Patent application title: Toilet seat hinge
Edward S. Sims (Morris Plains, NJ, US)
Jones Stephens Corporation
IPC8 Class: AA47K1312FI
Class name: Baths, closets, sinks, and spittoons seat and lid hinges
Publication date: 2012-09-27
Patent application number: 20120240318
A hinge for attaching a toilet seat to irregularly spaced toilet bowl
mounting holes, the hinge body having a mounting plate cooperating with a
bowl mounting hole and having a plurality of interconnected fixing holes
for receiving a fixing bolt in one of a plurality of selected positions.
An integral flexibly hinged cover closes over the hinge body and is
frictionally secured thereto for concealing the fixing holes and bolt,
and giving the hinge a finished appearance.
1. A hinge assembly for attaching a toilet seat to a toilet bowl having
irregularly positioned seat mounting holes, said hinge assembly
comprising: a hinge plate; a hinge member fixed to said toilet seat and
hinged to said hinge plate; a retaining slot in said hinge plate sized
for receiving the enlarged head of a toilet bowl mounting bolt inserted
therethrough; said retaining slot having a plurality of mutually
interconnected and overlapping bolt holes, each said hole having a
diameter and a circumference sufficient to positively surround and secure
a mounting bolt inserted in one of said toilet seat mounting holes; and
characterized by the center of each bolt hole being spaced from the
center of its next adjoining bolt hole by less than one bolt hole
diameter, whereby each of said holes is enabled to secure a mounting bolt
inserted therein against fore-and-aft movement.
2. The hinge assembly of claim 1 made of molded plastic and further comprises an integral bolt covering cap.
3. The hinge assembly of claim 2 wherein the integral bolt covering cap is self-hinged to said plate by a molded-in connecting membrane.
 This invention relates to hinges for coupling a toilet seat with a
toilet bowl. It relates particularly to a hinge which may be selectively
positioned in one of several positions in order to accurately mount a
toilet seat to a toilet bowl, such as a vitreous china toilet bowl, in
which normal manufacturing tolerances result in substantial variations in
the position of the seat mounting holes. Thus the toilet seat hinges need
to be adjustable in a fore-and-aft direction in order to align the front
of the seat with the corresponding portion of the toilet bowl.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 In the manufacture of vitreous china toilet bowl fixtures, production tolerances are necessarily loose because in the process of firing the bowl, significant dimensional changes unavoidably occur. This means that the distance between the toilet seat mounting holes and the front of the bowl may vary considerably. Without providing a means of adjustment, the front edge of the toilet seat may either overhang or fall short of the front of the bowl, making for an unsightly installation.
 A conventional molded plastic toilet seat hinge is shown in Ginsburg U.S. Pat. No. 4,467,481 where the hinge mounting plate has a single hole for receiving the toilet seat mounting bolt. A friction-fit decorative cap is used to hide the screw head and finish the installation. No fore-and-aft adjustment is provided for.
 Haldopoulos U.S. Pat. No. 3,568,223 discloses a toilet seat hinge also having a press-fit decorative cap, and having with an elongated hole for adjustment, but only in a side-to-side direction, not fore-and-aft.
 Ginsberg U.S. Pat. No. 4,314,382 discloses a hinge with two mounting holes, one aft of the other, but this hinge is intended to solve a rather different problem: that of moving the seat pivot point forward so that a relatively thicker toilet seat will open far enough backward so as not to fall forward by itself when in an upright open position.
 Ginsburg U.S. Pat. No. 4,181,404 does address the problem of fore-and-aft adjustment by providing a hinge with an elongated hole in the fore-and-aft direction. However, no means is disclosed for positively locating the mounting bolt within the hinge to prevent the seat from sliding back and forth during and after installation.
 Li, in publication US 2007/0250996, addresses the problem at hand more directly, by providing a hinge with an elongated hole similar to Ginsburg '404, but with the interposition of a selection of specially shaped elongated positioning washer between the hinge and the bolt head. The elongated washer fits closely within an elongated slot or depression in the hinge, in which there is provided a similarly elongated hole. The workman then selects a matching elongated washer having a bore which matches the desired fore-and-aft position of the toilet seat relative to the toilet bowl. Each elongated washer has a single hole, either centered or offset by roughly the diameter of the mounting bolt. In this way the seat itself may be selectively positioned in one of three fore-and-aft positions relative to the toilet bowl.
