US 3256709 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
June 21, 1966 K. F. STEPLETON DISPLAY MEANS FOR REFRIGERATED CABINETS Original Filed June 14, 1963 INVENTOR. Kenneilzf'fiepleion Y United States Patent 3,256,709 DISPLAY MEANS FOR REFRIGERATED CABINETS Kenneth F. Stepleton, Chicago, lill., assiguor to Dual .let
Refrigeration Company, Chicago, Ill., a corporation of Illinois Continuation of application Ser..No. 287,900, June 14,
1963. This application Oct. 13, 1964, Ser. No. 403,590 9 Claims. (Cl. 62-256) rooted to devices of the type which are capable of maintaining arefrigerated state within an enclosed space while still providing an opening for access to the contents.
In an application of Hagen et al., Serial No. 54,077, filed September 6, 1960, and in the issued Simons Patent No. 2,862,369, there are described refrigerated display cabinets which are provided with access openings exposed to the atmosphere while still being capable of maintaining the contents in a refrigerated state. Loss of refrigeration from the enclosed space through the access opening is reduced in a highly effective manner in these constructions by the use of an air curtain which is continuously advanced across the open side from one edge of the opening to the opposite edge. The air curtain in these constructions is adapted to be formed of adjacent panels of air, with the innermost panel comprising a refrigerated cold air panel, and with one or more outer panels having temperatures approaching the ambient temperature. It has been found that it is desirable to recirculate at least the inner cold air panel, and, at times, the adjacent guard panels, to conserve the refrigeration and to maintain the enclosed space in a satisfactory refrigerated state.
In these constructions there are described assemblies which include nozzles extending across the bottom edge of the access opening to direct the air panels upwardly across the opening towards inlets which extend across the top side of the access opening. As an alternative, the nozzles are located across the upper edge for projecting the air panels downwardly toward inlets arranged across the bottom edge. It is also contemplated that the air nozzles be located across one of the lateral edges of the opening for directing the corresponding air panels across the opening toward inlets in the opposite edge. Because of the more desirable effect of gravity on the higher density cold air, it has been found preferable to provide the air curtain with a downward movement from nozzles across the top to inlets across the bottom. The following description will refer to this preferred construction,
although it will be understood that the concepts, to be described are also applicable to other directions of flow.
In refrigerated cabinets of the type described, shelves are ordinarily provided for holding articles which are to be sold while in a refrigerated state. The horizontally disposed shelves permit one to reach into the cabinets and retrieve articles without stooping. Cabinets of this type are also preferable to the chest type having an open top, since the necessity for piling articles on top of each other is minimized. Thus, by providing separate shelves in an upright type refrigerated enclosure, the frozen articles are much more accessible and the need for digging into a pile to find a suitable article is eliminated.
Patented June 21, 1966 It has been found that the upright type refrigerated cabinets have available a substantial amount of air space between the horizontally disposed shelves. From the standpoint of efficient operation, it is considered desirable to provide means for utilizing such space. In this connection, the suspending of articles from beneath the .shelves has been contemplated by applicant; however, the
mere suspension of these articles also presents difficulties from the standpoint of efficient operation and customer convenience. Thus, if articles are only hung from the front portions of the shelves, only a small percentage of the available space is utilized. On the other hand, if articles are suspended from all locations under the shelves, the rearmost articles can be hidden and otherwise located in inconvenient positions.
It is an object of this invention to provide means in refrigerated cabinets of the type described in the aforementioned disclosures whereby articles can be even more effectively and efficiently displayed and stored whereby they can be inspected and reached by individuals in a particularly desirable fashion.
It is an additional object of this invention to provide display means for refrigerated cabinets of the type described which provide particularly desirable advantages insofar as the visibility and accessibility of refrigerated articles is concerned, and which also enable maximum utilization of the space available in refrigerated enclosures.
It is a more particular object of this invention to provide means in refrigerated cabinets of the type described which are designed for the handling of large articles such as poultry and hams so that these articles can be refrigerated and displayed in a highly efiicient and effective manner.
These and other objects of this invention will appear hereinafter and, for purposes of illustration, but not of limitation, specific embodiments of the invention are shown in the accompanying drawings in which:
FIGURE 1 is a schematic elevation, in section, of a refrigerated enclosure characterized by the features of this invention;
FIGURE 2 is a perspective view of one hanger construction characterized by the advantages of this invention; and,
FIGURE 3 is an enlarged detail view, partly in section, of the hanger construction for an alternative form of the invention.
As indicated, the improvements of this invention are directed to refrigerated enclosures of the type which define an access opening in one wall which is provided for communication with the otherwise enclosed space. The refrigerated enclosures are provided with a plurality of nozzles arranged in side-by-side relationship across one edge of an access opening and corresponding inlets are located across an opposite edge of the access opening. The inner nozzles and inlets are provided for the passage of refrigerated air streams, while the outer nozzles and inlets are adapted to circulate progressively warmer streams. The streams pass across the access opening in the form of laminar panels to provide a highly effective means for maintaining a refrigerated state within the enclosure.
