Title:
Portable Toilet
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention comprises a portable toilet with modules that permit simultaneous use by more than one individual.



Inventors:
Mccord, Michael (Atlanta, GA, US)
Application Number:
12/169745
Publication Date:
07/30/2009
Filing Date:
07/09/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47K11/12
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MAESTRI, PATRICK J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP - East Coast (ATLANTA, GA, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A portable toilet comprising: more than one module, each module comprising a urinal and a partition located between adjacent modules and partially covering an entrance to the module; a holding tank containing a reservoir and an evacuation means, the holding tank located below the modules; a hollow central column connected to the holding tank and communicating with the reservoir in the holding tank, wherein the urinal communicates with the central column.

2. The portable toilet of claim 1, wherein the urinal communicates with the central column through a drain tube connecting the urinal to the central column, the drain tube traversing an opening in the wall of the central column.

3. The portable toilet of claim 1, comprising at least 2 but no more than 8 modules.

4. The portable toilet of claim 1, further comprising a roof sheltering said modules.

5. The portable toilet of claim 4, wherein the roof is detachably connected to one or more of the central column and the partitions.

6. The portable toilet of claim 1, wherein each module has a floor which is the exterior surface of the roof of the holding tank.

7. The portable toilet of claim 6, the floor comprising slip-resistant strips.

8. The portable toilet of claim 1, wherein the central column is formed integrally to the holding tank.

9. The portable toilet of claim 1, wherein the central column is connected to the holding tank through attachment means.

10. The portable toilet of claim 1, wherein the central column contains a hook in the top of the column.

11. The portable toilet of claim 1, wherein the holding tank has a first component located below the modules and a second component extending beyond the perimeter of the first component.

12. The portable toilet of claim 11, wherein the evacuation means is located in the second component of the holding tank.

Description:

PRIOR RELATED APPLICATION

The present application claims the benefit of priority of U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/949,653, filed Jul. 13, 2007, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is in the field of sanitation and comprises a portable toilet unit with several modules that can be used by numerous individuals simultaneously.

BACKGROUND

Outdoor activities, such as sporting events, fairs, concerts and other festivals, attended by many individuals require proper sanitation capacity. Often there is limited access to toilets and long lines develop outside individual toilets, causing inconvenience, discomfort and wasted time. What is needed is a portable toilet that permits simultaneous access to more than one individual.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention solves these problems by providing a portable toilet that permits simultaneous access to more than one individual. The portable toilet provides relatively inexpensive, simultaneous and easy access for numerous individuals to use urinals.

These and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent after a review of the following detailed description of the disclosed embodiments and claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

FIG. 1. Shows a portable toilet 10 from a side angle displaying the partitions 20, holding tank 50, and central column 30. The feet of an occupant 70 standing on the floor 60 of a module are shown.

FIG. 2. Presents a different side angle view of a portable toilet 10 displaying the partitions 20, holding tank 50, and central column 30.

FIG. 3. Presents an aerial view of a portable toilet 10 showing six modules, central column 30, and the partitions 20 in a different embodiment than shown in FIG. 4.

FIG. 4. Presents an aerial view of a portable toilet identifying the partitions 20, eight modules (1 through 8), and urinals 80.

FIG. 5. Depicts a single “stall” of a portable toilet, without the partitions and other stalls. A urinal 80 and the holding tank 50 are indicated.

FIG. 6. Presents aspects of a portable toilet demonstrating the holding tank 50 and evacuation connection 90, central column 30, urinal orb 100, and connecting tubes 110.

FIG. 7. Presents one embodiment of a portable toilet 10 with six modules, partitions 20 separating modules, a central column 30, a hook 120 in the top of the central column, a urinal 80, a floor 60 of a module, and a holding tank 50 below the floor, and evacuation means 90 in the side of the holding tank. A second component 130 of the holding tank is optionally present and acts as a step into the module.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

The present invention addresses this need and provides a portable toilet 10 (FIGS. 1-3, 7) that permits simultaneous access to numerous individuals. In one embodiment, the portable toilet contains numerous individual modules each containing a urinal 80.

The portable toilet unit is comprised of individual modules or stalls each containing a urinal 80, a holding tank 50, and a central column 30. The modules are separated from each other by partitions 20.

