US 3250433 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
y 1966 w. c. CHRISTINE ETAL 3,250,433
LIQUID DISPENSING UNIT 2 SheetsSheet 1 Filed Aug. 21, 1964 1 N VEN TORS 2 WILLIAM C. CHRISTlNE JOSEPH E. PIERCE BY I %AM i} ATTORNEY 1966 w. c. CHRISTINE ETAL 3,250,433
LIQUID DISPENS ING UNIT Filed Aug. 21, 1964 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 FIG. 3
I 42 Ii! i 52 [i FIG. 4
INVENTOR WILLIAM C.CHR!STINE JOSEPH E. PIERCE M fi ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,250,433 LIQUID DISPENSING UNi'l William (1. Christine, Catasanqua, and Joseph E. Pierce, Allentown, Pa., assignors to Ailen Electronics, Inc, Bethlehem, Pa, a corporation of Pennsylvania Filed Aug. 21, 1964, Ser. No. 391,261 6 Claims. (Cl. 222131) The present invention relates to a liquid dispensing unit for dispensing cold liquids such as cold water, and more particularly to such a unit that utilizes thermoelectricity so that electricity is directly converted to provide a cooling means for the liquid or water.
An object of the present invention is to provide an improved liquid dispensing unit which is adapted to provide and dispense cold water for use in making cold beverages, drinks, soups and the like.
Another object is to provide a cold water dispensing unit which is constructed so that a quantity of cold water can be readily dispensed or discharged into a receptacle or cup so that by adding to the cup powdered soluble edible products such as the user prefers, cold beverages, drinks, soups and the like can be conveniently and economically provided.
Still another object is to provide an apparatus of the character described that includes a manually operable faucet for controlling the discharge of cold water into a cup, and wherein there is provided a bottle for holding a quantity of water to be cooled, and wherein the water from the bottle is adapted to selectively enter and how through a chamber or compartment which is in close proximity to a thermoelectric module so that the water in the compartment will be cooled to the desired tempera ture, and wherein a heat sink is arranged adjacent to the thermoelectric module for cooperation with a motor driven fan so that the air will be caused to travel through the unit in the most efiicient manner to bring about the desired heat transfer.
Another object is to provide a device of the character described that may be utilized eificiently and which functions economically and which can be used with a minimum amount of effort, and further objects and advantages are to provide improved elements and arrangements thereof in a device of the character described that is economical to produce, durable in form, and conducive to the most economical use of materials and uniformity of members formed therefrom.
Still further objects and advantages will become apparent in the subsequent description in the specification.
In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the liquid dispensing unit of the present invention.
FIG. 2 is an enlarged longitudinal sectional view taken through the present invention and with parts broken away.
FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken on the line 33 of FIG. 2.
FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken on the line 44 of FIG. 2.
FIG. 5 is an enlarged perspective view of the thermoelectric module or cooling element.
FIG. 6 is an enlarged perspective view of the heat sink or heat dissipating unit.
Referring in detail to the drawings, the numeral indicates the unit or device of the present invention for dispensing cold water, as for example when such cold water is to be used for making cold beverages, drinks or the like. The unit 29 of the present invention includes an outer case 21, FIG. 1, and there is provided a base portion 22 which is adapted to support a cup such as the cup or receptacle 34, whereby a suitable product such as powdered beverage in concentrated form may be added to such a cup and readily dissolved in the cold water to provide a pleasing and satisfying drink or food product. The outer case 21 includes spaced parallel vertically disposed side portions 23 as well as a horizontally disposed top portion 24, and the top portion 24 is adapted to be provided wtih an opening 25 and may be covered by a screen or reticulated member as shown in FIG. 1, and the opening 25 functions as an air inlet opening for a purpose to be later described.
The side portions 23 of the outer case 21 are provided with openings 26 which are also covered with suitable screens, and the openings 26 provide air outlet openings.
As shown in FIG. 2 a hollow housing which is indicated generally by the numeral 28 is suitably mounted or arranged within the outer case 21, and the housing 28 includes spaced apart generally horizontally disposed top and bottom portions 29 and 30 as well as vertically disposed front and rear portions 31 and 32, and the housing 28 also includes spaced parallel vertically disposed side portions 33, FIG. 4. The housing 28 is hollow and provides or defines a compartment or chamber for holding the water or liquid which is to be cooled.
