US 3127067 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
March 31, 1964 w. B. HALL ETAL 3,127,067
GRANULES DISPENSER Filed Oct. 28, 1960 INVENTOR. WILLIAM B. HALL,
BY ALBERT H. Toke/v60,
United States Patent 3,127,67 GRARWJLES DISPENSER William Enrlre Hall, Upper Mcntclair, N..l., and Albert H. Torongo, in, Newtown, Pa, assignors to The Procter dz Gamble (Zompany, Cincinnati, Ghio, a corporation of (thin Filed Get. 28, 196i), Ser. No. 65,736 2 Claims. (Cl. 222193) This invention relates to a simple, effective granules dispenser for an automatic washing machine. More particularly, the invention relates to a dispenser in which the granules are washed into the machine by a stream of water injected into the dispenser.
Commercially available automatic washing machines do not ordinarily come equipped with a granules dispenser. This means that operators of automatic washing machines must remain in attendance in order to add detergent material to the wash load at the proper time in the cycle. This shortcoming is obviously detrimental to the appeal of an automatic machine since many purchasers of such machines prefer granular detergent materials and would prefer to leave the machine entirely unattended as it goes through the whole washing cycle. This is especially true where there is some additional operation preceding the wash cycle in which the dispenser functions.
One of the objects of this invention is to provide a granular detergent dispenser for an automatic washing machine.
Another object of this invention is to provide such a dispenser which will have its contents discharged completely upon being flushed with water.
Still another object of this invention is to provide a dispenser of this character which has a water inlet which includes a mechanism to prevent granules from leaking out while they are being poured into the dispenser.
A further object of this invention is the provision of such a dispenser which is calibrated so that the height of the granules determines the volume of granules in the dispenser.
A still further object of this invention is to provide a dispenser of this character which is easily filled and which drains completely, after flushing, through small holes.
A further object of this invention is to provide a dispenser of this character including means at the water inlet for breaking up the stream of water flowing into the dispenser.
Briefly stated, the granules dispenser is composed of a container mounted in the upper portion of a conventional automatic washing machine and having a water inlet. opening at one end and a discharge opening at the other end. A ball check valve is mounted over the water inlet opening to seal the inlet when granules are poured into the container. The ball valve is unseated by a stream of water entering the container through the inlet opening but remains in the water stream to break it up thereby creating a flushing action. The discharge opening is partially blocked by a barrier which retains the granules until the water is introduced whereafter they are washed over the barrier, through the discharge opening and into the machine.
Variations of the dispenser will depend upon the conditions encountered, but the dispener may have a special opening for direct loading or it may tilt up to permit filling through the washout opening. The dispenser may also be calibrated to relate the height of granules in the dispenser to volume of granules. Drainage holes may be provided for draining the water retained because of the barrier after the granules are washed out.
While the specification concludes with claims particularly pointing out and distinctly claiming the subject matter regarded as forming the present invention, it is believed the invention will be better understood from the following description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:
FIGURE 1 is a fragmentary elevation, in cross section, showing one form of this invention mounted on the underside of the lid of a top loading washing machine in which the lid has been opened for loading; and
FEGURE 2 is a fragmentary elevation, in cross section, similar to FIGURE 1 but with the lid in closed position; and
FIGURE 3 is a fragmentary plan view of the underside of the lid of a top loading washer showing means for mounting the dispenser on the bottom of the lid; and
FIGURE 4 is a fragmentary elevation, in cross section, of the dipenser mounted on the underside of the lid taken along the line 4-4 of FIGURE 3; and
FIGURE 5 is a fragmentary elevation, in cross section, showing a dispenser of this character mounted on a conventional front loading washing machine.
Referring now to the drawings an despecially FIGURE 1, reference number 20 indicates generally a conventional top loading washing machine. The lid 22 is pivoted at 24 to permit loading the machine through the opening 26 which is exposed when the lid 22 is in the position shown in FIGURE 1. A dispenser body 23 is mounted on the bottom of the lid 22 and is composed of a curved side wall 39 and a substantially straight side wall 32 (FIG- URE 3), said side walls being integral with a bottom wall 34. The side walls 3% and 32 do not join at the end away from the pivot 24 leaving an opening 36 which is exposed to allow filling the dispenser body 23 with detergent granules when the lid 22 is in the position shown in FIGURE 1.
