US 2787030 A
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April 2, 1957 D. F. WILLIAMS REFRIGERATOR DOOR AND ADJUSTABLE PRESSURE EQUALIZING DEVICE Filed July 21, 1952 y INVENTOR avzd Franklin Pl/z'llzms ATTORNEYS United States Patent REFRIGERATOR DOOR AND ADJUSTABLE PRESSURE EQUALIZING DEVICE David Franklin Williams, Greenville, S. C.
Application July 21, 1952, Serial No. 299,997
7 Claims. (Cl. 2li-38) Generically this invention relates to door structures of the refrigerator type, but it is more particularly directed to a refrigerator or cooler door for a walk-in type of refrigerator or cooler structure used for freezing and storing large amounts of perishable produce, and this `application is a continuation in part of my application Serial Number 58,476, tiled November 5, 1948, now abandoned.
ln a walk-in refrigerator and cooling structure of this nature `there frequently occurs distorting or warping of the cooler wall adjacent to the door opening, resulting from settling of the floor by reason of the weight of the door itself and the more or less continuous changing of the stock tonnage, which distortion ,or warping prevents uninterrupted or complete sealing of the outer panel of the door with the out-er refrigerator wall surface bounding said door opening, thereby permitting ingress of warm air and egress [of cool air from the cooler, and., therefore, one of the principal objects of this invention is the provision of a ilexible door structure comprising a panel adapted to sealingly overlie the exterior surface of the refrigerator wall bounding the door opening and including a llexible off-set structure of a thickness substantially corresponding to that of the cooler Wall adapted to selfaligningly project within the door opening, and an adjustable pressure equalizing means in connection with said offset structure .and said panel for effecting co-planing pressure of said panel on said wall to effect sealing of the door opening irrespective of the warping of the wall structure surrounding said door opening.
This invention is peculiarly adapted to comparatively long doors of walk-in type refrigerators .and in which a single cam latch is used 'at the center of the striking edge of the door to lock the door in closed position, ln doors of this type, the latch insures close contact of the center of the striking edge of the door, and it `frequently happens that the outer face of the door becomes concave causing the top and bottom ends of the striking edge to bend outwardly from the refrigerator wall or framework, even when the door is locked, and 'thereby permits leakage of warmv outsideair into the refrigerator; therefore, a furtherprincipal object of this invention is the provision of a flexible door structure for a"walkin refrigerator and cooler, said structure comprising a' front panel of greater area than that of the door opening and including a gasket adapted to sealingly engagev the cooler `wall bounding the door opening, fa flexible off-set structure including a rear panel is mounted on `the rear `surface of said front panel adapted to extend within said door opening, `a bowed pressure cqualizing and adjusting bar mounted in said oil-set structure and medially adjustably connected to said` rear panel underlying said latch strucp ice Another important object of this invention is the provision of a door structure for walk-in types of refrigerators comprising a front panel of an area greater than that of the door opening, and a exible oit-set structure having end pieces, side panels and a rear panel, said structure carried by and having llexible connection with said front panel and adapted to project within the door opening, an adjustable pressure equalizing bar means mounted within said structure, and means in connection with said equalizing means and operable exterior of said rear panel to eect adjustment of said equalizing means to effect exing of `said front panel, to bring said panel into sealing relation with respect to the underlying refrigerator wall surface irrespective of the warping of said wall.
The improved construction of the present invention will become more readily understood by reference to the accompanying drawing which illustrates one form or embodiment of the improved construction, in which:
Fig. l is a perspective view of a walk-in refrigerator and door partly opening and with parts being shown as broken away, the door embracing the features of this invention.
Fig. 2 is a vertical sectional view lthrough the door and equalizing bar. i
Fig. 3 is a fragmentary horizontal sectional view through the door and bar adjusting means.
ln the illustrated embodiment characterizing this invention there is shown one form of a walk-in refrigerator A comprising a front wall 1, a door B mounted on said wal-l and adapted to close the door opening 2 formed in said wall. Said door opening 2 is provided with a liner 3. Said door opening 2 is adapted to be closed by the door B which is intended to sealingly close said opening to prevent ingress of warm outside air into the refrigerator A with consequent loss or impairment of refrigerati-on temperature therein.
The door B is mounted on front wall 1 with a three point connection by the hinges 4 and secured to the wall and door respectively by screws or bolts 4, and has mounted midway lof its length `at its striking edge, a conventional type of retractable latch mechanism 5, secured by screws 6 and which is adapted to engage and releasably latch with Ia complemental strike 7 mounted in alignment therewith on wall 1 spaced from the liner 3 of door opening 2 and secured by bolts or pins 7.
The door B which embraces the features ofthe present invention, comprises an outer wall panel 8 of an area greater than the door opening 2 and the peripheral edge 9 of which, is adapted to yseat onthe surface of wall 1 bounding the door opening 2 to sealingly close said opening 2 when the door is in closed position as will directly more fully appear.
