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Publication numberUS2703973 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMar 15, 1955
Filing dateFeb 7, 1950
Priority dateFeb 7, 1950
Publication numberUS 2703973 A, US 2703973A, US-A-2703973, US2703973 A, US2703973A
InventorsFawcett Henry J
Original AssigneeFawcett Henry J
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Clothing impregnator apparatus having vaporizing means therein
US 2703973 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

March 15, 1955 wc 2,703,973


a, W /3"t 1 I INVENTOR.

i 5i HENRY J. FAWCETT if BY E :i-:::::-


4 Claims. (Cl. 68-6) This invention relates to clothes treating apparatus, especially to a relatively small cabinet for receiving one or two garments therein and subjecting same to impregnation by a material, such as steam for removing wrinkles from the garment and for otherwise refreshing same.

Heretofore, it has been common practice for many people to attempt to remove wrinkles from garments by holding these garments in limited supplies of steam, such as would be obtained in a closed room with a hot water spigot in the room being turned on and with the hot water being collected in the room. Such treatment obviously is a very rough process but it has been possible to obtain a relative good result.

Steaming garments is very desirable in that many wrinkles in the garment can be removed by this type of process when an effective steaming action is obtained. It will be realized that after the garments have been relatively thoroughly impregnated with steam, the garments are then put on hangers and are dried, or permitted to dry while retained in a desired position, or shape. Steaming of garments seems to have some desirable results in the way of removing odors from the garments and effecting a partial cleaning of the garment, at least. The steaming brings out the nap on the garment, if it is a wool material being processed, and the steaming action doesnt effect any flattening or shining action on the garment such as is produced by pressing operations, but in spite of such differences with relation to a pressing operation, substantially all of the wrinkles in the garments are taken out.

The general object of the present invention is to avoid and overcome the foregoing and other disadvantages of the previous methods of steaming garments and to provide apparatus by which a person can easily and rapidly freshen and remove wrinkles from his own clothing.

Another object of this invention is to provide relatively inexpensive apparatus, and process by which garments can be processed in the manner stated above.

A further object of the invention is to provide safe, substantially automatic apparatus by which clothing can be subjected to a controlled steaming action.

Another object of the invention is to provide a relatively small device which can be easily installed in a room such as a hotel room, for use in steaming clothing, which apparatus can easily be operated by any person without any special instructions or training.

Another object of the invention is to provide a device of the class described wherein the device will be automatically shut off upon the creation of excessive temperatures therein, or upon the failure of the water supply means to provide sufficient water for use in operation of the device.

The foregoing and other objects and advantages of .the invention will be made apparent as the specification proceeds.

Attention is now directed to the accompanying drawings which illustrate two embodiments of apparatus for practicing the process of the invention, and wherein:

Fig. l is a perspective view of apparatus for steaming garments and embodying the principles of the invention;

Fig. 2 is an enlarged section of a portion of the apparatus of Fig. 1 intermediate the cabinet and the cabinets door, with the door of the device being in its closed position, and with a portion of the enclosure being broken away;

2,703,973 Patented Mar. 15, 1955 ice Fig. 3 is a circuit diagram of the device shown in Fig. 1 and Fig. 2;

Fig. 4 is an elevation, partially broken away and shown in section of a further embodiment of the .invention;

Fig. 5 is a vertical section, partially shown in side elevation, of the device of Fig. 4 taken on line 5--5 thereof; and

Fig. 6 is a circuit diagram of the device shown in Figs. 4 and 5.

Broadly speaking, the present invention can be said to reside in the provision of steaming apparatus which includes an enclosure chamber or cabinet, means for generating steam in such a cabinet, a power means, usually electric, connected to the generating means for producing steam, and some kind of automatic shut-off means for terminating the generation of steam in the device when predetermined conditions are set up therein, or after a predetermined operative cycle of the device of the invention.

