Title:
TOILET SEAT HINGE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A hinge assembly for securing a toilet seat to a toilet bowl, comprising a base adapted to be secured to a toilet bowl and a cover adapted to be connected to the base in a seat-securing position thereof. The base and the cover when in the seat-securing position thereof, define at least one cavity adapted to accommodate therein at least one shaft of the toilet seat such that the toilet seat can pivot relative to the hinge assembly. When the cover is removed from the base, the shaft, and thus the toilet seat, can be removed from the hinge assembly. The cover can be installed to, and removed from, the base without tools, for instance by frictionally engaging the cover to the base. This allows for an easy removal of the toilet seat (and any associated seat cover) from the toilet bowl for cleaning of the toilet bowl or for replacing the toilet seat. At least one anchor is provided for securing the base to the toilet bowl. This anchor is adapted to be installed from above the toilet bowl and to then be concealed by the cover. The anchor basically includes a bolt and a biased nut, such as a spring-loaded wing nut, mounted on the bolt and displaceable between hole-engaging and anchoring positions.



Inventors:
Pronovost, Gerard (Magog, CA)
Application Number:
11/458526
Publication Date:
01/25/2007
Filing Date:
07/19/2006
Assignee:
CLARIFIA
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47K13/12
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20040006818Pulsating-spray shower headJanuary, 2004Gransow et al.
20070157374Toilet overflow sensor and pump apparatusJuly, 2007Morris
20080172780Quick Release Toilet MechanismJuly, 2008Shiau
20090151068Curtain With Pockets Integrated ThereinJune, 2009Rice
20020007510Smart bathroom fixtures and systemsJanuary, 2002Mann
20030074726Means for clearing a blockage in a toiletApril, 2003Davey
20020166192Back scrubbing deviceNovember, 2002David
20050268394Telescoping expandable shower curtain rodDecember, 2005Monk et al.
20070250999Foldable Durable Patient And Product Such As A Commode And Method Of Forming SameNovember, 2007Obitts et al.
20040083546Wash-hand basin and hand washing device with the wash-hand basinMay, 2004Tahara et al.
20070130680Floatable swimming pool coverJune, 2007Kolechstein



Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, TUAN N
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Lavery, De Billy, LLP (Montreal, QC, CA)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A hinge assembly for securing a toilet set to a toilet bowl, comprising a base adapted to be secured to a toilet bowl and a cover adapted to be connected to said base in a seat-securing position thereof, said base and said cover when in said seat-securing position, defining at least one cavity adapted to accommodate therein at least one shaft of the toilet seat such that the toilet seat can pivot relative to said hinge assembly, wherein when said cover is removed from said base, the shaft, and thus the toilet seat, can be removed from said hinge assembly.

2. The hinge assembly as defined in claim 1, wherein each said cavity comprises a channel defined in said base and adapted to rotatably receive the shaft, said cover in said seat-securing position at least partly closing said channel for preventing the shaft from disengaging therefrom.

3. The hinge assembly as defined in claim 1, wherein said cover is frictionally held to said base in said seat-securing position.

4. A hinge assembly for securing a toilet seat to a toilet bowl, comprising a base adapted to be secured to a toilet bowl with at least one anchor and a cover adapted to be connected to said base, at least one of said base and said cover being adapted accommodate therein at least one shaft of the toilet seat such that the toilet seat can pivot relative to said hinge assembly, said anchor including a bolt and a biased nut that is displaceable between hole-engaging and anchoring positions, wherein said bolt and said nut in said hole-engaging position on said bolt are inserted from above the toilet bowl into an aperture defined in the toilet bowl until said nut biasedly assumes said anchoring position, said bolt being then tightened from above the toilet bowl such as to secure said base to the toilet bowl, and said cover being then engaged to said base thereby concealing said bolt above the toilet bowl.

5. The hinge assembly as defined in claim 4, wherein said nut is a spring-loaded wing nut threadably engaged on a threaded stem of said bolt.

6. The hinge assembly as defined in claim 4, wherein said anchor further comprises a plug provided around a stem of said bolt and adapted to be lodged in the aperture defined in the toilet bowl when said base is anchored to the toilet bowl.

7. A method for installing a toilet seat to a toilet bowl, comprising the steps of: (a) attaching a base to a toilet bowl; (b) positioning at least one shaft of the toilet seat on said base; (c) and attaching a cover to the base such that said cover and the base co-act to prevent the shaft from disengaging from the base while allowing the toilet seat to pivot relative to the toilet bowl.

