Title:
DISPENSING CUP HAVING SIDES WHICH UNFOLD UNDER CENTRIFUGAL FORCE
United States Patent 3575021


Abstract:
An automatic clothes washer having a dispensing means including a bottom wall and an upwardly extending peripheral sidewall defining a generally cup-shaped member adapted to receive and dispense material. The sidewall is formed integrally with the bottom wall, the line of juncture therebetween comprising a flexible hinge. By this arrangement, the sidewall will fold downwardly under the action of centrifugal force as the cup-shaped member is rotated to dispense the material radially outwardly.



Inventors:
BOCHAN JOHN
Application Number:
04/777771
Publication Date:
04/13/1971
Filing Date:
11/21/1968
Assignee:
GENERAL ELECTRIC CO.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
68/18FA, 68/23.5, 222/52, 222/168
International Classes:
D06F39/02; (IPC1-7): D06F29/00
Field of Search:
222/52,500,168,168.5 68
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
2953006Washing machine dispensing cup1960-09-20Brucken et al.



Primary Examiner:
Coleman, Samuel F.
Assistant Examiner:
Lane H. S.
Claims:
I claim

1. Dispensing means comprising:

2. The dispensing means of claim 1 wherein:

3. The dispensing means of claim 2 wherein:

4. The dispensing means of claim 1 additionally including:

5. The dispenser of claim 2 additionally including:

6. In a washing machine adapted to proceed through a cycle of operations including an initial soak step, a centrifugal extraction step and a subsequent wash step; a basket to receive liquid and fabrics to be washed in the liquid; an agitator mounted on a generally vertical axis within said basket; drive means for powering said agitator to wash fabrics and for rotating said basket to centrifugally extract liquid from the fabrics, said agitator rotating with said basket during liquid extraction; a perforated filter pan mounted on the upper portion of said agitator for movement therewith; pump means for recirculating liquid from said receptacle upward within said agitator and outwardly to said filter pan and thence through the perforations therein back to said receptacle during the wash step; and an additive storage and dispensing means for mounting about said agitator within said filter pan, comprising:

Description:
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to automatic clothes washing machines and, more specifically, to a dispenser for an automatic washing machine which is capable of dispensing either a liquid or a granular substance.

A dispenser of the type involved herein particularly useful with an automatic washer wherein it is highly desirable to provide a sequence of operation including an initial soak step in which a preliminary removal of dirt from the fabrics is effected, a main washing step in which removal of dirt from the fabrics is completed, and one or more rinse steps for removal of the detergent used in the washing step. The soak step may be provided with or without the use of an additive or fabric treating agent such as a detergent, although the use of one enhances the washing operation, and, in fact, is normally provided. However, it is imperative that such a fabric treating agent be added to the water during the washing step to form an effective cleaning liquid, Many prior art washing machines do not incorporate any means for introducing an additive subsequent to the start of the sequence of operation and many of the additive dispensers provided in other prior art machines are designed to introduce a solid additive while others are designed to introduce a liquid additive but they will not successfully introduce both.

Accordingly, it is an object of my invention to provide an improved dispensing means for an automatic washing machine wherein the introduction of an additive or a fabric treating substance may be effected automatically at a predetermined stage in the sequence of operation of a washing machine.

More particularly, it is an object of my invention to provide such an improved dispensing means capable of dispensing either a solid or a liquid additive at a predetermined stage in the sequence of operation of a washing machine.

Another, more specific, object of my invention is to provide a recirculation-type washing machine wherein a treating agent is dispensed by centrifugal force during a spin operation to a position within the path of recirculation flow to be mixed with the cleaning liquid during the next successive cycle involving recirculation flow.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a dispensing means for use with an automatic washer, having a bottom wall and an upwardly extending peripheral sidewall defining a generally cup-shaped member adapted to receive and dispense material. The sidewalls are formed integrally with the bottom wall, the line of juncture therebetween comprising a flexible hinge. Means are provided to rotate the cup-shaped member whereby the sidewall may fold downwardly under the action of centrifugal force to dispense the material.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

While the specification concludes with claims particularly pointing out and distinctly claiming the subject matter which is regarded as the invention, it is believed the invention will be better understood from the following description of the preferred embodiment taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of a clothes washing machine incorporating one embodiment of the present invention, the view being partly broken away and partly in section to show details;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the dispenser of FIG. 1 shown partially in cross section;

FIG. 3 is a fragmentary sectional view of the structure illustrated in FIG. 1 with the sidewall folded downwardly;

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary perspective view of the dispenser of FIG. 2 with the sidewall folded downwardly; and

