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Publication numberUS3820170 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 28, 1974
Filing dateApr 10, 1973
Priority dateApr 10, 1973
Publication numberUS 3820170 A, US 3820170A, US-A-3820170, US3820170 A, US3820170A
InventorsBarnes M, Kern H
Original AssigneeEnvironmental Design Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Water conserving methods and apparatus for flush toilets
US 3820170 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Kern et al.

[ June 28, 1974 [75] inventors: Hall S. Kern, Falls Church; Murphy L. Barnes, Jr., Alexandria, both of Va.

[73] Assignee: Environmental Design, 1nc., Falls Church, Va.

[22] Filed: Apr. 10, 1973 [21] Appl. No.: 349,746

[52] US. Cl. 4/18, 4/57 P, 4/67 A [51] Int. Cl E03d 1/14, E03d 1/22 [58] Field of Search 4/18, 34, 67, 67 A, 57, 4/57 P, 52, 42, 41, 1, 18.5

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,323,703 12/1919 Linfoot 4/18 3,041,630 7/1962 Williams 4/57 R 3,080,567 3/1963 King 4/67 A 3,151,337 10/1964 Deniz 4/67 A 3,259,918 7/1966 Walker, Jr. et a1. 4/18 3,731,324 5/1973 Moon 4/18 Primary Examiner Henry K. Artis Attorney, Agent, or FirmBurns, Doane, Swecker &

Mathis 5 7 ABSTRACT A barrier for retaining fresh water within a flush toilet tank comprises an end retainer wall, a pair of side retainer walls attachable to the end retainer wall, and a pair of wedges insertable between the end retainer wall and an upstanding tank wall to press the barrier into sealing engagement with the tank interior. The wedges engage sloping pressure faces of the end retainer wall which distribute the pressing forces of the wedge into horizontal and vertically downward components. The side retainer walls are freely interengageable with the end retainer wall, such that the retainer walls may be assembled together within the tank. The tank-contacting edges of the retainer walls are defined by integral, beveled peripheral portions of the retainer walls.

17 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures mmmmmw 318209170 SHEET 2 [IF 3 WATER CONSERVING METHODS AND APPARATUS FOR FLUSH TOILETS BACKGROUND AND OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to water closets, and particularly concerns a water-retaining barrier which is insertable within a flush toilet tank to limit the amount of supplied with a charge of fresh water. Situated at the bottom of the tank is a valved discharge opening which, when uncovered, admits water from the tank to the bowl to flush the latter. Many toilets of-this type are designed to discharge as much as from five to seven gallons of water per flush. It is recognized, however, that less than this amount of water, perhaps only one-half as much, is actually required for the toilet to flush properly. It will thus be realized that large quantities of fresh water can and are being wasted by the use of these types of flush toilets.

Various proposals have been heretofore made for conserving fresh water by restricting or limiting the amount of water discharged by a flush toilet. Exemplary of such proposals are thosedescribed in US. Pat. Nos. 1,323,703 and 3,259,918. These patents disclose one-piece chamber-defining units which are insertable around the discharge opening of a flushtoilet tank. Such units are intended to retain within the tank a portion of the water which would otherwise be discharged from the toilet during a flushing operation.

The convenience afforded by these types of structures is somewhat limited due, in part, to the difficulty of installing a one-piece unit around the plumbing and flushing equipment located within the toilet tank, and maintaining the bottom edges of the unit in tight sealing engagement with the tank floor. Proposed solutions to the latter'problem are, in terms of economy, ease of installation, and longlasting dependable performance, less than ideal, however.

Another typeof water-retaining apparatus which has been suggested comprises a flexible, one-piece element which is to be bent, within the tank, into a U-shaped configuration around the discharge opening. This element utilizes a pair of horizontal spring-biased arms having rubber cups which engage one of the tank walls to press the ends of the bent unit against an opposite wall of the tank. A strip of rubber moulding is installed along the tank-contacting periphery of the element in an attempt to provide sufficiently resilient sealing edges.

One problem relating to the use of an element such as that previously described involves the difiiculty of exerting sufficient downward pressure on the bottom sealing edges of the element to effect a suitable seal. If firm'pressure is not exerted, the bottom edge of the element may tend to rise slightly during a flushing operation, allowing water to seep therebeneath. In addition,v

the provision of spring-biased arms, rubber cups, and auxiliary mould stripping adds to the cost of the element. Moreover, it may be somewhat difficult in certain instances to properly bend the element around the plumbing and valving equipment disposed within the toilet tank.

It is, therefore, a general object of the invention to obviate or minimize problems of the types previously discussed.