Reference should now be had to the details of the structure shown in the drawings, and a steamer apparatus of the invention is illustrated and is referred to generally by the numeral 1. This steamer apparatus 1 includes a relatively large cabinet 2 which may be made from sheet metal or other desired material and which has a removable closure member, such as a door 3, hinged thereto in a conventional manner. The cabinet 2 has a bottom 4 therein spaced from the lowermost portion of the cabinet 2 and this bottom floor has a plurality of slots 5 formed therein. Below the bottom floor but within the limits of cabinet 2, a liquid receiving receptacle 6 is positioned and it is shown as having a pair of electrodes 7 and 8 positioned therein in spaced relation to each other. Thus when a liquid, usually water, is received in the receptacle 6 and electrical energy is supplied to the electrodes 7 and 8, heating action is effected on the liquid in the receptacle and on continued heating, steam is generated in the receptacle 6 and passes up through the slots 5 to permeate completely throughout the interior of the cabinet 2. Thus any articles positioned within the cabinet can be impregnated With the steam to any desired extent. It will be realized that materials other than water can be placed in the receptacle 6 and it is possible to place moth proofing materials in this receptacle as well as any other conventional or desired liquid substance which will thereafter volatilize. The steamer also could be used to prepare laundry for ironing.

To facilitate hanging articles within the cabinet 2, a hanger 9 is secured in the upper portion of the cabinet and it may have pants frames 10 supported thereby. These pants frames 10 may be pivotally secured to each other and may be secured to the cabinet 2 by a wire 11 or other similar member. When a pair of pants is to be treated in the apparatus of the invention, each leg of the pants preferably would have one of the pants frames 10 inserted therein. This would aid in shaping the pants in a desirable manner after they are dried from the steaming operation. Usually after a steaming action is produced, the door 3 can be opened and the steamed clothes may be left hanging in the cabinet 2 to dry, or they could be hung on the outside of the cabinet, or at any other desired place.

In order to simplify the filling of the receptacle 6 or putting any desired amount of liquid therein, a funnel 12 is provided and is secured to the interior of the cabinet 2 at a convenient height. This funnel 12 connects by a conduit 13 to the receptacle 6 for transmitting liquid thereto.

A measuring cup 14 is secured to the door 3 by a chain or similar member 15 whereby this cup 14 is positioned adjacent the funnel 12 and permits measured quantities of liquid to be poured down the funnel 12. If desired, a small set of instructions may be secured to the inner surface of the door 3 to indicate the desired amounts of water to be used in the apparatus of the invention for different articles, and for giving any other required information to the user of the steamer apparatus.

Inasmuch as the apparatus of the invention is primarily designed for use in hotels, or the like, it usually is necessary to provide some type of coin control means, indicated generally by the numeral 16, for controlling operation of the apparatus. This coin control means 16 includes a coin receiving aperture 17 which is formed in a front edge portion of the cabinet 2 and with the remainder of the coin control means 16 usually being positioned directly behind the front edge portion of the cabinet. These means 16 include a coin return receptacle 18 which receives coins deposited in the aperture 17 when the door 3 is open, as will hereinafter be explained. A second, or operating chute 19 is provided in the coin control means and at the lower portion thereof is provided a suitable receptacle 20 for coins. A door 21 which is formed in the outer portion of the cabinet 2 may connect to the interior of the receptacle 20 to permit convenient emptying of same.

In order to deflect coins into operating chute 19 when the door 3 is closed, a lug 22 is suitably secured to or formed on the inner surface of the door and it is adapted to extend into a slot 23 that is formed in the front portion of the cabinet 2 immediately adjacent the coin control means 16 and with such slot permitting lug 22 to extend into the coin control means and block off the chute connecting to the return receptacle 18, as indicated in Fig. 2 of the drawing. This lug 22 is also of such width that it protrudes over into the chute 19 and forces the coin over against the farther wall of this chute. Fig. 2 best shows that a pivoted wall section 24 is provided in the chute 19 in the opposite margin thereof, from the position of the lug 22 when the door 3 is closed. This lug 22 then forces a coin indicated at 25 over against the wall section 24 which is adapted to be deflected thereby. This wall section 24 has a microswitch 26 or similar member provided there adjacent and it has a switch control finger 27 extending therefrom whereby deflection of wall section 24 moves same over against finger 27 to push it inwardly of the switch 26 and close the switch. The microswitch 26 has a spring 28 normally associated therewith for retaining the switch 26 in a normally open position but with the action of the spring 28 easily being overcome by a coin pushing against the wall section 24.

