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Publication numberUS2941309 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 21, 1960
Filing dateDec 13, 1956
Priority dateDec 13, 1956
Publication numberUS 2941309 A, US 2941309A, US-A-2941309, US2941309 A, US2941309A
InventorsCobb Clifton A
Original AssigneeWhirlpool Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Clothes dampener for clothes driers
US 2941309 A
Abstract  available in
Images(2)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

June 21, 1960 c. A. COBB CLOTHES DAMPEINER FOR CLOTHES DRIERS 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Dec. 13, 1956 C. A. COBB CLOTHES DAMPENER FOR CLOTHES DRIERS June 21,1960.

2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Dec. 13, 1956 United States 8 Claims. (Cl. 3460) The present invention relates to an improved method and device for dampening dry clothes in preparation for ironing. I I

Present domestic home laundries commonly include automatic clothes driers. These driers employ an enclosure drum which is cylindrical in shape and rotatable about a horizontal axis to tumble the clothes therein. Means are provided for moving a flow of heated drying air through the drum to evaporate the moisture from the clothes and carry the moist air away to thereby dry the clothes. The clothes then, normally are removed from the drier and some are folded while other articles of clothing are ironed or mangled.

Before the clothes can be ironed, they must be damp ened or lightly wetted by the housewife in order that the ironing process be successful, as completely dry clothes cannot be properly ironed. To dampen the clothes, the housewife frequently spreads them on a fiat surface and sprinkles a layer of water on the articles of clothing, whereupon they are rolled to permit the moisture to evenly dampen the entire layer and permeate through the surfacesof the material. It is recognized that this manual dampening encompasses disadvantages in that the moisture cannot be evenly applied and uneven wetness of the material does not produce the best ironing surface. Further, in the manual process it is necessary to store the clothes for a period of time until the dampening process is complete. Also there is no means of controlling the exact amount of moisture in proportion to the total amount of clothes and the entire procedure is dependenton the skill and care which the housewife is willing to take in this time-consuming operation.

The present invention has as one of its objectives the provision of a method and an apparatus for automatically dampening dry clothes before ironing and dampening the fibers of the clothing uniformly and evenly in order that they may immediately be ironed. I

Another object of the invention is to provide a method and mechanism which will uniformly and evenly dampen the fibers of clothing before ironing and which will consistently supply a controlled amount of dampening fluid to a given amount of clothes and which makes it possible to controllably vary the amount of dampness supplied to the articles of clothing. I

A further object of the invention is to rovide improved method and mechanism whereby a domestic type clothes drier such as found in the home laundry may be utilized as a clothes dampener without necessitating the provision of additional space-consuming and expensive laundry equipment.

Another object of the invention is to provide an impr'ov'ed fluid container which may be tumbled in a drier drum with dry clothes and which dispenses moisture at a uniform rate over a period of time to evenly and gradually wet the fibers of articles tumbled in a drier drum.

Another object of the invention is to provide an proved clothes dampening container adapted to be tumatent l ateiited June 21, 1960 ent with the teaching of the principles of the invention I in the accompanying disclosure in the specification and claims and in the drawings, in which: I

Figure 1 is a front elevational view of a clothes drier with the front removed to observe the interior, illustrating the operation of a clothes drier drum in combination with the dampening container; I I

Figure 2 is an elevational view of a preferred form of the dampening container with a portion of the container broken away to illustrate the construction thereof;

Figure 3 is a plan view of the dampening container of Figure 2; I I

Figure 4 is an elevational view of another form of dampening container with a portion of the wall broken away to illustrate its construction; I I

Figure 5 is an elevational view of another form of the dampening container; and,

Figure 6 is a view of a portion of the top of the container of Figmre 5 shown in vertical section to illustrate the construction of the container wall and closure cap.

