US 3130919 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
W. E. BAKER ADJUSTABLE PLASTIC SPRAY DEVICE April 28, 1964 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Feb. 14, 1963 INVENTOR WILLIAM E. BAKER ATTORNEYS April 28, 1964 w. E. BAKER 3,130,919
ADJUSTABLE PLASTIC SPRAY DEVICE Filed Feb. 14, 1963 2 Sheets-Shee 2 INVENTOR.
WILLIAM E. BAKER QM WW EW,
ATTORNEYS United States Patent 3,l3l,9l9 ADJUSTABLE PLASTKQ SPRAY DEVICE William E. Baker, Wellesiey, Mesa, assignor to Baker Research and Development Corporation, Waltham, Mass., :1 cerporatien of Delaware Filed Feb. 14, 19 53, gar. No. 258,962 12 Claims. (Cl. 239-546) The present invention relates to improvements in nozzles for controlled spray of liquids and, in one particular aspect, to unique adjustable shower heads which are fabricated largely of plastic and, although lending themselves to low-cost manufacture, are of improved construction facilitating ready and accurate control of spray patterns independently of flow rate.
Spray nozzles designed for use as shower heads com monly involve metal parts which tend to become corroded quickly, unless fashioned of or thoroughly protected by anti-corrosion materials. Sucepti'oility to corrosion is particularly pronounced in those designs involving moving parts subject to wear, such as moving parts which are required for spray adjustments and valving. These moving parts must also be well sealed if the shower head is not to leak excessively, and the needed accessory sealing provisions add substantial expense while often nevertheless becoming susceptible to leakage themselves. Although it is important that the user be permitted to adjust the shower spray pattern, provisions for this purpose have often proved awkward and inconvenient to use and have greatly complicated the spray head structure; moreover, the spray is generally found to be uneven and involves undesirable attendant changes in the flow rate. Design problems such as these appear to have been responsible for the evolution of the surprisingly costly and complex shower heads which are currently being marketed. In accordance with the present teachings, however, these difficulties may be overcome by way of relatively simple plastic shower heads wherein the few major parts are of inexpensive molded plastic form and wherein features of special mechanical and hydraulic nicety provide for versatile adjustments and control of spray patterns and fiow rates.
It is one of the objects of the present invention, therefore, to provide novel and improved liquid spray devices of low-cost construction which provide accurate and even control of spray patterns without interference with rate of flow.
Another object is to provide an improved shower head formed principally of but a few non-corrosive molded plastic parts which may be easily assembled to develop a uniformly-distributed arid adjustable spray pattern.
A further object is to provide a novel and improved shower head in which a fine controllable spray is formed by passage of a stream of water through a perforated plastic diaphragm the outer periphery of which is movable axially in relation to its center to regulate the spray pattern.
By way of a summary account of practice of this invention in one of its aspects, a shower head of the type having a ball-joint fitting for connection with a water supply pipe is formed in two principal molded-plastic parts. One of these is a hollow externally-threaded cylindrical core piece which at one end is socketed with the ball-joint fitting and at the other end carries an integral bracket. The other molded plastic part is generally cup-shaped, and
includes a substantially cylindrical internally-threaded rim.
across one end of which is formed a thin integral base or bottom of flexible plastic which functions as a flexible diaphragm member. The externally-threaded and internallythreaded portions of the core and cup-shaped parts are mated, and the center of the diaphragm member is axially "ice locked to the core piece bracket to inhibit axial movements of the center of the diaphragm while the periphery is shifted as the result of relative rotation between the mated parts. Small perforations through the diaphragm member divide the flow of water through the assembly into a multitude of minute spray streams, and the users manipulations of the rim angularly about the core results in substantially conical deformations of the diaphragm member which change the angles at which the minute spray streams are directed.
