US 3222021 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Dec. 7, 1965 R. R. SISLER 3,222,021
SELF-LEVELING SUPPORT STRUCTURE Filed Aug. 1.3. 1964 PIC-3.! A
H1 ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,222,021 SELF-LEVELING SUPPORT STRUCTURE Robert R. Sisler, Louisville, Ky., assignor to General Electric Company, a corporation of New York Filed Aug. 13, 1964, Ser. No. 389,366 2 Claims. (Cl. 248-1883) This invention relates to cabinets for devices such as automatic washing machines, and more particularly, to self-leveling support structures for use in such cabinets.
In the case of a cabinet for a machine such as an automatic washing machine the structure is often required to stand on uneven surfaces. In order to function properly the machine should be level. This is particularly true of automatic washing machines which accomplish a spin or centrifugal extraction operation. If such machines are not level during this operation the forces generated by the rotating basket and its load of clothes cause the machine to shake badly and to walk across the base surface on which the machine is mounted. Since the user may move these machines slightly during the course of their use it is highly desirable that the leveling structure for such machines be self-leveling so that the movement of the machine by the user will not cause the machine to become uneven.
An object of the present invention, therefore, is to provide a novel and improved leveling structure for such machines.
Another object of the present invention is to provide such a leveling structure which is self-leveling in the sense that it will automatically cause the cabinet to assume a level position when mounted on an uneven base surface.
In accordance with one embodiment of this invention a cabinet is provided with a pair of inwardly extending plates attached to opposite sides of the cabinet. Each of the plates includes an inclined, offset portion intermediate its ends forming a pair of spaced support surfaces which converge toward each other in the upward direction. A flange extends across the cabinet between the plates and is attached to the plates so that the flange prevents the brackets from moving apart, thus forming a rigid support structure. An elongated mounting leg is received between the plates and includes downwardly extending support feet at each end. The support feet are formed with arcuate outer edges which engage the inclined, offset portions of the plates with a sliding relationship so that the mounting leg moves between the plates to cause the cabinet to assume a level position regardless of unevenness of the base surface on which the cabinet is mounted.
The subject matter which I regard as my invention is particularly pointed out and distinctly claimed in the concluding portion of the specification. My invention, however, -both as to organization and method of operation, together with further objects and advantages thereof may best be understood by reference to the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing. In the drawing:
FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of a clothes washing machine including my invention, the view being partly broken away to illustrate details; and
FIGURE 2 is a fragmentary rear elevational view of the washing machine of FIGURE 1, with the rear cover plate removed.
Referring now to the drawing, there is shown therein an appliance, more specifically a washing machine generally indicated by the numeral 1. The washing machine may include the various operational components conventionally utilized in a domestic automatic washing machine, for instance, an i-mperforate tub 2, enclosing a perforate basket 3, an electric motor 4, and an apparatus generally indicated at 5 so that the electric motor may cause suitable washing, centrifuging, and pumping actions to take place in the tub 2 and basket 3.
The various operational components of the washing machine are enclosed within a cabinet 6. The cabinet includes a front wall 7, a pair of side walls 8 and 9, a top wall 10, and a back wall 11. The side walls 8 and 9 are formed along their rear edges with inwardly extending flanges 12 and 13 respectively to which rear wall 11 i mounted by a number of screws 14. Additionally, a 'backsplasher or control panel 15, which houses controls (not shown) to control the operation of the various operational components of the washing machine, extends up from wall 10.
Washing machines often are mounted on basement floors which have a predominant slope toward one point for ease of drainage. In order to compensate for such a slope each of the side walls 8 and 9 is for-med adjacent its front edge with an inwardly extending tab such as that shown at 16. A supporting foot 17 is mounted on tab 16 by means of a threaded shaft 18 which extends upwardly from foot 17 and is received in a threaded opening in tab 16. A lock nut 19 is mounted around the shaft 18 and is screwed up tight against the underside of tab 16 in order to lock foot 17 in an adjusted position.
