US 3908203 A
A two-level toilet flush mechanism uses a single flap valve for controlling both major and minor flushes. This valve is connected to a float at X inches higher level so these rise and fall together. When valve is open and water level is above float the latter holds valve open. When water level falls below float it pushes valve closed unless user holds valve open by continued holding of flushing handle. Distance X is conveniently adjustable by householder without tools.
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Jackson 1 Sept. 30, 1975 1 1 TOILET FLUSH SYSTEM  Inventor:
Miles J. Jackson, 305 Fore Ave.
Monroevillc. Ala. 36460 3.561.016 2/1971 Reynolds 4/57 R X 3.766.571 10/1973 Elder et a1. 4/37 3.790.968 2/1974 Pfeifer 4/67 A X 3.831.204 8/1974 Cook 4/57 R 3.839.746 10/1974 Kowalski 4/57 R Primm'y E.\'aminer--Henry K. Artis 1 57] ABSTRACT A two-level toilet flush mechanism uses a single flap valve for controlling both major and minor flushes. This valve is connected to a float at X inches higher level so these rise and fall together. When valve is open and water level is above float the latter holds valve open. When water level falls below float it pushes valve closed unless user holds valve open by continued holding of flushing handle. Distance X is conveniently adjustable by householder without tools.
3 Claims. 3 Drawing Figures US. Patent Sept. 30,1975
TOILET FLUSH SYSTEM The present invention is an improvement in the socalled two-level type of flush mechanisms for toilet flush tanks. It is particularly adapted for manufacture and marketing both in the form of retro-fit kits for converting certain widely-used types of conventional single level flush tanks into two-level fixtures, and also as original equipment in new fixtures. In both forms, it provides two major advantages over previously known two-level mechanisms as follows: (1) both the preset minor discharge volume and the preset major discharge volume can be conveniently reset by a moderately skilled householder without any tools; (2) Its two-level selection does not require school-age skills such as are needed to distinguish between two levels of actuation force or two angles of actuation-handle rotation, but instead it uses two actuation methods sufficiently different so the even very young children can immediately learn to select the desired one. Also, in a household where a discharge volume in between the two preset volumes is sometimes desired, manipulation to achieve such an intermediate value is possible. In addition, the mechanism of the present invention is simpler, more reliable, and much less expensive to manufacture than the known stackedcolumn types (shown in U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,049,721 and 3,186,007 issued 7/21/62 to Virgil Taylor and 6/1/65 to Vincent L. Falatico respectively). These use two valve members co-acting with two valve seats with consequent increased chance of leakage. The present invention uses only one valving member co-acting with only one seat.
The principles of my invention and the best mode of practicing it will be understood from the following description taken together with the drawings in which:
FIG. 1 shows one form of my invention easily applicable to flush tanks with a stand-pipe type of overflow and a slanted valve seat.
FIG. 2 shows a slightly modified form for use with a flush tank using a horizontal seat surface.
FIG. 3 shows another form for use with cast-inceramic overflows (no standpipe available to support a guide for a vertical sliding stem).
In FIG. 1, 1 is a sloping valve seat, integral with a casting 2 which supports overflow standpipe 3 and also carries a pair of L-shaped hooks 4 of round crosssection, (only one such hook being visible), such hooks serving as hinge pivots for flap type valving member 5. This member 5 has a forked tail portion with two rubbery ears 5a (only one is visible) which are deformable to hook them over L hooks 4, but which then spring back to the position shown for freely pivoting on the round shanks of these hooks. Valving member 5 has a shallow dome 5b but this is preferably shallow and completely open on the underside, so that it provides practically no float action after the valve has come to full open position and the discharge stream has become established. The top of dome 5b is swingably attached to vertical stem 6, preferably by a hinge as shown, (but if the dome has a flexible strap portion fixed to the stem this will give equivalent swingability). Stem 6 is constrained for nearly vertical sliding motion by guide 7 (which has an elongated slot 7a to allow the stem to swing very slightly away from ans toward standpipe 3 as required to follow the arcuate motion of the top of dome 5b). All the apparatus so far described is essentially conventional except for the lack of the usual permanent float function in valving member 5, and the addition of the stem not usually used with modern flap type valves.
A combined floater-sinker member 8 preferably in the form of a ball with a hole through it is slidably positioned on the stem at a preselected distance above member 5. Very good results can be obtained with a high density sponge rubber ball, with its hole substantially smaller than the diameter of stem 6 so that a tight friction fit maintains it in the preselected position on the stem, but still permits it to be conveniently moved, for readjusting the termination level for minor discharges. The ball 8 is preferably much heavier and larger in volume that the combined weight and volume of 5 and 6, the other two elements of the complete moving valve device 5,6,8. Such proportioning practically assures that the relation of the water level to the ball will be by far the dominant factor determining the time of closing of valving member 5.
