US 2680043 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
J1me 1954 R. E. CAMPBELL 2,680,043
SHOWER HEAD Filed Dec. 12, 1951 I N VEN TOR.
ROBERT E CAMPBELL.
E/vim b m ATTORNEYS.
Patented June 1, 1954 SHOWER HEAD Robert E. Campbell, Chicago, Ill., assignor to Sloan Valve Company, Chicago, 111., a corporation of Illinois Application December 12, 1951, Serial No. 261,303
4 Claims. 1
This invention is concerned with shower heads for bathing purposes, and the principal object of the invention is to design a new and improved shower head which is automatically self-cleaning in action and which will conserve water.
Another object is to design a new and improved shower head in which a constant rate of flow is automatically maintained at the spray discharge outlet irrespective of pressure variations in the inlet water supply, thereby dispensing with throttle valves and other preadjustable devices formerly required to control the volume of water discharged.
A further object of the invention is to design a shower head which will be automatically self cleaning in action and at the same time provide a spray discharge automatically maintained at a predetermined rate of flow so that a fixed volume will be discharged from the head.
Another object is to design a new and im proved shower head which automatically acts to flush out sediment and foreign deposits each time the head is used and which discharges all residual water remaining in the head after use to eliminate dribble when the water is shut off.
Another object is to provide a new and improved shower head which is simple and durable in construction, effiicent and reliable in operation, and eliminates constant maintenance and service.
With the foregoing and other objects in view, the invention consists of certain novel features of construction, operation and combination of the various elements and parts which will be more fully described and pointed out hereinafter together with the accompanying drawings in which:
Fig. 1 is a cross-sectional side view of a shower head embodying the invention;
Fig. 2 is a similar view showing the shower head operated with water flowing through the device;
Fig. 3 is a top view of the automatic flow regulator with its support, while Fig. 4 is a similar view showing the flow regulator operated.
In most shower heads in use at the present time, there is provided a manually operated handie or other means arranged so that the spray dispersing disc is raised or lowered with respect to the spray discharge outlet toregulate the character of the shower stream as desired by the user. It is necessary after the use of this type of shower head that the handle be again operated to move the dispersingdisc so that a large gap is present between the casing and the disc to allow the retained water to flush out of the shower head. In nearly all instances, this latter action is neglected and as a result, the accumulation of water borne lime deposits and sediment results in gradual unsatisfactory operation and clogging of the shower head, necessitating frequent cleaning and maintenance and occasional replacement. By providing means as disclosed in the present invention for automatically performing this self-cleaning action independent of any manual action, the above difliculties are obviated. The accumulated water in the shower head is also instantly discharged when the water is turned off, thereby eliminating the annoying dribble occurring in ordinary shower heads.
In many shower heads, no provision is made for compensating for variable water pressures encountered in the water supply line and as a result, different spray patterns, from a needle spray to a generous flushing action, will be discharged. Also the rate of flow emitted will be uncertain so that water may be needlessly wasted. Various attempts have been made to adjust the shower head to compensate for the variable supply pressures. These have taken the form of manually operated throttle valves placed in the supply line ahead of the shower head for regulating the rate of flow, or of preadjustable overlapping discs inside of the shower head in which the shower head must be dismantled to vary the cross sectional area of holes in the discs to compensate for different line pressures. All the foregoing devices must take into consideration the fact that it is up to the user of the shower head to adjust the same according to what line supply pressures are present and the wishes of the user. These devices are not automatic in action and therefore cannot effect any water saving by automatically compensating for pressure variations to thereby control the volume output from the spray discharge orifice.
Referring now to Fig. 1 of the drawings, the shower head is generally cone-shaped, comprising a hollow casing 5 having a cap threaded on the lower enlarged end, which cap has a spray discharge opening 1 arranged therein. A ball joint 8 formed integral with the inlet supply fitting 9 is attached to the inlet side of the casing 5 by the threaded coupling member H and thereby provides for swinging the shower head in any direction desired by the user.
