Title:
Low Profile Bathtub Faucet
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A bathtub faucet includes a body defining a channel for the flow of water. The back end of the channel fluidly connects to a water source. The front end of the channel terminates at a diverter. The diverter directs the flow of water into a volume defined by the bathtub. When not operational, the bathtub faucet does not substantially project into the bathtub volume.



Inventors:
Rudesill, Charles Eugene (Bessemer, PA, US)
Application Number:
12/534293
Publication Date:
02/18/2010
Filing Date:
08/03/2009
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E03C1/04
View Patent Images:
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20070107120Portable shower deviceMay, 2007Ingraham
20060207012Flexible overhead showerSeptember, 2006Deboer et al.
20080289093Portable Spa EnclosureNovember, 2008Dragovich



Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, TUAN N
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
JAMES R. WILLIAMS (NEW CASTLE, PA, US)
Claims:
1. A faucet for delivering a stream of water into a volume defined by a bathtub, the faucet comprising a body that substantially limits projection into the volume of the bathtub, the body comprising a rear face and a front face including a diverter, the body defining a channel for delivering the stream of water from the rear face to the diverter at the front face, the diverter capable of directing the stream of water away from the front face and into the volume defined by the bathtub

2. The faucet of claim 1, wherein the diverter is capable of moving from a closed position to an open position in response to the stream of water passing through the channel.

3. The faucet of claim 2, wherein the front face defines a recess and the diverter fits into the recess in the closed position, so that the diverter is substantially flush with the front face.

4. The faucet of claim 2, wherein the diverter rotates about an axis when moving from the closed to the open position.

5. The faucet of claim 4, wherein the diverter includes a center of mass and the axis is above the center of mass so that the diverter will remain in the closed position unless the stream of water is moving through the channel.

6. The faucet of claim 4, wherein the diverter is fixed to the front face by a pin extending along the axis.

7. The faucet of claim 2, wherein the diverter translates from the front face towards the volume of the bathtub when moving from the closed to the open position.

8. The faucet of claim 2, wherein the faucet includes a mechanism to move the diverter from the open position to the closed position.

9. The faucet of claim 8, wherein the mechanism is selected from a group consisting of springs, magnets, and combinations thereof.

10. The faucet of claim 1, wherein the body is smooth.

11. The faucet of claim 1, wherein the body includes an oval perimeter.

12. The faucet of claim 1, wherein the body comprises a material selected from a group comprising metal, ceramic, plastic, and combinations thereof.

13. The faucet of claim 1, wherein the front face comprises a resilient material.

14. The faucet of claim 13, wherein the resilient material is selected from a group consisting of rubber, foam, and combinations thereof.

15. The faucet of claim 1, wherein the faucet includes a cover that is removably secured over at least the front face of the body, and the cover defines an opening that permits the diverter to move away from the front face of the body.

16. The faucet of claim 15, wherein the cover is secured to the body using a fastener selected from a group consisting of a screw, a friction fitting, an O-ring, an adhesive, a snap fitting, a protrusion that fits into a complementary indentation, and combinations thereof.

17. The faucet of claim 1, wherein the faucet includes a gate that prevents water from flowing through the channel and redirects the stream of water.

18. The faucet of claim 1, wherein the body includes a chamfer.

19. A faucet for delivering a stream of water into a volume defined by a bathtub, the faucet comprising: a) a smooth body that substantially limits projection into the volume of the bathtub, comprising a rear face and a front face defining a recess, and defining a channel from the rear face to the front face; and b) a diverter that fits into the recess, is substantially flush with the front face in a closed position, and is capable of moving from the closed position to an open position in response to the stream of water passing through the channel so that in the open position the diverter directs the stream of water away from the front face and into the volume defined by the bathtub.

20. A faucet for delivering a stream of water into a volume defined by a bathtub, the faucet comprising: a) a body that substantially limits projection into the volume of the bathtub, comprising a front face comprising a resilient material, a rear face, and defining a channel from the rear face to the front face; b) a diverter secured to the front face that directs the stream of water away from the front face and into the volume defined by the bathtub.

