Title:
Adjustable shower rod assembly
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
One embodiment of a mounting assembly for mounting a non-linear curtain rod to a surface includes a rod receiver assembly, a surface mount and a locking mechanism. The rod receiver assembly receives the curtain rod. The surface mount mounts onto the surface. The surface mount rotatably supports the rod receiver assembly for rotation about a first axis that is non-parallel to the surface. The locking mechanism moves from a locked position to an unlocked position. In the unlocked position, the rod receiver assembly is rotatable. Rotation of the rod receiver assembly causes rotation of the curtain rod. In the locked position the rod receiver assembly is simultaneously inhibited from rotating in a clockwise and a counterclockwise direction about the first axis.



Inventors:
Heaslip, David (Costa Mesa, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/641231
Publication Date:
08/02/2007
Filing Date:
12/19/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47K3/08; A47K3/14
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CRANE, LAUREN ASHLEY
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
James P. Broder (San Diego, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A mounting assembly for mounting a non-linear curtain rod to a surface, the mounting assembly comprising: a rod receiver assembly that receives the curtain rod; a surface mount that mounts onto the surface, the surface mount rotatably supporting the rod receiver assembly for rotation about a first axis that is non-parallel to the surface; and a locking mechanism that moves from a locked position to an unlocked position; wherein in the unlocked position the rod receiver assembly is rotatable, and in the locked position the rod receiver assembly is simultaneously inhibited from rotating in a clockwise and a counterclockwise direction about the first axis.

2. The mounting assembly of claim 1 wherein the first axis is substantially orthogonal to the surface.

3. The mounting assembly of claim 1 wherein the locking mechanism selectively moves between an extended position and a retracted position, and wherein the locking mechanism is biased toward the extended position.

4. The mounting assembly of claim 1 wherein the rod receiver assembly includes a rod receiver that attaches to the curtain rod and a receiver housing that supports the rod receiver, the rod receiver pivoting relative to the receiver housing.

5. The mounting assembly of claim 4 wherein the rod receiver pivots relative to a second axis that is substantially perpendicular to the first axis.

6. The mounting assembly of claim 1 wherein the locking mechanism moves between a plurality of different locked positions.

7. The mounting assembly of claim 6 wherein two of the locked positions are approximately 180 degrees apart from one another.

8. The mounting assembly of claim 1 wherein the locking mechanism includes a locking pin that extends through a portion of the rod receiver assembly when the locking mechanism is in the locked position.

9. The mounting assembly of claim 8 wherein the locking pin does not extend through the portion of the rod receiver assembly when the locking mechanism is in the unlocked position.

10. The mounting assembly of claim 8 wherein the locking pin is spring-loaded.

11. The mounting assembly of claim 1 wherein the rod receiver assembly includes a pin aperture that receives a portion of the locking mechanism when the locking mechanism is in the locked position.

12. The mounting assembly of claim 11 wherein the pin aperture does not receive the portion of the locking mechanism when the locking mechanism is in the unlocked position.

13. The mounting assembly of claim 1 wherein the curtain rod has a substantially arcuate configuration.

14. The mounting assembly of claim 1 wherein rotation of the rod receiver assembly causes rotation of the curtain rod.

15. A mounting assembly for mounting a non-linear curtain rod to a surface, the mounting assembly comprising: a rod receiver that is pivotably secured to the curtain rod; a receiver housing that supports the rod receiver so that the rod receiver pivots relative to the receiver housing about a first axis that is non-orthogonal to the surface; and a surface mount that mounts onto the surface, the surface mount supporting the receiver housing to allow rotation of the receiver housing about a second axis that is non-parallel to the surface.

16. The mounting assembly of claim 15 wherein the first axis is substantially parallel to the surface.

17. The mounting assembly of claim 15 wherein the second axis is substantially orthogonal to the surface.

18. The mounting assembly of claim 15 wherein the first axis is substantially perpendicular to the second axis.

19. The mounting assembly of claim 15 further comprising a locking mechanism that selectively inhibits all rotation of the receiver housing about the second axis.