The numeral 35 indicates a generally inverted U-shaped body piece which includes spaced parallel vertically disposed side sections 36 as well as a horizontally disposed top section 37, and the front end of the body piece 35 is flush with the front portion 31 of the housing 28, while the rear end of the body piece 315 is open as at 38, and the open end 38 is spaced forwardly of the rear end portion 32 of the housing 28 as shown in FIG. 2. It will also be seen that the arrangement of the bodypiece 35 within the housing 28 defines a space or passageway 39 which is between the portions 29 and 37, and similar spaces or passageways 4d are defined between the portions 33 and 36 whereby water can flow from the bottle or jar 42 from left to right or front to rear through the passageways 39 and :9, FIG. 2, and this water can then enter the rear open end portion 38 of the body piece 3-5 and travel towards the faucet 43 so that it can be selectively manually dispensed or discharged into the cup 34, and during this time, the water is cooled by utilization of a unique thermoelectric process.
The faucet 43 has a conduit or fitting 44 connected thereto, and the fitting 44 is adapted to extend from the front portion 27 of the outer case 21 and through the lower front end of the portion 31 of the-housing 28 so that when the handle 45 is manually operated, cold water will tiow out from the interior chamber 41 and then through the conduit or fitting 4d and down through the discharge spout 45 into the cup 34.
As shown in FIG. 2, a pair of thermostats 47 and 48 are adapted to be provided. The numeral 49 indicates insulation which surrounds the housing 28, and a framework or shelf 50 is adapted to surround the insulation 49, FIG. 2. The numeral 51 indicates a funnel which is mounted in the case 21 above the housing 28, and the funnel 51 is adapted to receive an end portion of the water bottle 42 as shown in the drawings, and an upwardly projecting extension 52 above the funnel 51 is adapted to surround a portion of the bottle 42. The numeral 53 indicates a closure or cap which is removably or detachably mounted on the bottle 42, and the closure 53 has a port or aperture 54 in an end thereof, and the numeral 55 indicates a pin which is fixedly secured to the upper surface of the portion 37 of the body piece 35. A ball 56 is adapted to normally close the opening 54 in the closure 53, and a spring member 57 is provided for normally urging or biasing the ball 55 into closed relation with respect to the opening 54. However, when the parts are arranged as shown in FIG. 2, the pin 55 will register with the opening 54 to push the ball 56 up away from the opening 54 against the pressure of the spring 57 so that water can flow by gravity from the jar or bottle 42 down through the opening 54 into the spaces 39 and 4t) and then into the chamber 41, as later described in this application.
The numeral 58 indicates a heat sink which is arranged in the case 21 rearwardly of the housing 23, and the heat sink 58 includes a vertically disposed plate 59 that has a plurality of generally 'U-shaped fins 60 suitably secured thereto, FIG. 6. The heat sink 58 is adapted to be suitably mounted in place, as for example by means of bolt and nut assemblies 62 which have portions extending through openings 61 in the plated), FIG. 3, and the bolt and nut assemblies 62 are adapted to be suitably connected to brackets or mounting members 63 which can be affixed to the outer portion of the housing 28.
The numeral 64 indicates a power supply assembly which is arranged in the lower portion of the case 21, FIG. 2, and suitable electrical connections are adapted to be provided between the various electrical components such as a motor 65 which drives or operates a fan 66, and the fan 66 is positioned or mounted below the housing 28 as shown in the drawings. The numeral 67 indicates a thermoelectric module which is of a type that directly converts electricity so that the cooling effect is provided for the water or liquid, and the thermoelectric module may be constructed of suitable material such as those shown in US. Patent 3,132,488, and the thermoelectric module 67 is adapted to be connected to the source of supply of electrical energy by means of the conductors 68, and as shown in FIG. 5, the thermoelectric module 67 may include elements or portions 69 and 76.
