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Publication numberUS3000108 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 19, 1961
Filing dateJun 11, 1956
Priority dateJun 11, 1956
Publication numberUS 3000108 A, US 3000108A, US-A-3000108, US3000108 A, US3000108A
InventorsCobb Clifton A, Paul Jones John, Williams James T
Original AssigneeWhirlpool Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Coaxial flow drier
US 3000108 A
Images(4)
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

p 1961 J. P. JONES ETAL 3,000,108

COAXIAL FLOW DRIER Filed June 11, 1956 4 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTORS JOHN PAUL JONES CLlFTON A. COBB BY JAMES T. WILLIAMS (41% W al/94 ATTO RNEYS Sept. 19, 1961 J. P. JONES ETAL COAXIAL FLOW DRIER 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed June 11, 1956 9 \loow /98 l I I H LJ I I I I 2- INVENTORS JOHN PAUL JONES CLIFTON A. COBB S M MS l mu N R To T $-T EA M A JL Sept. 1 1 J. P. JONES ETAL COAXIAL FLOW DRIER 4 Sheets-Sheet 3 Filed June 11, 1956 4 m s 8 7 7 9 6 J V 3 Ed .3/3 3 $/& 3

INVENTORS JOHN PAUL JONES CLIFTON A. COBB BY JAMES T. WILLIAMS ATTORNEYS p 1961 J. P. JONES ET AL ,000,108

COAXIAL FLOW DRIER Filed June 11, 1956 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 INVENTORS JOHN PAUL JONES CLIFTON A. COBB BY JAMES T. WlLLIAMS ATTO R NEYS United States Patent 3,000,108 COAXIAL FLOW DRIER John Paul Jones, Benton Harbor, and Clifton A. Cobb and James T. Williams, St. Joseph, Mich., assignors to Whirlpool Corporation, a corporation of New York Filed June 11, 1956, Ser. No. 590,735 7 Claims. (Cl. 34-433) The present invention relates to improvements in automatic clothes driers.

In the use of automatic home clothes driers speed and efficiency of operation are two prime objectives. Because the housewife has limited available time and because the clothes drier should ideally be able to keep up with an automatic washing machine, it is important that the drier operate to remove moisture from the clothes as rapidly as possible. It is of further importance because of the cost of operation, whether the unit is operated on gas or electricity, that as much heat be utilized as possible in the evaporation of moisture from the clothes. Both of these features and objectives can be served with the improved circulation of air within the drier since it .is the function of the air to impart as much of its heat to the moisture in the clothes as possible to cause a maximum rate of evaporation and the air leaving the clothes must be as close to the moisture saturation point as possible.

The present invention contemplates a novel and improved circulation of air and enhanced drying operation. The invention is of prevalent utility in a drier using a cylindrical drum rotating about a horizontal axis with the drum having an opening at one end for placing clothes within the drier. In driers of this general type, the clothes are tumbled within the drier while passing heated air through the drum. Too often the circulation of air within the drum does not follow the correct path to make the most effective use of this heat within the air. Further, the air often does not impart enough of its heat to the clothes to cause a rapid evaporation of the moisture within the clothes. This results in the heat within the air being wasted and necessitates providing larger driers to meet the needed capacity. This is a disadvantage since, in many instances, the drier cabinets must be very large in comparison with the size of the drums within, to accommodate the other operating mechanism, such as the bearings for supporting the drum, the air heating echanism, the ducts for directing the heated air into and out of the drum rotating mechanism, and the like. The present invention contemplates a construction which will increase the efiiciency of the air circulating through the machine and which will enable using a larger drum within a cabinet with both features contributing to effect an economy of operation and an economy in construction and in space conservation, as will be seen, each of these mutually contributes to obtain the other.

In accordance with the foregoing, it is an object of the present invention to provide a drier structure which will achieve an improved circulation of the air within the drum so that more of the heat from the air is imparted to the clothes and more of the evaporated moisture is picked up from the clothes to effect an improved drying operation and a saving of heat.

Another object of the invention is to provide a means whereby the air, after it has evaporated the moisture of 'ice the clothes and is ready for discharge, may be circulated back through passageways within the drum so that it will impart some of its residual heat to the inner surface of the drum to be conducted to the clothes.

Another object of the invention is to provide a structure which will afford approved circulation by inserting the heated dry air into one end of the drum and causing it to pass the full length of the drum before leaving the drum interior.

Another object of the invention is to provide hollow radial fins within the drum which will aid in the tumbling of the clothes and which will be heated by the discharged air so that they will conduct heat to the clothes to speed the evaporation of moisture therefrom.

A still further object of the invention is to provide means for discharging air from the drum so that it will flow out of the drum coaxially with the entering air and surround the heated air which is entering the drum.

