US 3668715 A
A molded tub-like structure, with a peripheral flange, having an integrally molded sliding surface projecting well above the peripheral flange thereof and having integrally molded steps is disclosed herein. The tub, sliding surface, and steps are unitarily formed of comparatively lightweight thermoplastic sheet material. An elevated platform is disposed between the sliding surface and steps, and it is reinforced and structurally supported by a tripod structure having plural tubular support members.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent I Chase  3,668,715 1 June 13, 1972 52 use ..4/l72,272/56.5 s11 lnt.Cl. ..E04h3/l6,E04h3/l8  FieldofSearch ..4/l72,l72.l9,l72.2l;Dl3/l;
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS l,648,l96 11/1927 Rohmer ..4/l72.l9 X
\ iitlll 3,210,077 10/1965 Hjelte ..272/56.5 3,497,877 3/[970 Diemond et al. ..4/l72 Primary Examiner-Henry K. Artis I Anorney Mandeville & Schweitzer A molded tub-like structure. ith a peripheral flange. having an integrally molded sliding surface projecting well above the peripheral flange thereof andhavin'gintegrally molded steps is disclosed herein. The tub. sliding surface. and steps are unitarily formed of comparativelylightweight thermoplastic sheet material. An elevated platform is disposed between the sliding surface and steps, and it is reinforced and structurally supported by a tripod structure having plural tubular support members.
11 ClainsJh-lwingfigures PATENTEDJUH 13 I972 SHEET 1 OF 3 INVENTOR. ASCHER CHASE ATTORNEYS PATENTEDJUH 13 m2 SHEET 20F 3 INVENTOR. ASCHER CHASE BY I ATTORNEYS PATENTEQJUN 13 I972 3. 668 7 l 5 SHEET 3 0F 3 ZNVENTOR. ASCHER CHASE ATTORNEYS POOL STRUCTURE WITH BUILT-IN EX'IERNALLY SUPPORTED STEP-SLIDE CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION disclosure of which is deemed incorporated by reference herein.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Tub-like, pool-like and other water-retaining structures have been long known to the art for myriad purposes, paramount among which are recreational and hygienic applications. The materials employed in the construction of tubs, baths, pools and the like have varied from culture to culture and from civilization to civilization, ranging from stones and mortar to the most modern and recently developed synthetic materials, such as polyethylene.
Vacuum molded or otherwise thermo-formed plastic bathing tubs, wading pools, sandboxes and the like have been known and used by the art for many years. Moreover, various integral structural modifications of these tubs, pools, sandboxes and the like have long been available. For example,.auxiliary functional surfaces have been integrally molded into water-retaining structures below the peripheral edges thereof for a variety of purposes, such as for forming anatomical supporting surfaces in the nature of seats, sliding surfaces and the like. That is to say, all of the adjunct structure employed heretofore in water-retaining structures has been disposed beneath the upper peripheral edges of the structure. While these structures have generally proved to be satisfactory for the formation of seats, low ramps, unelevated slides, and the like in tubs, pools, sandboxes, etc., the art heretofore has been unable to develop a bath, pool or sandbox structure having an elevated recreational slide integrally formed therewith, i.e., a slide projecting well above the peripheral flanges.
SUMMARY OF THE PRESENT INVENTION The present invention provides, for the first time, a childrens tub, pool, or sandbox structure, having an integrally formed slide which projects well above the major peripheral edges of the tub-like structure, and integrally molded steps leading from the bottom of the structure to the top of the slide. The new tub and step-slide structure is vacuum molded or otherwise thermo-formed from a single sheet of heavy gauge plastic material, such as polyethylene or a like polymeric plastic material.
The step-slide portion of the new structure is hollow and is uniquely reinforced and supported to withstand those crushing forces which may be presented by the pressure of retained water or sand when the tub or pool portion is filled and to withstand and to support safely the weight of a sliding child or sliding children. More specifically, the step-slide, itself, is derived from peripheral side wall portions of the tube structure, while the reinforcing support structure is in the general nature of a stabilized tripod formed by three specially configured tubular elements.
For a more complete understanding of the present invention and for a better appreciation of its attendant advantages, reference should be made to the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a circular, tub-like swimming pool having integrally molded steps leading to an integrally molded hollow, elevated slide reinforced by a unique tripod structure, in accordance with the principles of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the pool with the new hollow step-slide structure;
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary, cross-sectional view taken along line 3-3 of FIG. 2 and showing the supporting of the platform portion of the new pool by the tripod structure, in accordance with the principles of the present invention;
FIG. 4 is an enlarged, fragmentary, cross-sectional view taken along line 4-4 of FIG. 2 showing additional details of construction of the step-slide of the invention; and
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary, perspective view showing details of the tripod support, as viewed from beneath the step-slide.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION or THE PRESENT INVENTION Referring now to FIG. 1 the new structure of the present invention comprises a generally conventional tube-like structure 11, having an upper peripheral circumscribing flange 12; a step-slide structure 10 integrally formed at one side of tub-like structure I]; and a stabilized tripod structure 9. The tub-like structure 11, aside from the step-slide I0, is essentially conventional in all respects and includes substantially vertical, cir cumscn'bing side walls 13 and a horizontal bottom wall 14 formed by vacuum molding sheet polyethylene or a similar synthetic plastic material.
In accordance with the principles of the invention, the hollow, elevated step-slide 10 is formed integrally at one side of the tub-like structure 11 as follows. Material from side wall portions and adjacent bottom portions of the tub-like struc' ture 11, which, absent the step-slide 10, would otherwise be used to form side walls and bottom wall portions is borrowed" and inverted to define the step-slide structure 10. Specifically, the step-slide structure 10 includes an elevated, horizontal platform 16, a curved slide 17, descending from the platform 16 to the bottom wall 14, and a series of steps 18 ascending in a curve from the wall 14 to the platform 16.
Referring now to FIGS. 1 and 2, the new step-slide 10 is supportedat its outside edges by the external, peripheral wall portions 19 to which it is integrally joined. The inner edges of the slide 27, platform 16, and steps 18 are supported by an inner pool wall 20 which extends between said inner edges of the step-slide and the bottom wall 14 of the pool, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. The curvature of the inner pool wall 20 is similar to that of the outer pool wall 13. Thus it will be understood that the outer edge portions of the step-slide, which are beneath the flange 22, are in effect top supported" or suspended by the pool wall portions 19, whereas the inner edge portions of the step-slide 10 are bottom supported" by the inner side wall which extends between the bottom of the pool and the inner sideedges of the step-slide. In accordance with the invention, the elevated portions of the step-slide are bottom supported at their outer edges by a vertical, auxiliary shell 21 comprised of a vertical extension 22 of the side walls 13 and a vertical extension 23 of the flange 12 (FIG. 4). As shown, a generally vertical step wall 30 extends between the outer side walls 13 and inner pool wall 20 and joins the bottom wall 14 and lower step 18. A similar step wall 31 joins the rearmost portion of the lower step 18 with the forwardmost portion of the upper step 18, while a similar step wall 32 joins the upper step to the rear edge of the platform 16.
As shown, the side walls may be provided with a decorative waffle-like or grid pattern 25 of integrally embossed ribs 26, which contribute to the strength of the side walls 13 as well as to the attractiveness of the appearance of the pool. The inner side wall 20 of the step-slide 10, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, is provided with closely spaced, parallel, vertical ribs 27 to lend further support to the elevated step-slide structure. Advantageously, the horizontal surfaces of the two steps 18 lead ing up to the elevated platform are provided with integrally formed non-slip tread elements 29, as shown best in FIG. 3.
As a most important aspect of the invention, external support and rigidity for the new pool having an integrally molded step-slide structure is provided by the unique stabilized tripod arrangement 9 comprised of three tubular rail elements 40-42. The element 40 comprised two vertical legs 44, 45 of lengths substantially greater than the height of the platform 16 interconnected by a crossbar 46. Element 41 is in the form of an inverted J, and comprises a major leg 47, a minor leg 46, and an interconnecting crossbar 48. The element 42 comprises a vertical strut 52 and a horizontal stabilizing member 49 having an upturned foot portion 50 which has a reduced diameter projection 51 which telescopes into the lower end of leg 45 as shown in FIG. 5, The strut 52 is bent at its upper end to define a support 53 for the flange 12.
