US 2741113 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
April 10, 1956 A. NORKUS 2,741,113
APPARATUS FOR CLEANING GARMENTS Filed Nov. 18, 1950 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 fin FONS/i5 Non/r05.
April 10, 1956 A. NORKUS APPARATUS FOR CLEANING GARMENTS 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Nov. 18, 1950 INVENTOR. /7L FONS/7S NOR/(0.5.
United States Patent APPARATUS FOR CLEANING GARVENTS Alfonsas Norkus, Hartford, Conn.
Application November 18, 1959, Serial No. 196,393
11 Claims. (Ci. 68-205) This invention relates to an apparatus for cleaning garments and more particularly to what, in dry cleaners terms, is called the digesting method for dry cleaning clothes, in which method there is used a digesting solution commonly employing enzymic powders or other such suitable cleaning materials which may be dissolved and diluted to provide the desired solution.
There are, at the present time, many different methods usedfor removing spots and dry cleaning materials such as textiles and the like. One of the best known methods is the Bath method in which the material or garments made therefrom are soaked in the digester solution. Other methods consist of spraying the solution on the garments or dipping the garments in the solution or swishing them through it. Such methods, however, are slow and wasteful of the cleaning material and time and have therefore been found impractical. Furthermore, such methods as now commonly used require great skill and very careful attention on the part of the operator because of the danger of color running between materials of different colors.
It is an object of the present invention, therefore, to provide an improved method and digesting cabinet in which textile materials and garments made thereof may be thoroughly cleaned and spots removed therefrom without requiring highly experienced operators.
A further object of this invention is to greatly lower the cost of cleaning by reducing the time required for the cleaning process, utilizing a cleaning material to a maximum extent and reducing to a minimum the amount of attention required on the part of the operator.
A still further object of this invention is to provide for an apparatus in which materials or garments of different colors may be cleaned at the same time without the danger of the colors running.
A further object is the provision of an apparatus for cleaning garments which will permit the garments to be placed therein or removed therefrom, at any time, independently of the other garments being cleaned.
further object of this invention is the provision of a material cleaning apparatus in which the supply of the cleaning solution used therein is automatically controlled for each individual article of material so that a predetermined amount of said solution is supplied for each cleaning operation.
A still further object of the invention is the provision of a cleaning apparatus in which the cleaning operation is performed in an atmosphere of a controlled temperature and with a solution which is maintained at a pre-determined temperature for highest efiiciency.
Further objects and advantages of the invention will be more clearly understood from the following description and from the accompanying drawings, in which:
Fig. l is a perspective view of a dry cleaning cabinet embodying my invention.
Fig. 2 is a front view thereof, in vertical section, on line 2-2 of Fig. 3.
Fig. 3 is a side view of said cabinet, in vertical section, on line 33 of Fig. 2.
Fig. 4 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional plan view on line 4-4 of Fig. 5, illustrating the control mechanism provided by my invention.
Fig. 5 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional side view of said mechanism.
Fig. 6 is detailed fragmentary view illustrating a latch for rendering an individual control mechanism inoperative.
Fig. 7 is a diagrammatic View of the electrical circuits used in said apparatus.
Fig. 8 is an enlarged detail sectional end view of the drive shaft.
in the embodiment of my invention illustrated in the drawings, the said apparatus may comprise a cabinet havin a front wall 5, side walls 66, a rear wall 7 and top and bottom walls 3 and 9, respectively. The front wall has an opening ltl which is covered by a suitable door 11 and the said walls and door are constructed of a suitable insulating material and may be of double walled construction with an insulation therebetween for thermally insulating the interior of the cabinet from the atmosphere.
At the lower portion of the cabinet, and below the door opening Ell, there is provided a container 12, for the cleaning soland an inclined wall 13 which is spaced from the bottom wall 9 and provides a sloped draining surface leading into the said container 12.
A circulating pump 14 is connected to the container 12 by an inlet pipe 15, and an outlet pipe 16 leads from said pump to the top of the cabinet.
