US 3065744 A
Abstract available in
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Nov. 27, 1962 A. c. SCAVULLO 3,065,744
PLATE WARMER Filed Aug. 22, 1961 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 I35 7. /4E t I I H H100 ll I 1 Q1. INVENTOR FI6.IA BY Unite States 3,065,7 14 PLATE WARMER Angelo C. Scavullo, Jamaica, N.Y., assignor to Legion Utensils Company, lne, a corporation of New York Filed Aug. 22, 196i, Ser. No. 134,536 3 Claims. (til. 126-246) My application is a continuation-impart of my copending application, Ser. No. 841,418, filed September 21, 1959, entitled Plate Warmer, now abandoned, which is a continuation of my prior application, Ser. No. 661,951, filed May 27, 1957, and entitled Plate Warmer, now abandoned, and the invention relates to plate warmers for restaurant and hospital use, and which plate warmers will maintain dinner plates with food at adequate temperature over prolonged time intervals.
An object of my invention, therefore, is to provide a plate warmer which is simple, inexpensive and easy to produce through simple and direct production techniques, from sheet metal of available grade and size and demanding only minimum investment in tools and dies, the while requiring no provision for added insulation, and assuring effective suppression of substantially all tendency towards build-up of bacteria, while in use effectively maintaining foodstuffs carried therein at desired temperature, the equipment itself being substantially free of sharp edges or discontinuous curves, thus readily lending itself to thorough cleaning and sterilizing, and the several elements and parts of the plate warmer being readily and directly positionable in movably fixed relation to each other, permitting carriage of the warmer with minimum likelihood of relative movement between the parts thereof and so that the plate warmers may be transported while stacked one on top of the other.
Other objects and advantages will in part be obvious and in part more fully pointed out during the course of the following description, particularly when considered in the light of the several views of the drawings.
My invention accordingly may be considered to reside in the several parts, elements and features of construction; in the materials of construction; and in the relation of each of the same with one or more of the others, the scope of the application of all of which is more fully set forth in the claims at the end of this description. v
In the several views of the drawings, wherein I disclose that embodiment of my invention which I prefer at present,
' FIGS. 1 and 1A, respectively, disclose an exploded view and an assembled view of the plate warmer in which the several component parts and elements are shown in section; while FIG. 2 discloses in fragmentary section a modified form of a part of the plate warmer; and
FIG. 3 is a transverse section of a plate warmer with top present, this representing a further embodiment of my invention.
Throughout the several views of the drawings like reference characters denote like structural parts.
As conducive to a more thorough understanding of my invention it may be noted that an important problem which interposes itself in the handling of foodstuffs in hospitals and institutions is that of keeping the prepared foods hot during the time required to transport the same from kitchen to dining room, and as well, during the course of the meal itself. This problem is accentuated where the distances of transport are substantial. example, in hospital practice, a main kitchen is located on one floor, while the individually prepared trays and plates are elevated to localized distributing depots on the several hospital floors. From there and at appointed times the trays are distributed to the individual patients.
Again, it is frequently observed that considerable time .and the plate warmer base.
3,665,744 Patented Nov. 27, 1962 is consumed in the meal itself. Typically, with invalids and the aged, the meal is so protracted that the food, although hot when initially served, chills to unappetizing temperature before it is entirely consumed. In such instance it is desirable, both to have initial service of the food at proper temperature, and thereafter to maintain the same at proper temperature during the course of the meal.
This general problem has long been recognized. And much effort has been directed in the art towards its solution. Many solutions have been encountered. The use of a pellet has been proposed. Such pellet, after undergoing heating to bring it to required temperature, is thereafter disposed in close proximity to the plate of hot food. As a result of its heat retentivity (i.e. its high specific heat) and its release of heat to the closely adjacent plate, it maintains this latter at desired temperature. Foods can both be served and thereafter maintained at acceptable temperatures.
Despite the basic soundness of this principle, experience discloses that it does not work out entirely satisfactorily in actual practice. lllustratively it has been proposed to provide a plate warmer with base portion, and a hot pellet carried within the same in spaced relation to the bottom and side walls thereof.
Now, in this prior art embodiment, a metal box is filled with solid insulating material located between pellet And the hot plate, with its content of food, is itself carried shortly above the hot pellet. A cover member is provided on top of the base member.