More specifically, the new stabilized tripod support 9 of the invention is assembled and joined with the tub structure 11 in the following manner to reinforce, strengthen, and otherwise rigidify the new step-slide 10. The rail 41 is first attached to the underside of the step-slide 10 by a bolt 60 which extends through a hole 62 in the side wall 20, as shown best in FIGS. 2 and 5. A nut 61 is threaded to the bolt 60 to secure the rail 41 to the pool and effectively clamp it between the inside surface of the wall 20 and the nut 61. As will be appreciated, the hole 62 in the wall 20, through which the bolt 61 passes, is advantageously located above the high-water mark of the pool, e. g., above the uppermost step 18. Thereafter, the rail element 40 is attached to the outer surfaces of the shell 21 by clampingly securing the leg 44 thereto by bolts 63 which pass through the tubular leg 44 and through holes in the shell 21. The threaded ends of the bolts 63 are joined with mating nuts 68 which, when tightened down, tend to clamp the shell between the tubular leg 44 and the inner surfaces of the nuts, as will be understood. The other leg 45 of the element 40 is also secured to the shell 21. A pair of elongated bolts 64 fasten leg 45 to the shell and extend through registered holes in the minor leg 46 of the inverted J-shaped rail element 41. Nuts 65 securely join the minor portion 47 of the rail element 41 to the leg 45 of the element 40, as will be understood, in a manner which clamps the shell surface 21 therebetween, as shown best in FIG. 5. I
The reinforcing and supporting tripod structure 9 of the invention is completed by inserting the reduced diameter portion 51 of the foot portion 50 of the rail element 42 into the lower end of the leg 45 to form therewith a contiguous foot, as
will be understood, and thereafter-by securing the support 53 extends through the flange to the flange 12 by a bolt 66 which from the outside and through the portion 53 which is disposed beneath the flange 12, as shown in FIG. 5. A nut 67 is tightened down on the bolt 66 and thereby effectively clamps the support portion 53 between the head of the bolt 66 and the inner surfaces of the flange 12, as will be understood and as is shown best in FIG. 5. Advantageously, if oversizcd bolt heads are not readily available, enlarged washers may be interposed between the bolt heads and nuts in a conventional fashion to enhance their clamping-type fastening effect.
It will be appreciated that many other equivalent types of reinforcing support arrangements may be employed in lieu of the specifically described arrangement. Regardless of the specific configuration of the chosen support, it should provide support and reinforcement for the elevated step-slide structure in the manner shown and, advantageously but not necessarily, it should provide a hand rail adjacent to the uppermost portions of the sliding surface. 1
it should further be appreciated that the structure of the present invention provides for the first time a play pool or sandbox having a completely internally contained, integral slide unit. That is to say, a child may repeatedly ascend the slide and descend into the water or sand without having to exit from and then reenter the structure.
While the step-slide pool of the invention has been illustrated in the form of a circular pool, it will be appreciated that the external, geometrical shape is a matter ,of choice, and the new pool may be oval, kidney-shaped, rectangular or the like while embodying the principles of the present invention. Ac-
water-retaining p ool having a flatbpttom wall of predetermined configuration and circumscriblng peripheral side walls of predetermined height extending upwardly therefrom, said slide structure including a. sliding surface fonned integrally with said tub adjacent a side wall thereof and sloping upwardly from said bottom wall to a predetermined height; b. a horizontal platform means integrally connected with the uppermost portions of said sliding surface;
. a plurality of molded steps leading up to said platform means and being integrally connected therewith at an edge thereof remote from the'connection to said sliding surface;
d. the outermost edges of said sliding surface, platform and steps being integrally connected with and supported from the peripheral side wall of said pool structure;
e. the inner edges of said sliding surface, platform, and steps being'supported by an upstanding wall portion extending between said inner side edges and the bottom wall of said pool structure;
f. a support structure having at least one foot portion adapted to rest on a surface externally of said pool structure in the plane of said bottom wall, supportingly engaging under surface portions of said platform structure.
2. The structure of claim 1, in which I a. said support structure includes a portion extending above the plastic pool portion adjacent said step slide structure.
3. The structure of claim 1, in which a. said inner pool wall includes a series of vertical, parallel ribs.
4. The structure of claim 1, in which a. said sliding surface is elevated well above the upper side edges of the pool. a
5. The structure of claim 1, in which a. the sliding surface descends arcuately from the platform to the bottom wall.
6. A one-piece pool structure including a. a bottom wall of predetermined geometric configuration;
b. side walls extending upwardly'from said bottom wall;
c. an auxiliary wall spaced inwardly of said side walls and extending upwardly from said bottom wall;
d. an integral sliding surface supported between said side walls and said auxiliary wall;
e. a plurality of integral steps supported between said side walls and said auxiliary wall; and
f. means interconnecting said steps and said sliding surface.
7. The structure of claim 6, in which a. said means interconnecting said steps and said sliding surface includes a horizontal platform. I
8. The structure of claim 7, in which a. said platform is. elevated above the upper peripheral edges of said side walls.
9. The structure of claim 6, in which a. an independent support engages under surface portions of said structure to reinforce and to rigidify the same.
10. The structure of claim 9, in which a. said support includes a plurality of tubular rail portions.
1 l. The structure of claim 10, in which a. said support is at least tripodal and comprises at least one horizontal portion which supportingly engages uppermost portions of said pool structure.