US 3865310 A
A bracket assembly couples a hand-held showerhead to a stationary supply pipe and provides a readily engaged or disengaged stationary mounting for the showerhead. The bracket assembly includes a pair of C-shaped clamping arms hingedly connected at one end to each other, each arm in turn being pivotally mounted upon a support assembly capable of flexing to accommodate hinging movement of the arms between two over-center rest positions. In one over-center position, the arms are in a generally O-shaped clamping configuration in which the arms grip the handle of the spray nozzle to enable the unit to be used as a conventional wall-mounted showerhead. By grasping the handle and pulling the showerhead away from the bracket assembly, the clamping arms are hinged into their other over-centered position in which the unconnected ends of the arms are opened to permit the showerhead to be removed from the bracket for use as a hand-held unit. Subsequently, the showerhead may be remounted in the conventional location simply by pressing the handle into the embrace of the arms.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [191 Elkins et a1. 0
[ Feb. 11, 1975 BRACKET ASSEMBLY FOR HAND-HELD SHDWERHEAD  Inventors: Christopher W. Elkins; Donald W.
Ruehmann, both of Fort Collins, C010.
 Assignees: Teledyne Industries, Inc.; Teledyne Aqua Tec Company, both of Fort Collins, C010.
22 Filed: Apr. 12, 1974 211 App], No.: 460,303
 11.8. C1 239/283, 24/243 H, 24/248 D, 24/249 R, 239/588, 248/75, 248/229,
 lnt. Cl. B05b 15/06, Fl6b 2/00  Field of Search 239/282, 283, 588; 211/68; 248/42, 75, 229, 316 B; 24/16 R, 16 PB, 132
R, 132 HA, 243 CC, 243 H, 243 AB, 248 D,
249 R, 249 PP, 249 PC, 249 DP, 252, 254;
2,621,968 12/1952 Vickroy 248/229 X 2,682,127 6/1954 Binder 248/42 X 2,705,603 4/1955 Bitz et a1. 248/229 X 2,873,999 2/1959 Webb 239/282 X 3,080,140 3/1963 Gohs et a1. 24/249 PP X FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 91,737 3/1938 Sweden 248/75 Primary ExaminerM. Henson Wood, Jr. Assistant ExaminerAndres Kashnikow Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Hugh H. Drake ABSTRACT A bracket assembly couples a hand-held showerhead to a stationary supply pipe and provides a readily engaged or disengaged stationary mounting for the showerhead, The bracket assembly includes a pair of C- shaped clamping arms hingedly connected at one end to each other, each arm in turn being pivotally mounted upon a support assembly capable of flexing to accommodate hinging movement of the arms between two over-center rest positions. In one overcenter position, the arms are in a generally O-shaped clamping configuration in which the arms grip the handle of the spray nozzle to enable the unit to be used as a conventional wall-mounted showerhead. By grasping the handle and pulling the showerhead away from the bracket assembly, the clamping arms are hinged into their other over-centered position in which the unconnected ends of the arms are opened to permit the showerhead to be removed from the bracket for use as a hand-held unit. Subsequently, the showerhead may be remounted in the conventional location simply by pressing the handle into theembrace of the arms.
v9 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures PATENTEB FEB] 1 I975 SHEET 2 BF 2 BRACKET ASSEMBLY FOR HAND-HELD SHOWERIIEAD REFERENCE TO RELATED PATENT While capable of use with other hand-held showerheads, the bracket assembly of the present invention is especially designed for use with the hand-held showerhead disclosed in a commonly-owned U.S. Pat. No. 3,801,019 of John M. Trenary et al., issued Apr. 2, 1974. That patent is incorporated herein by reference.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The showerhead disclosed in the aforementioned patent is capable of delivering a pulsating spray of adjustable frequency, a continuous spray or combinations of the two types of spray. When the unit is employed to deliver a pulsating spray, a pleasant massaging effect may be achieved. However, the effectiveness of the massaging action varies considerably with the distance from the nozzle to the portion of the body against which the spray is directed. The optimum massaging effect occurs at distances of less than two feet from the nozzle. Hence, a hand-held version of the unit, in which the showerhead is coupled to the supply pipe by a length of flexible hose, is of great convenience in applying the massaging action of the pulsating spray to portions of the body, such as the legs, which otherwise might be too distant from a wall-mounted unit to experience any effective massaging action.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The mounting bracket of the present invention is especially designed to be attachable to the stationary wall-mounted supply pipe and provide not only the necessary fluid connection between the hand-held showerhead and the water supply but also to provide a readily engaged or disengaged stationary mount for the showerhead. This mount permits the showerhead to be used in exactly the same manner as a conventional wall-mounted showerhead when desired, while at the same time enabling the showerhead to be readily attached or detached from the mounting for use as a hand-held unit.
