Title:
Commode lifting and transporting device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method and apparatus for lifting, transporting, or installing a commode is disclosed. The commode lifting and transporting device includes a base frame, with an upright support frame designed to straddle and lift a commode at or near the commode's center of gravity. The lifting member includes a screw jack, a lifting bar guided by the upright support frame, and three methods of attaching the commode to the commode lifting device: a self-clamping mechanism for lifting and transporting standard commodes; a set of support hooks and chain for lifting and transporting non-standard commodes, and lifting bar holes used in conjunction with the commode's seat holes, two bolts and two nuts as an alternate method for lifting and transporting non-standard commodes.



Inventors:
Hamilton, Lawrence Dale (Owensboro, KY, US)
Application Number:
11/179300
Publication Date:
01/18/2007
Filing Date:
07/13/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47K1/00; E03C1/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PHILLIPS, CHARLES E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Lawrence Dale Hamilton (Owensboro, KY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A means of raising, transporting, lowering, and placing into position a commode, said means comprising: a base frame mounted on wheels whereby said base frame is capable of rolling on the ground's surface so that said base frame surrounds the front, left and right sides of a bowl section of a commode on the ground's surface directly beneath said bowl section; an upright support frame that includes at least two upright support members extending upwardly on both the left and right sides of said base frame and attached securely to said base frame in a position such that when said base frame is in a position surrounding the front, left, and right sides of a commode's bowl section on the ground's surface directly beneath said bowl section, at least one section of the upper portion of said upright support frame is located somewhere in the general area above the holes in the commode used to attach the commode's seat; a means of lifting a commode said means being attached to said upright support frame; and a means of securing a commode to said means of lifting the commode.

1. A means of raising, transporting, lowering, and placing into position a commode, said means comprising: a base frame mounted on wheels whereby said base frame is capable of rolling on the ground's surface so that said base frame surrounds the front, left and right sides of a bowl section of a commode on the ground's surface directly beneath said bowl section; an upright support frame that includes at least two upright support members extending upwardly on both the left and right sides of said base frame is in a upper portion of said upright support frame is located somewhere in the general area above the holes in the commode said means being attached to said upright support frame; and a means of securing a commode to said means of lifting the commode.

2. The combination of claim 1 wherein said means of lifting a commode consists of a lifting device connected to both said upright support frame and a lifting bar such that said lifting device can raise and lower said lifting bar.

3. The combination of claim 2 wherein said means of lifting consists of a threaded lifting bolt or other similar means connected to said lifting bar and to said upright support frame wherein said lifting bolt includes a manual crank so that when said manual crank is rotated, said lifting bar is raised and lowered.

4. The combination of claim 2 wherein said means of securing includes a grasping mechanism attached to said lifting bar capable of grasping a commode between the commode's water-tank section and bowl section and also capable of supporting the lifted commode.

6. The combination of claim 2 wherein said means of securing attaches said lifting bar to a commode using the holes in the commode's bowl section used to attach the commode's seat, two holes in the lifting bar properly positioned such that the two holes line up with the commode's seat holes, two bolts or other similar means each placed through one of the two said lifting bar holes and corresponding seat hole in the commode, and two nuts or other similar means used to secure each of the two said bolts.

7. The combination of claim 1 wherein said upright support frame can be folded against said base frame as required for shipping or storage or locked into an upright position with respect to said base frame as required for lifting, transporting, or installing a commode.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to a device used for lifting commodes so as to prevent backache and injury and damage to the commode and surrounding surfaces such as carpeting.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

It is well known that commodes are heavy and awkward to lift. However, commodes still must be changed and plumbers, building maintenance personnel and tile personnel can damage their backs by lifting commodes, which can weigh as much as 100 lbs. Plus, a wet floor increases the chance of accidents. For at least the above reasons, it is clear that a means for allowing those with even minimal strength to lift and move a commode is desired.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

This invention has as its primary objective to provide a commode-lifting and transporting device whereby back strain from commode lifting can be eliminated.

Yet another objective of the invention is to provide a safe and effective means of transporting a commode with much lower risk of damage to the commode than when the conventional method of lifting with arms and legs is used.