 It is therefore a principal objective of the invention to provide an improved toilet seat hinge which enables the installation of a toilet seat to a toilet bowl in which provides a significant degree of forward and backward adjustment of the seat relative to the toilet bowl without the need of special spacers or washers.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 The invention provides a hinge for attaching a toilet seat to a toilet bowl mounting hole in which the hinge body includes a mounting plate having a plurality of interconnected fixing holes for receiving a fixing bolt in one of a plurality of selected positions. The interconnected holes retain the fixing bolt in the selected position, preventing further fore-and-aft movement.
 The hinge is preferable constructed of injection-molded plastic. An integral flexibly hinged cover closes over the hinge body and is frictionally secured thereto for concealing the fixing holes and bolt head, to give the hinge a finished appearance.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the toilet hinge embodying with the present invention showing the top of a toilet bowl, a toilet seat having two hinges with their hinged covers, and mounting bolts fixing the hinges and toilet seat to the toilet bowl;
 FIG. 2 is plan view of the toilet seat and hinge of FIG. 1 ready to be placed in position on a toilet bowl, with the toilet bowl mounting holes shown in slightly exaggerated misalignment for purposes of illustration;
 FIG. 3 is a plan view similar to FIG. 2 showing the toilet seat and hinge correctly placed into position over the toilet bowl mounting holes to accommodate the toilet bowl mounting hole misalignment;
 FIG. 4 is an enlarged perspective plan view of one of the toilet seat hinges of the preceding figures showing the interconnected mounting holes and self-hinged cover in greater detail; and
 FIG. 5 is a side cross-sectional elevation view of the hinge of the present invention in use.
 With reference to FIG. 1 there are shown a toilet seat 12, seat cover 14 and a toilet bowl 16. The seat 12 is secured to the bowl 16 with two hinge assemblies 10. According to the invention, each hinge 10 is adjustable to enable forward and backward adjustment attachment of the toilet seat 12 to the toilet bowl 16. The hinges 10 are desirably made of injection-molded plastic.
 Further according to the invention, each hinge 10 has a hinge member 11 attached to the seat cover 14 and a hinge plate 23. The hinge plate 23 is provided with a bolt head retaining slot 24 having a plurality of overlapping bolt fixing holes 25a, 25b and 25c with their centers aligned on a common fore-and-aft axis for receiving a toilet seat mounting bolt 28. With reference to FIGS. 4 and 5, each hinge assembly 10 includes a plate 23 with a decorative cover member 26 being attached to the plate by a thin molded-in plastic hinge 27.
 In use, the toilet seat 13 is first positioned by the workman in its proper fore-and-aft position with respect to the front of the toilet bowl 16. Next, the hinges 10 are positioned over the toilet bowl mounting holes 29, and the workman selects the one of the bolt fixing holes 25a, 25b or 25c which best aligns with each mounting hole 29.
 Because the toilet seat hinges 10 and attachment bolts 28 are both desirably made of plastic for reasons of economy and corrosion resistance, the bolts 28 have a relatively large diameter compared to metal bolts intended for the same purpose. If the bolt fixing holes 25a, 25b and 25c were completely circular and entirely enclosed the entire body of the bolts 28, then the mounting plate 23 would consequently be much larger, as in the Ginsburg prior art patent U.S. Pat. No. 4,314,382. However, this would defeat a principal purpose of the invention, which is to provide a relatively fine degree of fore-and-aft adjustment by selecting one of the proper bolt fixing holes 25a, 25b or 25c.
 Therefore, and as a principal feature of the invention, the hinge mounting holes interconnect with one another as is best shown in FIG. 4, with a center-to-center distance of approximately the diameter of the mounting bolts 28. Because each of the bolt fixing holes 25a, 25b and 25c at least partially wraps around the body of the mounting bolt 28, once the hinge is tightened in place the bolt 28 is gripped over enough of its circumference so that the hinge and seat are positively restrained from sliding back and forth.
 After the workman has placed a bolt 28 in the particular bolt fixing hole 25a, 25b or 25c best suited for that particular installation, a mounting nut 30 is placed under the bowl on each bolt 28 and tightened in place in the usual manner.
 To finish the installation, the hinged covers 26 are snapped into place against the hinge plates 24, where they are frictionally retained by molded-in pins which fit into corresponding receptacles in each hinge body 24.
Patent applications in class Hinges
Patent applications in all subclasses Hinges