Another object of the invention is to provide an improved means for driving the drier drum in rotation which is simple and economical in construction, positioned for easy access for adjustment and repair, and it will not interfere with the structure of the drum which required the entrance and discharge of air coaxial with its axis of rotation.

Another object of the invention is to provide a clothes drier structure which permits the use of a more compact smaller cabinet and effects a saving in construction costs.

A still further object of the invention is to provide an improved means of supporting the weight of the drier in rotation and more specifically to provide an improved annular felt bearing arrangement which is capable of long wear and achieves a quieter space conserving support for the drum.

Other objects and advantages of the invention will become more apparent in the following description as presented in the specification and claims taken in connection with the appended drawings in which:

FIGURE 1 is a rear elevational view of the drier with portions of the back panel removed to illustrate the operational elements;

FIGURE 2 is a side elevational view of the machine with the portion of the side wall of the cabinet removed to better illustrate the interior construction of the machine;

FIGURE 3 is a vertical sectional view taken through the center of the machine to show the construction of the drum and certain of its associated operating elements. The section is brought forward in the lower right to be able to illustrate the fan and discharge pipe;

FIGURES 3a and 3b are enlarged fragmentary sectional views illustrating the relationship between the hearing parts for rotatably supporting the drum;

FlGURE 4 is a horizontal sectional view illustrating the path of air flow as it is drawn from the drier and discharged to the atmosphere through the walls of the drier cabinet; and

FIGURE 5 is a detailed elevational view of an alternative drive mechanism for rotating the drier drum.

In the drawings illustrating the preferred embodiment of the invention, particularly FIGURES 1 and 2, the drier apparatus is shown as enclosed by housing or a cabinet 10 which is formed out of shaped pressed steel and suitably painted or coated to provide an attractive finish.

The sheet steel cabinet is suitably reinforced inside with bracing or framework members not shown and described in detail since they present no part of this invention.

The cabinet is provided with a semi-permanent top 12 which is in the form of a cover that may be removed for access to the interior for adjusting or repairing the parts within. The cover is mounted on top of the cabinet such as by clamping brackets which may be fixed or may be in a form of a hinge and are shown at 13 in FIGURES 2 and 3.

At the base of the cabinet are feet shown at 1414 and at 16-16. These are adjustably threaded into the base of the cabinet and may be screwed up or down to conform to the level of the floor in order that the cabinet will rest firmly on an even or uneven floor and in order that the cabinet may be adjusted so that it will stand level. The feet 14 are at the front of the cabinet and the feet 16 are located at the rear to form a quadrilateral support therefor.

At the front of the cabinet is a circular opening shown generally at 17 in FIGURE 1 and shown also in the sectional view of FIGURE 3. This opening is an access opening. for placing clothes in the drier to be dried or for removing the clothes after the drying process has been completed. During operation the opening is covered by a door 18 which is attached by hinges 22 and 24 to the front face of the cabinet. The doors are provided with a latch which holds it in closed position during operation and which may be manually operated to release the door in order that it may be swung to open position. As will be best seen in the sectional view of FIGURE 3, the cabinet is so formed that it has a rectangular recessed portion which is depressed approximately the thickness of the door, so that when the door 18 is in closed position, it will provide a smooth front to smoothly conform to the contour of the cabinet 10.

Within the cabinet is mounted a cylindrical drum which houses the clothes during the drying process. The drum is driven in rotation about a substantially horizontal axis within the cabinet and the clothes are tumbled therein while hot air is circulated within the drum.

It is to be especially noted as it is an important feature of our invention that the drum is very large in size and approaches the size of the housing cabinet. This is an important advantage since with the space restrictions that are in existance in the housewifes kitchen it is important that the drier have as large a capacity as possible with a minimum size. Further, the increased capacity of the drier drum will improve the tumbling action and will enable the drier to handle a greater amount of clothes thereby making it possible for the drier to better keep up with its companion appliance, the automatic washer.

The large size of the drier drum with respect to the cabinet is accomplished by the unique support structure for the drum. This support. structure not only permits the drum to be of a large size but provides a very inexpensive and yet stable, firm and long wearing rotary support for the drum.

The drum is so shaped that portions of the drum end walls provide bearing supports for the drum and these are jounaled on portionsof the cabinet in which the drum is enclosed.

- As will be noted in FIG. 3, and as was previously described, the front of the cabinet has a rectangular recessed portion 19 which permits the cabinet door 18 to be closed flush with the front of the cabinet 10. The metal forming thisrecessed portion leads inwardly to. a circularhole 17 which is the access opening for placing clothes within the drier drum 2'6, and for removing them after they have been dried. The circular hole 17 is formed by stretching the metal of the cabinet inwardly to form annular flange 28. It is this flange 28 which proyides a: bearing for supporting the front 'end of the drier drunigin rotation. V V 7 9 'cbniiamiltoithia n l r n ahea in ur a e the front wall 30 of the drum is formed with a circular opening formed by bending inwardly an annular flange 32 on the front drum wall 30. To separate and cushion the drum as it is journaled on the annular flange 28 of the cabinet, an annular felt bearing ring 34 is positioned between the annular journal flange 32 of the cylindrical drum and the annular bearing flange 28 of the cabinet.