It is a particular object of the invention to provide novel methods and apparatus for limiting the discharge of water from water-dispensing tanks.

It is another object of the invention to provide a novel and inexpensive water-retaining barrier which may be conveniently installed within a conventional toilet tank.

It is yet another object of the invention to provide a novel water-retaining barrier which effects a tight water seal in the absence of add-on resilient stripping.

It is still another object of the invention to provide I novel methods for installing a water-retaining barrier within a toilet tank.

Yet another object of the invention is to provide-a barrier assembly which may be easily adapted to toilet tanks of diverse configurations.

A BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT As least some of the foregoing objects are intended to be accomplished by the provision of a waterretaining barrier which is suitable for insertion within thetank of a flush toilet mechanism. The barrier includes an end retainer wall, a pair of side retainer walls, and a pair of wedges, which may be formed of a material such as polystyrene or polyurethane. The end retainer wall has a pair of channels which receive coupling edge portions of the side retainer walls. The end and side retainer walls include tank-contacting edges which are capable of being urged into tight sealing engagement with the tank interior. The outer surface of the end retainer wall includes a pair of sloping pressure faces which are arranged to receive the wedges. The wedges may be manually pressed between these sloping faces and an upstanding wall of the tank to produce forces which urge the barrier against the tank interior. The sloping pressure faces direct these forces horizontally and vertically to maintain the bottom and upstanding tank-contacting edgesof the barrier in tight sealing engagement with the tank interior.

The side retainer walls are manually interengageable and disengageable within the channels of the end retainer wall such that the retainer walls may be assembled together within the tank, thereby facilitating installation of the barrier around the plumbing and flushing equipment located within the tank. The tankcontacting edges are defined by integral, beveled peripheral portions of the retainer walls.

THE DRAWINGS Other objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the subsequent detailed description thereof in connection with the accompanying drawings in which like numerals designate like elements and in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a flush toilet tank havretaining barrier;

FIG. 3 is a plan view, partly in section and with parts removed, depicting the barrier in its assembled condition in the tank;

along line i-40f FIG. 3; V.

FIG.'=4 is aside elevational sectional view taken FIG. .5 is a front elevational, schematic illustration; partly in section, of a barrier installed within a tank,

prior to a flushing operation;

FIG. 6 is a view, similar to'FIG. 5, showing the water which is retained within the tank by the barrier subsequent to a flushing operation; and, I FIG. 7 is a side elevational, schematic view taken along line 7'7 of FIG. 6.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT A preferred form of water-retaining barrier according to the present invention will be described in con- I walk 54 and'56.

junctionwith a conventional type of flush toilet having a a boil portion 10 and a water tankv 1-2 disposed there-.

above. The tank 12 includesa floor l4,a pair of op.

posed upstanding side walls 16 and 18, opposed upstandingfront and rear walls 22 and and a lid 24, as

depicted in FIG. 1.

Mounted within the tank 12 is a vertical inlet water pipe 26, which communicates with an external supply conduit 28. The supply conduit 28 is connected. to a pressurized source of fresh water andis providedwith a main shut-off valve 30. An inlet valve 32 is disposed atop the inlet water pipe 26 and is operated by a floatto regulate the inflow of fresh water to thetankf Connected to the inletvalve 32 is a wateridistri-buting .30 carrying actuating arm 34 in theconventional fashion wedges 58 are preferably as polystyrene or polyurethane,for example;

' The end retainer wall 52, at its ends, is provided with k a pair of upright, channel-defining flangesl) and: 62.

. Thechannels 64 definedthereby areconfigured to re- 7 and 68 of the side retainer fabricated of a'material such ceive the coupling ends 66 The coupling ends 66 and 68 of 'the side retainer walls are manually engageable and di-s'engageabie within the channel 64 to facilitate assemblage of the barrier 50 within the toilet tank 12. In this fashionQdifficult maneuvering around the plumbing and flushing equipment located within the tankzis minimized.

The side retainer walls 54 and 56 includeintegral,

beveled, tank-contacting bottom and distal'edges 70,

72' and 74, 76 (FIGS. 3 and 4). Theseedgesareprefer- 7 ably formed by tapering the outer surfaces 78 and 80 of the side retainer walls'along their bottom and fron peripheries.

By beveling the edges 70, 72, 74 and 76, the edges will'be able to more easily conform to,'andsealingly engage, the corresponding tank surfaces, i.e.,, thefloor l4 and the upstanding wall 22. Such beveling also reduces the area of contact between the side retainer .walls and the tank floor, thusconcentrating along a smaller area any securing forces which may be applied thereaga-inst.

