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Publication numberUS3014358 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 26, 1961
Filing dateJan 3, 1961
Priority dateJan 3, 1961
Publication numberUS 3014358 A, US 3014358A, US-A-3014358, US3014358 A, US3014358A
InventorsBochan John
Original AssigneeGen Electric
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Clothes washing machine
US 3014358 A
Abstract  available in
Images(2)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Dec. 26, 1961 J. BOCHAN CLOTHES WASHING MACHINE 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Jan. 3, 1961 INVENTOR.

J'OHN BOCHAN HIS ATTORNEY CLOTHES WASHING MACHINE Filed Jan. 5, 1961 v 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENT OR. 10H N BOCH AN 41 il f il/L e HIS 'A'TTORNEY United States Patent 3,014,353 CLOTHES WASHING MACHINE John Bochan, Louisville, Ky., assignor to General Electric Company, a corporation of New York Filed Jan. 3, 1961, Ser. No. 80,497 17 Claims. (Cl. 68-4) This invention relates to automatic clothes washing machines, and more particularly to an improved structure in such machines for eifecting the washing of very small loads of clothing and of special delicate types of clothing. This is a continuation in part of my application Serial No. 6,037 filed February 1, 1960, now abandoned.

Automatic clothes washing machines customarily provide, in a clothes basket adapted to hold several pounds of clothes, a sequence of operations in order to wash, rinse and dry the clothes in the basket. The sequence ordinarily includes a washing operation which, in verticalaxis type machines, is provided by an agitator movably arranged within the basket; a first centrifugal liquid extraction operation in which the wash water is removed from the clothes by spinning the basket; a rinsing operation in which the clothes in the basket are rinsed in clean water; and a final centrifugal liquid extraction. operation in which the basket is spun to remove the rinse water from the clothes. Machines having this type of cycle, or a variation thereof, generally produce highly satisfactory results in that the clothes in the machine come out properly cleaned and with a substantial part of the liquid removed.

As stated, in order to have an adequate capacity the clothes-containing basket must be large enough to accept several pounds of clothing, generally in the range of 8 to 12 pounds, and to contain them loosely enough so that a satisfactory washing effect will be obtained. Because of this prime factor, that of adequate clothes capacity, the clothes-containing basket presents some disadvantages when a very small load of clothes is to be washed. This type of load may occur for various reasons, but in particular it occurs with respect to delicate and dainty garments which constitute only a small part of the clothes which are worn and which should be washed by themselves and not with the other major part of the clothing, and with respect to clothes which are not colorfast, ,such as some socks, and therefore would harm other clothing if washed with it.

One disadvantage which presents itself when very small loads are washed in the basket of a washingmachine is that the amount of water required for washing a few small garments may be comparable to the amount of water used for washing several pounds of clothing.

This, of course, represents an inefficient use of water with a resulting high cost of water in consideration of the result being obtained. Also, there is the corollary that the greater the quantity of water used the greater the quantity of detergent needed in order to eliect a proper detergent concentration in the water, and this too represents an increased cost factor. Considerations such as these have quite often led the owners of domestic automatic clothes washing machines to do the washing of small quantities of delicate garments by hand despite the availability of the machine.

It is an object of this invention to provide an improved automatic washing machine wherein the washing of small quantities of clothing, especially of a delicate nature, is made possible without the'requirement that a substantial amount of water be introduced into the conventional clothes-receiving basket within which is contained the agitator of the machine.

A further object of my invention is to achieve the desired result of facilitating the washing of small quantities of clothing by providing a separate small substantially imperforate basket secured on the agitator of the machine so that the washing action within this small basket is obtained by the water movement resulting from the motion of the agitator carrying with itthe small basket.

Yet a further more specific object of my invention is to provide a small basket of the type mentioned above wherein the proper water level is continually maintained within the basket, regardless of the fact that the conventional clothes basket is not filled, by means of a recirculation system so that all water escaping from the small basket is returned through the recirculation system into the small basket.

In one aspect of my invention, I provide a vertical axis Washing machine which has the conventional liquid and clothes containing means including the usual relatively large substantially imperforate liquid receptacle. An agitator is movably mounted and positioned to extend upwardly into the receptacle and is powered so that it may be moved to effect a washing motion. On the agitator, there is positioned a relatively small substantially imperforate basket which is movable with the agitator and which has overflow openings adjacent its top. The motion of the agitator carries with it the small basket and provides a motion of the liquid in the basket which causes a suitable delicate type washing action.

To compensate for the inevitable escape of liquid which will result from a substantial amount of motion of the liquid container (in this case, the small basket), a liquid outlet is positioned to supply liquid to the basket and pumping means are arranged so that liquid in the large receptacle is pumped through the outlet into the basket. In view of the position of the basket relative to the receptacle, all liquid escaping from the basket must necessarily pass into the receptacle, so that the liquid lost from the basket is thus returned to it, and the problem of maintaining an adequate amount of liquid in the basket without the need for having a tub full of water surrounding the basket is solved.

The subject matter which I regard as my invention is particularly pointed out and distinctly claimed in the concluding portion of this specification. The invention itself, however, both as to its organization and method of operation, may best be understood by reference to the follow ing description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

In the drawings, FIGURE 1 is a side elevational view of a clothes washing machine including my invention, the view being partially broken away and partially in section to illustrate details;

FIGURE 2 is a schematic diagram of an electrical control circuit suitable for use with the machine of FIGURE 1;

FIGURE 3 is a side elevational view, partly in cross section, of a second embodiment of the components of my invention;

FIGURE 4 is a View along the line 4-4 in FIGURE 3; and

FIGURE 5 is a view along line 55 in FIGURE 3.

