US 3038324 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
June 12, 1962 J. R. HUBBARD 3,038,324
COMBINATION WASHING AND DRYING MACHINES Filed Aug. 10, 1960 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 ATTOR/Vf) Julie 12, 1962 J. R. HUBBARD 3,038,324-
COMBINATION WASHING AND DRYING MACHINES Filed Aug. 10, 1960 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 lllllm 1:76 INVENTOR.
F. 0 FROM United States Patent 3,03%,324 (IUMBHIATIUN WASIHNG AND DRYH IG MACHINES This invention relates to a combination washing and drying machine and particularly to suds control means for the same.
In the drying operation performed in such a combination machine, difiiculty has been encountered due to the continued presence of suds or lather pursuant to the creation and use of such material in a previous washing operation. Various attempts have been made to remove the suds remaining after the washing phase or to prevent them from finding access to the drying equipment, such as heaters and blowers; this however has caused further difiiculty as it has led to unduly space-consuming, complicated and expensive structures, while it was and is desired to make the entire machine as small and compact as possible.
It is accordingly an object of this invention to provide a combination washer-dryer with space-conserving suds control devices.
A further object is to provide for simple and effective suds control, so that the machine is safely protected from difficulty even in the event that the user fails to comply accurately with the operating instructions as to dosage of suds-forming materials.
It is also an objective of my invention to provide, in a combination washer-dryer machine, a novel tub wall or plate construction characterized in that it unitarily embodies certain circulation passages and suds control mechanism. Still another object is to use for this purpose a tube wall or plate construction which also serves as a tub back and as a bearing unit for the laundry drum in the tub.
I have found that the several objects can be achieved by taking advantage of a generally vertical tub back or bearing plate construction inherently required for the rotary or pivotal support of the fabric drum of the machine, which plate construction can be shaped and arranged so as to provide most effectively for the suds control requirements outlined above and to conserve both space and material to the utmost. These and associated features of the invention will now be described in greater detail.
FIGURE 1 is a perspective front view of a combination washer-dryer incorporating this invention. FIGURE 2 is an exploded perspective view of internal parts of said machine. FIGURE 2A is a fragmentary plane view, showing a certain group of such parts. FIGURE 3 is a front elevational view of the machine with parts of an outer panel broken off. FIGURE 4 is a cross sectional view taken along line l4 in FIGURE 3. FIGURE 5 is a rear elevational view of the machine. FIGURE 6 is a perspective view, on a somewhat larger scale, of the tub back or hearing plate structure and associated parts. FIGURE 7 is a simplified wiring diagram for the washerdryer.
As indicated in FIGURES 1 and 2 the new machine is of the type wherein a fabric-retaining, air permeable drum 10 revolves in a tub 11, about a more or less horizontal axis A, behind a door 12 in a cabinet 13, the machine being provided with inlets 14 (FIGURE 5) for hot and cold water and 15 for air. The machine comprises in coaxial rearward succession from front door 12 (FIGURE 1), a curved air supply duct 16 (FIGURE 2), laundry tub structure 11 with rotatable drum 10 therein, and first and second bearing plates 17, 18, said plates being rear portions of the laundry tub. The invention is particularly concerned with air passage means provided by or directly associated with these plates 17, 18.
Controls 19 are rovided (FIGURE 1), which not only cause automatic washing operations but whereby the machine can be caused to operate as a dryer. A current 20 of hot air is then produced with the aid of a heater unit disposed in or associated with the air inlet 15 (see for instance gas heater 21 in FIGURE 3). The current of hot air is maintained with the further aid of a blower unit 22, installed on a rear surface of the r-earmost bearing plate 18 (FIGURES 4 to 6).
The small and compact configuration of the new machine is best shown in FIGURE 1. The way in which it has been achieved will now be explained.
According to the invention and as best shown in FIG- URE 2, air current 20 is directed by a series of specially formed and controlled passage members, starting with inlet 15 and including the supply duct 16 which leads from this inlet in a curved, upward-downward path to a tub entry port 23, formed in the front wall 24 of tub 11 and particularly in the left-hand portion of said wall as seen in this figure. From this tub entry port the air current passes into and through the rotatable drum 10 and into tub 11. It then leaves by a tub exit port 25, formed in an upper, right-hand portion of the first bearing plate 1'7. A lateral-flow duct 26, disposed between the two bearing plates, has a front inlet portion communicating with this tub exit port, while having a side outlet portion. After lateral deflection in this duct, for lint removal as will be described, the air passes downwardly between bearing plates 17, 18 to the suction inlet port 27 of blower unit 22, for ultimate discharge from the machine ina rearward direction as shown.