The subject matter regarded as my invention is particularly pointed out and distinctly claimed in the concluding portion of this specification. However, both as to preferred structure and assembly, and further in relation to objects and advantages thereof, this invention may best be understood through reference to the following description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, wherein:
FIGURE 1 is a longitudinal cross-section of a preferred form of shower head assembly in which teachings of this invention are practiced;
FIGURE 2 presents a pictorial view, with portions broken away, of components of the assembly of FIGURE 1, the view being of an exploded type in which the components are displaced along the central longitudinal axis of the assembly;
FIGURE 3 illustrates the same assembly at its spraydischarging end;
FIGURE 4 is an end view of the plastic inner core member of the assembly of FIGURES 1 and 2, taken from an upstream position; and
FIGURE 5 is an end view of the same inner core member taken from a downstream position.
The embodying shower head apparatus shown in the drawings is of a form which is to be threaded, as a unit, onto the end of a water inlet pipe, and is adapted to be swivelled about in that setting for aiming purposes. A ball-joint fitting 6 (FIGURES 1 and 2) makes the water inlet connection, and this hollow fitting is in turn coupled into one of the two major molded-plastic parts of the shower head, the hollow core member 7 which comprises the inlet part. As shown, this generally cylindrical hollow core is provided with internal threading 7a at the upstream end thereof (fiow being in the direction of arrow 8), the spherical part of fitting 6 being trapped for universal-type movement within that end of the core member 7 by an externally-threaded retainer nut 9 which has an internal surface hr of spherical configuration complementing that of the end of the fitting. The downstream end of this core member exhibits a support bracket portion 10 which is in the form of an integral end wall of the core member and which has a relatively large central opening 11 and several (four) additional openings 12 clustered about it. Recesses 11a (FIGURE 5) merely aid in the molding of a lightweight core, and do not alfect the flow. The deformable ring 13, which forms a further part of the ball-joint connection, is compressed between the retainer nut 9 and a shoulder 14 within core member 7 and it thereby tends both to seal tightly with the spherical part of fitting 6 and to complete its locking with the core member. Ring 13 may be made of an elastomeric or deformable tough plastic material, for example, or, alternatively, the interior of core member 7 may itself be shaped to afford the desired seating surfaces for fitting 6. Where swivelling movements are not required, the core member may instead simply make a direct threaded connection with the water inlet pipe.
A second major part of the shower head assembly is the generally cup-shaped molded plastic spray member 15 which comprises the outlet part and which is fitted over the downstream end of the core member 7. Member 15 is rotatable in relation to core member 7 and is further intended to be axially adjustable in relation to it, along the longitudinal axis 16-16 of the assembly. Accordingly, the mated members carry complementary threading, exteriorly at 7b in the case of core 7, and interiorly of the rim 15a of member 15, at 151) (FIGURE 2). Angular adjustments of the spray member 15 about axis 1616 are thus effective to move the rim 15a axially, for purposes of regulating spray patterns, and, as an aid to the user in manipulating these adjustments, the exterior of rim 15a is provided with relatively large axially-extending serrations 150. At its upstream end, rim 15a is formed with an inwardly-directed annular projection, 15d, and the core member 7 is provided with an outwardly-projecting annular ridge 7c just upstream in relation to the threading 7b. Intermediate the interior annular projection 15d and the threading 1512, the rim of spray member exhibits a cylindrical surface 15a (FIGURES 1 and 2) which is of an internal diameter just slightly less than the external diameter of the annular ridge 7c. On as sembly of the two members 7 and 15, the projection 15d must be snapped over the ridge 70, such that this ridge may enter the spray member and seal itself firmly against its inner cylindrical surfaces 152. Once this fitting has taken place, the annular projections 15d and 7c serve as mechanical stops which resist axial separation or undue displacement of the two joined members; this stopping action is important not only in preventing the shower head from coming apart in use but also in preventing damage to the thin diaphragm portion 15 of the spray member because of excessive fiexure which might otherwise occur. In addition, the confronting edges of the two joined members 7 and 15 are also shown to be provided with small integral projections, 7d and 15g, respectively, which may serve as stops to prevent the two members from becoming jammed when they are fully drawn together.