This felt bearing member 34 is formed of a hard felt which is impregnated with a suitable lubricant so that the drum rotates easily on the felt bearing material. The annular felting 34 is U-shap ed in cross section, and the flange is doubled back so that the edge 33 as shown in FIG. 3a, projects into the groove of the U-shaped ring and clamps the upper half against the flange 32. The ring is therefore fixed to the drum flange member 32 and rotates with the drum, thus preventing the bearing from forming a hot spot at the top of the felt bearing where the weight of a cylindrical drum 26 is carried. Therefore, as the drum rotates the felt bearing ring 34 will rotate with it and the wear on the bearing ring will be evenly distributed as will the impregnated lubricant within the ring. The ring abuts the flat wall portion 36 of the cabinet which surrounds the circular opening 17. The inturned flange 33 not only retains the bearing ring 34 in place, but also holds the bearing ring 34 and prevents the cylindrical drum 26 from sliding axially forward to a point where its front wall 30 would rub against the flat wall 36 of the cabinet. Thus the front end of the drier drum is firmly but rotatably supported by the drier cabinet.

A similar bearing arrangement is provided for supporting the rear end of the cylindrical drum 26. The cylindrical drum 26 consists of an annularly bent section of sheet metal 40 which connects at. its front end to the front wall 30 of the drum and at its rear end to both the inner and outer walls 42 and 44 which form the rear wall of the drum. The outer wall 44 is the bearing wall, and in it is formed an axial opening which is coaxial with the axis of rotation of the drum. The axial opening is formed by turning in an annular bearing flange 46 from the rear outer wall 44. This annular bearing flange 46 engages and holds the felt bearing ring 48 which rotatably slides against an annular flange 50 bent inwardly from the bulkhead 52 that rises up from the base 54 of the cabinet 10. The flange 46 is. turnedinwardly at 47, and this edge 47 extends into the groove of the felt ring, which is U-shaped in cross section as shown in FIG. 3b, to grip the upper part of the ring. The rear felt bearing ring 48. thus gripped against flange 46, rests on the annular journal flange 50 of the rear bulkhead 52, and is prevented from being displaced rearwardly by the bulkhead 52 which surrounds thecircular hole formed by the annular journal flange 50. The felt bearing ring 48 is prevented from being displaced in the forward direction by the turned in edge 47 which clamps the felt ring. This prevents the felt ring 48 from being displaced forwardly andalso functions to prevent the drum from being bodily pushed rearwardly to a point where the outer wall 44 of'the drum would rub against the bulkhead 52. The bulkhead 52, in' addition to providing a support for the journal flange 50, also acts as an inner bulkhead for the discharge conduit 58- which receives the air that leaves the drier drum after it has picked up moisture from the clothes. The air is discharged fromrthe drum through the circular opening formed by the journal flange 50, the opening being shown at 60, and its function in cooperation with the other elements of the drumwill be described in greater detail at a later point.

Still referring to FIG. 3 and also with reference to FIG. 1, it'will be seen that the journal supporting bulkhead 5'2 leads angularly downwardly to the rear corner of the cabinet 10 where a circular op'ening'62 is cut in the bulkhead for the escape of air that has passed down through thedischarge conduit 58. Surrounding the opening 62 and connected thereto is a short pipe 64 which leads to an evacuating fan 66 which is enclosed in fan scroll 98. This fan draws the air downwardly through the discharge conduit and through the pipe 64 to pull the air from the drier drum and the suction created thereby will draw fresh heated air into the drum with the air entering the drum traversing the path that will later be described.

The air drawn by the fan will be laden with moisture having been evacuated from the drying drum, and will contain a certain amount of lint, and will therefore be passed forward in the cabinet through the lint trap drawer 68. The lint trap drawer contains a lint trap screen 70. The drawer 68 is slidably mounted in the front of the cabinet and is provided with a handle 72 for manually withdrawing the lint trap from the front of the drier in order to be able to periodically clean the lint from the screen for continued operation.

After the air has passed through the lint trap screen 70 it is discharged from the cabinet through the passageway 7 3 as shown by arrows 155 in the manner illustrated in FIG. 4. The passageway extends rearwardly along the floor of the cabinet and leads to a suitable opening, not shown, in the back wall of the cabinet. The opening discharges into the room or may be provided with a fitting to pipe the discharged air and vapor outside of the building or to a condenser.