The door B has mounted on its inner surface an oft-set 4structure C comprising an anchor means le suitably secured to the rear surface of panel` 8 spaced downwardly from its upper edge, and a similarly mountediand secured means 11 spaced upwardly from the bottom edge of said panel. Mounted respectively on the means 1G and 1l are the upper and lower end members 12 and 13 respectively` The upper end member 12 extends downwardly and outwardly from front panel B, a distance corresponding to the width of liner 3 and the thickness of wall 1, and the lower end 13 extends upwardly and outwardly at a corresponding angle from the front panel B. Suitably mounted on the outer or rear side edges of members 12 and 13 is a rear panel D suitably secured to said members 12 and 13, the ends of panel D are spaced inwardly from the outer surfaces of said end members to form seats for a moulding 14 adapted to circumscribe `and `secure said rear panel D, said ends 12 and 13 are secured `to the means 10 and 11 by screws 15 and to the front panel B by screws 16 in a manner 'to effect a flexible connection ybetween the off-set section C and panel B for a purposeuhereinafter. more..fully appearing... The opposite ends 17 of the respective upper and lower members 12 and 13 are inclined outwardly from outer panel 8 to rear -panel'D in meeting direction so lthatthe opposite edge .panels 18 will be :inclined from panel. il in meeting direction corresponding to that of vmembers 12 and 13. lt will be noted that the edges of the door are closed by facing panels, one kof which is shown fragmentarily at 18,this panel closing :the outer'vertical edge of the door and a similarxpanellS closing the inner vertical edge as will be apparent.
It might be further4 stated with respect to front panel B that it extends beyond the end members 12 and 13 and correspondingly beyond the facing panels 18 providing a continuous flange 19 bounding said off-set structure, and along its peripheral yedge under surface is suitably secured a rubber or other suitableY sealing gasket 20 adapted to engage the surface of 'wall B to assure an air-tight seal when the door B is-in closedand co-planing position with said wall.
The insulating space 21 between the panels B and D is adapted, if desired, to receive insulating material 21 and mounted in the insulated space 21 is an adjusting and pressure equalizing bar 22 which is substantially U-shaped in cross section forming channel 23. Said bar is curved or bowed from the ends thereof uniformly towards the middle of the bar in the direction of the latch mechanism when operatively positioned (Figs. 1 and 2), and adapted to receive at its center an adjusting bolt 24 threaded as indicated at 25 for threaded engagement therewith as at 26. Said bolt is adapted to extend through said rear panel D and terminates in an integral head nut 27, and a washer 28 its mounted intermediate said head and rear panel D. Also mounted on said bolt 24 on the opposite side of rear panel D is a washer 29 welded or secured to said bolt by a Cotter-pin or the like. The ends of said bar are adapted to seat on end members 12 and 13 adjacent the rear panel D and are secured to said ends by screws 30.
It is obvious that since the rigid bar 22 is pivoted and coacts with the center of the striking edge of the door B, the adjusting screw 24 provides by means of a suitable wrench engageable with the head 27, the manual means of adjusting the bar 22 vto effect concaving or convexing of the panel B to compensate for warping-of the wall B bounding the door opening 2. Also, since bar 22 is pivoted at the center of the striking edge it provides automatic `adjustment of the striking edge of the .door to a co-planing engagement with the cooler wall B in event of distortion thereof in relation to the hinged section resulting from a fluctuating floor level often caused by a change of merchandise tonnage.
It will'also be observed that the present device comprises a front door panel and an off-set structure flexibly connected to said panel and, owing to the pivotal mounting of the adjusting bar, said off-set structure is self adjustable within the door opening 2 irrespective of slight distortion of the complementally inclined door lining and also with respect to the flexing of the panel B by the adjustable bolt 24 'to effect proper co-planing or aligning of the engaging gasketed surface of the panel with the refrigerator wall 1 as heretofore described. lt will be noted also, that in view of the pivoted locking point of the door B, and that of the pressure equalizing bar, engagement of the door latch with the adjustable complemental wall strike provides an equal three point pressure on the sealing gasket of the striking or free edge of the door comparable with the three hinged anchorage of the opposite side of said door.
It is therefore obvious that the off-set flexible structure is to an extent automatically self-aligning, but in cases of unusualdistortion .such condition is remedial by adjusting the equalizing bar 22 by selective actuation of the adjustingscrew 24 to concavedly or convexedly flex the panel `B to `effect sealing engagement of the gasketed surface of the panel with the `contacting wall surfaceofthe. walll `tocompensate for warping thereof.
lt will be apparent from the above that l have designed a refrigerator construction and an adjustable flexible door structure of the character described, comprising few parts manufacturable at a minimum cost, readily assembled and adapted to maintain an air seal with respect to the door opening throughout the life of the structure irrespective of warpage thereof or surface changes of the door incident to the -varyingeffects of usage and/ or changes effecting the engageable surfaces of the door, incident to wear and tear and the varying effects of continual usage, such structure being efficient .forthe purposes intended.