Figure 1 illustrates a clothes drier 10 of the general type used in domestic laundries. The drier is provided with a housing or cabinet '12 resting on feet or supporting legs 14 and 16. I

Within the cabinet 12 is mounted a cylindrically shaped hollow drier drum 18 which is suitably mounted for rotation about its horizontal axis 20". The drum 18 is provided with a drive pulley 22 over which is threaded a drive belt 24. The drive belt also passes over the drive pulley 26 of a motor 28 and when the motor is operated the drum will be turned in rotation. I

Within the drum are radially extending fins or ribs 30, 32, 34 and 36 which encourage the clothing 38- within the drum to tumble over as the drum is rotated in the direction shown by the arrow 4th In normal operation of the drier for drying purposes, heated air is forced through the drum to evaporate the moisture and carry oif the moist air. For this purpose, the drum may carry an annular perforatedarea 42 in its rear wall 44 and heated d-r-ying air will enter through an intake opening 46 and leave through an exhaust opening 48 carrying off the moisture-laden air. I I

For heating the air and forcing. itthrough the drier drum, a duct 50 leads upwardly to terminate in the port 46. Within the duct are electrically heated or gas-fueled heating elements 52. Also provided either within the duct 50, or adjacent the discharge opening 49, is an electrically powered fan 54 for drawing the air through the drum. I i

The heating elements 52, the operation of the fan. 54, and the operation of the rotational motor 28, is controlled by a suitable control means 56, shown as mounted at the top of the drier cabinet 12. The control 56 is arranged so that it may turn off the heatingrelement 52, and merely operate the mechanism by turning the drum 18 in rotation and operating the blower. This will be the preferred condition of the control for operation as a clothes dampening machine, as will be described in detail. The control, however, may be adapted so that it canbe set to rotate the drumwith both the heating eIementSZ and the fan 54 inoperative.

To utilize the rotatable drier drum 18 as a clothes dampening mechanism it is utilized in cooperation with a moisture dispensing container 58 adapted to be placed within the drier drum and tumbled therein with the clothes 38 while the druni is being rotated.

'trated in Figures 2 and 3.

The container is preferably spherical in form and is or resilient material which will be depressed when the container is carried up to the dotted line position shown in Figure 1 to fall down into the clothing. As the container lands in the clothing, the shock of the sudden termination of its downward velocity, the depression of the resilient wall of the container, and the absorption by the clothes of the moisture in the container openings 60 will all cooperate to evenly and gradually apply the dampening moisture in the container to the clothing.

A preferred form of the dampening container is illus- The container 58 is spherical in form and is lightweight, being formed with a thin, spherical, flexible, resilient wall 62. The wall may be formed of a material such as rubber or the like or may be formed of a plastic such as polyethylene.

Although not essential, in one form the container wall 62 may be formed of a transparent material so that the quantity of liquid may be visible from the outside. For purposes of determining the exact amount to fill the container, the container is marked on the outer surface with indicia 64 indicative of the contents.

The location of this indicia which is marked Light, Medium and Heavy is related to the quantity of clothes placed in the drier.

The markings are utilized to apply optimum sprinkling to the clothes at all times when the weight of the load of clothes in the drier is known. Therefore, if a light load of clothing is to be placed in the drier, the container is filled only to the Light marking. Likewise with a medium or heavy load, the container is filled to the Medium or Heavy marking.

. The location of the markings may also be related to the amount of dampness to be applied to the clothes. In this case the drier will contain an average full load of clothes. In filling the container 58,. if a light sprinkling is to be applied, a quantity of water or dampening fluid is filled into the container until it rises to the word Light. Likewise if a medium or heavy sprinkling is to be applied to the clothes, fluid is filled into the container until it rises to the Medium or Heavy marking.

For purposes of filling'the container, the container wall 62 is provided with a small circular opening 66 at the top, into which is fitted a grommet 68 formed of hard rubber, plastic or the like. The grommet has a centrally located axial opening 69 which is threaded to receive the closing plug 70. The closing plug is provided with a central flange 72 in order that it may be manually gripped and rotated for threading into and out of the threaded bore 69 in the grommet 68.

A small axial vent hole 74 extends through the center of the plug for the entrance and escape of air as the container is flexed when it tumbles within the drum. The air also replaces the fluid which escapes from the container through thedispensing openings 60.

These openings are spaced and evenly distributed over the top section of the spherical container. The location of the small openings 60 is preferably limited to the area above the upper marking indicated at Heavy in order that the container may be filled with its maximum contents without any fluid escaping through the holes 69. The holes are preferably small so that only a small amount of moisture escapes when the ball is inverted, and so that the escapement of moisture will be limited as the container tumbles within the rotating drum.