A fluid stream entering the shower head assembly via fitting 6 is released into the hollow interior of inlet member 7 Where it may fiow downstream to fill the interior of cup-shaped spray or outlet member 15 through the openings 12 in the wall 10. Thereafter, the flowing fluid is divided into a plurality of relatively small spray streams by the small perforations 15h through the thin bottom wall 15 of the cup-shaped spray member. The patterns of perforations 15h in the thin wall 15] may be varied tochange the resulting shapes of sprays produced; preferably the most uniform spray is developed when the streams are most divergent. Reference character 17 identifies paths of such small spray streams which are produced when the diaphragm-like bottom wall 15 is held in the illustrated flat state. The spray pattern is varied by changing the shape of the thin diaphragm-like Wall 15 from fiat to shallow substantially conical configurations. These changes are effected by simple angular manipulations of the thick rim of outlet member 15, whereby the rim 15a is shifted axially while the central hub 15i of the same member is axially restrained in one pre-set relationship with the wall of inlet member 7. The hub 151' extends upstream from the thin-walled diaphragm portion to where its shoulder 15 engages the downstream side of wall 10, and beyond that a radially-slotted compressible portion 15k is fitted into the central opening 11 of wall 10, being trapped axially in place by an enlarged end 151. This axial locking of the center of the bottom of spray member 15 does not prevent the relative rotation needed for spray adjustments, however. For a further purpose which involves the valving of flow through the spray head, the hub of spray member 15 is made hollow and is internally threaded to cooperate with a. threaded set screw 18 which mates with it along its length. Preferably, this set screw is fashioned of a non-corrosive material of high strength, such as nylon. When mated with the hub, the set screw prevents the slotted end portions 15k and 15l from becoming accidentally compressed and disengaged from the bracketing wall 10. In addition, the inner end 13a of the set screw functions as a movable flow-regulating member which can be brought into variably-spaced relationships with a valve seat defined by a circular orifice plate 19 held in place within the core member 7. The spacing between set screw end 18a and orifice plate 19 regulates the amount of water which can flow per unit of time through a shower head which operates with any given supply pressure, and preferred settings of water flow rate can be realized by initial adjustment of the set screw 18 with the aid of an appropriate tool when the shower head is first installed. Rotational movements of the spray member 15 involve rotation of the hub 151' and set screw 13, but the valvin g or fiowregulating relationship between the set screw and orifice plate is not disturbed by this.
Advantageously, the spray control does not itself alter the flow rate but, instead, merely entails changes in the directions in which the minute spray streams are ejected from openings 1%. As the bottom 15) of the spray head is deformed into either concave or convex configurations, from its flattened form appearing in FIGURE 1, the substantially parallel streams of water become either convergent or divergent, respectively, without any accompanying change in the volume of flow per unit of time. The dashed linework 29 in FIGURE 1 characterizes an orientation of spray member 15 wherein the thin bottom wall is rendered concave by a rotation of the rim 15a which advances it axially in the downstream direction while the hub or center of the same member is axially restrained in the bracketing wall 10. Reference character 21 identifies the paths of spray streams which are thus caused to converge toward the central longitudinal axis 16-16. Rotation of rim 15a in the opposite direction results in relative movements promoting convex deformation of the bottom wall 15 with consequent divergence of the spray streams away from axis 16-16.
Angular adjustments of rim 15a may be effected while flow is taking place without causing spraying in undesired directions, inasmuch as there is no need for the user or any instrumentality to be interposed in the spray paths. Although it might be expected that high water pressures would be effective upon the broad-area wall 153 and would tend to lock the spray member 15 so tightly as to hamper its rotational adjustments about axis 16-16, in fact, however, the flow-regulating arrangement of orifice plate 19 and set screw end 151 also functions as a choke, which entails a high pressure drop when properly adjusted, and thereby desirably reduces the Water pressures on the thin apertured wall 15 Consequently, in a unit such as that of FIGURE 1, the spray pattern proves to be adjustable by mere finger-tip manipulations of the rim 15a about axis 16-16 while the water supply is turned fully on.
