Title:
Multi-Port Shower Fixture
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A two-port (or multi-port) shower fixture that can be hung or otherwise attached to a bathroom ceiling above a tub or wall near a tub. The invention can be added to an existing tub/shower. The invention includes an elongated member with internal plumbing which may be rectangular or circular in cross-section, or have any cross-section. It can be several feet long. The elongated member typically has two or more shower ports on its lower surface typically equipped with normal shower heads. The elongated member has a connection hose that can be attached to a normal wall shower water outlet port. Embodiments of the invention can have an external valve that controls each of the shower ports separately and can include electric motors for raising and lowering the device over a tub. The invention can have optional LED lighting and wireless or wired sound.



Inventors:
Berngard, Joshua (Chicago, IL, US)
Application Number:
14/040246
Publication Date:
04/02/2015
Filing Date:
09/27/2013
Assignee:
BERNGARD JOSHUA
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
29/402.01
International Classes:
E03C1/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
JACYNA, J CASIMER
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CLIFFORD H. KRAFT (NAPERVILLE, IL, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A shower device comprising: an member adapted to be mounted over a bathtub or in a shower, the member including two separated shower head ports, said ports being plumbed to a connection device on an end of said member; wherein said device can be fluid-connected to an existing wall shower water outlet fixture.

2. The shower device of claim 1 wherein each of said shower head ports has an attached shower head.

3. The shower device of claim 2 wherein each attached shower head can be adjusted to produce a different spray pattern.

4. The shower device of claim 1 wherein said ports are separately plumbed to a pair of connection devices on the end of said member, and wherein a pair of flexible hoses attach said connection devices to a selector valve that can be plumbed to said existing wall shower water outlet fixture.

5. The shower device of claim 1 wherein said member contains a mechanism for raising and lowering said device above the tub.

6. The shower device of claim 5 wherein said mechanism includes at least one low voltage electric motor.

7. The shower device of claim 1 further comprising a plurality of lights attached to said member.

8. The shower device of claim 1 further comprising a speaker attached to said member.

9. A method for retrofitting a tub/shower with a ceiling above the tub comprising: installing at least two hanging hooks in the ceiling; hanging an elongated member from said hooks, the elongated member including two separated shower head ports, said ports being plumbed to a connection device on an end of said elongated member; fluid-connecting said elongated member from the connection device to an existing wall shower water outlet fixture.

10. The method of claim 9 further comprising fluid connecting said elongated member from two connection devices on the elongated member through a diverter valve and then to the existing wall shower outlet fixture.

11. The method of claim 9 wherein said elongated member contains a raising/lowering mechanism.

12. The method of claim 9 wherein said elongated member includes a plurality of lights.

13. The method of claim 9 wherein said elongated member includes a speaker.

14. A shower device comprising: an elongated member adapted to be mounted from a ceiling in a shower, or on a wall in the shower, the elongated member including two separated shower head ports, said ports being separately plumbed to at least two connection devices on an end of said elongated member; wherein said device can be fluid-connected to an existing wall shower water outlet fixture through a diverter valve such that each shower head port can be separately adjusted.

15. The shower device of claim 14 wherein each of said shower head ports has an attached shower head.

16. The shower device of claim 15 wherein each attached shower head can be adjusted to produce a different spray pattern.

17. The shower device of claim 15 wherein said elongated member contains a mechanism for raising and lowering said device above the tub.

18. The shower device of claim 17 wherein said mechanism includes at least one low voltage electric motor.

19. The shower device of claim 15 further comprising a plurality of lights attached to said elongated member.

20. The shower device of claim 15 further comprising a speaker attached to said elongated member.

Description:

BACKGROUND

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to the field of water fixtures and more particularly to a two-port shower fixture.

2. Description of the Prior Art

Showers, shower heads and shower fixtures are known in the art. In particular showers with two heads closely co-located have been used from time to time. Kragle in U.S. Pat. No. 4,967,965 shows a two-head shower arm with upstream and downstream outlets. Kragle in U.S. Pat. No. 4,865,254 shows another two-headed shower arm. The disadvantage of these inventions is that the two shower streams are too close together for two different people to comfortably use them.