From the foregoing, it will be seen that there has been provided a liquid dispensing unit or device which is adapted to be used for dispensing cold water as, for example, when cold beverages are to be made. In use, with the parts arranged as shown in the drawings, the device 20 of the present invention is adapted to be connected to a suitable source of supply of electrical energy, and for example, a suitable electric cable may be plugged into a wall outlet or else the source of supply of electrical energy may consist of self-contained batteries which may or may not be of the rechargeable type, and the electrical energy is suitably electrically connected to the power supply assembly 64 which is arranged in the lower portion of the case 21, FIG. 2. The motor 65 .is adapted to be electrically connected to the power supply unit 64 so that the fan 66 will rotate or revolve in the desired manner, and in addition the thermoelectric module or unit 67 is also electrically connected to the power supply 64 in any suitable manner, as for example by means of electrical wires or conductors. The bottle 42 is adapted to be filled with water from a suitable source of supply such as tap water at ordinary temperatures, and with the closure 53 mounted on the neck of the bottle 42, the bottle is arranged as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 so that the end portion of the bottle 42 is snugly and conveniently received in the funnel portion 51. With the bottle in this position, the closure 53 is properly aligned so that the pin 55 which is secured to the top portion 37 of the body piece 35 will be arranged whereby the pin 55 will extend through the opening 54 in the closure 53 so as to push the ball 56 up away from the opening 54 and the ball 56 will thus compress the spring 57 and with the ball 56 in raised position above the opening 54, the water from the bottle 42 can flow downwardly by gravity and this water can then enter the space 3& and the space 40 between body piece 35 and the housing 28. This water will then fiow or move through the spaces 39 or 40 and will subsequently enter the chamber or interior space 41 within the body piece 35 through the open end 38 of the body piece 35, FIG. 2. As the water travels through this path, it will be cooled due to the provision of the thermoelectric module 67 and thus therewill be provided a supply of cold water in the chamber or compartment 41. Then, with a cup such as the cup 34 positioned on the base 22, by manually turning the handle 45, a desired quantity of cold Water from the chamber 41 will flow out through the tube 44 and down through the nozzle or spout 46 into the cup 34. Then, with the cup 34 provided with ingredients such as a product which is emptied from a packet of a powdered food product, there is provided instantly a delicious cup of a .favorite beverage such as a soft drink which will be cold and delicious.
After the desired quantity of water has been dispensed into the cup 34, the handle is turned to the oil position so that no further water will flow out from the chamber 41. As the water is removed or dispensed fromthe chamber 41, an additional quantity of water will automatically flow down from the bottle 42 to replace the water that is removed so that there will always be present a desired quantity of cold water in the vicinity of the chamber 41. When the bottle 42 becomes empty, the bottle 42 with the closure 53 can be readily manually lifted up from the device and then the closure 53 can be unscrewed from the neck of the bottle 42 so that the bottle 42 can be refilled with Water, and then the closure 53 is again mounted on the end or neck of the bottle 42 whereby the bottle 42 is replaced or returned to the pos.i-
tion shown in FIG. 2.
The thermoelectric module 67 is constructed so that electricity is directly converted for providing the cooling effect for the water and it will be seen that by using the thermoelectric module 67, the necessity for using a complicated conventional refrigeration mechanism including such items as a compressor, condenser, and the like are eliminated, and by using such a thermoelectric principle the upkeep and maintenance of the device is greatly simplified due to the simplified construction utilized.
Also, it will be noted that when the device is being used, air from the outside is sucked into the interior of the case 21 down through the opening 25 and this air travels through a path which causes the air to move through the fins 6% of the heat sink 58, and thus the heat sink 58, due to its proximity to the thermoelectric module 67, dissipates the heat from the thermoelectric module, and this warm air is conveniently dissipated or discharged through openings such as the openings 26. Thus, the fan 66 which is operated by the motor functions as a blower to circulate the air in the most advantageous manner so that the heat transfer can take place in the desired efiicient manner.
It is to be understood that the various parts or ele ments can be made in different sizes or shapes and out of any suitable material as desired or required.
The present invention is adapted to be used for making cold beverages, drinks, soups and the like, and the device is especially suitable for making invidiual cups of beverages or the like from single portion servings or packets of concentrated powdered food products which are adapted to be dissolved in the cold water. The device can be used in any desired location such as in an office, industrial establishment, home or the like. The device is attractively designed and constructed so that it will enhance the appearance of the surrounding area in which the same is being used. The present invention is adapted to dispense cold water without using complicated equipment, and with the present invention cold water is conveniently available as, for example, when a person wishes a cold drink of water, or when a person wishes to mix the cold water with powdered product from a packet or the like for making a cold beverage, drink or similar substance.
The air is caused to circulate or move by means of thefan or blower 66 so that with the parts arranged as shown in the drawings, the air will properly circulate to dissipate heat from the thermoelectric module 67 and in addition this circulating air will help cool parts such as the power supply assembly 64.
The present invention is constructed so that it will function economically and efficiently and is adapted to be used with instant beverage ingredients supplied from packets or packages of such ingredients. The water will be cooled quickly to the desired temperature with the parts arranged as shown in the drawings. When using the device, the instant beverage ingredient is adapted to be first poured into the cup 34 and then the cold water can be dispensed from the faucet 43 into the cup 34 so that by stirring or mixing the water and ingredient, there will be provided a delicious soft drink, beverage or the like at the desired cool or low temperature.