The air discharge conduit 58, which is shown in FIG- URES 1 and 3, is formed by the journal supporting bulkhead 52 and is completed by a hollow shell which is shaped with edges flanged inwardly toward the bulkhead 52 and fitted against the bulkhead being suitably connected thereto to form a closed conduit to direct the discharge air downwardly toward the pipe 64 shown in FIGURE 3. The hollow shall 74 which completes the air discharge conduit is securely attached to the bulkhead 52 and is connected to the air intake conduit 76. The shell 74 is mounted at its base on a bracket 80 on the floor 54 of the cabinet. The bracket 80, at the floor of the cabinet, is joined by another bracket 82 in supporting the pipe 64 which functions as an outlet for the air when it is discharged from the air discharge conduit 58.

Extending across the back of the cabinet is a main air intake bulkhead 78 which, as is best illustrated in FIGURE 3, extends downwardly to terminate along the horizontal edge spaced from the floor 54 of the cabinet. The bulkhead 78 is connected to the shell 74, which forms part of the air discharge conduit 58.

To complete the air inlet conduit 76, an outer wall 84 is spaced from the main bulkhead 78 and is dropped down from the top of the bulkhead to form an air inlet opening 86 all along the bottom of the outer wall 84. The upper edges and side edges of the wall 84 are bridged to the main bulkhead 78 to enclose the side and top of the air inlet conduit 76 by a shaped section of sheet metal 88. This sheet metal is suitably secured to both the wall 84 and to the main bulkhead 78.

As will be seen in both FIGURES 1 and 3, the air which enters the opening 86, to pass up through the air inlet conduit 76, is heated by heating an element 90, which extends all along the opening 86 at the base of the outer wall 84. Thus, as the air is drawn up into the opening 86 all along the base of the outer wall 84 into the air inlet conduit 76 it passes over the heating elements 90 and is heated before it goes into the drier drum 26. The heating elements may be electrical as shown and supplied with electricity through suitable leads, not shown in the present drawings, or the heat may be supplied by gas burner elements which may be provided at substantially the location of the electrical elements.

As the air passes upwardly through the air conduit 76 it will be channeled inwardly by the wall 88 which tapers inwardly to direct the air to a coaxial air inlet hub 92. The hub 92 forms the air inlet opening into the drier drum and leads coaxially inwardly, being coaxial with the axis of rotation of the drum. In entering the drum the hub 92 extends through the center of the air discharge opening 60 which is surrounded by the journal flange 50. The air inlet hub 92 extends into a circular opening 94 in the inner wall 42 at the rear of the drier drum. The clearance between the opening 94 and the hub 92 is small to prevent accidental drawing in of the discharged air which is passing outwardly through the opening 60. An annular felt seal 154 may be secured to inner wall 42 and coact with air inlet hub 92 to further prevent accidental losses of air.

Thus, the air entering the drier drum is introduced coaxially with the axis of rotation of the drum and has passed coaxially through the center of the air discharging from the drum through the discharge opening 60.

The air inlet conduit 76 is in contiguous relationship to the air discharge conduit and will therefore receive some heat from the air being discharged, and this will improve economy of operation. Further, the air discharging from the drum will pass annularly around the hub 92, which constitutes the air inlet to the drum, and will impart warmth to the metal of the hub thereby affecting a saving of heat.

As the air enters the inlet through the hub 92 it passes into the drum 26 where it circulates through the clothes which are being tumbled within the drum as the drum is rotated. It will be recognized that with the axial opening which is coaxial with the axis of rotation of the drum, it is impossible to attach a pulley to the rear end of the drum for driving the drum in rotation as is frequently done.

In order to obtain a satisfactory drive for the drum, and also accommodate the unique arrangement of the coaxial air inlet and outlets, the present mechanism contemplates a drive at the front end of the drum, as is shown in FIG. 2. The drum 26 at the front end has a portion 96 of slightly reduced diameter for accommodation of the V-belt 100. The portion 96 acts as a driving pulley to drive the drum in rotation and the belt 100 passes over the pulley 102 carried on the drive shaft 104 of the drive motor 106. The drive motor drives the drive shaft 104 through a gear reduction unit within the gear casing 108. The motor 106 also functions to drive the fan 66 which is mounted on the main shaft 110 of the motor which projects out of the rear end of the motor.

With this positioning of the motor and with this particular drive arrangement, it is possible to utilize one motor to act as both a means of driving the fan for circulating the air through the drier and as a power means for driving the drum in rotation. In View of the large size of the portion 96 only a small reduction of speed is necessary through the gear reduction 108 and with the use of a small drive pulley 102 on the motor, the proper speed of rotation of the drum will be accomplished.

