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Publication numberUS2807841 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 1, 1957
Filing dateOct 22, 1949
Priority dateOct 22, 1949
Publication numberUS 2807841 A, US 2807841A, US-A-2807841, US2807841 A, US2807841A
InventorsJanos Alfred G
Original AssigneeGen Electric
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Cabinet closure and sealing arrangement
US 2807841 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

A. G. JANOS CABINET CLOSURE AND SEALING ARRANGEMENT 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Oct. 1, 1957 Filed Oct. 22, 1949 f I FT !G a l Inven o r: Alf-red 6. Janos,

' His Attorney.

Oct. 1957 A. G. JANOS 2,

CABINET CLOSURE AND SEALING ARRANGEMENT Filed Oct. 22, 1949 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Fig.6.

Inventor: AlFred. G; Janos,

l-|is Attorney.

United States Patent@ CABINET CLOSURE AND SEALING ARRANGEMENT I Alfred G. Janos, Erie, Pa., assignor to General Electric Company, a corporation of New York Application October 22, 1949, Serial No. 122,961

Claims. (Cl. -69) My invention relates to closure and sealing arrangements for cabinets and more particularly to such arrangements employing magnetic force.

In cabinets such as refrigerators wherein a temperature is maintained differing substantially from ambient temperature, it has been customary to provide a gasket adapted to encircle the access opening of the cabinet for sealing the area around the access opening against leakage. The gasket is usually made of a resilient compressible material, for example, rubber, and is attached to either the door or the cabinet so as to be compressed in the closed position of the door. In order to effect sufficient compression of the gasket to secure a satisfactory sealing, a number of latch mechanisms have been employed. In such cases a strike is usually provided on the cabinet and the latch is associated with the door, some form of a spring or camming mechanism usually being included in the latch for exerting the compressing force. In an effort to secure adequate. sealing of the gasket without a high pressure latching mechanism, arrangements have been disclosed heretofore which employ magnetic force. acting on the gasket; these arrangements, however, require special armature constructions or complicated releasing and actuating mechanisms and are, therefore, not entirely satisfactory. In accordance with my invention satisfactory sealing engagement of the gasket is secured by magnetic means without the necessity of utilizing any latch or special magnet manipulating mechanism and a considerably simplified structure is disclosed having a minimum number of parts and utilizing portions of the conventional refrigerator cabinet itself for effecting the closing and sealing action. Further, by special construction and mounting of the gasket forces are introduced, upon initiation of the opening operation, in a direction to facilitate opening of the door and to reduce the force required to open the door below the force normally required to separate magnetic means in attracted relationshipby a direct pull along the axis of maximum attraction.

It is an object of my invention to provide an improved arrangement for maintaining a closure member in sealing engagement with a cabinet or other structure with which the closure member is associated.

It is another object of my invention to provide a cabinet construction including an improved arrangement for maintaining a closure member for the cabinet or other structure in its closed position.

It. is "a further object of my invention. to provide a gasket construction including an improved arrangement of magnetic elements combined with the gasket for holding-the gasket in engagement with a magnetic surface in the. closed position of an associated closure member.

It is still another object of my invention to. provide for a cabinet having a closure member a gasket construction including magnetic elements. and including an improved arrangement for minimizing the force required to. release the, closure member from its closed position.

It is still a further and more specific object of my invention to provide a refrigerator cabinet including an I, 2,807,84l Patented Oct. 1, 1

improved arrangement of magnetic elements combined with a gasket for holding the gasket in sealing engagement with a surface of magnetic material surrounding the access opening of the refrigerator.

Further objects and advantages of my invention will become apparent as the following description proceeds and the features of novelty which characterize my invention will be pointed out with particularity in the claims annexed to and forming part of this specification.

Briefly, my invention relates to a cabinet such as a refrigerator or the like which includes acabinet structure having an opening for access to the interior thereof and a door or other closure structure associated with the cabinet structure for closing this opening. ,In carrying out the objects of my invention a gasket is provided for sealing this opening and a plurality of magnetic elementsare assembled in this gasket. By way of example, the gasket may be mounted on a door and the cabinet formed of a magnetic material, preferably of high permeability, shaped to provide an extended surface surrounding the access opening so that the magnetic elements are attracted to ward this surface in the closed position of the door to hold the gasket in engagement therewith. Alternatively, the gasket may be placed on the cabinet and the door or other closure member shaped to provide the cooperating surface of a magnetic material. In one form a plurality of elongated or bar magnets are arranged in the gasket in spaced end-to-end relationship, .the spacing between successive magnets being such that a preferential magnetic path is provided to the cooperating surface. The gasket itself is so constructed and is so mounted on its supporting structure that the force required for opening. the door is minimized. With my arrangement door opening is achieved without the necessity of any mechanism for preliminarily changing the relative positions of the magnets and the armature or changing the magnetic flux paths. Where the gasket is not utilized for completely sealing the access opening but is employed solely for holding the closure member in its closed position the gasket may extend along only a portion of the surface adjacent the access opening instead of completely encircling the opening in the closed position, a gasket or gasket-like section including one or more magnets being employed.

