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Publication numberUS3823425 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 16, 1974
Filing dateMay 7, 1973
Priority dateMay 7, 1973
Publication numberUS 3823425 A, US 3823425A, US-A-3823425, US3823425 A, US3823425A
InventorsCoffman R
Original AssigneeCoffman R
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Toilet tank discharge control for selectively discharging variable amounts of water
US 3823425 A
Abstract
A toilet tank assembly including a water reservoir with a water discharge opening communicating with a toilet and having a water level control inlet valve assembly communicating with a water source for supplying water to the water reservoir when the water level in the tank decreases. An operating handle is coupled through an actuating mechanism to a discharge valve assembly which includes a valve member adapted to seat on the discharge opening for closing same. When the operating handle is moved to a first position the discharge valve assembly is moved to a corresponding first position and retaining means are provided for retaining the discharge valve assembly at the first position while a first selected amount of water is discharged from the water reservoir through the water discharge opening but releasing the discharge valve assembly when the water reservoir level has fallen a selected first amount. When the operating handle is moved to a second position the discharge valve means is moved to a second position which allows a second selected amount of water greater than the first selected amount to be discharged through the discharge opening.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States "Patent 1 i 1 Coffman TOILET TANK DISCHARGE CONTROL FOR SELECTIVELY DISCHARGING VARIABLE AMOUNTS OF WATER [76] inventor: Rudleigh G. Coffman, 769 Tree Ln.,

El Cerrito, Calif. 94530 [22] Filed: May 7, 1973 [21] Appl. No.: 358,021

[52] U.S. Cl 4/53,'4/57, 4/62, 4/67 A [51] Int. Cl E03d 1/33, E03d l/34, Fl6k 33/00 [58] Field 01 Search 4/53, 62, 67 R, 67 A, 56, 4/55, 52, 57 R, 249, 61

Primary Examiner-Henry K. Artis Attorney, Agent, or Firm--Flehr, Hohbach, Test, A1- britton & Herbert 51 July ls, 1974 57 ABSTRACT A toilet tank assembly including a water reservoir with a water discharge opening communicating with a toilet and having a water level control inlet valve assembly communicating with a water source for supplying water to the water reservoir when the water level in the tank decreases. An operating handle is coupled through an actuating mechanism to a discharge valve assembly which includes a valve member adapted to seat on the discharge opening for closing same. When the operating handle is moved to a first position the discharge valve assembly is moved to a corresponding first position and retaining means are provided for retaining the, discharge valve assembly at the first position while a first selected amount of water is discharged from the water reservoir through the water discharge opening but releasing the discharge valve assembly when the water reservoir level has fallen a selected first amount. When the operating handle is moved to a second position the discharge valve means is moved to a second position which allows a second selected amount of water greater than the first selected amount to be discharged through the discharge opening. 1 i

20 Claims, 19 Drawing Figures PAImmmw- 3,823,425 V suatr 1 ar .9 I

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SHEET 8 0F 9 F'' I M4 I BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION A constantly expanding population leads to a constantly expanding use of natural resources. Inasmuch as the amount of the earths natural resources is relatively fixed, it becomes imperative to conserve or limit the use of natural resources to the extent possible. Thus efforts have been made to recycle such things as paper and metal containers in order to conserve the earths timber and mineral resources. One resource which is utilized perhaps more than any single other by modern man is water. Relatively little has been done in the past by way of attempts to conserve to the use of water. In most households the largest single use of water is in connection with the flushing of waste from toilets. A typical bathroom facility includes a toilet with a tank or water reservoir associated therewith with an operating handle by means of which the contents of the water reservoir or tank are discharged into the toilet for purposes of flushing waste therefrom. Some efforts towards conserving the amount of water consumed in toilets have been made by individual users and include such things as, for example, placing'bricks or other matter into toilet tanks so that theydo not hold as much water as they otherwise would or adjusting float assemblies in the tanks for the same purpose.

A complicating factor exists, however, in adjusting the amount of water a toilet tank holds. Toilet waste is of two varities, liquid and solid. If an amount of water is discharged into the toilet sufficient to flush solid waste therefrom, then more water than necessary is consumed when only liquid waste is to be flushed or discharged therefrom. Conversely, if the amount of flushing water is adjusted to just that amount sufficient to adequately flush liquid waste from a toilet, then-not enough water is available for the purposes of flushing solid waste from the toilet. I I

Therefore, what is needed is a means by which a variable amountof water can be discharged from a toilet tank into an associate toilet. This would affect a substantial. saving of clean water and further reduce the.

amount of water flowing into sewage treatment facilial ties, cesspools or septic tanks.

' Additionally, the services of a plumber or trained tech- The prior art does containsome examplesof attempts to discharge variable amounts of water from a toilet tank into an associated toileLThese prior art methods and schemes have been directed to a dual ball valve flushing system in which one ball valve and its related seat is elevated from the tank bottom in stand pipe fashion. Either one or the other of the ball valves is then elevated from its seat in order to discharge either a full volume or a partial volume of water. Examples of such prior art include the mechanisms disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 2,864,095 to Martino, US. Pat. No. 2,237,294 to Easl, and U.S. Pat. No. 1,960,864 to Brown. Such a dual ball valve system exhibits certain disadvantages which include the expense associated with a dual lever arrangement, dual ball valve seats, dual ball valves, dual ball valve guide rods, etc. Further, there is the problem of reliability in that the dual ball valve system presents a double possibility of leakage at the ball valve seat. In addition, installation of such a dual ball valve system as a replacement in existing toilet facilities would require considerable labor and e Re pense. It would be necessary to dismantle the tank from the toilet including disconnection of the water supply line, replacement of the operating lever and other considerations which, when taken together, preclude the possibility of using the device as a replacement unit.

nician would probably be necessary to perform such an installation.

OBJECTS AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is an object of this invention to provide a means for selectively discharging variable amounts of water from a toilet tank into an associated toilet.

It is another object of this invention to provide a selective discharge system for a toilet tank easily installed in existing toilet tanks.

