US 3192654 A
Abstract available in
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
July 6, 1965 5, WEAVER 3,192,654
BALL BEARING SOLEPLATE FOR IRON Filed March 31. 1964 7T 7 I INVENTOR Jaw/V 5. WEA VER ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,192,654 BALL BEARING SOLEPLATE FOR IRGN John S. Weaver, RD. 1, Breinigsville, Pa. Filed Mar. 31, 1964, Ser. No. 356,273 7 Claims. (Cl. 38-77) This invention relates to a novel soleplate for an electric iron, and more particularly to a soleplate having a multiplicity of small balls or spheres journalled for free rotation therein, each of which protrudes slightly from a bottom ironing or pressing face of the soleplate so as to engage the item being ironed or pressed.
More particularly, an object of the invention is to provide a soleplate for an iron having a multiplicity of small balls or spheres on which the iron is supported, when in an ironing position, whereby the iron will move freely in any direction and thus may be operated with a minimum of manual effort.
Another and particularly important object of the invention is to provide a soleplate especially adapted for use as a part of a steam or pressing iron, which is so constructed that the steam is emitted around each of the balls or spheres to insure even distribution of the steam over the surface of the item being ironed or pressed.
A further object of the invention is to provide a soleplate for a steam iron wherein the balls or spheres function as valves for shutting off the discharge of steam when the soleplate is lifted from the item being ironed.
Another object of the invention is to provide a soleplate for a steam iron wherein the ball receiving sockets are cleaned automatically when the iron is in operation by the steam passing therethrough.
Various other objects and advantages of the invention will hereinafter become more fully apparent from the following description of the drawing, which illustrates presently preferred embodiments of the invention, and wherein:
FIGURE 1 is a fragmentary longitudinal sectional view of a portion of an iron illustrating the novel soleplate;
FIGURE 2 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view similar to FIGURE 1;
FIGURE 3 is a fragmentary bottom plan view of a portion of the soleplate;
FIGURE 4 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view of a portion of the soleplate and illustrating the alternate position of the balls;
FIGURE 5 is a view similar to FIGURE 3 of a slightly modified embodiment of the soleplate, and
FIGURE 6 is a fragmentary longitudinal sectional view of a portion of the soleplate as seen in FIGURE 5, and on an enlarged scale relative thereto.
Referring more specifically to the drawing and first with reference to FIGURES 1 to 4, the ball bearing soleplate in its entirety and comprising the invention is designated generally 8 and includes a bottom section designated generally 9, and a top section designated generally 10.
The bottom section 9 comprises a relatively thin substantially flat plate 11 having a surrounding frame or marginal portion 12 of substantially greater thickness than the plate 11 and which rises from the upper surface 13 of said plate. The bottom section 9 has a continuous flat bottom surface or face 14 constituting the underside of the plate 11 and the marginal portion 12. The marginal portion 12, immediately around the upper side 13 of the plate 11, is provided with a continuous recess 15, including a continuous upwardly facing shoulder or ledge 16 which completely surrounds the upper side 13 of the plate 11 and which is disposed slightly above the level of said upper side, as best seen in FIGURE 2.
The plate 11 is provided with a plurality of corresponding openings 17 which are arranged in staggered rows, as
seen in FIGURE 3, each of which provides a socket for a small ball or sphere 18. As best seen in FIGURE 2, the top portion 19 of each opening 17, which opens through the upper side 13 of the plate 11, is of a diameter slightly greater than the diameter of the balls 18. The bottom half 20 of each opening 17, which opens downwardly through the bottom face 14, is of downwardly diminishing diameter and is of a diameter less than the diameter of the balls 18, and is shaped to conformally engage a portion of the ball 18 disposed therein for supporting the ball in the bottom soleplate section 9, as illustrated in FIGURES 1 and 2.
The top section 10 of the soleplate is of a size and shape to fit snugly in the recess 15 of the marginal or frame portion 12, and includes a substantially flat underside 21, the marginal portion of which rests on the shoulder or ledge 16 for supporting the remainder of said underside 21 above and spaced from the upper side 13 of the bottom section 11, to provide a chamber 22 therebetween. The top section 10 constitutes a substantially flat plate which is of a thickness such that its upper surface 23 is preferably disposed flush with the upper surface 24 of the frame portion 12 when said top section 10 is supported by the shoulder or ledge 16. The underside 21 is provided with a multiplicity of shallow concave depressions 25, one of which is disposed above each opening 17. As best seen in FIGURE 2, when the balls or spheres 18 are supported in the openings or sockets 17, the upper portions of said balls are spaced slightly from the depressions or cavities 25. However, when the soleplate is resting on an item 45 to be ironed or pressed, as seen in FIGURE 4, it is supported by bottom portions of each of the balls 18 engaging said item so that, instead of the balls being supported by the bottom section 9, said balls then support the soleplate 8 and are each displaced upwardly in its opening or socket 17, so that the upper portions of the balls conformably seat in the cavities 25. A conventional electrical heating element 26 can be mounted in any suitable manner in the top section 10 for heating the soleplate 8. The discharge end 27 of a steam tube extends through a bore 28 of the top section 10 so as to discharge into the chamber 22. The frame or marginal portion 12 has an exterior upwardly and outwardly opening recess 29 providing a seat for the bottom edge 38 of the iron cover 31.