For a better understanding of my invention reference may be had to the'accompanying drawings in which Fig. 1 illustrates a refrigerator embodying my invention; Fig. 2 is a sectional view illustrating details of the gasket construction; Fig. 3 shows one arrangement of the mag netic elements in the gasket; Fig. 4 illustrates an alternative arrangement of the magnet elements; Fig. 5 shows the arrangement of Fig. 2 with the door in a partially open position; Fig. 6 is a plan view showing. the door in a partially open position; Fig. 7 is a sectional View illustra-ting a modified form of gasket; Fig. 8 is another view of the gasket shown in- Fig. 7; Fig. 9 is a view of the gasket of Figs. 7 and 8 shown mounted on adoor with the door in a partially open position corresponding to Fig. 5; Fig. 1 0- is a sectional view of another modified form of gasketaFig. 11 illustrates a modified: arrangement in: which the gasket is. mounted on the cabinet in. lieu of the door; Fig. 12 is a side elevation view of a portion: of a refrigerator illustrating an application of my invention to a drawer type structure; and Fig. 13 is a front elevation view, partially broken away, of the portion of the re-v frigerator shown in Fig. 12.

Referring to Fig. 1 there is shown a refrigerator 1 including a cabinet structure" 2. The cabinet includes an outer wall 3 and a spaced inner wall or'liner 4. The liner 4 provides a food storage compartment 5-. The outer wall 3 and the liner 4 are shaped toprovide anaccess opening at the front of the refrigerator, breaker strips" 6 of heat insulating material being provided to close the space between the outer wall 3 and the liner 4 in the region of the access opening. The food storage compartment 5 may be refrigerated by an evaporator indicated at 7, and shelves 8 are provided therein for the storage of food.

A closure structure or door 9 is provided for closing the access opening of the cabinet, the door being hinged to the cabinet by hinges 10. In order to seal the refrigerator in the region of the access opening a gasket 11 is provided. Although it is preferable to place the gasket on the door where it is swung out of the way with the door, it is obvious that the sealing can be accomplished equally well by mounting the gasket on the cabinet and having the gasket engage a sealing surface provided on the door.

Referring more particularly to Fig. 2 the door 9 includes an outer wall 12 composed of a magnetic material, preferably a material of high permeability, such as sheet steel, and an inner wall 13 which may be of a heatinsulating material, such as a suitable plastic composition. The inner wall is spaced from the outer wall and the space therebetween is filled with a suitable heatinsulating material. The gasket 11 comprises a member of flexible material, such as rubber or a suitable plastic material, including a tongue 14 which is clamped against a flange portion 15 of the outer wall of the door by a retainer strip 16. The flange portion 15 extends completely around the inner face of the door, as shown in Fig. 1. A plurality of screws extending between the retainer strip 16 and a flange portion 17 of the outer wall of the door are employed for clamping the gasket in position, one such screw being indicated at 18. The gasket includes a flexible portion 19 which is connected to the tongue 14 by a hinging portion 19' extending along only one edge of the gasket. The flexible portion 19 is adapted to engage a portion 20 of the outer wall 3 of the cabinet, this portion 20 being continuous with, that is an integral portion of, the outer wall 3 of the cabinet and forming an extended surface framing the access opening of the food storage compartment 5, as indicated in Fig. 1.

For moving the gasket into firm sealing engagement with the cabinet in accordance with this embodiment of my invention a plurality of elongated magnetic elements or bar magnets 22 are provided in spaced relationship throughout the gasket 11, the magnets 22 being attracted to the portion 20 of the cabinet in the closed position of the door. The magnets 22 may be composed. for example, of alnico. As can be seen, the gasket extends completely about the door so as to completely enclose the access opening in the closed position of the door. The gasket includes two spaced portions 23 and 2.4 which provide a recess throughout the length of the gasket. The spaced portions 23 and 24 also provide an opening 25 for receiving the magnets 22. The magnets 22 are assembled within the gasket by forcing them through the opening 25, the portions 23 and 24 spreading apart to receive the magnets and resiliently holding these magnets in the assembled position. In order to bend the gasket at right angles, it is sometimes necessary to notch the gasket at the four corners of the door, as indicated at 11. To hold the gasket firmly against the cabinet portion 29 at these corners and thus to minimize leakage through the notches or slits, L-shaped magnets 22, having poles of the same polarity at each end and a pole of' opposite polarity at the center, are employed.

The outer wall 3 of the cabinet is formed of a magnetic material, preferably a material of high permeability, toward which the magnetic elements 22 are attracted, and the portion 20 is integral with the outer wall. Since it is customary to make refrigerator cabinets from sheet steel, which is a material of high permeability, no change in material or additional parts in the cabinet structure are required in carrying out this embodiment of my invention, an integral portion of the outer cabinet wall being utilized as the armature for the magnets so as to permit 4 the magnets to draw the gasket into sealing engagement with the cabinet wall.