Briefly, in accordance with one embodiment of the invention, a toilet tank assembly includes a water reservoir with a water discharge opening communicating with the toilet and has a water level control inlet valve means adapted to be coupled to a water source for supplying water to the water reservoir when the water level therein falls. Discharge valve means are provided which includes a valve member adpated to seat on the water discharge opening. An operating handle is providedand linkage means for operatively connecting the discharge valve means to the operating handle. The selective discharge control system, in accordance with one embodiment of the invention, includes first means responsive to'movement of the operating handle to a first position to temporarily hold a valve member at a first position, while a first selected amount of water is discharged from the reservoir and includes means responsive to movement of the operating handle to a secend position to elevate the valve member to a second position, thereby allowing a second selected amount of water greater than the first selected amount of water to be discharged from the reservoir into the toilet.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION or THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a front elevation of a typical toilet tank having a portion of its front wall removed and showing installation of a selective discharge control mechanism in of the selective discharge control mechanism of FIG. 1 i

and illustrating operational sequences of the mechanism.

FIG. 5 is a side elevation taken along the line 55 of FIG. 3.

FIG. 6 is a top view of the selective discharge control mechanism taken along the line 6-6 of FIG. 4.

FIG. 7 is a cross sectional view taken along the line 77 of FIG. 3.

FIG. 8 is a side elevation of another embodiment of a selective discharge control mechanism in accordance with the invention which includes provision for adjustment of its position relative to an overflow pipe to which it is mounted and which is shown in FIG. 8 as applied to a toilettank having a flapper type discharge valve.

FIG. 9 is a sideview partially sectioned of a portion of the mechanism illustrated in FIG. 8.

FIGS. and Ill are top views of the apparatus of FIG. 8 illustrating the manner of operation of the adjustment provision.

FIG. 12 is a front elevational view of a toilet tank and illustrating an alternate embodiment of a selective discharge control assembly for use in toilet tank having a flapper type discharge valve and illustrating various positions for the discharge'valve assembly in accordance with the invention.

FIG. 13 is an enlarged view of a portion of the selective discharge control assembly shown in FIG. 12.

FIG. 14 is a side view taken along the line l4l4 of FIG. 13.

FIG. 15 is a view taken along the line 15-15 of FIG. 14.

FIG. 16 is a top plan view of a selective discharge control system in accordance with another embodiment of the invention shown disposed within a toilet tank.

FIG. 17 is a front elevational view of the system of FIG. 16.

FIGS. 18 and 19 are front elevational views similar to FIG. 17 and illustrating the manner in which the linkage means is rotated and the latch actuator interacts with the latches of the mechanism.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Turning now to a consideration of the drawings and in particular FIG. 1, there is shown a front elevation of a typical toilet tank having a portion of the front wall removed to illustrate the internal mechanism in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. Thus, there is provided a toilet tank or reservoir 11. Mounted within the tank 11 is an inlet valve assembly 12 connected through a pipe 13 and coupling assembly 14 through the bottom of the tank 11 to an outside water supply source indicated by the pipe 16. The inlet valve assembly 12 in accordance with standard practice is controlled by a float arm 17 having a ball float 18 attached to the end thereof. In accordance'with standard practice as water is admitted through inlet valve assembly 12 into the interior of the tank 11 the ball float 18 floats on top of the rising water level and functions to shut-off the inlet valve assembly 12 when the water level in the interior of the tank 11 reaches a desired height such as the level indicated by reference letter A in FIG. 1. Further in accordance with standard practice, there may be an antisiphon and hush tube assembly 19 provided in association with the inlet valve assembly 12. In accordance with standard practice there is provided a discharge opening 21 in the bottom of the toilet tank having a valve seat 22. An overflow pipe 23 is also provided in accordance with standard practice. An operating lever 24 is provided on the outside of the toilet tank 11 which is operatively connected through an actuating link 26 and a ball valve lift link 25 to a discharge valve means. The discharge valve means includes a ball valve stem 27 at the end of which there is provided a ball vale 28 adapted for engagement with the valve seat 22 for closing the discharge opening 21.

In a typical prior art toilet tank assembly the mechanism which has been thus far described is all that is provided within the interior of the toilet tank. With just the mechanism thus far described when the operating handle of the toilet tank is rotated the ball valve is lifted from the discharge opening a sufficient distance such that the ball valve, which in accordance with standard practice is hollow and buoyant, floats upward within the limits of constraint imposed by ball valve rod guides and follows the water level until the water level drops all the way within the toilet tank down to a level C indicated in FIG. I. In accordance with the invention there is provided a selective discharge control assembly generally indicated by reference numeral 29 which may be mounted through a clamp means 3E to the overflow pipe 23. While the overflow pipe serves as a convenient mounting point, the selective discharge control assembly may alternatively be mounted to other existing structure in the toilet tank or a special mounting assembly may be disposed in the toilet tank. The selective discharge control assembly 29 has a float arm 32 associated therewith to which there is mounted a float 33. The float arm 32 in accordance with this embodiment includes a malleable or easily bent section 32a for adjusting the position of the float 33 in a relatively vertical sense in the tank with respect to the selective discharge control assembly 29. As shown in FIG. I and as more particularly shown in FIG. 2, which is a cross sectional view of the float 33 and a portion of the float arm 32, the float arm 32 has notches generally indicated by reference numeral 34 formed therein. A float retaining spring member 36 associated with the float 33 is adapted to engage one of the notches 34 for retaining the float member 33 on the flot arm 32. The position of the float 33 may be adjusted in a horizontal sense along the float arm 32 by merely displacing the float 33 along the float arm 32 until the float retaining spring member 36 engages a desired notch.

Returning again to a consideration of FIG. I, the general manner in which the present invention operates will be discussed. In response to displacement, i.e., rotation of the operating handle 24 to a first position, the ball valve 28 is raised or elevated some distance above the discharge opening 211. The selective discharge control assembly 29 operates in a manner as will hereinafter be described to hold the ball valve 28 in this elevated position. With the ball valve 28 thus displaced from the discharge opening 21 the water level within the toilet tank 11 begins to fall from level A due to discharge of water through the discharge opening 21. When the water level falls to a level B so that the float arm 32 is in the intermediate position shown in FIG. 1 the selective discharge control assembly 29 releases the ball valve stem 27 so that ball valve 28 falls, thus closing the discharge opening 21.