Although in practice it has been found that the form ot' the invention illustrated in ythe accompanying drawings and referred to in the above description as the preferred embodiment is the most eilicient and practical, yet realizing that conditions concurrent with the adoption of `my invention will necessarily vary, it is well to ernphasize that various minor changes in details of construction, proportionand arrangement of parts, may be resorted `to within the scope of the appended claims without departing from or sacrificing `any of the principles of this invention.-
Having thus described the invention, what I desire protected by Letters Patent is as set forth in the following claims:
l. A wallk-in refrigerator room construction comprising a wall structure defining a walk-in door opening and a flexible door structure mounted on the wall structure adjacent to the opening for closing the said opening, the door structure comprising a front door panel adapted to overliethe exterior surface of the refrigerator wall bounding the door opening,t a flexible off-set chamber structure including ,a flexibleI top `end member, a flexible bottom end member, and a rear panel mounted on the rear of the top and bottom end members and defining agclosure -for the flexible off-set chamber structure, this structure being mounted on the rear of the front -door panel and having a thickness substantially corresponding to-that ofthe wall structure 'and adapted to selfaligningly project vwithin the door opening, and an adjustable pressure equalizing means vertically disposed in the olf-slet chambery structure and bearing against the flexible top and bottom end members in the chamber structure contiguously to the said rear panel for effecting coplaning pressure of lthe `front panel and of the flexible top and bottom end members of the chamber structure on the wall structure exterior surface, to effect sealing of the door. opening irrespective of warping of the wall structure surrounding ,the ydoor opening.
2. A lwalk-in refrigerator construction room comprisinga wall structure defining a walk-in door opening, and a flexible doorstructure hingedly mounted on the wall structure Vby .three lequally spaced anchoring hingesy adjacentto the opening for closing the said opening, the door structure v.comprising affront panel adapted to overli'e the exterior surfacev of therefrigerator wall bounding all portions of the door opening, one side of `the panel being the Strikingf'surface of the door, a single cam latch on the panel disporsed'centrally of the strik-ing edge of the door forlatching the fdoor in .closed position, a sealing gasket on the panel extending .peripherally therearound adapted to seallingly engage fthe exterior of the wall structure boundingthe door opening, a flexible off-set chamber structure mounted on the front panel rearwardly thereof, thesai'd chamber structure being adapted to extend within the door opening whenithe ldoor is closed and including a rear paneL'upper and lower flexible "end portions and side portions mounted on the :rear surface of the front panel and extending rearwardly thereof, the rear panel being mounted on the said portions and defining therewith a closed heat insulating chamber carried by the rear surface of vthe -front panel,.a bowed pressure equalizing and adjusting bar mounted vertically in the chamber and engaging the exible upper and lower end members thereof contiguous to the rear panel, the bar being bowed convexedly toward the front panel with maximum curvature mediaily of the bar, and adjustable means for the bar medially connected thereto and to the rear panel underlying the cam latch on the front panel to provide equal three-point pressure on the striking edge of the door comparable to the Ithree hinges on the anchoring side of the door, and assuring a co-planing of the sealing gasket of the front panel with the surface of the wall structure for sealing the door opening irrespective of warping of the wall structure and door opening.
3. A walk-in refrigerator room construction comprising a cold room adapted to receive tonnages of perishable produce to be refrigerated and comprising a wall structure having a walk-in door opening therein and a massive door structure hingedly mounted on an outer surface of the wall structure adjacent to a side of the door opening, the door structure including a front door panel having an area substantially greater than that of the door opening and overlying the outer surface of the Wall structure completely around the door opening, a flexible offset chamber structure mounted on the rear of the front panel and dening a closed heat insulating chamber on the rear of the front door panel and defining with the periphery of the front panel a continuous sealing flange overlying al'l portions of the outer surface of the wall structure surrounding the door opening, a sealing gasket intermediate the Lsaid sealing ange and underlying portions of the Wall structure for sealingly enclosing the door opening when the ydoor is closed, the flexible off-set chamber structure being the only portion of the door which extends into the door opening, a convexedly bowed pressure member vertically mounted in Ithe off-set chamber structure with its ends yieldably connected to exible top and bottom members of the said Istructure and contiguous to a rear panel forming a rear closure for the off-set structure, the pressure member being convexedly bowed towards the front panel, and adjusting means connected to the pressure member and extending through the rear panel for effecting selected adjustment of amounts of tiexure of the bowed pressure member on the flexible top and hottom members of the chamber structure for flexing the front panel and maintaining the overlapping seal between the continuous ange portion of the front panel and the outer surface of the Wall structure irrespective of random deformations -in contour of the door opening produced by warpage thereof incident to changes in tonnages of commodities being refrigerated in the cold. room.
