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Publication numberUS2995649 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 8, 1961
Filing dateMar 26, 1958
Priority dateMar 26, 1958
Publication numberUS 2995649 A, US 2995649A, US-A-2995649, US2995649 A, US2995649A
InventorsCyrus Alva E
Original AssigneeWestinghouse Electric Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Refrigeration apparatus
US 2995649 A
Abstract  available in
Images(1)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Aug. 8, 1961 A. E. cYRus REPRISE-:RAMON APPARATUS Filed March 26, 1958 FIGJ.

United States Patent 2,995,649 REFRIGERATION APPARATUS Alva E. Cyrus, Columbus, Ohio, assignor to Westinghouse Electric Corporation, East Pittsburgh, Pa., a corporation of Pennsylvania Filed Mar. 26, 1958, Ser. No. 724,028 Claims. (Cl. 240-4) This invention relates to refrigeration apparatus and more particularly to an improved, illuminated cabinet structure for domestic refrigerators and the like.

It is common practice to provide a domestic refrigerator with a source of illumination which is energized when the cabinet door is opened to illuminate the interior of the refrigerator and its contents. This invention provides improved means for illuminating the refrigerator interior and for enhancing the appearance of the refrigerator through decorative illumination.

In accordance with the invention, a distributed light source, such as a neon tube, is disposed about the access opening for the refrigerator cabinet and located behind a light permeable frame which closes the space between the front edges of the cabinet inner and outer shells. 'Ihe light permeable frame permits the passage of light from the light source to the interior of the refrigerator cabinet for functional illumination purposes and has a major portion of its surface area arranged at nearly right angles to the plane of the cabinet access opening so that the light passing through this major portion of the frame can pass rearwardly to the cabinet interior. The frame also preferably possesses a minor translucent portion which is arranged more nearly parallel to the plane of the cabinet access opening and which is adapted to be illuminated by the distributed light source to provide a decoratively lighted frame area at 'the access opening. 1

Among the several features of the invention is a novel supporting arrangement for the distributed light source and in which utilization is made of insulated spacer members connecting the cabinet inner and outer shells. Another feature of the invention is the utilization of the metal inner and outer cabinet shells as a protective enclosure for a high voltage type, distributed light source and its associated electrical apparatus, such as a high voltage transformer.

Other features, as well as the objects and advantages of the invention, will become apparent from the following detailed description in which reference is made to the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a refrigerator cabinet embodying the illuminated cabinet structure of this invention;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view through the lower wall of the refrigerator cabinet taken as indicated by the line II-II in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a horizontal sectional view through a side wall of the cabinet and taken as indicated by the line III- III in FIG. 1; and

FIGS. 4 and 5 are fragmentary elevational views illustrating spring clips that are employed to support the distributed light source within the cabinet. FIG. 4 is taken substantially as indicated by the line IV-IV in FIG. 3.

The refrigerator illustrated in FIG, l includes a cabinet having a food storage compartment 11 which is accessible through the front of the cabinet by means of a ginggedly mounted door 12. The cabinet 10 is conice structed of spaced inner and outer metal shells, designated 13 and 14 respectively, which are separated by heat insulation 15. The front edges of the inner and outer shells 13 and 14 possess spaced anged portions 16 and 17, respectively, which surround the cabinet access opening and are arranged in planes ,which are substantially parallel to the plane of the access opening. The flanged edge 17 of the outer shell is disposed forwardly of the ilanged edge 16 of the inner shell and the space between the shells is bridged by a frame 18 constructed of heat insulating material. The frame 18 is formed in several parts, which may include four elongated strips 19, which extend parallel to the walls of the cabinet 10, and four gussets 20, which cover the joints between the strips at the corners of the cabinet. Alternatively, the frame may be molded in several parts with lapped joints, or may be molded or vacuum formed in one piece.