The prior art construction, however, has proved unsatisfactory in actual use. Food acids, repeated thermal cycles, etc., rapidly cause separation, at its seams, of the several parts from which the hollow box is formed. And
this is so, whether the seams be welded, soldered or however made. Moisture thereupon penetrates the interior insulation. Flashed into vapor or steam upon application of the hot pellet these vapors cause further separation at the junction of the metal parts of the box. Rupture takes place. And space is provided for foreign matter and bacteria. 1
An important object of my invention, therefore, is to avoid these several disadvantages and defects in the prior art and at the same time to provide a plate warmer, in which the hot pellet is carried effectively insulated, or all practical purposes, from the base member; which plate warmer is substantially free of tendency to distort; and which has long useful life, all parts thereof being formed of sheet metal of one kind, which itself isinexpensive, non-strategic and readily available; in which plate warmei' the use of solid insulation material is effectively avoided; and wherein all parts of the plate warmer are formed of gently contoured, rounded and continuous curvature whereby they can be readily sterilized and bacterial accumulation and growth maintained at a minimum; and
wherein ahot dish of porcelain or other ceramic or the like is kept free of the cover member, provision being made to carry this cover member directly on the periphery of the base member, whereby the hot dish is kept free from strains imposed by the cover member either alone or with its added load of superposed plate warmers, and which plate warmer may include any one of a variety of cover members where desired.
And now, having reference to the disclosure of the several views of the drawings, it will be seen that I provide a plate warmer with base member 10 disclosed in vertical transverse section in FIGS. 1 and 1A. This base member assumes generally the form of an inverted, deeply dished saucer which has a generally flat bottom portion 12 2A, preferably circular in plan. At its periphery the 3 bottom portion A is gently and upwardly rounded on continuous curvature, into gently and outwardly flaring, upstanding side wall 108. Side wall 108 is annular in cross-section. The general shape of base member 10 is of inverted concave section.
Near its upper terminal edge, however, the side wall 193 is outwardly flared as at NC, on reverse curvature (i.e. inwardly convex and outwardly concave) and then upturned, as at 10D. This provides an upstanding lip defining an inwardly and peripheral annular seat 10E for the hot plate of foodstuffs or the like, to be referred to. An upstanding offset, provided centrally of the bottom portion 19A, as at 10F, serves the two-fold function of facilitating stacking of the plate warmers one on top of the other, and of positioning and removably immobilizing the pellet support, next to be described.
" Where desired, as appears more fully hereinafter and as shown in FIG. 3, there is employed a double reverse curvature near the upper terminal edge of the side-wall portion of the base member to provide a double peripheral lip or shoulder, one adapted to seat the dinner plate and one the lid or cover.
Pellet support 11, also disclosed in FIGS. 1 and 1A, comprises an inverted cup-like support element 11A. It has an upper portion 11B and a downwardly extending side wall 11C. The upper portion merges into side wall 110 with gentle and continuous curvature, to provide an internal and downwardly concave opening. The side wall 11C, which is annular in cross-section, is terminally and outwardly flared, on gentle reverse curvature, as at 11D, so asto fit snugly about the upstanding positioning off-set 10F of base member 10. The side wall 11C of the support element is of such depth as to hold the upper portion 11B in spaced relation to the said stud 10F, thus providing a dead air space 11 therebetween, and between the pellet-supporting cup portion hereinafter described and said base member. It will be seen from the foregoing that the support element 11A, when applied within the base member 10, is positioned centrally and removably fast at the bottom thereof. And that it is retained in fixed relation to said base member, even when the latter is canted to substantial extent to the horizontal.
The hot pellet, shortly to be described, is carried in a cup-like element, disclosed generally at 11E. This eleinent has a wide-diameter, bottommost portion 11F which engages on the topmost or outer surface of the upper pbrtien 11B of the supporting element 11A. Throughout it extent it is made permanently fast thereto in desired suitable m riner, as by welding or the like. The cup-like Element 1113 aasagentl outwardly and upwardly flaring side wall 11G. This provides a shallow, upwardly concave and generally dish-shaped cup for the hot pellet.
