Title:
Tub Spout
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A spout for producing a sheet of liquid is provided. The spout includes a planar top housing having sides that, along with the bottom housing, define the cavity inside the spout. The spout includes a fixture support in the proximal end of the spout to easily connect an existing fixture that discharges a liquid. The top housing includes a baffle wall for deflecting an introduced liquid. The bottom housing includes a barrier wall that has an aperture for the introduction of liquid into the spout. The bottom housing also includes a receiving area for the collection of introduced liquid and a weir that forms the distal end of the receiving area. A guide extends from the weir and is angled in the same direction with the inside surface of the distal end of the top housing to create an opening for the expulsion of liquid that rises above the weir.



Inventors:
Jones, Chad H. (Frisco, TX, US)
Fillipp, Stephen L. (Lubbock, TX, US)
Application Number:
12/033594
Publication Date:
08/20/2009
Filing Date:
02/19/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E03C1/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CRANE, LAUREN ASHLEY
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KLEMCHUK LLP (DALLAS, TX, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A spout for discharging a sheet of liquid comprising: a planar top housing, the top housing having sides that define the cavity inside the spout and having a baffle wall that extends in an approximate perpendicular direction from the inside surface of the top housing for deflecting an introduced liquid; a planar bottom housing, the bottom housing comprising: a barrier wall having an aperture for the introduction of liquid into the spout, the barrier wall extending in an approximate perpendicular direction from the inside surface of the of the bottom housing to the inside surface of the top housing to prevent an introduced liquid from flowing toward the distal end of the spout; a receiving area for the collection of introduced liquid that has deflected off the top housing baffle wall; a weir that extends in an approximate perpendicular direction from the inside surface of the bottom housing and forms the distal end of said receiving area to regulate the flow of water through the spout; and a guide portion that extends from the weir and is angled in the same direction with the inside surface of the distal end of the top housing to create an elongated opening to guide the discharge of liquid out of the spout that rises above the weir.

2. The spout according to claim 1 wherein: the bottom housing includes a fixture support defined by an insert in the proximal end of the bottom housing and secured in place by the defining sides of the top housing for connecting the spout to existing fixtures that discharge liquid.

3. The spout according to claim 1 wherein: the planar top housing includes a concave bend at its distal end to direct the flow of liquid discharged from the spout in a downward direction.

4. The spout according to claim 1 wherein: the spout includes a pull knob and gate assembly, wherein the pull knob includes a shaft and a planar surface attached to the shaft, wherein the gate assembly includes a movable stop that can be moved vertically by pulling or pushing the planar surface of the pull knob to either cover or expose the aperture in the barrier wall of the bottom housing and a fixture to which the shaft of the pull knob is fixed, wherein the gate assembly also includes support guides fixed to the barrier wall of the bottom housing to guide the movement of the stop and to support the stop against the force of liquid being introduced into the aperture of the barrier wall, wherein the planar top housing includes an aperture through which the shaft of the pull knob is inserted into the spout and fixed to the stop fixture.

5. The spout according to claim 3 wherein: the spout includes a pull knob and gate assembly, wherein the pull knob includes a shaft and a planar surface attached to the shaft, wherein the gate assembly includes a movable stop that can be moved vertically by pulling or pushing the planar surface of the pull knob to either cover or expose the aperture in the barrier wall of the bottom housing and a fixture to which the shaft of the pull knob is fixed, wherein the gate assembly also includes support guides fixed to the barrier wall of the bottom housing to guide the movement of the stop and to support the stop against the force of liquid being introduced into the aperture of the barrier wall, wherein the planar top housing includes an aperture through which the shaft of the pull knob is inserted into the spout and fixed to the stop fixture.

