Title:
ROTARY DISTRIBUTOR ASSEMBLY FOR WASHING MACHINES
United States Patent 3567076


Abstract:
A rotary distributor for sequentially dispensing dosage units of detergents in a washing machine including a plurality of sectoral compartments adapted to hold each a different kind of detergent, with the distributor also serving as a water-flow intercepting means and means for imparting a predetermined direction to a water jet impinging into the distributor for sweeping away the detergent towards the washing tub of the machine. Means are also provided for transferring the drive, unidirectionally, from the shaft of the programming timer of the machine to the rotary distributor, along with means for discharging the water left in the individual compartments of the distributor on completion of a washing cycle.



Inventors:
ZANUSSI LINO
Application Number:
04/727645
Publication Date:
03/02/1971
Filing Date:
05/08/1968
Assignee:
INDUSTRIE A. ZANUSSI SPA.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
68/17R, 222/333, 222/630
International Classes:
D06F33/06; D06F39/02; (IPC1-7): B67D5/60
Field of Search:
222/70,144,168
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3333739Material dispensing means for a washing apparatus1967-08-01Clearman et al.
2643537Combination water inlet and soap dispenser for washing machines1953-06-30Woodson
2540431Laundry washing apparatus1951-02-06Davis et al.
1904428Spraying device1933-04-18Enemark



Foreign References:
GB329351A1930-05-16
Primary Examiner:
Reeves, Robert B.
Assistant Examiner:
Lane H. S.
Claims:
I claim

1. A rotary distributor assembly for washing machines of the type embodying a water main, a programming timer mechanism for controlling the operative cycle of said washing machine, at least two containers adapted to contain preselected dosages of a detergent and/or another washing adjuvant in solid and/or liquid form, and a duct for establishing communication between said containers and the interior of a washing tub of said washing machine, the improvement including a single stop valve mounted in said duct controlled by said programming timer, a rotary flow distributor, and means directly and mechanically connecting said distributor of said timer for rotation by said programming timer during periods of time in which said timer keeps said valve closed, with said distributor rotating said container into communication, sequentially and during preselected times of the washing cycle, between said water feeding duct and said containers.

2. The rotary distributor assembly according to claim 1, in which said flow distributor comprises a hollow cylindrical body having an inlet port at either end and at least two outlet ports at the opposite end, and an intercepting disc coaxially arranged for rotation within said body, said disc having a perforation adapted to establish communication between one of said outlet ports at a time and said inlet port, the timer having a rotating shaft, the rotation of said disc being controlled by said timer through a direct and mechanical coupling drive between the disc per se and the rotating shaft.

3. The distributor according to 2, characterized in that said perforation and said outlet ports have a circular outline.

4. The rotary distributor according to claim 2, characterized in that said perforation and said outlet ports have the form of an elongate slot.

5. The distributor according to claim 2, characterized in that said duct contains a magnetic valve controlled so as to be closed prior to the complete closure of the perforation of the disc and to be opened prior to the complete reopening of the perforation, with said magnetic valve being kept closed for the whole duration of the complete closure of said perforation.

6. The rotary distributor assembly according to claim 1, in which said rotary distributor includes a fixed body and a rotary container mounted internally of said fixed body, said programming timer mechanism having a shaft, said container being controlled for rotation, directly and mechanically by the shaft and being subdivided into sectoral compartments adapted to contain a detergent and which are positioned at preselected instants of time beneath a single water jet which enters the machine and conveys the detergent towards the interior of the washing tub.

7. The assembly according to claim 6, characterized in that said rotary container is divided into sectoral compartments, each of which comprises a radially innermost chamber intended to contain the detergent and an annular radially outermost chamber intended to receive said water jet, said innermost and said outermost chambers being partitioned by a partition wall extending in a circumferential direction and terminating at a certain distance from the bottom of said container, so that said two chambers are in mutual communication.

8. The assembly according to claim 6, characterized in that said rotary container is connected for rotation through a flexible drive-transfer mechanism to the shaft of said programming timer mechanism of said washing machine.

9. The assembly according to claim 6, characterized in that said fixed body has an overflow for discharging accidentally overflowing water.