20. The mounting assembly of claim 19 wherein the locking mechanism selectively moves from a locked position to an unlocked position, wherein in the unlocked position the receiver housing is rotatable, and in the locked position the receiver housing is inhibited from all rotation about the second axis.

21. The mounting assembly of claim 20 wherein the locking mechanism includes a locking pin that extends through a portion of the receiver housing when the locking mechanism is in the locked position.

22. The mounting assembly of claim 21 wherein the locking pin does not extend through the portion of the receiver housing when the locking mechanism is in the unlocked position.

23. The mounting assembly of claim 21 wherein the locking pin is spring-loading.

24. The mounting assembly of claim 19 wherein the locking mechanism selectively moves between an extended position and a retracted position, and wherein the locking mechanism is biased toward the extended position.

25. The mounting assembly of claim 15 wherein the receiver housing includes a pin aperture that receives a portion of the locking mechanism when the locking mechanism is in the locked position.

26. The mounting assembly of claim 25 wherein the pin aperture does not receive the portion of the locking mechanism when the locking mechanism is in the unlocked position.

27. The mounting assembly of claim 15 wherein rotation of the receiver housing causes rotation of the curtain rod.

28. A method for movably positioning a curtain rod relative to a surface, the method comprising the steps of: attaching the curtain rod to a rod receiver assembly that is rotatable about a first axis; and controlling rotation of the rod receiver assembly with a locking mechanism that moves from a locked position wherein the rod receiver assembly is rotatable to an unlocked position wherein the rod receiver assembly is simultaneously inhibited from rotating in a clockwise and a counterclockwise direction about the first axis.

29. The method of claim 28 further comprising the step of pivoting a rod receiver of the rod receiver assembly relative to a receiver housing of the rod receiver assembly, the rod receiver attaching to the curtain rod, the receive housing supporting the rod receiver, the rod receiver pivoting about a second axis that is different than the first axis.

30. The method of claim 28 wherein the step of controlling includes extending a portion of the locking mechanism through a portion of the rod receiver assembly when the locking mechanism is in the locked position.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATION

This Application claims the benefit on U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/752,579 filed on Dec. 20, 2005. The contents of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/752,579 are incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND

Shower curtain rod assemblies which include a linear shower rod that suspends a shower curtain are well known. Recently, linear shower rods have been modified to include a curved shower rod which extends outwardly from the shower enclosure to provide a user with more space within the shower enclosure while bathing or showering. Some of these types of curved shower rods are fixedly mounted to the shower enclosure, which can have the drawback of taking up needed space outside of the shower enclosure. Other shower rods can be adjustable so that a user can retract the shower rod toward or into the shower enclosure during non-use of the shower. Still other shower rods can be dismounted and remounted in a manner that provides more space outside the shower enclosure during non-use of the shower.

Unfortunately, many of these types of shower curtain rod assemblies are cumbersome and can include complex mechanisms that are inconvenient or difficult to use. Further, movement of the shower rod from one position to another can take an excessive amount of time, which can be a disincentive for the user to change the shower rod positioning.

SUMMARY

The present invention is directed toward a mounting assembly for mounting a non-linear curtain rod to a surface. In one embodiment, the mounting assembly includes a rod receiver assembly, a surface mount and a locking mechanism. The rod receiver assembly receives the curtain rod. The surface mount mounts onto the surface. The surface mount rotatably supports the rod receiver assembly for rotation about a first axis that is non-parallel to the surface. The locking mechanism moves from a locked position to an unlocked position. In the unlocked position, the rod receiver assembly is rotatable. Rotation of the rod receiver assembly causes rotation of the curtain rod. In the locked position the rod receiver assembly is simultaneously inhibited from rotating in a clockwise and a counterclockwise direction about the first axis.

