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Publication numberUS3102796 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 3, 1963
Filing dateDec 1, 1960
Priority dateDec 1, 1960
Publication numberUS 3102796 A, US 3102796A, US-A-3102796, US3102796 A, US3102796A
InventorsErickson Clifford E
Original AssigneeGen Electric
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Laundry machine
US 3102796 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Sept. 3, 1963 c. E. ERICKSON LAUNDRY MACHINE 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed D60. 1, 1960 2 33:: E LEEEEE N w VP. m Y m M V mj m D m M F O F w 4 mm FIG. 8

Sept. 3, 1963 Filed Dec. 1. 1960 c. E. ERICKSON 3,102,796

LAUNDRY MACHINE 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVINTOR. CBLJFFORD E. ERICKSON ATTORNEY WA (/vlaj Sept. 3, 1963 c. E. ERICKSON LAUNDRY MACHINE 3 Sheets-Sheet 3 Filed Dec. 1, 1960 INVENTOR. CLIFFORD E. ERICKSON ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,102,796 LAUNDRY MAQE The present invention relates to laundry drying machines and more particularly to a drying machine utilizing an endless belt conveyor movable in a non-circular orbit for tumbling the laundry being dried therein.

The invention has as its object to provide an improved laundry drying machine which exposes the laundry being dried to a prolonged period of intimacy with the drying medium.

The invention has as a further object the provision of a condenser laundry drying structure which includes apparatus for performing a dewrinkling cycle of operation during which objects placed within the machine are treated by exposure to a moisturized air flow.

It is a further object of the invention to provide a large capacity drying machine which may be fitted within the floor space normally required for machines having substantially lower capacity.

It is a still further object of the invention to provide a clothes dryer in which a flexible conveyor traveling in a substantially elliptical or oblong path comprises the top, side, and bottom walls of a drying chamber, said conveyor having a plurality of intruding fingers which lift the clothes to the top of the ellipse for free fall therefrom.

It is a still further object of the invention to provide a drying chamber for laundry the extent of which is defined by an oblong traveling belt with stationary sidewalls completing the chamber. To accomplish these objects, the invention utilizes a tall, comparatively narrow cabinet within which is fitted a drying chamber comprising a laminated endless belt conveyor constrained to follow an oblong path or orbit with stationary sidewalls completing the chamber. Heated air is fed into the rear of the drying chamber and the air is exhausted through apertures in an inwardly directed door emboss for passage through a dchumidification chamber and an air heating chamber for re-entry into the drying chamber. Secure-d to the belt inner wall are a series of inwardly directed fingers for lifting laundry being dried to the apogee of the orbital path. Thereafter the fingers release the laundry for free fall into the heated air flow pattern. The vertical extent of this free fall path is virtually the entire height of the drying cabinet, thus insuring :a prolonged period of exposure of the laundry to the drying medium (heated air). Due to this prolonged contact, the laundry will be dried in a considerably shorter time than is required for conventional rotary drum drying.

It will become apparent that while the invention has been described for use with a recirculatory dehumidifying air system, the construction is readily applicable to nonrecirculatory blower dryers.

Optionally there is provided means for allowing delicate fabrics to be hung within the air fiow pattern for drying while the clothes tumbling belt is maintained stationary. A further option allows clothes to be hung in the drying chamber to provide a moisturizing or dewrinkling process. A still further option allows this dcW-rinklin-g process to be accomplished at either normal room temperatures or at temperatures slightly elevated above room temperature.

