US 3630221 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent  Inventor Robert M. Wilson Battle Creek, Mich. [211 Appl. No. 77,187  Filed Oct. 1, 1970  Patented Dec. 28, 1971  Assignee Dare Products Incorporated Battle Creek, Mich.
[541 FLOAT-CONTROLLED VALVE ASSEMBLY HAVING BOTTLE-TYPE FLOAT 8 Claims, 4 Drawing Figs.
 [1.8. CI 137/448, 137/329.05  1nt.Cl Fl6k3l/l8  Field of Search 137/409, 425, 426, 433, 434, 444, 448, 451; 73/3225  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,059,359 11/1936 Karges 137/448 2,433,166 12/1947 Smith 137/448X 3,176,707 4/1965 Wilson 137/448 Primary ExaminerM. Cary Nelson Assistant ExaminerDavid R. Matthews Attorney-Roy A. Plant ABSTRACT: A float valve structure is provided comprising a housing in the form of an inverted tub having a water inlet provided at the top and an aperture at one end. A bottle, preferably tubular, is provided for use as a float, the bottle having a constricted neck extending through the aperture in the end of the housing and having a cap affixed to the end of the mouth of the bottle and engaging the outer surface of the housing, thereby restraining the neck of the bottle within the housing aperture while permitting the bottle to pivot up and down as determined by the water level. A ring of a resilient sealing material, as for example, a rubberband, is annularly mounted at the portion of the bottle which engages the inlet orifice, thereby providing a sealing means. The bottle, when of cylindrical shape, is permitted to engage in rotational movement about its axis, thereby continually renewing the sealing surface of the sealing band and preventing undue wearing in any single area.
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SHEET 1 OF 2 ROBERT M VV/A 50/1/ BY CP QKPM 2 ATTORNEY F [DAT-CONTROLLED VALVE ASSEMBLY HAVING BOTTLE-TYPE FLOAT BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to float valves particularly for use in watering devices for animals, and more specifically re lates to a device of the type described utilizing a commonly available bottle as a float.
There have been many types of float valves proposed for maintaining a uniform liquid level in a tank, some of them proposed for use in stock-watering tanks. Among the leading patents in this field are US. Pat. Nos. 3,176,707 and 3,270,770, both issued to the present Applicant. Quite generally, float valves were of the exposed float type, or at least semiexposed and were not wholly satisfactory for stockwatering tank use since the inherent curiosity and nuzzling of farm animals, such as horses and cattle, would quickly damage the valve mechanism and commonly render it inoperative. Even those float valves which have been previously best suited for use in stock-watering tanks, such as that which used a plain Styrofoam float within an open-bottom cover member, gave trouble since the farm animals have been prone, when the water level in the tank drops, to not only nuzzle" the valve assembly, but also to lick under the housing and either damage the rough-surfaced float used in these watering-tank valve assemblies, or through it interfere with the pivot mechanism of the water inlet control valve so that it would not properly operate to control the flow of water into the tank. Additionally, many of the previous float valve structures have been quite complicated and relatively expensive to fabricate.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Accordingly, among the objects of the present invention is the provision of a stable type of construction for a float valve mounted within a housing and adapted for universal use.
It is a further object of the invention to provide a float valve assembly utilizing as a float a commonly and inexpensively available article.
It is a further object to provide a float which is readily replaceable.
It is still an additional-object to provide a float valve assembly utilizing valve-closure means adapted continually to change the valve surface presented for closing the valve orifice, thereby preventing undue wear in a single spot.
Still further objects and advantages of the invention will appear as the description proceeds.
To the accomplishment of the foregoing and related ends, the invention, then, consists of float valve assembly means and features hereinafter fully described and particularly pointed out in the claims, the annexed drawings and the following description setting forth in detail an illustrative embodiment of the invention, such disclosed embodiment illustrating, however, but one of the various ways in which the principle of the invention may be used.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the annexed drawings:
FIG. 1 is a cross-sectional view of the float valve structure of the invention showing the float as it is being inserted.
FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view similar to that of FIG. 1 but showing the float mounted and secured in place.
FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the invention shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, with the valve in closed position; and
FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view taken at the line 4-4 of FIG. 3, looking in the direction of the arrows.
DESCRIPTION OF THE SPECIFIC EMBODIMENT Referring to the drawings and more particularly to FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, a float valve assembly according to the invention is shown having a housing 11 in the form of an inverted tub or tank formed preferably of a high-impact plastic material such as Cycolac. Other suitable materials are polystyrene, polypropylene, polymethylmethacrylate or phenolfonnaldehyde molding compounds. Alternatively, the housing may be made of a metal such as aluminum, brass, steel, etc. The housing 11 comprises a top wall 12, end walls 13 and 14, and sidewalls l5 and 16 (FIG. 4). The top wall 12 is provided with an air vent aperture 17 and an inlet 18 threaded to receive a pipe 19. Alternatively, the inlet 18 may be threaded to receive a conventionalhose-coupling end. A sealing washer 20 is provided for sealing the pipe to the inlet. Ribs 21 are provided for stiffening the sidewalls l5 and 16 as well as aiding in centering float 36 in its up and down pivotal movements with minimized friction.
The housing 11 is supported at the side of a tank 25 by means of a pair of U-brackets 26 and 27 having one leg thereof inserted in recesses 28 and 29, FIG. 3, provided in one sidewall 15 of the housing 11 through slots 30 and 31 provided in the top wall 12 (FIGS. 3 and 4). The housing 11 is affixed to the U-brackets 26 and 27 by means of screws 32, FIG. 4.