If the ball 8 were ten or more times as heavy as members 5 and 6 combined, and if the ball were about half the density of water, it is clear that the valving member would start to close when the water level was roughly halfway up the ball. But I believe my invention can successfully be practiced with a much smaller ball than this (if for some reason this is desired) provided that the balls density can be reduced to compensate for the weight of members 5 and 6, so that the total moving valve device 8,5,6, would float with the ball about half two thirds out of water, and provided that the angle between seat 1 and member 5 when fully open is increased so that the dynamic flow effects of the discharge stream flowing down past the front of member 5 and flowing in between 1 and 5 do not produce too large a down-force on members 5.
The decisive requirement is that the volume allotted to the ball must be large enough so that the change in floatation lift from the condition where ball 8 is percent submerged to the condition where it is 20 percent submerged (ie 60 percent of balls volume times the density of water) can provide both safely positive buoyancy for the whole device 5,6,8 in the former condition and operatively negative buoyancy for such device in the latter one. By safely positive buoyancy, I mean enough positive buoyancy to reliably hold the valving member 5 in open position in spite of the dynamic flow effects of the discharge stream tending to pull it down. By operatively negative buoyancy, I mean enough negative buoyancy to fairly rapidly push the valve member down to where the dynamic flow effects can rapidly close it, in spite of statically frictional, inertial, counterforces. The flotation lift of any body is taken to mean the total upward force exerted statically on the body by the water under specified conditions. This is equal to the weight of the displaced water at the water-level under consideration. The flotation lift minus the bodys weight is its buoyancy.
The lifetime of such a sponge rubber ball has not yet been finally determined. If the ball is molded and cured with the hole already in it so that an almost impervious skin lines the hole (like the skin outside the usual sponge rubber ball) this may well provide adequate life. Possibly, the life even without such skin may prove adequate, especially if the total buoyancy of the ball is more than needed by a substantial margin. But if such spongy balls have a lifetime shorter than desired (or vary too much in buoyancy), a hollow rubber-like ball (with a stem-gripping tube extending from top to bottom of the ball) can be substituted for the simple spongy ball without departing from the scope of my invention. In such case, the wall thickness of the ball should preferably be made great enough to give the ball a weight comparable to that of a dense sponge rubber ball if the ball is large (or a weight meeting the above outlined decisive requirements if it is of moderate size). Also drain holes should be provided in the bottom wall of the ball outside of the stem-gripping tube to drain water leaking into or condensing inside of the ball. Opportunity for such drainage will occur each time a major discharge is effected.
The upper end of stem 6 has an adjustable nut 6a. A lift wire 10 is provided which is arranged to be lifted, in response to actuation of a flush control handle, or plunger, etc., (by means not shown but well known in the art). The lower portion of left wire 10 forms a loop loosely surrounding stem 6 but narrow enough so that it cannot slide over the nut 6a. A slideable, but watertight fitted sleeve 11 is provided at the top of overflow standpipe 3 to extend the latter if desired.
The operation of the embodiment of FIG. 1 is as follows: (the details of how the tank is filled to a predetermined level are skipped as being generally known, but the use of a long float rod with a float ball at one end is assumed, since nearly all modern flush tanks marketed in USA have this type of control) To trigger a minor discharge, the user actuates the flush handle (or plunger, or other flush control) in the usual manner giving it a complete but brief actuation and then releasing it. This transmits a lifting motion to lift-wire 10, thus causing stem to slide upward, lifting valving member 5 off seat 1 into the full open position. As soon as the tank water pressure is applied to the underside of member 5 as well as to its upper side resulting forces on 5 approximately balance, so that the full positive buoyancy of the whole moving valve device 5,6,8 acts to hold the valve open in spite of the dynamic flow effects pulling member 5 downward (and in spite of any slight down-force on stem 6 which may be caused by the friction of loop 6a sliding down when the control is released by the user). When the water level drops to the point where the ball is only 80 percent submerged, the positive buoyancy is still sufficient to safely hold the valve open. But by the time the water level drops enough so that the ball is 80 percent out of the water, the buoyancy is sufficiently negative to fairly rapidly push the valve downward. Somewhere in between these two points the valve begins to move down. This increases the dynamic flow effects pulling down on the member 5, thus resulting in an abrupt closing of valving member 5 against seat 1. Since the water level was somewhere near the center of the ball when the valve started the down motion which resulted in its sudden closure, the water will be only slightly lower when the discharge ceases. If the volume remaining in the tank is 1 gallon, and if the automatic fill control had been set to fill it to 4 gallons, the minor discharge has delivered only 3 gallons to the water closet.
To trigger a major discharge the user actuates the flush control and holds it until all discharge has ceased--except for a trickle corresponding to the refill flow of the refill valve (not shown). Then the user releases the control. The initial action for this case is the same as that described for the minor discharge. But at the point where the minor discharge was terminated by the negative buoyancy (when the water level fell to somewhere between the percent and the 20 percent points on the ball), the valve is now held open by loop 10a of lift wire 10 which is still in a raised position because of the users continued holding of the control. Thus, the discharge continues till the tank is empty, and the user (in response to this) releases the flush control. This major discharge has therefore delivered 4 gallons to the water closet.
