US 2856937 A
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Oct. 21, 1958 '5. M. H; HARRIS APPARATUS FOR TREATING TOBACCO Fild Jan. 6, 1955 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTOR E Hane q Harris CA'I'I'ORNEW 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Oct. 21, 1958 E. M.'-H. HARRIS- APPARATUS FOR TREATING TOBACCO Filed Jan. 6, 1955 Pam Mafar Fan VAC
INVENTOR Harms II/I/IIIIIIII I UIIIIIIIIlIIIIIIII/Ill ATTORNEYS United States Patent APPARATUS FOR TREATING TOBACCO Eddie Maxwell Haney Harris, Aberdeen, N. C.
Application January 6, 1955, Serial No. 480,086
8 Claims. (Cl. 131134) This invention relates to the treating of tobacco, and more particularly to the ordering or casing of tobacco.
In the processing of tobacco after it has been harvested, there are times when the leaves dry out to such an extent that they cannot be handled without breaking them into small particles of little commercial value. As such times it is necessary to increase the moisture content of the leaves to make them pliable again so that they can be packed, graded, or manipulated in some other desired manner. The process of restoring moisture to the tobacco leaves is called ordering or casing.
The best method known heretofore for ordering tobacco was a natural method. The tobacco was simply stored in an atmosphere having a naturally high relative humidity. For example, the farmer, after curing his to bacco by the usual heat treatment in a tobacco barn, would place the tobacco in order to permit its removal from the barn by spraying water onto the barn floor and leaving the barn open overnight. This particular process usually consumed about twenty-four hours.
A similar method, called the pit method, was employed by the farmer in preparing cured tobacco for the grading and marketing process. The dried, brittle. tobacco was placed in a pit and water was sprayed upon the walls of the pit. This method also consumed a great deal of time;
The delays involved in these natural ordering methods resulted in large monetary losses to the farmer. The inability to remove a barn of tobacco from the curing barn for a long period of time after the completion of the heat treatment was particularly expensive. As those concerned with tobacco know, the tobacco leaves must be removed from the plants at the precise time they reach the desired color. If it is necessary to delay the harvest of ripe leaves for a day or two after they have reached the desired color, the quality suffers severely. Furthermore, it is not advisable to harvest leaves and then store them outside the tobacco barn for any significant period of time. As a result, it has been necessary for the farmer either to provide a sufficient number of tobacco barns to handle all of the tobacco that might conceivably ripen at a particular time, or to suffer a loss in the quality of his tobacco as a result of the delays which inevitably result from leaving the tobacco in the curing barns for a long period of time after the curing process has been completed.
- The tobacco warehouseman also is concerned with the ordering of tobacco. -In some cases, buyers may not appear at his warehouse for several days after the date on which he expected them and, of course, unless the' tobacco is kept in order, it cannot be handled by the buyers.
' In order to meet this problem, several proposals have been made heretofore. According to one method of artificially ordering tobacco, wet steam is introduced into a tobacco containing compartment to increase the humidity to a value far above normal. This method makes the tobacco leaves more pliable bu't in doing so, it.
2,856,937 Patented Oct. 21, 1958 2 ruins them. It is often found that water can be squeezed out of leaves ordered in this way. Spotting and changes of color occur, and these reduce the value of the tobacco severely. Also, the very wet tobacco leaves cannot be packedin hogsheads after sale, as iscustomary, because they will rot.
Another artificial method of ordering tobacco that has been tried but found to be unsatisfactory involves-the use of a whirling device for throwing particles of water into the tobacco containing compartment. The objections to this method are similar to those outlined above in con nection with the steaming method. It also puts too much water in the air.
This invention overcomes the objections heretofore associated with the artificial ordering of tobacco. The moisture content of the tobacco is increased in a manner closely approaching the natural way. The result is that experienced buyers and other tobacco experts cannot tell the difference between tobacco placed in order by the pit method, for example, and tobacco placed in order according to this invention.