8. The method as defined in claim 6, comprising, for removing the toilet seat from the toilet bowl, the further steps: (d) detaching the cover from the base; and (e) removing the toilet seat from the base and thus freeing the toilet seat from the toilet bowl.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority on U.S. provisional application No. 60/700,726, filed on Jul. 20, 2005. All documents above are herein incorporated by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to toilets, and more particularly, to a hinge for securing a toilet seat and associated seat cover to a toilet bowl.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

It is well known that toilets are normally equipped with a toilet seat that can be pivoted between a raised inoperative position and a lowered seating position. Typically, a seat cover is provided over the seat, which can also be pivoted between a lowered, toilet-concealing position, and an upper inoperative position. It is also well known, that the seat generally extends between the seat cover and the toilet bowl when both the seat cover and the seat are in their respective lowered positions. Various hinge mechanisms have been provided for securing the seat and seat cover to an upper rear portion of the toilet bowl so as to allow the toilet seat and seat cover to pivot relative to the toilet bowl.

More particularly, a pair of spaced apart supports are normally anchored to the rear upper portion of the toilet bowl, with each support including a shaft extending horizontally and transversally therefrom for engagement into openings defined in rear perspective portions of each of the toilet seat and seat cover, thereby allowing the toilet seat and the seat cover to pivot relative to the supports and thus to the toilet bowl. Generally, the toilet seat is engaged to the outer ends of the shafts of the supports, whereas the seat cover is engaged by the shafts slightly inwardly of where the shafts engage the toilet seat. Typically, the toilet seat includes a pair of rear arms which define inner circular sockets adapted to receive the free ends of the shafts of the supports, whereas holes are defined straight-through the pair of spaced apart arms provided at the rear of the cover such that the shafts are journaled therein. With this configuration, the toilet seat cover can be pivoted between its lowered and raised positions while the seat remains in its lowered position, with the seat being raisable to its raised position either as the seat cover is already in its respective raised position or at the same time as the seat cover is displaced to its raised position.

It is well known that the toilet seat and cover assembly often become wobbly in view of the structure of the aforementioned supports. Indeed, these supports are small and substantially distanced from one another and become gradually loose over use. Also, in order to remove a toilet seat and seat cover assembly, one must disengage the supports from the toilet bowl. Furthermore, without removing the toilet seat and seat cover assembly, it is substantially difficult to clean the area of the toilet adjacent to the supports.

For instance, FIGS. 5 to 8 show part of a conventional toilet 100, including a toilet bowl 102, a water tank 104, a toilet seat 106, a seat cover 108 and a pair of supports 110 that pivotally secure the toilet seat 106 an seat cover 108 to an upper rear portion 112 of the toilet bowl 102. As best seen in FIGS. 6 to 8, each support 110 is anchored to the toilet bowl 102 via bolts 114, which are accessible once a cap 116 of the support 110 is pivoted from its snapped closed position shown in FIGS. 5 and 6 to its raised position shown in FIGS. 7 and 8. A pair of shafts 118 that extend horizontally and transversely pivotally connect the toilet seat 106 and seat cover 108 to the toilet bowl 102. Each shaft 118 can either be fixed within the support 110 and extend rotatably through an opening defined in the seat cover 108 and into rotatable engagement in a socket defined in the toilet seat 106, or can be fixed to the toilet seat 106 and extend rotatably through the opening defined in the seat cover 108 and into rotatable engagement in a socket defined in the support 110.

FIGS. 9 to 11 illustrate a differently configured combination of a toilet seat 106′, and seat cover 108′, which are pivotally secured together via a pair of shafts 118′ that extend horizontally and transversely. A pair of supports (not shown) are adapted to secure the toilet seat 106′ and seat cover 108′ a toilet bowl and to be rotatably connected to the two shafts 118′ (at central portions thereof, which extend between the rear arms of the toilet seat 106′ and those of the seat cover 108′, these central portions of the shafts 118′ being those visible in FIGS. 9 to 11).

Canadian Patent No. 2,071,127 issued to Millette on Aug. 29, 1995, proposes a ventilating system for toilet bowls, wherein a hinge member is provided for securing the seat and seat cover in a pivoting attitude to a rear upper area of the toilet bowl. In this Canadian Patent, there is a single hinge member provided with a pair of hinges adapted to engage the seat and seat cover at a spaced ends thereof. The hinge member includes a lower base adapted to be secured to the toilet bowl via anchors such as bolts provided with wing nuts, and a cover adapted to be positioned on the base so as to conceal the heads of the bolts. The hinge member is provided with two pairs of arms that can be pivoted with respect to the base thereof, with the two pairs of arms being adapted to be secured to respective ones of the toilet seat and seat cover for allowing the independent pivot thereof with respect to the toilet bowl.

