Title:
Household iron with lift mechanism
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A household iron assembly has a mechanism for lifting and supporting an iron above a supporting surface when the iron is not in use. The lift mechanism includes a stand having support arms which are pivoted away from the iron by a lift spring. A hold-down spring is placed under tension by manually moving the iron downwardly until the soleplate of the iron engages the supporting surface. The hold-down spring also draws the support arms upwardly above the bottom surface of the soleplate so as not to interfere with the movement of the iron along a piece of fabric being ironed.



Inventors:
Song, Brandon S. (Midlothian, VA, US)
Application Number:
12/381672
Publication Date:
11/19/2009
Filing Date:
03/13/2009
Primary Class:
International Classes:
D06F75/40
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
IZAGUIRRE, ISMAEL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Alexander D Raring (Glen Allen, VA, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A household iron assembly comprising an iron and a lift mechanism, said lift mechanism comprising: a mounting assembly fixed in relation to said soleplate; a support stand assembly comprising a stand having an generally horizontal iron support member and an upright arm assembly fixedly mounted on said support member, said stand assembly being pivotally mounted on said mounting assembly for movement relative to said soleplate about a first axis which is parallel to the plane of the bottom surface of said soleplate and transverse to the longitudinal axis of said soleplate; a lift spring acting between said stand assembly and said mounting assembly to bias said soleplate to move upwardly away from said stand about said axis; a contact member supported at the upper end of said upright arm assembly; and a stand control assembly comprising: a compression spring which, when compressed, biases said iron downwardly about said axis; a spring-compressing lever supported by said mounting assembly for pivotal movement about a second axis parallel to said first axis, said spring-compressing lever having an upper surface engaged with the bottom of said compression spring and having a lower surface engaged by said contact member; a spring stop member movably connected to said spring-compressing lever and having a top plate supported by the upper end of said compression spring so that said compression spring is confined between the top surface of said lever and the bottom surface of said top plate; a hold-down member on top of said top plate normally resisting upward movement of said compression spring so that upward movement of the spring-compressing lever causes said compression spring to be placed under tension; and an actuating assembly comprising: comprising an actuating lever pivotally mounted on said mounting assembly and connected to said hold-down member; an actuating spring biasing said actuating lever toward said hold-down member; a manual actuating member accessible by a user of the iron; an actuating connector connecting said actuating member to said actuating lever and operable to overcome said actuating spring and move said hold-down member off of said top plate.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of provisional patent application Ser. No. 61/069,425, filed Mar. 15, 2008, and provisional patent application Ser. No. 61/069,776, filed Mar. 17, 2008.

INCORPORATION BY REFERENCE

The entirety of each of the following United States Patents is hereby incorporated by reference herein:

U.S. Pat. No. 2,019,431, issued Oct. 29, 1935, to Myers et al.;

U.S. Pat. No. 2,308,941, issued Jan. 19, 1943, to Stevenson; and

U.S. Pat. No. 2,584,071, issued Jan. 29, 1952, to Wallis, Jr.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a household iron having a mechanism for lifting and supporting the iron above a supporting surface when the iron is not in use.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Several embodiments of household irons with lift mechanisms have been suggested in prior patents and at least some such irons have been marketed.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A household iron assembly has a mechanism for lifting and supporting an iron above a supporting surface when the iron is not in use. The lift mechanism includes a stand having support arms which are pivoted away from the iron by a lift spring. A hold-down spring is placed under tension by manually moving the iron downwardly until the soleplate of the iron engages the supporting surface. The hold-down spring also draws the support arms upwardly above the bottom surface of the soleplate so as not to interfere with the movement of the iron along a fabric material being ironed.

Definition: The phrase “iron assembly” as used in the following description and the claims refers to a construction including a fully functional iron and also including a support stand assembly which supports the iron above a supporting surface. The term “iron” refers to a fully functional iron which can be supported by the support stand assembly above the supporting surface.

The operating parts of the iron required for ironing may be of conventional construction.

Objects, advantages and features of this invention will become apparent from the following description and the drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of an iron assembly including a lift mechanism in accordance with this invention. FIG. 1 illustrates an iron being tilted upwardly and held by the lift mechanism above a supporting surface.

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary side elevational view with part of the iron housing broken away and parts of the iron including the lift mechanism shown in cross section. The parts of the lift mechanism are illustrated in position for supporting the iron. As is evident, FIGS. 2, 3 and 5-7 are each on a larger scale than FIGS. 1 and 4.

FIG. 3 is an exploded isometric view of parts of the lift mechanism. FIG. 3 is on a larger scale than FIG. 1 but smaller than FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 is a side elevational view similar to FIG. 1 but with the iron shown in its operative orientation and condition when the iron is in use.

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary side elevational view similar to FIG. 2 illustrating parts of the lift mechanism in positions they occupy when the lift mechanism is not being used to lift or support the iron so that the iron is positioned in the ordinary operational ironing mode shown in FIG. 4.