4. A walk-in refrigerator room construction comprising a wall structure provided with a walk-in door opening and a flexible large woorden door structure mounted on the wall structure adjacent to the opening for closing the opening, the door structure comprising a planar front door panel marginally ovenlying the exterior surface of the wall structure completely around the periphery of the door opening, a sealing gasket mounted on the front door panel and extend-ing completely around the periphery thereof and also overlapping all margins of the door opening, for sealing any spaces between the margins of the door opening and of the front door panel in air-tight relation, and an adjustable off-set chamber structure yieldably mounted on rear surface of the front door panel by means of oppositely directed fastening elements, the chamber lstructure abutting the gasket and entering the door opening to a depth substantially equal to the thickness of the walll structure, the said chamber' structure having flexible top and bottom members and side panels all attached directly to the rear surface of the front door panel by means of the oppositely directed fastening elements, and a rear panel carried by the said flexible top and bottom members and the side panels, and defining a closure for the chamber structure, a single bowed pressure bar means convexedly bowed in the mid-portion in direction of the front door panel, the bar being vertically disposed in the chamber and having opposite ends engaging the flexible top and bottom end members of the chamber contiguous to ythe rear panel for adjusting the chamber to change the engagement of the chamber and front panel with respect to adjacent portions of the wall structure ysurrounding `the door opening as required for compensation of warpage of the wall structure surface surrounding the door opening for altering the wall engaging surface of the door and gasket to effect sealing engagement with the marginal portions of the door for maintaining the opening completely sealed against passage of air, and adjusting means for the pressure bar means extending through the said bar means and the rear panel for selectively increasing and decreasing the effective length of Ithe pressure bar means to adjust the chamber structure to variations in shape of the door opening caused by such warpage.
5. A walk-in refrigerator room construction as claimed in claim 4, wherein the adjusting means for the pressure bar means are symmetrically disposed with respect to the pressure bar means and the front and rear panels of the door, and the pressure lbar means having opposite ends yieldingly engaging with the top and bottom members of the adjustable chamber at points contiguous to the rear panel structure for effecting a compensating warping or deformation of the chamber structure to compensate for the warpage of the wall structure and door opening.
6. A walk-in refrigerator construction as claimed in claim 5, wherein the front door panel is provided with three equally-spaced points of support producing an anchored edge for the door, one of the points lof support being a medial hinge anchor a single cam-acting latch on the door directly across the front panel from the medial -hinge anchor, with the adjusting means for the pressure bar mounted directly and in horizontal alignment behind the latch so that the projection of the adjusting means through the rear door panel together with the engagement of the ends of the pressure bar with the top and bottom members of the adjustable chamber structure provide three point pressure on the striking edge of the door comparable to the three-point support on the anchoring side of the door, thereby assuring a co-planing of the sealing gasket of the front door panel with the outside surface of the room wall structure for sealing the door opening irrespective of warping of the wall structure and door opening.
7. A large walk-in refrigerator or cold-room structure and corresponding walk-iu door opening therefor, comprising a exible massive door structure for closing the opening and including a massive front door panel adapted to sealingly overlap the wall surface bounding the door surface, a flexible off-set chamber structure mounted on the front door panel and extending into the door opening when the door is closed, the said flexible olf-set chamber structure including flexible top and bottom members and a rear panel closing the chamber structure, oppositelydirected fastening means flexibly mounting the flexible off-set chamber structure on the front door panel on its inner side when the door is closed so that the exible oftset chamber structure enters the door opening, the front door panel having a free side and a mounted side, the latter having a three-point hinged connection spaced from the door opening, a vertically disposed bowed pressure bar in the chamber structure adjacent to the free side of the door, the said pressure bar having opposite ends seating on the flexible top and bottom members of the chamber structure adjacent to the rear panel, the pressure bar being bowed convexedly towards the front door panel, an adjusting screw having connection with the pressure bar medially thereof and rotatably anchored against 1ongitudinal movement in the rear panel and extending exteriorly thereof and operable to effect selective lengthening or shortening of the bar to selectively concavely or convexedly ex the iiexible end members of the chamber structure to effect peripheral sealing engagement of the front door panel and chamber structure with the Wall surface bounding the door irrespective of warping thereof, and a locking cam latch member mounted on the Vfront door panel overlying the pressure bar, and adaptedto effect in conjunction with the arm, a three point pressure similar to the anchored side of the door in door-closed position.
References Cited i171 the le of this patent UNITED STATES lPATENTS Lockwood Apr. 17, Mouton July 6, Ashbaugh Apr. 18, Armstrong Dec. 3,1, 1946 Hobsonet al. Mar. 10, Slopa et a1. Sept. 22,