In some instances it may be desirable to be certain that the apparatus of the invention remains in operation until all water or other liquid received in the receptacle 6 is boiled therefrom. In such instances, it may be desirable to provide a solenoid 29 in the electrical circuit of the invention and it may be placed within the case of the switch 26. The microswitch 26 has a pair of leads 30 and 31 extending therefrom with one lead 30 connecting to a convenient source of electrical energy, and with the lead 31 connecting to an operating coil 32 for the solenoid 29. A lead 33 connects the other end of the operating coil 32 to the electrode 7 whereas a second power supply lead 34 connects directly to the electrode 8 thereby a circuit is closed between 7 and 8 whenever any liquid is present in the receptacle 6 and transmits electrical energy thereto, and when the microswitch 26 is closed.

In the modification of the invention shown in Figs. 4 to 6, the device of the invention is generally similar to that described hereinbefore. Specifically, in this instance a cabinet 40 is provided that has a baflie 41 suitably secured across the lower portion thereof for catching and collecting any moisture condensing in the cabinet 40 and running down the walls thereof or dripping therefrom on the interior of the cabinet. Suitable holes 42 are formed in this baffle 41 and may have upwardly extending liners, flanges, or burrs provided at the margins of the holes to prevent undesired flow of moisture or liquid therethrough. A spout 43 is provided on the lowermost portion of the bafile 41 to guide liquid into a receptacle 46 just below baffle 41.

In this instance, any desired type or number of electric heating elements 45 are positioned in the receptacle or container 46. Water or other liquid is supplied to the container 46 by means of an inlet tube 47 that connects to a fluid or liquid supply reservoir 48 positioned adjacent the container 46. Liquid within the reservoir 48 is maintained therein at any desired, substantially constant level by means of a valve 49 which is controlled by a conventional float member 50 by means of a lever arm 51 and a link 52 that connects the float 50 to the valve. A suitable supply conduit 53 connects to the reservoir 48 and passage of liquid therethrough is controlled by the position of the valve 49 which can be associated with the discharge mouth of the conduit 43.

In this embodiment of the invention, a timer-unit 54 is provided for controlling the operation of the steamer apparatus and it has a control knob 55 provided thereon. Usually this knob 55 is manually set so that the operator of the device can determine by suitable indicator scale means that are associated with the timer-unit, how long such unit will permit the device of invention to operate, depending upon the wind-up and the setting of the timer unit by the control knob 55. A normally open switch 56 is also positioned on a front portion of the cabinet 40 and is connected in the control circuit for the steamer apparatus with the switch only being closed when a force is applied thereto to push the switch inwardly with relation to the cabinet. Normally closing the door of the cabinet 40 will move the switch 56 inwardly and effecting closing of same. A pilot light 57 is mounted in the upper portion of the cabinet 40 to indicate when the cabinet is in operation.

The actual electric power supply circuit of the steamer heating apparatus in this instance comprises a pair of leads 58 and 59 that connect to a suitable power supply. Lead 59 connects the switch 56 to a thermostat member 60 that is positioned immediately adjacent the container 46 for interrupting the power supply for the cabinet 40 should any undesired high temperature be set up in the container 46 due to the failure of the fluid supply, or for other reasons.

The heating elements or means used, 45, are connected to one side of the thermostat 60 whereas a lead 61 connects the other end portion of the heaters 45 to the remaining connection of the timer unit 54 whereby a circuit can be closed through the heaters 45 when the switch 56 is closed and when the timer 54 is in a current transmitting position. It will be understood that this timer unit is of conventional construction and will automatically break an electrical circuit completed thereby after a predetermined interval after the setting of such timer device.

