US 3780383 A
A novel toilet system is disclosed which is alternatively operable on a recirculating fluid supply or an external water supply.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Katona 5] Dec. 25, 1973 RETRACTABLE RECIRCULATING TOILET 754,733 3/1904 SYSTEM MODULE 2,443,214 6/1948 2,725,575 12/1955  Inventor: William F. Katona, Northndge, 1750599 6 1956 Calif. 2,794,988 6/ I 957 2,799,864 7 1957  Assignee: Monogram Industries, Inc., Los 2326362 311958 Angeles, Callf. 2.879.519 3/1959  Filed: Apr. 22, 1971 H K A Primary Examiner enry rtis ] Appl. No.: 136,473 Attorney-William A. Kemmel, Jr. Casimir A.
Related U.S. Application Data Miketta  Division of Ser. No. 43,450, June 4, 1970, Pat. No.
3,593,346.  ABSTRACT A novel toilet system is disclosed which is alternatively  U.S. Cl. 4/10, 4/77 1 v t l 51 1111. c1 E03d 11/12, 1203a 11/10 a reclrculatmg supply or an ex em  Field of Search 4/10, 78, 76, 80, P
4/89, 90 H5, H1, 116 In a speclfic embodiment, the tollet retracts mto a wall fixture and combines a movable bowl member with a  References Cited fixed receiver member. Separate flush lines clean the UNITED STATES PATENTS bowl anti the receiver when in the retracted configuration. 587,735 8/l897 lves 4/77 3,436,764 4/1969 Colonna... 4/76 X 4 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures 3,042,933 7/1962 Garvar 4/8 7 1 ill? Q 0 D 0 Q 0 (D Q Q Q 0 \l r /l A F W I w f L o e Lfl/ w #5 PATENTED EH12 5 I975 SHEEIZUFB RETRACTABLE RECIRCULATING TOILET SYSTEM MODULE This is a divisional application of application Ser. No. 43,450, filed June 4, 1970 now US. Pat. No. 3,593,346, issued .luly 20, 1972.
The present invention relates to toilet arrangements and, more particularly, a toilet sytem suitable for installation in house trailers, trains, boats, buses, aircraft or in other mobile, semimobile or even stationary installations.
In recent years, the popularity of recreational vehicles has increased substantially and it has been deemed desirable to provide self-contained sanitation facilities within such vehicles. Basically, two types of toilet systems have been developed to meet this need. A first type is the closed system, recirculating toilet unit such as is described in the Patents to W.F. Katona et aL, No. 3,356,221 and N. .l. Palmer, Pats. Nos. 3,458,049 and 3,473,171. A second, more conventional, type is connected to the vehicle water supply system and empties into a holding tank.
The second type is marked by several disadvantages. Primarily, the storage capacities of the water supply tank and the holding tank impose limitations upon the usage of the system and, further, the available water supply is exhausted at a disproportionate rate. Mobility and range are restricted by the need for frequent emptying of the holding tank.
These disadvantages are avoided by the first type of system which neither diminishes the fresh water supply nor requires a large holding tank or the frequent drainage of a smaller tank. As taught in the above patents, the liquid in the tank is filtered and recirculated by an electric pump. As a result, the system can be operated for a number of cycles without attention.
Considering such recreational vehicles as campers, trailers and pleasure boats, in particular, extensive facilities are now available that provide connections to electrical power, running water, and waste disposal facilities. Under such circumstances, it wuld be desirable to have a system of the first type when such facilities are not available, as, for example, while in transit, and a system of the second type available while at the facility. It was therefore considered desirable to have a sanitation system that could be alternatively operable as a recirculating system or as a more conventional, running water flush system.
According to the present invention, a toilet system of the first type such as is described in the above mentioned patents, includes a flush system which alternatively receives flushing liquid from a running water system or a recirculating system, the selection of which is made prior to use. A foot pedal is provided which opens a mechanical seal assembly, a flush valve, and also energizes a miniature, snap-action switch.
The use of a floor-mounted" toilet unit, such as is described in the above patents represents an intrusion into the available living" space. In the larger vehicles, this presents no great problem and can be accepted. However, in smaller vehicles such as campers and trailers and in small pleasure boats, it has been deemed desirable to have the sanitation facilities occupying a minimum of floor" area and, accordingly, some form of folding or disappearing toilet would appear to be desirable.
In the past, folding or disappearing" toilet installation have been employed in cabins on passenger vessels, where the allocated space was insufficient for bathroom accommodations. Similar installations have been made in the private compartments of railroad cars. Generally, such toilet facilities included a conventinal toilet which was unfolded prior to use. The toilet flushed from the available running water supply and drained into the normal waste disposal system. In operation, the fushing of the toilet was accomplished before the unit was folded into its compartment.
