The hot tub cover or spa top, is one of the most necessary accessory items for a spa or hot tub. But it wasn’t always so – in the early days, hot tubs were not kept hot all the time, but heated up as needed. Then, the energy crunch of ’73 hit, and inventors starting tinkering…
The early spa cover inventions were modeled after pool covers, but spa covers could offer more than pool covers; with insulation and hinged folding panels. Most early spa covers, in the 70’s were hand-made of plywood, but remember, portable spas as we know them today, hadn’t been invented yet!
Inventors rolled up their sleeves to design new spa covers that would save energy, and be easy to work with. Here’s a short collection, in chronological order, of some interesting patents for spa covers.
Spa cover US 4236259 A – Gary R. Wendt
A rigid piece of insulative foam, fashioned with hinged cut out sections for users to enjoy a dip in the tub, without experiencing the unfortunate effects of heat loss.
Closed cell foam is soft to the touch, and has a moderate durability against spa chemicals. Easy to remove and store.
The underside of the flip over sections includes cup holders! Obviously, this design was way ahead of it’s time for 1980.
Convert Spa to Wading Pool US 5390377 A – Mark W. Blough
Not really a spa cover, but this device has a curious use – lay it over the bench seats in your hot tub to decrease the depth of the tub to a fun baby pool!
This device was sketched in many shapes and sizes for the most common types of spa shells being produced at the time. Holes in the center allow for water to bubble up through the clear sheet, and hand holds near the edge allow for placement and removal.
The sheet is made of a Lexan or durable ABS plastic for years of use with minimal care!
Hot tub cover US 4246663 A – Anthony J. Aragona
I love this one! A spherical dome structure, looks so steampunk!
“A generally hemispherical dome designed to cover a hot tub comprised of two nested spherical shells, which pivot on a a vertical pin running through the superimposed apexes of the two shells. A deck surrounding the perimeter of the hot tub provides basal support to the shells as well as a bearing surface for roller wheels attached along the base of the smaller shell.”
The larger shell is fixed to the deck and the smaller shell is rotated about the pin member through a range of superajacent positions relative to the fixed shell.
Thermal Spa Cover US 4270232 A – Ray D. Ballew
A thermally effective cover designed to entrap and magnify atmospheric heat and pass the same into the water and retain it – the first spa solar cover?
Originally designed for pools in 1979 to be the first type of interlocking, floating solar panels, they also found a use for spas by creating a heat trapping dome over a hot tub or spa, of the right size.
Designs show this floating spa cover (buoyant) being manufactured in different shapes and sizes, 3-corner, 4-corner and 6-corner sections can be used to keep your spa clean and retain heat.
Tub cover US 4234973 A – Craig A. Vetter
You may have seen this one before, a roll up spa cover made of wooden slats – popularized by California Cooperage, who had an exclusive on the design, for a short time.
Spa or hot tub cover US 4422192 A – Terry Jacobs
This design is closest to the spa and hot tub covers that we know today, an insulative cover made from two closed cell foam panels, hinged with a center channel, and covered in waterproof material.
“An insulative hot tub or spa cover appearing in two symmetrical halves, each half comprising an inner foam core capped on a peripheral edge by a C-shaped channel and covered on an upper and lower surface by a softer upholstery foam then entirely enveloped by a heat sealed vapor barrier and ultimately with a vinyl outer cover riveted to the channel by a trim strip. The entire spa cover being designed to come in sealed registry and rest upon the rim of a hot tub, spa or the like.”
Pretty inventive stuff for 1982! Terry Jacobs spa or hot tub cover design has been scarcely improved upon in over 30 years. At Hot Tub Works, we have only improved the design with modern materials and a computer controlled manufacturing process to ensure a consistent product.
We salute all of those brave pioneers who invented and reinvented spa and hot tub covers. Spa covers have come a long way – in over 40 years we’ve seen quite a few designs come and go, thanks to tireless efforts from entrepreneurial inventors.
We are proud to be America’s #1 choice for spa and hot tub covers! Take a look at our affordable and well made spa covers from Hot Tub Works!