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Publication numberUS3247682 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 26, 1966
Filing dateMar 27, 1964
Priority dateMar 27, 1964
Publication numberUS 3247682 A, US 3247682A, US-A-3247682, US3247682 A, US3247682A
InventorsJacobs James W
Original AssigneeGen Motors Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Manually actuatable ice maker
US 3247682 A
Abstract  available in
Images(3)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

April 26, 1966 J. w. JACOBS 3,247,682

MANUALLY ACTUATABLE ICE MAKER Filed March 27, 1964 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 Fig.

INVENTOR. James W Jacobs BY .[Zm

H/s Afforney A ril 26, 1966 J- w. JACOBS MANUALLY AGTUATABLE ICE MAKER 5 mm W T 0 WW m W w m ,H J

Filed March 27, 1964 Fig. 2

A ril 26, 1966 J. w. JACOBS 3,247,682

MANUALLY ACTUATABLE ICE MAKER Filed March 2'7, 1964 5 Sheets-Sheet 3 INVENTOR. James W Jacobs .cgm His Afforney United States Patent 3,24i7,6$2 MANUALLY ACTUATAIE LE HIE MAKER James W. .Iacobs, Dayton, @hio, assignor to General Motors Qorporation, Detroit, Mich, a corporation of Delaware Filed Mar. 27, 19M, Ser. No. 355,2ti8 9 (Zlaims. (Qt. 62-34d) matic ice makers for inclusion in the freezer compartment of a refrigerator as a permanent component thereof. This solution is, however, expensive and requires that a considerable portion of a freezer compartment be continuously used for ice making. Furthermore, such builtin ice makers cannot be carried to a more convenient point of use exteriorly of the freezer compartment.

An object of the present invent-ion, therefore, is to eliminate handling of an ice cube container while extracting frozen ice cubes therefrom by means of an economical, portable ice maker unit readily located in supported relationship within a freezer compartment of a refrigerator yet easily removale therefrom and portable to a point exteriorly of the refrigerator cabinet including means operable to dispense ice cubes without handling the ice supporting cube containers therein.

A further object of the present invention is to improve manually actuatable ice makers by the provision of a combination, continuous belt having a plurality of ice cube containing compartments therein extending continuously :across a pair of spaced, rotatable supporting shafts on a supporting portable container having a space therein for storing cubes extracted from the continuous belt.

A still further object of the present invention is to provide an improved manually actuatable ice harvesting de vice including a continuous belt having a plurality of cube containing compartments therein, means for supporting said belt within a portable container having a forwardly located compartment therein for storing cubes extracted from said belt and further including means for selectively removing a portion only of cubes formed in said belt or all of said cubes into said storage compartment in accordance with the desires of a particular user.

Yet another object of the present invention is to improve ice production in the freezer compartment of a refrigerator by the provision of a food storage contamer in the freezer compartment and a tray supported thereon for removal therefrom or sliding movement with the container wherein the tray serves to support a continuous belt ice maker throughout a portion of the extent thereof and includes a forwardly located ice storage space for receiving ice cubes extracted from said maker upon opera tion of a belt advancing mechanism including a handle portion accessible forwardly of the tray at the front edge of the food storage container in the freezer compartment.

Further objects and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following description, reference being bad to the accompanying drawings wherein a preferred embodiment of the present invention is clearly shown.

In the drawings:

FIGURE 1 is a view in front elevation of a refrigerator 3,247,682 Patented Apr. 26, I966 unit having a bottom freezer compartment including the present invention;

FIGURE 2 is an enlarged view in horizontal section taken along the line 2-2 of FIGURE =1;

FIGURE 3 is a view in vertical section taken along the line 33 of FIGURE 2;

FIGURE 4 is a view in vertical section taken along the line 4-4 of FIGURE 2;

FIGURE 5 is a view in vertical section taken along the line 55 of FIGURE 2; and

FIGURE 6 is a view in perspective of a mechanism for operating the ice maker of. the present invention.

Referring now to the drawings, in FIGURE 1, a domestic refrigerator apparatus 10 is illustrated including an outer cabinet 12 and an inner liner 14 forming a lower freezing compartment 16 having the access opening thereto closed by a suitable door closure element 18.