10. The assembly according to claim 6, characterized in that a single water jet is provided, which is controlled by a single magnetic valve, directly by said programming timer mechanism.

11. The assembly according to claim 6, characterized in that the water feeding duct solid with said fixed body, and the edge of the underlying annular chamber are placed at a distance from one another, thus providing a duct cutoff mechanism, and said inlet duct having an outlet opening with an elongate cross-sectional shape.

12. The assembly according to claim 11, characterized in that said outlet opening has a rectangular outline.

13. The assembly according to claim 6, in which between the shaft of said programming timer mechanisms and the rotary container, a drive-transfer mechanism is provided for permitting the transfer of the rotary drive from the shaft to the container but not the transfer of the rotary drive from the container to the shaft, at least a compartment for dispensing a liquid detergent to the washing tub of said washing machine, said compartment having valve means for discharging the water left in the liquid detergent dispenser, and said means being actuated at the end of a washing cycle.

14. The assembly according to claim 13, in which said mechanism comprises two sleeves, engaged by the shaft of the programming timer mechanism, and by a hub of said rotary container, respectively, said sleeves being adapted to be mutually engaged along two surfaces having a helical trend with respect to the axis of said sleeves, the sleeve for said hub being resiliently maintained in engagement with said other sleeve by compressible spring means, and said valve means comprising a poppetlike seal adapted to close in sealtight manner a perforation formed through the bottom wall of said liquid detergent dispensing compartment, with said poppetlike seal being affixed to an actuating stem and resiliently maintained in its closed position but manually actuable towards its opening position.

15. A rotary distributor assembly for washing machines of the type embodying a water main, a programming timer mechanism for controlling the operative cycle of the washing machine, at least two containers adapted to contain preselected dosages of a detergent and/or another washing adjuvant in solid and/or liquid form, and a duct for establishing communication between said containers and the interior of a washing tub of the washing machine, the improvement including a single stop valve mounted in said duct controlled by said programming timer, and a rotary flow distributor, actuated and controlled directly and mechanically for rotation by the programming timer mechanism during periods of time in which said timer mechanism maintains said valve closed, with said distributor establishing communication, sequentially and during preselected times of the washing cycle, between said water feeding duct and said containers, said rotary flow distributor including a hollow cylindrical body having an inlet port at either end and at least two outlet ports at the opposite end, an intercepting disc coaxially arranged for rotation within the body, said disc having a perforation adapted to establish communication between one of said outlet ports at a time and said inlet port, said disc being mounted adjacent the end of the body having said outlet ports so as to allow the disc to sealingly close the ports not in registry with the perforation in the disc, the rotation of said disc being controlled by means of said timer mechanism and said disc being of a resiliently yieldable material whereby the pressure of the liquid entering the inlet urges the disc against the end having the outlet ports thereby closing in a sealtight manner the outlet ports not in registry with the perforation.

Description:
Background of the Invention

This invention relates to a rotary distributor for washing machines, which is actuated and mechanically controlled by the programming timer of the washing machine.

More particularly, this invention relates to a rotary distributor which is adapted to feed, with liquid, the washing tub of a washing machine, the term "liquid" being intended to apply to water, as well as to an aqueous solution of a detergent or other agent to be introduced at a preselected instant of time and in a metered amount into the tub during progress of a washing cycle.

In washing machines in general, either laundry washing machines or dishwashers, there is the problem of feeding water and detergent, bleaching agents and the like at predetermined instants of the washing and rinsing program. This problem has been solved in the past for the detergents by providing several containers in which the detergent or the bleaching agent was placed, to be subsequently forwarded to the washing tub by an individual water jet for each container, with the jet being controlled by appropriate and discrete magnetic valves, these latter being controlled, in turn, by the programs set on the timer cams. Another solution was to shift, by means of mechanical devices, the incoming water jet from one container to another. These systems involved the use of a number of magnetic valves or mechanisms or hydraulic assemblies of a great completely moreover, the control of the magnetic valves required, for each valve, a cam in the programming timer, the result being an increase of first cost and difficulties of installation in the interior of the washing machine, also on account of the fact that all the electric controls required a considerable number of leads.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