In further accordance with the invention the new air passage 15 to 27 has suds control means disposed thereon, well above the regions of the air inlet 15 and heater 21 and of the air blower 22. A first or intake suds door unit 28 is interposed between heater 21 and tub entry port 23, in an uppermost portion of the curved intake duct 16 which interconnects these areas at a front end of the machine, as is best indicated in FIGURE. 1. As further indicated in FIGURES 2 and 2A, a gate 28A, forwardly slidable for purposes of inspection, is installed in front of a vertical shaft 28B, this shaft being provided for operation of said door 28. For this purpose the shaft has a bracket 28C. While door 23 itself is arranged inside said duct 16 and interposed on air stream 20 (FIGURE 1), this bracket 280 (FIGURE 2A) is disposed on the outside of said duct and is normally biased by a spring 28D to turn the shaft and thereby the door in one direction, subject to opposite turning thereof by a solenoid rod 28E. At the other end of tub 11 (FIGURE 2), a second or exit suds door unit 29 is provided in front of the tub exit port 25 for selective closure of this port. These two doors 28, 29 protect, respectively, the heater and blower units 21, 22 from difficulties which could and often would arise from the formation of suds in the washing cycle.
At the same time tub exit port 25 and door 29 cooperate with other passage units to protect blower 22 from the lint which necessarily enters the air stream during the drying operation. As already indicated, the air passage has a lint trap interposed between the fabric drum and the blower. This trap is shown at 30 and is removably inserted between opposite surfaces of bearing plates 17, 18, at a point of the air passage located between lateral flow duct 26 and blower 22. This lint trap receives air from the open side of lateral-flow duct 26. The internal construction of the trap need not be shown herein, being known to the art.
The suds control system or passage and door arrangement, provided in accord with this invention, is capable of protecting the machine from the above-mentioned difiiculties even in the presence of a rich and voluminous lather or mass of suds, which tends to fill the drum and the tub and all accessible neighboring spaces. Such protection is important as the suds are usually able not only to expand readily through the apertures of drum 10 but for instance to pass also through the much finer pores of a lint trap screen. In the absence of efiective controls, the suds could readily pass, for instance, into the air heater 21 or blower 22, FIGURE 3. This in turn would cause the obvious danger that, among other things, noxious odors would be evolved in the subsequent heater operation and that the blower operation would be seriously impaired in air-stream propelling efiiciency.
Attempts have therefore been made in the prior art to control the formation of lather or suds so as to prevent the same from extending beyond the tub, or beyond certain portions of the tub. However, since the suds forming materials are subject to change and since the operation of the machine often is casual, the possibility of very extensive suds development is ever present and attempts have therefore been made to prevent the suds at least from finding access to the heater and blower elements of a laundering machine. Heretofore, however, the construction and use of suds doors and the like has involved great complications, costs and loss of valuable space, whereas a simple, compact and economical arrangement for such purposes has now been provided, particularly by the new exit suds door 29 in the first back plate 17 and the lateral-flow duct 26 associated with this door.
The invention takes advantage of the fact that a certain amount of depth or front to back extension is inherently required for the adequate support of shaft 31 of fabric drum 10. This shaft runs in a suitably elongated bearing structure 32, which in turn is held by suitably spaced, central portions of the first and second bearing plates 17, 18. In accordance with the invention and as shown in FIGURES 2, 4, and 6, the rear bearing plate 18 is shaped and recessed so that the space between it and the other bearing plate 17 not only receives this bearing means 32 but also, in a wide, upper portion of this space, provides room for lateral-flow duct 26 and lint trap 30, between tub exit port 25 and blower inlet port 27. A lower part of the space between the bearing plates, by contrast, is relatively narrow, thereby reserving an adequate portion of the overall depth for the installation of blower 22, secured to a rear surface of rear bearing plate 18, as best shown in FIGURE 6.
Thus it will be seen that the current of air which has passed through lint trap 30 discharges into a lower and relatively narrow portion of the space between bearing plates 17, 18. This narrow portion is suflicient for the passage of said current of air as no further equipment is required, and provided, between the lint trap and the blower inlet. The air then passes rearwardly through suction inlet port 27 in rear bearing plate 18, the blower 22 being mounted on the outside of this second bearing plate.