The opening 36 is partially occluded by the barrier 33 which acts as a dam and is formed by sloping walls 46 and 42 which are inclined with respect to the bottom wall 34. The sloping wall 4!) creates a funnel effect into the dispenser 28 when the lid 22 is open, which facilitates filling the dispenser 28. The sloping wall 42 provides a funnel effect when the dispenser 28 is positioned as in FIGURE 2 and is discharging as will hereinafter be more fully understood. It is possible, of course, to have a bafile or barrier composed of a straight wall substantially at right angles to the bottom wall 34 and placed at or near the opening 36 of the dispenser 28, but certain advantages necessarily derive from the use of the preferred wall structure shown in the drawing as heretofore described.
The dispenser 28 has a water inlet tube 44 at the end of the dispenser 28 nearest the pivot 24. A ball check valve 46 is mounted at the inner end of the tube 44, inside the dispenser 28 as shown. The ball check valve is composed of a cage 48, a ball 5'9, and a valve seat 52. In the position of FIGURE 1, the ball 50 is firmly seated against the valve seat 52 closing the tube 44 and preventing granules introduced into the dispenser 28 from escaping through said tube 44-. In the position of FIGURE 2, the ball 50 is no longer firmly seated against the valve seat 52, but is retained by the cage 48.
The outer end of the tube 44 is cut at an oblique angle so that its top portion 54 extends further from the dispenser than the bottom portion 5 6.
The bottom wall 34 and the barrier wall 42 of the di"- penser 28 preferably have a plurality of small holes 58 which are small enough to prevent typical detergent granules from leaking out of the dispenser 28 under the conditions of use as will hereinafter be more fully explained.
The dispenser 28 may be made of any material that will withstand the temperatures and concentrations of detergent which it will contact. However, the bottom wall 34 is preferably made, at least partially, of some transparent material that will allow the operator to see the level of the granules in the dispenser 28. With the transparent bottom wall 34, calibration marks 60 may be incorporated into the structure which will enable the operator to readily determine how much detergent has been added. The marks 60 shown in FIGURES l, 2, 3 and 4 may be molded into the bottom wall 34 as a corrugated effect. Other possible means of marking include molding a different colored material into the bottom wall 34 where the raised marks 60 are shown, or simply making a mark on the bottom wall 34 where the raised marks 69 are shown. The marks 60 may be dispensed with entirely if the drainage holes are arranged in a pattern which can be employed for volume marking.
The dispenser 28 is attached to the lid 22 by appropriate means which will now be described in detail. Ideally these means should allow easy removal for cleaning. FIGURES 3 and 4 show a typical means of attachment which can be used. The dispenser 28 has a lip 62 protruding outwardly from the side walls 30 and 32. The lip 62 is adapted to engage brackets 64 and 66 which are fastened to the underside of the lid 22. The brackets 64 and 66 partially support the dispenser on one side and at an end. The other side is supported by a latch member 68 rotatable about the supporting shaft 70 to the position shown in FIGURES 3 and 4 where the member 68 bears against the lip 62 of the dispenser 28 to hold the lip 62 firmly in the brackets 64 and 66. FIGURE 4 shows the means for support and also shows a gasket 72 between the lip 62 and the brackets 64 and 66 and the latch member 68. Said gasket 72 may be placed on the lip 62 or upon the brackets 64 and 66 and the member 68.
In the position of FIGURE 2, the tube 44 of the dispenser 28 which is nearest the pivot 24 is aligned with a water pipe 74 of a somewhat smaller inner diameter than the bore in the tube 44. The pipe 74 ideally does not touch the edges 54 and 56 of the tube 44 although it is closer to the top edge 54 than it is to the bottom edge 56, leaving an air gap 76 between the pipe 74 and the edges 54 and 56 of the opening 44 when the dispenser 28 is in the position of FIGURE 2.
The flow of water in the pipe 74 is initiated and stopped by a conventional solenoid operated water valve (not shown). The solenoid operated water valve is preferably controlled automatically through the washing machine timer to control the flow of water in accordance with the necessities of the machines operation.