Referring now to FIGURE 1, I have shown therein an agitator type clothes washing machine 1 having a conventional basket or clothes receiving receptacle 2 perforated over its side and bottom walls with perforations 3 and disposed within an outer imperforate tub or casing 4. Tub 4 is mounted within an appearance cabinet 5 which includes a cover 6 hingedly mounted in the top portion 7 of the cabinet for providing access through an opening 8 to the basket 2. At the center of the basket 2 there is positioned a vertical axis agitator 9 which includes a center post 10 and a plurality of curved water circulating .vanes 11 joined at their lower ends by an outwardly flared skirt 12.

Both the clothes basket 2 and the agitator 9 are rotatably mounted. The basket is mounted on a flange 13 of a rotatable hub 14 and the agitator 9 is mounted on a shaft (not shown) which extends upwardly through the hub 14 and through the center post and is secured to the agitator so as to drive it. During the cycle of operation of the machine 1, the agitator is first oscillated back and forth on its axis, i.e., in a horizontal plane, within the basket to wash the clothese therein. Then, after a predetermined period of this washing action, the basket 2 is rotated at high speed to extract centrifngally the washing liquid from the clothes and discharge it to drain, as will be explained. Following this extraction operation a supply of clean liquid is introduced into the basket for rinsing the clothes and the agitator is again oscillated, Finally, the basket is once more rotated at high speed to extract the rinse water.

The basket 2 and agitator 9 may be driven by any suitable means as the drive means form no part of the present invention. However, by way of example, I have shown them as driven from a reversible motor 15. Motor 15 drives the basket and the agitator through a drive including a clutch 16 which is mounted on the motor shaft. The clutch allows the motor to start without a load and then to accept the load as it comes up to speed. A suitable belt 17 transmits power to a transmission assembly 18 through a pulley 19 Thus, depending upon the direction of motor rotation, pulley 19 of transmission 18 is driven in opposite directions. Preferably, as will be more fully explained herebelow, transmission clutch 16 is also a two speed clutch, and a solenoid member 20 is provided in order to achieve the two speed operation. Specifically, in the illustrated machine, when solenoid 20 is deenergized clutch 16 provides a direct drive between motor 15 and pulley 19, and when solenoid 29 is energized clutch 16 provides a reduced speed drive to pulley 19. A two speed clutch of this type, particularly suited for use in the illustrated machine, is described in detail and claimed in Patent 2,869,699 issued to me on January 20, 1959 and assigned to General Electric Company, assignee of the present invention.

The transmission 18 is so arranged that it supports and drives both the agitator drive shaft and the basket mounting hub 14. When motor 15 is rotated in one direction the transmission causes the agitator 9 to oscillate in a substantially horizontal plane within the basket 2. Conversely, when the motor 15 is driven in the opposite direction, the transmission rotates the wash basket 2 and agitator 9 together at high speed for centrifugal extraction. While the drive mechanism forms no part of the invention, reference is made to Patent 2,844,255 issued to James R. Hubbard et al. on July 22, 1958 and owned by-the General Electric Company, assignee of the present invention. That patent discloses in detail the structural. characteristics of a transmission assembly suitable for usein the illustrated machine.

In order to introduce fresh water to the machine, asuitable conduit 21 is provided having an outlet openinginto the tub 4 so that suitable Washing and rinsing liquid (normally water) may be introduced in the desired quantities into the tub 4 and basket 2. It will, at this point, he noted that, in the preferred construction shown, the perforations 3 of basket 2 cause the interior of the basket; to be in full communication with that part of the tub which is exterior to basket 2 sothat the liquid level in both the basket 2 and the tub 4 is the same; thus, as the water rises in one it will also rise in the other. With this type of structure, suitable means may thus be provided in the tub to determine when the appropriate water level. in the basket has been reached. In the present case this structure is provided in a conventional manner by means of a tube 22 which extends from an opening 23 adjacentthe bottom of tub 4 up to a pressure-sensitive water level control 24 which may be of the conventional type used extensively in, commercially available laundry machines at the present time.

In effect, in this type of water level control an electric switch is included in device 24 and the switch is operated in response to an increase of the air within conduit 22, the increase in the air pressure coming as a result of compression of the air by a rise in the level of the water in tub 4. A further conventional and commercially available embodimentof level control 24 is the provision of means for varying the point at which the switch is closed by the air pressure so that any one of several different air pressures may be selected for the closing of the switch. 'In this manner, different levels within tub 4 may be selected by movement of dial 25 to different positions. For purposes which are fully described herebelow, I prefer to use a four position control 24: one position provides a level which substantially fills the basket 3; a second setting provides about two thirds of a. full basket; a third setting shuts off the incoming water when it reaches about half the height of basket 3; and the fourth level, which will be more fully discussed in connection with the explanation of FIGURE 2, shuts off the incoming water when it reaches a very low level in the tub which may well not even rise to the. bottom of the basket.

In the direction of rotation which is provided for washing operations, the motor 15 drives a pump 26 through a flexible coupling 27 in the appropriate direction to discharge liquid from the bottom of tub 4 into a conduit 28 which leads to a nozzle 29, Nozzle 29 is positioned relative to a filtering'member 30 secured on the top of agitator 9 so as to be movable therewith so that liquid is recirculated by the pump 26 up through conduit 28 and out of nozzle 29 into the oscillating filter pan 30. It will be observed that the filter pan has a substantial number of small openings 31 formed therein so that the water coming from nozzle 29 passes down through the openings. The filter pan 30 with its many small openings 31 and its upstanding side wall 32 causes the lint which is separated from the clothes during the washing operation to be filtered out of the water and thus prevents it from being redeposited on the clothes. This type of structure is more fully described and claimed in Patent 2,481,979 issued to Russell H. Colley on September 13, 1949 and assigned to General Electric Company, owner of the present invention.