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view on the same scale as FIGS. 2 and 5 illustrating parts of the lift mechanism as a lift trigger is being pulled to initiate operation of the lift mechanism to lift and support the iron.

FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view on the same scale as FIGS. 2, 5 and 6 illustrating parts of the lift mechanism returning to their original position following release of the trigger.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIGS. 1 and 2 illustrates a household iron assembly 10 including an iron 11 shown tilted upwardly above a support surface 12 by a lift mechanism 14 in accordance with this invention. The iron 11 includes a soleplate 16, a housing 18 mounted on the soleplate 16, and a handle 20 which may be hollow and formed by the housing 18. The housing 18 has a front nose 19. Iron 11 is a steam iron but it will become apparent that this invention is also applicable to dry irons.

With reference to FIGS. 1-3, the lift mechanism 14 is mounted on a mounting assembly 22 which could comprise any suitable parts fixed in relation to the soleplate 16. The illustrated mounting assembly 22 comprises the base cover 24 of the iron 11 and the back wall 26 of a water reservoir 28, and an upward extension 26A of the back wall 26. Other or different parts (not shown) fixed in relation to the soleplate 16 could be provided if needed to provide the mounting function.

The lift mechanism 14 includes support stand assembly 30 which includes a generally horizontal iron support stand 32 two support arms 36 and an upright arm assembly 38 fixedly mounted on the support member 34, the stand assembly 30 being pivotally mounted on the mounting assembly 22 for movement relative to the soleplate 16 about a first, lift axis 40 which is parallel to the plane of the bottom surface of the soleplate 16 and transverse to the longitudinal axis of the soleplate 16.

A torsion spring 42 acts between the stand assembly 30 and the mounting assembly 22 to bias the iron 11 to move upwardly away from the stand 32 about the first axis 40.

A contact roller 44 is supported at the upper end of the upright arm assembly 38. Note in FIG. 3 that the upright arm assembly 38 includes a pair of upright arms 46 secured by screws (not shown) to the stand 32. The first axis 40 is determined by the location of a supporting pivot pin 48 that extends through apertures 50 in the upright arms 46. The supporting pivot pin 48 also extends through apertures 49 in a pair of support members 51 fixed to the base cover 24.

In the position of parts illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, the iron 11 is tilted and lifted upwardly under the influence of the torsion spring 42. The ironing position of the parts shown in FIGS. 4 and 5 is reached by simply pushing down on the elevated iron 11, as indicated by the arrow “B”, until the soleplate 16 is fully engaged with the support surface 12. Such downward movement of the iron 11 is accompanied by a counterclockwise rotation of the upright arm assembly 38 about the first axis 40 relative to the iron soleplate 16 as indicated by the arrow “A.”

In order to retain the iron 11 in the ironing orientation, a hold-down spring 54, which may comprise a compression spring that, when compressed in the position thereof shown in FIG. 5 as will be further discussed below, biases the iron 11 downwardly relative to the stand 32 by urging the contact roller 44 at the top of the upright arm assembly 46 rearwardly of the iron 11 and counterclockwise about the first axis 40.

With regard to compressing the compression spring 54, a spring-compressing lever 56 is pivotally mounted on a pivot pin 58 for pivotal movement about a second axis 60 parallel to the first axis 40. The spring-compressing lever 56 has an upper surface 62 with a transversely extending rounded ridge 64 that supports the compression spring 54. The compression spring 54 is also confined between a pair of side walls 66 of a support bracket 68 that extends rearwardly of the water reservoir wall 26, and partly confined by a pair of bracket wall members 70 and 72 which are parallel to the reservoir wall 26 and span between the side walls 66.

A spring cap member 74 positioned on the upper end of the compression spring 54 has a top plate 76 with upwardly and downwardly projecting guiding tabs 78 slidably engaged with the bracket wall members 70 and 72. In addition, a pair of side plates 80 having vertical slots 82 depend from the side edges of the top plate 78. The side plates 80 are confined between the support bracket side walls 66. The spring cap member 74 is pivotally mounted on the sides of the spring-compressing lever 56 by short pivot pins 84 projecting therefrom into the vertical slots 82.

A spring-compressing stop roller 88 is engaged with the cap top plate 76 and has a small diameter axle 90 slidable in a pair of mutually aligned slots 92 in the support bracket side plates 66.

