US 3312400 A
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April 4, 1967 /6`1 t l v v I L .J. F. CLEARMAN POP-UP SPRINKLER HAVING A ROTATING HEAD Filed sept. 15, 1964 i En R\ United States Patent 3,312,400 POP-UI SPLER HAVING A ROTATING HEAD Jack F. Clearman, 5890 Hohe Lane, White Bear Township, Ramsey County, Minn. 55110 Filed Sept. 15, 1964, Ser. No. 396,575 4 Claims. (Cl. 239-206) This invention yrelates to sprinklers, especially those having heads which are extended when in use and retracted when inactive. The invention is particularly useful for underground lawn sprinkling installations.
The broad concept of a sprinkler having a head which is raised by the fluid supplied to it is extremely old; in fact, an entire subclass of paten-ts is specifically concerne-d Iwith this feature. Although some extremely ingenious devices have been disclosed, none has ever attained widespread commercial acceptance with the general homeowning public, at least so far as I am aware. I believe that this fact is directly attributable to a basic weakness which is common t-o almost all such devices.
Most sprinkling heads operate on the principle of dividing a stream of water into numerous fine streamlets by forcing it, while under pressure, through a, perforated head of some sort. When it is desire-d to elevate such a head by means of the water supplied to it, it is typical to employ a pair of telescoping tubes, one of which remains xed while the other, carrying the sprinkling head, slides upward. Because the Water is under pressure, it is imperative that the seal between the tubes be snug to avoid seepage and decreased eiiciency. Making a tight seal requires careful machining of parts; even so, there is |a pronounced tendency for t-he tubes to bind and either Ifail to elevate the head when the water is turned on or fail to allow the head to fall when the water is turned olf. Sand and dirt often contact the exposed extended tube, further complicating the problem by causing scratching and scarring.
I have now devised an elevating sprinkler which overcomes the defects inherent in all the prior art devices of which I am aware. My sprinkler does not require carefully machined parts; in fact, I generally prefer to use a substantial number of molded plastic parts, which are inexpensive and light weight. There is litt-le or no wear, and there are no seals in the elevating portion o-f the apparatus. There are no holes to clog and reduce the efiicien-cy of the sprinkler, The device is simple to install and it is extremely easy to replace one sprinkler head with another of a different size, range, or directional character.
My novel sprinkler operates on a principle which has been conspicuously avoided by those who have heretofore attempted to devise elevating or pop-up sprinklers. Rather than subdivide a large stream by forcing it through a perforated plate under pressure, I direct a large stream through the open air, that is, under zero pressure, against a diverter head, preferably a head which can be rotated through the arc which it is desired to sprinkle. The impact of the uncontned stream of water against the head serves to force the head upward; by mountingthe head on a member which loosely surroun-ds the water supply tube, I have achieved a structure where the stream of water raises the head and the head in turn diverts the stream o-f water.
My invention will be better understood by reference to the following illustrative drawing-s, in which:
FIGURE 1 is a view in elevational cross-section of a presently preferred embodiment of my invention;
FIGURE 2 is a view in elevational cross-section of another embodiment of my invention;
`FIGURE 3 is a plan view, seen from above, of the device of FIGURE 2;
FIGURE 4 is a View in elevational cross-section of the 31,312,400 Patented Apr, 4, 1957 diverter head shown in FIGURE 3, taken along section line 4 4 and looking in the direction of the arrows;
FIGURE 5 is an alternate form of the elevating feature of my invention, seen in elevation; and
FIGURE 6 is a view in elevational cross-section of another embodiment of my invention, requiring a minimi-um number of parts, and showing the device in operation.
In the drawings, referring -rst to FIGURE l, water is supplied to sprinkler unit 10 through T 11. Tubular vertical water supply member 12 is screwed into T 11, constric-tion 13 being located at the upper end of water supply member 12 to provide the desired rate and velocity of water discharge. The upper end of member 12 has a slot 14 to facilitate screwing it into T 11. Loosely surrounding water supply member 12 is tubular elevating member 15, which is provided with lower -ange 16 and upper ange 17. A rubber ring 18 is seated in a groove around elevating member 15, spaced somewhat below flange 17, ring 18 and flange 17 thus defining spaced limiting means. Positioned at the upper end of elevating member 15 is water diverter head 19, which in this case is of the type described and claimed in my U.S. Patent 2,848,- 276.