The pump 14 is driven by a suitable electric motor 17 and the said motor may also drive an air circulating pump Ll having an inlet tube 19 leading thereinto from the upper portion of the cabinet and an outlet tube 29 opening into the lower portion of the cabinet so as to circulate the air within the cabinet to maintain an atmosphere of a uniform temperature therein.
The cleaning solution in the container 12 is heated by a suitable electric heater 21 which is controlled by an aquastat 22 for maintaining the cleaning solution in said container at a desired constant temperature. The interior of the cabinet is heated by an electric heater 23 which is preferably located below the draining wall 13 so as to heat said Wall and thereby heat the air within the cabinet which is circulated by the air circulating pump 18. This heater 23 is controlled by a thermostat 23a, which is located at the upper portion of the cabinet, for maintaining the heated air at a pre-determined temperature.
The container 12 may be provided with a drain connection 24 for draining the solution from the said container when desired. This connection may be shut off by means of a suitable plug 24-0, or valve, in order to retain the cleaning solution in the container.
Along one side of the bottom portion of the cabinet there is also provided a separate container 25 for cleaning solution. This container has a drain connection 25-11, which may also be shut off by a plug 25-1), a cover 26 which, when closed, is inclined towards the draining wall 13 and may be opened to the position indicated in dotted lines, wherein it is retained by an abutment .37 when it is desired to use the container 25 for cleaning operations.
At the upper portion of the cabinet there is provided a supply trough 23, to which the outlet pipe 16 is connected. This trough extends across the rear of the cabinet and has, at the bottom thereof, a series of funnels 29 which are pivoted thereon, t 30, and the said trough 28 has an opening 31 over each of the funnels 29.
Below each of the said funnels 29, there is provided a drip pan 32 which extends forwardly in the cabinet and has perforations 32-12 in the bottom thereof.
A return trough 33 is provided at the rear of the cabinet and communicates, through an opening S, with a dis charge drip trough that runs parallel to the drip pans 32 along the side of the cabinet and has a series of drip openings for discharging the cleaning solution. This return trough receives the overflow from each of the drip pans 32., over the tops of the end wall 32-h thereof, and also from the supply trough 28 through the connecting pipe 223-11.
Running crosswise in the interior of the cabinet, there is provided a beam 36 having a vertically open groove 37 along its lower edge in which are supportec a plurality of partitions 33 by means of hooks 39 which extend into the said groove 37 and are slidable therein. The said partitions are preferably constructed of a sheet material which is capable of resisting the .eifectsof the cleaning solution.
For each of the drip pans 32 i provide a control mechanism which separately controls the cleaning process for each piece, or group of pieces, of material or garments being cleaned in the said cabinet. The said control mechanism comprises a lever id, which is pivoted at 31, pref- I erably at the back, of the cabinet, and has, at the inner endthercof, a supporting hook 42 for receiving a hanger 43 on which the material or garment to be cleaned is supported. Each of the levers 4 extends through a separate vertical slot di l-a in the beam 36 and a suitable latch is provided under each of the said levers 4% to retain them in their raised position, when desired, for the purpose to be hereinafter described.
t the outer end of each of the levers 49 there is provided a timing mechanism which is carried upon an upright support 15 that is vpivotally mounted on the lever, at 46, and urged in the direction of an abutment 47 on said lever by'means of a spring 43. The said support carries a laterally extending stud 4% upon which there is rotatably mounted a ratchet disc 50 having a predetermined number of teeth 5i along a portion of the periphery thereof. This disccarries therewith a cam 52 and a switch operating lever 53 which is adapted to engage and close a pair of electrical contact members 54, that are mounted upon an insulating block 55, and thereby close an electric circuit as will be hereinafter more fully described.