In one form of my invention, as illustrated in Fig. 3, the magnets 22 are elongated permanent magnets of circular cross section, each of the magnets 22 having a north pole at one end and a south pole at the other end. It will be apparent, of course, that any cross section may be employed, the circular cross section illustrated merely providing convenient assembly within the gasket section shown. In the preferred form shown in Fig. 3, a plurality of individual elongated magnets 22 are aligned throughout the gasket with successive magnets oriented with opposite polarity so as to have pole faces of like polarity directed toward each other. This causes a repulsion of the magnetic flux which, therefore, follows a preferential path from each of the magnets 22 to the metallic portion 20 of the cabinet in the closed position of the door. However, my invention may also be carried out with the magnets 22 positioned with successive magnets having likepoles in the same direction, as illustrated in Fig. 4. In this form, of course, poles of opposite polarity of adjacent magnets are directed toward each other. However, the spacing 26 between the magnets excceds the distance 27 between the portion 20 of the cabinet and the magnets 22 in the closed position of the door so that a shorter and preferential path is still established between the magnets 22 and the metallic portion 21). While the magnets in Fig. 3 have been illustrated with the same spacing as those shown in Fig. 4, it will be apparent that the magnets in the form shown in Fig. 3 do not require the same spacing as those in the form shown in Fig. 4 since poles of opposite polarity are directed toward each other and hence there is no tendency for the flux to follow a path between adjacent faces of successive magnets. Hence, in the form shown in Fig. 3 the spacing between successive magnets need not exceed the distance 27; in fact, if desired, no space at all need be provided between successive magnets in this form. In the arrangement shown in Fig. 3 the magnets 22 may be maintained in the spaced relationship indicated by the resilient gripping of the magnets by the gasket itself. However, if desired, spacers 28 of suit able non-magnetic material, for example, rubber or various plastic materials, may be employed to establish a positive spacing between successive magnets, as shown in Fig. 4. As a further alternative the magnets may be incorporated in the body of the gasket in proper spaced relationship during the extruding of the gasket. Also, while permanent magnets have been shown, it will be apparent that electromagnets having elongated cores could be utilized in lieu of permanent magnets.

A particular arrangement of the gasket and thc associated magnetic elements with respect to the door and the cabinet is provided. As explained previously and as can be readily seen by reference to Figs. 2, 3, and 4, the magnets 22 are spaced at greater distance from each other than the distance 27 from the magnets to the metal lic portion 20 of the outer wall 3 of the cabinet in the closed position of the door. This insures a preferential path from the magnets to the portion 20 of the cabinet in the closed position of the door regardless of whether the magnets are positioned as shown in Fig. 3 or as shown in Fig. 4. Furthermore, it should be noted that in the open position of the door the magnets 22 are spaced apart a greater distance than the distance from the magnets to the metallic portion 15 of the door. Thus. in the open position of the door, after the gasket has been withdrawn from the proximity of the metallic portion 20 of the cabinet, there is a preferential magnetic path from the magnets to the metallic portion 15 of the door structure. This causes the gasket to be retained relatively firmly against the door structure in the open position of the door. If the strip 16 is made of some magnetic material it is also effective to attract the magnets 22. This feature of providing a magnetic path from the magnets to the door in the open position of the door has an additional advantage that the low-reluctance magnetic path thus provided minimizes any stray magnetic field external of the door and the gasket and hence minimizes the danger of magnetizing delicate instruments, such as wrist Watches, which might be brought near the gasket during opening of the door. Moreover, it should be noted that the distance from the magnets 22 to the metallic portion 20 of the cabinet in the closed position of the door is less than the distance from the magnetic elements to either the strip '16 or the metallic portion of the door. Therefore, in the closed position of the door any attraction of the magnets by the door structure is overcome by the greater attraction toward the metallic portion of the cabinet and the gasket is pulled into firm sealing engagement with'the portion 20 of the cabinet. Further, a portion of the metallic outer wall of the cabinet itself is employed as the armature for the magnets, insuring a sealing of the gasket directly against the face of the cabinet itself and rendering unnecessary any sepa rate armature or armatures associated with the cabinet, toward which the magnets would be attracted for sealing purposes.

The particular construction of the gasket wherein the portion 19 which contains the magnets 22 is hinged to the tongue 14 along only one edge 19' is eitective to reduce the force required to open the door. Referring, for example, to Figs. 2 and 5 wherein a cross section of the portion of the gasket extending along the left-hand vertical portion of the door is illustrated, it can be seen that as the door is moved from the position shown in 'Fig. 2 toward the partially open position shown in Fig.

5, the force tending to pull the gasket and the magnets 22 away from the cabinet is exerted through the portion 19 of the gasket and acts along only one side or edge of the magnets 22. Because of this construction of the gasket 21 leverage action is obtained in moving the magnets 22 away from the metallic portion 20 of the cabinet. Referring to Fig. 5, it can be seen that the tip 29 of the gasket engages the portion 20 and may be regarded as a fulcrum. The force tending to move the magnets 22 toward the portion 20 of the cabinet may be regarded as acting perpendicularly to the portion 20 and to be directed from the center of the magnets 22. On the other hand the force tending to move the magnets 22 away from the cabinet is exerted along the left-hand edge of the magnets as indicated at 30. The lever arm of the releasing force is thus greater than the lever arm of the attracting force and a mechanical advantage assist ing the release of the magnets is obtained. Depending on the stiifness of the hinging portion 19 and the magnetcontaining portion 19 the opening force may even be exerted some distance to the left-handedge 30 of the magnets, giving an even greater lever ratio. The gasket construction is such that a camming action of the gasket with respect to the magnets 22 and the portion 20 of the cabinet is obtained. Thus the portion 31 of the gasket is of a greater thickness than the portion 32 which latter portion is normally positioned between the magnets 22 and the cabinet in-the closed position of the door, as can be seen from Fig. 2. Moreover, the gasket section is of gradually increasing thickness proceeding from the portion 32 to the right-hand end of the gasket, as viewed in Figs. 2 and 5, that is, proceeding toward the side of the magnets 22 remote from the hinging portion 19' of the gasket. Comparing Figs. 2 and 5 it can be seen that the releasing force causes the gasket tip 29 to be drawn somewhat to the left, urging the section 31 of gradually increasing thickness between the portion 20 of the cabinet and the magnets 22. This causes a camming action, moving the magnets 22 away from the portion 20 of the cabinet, again giving a mechanical advantage and reducing the force necessary to eitect release of the door. Were the gasket to be secured to the door along both sides'of the magnets 22 the door opening force wouldthen have to be exerted to move the magnets 22 directly away from the portion 20 of the cabinet without the benefit of the mechanical advantage of the lever action and the camming action described above. I have found that the hinging of the mounting tongue 14 and the surface-engaging portion 19 of the gasket along only one edge 19 reduces the opening force materially below that force required where the gasket is arranged so that the opening force is exerted along both sides or edges of the magnets.