This invention both as to its organization and principle of operation, together with further objects and advantages thereof will be best understood by reference to the fol- 3,l2,7% Patented Sept. 3, 1963 lowing specification taken in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a right front perspective view of the drying cabinet exterior with the access door in the open position;

FIG. 2 is a rear sectional elevation of the cabinet taken along the lines 22 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a side sectional elevation of the cabinet viewed along lines 33 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a top sectional elevation showing the base mounted components within the cabinet;

FIG. 5 is a detailed close up of a section of the clothes tumbling conveyor belt taken from within the belt enclosed path;

FIG. 6 is a side sectional elevation of the belt taken along the lines s e of FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional elevation taken along the lines 77 of FIG. 5;

FIG. 8 is a view as FIG. 7 showing the cooperation of the clothes tumbling belt and the surrounding stationary raceway; and

FIG. 9 is a schematic diagram of a circuit to provide the desired features.

General Description Referring now to FIG. 1 of the drawings there is shown the exterior of a laundry dryer ltl embodying the present invention. The dryer is provided with a tall cabinet 12, having a vertical dimension of the order of from two to three times its width. The cabinet rests on a base lid and has an imperforate top surface 16. The cabinet is generally imperforate with the exception of a front access opening 18 which is vertically elongate. A door 20 is hinged to the front of the cabinet for movement between an open position allowing access to the interior of the cabinet and a closed position.

Above the door 20 on the cabinet front there is provided a control panel 22 providing manual control devices to establish and indicate the desired operational sequence of the dryer. Suitable mechanisms, indicated by the numeral '24 in FIG. 3 and shown diagrammatically in FIG. 9, are used to translate the operational sequence selected by the operator into the operational instructions for the machine.

Within the cabinet, as can best be seen in FIGS. 2 and 3, there is shown a conveyor belt 26 arranged to traverse an upright substantially oblong path.

The belt may be of laminated construction, with the opposite ends connected to form the endless character of the belt. In FIG. 6 is shown a cross-section of suitable belting, composed of a layer 27 of a rubber-like material, and a layer 28 of cloth or textile fabric having a conventional bias Weave to prevent stretching in longitudinal or transverse directions, and optionally including a woven reinforcement indicated as 29, FIGS. 6 and 7. About the belt near the opposite edges thereof are the parallel cogged tracks 39 which form endless tracks for guiding and driving the belt. These tracks 30 are, of course, of flexible material fastened to the layer 28 by suitable adhesive supplemented by staples 3-1 of stainless steel wire or equivalent. 1

These cogs mesh with complementary teeth 34 on two separate, spaced apart cog wheels 36 (FIG. 4) positioned within the base of the cabinet. These wheels are aligned on opposite ends of a single axial shaft 37 which is driven in rotary fashion by drive motor '38 through suitable drive pulleys 40 and 4 1, and belt 42. The driven pulley 41 is secured in driving relationship with shaft 37 to rotate both cog wheels 36 simultaneously, thus driving both cog tracks in synchronism.

In this way both tracks will drive the conveying belt in a regular and even pattern maintaining proper align- 44 at either belt edge are positioned to slide within suitable oblong raceway channels 46 which are secured to the cabinet structure to firmly position the belt periphery to the enclosing cabinet.

Again returning to the showing of FIG. 4, a second motor 50 is mounted to the cabinet base and includes a double-ended drive shaft 52. At one end of shaft 52 is a pulley 54 driving a drain pump mechanism 56 through the medium of drive belt 58 and driven pulley 60. At the other end, shaft -2 directly drives an air blower mechanism 62 which serves to circulate air through the cabinet. This air circulation pattern which is primarily recirculatory in this embodiment may be traced in FIG. 3 from blower 62 into horizontally extending duct 64 and from there into dehumidification chamber 66. In the chamber 66 (the functioning of which will be explained more fully later), the air rises upwardly into air heating chamber 68 where the air is heated by flow across heating elements 70. From the heating chamber the now heated air passes through the stationary rear wall 72 into the drying chamber 74.

The air will then flow downwardly toward the front of the drying chamber. At the front of the drying chamher the air will leave the chamber by passage through suitable apertures 78 in the lower portion of an inwardly directed emboss 89 of door 26. The emboss '80 may be open .at its lower horizontal surface to allow the exhausted air to pass downwardly through a mesh screen lint filter 82 positioned obliquely to the air flow pattern, and into blower intake duct 54.