While any suitable material may be employed for the preaaepi a of'the combined support and cup, I prefer to the same bf stainless steel. I find that the stainless steel cup; and s'upport combination prevents excessive heating of the bottom of the plate warmer base. Moreever, such a cup-support lends itself readily and without damage to depeated cleaning and sterilization.
The heat-retaining pellet itself is indicated generally a; 12. It is of generally flattened and disc-like configuration, of diameter and thickness in transverse crossseason such that it is nicely retained in the cup 11E when the latter is properly positioned within the base member 10. Preferably, I provide a central opening 12A extending transversely therethrough, in the form of a bore. This facilitates ready handling by a suitable tool (not shown). I prefer to form pellet 12 of readily available material possessing requisite high degree of heat retentivity or high specific heat. I find aluminum to be entirely satisfactory for thispurpose.
In use, the aluminum pellet is brought to a high degree of temperature, as in a suitable kitchen-located oven, and is thenpositioned in the cup 11E (see FIG. 1A). With onlyv circular line contact between the inverted support 11A and the interior face of the bottom 10A of the base member 19, heat transmission is effectively retarded between the pellet 12 and the base member 10. The dead air space between pellet support and base member materially contributes to heat retentivity. AIldFVldently the material itself, stainless steel, substantially prevents heat transmission.
A plate, conventional in material, design and dimensions and usually formed of suitable ceramic, is disclosed at 13. It has outwardly and upwardly flaring rim 13A by which the plate (see FIG. 1A) is supported on the peripheral ledge 10E of base member 10, so that the bottom part 133 of the plate is freely carried in closely spaced relation to the hot pellet 12. Heat is earned from pellet 12, by convection and radiation, directly to the center, bottom portion 13B.
I provide a cover member, indicated generally at 14, for my plate warmer. This cover fits over dish 13. Preferably I maintain the same, when in position, completely out of contact with plate 13 and resting entirely on base member 10, preferably at and about its peripheral and upstanding edge 10D. In this manner all stressing of plate 13, whether thermal or mechanical, is avoided. To this end the cover 14, in use, is disposed in inverted position, so that its mid-portion 14A is disposed uppermost with its side wall 143 being gently let, by continuous curvature (in transverse section), into the mid-portion 14A. Preferably the side wall 143 is flared, providing inward concavity to the cover 14. Terminally the side wall 148 is reversely and outwardly flared, on continuous curvature, as at 14D, to provide a lip-like peripheral flange 14E adapted to fit about and snugly engage the peripheral edge 10D of the base member 10.
For stacking, I provide a centrally opposed and upstanding ofiset 14F. This offset extends upwardly and outwardly from the top center of the cover 14, as shown in FIG. 1. The curvature at the junction which exists between the stud 14F and the cover bottom 14A is continuous and unbroken to facilitate ready sterilization and to avoid bacteria build-up. The cover 14 is circular in section throughout its extent. While again, any suitable material may be employed from which to construct this cover member 14 I prefer, for reasons already stated, to form the same of stainless steel. Additionally, and by so doing, I am enabled to form all parts of the plate warmer from the same material, except for the pellet itself.
To permit escape of vapors which may gather from foodstuffs inadvertently spilling into the base member 10 from the food-laden plate 13 while in transport or the like, I provide one or more openings 106 in the side wall 10B of this base member. And similarly, and to permit the release and escape of food-originated vapors from the top surface of the plate 13, I provide an opening 14G in the centrally located stud 14F of the cover member 14. Additionally, these openings 106 and 146 serve to facilitate handling of the respective members in which they are provided. It is apparent from the foregoing that the offsets 14F and 10F permit ready stacking of one plate warmer on top of the other, the offset 14F engaging and overlying the offset 10F of the base member 10 of the overlying plate warmer. A number of plate warmers can be carried with stable equilibrium between them, while in transport.
While in the embodiment disclosed in FIG. 1 I disclose an embodiment of the combined pellet cup and support wherein the cup 11E is in welded or riveted relation to the support 11A I prefer, for many reasons, to strike this cup and support from a single piece of metal. By so doing, I eliminate all cracks defining the seam between cup and support. Local foci of bacteria build-up is avoided. And the problem of cleaning and sterilizing is rendered more simple.