The end retainer wall 52 includes an integral, beveled, tank-contacting bottom edge 82 (no. 4 This edge is preferably formed by tapering the outer surface 84 of the end retainer wall along its lower periphery. In

, similar fashion, the outer surfaces 86 and 88 of the element 36 which distributes incoming water to botha 1 downwardly opening chamber filler tube 38 and a downwardly opening overflow tube 40. The overflow tube40 is connected at itsbase to the tank floor and communicates with the distributing element via an overflow conduit 42.

Located in the tank floorl4 is a discharge. opening 44 which fluidly communicates the tank 12 with the r flanges 60 and 62 are tapered to define integral beveled, tank-contacting edges 90 and 92 (FIGS. 4and 6').

7 In order to provide sufficient pressure to urge the tank-contacting edges of the barrier 50 into tight sealbowlv 10. An outlet valve'assembly 46 is pivotally dis posed above the discharge opening 44. The outlet valve assembly 46 is operably connected to a handle 48 by means of a link .49 and a chain 51. The handle 48 is opj erable to pivot the outlet valve assembly 46 from a closed position covering thedischarge opening 44 to an open position uncovering the discharge opening 44, as V shown in FIG. I. t

' The. previously described tank and flushing equip-- ment are of conventional construction and operate in t a well-knownfashiomThat is, with the .valve assembly 7 46 in a closed position; the inlet'valve 32isoperable'to" supply a predetermined charge of water within the tank r l2.'Rotation of the handle 48 pivots the outlet valve as- I sembly 46 to an open position and allowswater to flow from the tank 12 into the bowl 10. If unrestricted, substantially all of the fresh water within the tank would flow through the discharge opening 44. In accordance with the present invention, however, a water-retaining barrier is provided which limits the amount of water dischargedfrom the tank per each flushing operation. 7 g

The barrier 50 comprises a freely attachable and detachable assemblywhich includes an end retainer wall 52, a pair of side retainer walls 54 and 56, anda'pair.

ing engagement with the tank, a wedging apparatus,

preferably in the form of thepair of tapered wedges 58, is provided. These wedges 58-areoperable to be manually inserted between the rear upstanding wal'l20 of the V tank and the outer surface 84 of the end retainer wall To facilitate wedge insertion, and to properly orient the forces produced thereby, the outer surface 84 of the end retainer wall includes a pair of shoulders 94'disposed behind the channels 64'.'The shoulders'94are de- 7 V fined'by a pair of pressure faces 96 which slope up wardly away from the rear tank wall 20, i.e.,:toward the channels 64. The degree of the slope correspondsto the degree of tapering of the sealing wedges 58. Ingthis.

fashion, the wedges may be easily manually pressed be of wedges 58. These retainer walls 52, 54, and 56 and closing the primary shut-oh valve. 30and flushing the bowl in the usual manner.

The end retainer wall 52 may then be inserted behind the overflow tube 40 such that the channels 64 are in facing relationship with the front wall 22 of the tank. The side retainer walls are then fitted within their associated channels 64 in stradling relation to the discharge opening 44 and such that the distal edges 72, 76 are disposed adjacent the front tank wall. It will be realized that by assembling the barrier within the tank, interference posed by the plumbing and flushing equipment disposed in the tank is minimized. The wedges 58 are then manually pressed downwardly between the rear tank wall and the sloping pressure faces 96.

' It will be apparent that due to the sloping nature of the pressure faces 96, the forces exerted by the wedges 58 will be directed downwardly and forwardly. As a result, the distal edges 72, 76 of the side retainer walls and the bottom edges 70, 74, 82, 90, 92 of the end and side retainer walls 52, 54, 56 will be urged into firm sealing engagement with the front wall 20 and the floor 14, respectively, of the tank. Thus, any tendency for these bottom edges -to rise from the floor will be effectively resisted.

The integral, beveled edges of the retainer wallsprovide sealing edges 18 which conform to the tank profile, and seal thereagainst, without the need for add-on rubber sealing strips.

With the barrier disposed in sealing engagement with the tank interior, as depicted in FIGS. 1, 3 and 5, the end and side retainer walls 52, 54, 56, together with the front upstanding tank wall 22, define a chamber 98 located above the discharge opening. When the flushing mechanism is actuated to open the outlet valve assem bly 46, the water within this chamber 98, and directly thereabove, will be exhausted through the discharge opening 44 and into the bowl. Much of the water, however, will be restrained by the barrier and retained within the tank,-as shown in FIG. 6.

