Title:
Combination toilet seat and bidet apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A combination toilet seat and bidet apparatus includes a toilet seat member formed with a top wall, a continuous arcuate outer sidewall extending between opposite ends of a back wall and an inner sidewall defining, in part, a seat opening. An arcuate nozzle support arm is mounted on the seat member for rotation about an axis generally normal to the longitudinal axis of the seat member. An operating handle is connected to the arm at one side of the seat and a water flow control valve and operating handle are mounted on the seat opposite the arm operating handle for controlling water flow to a water jet nozzle mounted on the arm. The arm is adapted to be moved to selected working positions by the arm operating handle, and water flow may be selectively varied at will.



Inventors:
Moss, Steven L. (Lindale, TX, US)
Betts Jr., Mart O. (Jacksonville, TX, US)
Lindsey, Keith F. (Troup, TX, US)
Application Number:
11/040938
Publication Date:
07/27/2006
Filing Date:
01/21/2005
Assignee:
STEVEN L. MOSS (LINDALE, TX, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E03D9/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, TUAN N
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MICHAEL E. MARTIN (DALLAS, TX, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A combination toilet seat and bidet apparatus comprising: a toilet seat member including wall means defining a seat opening; a nozzle support arm mounted for rotation on said seat member and moveable between a retracted position disposed in a recess in said seat member and a selected working position about an axis generally normal to a longitudinal axis of said seat member; and a water jet nozzle mounted on said support arm for ejecting a stream of water in a direction corresponding to a selected working position of said support arm.

2. The apparatus set forth in claim 1 wherein: said support arm is connected to an operating handle disposed on one side of said seat member for moving said support arm between said retracted position and a selected working position.

3. The apparatus set forth in claim 1 including: a retainer for retaining said support arm in said retracted position disposed in said recess in said seat member.

4. The apparatus set forth in claim 3 wherein: said retainer includes a magnet operable to retain said support arm in said retracted position by magnetic forces.

5. The apparatus set forth in claim 2 wherein: said support arm includes at least one trunnion disposed thereon adjacent one end of said support arm and operably connected to said operating handle, said trunnion being supported at least in part by said seat member.

6. The apparatus set forth in claim 5 including: a coupling operable to conduct water from a flow control valve to said nozzle, said coupling including cooperating members supporting said support arm for rotation with respect to said seat member.

7. The apparatus set forth in claim 6 wherein: said flow control valve is supported on said seat member.

8. The apparatus set forth in claim 7 including: an operating handle operably connected to said flow control valve for controlling the flow of water to said nozzle.

9. The apparatus set forth in claim 8 wherein: said operating handle for said flow control valve is disposed on a side of said seat member opposite said operating handle for moving said support arm between working and retracted positions.

10. The apparatus set forth in claim 1 wherein: said seat member includes a top wall, a continuous outer sidewall extending from one end of a backwall to an opposite end of said backwall and said opening in said seat member is defined in part by an inner sidewall.

11. The apparatus set forth in claim 1 including: a spring return mechanism operably connected to said support arm for biasing said support arm toward said retracted position.

12. A combination toilet seat and bidet apparatus comprising: a toilet seat member including a top wall, an outer sidewall, a back wall and an inner sidewall defining at least in part a toilet seat opening; a nozzle support arm mounted for rotation on said seat member and moveable between a position disposed in a recess in said seat member and a selected working position about an axis generally normal to a longitudinal axis of said seat member, said support arm is connected to a first operating handle disposed on one side of said seat member for moving said support arm between a retracted position and a selected working position; a nozzle mounted on said support arm for ejecting a stream of water in a direction corresponding to a selected working position of said support arm; a water flow control valve supported on said seat member; and a second operating handle connected to said flow control valve for controlling the flow of water to said nozzle.

13. The apparatus set forth in claim 12 including: said second handle is disposed on a side of said seat member substantially opposite said first handle.

14. The apparatus set forth in claim 12 wherein: said support arm includes at least one trunnion disposed thereon and operably connected to said first handle, said trunnion being supported at least in part by said seat member.

15. The apparatus set forth in claim 14 including: a spring return mechanism including a torsion coil spring operably connected to said one trunnion and said seat member for biasing said support arm toward said position disposed in said recess.

16. The apparatus set forth in claim 12 including: a coupling operable to conduct water from said flow control valve to said nozzle, said coupling including cooperating members supporting said support arm for rotation with respect to said seat member.