In another embodiment, the locking mechanism selectively moves between an extended position and a retracted position. In this embodiment, the locking mechanism is biased toward the extended position. Further, in one embodiment, the locking mechanism moves between a plurality of different locked positions. In one such embodiment, two of the locked positions are approximately 180 degrees apart from one another. The locking mechanism can include a locking pin that extends through a portion of the rod receiver assembly when the locking mechanism is in the locked position. Further, in one embodiment, the locking pin does not extend through the portion of the rod receiver assembly when the locking mechanism is in the unlocked position. In certain embodiments, the locking pin is spring-loaded.

In one embodiment, the first axis is substantially orthogonal to the surface. In certain embodiments, the rod receiver assembly includes a rod receiver and a receiver housing. The rod receiver attaches to the curtain rod. The receiver housing supports the rod receiver. In this embodiment, the rod receiver pivots relative to the receiver housing. For example, the rod receiver can pivot relative to a second axis that is substantially perpendicular to the first axis. The rod receiver assembly can include a pin aperture that receives a portion of the locking mechanism when the locking mechanism is in the locked position. Conversely, in certain embodiments, the pin aperture does not receive the portion of the locking mechanism when the locking mechanism is in the unlocked position.

In another embodiment, the mounting assembly includes a rod receiver, a receiver housing and a surface mount. The rod receiver is pivotably secured to the curtain rod. The receiver housing supports the rod receiver so that the rod receiver pivots relative to the receiver housing about a first axis that is non-orthogonal to the surface. The surface mount mounts onto the surface. The surface mount supports the receiver housing to allow rotation of the receiver housing about a second axis that is non-parallel to the surface.

The present invention is also directed toward a method for movably positioning a curtain rod relative to a surface.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The novel features of this invention, as well as the invention itself, both as to its structure and its operation, will be best understood from the accompanying drawings, taken in conjunction with the accompanying description, in which similar reference characters refer to similar parts, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one embodiment of a shower enclosure and an adjustable shower rod assembly having features of the present invention, the adjustable shower rod assembly being shown in a first position;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the shower enclosure and the adjustable shower rod assembly illustrated in FIG. 1 shown in a second position;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of one embodiment of a portion of the adjustable shower rod assembly including a surface mount and a locking mechanism;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of one embodiment of a portion of the adjustable shower rod assembly including the mounting assembly and a portion of a shower rod;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of one embodiment of a portion of the adjustable shower rod assembly including a mounting assembly;

FIG. 6 is an exploded view of one embodiment of the mounting assembly;

FIG. 7A is a perspective view of another embodiment of the mounting assembly; and

FIG. 7B is a perspective view of a portion of the mounting assembly illustrated in FIG. 7A.

DESCRIPTION

The present invention is directed toward an adjustable shower rod assembly 10 (also sometimes referred to herein as “rod assembly”) for supporting a curtain 12. Although the description provided herein pertains particularly to shower and bath curtains, it is recognized that the rod assembly 10 can equally be used with other types of curtains 12 where changing the amount of space on either side of the curtain 12 may be desired.

FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of one embodiment of the rod assembly 10 in a first position. The rod assembly 10 can be moved so that the curtain 12 moves to a plurality of different positions as described in greater detail below. The design of the rod assembly 10 can vary. In this embodiment, the rod assembly 10 includes an arcuate or otherwise at least partially curved shower rod 14 and a mounting assembly 16 that secures the shower rod to a surface 18. The surface 18 can be any type of support structure, such as one or more walls of a shower enclosure, bathroom or other type of support structure (sometimes generally referred to herein as a “shower enclosure”). In the first position, the rod assembly 10 allows one taking a shower to have more room inside the shower because the shower rod 14 is curved away from the interior of the shower enclosure of the shower.