In addition to a uniform slope, such as that often found in basement floors, the base surface for the washing machine or other appliance may be uneven. This may be due to faulty construction, sagging of the floor under the weight of the appliance or any one of a number of other reasons. In order to overcome any unevenness of the base surface on which the appliance is mounted I provide a self-leveling support structure generally indicated at 20. This support structure includes a pair of inwardly extending plates 21 and 22 which are mounted adjacent the lower end of flanges 12 and 13 respectively by any suitable means such as bolts 23. The plates 21 and 22 extend inwardly across the back of the cabinet and include inclined offset portions 24 and 25 respectively. The offset portions 24 and 25 of the plates 21 and 22 form a pair of spaced support surfaces which face each other and converge in the upward direction. A flange or retainer plate 26 is attached to the plates 21 and 22 by some suitable means such as welding and extends across substantially the entire rear wall of the cabinet to form a rigid bracket assembly. The bracket assembly forms a pair of spaced U-shaped brackets 21a and 22a with plate 21 and flange 26 forming bracket 21a while plate 22 and flange 26 form bracket 22a.
In order to mount the cabinet 6 on a base surface I provide a mounting leg 27 including an elongated, generally horizontal central portion 28 with downwardly extending support feet 29 and 30 formed on each end thereof. The support feet include horizontally extending pads 31 and 32 respectively which rest on the floor or other base surface. Additionally the feet 29 and 30 are formed with arcuate outer edges 33 and 34 and the mounting leg is received between the plates 21 and 22 with the arcuate outer edges 33 and 34 in sliding engagement with the offset portions 24 and 25 respectively. With such a construction, then, when the cabinet is placed on a floor or other base surface which is uneven the weight of the cabinet and operational components mounted therein will cause the mounting leg 27 and bracket assembly to slide relative to each other so that the cabinet will automatically assume a level position. In order to insure that the mounting leg 27 remains in the bracket assembly when the cabinet is being moved, pins 35 and 36 are received between flange 26 and the plates 21 and 22 respectively below the lower edge of mounting leg 27.
Should the self-leveling support structure be utilized with a cabinet having an integral brace member across the lower edge of the rear of the cabinet a weight saving 3 may be accomplished by forming flange 26 as two separate flange members, each of which is attached to one of the plates 21 and 22, thus forming a pair of spaced brackets.
It will be seen that, by my invention, I have provided a simple and highly effective arrangement for insuring a level installation of an automatic washing machine or other appliance regardless of unevenness of the floor or other supporting base surface.
It will be understood that, while in accordance wit-h the patent statutes, I have described what at present is considered to be the preferred embodiment of my invention, it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that various changes and modifications may be made therein without departing frornmy invention, and it is therefore aimed in the appended claims to cover all such changes and modifications as fall within the true spirit and scope of my invention.
What I claim as new and desire to secure by Letters Patent of the United States is:
1. In a cabinet, a self-leveling support structure including a .pair of inwardly extending plates attached to opposite sides of said cabinet, each of said plates including an inclined ofiEset portion intermediate its ends, a retainer flange extending across said cabinet between said plates and attached to said plates, said retainer flange and said plates forming a bracket assembly, said offset portions of said plates forming spaced support surfaces which face each other and converge in the upward direction, and a mounting leg including an elongated, generally horizontal central portion with a downwardly extending support foot formed on each end thereof, each of said feet being formed with an arcuate outer edge, said mounting leg being received in the bracket assembly with each of said arcuate edges in sliding engagement with a corresponding one of said support surfaces.
2. In a device as claimed in claim 1, a pin extending across said bracket assembly between each of said plates and said flange below said mounting leg to retain said mounting leg in said bracket assembly.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 520,432 5/ 1894 Humphreys 248188.3 1,088,167 2/ 1914 Osterhoudt 182200 2,440,847 5/ 1948 Charley 182--18l 2,767,944 10/1956 Moore 24822 2,787,087 4/ 1957 Whitman 248188.3
CLAUDE A. LEROY, Primary Examiner.
CHANCELLOR E. HARRIS, Examiner.
W. D. LOULAN, Assistant Examiner.