Also secured on the agitator 9 so as to move therewith is a clothes containing basket 33 which is small relative to basket 2 and tub 4. Basket 33, except for overflow openings 34 adjacent the top thereof and one or more conevntional very small openings 34a which may be provided at the bottom thereof for removal of heavy soil, is imperforate. The lower inner portion of the annular basket may be formed as shown at 35 so as to accommodate the tops of the vanes 11 of the agitator; in addition to providing small washing vanes within the basket itself, this positions the basket securely on the agitator so that there will not be any relative rotation of the two.

Thebasket 33 ispositioned below filter pan 30 so that water which is poured into the filter pan from nozzle 29 passes through the openings 31 in the filter pan down into the basket 33. Thus, in effect, the filter pan effects a filtering action on the water prior to its entry into the basket 33 and, in addition, forms a lid for the basket 33 for a purpose which will be more clearly seen hereafter. Completing the description of basket 33, it is preferably provided with suitable fins or vanes 36 on the inner surface of its outer wall, which vanes are formed so as to effect a washing movement of the water within the basket 33 in response tothe movement of the basket which is provided to it by its association with the agitator 9.

Filter pan 30 and basket 33 are, preferably, removably positioned on agitator 9 so that they may be removed when so desired (for instance, for the insertion of clothes into basket 2 and readily replaced on the agitator secured thereto so as to move therewith.

Completing the description of the structure shown in FIGURE 1, when enough washing has been provided and it is intended to remove the washing liquid from the clothes, the direction of rotation of motor 15 is reversed. As described above, this causes the basket 2 and agitator 9 to rotate together at a relatively high speed so as to centrifuge the washing liquid out through openings 3. The washing liquid thus removed is caused by pump 26, rotating in the reverse direction to the previous rotation thereof, to discharge into a conduit 37. Conduit 37 is adapted for discharge to a stationary tub or drain line so that the pump is effective to drain tub 4. While any suitable pump may be used for draining purposes, the one generally described hereabove is representative and is described in detail in Patent 2,883,843 issued to me on April 28, 1959, and assigned to General Electric Company, assignee of the present invention.

Referring now to FIGURE 2, there is shown an electrical control system for the machine 1. It Will be understood that present day washers often include various improvements such as control panel lights, bleach dispenser controls, etc., which do not relate in any way to the present invention, and that to some extent these have been omit-ted for the sake of simplicity and ease of understanding. In order to control the sequence of operation of washing machine 1, the circuit includes a timer motor 38 which drives a plurality of cams 39, 40, 4-1 and 42. These cams, during their rotation by the timer motor, actuate various switches (as will be described) so as to cause the machine to pass through an appropriate cycle of operations, first washing the clothes, next extracting the water from them, then rinsing the clothes in clean water, and finally extracting the rinse water from the clothes.

The electric circuit as a whole is energized from a power supply (not shown) through a pair of conductors 43 and 44. Cam 3 9 controls a switch 45 which includes contacts 46, 47 and 48. When the cam has assumed a position where all three contacts are separated, machine 1 has been disconnected from the power source and is inoperative. When operation of machine 1 is initiated, as will be explained below, switch 45 is controlled by cam 39 so that contacts 46 and 47 are engaged. When the main switch 49 is closed, power is then provided to the control circuit of the machine from conductor 43 through contacts 46 and 47. From contact 47 the circuitextends through a conductor 59 and a manually operable switch 51 to the control solenoid 52 of a hot water valve; also from conductor 50, a circuit extends through a manually operable switch 53 to a control solenoid 54 of a cold water valve. In addition, a circuit is completed from conductor 56 through a conductor 55 to a switch arm 56 of a switch 57 controlled by the cam 40. When switch arm 56 is in its up position, engaging contact 58, it completes a connection from conductor 55 to the cold water solenoid 54. When the switch arm 56 is in its down position, engaging contact 59, it completes a connection from conductor 55 to the hot water solenoid 52. It will thus be seen that when switches 51 and 53 are open energization of solenoids 52 and 54 is under the control of switch 57; when switch 51 is closed, the hot water solenoid is energized independently of the position of switch 57, and when switch 53 is closed the cold water solenoid is energized independently of the position of switch 57.

From the hot and cold water solenoids the energizing circuit extends through a conductor 60 to a coil 61 of a relay '62, and then through the main winding 63 of motor 15 and a conventional motor protector 64 to conductor 65. The circuit is then completed through switch 66 controlled by cam 42, switch 49 and the conductor 44.

The motor :15 is of the conventionaltype which is provided with a start winding 67 which assists the main winding 63 during the starting of the motor and is energized in parallel therewith. When a relatively high current passes through the relay coil 61 it causes the relay contact 68 to be closed and this then permits an energizing circuit for the start winding to be completed in parallel with the main winding through a contact 69 of a switch generally indicated at 70, contact arm 71, the relay contact 68, the start winding 67, contact arm 72 of switch 70, and contact 73 of the switch. A circuit is also completed in parallel with motor 15 from conductor 60 through the timer motor 38.