Each strip 19 of the frame 18 has a bifurcated outer edge 21 which engages the flanged portion 17 of the cabinet outer shell. The inner edge of each frame strip 19 preferably extends at right angles to the plane of the cabinet access opening and is secured to the flange portion 16 of the cabinet inner shell by means of suitable fasteners, such as screws (not shown).

The frame 18 functions as a non-heat-conductive closure for the front edges of the walls of the refrigerator cabinet 10 and also functions as a light permeable shield or cover for a distributed light source 22, which is disposed directly behind the frame 18 in a position to emit light through the frame into the food storage compartment 11. In order to permit light from the light source 22 to pass directly into the interior of the cabinet 10, a major portion of each strip 19 is formed of transparent or translucent material and is arranged at a steep angle to the plane of the cabinet access opening, nearly at right angles thereto. This major portion of each strip 19 is identified by the numeral 23 in the drawings. Each frame strip 19 has a minor portion 24 thereof extending along its outer edge 21 which is preferably formed of a translucent material, so that this portion of the strip is illuminated by the light source 22 to provide a decorative frame of light about the cabinet access opening. For economy of manufacture, the frame strips 19 are of homogeneous vconstruction and are molded or extruded from a translucent plastic material, such as polystyrene. The corner gussets 20 are also made from the same or a similar light permeable material.

'I'he distributed light source 22 is preferably an elongated neon or fluorescent lamp lilled with one or more inert gases and shaped in a manner to t into the space between the cabinet inner and outer shells 13 and 14 and surround or encompass the access opening of the cabinet. The light source 22 is conveniently supported in a position to direct light through the frame 18 interiorly of the cabinet 10 by means of metal clips 26 or similar fasteners disposed at spaced intervals along the lightsource 22 in positions to grip plate-like spacer members 27, which are secured to the forward flanged portions 16 and 17 of the inner and outer cabinet shells by means of screws, as shown in FIG. 3. It will be noted that the light source 22 is positioned well forward of the front edge 16 of the cabinet inner shell 13, and nearer to the planes of the walls of the inner shell than to the planes of the walls of the outer shell 14, so that the inner shell does not obstruct the passage of light to the cabinet interior.

Spacer members 27, such as those illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4, are conventionally utilized in domestic refrigerator cabinets for the purpose of supporting the cabinet inner shell 13 in proper spaced relation to the outer shell 14. For the present application, the spacer members 27 are preferably formed of a material, such as glass reinforced polyester resin, having both heat and electrical insulating characteristics to prevent the transfer of heat into the interior of the refrigerator cabinet and to electrically isolate the light source 22 from electrical conductive portions of the cabinet 10, such as the inner and outer metal shells 13 and 14. The distributed light source 22 is energized from a normal household supply of electrical current, usually ll() volts A.C., through a high voltage transformer 28 which is connected to the ends of the light source22 by high voltage leads 29 (see FIG. 2). The transformer 28 is preferably located within one of the walls of the refrigerator cabinet 19 between the inner and outer shells 13 and 14 which deine the cabinet walls. In this location, the cabinet shells 13 and 14 provide a protective enclosure for the transformer 2S, the high voltage leads 29 and the distributed light source 22, so that the likelihood of the user of the refrigerator coming in contact with high voltage electricity is remote.

If desired, different decorative effects can be created with the illuminating structure of this invention by providing the light source 22 with a tinted coating or by utilizing colored plastic materials in the fabrication of the frame 1S, either within the frame strips 19 and gussets 20 or by means of surface coatings for these frame parts. By such means, the interior of the cabinet can be illuminated with light o f` a particular color, for example, a color which enhances the appearance of foodstuffs stored within the compartment 11, and the same rative portions 24 of the frame strips 19. It can be seen that numerous color combinations for functional and decorative purposes can be achieved.

From the foregoing it will be apparent this invention provides a novel approach to the functional illumination of refrigerator cabinet interiors and further enhances the appearance of refrigerator cabinets through the medium of decorative illumination.