Assuming that steam is being supplied through the conduit portion 27 to the chamber 22 and that the soleplate 8 of the iron is supported by the balls or spheres 18 resting on the item or surface 45 to be ironed or pressed, so that said balls or spheres are displaced upwardly in the openings 17 and into engagement with the cavities 25, when thus disposed, as seen in FIGURE 4, the balls 18 will revolve freely in any direction in the openings 17 and cavities 25 to allow the soleplate 8 of the iron to be manually propelled in any direction over the item or surface 45 to be ironed or pressed with a minimum of manual effort being required to eifect this movement. In addition, steam will escape from the chamber 22 through each of the openings 17 and around each of the balls 18, so that a ring of steam will be discharged from each opening 17 toward the item being ironed or pressed, to provide an even distribution of steam over substantially the entire area of the bottom face 14 of the soleplate. In addition, the escaping steam will act to clean the openings 17 and the peripheries of the balls 18 of any lint or other foreign matter which might otherwise collect on the balls and in said openings. When the soleplate 8 is lifted off of the item being ironed or pressed, the balls 18 immediately drop into tight engagement with the bottom halves 20 of the openings 17 as best seen in FIGURE 2, so that said bottom halves form valve seats and the balls 18 form valve for sealing said seats, to prevent escape of the of the soleplate, designated generally 32, which is intended to be utilized as a part of a dry iron, and which includes a bottom section 33 and a top section 34. The central plate portion 35 of the bottom section 33 corresponds with the plate portion 14 and has openings 36 corresponding with the openings 17; The marginal or frame portion 37 differs from the frame portion 12 in that its recess 38, in which the top section 34 snugly fits, extends downwardly'to the top face 39 of the plate portion 35, so that the top section 34 rests flush on the top face 39. Thus, no chamber corresponding "to chamber 22 is provided in the soleplate 32. The underside 49 of the top section 34 has cavities 41, corresponding to the cavities 25, whichare spaced slightly from the balls 42 which engage the openings 36,'when said balls are supported by the bottom section 33. When the balls 42, which correspond with balls 18, are resting on a supporting surface, portions of their peripheries will contact the cavities 41 to enable the balls 42Ito revolve freely in said openings 36 and cavities 41, as the soleplate is propelled over an item or surface to be ironed, If desired, steam discharge ports 43 may be provided to extend vertically through a part or parts of the soleplate, 32 and so as to discharge through the bottom face 44 of the soleplate, as seen in FIGURE 5.
Various other modifications and changes are contemplated and may be resorted to, without departing from the function or scope of the invention, as hereinafter defined by the appended claims.
I claim as my invention:
1. In an iron, a soleplate having a substantially fiat bottom face, a multiplicity of ball-shaped sockets in said soleplate each including a restricted bottom portion opening through said bottom face, a ball journalled in each of said sockets, the diameter of each ball being greater than the diameter of the bottom portion of the socket thereof whereby the balls are supported by the sockets in the soleplate with a portion of each ball protruding from said bottom face, each of said sockets including a downwardly facing top portion spaced from said restricted bottom portion a distance such that the top portion of the ball contained in said socket is spaced slightly from the top portion of the socket when the ball is supported by the socket, said balls being displaced upwardly into engagement with the top portions of the sockets when the soleplate is supported by the balls resting on a supporting surface to permit the balls to revolve freely in any direction in the sockets when the soleplate is supported thereon.
2. In an iron as in claim 1, said soleplate having a chamber disposed between the bottom portions and top portions of the sockets and communicating with each of said sockets, and means for supplying steam to said chamber to be emitted from the bottom portions of the sockets around the balls when the soleplate is supported by the balls.
3.-In'an iron as in claim 2, said bottom portions of the sockets forming valve seats, saidballs forming valves for engaging and sealing the valve seats when the balls are supported by the soleplate to prevent the escape of steam through said bottom portions of the sockets.
4. In an iron as in claim 3, said soleplate including a bottom section and a top section, said top section fitting into the bottom section and having an underside spaced from the top surface .of the bottom section and combining therewith to define said chamber, said sockets each includinga portion opening upwardly through said top surface of the bottom section and which is of a diameter slightly greater than the diameter of the ball contained therein.
5. In an iron as in clairn 4, said underside of the top section having concave depressions defining said top portions ofthe sockets.
6. In an iron as in claim 5, and an electric heating element contained in said top section of the ,soleplate.
7. In an iron, at soleplate, a plurality of sockets in said soleplate each includinga restricted bottom portion opening through a bottom face of the soleplate, a ball journalled in each of said sockets, the diameters of the balls being such that the balls are supported by the sockets for limited inward and outward movement through said bottom portions thereof, and means for supplying steam to the sockets to be emitted from said bottom portions around the balls when the balls are displaced inwardly of the sockets.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 676,604 6/ O1 FritZe 308-6 X 1,803,622 5/31 Kelsey 38-76 2,143,424 1/39 Schmidt et al 3876 X 2,255,332 9/41 Russell 3O8-6 X JORDAN FRANKLIN, Primary Examiner.