The relay coil 61 is designed to close contact 68 when a relatively high current, of the level demanded by the motor when the rotor is rotating below a predetermined speed, is passing through it. At other times, when there is no current passing through the relay coil 61 or when the current is below the required energizing level as is true at running speed of the motor, the contact 68 is open.

When the main winding 63 of motor 15 is in series with the valve solenoids 54 and 52 as described, a much lower impedance is presented in the circuit by the motor 15 than is presented by the valve solenoids. As a result, the greater portion of the supply voltage is taken up across the solenoids and relatively little across the motor. This causes whichever of the solenoids is connected in the circuit to be energized sufiiciently to open its associated water valve. As a result, water at a suitable temperature is admitted to the machine through conduit 21, motors 15 and 38 remaining inactive.

This action continues, with the circuitry thus arranged, so that the water pours into the basket 2 and tub 4. Because of the perforations 3 in the side of the basket the water rises in both basket and tub at the same rate. As the head of water acting on the column of air trapped in tube 22 increases, the pressure of this air increases until it actuates the switch 74 included in the control mechanism 24. It will be recalled that mechanism 24 is adjustable to'four different positions, so that the deenergiza tion of the solenoids 5t; and 54 and the starting of motors 16 and 38 may be achieved at any one of four levels Within tub 4, three of them providing various washing levels within the basket 2 and the other being substantially less than that required for any washing to be achieved within basket 2. This may be effective by any suitable means; for instance, as shown, dial 25 may rotate a cam 74a to four different positions so as to move a fixed contact 74b closer or farther from a contact 740 controlled by a diaphragm 74d responsive to the pressure in tube 22.

Once the two motors 15 and 38 have been put into operation, then opening of switch 66 by cam 42 causes the drive motor 15 to cease operation while the timer continues to operate. When this occurs, the impedance of motor 33 is much greater than that of the valve solenoids so that it takes up most of the supply voltage and continues in operation, leaving so little voltage across the solenoids that they do not operate their respective valves.

It will be observed that when switch arms 71 and 72 are moved by cam 41 to engage contact 73 and a contact 75 respectively, the polarity of the start Winding is reversed since the circuit from. conductor 60 then proceeds through contact 75, contact arm 72, the start winding 67, relay contact 68, contact arm 71, and contact 73 to the protective device 64 and conductor 65. With motor .15 stopped, the reversal of switch 71 is efiective to cause the motor to rotate in the opposite direction from that previously provided once the motor is started up again. In order to energize motor 15 independently of the water level switch and the valve solenoids during the next rotation of the motor (which, as explained, provides spin) cam 39 causes all three contacts 46, 47 and 48 of switch 45 to be closed during the extraction or spin step so that power is supplied through contact 48 and conductor 60 to the motors directly rather than through the water level switch and the valve'solenoids.

Operation of cams 3'9, 40, 4'1 and 4% by the timer motor 38 to actuate switches 45, 5 7, '76 and 66 in a predetermined sequence thus eifects the basic washing operation by causing provision of a washing step (filling followed by oscillation of the agitator), a rinsing step (similar to the washing step), and suitable extraction steps (high speed rotation of the basket) after the washing and rinsing steps.

Prior to describing in full my innovation to the washing machine, and to facilitate understanding the operation and advantages thereof, a full operation of machine 1 will be described in connection with the control circuit of FIGURE 2. At the beginning of any cycle, switch 49 is closed and cam 39 closes contacts 46 and 47 of switch 45. Also contacts 56 and 59 of switch 5-7 are engaged, contact arms 71 and 72 of switch 70 are in the position shown, and switch 66 is closed. With this arrangement, assuming both switches 51 and 53 to have been manually opened, the hot water solenoid is energized to fill the machine with hot water until control 214 causes the closing: of water level switch 74. This in turn starts the operation of the drive motor and the control motor to provide a timed washing operation.

The washing operation is terminated by the opening of switch 66 to deenergize the main 'motor (but not the timer motor), and during the deenergization of the main motor all three contacts 46, 47 and 48 of switch 45 are caused toengage, switch 70 has its position reversed, and switch 66 is then closed to reenergize the drive motor which, because of the opposite connection of the start winding; starts up in the opposite direction to provide a spin operation; At the end of the spin operation. the switch 66 is again opened, the switch '70 is returned to its first position, switch 45 is returned to its first position, and contacts 56 and 58 of switch 57 are caused to engage. As a result, when switch 66- closes once more, the timer motor is deenergized, and the cold water solenoid is energized to provide cold water into the machine until the water level control switch 24 is tripped. At this time the control motor and the main motor start operation to provide the same type of agitator motion asfor the washing operation. This then is followed in the same-manner as the washing operation by deenergization of the main motor and the change in the switching appropriate to cause the final spin operation, after which all the timer control switches are opened to deenergize the machine.

In order to attain maximum washing effectiveness with different types of loads, the speed of oscillation of the agitator mechanism during the washing and rinsing'steps may beprovided at either a high speed or a low speed, and the spin speed of the basket during spinning may also be varied betweenhigh and low. As stated above, solenoid 20 is provided in connection. with. clutch 16 in order to achieve the two output speeds of the clutch to provide for high and low speed agitation and high and low speed spin operations. A. manually operable switch 76 controls the agitation speed and a manually operatable switch 77 controls the spin speed. When switch 76 is connected to contact 78-and conductor 79, solenoid 20 is not energized during agitation and consequently a high speed agitation is provided; if switch member 76 engages contact 80 and conductor 65- the solenoid is energized during agitation, and a low speed agitation is provided. In the same manner, connection of switch 77 with contact 81 and conductor 79 precludes energization of solenoid 20 during spin and a high spin speed is provided, while connection of switch arm 77 to contact 82 causes energization of solenoid 20 during spin anda low spin speed is provided. The precise manner in which the setting of the switches 76 and 77 controls the energization of solenoid 2 0 is described in substantial detail and is claimed. in copending application Serial No. 627,821, now Patent No. 2,950,612, filed December 12, 1956 by Wallace H. Henshaw on a Control System for Automatic Washing Machines, and assigned to General Electric Company, owner of the present invention. Accordingly, since it forms no part of the present invention, the precise'manner in which the control 8 of solenoid 2.0 is achieved will not be further described herein.