In accordance with this invention, cabinets of the type described are provided with means for vertically suspending refrigerated articles within the refrigerated space. The suspending means are adapted to releasably hold the articles in a manner such that they are easily visible to one looking into the cabinet and are also capable of being easily removed by one considering purchase of an article. The suspending means are preferably attached to horizontally disposed surfaces which are available within the enclosure. These surfaces are defined by the undersides of shelves as well as by the interior top surface of the refrigerated space.
The suspending means of this invention are located within the cabinets in a manner such that the articles can be moved about without removing them from the suspending means. In a specific form of this invention, a plurality of tracks are attached to the above described surfaces, and hooks are movably received on the tracks. With an arrangement of this nature, an individual can move the suspended articles in an effortless fashion so that a greater selection and more careful inspection is possible.
The tracks which retain the movable suspending means can be located within the cabinets in any desired fashion. Thus, the tracks may extend laterally across the cabinet with one or more rows being provided on a given surface. It is also contemplated to provide a plurality of tracks which extend in a perpendicular fashion with respect to the rear wall of the cabinet. With tracks disposed in this manner, it is possible to provide a slight slope toward the front of the cabinet whereby the articles will automatically seek a position near the access opening.
In an alternative form of the invention, a track construction is employed and sliding rack members are associated with this track construction. The articles to be suspended within the cabinet are adapted to be hooked onto the rack and the rack is designed whereby it can be pulled outwardly through the access opening of the cabinet. With this arrangement, a customer can move the suspended articles to a convenient position for inspection and removal from the rack.
The accompanying drawings illustrate a refrigerated cabinet which is characterized by the features of this invention. The cabinet includes a top wall 10, a bottom wall 12, a back wall 14 and a front wall 16. The front wall defines an access opening 18 which permits an individual to reach into the enclosed refrigerated space 20 of the cabinet. The inner wall 22 of the cabinet defines the extent of the refrigerated enclosure.
The cabinet shown in FIGURE 1 includes a pair of partitions 24 and 26 located intermediate the inner and outer walls to thereby define with these walls the passages 28, 30 and 32. These passages confine air streams which are adapted to be circulated through the cabinet and which pass across the access opening 18 in the form of laminar panels 34, 36 and 38.
Each of the passages in cabinet constructions of the type illustrated are provided with air nozzles 50. The air panels pass out of these nozzles and into inlets 52 at the opposite sides of the access openings. The nozzles may comprise honeycomb sections as described in the aforementioned disclosures, and screens 54 can be provided over the inlets to prevent entry of insects or other foreign matter.
At least the innermost stream of air in a cabinet is powered by a fan or the like, and refrigerating coils are provided for this innermost stream. It will be understood that more than one of the streams could be refrigerated as well as driven by a circulating means, and that the invention contemplates any number of streams suitable for cabinets of the type described.
In FIGURE 1 the cabinet is provided with refrigeration coils 56 located in the innermost passage 28. Circulating fans 58 and 60 provide for circulation of the streams in the passages 28 and 30, while the stream in passage 32 may be circulated through contact with the adjacent stream.
Where only two streams are employed, one or both of the streams may be powered by a fan, with the innermost stream being refrigerated. As explained in the aforementioned disclosures, the provision of laminar panels across the access openings in cabinets of this type provides an extremely effective refrigerating operation while still permitting access to the contents of the cabinets.
The cabinet shown is provided with a shelf 62 which is adapted to hold articles 64 on its top surface. One or more such shelves, as well as the bottom surface 66 of the enclosure, provide a highly desirable means for displaying the articles, since there is no need to stoop to reach them, and since it is not necessary to dig down into a pile of frozen articles.
In the structure shown in FIGURE 1, laterally extending tracks 78 are provided on the surface of the inner wall 22. Wheels 80 are adapted to ride in these tracks and hooks 82 secured to the wheels are provided for vertically suspending frozen articles 84. With this arrangement, one can move the articles laterally across the cabinet and thereby get a clear view of articles in the back rows. Furthermore, the provision of hooks 82 permits easy removal of the articles when desired.
With reference to the above described construction, it will be appreciated that the tracks 78 can be arranged whereby they extend perpendicular to the rear wall of the cabinet. The tracks 78 when disposed in this manner may slope slightly downwardly toward the front of the cabinet so that as each article is removed, the next article will move into the front position for easier accessibility. It will be appreciated that any desired combination of lateral and perpendicular tracks can be employed. Furthermore, the track means above described can be utilized in a cabinet alone or in combination with the alternative form of suspending means described herein.