The ratchet disc 54), together with the cam 52 and lever 53, is normally urged to rotate in a contra-clockwise direction by means of a torsion spring 56 which is secured to the stud 49 at one end thereof and to the disc 5% at its other end. This contra-clockwise rotation is limited by means of a stop pin 57 which is carried on the cam 52 and engages the side of the support 45. The ratchet disc is rotated by a common drive shaft 58 which is rotatably mounted on brackets 59 and is driven by a suitable timing motor 58-41, such as a conventional synchronous motor, which is adapted to rotate said drive shaft at a speed of one revolution per minute and which is generally illustrated at 60. If desired, the said drive shaft may be driven by means of the pump motor 17 through a suitable gear reduction mechanism.
The drive shaft 58 has a single drive tooth 61 which engages the teeth 51 on the ratchet disc and rotates the disc 50 in the direction of the arrow, shown in Fig. 5, for the distance of one tooth for each revolution of the shaft. The said disc is prevented from rotating in the opposite direction by means of a pawl'spring 62 which engages with the teeth 51 on the disc. &1 abutment in the form of a stop pin 57 is provided to limit the movement of said pawl spring for the purpose to be hereinafter described.
The number of teeth provided on the ratchet disc 56 corresponds with the number of minutes desired in a time period which is allowed for a cycle of operation, and the cam 52 is formed to operate a plunger 63 which is secured to the funnel 29 and thereby cause swinging movement of said funnel, tothe position shown in dotted lines in Fig. 5, within-the distance through which the disc is rotated during such a time period. The said plunger 63 is forced into contact with the cam 52'by the gravitational movement 4 of the tunnel 29 on its pivot 31; and is aided in the direction of the cam by a spring 64.
The lever id is rocked on its pivot 41 by means of a spring as which normally urges the outer end of said lever downwardly so as to move the ratchet disc 50 away from th driving shaft 58 and this causes the inner end of the said lever to be raised. The rock ng movement of said lever may be limited by any suitable stop means, such as the upper end of the slot 36-61 in the beam 36, through which the said lever extends or, if desired, an adjustable may be provided for'this purpose, as shown 1 i g. s.
Each set of contact members 54 is connected in series with one of a series of light bulbs 67 which are mounted within a suitable casing 68,preferably at the top of the cab t, to indicate the completion of a cleaning operation as an be more fullyhereiuarter described. The cabinet is also provided with suitable light bulbs 69 for lighting the latch 75 which is controlled by said door, is closed.
The position of the ratchet disc 5% with relation to the drive shaft 53 may be adjusted by means of an adjusting screw S d-a which engages an abutment Ell-b under the tension of the spring 43. v
The operation of my improved cleaning cabinet is as follows:
The cleaning solution is first placed in the container 12, to the desired level. The main switch '71 is then cl sod and thiswill energize the electric heaters 21 and 25. The heater 23 will heat the cleaning solution in the container, under the control of the aquastat 22, and the heater 23 will heat the wall 13 and, therethrough, also heat the interior of the cabinet under the control of the thermostat 23-:1. The motor 17 is then energized by closing the control switch 72. This will operate the pumps 2rd and 18 so that the air within the cabinet is drawn into the air pump 33 from the top of the cabinet, through the air pipe 19, then forced out or the said air pump into the lower portion of the cabinet, through the pipe 2%, and thereby circulated to maintain the atmosphere within the interior of the cabinet at a uniform temperature. 7
Operation of the pump 34 will draw the cleaning solution from the container 12, through the pipe 15, and force said solution upwardly through the pipe 16 into the supply trough 23. The said solution will then flow through the openings 31 into the funnels 29, which are' normally in the dotted position shown in Fig. 5, and therefrom pass into the return trough 33. From the said return trough, the solution will pass through the opening 34 into the drip trough 35, from which the said solution will drip through perforations in the bottom thereof onto the idle partitions 33, thereby keeping said partitions'clean, and return to the inclined wall 13 from which the solution will flow back into the container 12.
After the cleaning solution has een placed in the container 12 and; the pump motor 17 has been started, as above described, the synchronous timing motor 53a may be energized by closing the switch 73, to thereby cause rotation of the common driveshaft 58, and the cabinet will then be in condition for cleaning operations.