The lever action and camming action described above with respect to the portion of the gasket along the lefthand vertical portion of the door also applies to the releasing of the gasket along the top and bottom of the door and along the right-hand vertical portion of the door. In addition to this lever action and camming action there is also a peeling action of the gasket along the top and bottom portions of the door. This peeling action is illustrated in Fig. 6, wherein the door is illustrated in a partially open position. This figure also shows a simple handle 33 which may be employed for opening and closing the door of a refrigerator constructed in accordance with my invention. It will be noted that the handle may readily be made of such size as to be included within an extension of the forward face 34 of the door and a perpendicular line tangent to the edge 35 of the door. Thus, the handle need not project beyond the forward face 34 of the door, and hence the side 36 of the refrigerator may be positioned closer to an ad jacent wall while still permitting full door opening than in the case, for example, of refrigerators wherein a large latch handle is necessary to achieve satisfactory leverage for operating an overcenter spring latch mechanism. Furthermore, the handle shown may be eliminated and replaced by a recess or hand hole in the front face of the door or by a recess in the inner face 15 of the door to provide a hand gripping portion at the left side of the door. Returning to the peeling action of the gasket it can be seen that, as the door is opened, the gasket is first pulled away from the metallic portion 20 of the cabinet along the left-hand end '37 of the gasket, in the manner described above. The right-hand end 38 of the gasket remains in engagement with the cabinet until the door has opened through a substantial angle. In the position shown in Fig. 6, the gasket has been pulled away from the cabinet through approximately half of the length of the top and bottom portions of the gasket, and the force tending to effect release of the gasket from the cabinet is being applied at a point indicated at 39. It will be noted that the portion 40 of the gasket which has become released from the cabinet has been attracted by the door, as explained previously. As the opening of the door is continued, the peeling of the gasket proceeds toward the right-hand edge 38, the releasing force being concentrated at a point or at most at a very small area. The releasing force on each successive magnet 22 is applied at the left-hand end thereof, causing'the magnet to pivot about its right-hand end thereby making the release of the magnets easier.

It will be appreciated that the reverse action takes place when the door is closing. Thus, the right-hand ver: tical portion of the gasket is first attracted into sealing engagement since the door and the gasket first approach the cabinet at the hinged, or right-hand, side. The engagement of the gasket then proceeds progressively to the left along the top and bottom sections and finally the left-hand vertical section of the gasket is drawn into sealing engagement. This action also assists in moving the door to its closed position. Once the door has been moved sufficiently toward its closed position that the right-hand vertical section of the gasket is drawn into engagement with the cabinet, the progressive action of the successive magnets moves the door to its completely closed position without further action by the user. This is also of advantage should the door be slammed suf ficiently hard to rebound slightly away from the cabinet. Under such circumstances I have found that the door does not rebound sufiiciently far to pull the gasket out of engagement at the hinged side of the cabinet and hence the door is moved by the magnets back to the closed position. The degree of effectiveness of this action can be demonstrated by tilting the cabinet forward slightly so that gravity tends to open the door. In this manner I have found the closing action of the gasket sufiiciently great to overcome rebound on slamming.

The gasket construction and arrangement set forth above makes it possible to provide a door which can be easily changed from right-hand opening to left-hand opening or vice versa. It is merely necessary to provide holes at both sides of the cabinet for mounting the cabinet halves of the hinges 10. With my arrangement the door can be changed from the right-hand opening arrangement illustrated to left-hand opening by merely securing hinges to the left-side of the cabinet and turning the door through 180". There are no latch or strike mechanisms to complicate the changeover of the door, since these mechanisms are rendered unnecessary by my door closing and sealing arrangement. The handle 33 can be arranged midway between the top and bottom of the door so that the above reversal does not affect its position.

In Figs. 7, 8 and 9 there is shown a modified form of gasket. This gasket includes a tongue 41 corresponding to the tongue 14 in the gasket section previously described. The gasket shown in Figs. 7, 8 and 9 further includes a hollow portion 42 hingedly related to the tongue 46 along one side only by a flexible section 43. A rig 44 is pro vided within the hollow portion 42 and this rib is spaced from a portion 45 of the gasket portion 42 to provide a circular recess or passage 46. The recess 46 is adapted to receive a plurality of spaced magnetic elements or mag nets 22 in a manner similar to the recess 25 in the gasket form shown in Fig. 2. In order to provide for the insertion ofthe elongated magnets within the recess 46 the gasket is slit at intervals along its length, as indicated at 47. A magnet is inserted within the recess 46 through each of the slits 47, as shown in Fig. 8. The diameter of the recess 46 may be slightly less than the diameter of the elongated magnets so that each of these magnets is resiliently held in position by the gasket. However, if desired, in both the gasket form shown in Fig. 7 and in the gasket form shown in Fig. 2, the normal size of the recess need not be made smaller than the diameter of the magnets, and the magnets can be cemented in position or they can be maintained in spaced rela ctionship by suitable spacers of non-magnetic material placed between successive magnetic elements. As a further alternative the magnetic elements may be incorporated directly in the gasket during the extrusion process.