6. A spout for discharging a sheet of liquid comprising: a planar top housing, the top housing having sides that define the cavity inside the spout and having a baffle wall that extends in an approximate perpendicular direction from the inside surface of the top housing for deflecting an introduced liquid; a planar bottom housing, the bottom housing comprising: a barrier wall having an aperture for the introduction of liquid into the spout, the barrier wall extending in an approximate perpendicular direction from the inside surface of the of the bottom housing to the inside surface of the top housing to prevent an introduced liquid from flowing toward the distal end of the spout; a receiving area for the collection of introduced liquid that has deflected off the top housing baffle wall; a weir that extends in an approximate perpendicular direction from the inside surface of the bottom housing and forms the distal end of said receiving area to regulate the flow of water through the spout; and a guide portion that extends from the weir and is angled in the same direction with the inside surface of the distal end of the top housing to create an elongated opening to guide the discharge of liquid out of the spout that rises above the weir; a fixture support defined by an insert in the proximal end of the bottom housing and secured in place by the defining sides of the top housing for connecting the spout to existing fixtures that discharge liquid; and a pull knob and gate assembly, wherein the pull knob includes a shaft and a planar surface attached to the shaft, wherein the gate assembly includes a movable stop that can be moved vertically by pulling or pushing the planar surface of the pull knob to either cover or expose the aperture in the barrier wall of the bottom housing and a fixture to which the shaft of the pull knob is fixed, wherein the gate assembly also includes support guides fixed to the barrier wall of the bottom housing to guide the movement of the stop and to support the stop against the force of liquid being introduced into the aperture of the barrier wall, wherein the planar top housing includes an aperture through which the shaft of the pull knob is inserted into the spout and fixed to the stop fixture.

7. The spout according to claim 6 wherein: the planar top housing includes a concave bend at its distal end to direct the flow of liquid discharged from the spout in a downward direction.

8. A spout for discharging a sheet of liquid comprising: a planar top housing, the top housing being approximately 175 mm in width and 150 mm in length, the top housing having sides that define the cavity inside the spout and having a baffle wall that extends in an approximate perpendicular direction from the inside surface of the top housing for deflecting an introduced liquid; a planar bottom housing, the bottom housing comprising: a barrier wall having an aperture for the introduction of liquid into the spout, the barrier wall extends in an approximate perpendicular direction from the inside surface of the of the bottom housing to the inside surface of the top housing to prevent an introduced liquid from flowing toward the distal end of the spout; a receiving area for the collection of introduced liquid that has deflected off the top housing baffle wall; a weir that extends in an approximate perpendicular direction from the inside surface of the bottom housing and forms the distal end of said receiving area to regulate the flow of water through the spout; and a guide portion that extends from the weir and is angled in the same direction with the inside surface of the distal end of the top housing to create an elongated opening to guide the discharge of liquid out of the spout that rises above the weir; a fixture support defined by an insert in the proximal end of the bottom housing and secured in place by the defining sides of the top housing for connecting the spout to existing fixtures that discharge liquid; and a pull knob and gate assembly, wherein the pull knob includes a shaft and a planar surface attached to the shaft, wherein the gate assembly includes a movable stop that can be moved vertically by pulling or pushing the planar surface of the pull knob to either cover or expose the aperture in the barrier wall of the bottom housing and a fixture to which the shaft of the pull knob is fixed, wherein the gate assembly also includes support guides fixed to the barrier wall of the bottom housing to guide the movement of the stop and to support the stop against the force of liquid being introduced into the aperture of the barrier wall, wherein the planar top housing includes an aperture through which the shaft of the pull knob is inserted into the spout and fixed to the stop fixture.

9. The spout according to claim 8 wherein: the planar top housing includes a concave bend at its distal end to direct the flow of liquid discharged from the spout in a downward direction wherein the height of the spout is approximately 72 mm.

Description:

BACKGROUND

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to plumbing fixtures and in particular to water spout fixtures through which water is release into a tub or other receptacle.

Within the plumbing fixture industry, and in particular within the water spout fixture market, most water spouts have a circular cross-section opening that releases the flow of water, at least initially, in a similar pattern. The impact of the concentrated flow of water into a tub or similar receptacle produces an undesirable amount of noise, is often uncomfortable on contact, and is not aesthetically pleasing.

2. Description of Related Art

These effects can be mitigated to some extent by water spout fixtures that release a sheet of water into a tub or similar receptacle. The improved qualities of liquids flowing in a sheet are well recognized and there exists a variety of known spouts to produce the waterfall effect of liquid flowing in a sheet.

Most types of known spouts for producing a sheet flow include spouts with a narrow slot opening to form a sheet of liquid upon discharge of the liquid. Producing a sheet flow with such a design, taking into consideration of normal rates of liquid flow, requires the slot to be very narrow. The turbulence in the liquid at normal flow rates often breaks the sheet upon discharge from the spout wherein the advantages of the spout is lost. Manufacturing a narrow slot is also often difficult and the narrow slot spouts have proven difficult to clean, especially if clogged.