It would be very desirable to have a shower port arrangement that allows two shower heads located at normal height to be spaced apart so that two people can shower together if desired, or with independent control, one of the heads may be turned off to allow washing of a first person like a child or elderly person by a second person standing in the tub. In this case, the first person may be seated on a bench, wheelchair or the like, or also standing in the tub. It would also be advantageous if the two shower ports were spaced linearly apart so that each shower port produces a similar stream.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a two-port shower fixture that can be hung or otherwise attached to a bathroom ceiling or side walls above a tub or in a shower with no tub. The invention can be added to an existing tub/shower. The invention includes an elongated member with internal plumbing which may be rectangular or circular in cross-section, or have any cross-section. It can be several feet long with a typical length of around three to four feet. The elongated member typically has two or more shower ports on its lower surface typically equipped with normal shower heads. The elongated member has a connection hose/pipe/tubing that can be attached to a normal wall shower water outlet port. Embodiments of the invention can have an external valve that controls each of the shower ports separately and can include electric motors for raising and lowering the device or by hand over a tub or shower. The invention can have optional LED lighting or any other type of lights and wireless or wired sound.

DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

Attention is directed to several drawings that illustrate features of the present invention:

FIG. 1 shows a typical embodiment of the invention installed in a tub/shower.

FIG. 2 shows the internal plumbing of part of the embodiment of FIG. 1

FIG. 3 shows an installation of the present invention just before attaching tubing to the shower water outlet.

FIG. 4 shows an alternate embodiment where each shower port is separately controlled.

FIG. 5 shows an embodiment that can be raised and lowered electrically.

FIG. 6 shows an S-shaped embodiment.

Several drawings and illustrations have been presented to aid in understanding the present invention. The scope of the present invention is not limited to what is shown in the figures.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention relates to a two-port (or multi-port) shower fixture that can be hung or otherwise attached to a bathroom ceiling or side walls above a tub or shower. The invention can be added to an existing tub/shower. The invention includes an elongated member with internal plumbing. The member may be rectangular or circular in cross-section, or have any cross-section. It can also be straight, curved or have any shape along its length (S-shaped for example). It can be several feet long with a typical length of around three to four feet. The elongated member typically has two or more shower ports on its lower surface. These ports may be equipped with normal shower heads. The elongated member typically has a connection hose/pvc/pipe that can be attached to a normal wall shower port (pipe that normally receives a shower head).

Since some shower heads have adjustable spray characteristics, it is possible with two adjustable shower heads on the member to achieve totally different spray characteristics out of the two ports. In another embodiment of the invention, each of the ports may be separately selected by a valve located either on the elongated member or at the normal wall shower port. In this case, one or the other ports on the member may be turned off or turned down for less pressure. Water temperature is typically controlled in the normal way with the installed wall valve.

Some embodiments of the present invention contain a low-voltage electric motor that allows adjustment of the member up and down to achieve the correct height for the showering situation. It is possible to use a 110 volt motor, however, caution must be exercised to keep it dry.

FIG. 1 shows a preferred embodiment of the present invention. An elongated member 1 contains two or more shower ports 2 with shower heads attached. The member 1 is attached to the ceiling or wall with wires, chains or any other type of attachment 4. The assembly is typically located and centered above a tub 3 in a standard tub/shower arrangement. While the preferred embodiment is use of the invention in a shower with a tub, it may also be used in a shower with no tub or in a tub with no shower. When the present invention is installed, the normal shower head is removed from the wall shower port pipe or fixture 7. A pipe or flexible tube, hose, PVC or any other connection device 5 carries water to the ports 2 in the member 1 when the wall shower temperature selector valve 14 is activated. The separation between the ports 2 is chosen so that the two spray fields 6 are reasonably separated so that two people can comfortably shower. The separation is typically two or more feet.

FIG. 2 shows a side view of the elongated member 1 with an embodiment of internal plumbing shown as hidden lines. An entry coupling or nipple 10 is piped usually with flexible plastic hose/PVC or piping of any kind 15 (or through any other type of pipe or tubing or any means of transporting water) through a T-coupling 11 on the first port 8a and then on to the second port 8b. In this embodiment, the two shower ports always function together. The elongated member 1 can be equipped with two or more attachment rings, hooks or other attachment means 9.

FIG. 3 shows a typical installation of the present invention. The elongated member 1 can be hung from the ceiling by wires, chains or any other hanging means 4 above the tub 3 roughly in the center both laterally and longitudinally, or it can be mounted near the tub/shower with water coming out horizontally or vertically. Hooks 16, usually as anchors, are firmly attached to the ceiling. It is important that the attachment to the ceiling be strong enough to hold the weight of the member when it is dispensing water. The shower ports 8 are pointing downward. A nipple or other connection device such as a hose, pipe, quick-disconnect joint or the like 10 is ready to attach with a pipe or flexible hose to the wall shower outlet 7 with the normal shower head removed. LEDs or low voltage lights 17 may optionally be placed along or around the member 1 or on the shower heads.