Modules

The portable toilet unit is comprised of a number of modules (FIGS. 1-4, 7). Each module comprises a urinal and a partition that forms a common wall with an adjacent module. The number of modules is variable. The number may be 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, or more, depending on the desired number of modules and size of the unit. In one embodiment, the portable toilet unit is comprised of 8 modules (FIG. 4). In another embodiment, the portable toilet unit is comprised of 6 modules (FIGS. 3, 7). Modules are separated from each other by a partition 20 which also provides some privacy. The modules are located on a platform or floor 60 that is the exterior surface of the roof of the holding tank 50 (see FIGS. 1, 7).

Each module contains a urinal 80. In one embodiment, the urinal in each module is connected via a tube 110 to a urine orb 100 in the central column, the urine orb being connected via another tube 140 to the holding tank 50 so that urine can flow from the urinal to the interior of the holding tank (FIG. 6). In another embodiment, the urinal in each module is connected via a tube which runs down the central column and communicates with the interior of the holding tank to transmit urine. In another embodiment, the urinal in each module is connected via a tube to the lumen of the central column which communicates with the interior of the holding tank to transmit urine. In yet another embodiment, the urinal in each module is connected directly to the central column which communicates with the interior of the holding tank to transmit urine (FIG. 7).

The floor of the module optionally contains a drain to facilitate cleaning of the unit. In one embodiment, the drain leads through a tube into the holding tank. In another embodiment, the drain leads through a tube to a location outside the module.

Central Column

A central column 30 of the unit provides structural support. The central column is substantially hollow. The central column is attached to the floor 60 which is the exterior surface of the roof of the holding tank 50. The floor has an opening into which the central column is inserted. The central column is in communication with the reservoir in the interior of the holding tank. Any suitable means may be used to connect the central column to the floor. The central column is connected in some embodiments to a roof 40 which shelters the modules (FIGS. 1, 2). In one embodiment, the central column is integrally connected to the holding tank at the time of the portable toilet construction. The central column may be molded to the holding tank at the time of the portable toilet construction. In another embodiment, the central column may be grooved or threaded at one end and screwed into a grooved or threaded opening in the roof of the holding tank. In another embodiment, the central column may be attached to the roof of the holding tank through attachment means such as screws, fasteners, slots or other means.

The central column 30 may be made of different materials such as metal or plastic, but is preferably made from plastic. The central column may contain a “urine orb” 100 that has a tube 110 from each individual urinal 80 connecting to it (FIG. 6). The tube leads through an opening in the side wall of the central column. Each tube is oriented so that there is a downward slope leading from the urinal to the urine orb so that gravity facilitates urine flow from each urinal to the urine orb. In one embodiment, the urine orb communicates with the holding tank through a tube 130 located in the central column leading from the urine orb to the holding tank. In another embodiment the central column contains a plurality of tubes leading from each urinal to the reservoir in the holding tank. In yet another embodiment, the central column receives urine from each urinal through each tube, and the urine then flows down the interior of the central column to the reservoir in the holding tank. In still another embodiment, the central column receives urine directly from each urinal, and the urine then flows down the interior of the central column to the reservoir in the holding tank (FIG. 7).

The central column may contain a means for attachment so that the central column and portable toilet may be transported. In one embodiment, the attachment means may be a hook 120 or loop found in the top of the central column (FIG. 7).

Partitions

The partitions 20 between modules are attached to the floor 60 of the module by attachment means such as screws and washers, slots, molding of the two plastics or through other techniques known to one of skill in the art. The partitions provide privacy between modules and also provide some privacy between an occupant of a module and individuals waiting outside the portable toilet (FIGS. 1-4, 7). In one embodiment, a roof 40 connects with the upper edges of the partitions, thereby sheltering the modules.

Urinal

The urinal 80 has a triangular bowl shape with holes in the bottom to allow for transmission of urine from the urinal to a tube 110 that is connected to the urinal (FIG. 6). The shape of the urinal may be any desired shape such as a triangular shape or spherical shape. In one embodiment, each urinal drains into tube 110 leading through an opening in the wall of the central column to a urinal orb 100 located in the lumen of the central column which communicates urine via another tube to the reservoir in the holding tank 50. In another embodiment, each urinal drains into a tube leading into the reservoir in the holding tank. In yet another embodiment, the tube from each urinal 80 passes through the wall of the central column and empties urine into the lumen of the central column 30 and the urine flows down into the reservoir of the holding tank 50. In another embodiment, each urinal connects directly to the central column and an opening in the wall of the central column transmits urine from the urinal to the interior of the central column (FIG. 7).