According to applicants invention, air is drawn from the tobacco containing compartmentthrough 'a honey combed paper filter and returned tothe tobacco containing compartment. Simultaneously with this air movement, water heated to about F. is sprayed upon the intake side of the filter. Experience has shown that this method increases the moisture content of the tobacco containing compartment enough to speed up the ordering process without in any way damaging the tobacco. The ordering process, which if carried out by the natural method would require approximately twentyfour hours, can be carried out in approximately two and one-half hours. I
The equipment employed by applicant in carrying out this invention has many advantageous features. Rollersare provided on the bottom of the ordering machine so that it may be moved about as desired. For instance, it may be moved from one barn to another without difliculty.
An electric heating system for the water is carefully tailored to function efiiciently on the low voltage lighting circuits normally available in rural areas. Preheaters located in a small water storage container function to raise the temperature of the water somewhat before it is pumped to the spray nozzles which direct it against the filter element. Then a heater, which may be controlled thermostatically, raises the temperature of the water to the desired value as it moves along toward the spray nozzles. With this system, the load that must be carried by any given one of the heaters is kept at a minimum.
The small water storage container is a big advantage in minimizing the heater loads. The small capacity of the pan would be a disadvantage, however, if some means were not provided for automatically replenishing the.
supply. The machine of this invention utilizes a floatoperated valve mechanism for this purpose.
If it is desired to empty the water from the water container so that the machine may be moved about more easily, this can be done by removing a cap element from the water distribution line and then operating the water pump so as to force the water from the container and discharge it through the open line.
Another advantageous feature of the tobacco ordering machine of this invention is that separate motors are provided for driving the air circulating fan and the water pump. This increases the flexibility of the machine by permitting use of the air circulating system and the water circulating system separately or simultaneously.
Other features and advantages of this invention will become apparent from the following detailed description of one embodiment thereof, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:
Fig. 1 is a partial, vertical cross-sectional view of, a.v
tobacco barn, with a portable tobacco ordering machine shown in front elevation therein;
Fig. 2 is a rear elevational view, partlybrokengaway; of a portableordering machineaccordingfio this invention; I
Fig. 3 is an enlarged cross-sectional view, along the; line in F go i g eta led he nventicn;
Fig. 4 is a vertical cross-sectional view alongthe; line 44 in Fig; 2;
Fig. 5 is an enlarged. vertical cross sectional viewi along the line 5-5 in Fig. 4; and:
Fig. 6 is a wiring diagram showing an electric circuit; which may be used withthe illustrated machine.
Referring to Fig. 1, the numerals 2 and 4 refer, respec-. tively, to a wall and the floor of a tobacco barn or some other tobacco containing compartment. Supported within the tobacco containing compartment by any. usual means, such as tobacco sticks 6, are tobacco leaves.
8. The details of the construction of the tobacco containing. compartment, the state of the leaves, and the means .for supporting them may allbe conventional.
The portable ordering machine is indicated by the numeral 10 in Fig. 1. This machine will bedescribed in greater detail below. A hose 12 is shown connecting the machine 10 to a spigot 14in the tobacco containing compartment. This, of course, is for supplying water to the machine. It will be understood that means are also provided for connecting the machine toa source of electricity.
The tobacco ordering machine 10 includes a housing- 16 supported on casters 18. The housing may be constructed of any suitable material, the important considerations being that theresulting structure be light in weight and sufliciently durable to withstand the abuses; to which farm machinery is frequently subjected.
Removably positioned between vertically extending guides 20; on opposite side wallsof'the housing.'16;is a filter unit 22. This unitincludes a porous filterelement 24 in theform of a'honeycombedmass of paper. Such a filter element is available commercially under the name P & R Cooling Pad. The filter element 24; is covered by facing elements 26 of hardware cloth or screening material and supported in a frame 28. The frame 28 is preferably provided with one or more handles 30 along its upper edge, by which-the filter unit may be grasped to remove it from the housinglfi; The handles 30 also may serve conveniently as means by which one may grasp the machine to roll it from one place to another on the casters 18.