This invention has as its subject matter a rotary distributor assembly of the type comprising a feed duct connected to the water main, a programming timer device controlling the operational cycle of the washing machine, at least two containers adapted to hold preselected dosage units of a detergent and/or a washing adjuvant, solid and/or liquid, and a discharge duct from the containers to the interior of the washing tub of the washing machine, characterized in that a single stop valve is provided, which is placed in the duct, and controlled by the programming timer, and a rotary flow distributor actuated and directly mechanically controlled to rotate by the programming timer during periods of time in which the latter keeps the valve closed, the distributor establishing a communication, in sequence and for preselected times during the washing cycle, the water feeding duct with the containers.

According to a first preferred embodiment of the present invention, the rotary flow distributor is characterized in that it comprises a hollow body having an inlet port at one end and at least two outlet ports at the opposite end, the hollow body housing a movable intercepting member adapted to establish a communication between the inlet and one outlet port at a time only, with the movement of the said intercepting member being mechanically controlled by the programming timer aforementioned. More specifically, the hollow body is a cylindrical casing having at a first end thereof the inlet port communicating with the water-feeding duct, and at least two outlet ports at the opposite end, which communicate with fixed containers adapted to hold preselected dosage units of a detergent or the like for feeding the washing tub therewith, the cylindrical casing having a disc rotatable about its own axis and provided with a port adapted sequentially to come into registry with the outlet ports during the rotation of the disc, with the latter being keyed to a shaft mechanically driven to rotation by the programming timer of the washing machine.

According to an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the flow distributor incorporates the containers for the detergent and is properly partitioned into sectors and mounted for rotation on a shaft directly or mechanically driven by the programming timer of the washing machine so as to position, at the proper time, under a single water jet fed into the washing machine, the sectoral compartment which holds the detergent of the selected quality and in the preselected amount.

The objects and advantages of the present invention will become more clearly apparent from the ensuing disclosure of the two preferred embodiments briefly outlined above, or will they be pointed out as the present disclosure proceeds. It should nonetheless be understood that the invention is not limited to the illustrative embodiments shown in the drawings hereof which are given by way of example only without any implied limitation.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing a washing machine which comprises a distributor assembly according to a first embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of the distributor, taken along the line II-II of FIG. 3;

FIG. 3 shows a cross-sectional view of the distributor, taken along the line III-III of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a vertical cross-sectional view of another embodiment of the rotary distributor assembly, taken along the line IV-IV of FIG. 5;

FIG. 5 is a plan view;

FIG. 6 is an exploded view of the distributor;

FIG. 7 is a top plan view of a modified form of the embodiment of FIGS. 4 to 7;

FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view taken along the line VIII-VIII of FIG. 7;

FIG. 9 is a detail view, in cross section, of the gearing which connects the shaft of the programming timer of the washing machine with the rotatable container;

FIG. 10 is a fragmentary view, similar to FIG. 9, and shows the gearing in another position; and

FIG. 11 is a cross-sectional detail view of the discharge valve means, taken along the line XI-XI of FIG. 7.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1 to 3, a washing machine 7 is depicted, which comprises a distributor member 9 actuated by a timer 18 through a shaft 2, the timer 18 being the same timer which gives the washing cycle times of the washing machine. The distributor member 9 is connected to the liquid feed main (not shown) via two ducts 11 and 19 which are connected to one another by a magnetic valve 10 and dispenses the liquid to the several compartments of a container 15, with the latter having four compartments A, B, C and D for containing the detergents.

The distributor 9 (FIGS. 2 and 3) comprises a hollow cylindrical body 6 having an inlet port 5 at one end, and peripheral outlet ports 3 at the opposite end. The inlet port 5 is connected to the duct 11, whereas the outlet ports 3 are connected to ducts 13, 14, 16 and 17 which feed the liquid to the compartments A, B, C and D of the container 15, respectively.