The contact roller 44 engages the lower surface 86 of the spring-compressing lever 56. When the iron 11 is lifted and supported as illustrated in FIG. 2, the contact roller 44 is in position “α” relative to the lever bottom surface 86, generally at the front end thereof. As the entire support stand assembly 30 rotates about the first axis 40, the contact roller 44 rolls along the lever lower surface 86, biasing the spring-compressing lever 56 upward against the bottom of the hold-down compression spring 54 due to the circular motion of the top ends of the upright arms 46 about the first axis 40. Hold-down spring 54 is compressed against the cap stop plate 76 which is held down by the stop roller 88. The stop roller 88 is slidably received in approximately vertical groves 93 in the inside surfaces of depending arms 94A of a yoke 94 which straddle the bracket plates 66 and are pivotally connected to stub shafts 95 which extend outwardly from the bracket side plates 66. As shown in FIG. 5, when the iron 11 is fully in the operating position for ironing, the roller 44 is in position “ω” against surface 86. Note that as iron 11 is rotated from its lifted and supported position to its operating position, the roller 44 moves relative to surface 86 from the “α” position to the “ω” position, passing through th “γ” position. There is a discontinuity in the path of the travel of roller 44 with respect to lever lower surface 86 at the “γ” position. The purpose of this discontinuity at location “γ” is to cause the moment of spring force exerted by spring 54 to exceed that caused by torsion spring 42 against the lifting mechanism support stand assembly 30, and thereby rotate that assembly 30 upward about the first axis 40, placing the support arms 36 above the soleplate 16 so that the iron 11 is therefore in its operating position. In the operating position of the iron 11, the support arms 36 are lifted upwardly past the sides of the soleplate 16 and straddle the sides of the iron 11. The sides of the soleplate 16 may be slightly indented at 16A (FIGS. 1 and 2) to provide space for the upward movement of the support arms 36. The moment of force caused by the spring 54 operates in this manner so as to exceed the effective force of the torsion spring 42 on the support stand assembly 30 to allow the iron 11 to stay in its operating position without the use of a mechanical latch mechanism or additional downward force required to be exerted by the user.

In order for the user easily to cause the iron 11 to transition from the operating position to the supported position, the user merely actuates upwardly a finger engageable trigger 96 depending from the handle 20, which rotates the trigger 96 about a trigger axis 98, which causes the trigger arm 100 to move toward the nose 19 of the iron 11. Trigger mount 102 is located at the upper end of the trigger arm 100. The trigger 96 is used to pull a wire actuator 104 that extends through the handle 20 and that is connected to the trigger mount 102 by a wire hook 104A formed at the front end of the wire actuator 104. At its rear or distal end, the wire actuator 104 is connected to the top portion of the yoke 94 by a wire loop 104B encircling a mounting pin 106 projecting rearwardly from the top portion of the yoke 94. By pulling the trigger 96 upward, the wire actuator 104 is pulled toward the iron nose 19 and consequently pulls the top of the yoke 94 toward the nose 19. Because the distal end loop 104B of the wire actuator 104 is attached to the top portion of the yoke 94, movement of the wire loop 104B as described causes the yoke 94 to rotate about the yoke axis 110. The yoke 94 is biased by yoke spring 112 located between the rear face of the wall extension 26A and the front face of the yoke 94. The wire actuator 104, it may be noted, may be extended through a slot in the upper end of the wall extension 26A and through the yoke spring 112.

With reference to FIG. 6, rotation of the yoke 94 in the manner described above causes the stop roller 88 to follow the yoke 94, move off the spring cap stop plate 76, freeing the hold-down compression spring 52 to relax and expand upwardly, as indicated by arrow “C” in FIG. 6. Relieved of the restraint caused by the stop roller 88 against the cap top plate 76, the cap top plate 76 is biased upward by the expanding spring 54. Since the hold-down spring 54 is no longer in tension, the moment of spring force imposed by the lift torsion spring 42 exceeds that previously imposed by the hold-down spring 54, which causes the support stand assembly 30 to rotate clockwise about the first axis 40 away from the iron 11 to lift the iron 11 into its elevated position. The range of travel of spring cap member 74 is limited by the slots 82 in the bracket side walls 66.

With reference to FIG. 7, when the iron 11 approaches its fully supported position, the spring cap member 74 moves to the lowest point in its path of travel. The yoke spring 112 (FIG. 6) biases the yoke 94 rearwardly away from the iron nose 19, thereupon forcing the stop roller 88 to return back over the top of the cap member 74, thereby preventing upward travel of the stop roller 88. When the user subsequently pushes the iron 11 downwardly onto the supporting surface 12, the hold-down spring 54 is again placed under tension and prepared when the trigger 96 is next pulled upwardly by the operator to relax and permit the lift spring 42 to power the iron 11 upwardly. Thus full control of the operation of the elevation of the iron 11 is obtained by the user pulling the trigger 96 to elevate the iron 11 and pushing the iron 11 back down to its ordinary ironing position.

The conact roller 44 is held down by the lower surfacee 86 of the spring-compressing lever 56 except when the trigger 96 is pulled to initiate the lifting of the iron 11 and fross long as the iron is in its elevated position. At such times, the hold down spring 54 is relaxed and not bearing down on the spring-compressing lever 56. Accordingly, there is a tendency for the spring-compressing lever 56 to “float” up and down under these conditions. This tendency is minimized the provision of stop arms 114 depending from the sides of the spring-compressing lever 56 which are engaged by the ends of the axle 116 of the contact roller 44.

Connecting members 118 may be mounted on the outside surfaces of the bracket side walls 66 for connection to other elements (not shown) to add stiffness to the bracket 68.

While the invention has been particularly shown and described with reference to a preferred embodiment thereof, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various alterations in form and detail may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.