Title:
ANTI-SPLASH SHOWER CURTAIN
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A shower curtain support fixture formed of a set of slotted tubes each having an end portion containing a bend so as to dispose the end portions adjacent the side walls of a bath-shower enclosure and a slotted coupling member slidingly receiving cut inner ends of the slotted tubes to form a U-shaped slotted tube fixture which receives a plurality of T-shaped shower curtain hangers through the slot.



Inventors:
Prian, John L. (Cambria, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/026409
Publication Date:
08/06/2009
Filing Date:
02/05/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
4/609, 4/610
International Classes:
A47K3/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PUROL, DAVID M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MARVIN E. JACOBS, ESQ. (VENTURA, CA, US)
Claims:
1. A support fixture for hanging a shower curtain above a bath tub, which tub sits in a shower enclosure having at least two opposite facing walls disposed at ends of the tub, comprising: a) a set of slotted tubes each having a bent outer end and an inner end being cut to form a u-shape for mounting on walls of the shower enclosure with slots facing downward, and b) a slotted coupling member having an inner diameter suitable for sliding over the inner ends of the slotted tubes,

2. A support fixture according to claim, in which the slotted tubes and slotted coupling member are formed of a bendable, extrudable material,

3. A support fixture according to claim 2 in which the material is selected from the group consistency of synthetic resins and metals,

4. A support fixture according to claim 3 which the resin is a thermoplastic resin,

5. a support fixture according to claim 4 in which the metal is ferrous or aluminum.

6. A support fixture according to claim 1, further including means for mounting the fixture on the walls of the shower enclosure.

7. A support fixture according to claim 6 in which the mounting means includes at least one set of aligned apertures on each bent end of the slotted tubes adapted to receive a fastener for mounting the support fixture on the walls of the enclosure.

8. A support fixture according to claim 5 in which a first aperture facing the side wall is smaller than the second aligned aperture facing the enclosure.

9. A support fixture according to claim 6 further including a plug for receipt in the second aperture,

10. A support fixture according to claim 2 in which the slotted tubes further contain a bore communicating with the slot for receiving a plurality of heads of shower curtain rod hangers

10. A method according to claim 9 further including the step of inserting a plurality of T-shaped shower curtain rod hangers inside the slotted tubes before closing the outer ends of the slotted tubes.



11. A method of installing a shower curtain support fixture in a bath enclosure having opposed side walls and a back wall comprising the steps of: a) Cutting the inside ends of a set of bent slotted tubes such that the bent ends abut the side walls and the cut ends face each other, sliding a slotted coupling member having an I.D. substantially similar to the portion of the slotted tubes adjacent the cut ends of the slotted tubes to form a U-shaped structure, and attaching the U-shaped structure to the side walls with the slot facing downward.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to rods for hanging shower curtains and, more particularly, this invention relates to an improved rod for hanging anti-splash shower curtains.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Showers can be located in dedicated tiled or plastic enclosures entered through hinged doors. There is little problem with water splashing onto the floor from an opening above the door. In some case a shower head is mounted above a free standing tub. An oval shower curtain rod is mounted above the tub. Since the lower edge of the curtain is placed inside the wall of the tub, there again is little problem with water splashing onto the floor.

Shower rods are usually mounted in front of tubs enclosed by three walls. The three shower walls encompass and extend along the opposite ends and rear side of the bath tub but leave the bath tub open for access along its front side. A shower nozzle is usually mounted on one of the opposite end walls of the tub enclosure. When the shower is turned on, a spray of water is projected from the nozzle generally downwardly into the tub. A shower curtain is typically hung by an elongated straight support fixture or rod mounted above and parallel to the front side of the bath tub. The purpose of the hanging shower curtain is to prevent the spray of water issued by the shower nozzle from deflecting and splashing from the users' body and the tub interior and bathroom walls surrounding the tub into the rest of the bathroom during use of the shower. The shower curtain rod is mounted between the side walls, usually in-line with the front wall of the tub so that the bottom end of the curtain can be placed inside the tub. This is not satisfactory as the side edges of the curtain do not form a seal with the side walls and high pressure shower water splashes onto the floor. This creates a dangerous condition during sideways placement of a foot while entering or exiting the tub. An expensive solution is to form a shower enclosure by installing a track on the top edge of a tub over which is mounted a set of sliding glass or plastic doors.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART

My prior U.S. Pat. No. 5,101,522, the disclosure of which is expressly incorporated herein by reference, discloses a low cost effective way to mount a shower curtain rod which provides an effective way to prevent water from splashing past a shower curtain during showering.