Detailed Description of Drying Chamber As mentioned, the drying chamber 74 is essentially defined by the oblong or elliptical continuous sidewall of the endless conveyor belt 26, stationary rear wall 72, and the combination of front wall 76 and closed door 20. The belt which forms the oblong includes as seen best in FIGS. 6-8, two layers 27 and 28 and embedded between layer 27 and layer 28 the series of horizontally aligned slats 85. Each slat may be a rigid metal member imparting further structural rigidity to the belt structure.

Further, there are afiixed about the opposite edges of belt 26, the raceway channel frames 46 previously referred to. These stationary frames which are closely fitted about the enclosing frame edges of the belt serve as bearing surfaces for the belt in its travel. Enclosing frames 44, which travel with the belt, in their most simple form may be extruded lengths of flexible bearing materials such as Teflon or suitable silicones. By using materials from these classes, heat resistant, self lubricating, abrasion resistant frames and raceways may be constructed for long term usage. Each length of frame 44 is, of course, coextensive with the belt and may be afiixed to the belt by means of a stainless steel staple 44.1 connecting the shorter U leg 44.2 to the belt (FIG; 5). The free tip of the staple would be covered by a suitable inset in the longer U leg 44.3. This leg includes a shoulder 44.4 which is adapted to ride against the adjacent shoulder 46.1 of the stationary raceway 46 and thereby position the belt frame 44 laterally relative to the raceway 46. Stationary raceway 46 is arched in cross-section to receive the mating end frame 44 and is oblong in extent and is connected by suitable brackets to the adjacent cabinet walls. The other end of the raceway section is connected to the adjacent stationary wall of the drying chamber to complete a substantially thorough air seal between the drying chamber and the remainder of the cabinet structure.

Extending inwardly from the inner side of the conveyor belt slats are a plurality of lift fingers 86 which are spaced irregularly along the belt. The fingers are advantageously screwed to the transverse metal slats 85 as shown in FIG. 6. These fingers each have a horizontal midsection 88 leading to an angled curved tip 90. The angle of these tips is such that the tip points upwardly while the adjacent belt wall is traveling upwardly as indicated by arrows 92 and downwardly when the adjacent sidewall is moving downwardly as indicated by arrows 94. These fingers tend to lift any laundry resting in the base of the oblong and will carry this laundry to the apogee of the orbital path. At this point, the laundry tends to fall off the fingers and will fall freely to the nadir ofthe orbital path.

' Driving Mechanism The utility of the dryer may be enhanced by providing a selection of operating speeds for the belt 26. This may be done by any conventional mechanical speed change apparatus (not shown) or by employing as the belt drive motor 38, the 4-pole, 6-pole induction type. The motor preferably has a capacity of /3 horsepower and is physically positioned toward the rear of the cabinetbase." By conventional circuitry and selector switch (omitted to simplify the disclosure) shaft 37 may be driven at a faster or slower speed to drive the cog belt and the conveyor belt in the direction indicated by the arrows in FIG. 2.

As mentioned previously, a separate motor '50 is used to operate drain pump 56 and air recirculatory blower 62. By using two separate motors, one for driving the com veyor and the second for rotating the blower and pump, the conveyor may remain stationary while air is being circulated. This selectivity of functions could also be performed by suitable clutches and the like but it is obvious that simplicity and flexibility of operation result from the use of separate motors.

Motor 50, as mentioned previously, is used to drive the drain pump 56. This pump is used to exhaust water from the condensing chamber and is naturally positioned below the condensing chamber. The other end of shaft 52 of motor 50 drives blower 62 for the closed air circulation system.