In the interior of the body 6 of the distributor 9, is coaxially housed a disc 4 which rotates integrally with the drive-transfer shaft 2 which transfers the drive from the time 18 to the disc 4. The disc 4, which can be made either of a resiliently yielding material or a stiff material, has a peripheral through-bore 1 which establishes a communication between the outlet ports 3, or dispensing orifices, one at a time, and the inlet port 5, thus permitting the liquid to be distributed in the several compartments of the container 15 according to the positioning of the latter, that is to say, according to a program as preselected by the timer.

The disc 4 is also able to close in a sealtight manner those dispensing orifices 3 which are not in registry with the port 1. In point of fact, the pressure of the liquid coming from the electrovalve 10 acts in such a way that the disc 4 is urged against the wall of the distributor equipped with the outlet ports, thus closing in a sealtight manner the dispensing orifices which are not in registry with the port 1. More particularly, a bending of the disc can take place if the disc is made of a resiliently yielding material or, possibly, as an alternative, a shift of the disc if the disc is made of a stiff material, with the shift being permitted by a small clearance provided between the disc and the shaft.

As the inflow of liquid to the magnetic valve is discontinued, the pressure acting on the disc is decreased, so as to encourage a rotation thereof and thus the selection of another dispending orifice to be selected. It is required that the magnetic valve be closed as the supply of liquid to the container 15 is discontinued, and that the valve be opened as the orifice 1 is in registry with the orifice which appertains to another selected compartment. However, by properly calibrating the orifice of the magnetic valve with respect to the orifice of the disc and the outlet ports, things can be arranged so that, when liquid supply is in progress, not the whole pressure of the liquid main, but, rather, a small fraction thereof only, is directed against the disc of the distributor. By so doing, when the orifice of the disc is in registry with an outlet port, a small pressure only is active on the disc and thus the latter urges against the distributor wall with a pressure which is hardly sufficient to provide the expected sealtightness. At the end of a dispensing cycle through one of the orifices of the distributor, it is thus possible to start the rotation of the disc for selecting another outlet port, even if the magnetic valve is still open. The latter, however, must be closed before the orifice 1 of the disc is wholly closed, otherwise the pressure acting on the disc would become such as not to allow for any further rotation of the disc. The lag time between the beginning of the rotation of the disc and the closing of the magnetic valve permits both the disc and the closure contacts of the magnetic valve to be actuated by the same timer, with a certain delay being actually unavoidable in such a case. For example, a cam could be keyed to the shaft 2, with a movable contact of the magnetic valve resting against the cam, the latter having a projection such as to determine a displacement of the said movable contact away from the fixed contact of the magnetic valve, the energization circuit of the magnetic valve being thus opened, which corresponds to closing the magnetic valve. Since the movable contact will take a certain time to engage cam projection, and the disc has meanwhile been rotated through a certain angle (the port 1 is now partially closed), there will be a certain time interval during which the disc will be rotated while the magnetic valve is still open. This situation, as outlined above, is actually permissible only if the pressure acting upon the disc, when the magnetic valve is still open and the orifice of the disc is in registry with an outlet port, is not exceedingly high. Of course, the cam should be designed in such a way that the contacts of the magnetic valve are opened prior to the complete closure of the disc orifice: if such is not the case, the disc is stopped since it is unable to overcome pressure force acting therein. Similarly, and in the light of the same reasonings as above, it will be necessary that the magnetic valve is opened before the subsequent complete opening of the disc orifice.

For certain applications, the magnetic valve could even be eliminated. If so, all the pressure of the main is maintained on the disc and the drive applied to the shaft 2 should be properly adjusted.

It should be noted that, in the case of the distributor shown in the drawings, it has been assumed that the perforation 1 and the outlet ports 3 are circular. Such outline is suitable in the cases in which the ports 3 are not very close to one another. If, on the other hand, the outlet ports or dispensing orifices 3 are very close to one another, the perforation 1 and the orifices 3 can be shaped as slots or in any appropriate fashion.

Lastly, it should be noted that the disc 4 can be replaced by a device having one or more cams which cause the opening of the outlet ports or dispensing orifices.

In FIGS. 4, 5 and 6, which illustrate another preferred embodiment of the present rotary distributor assembly, it will be seen that a frame 10, preferably of circular outline, rests with its edge 111 against an upper metal sheet lid 112 of the washing machine and is affixed thereto.