Water diverter head 19 is made up of wobble plate 20, which has a central hole somewhat greater in diameter than the outer diameter of elevating member 15. Atlixed to wobble plate 20 and extending upward therefrom are struts 21, to the upper ends of which is aixed diverter pla-te 22, which has the general shape of an inverted cone and which has spiral grooves 68 extending generally radially along the lower surface thereof. A stream of water supplied to the lower portion of diverter plate 22 is directed int-o one of the spiral grooves, the impact simultaneously canting the diverter head. The spiral nat-ure of the -grooves 23 causing head 19 to gradually wobble, the lower surface of wobble plate 20 rolling about the u-pper outer edge of ring 18 and the upper surface of wobble pla-te 20 simultaneously contacting the lower outer edge of flange 17. The water stream, channeled in one or more grooves, is thus directed to rst one area, and then another, throughout the area to be sprinkled.- The action lof this -diverter head (which will sometimes hereinafter be referred t-o as a Clearman head) is described in greater detail in my said Patent No. 2,848,276.
When water is supplied to the interior of member 12, it is directed axially through constriction 13, striking the bottom central portion of diverter plate 22. The impact simultaneously induces the wobbling effect described in the preceding paragraph and lifts head 19 `and therewith elevating member 15, as shown in dashed lines. The height to which elevating member 15 will rise is limited by the cooperative restraining means created when the upper surface of flange 16 encounters the lower surface of the upper grip portion 26 of spring grip 24. Spring grip 24 is held in place about water supply member 12 by having a base 25 which is internally threaded and mounted on the threads at the lower portion of member 12. If desired, this device can be readily disassembled. Elevating member 15 and head 19 are removed by spreading the upper portions of spring grips 24; removal of flange 17 (which is desirably an annular piece threaded on the upper end of elevating member 15) permits removal of head 19. Vertical water supply Imember 12 is removed from the T 11, as previously indicated, by inserting a screwdriver in slot 14.
FIGURES 2, 3, and 4 illustrate a modified form of the device shown in FIGURE 1. Water is supplied to sprinkler unit 30 through T 31; threaded into T 31 is vertical water supply member 32, which in turn is surrounded by loosely iitting elevating member 33, having flange 34 at the upper end thereof. Surrounding the lower portion of water supply member 32 is clamp 3S, having an eye 36 incorporated therein. A similar eye 37 is incorporated into the lower outer portion of elevating member 33, by casting or otherwise, and chain 38 is used to connect the two and thereby cooperatively restrain the height to which elevating member 33 can rise. At the upper endof elevating member 33, and partially surrounding ange 34, is diverter head 39. Head 39 comprises vannular base plate 40, the center hole 41 of which is axially aligned with the bore of water supply member 32. Lip 42 extends below ange 34 so that diverter head 39 loosely 1fits thereabout. Extending upward from base plate 39 from the area immediately adjacent center hole 41 is diverter spoon 43. In order to obtain rotation of diverter head 39, spoon 43 is Iconstructed so that a crosssection (as particularly shown in FIGURE 4) is not parallel to base plate 40. In order to avoid splattering of the stream of water coming -from supply member 32, it is desirable for the angle at which the stream strikes spoon 43 to be maintained at less than yabout 15. For maximum efficiency it is also desirable for the width and depth of spoon 43 to be approximately the same as, or slightly larger than, the diameter of the stream of water projected from supply member 32.
In operation, sprinkler unit 30 functions as follows: a
y stream of water emanating from the upper end of supply member 33 strikes the lower surface of spoon 43. The impact serves to raise diverter head 39 (and therewith elevating member 33) as shown in dashed lines, to direct a `stream of water generally radially outward following the contours of spoon 43, and to cause a slow rotation of diverter head 39. Chain 38 prevents elevating member 33 from rising so far that its lower end extends above the upper end of supply member 32.
Sprinkler unit 30 can be modified in various ways, as will be `apparent to any skilled mechanic. For example, base plate 40 can be made integral with flange 34, and la cooperative restraining means employed which permits elevating member 33 to rotate.
FIGURE illustrates another type of cooperative restraining means which may be employed to limit the height to which the elevating member can rise. In this arrangement vertically positioned water supply member 51 is surrounded by elevating member 52, which is shown with an upper flange 53 (thereby adapting the device for substitution in either sprinkler unit or sprinkler unit 30). Extending from the outer wall of supply member 51 is pin 54, which extends through and slides within longitudinally extending groove 55 in the wall of elevating member 52. This construction is simple, and it will be noted that elevating member S2 is readily removed by twisting it so that the pin follows groove 55 through opening 56.
The elevating members described herein are themselves subject to numerous modifications without departing from the spirit of my invention. To illustrate, either the outer surface of the water supply member or the inner surface of the elevating member may be ribbed, an arrangement which, while still minimizing friction, limits any tendency which the elevating member may have to deviate greatly from Ia vertical attitude when elevated.