My prior device comprises a shower curtain support fixture for hanging a shower curtain above a bath tub. The device includes a generally U-shaped structure having an elongated main portion and a pair of opposite end portions extending generally transverse to the main portion. A slot is defined in a bottom side of the U-shaped structure extending along its main portion and opposite end portions so as to provide a generally U-shaped guide track in the structure. Shower curtain hanger devices are inserted through the slot and slidable individually along the track provided by the slot. Aligned holes formed through the opposite end portions of the structure facilitate mounting of the structure with its opposite end portions extending in flush relation to oppositely facing bathroom walls disposed at opposite ends of the bath tub a shower curtain hanging from the U-shaped structure by a plurality of hanger devices is extendable into the tub and along a front side of the tub and around front opposite corners thereof to effectively block water from splashing out of the tub over the front side and over or through the gap at corners of the tub.

Though effective, the prior anti-splash curtain hanging system utilizing two telescoping slotted aluminum tubes proved too expensive for mass marketing. The bent telescoping, slotted aluminum rod (splash stopper) proved to be too costly to manufacture and even though a prototype was tested and used for several years, an affordable finished product could not be produced.

STATEMENT OF THE INVENTION

The present invention avoids the use of expensive metal tubing and the costs associated with bending and slotting the tubing. The Anti-Splash Shower Curtain Rod System of the invention possesses all of the functional characteristics of the earlier device with the added advantage of being formed of synthetic resins, especially thermoplastic resins, which can be extruded with the slot.

The slotted tubing can then be bent and drilled to form the holes used for the fasteners which adhere the end segments of the bent rods to the side walls of the enclosure.

The bent rods can be formed to telescope or, preferably, the bent rods can be easily extended through a single die and into suitable lengths. A slotted coupling piece can be used to form the cut end of the bent rods. The coupling can have an ID selected to slide over the rods or an OD selected to slide into the core of the bent rods.

These and other features and advantages of invention will become apparent by reference to the following drawings and description.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a top plan view of a set of bent slotted rods depicted in overlapping relationship;

FIG. 2 is bottom plan view of two bent rods depicted in relation to a central slotted coupling member and depicted with apertures for the wall fasteners;

FIG. 3 is a bottom plan view of the assembled shower curtain rod system fixture;

FIG. 4 is a view is section taken along line 4-4 in FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a view is section taken along line 5-5 in FIG. 3; and

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the shower curtain support fixture installed over a bath tub.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring now to FIGS. 1-3 the shower curtain hanging rod 10 is formed of two section 12, 14 of slotted synthetic resin tubing having curved end portions 11, 13, which the distance between the straight portions of 15, 17 is greater than the distance between the side walls 16, 18 of a shower or tub enclosure. The sections 12, 14 are measured to fit between the distance between the side walls 16, 18 of the enclosure and cut at 20 to form cut ends 21, 23 which abut each other.

Each straight end portion 15, 17 of each section 12, 14 is drilled to form inner apertures 26, 28 and outer apertures 30, 32. The outer apertures 30, 32 are large enough to receive the head 34 of a fastener 36 on the head 34 is captured by the two inner apertures 26, 28. The larger apertures 30, 32 receive a plug 38 to prevent water from entering slot 40.

Each cut end 21, 23 are slid into the core 45 of slotted coupling member 30 the slot 44 of the coupling member is aligned with the slot 40 of the rod sections 12, 14.

As shown is FIGS. 4 and 5 the shower curtain hangers 46 have a bent open hook end 48 at the end of a post 50. The post 50 has a diameter slightly smaller than the width 43 of the slots 40, 44. Most synthetic resins have a smooth, self lubricating surface which results in easy movement of the hangers 46 in the slots 40, 44.

The resins can be thermosetting resins such as polyester or epoxy resins which must be bent before curing. Thermoplastic resins such as polyethylene, polypropylene, or polyamide resins are preferred since they are readily extruded and are self-lubricating.

The top end of the post 50 is formed with a cap 52 having a diameter larger than the width of the slot 40. A second widened portion 54 may be formed.

Referring now to FIG. 6, a tub enclosure 56 is shown formed of back wall 58 and side walls 16, 18. The curtain rod 10 is adhered to the side walls by fasteners 36. The hook ends 48 are placed in grommets 60 on the top panel 62 of a shower curtain 64. The shower curtain 64 is placed inside the tub 56 with the terminal sections 66, 68 facing the side walls 16, 18. The shower curtain 64, curves to fit the curves 70 in the tub 56. The shower water splashing off the walls 16, 18 of the enclosure and off the shower curtain 64 are retained in the enclosure.

It is to be realized that equivalent materials and structures other then those disclosed can be utilized. The mention is not to be limited except as defined in the following clauses.