In some instances, it may be desirable to use the alternative component drive illustrated in detail in FIGURE 5. In this drive an electrical motor 106a is provided which may be the same motor as 106 without the gear reduction 108 or may be an additional motor with a separate motor being provided to drive the fan 66. The motor 106a, however, is supported on an upstanding bracket 112 secured to the floor 54 of the drier cabinet. For driving the drum 26 in rotation, as is shown in FIG- URE 5, the periphery of the drum is engaged by a friction wheel 114 which is pressed against the outer peripheral surface of the drum and as it rotates will drive the drum in rotation. The frictional driving wheel may be coated with a frictional material such as a heat resistant rubber 116 or the like in order to maintain frictional engagement and obtain a positive drive of the drier drum. The wheel may bear directly against the sheet metal of the drum, or there may be a frictional strip or a reinforcing strip attached to the drum surface to increase the frictional contact and to prevent the frictional driving wheel from wearing through the drum surface. In order. to

drive the frictional wheel, the wheel carries a V-pulley 1.18 which is driven by a V'-belt 120 passing over the drive pulley 122 of the motor 106a. The pulley 118 on the friction wheel is larger than the drive pulley 122 on the motor, and thereby a speed reduction is obtained and since the. friction wheel 116 is considerably smaller in diameter than the drier drum 26 an additional speed reduction is obtained.

For supporting the friction wheel and holding it in firm engagement withthe drum, th e wheel is mountedon an arm shown in the form of a rocker arm 123, being pivotally mounted at its midpoint at 124 on the bracket 112 which supports the motor. The rocker arm is constantly urged in a direction to hold the friction Wheel against the drier drum by a biasing spring 126 which is secured between one end of the rocker arm and'the floor 54 of the drier cabinet. The frictional drive is maintained in constant engagement with the drier drum so that the drum will rotate whenever the motor is started. If desired, however, it will be evident that a clutch arrangement can be obtained by providing a means for pivoting the rocker arm 122 to a position where the frictional drive wheel 116 is out of engagement with the drum and pivoting it into. engagement with the drum, or releasing it when the drum is to be driven.

Thus, it. will be seen that two means have been provided which may be alternately used to drive the drum in rotation in the cabinet. The use of the conventional driving means is not feasible in the present arrangement for the reason that the coaxial air inlets and outlets take up the space at the axial end of the drum, preventing attachment of a drive pulley. Further, since the present bearing arrangement and structural design permits the use of a very large drum, space considerations make it impossible to utilize a large speed reduction apparatus and it is important to use a drive device which will have a minimum of space requirements. These objectives are met both by the driving arrangement shown in FIG- URES l and 2, or the drive arrangement shown in FIG- URE. 5.

One of the features of importance to the invention is the arrangement which enhances the circulation of air through the drier drum. In the drying of the clothes, the clothes must. be contacted by the hot air which is circulated therethrough. The air picks up the moisture from the clothing and carries the moisture off when it leaves the drum. It is therefore important to obtain as thorough a circulation of the air as possible, and to have all of the .air as near the moisture saturation point as possible when it leaves the drier. None of the air should be permitted to short circuit and pass directly from the inlet to the outlet before picking up a full load of moisture for the usefulness of air which does not circulate through the drier is wasted.

To accomplish the complete circulation of air through the drier drum the present invention contemplates forcing the air into the rear end of thedrum causing it to circulate throughout the entire length of the drum, and removing it from the drumat the front end. Since the air enters at the back end and can not escape from the drum except at the'front end, the structure insures that none of the air will short circuit without contacting clothes before it leaves the drum andthe drying efliciency of the machine will thus'be enhanced.

Further, it is contemplated that the air will be removed from the drumat the outer peripheral surface of the drum thereby insuring that the air will be carried out to the outer surface of the drum where the drying clothes are being tumbled during the rotation of the drum. Further, some of'the air will be forced to pass directly through the clothes in order to reach the outlet openings, thereby increasing its drying effectiveness.

Still further, the air is channeled back through passageways which lead alongthe drum surface, the passageways being in the shape offins so that the fins will be heated by the outgoing .airand this heat will be transmitted to the clothes which come in contact with the fins, thereby heating'the clothes and increasing the drying efiiciency.

As will be seen in FIG. 1, along the inner surface of the cylindrical wall of the drum 26 are vanes 128, and 132 which project radially inwardly toward the interior of the drum. The vanes, as will also be seen in FIG. 3, consist of a section of sheet metal formed into a channel shape or a general U-shape with the ends 134 and 136', as shown in FIG. 1, being flanged outwardly so as to provide a base for attaching the vane to the inner surface of the cylindrical drum. The feet, or the base of the channels or vanes 134 and 136, are suitably secured to the interior of the drum such as by riveting or welding, thus providing axial hollow passageways along the interior of the drier drum 26.