Another type of known spout for producing a sheet flow of liquid includes a deflector along with the narrow slot. The deflector spreads the liquid upon impact with the deflector and slows the rate of flow of the liquid, thus decreasing the turbulence of the liquid at discharge and improving the sheet qualities of the liquid flow. However, the thinning of the flow sheet of liquid with these existing devices often exceeds the limits of surface tension of the liquid holding the sheet together causing the sheet at normal rates of flow to prematurely break apart. When the flow of liquid, at normal flow rates, is prolonged, the flow of liquid in these devices begin to exceed the surface of the deflector, causing turbulence and again a loss of the ability of the liquid to maintain its sheet form. These devices are also often mechanically complex, costly, and substantial assembly time is needed for installation.

A need exists, therefore, for a spout that produces a sheet flow upon discharge that is continuous over an extended length before impact with a receptacle and that is easy to assemble and install.

All references cited herein are incorporated by reference to the maximum extent allowable by law. To the extent a reference may not be fully incorporated herein, it is incorporated by reference for background purposes and indicative of the knowledge of one of ordinary skill in the art.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The problems presented in known spouts for producing a sheet flow of liquid upon discharge are solved by the device of the present invention. In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, a spout is provided. The spout includes a planar top housing having sides that, along with the bottom housing, define the cavity inside the spout. The top housing includes a baffle wall that extends in an approximate perpendicular direction from the inside surface of the top housing for deflecting an introduced liquid to spread the liquid within the spout and to reduce turbulence of the liquid. The bottom housing includes a barrier wall that extends in an approximate perpendicular direction from the inside surface of the bottom housing that has an aperture for the introduction of liquid from an existing fixture into the spout. The barrier wall extends from the inside surface of the bottom housing to the inside surface of the top housing to prevent an introduced liquid from backflow into the proximal end of the spout. The bottom housing also includes a receiving area for the collection of introduced liquid that has deflected from the baffle wall of the top housing, the receiving area being defined at its proximal end by a portion of the bottom housing that drops lower than the main body of the housing, on the sides by a portion of the bottom wall that encloses the receiving area, and on the distal end by a weir to regulate and smooth the flow of liquid out of the spout. The receiving area collects an introduced liquid across the planar surface of the spout to spread the flow of the liquid to aid in creating a sheet flow upon discharge while also further reducing the turbulence of the liquid. A guide extends from the weir and is angled in the same direction with the inside surface of the distal end of the top housing to create an elongated opening for the discharge of liquid that rises above the weir, creating a smooth sheet flow upon discharge.

In another embodiment of the present invention, the spout includes a fixture support in the proximal end of the spout, defined by a supporting portion in the bottom housing and secured into place by the defining sides of the top housing to easily connect an existing fixture that discharges a liquid.

In another embodiment of the present invention, the top housing includes a concave bend toward the distal end of the spout to direct the flow of liquid discharged from the spout in a downward direction. In such an embodiment, the guide of the bottom housing is still angled in the same direction with the inside surface of the distal end of the top housing to create an elongated opening for the discharge of liquid that rises above the weir.

In yet another embodiment of the present invention, the spout includes a pull knob and gate assembly. The pull knob includes a shaft that can be inserted through the top housing and fixed to a portion of the gate assembly. The planar top housing includes an aperture through which the shaft of the pull knob is inserted vertically into the spout and fixed to the gate assembly. The pull knob also includes a planar surface attached to the shaft so than the pull knob can be pulled or pushed into a desired position. The gate assembly includes a movable stop. The movable stop has a fixture to which the shaft of the pull knob is fixed so that the stop can be moved vertically by pulling or pushing the planar surface of the pull knob to either cover or expose the aperture in the barrier wall of the bottom housing. The gate assembly also includes support guides fixed to the barrier wall of the bottom housing to guide the movement of the stop and to support the stop against the force of liquid being introduced into the aperture of the barrier wall.

Other objects, features, and advantages of the present invention will become apparent with reference to the drawings and detailed description that follow.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

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

FIG. 2 is a perspective, exploded view of the spout in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a side view of the spout in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of the spout taken along the line 8-8 of FIG. 1 with the pull knob down in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of the spout taken along the line 8-8 of FIG. 1 with the pull knob up in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

All references cited herein are incorporated by reference to the maximum extent allowable by law. To the extent a reference may not be fully incorporated herein, it is incorporated by reference for background purposes and indicative of the knowledge of one of ordinary skill in the art.