The barrier may be easily adapted to tanks of varying sizes containing various equipment. For example, it will be apparent that the tapered nature of the wedges 58 affords compensation for certain minor variances in dimension between the front and rear walls of diverse tanks. For larger variances in dimension, wedges of different sizes may be utilized.

Moreover, by fabricating the barrier assembly from materials which may be easily cut, such as polystyrene and polyurethane. for example, the shape of the barrier walls may be suitably altered. Note in FIG. 2, for example, where, at the time of fabrication, certain reference lines and indicia 100 are imprinted on the retainer walls to enable a user to conveniently modify the barrier for use in certain conventional tanks. A super-flush reference line 102 may be provided to indicate a suitable location for slotting a barrier wall to enable a greater amount of water to be discharged from the tank.

Although the invention has been described in connection with a preferred embodiment thereof, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that additions, modifications, substitutions and deletions not specifically described may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims.

What is claimed is:

l. A water-retaining barrier for use in a flush toilet tank having a bottom floor, a plurality of upstanding walls, fresh water inlet conduit means, inlet valve means for regulating the inflow of water from said inlet conduit means into the tank, water discharge opening means in the tank floor, discharge valve means for covering said discharge opening, and means for selectively opening said discharge valve means, said barrier comprising:

an end retainer wall having bottom edge means for sealingly engaging said tank floor;

a pair of side retainer walls extending outwardly from said end retainer wall;

said side retainer'walls each having bottom edge means for sealingly engaging said tank floor, and. distal edge means for sealingly engaging one of said upstanding tank walls;

said end and side retainer walls being arranged to define, with said one upstanding tank wall, a chamber disposed above the tank discharge opening; and

wedge means manually insertable between said end retainer wall and another of said upstanding tank walls, located opposite said one upstanding tank wall, for urging each of said bottom edge means and said distal edge meansinto'water-sealing engagement with said tank floor and said one upstanding tank wall, to restrict the amount of water which can be discharged through the tank discharge opening.

2.- The barrier according to claim 1 wherein said bottom and distal edge means are defined'by beveled, integral peripheral portions of said end and side retainer walls.

3. The barrier according to claim 1 wherein said end retainer wall and said side retainer walls include manually interengageable and disengageable coupling portions such that said end and side retainer walls are arranged to be assembled together within said tank.

4. The barrier according to claim 3 wherein said coupling portions comprise a pair of channel means carried by said end retainer wall, and coupling edges carried by said side retainer walls, said coupling edges being receivable in said channels.

5. The barrier according to claim 1 wherein said bottom and distal edge means are defined by beveled, integral peripheral portions of said end and side retainer walls; and said end retainer wall and said side retainer walls including manually interengageable and disengageable coupling portions such that said end and side retainer walls are arranged to be assembled together within said tank.

6. The barrier according to claim 1 wherein said end retainer wall, said side retainer walls, and said wedge means are formed of polystyrene.

7. The barrier according to claim 1 wherein said end retainer wall, said side retainer walls, and said wedge means are formed of polyurethane.

8. The barrier according to claim 1 wherein an outer surface of said end retainer wall includes pressure surface means having a slope corresponding to the taper of said wedge means for frictionally receiving said wedge means; said sloping pressure surface means being operable to distribute pressing forces of said wedge means in horizontal and downwardly vertical directions.

9. The barrier according to claim 8 wherein said wedge means comprises a pair of wedges and said pressure surface means comprises a pair of sloping pressure surface means disposed at opposite ends of said end retainer wall.

10. A water-retaining barrier for use in'a flush toilet tank havinga bottom floor,a pluralityof upstanding 'walls, fresh water inlet conduit'means, inlet valve" means for regulating the'inflow of water from said inlet conduit means into the tank, water discharge opening meansin the tank floor, discharge valve means'for co'v-I 7 said side retainer walls each having bottom distal edge means for sealingly engaging Zone of said upstanding tank walls;

edge VT 7 meansforjsealingly engaging said tankfloor, and

said bottom and distal edge means of said side retainer walls being defined by integral, beveled peripheral portions of said side retainer walls;

, r 8 ing tank walls; said end and" side: retainer wallsnbeing arranged to define, with said one upstanding tank wall, a chamber disposed above the tank discharg opening;

said end retainer wall and said side retainer walls including manually interengageable and disengageable coupling portions such, that said end 7 and side retainer walls are'a'rranged to be assem-t bled together within said tank; andmeans engagabie with another upstanding tank wall,

opposite said one upstanding tank wall, for urging each of said bottom edge means and said distal edge means into water-sealing engagement with charged through said tank discharge opening.

