Title:
Lid Particularly for a Pool Return Skimmer
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A lid for a pool return skimmer is provided, although the lid may be suitable for any environment where dangerous reptiles, insects or the like may be housed. The invention includes a cover having a central recess; a handle within the recess; and a hood configured to selectively cover the recess and handle. The handle may include a longitudinal spine member and a plurality of ribs. The ribs may be configured to transfer downward force applied on the hood to the cover, thereby supporting the hood. The handle may also include a tab extending from the ribs to resist withdrawing the handle from the recess, thereby facilitating removal of the cover using the handle. The cover, the handle, and the hood may be constructed from transparent plastic, such as poly-carbonate, thereby enabling a user to see whether any undesirable things are beneath the lid.



Inventors:
Goffman, Joel H. (Houston, TX, US)
Application Number:
12/904874
Publication Date:
03/10/2011
Filing Date:
10/14/2010
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D25/28
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NORRIS, CLAIRE A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Sutton McAughan Deaver PLLC (Houston, TX, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A lid for an opening, such as a pool return skimmer or the like, comprising: a generally circular cover having a central recess; a handle within the recess; and a hood configured to selectively cover the recess and handle.

2. The lid as set forth in claim 1, wherein the recess is generally semi-cylindrical in cross section.

3. The lid as set forth in claim 2, wherein the handle is generally semi-cylindrical in cross section.

4. The lid as set forth in claim 1, wherein the handle includes a longitudinal spine member and a plurality of ribs.

5. The lid as set forth in claim 4, wherein the ribs are generally semi-circular.

6. The lid as set forth in claim 4, wherein the ribs are configured to transfer downward force applied on the hood to the cover, thereby supporting the hood.

7. The lid as set forth in claim 4, wherein the spine member and ribs are configured to prevent the handle from moving within the recess.

8. The lid as set forth in claim 4, further including a tab extending from the ribs.

9. The lid as set forth in claim 8, wherein the tab fits within a slot in a bottom of the recess and are configured to resist withdrawing the handle from the recess, thereby facilitating removal of the cover using the handle.

10. The lid as set forth in claim 8, wherein the handle includes openings to receive a user's fingers to facilitate removal of the cover using the handle.

11. The lid as set forth in claim 8, wherein the openings are between the spine and the tabs.

12. The lid as set forth in claim 8, wherein the openings are between the ribs.

13. The lid as set forth in claim 8, wherein the tab includes holes below the recess.

14. The lid as set forth in claim 1, wherein the cover, the handle, and the hood are transparent.

15. A lid for an opening, such as a pool return skimmer or the like, comprising: a generally circular cover having a central recess that is semi-cylindrical in cross section; a handle within the recess, the handle including a longitudinal spine member, a plurality of semi-circular ribs, and a plurality of tabs extending from the ribs into slots in the recess, thereby mating the handle with the cover; and a hood configured to selectively cover the recess and handle.

16. The lid as set forth in claim 15, wherein the handle includes openings to receive a user's fingers to facilitate removal of the cover using the handle.

17. The lid as set forth in claim 16, wherein the openings are between the spine and the tabs and between the ribs.

18. The lid as set forth in claim 15, wherein the cover, the handle, and the hood are transparent.

19. The lid as set forth in claim 15, wherein the tab includes a hole below the recess.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a continuation in part of, and claims priority benefit of, application Ser. No. 12/001,824, entitled “Lid particularly for a pool return skimmer”, filed Dec. 13, 2007, which claims priority benefit of Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/935,656. Both of the above applications are incorporated herein by specific reference.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not applicable.

REFERENCE TO APPENDIX

Not applicable.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The inventions disclosed and taught herein relate generally to a lid particularly suited for a pool skimmer or other similar usage where reptiles, insects or the like may pose a danger. More specifically, the invention relates to a pool skimmer lid that is made of a substantially clear material to enable someone to see whether a dangerous reptile or any other undesirable or dangerous things are in the pool skimmer.