Within the freezing compartment 16 is mounted a lower food storage container 20 representatively shown as being a wire grid work basket mounted :on suitable means for sliding movement into and out of the freezing compartment 16. Above the lower container 20 is located one embodiment of the present invention including an upper food storage container :22 representatively illustrated as being a wire basket slidably mounted at either side thereof on the inner side walls of the liner 14 whereby the food storage container 22 can be moved out of the freezer compartment 16 and inwardly thereof like the bottom basket 20. The upper container 22 is more particularly illustrated as having side walls 28, each having a pair of rollers 32 secured thereto slidably supported in an elongated channel-shaped track 34 secured to the adjacent side wall of the inner liner 14. At the top of the food storage basket 22 is a continuous large diameter wire reinforcing member 36 that is bent rearwardly, as best illustrated in FIGURE 4, at a point where the front wall of the container 22 is broken away at the right side thereof, as viewed in FIGURE 1, to form a well or space for receiving a portable manually actuatab-le ice maker unit 38. t

In accordance with certain of the principles of the present invention, the manual ice maker 38 includes a portable container 46 having side walls 42, 44, a front wall 46, an upwardly curved rear wall 48 and a bottom 50. The Walls are joined at the ends thereof to form an open-top container having an upper flange 52 formed continuously therearound and in the illustrated embodiment of the invention, the flange 52 across the rear of the container is removably supported by the reinforcing wire 36 of the food storage basket 22 and at the front of the container 40 depending projections 54 on the outer surface of the bottom receive a bottom forwardly located continuation of the reinforcing wire 36 whereby the container 40 is supported against tipping on the container 22 and is supported for movement into and out of the freezer compartment 16 along with container 22.

Moreover, the ice maker unit 38 of the combination is quickly removable from the food storage container 22 to be carried exteriorly thereof to provide an ice source' remotely of the freezer compartment 16.

With reference to the ice maker 38, in accordance with certain principles of the present invention, the container bottom 50 is bent downwardly at one end thereof to form an .interior space or compartment 56 for the storage of ice cubes formed in a continuous belt 58 of a suitable flexible material, for example, a thin walled polyethylene material, extending throughout a rearward portion of the interior of the container 40.

The continuous belt 58 has a width substantially equal to the interior width of the container 40 and includes a plurality of ice cube containers 60 therein, each including across the full width of the container 40. The continuous belt 58 is supported by a rotatable shaft or spindle 72 extending across the width of the container 40 closely adjacent the rear wall 48 thereof and the spindle 72 includes a plurality of spaced ring-like projections '74 thereon that fill the space formed lengthwise between each of the cube compartments 60. The projections 74 serve to maintain the belt 58 evenly across the width of the spindle 72 so as to prevent binding of the belt during its movement with respect to the container 40. At either end of the spindle 72 the member is rotatably mounted on the side walls 42, 44 by bearing members 76, one being illustrated in detail in FIGURE 5.

Within the container 40 at a point in front of the rear spindle 72 is located a front spindle 78 having small diameter extensions 80 on the opposite ends thereof and a large diameter hub 82 formed on each end thereof rotatably supported by a bearing element 84 fastened to one or the other of the side walls 42, 44. Across the width of the spindle 78 at spaced locations thereon is a plurality of radially outwardly directed projections 86 aligned with the bottom 7% of each of the cube compartments 60 as best illustrated in FIGURE 4. The projections 86 act as cam surfaces for deforming each of the bottoms 70 upwardly as illustrated in FIGURE 4 as the belt passes over the spindle into contact with the projections 86 thereon.

The belt 58 is advanced so as to cause contact between it and the projections 86 by a manually actuatable belt advancing mechanism 83 that is selectively operable to advance the belt 58 so as to cause either a single row of the cube compartments to pass into engagement with the projections 86 or to advance all of the rows with respect to the spindle 78, depending upon how many cubes are to be extracted therefrom.