The shape of the shower rod 14 can vary to suit the design requirements of the rod assembly 10 and the shower enclosure. For example, the shower rod 14 can have a consistently curved design with a specific radius of curvature. Alternatively, the shower rod 14 can include substantially linear portions separated by angled connector regions such as right angles, acute or obtuse angles. Still alternatively, the shower rod 14 can combine linear portions and curved regions.

FIG. 2 shows the rod assembly 10 illustrated in FIG. 1 in a second position. In the second position, the rod assembly 10 extends inward into the shower enclosure to create more space outside of the shower when the shower is not being used, for example. The rod assembly 10 can be flipped around to a plurality of different positions (such as the second position illustrated in FIG. 2) to vary the extent to which the shower rod 14 either extends into or away from the shower enclosure, as provided herein. As provided in greater detail below, a portion of the mounting assembly 16 is rotated by a predetermined angle (such as 180 degrees in one example) to achieve the desired positions of the curtain 12 relative to the shower enclosure.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of one embodiment of a portion of the mounting assembly 316. The design of the mounting assembly 316 can be varied to suit the design requirements of the rod assembly 10. The mounting assembly 316 and its various components described herein can be formed from various durable materials such as plastic, ceramic, metal, epoxy, resin, rubber or any other suitable materials.

In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 3, the mounting assembly 316 includes one or more surface mounts 320 that are fixedly secured to the shower enclosure (or wall, for example), and are coupled to the shower rod 14 (shown in FIGS. 1 and 2). The surface mount 320 can be secured to the shower enclosure with fasteners (not shown) such as screws or bolts, for example. Alternatively, the surface mount 320 can be secured to the shower enclosure by an adhesive material (not shown) such as epoxy, by hook and loop material such as Velcro, or by any other suitable means. In this embodiment, the surface mount 320 includes a rim 322 having a rim aperture 324 (illustrated in phantom in FIG. 3). In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 3, the rim 322 is substantially circular. However, the rim 322 can have any suitable shape.

In this embodiment, the mounting assembly 316 also includes a locking mechanism 326 having a locking pin 328 and a pin bias 330. As provided in greater detail below, in a locked position, the locking mechanism 326 inhibits rotation of other sections of the mounting assembly 316 and of the shower rod 14 relative to the shower enclosure. Alternately, in an unlocked position, the locking mechanism 326 does not inhibit rotation of other sections of the mounting assembly 316, as set forth in greater detail below. In this embodiment, the locking pin 328 includes a locking pin end 332 which extends through the rim aperture 324 of the rim 322 of the surface mount 320. The locking pin end 332 can be tapered or rounded to facilitate extension through the rim aperture 324 and/or rotation of the portions of the mounting assembly 316 as described in greater detail below.

The pin bias 330 biases the locking pin end 332 in an outwardly direction (also sometimes referred to herein as an extended position), i.e. toward and/or through the rim aperture 324. In one embodiment, the pin bias 330 can be a spring so that the locking pin 328 is spring loaded in the outwardly direction. However, the pin bias 330 can include any suitable mechanism that biases the locking pin 328 in the outwardly direction.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of one embodiment of a portion of the rod assembly 10, including a portion of the shower rod 414 and portions of the mounting assembly 416. In this embodiment, the shower rod 414 has a hollow (female) end region 434 that is attached to the mounting assembly 416. In an alternative embodiment (not shown), the shower rod 414 can have a male end region 434 that attaches to the mounting assembly 416.

In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 4, the mounting assembly 416 includes a rod receiver assembly 435 that receives the shower rod 414. In this embodiment, the rod receiver assembly 435 substantially covers and engages the surface mount 320 (illustrated in FIG. 3), as described below. In certain embodiments, the rod receiver assembly 435 includes a rotatable receiver housing 436, a rod pivot 438 and a pivot pin 440. The receiver housing 436 rotates relative to the surface mount 320 (illustrated in FIG. 3) about a receiver housing rotational axis 441 that is non-parallel to the surface 418. In the embodiment illustrated 418 is represented by a plane formed by the X and Y axes. Thus, the receiver housing 436 rotates about the receiver housing rotational axis which is non-parallel to the X-Y plane. In one embodiment, the receiver housing rotational axis can be substantially orthogonal to the surface 418, illustrated by the Z-axis in FIG. 4. In alternative embodiments, the receiver housing rotational axis can be any suitable angle that is less than 90 degrees relative to the Z-axis. It is recognized that although the receiver housing rotational axis 441 is shown as the Z-axis in FIG. 4, the receiver housing rotational axis 441 can be any suitable axis which is non-parallel to the X-Y plane.