In a preferred emboidment of the present invention, a disappearing toilet system can be installed in some 9 inches of depth and, in various models, can be combined with a lavatory, a vanity, and a portable shower and shower pan. Such a unit permits the selection of either a recirculating flush system or a running water flush system, depending upon the setting of a control selector lever.
A foot pedal is provided which initiates and controls the flushing operation and the lever is so positioned that the toilet is retracted before flushing.
The toilet system includes a folding bowl having a flush manifold and a stationary, receiving bowl mounted within the system and having a separate flush manifold. The folding bowl acts as a temporary receptacle and discharges its contents into the receiver when the bowl is folded into its storage position. Operation of the foot pedal initiates the flushing action which separately flushes both the folding bowl and the receiver.
Operation of the foot pedal first opens a mechanical seal and, at the lower limit of travel, energizes a miniature, snap-action switch and opens a flushing valve. If the recirculaing system has been selected by a lever, then the running water supply valve has been closed and the pump motor circuit has been enabled. Similarly, if a running water system has been selected, then the motor circuit is disabled and the water supply valve is opened.
An interlock switch may be provided so that the toilet cannot be flushed unless the bowl is folded into its storage configuration to prevent inadvertent splashing during the flush operation, especially if a high-volume flow is provided from the running water source. A folding support member can be included in the bowl unit to reduce the mechanical support requirement on the hinge system.
The novel features which are believed to be characteristic of the invention, both as to organization and method of operation, together with further objects and advantages thereof will be better understood from the following description considered in connection with the accompanying drawings in which several preferred embodiments of the invention are illustrated by way of example. It is to be expressly understood, however, that the drawings are for the purpose of illustration and description only and are not intended as a definition of the limits of the invention.
FIG. 1 is a front view of a folding toilet system according to the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a rear view of the folding toilet system of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a side view of the folding toilet system with the toilet bowl folded out for use;
FIG. 4 is a view of a portion of the flushing valve assembly of FIG. 2;
FIG. 5 is a side view of the selection switch assembly of the toilet system of FIG. 1; and
FIG. 6 is a side view of an alternative mechanical seal useful in the system of FIG. 1.
Turning to FIGS. 1 through 3, there is shown an embodiment of the dual mode toilet of the present invention which is designed to occupy a minimum of floor space in a recreational vehicle. FIGS. 1 and 2 show the front and rear, respectively, of one model of such a dual mode toilet system, with the toilet bowl in the retracted or folded configuration.
Turning first to FIG. 1, there is shown a wall mounted toilet system 110 which is adapted to be installed in a vehicle. The system includes a pump filter combination 112 (as seen in FIG. 2) a selector switch 114 and a holding tank 118 which, for convenience is mounted below the floor of the vehicle. The toilet includes a retractable bowl unit 122 which has a seat 124 hingedly mounted thereon.
A foot pedal 128 is provided for operation of the flushing system. The flush pedal 128 is connected to a pivot member 130 and through a series of linkages and earns, controls an electrical flush switch 140', a mechanical seal 164' and a flush valve 168. The external source of running water is applied to the system at a water inlet 148 which connects to the flush valve 168.
The output of the flush valve 168 is applied to a water pipe 132, which is connected to a selector valve assembly 134, which is a part of the selector switch mechanism 1 14, shown in greater detail in FIG. 6, below. An antisiphon, vacuum breaker element 136, is also provided to enable use of the system with the running water supply.
The flush output of the filter pump 112 is applied to a flexible tubing 150 to a diverter valve 90 disclosed in the parent application. The diverter valve 90 is also coupled to a second flexible tube 152 to the selector valve assembly 134 to receive the water flow therefrom. In addition to the retractable bowl unit 122, there is also a receiver bowl assembly 126, which is permanently emplaced within the unit, and which connects, through the mechanical seal 164, to the holding tank 118. A first flush manifold in the retractable bowl 154 is coupled to the diverter valve 90 through a flexible tube, and a second flush manifold 156 in the receiver bowl 126 is connected to the diverter valve 90 through a flexible member 158.
A manually operated, support leg 160 is mounted on the front of the bowl unit 122 and supports the seat and bowl when in the unfolded position. The support leg 160 is a convenient member for bringing the seat out of the folded configuration. The bowl 122, in use, is intended to be a temporary receptacle. When there is no further need for the toilet and before the flushing operation has been commenced, the bowl unit 122 is returned to the folded configuration and the contents, temporarily stored therein, are free to flow into the receiver bowl 126.
Actuation of the pedal 128 opens the mechanical seal 164 into the holding tank 118 permitting a drainage of the contents of the receiver bowl 126. At the limit of pedal travel, both the electrical flush switch 140 and the mechanical flush valve 168 are actuated. Depend ing upon the selection made at the selector switch 114, either the electrical system to the pump filter 1 12 is disabled or the selector switch control valve 134 is disabled. Whichever system is operating, furnishes flushing liquid to the diverter valve and then into the bowl unit 122 and the receiver bowl 126 to clean the interior thereof.