While the invention has been shown in but one form it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that numerous changes can be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.

What is claimed is:

1. A refrigerator cabinet having a storage compartment provided with an access opening at the front thereof, said cabinet including spaced inner and outer shells of opaque material having corresponding front edge p01'- tions disposed in spaced relation to each other and in planes substantially parallel to the plane of the cabinet opening, the edge portion of said outer shell being located forwardly and outwardly of the corresponding edge portion of said inner shell, a frame of translucent heat insulating material having inner and outer marginal edges respectively engaging the front edge portions of said inner and outer shells, said frame having a major portion of the exterior surface thereof arranged more nearly at right angles to the plane of said access opening than parallel thereto, a distributed light source encompassing said access opening and located behind said frame, and means for supporting said light source in a position forwardly ofthe front edge of said inner shell to direct light through the said major portion of said frame rearwardly into said compartment to illuminate said compartment and forwardly through the frame for decorative illumination.

2. A refrigerator cabinet having a storage compartment provided with an access opening at the front thereof, said cabinet including spaced inner and outer shells of opaque material having corresponding front edge portions disposed in spaced relation to each other and in planes substantially parallel to the plane of the cabinet opening, the edge portion of said outer shell being located forwardly and outwardly of the corresponding edge portion of said inner shell, a plurality of heat insulating spacer members disposed about said opening and extending between said inner and outer shells, a frame of translucent heat insulating material having inner and outer marginal edges respectively engaging the front edge portions of said inner and outer shells, said frame having a major portion of the exterior surface thereof arranged more nearly at right angles to the plane of said access opening than parallel thereto, a distributed light source encompassing said access opening and located behind said frame, and means for supporting said light source on said spacer members in a position forwardly of the front edge of said inner shell to direct light through the said major portion of said frame rearwardly into said compartment to illuminate said compartment and forwardly through the frame for decorative illumination.

3. A refrigerator cabinet having a storage compartment provided with an access opening at the front thereof, said cabinet including spaced inner and outer shells of opaque material having corresponding front edge portions disposed in spaced relation to each other and in planes substantially parallel to the plane of the cabinet opening, the edge portion of said outer shell being located forwardly and outwardly of the corresponding edge portion of said inner shell, a frame of translucent heat insulating material having inner and outer marginal edges respectively engaging the front edge portions of said inner and outer shells, said frame having a major portion of the exterior surface thereof arranged more nearly at right angles to the plane of said access opening than parallel thereto, said frame also having a minor surface portion arranged more nearly parallel to the plane of said access opening than at right angles thereto, a distributed light source encompassing said access opening and located behind said frame, and means for supporting said light source in a position forwardly of the front edge of said inner shell to direct light rearwardly through the said major portion of said frame to illuminate said compartment and forwardly through said minor portion of the frame to decoratively illuminate said minor portion of the frame.

4. A refrigerator cabinet having a storage compartment provided with an access opening at the front thereof, said cabinet including spaced inner and outer shells of opaque material having corresponding front edge portions disposed in spaced relation to each other and in planes substantially parallel to the plane of the cabinet opening, the edge portion of said outer shell being located forwardly and outwardly of the corresponding edge portion of said inner shell, a plurality of heat insulating spacer members disposed about said opening and extending between said inner and outer shells, a strip of translucent heat insulating material extending around at least the top and the sides of said access opening and having inner and outer edges thereof respectively engaging the front edge portions of said inner and outer shells, a distributed light source disposed between said strip and said spaced members and being coextensive in length with said strip, and means for supporting said light source on said spacer members in a position forwardly of the front edge of said inner shell to direct light rearwardly through said strip to illuminate said compartment and forwardly through said strip for decorative illumination.