A gasket for use with a refrigerator cabinet is usually made from one continuous strip of material of a length sufiicient to completely encircle the access opening. As a further alternative construction the magnets utilized with the gasket section shown in Fig. 7 may be inserted from the open ends of the gasket before assembly of the gasket on the cabinet. This assembly can be accomplished in several ways; for example, magnets and spacers of a diameter slightly less than that of the recess 46 can alternately be inserted at the open ends of the gasket so that the magnets will be spaced longitudinally the proper distance. It has been found feasible to pie-assemble the magnets by wrapping them in a tape or in a strip of thin plastic material, the plastic material or tape being twisted at the spaces between the successive magnets during the pre-assembly so as to provide the desired spacing. This entire pre-assembly is then inserted within the gasket from either open end. Such a pre-assembly can, of course, be made of indefinite length, inserted in the gasket, and then cut to the desired length. If the hollow portion 42 is notched at each of the four corners of the door, four such pre-assemblies of magnets may be employed, one being 8 inserted in the top section of the gasket, one in the bottom section, and one in each of the vertical side sections. Where any of these assembly arrangements are employed, the slits 47 are, of course, unnecessary, and the recess 46 completely encloses the magnets and any spacing means employed.

It will be noted that the gasket construction is such that the leverage action and carnrning action described above with respect to the form of gasket illustrated in Figs. 2 and 5 is also present in the form illustrated in Figs. 7, 8, and 9, as can be seen from the partially open position shown in Fig. 9. Thus, the tongue 41 and the hollow portion 42 are hinged along only one side, as indicated at 43. Hence, a force tending to pull the gasket and the magnets 22 away from the cabinet is exerted through the portion 43 and a leverage action is obtained in moving the magnets away from the cabinet, in the same manner as described with regard to the form illustrated in Figs. 2 and 5. As can be seen by comparing Figs. 7 and 9, the gasket is formed so that the hinging is generally in the region 43', the portion 42, of the gasket being somewhat thicker and hence stiffer than the portion of the gasket in the hinging region. This causes the portion 42 from the fulcrum to the hinging area 43' to be available as a lever arm, giving a relatively large mechanical advantage. Also. as in the previous construction, the gasket progressively increases in thickness from the point 48 directly between the magnets 22 and the cabinet where the gasket normally engages the cabinet in the closed position of the door toward the right-hand edge of the gasket. that is, the edge opposite the hinging portion 43. It can be seen, for example, that the gasket is of greater thickness at 49 than at 48 and further that the gasket thickness progressively increases in proceeding toward the right from the portion 48 through the portion 49, that is, in proceeding from a point directly between the magnets and the cabinet in the closed position of the door toward the side of the magnets remote from the hinging portion 43 of the gasket. When a door opening force is applied and the gasket section of Fig. 7 is shifted to the position illustrated in Fig. 9, the thicker portion 49 is brought progressively between the magnets 22 and the cabinet, thus securing a camming action. Hence, a mechanical advantage is secured in the door opening operation where a gasket of the form shown at Fig. 7 is employed just as a mechanical advantage is secured with respect to the form illustrated in Figs. 2 and 5.

In Fig. 10 there is shown a modified form of gasket which is also constructed so as to provide the lever action and camming action described above and further includes a particular section which acts as a fulcrum during the releasing operation. Referring to Fig. 10 the gasket sec tion there illustrated includes a mounting tongue 41a, a magnet-containing portion 420 and a hinging portion 43a which connects the tongue and the portion 42a along only one edge thereof. As in the form illustrated in Figs. 7, 8, and 9 the gasket section illustrated in Fig. 10 includes an arm 42b, corresponding generally to the portion 42 of the form shown in Fig. 7, which is somewhat thicker and stiffer than the portion of the gasket in the hinging region 43b. Thus, as the releasing force is applied through the hinging section 4311 the gasket tends to flex generally in the region 4312 and the arm 42b remains rela tively straight because of its inherent stiffness. Hence,

' the releasing force is applied at the left-hand end of the arm 4215 giving a substantial lever ratio.

The gasket section shown in Fig. 10 includes two projections or ribs 420 and 42d which are designed to engage the portion 20 of the cabinet in the closed position of the door to effect a good sealing engagement. The rib 42d also provides a fulcrum about which the portion 42:: of the gasket pivots during the releasing operation. Thus, the releasing force is applied through the portion 43a of the gasket and acts generally at the left-hand end of the arm 42b and the effective lever arm is the distance are-omen between the left-hand end of the arm 42b and the fulcrum provided by the rib 42d. The attracting force exerted by the magnet 22 on the other hand may be considered as acting from the center of the magnet and hence the lever arm of the attracting force is only the distance between the rib 42d and a vertical line extending through the center of the cross section of the magnet illustrated. By comparison of these two lever arms it can be seen that a substantial lever ratio is made available for reducing the amount of force required to effect release of the gasket from the cabinet. The same camming action described previously is also present in the gasket construction illustrated in Fig. 10. Thus, the portion 48a of the gasket which is positioned adjacent the face 20 of the cabinet in the closed position of the door is thinner than the portion 49a which is brought between the face 20 of the cabinet and the magnet 22 as the portion 42a of the gasket is pivoted or rotated during the releasing operation. As in the forms of gaskets previously illustrated the thickness of the gasket progressively increases from the point 48a toward the side of the magnet opposite the hinging portion 43a of the gasket.