Inthe form illustrated in Figure 4, the spherical container 76 is formed with a thin, lightweight wall 78 of rubber or plastic which may be transparent and which is pliable and resilient in nature. In the wall are formed tight lipped lances 80 which are illustrated as formed in three rows 82, 84 and 86 extending horizontally and circumferentially around the spherical container 76.

The lances are narrow slits formed through the wall of the container which permit the escape of fluid from the container as the wall is flexed and distorted while being tumbled within the drying drum.

The top of the container is provided with a cap 88 which is suitably secured thereto, and an axial vent opening 90 extends down through the center of the cap.

In the form illustrated in Figures 5 and 6, the spherical container is shown at 99 formed with a thin, lightweight wall 100 of rubber, transparent plastic or the like.

The wall is provided with markings 102, 194 and 106 which respectively indicate a Light, Medium, or Heavy load of clothes and the container 99 is filled to the appropriate level in accordance with the amount of clothing placed in the container. Or, as referred to in connection with Figures 2 and 3, the markings may be used to indicate the amount of dampness to be applied to a standard load of clothing. 7

In the form of the container shown in Figures 5 and 6, the spherical wall of the container is imperforate and the fluid escape openings are provided in the cap 108.

The spherical wall is provided with a circular opening 110 at the top into which the cap isprojected in'closed position. The body 112 of the cap has an annular extending flange 114, projecting downwardly from the body, which flares outwardly at 116 to lock beneath the edges of the opening 110 in the container wall. The body 112 of the cap projects outwardly a sufficient distance beyond the edge of the opening 110 to adequately seal the open ing. With the wall 100 of the container being formed of a relatively flexible or elastic material, the cap may be easily pulled open and replaced by stretching the material at the opening 110.

The cap is provided with an upstanding handle or flange 118 for handling and for removing and replacing.

Through the body 112 of the cap 108, are formed a plurality of fluid escape openings 120. These fluid escape openings permit the discharge of the dampening fluid as the container 99 is tumbled within the drier drum and the fluid is thereby applied to the clothing.

Thus, it will be seen that the containers in the form shown at 58, 76 or 99, are simple and inexpensive in construction and can be utilized as a simple addition to a clothes drier to provide a complete dampening mechanism without necessitating the provision of additional space-consuming and expensive laundry equipment.-

As an example of operation with a standard type'of domestic laundry drier, a spherical container of five inches in diameter may be used. About five pounds of'dry clothes may be placed in the container for effective tumbling and for a complete and effective dampening. One and one-half pounds of water is placed in the con tainer. The drier then may be operated for a period of five minutes and at the completion of this time the clothes will be uniformly and completely dampened and ready for ironing and mangling without additional wait or preparation. It has been found that only a small amount of moisture is lost by the circulating air stream, on the order of one ounce for the one and one-half pounds of water.

The operation simply requires placing the dry clothes within the drier drum and in some instances where all the clothes are to be dampened and a precise and a uni:

, form dampening is to be achieved, the clothes are completely dried and then left in the drier to be dampened. After the clothes are properly placed in the drier, the spherical container is filled with the appropriate amount of water and the cap is placed on the container. The container is then placed within the drier drum with the clothes and the control is set to rotate the drum and pass air through the drier. The control is set so that the heater will be turned off, but the motor and fan will be in operation.

The complete and even dispersion of fluid through the clothes is accomplished by the contact between the container and all areas of the clothes and by the concurrent flow of air through the clothes.

Although the flow of air is important to the uniform results, in some instances it may be desirable to only tumble the clothes with no flow of air for the dampening process.

Thus, it will be seen that we have provided an improved method and device for dampening clothes which meets the objectives and advantages hereinbefore set forth. The construction, operation and use of the device and method provided herein are simple and effective and provide results of uniformity and eflectiveness which are superior to manual dampening and methods heretofore used.

I have, in the drawings and specification, presented a detailed disclosure of the preferred embodiment of my invention, but it is to be understood that I do not intend to limit the invention to the specific form disclosed, but intend to cover all modifications, changes and alternative constructions and methods falling Within the scope of the principles taught by my invention.