When, on the other hand, it is desired to discharge a greater volume of water through the discharge opening 21, the operating handle 24 is displaced i.e., rotated to a second position. Rotation of the operating handle 24 to a second position causes the ball valve stem 27 and hence the ball valve 28 to be raised or elevated above the discharge opening to a second position higher than the first position. The ball valve 28, being hollow and relatively buoyant in accordance with standard practice, rises to the top of the water level in the tank within the constraints imposed by guides and follows the water level down from level A to level C at which point the ball valve 28 again seats on the seat 22 of discharge opening 21 for closing the same.

Referring now to the seris of FIGS. 3 through 7, there are shown details and the manner of operation for the selective discharge control assembly 29. The clamp means 31 is secured to the overflow pipe 23 by means such as bolt and nut assemblies 37 and 38. The clamp means 31 has projecting members 39 and 41 which respective mount guides 42 and 43 for retaining and guiding the ball valve stem 27. The clamp means 31 also has a projecting control mechanism mounting bracket 44. The control mechanism includes a control housing 46 having a control housing arm 47 through which a pivot screw 48 extends. The pivot screw 48 has an end threaded section 49 which threadedly engages the control mechanism mounting bracket 44 and mounts the control housing 46 and control housing arm 47 for rotation with respect to bracket 44. The float arm 32 threadedly engages the control housing arm 47 and is suitably locked in place by means such as lock nut 51. A stop pin 52 is suitably mounted to the clamping means 31 and projects in a manner such as shown in FIG. 5 for a purpose which will be hereinafter described.

A latch 53 having an inclined lower surface 53a, an upper surface 53b and a projecting latch tank 53c is mounted within the control housing 46 about a pivot pin 54. A second latch 56 having a lower surface 56a and a projecting latch tang 56b is mounted by a pivot pin 57 within the control housing 46. A spring 58 is provided mounted about the pivot pins 54 and 57. The spring 58 has a portion 58a which extends through the latch 53 and provides a spring biasing force so that latch tang 53c abuts the stop member 45 which is mounted to the control housing 46. The spring 58 also has a portion 5811 which extends around the second latch 56 and functions to bias the latch tang 56b in abutting relationship with the control housing 46.

The ball valve stem 27 is provided with a collar or latch actuator 59. When it is desired to cause a partial discharge of the contents of the water tank 11, a user displaces the operating handle 24, which in this case would be downward in a counter clockwise rotation. This movement is coupled through the actuating link 26 to the ball valve lift link 25 which is raised. Since the ball valve lift link 25 is coupled to the ball valve stem 27, ball valve stem 27 and hence the ball valve 28 are raised, thus displacing the ball valve 28 from the valve seat 22. The operating handle 24 is rotated sufficiently to cause displacement of the ball valve stem 27 and its fixed collar or latch actuator 59 upward. As the collar or latch actuator 59 is displaced upward it rides against the bottom surface 53a of latch 53 and displaces the latch 53 against the spring biasing force of the spring portion 58a. The collar or latch actuator 59 continues upward until it completely passes the latch 53 at which time the latch 53, urged by the spring portion 58a, returns to its normal position. When the latch 53 returns to its normal position the path of the ball valve stem 27 and its associated collar or latch actuator 59 is blocked so that the ball valve stem 27 cannot return to the closed position. As the collar 59 passes latch 53, collar or latch actuator 59 is impeded in its upward travel by interference with the bottom surface 56a of latch 56. The latch 56 is held in place by the spring por tion 5812 which in accordance with the invention, exerts a spring biasing force against the latch 56 which is relatively heavy compared to the spring biasing force exerted on latch 53 by the spring portion 580. The relatively heavy spring biasing force of the spring portion 58b holds latch 56in position unless considerable effort is imparted by a continuing movement of the fixed col- 6 lar or latch actuator 59. In operating the mechanism to effect a partial discharge of the contents of the water tank as described above, the user has displaced collar or latch actuator 59 to a position in which latch 53 has been displaced allowing the collar 59 to pass upward and contact the lower surface 561) of latch 56,'whereupon resistance is felt in the mechanism at the operating handle 24. This resistance becomes apparent to the user as feel, which in accordance with the invention, indicates to the user that the mechanism is set for a par tial discharge of the water tank contents.

Collar or latch actuator 59 now being captured between the lower surface 56a of latch 56 and the upper surface 53b of latch 53 holds the ball valve stem 27 and hence the ball valve 28 off of the valve seat 22 in a position such as shown in FIG. 4, allowing water to discharge through the discharge opening so that the water level in the water tank falls. As the water level in the tank falls from an initial level A towards a level B, the float 33 and hence the float arm 32 follows the descending water level. This causes rotation of the selec' tive discharge control assembly 29 about the pivot screw 48. The two latches 53 and 56, being carried in the control housing 46 and further being held in their normal position within the control housing 46 by the spring portions 58a and 58b areconsequently swung away from the collar or latch actuator 59 by the motion imparted to the control mechanism housing 46 caused by the float 33 following the dropping water level. As these latches 53 and 56 become disengaged from the collar or latch actuator 59 due to the rotation of the control housing 46, the ball valve stem 27, and hence the ball valve 28 is released.

If the ball valve 28 is raised sufficiently to allow a full volume of water beneath the bottom edge of the valve, in which case a sizeable displacement of the ball valve from its seating exists, then the ball valve, being hollow and buoyant in accordance with standard practice, will float upwards within the limits of constraint imposed by the guides 42 and 43. If, however, the ball valve 28 is only displaced from its seat 22 by an amount such that the bottom edge of the ball valve 28 remains at or near the upper edge of the seat lip 22, then the ball valve 28, when released, instead of floating upwards returns to its seat, thereby stopping the flow of water from the tank. In accordance with the invention, when the mechanism is set to the partial flush position such that the collar or latch actuator 59 is captured between the latches 53 and 56, the position of the ball valve is such that its bottom edge remains at or near the upper edge of the seat. Thus when the collar 59 is released from the latches 53 and 56 due to rotation of the wholeselective discharge control assembly 29, the ball valve 28 returns to its seat, thus ending water discharge from the tank.