Returning now primarily to consideration of FIGURE 1, it will be recalled that the control member 25 may be used to provide four different Water levels in tub 4, three of them being operative to provide water within basket 2 and one of them being at such a low level within tub 4 that there is insufficient water in basket 2 to provide any washing action. This last low water level is provided when it is desired to use the small basket 33 to wash a very small load, which generally occurs when delicate garments of the type which constitute a small minority of all clothes Worn must be washed and there is an insufficient quantity to justify the use of the large basket 2. When such a load is to be washed, the small basket 33 is placed on the agitator mechanism as shown, and the filter pan 3% is then placed over the small basket so as to close the top thereof without preventing the provision of water thereto through perforations 31 in the filter pan;

When the low level selected is reached, switch 74 closes and, as described, motor 15 starts operation in the direction suitable for moving the agitator mechanism. As described this also causes pump 26 to operate in the direction to pump water up through conduit 28 and out from nozzle 29 into the filter pan 30. This water then passes through the openings 31. in the filter pan and down into the basket 33 containing a small load of delicate garments. Because basket 33 is substantially imperforate the water quickly rises in basket 33 regardless of the fact that the basket 2 does not have any water or has virtua=lly no water in it. The water continues to rise in the basket 33 until it reaches substantially to the level of overflow outlets 34. Then, both because the water level is near the outlets 34 and beacuse of the substantial amount of movement of the the small basket 33 (since it is secured to the moving agitator), water flows out of the openings 34. This water then passes down into the large basket 2', and, because of the perforated nature of the large basket 2, back to the bottom of tub 4 where the pump 26 again recirculates the water into the small basket 33.

It will be understood, at this point, that reference to the basket 33 as imperforate means, in effect, that the basket 33 issufficiently free from openings below the level of top openings 34, that it will hold liquid substantially up to the level of openings 34 when liquid is being recirculated from nozzle 29 as previously mentioned. In other words, the presence of a conventional number'of openings (such as soil removal opening 34a) which, although they permit substantial leakage from basket 33, do not prevent the liquid level from rapidly rising up close to openings 34, does not detract from the imperforate nature of basket 33 as meant in this context. On this point, it might be added, as an example, that one practical structure for basket 33 has been found to include six openings 34a spaced about the bottom of basket 33, each opening 34a being about Ms" in diameter.

Thus, for an exceedingly small load of clothes, a proper washing action is obtained with a very small amount of water which, while it is lost at a relatively high rate through openings 34, is continually passed backthrough the recirculation system so as to be filtered by filter pan 30'and then returned to the basket 33. In this manner,. a highly satisfactory washing action is obtained using the desired small quantity of water and detergent for the washing operation while at the same time attaining the desired concentration of detergent needed for effecting proper cleansing.

It will be recognized that there are no moving parts within the basket 33 but that the washing action is obtained because the entire clothes receptacle is being oscillated back and forth by the agitator 9. The washing action obtained by the movement of the water may be enhanced by appropriate design of the fins 36 and of the fin portions 35 so as to cause the basket configuration'to cooperate to the maximum extent with the particular type of motion provided. Thus, while the conventional type of agitator-in which an oscillating movement in a generally horizontal plane is provided is described for purposes of illustration, it will be recognized that different machines have agitators with different types of motions. One type of-motion which occurs readily to mind is of the planetary type in which the entire agitator may be moved in an orbit either with or without rotation; in another, the agitator oscillates at a rapid rate in a vertical direction rather than a horizontal direction. It will be obvious that in both these cases the configuration of the interior of the basket may be formed so as. to-take maximum advantage of the particular type of motion of the agitator on which the basket is mounted.

It will be observed that the filter pan which fits on top of the small basket 33 on the agitator is performing its known function, as described in the aforementioned Colley patent, of filtering the lint from the recirculated water so that it does not pass back into the water which contacts the clothes. In addition, of course, it will be observed that filter pan 30 acts as a lid for basket 33, preventing excessive splashing and retaining the clothes in the small basket both during the washing operation and, more important, during the spin operation when, without some provision for retaining them, the clothes might be swept out with the water over the edge of the basket. While, where a filter type pan is not desired, it is possible to use conventional known retaining means such as an overhang (as shown at 83 on basket 2), the use of the filter pan for this purpose causes the filter pan to perform a dual function thereby effecting substantial economy and improving the action of the apparatus as a whole. In addition, there is an antisplash feature which the filter pan provides by covering the entire top of the basket 33; with some types of motion of the agitator, the amount of splash from basket 33 is within acceptable limits, but it is conceivable that with some relatively violent types of motion of an agitator it would be important that a complete lid such as that shown be provided.