Arranged within the shower head casing 5 and normally spaced inward from the spray discharge opening I of cap 6 is a spray dispersing disc I3, which is clamped by screw Hi to the lower end of a movable hollow stem I5 reciprocally arranged within the casing. The hollow stem I5 has a pressure chamber I6 formed therein and at its upper end an enlarged circular portion Ii, which is guided Within the casing 5 by the ring-like portion I8 formed in the sides of the casing. A supporting plate I9 is clamped by the cap 5 against the open end of easing 5 and is provided with a series of water passages 29 arranged around the stem I5. The stem I5 is further guided by the plate at its lower end as shown. A restoring spring 2| encircles stem I5 and abuts the underside of the enlarged portion I? of the stem, and the top of supporting plate I9 to normally urge the water dispersing disc I3 inward and away from the spray discharge opening I. The limit of the upward movement of stem I5 takes place when the enlarged portion I'I engages an undercut shoulder formed in the easing 5. There is a second pressure chamber 23 formed around the upper portion H of stem I5 which is a part of pressure chamber I6 within the stem I5. A pair of oppositely disposed orifices 24 are formed in the enlarged portion I? for permitting passage of the water from chamber 23 to a discharge chamber 33 formed above supporting plate I9 and a further discharge chamber 35 formed below supporting plate I 9 and around the dispersing disc I 3.
The above constituted elements are so constructed and arranged to provide the automatic self-cleaning action within the shower head and in order to compensate for various line pressures encountered, the automatic flow regulator 25 is provided. This fiow regulator is arranged within the pressure chamber 23 as the most eiiective position for it to occupy in the shower head to produce the desired results. It comprises, as more clearly illustrated in Fig. 3, a circular flexible disc 25, preferably made of rubber or rubber-like composition which normally rests within a cup-shaped supporting member 26 having a ledge 27 resting on a shoulder on the inlet side of the shower head casing 5. An inner orifice 28 extends axially through the fiow regulator 25 and has a pair of slots 23 extending outwardly from opposite sides which are of such a length that they are just short of the outer circumference of the device. There is also a beveled portion 30 formed on the flexible disc 25 around the orifice 28, while the supporting member 26 is provided with an orifice and slots similar to 28 and 29 in disc 25 and in alignment therewith.
Small projections 3! on the periphery of disc 25 accurately center the same on its support 26 and enable water pressures to be efiective on the sides of the disc.
The flow regulator 25 is readily insertable within the pressure chamber 23 from the inlet end of the shower head where it serves the purpose of compensating for various line pressures on the inlet side, so that a constant rate of flow is provided for the spray discharge. The pressure chamber 23 is efiective to absorb rapid fluctuations of the pressure variations as the flow regulator 25 follows or responds to them, At the same time, water flow is efiective within chambers 23 and I6 to forcibly project the stem I5 outward so that the spray disc I3 is moved in position opposite the spray discharge opening 1. The limit of movement of the disc I3 is reached when the serrated edge 32 on the periphery of the disc I3 encounters the'opening 1. When this position is reached, the spray discharge will occur.
The use and operation of the device is as follows: Referring particularly to Fig. 2, this shows the shower head in the position in which water is flowing through it after being turned on by the user of the same. The water fiows initially through the inlet 9 to a position above the flexible flow regulator 25 and if the pressure is relatively at a low value, the flexible disc 25 will be only slightly afiected and may assume the normal position shown in Fig. 3. However, as the pressure mounts or increases to higher values, it will be effective to act upon opposite sides of the disc 23 in a direction transverse to the water flow through the orifice 28 and thereby squeeze the device together from opposite sides as shown in Fig. 4, sliding the same across the bottom of the supporting member 23. This action gradually closes up or reduces the effective area of the orifree 28, thereby reducing the flow rate. As still higher pressures are encountered, the disc is squeezed further until the slots 29 will be more or less closed up, further reducing the flow rate. The foregoing action takes place automatically and continually as long as pressure variations take place so that a constant rate of flow is maintained within the pressure chamber 23, which will also tend to absorb the rapid fluctuations or pulsations if these occur.
After the water passes out of the orifice 28 of the automatic flow regulator and passes into the chambers 23 and I8, sufficient pressure must first be built up to overcome the resistance of restoring spring 2i. When this occurs, the stem I5 is projected downward, carrying along with it the dispersing disc I3, which eventually engages the spray discharge outlet I. Water, howover, cannot flow from the spray outlet until the openings 24 in the upper portion I? of stem i5 have been moved downwardly so that they are opposite the guiding and restriction ring it formed in the casing 5, as shown in Fig. 2. Only after this action occurs can the water flow out of the orifices 2 from chamber 23, into chamber 33, out through the plate orifices 26, and then the serrated portion 32 of the disc I3, so that the spray action is produced. During the continued water flow at the constant rate controlled by disc 25, restoring spring 25 remains compressed and when the water is turned off from the shower head. the spring is efiective to restore the stem :5 and the spray disc I3 to the position shown in Fig. 1. This action opens up a wide gap between the spray discharge opening 7 and the disc I3 to readily flush out all the residual water in the shower head and prevent the accumulation of sediment therein which would ordinarily cause clogging. At the same time, the annoying dribble of water usually caused when the shower head is shut off is eliminated. Shutting off the water also immediately permits the flexible disc 25 to assume its normal shape as shown in Fig. 3.