More particularly, the mechanism 88 includes a tubular member 90 having a circular pawl 92 formed on the outer end thereof with the tubular member 90 being slidably supported on the small diameter end extension 80 on one end of the spindle 78. Teeth on the pawl 92 are operatively arranged with respect to the teeth of a ratchet element 94 slidably supported on an inwardly directed extension of the tubular element 90 for axial movement into engagement with the pawl element 92 under the biasing action of a compression spring 96 disposed between the outer wall of the hub 82 and the inner surface of the ratchet element 94, as best illustrated in FIGURE 5. The ratchet element 94 is held against rotation with respect to the large diameter hub 82 by a plurality of dowel pins 98 carried therein and outwardly thereof through the ratchet element 94 into interlocking engagement therewith.

In the illustrated arrangement of the invention, the pawl element 92 is operatively connected to be rotated with respect to the ratchet 24 by means including a pair of arms 100, 102 located in spaced parallelism. on each side of the container 40. The arm 100 has the rearward end thereof fixedly secured to the pawl 92 by screws 103 and a snap ring 105 holds the handle on small diameter portion 80. The front end of arm 100 is secured to one end of a cross arm member or handle 1% directed across the width of the container 40 in front of the front wall 46 thereof. The opposite end of member 104 is secured to the front end of the arm 102 and the arm 102 has the rearward end thereof secured to a tubular bearing member 166 rotatably mounted on the spindle extension on the opposite end of the spindle 73. A snap ring 167 holds the arm 192 against movement of the spindle 78. By virtue of the above-described arrangement, when the handle 194 is depressed into the position shown in dotted lines in FIGURE 3, the teeth on pawl 92 engage the corresponding teeth on the ratchet element 94 whereby the spindle 78 is rotated a predetermined number of degrees. The large diameter hubs 82 on the end thereof advance a corresponding amount and a plurality of circumferentially located cross members or braces 108 secured at the opposite ends thereof to the hubs 82 and extending therebetween enter the belt 58 between the rows of cube containing compartments 69 as best illustrated in FIGURE 3 to advance the belt 58 therealong with the members 74 on the rear spindle 72 preventing twisting of the belt as it moves over the front and rear spindles 72, 78.

By virtue of the above-described arrangement, if it is desired to only extract cubes from, say, the forwardmost row of cube compartments in the belt 58, the handle 104 is depressed down two times to cause the cam projection 86 on the front spindle 78 to pop the bottom wall 79 of the front row of compartment 60 upwardly and advance the belt 58 sufiiciently so the cubes detached from the compartment 60 by the projections 86 will fall or slide out of the compartment 6t) across the inclined front walls 63 thereof into the storage or cube space 56. Of course, this operation can-be repeated as often as desired to remove a greater number or all of the cubes formed in the compartments 60.

One advantage of the aforementioned embodiment of the present invention is that the ice maker'component 38 can be moved exteriorly of the freezer compartment 16 by movement of the food storage tray 22 outwardly thereof and a user of the device merely has to pour Water into the cube forming compartment 60 and then return the food storage tray 22 inwardly of the compartment 16 to locate the cube compartments therein. This arrangement eliminates spilling of water from conventional cube trays during placement thereof in a freezer compartment as is typically the case in many present-day refrigerators.

A further distinct advantage of the above-described arrangement is that the unit 38 is removably supported by the food storage container 22 and is thereby easily and quickly moved exteriorly of the freezer compartment 16 as a portable unit to be carried to a point of use exteriorly thereof. By virtue of the arrangement of the belttype ice maker 58 on the container 40, the unit 38 can be handled by the user without having to come into contact with the very low temperature compartments containing the ice. Yet the ice can be carried to a point of use and selectively extracted from the belt depending upon the desires of a particular user of the device. Alternatively, the unit 38 can be retained in place on the food storage container 22 and the handle 104 can be operated to remove ice cubes therefrom for storage in the space 56. This stored ice will supplement the cubes in the belt and be readily available at a remote location without direct handling merely by moving the unit 38 out of the freezer compartment.

Rear feet 116 on the bottom 50 of the container 40 locate the belt 58 in horizontal position when the unit 38 is supported exteriorly of the freezer 16, as, for example, on the upper surface of a kitchen table or the like, so that if desired, the belt compartments can be filled exteriorly of the refrigerator and moved into the freezer compartment thereof following filling.

