Patent application title: OFFSET GRID DRAIN AND DRAIN CLOSURE MECHANISM
Scott E. Duncan (Santa Rosa, CA, US)
IPC8 Class: AE03C126FI
Class name: Baths, closets, sinks, and spittoons strainer, stopper, plug or closure combined strainer, plug, or valve
Publication date: 2010-06-10
Patent application number: 20100138985
Patent application title: OFFSET GRID DRAIN AND DRAIN CLOSURE MECHANISM
Scott E. Duncan
STAINBROOK & STAINBROOK, LLP
Origin: SANTA ROSA, CA US
IPC8 Class: AE03C126FI
Publication date: 06/10/2010
Patent application number: 20100138985
An offset grid drain closure assembly including a drain strainer disposed
in the drain hole of a basin, a vertically movable stopper member
disposed beneath the strainer and having structure complementary to the
opening or openings in the strainer, and a gasket disposed immediately
underneath the strainer member and having a matching opening pattern. The
stopper is operably connected to an actuation device such that when
actuated, the stopper is lowered downwardly from the gasket underneath
the strainer or raised to approximate the gasket so as to close the
strainer. The drain closure thus provides fluid tight closure of a drain
with no elevated surfaces in the bottom of the fluid containing basin,
either when closed or when opened.
1. A drain closure apparatus, comprising:a strainer member for
installation over the upper end of a drain body and an underside for
placement over the floor of a basin or sink, said strainer member having
at least one hole;a stopper member having structure complementary to said
at least one hole of said strainer member, and having a closed
configuration wherein said stopper member is approximated to said
underside of said strainer member and having an open configuration
wherein said stopper member is lowered and spaced apart from said
2. The drain closure apparatus of claim 1, wherein said strainer member includes a plurality of holes and wherein said stopper member includes a plurality of holes and stopper structure which covers the holes in said strainer member when in the closed configuration.
3. The drain closure apparatus of claim 2, wherein the holes in said strainer member form a grid array.
4. The drain closure apparatus of claim 1, further including a gasket member affixed to said underside of said strainer member, interposed between said strainer member and said stopper member, and having holes matching the holes in said strainer member.
5. The drain closure apparatus of claim 1, wherein said stopper member a shaft portion and a head, wherein said head is sized with a side having an exterior circumference such that said head fits snugly but slidably within the interior of the drain body.
6. The drain closure apparatus of claim 5, wherein said head includes a plurality of holes forming a pattern offset from hole pattern in said strainer member.
7. The drain closure apparatus of claim 1, further including a gasket member interposed between said strainer member and said stopper member, said gasket having at least one hole matching and aligned with the holes of said strainer member.
8. The drain closure apparatus of claim 7, wherein said gasket member has a plurality of holes matching and aligned with the holes of said strainer member.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Technical Field
The present invention relates generally to plumbing fixtures, and more particularly to drain closures for use with bathtubs, sinks, laundry tubs, and the like, employed to control the retention and discharge of fluids through the basin drain hole.
2. Background Art
Conventional drains typically employ a vertically movable stopper which seats over a drain hole to prevent the discharge of fluids from a sink or basin. When actuated by a lift lever, the stopper moves upwardly to expose the drain hole to allow fluids (usually water) to drain. When the stopper is elevated, a generally circular opening is created with a clearance defined by the height of the underside of the stopper. This presents a sizable opening through which articles may be inadvertently allowed to pass. The use of such an apparatus also entails that there will be an object present on, and projecting upwardly from, the floor of the basin every time the basin is used without the need of retaining water, that object being the elevated stopper.
It would be desirable, therefore, to provide a drain mechanism in which the stopper did not project upwardly into the basin floor area but instead was lowered to allow fluid drainage.
It would also be desirable to provide a drain closure mechanism that allowed for continued straining of fluids permitted to drain from the basin or sink so that small articles would not be inadvertently lost down the drain.
The foregoing patents reflect the current state of the art of which the present inventor is aware. Reference to, and discussion of, these patents is intended to aid in discharging Applicant's acknowledged duty of candor in disclosing information that may be relevant to the examination of claims to the present invention. However, it is respectfully submitted that none of the above-indicated patents disclose, teach, suggest, show, or otherwise render obvious, either singly or when considered in combination, the invention described and claimed herein.
DISCLOSURE OF INVENTION
The present invention is a drain closure assembly for use in controlling the discharge of fluids from a catch basin or sink. The apparatus fundamentally comprises an offset grid drain which includes a strainer member fixed and disposed in the drain hole of a basin and having a grid pattern; a vertically movable stopper member disposed beneath the strainer member and having a grid pattern complementary to the grid pattern of the strainer member; and a gasket disposed immediately underneath the strainer member and having a matching grid pattern. The stopper member is operably connected to an actuation device, either mechanical, pneumatic, or hydraulic, whereby when the actuation device is actuated, the stopper member is selectively lowered downwardly from the gasket or raised up to approximate and engage the gasket; lowered to allow fluid to drain from the basin, and raised to prevent fluid from draining. The closure is effected by the approximation of the upper side of the stopper member with the underside of the gasket, such that the grid pattern of the stopper member and the grid patterns of the gasket and strainer member create a complete closure that prevents fluids from draining from the basin.