Air Flow Pattern The air circulation system provides for recirculating the air through a chamber 66, within which moisture is removed from the air to condition it for its next passage through the drying chamber. Although this moisture removal may be effected by various known means such as chemical desiccants or refrigeration systems, I prefer to use the well established method of passing the humid air through a finely divided spray of cold water. The chamber 66 will be hereinafter referred to as a condensing chamber, the entrance to which is the horizontal duct 64. It will be seen that the end 96 of duct 64 protrudes into the chamber at its upper edge and its lower edge is cut back sharply at an angle. In this way, water being sprayed in the condensing chamber cannot readily flow into the air duct 64.

The condenser chamber 66 includes imperforate front and rear walls 100 and 102 respectively, its rear Wall 100 continuing at its top into a shield 104 protruding substantially across more than half of the area of the chamber. Within this shield there is mounted a spray nozzle 106 which is supplied with cold water from the domestic water supply. This nozzle is directed downwardly into the condenser chamber to spray the incoming water into a pattern substantially traversing the area of the condensing chamber. As previously mentioned, a drain opening 108 at the bottom of the chamber is used to exhaust water from the condenser.

An upstanding air passageway :110 communicates with the condenser chamber in the area not covered by shield 104 and this passageway serves as the heater chamber 68.

This chamber includes a number of electrical heating ele ments 70 substantially traversing the horizontal extent of the chamber. These heating elements may be of the familiar metallic sheathed resistance type manufactured by the applicants assignee herein and sold under the trademark Calrod. These heating elements are arranged to form a planar array angled obliquely to the path of air travel through the heating chamber 63 to insure a maximum period of contact between the elements and the passing air. At the upper horizontal reach 112 of the heating chamber, the air passage duct curves to abut the rear wall of the drying chamber. Along the duct wall in the area adjacent the rear wall inlet to the drying chambers, there may be inserted an air temperature thermostat 114 for controlling the air temperature entering the drying chamber. This thermostat may be set to operate its contacts when an air temperature above the desired limit is reached. Such a temperature may be in the range of 250 exemplarily.

Within the area comprehended by the air duct, the rear wall 72 of the drying chamber is in registry with the duct. This registry is only slightly impeded by an open grillwork or grid separator 115 defined by the oval frame 118 conforming in general to the adjacent shape of the duct. Thus the heated air from the heating chamber may readily flow through the open grillwork into the drying chamber.

The air flow pattern has been constructed to form a relatively closed system of ducts leading to and from the drying chamber to simplify the air sealing requirements at the lines of joinder of the conveyor belt and the surrounding chamber. Due to this closed network, substantially all the heated air fed into drying chamber 7 4 through the grillwork 116 will flow' downwardly and from rear to front within the drying chamber to exhaust through the apertures in the door emboss. The air then flows out the open horizontal extent of the emboss and through angled lint screen 82 into the negative pressure zone developed by blower 62. I

For use in operations in which it is desired that the conveyor be maintained stationary while air is being circulated, there has been provided a collapsible hanger mechanism which may be extended into a horizontal position within the drying chamber. The mechanism may be seen in FIG. 3 to protrude through suitable holes in frame 118, and of which there are two rod sections 129 which extend collaterally into the drying chamber. An integral cross brace 12?. forms a support rack for stationarily mounted clothes to be treated in chamber 74. These rod sections are shown cantilevered from wall 72 and are held in a stationary horizontal position capable of supporting clothes on hangers such as 124 by a simple structure. This support rack further includes aflixed to rear wall 72 within the air passageway, upright rods 126 which in turn hold rods 128 extending horizontally into the air duct and terminating in depending lugs 13%. The rods 120 include offset arms 132 extending horizontally and adapted to be held in the position of FIG. 3 by the conjuncture of these arms 132 with the adjacent lugs 130. By drawing these offset arms toward wall 72 this conjuncture may be released to store the rod sections against the rear wall within the drying chamber during periods of non-use as shown in dotted line form in FIG. 2.