A chute 62 is shown positioned above the timer unit 54 and connecting thereto so that, if desired, the apparatus of the invention can be adapted for coin controlled operation. A suitable coin receiving aperture 63 is formed in the front portion of the cabinet 40, which aperture connects to the chute 62. Leads 63a and 64 connect the light 57 to the power supply circuit of the invention adjacent the heater element 45 to indicate at all instances when the current is being transmitted therethrough.

It will be appreciated that in some instances, it is not necessary to use any kind of a thermostat device in connection with the steamer unit of the invention, whereas in some instances it may not be desired to have any kind of a constant liquid supply device connected to the container in which the electric heating elements of the invention are positioned. Of course, any desired type of a heating unit could be used and any desired features of the different embodiment shown herein could be combined to form yet further modifications of the devices of the invention. In many instances, it might also not be necessary to provide any kind of a control switch that is associated with the closure means of the cabinet unit of the invention since the operator normally would not contemplate operating the unit until it is in a sealed, or closed position. Obviously any kind of a closure member may be used in place of the door pro vided for the cabinet disclosed herein.

In some uses of the device of the invention, it may be desired to add a few drops of a water soluble or other kind of a perfume to the water being vaporized within the steamer-unit. This gives a pleasant fragrance to clothes that are treated by the device of the invention. Another important advantage of the steamer device disclosed herein is that in a demothing action, it is possible to impregnate an article with a demothing material whereas most operations of this type now known to me only apply a surface covering of a demothing material to a garment being processed. The steaming action is very effective in removing perspiration odor from garments in experiments performed using apparatus like that disclosed herein.

It may be desirable to provide some other kind of a baffle other than that shown herein whereas also it may be desirable to have some kind of a removable section in the cabinet adjacent the liquid receiving receptacle to facilitate servicing the recept..cle and the means associated therewith. Water could be inserted into the apparatus by merely pouring it on the bafile 41. Usually there may be some kind of a sealing strip associated with the cabinet at the area contacted by the cabinet closure. It also will be realized that the thermostat used can shut off the power supply to the control timer, if desired, but this thermostat 61 willnormally be closed until excessive temperatures develop in the apparatus.

Fig. 4 of the drawing best shows that one or more cloth tapes 90 or other similar retaining or enclosing members may be positioned within the cabinet of the invention and be secured thereto to brackets 91 secured within the cabinet. This cloth tape 90 is adapted to be tied around any garment placed in the steamer apparatus of the invention to prevent such garment or garments from contacting the sides of the cabinet since the inner surfaces of the cabinets frequently have condensed steam droplets thereon. Sometimes these walls could be insulated on the outside, and the heater unit may be electrically insulated from the rest of the apparatus and also be in heat insulated relation to the adjacent outer surfaces of the apparatus. It is understood that the coin control means 62 would prevent operation of the apparatus until suitable coins were deposited therein. The coin in Fig. 2 remains against the section 24 to close the switch 26 until the door is opened at which time the coil falls into the receptacle and further operation of the apparatus depends on whether the solenoid 29 is used or on deposit of a further coin. Other clothes forms, or pressing aids than those shown may be used when desired. The heater elements used may be in any suitable positions in the liquid receiving receptacles that are of the required size.

While several complete embodiments of the invention have been disclosed herein, it will be appreciated that modifications of these particular embodiments of the invention may be resorted to without departing from the scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.

Having thus described my invention what I claim is:

1. A clothes impregnation device comprising a cabinet for receiving the clothes to be treated, an inclined dripcollecting baflie secured across the lower portion of said cabinet, a liquid receptacle in the said cabinet below said bafile, said baffie being perforated and having a discharge spout over said receptacle, said cabinet having a door therein, a switch secured to said cabinet and closed only when said door is closed, an electric heater in said receptacle, means for maintaining a constant level of liquid in said receptacle, a timer means, an electric circuit connecting said timer means and said electric heater and said switch together and to a power supply, said timer means being manually set and being adapted to open said circuit at a predetermined interval after the setting thereof, and a thermostat connected in said circuit and positioned immediately adjacent said electric heater to be opened upon excessive heating thereof and terminate current flow therethrough.