17. The apparatus set forth in claim 12 wherein: said flow control valve is supported on said seat member.

18. A combination toilet seat and bidet apparatus comprising: a toilet seat member including wall means defining a toilet seat opening; a nozzle support arm mounted for rotation on said seat member and moveable between a position disposed in a recess in said seat member and a selected working position about an axis generally normal to a central longitudinal axis of said seat member, said support arm includes at least one trunnion disposed thereon and operably connected to a first handle for moving said support arm between a retracted position and a selected working position; a nozzle mounted on said support arm for ejecting a stream of water in a direction corresponding to a selected working position of said support arm; a water flow control valve supported on said seat member; a coupling operable to conduct water from said flow control valve to said nozzle, said coupling including cooperating members for supporting said support arm for rotation with respect to said seat member; and a second handle connected to said flow control valve for controlling the flow of water to said nozzle.

19. The apparatus set forth in claim 18 including: a retainer for retaining said support arm in a retracted position disposed in said recess in said seat member.

20. The apparatus set forth in claim 19 wherein: said retainer includes a magnet operable to retain said support arm in said retracted position by magnetic forces.

21. The apparatus set forth in claim 18 wherein: said second handle is disposed on a side of said seat member opposite said first handle.

22. The apparatus set forth in claim 18 wherein: said seat member includes a top wall, a continuous outer sidewall extending from one end of a backwall to an opposite end of said backwall and said opening in said seat member is defined in part by an inner sidewall.

23. The apparatus set forth in claim 18 wherein: said support arm comprises a channel shaped member for supporting a conduit extending between said coupling and said nozzle.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In the art of toilet apparatus and the like, there have been efforts to adapt bidet devices to mount on existing toilet apparatus, including devices which mount directly on a toilet seat, or the toilet bowl or adjacent structure. Efforts have also been made to develop bidet devices which include moveable support structure for a water spray nozzle, which support structure may be moved between a working position and a stored position out of the way of a toilet seat opening.

However, known bidet devices or apparatus adapted for mounting on a toilet seat are not configured such that only a single water jet nozzle is required and wherein the nozzle may be placed in one of several selected working positions and further wherein the bidet device may be moved to a non-working position which is substantially out of the way but which is retained on a toilet seat in a convenient and unobtrusive position.

Accordingly, there has been a need to develop bidet apparatus which may be mounted on a toilet seat, which may be moved conveniently to selected working positions while at the same time being operable to project a stream of cleaning water in a variable selected amount. There has also been a need for a bidet apparatus which is built into a toilet seat in such a way as to be stored in an unobtrusive or out-of-the way position when not required to be used. Various needs and desiderata in the art of bidet apparatus have been met by the present invention.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides an improved combination toilet seat and bidet apparatus.

In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, a combination toilet seat and bidet apparatus is provided wherein a moveable support arm for a water jet nozzle is mounted on a toilet seat for rotation between various selected working positions and a stored position. The support arm is conveniently located in a stored position within a recess formed in the toilet seat in such a way that the bidet support arm is completely unobtrusive and out of the way when not being used.

In accordance with another important aspect of the invention, a bidet apparatus is provided which is mountable on a toilet seat and is characterized by a support arm for a water jet nozzle which arm is rotatable about an axis generally normal to the longitudinal axis of the toilet seat and is moveable to selected working positions for directing a stream of cleaning water from the nozzle. The support arm is connected to an operating handle for selectively positioning the arm and the water jet nozzle in a selected working position and the arm is biased to a retracted position by a return spring mechanism. Still further, the bidet apparatus includes a control handle for operating a water flow control valve to control the flow of water to the nozzle.

In accordance with yet a further aspect of the present invention, a bidet apparatus is provided which is mounted on a toilet seat and is arranged such that a water flow control valve operating handle is mounted on one side of the toilet seat and an operating handle for positioning a support arm for a water jet nozzle is mounted on the toilet seat on an opposite side thereof. Accordingly, operating handles for the bidet apparatus are conveniently placed for manipulation by a person using the apparatus.

In accordance with still a further aspect of the present invention, a combination toilet seat and bidet apparatus is provided which is configured for easy assembly and disassembly for repair or replacement of parts, as needed. A substantial number of parts are configured for ease of manufacture, such as by injection molding using a filled or unfilled thermoplastic or thermoset polymer material.

Those skilled in the art will further appreciate the above-mentioned advantages and superior features of the invention, together with other important aspects thereof upon reading the detailed description which follows in conjunction with the drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a bottom plan view of a combination toilet seat and bidet apparatus in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side elevation of the combination toilet seat and bidet apparatus shown in FIG. 1 and showing the support arm for the water jet nozzle in one selected working position;

FIG. 3 is a detail section view taken generally along the line 3-3 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a detail section view taken generally along the line 4-4 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is an exploded perspective view of the combination toilet seat and bidet apparatus in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 6 is a detail section view of the water jet nozzle; and

FIG. 7 is a detail perspective view of the arm return spring mechanism.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

In the description which follows, like parts are marked throughout the specification and drawing with the same reference numerals, respectively. The drawing figures are not necessarily to scale and certain features may be shown exaggerated in scale or in somewhat generalized form in the interest of clarity and conciseness.