As specifically embodied, the bracket assembly includes a right-angled elbow fitting provided at one end with a swivel-ball fitting attachable to the threaded end of the stationary supply pipe to provide a fluid connection between the pipe and the fitting capable of universal positional adjustment upon the pipe. The other end of the fitting is suitably threaded for attachment to one end of a flexible hose forming a part of the showerhead. The opposite end of the flexible hose in turn communicates with an elongate handle which forms a portion of a spray nozzle assembly. Upon the hose end portion of the elbow fitting, a support leg assembly preferably is detachably mounted. The support leg assembly is of a generally A-shaped configuration when viewed axially of the latter arm of the elbow, an opening through the apex portion of the support assembly axially receiving the elbow arm. At the outer ends of the legs of the A- shaped support member, a pair of generally C-shaped clamping arms are each pivotally mounted for movement about a respective axis parallel to that of the elbow arm upon which the support member is mounted. The two C-shaped clamping arms are hingedly connected at one end to each other, the hinge axis being parallel to the pivot axes and being equidistant from the pivot axes. The direct distance between the two pivot axes is slightly less than twice the distance from either pivot axis to the hinge axis. Thus, the clamping arms have two over-center rest positions, one on either side of a direct line between the two pivot axes. The legs of the A-shaped support member are capable of a limited flexing movement to accommodate movement of the clamping arms between their two over-center rest positions. In one over-center rest position, where the hinge axis of the clamping arms is located between the legs of the A-shaped support member inwardly of the direct line connecting the pivot axes, the two clamping arms are in a generally 0- shaped closed position in which the arms may grippingly engage the handle of the showerhead to hold it in a fixed position coupled to the bracket assembly. By pulling the handle laterally outwardly, the clamping arms are hinged to their other over-center position in which the unhingedendsof the arms open to permit the handle to be removed from the bracket assembly.
Other objects and features of the invention will become apparent by reference to the following specification and to the drawings.
IN THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a side-elevational view of a showerhead installation embodying the present invention;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged cross-sectional view taken on the line 22 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a partial cross-sectional view, similar to FIG. 2, showing the clamping arms of the bracket assembly in an open position;
FIG. 4 is an exploded perspective view of the bracket assembly;
FIG. 5 is an exploded perspective view of a modified form of clamping arm assembly; and
FIG. 6 is a fragmentary cross-sectional view of a portion of the assembly shown in FIG. 4.
Referring first to FIG. 1, a bracket assembly 10 is mounted upon the externally threaded end of a stationary water supply pipe 11, projecting through a wall 12, to provide a fluid coupling and a mechanical support to a hand-held showerhead 13. The specific showerhead shown is that disclosed in the aforementioned patent. Showerhead 13 includes an elongate flexible hose 14 coupled at one end to bracket assembly 10 and coupled at its opposite end to an elongate handle portion 16. A spray nozzle 18 of the showerhead is fixedly mounted upon the other end of handle 16. Handle 16 tapers slightly in cross-sectional dimension so as to be narrower just below nozzle 18. In FIG. 1, showerhead 13 is shown in its attached or mounted position on bracket assembly 10. Bracket assembly 10 is mechanically coupled to supply pipe 11 by a swivel ball fitting 20 so that bracket assembly 10, together with showerhead 13, can be universally positioned relative to the stationary pipe 11. Moreover, bracket assembly 10 is conformed and handle 16 is narrowed nearest to nozzle 18, so that, when mounted, showerhead 13 is clamped close to nozzle I8 and the showerhead is enabled to be at least approximately in the same position as would be a conventional showerhead mounted on pipe 11. That is, water delivered from spray nozzle 18 is generally concentric with the longitudinal axis 21 of pipe II.
The various elements of bracket assembly 10 are best shown in the exploded view of FIG. 4. Assembly 10 includes a right-angle elbow fitting 22 having an internal end of'arm 26 by the tightening of collar 30 on threads 28. In addition, the end of arm 26 is formed to include an internal inwardlyextending recess 31 in which a disc-shaped wire-screen filter element (not shown) preferably may be captivated.
The combination of swivel ball fitting and collar permits attachment of the overall showerhead assembly not only in the position shown in FIG. I but in a wide variety of other positions when desired. Such positional variation may be utilized to change the spray location or direction somewhat or to accommodate better the suspension of flexible hose 14. When pipe 11 angles downwardly at a sharp angle, for example, it may be necessary or desirable that elbow fitting 22 be rotated by 90, so that handle 16 is clamped in a horizontal position.