After a partial discharge of the water from the tank, so that the ball valve 28 is again in position on its seat 22, water then is admitted through the inlet valve assembly 12 until the water level returns to point A. As the water level raises the float 33 and hence float arm 32 will follow the water level upward, causing simultaneous rotation of the control housing 46 containing the latches 53 and 56 totheir nonnal. position. This resets the selective discharge control assembly 29 for another cycle. The normal position of the control housing 46 is set by contact of the float. arm 32 against the lower surface of the projecting member 39 of clamp means 31. This contact point also serves to limit the upper swing of the float arm 32 when collar or latch actuator 59 is in contact with and passing latch 53, and also functions to assist in providing the mechanical resistance to movement necessary to impart the feel to a user when collar or latch actuator 59 is brought into contact with the bottom surface 56a of latch 56.

The water level at which the selective discharge control assembly 29 releases its hold on collar or latch actuator 59 and thus allows the ball valve to return to its seat 22 is adjustable in two ways. One of the adjustment features is provided by having float 33 adjustable in a relatively horizontal sense along the float arm 32. Adjustment may also be made by bending the float arm 32 at its malleable portion 32a either up or down. Using either or both of these techniques establishes a desired release point.

When it is desired to cause a full discharge of the toilet tank contents, a user operates the operating handle 24 in exactly the same manner as previously described, except that when resistance is felt, which is caused by the collar or latch actuator 59 contactng the lower contact surface 56a of latch 56, a continuing rotation in a counter clockwise direction of the operating handle 24 then displaces the latch 56, allowing collar or latch actuator 59 to pass the latch. The ball valve 28 and its ball valve stem 27 now float upwards within the constraints of the guides and are no longer controlled by the selective discharge control assembly 29. For all intents and purposes the toilet tank then performs its function as if no selective control mechanism were present. As the water level recedes from the tank 11 from level A down through level B and towards level C, the float 33 and hence float arm 32 follow the water level down, thus rotating the selective discharge control assembly 29 in the same manner as hereinbefore discussed so that the latches 53 and 56 do not interfere or block the movement of the collar or latch actuator 59. This counter clockwise rotation of the selective discharge control assembly 29 continues until the float arm 32 abuts against the stop pin 52. As described before, the buoyant ball valve 28 follows the descending water level until level C is reached at which point the ball valve 28 again contacts the valve seat 22, terminating discharge of water from the tank. Water is then admitted through the inlet valve assembly 12 so that the tank 11 is filled back up to level A in a customary manner. As the water level raises in the tank from level C to level A, the float 33 follows the water level upwards causing rotation of the selective discharge control assembly 29 to its normal position and thereby resetting the mechanism for another cycle.

In installing the selective discharge control system in accordance with this invention in the embodiment discussed above, the selective discharge control assembly 29 is directly mounted through a clamp means to an overflow pipe within the toilet tank proper. As previously mentioned, the selective discharge control assembly may be mounted to structure other than the overflow pipe. For situations where mounting to the overflow pipe is desired a problem can exist in that the position of overflow pipes in toilet tanks can vary. Inasmuch as it is necessary to mount a selective discharge control assembly in accordance with this invention directly over the discharge opening and such that a float arm and associated float are freely disposed within the tank and able to follow rising or falling water levels, in some instances an adjustable mounting for the selective discharge control assembly may be necessary or desirable. Accordingly, in FIGS. 8 through 11 there is shown another embodiment of the invention in which an adjustment means is disposed between the selective discharge control assembly and clamp means mounted on an overflow pipe. Thus an overflow pipe 61 has a clamp means 62 suitably attached thereto such as by bolt and nut assembly 63. The clamp means 62 has a projecting support member 64. A control assembly support plate 66 is disposed adjacent the projecting member 64 and attached thereto by a hollow bolt and nut assembly 67 which is hollow to allow a valve stem member 68 to pass therethrough. A bolt 69 extends through an opening in the projecting memer 64 and is retained therein by nut 71. The bolt 69 also extends through an arcuate opening generally indicated by reference numeral 72 which is formed in the control assembly support plate 66. This permits rotation of the control assembly support plate 66 with respect to the projecting support member 64. Tightening of the nut 71 on bolt 69 thus locks the control assembly support plate 66 in any desired position with respect to the projecting support member 64. This permits adjustment of the mechanism carried by the control assembly support plate 66 with respect to an overflow pipe 61, with typical mounting positions of the control assembly support plate 66 with respect to different locations of an overflow pipe 61 schematically illustrated in FIG. 11.

Turning to FIGS. 8 and 9 specifically again, in accordance with the embodiment of the invention shown therein the control assembly support plate 66 has a projecting mounting bracket 73 rigidly attached thereto and extending therefrom. A, selective discharge control assembly generally similar to that hereinbefore described in carried by the mounting bracket 73. Thus the mounting bracket 73 and projecting guide supports 74 and 76 which respectively mount guides 77 and 78 for guiding the vertical movement of the valve stem member 68. The mounting bracket 73 also incorporates a projecting stop pin 79. A control housing 81 is provided which has an extending control housing arm 82 attached by means of a pivot screw assembly 83 to the mounting bracket 73 for pivotal rotation with respect thereto. A float arm 84 is threadedly secured to the control arm 82 and retained in place by lock nut 86.

The control housing 81 contains a latch 87 mounted by and adapted to rotate with respect to a pivot pin 88. The control housing 81 also contains a latch 89 mounted by and adapted to rotate with respect to a pivot pin 91. A spring 92 is provided having a first portion 92a which engages and is adapted to bias the latch 87 and having a second portion 92b which engages and is adapted to spring bias the latch 89. As was the case in the previously discussed embodiment, in the embodiment of F IGS. 8 and 9, the valve stem member 68 has a fixed collar or latch actuator 93 secured thereto. The fixed collar or latch actuator 93 and the control mechanism shown in FIGS. 8 and 9 cooperate in a manner identical to that discussed before for affecting either a partial or a full discharge of the contents of a toilet tank. Thus when a partial discharge is desired, an operating handle is rotated to the point where the fixed collar or latch actuator 93 is captured between the latches 87 and 89. When a full discharge is desired an operating handle is rotated with a force and through an angle sufficient that the fixed collar or latch actuator 93 travels upward past not only latch 87 but also past latch 89.