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 5, in particular, there is illustrated a combination toilet seat and bidet apparatus in accordance with the invention and generally designated by the numeral 10. The apparatus 10 is characterized by a somewhat conventional shaped toilet seat 12 which may be formed of molded plastic or the like and which is characterized by a top wall 14, and a somewhat arcuate outer sidewall 16 which is continuous between opposite ends of and integral with a backwall 18. An arcuate inner wall 20 is integrally joined to the top wall 14 also and defines, in part, a generally conventional toilet seat opening 22. Inner wall 20 is joined at its opposite ends to intermediate walls 23a and 23b which also join top wall 14 and outer wall 16 on opposite sides thereof. Toilet seat 12 is also provided with suitable spaced apart reinforcing gussets 24a and 24b extending between inner and outer walls 20 and 16, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 5.

Toilet seat 12 is further provided with a plurality of spaced apart fastener receiving bosses 26, several of which are identified in FIG. 5, and which project from top wall 14 to provide for securing a seat bottom cover 25 by conventional mechanical fasteners, not shown in FIG. 5. Conventional seat standoff pads 25a may be provided on cover 25, as shown. Cover 25 is provided with an opening 25b having a shape conforming to at least part of opening 22 and to provide clearance for a rotatable bidet support arm to be described further herein. Selected ones of bosses 26 are also adapted to support respective hinge members 28 which are cooperable with hinge members 30, the latter being adapted to be secured to a toilet bowl, not shown. Hinge members 30 are also cooperable with respective hinge members 32, FIGS. 1 and 5, which are connected to a conventional toilet seat lid 34, FIGS. 2 and 5.

Referring further to FIGS. 1 and 5, the apparatus 10 further includes a support arm 36 which is generally semicircular in shape and is of a rectangular cross section channel configuration, as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, also. Arm 36 is operable to support a water jet nozzle 38 thereon generally midway between opposite ends of arm 36. Nozzle 38 is adapted to direct a sharp stream or column of water 40, see FIGS. 1 and 2, in the directions illustrated with respect to the support arm 36. Bidet support arm 36 is detachably mountable on seat 12 for rotation about an axis 42, FIG. 1, which is substantially normal to a longitudinal central axis 43 of seat 12. The water stream 40, operable to be discharged from nozzle 38, is preferably directed generally along or in a plane which includes axis 43 and is generally normal to axis 42.

Referring briefly to FIG. 6, the water jet nozzle 38 is shown in a longitudinal central section view and attached to the arm 36 by suitable means including adhesive bonding. Nozzle 38 includes an elongated inlet passage 38a which intersects a nozzle passage 38b. When nozzle 38 is mounted on arm 36, nozzle passage 38b aligns with opening 41, as illustrated. Nozzle inlet passage 38a may be configured to include a sloped surface 38d to guide the flow of water from passage 38a to nozzle passage 38b. In this way a sharp stream of column of water, see FIGS. 1 and 2, is provided by the nozzle 38. The nozzle 38 may be molded of a suitable plastic and mounted on arm 36 at a flange 38c, as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 6.

Bidet support arm 36 is at least partially supported on seat 12 by a trunnion 44, FIGS. 1 and 5, for rotation about axis 42. Trunnion 44 is operable to be journaled by a flange 46 formed on seat 12, see FIGS. 5 and 7, and also by a boss 48 formed on seat cover 25, as also shown in FIG. 5. A support arm operating handle 50, FIGS. 1 and 5, is adapted to be secured to distal end 44a of trunnion 44, which distal end projects through a suitable opening in and outward from the outside wall 16 of seat 12. Distal end 44a may have a polygonal cross section, for example, operable to be received in a suitable polygonal recess in handle 50. In FIG. 2, the handle 50 is shown in the retracted position of arm 36. However, when arm 36 is rotated to a working position, such as shown in FIG. 2, the handle 50 moves downward with the arm 36.

The opposite side of support arm 36 is supported by seat 12 for rotation about axis 42 by a rotary coupling 51, FIG. 3, including a spigot 52, FIGS. 3 and 5, which is formed as part of or is suitably secured to a water flow control valve assembly 54. Water flow control valve assembly 54 includes a valve housing 56, a connector 58, FIGS. 1 and 5, and a suitable valve actuator stem 60, FIG. 1, which projects through a suitable opening in wall 16 for connection to a valve operating handle 62, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 5. Flow control valve 54 is suitably supported on seat 12 by one or more integrally molded bracket members 67, see FIGS. 3 and 5. A water supply conduit 63, which may be connected to the water supply for a toilet tank, not shown, is adapted to be connected to the water flow control valve 54 at the connector 58 and trained through an opening 16a, FIG. 5, in wall 16.