It is desirable under most conditions that a rate of flow of approximately three gallons of water per minute be discharged from the present shower head and accordingly, the orifice 28 in flexible disc 25 has been so sized to provide such a rate of flow. For greater rates of flow, the orifice 28 and slots 29 may be made slightly larger.
According to the present invention, the length and width of the slots 29 are so selected that the action of the flow device occurs in several stages, that is at fluid pressures from zero to about ten pounds p. s. i., for example, the edges of the opening 28 contact as shown in Fig. 4, and at pressure of ten pounds and above the whole length of the sides of the slots 29 contact with each other. After the slots 29 are entirely closed greater pressures will further compress the circmnferen-ce of the elastic member and gradually reduce the size of the opening 28. At all the stages the size of the opening through the device is varied inversely as the pressure of the fluid delivered varies, thereby maintaining a constant rate of fluid delivery from the device regardless of variations in the pressure of the incoming fluid. By causing the elastic member 25 to control the size of the opening in various stag-es, particularly at lower pressure conditions, a more reliable, stable and controlled rate of fluid flow at the output is made possible, than if a single round opening were provided in which the area of the opening would be diflicult to control at low pressures and high pressures as well.
In other words, the particular shape of the slots and opening in the elastic member are such that there is a much larger effective discharge opening for w inlet pressures than for high pressures. Therefore it is necessary to have a considerably greater movement per unit of pressure change at the lower inlet pressures than per unit of pressure change at the higher inlet pressures, the larger effective area of the slots .29 controlling at low pressures while the opening 28 forming controls at the higher pressures after the slots are closed.
It will be seen from the foregoing structure and arrangement that an automatically selfcleaning shower head has been provided, including in combination a flow regulator which compensates automatically for pressure variations to provide a constant rate of flow from the shower head irrespective of pressure variations. Considerable water saving is effected by automatically controlling the output volume, and as no manual operation is required to provide the self-cleaning action and the automatic flow regulation, these services by the user of the shower head are dispensed with. Constant repair, maintenance and servicing is eliminated due to the self-cleaning action of the device.
The invention has been described more or less in its specific details, but it is to be understood that the same is not to be limited thereby, since various changes may be made in the arrangement and proportion of the parts of the elements and that equivalents may be substituted therefor, all without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention, as set forth in the appended claims.
What is claimed is:
1. In a constant flow shower head, a casing having a water supply inlet and a spray outlet, walls defining a pressure chamber within the casing, a yielding, apertured disk type pressure regulator and means for fixedly positioning it in the line of flow from the water supply inlet to the pressure chamber, there being a passage between the pressure chamber and the spray outlet, the pressure chamber being mounted for movement in response to the delivery of water under pressure into the casing, and through the pressure regulator, a water dispersing disk mounted for unitary movement with the pressure chamber, and stop means for limiting it to a predetermined normally fixed position in relation to the spray outlet during the supply of water to the interior or" the casing, at all normal ranges of water pressure.
2. In a constant flow shower head, a casing having a water supply inlet and a spray outlet, a movable water dispersing disk for said spray outlet, a guide assembly for said disk, for guiding it toward a predetermined water dispersing position in said spray outlet, in response to water supply pressure, stop means positioned to prevent further movement of said disk when it has reached such predetermined position, and an apertured pressure regulator element, of yielding material, positioned in the casing, between the water supply inlet and the water dispersing disk, whereby, during the pressure-positioning of said disk at said predetermined water dispersing position, a substantially uniform rate of spray delivery is maintained, irrespective of surges in the pressure at which water is delivered to the supply inlet.
3. The structure of claim 1 characterized by and including a fixed support for the disk of the pressure regulator, apertured in line with and in communication with the aperture of said disk, the aperture of the support being in direct communication with the interior of the pressure chamber.
4. The structure of claim 2 characterized in that the pressure regulator element is constituted by a disk of such material and shape as to be radially compressed in response to increases in water supply pressure, whereby the size of the aperture is restricted, and including an abutting support for said disk, apertured in line with and in communication with the aperture of said pressure regulator disk.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS