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Publication numberUS3733622 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 22, 1973
Filing dateJan 13, 1972
Priority dateJan 13, 1972
Publication numberUS 3733622 A, US 3733622A, US-A-3733622, US3733622 A, US3733622A
InventorsSearles J
Original AssigneeSearles J
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Access panel for plumbing fittings
US 3733622 A
A supporting frame for an access panel covering bath or shower fittings includes horizontal bars which are fixed directly to wall studs. Vertical bars are mounted for lateral adjustment on the horizontal bars to accommodate various center distances found in plumbing fittings. The access panel proper attaches to the frame in such a manner that it may be adjusted into flush relationship with tiled or painted walls of varying thicknesses.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

nited States Patent [1 1 Searles [111 $73,622 1 May 22,1973

ACCESS PANEL FOR PLUMBING FITTINGS Inventor: John W. Searles, 107 Springdale Circle, Thomasville, Ga. 31792 Filed: Jan. 13, 1972 Appl. No.: 217,476

US. Cl. ..4/l91, 137/360, 211/175, 248/57 Int. Cl. ..E03c 1/00, F161 5/00 Field of Search ..4/l91, 192, 193, 4/252 R, DIG. 7; 137/358, 359, 360; 211/87, 175; 52/34, 221, 385, 391; 248/56, 57

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 5/1922 Siether ..4/192 2,496,520 2/1950 Daniel ..248/56 2,955,295 11/1960 Young ..4/192 3,096,782 7/1963 Williams ..l37/360 3,609,774 10/1971 Allgood ..4/ 191 Primary Examiner-William 1. Price Assistant Examiner-Stuart S. Levy Attorney-B. P. Fishbume, Jr.

[57] ABSTRACT 8 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures SHEET 1 BF 2 ACCESS PANEL FOR PLUMBING FITTINGS There is a distinct need in the art for a convenient, economical and neat appearing access cover or panel for wall mounted plumbing fittings, such as the spigots of shower baths or tubs. Customarily, when it is necessary for a plumber to gain access to such fittings for service or repair, the painted or tiled wall must be cut with an inconvenient and rather costly procedure to the homeowner. Accordingly, the main objective of this invention is to overcome the above difficulty through the provision of a sturdy and simplified access panel structure which is easy to install and adjust and which has sufficient versatility to accommodate most, if not all, bath and shower fittings which will normally be encountered. The device lends itself to use in initial building construction so that a convenient access means will be provided at the very beginning, or the device may be installed later on in instances where service work has required cutting into walls and the property owner wishes to avoid this in the future.

Other features and advantages of the invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art during the course of the following detailed description.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWING FIGURES FIG. 1 is a fragmentary perspective view of a plumbing fitting access panel embodying the invention.

FIG. 2 is an enlarged vertical section taken on line 2--2 of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view showing the supporting framework for the access panel and associated elements.

FIG. 4 is an enlarged fragmentary vertical section similar to FIG. 2 showing screw-threaded panel adjusting means.

FIG. 5 is a cross sectional view similar to FIG. 4 showing a modification.

FIG. 6 is another similar sectional view showing a further modification of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION Referring to the drawings in detail wherein like numerals designate like parts, the numeral 10 designates a pair of adjacent vertical wall studs in a tile or plastered wall to which the access panel structure is attached. The structure comprises a pair of vertically spaced parallel horizontal frame bars 11 which are fixedly secured to the front faces of the studs 10 by suitable screws 12. The bars 11 have longitudinal slots 13 formed therethrough andextending throughout the major portions of their lengths and these slots receive bolts 14 which are also received by openings 15 in a pair of vertical frame bars 16 upon which the access panel, to be described, is directly mounted. By .virtue of the slots 13 and bolts 14, the two vertical bars 16 are rendered laterally adjustable through a fairly wide range so that a variety of plumbing fitting center distances can be accommodated by the invention. The bars 16 are securely locked by the bolts 14 in the selected adjusted position for a 'giveninstallation.

The invention additionally comprises a readily removable rectangular access panel 17 which in the form illustrated in FIGS. 1 through 4 includes a shallow panlike body portion 18 formed of stainless steel or the like. A plurality of conventional ceramic tiles 19, such as nine tiles, may be cemented within the rectangular marginal flange 20 of the sheet metal body portion 18 with the flange facing forwardly, FIGS. 2 and 4. Therefore, the access panel 17 is formed as a unit which includes a pan-like body 18 and plural adhered tiles 19 in the form of the invention shown in FIGS. 1-4.

In order to position the panel 17 exactly flush with the front face 21 of the surrounding tiled wall, preferably three adjustable contact screws 22 are provided on each vertical bar 16 near the top, bottom and longitudinal center of each bar, as best shown in FIG. 3. These several contact screws are accurately adjusted so that the access panel 17, when moved into place in the wall opening 23, will be perfectly flush with the surrounding wall surface. After this adjustment has been properly made, the panel 17 is attached to the two bars 16 by a single pair of screws 24, FIG. 2, which enter threaded openings 25, FIG. 3, in the bars 16 directly below the intermediate contact or positioning screws 22.

Both the bars 16 and the removable panel 17 have large clearance openings 26 and 27 for the bath or shower fittings 28 which extend from pipes 29 contained within the wall structure. The customary spigot handles 30 carried by these fittings also serve to cover and conceal the attaching screws 24 which are close to the openings 26 and 27, see FIG. 2. The total arrangement renders the device very neat and attractive in appearance to the extent that a casual observer would not even notice the presence of the removable access panel on the wall.

FIG. 5 shows a slight modification wherein the invention is adapted to a painted wall, such as a plaster wall having a front face 31. As shown in FIG. 5, the adjustable supporting framework may be identical to that previously described in FIGS. l4. The access panel 32, however, may comprise the identical sheet metal pan-like body 18, previously described, having its marginal flange 20 reversed and facing inwardly instead of outwardly, as in FIG. 4. The tiles 19 are omitted and the front face of the element 18 is painted the color of the wall, if desired, and adjusted flush with the face-31 by the positioning screws 22. If preferred, the body 18 formed of stainless steel or the like could remain unpainted and this is a mere matter of artistic preference. Mechanically speaking, the invention in FIG. 5 is identical to the prior embodiment.

FIG. 6 shows another slight modification which again is mechanically the same as the previous forms regarding the mounting and adjustability of parts. However, in FIG. 6, the removable access panel 33 for painted walls is in the form of a sheet metal plate, painted or unpainted, having a marginal inclined flange 34 which engages the wall facing somewhat outwardly of the opening 23 so as to provide a clean-cut appearance. It is thought that the utility and the various features of the invention will be readily understood without any further description.

It is to be understood that the forms of the invention herewith shown and described are to be taken as preferred examples of the same, and that various changes in the shape, size and arrangement of parts may be resorted to, without departing from the spirit of the invention or scope of the subjoined claims.

I claim:

l. A plumbing fitting access panel structure comprising a pair of fixed vertically spaced substantially horizontal mounting frame bars attachable at their ends to a pair of upright wall studs, said fixed bars having sub stantially horizontal longitudinal slots, a pair of substantially vertical laterally spaced and laterally adjustable frame bars arranged in crossing relation to the fixed bars, clamping bolts carried by said adjustable bars and extending through said slots of the fixed bars and adapted to secure the adjustable bars in selected laterally adjusted positions to accommodate the center spacing of plumbing fixtures, plural vertically spaced individually operable access panel positioning screws on the adjustable bars and projecting forwardly thereof, a generally flat access panel engageable with the outer end of the positioning screws, and fastener screws carried by said access panel and engaging threaded openings in said vertical adjustable bars and attaching the panel thereto with the panel abutting said positioning screws.

2. The structure of claim 1, and said plural positioning screws being three in number on each adjustable bar including a pair near the ends of each adjustable bar and a single positioning screw near the longitudinal center of each adjustable bar and between said fixed bars, said positioning screws having heads which project forwardly for contact with said access panel, said access panel and said adjustable bars having clearance openings for projecting parts of laterally spaced plumbing fittings in a wall.

3. The structure of claim 2, and said fastener screws arranged close to the clearance openings in the access panel and said adjustable bars to allow concealment of the fastener screws and clearance openings by manual knobs on said fittings.

4. The structure of claim 1, and said fixed horizontal and adjustable vertical bars comprising relatively thin plate-like members forming a shallow supporting grid for the access panel within a wall opening.

5. The structure of claim 1, and said access panel comprising a shallow pan-like rectangular body engageable within a wall opening adjacent plumbing fittings and adapted to be positioned flush with the exterior face of the wall surrounding the wall opening by adjustment of said positioning screws.

6. The structure of claim 5, and said pan-like rectangular body having a shallow marginal flange engaging in said wall opening.

7. The structure of claim 5, and said shallow pan-like body having an inwardly directed marginal flange adapted to engage said exterior wall face around a wall opening while said body is in contact with said positioning screws.

8. The structure of claim 1, and said access panel comprising an outwardly open shallow pan-like body engageable within the wall opening adjacent to plumbing fittings, and a plurality of wall tiles mounted and secured within the pan-like body and having their front faces disposed in a common plane and said plane adapted to coincide with an adjacent wall facing through manipulation of said positioning screws and fastener screws.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1414792 *Mar 7, 1921May 2, 1922Seither Eugene LBathtub installation
US2496520 *Mar 24, 1947Feb 7, 1950Daniel Garth WAdjustable shower
US2955295 *Jan 13, 1958Oct 11, 1960Young Stephen AValve and mounting means therefor
US3096782 *Oct 27, 1960Jul 9, 1963Juanita W CaruthWater tap receptacle and drain
US3609774 *Apr 30, 1969Oct 5, 1971Allgood Lewis VRoughing in frame and access panel to tub/shower valvfs
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4463460 *Aug 13, 1982Aug 7, 1984Indiana Brass, Inc.Roman tub fixture
US4654900 *Nov 21, 1985Apr 7, 1987Mcghee Charles MBathtub valve fixture module
US5845673 *Feb 13, 1997Dec 8, 1998The Horne Engineering Company LimitedMounting apparatus for pieces of equipment especially fluid valves
US8479761 *Sep 16, 2010Jul 9, 2013Globe Union Industrial Corp.Device used in digital shower system
US20090211021 *Feb 26, 2008Aug 27, 2009Arthur GabrieleHousing to Facilitate the Alignment and Replacement of a Faucet Body of a Water Faucet
US20100132810 *Dec 2, 2009Jun 3, 2010Pompian David KAdjustable Tub/Shower Valve Mounting Fixture and Method
US20100219310 *Jun 22, 2009Sep 2, 2010Max Stephen RosePlumbing fixture mounting bracket assembly
US20110290356 *Sep 16, 2010Dec 1, 2011Chaota YangDevice used in digital shower system
EP0447936A2 *Mar 13, 1991Sep 25, 1991Friatec Aktiengesellschaft Keramik- und KunststoffwerkeDevice for the fixation of installation elements
EP0447936A3 *Mar 13, 1991Jan 8, 1992Friedrichsfeld Ag Keramik-Und KunststoffwerkeDevice for the fixation of installation elements
EP0790357A1 *Feb 11, 1997Aug 20, 1997The Horne Engineering Co. Ltd.Mounting apparatus for pieces of equipment, especially fluid valves
U.S. Classification4/695, 211/175, 137/360, 248/57
International ClassificationE03C1/042
Cooperative ClassificationE03C1/042
European ClassificationE03C1/042