In the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments, reference is made to the accompanying drawings which form a part hereof, and in which is shown by way of illustration specific preferred embodiments in which the invention may be practiced. These embodiments are described in sufficient detail to enable those skilled in the art to practice the invention, and it is understood that other embodiments may be utilized and that logical mechanical changes may be made without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention. To avoid detail not necessary to enable those skilled in the art to practice the invention, the description may omit certain information known to those skilled in the art. The following detailed description is, therefore, not to be taken in a limiting sense, and the scope of the present invention is defined only by the appended claims.

Referring to FIGS. 1 through 5, a spout 10 for producing a sheet flow of liquid upon discharge is provided. FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the spout 10 in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 2 is a perspective, exploded view of the spout 10 in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 3 is a side view of the spout 10 in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of the spout 10 taken along the line 8-8 of FIG. 1 with the pull knob 18 down in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of the spout 10 taken along the line 8-8 of FIG. 1 with the pull knob 18 up in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. The spout 10 includes a planar top housing 12 having sides 16 that, along with the bottom housing 14, define the cavity inside the spout 10. The spout can be made from any common material used in existing spouts, such as brass. The top housing 12 and the bottom housing 14 are assembled together by six screws 44 that pass through the bottom housing 14 and fix to the top housing 12.

The top housing 12 includes a concave bend toward the distal end 46 of the spout 10 to direct the flow of liquid discharged from the spout 10 in a downward direction. The top housing 12 includes a baffle wall 20 that extends in an approximate perpendicular direction from the inside surface 22 of the top housing 12 for deflecting an introduced liquid to spread the liquid within the spout and to reduce turbulence of the liquid.

The bottom housing 14 includes a barrier wall 24 that extends in an approximate perpendicular direction from the inside surface 26 of the bottom housing 14 that has an aperture 28 for the introduction of liquid from an existing fixture into the spout. The barrier wall 24 extends from the inside surface 26 of the bottom housing 14 to the inside surface 22 of the top housing 12 to prevent an introduced liquid from backflow into the proximal end 30 of the spout. The bottom housing 14 also includes a receiving area 32 for the collection of introduced liquid that has deflected from the baffle wall 24 of the top housing 12, the receiving area 32 being defined at its proximal end 34 by a bottom housing portion 36 that drops lower than the main body of the bottom housing 14, on the sides by side bottom wall portions 36 that encloses the receiving area 32, and on the distal end 38 by a weir 40 to regulate and smooth the flow of liquid out of the spout 10. The receiving area 32 collects an introduced liquid across the planar surface of the spout 10 to spread the flow of the liquid to aid in creating a sheet flow upon discharge while also further reducing the turbulence of the liquid. A guide 42 extends from the weir 40 and is angled in the same direction with the inside surface of the distal end 46 of the top housing 12 to create an elongated opening for the discharge of liquid that rises above the weir 40, creating a smooth sheet flow of liquid upon discharge.

The spout 10 includes a fixture support 48 in the proximal end 30 of the spout 10, defined by a supporting portion 50 in the bottom housing 14 and secured into place by the top housing 12 to easily connect an existing fixture that discharges a liquid.

The spout 10 also includes a pull knob 18 and gate assembly 52. The pull knob 18 includes a shaft 54 that can be inserted through the top housing 12 and fixed to a portion of the gate assembly. The planar top housing 12 includes an aperture 56 through which the shaft 54 of the pull knob 18 is inserted vertically into the spout 10 and fixed to the gate assembly. The pull knob 18 also includes a planar surface 58 attached to the shaft 54 so that the pull knob 18 can be pulled or pushed into a desired position. The gate assembly 52 includes a movable stop 60. The movable stop 60 has a fixture 62 to which the shaft 54 of the pull knob 18 is fixed so that the stop 60 can be moved vertically by pulling or pushing the planar surface 58 of the pull knob 18 to either cover or expose the aperture 28 in the barrier wall 24 of the bottom housing 14. The gate assembly 52 also includes support guides 64 fixed to the barrier wall 24 of the bottom housing 14 to guide the movement of the stop 60 and to support the stop 60 against the force of liquid being introduced into the aperture 28 of the barrier wall 24.

The primary advantage of the present invention is to provide a spout that discharges a smooth sheet of liquid upon discharge that is easy to assemble and install.

Even though many of the examples discussed herein are applications of the present invention used as a water spout in a bathtub or the like, the present invention also can be applied to other types of uses, including but not limited to spouts used for showers and sinks.

It should be apparent from the foregoing that an invention having significant advantages has been provided. While the invention is shown in only a few of its forms, it is not just limited but is susceptible to various changes and modifications without departing from the spirit thereof.





 
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