. 9 As was the case in thepreviously discussed embodiment, the entire control housing81 is rotated about the pivot screw assembly 83 through float arm 84 being displaced downward and upward in response to falling and rising water levels in a toilet tank. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 8 the selective discharge control mechanism is shown associated with a different kind of toilet tank discharge valve. Thus in FIG. 8 the valve stem member is shown engaged in a bail 94 associated with a flapper type of valve assembly 96. The flapper valve assembly 96 includes a flexible flapper member 97 fixedly secured at its ends portion 97a and having a depending chamber portion 98. Operation of the flapper valve assembly .96 is essentially the same as that discussed before in connection with the ball valve assembly. That is, when the valve stem member 68 is dis placed vertically to the point where the fixed collar or latch actuator 93 is captured between latches 87 and 89 (corresponding to a partial discharge position) the flapper valve assembly 96 is raised off its associated seat 99 as the entire assembly rotates about the point 97a. With the flapper valve assembly in this position, however, when the latch actuator 93 and hence valve stem member 68 are released from the selective discharge control mechanism the flapper assembly closes again under its own weight because the depending chamber portion 98 has not been raised to a height sufficient for its buoyant qualities to cause it to tend to float to the top of the descending water level.

When, on the other hand, it is desired to affect a full flush or discharge of water from the water tank, the valve stem member 68 is displaced upward sufficiently so that the fixed collar or latch actuator 93 passes both latches 87 and 89. With the valve stem member 68 elevated to such height the flapper valve assembly 96 is essentially completely open so that the buoyant qualities of the depending chamber portion 98 take over so that the flapper valve assembly 96 stays openuntil the water level falls to a point corresponding to the vertical position of the valve seat 99.

Turning now to a consideration of FIGS. 12 through 15, there is shown still another embodiment of the invention adapted to be applied to toilet tanks having yet another kind of discharge operating mechanism. As before, a toilet tank 101 is provided having an external operating handle 102. Within the interior of the tank there is disposed the customary inlet valve assembly 103, an anti-siphon and bush tube assembly 104 and an overflow tube 106. In the bottom of the tank 101 there is situated a discharge opening generally indicated by reference numeral 107. A flapper valve assembly 108 is pivoted about a pivot pin 109 and includes valve member 11] adapted to seat on the discharge opening 107 for closing the same and also includes a control column member 112 which is open at its end 112a to communicate with the surrounding water in the tank 101 and has a small opening generally indicated by reference numeral 113 in its other end 112b. The flapper valve assembly also includes a float 110. This is the general type of flapper valve assembly described in US. Pat. No. 2,773,268. The control column member 112 has a latch actuator 114 mounted adjacent its end 112a by a screw 115 with the latch actuator 114 having an extending lipportion 114a. The latch actuator 114 is connected through a pull chain 116 to an operating link 117 associated with the operating handle 102.

lnoperation, and assuming that no selective discharge control mechanism were present, so that only the mechanism thus far described existed within the toilet tank, in response to counter clockwise rotation of the operating handle 102 the flapper valve assembly 108 is rotated about the pivot pin 109 to a point where the buoyant qualities of float tend to force it up ward so that the control column member 112 is vertically displaced. At this time the control column member 112 is filled with water. As the water level in the tank 101 falls the water flows out of the closing control column member 112 through the opening 113 to a point where the center of gravity of the entire assembly 108 is such that it closes again under its own weight.

In accordance with the invention, however, means are provided for selectively discharging variable amounts of water through a flapper assembly type construction such as shown in F108. 12 through 15. Clamp means 118 are provided which are suitably secured to the overflow pipe 106 by means suchas bolt and nut assembly 119. A control housing 121 has an integral control housing arm 122 through. which a pivot screw 123 extends. The control housing arm 122 and hence the control housing 121 is adapted to rotate about the pivot screw 123 with respect to the clamp means 118. The control housing arm 122 also has a depending stop arm portion 124. A bracket 126 having extending ears 127 and 128 is mounted to the clamp means 118 and the stop arm portion 124 of the control housing arm 122 is adapted to be limited in its travel by the ears 127 and 128. A float arm 129 is secured to the control housing arm 122 and suitably locked in place by lock nut 131. The float arm 129 has a malleable or easily bent portion 129a for adjustment of the position at which the float 132 associated with the float arm 129 normally positions the control housing arm 122.

A latch 133 is mounted by a pivot pin 134 inside of the control housing 121. An additional latch 136 is pivotally mounted by the pivot screw 123 about the control housing arm 122. A spring 137 is provided which has a first portion 137a adapted to spring bias the latch 133 to a position where latch tang 133a engages the control housing 121.The spring 137 also has a second portion 137b mounted by a pin 135 which is adapted to engage and spring bias latch tang 136a of latch 136. The latch 136 also has a stop pin 138 incorporated therein which is adapted to abut the control housing 121 for limiting counter clockwise: rotation of the latch 136 due to the spring bias of the spring portion 137b.

When it is desired to cause a partial discharge of the water tank contents in accordance with the embodiment shown in FIGS. 12 through 15, the user displaces the operating handle 102., in this case downward in a counter clockwise rotation. This causes a simultaneous rotation of operating link 117 which in turn pulls the pull chain 116. Since the pull chain 116 is connected to the latch actuator 114 on the control column member 112, the valve member 111 is raised from the discharge opening 107. The operating handle 102 is rotated sufficiently to cause displacement of the latch actuator 114 upwarp in an arcuate movement. As latch actuator 114 moves upward it displaces the latch 133 agaist the spring biasing of the spring portion 137a. As the latch actuator lip portion 114a moves past the latch 133 the biasing force of the spring portion 137a causes the latch 133 to return to its normal position. Thus the latch133 effectively blocks the path for the latch actuator lip portion 114a to return to the closed position, which maintains the valve member 111 separated from the discharge opening 107. As the lip portion 114a of the latch actuator passes the latch 133, it is impeded in its upper arcuate travel by interference with the latch 136, which is held in its position by the spring portion 137b. The spring portion 137b is normally biased to exert a relatively heavy force against the latch 136 at its normal position, thus assuring that the lip portion of the latch actuator 114 will not readily nor easily pass the latch 136 unless considerable effort is imparted by a continuing movement of the latch actuator 114a. It is this resistance to movement of the latch 136 that becomes apparent to the user as feel, which indicates that the mechanism is set for partial discharge of the water tank contents. The latch actuator lip portion 114a being captured between the latches 133 and 136 holds the valve member 111 partially elevated above the discharge opening 107, allowing water to drain from the tank 101 and causing the water level in the tank to drop. As the water level in the tank continues to drop, the frost arm 129 with attached float 132 follows the water level downward, causing counter clockwise rotation of the control housing 121 together with its associated parts about the pivot screw 123. As the latch 133 and the latch 136 are carried in the control housing 121 they are swung away from the latch actuator lip portion 1140 by the motion imparted to the control mechanism housing 121 caused by the float following the dropping water level. As the latch 133 and latch 136 become disengaged from the latch actuator lip portion 114a due to the rotation of the control mechanism housing 121, the valve member 111 is allowed to return to the discharge opening 107, thus terminating the flow of water from the tank 101. Water entering through an inlet valve assembly to the tank then fills the tank in the customary manner. As the water level rises the float 132 and hence float arm 129 will follow the water level upward causing simultaneous rotation of the control mechanism housing 121 to its normal position and thus resetting the mechanism for another cycle. The normal position ofthe control mechanism housing 121 is established by contact of the stop arm portion 124 with car 127 on the bracket 126.