Integral with the frame 110 is an elbow duct 113 for feeding in the water and the inlet portion of the duct has a circular cross section. The duct is properly and conventionally connected to the water main and has, in its outlet portion 115, a cross-sectional outline which is preferably rectangular and is such as to define a water jet stream 116 which enters the body portion of the rotary distributor or dispenser and is generally distributed along a circumferential direction with respect to said the dispenser.

Beneath the frame 110, the dispenser comprises an outer fixed casing 117, in the interior of which a container 118 is mounted for rotation. The container 118 is partitioned into sectors, which, in turn, are further subdivided, each, into two radially aligned chambers.

As a matter of fact, as viewed in FIGS. 5 and 6, the container 118 is divided into three compartments, 119A, 119B and 119C by radial ribs 120A, 120B and 120C, respectively. Each compartment is further confined in a circumferential direction by separators 121A, 121B and 121C which thus define, in cooperation with the sidewall of the container 118, annular peripheral chambers 122A, 122B and 122C, respectively.

The separators, which are integral with the sidewall of the container 118 through the radial outermost portion of the ribs, are terminated at a certain distance from a bottom portion 123 of the container 118, as can be seen in more detail in FIG. 4; so that the compartments 122A, 122B and 122C communicate with the corresponding compartments 119A, 119B and 119C, respectively. The bottom 123 of the container 118 has a central circular port 124 whose edge 125 is curled upwardly, that is, towards the interior of the container 118, and curled edge functions in a manner to be explained.

The outer fixed casing 117 has, in a position which is diametrically opposed to the outlet of the duct 113, an overflow port 126 which communicates with a discharge duct 127 which serves as a preventive measure as will be pointed out hereinafter.

The bottom 128 of the casing 117 has a step slope towards a discharge opening, from which a duct 130 originates and which discharges in a conventional manner towards the interior of the washing machine. In a central position, the bottom 128 has a sleevelike support 131 which, at its upper end, supports for rotation a conical piece 132, integral with the ribs 120A, 120B and 120C and whose lower edge 133, terminates at the same level as the separators 121A, 121B and 121C, holds, in cooperation with the edge 125, a detergent 134 in the interior of the compartments. The conical piece 132 is connected, at the top, to a shaft 135 which passes, freely and rotatably, into the inner cavity of the sleeve 131. At its lower end, the shaft 135 is conventionally connected to a flexible drive-transfer shaft 136, which in turn is connected to a rotatable shaft 137 of the programming timer 138 of the washing machine.

It will be noticed that, on account of the connection between the conical member 132 and the ribs 120A, 120B and 120C, the container 118 will be rotated as said conical member is rotated and such rotation is perfectly attuned with the rotation of the shaft 137 of the timer 138.

The operation of the distributor or dispenser according to the present invention is extremely simple and is as follows:

At the start of each washing operation, the detergents are placed in their respective compartments, for example the prewashing detergent in the compartment 119A, the washing detergent proper in the compartment 119B, and the rinsing detergent or bleaching agent in the compartment 119c. On completion of this operation, the washing machine is started, and thus the programming timer 138 will begin its rotation. Of course, the dispenser is preset in such a way that, at the instant of starting, the compartment 122A is beneath the port 115 so that the water jet, indicated by the arrows 114, will draw from below the detergent 134 forwarding it to the port 129 and thence, via the duct 130, into the interior of the washing tub (not shown in the drawing). On completion of the prewashing stage, and as a consequence of a corresponding rotation of the timer 138, the compartment 122B will be positioned in registry with the jet 116 and, as a result of the actuation of the single magnetic valve (not shown) which controls the feed of water by the timer 138, the incoming water will forward into the washing tub the detergent contained in the second compartment 119B and so forth.

It is apparent that, by so doing, the annular compartments 122A, 122B and 122C will receive at the desired instant of time and in the appropriate amount, both as determined by the programming timer 138 acting on the water-feeding magnetic valve, and the water jet in attunement with the program of the said timer, concurrently introducing into the washing tub the desired type and amount of detergent.