The operation of the dispenser 28 may be described as follows. The lid 22 is raised to the position in FIGURE 1 in order that the washer 20 may be loaded. While the lid 22 is in this position, detergent granules are poured into the opening 36 of the dispenser 28 and the operator determines how much detergent has been poured by means of the calibration marks 60'. The granules are retained in the dispenser 28 since the small holes 58 in the bottom 34 are too small to allow the granules to sift through readily and the tube 44 nearest the pivot 24 is closed by the ball 50 which is firmly seated against the valve seat 52.
After the machine 20* and the dispenser 28 are loaded, the lid 22 is closed to the position in FIGURE 2. in this position the granules are retained in the dispenser 28 since the barrier 38 prevents the granules from flowing through the opening 36 in the dispenser 28 until the desired time. Since it is possible that there will be some vibration in the machine 20, the holes 58 in the bottom wall 34 and in the barrier wall 42 must be small enough to prevent granules from sifting out under this condition. With most detergents currently sold commercially, the size of the holes 58 should not exceed about 0.032 inch in diameter. The maximum hole size is determined to a great extent by the amount of vibration and the length of time the granules are in the dispenser 28 but generally does not exceed 0.030 inch in diameter with a preferred size of approximately 0.020 inch. The minimum size is determined by a requirement which will hereinafter be more fully understood. There (Will be some detergent sifting through at this size, but the amount is generally not excessive. The holes do not have to be round.
At some predetermined time in the washing cycle, a stream of water is sent through the water pipe 74 by the control valve means. The stream of water spurts across the air gap 76 shown in FIGURE 2 and into the tube 44 in the dispenser 28. The stream of water forces the ball 50 in the ball check valve 46 off the valve seat 52. The ball 50 is in the path of the water stream since it is retained by the cage 48. This breaks up the stream of water and creates a flushing action which washes the granules over the barrier 38 and into the machine. The water that is introduced into the washer through the dispenser may or may not constitute the entire amount of water required for the wash cycle.
When the water spurts across the air gap 76 and into the tube 44, it is possible that some small amount of the water may miss the tube opening and hit the edges. Any water that is deflected downwardly will drop into the machine. Any water which is deflected upwardly will hit the top portion 54 of the tube 44 which acts as a splash shield to prevent water from hitting the lid 22. Although it would also be possible to prevent splashing by arranging a tight fit between the water pipe 74 and the portions 54 and 56 of the tube 44, this is not desirable since without the air gap 76, a negative pressure in the water system could conceivably draw a solution of water and detergent from the dispenser 28 into the water system. This might very well result in a contamination of the water system.
The water washes the granules out of the dispenser 28, and the water flow is turned off by the water valve control means (not shown). Some water is retained in the dispenser 28 because of the barrier 38, but this will drain out through the holes 58 in the bottom wall 34 of the dispenser 28. In order to drain the water in a reasonable time the holes 53 should be at least about 0.015 inch in diameter and preferably should be about 0.020 inch in diameter.
The invention is readily adaptable to other kinds of machines. FIGURE 5 shows another embodiment of the dispenser adapted for use with a front loading washer which is defined generally by the reference number 88. The dispenser 82 is shown installed at the top of the washer.
The dispenser 82 has somewhat the same configuration as the dispenser 28 for a top loading machine 20. Although not shown in FIGURE 5, the dispenser 82 has side walls somewhat similar to those in the first embodiment shown. The bottom wall 84 does not have holes or marks and is not ordinarily transparent although it may be if desired. The bottom wall 84 may slope to the right as shown in FIGURE 5 to help the water drain from the dispenser 82 as will hereinafter be more fully explained. The barrier 86 is at approximately right angles to the bottom wall 84 and the small steps 88 are incorporated in the barrier 86 as a form of calibration enabling the operator to determine how much detergent is in the dispenser 82. The barrier 86 has a plurality of small holes 89 near the bottom wall 84. These holes 39 are substantially the same size as those provided in the previously described embodiment.
The dispenser has an access lid 90 which is hinged at 9'1 and is shown in raised position. When the lid 90 is closed, the barrier 86 and the lid 90 define an opening 2 above the barrier 86 which communicates with the chamber 94 which in turn is connected to the washing chamber 96 by the opening 98 in the bottom of the chamber 94.
The dispenser 82 also has a ball check valve 100 which comprises a cage 102, a ball 164 and a valve seat 166.