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a modification of my dispenser.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring now to the drawings, and initially to FIG. 1 thereof, there is illustrated an automatic washing machine of the generally vertical agitator, spin basket type, incorporating one embodiment of the present invention. An outer appearance cabinet 10 is provided with a bottom bulkhead 11, welded or otherwise secured within the cabinet to provide a water collection tub 12 and a machinery compartment 13. Disposed within the latter compartment is a frame 14, mounted for gyratory movement about a pivot point (now shown) located in a transfer structural member at the base of the cabinet. The frame carries a drive motor 15 disposed with its shaft projecting vertically downward. Mounted on the shaft is a drive sheave 16, and the end of the shaft is attached to the rotor of a pump 17, which receives liquid from the tub 12 by way of a screened inlet 18 in the bulkhead 11, the inlet being attached to the pump by an inlet hose 19. A discharge hose 20 leads from the pump 17 to provide for discharge of liquid from the washer. The motor 15 is of the reversible, split-phase, induction type commonly used in washing machines. As is well understood in the art, when the motor operates in one direction, it operates the agitator for washing and rinsing functions, and, when operated in the other direction, it rotates the clothes basket for centrifugal extraction of the liquid from the basket and the fabrics therein. The pump 17 may be of any of the well-known types such that, when the motor is operating in the "spin" direction, the pump removes water from the tub 12; and, when the motor is operating in the "wash" direction, the pump is generally ineffective as a pumping mechanism.

A transmission 21 is mounted within the frame 14 and has a casing 22 about the lower portion of which a circular concentric skirt 23 provides a driven clutch element. Within the skirt 23 there is a unidirectional clutch 24 of a type well known in the art. The clutch is fixed to a sheave 25, from which a belt 26 connects to drive sheave 16. When the motor operates in the spin direction, clutch 24 engages skirt 23 to rotate casing 22 therewith. By means of a conventional slip clutch 27 of the coil spring type, rotation of sheave 18 in the wash direction transmits torque to transmission 21, while clutch 24 is disengaged from skirt 23 so that no drive torque is transmitted to casing 22. It will be understood that any conventional braking or snubbing device (not shown) may be used to restrain rotation or oscillation of casing 22 during the washing operation. During the spin operation, clutch 27 slips relative to transmission 21, whereupon no torque is transmitted thereto. The details of construction of one suitable transmission of this general configuration are illustrated and described in U.S. Pat. No. 3,145,553, issued Aug. 25, 1964 to Mr. Stephen L. McMillan, and assigned to the assignee of the instant invention.

A sleeve 28 extends from the transmission and is secured to a fixture 29 on which is mounted a liquid and fabric receiving receptacle or basket 30, so that when transmission casing 22 is rotated as aforesaid, basket 30 rotates therewith. A flexible rubber boot 31 is fixed to sleeve 28 and bulkhead 11 to prevent passage of liquid into the machinery compartment while permitting gyratory movement of the sleeve 28 relative to bulkhead 11. A coil spring 32 between frame 14 and a damping device (not shown) on the underside of bulkhead 11 serves to damp excessive gyrations, as is well known in the art.

Within basket 30 and coaxial therewith is an agitator 33. The agitator includes a relatively large center post 34, from which extend a plurality of vanes 35, the vanes being arranged as a spiral about the post 34. The agitator is secured to the splined upper end 36 of an agitator shaft 37, which extends downwardly through the agitator and through the sleeve 28 to the transmission 21. During the wash and rinse steps, the transmission 21 is effective to cause shaft 37 to oscillate about its axis which, in turn causes oscillation of the agitator. The shaft 37 is disposed within a sleeve 38 which is connected at its upper end to a depending flange 38 formed in the interior of the agitator shaft 34. The lower end of sleeve 38 forms a portion of a pump structure 40, which is mounted on the agitator for movement therewith. A cap 41 is threaded to the upper portion of the splined end 36 and holds the agitator assembly together during operation. Thus during agitation operations the agitator and pump oscillate together with agitator shaft 37 about a generally vertical axis. The vanes 35 cause relative motion of the fabrics and fluid, to effect cleaning of the fabrics, and fluid is drawn inwardly through openings 42 by the pump 40 and forced upwardly through an annular passageway 43, formed between the sleeve 39 and the agitator post 34. Appropriate openings 44 are formed adjacent the top of the agitator for the egress of the fluid. Additional details of structure of the agitator shaft and pump arrangement and a more complete description of the manner of operation of a suitable pump of this type are found in the aforementioned U.S. Pat. No. 3,145,533.

The basket 30 is generally frustoconical in shape and is imperforate except for a row of apertures 45 through which fluid is ejected into the tube 12 during the centrifugal spin operations of the basket. A ring 46 of heavy material is carried at the top of the basket to contribute a stabilizing influence during spin. A solenoid-operated water valve assembly 17 has an inlet 48 arranged to be connected to a hot water supply, and an inlet 49 arranged to be connected to a cold water supply, whereby hot, cold or warm water can be delivered into the basket 30 by way of a valve outlet 50, as is well known in the art. The top panel 51 of the cabinet 10 has an access lid 52 and a control compartment 53 in which are located various control devices, including a time cycle controller 54 which conducts the washing machine through a cycle of operation.

A filter pan 55 is mounted about the upper end of the agitator, below openings 44, by means of a set of interfitting ribs 56. A suitable gasket 57 is received between the agitator and the inner edge of the filter pan to limit fluid flow therebetween. The pan includes an imperforate outer wall 58 and a perforate lower wall 59. Thus, the liquid pumped through the openings 44 eventually will be received in the filter pan 55 and will flow outwardly through the perforations in the lower wall 59 and return to basket 30.