The cooling unit assembly consists of parts such as the cooperating heat sink S8, thermoelectric module 67, housing 28 and body piece 35 which are arranged as shown in the drawings. Suitable insulation can be provided wherever needed or desired. The pair of thermostats 47 and .8 are adapted to be used for controlling operation of the device so that the device will operate within the desired upper and lower temperature limits to automatically provide the cold waterat the proper time and in the desired manner.
Minor changes in shape, size and rearrangement of details coming within the field of invention claimed may be resorted to in actual practice, if desired.
What is claimed is:
1. In a liquid dispensing unit for dispensing cold liquids such as cold water, a housing having a thermoelectric module therein and said thermoelectric module adapted to be connected to a source of supply of electrical energy, a liquid compartment in said housing adjacent said thermoelectric module, a heat sink contiguous to said thermoelectric module, motor operated fan means for circulating air through said heat sink, and a container for supplying water to said compartment.
2. The structure as defined in claim 1 and further including manually operable faucet means for controlling the discharge of cold water from the compartment.
3. The structure as defined in claim 1 wherein the thermoelectric module causes and brings about direct conversion of electricity to cool the liquid in the compartment.
4. In a liquid dispensing unit for dispensing cold water to be used for making cold beverages, drinks, soups and the like, a housing having a thermoelectric module therein and said thermoelectric module adapted to be connected to a source of supply of electrical energy, a liquid compartment in said housing adjacent said thermoelectric module, a heat sink contiguous to said thermoelectric module, motor operated fan means for circulating air through said heat sink, a container adapted to supply water to said compartment, and said container including a bottle having a closure thereon.
5. A liquid dispensing unit for providing and dispensing cold water comprising an outer case including a base portion for holding a cup which is adapted to receive a quantity of cold water, said case including vertically disposed spaced parallel side portions, a horizontally disposed top portion which has an air inlet opening therein, said case further including a front portion, and said side portions raving air outlet openings therein, screens covering said air inlet and outlet openings, a hollow housing mounted in said case and said housing including spaced apart top and bottom portions and vertically disposed front and rear portions, a body piece of generally inverted U-shaped formation arranged in said housing and said body piece including a horizontally disposed top portion and spaced parallel vertically disposed side portions, said body piece having its front end contiguous to the front end of said housing and its rear end open and spaced from the rear of said housing whereby there is provided spaces and passageways for the flow of water through the spaces between the top portion of the body piece and the top portion of the housing and through the spaces between the sides of the body piece and the sides of the housing and whereby the open rear end of the body piece permits the water to enter the interior of the body piece, a manually operable faucet arranged forwardly of the front portion of the case and said faucet being spaced above the cup supporting base portion and said faucet having a conduit which communicates with the interior of the housing, thermostat means in said case, insulation surrounding said housing, a framework surrounding said insulation, a funnel mounted in said case above said housing, a bottle having a closure thereon and said bottle adapted to be received in said funnel, said closure having a port which is adapted to be selectively closed by a spring pressed ball, a pin on the upper surface of said body piece for selectively raising said ball away from said port to permit water to flow from the bottle down into the space between the body portion and housing, a heat sink arranged in said case rearwardly of said housing, and said heat sink including a vertically disposed plate having a plurality of fins secured thereto, a power supply assembly in the lower portion of said case, a motor driven fan below said housing, and a thermoelectric module adapted to be connected to a source of supply of electrical energy, and said thermoelectric module being interposed between said heat sink and the rear end of said housing.
6. As a new article of manufacture, a liquid dispensing unit for providing and dispensing cold water to be used for dissolving powdered soluble edible products, comprising an outer case, a thermoelectric element in said case, a liquid compartment adjacent said thermoelectric element, container means for supplying liquid to said compartment, a heat sink contiguous to said thermoelectric element, and motor operated fan means for circulating air through said heat sink.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,591,799 7/1926 Tinapp 222 X 1,668,897 5/ 1928' Gilstrap et a1. 222-131 X 1,809,958 6/ 1931 Wright 6-2390 X 1,895,859 1/1933 Mufiiy 62339 3,078,682 2/ 1963 Gould 62-3 3,109,558 11/1963 Yetter 222-462 X 3,143,636 8/1964 Lupovici 222-146 X 3,170,117 2/1965 Berning et al. 62-3 X 3,178,396 4/1965 Sandsto 623 89 X 3,195,315 7/1965 Boehmer et al 623 RAPHAEL M. LUPO, Primary Examiner.