Description:

The present invention claims priority to U.S. 61/088,783, which is hereby incorporated by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a faucet, particularly a bathtub faucet having a low profile.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Bathtub faucets can pose a safety hazard for bathers, particularly children. Prior art includes protective devices that can be fitted over the bathtub faucet and can include, for example, inflatable or padded devices that surround or encase the faucet and flexible spouts. The protective device cushions any impact that a bather may have with the faucet. Such protective devices have various drawbacks such as, aesthetics, sanitary issues, functional impairment of the faucet, the need to be placed and replaced, protrusion of the faucet into the volume defined by the bathtub, and the failure to completely protect the bather.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention describes a bathtub faucet that substantially limits projection into a volume defined by the bathtub. The faucet includes a body comprising a shape. The shape preferably lacks sharp edges or corners and can be, for example, rounded, oval or chamfered. The body comprises a front face, a rear face, and defines a channel for the flow of a stream of water. At the rear face, the back end of the channel fluidly connects to a water source, such as a plumbing system. The front end of the channel terminates at a diverter at the front face. The diverter directs the flow of water into the volume of the bathtub.

In embodiments, the diverter can rotate from a closed position into an open position when a stream of water passes through the channel. The body can define a recess for receiving the diverter. In the closed position, the diverter can be substantially flush with the front end of the body. In the open position, the diverter can direct the stream of water into the volume of the bathtub.

When the diverter is rotatable, the diverter can close by gravity or other mechanism, such as springs or magnetic fasteners. For example, the diverter may be rotatably secured to the body of the faucet by a pin that is above the center of mass of the diverter. The stream of water can rotate the diverter into the open position. Termination of the stream can cause gravity to rotate the diverter back to the closed position. Alternatively, the diverter can be spring loaded so that the stream of water moves the diverter in the direction of the stream thereby extending the faucet into the volume of the bathtub. The springs will withdraw the diverter upon removal of the stream of water.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a cross-section of an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2 a front view of the embodiment of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a cover for the front end of the embodiment of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a front perspective view of the embodiment of FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is a front perspective view of the embodiment of FIG. 1.

FIG. 6 is an exploded view of the embodiment of FIG. 1.

FIG. 7 is a side view of an alternative embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 8 is a front view of the embodiment of FIG. 7.

FIG. 9 is a top view of the embodiment of FIG. 7.

FIG. 10 is a side view of an alternative embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The invention describes a faucet 1 having a body 2 that defines a channel 6. The body 2 includes a front face 3 and a rear face 4. The channel 6 can extend from the rear face 4 to the front face 3. A pipe 7 may extend from the channel 6 at the rear face 4 to facilitate connection with a plumbing supply line (not shown). The faucet 1 includes a diverter 5 that is capable of moving from a closed position to an open position 11 in response to a stream of water passing through the channel 6.

In one embodiment, as shown in FIGS. 1, 2 and 4, the front face 3 includes a recess 8. The recess 8 permits a diverter 5 to sit substantially flush with the front face 3 when a stream of water is not flowing through the channel 6. In embodiments, water flowing through the channel 6 rotates the diverter 5 about an axis 32 into an open position 11. The axis 32 can be defined by a pin 9 that extends through the diverter 5 and into the body 2 of the faucet 1. The pin 9 can be above a center of mass of the diverter 5 so that the diverter 5 will rotate back to a closed position in the absence of the stream. The rotated diverter 5 directs the flow of water away from the front face 3 and into a volume defined by a bathtub (not shown).

The body 2 of the faucet 1 can be of any shape. Preferably, the body 2 will be smooth, that is, the body will not have any discontinuous edges or projections, which could increase the chance of injury to a bather. A smooth body can include, for example, a flat surface or a curved surface. A flat surface can be positioned so that it is flush with or projects slightly from a wall. Conveniently, a flat surface substantially limits projection into the volume of the bathtub. In embodiments, the front face 3 includes an oval perimeter 21 that can be substantially circular. The body 2 can comprise any suitable material such as, for example, metal, ceramic, plastic, or combinations thereof. Metals can include brass, steel, and any other suitable metal or alloy. Ceramics can include porcelain, especially as a surface finish over metal. Plastics can include any polymer or composite such as, for example, polyolefins, nylons, urethanes and combinations thereof. Composite means a material having a continuous polymer matrix in combination with a secondary component comprising ceramic, metal, another polymer, or combinations thereof.