The two molded portions 7 and 15 are each preferably formed of a single integral plastic molding, although in some instances it may be desirable to fashion these, or parts of them, of different materials. Core member 7 may be of a stiff plastic material, for example, with a separate sealing ridge 70 attached to it, while at least the thin bottom wall 15 of the adjustable spray member should be of a material which possesses sufficient flexibility to accommodate deformations without cracking and without suffering damage or excessive deformations due to Water pressures Within the spray head. Materials servting the requirements for the improved spray head include polyethylene, nylon and polypropylene; the latter plastic is highly desirable in that it is so well adapted to withstand the conical flexures to which the apertured diaphragms of the spray head is subjected and yet also remains stiff enough to resist bulging and to orient the spray apertures properly. The thermoplastics which are used must resist the deleterious effects of hot water and must not soften materially at the high temperatures expected of houshold hot water supplies; such plastics may be colored.
Those skilled in the art will appreciate that there are numerous modifications, substitutions and variations which may be effected in accordance with the present teachings and without departure in spirit or scope from this inven tion in its broader aspects. Accordingly, it should be understood that the embodiment selected for illustration and detailed dmcription herein is not intended to limit the invention which is set forth in the appended claims.
What I claim as new and desire to secure by Letters Patent of the United States is:
1. Liquid spray apparatus comprising liquid-conducting inlet and outlet means mated together for relative rotation about an axis, said outlet means having a deformable wall with a plurality of small apertures therethrough disposed near the downstream end of said outlet means in the path of liquid flow .therethrough, and means mechanically interconnecting said inlet and outlet means at a first position near said axis and at a second position which is at a predetermined radial distance therefrom while permitting said relative rotation therebetween, said interconnecting means including cooperating screw threads on said inlet and outlet means at one of said positions which move part of said outlet means axially in relation to said inlet means upon occurrence of relative rotation therebetween.
2. Liquid spray apparatus comprising a liquid-conducting inlet and a substantially cup-shaped outlet mated together for relative rotation about an axis, said outlet having a substantially cylindrical rim mated with the downstream end of said inlet and having a deformable bottom wall with a plurality of small apertures therethrough disposed downstream in relation to said inlet, and means mechanically interconnect ng said inlet and outlet at a first position near said axis and the center of said bottom wall and at a second position near said rim while permitting relative rotation between said inlet and outlet, said interconnecting means including cooperating screw threads on said inlet and outlet at one of said positions which move part of said outlet axially in relation to said inlet upon rotation of said rim.
3. Liquid spray apparatus comprising a liquid-conducting inlet and a substantially cup-shaped outlet mated together for relative rotation about an axis, said outlet having a substantially cylindrical rim mated with the downstream end of said inlet and having a deformable bottom wall with a plurality of small apertures therethrongh disposed downstream in relation to said inlet, means axially restraining the central part of said bottom wall in relation to said inlet and near said axis while accommodating relative rotation between said inlet and outlet, and cooperating screw threads on said inlet and outlet at the site of said rim which move said rim axially in relation to the center of said bottom wall upon rotation of said run.
4. Liquid spray apparatus comprising liquid-conducting inlet and outlet means threaded together for relative axial movements of the threaded portions thereof upon relative rotation thereof about an axis, said outlet means including a thin deformable wall with a plurality of small perforations therethrough near the downstream end of said outlet means, and means fixing the central part of said Wall axially in relation to said inlet means while permitting relative rotational movements between said inlet and outlet means.