For adjusting the two preset discharge volumes, the adjustment of the major discharge volume is performed by altering the float-controlled refill level.
As most house owners know, the level to which the tank is automatically refilled after a complete discharge of all its water (or a partial discharge of some of it) can readily be adjusted by bending the soft metal float rod (not shown, but understood to be present). This provides convenient toolless adjustment of the volume of the major discharges both for the prior art and for the present invention. To adjust the preselected volume of the minor discharges, any one reasonably skilled in normal household maintenance can merely remove the tank cover and slide the ball up or down the stem 6. Raising the level of the ball causes the discharge to terminate when the water in the tank is at a higher level, thus giving a smaller volume of water for each minor discharge. Lowering the level of the ball conversely increases the volume of the minor discharges.
The embodiment of FIG. 2 differs principally in the orientation of seat 1 which in this case, is horizontal instead of inclined. Also, the elongated hole shown in guide 7 of FIG. 1 is in FIG. 2 elongated only toward its down position, but is essentially round (although quite loose fitting) at its top. The action of FIG. 2 is essentially the same as that of FIG. 1 above described. The adjustments are the same.
The embodiment of FIG. 3 cannot conveniently use a vertically sliding stem because of the absence of a standpipe in the type of flush tank to which it is intended to be applied (either as a retrofit kit or as a convenient production change requiring very little new tooling). In FIG. 3, therefore, the stem 6' is not a sliding stem swingably attached to the dome 5b of member 5, but is rather rigidly attached thereto so as to swing up and down about the hinging point of member 5. The hinge is not constituted by two highly flexible ears like 5a engaging L hook pivots, 4, but rather by one morerigid and wider non-forked tailpiece 5a pivoted by one longer pivot pin 4a which extends through two ceramic ears 12 (only 1 visible) which are integral with the bottom of the ceramic tank 13. The valving member is lifted by a bead-chain 6" with an enlarged upper end rather than by the stem which supports the ball 8.
The actionis essentially the same as that described for FIG. 1 except that the inertial forces resisting the downward movement of the whole device 5,6, 8 when the buoyancy thereof becomes negative (or at least insufficient to resist the dynamic flow down force on 5) are greater, especially if ball 8 is near the top of stem 6. Also, the upward moment tending to hold 5 in open position and the downward moment tending to swing 5 closed will both vary widely for the same negative buoyancy of ball 8, depending on whether the ball is low on stem 6" or near the top of this stem. For this embodiment therefore, larger operating margins are necessary to insure that the positive buoyancy will be safely positive and the negative buoyancy operatively negative even for the highest position of ball 8 on stem 6'. This merely means that the balls weight and volume should be larger (in relation to the weights of 5, 6', 6") than would be necessary in a verticallysliding embodiment like FIG. 1 or FIG. 2. The adjustments of this embodiment are the same as for the others described.
I. In a two-level flush mechanism for water closet flushing tanks which comprises (A) a holding tank, (B) means for filling this tank with water to a predetermined level, (C) a flush control, (D) means including (D1) a static valve seat and (D2) a moving valve device for rapidly discharging a minor predetermined volume of water from said tank in response to a first mode of actuation of said control, (E) means for rapidly discharging a major predetermined volume of water therefrom in response to a second mode of actuation of said control, THE IMPROVEMENT CHARACTERIZED BY THE FOLLOWING ELEMENTS AND INTERRE- LATIONS: FIRST that said moving valve device comprises (la) a lower hinged flat type valving portion coacting with said valve seat to control the beginning and termination of said discharges, (lb) an adjustably fixed upper floater-sinker portion located a preselected amount higher than said valving portion, whereby the difference between said major and minor predetermined volumes is adjustable, an interconnecting portion comprising a stem hingedly affixed to said valving portion, said interconnecting portion joining said upper and lower portions in such relation that said portions rise and fall together; SECOND that the combined weight of said three portions is sufficiently less than their total flotation lift to make the overall buoyancy of the moving valve device safely positive, whereby the valve is held open in spite of dynamic flow forces when both upper and lower portions are submerged; THIRD that said combined weight is sufficiently greater than the flotation lift of the lower and interconnecting portions to make the overall buoyancy operatively negative when the water level is below said upper portion, whereby said negative buoyancy tends to reclose the valve and terminate the discharge; FOURTH that said flushing control is of the class which holds the valve open as long as it is held actuated by the use, whereby a user can select a minor discharge by actuation of the control in the usual brief-actuation-and-release mode or can select a major discharge by actuating the control and holding it actuated until the discharge has ceased.
2. In a mechanism according to claim 1, wherein said upper portion is adjustably fixed by frictional fixing means to said interconnecting portion, whereby the difference between said major and minor predetermined volumes is conveniently adjustable without tools.
3. In a mechanism according to claim 1, wherein said interconnecting portion is a stem constrained to substantially vertical sliding movement, and swingably connected to said flap valve to move up and down with the latter, and the upper floater-sinker portion is slidably mounted on said stem and fixed in position by friction means.