The other arm 32 of elbow fitting 22 is formed with an annular radially-projecting flange 34 at a location intermediate to the ends of arm 32 and is externally threaded as at 36 to receive an internally-threaded coupling 38 (FIG. I) mounted on one end of flexible hose 7 14. Diametrically opposed axiallyextending grooves 40 are located on the outer side of arm 32 and extend axially from flange 34 to reduced-diameter threaded section 36. 1 A support unit 41, which includes a pair of identical generally A-shaped support members 42, is mounted upon arm 32 between flange 34 and the coupling 38 of hose l4, fitting 38 and flange 34 clamping the two support members 42 axially against each other. As best seen in FIG. 4, each of support members 42 is formed with a circular opening 44 which extends through the apex portion of the A-shaped configuration of the members. Two diametrically opposed axially extending lugs 46 project into opening 44 to be received by grooves 40 on arm 32 of fitting 22. Openings 44 and their lugs 46 are dimensioned to have a sliding fit upon arm 32. Ifdesired, arms 42 may be secured upon elbow 22 by means of solvent bonding or sonic assembly.
At the distal end of each of the projecting leg portions 48 of each member 42, a concave cylindrical recess 50 is formed to extend partially through the thickness of member 42 and terminate at one end at a flat circular flange 52. Centrally located pivot bores 54 extend through flanges 52, the cylindrical surfaces of recesses 50 being concentric with the axes of bores 54. Support members 42 are each molded in one piece of a suitable thermoplastic material. The properties of the material and the dimensions of legs 48 are such that the legs are capable of a limited degree of resilientlyresisted flexing movement for a purpose to be described below. Each support member 42 is formed with an axially projecting pin 56 at one side and a cylindrical recess 58 at a symmetrically located position on the opposite side, so that the pin 56 of each one support member 42 is received within the recess 58 of the other support member 42 when the two support members are placed in face-to-face engagement with each other.
The paired support members 42, when in their assembled position, serve as a pivotal mounting support for a clamp assembly designated generally 60. As shown in FIG. 4, clamp assembly 60 takes the form of a one-piece member of a molded plastic material. It has two generally C-shaped clamping arms 62 integrally joined atone end to each other by a notched section 64 which is capable of flexing movement and thus defines a. hinge interconnecting the two arms 62. Each arm 62 is formed with an axially extending generally cylindrical boss 66 having a pair of coaxial reduced-diameter pivot pins 68 projecting from its opposite ends. The dimensions of boss 66 are such that the boss slidably engages the respective cylindrical wall of a recess 50 in support member 42, while pins 68 project into the respective pivot bores 54 of the paired support members 42 to thus pivotally mount arms 62 of the clamping assembly in the paired support members 42. Thus, a balland-socket or living hinge is formed at each such pivotal mount.
Referring now to FIGS. 2 and 3, the straight-line distance between the two pivot axes, represented by the centers of pins 68, is slightly less than twice the distance from either axis of pins 68 to the hinge axis of the clamping assembly as defined by the notch in section 64. Thus, clamping assembly 60 has two alternative over-center rest positions illustrated respectively in FIGS. 2 and 3 in which the hinge axis at the notch in section 64 is located on one or the other side of a straight line connecting the axes of pivots 68. The capability of legs 48 to flex slightly outwardly accommodates movement of clamping assembly 60 between the FIGS. 2 and.3 positions, the assembly moving to the respective positions with a snap action as'is characteristic of resiliently-loaded over-center devices.
As best seen'in FIG. 2, the clamping assembly, when in the handle-gripping position, finds the two C-shaped arms 62 disposed in a generally 0-shaped configuration in which the narrowest cross-section of handle 16 of the showerhead is clampingly gripped by the arms to hold the showerhead in a rigidly-fixed position upon bracket assembly 10 as shown in FIG. 1. In this position, the external side of notched section 64 preferably rests against or close to a nub 69 projecting from the cross arm portion of support unit 41, so that arms 62 are limited in their closing extent and support members 42 remain under some tension to insure a firm grip. To disengage the showerhead from the bracket, handle 16 is grasped and pulled downwardly as viewed in FIG. 2; this action forces clamping arms 62 to pivot from the FIG. 2 position to the FIG. 3 position in which the unattached ends of arm 62are spaced from each other by a sufficient distance to permit handle 16 to be withdrawn clear of the assembly. Replacement of the handle-spray nozzle unit into the assembly is accomplished simply by moving handle 16 to the FIG. 3 position and pressing inwardly against the clamping arms.