Circuit Description In FIG. 9 there is shown a simplified circuit diagram to effect the necessary operations in a most simple manner. In the circuit numerous obvious expedients such as indicator lights, door switches and safety switches have been purposely omitted to keep from unduly lengthening the disclosure. The circuit of FIG. 9 includes a conventional timer knob Mil which protrudes from the front of control panel 22. The timer knob may be rotated in a plane parallel to the control panel. On rotation, the knob rotates a drive shaft (not shown).

The drive shaft positions a conventional timer motor 144. by its angular displacement. This timer motor is of the type which through a suitable transmission 146 drives a cam shaft 148 in step by step fashion at a rate which may be 4 of revolution per minute in order to return the shaft to its OK or Stop position. Cam shaft 148 bears six or more circular cams all of which rotate on rotation of the cam shaft. These cams which have been indicated as cams C1-C6 each control a set of cam springs 51-86. In this most simplified circuit, all the springs S1-S6 close responsive to rotation of knob 14% to prepare various circuits for energization.

Sequentially discussing these prepared circuits: springs S1 lead to the belt drive motor 38, springs S2 lead to the blower motor 50, springs S3 lead to heating units 71 and thermostat 114 serially, springs S4 lead to solenoid 15d which controls the flow of water to the condenser nozzle 106. Suitable time delay devices (not shown) of known design may be used in series with contacts 84- to allow the heaters to function before the introduction of water at nozzle 154. Springs S5 lead to solenoid 157; for controlling the action of alternate nozzle 154 (the function of which will be explained more fully). Springs S6 lead to timer motor 144.

Further there are provided three buttons for governin" the operation of the machine through the options available. Button 160 which is used for setting the machine for a drying operation controls spring contacts 161-167 to condition the machine components for drying. Button 179 is used to set the machine for dewrinkling by operating its contacts 171-177. Button 18% by activating its contacts 181-1 87 sets the machine for steam conditioning. The buttons extend through control panel v22 and are manually depressible and may be mechanically interlocked by any known mechanical arrangement. The circuits are also electrically interlocked to prevent possible problems if more than one button is depressed. In viewing FIG. 9, it should be noted that depression of a button 160, 170', or 180 depresses the armature contactors below that button and release of a button restores its contacts to the position of FIG. 9.

in addition to the previously discussed circuit components there is provided in the circuit of heater 70 which includes springs S3, 163, 173' and 183, a secondary circuit through springs S3, 164, 174 and 184 including a secondary thermostat 19% which maintains the heaters during steam cleaning at a lower temperature than during drying.

It may be noted that the circuit to belt drive motor 38 depends for completion on cam driven contacts S1 being closed in addition to the closure of contacts 161 (following depression of Dry button 161)) and normally closed contacts 171 and 181 also being closed. The circuit to blower motor 50* can be seen to depend on closure of cam contacts S2 and any one of the alternatively operable circuit contacts 162, 172 or 182 following depression of any one of the respective buttons 160, 170 and 180.- Heater 70 in its operating path includes a parallel circuit both legs of which join for a serial path through cam contacts S3. The first of these paths depends on closure of contacts 163 consequent to depression of Dry button 160 and also depends on buttons 170 and 180 remaining unoperated and retaining their normally closed contacts closed. Closure of the alternate path through thermostat 190 depends on depression of steam condition button 180 only and closure of its contacts 184. Thermostat 196 may be placed in the air intake system adjacent thermostat 154 and set for temperature of about The circuit to solenoid includes cam contacts S4 and depends for completion on depression of either button or 17% and consequent closure of contacts and 175. The circuit to solenoid 152 depends on closure of cam contacts S5 and depression of button and 'r' closure thereby of Contacts 186. The circuit to the timer motor 144 depends on closure of contacts S6 and any one of the button operated contacts 167, 177 or 187. Thus, to operate any of the desired machine cycles, the timer knob 140 must be moved oil normal and one of the buttons 160, 170 or 180 must be depressed.