A fan 32 is mounted in the housing 16 by means of hanger members 34 bolted to the top wall of the housing. The lower ends of the hanger members 34-support bearings 36 in which the fan'shaft 38, rotates. Also carried by one of the hangers 34 is. an electric motor. 40 for driving the fan,32-th rough pulleys 42 and 44 and a belt 46. A fan guard 48 of hardware cloth or screening material is positioned in front of the fan 32 in the interest of safety. Hinges. SOpermit the fan guard to be swung out of position when desired, so that the fan 32 and its motor 40 may beserviced.
At the rear portion of the housing;16, a watercoutainer 52 extends laterally across the bottom of, the housing. This container is a relatively smallonewhen the amount of water needed for. ordering a barn or other quantity of tobacco is considered. Its capacity may be in the order of 20 gallons.
The central part ofthe container 52 is open at its top as shown in Fig. 4. The filterunit 22 extends downwardly through the center of thiscpening so that water. may flow from the filter unit. into thecontainer 52. Screening material 53 is disposed over the opening in the container 52 toprevent tobaccoqparticles and other trash from entering the watersystem,
At, one, end of the water container there is provided a centrifugal pump 54 having an axial water inlet located close to the bottom-of the container 52, and a peripheral outlet communicating with a conduit 56. The pump 54 is driven by an electric motor 58 mounted on a laterally extending frame member 60.
The conduit 56 communicates at its upper end with i a larger conduit 62 which extends upwardly along one side of. the housing 16. The upper end of the conduit 62 in turn communicates, with a laterally extending conduit 64 for delivering water to a plurality of spray nozzles. 66, arranged to spray water upon the rear face of the filter unit 22 near its upper end.
The small capacity of the water container 52 makes it desirable that some means he provided for automatically replenishing the supply of water. Such means are shown in Fig. 5. A hose connection 68, of any convenient construction, is attached to one end of the container- 52 by avalvemember 70; The member 70 has aninternal water passage 72 shown in dotted lines in Fig. 5. This passage 72'opens upwardly and is normally closed'bya' nob 74 on a cooperating valve member 76, pivotally secured at 78 tothe valve member 70. A float 80 is clamped to the valvemember 76 by a screw and wing nut connection 82, so that it may be positioned at various angles with respect to the axis of the valve'member-76. With this construction, the nob 74 will close the water inlet passage 72 as longas the water. level does not fall below the desired value. When, however, the'water supply has been depleted, the float 80 will move downwardly to swing the nob 74 away from the mouth of the water passage 72. This allows. water to-flow into the container 52 to bring the water level-back up to a value which will-be effective to close thepassageway 72 again.
When itis desired" to empty the water from the machine of this invention after, the hose 12 has been disconnected from the spigot 14; a cap 84, threaded onto theouter endof the horizontal c-onduit'64 is removed. The pump 54'is then operated to force the water from the container. 52 out through the open end of the conduit 64; Thus, there is little recirculation of the water, and after a short time nearly all of the water may be re moved. from the machine. The speed of the flow of the heaters;v must be relatively small.
Another electric. heater is positioned to heat the water flowingin the vertical conduit 62. This heater is preferably a 1500 watt, v voltheater, and since it must bring the water to the temperature at which it is to,
be sprayed from the nozzles 66, its operation may be thermostatically controlled. The heat responsive element of the thermostat, of course, would be located in the flowing water stream or sufficiently close to it to give an accurate indication ofthe temperature of the flowing Water.
An electric circuit which may be used with the illus trated machine is diagrammatically shown in Fig. 6. A fuse 92 protects the circuit in the usual manner. In order to start the fan motor 40, one must close a switch 94. Thepump motor 58 is controlled by another switch 96. It should be noted that closure of the pump motor circuitis notdependent in -any way upon theclosureof. the fan; motor. circuit, and vice. versa. This. arrangement Consequently, if any sort of econ ornyin operation isto be achieved, each of the several assess? permits-the fan and the pump to be used separately when desired.