It will be seen that with the pumping equipment at the bottom of tub 4, it is important that the basket 2 be perforated so that the water flowing out of overflow openings 34 of basket 33 be able to pass down through the basket 2 into the tub 4 to be recirculated. If this were not so, the basket 2 would have to be filled to overflowing and the main purpose of the structure--to provide an excellent washing action with the use of only small quantities of water and detergentwould be lost. It will, however, be recognized that a perforated basket of the particular type shown is not of the essence and that where (as is shown), the pumping equipment is in the tub, any opening, whether it be one or several, in the basket 2 which permits the water to flow at a reasonable rate from the small basket 33 down to the bottom of tub 4 will constitute the equivalent of the completely perforated basket 2 shown. Thus, it is readily conceivable that an imperforate basket of the type in use on many commercially provided machines could be provided with an opening at the bottom thereof and a plug provided for the opening so that when a small load is to be washed in the basket 33 the plug can be removed to permit the recirculation of a small quantity of water, and when a conventional load is to be washed in the machine the plug can be replaced;

It will also be seen that the point of importance is to achieve proper communication between the small basket 33 on the agitator and a pump for recirculating the water into the basket. Thus, it will be readily understood that in those types of machines (of which several conventional specimens are commercially available) where the main clothes containing basket may be substantially imperf'orate and the recirculation is achieved by pumping means, located in the agitator itself, which pumps water from the bottom of the basket up through the agitator and out through openings near the top of the agitator into a filter pan or an equivalent structure, in effect in such a structure the basket itself has become the equivalent of tub 4 in FIGURE 1 of the present structure. This holds true because the basket, together with the pumping means in the agitator, performs the same recirculating function for the small basket as do the tub and the pump 26 in the present structure.

Another point which will be clear is that, although a four level pressure switch has been described for purposes of illustration, any desired means of limiting the water input to a very low level may be used. For instance, in machines using a timed fill, a very limited amount of time will be the equivalent of the low level setting described. In fact, it readily comes to mind that a timed fill may be used for the washing of objects in the small basket, while in the same Washing machine a pressure or level sensitive mechanism terminates the fill when the regular large basket is to be used for washing.

A further advantage of the structure described is that the small basket may be utilized to wash a small load of delicate garments at the same time that either a full or a partial load is beingwashed in the other basket. Thus, for instance, it is possible to fill the basket 33 with clothes at the same time that a small load is placed in basket 2, and then, by setting the water .level control 24 so that it will terminate the entry of water when the basket 2 is half full, efiect a washing operation both in the small basket and in the main basket with complete separation of the clothes. The water will be re circulated from the pump Ztithrough the filter pan into the small basket first, and will then overflow into the large basket and then be returned through the pump to the filter pan once again.

Another substantial advantage of my invention is in the fact that, in machines having two different agitation and spin speeds, the washing action inthe small basket at low speed is so gentle, although effective, that garments which previously should not have been washed in the large basket even'at low speed agitation, now can be machine-washed-in the small basket without fear of damage.

Referring now to FIGURES 3, 4 and 5, there is described a modified form of the basket 33 which is particularly suitable for use where the splashing which may occur as a result of the overflowing of water through the openings 34 of FIGURE 1both during agitation and during the high speed spin operation-may be objectionable for some reason. In the embodiment of FIGURES 3, 4 and 5, like numerals are used to denote parts already described in connection with FIGURE 1.

Basket 33 seats on agitator 9 in the same manner as previously so as to be rotatable therewith, and is provided with the inside fin members 35 and the outer fin members 36. Instead of the openings 34 of the embodiment of FIGURE 1, overflow during agitation is provided by forming the center portion of basket 33 with ribs 86 which hold the basket 33 on the agitator 9 so that it is movable with the agitator as before; ribs 86 are separated by relatively thin sections 87 which are spaced from the agitator 9 so as to provide grooves 88. During washing and rinsing, that is, during oscillating movement of agitator 9, the water passing down through the openings 31 of the filter pan 30 into basket 33 overflows through the grooves 83; in this connection, it will be noted from FIGURES 3 and 4 that the top of section 85 of the basket where the grooves are provided is spaced from the bottom of the filter pan so as to provide spaces 88a for the water to overflow. Water then may flow down in the grooves 88 provided between the inner portion 85 of the basket and the surface of agitator 9, and then back into the basket 2 and tub 4 of FIGURE 1 in the same manner as previously.

The provision of this means of having the water overflow from the basket prevents any splash from occurring since the sides of the basket are then completely imperforate even at the top in the area where, in FIGURE 1, openings 34 are provided.

For the spin operation, the basket 33 of FIGURES 3, 4 and is provided on its outer wall 89 with relatively thick ribs 90 which extend up into engagement with the underside of the flange 91 of the pan 30. Between the several ribs 99, there is provided relatively thin sections 92 which are spaced from the outer surface of the side 32 of the filter pan and which are short enough to leave a space 93 between the tops thereof and the bottom of the flange 91 of the filter pan. In this manner, passages 94 are provided between the thin sections 92 and the outer surface of Wall 32. During spinning of the basket, the water rises through the passages 94 and then passes out through the openings 93. This provides suitable means of removing water during spin, and because openings 93 are located substantially above openings 88a there is no water splashed out through the openings 93 during washing.

Thus, to summarize the main differentiating features of the structure of FIGURES 3, 4 and 5, the openings 83a and grooves 88 provide for overflow of the Water from the basket 33 down into the basket 2 and tub 4 during agitation without any splashing occurring, and the passages 94 and openings 93 provide for removal of the water from the basket duringspin.

Apart from these two differentiating features, it will readily be seen that the-basket 33 of FIGURES 3, 4 and 5 is substantially the same as the basket 33 shown in FIGURE 1 and achieves the same advantages when provided, as intended, together with the other components of the invention.