2. Description of the Related Art

Prior art lids for pool returns have conventionally been made of a material, typically plastic, that is opaque or that does not otherwise permit someone to see what is in the skimmer. Serious injury can result, for example, if a snake is in the skimmer, because when the lid is removed the person attending to the pool could be struck or bitten by the snake. Other similar dangers are posed by spiders or other insects that may be housed below a lid for a sprinkler system.

The inventions disclosed and taught herein are directed to an improved lid that permits the person about to remove the lid to see what is below, for example in a pool skimmer, before removing the lid and subjecting himself or herself to a dangerous situation.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In one embodiment, the present invention includes a lid for an opening, such as a pool return skimmer or the like, comprising: a generally circular cover having a central recess; a handle within the recess; and a hood configured to selectively cover the recess and handle. The recess may be generally semi-cylindrical in cross section. Similarly, the handle may be generally semi-cylindrical in cross section. The handle includes a longitudinal spine member and a plurality of ribs. The ribs may be generally semi-circular. The ribs may be configured to transfer downward force applied on the hood to the cover, thereby supporting the hood. The spine member and ribs may be configured to prevent the handle from moving within the recess. The handle may also include a tab extending from the ribs. More specifically, the tab may fit within a slot in a bottom of the recess and be configured to resist withdrawing the handle from the recess, thereby facilitating removal of the cover using the handle. The cover, the handle, and the hood may be constructed from transparent plastic, such as polycarbonate, thereby enabling a user to see whether any undesirable things are beneath the lid.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a partial perspective view of the top of the lid of one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is partial perspective view of the bottom of the lid of one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a side view of the handle that is a more specific aspect of the lid of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a top plan view of a cover of another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a bottom plan view of the cover of FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a front elevation view of the cover of FIG. 4;

FIG. 7 is a side elevation view of the cover of FIG. 4;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a handle designed to be operable with the cover of FIG. 4, according to certain aspects of the present invention;

FIG. 9 is a top plan view of the handle of FIG. 8;

FIG. 10 is a side view of the handle of FIG. 8;

FIG. 11 is a bottom plan view of the handle of FIG. 8;

FIG. 12 is a top plan view of the hood designed to be operable with the cover of FIG. 4, according to certain aspects of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The Figures described above and the written description of specific structures and functions below are not presented to limit the scope of what Applicants have invented or the scope of the appended claims. Rather, the Figures and written description are provided to teach any person skilled in the art to make and use the inventions for which patent protection is sought. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that not all features of a commercial embodiment of the inventions are described or shown for the sake of clarity and understanding. Persons of skill in this art will also appreciate that the development of an actual commercial embodiment incorporating aspects of the present inventions will require numerous implementation-specific decisions to achieve the developer's ultimate goal for the commercial embodiment. Such implementation-specific decisions may include, and likely are not limited to, compliance with system-related, business-related, government-related and other constraints, which may vary by specific implementation, location and from time to time. While a developer's efforts might be complex and time-consuming in an absolute sense, such efforts would be, nevertheless, a routine undertaking for those of skill in this art having benefit of this disclosure. It must be understood that the inventions disclosed and taught herein are susceptible to numerous and various modifications and alternative forms. Lastly, the use of a singular term, such as, but not limited to, “a,” is not intended as limiting of the number of items. Also, the use of relational terms, such as, but not limited to, “top,” “bottom,” “left,” “right,” “upper,” “lower,” “down,” “up,” “side,” and the like are used in the written description for clarity in specific reference to the Figures and are not intended to limit the scope of the invention or the appended claims.

Applicants have created a lid for an opening, such as a pool return skimmer or the like, comprising: a generally circular cover having a central recess; a handle within the recess; and a hood configured to selectively cover the recess and handle. The recess may be generally semi-cylindrical in cross section. Similarly, the handle may be generally semi-cylindrical in cross section. The handle includes a longitudinal spine member and a plurality of ribs. The ribs may be generally semi-circular. The ribs may be configured to transfer downward force applied on the hood to the cover, thereby supporting the hood. The spine member and ribs may be configured to prevent the handle from moving within the recess. The handle may also include a tab extending from the ribs. More specifically, the tab may fit within a slot in a bottom of the recess and be configured to resist withdrawing the handle from the recess, thereby facilitating removal of the cover using the handle. The cover, the handle, and the hood may be constructed from transparent plastic, such as polycarbonate, thereby enabling a user to see whether any undesirable things are beneath the lid.