The present invention seeks to meet these needs and other needs.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

More specifically, there is provided a novel hinge assembly for securing a toilet seat and a toilet seat cover or a toilet cover, to a toilet bowl of a toilet.

There is provided a hinge assembly for securing a toilet seat to a toilet bowl, comprising a base adapted to be secured to a toilet bowl and a cover adapted to be connected to the base in a seat-securing position thereof, the base and the cover when in the seat-securing position, defining at least one cavity adapted to accommodate therein at least one shaft of the toilet seat such that the toilet seat can pivot relative to said hinge assembly, wherein when the cover is removed from the base, the shaft, and thus the toilet seat, can be removed from the hinge assembly.

There is further provided a hinge assembly for securing a toilet seat to a toilet bowl, comprising a data base adapted to be secured to a toilet bowl with at least one anchor and a cover adapted to be connected to the base, at least one of the base and said cover being adapted accommodate therein at least one shaft of the toilet seat such that the toilet seat can pivot relative to the hinge assembly, the anchor including a bolt and a biased nut that is displaceable between hole-engaging and anchoring positions, wherein the bolt and said nut in said hole-engaging position on the bolt are inserted from above the toilet bowl into an aperture defined in the toilet bowl until the nut biasedly assumes the anchoring position, the bolt being then tightened from above the toilet bowl such as to secure the base to the toilet bowl, and said cover being then engaged to the base thereby concealing the bolt above the toilet bowl.

There is further provided a method for installing a toilet seat to a toilet bowl, comprising the steps of: (a) attaching a base to a toilet bowl; (b) positioning at least one shaft of the toilet seat on the base; (c) and attaching a cover to the base such that the cover and the base co-act to prevent the shaft from disengaging from the base while allowing the toilet seat to pivot relative to the toilet bowl.

Other objects, advantages and features of the present invention will become more apparent upon reading of the following non-restrictive description of specific embodiments thereof, given by way of example only with reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Reference will now be made to the accompanying drawings, showing by way of illustration an illustrative embodiment of the present invention, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a hinge assembly in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a lower base of the hinge assembly of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a cover of the hinge assembly of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of an anchor for use with the hinge assembly of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a schematic overhead view of a part of a conventional toilet;

FIG. 6 is an enlarged view of a left portion of the conventional toilet of FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is an enlarged view similar to FIG. 6, but showing a cap of a support of the conventional toilet in a raised position thereof;

FIG. 8 is a view similar to FIG. 7, but taken at a slightly different angle;

FIG. 9 is a schematic overhead view of another conventional toilet seat and seat cover assembly shown in a collapsed position thereof;

FIG. 10 is a schematic overhead view of a part the conventional toilet seat and seat cover assembly of FIG. 9, but shown in an open position thereof; and

FIG. 11 is a schematic underside view of a part the conventional toilet seat and seat cover assembly of FIG. 9, but shown in an open position thereof.

DESCRIPTION OF ILLUSTRATIVE EMBODIMENTS

The present invention is illustrated in further details by the following non-limiting examples.

FIG. 1 illustrates a hinge assembly A in accordance with the present invention, which basically comprises a base 10 (see also FIG. 2), a cover 12 (see also FIG. 3), and a pair of anchors 14 (see also FIG. 4).

As best seen in FIG. 2, the base 10 includes a peripheral wall 15 that is of sufficient dimension to cover both apertures defined vertically in an upper rear portion of a toilet bowl (not shown). The lower edge of the base 10 is generally flat so as to overly the upper surface of the toilet bowl. A pair of C-shaped channels 16 having horizontal and collinear axes are provided at opposed rear ends of the base 10. The channels 16 are open at their front ends and are adapted to rotatably receive therein the shafts that extend horizontally inwardly from the rear arms of the toilet and that are rotatably journaled in openings defined in the rear arms of the seat cover. The base 10 defines a pair of cavities 18 which each include a substantially narrow slot 20 at outer ends thereof. These slots 20, as will be explained in details hereinafter, are adapted to receive the anchors 14 for securing the base 10 to the toilet bowl. Shoulders 22 are provided at lower front ends of the channels 16.

