will become from the following description, and drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention will now be described merely by way of illustration with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a schematic view of a shower curtain rod, with ribbed and unribbed sliding rings, in use supporting a shower curtain;

FIG. 2 is a representation similar to FIG. 1, but with the rib-bearing rings removed, allowing the shower curtain to hang vertically;

FIG. 3 is a view similar to FIGS. 1 and 2 but depicting only the shower rod and the rib-bearing rings; and

FIGS. 4A, 4B and 4C show examples of non-circular contours which may be adopted for the shower rod and rings according to the invention.

FIG. 5 illustrates the use of an adaptor sleeve which can be fitted over a conventional circular shower curtain rod to form a shower rod assembly having a non-circular contour for use in a shower curtain support device according to the invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring first to FIG. 1 it will be seen that a shower curtain 10 is removably attached to each of a plurality of non-circular curtain-hanging rings 12a which slide freely along a non-circular shower curtain rod 14. The attachment can be by the entirely conventional expedient of providing the rings with springy openings (not shown) for looping the curtain holes 10a onto the rings. At either end, rod 14 is mounted to the washroom walls or is otherwise supported by conventional means, not shown here. A few non-circular rings 12b are provided which include integral ribs 12c projecting downwardly and then outwardly to support adjacent portions of the curtain and hold the curtain as a whole out and away from the enclosure.

The non-circularity of rod and sliding rings prevents the ribs from rotating about the rod and so resist the tendency of the shower curtain to be pulled inward when the shower is running. If the curtain pushing-out ribs 12b are removed before the curtain is attached to rings 12a, the shower curtain hangs vertically as in a conventional shower, as shown in FIG. 2.

In FIGS. 1, 2, 3 and 4A, the cross-sectional contour of rod 14 and the circumscribing perimetrical contour of corresponding rib-bearing rings 12b is elliptical, but other non-circular cross-sections will work as well, such as inverted triangular (4B) and rectangular (4C).

An assembly kit for a domestic bathtub/shower information for apparatus according to the invention could include one shower rod (non-circular aluminium or plastic), 3 curtain holding ring/rib supports; 12 hanging rings (non-circular) and two mountable end cups with non-circular cavities to receive the ends of the curtain rod.

According to a further embodiment of the invention, illustrated in FIG. 5, the conventional shower rod 16 of an existing shower stall assembly with its circular cross-section 16a can be retrofitted into a non-circular shower rod for use in the invention by means of a snap-fit adaptor 18 having a central part-circular channel 18a therealong to receive rod 16 in close fit. In FIG. 5, the adaptor is of an overall elliptical shape having vertical long axis 19. The assembled “composite” shower rod has a non-circular, substantially elliptical overall shape, and ribbed and un-ribbed slider rings accommodating to the overall shape would be provided for use as described above.

The lining of channel 18a may be advantageously provided with a rubberized or other high-friction surface 18b, to afford better gripping between the adaptor and the original shower rod.

Providing supports for shower curtains according to the present invention promises particular utility in hotels and other public installations, where contact between the user and the shower curtain is undesirable. Where there is a large traffic of guests, there is the possibility of skin disease transmission from the shower curtain surface. Even where infection is less of a concern, i.e. for home usage, the holding rib system of the invention effectively enlarges the shower area by preventing the billowing effect referred to above.

Although the invention has been particularly described with reference to the embodiments shown in the drawings, it will be understood by one of ordinary skill that a number of variations and modifications in the described and depicted structure are possible, particularly as to the number, size and shape of the rods, rings and rib components of the apparatus.





 
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