FIG. 4 shows an alternative embodiment of the present invention. Here, a selector valve 12 is located close to the normal shower outlet tube 7 and is piped to it typically with a flexible hose/pvc or piping of any kind. Separate feed tubes 13a and 13b feed the two shower ports 8a and 8b. In this manner, the valve 12 can be used to select one port or the other, or to set one port at a lower pressure and flow rate than the other. Two-port selector valves are known in the art and may be obtained from plumbing supply outlets.

In another embodiment (not shown), it is possible to redesign the entire shower system by installing two separate temperature control valves either in the wall or somewhere exterior to it. In this case, the apparatus/elongated member shown in FIG. 4 may be used as shown; however, the users will be able to independently adjust both the temperature and the flow rate of each port 8 independently. While this is a very convenient final arrangement, it requires extensive modifications to the shower during installation.

FIG. 5 shows an embodiment of the invention that includes an up-down lowering mechanism. In this embodiment, cables 20 are used to hold the elongated member 1. The cables can wind on spools 21 that are driven by low voltage DC motors 22. A controller 26 is wired to and can drive the motors 22 so that the entire assemble is adjustable up and down above the tub/shower. FIG. 5 shows a battery 24 in the member 1; however, the battery 24 or other power supply can be located anywhere including in the controller 26. For safety, it is important that only low voltages be used.

It should be noted, that while FIG. 5 shows electric motors, it is also possible to use a mechanical system such as hand-turned spools for raising and lowering the shower device/elongated member. It is also possible to use a spring-loaded mechanism that allows the assembly to pull down against a spring and lock at a certain height. It can be then raised with the spring by simply causing it to release (usually by pulling slightly downward again).

The parts of the invention can be made of aluminum, brass, chrome (brushed or neutral), plastic, fiberglass, acrylic or any other metal or rigid material or polymer. The elongated member can also be decorated or colored in any way. As stated, the invention may be equipped with optional LEDs or low voltage lights 17 on the elongated member and/or on the shower heads, and it can contain an optional speaker 18 that is wired or wireless, for example BLUETOOTHâ„¢ or otherwise driven.

The LEDs or other lights can be optionally powered with a water-driven generator, either mounted in the elongated member or external.

While two shower ports is the preferred embodiment, it is possible to make larger versions of the present invention with any number of shower ports. Embodiments of the invention can be supplied with or without installed shower heads. Different shower heads can be separately spray adjustable.

To retrofit an existing shower/tub, the old shower head should be removed. Next, ceiling hooks should be installed in the center of the ceiling longitudinally above the tub. The hooks should preferably penetrate a stud for strength. In the event that no stud is available, large anchors may be used. In any case, the hooks should be strong enough to support the elongated member while it is dispensing water. The elongated member is hung by wires, cables or any other way and is then plumbed to the existing shower water outlet fixture, usually with a flexible feed hose/PVC or piping of any kind. Two shower heads of the user's choice can be screwed onto the ports on the elongated member. For embodiments with separate control, a three-way diverter valve such as those made by Aquadyne can be plumbed between the two connections on the elongated member and the existing shower water outlet fixture.

Another embodiment of the present invention allows the two or more shower ports to slide toward or away from each other or otherwise move in relation to one-another in the elongated member so that the water footprint can be adjusted.

FIG. 6 shows an embodiment of the invention that is S-shaped along its length. Any shape or configuration is within the scope of the present invention. For convenience, the unit will be called an elongated member regardless of its actual shape or cross-section.

Finally, it should be noted that any means or method of mounting the device in a shower is within the scope of the present invention. In particular, direct wall or ceiling mounting or pressure mounting using extendable arms is within the scope.

While the preferred embodiment includes two shower ports, any number of shower ports greater than one is within the scope of the present invention. Also, the present invention can be equipped with various controls for things like pressure setting, up-down control, up-down position and temperature control.

Several descriptions and illustrations have been presented to aid in understanding the present invention. One with skill in the art will realize that numerous changes and variations may be made without departing from the spirit of the invention. Each of these changes and variations is within the scope of the present invention.