As will be seen in FIG. 3, the channels lead. axially along the inner surface of the drum, the entire length of the drum. At the head end or front end of the drum the vanes. are provided with holes such as shown at 140 in the vane 130 in FIG. 3, and such as shown at 142 in the vane 132 in FIG. 3. These holes provide outlet openings for the discharge of air from the drier drum after it has entered through the rear opening in the rear wall of the drier drum and has circulated through the drier drum passing over the entire. length of the drier. The air, when it enters the drier drum, comes in through the hub- 92 and will generally be dispersed in a circulating motion caused generally by the velocity of the air entering andstriking either the front wall of the drier drum or striking the'clothes as they are tumbled within the drier drum. As the dry warm air enters the rear end of the drier drum, it picks up moisture from the clothes while circulating in the drier, then passes out through the discharge holes 140 and 142 and through similar holes in the vane 128. The air then passes rearwardly, as indicated by the arrows 144-145, to pass along within the vanes and to be discharged through the vane outlets 146 and 148, which are located in the hollow vanes in the rear inner" wall 42 of the drier. The air moving backwardly along the path indicated by the arrows 144 and 145, of course, will heat the vanesto the point where they approach the heat of the air. Although the air is near the moisture saturation point, it will still retain a considerable amount of its heat, and will therefore beable to heat the vanes 128, 130 and 132. Since the vanes project into the, drier, they will obtain intimate contact with the clothes during the rotation of the drier drum as the clothes are tumbled over the vanes. This, of course, will impart heat to the clothes and will increase the evaporation of moisture from the clothes making it easier for the moisture to be picked up by the air. The vanes shaped as they are, have considerable surface area which enables them to obtain good contact with the clothes while they arebeing tumbled over the vanes as the drum rotates.

'As the air passes outwardly from the drum through the openings shown at 146 and 148 it passes through the hollow space formed between the inner wall 42 and the outer wall 44 of the drum. The air will, of course, heat the inner wall 42 and the wall being this warmed will not cool the air within the drum. The air then passes out through the coaxial air discharge opening moving in the direction of the arrow 151. As the air passes through the opening 150 it again imparts some of its heat to the circular hub 92,v and the hub thus warmed will not cool the air entering the drum. The discharge air continues in its path of travel to leave the drier, passing down through the air discharge conduit 58. Since thisconduit is in contact with the air inlet conduit 76, the wall'74 is heated so it will'not coolthe air entering through conduit 76.-

Theair continuingits travellwill' pass downwardly into the short pipe 64 following the path of the arrow 152. The air then continues being drawn by the fan 66 and passes through the fan and fan scroll 98 and is forced through the lint screen 77 whereupon it passes out through the rear of the machine through the passageway 73 as indicated by arrow 155, shown in FIG. 4.

Although the operation of the machine will be apparent from the foregoing description of the structure and operation of the individual elements, a brief description of the overall operation of the machine will be helpful in noting the advantages and objectives of the invention. The operator first opens the access door 18 placing clothes within the drier drum 26 to be dried. The door is then placed in its closed position by swinging it shut and locking the latch 20, whereupon the drier is ready for operation. The door may be provided with a door switch (not shown) which starts the heating means and the drum in rotation when the door is closed. Further, suitable control switches may be provided such as the conventional time cycling switch arrangement which is used to manually start the cycle of operation of the drier and automatically turn it off at the completion of the drying operation. Also, an additional control may be provided to control the heat of the air which will enter the drier by controlling the fuel or the electricity which is supplied to the burner or element 90.

When the clothes are within the drier drum, the drier is started by starting the motor either 106 or 110 to rotate the drier. If the arrangement in FIGS. 1 and 2 are used, the motor rotates the drum by means of the drive belt 160 which passes over the portion 96 on the head end of the drier drum. If the arrangement shown in FIG. 5 is used, the frictional wheel 116 will be driven by the motor 106a in order to rotate the drum. With the operation of the motor to start the drum in rotation the fan 66 is rotated to draw the air through the series of conduits to cause it to circulate through the drum. Also, the heater elements 90 are placed in operation so that the incoming air will be heated in order to effect the drying operation within the drum.

The air for drying the clothes is first obtained from the room at room temperature and enters the cabinet through the louvers 77 in the rear wall 75 of the cabinet. The room air then passes into the air inlet conduit 76 at the bottom opening 86, passing over the heaters 90 to be heated. The air then passes up through the air inlet conduit 76 and into the hub 92 to axially enter the drier drum 26. The hub and the front wall 78 of the air inlet conduit, of course, are warmed by the discharge air which, in its path of travel when being discharged from the drier, surrounds the air inlet hub and passes downwardly past the wall 78 which forms the main supporting bulkhead. As the air axially enters the drier through the hub 92, which is axially positioned with respect to the axis of rotation of the drum, it passes into the drum following the general direction of the arrows 93. The air circulates within the drum assuming devious paths of circulation caused by reflections from the wall and contact with the clothes which are being tumbled within the drum, and passes toward the forward end of the drum during which time it picks up moisture from the clothes.

The air leaves the drum through the holes 140 and 142 as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, and passes rearwardly along the vanes as indicated by arrows 144 and 145.