The continuous support and cup, formed from a single piece of metal, is disclosed in the embodiment of FIG. 2.
Therein the combined element is indicated at 15. It is diestamped, deep-drawn or otherwise shaped from a single sheet of metal into the configuration shown in FIG. 2. Preferably formed of stainless steel sheet, I provide the combined element with vertical side wall 15A, turned at its top into a downwardly depending and centrally disposed cup indicated generally at 15B provided with bottom 15C for the reception of the aluminum pellet 12, and with up-wall 15D having gently upwardly and outwardly extending flare, merging at its top into the outer side wall 15A. The bottom of the side wall 15A is outwardly and downwardly flared at 15E to provide a circular foot for reception about the upwardly projecting olfset F in base member 10. All transverse sections through the support of FIG. 2 are either circular or annular. All junctions, as at F and 15G, are comparatively gently and continuously curved, thereby eleminating areas for entrapment of foreign matter and bacteria build-up. The one-piece support and cup is stamped or deep-drawn in a single, direct and simple operation.
It will be recalled that the aluminum pellets 12 are brought to high temperature in a kitchen-located electric oven and are thus rendered difficult and even hazardous in handling. I provide a suitable tool for the ready manipulation of these pellets by which they can be readily removed from the oven and placed in the cup-like support provided therefor as previously described.
And in the embodiment disclosed in FIG. 3 of the drawings, I provide a base member 10 with bottom raised as at 10F, side walls 10B and concentric double peripheral lips 10C and 10H. A plate 13 with foodstuffs is received and supported on the lip 10C. The lid or cover 14 seats on the base member with the peripheral lip 10H of the base member. Any strain imposed on the plate 13 by the stacking of plate warmers one on top of the other is avoided because the lid rests entirely upon the base member and not upon the edge or rim of the plate of foodstuffs. Although, where desired, as where no stacking is contemplated, a slightly smaller lid may be employed which may rest partially on the edge of the plate although primarily on the outermost peripheral ledge of the base member.
In this embodiment of my invention I illustrate a hollow dish-like support member 11' which fits over the raised portion 10F of the base member bottom. This is more particularly described and claimed in my companion application Ser. No. 52,955, filed August 30, 1960 and entitled Plate Warmer. It is this dish-like member which serves to receive and support a heating pellet 12. It comprises an inverted dish-like portion with upper peripheral shoulder 11L, depressed central portion 11K and a disc 11F serving to effect closure of the inverted dish portion. Conveniently the rim of the disc is curved to conform to the curve of the raised portion of the base member and also the outwardly flaring rim 11C of the inverted dish-like support. And the two, the inverted dish-like member and the pellet support, are welded together at their contacting peripheries. Moreover, the member 11' is press-fitted onto the raised portion of base member 10 and preferably welded thereto.
It is apparent from the foregoing that my new plate warmer satisfies a very real need in its general field of application. Low in cost, both from the standpoint of materials required and manufacturing procedure, it displays long useful life. It is quickly conditioned for the reception of a plate of foodstuifs which is to be kept in its initial heated condition. 'The stainless steel construction, coupled with the substantial absence of sharp and disconcontinuous edges particularly in the preferred construction provides no harbour for foreign matter and efiectively prohibits the build-up of bacteria during repeated service, while facilitating rapid, simple, direct and thorough cleaning and sterilization.
The construction of my plate warmer is such that substantially all of the heat stored in the aluminum pellet is transmitted by radiation or convection to the bottom of the plate. Little heat is transmitted to the base member. By consequence the bottom of the base member 10 does not become objectionably hot. Moreover, with minimum heat loss through base and through cover, as well, the plate and its contents can be maintained hot during transport over substantial distance and during storage for substantial intervals of time before actual service of the food. Additionally, plate 13 is maintained warm while the contents of the plate are being consumed.
All of the above are achieved with absence of special requirement for insulation.
A number of plate warmers can be stacked one on top of the other for transport or storage, With assurance that they will remain in firmly stable condition and without danger of tipping over or movement relative to each other. As well, assurance is provided that the cup and support will remain firmly, properly and centrally situated in the basemember. Similarly, assurance is provided that the hot pellet will remain securely in its supporting cup. This cup, in turn, automatically positions itself in proper relation to the bottom face of the plate 13.