A garment, or piece of material which is to be cleaned, is placed on a suitable hanger 43 and then hung on the hook 42 of one of the levers 4%. This will cause the said lever to be pulled downwardly, against the tension of the spring 65, until the lever strikes the bottom of the slot 36a by means of which the weight of the material or garment on the said lever is supported; The downward movement of the lever 49 will cause the timing mechanism tobe movedinto its operative position illustrated in Pig. 5 wherein the adjusting screw S d-a will engage the abutment Eli-b and locate the ratchet disc 59 in engagement with the drive shaft 58. Movement of the timing mechanism to said position will cause the "or thereof when the door is open and a switchv plunger 63 to move inwardly and swing the funnel 29 into position to direct the flow of the solution into the drip pan 32.
The movement of the mechanism into its operative position will also cause the driving tooth 61 on said drive shaft to engage the teeth 51 on the ratchet disc and rotate the said disc in the direction of the arrow and therewith also rotate the cam 52. During the said operation of the timing mechanism, the cleaning solution will continue to drip from the pan 32 over the garment being cleaned for the duration of the entire timing cycle.
When the disc 5% has been rotated for a pre-determined distance, the high spot of the cam 52 will pass the end of the plunger 63 and thereby cause the funnel 29 to be swung back into its dotted position whereby the cleaning solution will be directed away from the drip pan 32 and into the return trough 33 and this will stop the dripping of the solution onto the garment.
After the funnel 29 has been swung into its dotted position, the timing mechanism will continue its operation for a pre-determined further amount of time to permit the solution to complete its downward passage through the garment or material. The lever 53 will then engage the contact members 54 and cause them to close the electric circuit through the indicating light 67 connected therewith so as to thereby indicate the termination of the cleaning operation. The garment may then remain within the cabinet as long as desired and, since the end of the series of teeth 51 will then have passed the driving tooth 61, the disc 59 will not be rotated further, even though the mechanism may remain in the position illustrated in Fig. 5, and the indicating light 67 will stay lighted to continue to indicate that the cleaning operation has been completed.
When the garment is removed from the end of the lever 49, the inner end of said lever will move upwardly and the outer end thereof will move downwardly, under the tension of the spring 65, causing the abutment 47 to engage the support 45 and move the timing mechanism '..-th the said lever until the lever engages the abutment -55 and the disc 59 is out of engagement with the drive shaft 58. This movement of the disc away from the shaft 58 will also cause the pawl spring 62 to strike the stop pin 57 and become disengaged from the teeth 51 to thereby release the said disc and permit it to be rotated in a contra-clockwise direction, by the spring as, to its normal or starting position wherein it is located by engagement of the stop pin 57 with the support 45. When desired, said timing mechanism may be rendered inoperative, or retained in its inoperative position and the funnel 29 in its dotted position, without removing the garment from the end of the lever, by simply raising the lever 49 and swinging latch 44 thereunder, as shown in Fig. 6.
it will be understood that when the garment is removed from the lever 49 and the lever 53 is caused to disengage the contact members 54, the circuit will be interrupted and the indicating light 67 will go out.
From the above description it will be clearly seen that cleaning solution is supplied only to those of the drip pans 32 under which a garment or material to be cleaned has been hung and that no solution will drip from those drip pans under which there are no such garments or illustrated, there are 263 of the teeth 51 and the shart 53 rotates at one revolution per minute, each timing cycle will endure for a period of minutes so that the cleaning operation is completed at the expiration of such. a timing cycle. Any number of said teeth 51 may be used to provide a time period of a desired length for the timing cycle, the cam 52 may be shaped to swing the funnel 239 at any pre-determined time during said timing cycle, and the lever 53 may be adjusted to close 6 the contacts 54 and light the indicating bulb 67 at the desired predetermined time after the dripping of the cleaning solution has been stopped by the swinging of the funnel.
When a plurality of garments of difierent colors are contained within the cabinet at the same time, as shown in Fig. 2, they may be separated by placing between them the partitions 38 so as to avoid the danger of the color of one garment running onto the adjacent garment.
