US 2115944 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
May 3, 1938.
W. M. DE WlTT ICE CUBE RELEASING MEANS Filed Jan. 22, 1937 7111/ III/I111 I1 Y W/lL/AM/W.
Patented May 3, i938 UNITED slvvfas PATENT OFFICE 10s was asmssmc MEANS" William 1|. De wm, South Bend, in. am Jan-arr :2, 1031, Serial N6. 121,155
: GIIIII 02-11:)
'lhis invention relates to ice cube releasing means, and particularly to meansfor removing -ice cubesfromthetraysinwhichthesameare frozen in electrical or other mechanical refrigerators.
Considerable dimculty and bother is commonly attendanton the removal of ice cubes from their freezing trays, together with objectionable handlingofbothcubmandtray. Themualprm o cedureinremoving thecuhesfromtheir trayirivolves holding the cube filled tray below a water taptnpermitwarmwatertoplayoverthetray untilthefroaenbondbetweencubesandthetray isbrokenandthecubesandtheirpartitioning framearefromthetrayasaunit; and
then permitting the water to play over the'cubes and frame until the from bond between the individual cubes and the frame is broken. This procedure entails holding of the parts, including the cubes, for a suflicient time to chill the hands, and involves the likelihood of splashing of water character with novel means for the cubetrayoniyat'itsmarginandadiustableto trays of variom sizes and shapes. Other objects will frmn the description andtheappended claims. e mole drawing:
'FIgJisaImntelevationalviewofadmnesfic 'refrigeratorhavingmyicecuberelasingmeans 'incorporated'therein. "mgzisaperspectiveviewofthedev-iceasan 5 independent unit. T
m. 3 is a central longitudinal vertical sectional view of the device illustrated in Fig. 2.
Fig. 41s a horizontal transverse sectional view taken on line 4-4 of Fig. 3. V
Fig. 5 is a fragmentary vertical sectional view of an ice cube tray.
Fig. 6 is a perspective view of a part of the tray supporting means.
Fig. 7 is a fragmentary vertical sectional taken on line 1-10: Fig. 3 and illustrating the means for adjustably mounting the heating element.
Referring to the which illustrates the preferred embodiments of 'the invention, the numeral ll designates a conventional domestic refrigerator having the usual food storage and ice cube freezing compartments to which access is afforded by door ll. Conventionally, the remainder of the cabinet I I houses the operating means of the refrigerator, such as the motor,
compressor, etc.; but I find that it is possible to.
subdivide that remaining space in the cabinet to provide a small supplemental compartment I! which may be provided with a door l3.
Within the compartment [2 and adjacent the upper wall thereof, I position a heating element II. This heating element is preferably of substantially rectangular plate form and is horiaontallyposltioned. theheatingelementisoftheelech'icalresistancetype, thomh it will be understood that any other type of heating element 'may be employed if desired. Tb adjustably'mount the element I, a plurality of studs II are secured in depending relation to the upper wall of tile compartment, and each studhasanenlargedheadorflange liatitslower 7 free end. A plurality of upright cylindrical mem-' hers I? arecarried by the heating element and project upwardly therefrom- Each of'the members I1 is provided with an upper inturned flange llamitheyiitaroundthrastudsliloocelywith saidihnges overlyingthestudheads, whereby the heating elunentis vertically shiftable and is normally mspended by interengagement of flanges ",withheads I. Inthe use ofanelectrical heating element, the cylinder I! is preferably formed of a non-conductor to' insulate the refrigerator cabinet from the heating element, iI-lfllQlBh any insulating arrangement'for this be employed. Theoperating I! for the heating elementis provided with a-Tsuitable control switch 2| which emplow a time control feature for automatlcally opening the switch a pred timecafter the same It will, of course, be understood that the electrically energized heating element, if such is employed, must be suitably electrically insulated from the cube tray also. Any suitable construc- I the heating element must be slightly'raised and therefore the heating element bears fully upon and is suppoited by the tray in operative position. The frame 2| may be of any suitable construction which will support an inverted cube tray 22 attwo or more of its marginal edges in a manner to pernfit the cubes to drop from the tray when the same have been released. For this purpose it is obvious that the frame must be entirely open at its center, and must not underlie the cube compartments of the cube tray at any point. In refrigerator units where the trays 22 are all of the same length and width, the supporting frame 2| may be of a fixed type. In other units, where trays having various dimensions of length or width must be accommodated, an adjustable construction may be provided, as hereinafter more particularly set forth. 1
Each of the cube trays 22 is provided with the. usual separators or partitions 23 therein to form separate compartments for the individual ice cubes. The tray and the partitions are both preferably formed of metal, such as aluminum; and the partitions must be maintained in fixed relation to the tray at all times, for which purpose the partitions are either formed integrally-with or are fixedly secured to the tray. As is customary, the trays 22 are provided with out-turned marginal flanges 24 to facilitate handling thereof and to provide portions in outwardly spaced relation to the freezing compartments for engagement with the supporting frame 2| in a manner not to interfere with gravity release and discharge of the cubes from the tray in the operation of the device,
The space between the bottom of compartment l2 and supporting frame 2| is of suflicient depth to receive a suitable receptacle 25. As here illustrated this receptacle may consistof a pitcher open at its top and of a length and width at least I equal vto the corresponding dimensions of the cube tray 22. The receptacle 25 may be provided with a suitable handle 26 and with a broad pouring spout 21.