This and other objects and advantages of the invention will become readily apparent as the following description is read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an unfolded and locked view of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a view of the present invention lifting a standard commode;

FIG. 3 is a view of the present invention lifting a one-piece commode;

FIG. 4 is a view of the present invention lifting a commode that has no water-tank; and

FIG. 5 is a view of the present invention folded and ready for storage.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The following description should be considered as an example only, and the present invention should not be considered as limited thereto. Modifications and updates may be made and still remain within the spirit and scope of the present invention.

Most commodes require two people to remove, precisely install and fit the commode during removal and installation. This is because commodes are awkwardly designed and require centering over anchor bolts protruding from the floor over which the commode is to be installed. The proper procedure is to completely disassemble the commode whereby the water holding tank is completely removed, when possible, to divide the commode into two separate sections. This undertaking takes a large amount of time and effort. Quite often, a commode is removed and replaced by one person without disassembling into two sections increasing the likelihood of personal injury and commode breakage. Additionally, when a commode is removed for repair, excess water in the bowl results in extra weight and the possibility of injury and spillage, which can damage carpeting and other flooring surfaces.

There have been dollies and hand trucks used to handle commodes, but they are not as convenient, easy to use, effective, or as potentially economical as the present invention, especially in close quarters, which is usually the case in homes, apartments, and in the hospitality industry. U.S. Pat. No. 5,373,593, Decky et al, 1994, Hand Cart For Lifting and Transporting Toilets shows a hand cart for lifting, transporting and installing toilets with ball engaging grapples and a rim clamp to hold a toilet on the cart during the lifting and transporting process. Decky et al grasps a toilet at one end, as opposed to lifting and suspending a commode closer to the center of gravity as does the present invention.

The present invention is rolled into position and the unbolted commode is lifted in seconds by using the crank. The present invention lifts and suspends the commode close to the center of gravity, greatly simplifying the design and manufacturability of working parts and the manufacturing processes required to build. This makes the present invention potentially more affordable for the market of users desiring to purchase a commode lifting/handling device and also makes the present invention less likely to fail while in use due to fewer working parts.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,772,511, Chitwood, 1988, Toilet Lift Truck shows a commode lifting/handling device that uses lifting arms, bars, collars, and rods. Chitwood uses extended horizontal cradling arms attached to vertical supports located just beyond the front of the commode rim at the point that is furthest away from the commode's water-tank to support the commode, as opposed to lifting and suspending a commode closer to the commode's center of gravity as does the present invention. During lifting, the Chitwood design places the greatest strain from lifting a few inches beyond the front of the commode rim at the point that is furthest away from the commode's water-tank, which is a design concept that requires much more complexity than does the present invention. The present invention represents a new and improved design compared to Chitwood for the same reasons previously sited in the Decky et al comparison.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,391,905, 1968, Toilet Bowl Handling And Transporting Apparatus uses a horizontal boom placed over the bowl of the commode extending from a point a few inches beyond the front of the commode rim at the point that is furthest away from the commode's water-tank. While U.S. Pat. No. 3,391,905 lifts the commode from above the bowl closer to the commode's center of gravity similar to the present invention, as in the other designs mentioned above, the greatest strain from lifting is placed far from the center of gravity, which is a few inches beyond the front of the commode rim at the point that is furthest away from the commode water-tank. This design concept requires much more complexity than does the present invention. The present invention does not require a lifting boom, nor does the present invention require cumbersome manual adjustment and positioning of clamping members inside the toilet bowl lid flange. The present invention does not require any sort of clamp positioning and adjustment due to differing bowl sizes, as does U.S. Pat. No. 3,391,905. The present invention represents a new and improved design compared to U.S. Pat. No. 3,391,905 for the same reasons previously sited in the Decky et al comparison.

The present invention allows one person to quickly, safely and securely lift, hold, move, and accurately reset a commode without damage to either the wax ring commonly found on the sewer drain or any part or parts of the commode assembly or surrounding structure such as a floor, walls, wallpaper, paint, or molding. The present invention includes self-clamping lifting arms connected to a lifting bar contained in a balanced wheeled structure for easy lifting, moving and accurately resetting a commode such as could be required during construction, remodeling, repair or replacement activities. One piece commodes and other commode styles where the bowl section does not have a flat underside surface between the bowl section and the water-tank section also can be lifted easily by simply wrapping a plastic-coated chain or rope around the bottom underside of the water-tank and securing each end to the lifting bar. The flat underside surface between the water-tank and the seat is required for the self-clamping lifting arms mechanism to function properly.