Turning next to FIG. 4, there is shown in somewhat greater detail, the foot pedal operated flushing mechanisms. Flush valve 168 applies running water to the pipe 132 that leads to the selector valve 134. At the same time, at the extreme of pedal travel, a cam member 144 operates the electric flush switch which may be a miniature snap-action switch.
The flush valve 168 includes a rotating member with a return spring to maintain the valve in the normally closed configuration. An extension of the foot pedal 128, includes a lever arm 146 which operates flush valve lever 148. A separate linkage assembly 166 connected to the foot pedal lever also operates the mechanical seal 164.
In FIG. 5, there is shown an alternative mechanical 64' which is useful in the embodiment of FIGS. 1 through 3 and which may be adapted for use with the embodiments of FIGS. 1 and 2 of the parent application. This mechanical seal includes a hinged gate member 76' which is mounted below a gasket assembly 78' having an orifice 84' which is occluded by the gate member 76'.
The gate member 76' is mounted by means of a spring-loaded pivot 80' and is coupled for actuation to a pedal 28 through a linkage 166' that fastens to an actuating lever 86. As indicated in the dotted configuration, depression of the pedal 28 through the linkage 166' operates the lever 86' which pivotally rotates the gate member 76' against the force of the biased pivot 80 opening the orifice 84 to enable communication between the tank and the bowl.
Turning finally to FIG. 6, there is shown in a side view the selector switch assembly 114 which is employed in the embodiment of FIGS. 1 through 3. Shown in greater detail is the water supply line 132 which connects to the selector valve 134 and the vacuum breaker antisiphon valve 116. As shown, a selector lever 170, which is accessible from the users side of the system, can be placed in one of two positions for selecting either running water or recirculating operation. The switch lever 170 is mounted to a control shaft 172 which includes a cam member 174. The shaft 172 also controls the selecting valve 134 to open or close the valve to the flow of water.
The cam member 174 is positioned to actuate a miniature snap-action switch 176 which is in the electrical circuit between the flush switch 140 and the filter pump 112.
In the position that selects the running water system, the selector switch lever 170 is turned to an orientation that rotates the shaft 172 to open the selecting valve 134 and, at the same time, the cam member 174 places the switch 176 in the open circuit condition. Placing the selector switch lever 170 in the position to operate the recirculating system, the shaft 172 is rotated to a position that closes the selector valve 134 and the cam member 174 engages the swithc 176 to a closed circuit configuration.
Depending upon the configuration of the selector switch lever 170, energization of the pedal 128 will close the electric flushing switch 140 and open the flushing valve 168. If the recirculating system has been selected, the selector valve 134 and electrical switch 176 will be closed and the filter pump 1 12 will operate.
Alternatively, in the running water selection mode, the electric switch 176 will be open circuited and the selecting valve will pass water from the supply line 132. It will be obvious to those skilled in the art that a foot operated pedal is not essential to the present invention and that other means might be devised for opening the mechanical seal and operating the electric flush switch and the flush valve. Other variations and combinations will appear to those skilled in the art.
Thus, there has been described and shown a folding toilet system has been described in which the bowl member is hingedly mounted to a wall surface and may be manually unfolded from the wall for use. A permanently emplaced receiver bowl assembly remains within the wall and appropriate flush manifolds clean both the bowl and the receiving bowl during the flushing operation with the seat folded into its stored configuration.
What I claim as new is:
l. A toilet system module comprising:
a. an enclosure for housing the toilet system;
b. a first, toilet bowl pivotally mounted on said enclosure for substantially vertical storage therein;
c. a second, receiver bowl fixedly mounted within said enclosure and positioned to be adjacent said toilet bowl and in fluid communication therewith; and
d. flush manifold means coupled to said toilet bowl and said receiver bowl for applying flushing liquid to both said toilet bowl and said receiver bowl.
2. The toilet system module of claim 1, above, wherien said first toilet bowl includes a pivotal support member cooperable with a surface for supporting said first member in the substantially horizontal configuration of normal use.
3. The toilet system module of claim 1, above, further including mechanical seal means mounted on said second, receiver bowl and said seal means being operable for emptying the contents of said receiver bowl.
4. The toilet system module of claim 3, above, further including flush control means coupled to said mechanical seal means and said flush manifold means, said flush control means operating said mechanical seal means and providing flushing liquid to said flush manifold means, whereby said toilet and receiver bowls are flushed, by applying flushing liquid to both of said bowls, said toilet bowl draining into said receiver bowl and said receiver bowl draining through said mechanical seal means.