It will be seen from the foregoing that my invention provides a simple structure for achieving an effective and completely automatic washing of a small load of delicate articles in an economical manner;

While in accordance with the patent statutes I have described what at present are considered to be the preferred embodiments of my invention, it will be obvious tothose skilled in the art that various changes and modifications, such as for instance (but not exclusively) those suggested above, may be made therein without departing from the invention, and I therefore aim in the appended claims to cover all such changes and modifications as fall within the true spirit and scope of the invention.

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

1. A vertical axis clothes washing machine comprising: liquid and clothes containing means including a relatively large substantially imperforate liquid receptacle; a movably mounted agitator extending upwardly into said receptacle; means for effecting a washing motion of said agitator; a relatively small substantially im perforate basket positioned on said agitator and movable therewith, said basket having overflow openings-adjacent the top thereof; a liquid outlet means positioned to supply liquid. to said. basket; and pumping means arranged to pump liquid from said receptacle out through said outlet means.

2. The apparatus defined in claim 1 wherein said means for effecting a washing motion of said agitator causes said agitator. to oscillate in a substantially horizontal plane.

3. A vertical axis clothes washing machine comprising: liquid and clothes containing means including a relatively large substantially imperforate liquid receptacle; a movably mounted agitator. extending upwardly into said receptacle; means for effecting a washing'motion of said agitator; a relatively small substantially imperforate basket positioned on said agitator and movable therewith, said basket having, overflow openings adjacent the top thereof; means extendinginwardly fromthe upper 1'2 edge of said basket thereby to prevent the flotation of clothes over the edge of saidbasket; a liquid outlet means positioned to supply liquid to said basket, and pumping means arranged to pump liquid from said receptacle out through said outletmeans.

4. The apparatus defined in claim 3 wherein said means extending inwardly from the edge of said basket comprises a perforated filter pan covering substantially the entire top of said basket, said outlet means being positioned to supply liquid into said filter pan.

5. A vertical axis clothes washing machine comprising; liquid and clothes containing means including a relatively large substantially imperforate liquid receptacle; a movably mounted agitator extending upwardly into said receptacle; means for effecting a washing motion of said agitator; a relatively small substantially imperforate annular basket positioned on said agitator and movable therewith; means extending inwardly from the upper edge of said basket thereby to prevent the flotation of clothes over the edge of said basket and comprising a perforated filter pan covering substantially the entire top of said basket; a liquid outlet means positioned to supply liquid into said filter pan; and pumping means arranged to pump liquid from said receptacle out through said outlet means; said basket having overflow openings adjacent the top thereof and adjacent said agitator, said basket and said agitator cooperating to form between them downwardly extending grooves leading from said overflow openings into said receptacle thereby to provide a passage for liquidto pass into said receptacle.

6. A-vertical axis clothes washing machine comprising: liquid and clothes containing means including an outer relatively large substantially imperforate liquid receptacle, and winner relatively large perforated clothes receptacle; a movably mounted agitator extending upwardlyinto said clothes receptacle; means for effecting a washing motionof saidagitator; a relatively small substaqtially imperforate basket positioned on said agitator and movable therewith, said basket having overflow openings adjacent the top thereof; a liquid outlet means positioned to supply liquid to said basket; and pumping means arranged to pump liquid from said liquid receptacle out through said outlet means.

7. A vertical axis clothes washing machine comprising: liquid and clothes containing means including a relatively large substantially imperforate outer liquid receptacle, and a relatively large perforated clothes receptacle positioned within said liquid receptacle; a movably mounted agitator extending upwardly into said clothes receptacle; means for effecting a'washing motion of said agitator; a relatively small substantially imperforate basket positioned on said agitator and movable therewith, said basket having overflow openings adjacent the top thereof; means extending inwardly from the top edge of said basket above said overflow openings in clothes retaining relationship to clothes within said backet; a liquid outlet means positioned to supply liquid to said basket; and pumping means arranged to pump liquid from said liquid receptacle out through said outlet means.

8. The apparatus defined in claim'7 wherein said means extending inwardly from the upper edge of said basket comprises a perforated filter pan covering the top of said basket, said outlet means being positioned to supply liquid into' said filter pan.

9. The apparatus defined in claim 7 wherein said means for effecting a washing motion of said agitator causes said agitator to oscillate in a horizontal plane about its vertical axis.

10. A vertical axis clothes washing machine comprising: liquid and clothes containing means including a relatively large substantially imperforate liquid receptacle; water. inlet means for providing fresh water into said receptacle; a movably-mountedagitator extending upwardly into said receptacle; means for effecting a washing motion of said agitator; control means for terminating the flow 13 of water through said inlet means and for starting the Washing motion of said agitator after a predetermined amount of water has flowed into said receptacle, means for adjusting said control means to a plurality of positions each causing a different predetermined amount of water in said receptacle to be eifective to stop the'fiow of Water from said inlet means and start the washing motion of said agitator; a relatively small substantially imperforate basket positioned on said agitator and movable therewith, said basket having overflow openings adjacent the top thereof; a liquid recirculation outlet means positioned to supply liquid to said basket; and pumping means arranged to pump liquid from said receptacle out through said recirculation outlet means, said control means being settable to provide a relatively large amount of water When clothes are to be washed in-said liquid and clothes containing means and being settable to provide a relatively small amount of water when clothes are to be washed in said basket.

11. The apparatus defined in claim wherein said liquid and clothes containing means also includes a relatively large perforated clothes receptacle positioned within said liquid receptacle, said agitator extending upwardly into said clothes receptacle.