It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a new and improved drain that provides fluid tight closure of a drain with no elevated surfaces in the bottom of the fluid containing basin.
It is another object of the present invention to provide a new and improved grid drain in which the stopper member of the drain moves downwardly, below the bottom of the fluid containing basin, to open the drain for the selective drainage of liquids in the basin.
A further object or feature of the present invention is a new and improved offset grid drain that provides a fluid tight closure owing to the approximation of a stopper member with the underside of a drain strainer member, rather than the upper surface of a drain strainer.
An even further object of the present invention is to provide a novel drain stopper that is elegant and attractive in appearance by virtue of its functional features.
Other novel features which are characteristic of the invention, as to organization and method of operation, together with further objects and advantages thereof will be better understood from the following description considered in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which preferred embodiments of the invention are illustrated by way of example. It is to be expressly understood, however, that the drawings are for illustration and description only and are not intended as a definition of the limits of the invention. The various features of novelty which characterize the invention are pointed out with particularity in the claims annexed to and forming part of this disclosure. The invention resides not in any one of these features taken alone, but rather in the particular combination of all of its structures for the functions specified.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The invention will be better understood and the objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent when consideration is given to the following detailed description thereof. Such description makes reference to the annexed drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the strainer, gasket, and stopper members comprising the offset grid drain of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional side view in elevation taken along the section lines shown in FIG. 3, and showing the functional elements of a first preferred embodiment of a drain closure mechanism employing the offset grid drain of the present invention;
FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the mechanism of FIG. 2;
FIG. 4A is a cross-sectional side view in elevation of the mechanism of FIGS. 2 and 3 shown in a closed configuration and as used in a pneumatically actuated mechanism; and
FIG. 4b is a cross-section side view in elevation of the apparatus of FIG. 4A shown in an open configuration.
DRAWING REFERENCE NUMBER LEGEND
100 inventive apparatus generally 110 strainer member 120 rim portion (of strainer member) 130 body portion of strainer member) 140 threaded upper end of drain body 150 drain body 160 underside of rim portion 170 holes in strainer member 180 stopper member 190 shaft portion (of stopper member) 200 head (of stopper member) 210 side (of head) 220 exterior circumference of side 210 230 holes (in head 200) 240 gasket (between strainer and stopper members) 250 holes (in gasket) 300 drain closure mechanism 310 mounting platform 310a horizontal surface (of mounting platform) 310b vertical tube portion (of mounting platform) 320 lift rod 330 lower end (of lift rod) 340 flexible wire push rod 350 expansion (disposed on end of flexible wire push rod) 360 flexible tube sheath 370 first end (of flexible tube sheath) 380 ferrule 390 compression fitting 400 second end (of flexible tube sheath) 410 nipple (of drain body) 420 ferrule 430 compression fitting 440 lower end of connecting shaft 450 connecting shaft 460 upper end of connecting shaft
BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION
Referring to FIGS. 1 through 4, wherein like reference numerals refer to like components in the various views, there is illustrated therein an offset grid drain and drain closure mechanism.
Referring now particularly to FIGS. 1-3, it is shown that the inventive apparatus first includes an offset grid drain 100, which comprises a strainer member 110 having a rim portion 120 and a body portion 130 having a threaded interior side. The strainer member is adapted for installation in the drain hole of a basin and for threadable installation over the threaded upper end 140 of a drain body 150. The underside 160 of the rim portion is seated on the floor of the basin. The strainer member includes a grid pattern of holes 170.
The apparatus further includes a stopper member 180, which includes a shaft portion 190 and a head 200. The head is sized with side 210 having an exterior circumference 220 such that the head fits snugly but slidably within the interior of the drain body. The head includes a plurality of holes 230 forming a pattern that is offset from the grid pattern of the strainer member. The seal in the drain closure is aided by a gasket 240 interposed between the strainer member and stopper member, which gasket has a grid pattern of holes 250 matching and aligned with those of the strainer member. As is readily apparent, the stopper member head 200 has structure that covers the holes 250/170 in the gasket and stopper members. Thus, when the stopper member is pushed firmly against the underside of the strainer member, the structure and hole patterns in the stopper complement those of the gasket and strainer members so that structure in the stopper forms a complete closure under the holes in the gasket and strainer members that is impervious to the passage of fluids.