When it is desired to cause a full discharge of the water tank contents through the mechanism shown and described in FIGS. 12 through 15, the user operates the operating handle 102 in the same manner as previously described, except that when resistance is felt, which is caused by the latch actuator lip portion 114a contacting the latch 136, the user continues the counter clockwise rotation of the operating handle 102. This displaces the latch 136 allowing the latch actuator lip portion 114a to pass the latch 136. The flapper valve assembly 108 pivots in an arcuate manner to a full open or fully elevated position and is no longer controlled by the selective discharge mechanism. For all intents and purposes the flapper valve assembly 108 then performs its function as if no selective control mechanism were present. That is, as the water recedes from the tank 101 through the flapper valve discharge opening the water level in the tank and hence the water level in the control column 112 recedes or falls, with water exiting from the control column member 112 through the opening 113 in the bottom thereof. When the control column member 112 is sufficiently drained r of water the center of gravity of the flapper valve assembly 108 is to the right of pivot 109 as shown in FIG. 12, and the flapper valve assembly rotates in a clockwise direction under its own weight so that the valve member 111 again seats on the discharge opening 107. Then through the customary inlet valve assembly the tank is filled with water, raising the water level back to its original position. As the water level rises the float 132 and the float arm 129 follow the water level upwards to thereby reset the mechanism for another cycle in the manner previously discussed.

Turning now to a consideration of FIGS. 16 through 19, there is shown still another embodiment of the invention in which a latch actuator is formed on linkage means coupling an operating handle to the discharge valve means rather than being carried by a portion of the discharge valve means. Thus a toilet tank 141 shown cut away in the drawings has a typical external operating handle 142. The operating handle 142 has a shaft 143 which extends through the wall of the toilet tank 141. The operating handle 142 and its shaft 143 are mounted to the wall of the toilet tank 141 and adapted to rotate with respect thereto by means of a bushing assembly 144. The bushing assembly 144 fits into tank wall square hole 176. A mounting bracket 146 is provided extended out into the toilet tank in the manner shown in the figures. This mounting bracket 146 is a separate member having asquare opening therein which tits on to the square cross section of bushing assembly 144 so that the mounting bracket 146 does not rotate but remains stationary. A nut 147 threadedly engages the bushing assembly 144 for securing it and the mounting bracket 146 in place. The shaft 143 extends through the nut 147 and an operating link 148 is fixedly secured to the shaft 143 by means such as nut 149. The shaft 143 and operating link 148 may be serrated to insure that there is no slippage therebetween. The operating link 148 has a portion 148a which engages a portion of valve actuation means for the toilet tank. Thus in FIGS. 16 and 17 for example, the portion 148a of operating link 148 is shown as engaging a ball valve lift link 151 which is coupled for example to a ball valve stem 152. Also shown in FIG. 17 by phantom lines are chains 153 and 154 to indicate that this particular embodiment of the invention is also applicable to toilet tanks having the flapper type of valves discussed hereinabove in connection with other embodiments of the invention. For example, chain 153 might be connected to the ear 96 of the flapper valve shown in FIG. 8. Alternatively, the chain 154 might be connected to the flapper type valve shown in FIG. 13 at the hole in control column 112 which is occupied by the screw 115.

The operating link 148 also has an oppositely extended counter-balance portion 14% whose function will be hereinafter described. A counter-balance weight 156 is secured to the portion l48b of operating link 148 by means of a screw 157 which extends through an elongated slot 159 in the portion 148b so as to allow adjustment of the position of the counterbalance weight 156 along the portion l48b. The operating link 148 also has a portion 148c which extends downwardly and terminates in a lip forming a latch actuator 148d.

A control housing 161 is pivotally mounted to the downwardly extending mounting bracket 146 by a pivot screw 162. An upper portion of the control housing 161 has a notched portion 1614 which engages a stop pin 174 carried on the mounting bracket 146 for defining limits to the rotation of the control housing 161.

A pivot pin 163 extends through the control housing 161 and mounts a latch 164 for rotation therein. The latch 164 has a lower latch surface 164a and an upper latch surface 164b. A spring 166 is provided which engages the latch 164 and a notch l61b in the control housing 161. An additional latch 167 is also mounted by a pivot pin 168 in the control housing 161. The latch 167 has a lower latch surface 167a and a spring 169 is provided which engages the latch 167 and the notch [61b in the control housing 161. A float arm 171 is fixedly secured to the control housing 161 and carries a float member 172.