The alternative form of the invention which is best illustrated in FIGURE 2 includes a rectangular frame section which includes bracket members 92 for securement to the rear wall 22 of the cabinet. Standards 94 are preferably provided for supporting the construction relative to the bottom wall 66. These standards can be dispensed with and the rack may be secured to the shelf 62, however, the use of these standards greatly facilitates installation of this form of the invention particularly in connection with existing cabinet constructions.
The frame 90 is provided with a plurality of track portions 96 which extend between the rear member and front member of the frame. These track portions define openings 98 which slideably receive rack members 100. The track members 96 preferably comprise channels having slots defined in their bottom walls. The rack portions 100 are connected to members 102 which are adapted to fit into the channel-shaped track portions while rack portions 1% are dimensioned to be received in the slots. With this arrangement, the rack portion is held by the track portion; however, it is still adapted to slide to an outward position as shown in FIGURE 1.
With articles such as poultry or hams suspended on the rack portion, a customer can reach in the cabinet and grasp the end 104 of the rack. The entire rack and articles suspended thereon can then be pulled toward the customer for inspection and removal of the articles. This arrangement is obviously vastly superior to systems wherein the customer can only see the top articles in a stack and must dig into a pile of such articles in order to view the remainder.
As suggested by the drawings, the suspending means of this invention are ideally suited for use in conjunction with relatively large frozen articles such as hams or poultry. These articles have been particularly troublesome when stored in conventional freezers, since they take up a large amount of space compared to the number of items. Furthermore, due to their weight, they are hard to handle if piled in a freezer chest. Although the invention is particularly adapted for use with articles of this type, it will be appreciated that the concepts described are applicable to a large variety of other articles.
The described cabinets with the suspending means of this invention enable highly effective display of frozen goods, since the goods can be viewed and inspected while hanging in place. There is, therefore, no need for lifting the heavy, cold articles until a selection is made. The articles are more accessible since they can be suspended at a level convenient for a person of average height. Furthermore, the concepts of this invention provide for maximum utilization of the freezer space, since the area immediately underneath the shelves and top wall of the cabinet would otherwise be unused.
It will be understood that various modifications may be made in the above described refrigerated cabinets which provide the characteristics of this invention without departing from the spirit thereof, particularly as defined in the following claims.
That which is claimed is:
1. In a display construction defining an access opening in at least one wall for communication with the interior of the construction, said construction including a plurality of vertically spaced-apart substantially horizontally disposed display shelves, the improvement comprising means for suspending articles within the construction, said suspending means including horizontally disposed tracks secured in position along the under side of said shelves, said tracks being secured to a rectangular frame and including means for attaching said frame to at least one interior wall of said cabinet and standard means extending downwardly from said frame and engaging the bottom interior wall of said cabinet for supporting said frame, elements located at the upper ends of said suspending means for movement along said tracks and hook means connected beneath said elements whereby articles hanging from said hook means can be moved to different positions within the construction to increase visibility and accessibility of the articles.
2. A construction in accordance with claim 1 wherein said elements comprise wheels adapted to move along said tracks.
3. A construction in accordance with claim 1 wherein said tracks extend laterally across said cabinet.
4. A construction in accordance with claim 1 wherein said tracks extend in a direction perpendicular to the back wall of the cabinet.
5. A construction in accordance with claim 4 wherein said tracks slope downwardly from said back wall toward the front of the cabinet whereby articles hanging thereon tend to move toward the front of the cabinet.
6. A refrigerated cabinet in accordance with claim 1 wherein said tracks comprise channel-shaped members and said elements comprise rack means adapted .to be slideably received within said channel-shaped elements.
7. A refrigerated cabinet construction in accordance with claim 6 wherein said channel-shaped.elements are secured to a rectangular frame and including means for attaching said frame to at least one interior wall of said cabinet and standard means extending downwardly from said frame and engaging the bottom interior wall of said cabinet for supporting said frame.
8. In a refrigerated cabinet defining an access opening in one wall communicating the otherwise enclosed space with the outside atmosphere, means forcirculating a plurality of air panels across said opening and through said enclosure, and means for refrigerating at least the innermost one of said panels, the improvement comprising means for vertically suspending refrigerated articles within said cabinet, said suspending means including a horizontal frame construction secured within said enclosed space and extending substantially completely across said cabinet, a plurality of channel means connected to said frame and extending in a direction perpendicular to the back wall of said cabinet to points adjacent said access opening, and rack means adapted to be slideably received within said channels whereby said rack means can be moved outwardly through said access opening, said rack means defining means for hanging said refrigerated articles thereon.
9. A refrigerated cabinet in accordance with claim 8 wherein said frame includes means for securing the frame to at least one interior wall of said cabinet and standard means extending downwardly from said frame for engagement with the bottom interior wall of said cabinet.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,259,007 l0/194 1 Story 62-382 3,019,620 2/1962 Constantini 62-408 3,063,252 11/1962 Lamb 62-256 WILLIAM J. WYE, Primary Examiner.