In accordance with the present invention, a dispenser 60 for an additive such as liquid or granular solid detergent is mounted upon agitator post cap 41, within filter pan 55. As may be seen in FIG. 2, the dispenser is generally cup-shaped, including a bottom wall 61 and an upwardly extending peripheral sidewall 62. An integral, upwardly extending frustoconical central portion 66 is provided within dispenser 60 for engaging agitator cap 41. In the preferred embodiment of my device, bottom wall 61 is substantially planar, and peripheral sidewall 62 is formed integrally with bottom wall 61, the line of juncture 63 therebetween comprising a flexible hinge. The periphery of bottom wall 61, and hence the line of juncture 63, forms a polygon having a plurality of linear sides.

Sidewall 62 comprises an array of flexibly interconnected planar trapezoidal sectors 65 and planar triangular sectors 64. Each of the trapezoidal sectors is identical to all other of the trapezoidal sectors, and has a top edge 65a, a bottom edge 65b, and two side edges 65c. Each of the triangular sectors is identical to all other of the triangular sectors and has a first edge 64a and a second edge 64b forming a downwardly pointing included angle 64c, and a top edge 64d opposite the included angle. Each of the first edges 64a is flexibly interconnected to one of the trapezoidal sector side edges 65c. Each of the second edges 64b is flexibly interconnected to another of the second edges 64b. Each of the bottom edges is connected to the polygonal periphery of the bottom wall 61 along one of the sides thereof at juncture line 63.

When my device is used for dispensing liquids of low viscosity, it is desirable to incorporate inwardly extending tabs 67, each of the tabs being integral with one of the top edges 65a of the trapezoidal sectors 65 and extending along the full length thereof. The purpose of such tabs is to assist in retaining materials within the dispensing means during agitation and such tabs may be augmented by a plurality of tab cooperating portions 68, each of the cooperating portions being formed atop one of the triangular sectors 64 and extending to a position adjacent one of the tabs 67. A slit 69 separates tabs 67 from cooperating portions 68, and permits an unfolding movement to take place along the line of juncture of triangular sector side 65a and trapezoidal sector side 65c.

Referring now more particularly to FIGS. 3 and 4, there is illustrated in the dispensing mode a portion of the dispenser of FIGS. 1 and 2. When dispenser 60 is rotated about axis 70, sidewall sectors 65 are caused to rotate downwardly under the action of centrifugal force as shown by arrow 71. In the dispensing position bottom wall 61, trapezoidal sectors 65 and triangular sectors 64 form a generally planar structure. As was previously mentioned, slits 69 permit an unfolding movement to take place along the line of juncture of the triangular sectors 64 and trapezoidal sectors 65 whereby cooperating portions 68 fold down substantially planar with bottom wall 61. Only tabs 67 which are rigid with trapezoidal sectors 65, remain upstanding at a slight angle to the plane of bottom wall 61. Such an arrangement results in a substantially planar dispenser having a peripheral edge of alternate planar and slightly upstanding sectors, which provides a dispensing means that will discharge material radially outwardly at a plurality of angles. Such varying angular distribution together with the action of centrifugal force will result in a collection of the material at the greatest internal radius 72 of the filter pan during spin and an eventual dropping of the material to the floor of the filter pan at the termination of spin from where the material may be dissolved by recirculation of water.

As seen in FIG. 3, included angle 73 between trapezoidal sector 65 and bottom wall 61 may be formed greater than 90°. Such an angle has been found to be appropriate for fluids more viscous than water, and for granular solids. As the viscosity of the material to be dispensed decreases, however, it may be desirable to accordingly decrease the included angle 73 as shown by the embodiment of my device shown in FIG. 5, whereby the more vertical sidewall serves to better retain the material within the device during agitation.

The dispenser may be made from any suitable material which can be suitably formed into the aforementioned configuration. The hinge lines may be so constructed as to limit flexure thereto as by scoring in the manner used in cardboard cartons, or by forming the hinge lines of a reduced cross section, or by any other suitable method.

As mentioned earlier, a dispenser of the type involved herein is particularly useful with an automatic washer wherein it is desirable to dispense an additive at a predetermined time, particularly at the beginning of a wash cycle which follows a presoak and spin step. It will be seen that, in operation, the user places detergent or other additive to be dispensed for the wash step into my dispenser and starts the washing machine on its timed sequence of operations. At the end of the soak step, a spin step is utilized to remove cleaning fluid from the tub. It is during this spin step that my dispenser is subject to centrifugal forces that cause the detergent to be dispensed radially outwardly. The detergent then falls into the filter pan where it is dissolved by the recirculating water during the subsequent wash step. From the foregoing description, it should be apparent that the present invention thus provides a dispenser which will dispense detergent for a wash step following presoak and spin steps. Further, my dispenser is not limited to use with liquid or granular material alone. but may be used equally well to dispense either or a combination of the two.

As will be evident from the foregoing description, certain aspects of the invention are not limited alone, particular details of the construction of the example illustrated, and it is contemplated that other modifications or applications will occur to those skilled in the art. It is therefore, intended that the appended claims shall cover such modifications and applications as do not depart from the true spirit and scope of the invention.