Operation of the selective discharge control mechanism shown in FIGS. 16 through 19 is much the same as the operation of the previously described embodiments of the invention. A stop pin 173 is fixedly secured to the mounting bracket 146 by means such as nut 175 and extends through an opening in the operating link 148 so that the operating link 148 is normally positioned such as shown in FIG. 17. When it is desired to cause a partial discharge of the water in the toilet tank the operating handle 142 is rotated, causing the operating link 148 to be rotated in the manner shown in FIG. 18. As the operating link 148 rotates its latch actuator portion 148d engages the lower surface 164a of the latch 164. The latch actuator 148d displaces the latch 164 against the spring biasing force of spring! so that the latch actuator 148d passes the latch 164. After the latch actuator 148d passes the latch 164 the spring 166 urges latch 164 back to its original position so that the latch actuator 148d is captured between the upper surface 164b of latch 164 and thelower surface 167a of the additional latch 167. Continued rotation of the operating handlel42 causes the latch actuator 148d to engage the lower surface 167a of the latch 167, with the spring biasing force of spring 169 imparting a feel back through the operating link 148 to the operating handle so that a user can determine that the mechanism is set to a partial discharge position. With the operating link 148 in the partial discharge position its portion 148a is elevated in the manner shown in FIG. 18 so that the ball valve lift link 151 and hence the ball valve stem 152 is elevated, allowing water within the tank 141 to begin to discharge through the discharge opening. As the water within the tank 141 begins to discharge, the level of the water therein falls and the float member 172 and hence the float arm 171 follows the descending water level. This imparts a rotational movement to the control housing 161 so that it pivots about the pivot screw 162. After the water level in the toilet tank 141 has fallen a predetermined amount the control housing 161 is rotated to a position where the latch 164 no longer blocks downward movement of the latch actuator. This permits the operating link 148 to return to its original position as shown in FIG. 17 so that the ball valve stem 152 is permitted to fall in order to terminate discharge of water from the toilet tank. In accordance with standard practice the water supply in the tank is then replenished through an inlet valve assembly (not shown). As the water level in the tank thus rises to its original position the float member 172 and float arm 17] follow the rising water level upwards so that the control housing 161 and the latches nism.

When, on the other hand, it is desired to cause a complete discharge of the water contained in the toilet tank 141, the operating handle 142 is again rotated so that the operating link 148 is rotated bringing the latch actuator 148d past the latch 164 as before. However, this time the user continues rotation of the operating handle 142 after feeling the resistance due to engagement of the latch actuator with the lower surface 167a of the additional latch 167. Latch actuator 148d thus displaces the latch 167 against the spring biasing force of the spring 169 so that the latch actuator passes by the additional latch 167. With the operating link 148 in this position, which may be referred to as a fully elevated position, the ball valve stem 152. is lifted a sufficient amount so that flotation controls opening and closing of the ball vale in accordance with standard practice. Discharge of the toilet tank contents thus proceeds as if no selective discharge control mechanism were present. As the water discharges from the tank 141 and float member 172 and float arm 171 follow the descending water level, the control housing 161 is rotated about pivot screw 162 by the float arm 171 within the limits of constraint imposed by the engagement of the stop pin 174 within the notched portion 161a of the control housing. The control housing 161 is thus rotated so that the latches 164 and 167 do not obstruct downward movement of the latch actuator 148d so that the operating link 148 is free to return to its original position shown in FIG. 17. Resetting of the mechanism thus proceeds as before with the float member 172 following the rising water level as the tank water supply is replenished and pivoting the Control housing 161 and hence the associated latches 164 and 167 back to their original positions.

The counter-balance weight 156 is provided for the purpose of preventing excessive over-hung weight of operating link 148 being applied to latch 167, at actuator 148d when full flush is made and operator releases operating handle 142. (Otherwise, lever 148 would forcefully fall and strike latch 167). The counterbalance weight 156 disposed on the portion 148b of operating link 148 also functions to impart a smooth and relatively effortless movement of the operating handle 142 during rotation thereof. As previously mentioned, the embodiment shown in FIGS. 16 through 19 is applicable not only to toilet tank assemblies incorporating a ball valve type of discharge valve, but also to toilet tank assemblies incorporating what has hereinbefore been referred to as the flapper type valves. For the flapper type valve arrangements instead of there being a ball valve lift link 151 there is a chain connecting the flapper type valve to the portion 148a of operating link 148.

'Although the invention has been described with reference to particular embodiments, it is obvious that modifications may be made to the specific embodiments disclosed herein without departing from the true spirit and scope of the invention. For example, a latch actuator in the form of a cam might be provided mounted to a flapper type discharge valve assembly about its pivot point with appropriate latches provided for engaging the cam. Or, as previously mentioned, a selective discharge control assembly in accordance with the invention may be mounted to structure other than the overflow pipe within a toilet tank.

I claim:

1. In a toilet tank assembly of the type having a toilet tank with a water discharge opening communicating with a toilet and having a water level controlled inlet valve means adapted to be coupled to a water source for supplying water to the water tank when the water level therein falls, and further including discharge valve means having a valve member adapted to seat on the water discharge opening, and including an operating handle and linkage means operatively connecting the discharge valve means to the operating handle for raising the discharge valve means from the discharge opening in response to actuation thereof, a selective discharge control system including retention means responsive to movement of the operating handle and hence the discharge valve means to a first position in which the discharge means is partially elevated for temporarily retaining the discharge valve means in said partially elevated position, said retention means functioning to release the discharge valve means when the water level in the tank has dropped a selected first amount whereby the valve member closes on the discharge opening, said retention means being by-passed when the operating handle is moved to a second position where the discharge means is fully elevated so that after the water level in the tank drops a second selected amount greater than said first amount, the valve member closes on the discharge opening, a latch actuator, said retention means comprising a latch which is pivoted and biased to a position where it normally interferes with elevation of said latch actuator whereby as the discharge valve is partially elevated, the latch actuator pivots said latch against the bias as said latch actuator passes said latch until said latch actuator completely passes said latch whereupon said latch returns under the bias to its normal position, thereby retaining said latch actuator in a partially elevated position.

2. A selective discharge control system in accordance with claim 1 in which the latch actuator is associated with the discharge valve means.

3. A selective discharge control system in accordance with claim 2 wherein said latch is spring biased to said position where it normally interferes with elevation of said latch actuator.

4. A selective discharge control system in accordance with claim 3 including an additional latch spaced above said latch to a position where it normally inteferes with elevation of said latch actuator, whereby after said latch actuator is elevated above said latch it engages said additional latch, thereby generating a feel of resistance to the operating handle.

5. A selective discharge control system in accordance with claim 4 wherein said additional latch is pivoted and spring biased whereby continued movement of the operating handle to a second position after the feel of resistance in the operating handle forces the latch actuator to pass the spring biased additional latch so that the discharge valve member is raised to a fully elevated position.

6. A selective discharge control system in accordance with claim 5 wherein said latch and additional latch are mounted in and carried by a control housing, and including mounting means for mounting said control housing within the toilet tank.