All the foregoing, as well as many other highly practical advantages, attend the practice of my invention. And since it is apparent that many changes may be made therein, it is to be understood that the foregoing disclosure is to be considered as purely illustrative and not by way of limitation.
Having described my invention, I claim:
1. A plate warmer adapted to carry a plate and a heating pellet for supplying heat to the plate and contents comprising, in combination, a stainless steel sheet metal base member having an outwardly and upwardly flared side wall portion with upstanding peripheral edge forming a ledge adapted to receive a dinner plate and support the same within the confines of said base member with contact only at the rim of the plate, said base member having at least one opening in the side wall portion thereof adjacent said peripheral ledge, and on the bottom thereof a low central upstanding offset portion; and a stainless steel sheet metal support for the pellet having an inverted cup-like base portion with downwardly extending side walls, with rim thereof fitting over and about said low central offset portion of said base member and contacting the same by way of said rim, and an upper shallow cup-like portion spaced well above said offset portion of the base member and providing an insulating air space between said cup-like portion and said base member, said shallow cup-like portion being adapted to receive and support a heating pellet in a position closelyv adjacent the bottom of the dinner plate but out of contact therewith and with the upper edge of the heating pellet projecting above the upper edge of the pellet-supporting shallow cup-like portion to ensure that heat from said pellet radiates unobstructedly to the outer bottom surfaces of said plate, whereby the pellet supplies heat throughout the area of the plate bottom to transfer heat to the entire contents of the plate.
2. A plate warmer adapted to carry -a plate and a heating pellet for supplying heat to the plate and contents comprising, in combination, a stainless steel sheet metal base member having an outwardly flared side wall portion with double peripheral ledge portion comprising an inner ledge adapted to receive a dinner plate and support the same within the confines of the base member with contact only at the rim of the plate, and an outer ledge adapted to receive a lid or cover for said plate and contents, said base member having on the bottom thereof a low central upstanding oifset portion; and a stainless steel sheet metal support for the pellet having an inverted cup-like base portion with downwardly extending side walls, with rim thereof fitting over and about said low central offset portion of said base member and contacting the same by way of said rim, and an upper shallow cup-like portion spaced well above said offset portion of the base member and providing an insulating air space between said cup-like portion and said base member, said shallow cup-like portion being adapted to receive and support a heating pellet in a position closely adjacent the bottom of the dinner plate but out of contact therewith and with the upper edge of the heating pellet projecting above the upper edge of the pellet-supporting shallow cup-like portion to ensure that heat from said pellet radiates unobstructedly to the outer bottom surfaces of said plate, whereby the pellet supplies heat throughout the area of the plate bottom to transfer heat to the entire contents of the plate.
3. A plate warmer adapted to carry a plate and a heating pellet for supplying heat to the plate and contents comprising, in combination, a stainless steel sheet metal base member having an outwardly and upwardly flared side wall portion with double peripheral ledge portion comprising an inner ledge adapted to receive and support a dinner plate within the confines of the base member with contact only at the rim of the plate and an outer ledge for receiving a lid or cover for said plate and contents, said base member having on the bottom thereof a low central upstanding ofi'set portion; a stainless steel sheet metal support for the heating pellet having an inverted cup-like base portion with downwardly extending side walls, with rim thereof fitting over and about said low central offset portion of said base member and cont-acting the same by way of said rim, and an upper shallow cuplike portion spaced well above said oifset portion of the base member and providing an insulating air space between said cup-like portion and said base member, said shallow cup-like portion being adapted to receive and support a heating pellet in a position closely adjacent the bottom of the dinner plate but out of contact therewith and with the upper edge of the heating pellet projecting above the upper edge of the pellet-supporting shallow cup-like portion to ensure that heat from said pellet radiates unobstructedly to the outer bottom surfaces of said plate, whereby the pellet supplies heat throughout the area of the plate bottom to transfer heat to the entire contents of the plate; and a lid or cover member with outwardly and downwardly flared side wall portions with the peripheral rim thereof received on the outer ledge of said double peripheral ledge portion of said base member.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,582,735 Alaj Jan. 15, 1952 2,830,576 Torino et al Apr. 15, 1958 FOREIGN PATENTS 13,819 Great Britain 1884