FIGURE 6 illustrates, in operation, a sprinkler unit 60 which maintains the advantages of the Clearman head shown in sprinkler unit 10 while greatly reducing the number of parts required and thereby redu-cing the cost of the assembly. Water is supplied through T 61 to vertical supply member 62, which is provided yat the upper end with a shoulder 63, and threaded into T 61. Surrounding water supply member 62 is a modified Clearman head 64, including a wobble plate 65, struts 66, and generally inverted cone-shaped diverter plate 67, having spiral grooves 68 on the lower surface and affixed to the upper end of struts 66. Head 64 does not have a lower support on which wobble plate 65 rotates, but features a modification of wobble plate 65 to achieve that end.
Wobble plate 65 is relatively thick, especially at the center, and contains a center hole which is tapered, the narrow end of the taper being uppermost. Water supplied through the interior of supply member 62 shoots upward, contacting the lower surface of diverter plate 67, which is simultaneously forced upward and canted to one side. Water striking the spiral grooves 68 causes head 64 to rotate slowly, the bearing surface being the tapered inner surface of center hole 69 against the upper outer surface of supply member 62 and the inner upper surface of wobble plate 65 against the outer lower surface of shoulder 63. In this embodiment of my invention head 64 performs the combined functions of diverting head and elevating member, struts 66 being somewhat longer than would otherwise be customary -for Clearman heads.
What I claim is:
1. A disappearing lawn sprinkler which can be installed ush with or slightly below ground level and which will automatically rise above ground level when water is supplied thereto under pressure, comprising in combination: a vertically positioned stationary tubular water supply member, a generally tubular elevating member concentrically mounted about said water supply member and freely axially slidable with respect thereto, cooperative restraining means on said members for limiting the height to which said elevating member can rise, spaced limiting means at the upper end of said elevating member, and an annular wobble plate freely mounted on said tubular elevating member between said spaced limiting means, a diverter element rigidly supported by said wobble plate in a position spaced from one end of said elevating member and in registry therewith, said wobble plate and said diverter element adapted to effect distribution of water in a plurality of directions responsive to the impact thereof, said elevating member being lifted above ground level, in operation, by they impact of Ian unconined stream of water directed through said supply member against the lower surface of said diverter element.
2. A disappearing lawn sprinkler which can be installed flush with or slightly below ground level and which will automatically rise above ground level when water is supplied thereto under pressure, comprising in combination: a vertically positioned tubular water supply member, a generally tubular elevating member concentrically .mounted about said water supply member and freely slidable with respect thereto, said elevating member having a anged shoulder at its lower end, a plurality of stiff but resilient shoulder-engaging restraining members positioned about said elevating member, rigidly mounted at their lower ends but radially displaceable at their upper ends, and a water diverter mounted `at the upper end of said elevating member.
3. A lawn sprinkler which automatically rises when water is supplied thereto under pressure, comprising in combination: a vertically positioned stationary tubular water supply member having a shoulder at its upper end, positioned loosely about said tubular member an elevating number comprising a wobble plate having a tapered central generally circular opening, the narrower opening at the upper face of said wobble plate being larger than said tubular member but smaller than said shoulder, supporting means extending upward from said wobble plate, and a `diverter plate mounted on said supporting means, said elevating member being lifted, when said sprinkler is in operation, by the impact of an unconned stream of water directed through said supply member against the lower surface of said diverter.v
4. A lawn sprinkler which automatically rises when water is supplied thereto under pressure, comprising in combination: a vertically positioned stationary tubular water supply member having a shoulder `at its upper end, positioned loosely about said tubular member an elevating member approximately the same height as said supply member and comprising a wobble plate whose thickness is on the order of at least half the outer diameter of said tubular memiber and which has a central generally circular opening Which is significantly larger than said tubular member but smaller than said shoulder, supporting means extending upward from said wobble plate, and a diverter plate mounted on said supporting means, said elevating member being lifted along the greater part of the height of said water supply member, when said sprinkler ris in operation, by the impact of an unconned stream of wa-ter directed through said supply member against the lower surface of said diverter, said wobble plate slowly rotating .in operation while the upper surface of that portion of the wobble plate which denes said central opening bears against the upper portion of said tubular supply member and the lower surface of that portion of the wobble plate 6 which defines said central opening bears against a lower portion o-f said tubular supply member.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,078,543 11/1913 Hadden 239-222.17 1,938,837 12/1933 Ittner 239-222.17 2,269,919 1/ 1942 Scherrer 239-204 2,325,280 7/ 1943 Scherrer 239-204 10 2,848,276 8/ 1958 Clearman 239-382 M. HENSON WOOD, JR., Primary Examiner.
ROBERT B. REEVES, Examiner.
V. C. WILKS, Assistant Examiner.