It will be noted that the only structure of some appreciable size and weight, provided in accordance with the invention and added to the basically required laundry tub and drum equipment, heater and blower, comprises the exit suds door 29 and lateral-flow duct 26". These are simple and inexpensive units. They allow very reliable suds control at the rear or blower end of the machine, while involving only a bare minimum of extra parts and expense. Also, importantly, these parts do not in any way add to the space required by the machine, such requirements being dictated by the need for an adequate bearing structure 32 between plates 17, 18.
It will further be noted from FIGURES 1 to 4 that a similarly space-saving and eifective air duct and suds control arrangement 16, 28 is provided at the front or heater end of the machine.
As indicated in FIGURE 5, the entire tub and air passage unit 15, 11, 22 is resiliently suspended in cabinet 13. This unit also includes a drive wheel 33 for the fabric drum and a motor drive 34, adapted to rotate this wheel by suitable belting. Also driven by this motor drive is a belt system driving the pulley of blower 22.
For the operation of the exit suds door 29 (FIG- URE 2), the machine provides a shutter unit 35 comprising an actuating solenoid 36, as shown by FIGURES 5 and 6. The solenoid mechanism can have the form of a bell crank lever 37 adapted when the solenoid is energized to provide rearward motion of the control linkage 38 (FIGURES 2, 6 and 7), thereby rearwardly moving such door 29 and sealing tub exit opening 25. A return motion of the door can be elfected in any suitable way and the entire solenoid mechanism can be very small; this mechanism when conveniently and accessibly installed on plate 35 in the rear portion of the machine adds substantially nothing to the space requirements, defined by the drive means 33 'and the bearing structure 32 for drum 10 (see FIGURES 4 and 5).
As shown in FIGURES 2, 2A, 3 and 4 a further solenoid mechanism 39 is provided for operating solenoid rod 28B and thereby the front or inlet suds door 28.
In the operation of the machine all of the circuits shown in FIGURE 7 are de-energized prior to a starting impulse and it may be mentioned at this point that the suds door operating solenoids 36 and 39 are also de-energized during the drying phase, whereas they are energized (by connecting them across the line, shown at L-1, L-2, which preferably comprise a volt source), and caused to close their respective suds doors during the washing, rinsing and extraction cycles. This arrangement serves not only to minimize power consumption traceable to these solenoids (it may be noted that the drying cycle usually is longer than the combined washing, rinsing and extraction cycles); it also serves to minimize vibration and noise traceable to the solenoid linkages during the various agitations and vibrations which occur, for instance during the extraction cycle.
Normal operation of the machine starts with the introduction of fabrics and soap into drum 10 through door 12. Control 19 is then started, which successively energizes the electrical components of the machine, initially energizing suds door solenoids 36, 39 to close the two suds doors and also energizing valve solenoid 40' to admit water to the machine. Motor 34 is also started at this time, by the timing device, to rotate drive means 33 and drum 10 and thus to initiate the washing process. In this process a large amount of suds is evolved in drum 10 and tub 11, which is however prevented, by the normal closure of suds doors 28, 29, from reaching the blower or heater units. (The machine is shown in FIGURE 7 as comprising a heater, for instance an electric heater 42, installed in or on inlet duct 15. It will be noted that the air duct and control structures of the invention can be used with equal convenience for the protection of such an electrical heater as in connection with gas heater 21 shown in FIGURE 3. Whereas the power source, L-l, L-2, is mentioned as being 115 volts, it will be understood that higher voltage may be provided.)
The washing process continues for a suitable time after de-energization of solenoid 4t and closing of inlet system 14, FIGURE 7. Thereafter, control unit 19 causes a drain system 41 to be opened by solenoid or motor means 43, to dispose of spent wash water, and further causes clean water to be admitted by re-energizing fill valve solenoid means at to initiate rinsing. Similar draining and rinsing operations are desirably repeated a number of times, in the cycle controlled by unit 19, and it is possible during some of these operations to rotate drum 10 at an accelerated speed by operation of a suitable speed control clutch 44. The cycle of times operations continues with an extracitng process, wherein clutch and drain solenoids d3, 44 are energized while fill valve solenoid 49 is not.
Then, on completion of "he extracting operation, the sud-s door solenoids 36, 39 and speed control clutch solenoid 44 are rte-energized, while drain control 43 remains energized and water inlet control it! remains de-energized. At this time, accordingly the suds doors 28, 29 are opened, thus enabling blower 22 to establish the air current 20, initially described with reference to FIGURE 1 and schematically shown in FIGURE 7.