2. A clothes steamer comprising a cabinet having an operable closure for one portion thereof, a liquid container within said cabinet, an electric heater positioned in said container, inclined bafile means positioned adjacent and above the said container, spout means secured to said baflie means to direct condensate thereon back into said container, electric power supply means connected to said heater for supplying electrical energy thereto to vaporize any liquid received in said container, timer means for controlling said power supply means, and a control switch connected in said power supply means.

3. Clothes treating apparatus comprising a chamber having a door thereon, means for supplying steam within the chamber at a lower portion thereof, means for hanging articles in the chamber adjacent the top thereof, bracket means secured within the chamber intermediate the top and bottom thereof and having portions extending into and spaced from the chamber, tie means secured to the bracket means at the portions thereof spaced from the chamber for retaining articles hanging in the chamber spaced from the walls thereof to prevent the articles from being wet by condensate forming on the walls of the chamber, an inclined baflie member secured between the walls of the chamber, a discharge member secured to said baflle member, said baflle member directing condensate to said discharge member, a container for receiving condensate from said discharge member, and heater means operatively associated with said container to vaporizeliquid in said container.

4. Clothes treating apparatus comprising a chamber having a door thereon, means for supplying steam within the chamber at a lower portion thereof, means for hanging articles in the chamber, drip collecting inclined baflle means within the chamber above the steam supply means, and spout means on the baffle means at a lower portion thereof, said baffie means having small apertures therein for passage of steam therethrough, which apertures have upwardly extending flange means partially defining them to prevent small quantities of water on the battle means from flowing therethrough.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 479,485 Yaeger July 26, 1892 890,136 Gilmore June 9, 1908 1,453,967 Angelus May 1, 1923 1,472,089 Oct. 30, 1923 1,675,160 1928 1,712,022 Berg May 7, 1929 1,779,086 Cofiing et a1. Oct. 21, 1930 1,795,056 Tomarin Mar. 3, 1931 1,804,752 Dooley May 12, 1931 1,880,668 Bassett Oct. 4, 1932 1,925,210 Smith Sept. 5, 1933 1,941,087 Hejduck et a1. Dec. 26, 1933 2,028,630 Stark Jan. 21, 1936 2,048,749 Lydon July 28, 1936 2,152,583 Conill Mar. 28, 1939 2,243,093 Flahive May 27, 1941 2,323,290 Bagley July 6, 1943 2,350,021 Dunn May 30, 1944 2,358,344 Meyer Sept. 19, 1944 2,373,339 Roberts Apr. 10, 1945 2,377,602 Belden June 5, 1945 2,443,321 Miner June 15, 1948 2,499,064 Hartley Feb. 28, 1950 FOREIGN PATENTS 668,963 Germany Dec. 14, 1938

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3601292 *Jan 19, 1970Aug 24, 1971Bkg IncGarment-treating apparatus
US3955922 *Jun 6, 1975May 11, 1976Robert J. PatchSterilizer for bathroom articles
US4957196 *Dec 19, 1988Sep 18, 1990Kokusan Kinzoku Kogyo Kabushiki KaishaCoin-operated locker
US5094020 *Mar 26, 1990Mar 10, 1992Wingfield Edward CSteam closet and hanger for the removal of wrinkles from clothing
US5561880 *Nov 14, 1994Oct 8, 1996A/C Enterprises, Inc.Steam cabinet and steaming method
US5730006 *Dec 30, 1996Mar 24, 1998Conley; Christopher T.Garment de-wrinkler
US6622529 *Apr 15, 2002Sep 23, 2003Nicholas J. CraneDry cleaning
U.S. Classification68/6, 194/241, 34/69, 223/51, 312/31
International ClassificationD06F87/00, D06F73/00, D06F73/02
Cooperative ClassificationD06F73/02, D06F87/00
European ClassificationD06F87/00, D06F73/02