Spigot 52 journals a hollow boss 64, FIG. 3, forming part of coupling 51. Boss 64 is rotatable with respect to spigot 52. Spigot 52 and boss 64 are provided with suitable passages for conducting pressure water therethrough. Boss 64 is also formed as part of an elbow fitting 66 which is mounted within the channel shaped support arm 36 and suitably supported therein. Fitting 66 is connected to a flexible water supply conduit 70, FIGS. 1 and 5, which is connected to nozzle 38 by a suitable connector 72. Bidet support arm 36 is provided with an arcuate cover member 37, as shown in FIGS. 1, 3 and 5, which may be suitably secured to the support arm by conventional mechanical fasteners, not shown. Jet nozzle 38 ejects water, such as the stream or column 40, through a suitable opening 41, FIG. 5, formed in a sidewall of channel shaped support arm 36, as illustrated.

As illustrated in FIG. 1, in particular, the configuration of the arcuate support arm 36 is such as to define a part of the conventional shaped toilet seat opening 22. Moreover, the support arm 36 is adapted to be retracted into a recess formed in toilet seat member 12 between intermediate walls 23a, 23b, top wall 14 and a depending wall 25b of cover member 25. However, support arm 36 may be rotated between a retracted or stored position shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 and any selected working position between the retracted position and the working position shown in FIG. 2. This versatility in positioning the nozzle support arm 36 allows for directing the water stream 40 from nozzle 38 in a selected direction for the convenience of the user.

An additional advantage and convenience accorded to the user of the combination toilet seat and bidet apparatus 10 is with respect to the placement of the operating handles 50 and 62. The user of the apparatus 10 may selectively position the support arm 36 with one hand by manipulating the handle 50 while at the same time, using the other hand, for example, adjust the flow of water being ejected by the nozzle 38 by manipulation of the handle 62 which controls valve 54. Accordingly, the combination toilet seat and bidet apparatus 10 is particularly versatile with respect to ease of use and selection of a working position of the support arm 36 and nozzle 38 supported thereon.

Referring briefly to FIG. 4, the apparatus 10 includes an advantageous mechanism for retaining the nozzle support arm 36 in a retracted position with respect to the seat 12. As shown in FIG. 4, one of the metal mechanical fasteners 43 for securing the arm cover 37 to the arm 36 is disposed in proximity to a magnet 45 which is secured to the inside surface of top wall 14 of seat 12, as illustrated, preferably by embedding the magnet in the molded plastic top wall. When the support arm 36 is moved to the retracted position recessed within the envelope of the seat 12, the head of fastener 43 engages magnet 45 to retain the arm 36 in its retracted non-working position. The magnetic force exerted on the support arm 36 by the magnet 45 may be easily overcome when it is desired to rotate handle 50 to move the support arm 36 to a selected working position.

Referring briefly to FIG. 7, the combination toilet seat and bidet apparatus 10 also includes a spring return mechanism for biasing the arm 36 in the retracted position. As shown in FIG. 7, a torsion coil return spring 80 is provided with opposed distal leg parts 82 and 84 which project through an opening 85 in intermediate wall 23b and a transverse bore 86 in trunnion 44, respectively. This arrangement of a spring return mechanism provides for biasing the arm 36 into its retracted position. Upon release of the handle 50, when the arm 36 is in a working position, as shown by example in FIG. 2, the arm moves smoothly to its retracted position. In this regard, the legs 82 and 84 tend to slide within the respective openings 85 and 86 and the frictional engagement of the legs 82 and 84 with the respective structural members 23b and 44 provide for smooth, relatively low speed movement of the arm 36 from a working position to its retracted position.

Still further, the apparatus 10 is provided with suitable openings 36b in arm 36, see FIGS. 4 and 5, and one or more openings 25d, see FIG. 4, in depending wall 25c to allow for drainage of liquids out of apparatus 10 through slots 18a, FIG. 5, when the apparatus is moved to an upright position, for example. In this way, liquids will not accumulate in the interior of arm 36 nor within the space formed between walls 14, cover 25 and walls 18 and 25c.

The construction and operation of the apparatus 10 is believed to be understandable to those of skill in the art based on the foregoing description. Conventional engineering materials, such as moldable plastics, may be used to fabricate the seat 12, arm 36, seat cover 25, lid 34 and arm cover 37, for example. Other components described above may be formed of suitable engineering materials and fabricated using substantially conventional manufacturing practices.

Although a preferred embodiment of the invention has been described in detail herein, those skilled in the art will recognize that various substitutions and modifications may be made without departing from the scope and spirit of the appended claims.





 
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