General Operation for Clothes Drying The operation of the dryer may in general be controlled by any of the generally known methods such as cycling the heating elements for predetermined periods or by dryness sensing of the clothes or the like. When the time cycle has been selected, along with the air temperature appropriate to the type of fabric being dried and rotative speed of drive motor 38, and the laundry to be dried has been placed within the drying chamber, the start but-ton 168 for the drying cycle is depressed to initiate the selected cycle. The laundry is lifted by the conveyor fingers on movement of the belt and the laundry is lifted by these angled fingers to the apogee of the conveyor orbital path. As the fingers reach the top they are depending from the conveyor and will drop the laundry into the air flow. The laundry .falls the height of the drying chamber insuring a protracted period of contact with the heated air received at the air inlet to the drying chamber. This intimate contact of air and laundry tends to remove a greater portion of the moisture from the clothes in a shorter time than would occur with a short free fall clothes path. Thus, by providing this comparatively long free fall path for longer air to laundry contact, drying of a normal laundry load requires considerably less time than is required by the most efficient rotary drum dryer.

During this drying cycle, water is fed into nozzle 106 for spraying through the condensing chamber, thereby scrubbing the air and condensing out moisture entrained in the air. The condensing chamber also serves to clean out small lint particles from the air by this scrubbing action. The lint so captured may then be flushed down the drain with the excess from the condensing chamber.

Alternatively the dryer can be used to partially steam condition and remove wrinkles fromclothes such as mens suits and the like which have a tendency to wrinkle after wear. For this operation, the conveyor belt is maintained stationary. Air is circulated and water is fed to an alternate nozzle 154 for this operation. Nozzle 154 is directed upwardly into the lower half of the heating chamber obliquely to the air flow pattern to allow more of the moisture to be picked up by the circulating air. With this action, heater 70 may be energized also to heat the air passing through the heating chamber for clothes treatment. To initiate this warming and moisturizing, steam conditioning button 180 is depressed. By suitable electrical circuitry motor 50 is energized as are heaters 70. The controls to nozzle 154 are also actuated -by this button depression to feed cold water to the nozzle, Thus air is circulated through the air flow pattern and water is sprayed at an angle to the air flow path in order to facilitate the entrainment of moisture in the passing air. The air picks up moisture which is heated slightly by the heaters and moisturized air is fed into the drying chamber. Rod sections 120 would be extended to the position of FIG. 3 and the clothes to be treated would be placed on hangers such as 124 and the door closed. By using generally known timing mechanisms, the treating cycle could be automatically concluded, at the end of which the system would be returned to normal.

De-Wrz'nkling Generally S controls to nozzle 154 and the pump system would also be energized. Nozzle 154 in this instance would again point obliquely upward into the path of air flow. The heaters are not energized and the air temperature will remain sufiiciently low to pick up sufiicient moisture to complete the dampening process.

Optionally it should be noted that added cycle possibilities could readily be fitted within the described construction. These include circulating air through the drying chamber both with and without the belt in motion for the purpose of fluff-drying of clothes without added moisture.

Circuit Operation To initiate a drying operation, knob is rotated to the required drying cycle duration which results in rota tion of cams C1-C7 and closure of contacts S1S7 preparing the necessary circuits. Depression of the Dry button completes the operating path to a number of circuits. At contacts 167 timer motor 144 is energized to rotate cams C1-C7 in step by step fashion for the preset drying interval. At contacts 161 the circuit is closed to belt motor 38 which then drives the conveyor belt in its oblong path. At contacts 162, blower and pump motor 50 is closed to energize the drain pump and start the air circulating. At contacts 163, the heater is energized in series with thermostat 114 which will maintain the temperature at a preset level. The heater will cycle due to the thermostat to maintain the operating temperature. At contacts 165, a circuit is closed to condenser solenoid 156 to initiate the operation of condenser chamber in the drying action which as mentioned may be delayed initially to allow the air in circulation to heat more rapidly. The drying continues at the temperature level which has been preset for the selected duration at the conclusion of which cams C1C7 open shutting off the machine.