A modified form of clamp is shown in FIG. 5 in which two separable C-shaped clamping arms 62' are employed. Clamping arms 62' are each formed at one end with an axially extending cylindrical projection or ridge 70, which extends one-half of the thickness of arm 62', and a coaxially extending semicylindrical groove or recess 72 which extends the remaining one-half of the thickness of arm 62. The two arms 62 are thus identical and, when engaged. are hinged upon a hinge axis concentric with the cylindrical projections and recesses 70 and 72. The projection 70 of one arm 62' is then seated within the complementary recess 72 of the other arm 62. Because of the over-center relationship of the assembled arms 62' when mounted in support members 42, the hinged engagement between the two arms 62 is always under compression and the projections remain in the respective recesses throughout the range of pivoting movement of the arms.
With either embodiment, the user need only grasp handle 16 and exert a pulling or pushing force to remove the showerhead from the bracket or secure it within the bracket, respectively. When mounted so as to be gripped by the bracket at the thinnest portion of handle 16, the showerhead may be positioned to direct the shower spray from the location of a conventional wall-mounted showerhead arrangement. Yet, the showerhead may be readily detached from the bracket for achieving more flexible and versatile usage of the resulting spray. it will be observed that the bracket assembly is totally self-contained; no other parts are needed for installation or use.
While exemplary embodiments of the invention have been described in detail, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that the disclosed embodiments may be modified. Therefore, the foregoing description is to be considered exemplary rather than limiting, and the true scope ofthe invention is that defined in the following claims.
1. For use in combination with a hand-held showerhead of the type having an elongate handle, a spray nozzle mounted upon one end of said handle, a flexible water-supply hose attached to the opposite end of said handle, and a stationary water supply pipe, a bracket assembly for coupling said unit to said supply pipe and for detachably supporting said handle upon said supply pipe comprising:
coupling means for connecting said supply pipe to said flexible hose;
support means including a pair of resiliently-flexible support legs mounted upon and projecting outwardly from said coupling means;
a pair of generally C-shaped clamping arms hingedly coupled at one end to each other for movement about a hinge axis to and from a generally 0- shaped closed position;
pivot means mounting said arms respectively upon said legs for pivotal movement about respective pivot axes parallel to and equidistant from said hinge axis;
and said legs being capable of resiliently-resisted flexing movement from a normal rest position wherein the distance between said pivot axes is less than twice the distance from one of said pivot axes to said hinge axis to thereby resiliently retain said arms in either of a first over-center position wherein said arms are in said closed position and operable to grippingly support said handle upon said fitting and a second over-center position accommodating removal of said handle from said arms.
2. The combination defined in claim 1 wherein said clamping arms are integrally joined to each other by a relatively narrow section of reduced thickness capable of flexing movement and defining said hinge axis.
3. The combination defined in claim 1 wherein said clamping arms comprise a pair of like arm members, each arm member having a groove of semi-circular transverse cross-section extending axially along one end of the member for one half of the axial thickness of the member and a ridge of semi-circular transverse cross section extending axially of said one end of the member coaxially of said groove over the remainder of the axial thickness of the member, the ridge of one member being received within the groove of the other member to define said hinge axis.
4. The combination defined in claim 1 wherein said support means further comprises a pair of like generally A-shaped support members, each of said support members having a coupling means receiving opening through the apex portion of the A-shape for mounting the support member upon the coupling means with said support legs projecting from said coupling means, cooperating means on said support means and said coupling means for aligning said support members upon said coupling means in congruent relationship with each other, and first means at the distal ends of said legs cooperable with second means on said clamping arms in defining said pivot means.
5. The combination defined in claim 4 wherein said first means comprises a flange at the distal end of each leg having a bore therethrough and a concave cylindrical wall surface coaxial with said bore, the bore and wall surface on each leg of one support member being coaxially aligned with the respective bore and wall surface of the other support member when said support members are in congruent alignment with each other, and said second means comprises a cylindrical boss on each arm having a reduced diameter pin projecting coaxially from each end, said pins being receivable in said bores and said bosses being seatable in said wall surfaces, said flanges being operable to axially retain said arms between the opposed legs of said support membets.
6. The combination defined in claim 1 in which the shape of said coupling means together with the position thereon of said support means and the shape of said handle enables the mounting of said handle within said clamping arms to locate said spray nozzle in at least approximate alignment with the longitudinal axis of said supply pipe.
7. The combination as defined in claim 1 wherein said support means includes means for preventing closing movement of said clamping arms to a predetermined limit at which said support legs remain under tension to insure gripping of said handle by said clamping arms.
8. The combination defined in claim 1 in which said coupling means includes an elbow-shaped tubular fitting, a swivel ball mountable to said supply pipe and a collar threaded upon one end portion of said fitting and frictionally engageable upon said swivel ball, said collar and said swivel ball permitting positioning of said fitting, and hence said handle and spray nozzle when carried by said bracket assembly, in a variety of different positions.
9. The combination defined in claim 1 in which said coupling means includes a tubular fitting with an inwardly-projecting internal recess formed in one end thereof and capable of receiving a filter element.