The heater elements are indicated by the numerals 88a and 90a. In order to energize them, the pump motor switch 96 and a separate heater switch 98 must be closed. Overheating of the heating elements is prevented by permitting them to operate only when the pump 54 is circulating the water. I
The switches 94, 96 and 98 and the fuse 92 are positioned together in a control box 100 on a side of the machine to facilitate access to them. Suitable shielding means, such as that indicated by the numeral 102 in Fig. 2, may be provided for the wiring where this is found to be desirable.
The operation of the portable ordering machine of this invention will now be summarized. When the fan 32 is in operation, air is drawn from the tobacco treating compartment, through the filter unit 22, and then exhausted back into the tobacco treating compartment. Since warm water at about 140 F. is being continuously sprayed on the intake face of the filter unit 22, the air picks up some moisture in its passage through the filter unit.
A better understanding of the specific effects produced by operating this machine can be gained by considering the results of a specific test. One such test was made on a day when the outside temperature was 51 F. A machine according to this invention was positioned in a compartment measuring 16 feet by 16 feet by 12 feet and operated for a period of five hours, during which time seven gallons of water were used. At the beginning of the test period, the following conditions prevailed in the compartment: Dry-bulb temperature, 52 F.; wet-bulb temperature, 45 F.; and relative humidity, 78%. At the end of the test period, the following conditions prevailed in the compartment: Dry-bulb temperature, 68 F.; wetbulb temperature, 64 F.; and relative humidity, 90%.
By increasing the relative humidity in this way, the tobacco becomes moist or in order in a minimum amount of time without becoming too wet or spotted.
While I have described a single embodiment of the invention in considerable detail, it will be apparent to persons skilled in the art that various modifications may be made without departing from the spirit of the inven tion. It is intended, therefore, that the foregoing description should be considered as exemplary only, and that the scope of the invention be determined from the claims which follow.
1. Apparatus for treating tobacco comprising a substantially closed compartment, means within said compartment for supporting tobacco to be treated, and a portable ordering machine resting upon the floor of said compartment, said ordering machine including a housing, casters on the bottom of said housing for supporting said housing in such a way that it may be moved easily, an upright filter element carriedby said housing, a water container below said filter element, a water nozzle in position to spray water onto one face of said filter element near the top thereof, conduit means connecting said nozzle to said water container, a pump for forcing water through said conduit means from said container through said nozzle, heater means for heating the water to be sprayed from said nozzle onto said filter element, and a fan in said housing on the side of said filter element opposite said nozzle for drawing air through said filter element and exhausting it into said compartment.
2. Apparatus for treating tobacco comprising a substantially closed compartment, means within said compartment for supporting tobacco to be treated, a source of water in said compartment, and a portable ordering machine resting upon the fioor of said compartment, said ordering machine including a housing, casters on the bottom of said housing for supporting said housing in such a way that it may be moved easily, an upright filter element carried by said housing, a Water container below container through said nozzle, heater means for heating the water to be sprayed from said nozzle onto said filter element, and a fan in said housing on the side of said filter element opposite said nozzle for drawing air through said filter element and exhausting it into said compartment. p
3. Apparatus for treating tobacco comprising a substantially closed compartment, means within said compartment for supporting tobacco to be treated, a-source ofwater in said compartment, and a portable ordering 1 machine resting upon the fioor' of said compartment, said ordering machine including a housing, casters on the bottom of said housing for supporting said housing in such a way that it may be moved easily, an upright filter element carried by said housing, a small water container below said filter element, a hose connecting said container to said water source, means for controlling the fiow of water from said source to said container so as to maintain a predetermined water level in said container, a water nozzle in position to spray water onto one face of said filter element near the top thereof, conduit means connecting said nozzle to said water container, a pump for forcing water through said conduit means from said container to said nozzle, a first electric heater for heating water as it passes through said conduit means, a second electric heater for preheating the water in said con tainer, circuit means operable on relatively low, lightingcircuit potentials for energizing said heaters to economically heat the water being delivered to said nozzle, and
a fan in said housing on the side of said filter element opposite said nozzle for drawing air through said filter element and exhausting it into said compartment.