For de-wrinkling, the required time is set by knob 140 which closes contacts S1-S7. Depression of the de wrinkle button 170 opens contacts 171, 173, 174 and 176 insuring that the belt motor, heater and alternate solenoid 152 are not energized. At contacts 172 blower motor 50 is energized to start the blower and drain pump operating. At contacts 175, condenser solenoid 150 is energized and at contacts 177, the timer motor is energized. Thus the timer times the period of the cycle during which water is fed into the condenser chamber by the solenoid controlled nozzle. The cool air being circulated will pick up moisture in the condensing chamber and will spread this moisture through the drying chamber with the conveyor belt stationary. The pump is also operated to drain off all excess moisture falling into the pump. At the conclusion of the timed period, the timer motor opens contacts Sl-S7 shutting off the machine.

For steam conditioning, button 180 is depressed following which contacts 181, 183 and 185 are opened maintaining the circuit to the belt motor 50 and solenoid 150 open. At contacts 182, the blower and pump motor 50 is energized. At contacts 184 a thermostat is connected in series with heater 70 and thermostat 114. Thermcstat 190 will open at considerably lower temperatures than thermostat 114 and as a result the operation of conditioning will occur at a considerably lower temperature than drying but will be warmer than the de-wrinkling temperature. At contacts 186, solenoid 152 is energized which feeds water to nozzle 154 which is angled upwardly toward the air heating chamber. At contacts 187 the timer motor is energized.

During steam conditioning, the temperature of the circulating air is elevated and this Warm 'air circulates through the system and in its circulation reaches the condenser chamber. The Warm air will pick up moisture from nozzle 154 which will spray water in the direction of the air flow. The warm air, as mentioned, will pick up moisture at an elevated temperature and circulate the warmed, moisture-bearing air to clothes within the stationary drying chamber. At the conclusion of the time set the timer motor 144 will open cams C1-C7 to deenergize the machine.

While there has been described what is at present considered to be the preferred embodiment of the invention, it will be understood that among other things the inven tion has been shown as applied to a condenser dryer and could quite readily be applied to blower or non-recirculating systems. It is therefore intended to cover in the appended claims all such modifications as fall within the true spirit and scope of the claims.

What is claimed is:

l. A clothes dryer comprising a flexible endless belt constrained to travel in a vertically elongate oblong path, whereby said belt forms the outer wall of a chamber to receive clothes, wall members of flexible material secured to said belt at the side margins thereof to provide a continuous stiffening means at each edge of the belt, upstanding rigid wall members disposed in mutually facing relation on opposite sides of said belt, each of said wall members having a channel providing a continuous trackway embracing said flexible belt wall members to provide a principal support for said belt and to complete and seal said chamber from the ambient air; means including a driving mechanism externally of said belt in engagement therewith adjacent one of said flexible Wall members for driving said belt about said trackway; a unidirectional airflow system through said chamber for drying clothes therein, said airflow system including means operable independently of said belt-driving means for circulating air to said chamber, means for heating the circulating air prior to entry to said chamber, inlet means disposed at one extremity of said chamber for receiving an inlet flow of heated air for circulation into said chamber, means consequent to the travel of said belt for lifting clothes and releasing them for free fall within said chamher, and air outlet means disposed at the diagonal extremity of said chamber most remote from said inlet means whereby said tumbling clothes and said heated airflow are in contact for the longest period obtainable within said chamber.