Mounted within the housing 11 and serving as a float valve is a bottle 36 having a cylindrical body 37, a bottom 38 and constricted at the other end to form a neck 39. The neck 39 is provided with screw threads 40 over which is screwingly engaged a cap 41. The bottle is preferably formed of a plastic material such as polyethylene, vinyl chloride, a synthetic rubber, or other suitable material such as glass, steel, aluminum, et cetera. The cap 41 may also be formed of a plastic material or any of the other materials listed above. The bottleneck 39 extends through an aperture 42 formed in end wall 14. The aperture 42 is made of sufficient size so that the bottle may pivot up and down therein, but sufficiently small to engage the backface of cap 41 to restrain the bottle axially. If desired, a setscrew 47 or similar setting device such as a pin maybe utilized to prevent the cap 41 from loosening. A valvesealing member .43 in the form of a rubberband or band of other resilient material is mounted at the shoulder of the bottle. The valve-sealing member 43 is adapted to engage a valve seat 44 and to seal an inlet orifice 45 terminating at the valve seat. The size of the orifice 45 may be of any desirable or operable size. If desired, the orifice 45 may be made sufficiently small so that it can cooperate to provide nonsiphoning operating conditions, as described in Applicants copending application, Ser. No. 750,309, filed Aug. 5, 1968. As therein described, a nonsiphoning condition is obtained by a construction preventing the back siphonage of water from the watering tank into the supply line. Basically, nonsiphoning requirements are simply that the water supply inlet, or inlet orifice inside of the housing of the float valve assembly must be elevated to a position above the maximum water level of the stock-watering tank. The maximum water level is the height to which the water can rise before spilling over the tank rim or through an adequate-size safety overflow opening which serves as a safety factor to avoid siphoning difficulty in case of accidental damage to the float valve assembly. Usually, the distance between the inlet orifice inside the housing and the maximum water level must be equal to twice the diameter of the water supply line, but no less than one inch. Theseconditions are obtained by limiting the diameter of the orifice to less than approximately three-sixteenth inch in diameter. By reducing the diameter of the orifice, the total force pressing against the valve seat 45 required to close the orifice 45 is less, and this force can be obtained at a lower water level, that is, while the float is not submerged as much.
In placing the float valve assembly of the present invention in condition for operation, the float bottle 36 is placed within the housing and its neck extended through the aperture 42 in the side wall 14. The cap 41 is then screwed over the bottleneck and the bottle thereby sealed. The cap 41 also in this position prevents the bottleneck from being pulled out from the aperture 42. The housing 11 is then mounted by means of the brackets 26 and 27 over the edge of a tank 25. A pipe 19 or hose fitting is then screwed into the inlet 18. The assembly is thcn.in the condition shown in FIG. 2. The water tap may then be opened and water permitted to flow through the orifree 45, thereby filling the tank 25. As the water level rises, the bottle 36 also rises. Eventually, it attains the position shown in FIG. 3 in which the valve-sealing member 43 completely seals off the orifice 45 and stops the entrance of the water through the inlet and into the tank. Subsequently, when the water level in the tank is reduced, as for example as a result of drinking by the animal stock, the bottle 36 descends, again opening the orifice 35 and permitting additional water to enter the tank. The housing 11 should be so dimensioned that it confines the float bottle 36 within narrow lateral limits, thereby assuring that the valve seat 44 and orifice 45 is always properly engaged by the sealing band 43.
The float valve assembly of the present invention has a number of advantages over those disclosed in the art. First, it may be completely assembled from plastic materials which are not affected by water or weathering. Second, the parts of the assembly may be simply and relatively inexpensively molded from plastic material. Third, the bottles used as the float are readily available commercially and may be readily replaced when required. Additionally, because the elastic band provides a sealing surface around the entire circumference of the bottle float, and a certain amount of rotation takes place during the operation of the valve, a new sealing surface is continually presented to the valve seat, so that no worn spots result in the sealing band which would adversely affect its operation.
While a preferred embodiment of the invention has been illustrated and described herein, it is to be understood that modifications may be made in the float valve assembly and its elements within the spirit and scope of the invention as herein described and illustrated.
Other modes of applying the principle of my invention may be employed, instead of the one explained, change being made as regards the assembly herein disclosed, provided the features stated by any of the following claims or the equivalent of such stated features be employed.
I therefore particularly point out and distinctly claim as my invention:
1. A float valve assembly for a watering tank comprising a housing having sidewalls, end walls, a top wall, and an open bottom and means for mounting said housing on the wall of said tank, a water inlet provided at the top of the housing terminating in a constricted orifice and a valve seat disposed about said orifice, a float in the form of a bottle having a neck pivotally mounted at an end wall of said housing, and a sealing member comprising a band of a resilient sealing material mounted on the periphery of and circumscribing said bottle and adapted to engage said valve seat and seal said orifice when the level of water in said tank rises to a predetermined level.
2. A float valve assembly according to claim 1, wherein an end wall of said housing is provided with an aperture and the neck of said bottle is disposed through said aperture, and a cap affixed to said bottleneck, said aperture being of sufficient size to pennit said bottleneck to move therein, but sufficiently small to engage the lip of said cap, thereby restraining the neck of said bottle within said aperture.
3. A float valve assembly according to claim 2, wherein said bottle is formed of a moldable plastic material.
4. A float valve assembly according to claim 2, wherein said bottle is formed of polyethylene.
5. A float valve assembly according to claim 2, wherein said cap is formed of a moldable plastic material.
6. A float valve assembly according to claim 1, wherein said housing is formed of a moldable plastic material.
7. A floatvalve assembly according to claim 1, wherein the diameter of said orifice is less than about 3/16 inch at said valve seat.
8. A float valve assembly according to claim 2, wherein a setting device is provided on said cap to prevent said cap from loosening.