Holding Tank

The holding tank 50 is located at the bottom of the portable toilet. The roof of the holding tank has an interior surface and an exterior surface. The interior surface faces the reservoir of the tank. The exterior surface faces the module and serves as the floor 60 of the module upon which the occupant 70 stands (FIGS. 1, 2, 7). This exterior surface optionally has slip-resistant strips upon which the occupant stands to prevent slips and falls.

In one embodiment, the holding tank 50 is approximately 2 feet high. In one embodiment, the holding tank receives a tube from each urinal to transmit urine from the urinal into the reservoir of the holding tank. In another embodiment, the holding tank receives a tube from the urine orb 100 that receives the tubes 110 from each urinal 80 (FIG. 6). In another embodiment, the holding tank receives urine from the central column 30 that receives the tubes from each urinal 80. In another embodiment, the holding tank receives urine from the central column that receives urine directly from each urinal which is connected to the central column (FIG. 7).

The holding tank has an evacuation means 90 on one side for permitting access into the holding tank for the purpose of evacuating the contents of the holding tank (FIGS. 6, 7). In one embodiment, such means includes a metal fuselage. Such means may include an opening which may be closed until a desired time for evacuating the holding tank. The holding tank also optionally has a transparent window, such as clear plastic or glass, in the outer wall of the holding tank so that the amount of urine in the holding tank is visible. In this manner, the operator of the module can determine when urine must be removed from the holding tank.

A hose may be connected to the evacuation means 90 located on the side of the holding tank. Urine may be removed from the holding tank through the hose. Once the hose is connected and locked into place, the evacuation connection is opened and releases the urine from the holding tank into the hose. While gravity may assist in evacuating the holding tank, suction may also be applied through the hose to facilitate flow. Suction pumps may be employed.

The holding tank may take different shapes. In one embodiment, the holding tank has a circular shape similar to a cheese wheel. In one embodiment, the holding tank is made of thicker plastic, compared to the plastic used for the urinal and partitions. In one embodiment, the holding tank is made from a high grade plastic that is able to withstand the weight of the maximal number of adults using the module at the same time, as well as the weight of the module itself. In another embodiment, the holding tank may be made of fiberglass. In one embodiment, the holding tank is made from metal.

The holding tank may 50 may optionally contain two components. The holding tank may 50 may optionally contain a second component 130 that acts as a step into the module (FIG. 7). This second component is located below the first component of the holding tank that acts as a floor to the modules. In this embodiment, the holding tank extends into the step region and the evacuation means 90 may be located in this lower part of the holding tank (FIG. 7).

Roof

The portable toilet may have a roof 40 (FIGS. 1, 2). The roof may be detachably connected to the top of the central column and optionally slope toward the ground to facilitate movement of precipitation off the roof. The roof may be detachably connected to the top of one or more partitions. Alternatively, the roof may be detachably connected to the central column and one or more partitions. The roof may be constructed from any convenient material, including but not limited to plastic, metal, composite materials or cloth. In one embodiment, the roof may resemble an umbrella.

Dimensions

In one embodiment the portable toilet unit is about 13 feet high and about 16 feet in diameter. The central column is about 2 feet in diameter, the partition wall between adjacent stalls is about 4 feet in length. It is to be understood that other dimensions of the entire portable toilet and the components thereof are encompassed within the scope of the present invention.

Operations

An individual uses the portable toilet by entering a module through the space created between partitions, voiding into the urinal and exiting the module. Urine flows into the holding tank through one of the routes described hereinabove.

Portability

The portable toilet may be transported in its entirety. It may be lifted onto a vehicle using a hook 120 (FIG. 7). Alternatively, it may be rapidly disassembled for transport.

All patents, publications and abstracts cited above are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety. It should be understood that the foregoing relates only to preferred embodiments of the present invention and that numerous modifications or alterations may be made therein without departing from the spirit and the scope of the present invention as defined in the following claims. It will be apparent that the precise details of the constructs, compositions, and methods described herein may be varied or modified without departing from the spirit of the described invention. We claim all such modifications and variations that fall within the scope and spirit of the claims below.