In Fig. 11 there is shown a modification in which a gasket and associated magnetic elements or magnets are mounted on the cabinet instead of on the door. Referring to Fig. the cabinet 2 includes a flange portion 50 which surrounds the access opening of the cabinet and is continuous with the outer wall 3 of the cabinet. A breaker strip 51 is provided between the outer wall of the cabinet and the inner wall (not shown). A gasket 52 having a cross section similar to that shown in Fig. 7 is held against flange portion 50 of the cabinet by a retainer clip 53. The retainer clip is held in position by suitable fastening devices such as screws, one of which is shown at 54. A plurality of elongated magnets 22 having poles at opposite ends are arranged in spaced relationship within a recess 55 in a manner similar to that previously described in connection with Fig. 7. The door 9 is shaped to provide a flange portion 56 which is formed integrally with the outer wall 12 of the door and is arranged to be brought into engagement with the gasket 52 when the door is in its closed position. The door 9 further includes an inner wall or liner 57 which may be formed of a suitable plastic material. The inner wall 57 is secured to the outer wall 12 of the door by suitable fastening devices such as the screws, one of which is shown at 58. As in the forms previously described, the outer wall 3 of the cabinet and the outer wall 12 of the door are formed of a magnetic material. Thus, these outer walls may be formed from sheet steel, which is a material of high permeability, toward which the magnets 22 are attracted. As the door 9 is moved toward its closed position and, hence, as the portion 56 of the door approaches the gasket 52, the magnets 22 are attracted to the portion 56, causing the gasket to be pressed into sealing engagement with the portion 56 of the door, and at the same time maintaining the door in its closed position.

In Figs. 12 and 13 there is illustrated an application of the magnetic gasket structure to a drawer. In these figures the drawer has been shown utilized as part of a household refrigerator, wherein it may be employed, for example, as part of a freezing compartment for storing frozen foods, but it will be apparent that the magnetic gasket could be utilized with any drawer which it is desired to maintain in a closed position whether or not the drawer is a part of a refrigerator cabinet. Referring now to Figs. 12 and 13 there is shown a refrigerator cabinet 59. The cabinet is provided internally with a liner 60 which forms a compartment 61 for storing fresh food, and is also provided with a liner 62 which encloses a compartment 63 adapted to be maintained at a low temperature for storing frozen foods. The compartments 61 and 63 may be refrigerated'in any conventional manner to maintain the required temperatures for the food stored therein.

The access opening of the fresh food storage compartment 61 is closed by a door 64. The'access opening of the compartment 61 may be sealed by a gasket 65 similar to the gasket 11 described in connection with Fig. l. The frozen food is placed in a drawer 66 which is arranged for sliding movement relative to the cabinet 59. In order to seal the access opening of the compartment 63, the drawer 66 includes a closure structure or front 67, and a gasket 68 is secured to the inner face of the drawer front 67. The drawer front 67, like the door 9 in Figs. 1 and 2 includes an outer wall and an inner wall. The cabinet includes a portion 69 which frames the access opening of the compartment 63 and, like the portion 20 of the refrigerator shown in the refrigerator shown in Fig. 1, the portion 69 is formed as an integral part of the outer wall of the cabinet 59 and is composed of a magnetic material, preferably a material of high permeability, such as sheet steel, from which the outer wall of a refrigerator cabinet is normally formed. The gasket 68 includes a plurality of spaced magnetic elements or magdescribed. Any of the gasket sections previously described and illustrated in Figs. 2, 7, and 10 may be employed.

As the drawer approaches its closed position the magnets 70 are attracted to the portion 69 of the cabinet and the gasket is thereby drawn into sealing engagement with the cabinet throughout the area surrounding the access opening of the compartment 63. When it is desired to open the drawer 66 the drawer is merely pulled forward by applying a force to a handle 71, overcoming the magnetic attraction between the magnets 70 and the portion 69 of the cabinet. The magnetic gasket con struction is particularly advantageous for use with draw ers of this type where sealing of the access opening is important since, unlike the door construction previously described, the drawer front is not hinged to the cabinet along one side. Hence, while an effective sealing action of the door can be secured by the use of a single latch at the side of the door opposite the hinge, efiective sealing with a drawer type structure may require two latches, one at each side of the front or closure structure of the drawer. My arrangement secures satisfactory sealing without requiring any latch mechanism. The action of the gasket during opening of the drawer is similar to that described in detail above with regard to the left-hand vertical section of the gasket illustrated in Fig. 2. As in the gasket sections shown in Fig. 2, the gasket 68 illustrated in Fig. 12 includes a mounting tongue and a magnet-retaining cabinet-engaging portion which are flexibly connected along only one side of the gasket. As explained previously in discussing Figs. 2 and 5, this construction, providing the connection between the mounting tongue and the magnet-retaining portion along only one side of the gasket, is effective to reduce the force required to open the drawer or door against the pull exerted by the magnets. In addition to its use with doors and drawers, my arrangement is also applicable to an entirely separate, unhinged closure member, for example, a lid for an ice cream cabinet.