FIG. 1 is an illustration of one preferred embodiment of the present invention. A generally circular lid 10 includes a rim 14, having a top 12, as seen in FIG. 1, and a bottom, as seen in FIG. 2, for engagement with the opening of a pool return skimmer. The rim 14 may include any desirable optional features, such as enlarged areas, bumps, or other similar features (not shown) to facilitate the lid fitting properly in a pool return opening.

At least a substantial portion of the central region 16 of the lid is made of a substantially clear material, to enable someone about to remove the lid to see whether any undesirable reptiles or any other undesirable or dangerous things are in the pool skimmer or other environment that the lid may be used in. Most preferably, the entire lid is made from one material and is substantially clear.

The top of the lid may optionally include ridges, only one of which 18 is depicted. Such ridges, if used, may provide a decorative touch or reinforcement. Preferably, such ridges will not be included in the central region of the lid, because such ridges may hamper the ability to see what is in the pool skimmer. Alternatively, indentations of any design can be employed.

The lid is preferably made of any suitable plastic material. One suitable material is polycarbonate. Preferably, but optionally, the plastic material will include some blend of materials to inhibit degradation. A particularly suitable plastic is Zylar® 631 from NOVA Chemicals. The lid can be made by any suitable molding technique; one particularly suited technique is injection molding.

The list is depicted as being substantially flat so that it will be flush with decking around the pool, but this is not an essential feature. The lid could be made slightly domed, as well. Also, the lid could be made in a manner to provide some magnification, in order to enhance the ability to see below the lid.

In another more specific, alternative aspect of the preferred embodiment of the lid, one or more openings 20, 22 may be provided in the lid to facilitate the removal of the lid from the pool return skimmer. These openings are depicted as substantially circular, but may be of any desired shape to accommodate someone's fingers or thumbs being inserted into the hole to facilitate the removal of the lid from the pool return opening, or other opening that the lid may be used with, after the person about to remove the lid has been able to check for dangerous reptiles or insects.

In another more specific, alternative aspect of the preferred embodiment, a handle 30 may be provided to be cooperable with the lid to facilitate the removal of the lid from the pool return skimmer. As best seen in FIGS. 1 and 3, the handle preferably includes a grip 32, a post 34 which extends through an opening 24 in the lid, and a stop 36 associated with the post below the bottom of the lid. The lid may have a recessed slot 26 to receive the grip of the handle. The length of the post is greater than the thickness of the lid, to enable the grip to be pulled up away from the top of the lid, as depicted in FIG. 1, to facilitate removal of the lid. As depicted in FIG. 3, the bottom 39 of the post 34 may preferably be tapered to facilitate the insertion of the post into the stop 36. Stop 36 includes an opening 38 to receive the bottom of the post, which may also alternatively include a slotted design to facilitate the portions of the bottom of the post on each side of the slot to be compressed, to even better facilitate the stop bottom fitting in and being retained by the stop 36. When the grip is pulled upward into the position shown in FIG. 1, the stop 36 will engage the bottom of the opening 24 in the lid.

An optional spring (not shown) could be provided around the point below the bottom of the lid, to provide a spring-loaded effect for the handle, if desired.

In another more specific embodiment, the top of the lid includes a recess 26 to receive the grip, so that the top of the grip is substantially flush with the top of the lid. The recess will preferably be substantially complementary in shape to the grip to better achieve the substantially flush fit.

In another more specific embodiment, the lid includes at least one additional recess 27 to facilitate someone gripping the grip. Preferably two recesses 27, 28 are provided and should be sized to enable someone's fingers or thumb to grip the grip 32.

Any other suitable, alternative handle design could be employed, as well.