16. The barrier according to claim wherein said. i

- coupling portions comprise a pair of channel-defining said end and side retainer walls being arranged to r t V define, with said one upstandingtank wall, a

chamber disposed above the tank' discharge opening; and V 7 means engageable with another upstandingtankwall, opposite said one upstanding tank wall, for urging each of said bottom edgemeans and saidzdistal edge means into water-sealing engagement with said tank floor andsaid one upstanding tank wall to restrict theamount of water which can be discharged through said tank dischargeopening, 1

11. The barrier accordingto claim 10 wherein said 7 end retainer wall and said side retainer walls include" freely interengageable and disengageable coupling portions suchthat said end and sideretainer walls are an ranged to :be assembledtogetherwithin said tank: a

12. The'barrier according to claim 11 wherein said coupling portion comprise apair of channel-defining:

flanges disposed at the ends of said end retainerwall,

and coupling edges carried'by said sideretainerwalls;

said coupling edges being receivable in said'charinelsli T3. The barrier according to claim 10 wherein said side retainer wallsjare,

end retainer wall and said formed'of polystyrene. a

14. The barrier according to claim 10 wherein said end retainer wall and said side retainer walls are formed of polyurethane;

15. A water-retaining barrier for use in a flush toilet I tank having 'a bottom floor, a plurality of upstanding walls.'-freshgwater inlet conduit means, inlet "valve means for regulating the inflow of water from saidinlet conduit means into the tank, water discharge opening means in the tank floor, discharge valve means for covering said discharge opening, and'means forselectively V opening and closing said dischargevalve means, said barrier comprising:

an end retainer wall having bottomedgelmeans for sealingly engaging said tank floor; 1 a pair of side retainer walls extending outwardly from said end retainer wall;

said side retainer walls each bottomedge meansfor sealinglyengaging said tank floor, and distalcedge means for sealingly engaging one of said upstand- Y a 1 4 ;as

flanges disposed at the'endsof said end retainer wall, and coupling edges carried by said side retainer walls;

said coupling edges being receivable in saidchannels.

17. A water-retaining barrier for use in a flush toilet V tank having a bottom floor,,-apluraiityfofupstanding a walls, fresh water inlet conduit means, inlet valve means for regulating the inflow of water-from said inlet conduit means into the tank, water discharge opening means in the tankfloor, discharge valve means for covering said discharge opening, and means for selectively opening said dischargevalve means, said barrier comprising. I a an end retainer wall having: V

bottom edge means for sealingly engaging said tank floor, a a' pair of channel defining flangese and a pair of sloping pressure faces disposed on, an

outer surface of said endc'retainer wall;

V a pair of side retainer walls extending outwardly from 40 said end retainer wall; saidside retainer walls each havingbottom edge means for sealingly engagingsaid tank'floor, and

distal edge means for sealingly engaging one of said upstanding tank walls; 1 V a said bottom anddistal' edge means of said end and side retainer walls beingdeflned by integral bev eled peripheral portions of said end and side re,- tainer walls, a

tions, opposite said distal edges, manually interengageableand disengageable with lsaidchannels, such that said end and side retainer walls are arranged to be assembled together within said tank; and V K a V a a pair of wedgeslarranged for manual insertion between said pressure faces and another of said up standing tank walls, located opposite said one up standingtankwali, for urgingeaehef said bottonry edge means and said distal edge means intotwaten sealing engagement with said tank floor'and said one upstanding tank wall, to restrictthe amount of water whichican be discharged through the tank 1 discharge opening.

w .1: e m 1 said tank floor and, said one upstanding tank wall ;1I & to restrict the amount of water which can be dissaid side retainer walls including coupling end por- I 7

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3982282 *May 1, 1975Sep 28, 1976Kong Ch Ng SeowReducing water consumption in water closets
US4388737 *Oct 16, 1981Jun 21, 1983Wenzel John GToilet tank insert water saver
US4543674 *Aug 27, 1984Oct 1, 1985David Constant VWater saving insert for toilet tank
US5111537 *Jun 8, 1989May 12, 1992Wenzel ZarubaToilet apparatus
US5148555 *Feb 25, 1991Sep 22, 1992Water Logic, Inc.Controllable water-displacement device
US5887292 *Jul 1, 1998Mar 30, 1999Goren; Patrick PhilipDual flush toilet system
US6571400Jun 6, 2002Jun 3, 2003James C. ReidToilet bowl water flow adjustment system
Classifications
U.S. Classification4/415
International ClassificationE03D1/14, E03D1/02
Cooperative ClassificationE03D1/14
European ClassificationE03D1/14