Direction and velocity of this positively maintained air current are such that there can be no reverse flow of suds to air intake and the air heater, and that any suds reaching blower 22 are forcibly driven through this blower; in other words, no opportunity is given to the suds to settle on or about the blower surfaces, or in any way to contact the heater unit.
While only a single embodiment of the invention has been described, it should be understood that the details thereof are not to be construed as limitative of the invention, except insofar as is consistent with the scope of the following claims.
1. In a combination washing and drying machine wherein a drum, arranged for the tumbling of fabrics, is pivotally supported by rearwardly successive, first and second rear closure plates of a tub, said tub being arranged for exposing the fabrics in the drum to a current of heated air, the improvement which comprises a lateral-flow duet between said plates, adapted to receive said current of air from said tub through a tub exit port in the first plate; a lint trap adapted to be inserted between said plates and to receive air from said duct; a blower mounted on a rear surface of the second plate, with a blower suction port in said second plate; and a door structure for said tub exit port, including power means mounted on the rear surface of the second plate, to prevent access of suds, formed in said drum and tub, to said duct and lint trap and thereby to said blower.
2. A machine for washing, rinsing, extracting, and hot-air drying fabrics, comprising a tumbling drum; a tub surrounding said drum and having first and second hack- Wardly successive bearing plates, relatively Widely spaced in central and upper portions thereof to provide cen tral bearing means and upper air passage means therebetween; a shaft supported by said beating means for rotating the drum; means for guiding a current of air, for drying fabrics in the drum, through said air passage means with the aid of a port in the first bearing plate; means installed between said bearing plates, communicating with said air passage means, and adapted to treat said air; and movable closure means for said port adapted during said washing to prevent access of suds from said tub to said air passage means and thereby to the means communicating with said air passage means.
3. A laundry machine comprising a tumbling drum; a tub surrounding said drum and having a front plate, a peripheral wall, and first and second backwardly successive backplates centrally spaced apart to provide hearing means for rotating the drum; means for washing, rinsing and extracting fabrics in the drum; and air passage means for passing heated air through the tub and drum for drying the fabrics, said passage means including an air entrance passage to the tub, extending along the front plate; a. heater associated therewith; an mr exit passage between said backplates, having one end communicating with the inside of said tub; lint trap means installed between said backplates, communicating with the other end of said air exit passage; and a pair of movable closure devices, one in each of said passages, each adapted during said washing to prevent access of suds from said tub to the respective passage.
4. A comoination washer-dryer comprising a tub; a fabrics tumbling drum pivotally supported therein by first and econd rearwardly successive bearing plates forming part of the tub; means for washing fabrics in the drum with the help of suds, filling major portions of the tub; and means for thereafter exposing the washed fabrics to rinsing, extracting and drying, the drying means including blower means mounted on a lower rear surface of the second bearing plate for creating an air current, heater means for heating said air current, air supply duct means leading from the heater means upwardly and then downwardly along a front portion of the tub, an air outlet port in the first bearing plate to receive said air current from the tub, a lateral-flow duct adapted to receive the air current from said outlet port, a lint trap adapted to receive said air current from said duct, said duct and trap being disposed between upper portions of said bearing plates, and said trap communicating, by a port in the second bearing plate, with said blower, and solenoid-operated closure means for said air supply duct means and lateral-flow duct, said closure means being disposed respectively in an uppermost portion of said air supply duct means and in said outlet port.
5. For use as a unitary tub back, drum bearing structure and air passage structure for a combination washing and drying machine, first and second plates of genorally circular outline and of generally similar diameter, said plates having mutually adjacent, rigidly joined peripheries and axially spaced upper and central portions; a bearing structure joining said central portions; a lateral-fiow duct between upper portions of said plate, one of said plates having a port adapted to admit a current of air to said duct and the other having a port adapted to receive such current from said duct, said upper portions of said plates being adapted also to have a lint trap inserted between said plates and to receive air from said duct and pass it to said second port; and a door structure for said first port, including power means mounted on the rear surface of said other plate.
6. A structure as described in claim 5 wherein said plates have mutually adjacent, lower portions, including said second port, the second plate being adapted to have a blower mounted on its rear surface with the blower suction aperture overlying said second port.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,869,345 Strathearn et a1. Jan. 20, 1959 2,892,335 Gray June 30, 1959 2,938,366 Maddock-Clegg May 31, 1960 2,961,863 Sulcek Nov. 29, 1960