The receiver housing 436 can include a plurality of pin apertures 442. For example, the receiver housing 436 can include two pin apertures 442 that are spaced apart approximately 180 degrees from one another, such as in the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 4, although only one pin aperture 442 is visible in FIG. 4. Alternatively, the receiver housing 436 can include more than two pin apertures 442 to provide the desired number of rotational adjustment positions for of the shower rod 414. As described previously, a portion of the locking pin 428 extends through the rim 322 (illustrated in FIG. 3) of the surface mount 320. Moreover, in an extended position (shown in FIG. 4), a portion of the locking pin 428 also selectively extends through one of the pin apertures 442 of the receiver housing 436 to simultaneously inhibit rotation of the receiver housing 436 relative to the surface mount 320 in both the clockwise and the counterclockwise directions. Extension of a portion of the locking pin 428 through one of the pin apertures 442 is referred to herein as a locked position.

To move the locking pin 428 of the locking mechanism 326 (illustrated in FIG. 3) to the unlocked position, the locking pin end 432 of the locking pin 428 is depressed by the user to a retracted position so that the locking pin end 432 no longer extends through the pin aperture 442. When the locking pin 428 is in the unlocked position, the receiver housing 436 can be rotated in either the clockwise or the counterclockwise direction (indicated by directional arrow 452), as desired. Rotation of the receiver housing 436 can occur in this manner until the locking pin end 432 reaches the next pin aperture 442. Once this next pin aperture 442 is reached, the pin bias 330 (illustrated in FIG. 3) biases and moves the locking pin 428 so that the locking pin end 432 extends through this pin aperture 442, again positioning the locking pin 428 in the locked position.

In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 4, because the pin apertures 442 are approximately 180 degrees apart from one another, rotation of the receiver housing 436 in this manner causes rotation of the shower rod 414 by approximately 180 degrees. Because of the curved shape of the shower rod 414, the shower rod 414 can be positioned to extend inward toward the shower enclosure, or outward away from the shower enclosure, or to any position in between.

The rod pivot 438 is pivotable about the pivot pin 440. Stated another way, the rod pivot 438 pivots relative to the receiver housing 436 about a pivot axis 443 that is non-orthogonal to the surface 418. In one such embodiment, the pivot axis 443 is substantially parallel to the surface 418. In other words, in one embodiment, the pivot axis 443 can be substantially parallel to the X-Y plane which is illustrated in FIG. 4. In another embodiment, the pivot axis 443 can be substantially perpendicular to the receiver housing rotational axis 441. However, it is recognized that the pivot axis 443 can be any suitable axis that is less than 90 degrees from the X-Y plane. Further, the receiver housing rotational axis 441 and the pivot axis 443 are sometimes referred to herein as the first axis and the second axis, such that either of the receiver housing rotational axis 441 or the pivot axis 443 can be the first axis or the second axis.