The valve seat 1% is adjacent the inlet end of an inlet tube 108 in the end of the dispenser 82. The valve cage 102 is mounted at an oblique angle and pointed upwardly so that the ball 1% will normally seat against the valve seat 106 by gravity. The inlet tube 1% in the dispenser 82 is aligned with a water pipe 118 that has an inside diameter somewhat smaller than the bore in the inlet tube 108. The how of water in the pipe 11% is controlled by an automatic electrically controlled valve (not shown). The water pipe 110 and the inner periphery of the bore in the inlet tube 108 preferably do not touch. in this embodiment, the air gap 11-2 between the water pipe Mil and the end of the inlet tube 108 is inside a chamber 114 which is vented by a pipe 116 to the washing chamber 96.
The operation of this embodiment will now be described. The access lid 90 is raised and detergent granules are poured into the dispenser 82 using the steps 88 on the barrier 86 to determine how much has been poured in. The access lid 9% is then closed. At some predetermined time in the wash cycle, the water control valve (not shown) is turned on and water issues from the pipe Eli? and spurts across the air gap 112 into the inlet tube 108 in the dispenser 82, This unseats the ball i104 from the valve seat 106. The ball 104 is retained in the path of the water stream by the cage .102 and breaks up the stream of Water thereby creating a flushing action which washes the granules over the barrier 86 into the chamber 94 and then through the opening 98 into the washing chamber 9 6. As in the other embodiment, this may or may not constitute the entire source of the water required in the washing cycle.
Any water which fails to cross the air gap 1&2 into the inlet tube 108 in the dispenser will be collected in the chamber :114 and drain through the pipe 116 to the washing chamber 96. The granules are washed out, the control valve cuts off the how of Water and any water that is retained in the dispenser 82 by the barrier 86 will drain through the holes 89 in the barrier 86 into the chamber 94 and thence through the hole 98 into the washing chamber 96-.
While particular embodiments of the invention have been illustrated and described, it will be obvious to anyone skilled in the art that various changes and modifications can be made without departing from the spirit of the invention or its scope. The following claims are intended to cover all modifications falling within the scope of this invention.
What is claimed as new is:
1. An automatic clothes Washing machine detergent dispenser, comprising a detergent dispenser container having dry detergent granules therein, said dispenser container having a water inlet at one end and a discharge opening at the other end, a barrier at said discharge opening which acts as a dam to prevent the dry granules from escaping, a ball check valve mounted over said water inlet opening to close said water inlet opening when the container is being filled with detergent, said ball check valve being unseated when the water enters, and said ball check valve comprising a ball and means for holding said ball in the path of a stream of water entering through said water inlet to create a flushing action and wash detergent from said dispenser, a water pipe separated from said water inlet of said dispenser container by an air gap, the outlet of said water pipe being directed toward said water inlet, said water pipe being supplied from a water source and directing a stream of water into said water inlet at the proper time in the washing cycle whereby the detergent granules are Washed over the barrier into the washing machine.
2. A top-loading automatic clothes washing machine dispenser, comprising a dispenser body having dry detergent material therein, said dispenser body having a water inlet opening at the end nearest the axis of the lid and a discharge opening at the other end including a barrier intermediate the inlet and discharge openings, said barrier acting as a dam when the lid is closed, means for detachably mounting the said dispenser body on the underside of the lid and a ball check valve mounted over said water inlet opening so that the water inlet opening is closed when the lid is pivoted to its open position, said ball check valve being unseated to permit water to be introduced into the dispenser body when the lid is closed, and said ball check valve comprising a ball and means for holding said ball in the path of a stream of water entering through said water inlet to create a flushing action and wash detergent from said dispenser body, a Water pipe separated from said water inlet of said dispenser body by an air gap, the outlet of said water pipe being directed toward said water inlet, said water pipe being supplied from a water source and directing a stream of water into said water inlet at the proper time in the Washer cycle whereby the detergent material is washed over the barrier into the washing machine.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,710,517 Simons Apr. 23, 1929 1,774,960 Bowman Sept. 2, 1930 2,500,042 Nutting et al Mar. 7, 1950 2,793,789 Hodge May 28, 1957 2,927,600 Pellerin Mar. 8, 1960 2,946,489 Brucken July 26, 1960 2,976,879 De Lisle et al Mar. 28, 1961