It will be appreciated that by virtue of the improved arrangement, an improved ice maker assembly is provided for association with a removable storage compartment or container in a freezer compartment being operable thereon and removable therefrom and portable to a point of use without requiring that theuser of the device carry very cold ice containing compartments to the exterior point of use. The invention further has the advantage of enabling a user to select a small number or all of the cubes frozen in the unit depending upon his needs and the selection can take place either while the manually actuatable unit is within the freezer compartment or when the unit has been moved exteriorly of the freezer to a more convenient point of use.

While the embodiment of the present invention as herein disclosed constitutes a preferred form, it is to be understood that other forms might be adopted.

What is claimed is as follows:

1. In a refrigerator assembly including a freezer compartment the combination of, a food storage container, means for mounting said food storage container for movement into and out of said freezer compartment, an ice making device including an ice container for storing ice extracted therefrom, means on said food storage container for supporting said ice container for movement therewith into and out of the freezer compartment, said ice container of said ice making device being removably supported on said food storage container and portable to a point exteriorly of the freezer compartment, said ice making device further including a continuous belt having a plurality of ice cube compartments formed therein, means on said ice container for supporting said continuous belt within a first portion of the interior volume of said ice container, said container including wall means forming a second interior volume in said ice container being located at one end of said continuous belt and below said belt, said wall means including a bottom depressed below said belt for supportingly receiving ice cubes extracted therefrom.

2. In combination, a portable container having a pair of spaced apart side walls, a front wall, a rear wall and a bottom wall, a continuous belt having a plurality of ice cube compartments therein, said belt being located within a portion of the interior of said container, means for mounting said belt for rotation within said portable container, means for ejecting cubes from said belt, said container including a forwardly located downwardly bent bottom forming an interior storage space located below said belt for supportingly receiving cubes ejected from said belt.

3. In a manually actuatable ice maker assembly for association with the freezer compartment of a refrigerator the combination of, a portable container including spaced side walls, a rear wall, said side walls, rear wall and front wall forming a top opening over substantially the full planar extent of said bottom into the interior of said container a front wall and a bottom, a continuous belt having a width substantially equal to the width between said spaced apart side walls, said belt being located Within a rearward portion of the interior of said container, means for mounting said belt for rotation with respect to said container, said belt including a plurality of rows of ice cube forming compartments, means for driving said belt within said container, means for extracting all or a part of the cubes formed in said belt compartments upon movement thereof, said container bottom being bent downwardly forwardly of said belt to form a cube receiving and storage space separate from and extending below the belt containing space in said'container, said storage space being accessible through the open top of said container when said container is removed exteriorly of the freezer compartment and carried to a point of use located remotely therefrom, said plurality of rows of ice cube forming compartments being disposed adjacent the top extremities of said walls for filling through the top opening of said container.

4. In the combination of claim 3, said means for advancing said continuous belt including a spindle rotatably supported by said side walls, means connecting said spindle to said belt, drive means on said spindle for effecting a stepwise rotation thereof, and operating means for actuating said drive means to produce a predetermined desired movement of said continuous belt with respect to said spindle for ejecting cubes from a portion or all of the cube compartments.

5. In the combination of claim 4, said means for advancing said belt including a plurality of circumferentially located members each extending across the width of said spindle in spaced parallelism with one another, each of said cross members operatively engaging said belt between the cube compartments therein for advancing said belt with respect to said front spindle upon rotation thereof.

6. In the combination of claim 4, said operating means including a pair of spaced apart arms, a handle connecting the forward end on each of said rods, said handle extending across the width of said container forwardly of the front wall thereon, and means located between the rearward end of each of said arms and said drive means for actuation thereof upon movement of said handle verportable therefrom to a point exteriorly of a freezer compartment, a continuous belt of deformable material having a plurality of ice tray compartments therein, each ,of said compartments including inclined front and rear walls, inclined side walls and a thin flexible bottom portion, a rearwardly located spindle directed across the width of said container adjacent the rear wall thereof, means for rotatably mounting said rear spindle on said spaced apart side walls, a plurality of guide means spaced across the length of said rearward spindle for guiding said continuous belt with respect'thereto, a front spindle extending transversely of said container between the side walls thereof, means secured to said front spindle for operatively engaging the cube containing compartments in said belt for driving said belt around said front and rear spindles, and means on said front spindle for deforming the bottom portion of the ice cube compartments in said belt for ejecting cubes therein forwardly and outwardly of said belt, said container including a forwardly located ice cube containing space for receiving said ejected cubes.