The center of gravity on all commodes that have a water-tank is a few inches beyond the front center of the water-tank directed toward the commode's bowl section. Marking the center of gravity of a normal upright resting side view commode using a vertical line, the vertical line would dissect the commode's bowl section 4 to 6 inches beyond the front of the water-tank. This is because the bowl section of the commode is always heavier than the water-tank section of the commode. The present invention lifts and suspends a commode just in front of the water-tank, very close to the center of gravity allowing the heavier bowl section to tip downward causing the water-tank to tilt forward and rest against the upright frame.

The present invention is collapsible for shipping and storage.

Referring to FIGS. 1, 2, 3, and 4, the preferred embodiment of the present invention, a present invention 1 includes an upright frame 10, a base frame 20, a lifting bar 30, and pivotal lifting hooks 40. The upright frame 10 includes lifting nuts 11. The base frame 20 includes caster wheels 21, caster nuts 22, slotted brackets 23, self-locking brackets 24, pivot bolts 25, and lock/unlock bolts 26. The lifting bar 30 includes a lifting bolt 31, a handle 32, sleeves 33, a nut welded to the lifting bolt for reinforcement 34, a nut welded to the lifting bolt for support 35, support hooks 36, and lifting bar holes 38. The lifting bar holes 38 are not shown in FIG. 4 due to a bolt inserted through each of the lifting bar holes 38.

The pivotal lifting hooks 40 include horizontal bars 42. During construction of the present invention, the lifting bolt 31 is inserted through a hole in the lifting bar 30 that is slightly larger in diameter than the diameter of the lifting bolt 31. Both the supporting nut 35 and the reinforcement nut 34 are welded to the lifting bolt 31. The lifting bar 30 raises and lowers as the handle 32 is rotated and the lifting bar 30 remains seated between the upright frame 10.

FIG. 2 shows the present invention 1 with a commode 50 raised from the floor supported by the pivotal lifting hooks 40. As the commode 50 is not a part of the present invention, it is shown in dotted lines. Gravity causes the raised commode 50 to exert downward force on the pivotal lifting hooks 40 and the pivotal lifting hooks 40 push inward creating a strong clamp on the commode 50. The pivotal lifting hooks 40 clamp the commode 50 near the center of gravity. The shape of the pivotal lifting hooks 40 and proper positioning of the sleeves 33 combine to create the pivotal lifting hooks 40 clamping mechanism.

In order to understand how the self-clamping mechanism works, one must first picture an imaginary vertical line that extends along the lifting bolt 31 and continues down to the ground level. When the present invention 1 and commode 50 are in a lifting or lifted position as shown in FIG. 2, the sleeves 33 are positioned closer to the imaginary vertical line than are the horizontal bars 42. When gravity causes the commode 50 to exert downward pressure on the horizontal bars 42, each horizontal bar 42 moves closer to the imaginary vertical line. This happens because each horizontal bar 42 cannot be pushed straight down by the gravitational force of the commode 50 due to the fixed positioning of the sleeves 33 and the strength of the pivotal lifting hooks 40. Therefore, when downward pressure is exerted, each horizontal bar 42 moves closer the imaginary vertical line referenced above exerting horizontal clamping pressure on the commode 50. This clamping pressure continues until each horizontal bar 42 reaches the point directly underneath its respective sleeve 33. However, each horizontal bar 42 will not reach the point directly underneath its respective sleeve 33 due to the design of the self-clamping mechanism and the width of clamped section of the commode 50, so the self-clamping mechanism continues to form a powerful clamp on the commode 50.

The upright frame 10 also acts as a point of support for the lifted commode 50. The upright frame 10 functions to restrain the water-tank on the commode 50 from tipping in the direction of the bowl section of the commode 50. The commode 50 tips in the direction of the bowl section due to the fact that the bowl section of the commode 50 is heavier than the water-tank section of the commode 50. When lifted, the commode 50 will pivot at the point where the horizontal bars 42 come into contact with the commode 50, and since the bowl section of the commode 50 is heavier than the water-tank section of the commode 50, the heavier bowl section causes the water-tank section to rest against the upright frame 10. While the commode 50 is suspended in air, the water-tank section of the commode 50 rests against the upright frame 10 providing support for the lifted commode 50 that is in addition to the support provided by the pivotal lifting hooks 40.