4. In a substantially closed, tobacco-containing com-' partment, an ordering machine comprising a housing adapted to be supported upon the floor of said compartment, a filter element carried by said housing and including a porous mass of cellulosic material, means for supplying water to one face of said filter element near its upper end, a water container below said filter element disposed to receive water from the lower end of said one face, conduit means connecting said container to said means for supplying water, a pump for moving water from said container through said conduit means, drive means for said pump, heater means for heating the water delivered to said water supplying means, a fan in said housing on the side of said filter element opposite to said one face for drawing air through said filter element and exhausting it into said compartment, and drive means for said fan, and drive means for the pump, each operable independently of the other so that the water circulating and air circulating operations of the machine may be carried on separately or simultaneously, as desired.
5. A tobacco ordering machine comprising a housing having aligned openings providing a straight air passage, a filter element carried by said housing adjacent one of said openings, means for spraying water to one face of said filter element near its upper end, a water container below said filter element disposed to receive water from the lower end of said filter element, screening covering the open upper end of said container to prevent the entry of tobacco particles and other trash along with the water from the filter element, conduit means connecting said container to said means for spraying water, a pump for moving water from said container through said conduit means, an electric motor for driving said pump, electric heater means disposed adjacent said conduit means so 7 as to heat the water-as it is delivered by saidpump from said container to said water supplying means, an electric circuit for energizing said heater means only when said'electric motor is energized; and a fan in said housing on the side of, the filter element opposite to said one face for drawing air through said filter element and discharging it from said housing,
6. A portable tobacco ordering machine adapted for useby farmers in the treating of their tobacco crops comprisinga housing having aligned openings providing astraight pas sage, rollers on the bottom of said housing for facilitating movement ,of 'the housing from one tobacco treating compartment to another, an upright filter element. carried by said housing adiacentvone of said openings, a water container below saidfilter element, means for spraying water to onefacebf said filter element near its,,upper end, conduit means connecting said container to.said means. for spraying water, a, pumpfor moving water from said container, through said conduit means, a first electric heater for. heating water as it passes through the conduit. means, asecond electric-heater for preheating the water insaid container, circuit means operable onlrelatively. low Voltagesfor energizing said heaters to economically heat the water being delivered to said water supplying means, and a fan in said housing on the side ofithe filter element opposite to said one face for drawing air through said filter element and discharging it from said housing.
.7. Atobaccoordering machine comprising a housing having aligned openings providing a straight air passage, a pair of opposed guide means attached to the side walls of said housing, an upright filter element adjacent one of said openings removably mounted insaid guide means and, including a honeycombed mass of paper, a water container below said filter element, water conduit means extending upwardly from said water container near one side ofsaid housing and then laterally, across the topof said housing to the-other side thereof, a plurality of spray nozzles connected to the laterally extending portion of said conduit-means directed toward and arranged to spray water against the upper, end of one face of said filter element, a pump havingan inlet opening near the bottom ofsaid container and an outlet opening communieating; with said conduit means, means to heat said water, means for driving said pump to force water from said container through said conduit-means and through said nozzles, and a fan in said housing on the side of said filter element opposite said nozzles for drawing air through the filter element over which warm Water is moving to increase the moisture content of the air.
8. A portable tobacco ordering machine comprising a 8 housing having aligned openings providing a straight passage, a roller on the bottom of said housing for facilitating movement of' the housing from one tobacco treating compartment toanother, an upright filter element carried by said housing-adjacent one of said openings and including a honeycombed mass of paper, a water'container below said filter element, water conduit'means extending upwardly from said water container'near' one side of-said housing and then laterally across the top-of.
said housing to the other side thereof, a cap removably positioned on the end of said'conduit means remote from said container-so that water maybe discharged from said machine when desired, a plurality of spray nozzlesv connected to the laterally extending portion of said conduit means and directed toward, and arrangedto spray water against, the upper end of one face of said filter.
element, a pumphaving an inlet opening near the bot tom of said container and'an outlet opening'communicating with said'conduit means, means for driving said pump to force water; fromsaid container through said,
conduit means, means to heat said water, and a fan in said housing on theside of said filter element opposite said. nozzles for drawing air through the filter element over which Warm water is moving to increase the moisture content of the air.
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