In the use of the device, a tray of ice cubes I is removed from the freezing compartment of the refrigerator, and mounted on support 2| in inverted position with only its marginal-flanges 22 in engagement with said support and without any obstruction beneath the cube compartments of the tray. In positioning the trayon support 2| the heating element ll must be raised above normal or inoperative position by reason of the normal spacing of the element from the support a distance less than the height of the cube tray.
The support 2| being of open character as above dwcribed, the tray itself may be used to-raise the heating element as is ob When the tray is inserted'in the com ent in operative posi: tion, the heating element will'bear upon the inelement to the tray and separators, whereby the frozen bond between the tray and its separators and the contained ice cubes is rapidly broken by the heat transfer effected by the heat conduction through the metal parts. As soon as this frozen bond is released, the cubes will drop into the receptacle 25. After a. predetermined time adequate to insure release of all cubes from their trays, the switch 20 automatically opens to prevent unnecessary heating of the compartment, and to prevent unnecessary melting of the cubes by reason of unnecessary heat generated by the heating element. In this way, it will be seen that it is not necessary to pay close attention to the device, nor to remove the cubes therefrom immediately after their release. It will also be seen that the heating of the tray by conduction through the metal thereof, rather than by radiation. permits the compartment as a whole to remain substantiallyunheated, and thereby permit storage of the released cubes. for a substantial period before use. It will also be seen that, by virtue of the collection of the released cubes in the receptacle, the cubes need never be manually handled during the releasing operation and preparatory to use, which eliminates chilling of the hands and washing of the cubes. It will be obvious. by reason of the adJustability of the heating element, that as long as the various ice cube trays differ from one another only with respect to their depth or vertical dimension, the operation of the device with any of them is the same, inasmuch as the positioning of the heating element is in all cases determined and adjusted automatically by the tray itself by virtue of the direct bearing of the heating element on the tray in all instances.
A modified embodiment of the device is illustrated in Figs. 2 to 6. In this embodiment the device is incorporated in.an independent unit or utensil housed in a suitable casing ll having door 3| at its front. The parts of the device are all arranged in the same manner and are of substantially the same construction in this device as in the compartment i2 above described. However, inasmuch as the trays 22 of diiferent makes of refrigerators vary in length and width, the support 2| for the trays must be laterally adjustable toaccommodate any size of tray without forming an obstruction beneath the ice cubes which would prevent collection thereof in receptacle 25.
The support for the. cube trays used in such an independent utensil preferably comprises a pair of guides extending from front to rear of the compartment at each side thereof. As here shown these guides are in the form of wires or rods 22 secured to the rear wall of the housing and extending forwardly therefrom in parallel relation and closely spaced to the side walls of the housing. At their forward ends, preferably spaced inwardly from the door 2|, the guides terminate in outwardly directed portions 33 which are se- .cured to the side walls of the biasing. At the rear of the housing is fixedly mounted a trans ported by the guides verse supporting member comprising a lip 34 supand of narrow width from which projects an upwardly directed intermediate portion 35 extending a substantial distance above the guides. A substantially horizontal flange por tion 36 extending from the upper end of portion 36 serves to space the lip 34 and portion 35 in proper relation to the rear wall of the housing. A front supporting member 31 is slidable on the guides, and preferably comprises a sheet metal strip shaped to provide a front substantially vertical flange 38 having apertures at its sides through which the guides 32 slidably pass. The flange 38 extends upwardly in spaced relation above the guides and is downwardly return bent in rearwardly curved form at 33 and terminates in a narrow horizontal lip which rests upon the guides 32. I
In the use of this device, the tray is inserted in the housing in inverted position with its rear marginal edge 24 bearing on the narrow lip 34 and positioned in proper relation to said lip by engagement of the said rear marginal edge with the vertical wall portion 35 of the rear support. The front supporting member 31 is then slid on the guides 33 to a position wherein the lip 40 underlies and supports the front margin of the cube tray and the portion 39 serves to prevent forward movement of said tray relativetc said support. The tray is positioned intermediate the guides 32, and the space beneath the ice cubes is therefore unobstructed. The operation of the device, including the vertical adjustment of the heating element ll for full face engagement with the inverted bottom of the cube tray, is the same as that previously described.
Inasmuch as the separators 23 of the cube trays of conventional refrigerators are removable from said trays, and the utensil form is intended for use with existing refrigerator equipment, such separators must be secured to their trays before the device can properly be used. For this purpose, as illustrated in Fig; 5, the side walls of the cube tray may be indented as 4| at a point opposite the edge of a separator, which is likewise indented, and several of such indents will serve to hold the separator fixed to the tray for use with the utensil.
1. A tray heating and supporting device for removing ice cubes from an inverted tray on'the support, said device comprising a marginal support for the inverted tray, a heating element above the tray and adapted to engage the bottom on the inverted tray on the support, said heating element being substantially horizontally positioned and vertically movable, a support above the heating element, downwardly extending headed members carried by the support, said heating element at spacedpoints being vertically movable on the headed members.
2. A device as set forth in claim 1 wherein the connections between the headed members and the heating element are loose whereby not only a vertical movement of the heating element may be obtained but a limited amount of tilting action.
3. The combination with a substantially horizontal heating element disposed above a support for an inverted ice cube tray and through which support dislodged ice cubes pass to a receptacle, a .support above the tray, of a connection between the heating element and the support whereby said heating element may move vertically while remaining in a horizontal position on its connection or slightly tilt from a horizontal plane in any direction.
' WILLIAM M. DE WI'IT.