FIG. 3 shows an alternate method of supporting a one-piece body style commode 51. The self-clamping mechanism described above does not work on one-piece body style commodes or commodes that do not have a horizontally flat underside between the bowl section and the water-tank section. In FIG. 3, the one-piece body style commode 51 is supported with a plastic coated chain 60 connected to the support hooks 36. The lifting mechanism works the same. However, instead of support from the pivotal lifting hooks 40 and horizontal bars 42, support for the one-piece body style commode 51 shifts to the chain 60 and the support hooks 36. The water-tank section of the one-piece body style commode 51, just as in FIG. 2, rests against the upright frame 10 providing further support for the lifted one-piece body style commode 51.

FIG. 4 shows an additional alternate method of supporting yet another type of commode: a commode that does not have an attached water-tank. These water-tank-less commodes utilize a sloan valve or stern valve and therefore, do not have an attached water-tank. These water-tank-less commodes are primarily used for commercial applications. FIG. 4 shows a water-tank-less commode 52 supported by the present invention utilizing support bolts 37 inserted through the lifting bar holes 38 and the commode's seat holes. The lifting bar holes 38 are shown in FIG. 1, FIG. 2, and FIG. 3. The lifting bar holes 38 are not shown in FIG. 4 due to the fact that the support bolts 37 are fully inserted into the lifting bar holes 38, thus hiding the lifting bar holes 38 from view. FIG. 4 shows a supporting nut 39 screwed onto the end of each of the two support bolts 37 creating a sturdy connection between the water-tank-less commode 52 and the lifting plate 30 allowing the water-tank-less commode to be lifted, suspended, and transported by the present invention.

The maneuverability of the present invention 1, combined with the ease of lifting the commode by means of the lifting bolt 31 and lifting handle 32 means that one man can easily lift a commode from its setting, remove it from the immediate area, then reinstall the commode. Lifting a commode using the present invention is as easy as rolling the present invention in place and turning the handle 32 to lift an unbolted commode and ready it for transport. If the unbolted commode is without a horizontally flat underside area between the bowl section and the water-tank section, using the alternate connection shown in FIG. 3 is almost as easy. Simply wrap the chain underneath the water-tank, connect the chain to the support hooks 36 as shown in FIG. 3, and turn the handle 32 to lift an unbolted one-piece body style commode 51. If the commode is without a water-tank, the water-tank-less commode 52 can be lifted simply by utilizing the support bolts 37 inserted through the lifting bar holes 38 and the commode's seat holes.

The balanced design and maneuverability of the present invention 1 eliminates the need for two people to safely remove installed commodes as could be required in the case of, but not restricted to, remodeling, refurbishing, repair or replacement. As can be seen in FIGS. 2, 3 and 4, the present invention 1 fits roughly within the floor space occupied by the commode. The compact size of the present invention 1 combined with the caster wheels 21 which are swivel type caster wheels in the preferred embodiment of the present invention results in a very maneuverable means of getting commodes in and out of tight spaces.

In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, the shape of each end of the lifting bar 30 is concave so that the lifting bar 30 nests horizontally within the upright frame 10. Therefore, the lifting bar 30 is guided by the upright frame 10 and is moved up and down by means of turning the handle 33, which rotates the lifting bolt 32. The lifting bolt 32 can be a standard commercially available threaded bolt or it can be fabricated from threaded rod. The lifting bolt 32, as it is rotated, raises or lowers the lifting bar 30, which in turn raises or lowers the commode as shown in FIGS. 2, 3 and 4.

In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, the preferred structural materials are steel, although, other metals, such as aluminum or heavy gauge plastic would suffice for the intended purpose.

FIG. 5 shows how the present invention 1 can be folded, which is convenient for storage or shipping. The present invention is unfolded and locked into lifting position by sliding the lock/unlock bolts 26 attached to the upright frame10 through the upper slot in the self-locking bracket 24 until the lock/unlock bolt 26 comes to rest at the bottom of the upper slot in the self-locking bracket 24. This will lock the upright frame 10 into an upright position and the present invention 1 will be ready for lifting.

Although the description above contains many specificities, these should not be construed as limiting the scope of the invention but as merely providing illustrations of some of the presently preferred embodiments of this invention. Thus the scope of the invention should be determined by the appended claims and their legal equivalents, rather than by the examples given.

It is anticipated that various changes may be made in the arrangement and operation of the system of the present invention without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, as defined by the following claims.