While my magnetic gasket construction is particularly useful as applied to refrigerators or other structures wherein eifective and complete sealing of an access opening is important, it is obviously suitable for use with other cabinets wherein the only requirement is the ability to hold a door or other closure member in a closed position. For example, my gasket structure may be employed with kitchen cabinets made of a magnetic material to hold the door of a kitchen cabinet in a closed position. When the gasket construction is so employed merely for holding the door in closed position and sealing is not necessary, the gasket need not completely en- 11 circle the access opening ofthe cabinet and only one or more short gasket sections need be used. In such case each gasket section may include only one or more magnets.

While I have shown and described particular embodiments of my invention, it will occur to those skilled in the art that various changes and modifications may be made without departing from my invention and I, therefore, aim in the appended claims to cover all such changes and modifications as fall within the true spirit and scope of my invention.

What I claim as new and desire to secure through Letters Patent of the United States is:

l. in a storage cabinet or the like, a cabinet structure, said cabinet structure including a wall having an access opening therein, a closure structure arranged for movement relative to said cabinet structure for closing said .opening, said closure structure including a wall, a gasket arranged on one of said structures, said gasket comprising a securing portion secured to said one of said structures and a sealing portion flexibly connected along one edge to said securing portion a magnet carried by the sealing portion of said gasket intermediate the edges of said sealing portion, said wall of the other of said structures comprising a sheet of magnetic material, and an armature comprising an integral and continuous portion of said sheet of magnetic material forming said wall of said other of said structures toward which said magnet is attracted for holding said closure in its closed position, the securing portion of said gasket pivoting about said one edge during opening of said closure member.

2. In a storage cabinet or the like, a cabinet structure having an access opening therein, said cabinet structure comprising an outer wall and an inner wall spaced from said outer wall, a closure structure arranged for movement relative to said cabinet structure for closing said opening, said closure structure comprising an outer wall and an inner wall spaced from said outer wall, a gasket arranged on one of said structures, said gasket being generally C-shaped and including a first portion for attachment to said cabinet, a second portion generally parallel to said first portion and a third portion flexibly connecting said first portion to one edge of said second portion a magnet carried by said second portion of said gasket intermediate the edges of said second portion, said outer wall of the other of said structures comprising a sheet of magnetic material, and an armature comprising an integral and continuous portion of said sheet of magnetic material forming said outer wall of said other of said structures toward which said magnet is attracted for holding said closure structure in its closed position, the structure of said gasket effecting a progressive release of the second portion of said gasket from said outer wall of said other structure during opening movement of said closure structure.

3. A gasket for a storage cabinet or the like comprising a member of flexible material, and a plurality of bar magnets carried by said member in end-to-end relationship, said magnets having poles at the ends thereof, the magnetic axes of said magnets being in alignment, successive magnets being reversely positioned whereby said successive magnets have poles of like polarity directed toward each other.

4. in a storage cabinet or the like, a cabinet structure having an access opening therein, a closure structure arranged for movement relative to said cabinet structure for closing said opening, a gasket arranged on one of said structures, said gasket being generally C-shaped and including a sealing portion flexibly connected to a securing portion, and a plurality of bar magnets carried by the sealing portion of said gasket in spaced end-to-end relationship, said magnets having poles at the ends thereof, the magnetic axes of said magnets being in alignment, the other of said structures including a section composed of a magnetic material, said magnets being attracted to= -ward said section of said other of said structures to hold said gasket in engagement therewith, said magnets being spaced from each other a distance greater than the distance from each of said magnets to said section of said other of said structures in the closed position of said closure structure whereby a preferential magnetic path is established from each of said magnets to said section of said other of said structures.

5. A gasket for a storage cabinet or the like comprising a first portion for attachment to an element of the cabinet, a second portion generally parallel to said first portion, a third portion flexibly connecting said first portion and said second portion along one edge only of said first and second portions, said gasket terminating at the other edge of said second portion, and a magnet carried by said second portion of said gasket.

6. A gasket of generally rectangular form for sealing an access opening of a storage cabinet or the like, said gasket having notches therein to provide for bending said gasket at each of the corners thereof, and an L- .shaped magnet carried by said gasket at each of said corners to secure effective sealing engagement at said corners, said L-shaped magnet having poles of one polarity at each end and a pole of opposite polarity at the center.

7. A flexible gasket having an elongated recess therein, and a plurality of bar magnets arranged in said recess in spaced end-toend relationship, said gasket including portions forming the walls of said recess for resiliently gripping said magnets to maintain said magnets in position in said gasket.

8. A gasket for cabinets and the like comprising a member of flexible material having a generally C-shaped cross section, said member having a first portion for attachment to an element of the cabinet, a second portion generally parallel to said first portion, and a third portion connecting said first and said second portions along one edge only of said first and said second portions, said gasket terminating at the other edge of said second portion, and a plurality of elongated magnets carried by said second portion of said gasket, said magnets having poles at the ends thereof, said magnets being disposed in end-to-end relationship with a predetermined spacing between successive magnets.