The air then travels the entire length of the inwardly extending fins or vanes 128, 130 and 132 which extend radially inward from the peripheral wall of the drier drum 26. The fins are heated by the air passing rearwardly within them and impart this heat to the clothes as the clothes are tumbled and come in contact with the rounded surfaces of the fins.

The air then passes rearwardly out through the openings 146 and 148 which are in the rear inner wall 42 of the drum, the air following the path of the arrows 147 and 149. The air then passes radially inwardly through the space which exists between the inner wall 42 and outer wall 44 of the drier drum and finally passes rearwardly in the direction indicated by the arrow 151 to be channeled around the air inlet hub 92. The air then passes downwardly through the air discharge conduit 58 entering the pipe 64 in the direct-ion of the arrow 152. The air in this passage has been sucked by the fan 66 in fan scroll 98 which now blows the air through the air filter screen 70 contained in the filter drawer 68. After passing through the filter screen the air in discharged from the cabinet.

During the entire time of operation the drum is rotating about its horizontal axis. The drum in its rotation is supported at its head and rear end on felt bearing and sealing rings 34 and 48. These bearing rings are supported on flanges 28 and 50 respectively which are in effect supported from the drier cabinet wall. The drum itself is provided with mating flanges 32 and 46 to which are attached the felt bearing and sealing rings which provide a stable bearing surface for the drum in rotation. The drum is prevented from being displaced either forward or rearwardly by the flanges 38 on the front wall of the drum and the flange 56 on the rear outer wall of the drum. With this simple arrangement utilizing the sheet metal of the cabinet and of the drum itself a simple bearing construction is provided which is stable and is long lasting. The wear on the felt bearing rings will be distributed evenly around their entire surface, and no hot spot will be developed at the base of the drum where the weight of the drum is carried by the felt hearing ring.

Thus, it will be seen that we have provided a construction which is inexpensive and relatively simple in design, but which accomplishes numerous objectives such as obtaining a large drier drum within a relatively small size cabinet and providing a bearing support for the drum which is simple and inexpensive, and which consumes a minimum of room.

A drive has been provided for the drum which is simple and inexpensive, and which accommodates the openings at the front and rear walls of the drum which are coaxial with axis of rotation of the drum and thereby prevent the provision of the usual pulley driving arrangement.

An improved air circulation device has been provided which is arranged so that it will insure a complete circulation within the drum and improve the efliciency of the air which circulates therethrough. Further, the arrangement is such that the air leaving the drum contributes as much heat as possible to the clothes and to the entering air so that the eificiency of the operation will be even further enhanced.

We have, in the drawings and specification, presented a detailed disclosure of the preferred embodiments of our invention, but it is to be understood that we 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 our invention.

We claim as our invention:

1. A drier mechanism for clothes and the like, comprising a housing, a hollow drier drum supported by said housing for rotation therewithin and having an imperforate outer peripheral wall, a front end wall and a pair of spaced apart rear walls, means for rotating said drum about a horizontal axis within said housing, means in the front end wall defining an access opening for the admission of clothes to be dried, means in the forwardmost of said rear walls defining an air entrance opening communicating with the drum interior, means in the rearwardmost of said rear walls defining an air discharge opening, conduit means extending axially through the forwardmost rear wall and concentrically inwardly spaced from said means defining said air discharge opening to conduct a supply of air from a heated source directly to the drum interior, said pair of spaced walls together forming a space at the rear of said drum extending radially outwardly from said air discharge opening in communication there With a plurality of axially extending hollow vanes on said outer peripheral wall of said drum, each of said vanes communicating with said spaced rear walls at one end thereof and having openings at the opposite end thereof receiving moisture-laden air from the interior of said drum, and means for circulating heated air through said conduit means into the drum interior and for withdrawing moisture-laden air from the drum interior, through the vanes into the space between the rear walls and outwardly through said air discharge opening.

2. A drier mechanism for clothes and the like, comprising a cabinet, a hollow drier drum supported by said cabinet for rotation therewithin, said drum having an imperforate peripheral wall, a front end wall formed with an access opening therein for the admission of clothes to be dried and a pair of spaced rear Walls forming therebetween a radial air discharge passage extending across the rear of the drum, conduit means extending through said spaced rear walls and directing air from a source at increased temperature and pressure to the interior of said drum, the rearwardmost of said rear walls and said conduit means defining therebetween an annular air discharge passage communicating with said radial air discharge passage between said rear walls, means on the drum peripheral wall forming axially extending flow passages directing moisture-laden air from the interior of said drum, and means for circulating heated air through said conduit means into the drum interior and for with drawing moisture-laden air from the drum interior through said axially extending flow passages into said radial air discharge passage between the drum rear walls and outwardly through the annular air discharge passage.