8. In an ice making device for use with a freezer compartment of a refrigerator the combination of, a container having spaced apart parallel side walls, a front wall, a rear wall and a bottom, said container being removably supportable in a freezer compartment and portable therefrom to a point exteriorly of a freezer compartment, a

continuous belt of deformable material having a plurality of cube compartments therein, a rearwardly located spindle extending transversely of said container adjacent the rear Wall thereof, means for rotatably supporting either end of said spindle on said spaced apart side walls for rotary movement relative thereto, a plurality of spaced apart radial rings on said spindle for guidingly directing said continuous belt around said rear spindle, a forwardly located spindle arranged in spaced parallelism with said rearwardly located spindle, means for rotatably mounting said forward spindle on said spaced apart side walls, protuberances on said forward spindle at spaced points thereacross located in surface deforming engagement with the bottom of the cube compartments in said continuous belt, said protuberances moving the bottom of said cube compartments as said continuous belt passes over said forwardspindle for extracting cubes in said belt forwardly and outwardly thereof, said container including a forwardly located cube receiving space therein for receiving cubes extracted from said continuous belt, and means for rotating said front spindle in a stepwise fashion.

9. In the combination of claim 8, said means for driving said continuous belt including a spindle rotatably supported by said side walls, means connecting said spindle to said belt, a ratchet secured on one end of said spindle for relatively axial movement with respect thereto and rotation therewith, a rotatable pawl carried on an outer extension of said spindle in tooth engaging relationship with said ratchet, and means for rotating said pawl With respect to said ratchet a predetermined number of degrees for producing a desired stepwise movement of said continuous belt, said cube extracting means operable upon such movement for removing cubes from cube compartments advanced thereacross.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,381,069 8/1945 Lutes et al. 62344 X 2,613,123 10/1952 Patten 62-382 X MEYER BERLIN, Primary Examiner.

10 ROBERT A. OLEARY, Examiner.

N. R. WILSON, Assistanl Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2381069 *Jun 1, 1943Aug 7, 1945Lutes HerschelRefrigerating apparatus
US2613123 *Apr 16, 1949Oct 7, 1952Gen ElectricFrozen food drawer for refrigerators
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3309892 *Dec 28, 1964Mar 21, 1967Gen Motors CorpFlexible belt-type ice maker
US5425248 *Jun 27, 1994Jun 20, 1995General Electric CompanyIce maker subassembly for a refrigerator freezer
US7013657 *Dec 1, 2003Mar 21, 2006Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.Ice maker
US7475562 *Dec 29, 2005Jan 13, 2009Maytag CorporationIce storage drawer for a bottom mount refrigerator
US8904816Feb 9, 2010Dec 9, 2014Dometic Sweden AbIce maker and method of producing pieces of ice
US20040144108 *Dec 1, 2003Jul 29, 2004Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.Ice maker
US20070151281 *Dec 29, 2005Jul 5, 2007Jackovin Gary BIce storage drawer for a bottom mount refrigerator
USRE44132 *Apr 9, 2013General Electric CompanyThermoelectric icemaker and control
USRE45779Feb 7, 2013Oct 27, 2015General Electric CompanyThermoelectric icemaker and control
CN102308161BFeb 9, 2010Aug 28, 2013多梅蒂克瑞典公司Ice maker and method of producing pieces of ice
EP1942308A3 *Dec 12, 2007Aug 12, 2015Whirlpool CorporationRefrigerated drawer having an ice maker
EP2216613A1 *Feb 9, 2009Aug 11, 2010Dometic Sweden ABIce maker and method of producing pieces of ice
WO2010089406A3 *Feb 9, 2010Mar 31, 2011Dometic Sweden AbIce maker and method of producing pieces of ice
Classifications
U.S. Classification62/344, 62/353
International ClassificationF25C1/10
Cooperative ClassificationF25C1/10
European ClassificationF25C1/10