FIG. 4, moreover, clearly shows that the gap, determined when the dispenser is built, between the opening 115 of the duct 113 and the mouth of the underlying annular compartment is a cutoff device which is of vital importance as outlined above, whereas the shape taken by the water jet 116 at the outlet of the duct 113 encourages a better distributing action and an improved sweeping effect which is circumferential with respect to the underlying annular compartment.

It should be pointed out, lastly, that the opening 126 and the attendant conduit 127 act as an overflow mechanism and, in the case of a malfunction of the washing machine or a backflow tending to bring the suds towards the interior of the rotary dispenser, provide for the discharge of the suds upstream of the distributor, thus preventing a drawback which is self-evident.

If it is desired that the rotary dispenser be preset for dispensing liquid detergents, it would suffice to raise the edge 125 towards the interior of the inner cavity of the conical member 132 to a level which is above the level of the liquid detergent established in the corresponding compartment.

In FIGS. 7 to 11, is shown an additional embodiment in which at least one compartment is provided to hold a unit dosage of liquid, and the means for transferring the drive from the shaft of the programming timer to the rotary container of the dispenser comprise a gearing which provides only for the transfer of a rotary drive from the programming timer to the container but not vice versa, and valve means for discharging the residual water from the compartment for the liquid.

More particularly, the gearing is of type adapted to transfer the rotary drive from the shaft of the programming timer to the rotary container of the dispenser but prevents the transfer of a rotary motion from the rotary container to the shaft, with the rotary container being allowed, in such a case, to rotate idly.

In addition, the valve means are preferably of the kind which is resiliently maintained in a closed position and can be actuated either manually or through the lid which closes the dispenser during the operation of the machine, so as to effect the discharge of water, for example, upon completion of the washing cycle.

It will be seen in FIGS. 7 and 8, that the rotary dispenser comprises a frame 210 secured to a specially provided seat (not shown) in the housing of the washing machine. The frame 210 forms a fixed container 211 whose walls converge towards the bottom from the bottom, a tubular boss 212. The container 211 has, moreover, a discharge conduit 253 which opens into the washing tub. In the interior of the container 211 is coaxially mounted a rotatable container 213 keyed to the boss 212, in a manner to be described in connection with the FIGS. 9 and 10.

The container 213 is radially partitioned into two coaxial chambers 214 and 215 by means of a partition wall 217. The chambers, in turn, are subdivided into sectoral compartments, shown in FIG. 7 at 214A, 214B, 214C and 214D and 215A, 215B, 215C and 215D by partition walls 216A, 216B, 216C and 216D, respectively. In the example shown, the compartments 215A and 215B are intended to receive solid detergents, whereas the compartments 215C and 215D receive liquid detergents. For this purpose, the chamber 215 is equipped, at the compartments 215A and 215B, with a bottom port 218, formed between the bottom portion of the container 213 and a conical web 219 which is integral with the rotatable container 213, as will be explained hereinafter.

The compartments 215C and 215D are provided with overflow ports, which are formed through the partition wall 217 at such a level as to permit the compartment involved to be filled with the desired dosage of a liquid detergent. The partition wall 217, has a slot 221 placed at the junction of the container 213 with the bottom portion, so as to maintain a free communication between the chambers 214 and 215.

The compartments 214A, 214B, 214C and 214D can be fed with water from an external source such as the water main through a duct 222 shown only partially and diagrammatically in FIG. 8. The duct 222 preferably has a rectangular cross-sectional shape in order to generate a jet capable of sweeping along the maximum possible circumferential extension in the compartment 214 which is positioned beneath the duct at a certain instant of time.