.3. A drier mechanism for clothes and the like, comprising a rotatable hollow drier drum having an imperforate peripheral wall and a pair of spaced apart walls at one end thereof, said spaced walls forming therebetween a radially extending air discharge passage communicating with the drum interior and receiving moisture-laden air therefrom, a central hollow hub extending through said spaced apart walls and providing an air entrance passage to the drum interior, first conduit means forming together with one of said walls and said hub an annular opening communicating with the air discharge passage, said first conduit means having a wall adjacent one of said spaced apart end walls of said drum and together therewith forming a bearing support for journaling said drum, second conduit means forming a flow passage for conducting air from a source at increased temperature and pressure to the hollow hub, and means for circulating heated air from second second conduit means through said hub to the drum interior and for withdrawing moisture-laden air from the drum interior into the air discharge passage and through the annular opening into said first conduit means.

4. A drier mechanism for clothes and the like, comprising a hollow drier drum having a pair of spaced end walls forming therebetween a radially extending air discharge passage at one end of said drum, means forming passages communicating with the drum interior and with said air discharge passage for conducting moisture-laden air out of said drum into said air discharge passage, a

, central hollow hub extending through the spaced end walls and forming an air entrance passage to the drum interior, first conduit means communicating with the air discharge passage and having a wall adjacent one of said spaced end walls of the drum providing therewith bearing receiving portions, bearing means in said bearing receiving portions supporting the drum for horizontal rotation, second conduit means conducting air from a source at increased temperature and pressure to the hollow hub, and means for circulating heated air through said second conduit means and through the hollow hub to the drum interior and for withdrawing moisture-laden air from the drum interior through the passages communicating therewith and through said air discharge passage.

5. A drier mechanism for clothes and the like, comprising a hollow drier drum having an imperforate peripheral wall, a front wall and a pair of spaced rear walls, said rear walls together forming'therebetween a radial air discharge passage extending across the rear of the drum, means connected to said imperforate peripheral Wall forming passages communicating moisture-laden air from the interior of the drum into the air-discharge passage, a central hollow hub extending through said rear walls and providing an air entrance passage to the drum interior, first conduit means venting said air discharge passage to atmosphere and having a wall adjacent one of said rear walls of said drum and together therewith forming bearing receiving portions, bearing means in said bearing receiving portions supporting said drum for horizontal rotation, the wall of said first conduit means and said one wall of said drum forming radially outwardly of said hollow hub an axial flow passage for moisture-laden air vented into said air discharge passage, second conduit means directing air from a source at increased pressure to the hollow hub, and means for circulating heated air through said second conduit means and through said hollow hub into the drum interior and for withdrawing moisture-laden air from the drum interior through the passages formed by said means connected to said imperforate -wall and through said air discharge passage into the axial flow passage and into said first conduit means.

6. A drier mechanism for drying clothes, comprising a horizontal cylindrical drier drum rotatable about a horizontal axis, means for supporting said drum for rotation, power driven means connecting with the drum for rotating the same, said drum having a first wall at one end thereof provided with an access opening for the insertion and removal of clothes through the front of said drum, an imperforate peripheral Wall and a pair of spaced rear Walls at the opposite end of said drum together forming therebetween a radial air discharge passage for moisture-laden air, means formed on said imperforate wall communicating said air discharge passage with the drum interior, first conduit means forming an axial discharge passage connected to the rearwardmost of said spaced rear Walls and communicating with said discharge passage, second conduit means having a hub portion extending through said axial discharge passage and the innermost of said spaced walls for conducting air from a source at increased pressure to the interior of said drum, and means for circulating heated air through said second conduit means into the drum interior and for withdrawing moisture-laden air from the drum interior through said radial air discharge passage and through said axial discharge passage into said first conduit means. r

7. A drier mechanism for drying clothes, comprising a horizontal cylindrical drier drum rotatable about a horizontal axis, means connected to said drum for rotatably supporting the same, power driven means connecting with the drum for rotating the same, a first wall at one end of said drum provided with an access opening for the insertion and removal of clothes through the front of said drum, a pair of spaced walls at the opposite end of said drum defining therebetween a radial air discharge passage for moisture-laden air and communicating with the drum interior, first conduit means adjacent said pair of walls and having one wall generally coextensive with one wall of said pair of walls to define an axial discharge passageway communicating with said radial air discharge passage and said first conduit means, fan downstream of said first conduit means to continuously move air into and out of the drum interior, second conduit means adjacent said first conduit means and having an annular'hub formed thereon surrounded by said axial discharge passageway and defining an air entrance opening to the drum interior, and heating means in the second conduit means to heat air upon entrance therein.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 14 Jorgenson Nov. 23, 1948 Kaufimann Feb. 27, 1951 ONeil Mar. 18, 1952 Smith Nov. 23, 1954 Douglas June 26, 1956 Strike Aug. 13, 1957 FOREIGN PATENTS Great Britain Ian. 16, 1947

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Classifications
U.S. Classification34/607
International ClassificationD06F58/02
Cooperative ClassificationD06F58/02
European ClassificationD06F58/02