The offset grid drain is preferably operatively connected to a drain closure mechanism 300 of the kind illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3. This mechanism includes a mounting platform 310 adapted for installation on the upper surface of a sink, tub, or basin, or alternatively in a back splash, wall, sink pedestal, or the like. The mounting platform includes a horizontal surface 310a and a vertical tube portion 310b which extends below or into the surface in which it is mounted. A generally cylindrical lift rod 320 is slidably disposed in an opening in the mounting platform and is connected at its lower end 330 to a flexible wire push rod 340, which preferably includes an expansion 350 at its end for capture and retention by the lift rod.
The flexible wire push rod is slidably disposed in a flex tube sheath 360 which is inserted at a first end 370 into the lower end of the vertical tube portion 310b of the mounting platform. The tube includes a ferrule 380 proximate its terminal end and is secured in the mounting platform with a female compression fitting 390.
The second end 400 of the flexible tube sheath is inserted through the radially extending nipple 410 of the drain body and is again secured in place with a ferrule 420 and female compression fitting 430. The second end of the flexible tube sheath terminates at the lower end 440 of a connecting shaft 450, and the shaft portion 190 of stopper member 180 is slidably inserted into the upper end 460 of connecting shaft 450. The flexible wire push rod 340 extends beyond the terminal end of the flexible tube sheath and connects to the shaft portion 190 of the stopper member 180, such that when the stopper member is elevated into the closed position (shown in FIG. 2), the shaft portion of the stopper member and the end of the flexible tube sheath are separated by a space defining the vertical travel of the stopper member.
It will be immediately appreciated that when lift rod 320 is pushed down, stopper member 180 is elevated into a closed configuration. Conversely, when lift rod 320 is lifted, stopper member is lowered, thereby separating the stopper member and strainer member. Fluid is thus allowed to flow through the holes in stopper member and into the drain body.
The above disclosure is sufficient to enable one of ordinary skill in the art to practice the invention, and provides the best mode of practicing the invention presently contemplated by the inventor. While there is provided herein a full and complete disclosure of the preferred embodiments of this invention, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction, dimensional relationships, and operation shown and described. Various modifications, alternative constructions, changes and equivalents will readily occur to those skilled in the art and may be employed, as suitable, without departing from the true spirit and scope of the invention.
For instance, it will be appreciated that the means of actuating vertical movement of the stopper member need not be mechanical, as described in the first preferred embodiment. Other actuation means may be employed, including actuation by a push button pneumatic apparatus operatively connected to the stopper mechanism. This type of push button pneumatic device is described in detail in several patents issued to the present inventor, including U.S. Pat. No. 6,484,329, issued Nov. 26, 2002, and entitled, Bladder-controlled stopper device; U.S. Pat. No. 6,427,255, issued Aug. 6, 2002, and entitled, Remote controlled stopper device, each incorporated in their entirety by reference herein. However, the preferred method of providing pneumatic means for actuating the stopper device may be found in published U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/219,548, Pub. No. 20060000015, having a publication date May 1, 2006 (5 Jan. 2006), also incorporated in its entirety by reference herein. 20060000015. This published application discloses a pneumatically actuated drain stopper system and apparatus which includes a source of compressed gas, a pressure regulator, a piston drain, a push-button or toggle switch interposed between the piston drain and the pressure regulator, and pneumatic lines connecting the piston drain to the switch and the switch to the gas source, and bringing all elements into fluid communication with one another. As will be readily appreciated, the mechanism shown in this published application may be adapted for use in moving the stopper from its closed to its open position, as the principles employed to raise and lower the drain stopper shown in that application are identical to those employed to elevate and lower the offset grid drain of the present invention. Such an embodiment is shown in FIGS. 4a and 4b, wherein the flexible wire and wire sheath are essentially replaced by a pneumatic tube linkage connecting the actuation button 320 to the drain stopper member 180.
Additionally, it will be appreciated that the "grid pattern" of the strainer member and the gasket member may comprise nothing more than a single hole. Thus, as used herein, "grid pattern" means drain hole opening pattern, and it may comprise a single hole or a plurality of holes in a symmetrical or asymmetrical pattern. The complementary "pattern" of the stopper member may therefore include nothing more than a single structure adapted for insertion into a single hole in the strainer and gasket members, or it may includes a plurality of plugging structures adapted for covering the plurality of holes in the strainer and gasket members.
While the particular offset grid drain and drain closure apparatus herein shown and disclosed in detail is fully capable of attaining the objects and providing the advantages stated herein, it is to be understood that it is merely illustrative of the presently preferred embodiment of the invention and that no limitations are intended to the detail of construction or design herein shown other than as defined in the appended claims. Accordingly, the proper scope of the present invention should be determined only by the broadest interpretation of the appended claims so as to encompass all such modifications as well as all relationships equivalent to those illustrated in the drawings and described in the specification.
Patent applications by Scott E. Duncan, Santa Rosa, CA US
Patent applications in class Combined strainer, plug, or valve
Patent applications in all subclasses Combined strainer, plug, or valve