In embodiments, the body 2 can include a front face 3 comprising a resilient material such as, for example, a rubber or foam. Rubbers can include natural and synthetic materials such as polyisoprene, butyl rubber, urethanes. Resilient materials can also include foams, preferably closed cell foams. The remainder of the body 2 can include a harder material that defines the channel 6 and connects to the plumbing system. The harder material permits connection to the water supply line without leakage.

The diverter 5 directs a stream of water into a volume of the bathtub. The diverter can rotate and/or translate to achieve this goal. Rotation includes movement about an axis. Translation includes movement along an axis, particularly along an axis into or toward the volume of the bathtub. In embodiments, a stream of water passing through the channel extends the diverter into the volume of the bathtub. The extension of the diverter can be greater than three inches so that the faucet of the present invention simulates the function of an ordinary bathtub faucet. Termination of the stream eliminates the extension force. The body of the faucet includes a mechanism to withdraw the diverter. Mechanisms can include, for example, springs, magnets, and combinations thereof.

In embodiments, as shown in FIGS. 3, 5 and 6, a cover 31 can fit over at least the front face of the body 2. The cover 31 can define an opening 33 that permits a diverter 5 to move away from the front face 3 of the body, such as by rotating about an axis 32. The cover 31 can be aesthetic and/or protective. For example, the cover 31 can comprise a decorative finish or fanciful design. The cover 31 can also be protective in that it presents a surface that is smooth and substantially free of discontinuities, that is, edges. The cover 31 can also comprise a resilient material as defined above. Conveniently, the cover 31 is removably secured to the body 2 so that the cover 31 can be changed when desired or needed. Securing the cover 31 can include any suitable fastener such as, for example, a screw 34 that passes through the cover 31 and into a threaded hole 22 defined by the body 2. Fastening can also include friction fitting, an adhesive, a snap fitting, a pin or other protrusion on one part that fits into a complementary indentation on the other part, and combinations thereof.

FIG. 6 shows an embodiment of the invention including a body 2, a cover 31, a diverter 5, and an O-ring 61. A pipe 7 projects from a rear face 4 of the body 2. The body 2 and pipe 7 define a channel 6. The cover 31 shields the front face 3 of the body 2 and defines an opening 33. The diverter 5 rests in a recess 8 defined by the body 2, and is substantially flush with a exposed surface 62 of the cover 31 when water is not flowing through the channel 6. The body 2 defines a groove 63 that receives the O-ring 61. The O-ring 61 resists leakage of water towards the rear face 4 and also permits the cover 31 to be removably secured to the body 2 without tools.

Another embodiment of the invention is shown in FIGS. 7-9. The faucet 1 includes a body 2 defining a channel 6 and comprising a front face 3. The front face 3 includes a diverter 5 that directs the channel 6 into the volume of a bathtub. In this embodiment, the direction is substantially downwardly direction 71. The faucet 1 also includes a gate 72. Closing the gate 72 prevents water from flowing through the channel 6 and can direct the flow of water to, for example, a shower head. The gate 72 can be closed manually using a plunger 73.

In still other embodiments, as shown in FIG. 10, an underside 101 of the body 2 behind the front face 3 includes a chamfer 102 that angles downward from a wall 103. The chamfer 102 includes an angle 104 that is preferably at least about 50. The chamfer 102 directs water to drain away from the wall 103 towards the front face 3 so that damage to the wall 103 can be avoided. Similarly, a top surface 105 of the body 2 can also include a second chamfer 106 defining a second angle 107 from the wall 103. The two angles 104, 107 need not be the same. The chamfers 102, 106 can include any convenient shape including, for example, straight section, curved sections, fluted sections, and combinations thereof.

Numerous modifications and variations of the present invention are possible. It is, therefore, to be understood that within the scope of the following claims, the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described. While this invention has been described with respect to certain preferred embodiments, different variations, modifications, and additions to the invention will become evident to persons of ordinary skill in the art. All such modifications, variations, and additions are intended to be encompassed within the scope of this patent, which is limited only by the claims appended hereto.





 
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