2. A clothes dryer comprising an imperforate, flexible, endless belt; stationary wall members enclosing the open ends of said belt to form a drying chamber disposed wholly within the confines of said belt; flexible members afiixed to and embracing the lateral edges of said belt whereby to afford a bearing surface at each side of said belt while stiffening the same at the edges thereof; open raceway members secured to said stationary wall members to slidably embrace said flexible members, said raceway members supporting said belt to travel about a vertically elongated closed oblong path, said raceway members and said flexible members cooperatively air sealing the chamber formed by said belt and said stationary walls; means for introducing articles of clothing into said chamber; means in driving engagement with the exterior of said belt adjacent one of its said side edges for driving said belt; a plurality of lifting fingers extending inwardly of said belt and movable therewith on driving lb of said belt for'periodically lifting clothes being dried from the lower reaches of said belt, for raising the clothes to the uppermost area of said chamber and for dropping the clothes for free fall to the lower reaches of said 'belt; and means for circulating drying air into said chamber for drying contact with clothes being lifted and dropped within said chamber.

3. A laundry dryer according to claim 2, in which said driving means includes a continuous rack about the outer wall of said belt adjacent a side margin thereof, and a motor driven pinion in driving engagement with said rack.

4. A laundry dryer, including wall structure providing a vertical cabinet having a height substantially greater than either the width or the depth, said cabinet being arranged to be closed against the external atmosphere, an endless, imperforate, flexible belt extending between front and rear Walls of said cabinet, said walls being provided with trackways interfitting with the marginal portions of said belt and shaping said belt into an upstanding oval drying chamber having a maximum transverse dimension substantially greater than the vertical dimension, means affording access to said drying chamher to accommodate the introduction of clothes thereinto, a plurality of narrow fingers fixed to said belt for movement therewith, the length of said fingers being such that they project into said drying chamber substantially less than one half the transverse dimension of said chamber, drive means disposed externally of said belt and in operational engagement therewith to cause said belt to traverse said trackways, said fingers having end portions inclining in the direction of travel of the belt whereby clothes may be carried upwardly by said fingers and released therefrom for fall within said chamber, and means for effecting a flow of air within said chamber along the vertical dimension thereof.

57 A clothes dryer according to claim 4, in which the air circulation system comprises wall means defining an upstanding passage rearwardly of the rear wall of said dryer chamber, air circulating means adapted to translate air from an intake at the bottom of said passage to an exit into said drying chamber at the top thereof, first and second water spray devices within said passage, said first device being arranged to spray water downwardly against the air flow, and the second device being arranged to spray water transversely of the air flow, and means for selective operation of said spray devices.

References tilted in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 86,236 Lemman Jan. 26, 1869 942,150 Tiemann Dec. 7, 1909 1,461,354 lnaki July 10, 1923 1,695,991 Bennett Dec. 18, 1928 2,706,346 rSmith Apr. 19, 1955 2,724,905 Zehrbach Nov. 29, 1955 2,873,537 Gray Feb. 17, 1959 2,873,539 Morey Feb. 17, 1959 3,009,343 Bochan Nov. 21, 1961

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3257739 *Aug 28, 1963Jun 28, 1966Proctor & Schwartz IncDrying garments
US3304620 *Oct 10, 1963Feb 21, 1967Du PontProcess for drying laundered garments of polyester fibers
US3475828 *Dec 20, 1968Nov 4, 1969Economy Linen & Towel ServiceSteam and air garment finisher
US3672188 *Apr 20, 1970Jun 27, 1972Beges AgWashing machine
US3738019 *Sep 13, 1971Jun 12, 1973Mc Graw Edison CoDurable press method and apparatus
US3915289 *Apr 18, 1973Oct 28, 1975Sovex LtdEndless conveyors with pivoted shelves and variable length control arms
US4103768 *Dec 7, 1976Aug 1, 1978Teknisk Konsult Sven Persson AbConveyor for conveying articles in a helically curved path
US6622529 *Apr 15, 2002Sep 23, 2003Nicholas J. CraneApparatus for heating clothes
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U.S. Classification34/75, 198/837, 34/562, 198/801, 68/3.00R, 34/208, 34/77, 198/699.1, 198/841, 198/847, 34/216
International ClassificationD06F58/02, D06F58/10
Cooperative ClassificationD06F58/10, D06F58/02
European ClassificationD06F58/02, D06F58/10