In this embodiment, the rod pivot 438 includes a male rod receiver 444 that extends into the end region 434 of the shower rod 414 in order to couple and/or secure the shower rod 414 to the mounting assembly 416. In an alternative embodiment (not shown), the rod receiver 444 can be a female receiver that receives the shower rod 414. The mounting assembly 416 can also include an end region cover (not shown) that covers and/or hides the end region 434 of the shower rod 414 for aesthetic reasons and/or to inhibit water from penetrating between the end region 434 and the rod receiver 444 and entering into the hollow region of the shower rod 414.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the mounting assembly 516, including an embodiment of the rod receiver 544. In this embodiment, the rod receiver 544 includes a knurling 546 on an end portion 548 of the rod receiver 544. The knurling 546 can include a plurality of raised projections 550 to better secure the shower rod 414 (illustrated in FIG. 4) to the mounting assembly 516. In one embodiment, the rod receiver 544 is hollow. Alternatively, the rod receiver 544 can be solid. The shower rod 414 can be positioned to fit over the rod receiver 544 as illustrated in FIG. 4. In an alternative embodiment, the shower rod 414 can include a male fitting that fits into a female rod receiver (not shown).

In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 5, to rotate the receiver housing 536 in order to change the orientation of the shower rod 414, the locking pin 528 is depressed against the force of the pin bias 330 (illustrated in FIG. 3) so that the locking pin end 332 no longer extends through one of the pin apertures 542. In this position, the receiver housing 536 can freely rotate in either a clockwise or a counterclockwise direction (illustrated by directional arrow 552).

FIG. 6 is an exploded view of one embodiment of the mounting assembly 616. The mounting assembly 616 can include a plurality of resilient thrust washers 654 to inhibit penetration of water to the fasteners of the surface mount 620 or other components of the mounting assembly 616 that should remain relatively free from contact with moisture. The mounting assembly 616 can also include pivot washers 656 as illustrated in FIG. 6 to facilitation pivoting of the rod receiver 644 about the pivot pin 640.

FIG. 7A is perspective view of another embodiment of the mounting assembly 716, including the rod receiver assembly 735 and a portion of the locking mechanism 728. In this embodiment, the rod receiver assembly 735 includes the receiver housing 736 and the rod receiver 744, which has a hollow end portion 748. However, in this embodiment, the shower rod 14 (illustrated in FIG. 1) fits over the hollow end portion 748 rather than inside the female end of the end portion 748. With this design, the cost of materials is lowered without substantially compromising strength of the mounting assembly 716 or the shower rod 14.

FIG. 7B is a perspective view of a portion of the mounting assembly 716 with the receiver housing 736 (illustrated in FIG. 7) omitted for clarity. In this embodiment, the rod receiver assembly 735 is rotatably attached to the surface mount 720 of the mounting assembly 716 with a rotatably mounted receiver attacher 758. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 7B, the receiver attacher 758 is substantially centrally positioned relative to the surface mount 720. Alternatively, the receiver attacher 758 can be positioned off-center relative to the surface mount 720. Further, although the locking mechanism 726 operates substantially similarly to those previously described, the locking mechanism 726 illustrated in FIG. 7B has a somewhat different configuration to account for the presence of the receiver attacher 758.

With certain designs provided herein, because the mounting assembly includes portions that rotate and/or pivot about the two axes described herein, the position of the shower rod relative to the shower enclosure can be adjusted and different shaped shower rods can be accommodated. Stated another way, curved shower rods are available so that ends of the shower rod have different angles relative to the surface. The pivoting motion of the rod receiver accounts for these different angles, as well as allowing for rotation of the shower rod as provided herein.

Further, it is recognized that although the mounting assemblies provided herein are described as singular units, each mounting assembly can include two substantially similar units, one for either end of the shower rod. However, it is further recognized that although one of the units includes the locking mechanism, the unit on an opposing end of the shower rod (attached to a different surface) may or may not include a respective locking mechanism. By excluding a locking mechanism on one of the units (on one end of the shower rod), the user can rotate the shower rod by operating only the unit having the locking mechanism, thereby facilitating the rotation process.

While the particular adjustable shower rod assembly 10 as shown and disclosed herein is fully capable of obtaining the objects and providing the advantages herein before stated, it is to be understood that it is merely illustrative of the presently preferred embodiments of the invention and that no limitations are intended to the details of the methods, construction or design herein shown and described.





 
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