7. A selective discharge control assembly in accordance with claim 6 wherein said mounting means comprises a fixed support and including a pivot means for pivotally mounting said control housing to said fixed support for rotation with respect thereto.

8. A selective discharge control assembly in accordance with claim 7 including a water level controlled float arm fixedly mounted to said control housing and adapted to pivot said control housing with respect to said fixed support as the water level in the tank rises or falls, whereby as the water level in the tank falls said float arm pivots said control housing sufficient so that said latch and said additional latch which are carried by said control housing are rotated to a position where they do not interfere with movement of said latch actuator.

9. A selective discharge control assembly in accordance with claim 8 including first and second stops associated with said float arm, said first stop adapted to limit rotational movement of said float arm and hence said control housing in a first direction as the water level in a tank is rising, and said second stop adapted to limit rotation of said float arm and hence said control housing in a second opposite direction as the water level in the tank falls.

10. A selective discharge control system in accordance with claim 9 including float means mounted on said control arm.

11. A selective discharge control assembly in accordance with claim 10 wherein said float means is adjustable along the length of said float arm.

12. A selective discharge control assembly in accordance with claim 11 wherein said float arm includes a malleable section permitting the float arm to be bent to adjust the position of said float means with respect to said control housing.

13. A selective discharge control system in accordance with claim 7 wherein said fixed support comprises a support body to which said control housing is pivotally mounted and further including clamp means adapted to be fixedly secured to an overflow pipe within the toilet tank.

14. A selective discharge control system in accordance with claim 13 wherein said fixed support further includes adjustment means connected between said clamp means and said support body whereby the position of said support body with respect to the overflow pipe within the toilet tank may be adjusted.

15. In a toilet tank assembly of the type having a toilet tank with a water discharge opening communicating with a toilet and having a water level controlled inlet valve means adapted to be coupled to a water source for supplying water to the water tank when the water level therein falls, and further including discharge valve means having a valve member adapted to seat on the water discharge opening, an operating handle having a shaft, means pivotally mounting said operating handle with respect to the toilet tank, linkage means fixedly mounted to said operating handle shaft for rotation therewith, said linkage means being connected to said discharge valve means for raising the discharge valve means from the discharge opening in response to rotation of said operating handle, said linkage means also including a latch actuator portion, a selective discharge control mechanism including retention means responsive to rotation of said operating handle and hence said linkage means to a first position in which the discharge 17 valve means is partially elevated to capture and temporarily retain said latch actuator portion, said retention means functioning to release the latch actuator portion of said linkage means when the water level in the tank has dropped a selected first amount, thereby permitting the disharge valve means to seat on the water discharge opening, said retention means being bypassed when the operating handle is rotated to a second position where the discharge valve means is fully elevated so that after the water level in the tank drops a second selected amount greater than the first amount the discharge valve means closes on the discharge opening.

16. A selective discharge control system in accordance with claim wherein said retention means comprises a pivoted latch which is spring biased to a position where it normally interferes with rotation of said latch actuator portion of said linkage means whereby rotation of said latch actuator pivots said latch against the spring bias as said latch actuator passes said latch until said latch actuator completely passes said latch whereupon said latch returns under the spring bias to its original position, thereby retaining said latch actuator and hence discharge valve means connected to said linkage means in a partially elevated position.

17. A selective discharge control system in accordance with claim 16 including an additional latch spaced above said latch to a position where it normally interferes with elevation of said latch actuator, whereby after said latch actuator is elevated above said latch it engages said additional latch, thereby generating a feel of resistance to the operating handle.

18. A selective discharge control system in accordance with claim 17 wherein said additional latch is pivoted and spring biased whereby continued movement of the operating handle to a. second position after the feel of resistance in the operating handle forces the latch actuator to pass the spring biased additional latch so that the discharge valve means is raised to a fully elevated position.

19. A selective discharge control system in accordance with claim 18 wherein said latch and additional latch are mounted in and carried by a control housing, said control housing being pivotally mounted to a fixed support bracket in the toilet tank, a water level controlled float arm fixedly mounted to said control housing for pivoting said control housing with respect to said fixed support bracket as thewater level in the tank rises or falls, whereby as the water level in the tank falls said float arm pivots said control housing sufficiently so that said latch and said additional latch are rotated to a position where they do not interfere with movement of said latch actuator, and whereby as the water level in the tank rises to its original level the latches are rotated back to their original position to reset the mechanism.

20. A selective discharge control system in accordance with claim 19 wherein said linkage means includes a counter-balance portion, and a counterbalance weight secured to said counter-balance portion of said linkage means.

Patent Citations
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4086667 *Apr 2, 1976May 2, 1978Miklos Louis FFlush control device for conserving water
US4128906 *Jul 5, 1977Dec 12, 1978Zeev RazToilet-bowl flush system and devices therefor
US4160294 *Oct 14, 1977Jul 10, 1979Crumby John TTwo-stage flush mechanism for toilets
US4171547 *Jul 15, 1977Oct 23, 1979Zeev RazToilet-blow flush system and devices therefor
US4447919 *Jun 18, 1982May 15, 1984Crescenzo MobiliaFlush control device
US4624018 *Mar 28, 1985Nov 25, 1986Kurtz John GToilet flushing apparatus
US5004462 *Mar 5, 1990Apr 2, 1991Mahler Leo MAdjustable water-level flushing apparatus
US5206960 *Oct 11, 1991May 4, 1993Robert L. HooshleyDual flush toilet control mechanism
US5500961 *Feb 28, 1995Mar 26, 1996Tsai; Jin-BoDouble-trip handle type flush control mechanism for ballfloat toilets
US7243669 *Mar 18, 2004Jul 17, 2007Clack CorporationFloat-responsive valve with premature closure prevention
US20040182760 *Mar 18, 2004Sep 23, 2004Clack CorporationFloat-responsive valve with premature closure prevention
EP0010945A1 *Oct 30, 1979May 14, 1980Zeev Dr. RazToilet bowl flush system
WO2001031127A1Oct 23, 2000May 3, 2001Eliezer BerkmanToilet flush valve
Classifications
U.S. Classification4/325, 4/382
International ClassificationE03D1/34, E03D1/14, E03D1/30, E03D1/02
Cooperative ClassificationE03D1/144, E03D1/34
European ClassificationE03D1/14D2, E03D1/34