'12. A vertical axis clothes washing machine comprising: liquid and clothes containing means including a relatively large substantially imperforate liquid receptacle and a relatively large perforated clothes receptacle positioned within said liquid receptacle; a movably mounted agitator extending upwardly into said clothes receptacle; means for effecting high speed rotation of said clothes receptacle and said agitator for the removal of liquid from clothes; means for effecting a Washing motion of said agitator; a relatively small substantially imperforate basket positioned on said agitator and movable therewith, said basket having overflow openings adjacent the top thereof; a liquid outlet means positioned to supply liquid to said basket; and pumping means arranged to pump liquid from said liquid receptacle out through said outlet means during washing motion of said agitator.

13. The apparatus defined in claim 12 including means extending inwardly from the upper edges of said basket and arranged to prevent the flotation of clothes over the edge of said basket.

14. A vertical axis clothes washing machine comprising: liquid and clothes containing means including a relatively large substantially imperforate liquid receptacle and a relatively large perforated clothes receptacle positioned within said liquid receptacle; a movably mounted agitator extending upwardly into said clothes receptacle; means for effecting high speed rotation of said clothes receptacle and said agitator for the removal of liquid from clothes; means for effecting a washing motion of said agitator; a relatively small substantially imperforate annular basket positioned on said agitator and movable therewith; means for preventing the flotation of clothes over the edge of said basket comprising a perforated filter pan covering substantially the entire top of said basket; a liquid outlet means positioned to supply liquid into said filter pan; and pumping means arranged to pump liquid from said liquid receptacle out through said outlet means during washing motion of said agitator; said basket having overflow openings adjacent the top thereof and adjacent said agitator, said basket having an inner Wall secured on said agitator and formed to provide downwardly extending grooves between itself and said agitator, said grooves communicating with said overflow openings thereby to provide passage for liquid from said basket into said liquid receptacle, said basket including an outer wall in engagement with the underside of said filter'pan in a plurality of locations, the top of said outer wall cooperating with said filter pan between said plurality of locations to form open ended passages communicating with said basket at their lower ends and with said liquid receptacle at their upper ends for the passage of liquid from said basket into said liquid receptacle during high speed rotation of said clothes receptacle and said'agitator, the upper ends of said passages being positioned substantially above said overflow openings.

15. A vertical axis clothes washing machine comprising: liquid and clothes containing means including a relatively large substantially imperforate receptacle, and a relatively large perforated clothes receptacle positioned within said receptacle; a movably mounted agitator extending upwardly into said clothes receptacle; means for rotating said clothes receptacle and said agitator at a relatively high speed; means for effecting a washing motion of said agitator; water inlet means for providing fresh water to said liquid and clothes containing means; control means for terminating the fiow of Water from said inlet means and for starting said means for effecting a washing motion of said agitator, means for manually adjusting said control means to provide a plurality of different predetermined levels at which flow from said inlet means is terminated and a washing motion of said agitator is started; a relatively small substantially imperforate basket positioned on said agitator and movable therewith, said basket having overflow openings adjacent the top thereof; a liquid recirculation outlet means positioned to supply liquid through said basket; and pumping means arranged to' pump liquid from said liquid receptacle through said outlet means, said control means being settable to provide a relatively high predetermined level when clothes are to be washed in said clothes receptacle and settable to a relatively low liquid level when clothes are to be washed in said basket.

16. The apparatus defined in claim 15 wherein means extending inwardly from the upper edge of said basket and provided and positioned to prevent clothes from floating over the edge of said basket.

17. The apparatus defined in claim 15 wherein said means for effecting a washing motion of said agitator oscillates said agitator in a horizontal plane.

References Qited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,930,243 Labisky Oct. 10, 1933 2,298,624 Labisky Oct. 13, 1942 2,869,344 Bochan Jan. 20, 1959 2,869,699 Bochan Jan. 20, '1959 2,909,051 Altorfer Oct. 20, 1959

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1930243 *Jul 29, 1932Oct 10, 1933Labisky Arthur HWashing machine
US2298624 *Feb 5, 1941Oct 13, 1942Barton CorpWashing machine
US2869344 *Mar 6, 1957Jan 20, 1959Gen ElectricCentrifugal clutch for clothes washing machine
US2869699 *Dec 12, 1956Jan 20, 1959Gen ElectricTwo speed drive
US2909051 *Aug 8, 1956Oct 20, 1959American Motors CorpWashing machine
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3091107 *Mar 26, 1962May 28, 1963Gen ElectricClothes washing machine
US3145551 *Jul 16, 1962Aug 25, 1964Gen ElectricClothes washing machine
US3494152 *Mar 21, 1968Feb 10, 1970Pick Robert MWashing machine
US4168615 *May 17, 1978Sep 25, 1979General Electric CompanyClothes washing machine with water recirculation
US4175409 *Nov 4, 1977Nov 27, 1979General Electric CompanyClothes washing machine
US4225992 *Jun 26, 1979Oct 7, 1980General Electric CompanyClothes washing method
US4637230 *Jun 6, 1985Jan 20, 1987General Electric CompanyClothes washing machine
US4637231 *Jun 6, 1985Jan 20, 1987General Electric CompanyClothes washing machine including a high detergent concentration wash cycle
Classifications
U.S. Classification68/4, 68/207, 68/23.5, 68/18.0FA, 68/23.7, 68/154
International ClassificationD06F13/02, D06F39/00
Cooperative ClassificationD06F13/02, D06F39/00
European ClassificationD06F39/00, D06F13/02