When a garment of a readily runnable color is to be cleaned, and it is desired to prevent the cleaning solution from running through said garment into the container 12, so as to prevent the solution therein from becoming contaminated with said readily runnable color, a separate quantity of cleaning solution is placed in the container 25 and the garment is dipped in said separate solutions and then hung on one of the levers which are directly over the container 25; it being noted that no funnels or drip pans are provided over said levers but they may each operate a separate timing mechanism so as to indicate the completion of the cleaning operation by means of a co-operating light bulb 67. The solution in the container 25 is not permitted to mix with that in the container 12 so that it is not circulated through the supply system and, the said separate solution may be drained from said container by removing the drain plug from the drain connection 25-12.
It will be clearly understood from the above description that my improved cleaning cabinet and method provides for cleaning materials in a highly eflicient manner by causing a cleaning operation to be automatically controlled and performed under ideal conditions such as provided by controlled air temperatures within the cabinet and controlled temperature of the cleaning solutions whereby it is used in its most emcient condition. The said cabinet also individually controls a plurality of cleaning operations at the same time and permits each individual operation to be performed independently of the others.
Moreover, my invention provides for causing a predetermined amount of cleaning solution to drip over each garment being cleaned during a cleaning operation since the supply of the said solution is measured by the capacity of the drip pans 32. Also, by the use of the supply troughs and return troughs above indicated, the cleaning solution may be supplied into the supply trough 28 at a constant pre-determined level which is controlled by the overflow connecting pipe 23-11, and the said supply is therefore not affected by any variations in the capacity of the pump 14, which is required only to pump the solution into the supply trough at a rate which will maintain it at the said pre-determined level, and any oversupply of the solution will merely overflow successively into the return trough 33, the drip trough 35, and therefrom return to the container 12.
1. Apparatus for cleaning a material comprising a cabinet, a support for said material within the cabinet, a container for a cleaning solution located below said support, means located above said support and including a plurality of openings for dripping the solution over the said material, pump means for supplying the solution from the said container to the said dripping means, and mechanism rendered operative by movement of the said support for controlling the supply of said solution to the said dripping means and providing a time period of a pre-determined duration for the cleaning operation.
2. Apparatus for cleaning a material comprising a cabinet, a support for the material to be cleaned in said cabinet, a container positioned below said support for a cleaning solution, means for dripping said solution over the material on said support, means for supplying the solution from said container to the dripping means, and mechanism rendered operative by movement of said support for controlling the supply of the said solution to the dripping means to; provide for dripping .the solution over the material while it remains upon the support and terminatingthesaid dripping upon therein-oval of the material from the support.
3.1 Apparatus for cleaning a material comprising a cabinet, asupport for material to be cleaned-within said cabinet, acontainer for a cleaning solution located in the lower portion of said cabinet below said support, means for dripping said solution located above the support, means for controlling the supply of said solution to the dripping means, means rendered operable by the weight of the material placed upon the support to operate said controlling means and thereby start the dripping of the solution upon the material and initiate a cleaning operation, and. echanism also rendered operable by the weight of the material on the support foroperat the said solution supply controlling means at the ex ation of a predetermined period of time.
4. Apparatus for cleaning a material comprising a cabinet, a pivotaliy mounted support in said cabinet, :1
'containermr a cleaning solution located below said support, means for dripping saidsolution located above said support, means for supplying the solution to said dripping means from the container, means for controlling the supply of the solution to the said dripping means, and mechanism carried on said lever and rendered operable upon the placing of the material .to be cleaned thereon for operating said controlling means to start the dripping of said solution, and thereby initiate the cleaning operation, and to terminate the said dripping of the solution at the expiration of a pre-determined period of time.
"5. Apparatus for cleaning material as set forth in claim 4,- wherein the said mechanism is operative to terminate the dripping of the solution upon the material being removed from the said support.