In another more specific embodiment, the bottom of the lid includes reinforcement structure, such as ridges or webbing 40 of any suitable configuration. The right side of FIG. 2 depicts one design whereas the left side of FIG. 2 depicts another alternative design.

FIGS. 4-12 illustrate an alternative preferred embodiment of the present invention. More specifically, the lid 10 of the present invention may include a generally circular cover 110 having a central recess 112, a handle 114 within the recess 112, and a hood 116 to selectively cover the recess 112 and handle 114.

As best shown in FIGS. 4-7, the cover 110 may include a ledge 118 about the perimeter of the cover 110 to fit atop an opening, such as that of a pool return skimmer, and one or more downwardly facing projections 120 for engagement with the opening. The projections 120 may also rigidify and provide support to lid 10. The projections 120 may be arcuate, cylindrical, or segmented cylindrical and spaced about the cover 110 adjacent the ledge 118.

The recess 112 is preferably generally semi-cylindrical in cross section and may include a plurality of support ridges 122. The recess 112 may also include one or more slots 124 in a bottom thereof, centered and aligned along the longitudinal axis of the recess 112. The recess 112 may also include one or more niches 126 at either end of the longitudinal axis of the recess 112.

As best shown in FIGS. 8-11, the handle 114 may include a longitudinal spine member 128 and one or more ribs 130. The spine 128 may be centered and aligned along the longitudinal axis of the handle 114 and/or recess 112. Either end of the spine 128 may fit within the niches 126 of the recess 112. The ribs 130 may be generally semi-circular and may fit between a pairs of the ridges 122 of the recess 112. The handle 114 may also include one or more tabs 132 extending from the ribs 130. The tab(s) 132 may fit within the slot(s) 124 in the bottom of the recess 112 and have spurs 134, or otherwise be configured, to resist withdrawing the handle 114 from the recess 112, thereby facilitating removal of the cover 110 using the handle 114.

In this manner, the spine 128, ribs 130, and/or tabs 132 may engage the ridges 122, niches 126, and/or slots 124, and/or may otherwise be configured, to prevent the handle 114 from moving within the recess. Furthermore, the ribs 130 may be configured to transfer downward force applied from above, such as on the hood 116, to the cover 110, thereby supporting the hood 116.

To facilitate removal of the cover 110, the handle 114 may include openings 136 to receive a user's fingers. For example, the openings 136 may be between the spine 128 and the tabs 132 and/or between adjacent ones of the ribs 130. The spine 128 and ribs 130 may also cooperate to prevent items larger that the user's fingers from entering the recess 112. The tab(s) 132 may also include one or more holes 138 to suspend something below, such as a basket, thereby enabling the user to lift the basket out with the cover 110.

As shown in FIG. 12, the hood 116 preferably mounts to the cover 110 to selectively cover the recess 112 and handle 114, thereby preventing the user's toes from being caught within the recess 112. The hood 116 may include a flange 140 and/or a catch 142 that mate with corresponding features on the cover 110, to hold the hood 116 in place.

Other and further embodiments utilizing one or more aspects of the inventions described above can be devised without departing from the spirit of Applicant's invention. For example, the present invention has been described in relation to a lid for a pool return. However, the same inventive concept and features could be implemented, for example, for lids for sprinkler systems. Poisonous spiders may be housed below such lids and pose the same type dangerous threat that a snake would pose to someone removing a pool lid. Further, the various embodiments of the present inventive lid can be included in combination with each other to produce variations of the disclosed methods and embodiments. Discussion of singular elements can include plural elements and vice-versa.

The elements have been described functionally and can be embodied as separate components or can be combined into components having multiple functions.

The inventions have been described in the context of preferred and other embodiments and not every embodiment of the invention has been described. Obvious modifications and alterations to the described embodiments are available to those of ordinary skill in the art. The disclosed and undisclosed embodiments are not intended to limit or restrict the scope or applicability of the invention conceived of by the Applicant, but rather, in conformity with the patent laws, the Applicant intends to fully protect all such modifications and improvements that come within the scope or range of equivalent of the following claims.





 
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