5. A refrigerator cabinet having a storage compartment provided with an access opening at the front thereof, said cabinet including spaced inner and outer metal shells having corresponding front edge portions disposed in spaced relation to each other and in planes substantially parallel to the plane of the cabinet opening, the edge portion of said outer shell being located forwardly of the corresponding edge portion of said inner shell, a heat insulating strip having inner and outer edges thereof respectively engaging the front edge portions of said inner and outer shells, said strip being constructed at least in part of light-permeable material, a high voltage distributed light source disposed behind said strip and adapted to emit light through said strip to illuminate said compartment, a transformer for converting ordinary household electrical energy to high voltage energy for energizing said light source, and a pair of electrical leads connecting said transformer to said light source, said transformer being disposed between the metal inner and outer shells of the cabinet, whereby said cabinet shells are utilized as a protective enclosure for said transformer and said leads.

References Cited in the le of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE 0E CORRECTION Patent No. 2,995,649 August, 8 1961 Alva E. Cyrus It is hereby certified that error appears in the above numbered patent requiring correction and that the said Letters Patent. should. read as corrected below.

Column 3xI line 37, after same insert or a different color light can be emitted from the decocolumn 4v line 4 for "spaced" read spacer Signed and sealed this 12th day of December 1961.

(SEAL) Attest:

ERNEST W. SWIDER DAVID L. LADD Attesting Officer Commissioner of Patents USCOMM-DC-

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1874245 *Jun 10, 1929Aug 30, 1932Corrigan Leslie FWall cabinet
US2158420 *Dec 29, 1936May 16, 1939Birger KockShow counter or display case
US2600925 *Mar 10, 1948Jun 17, 1952Roy RuchCabinet
US2632313 *Mar 3, 1951Mar 24, 1953Gen Motors CorpRefrigerating apparatus having means for preventing condensation
US2779938 *Jun 2, 1952Jan 29, 1957Sylvania Electric ProdSurround lighting structure for image screen of cathode ray tube
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4719765 *Sep 19, 1986Jan 19, 1988Whirlpool CorporationIce storage receptacle light for ice maker
US5287252 *Jan 14, 1993Feb 15, 1994Sub-Zero Freezer Company, Inc.Adjustable illuminated refrigerator shelf
US5471372 *Dec 6, 1993Nov 28, 1995Ardco, Inc.Lighting system for commercial refrigerator doors
US5645330 *Sep 19, 1996Jul 8, 1997Ardco IncorporatedRefrigerated display cabinets with improved mullion assembly
US8459818 *Nov 13, 2009Jun 11, 2013Christoph BeckeRefrigeration appliance body comprising internal lighting
US8690274 *Nov 29, 2010Apr 8, 2014Bsh Home Appliances CorporationHousehold appliance including glass interior walls
US20100050677 *Aug 4, 2009Mar 4, 2010BSH Bosch und Siemens Hausgeräte GmbHRefrigeration appliance with an ice maker
US20110277493 *Nov 13, 2009Nov 17, 2011BSH Bosch und Siemens Hausgeräte GmbHRefrigeration appliance carcass comprising internal lighting
US20120133262 *Nov 29, 2010May 31, 2012Bsh Home Appliances CorporationHousehold appliance including glass interior walls
US20120167865 *Sep 16, 2010Jul 5, 2012Electrolux Home Products Corporation N.V.Oven with at least one illuminated oven cavity
US20130128494 *Nov 1, 2012May 23, 2013Woonkyu SeoRefrigerator
DE4404247A1 *Feb 10, 1994Aug 24, 1995Opto Tec GmbhInterior lighting system for refrigerated equipment and display cabinet
EP0388128A2 *Mar 12, 1990Sep 19, 1990Less Lighting LimitedApparatus for illuminating an environment which operates below normal ambient temperature
EP0657708A1 *Dec 5, 1994Jun 14, 1995Ardco, Inc.Lighting system for commercial refrigerator doors
Classifications
U.S. Classification362/92, 362/216, 362/222, 62/264
International ClassificationF25D27/00
Cooperative ClassificationF25D27/00
European ClassificationF25D27/00