9. A gasket for cabinetsand the like comprising a member of flexible material having a generally C-shaped cross section, said member having a first portion for attachment to an element of the cabinet, a second portion generally parallel to said first portion, and a third portion connecting said first and said second portions along one edge only of said first and said second portions, said gasket terminating at the other edge of said second portion, and a plurality of elongated magnets carried by said second portion of said gasket, said magnets having poles at the ends thereof, successive magnets being rcversely positioned whereby said successive magnets have poles of like polarity directed toward each other.

10. A gasket for cabinets and the like comprising a member of flexible material having a generally C-shaped cross section, said member having a first portion for attachment to an element of the cabinet, a second portion generally parallel to said first portion, said second portion including a surface adapted to engage the cabinet and a third portion connecting said first and said second portions along one edge only of said first and said second portions, said gasket terminating at the other edge of said second portion, and a plurality of elongated magnets carried by said second portion of said gasket and disposed in spaced end-to-end relationship, said magnets having poles at the ends thereof, the thickness of said second portion of said gasket between each of said magnets and said surface increasing from a line formed by the intersection of a plane extending generally perpendicular to said surface and through the longitudinal axes of said magnets toward said other edge of said second portion.

11. .A gasket for cabinets and the like comprising a member of flexible material having a generally C-shaped cross section, said member having a first portion for attachment to an element of the cabinet, a second portion generally parallel to said first portion, and a third portion connecting said first and second portions along one edge only of said first and second portions for hinging said first and second portions, said gasket terminating at the other edge of said second portion, and a plurality of elongated magnets carried by said second portion of said gasket and disposed in spaced end-to-end relationship, said magnets having poles at the ends thereof, the magnetic axes of successive magnets being in alignment, said second portion including a section between said magnets and said third portion of sufficient stiffness to provide a lever arm for giving a mechanical advantage to facilitate overcoming the attracting force of said magnets.

12. A casing member having an entrance opening, a door member for closing the casing, a sealing gasket positioned on one of said members and adapted to abut the other member to seal said opening when said door is closed, said gasket having two face portions and two side edge portions, one of said latter portions being definitely wider than the other, one of said face portions normally lying parallel and close to the member on which the gasket is positioned, said gasket being secured to said last-recited member at least along one edge of one of said side edge portions, the other of said face portions being adapted to abut against the other member when the door is closed and said gasket being releasable initially at one edge of the last-recited face portion and thereafter progressively releasable across the width of the face from said edge toward the other edge thereof.

13. A casing member having an entrance opening, a door member for closing the casing, a sealing gasket positioned on one of said members and adapted to abut the other member to seal said opening when said door is closed, said gasket having two face portions and two side portions, one of said latter portions being definitely wider than the other, one of said face portions normally lying parallel and close to the member on which the gasket is positioned, said gasket being secured to said last-recited member at least along one edge of the wider of said side edge portions, the other of said face portions being adapted to abut against the other member when the door is closed and said gasket being releasable initially at that edge of the last-recited face portion (which is furthest from the hinged edge of the door) and thereafter progressively releasable from said edge toward the other edge of said face portion.

14. A gasket adapted to be used for sealing a hinged door member adjacent its edges against a casing member surrounding an entrance opening closable by said door, said gasket being mounted on one of said members and comprising two face portions and two side portions, one of said face portions normally lying closely adjacent said one member on which said gasket is mounted and the other face portion being adapted to abut against the other member when said door member is closed, a plurality of magnets within said gasket having attraction for said other member, one edge of said other face portion of said gasket being movable further than the other edge thereof from said one member whereby when said door is drawn open said other member is separated from said other edge before it is separated from said one edge.

15. A gasket adapted to be used for sealing a hinged door member adjacent its edges against a casing member surrounding an entrance opening closable by said door, said gasket being mounted on one of said members, and comprising two face portions and a side portion, one of said face portions normally lying closely adjacent said one member on which said gasket is mounted and the other face portion being adapted to abut against the other member when said door member is closed, a plurality of magnets Within said gasket having attraction for said other member, one edge of said other face portion of said gasket being movable further than the other edge thereof from said one member whereby when said door is drawn open said other member is separated from said other edge before it is separated from said one edge.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,209,809 Burton July 30, 1940 2,215,889 Swedman Sept. 24, 1940 2,234,847 Swedman Mar. 11, 1941 2,263,831 Welch Nov. 25, 1941 2,365,231 Wegman Dec. 19, 1944 2,446,336 Mark et a1. Aug. 3, 1948 2,471,634 Mark et a1 May 31, 1949 2,471,635 Mark et al May 31, 1949 2,555,780 Bright June 5, 1951 2,565,891 Sherman Aug. 28, 1951 2,603,843 Hill July 22, 1952 2,659,118 Anderson et al Nov. 17, 1953

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2899256 *Aug 21, 1956Aug 11, 1959 Refrigerating apparatus
US2914819 *Jan 20, 1959Dec 1, 1959Gen ElectricRefrigerator door construction
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US8100486 *Jul 10, 2009Jan 24, 2012Prince Castle, LLCFood storage unit with drawer having impact-absorbing seal
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Classifications
U.S. Classification49/478.1, 312/296, 24/289, 24/303, 49/496.1, 292/251.5
International ClassificationF16J15/00, F16J15/53, F25D23/08
Cooperative ClassificationF25D23/087
European ClassificationF25D23/08B2