It will be noticed that the outlet of the duct 222 is at a certain height above the upper edge of the chamber 214 so as to provide a so-called "duct cutting-off device." In addition, the container 211 has an opening 223 which acts as a safety overflow whenever, for any reason, the duct becomes clogged. From FIGS. 9 and 10, it can be seen that the boss 212 is hollow and receives a hub 224 on whose lower end a bevel gear 225 is mounted. The gear 225 projects below the bottom of the container 211 and is in meshing relationship with a gear 226 affixed to a flexible drive-transfer shaft 227. The shaft 227, in turn, is solid with the shaft of the programming timer (not shown) of the washing machine. The gear 225, in turn, is an integral part of a sleeve 228 mounted for rotation on the hub 224 and housed in a seating formed in the inner cavity of the boss 212. The upper end of the sleeve 228 does not lie entirely on the same plane perpendicular to the axis of the hub 212, but follows a twin helical trend on two sides of an axial plane with respect to the sleeve, and terminates in a pointed end 229. Above the sleeve 228 is mounted a second sleeve 230, which is vertically slidable along the hub 224.

The sleeve 230 has its lower portion shaped to match the upper portion of the sleeve 223, but tip 231 points downwardly. It should be observed that the starting spiral of the helical path, both for the sleeve 228 and for the sleeve 230, has a small notch, and these notches are denoted 232 and 233, respectively.

Internally of the sleeve 230 is formed a groove 234, which is directed along the axis and which involves only a fraction of the axial length of the sleeve. The groove 234 houses a pin 235 which projects from the lateral surface of the hub 224. The sleeve 230 is terminated at its top by a portion of reduced outside diameter or thickness 236 which is adapted to afford a seating for one end of a compression spring 237 encircling the hub 224.

The opposite end of a spring 237 is held within the inner annular cavity 238 of a disc 239 which is maintained in a fixed position on the hub 224 by a cotter 240, which is fastened to prevent axially sliding along the hub 224. Above the cotter 240, a sleeve 241 is provided for centering the hub 224 relative to a cap 242 which is an integral part of the rotatable container 213 with the intermediary of the partition walls 216A, 216B, 216C and 216D. The cap 242 holds the laterally knurled end of the pin 224, with the intermediary of an annular supporting member 244, and the outside diameter of the knurled head 243 is slightly larger than that of the annular supporting member 244. The cap 242 comprises, as an integral part thereof, an annular wall coaxially mounted therewith and to which the webs 219 are affixed in correspondence with the parts 215A and 215B.

In FIGS. 7 and 11, it will be noticed that the partition wall 216D has a tubular extension 245 which is partially extended along the height of the partition wall, thus forming a chamber 246 in which a plunger 247 is allowed to slide. The plunger is solid with a shank 248 which is vertically movable through the actuation of a cap 249.

To the plunger 247 is affixed a poppetlike seal 250 adapted to seat in an opening 251 formed through the bottom of the container 213. The poppetlike seal 250 is resiliently held in its closed position by a spring 252. It will be noticed that, in the example shown, the opening 251 communicates both with the compartment 215C and the compartment 215D.

From the foregoing disclosure, it will be apparent how the rotatable dispenser fulfills the above enumerated objects.

As a matter of fact, if the shaft 227 which is connected to the programming timer of the washing machine is rotated, the hub 224 will also be rotated and thus the container 213, as a result of the meshing relationship between the gears 226 and 225, the engagement between the sleeves 228 and 230, in the arrangement of parts shown in FIG. 10, and the engagement between the groove 234 of the sleeve 230 and the pin 235 of the hub 224.

If, on the other hand, the container 213 is rotated, the hub 224 and the sleeve 230 will be rotated. The latter, however, inasmuch as the sleeve 228 opposes a certain inertial bias to rotation as a consequence of the meshing of the bevel gear with the gear 226 and the resistance opposed to rotation by the shaft 227 of the programming timer, and by virtue of the shape of the matching surfaces of the sleeves 228 and 230, will be disengaged from the matching surface of the sleeve 228 and, by alternately compressing the spring 237, will carry out a combined movement of idle rotation and reciprocation along the hub 224, a distance which corresponds to the axial length of the groove 234.

In addition, by virtue of the already outlined feature of the present invention, at the end of the washing cycle of the machine, the water left in the compartments 215C and 215D will be dumped by merely depressing the cap 249 until such time as all the water has been discharged.

It is understood that all the details shown in the drawings and described in the foregoing descriptive part of the specification have a merely exemplary value, all the mechanical equivalents thereof being regarded as being encompassed within the scope of the present invention as more specifically pointed out in the appended claims.