I claim as my invention:

1. In combination, a rotatable drier drum enclosure for tumbling articles of clothing, means for driving the drum in rotation, means for heating air to be circulated through the drum, means for circulating the heated air through the drum for drying the clothing, control means for operating the heating and circulating means and the drum driving means together or for operating the driving and circulating means independently, and a fluid containing dampening ball having fluid escape apertures therein and adapted for insertion into the drum to be tumbled with dry clothes and dampen them when the control means is set to operate the driving and the circulating means without the heating means.

2. A device for dampening clothes comprising a rotatable drim wherein clothes may be contained and tumbled, means for driving the drum in rotation, presettable control means operatively connected to control the operation of the driving means, a hollow fluid dispensing container of a size to be located within the drum and adapted to be tumbled to accompany clothes tumbled therein, said container having access means for filling the container with fluid and having a wall formed of a flexible deformable material, and fluid escape means in the wall of the container permitting the escape of fluid as the flexible wall of the container is deformed with tumbling within the drum.

3. In combination with a drier having a rotatable drum, a device for dampening clothes tumbled within the rotatable drum comprising a hollow fluid dispensing container of a size to be located within the drum to accompany clothes tumbled therein, said container having access means for filling the container with fluid and having a wall formed of a flexible resilient material, and spaced elongated tight lipped lances formed in the Wall of the fluid dispensing container which permit the escape of fluid with the deformation of the wall closely adjacent the lances and with temporarily increased pressure within the container as it is tumbled within the drum.

4. A device for dampening clothes comprising a rotatable drum wherein clothes may be contained and tumbled, means for driving the drum in rotation, presettable control means operatively connected to control the operation of the driving means, a spherically shaped container adapted to be tumbled within the rotating drier drum and having a resilient wall, an opening in said wall for filling the container with a fluid closure for the opening, and a plurality of openings in the container wall of a size which will not pass fluid of the viscosity and surface tension of water from the pressure head of the water inside the container but will permit the passage of water with increased pressure such as is encountered by the container being dropped and tumbled within a clothes drier drum.

5. In combination, a rotatable drier drum enclosure for tumbling articles of clothing, means for driving the drum in rotation; means for heating air to be circulated through the drum, means for circulating the heated air through the drum for drying the clothing, control means for operating the heating and circulating means and the drum driving means together or for operating the driving and circulating means independently, and a fluid containing dampening hollow container having fluid escape apertures therein and adapted for insertion into the drum to be tumbled with dry clothes and dampen them when the control means is set to operate the driving and the circulating means without the heating means.

6. In combination, a rotatable drier drum enclosure for tumbling articles of clothing, means for driving the drum in rotation, means for heating air to be circulated through the drum, means for circulating the heated air through the drum for drying the clothing, control means for operating the heating and circulating means and the drum driving means together or for operating the driving and circulating means independently, and a dampening container for fluid having fluid escape apertures therein and adapted for insertion into the drum to be tumbled with dry clothes and dampen them.

7. In combination with a drier having a rotatable drum, a device to be cooperatively used for the drier drum and to be tumbled therein with dry clothes to impart-moisture uniformly thereto comprising a container and cap means for filling the container with fluid, said container having a yieldable resilient wall with a plurality of fluid escape openings formed therein of such size that the diffusion of water will increase upon said container being dropped and tumbled within the clothes drier drum.

8. In combination, a rotatable drum for tumbling clothes therein, and a container adapted to be charged with liquid and inserted in said drum for simultaneous tumbling with the clothes, said container having walls formed with openings to diffuse a supply of dampening liquid to the tumbling clothes, said walls of said container being resilient and yielding in response to the tumbling action in said drum to provide effective diffusion of dampening liquid from said openings.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 671,423 McTernen Apr. 2, 1901 725,954 Goldman Apr. 21, 1903 940,593 Hardman Nov. 16, 1909 2,079,280 Couch May 4, 1937 2,655,735 Traube Oct. 20, 1953 2,812,593 Olthuis Nov. 12, 1957 2,851,791 Olthuis Sept. 16, 1958

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Referenced by
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US3633538 *Oct 20, 1970Jan 11, 1972Colgate Palmolive CoSpherical device for conditioning fabrics in dryer
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Classifications
U.S. Classification34/60, 34/380, 68/205.00R
International ClassificationD06F58/20
Cooperative ClassificationD06F58/203
European ClassificationD06F58/20B