5. Shower head apparatus comprising a substantially tubular water-conducting inlet, a substantially cup-shaped outlet having a substantially stiff cylindrical rim and concentric hub joined by a thin fiat annular wall of plastic material deformable into substantially conical configurations upon occurrence of relative axial displacements between said rim and hub along the central axis thereof, said thin wall having a plurality of minute apertures therethrough, and means mounting said outlet on said inlet in downstream relationship thereto, said mounting means including cooperating external threading near the downstream end of said inlet mated with internal threading on said rim and further including means fastening 6 said hub for rotation in said tubular means in fixed axial relationship therewith along said axis.
6. Shower head apparatus as set forth in claim 5 wherein said tubular inlet includes an internal bracket near the downstream end thereof, said hub being rotatably fastened in fixed axial relationship with said bracket along said axis, said tubular inlet having flow passages therethrough in by-pass relationship to said bracket.
7. Shower head apparatus as set forth in claim 6 further including flow-regulating means comprising a set screw threadedly mated with said hub along said axis and having an end extending through said bracket in upstream relationship thereto and into valving relation-ship with the seating surf-aces about a flow passageway through said inlet, whereby angular adjustments of the other end of said set screw regulate the flow of water and pressure drop through said inlet.
8. Shower head apparatus comprising a substantially tubular water-conducting molded plastic core member having a water inlet at one end thereof, a substantimly cup shaped spray member of flexible molded plastic material having a relatively thick and stiff cylindrical rim and concentric hub joined by a thin flat annular wall deformable into substantially conical configurations upon occurrence of relative axial displacements between said rim and hub along the central axis thereof, said wall having a plurality of minute apertures theretbrough, said rim being internally threaded and mated with external threading near the downstream end of said core member, and means fastening said hub in said core member in fixed axial relationship therewith and with freedom for angular adjustments about said axis.
9. Shower head apparatus as set forth in claim 8 wherein said plastic core member includes an internal bracket molded integral therewith near the downstream end thereof, and wherein said fastening means holds said hub on said bracket.
10. Shower head apparatus comprising a substantially tubular water-conducting molded plastic core member having a water inlet at the upstream end thereof and external threading near the substantially cylindrical downstream end thereof, a substantially cup-shaped spray member of flexible molded plastic material having a relatively thick cylindrical rim and concentric hub joined by a thin fiat annular wall deformable into substantially conical configurations upon occurrence of relative axial displacements between said rim and hub along the central axis thereof, said wall having a plurality of minute apertures therethrough, said rim being internally threaded and mated with said external threading of said core member, means sealing said members in liquid-tight relationship and stopping excessive relative axial movements therebetween, said sealing and stopping means including an annular external ridge of one outer diameter about said cylindrical end of said core member, an inwardly-extending annular projection from said rim having an inner diameter slightly less than said one diameter, and a cylindrical internal surface within said rim of diameter fitting tightly about said ridge, said projection from said rim of flexible material being snapped over said ridge to limit axial separation between said members, and means fastening said hub in said core member in fixed axial relationship therewith and with freedom for annular adjustments about said axis.
11. Shower head apparatus as set forth in claim 10 wherein said thin annular apertured wall is of thickness and stifiness tending to preserve itself planar and normal to said axis, and wherein the exterior of said cylindrical rim is of irregular surface configuration for improving grip by the user in making angular adjustments of said spray member about said axis.
12. Shower head apparatus as set forth in claim 10 further including a plate with a flow-restricting orifice disposed within said core member in position to obstruct flow therethrough, and a valving member in the form of a plastic set screw threadedly mated with said hub along said axis and having an end extending into valving relationship With surfaces of said plate about the orifice therein.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,476,440 La. Garde July 19, 1949 Nordell- July 10, 1951 Jannsen June 16, 1959 Shames et a1. May 17, 1960 FOREIGN PATENTS Switzerland Ian. 15, 1962 Great Britain Jan. 5, 1933