6. Apparatus for cleaning a material comprising a cabinet, a support within said cabinet for the material to be cleaned, a reservoir for a cleaning solution located below said support, means including a dripping container located above said support and having perforation in the bottom thereof for dripping the said solution upon the material thereunder, a supply container located at a plane higher than the dripping container, pumping means for transferring the solution from the said reservoir to the supply container, an opening in the bottom ofthe supply container for the passage of solution therefrom, an overflow container below the supply container, control means for directing the tlow of solution from said supply container to the dripping container and for switching the said flow to the overflow container, a pipe connection between said supply container and the overflow container adapted to'maintain the solution in the supply container at a predetermined level, a return container positioned to receive the solution from the overflow container and having openings therein for dropping the solution over the reservoir, and mechanism rendered operable by movement of the support to operate the controlling means and direct the now of solution into the dripping container, then maintain the how of the solution into the dripping means for a pre-determined period of time, and then terminate said flow at the expiration of said period oftime.
7. Apparatus for cleaning material comprising a cabitherefrom, an upright support pivoted on said bar, a stud extending laterallyfrom said upright support, a disc member rotatably mounted on said stud and having a series of teeth thereon, a cam and-an extension rotatable with said disc member, a drive shaft having a tooth thereon engageable with the teeth on the disc member'for rotating said member in one direction, a timing motor for driving said shaft at a pre-determined rate of speed, return means urging rotation of the disc member in the opposite direction, a pawl for retaining said disc member against rotation by said return means, aconnection between the cam and control means for operating the control means, a positioning abutment and adjustable means on said upright supporting member engageable with said abutment for positioning the said 7 disc member relatively to the drive shaft, a spring member urging said upright support in the direction of said positioning abutment, an abutment upon the bar engageable with said upright support upon the movement of the said bar to move said support therewith and carry the disc member away from the drive shaft, and a stop for disengaging the pawl member from the disc member upon the said movement thereof and thereby permit rotation of .the disc member in the opposite direction .by the return means to thereby return the said disc member, cam and extension to their normal inoperative positions.
8. Apparatus for cleaning a material comprising a plurality of pivotally mounted supporting bars each adapted to support a material while being cleaned, means for supplying a cleaning solution to said material for a cleaning operation, means for controlling a cleaning operation and the supply of the said solution therefor including a drive shaft, a motor for driving said drive shaft, and a separate control mechanism carried by each of said pivoted bars and movable into and out of engagement with said drive shaft by movement of its respective pivoted bar when material is placed thereon and removed therefrom. v
9. In an apparatus for cleaning a material, the combination of a cabinet, a plurality of supports within said cabinet for supporting separate pieces of said material therein while being cleaned, a supporting bar extending across said cabinet and running adjacent to and along said supports, a plurality of partitions slidably supported on said bar and selectively adjustable thereon to positions between said supports to thereby separate the material on one of said supports from the material upon the adjacent support, and separately controlled means for causing dripping of a cleaning solution upon the material on each of said supports independently of the material on the adjacent supports.
10. In an apparatus for cleaning a material, the combination of a cabinet, a supporting beam extending across the interior of said cabinet, a plurality of pivoted bars extending crosswise to said beam, a supporting hook on each of said pivoted bars located adjacent to the supporting beam for supporting material while being cleaned in said cabinet, the said supporting beam having a groove running lengthwise therein, a plurality of partitions supported in said groove and slidable therein to different positions along said supporting beam and between the pivoted bars to thereby. separate the material on one side of said hooks from the material on an adjacent hook, and means separately controlled by each of said pivoted bars for causing dripping of a cleaning solution on the material on each of said hooks independently of the material on an adjacent hook.
11. Apparatus for cleaning a material comprising a container for a cleaning solution, a support for the material being cleaned, means associated with said container for dripping said solution over the said material to cause cleaning thereof, and mechanisrn rendered operative by movement of said supporting means for controlling the supply of cleaning solution to the said dripping means and timing the cleaning operation.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS Elsaesser Nov. 10, 1925 10 Carroll June 26, 1928 Walt July 23, 1935 Baker May 2, 1944 Meyer Sept. 19, 1944 Woolley June 18, 1946 Geldhof July 6, 1948 FOREIGN PATENTS Great Britain of 1890 Switzerland Aug. 1, 1950 France Aug. 28, 1939