Now mainly referring to FIG. 3, the cover 12 defines a lower peripheral edge 24 that generally conforms to an upper surface 26 of the base 10 so as to allow the cover 12 to firmly overly the base 10. The cover 12 also comprises a pair of rear extensions 28 adapted, when the cover 12 is in position onto the base 10, to sufficiently close off the open front ends of the channels 16 so as to retain therein the aforementioned shafts. The cover 12 further includes a pair of front locking tabs 30 extending rearwardly from an inside surface of a front section 32 of the lower edge 24. These locking tabs 30 are adapted to engage a sloping front section 34 of the peripheral wall 15 of the base 10. The cover 12 finally comprises a small handle 36 that can be slightly pulled forwardly to disengage the locking tabs 30 from the front section 34 of the peripheral wall 15, when it is desired to remove the cover 12 from the base 10.

Now turning to FIG. 4, each anchor 14 includes a bolt 38 (although the treads defined on a stem 46 of the bolt 38 are not depicted in FIG. 4), a spring-loaded toggle nut 40, a thin metal washer 42, and a rubber plug or slug 44. The toggle nut 40 is adapted, when in its collapsed position, to be inserted through a corresponding aperture defined vertically in the upper rear portion of the toilet bowl. The stem 46 is adapted to be slid in the slot 20 defined in the base 10, with the metal washer 42 and the rubber slug 44 being positioned respectively above and below an upper wall 48 of the base 10. Once the bolt 38 has been tightened, the base 10 is held onto the toilet bowl by the head of the bolt 38 applying pressure via the metal washer 42 on the upper wall 48 of the base 10, and with the open toggle nut 40 engaging an underside of the toilet bowl. The rubber slug 44 extends within the aperture defined in the upper surface of the toilet bowl.

Therefore, the base 10 is first secured to the toilet bowl using the two anchors 14, with the channels 16 having their open sides facing away from the water tank, i.e. towards the front of the toilet bowl. The two inwardly facing shafts of the toilet seat and seat cover assembly (or there could be a single, longer, shaft extending across the toilet seat and seat cover assembly) are then engaged in the channels 16. The cover 12 is then engaged, for instance in a snapping way, to the base 10, e.g. by first abutting the lower read ends of the extensions 28 onto the shoulders 22 of the base 10 and by then pivoting the front of the cover 12 downwardly onto the front of the base 10 such that the locking tabs engage an inside edge of the sloping front section 34 of the peripheral wall 15 of the base 10. Once the cover 12 is installed to the base 10, the rear extensions 28 of the cover 12 prevent the shafts from coming out of the channels 16 and the heads of the bolts 38 and the washers 42 are concealed by cover 12. The complete installation is done from above the toilet bowl, i.e. without having to reach under the toilet bowl to secure the hinge assembly A and the toilet seat and seat cover assembly to the toilet bowl. The only tool that is required is a screwdriver that is used to tighten the bolts 38 when securing the base 10 to the toilet bowl.

For replacing the toilet seat and seat cover assembly, or for removing the same to clean the toilet bowl, the cover 12 is detached from the base 10, and the toilet seat and seat cover assembly is removed from the channels 16. This is thus achieved without removing the anchors 14 and the complete hinge assembly A from the toilet bowl. It is further noted that such a removal (and subsequent re-installation) of the toilet seat and seat cover assembly is carried out without having to resort to tools.

It is noted that the single hinge assembly A provides a more solid fixation of the toilet seat and seat cover assembly with respect to the toilet bowl than two smaller and spaced apart hinge members. Also, the rubber slugs 44 being lodged in the apertures of the toilet bowl also contribute to the rigidity of the hinge assembly A and of the toilet seat and seat cover assembly relative to the toilet bowl.

The present hinge assembly A can be used with the other toilet seat and seat cover assembly illustrated in FIGS. 9 to 11, by engaging the visible central portions of the two shafts 118′ (i.e. the portions that extend between the rear arms of the toilet seat 106′ and those of the seat cover 108′) into the channels 16 of the base 10 of the hinge assembly A, and by then sufficiently closing off the channels 16 with the rear extensions 28 of the cover 12 of the hinge assembly A.

It is noted that the present hinge assembly A can also be used structures other than toilet seat and seat cover assemblies. For instance, it could be used for mounting only a toilet seat (i.e. without a seat cover) to a toilet bowl, or only a toilet cover (i.e. without a toilet seat) to a toilet bowl. Furthermore, the hinge assembly of the present invention can be used to pivotally attach other pairs of components together, such a door to a door frame, a cover to its container, etc. Moreover, although the hinge assembly A is made of plastics material, it could also be made of other suitable materials, for instance depending on the use thereof.

Although the present invention has been described hereinabove by way of specific embodiments thereof, it can be modified, without departing from the spirit and nature of the subject invention as defined in the appended claims.