Ice-making machine and dispenser
US 3276224 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
ICE-MAKING MACHINE AND DISPENSER Filed April 14, 1965 INVENTOR HOWARD L. LUNDE ATTORNEYS United States Patent 3,276,224 ICE-MAKING MACHINE AND DISPENSER Howard L. Lunde, 0conto, Wis. Filed Apr. 14, 1965, Ser. No. 448,015 6 Claims. (Cl. 62344) This invention relates to improvements in ice-making machines, and more particularly to an ice cube machine having novel, sanitary means for dispensing the ice cubes.
In conventional ice cube-making machines, the ice cubes normally accumulate in a compartment adjacent the top of the machine cabinet, and when someone wishes to remove some cubes for use in water glasses or the like he merely opens the cabinet top cover and reaches in with his hands to grasp and remove the cubes. However, in hospitals and other institutions wherein sanitation is critical, as well as in restaurants and the like, this conventional method of handling ice cubes is unsatisfactory because it promotes the spread of germs. Moreover, in many instances it has been found that persons place soft drink bottles, or other foodstulfs, in the ice cube compartment in order to keep them refrigerated. This also likely to contaminate the ice cubes with dirt and germs, of course, and is very undesirable.
With the above considerations in mind, the principal objects of the present invention are to provide an improved ice-making machine wherein the ice is dispensed mechanically, without being touched by human hands, and which machine is so designed that soft drink bottles and the like cannot be placed in the ice compartment.
A further object of the present invention is to provide an ice cube-making machine having novel means in the cube compartment for preventing the ice cubes from freezing or sticking together in a mass, as frequently occurs with conventional ice machines.
Still further objects of the invention are to provide a novel and improved ice making machine which is rugged and durable in construction, which is simple and dependable in operation, and which is otherwise particularly well adapted for its intended purposes.
With the above and other objects in view, which other objects and advantages of the present structure will become apparent hereinafter, the invention comprises the improved ice-making machine hereinafter described, and illustrated in the drawing, and also any and all modifications or variations thereof as may come within the spirit of said invention and within the scope of the appended claims.
In the accompanying drawing, wherein there is illustrated one preferred embodiment of the invention, and wherein the same or similar reference numerals designate the same or similar parts in all of the views:
FIG. 1 is a perspective, exterior view of the improved ice cube-making machine;
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary side elevational view with the cabinet broken away to show the novel cube-dispensing mechanism and its associated components; and
FIG. 3 is a transverse vertical sectional view through the cabinet, taken along line 33 of FIG. 2.
Referring now more particularly to FIG. 1 of the drawing, the illustrated ice cube-making machine comprises a rectangular cabinet having a front wall 10, rear wall 11, side walls 12 and 13, and a top cover 14. Projecting outwardly from the front wall is an open-bottom discharge chute 15 under which a bucket or other container 16 may be positioned to catch the ice cubes as they are ejected from the machine, as will be described. Said cabinet can be provided with suitable insulation means, and it is to be understood, of course, that the exterior design of the illustrated cabinet, as well as the size and proportions thereof, are not critical with respect to the "ice novel cube-dispensing mechanism comprising the present invention.
It will be noted that the top cover 14 in the present structure is secured to the cabinet side walls by means of screws 20 or the like. Thus, in contrast to conventional machines wherein the top cover may be raised to provide access to the cube compartment, with the improved machine comprising the present invention it is impossible for unauthorized persons to open the cabinet for the purpose of placing soft drink bottles and the like therein. Moreover, the hood-like discharge chute 15 prevents users from reaching into the cabinet opening 19 for that purpose.
Housed within the upper portion of the cabinet, directly under said cover 14, is the ice cube-making apparatus. Said ice-producing unit is conventional in design and function, including water supply means, refrigerant coil, compressor, etc, and since said devices are so well known in the art it has not been illustrated, nor will it be described in detail herein.
With reference now to FIG. 2 of the drawing, mounted on the interior of the cabinet front and rear walls 10 and 11 are short, downwardly and inwardly inclined deflectors or baffles 17 and 18, respectively, and said cabinet front wall 10 is provided with an opening 19 therebelow communicating with the aforementioned cube discharge chute 15. The bottom wall 21 of said cabinet interior chamber is angled rearwardly and downwardly, as shown, to direct any water caused by melting ice to drain toward the rear of the cabinet, and a drain pipe 22 is provided at the back to permit the withdrawal of said water out of view and without interferring with the access to the front part of the machine. Moreover, the rearward pitch of said bottom 21 prevents water from running out the opening 19 in the cabinet front wall, and into the cube recep tacle 16, which is undesirable.
As appears in FIG 3, mounted within the cabinet interior are inner side wall members 23 and 24 having downwardly and inwardly angled portions 25 and 26, respectively, and formed integrally on the lower ends of the latter are vertical portions 27 and 28, the lower ends of which are interconnected by the aforementioned bottom member 21. Thus there is provided a funnel-like struc ture which is adapted to direct ice cubes produced by the ice-making apparatus thereabove downwardly into a relatively narrow, elongated channel formed by said side members 27, 28, and bottom 21. Said bottom channel, which is designated by the numeral 29, communicates with the discharge chute 15 and extends from the front to the back of the cabinet, as shown in FIG. 2. Like all of the components within the present machine, said inner wall members are formed of stainless steel, to ensure maximum sanitation.
Rigidly mounted within and adjacent the top of the cabinet in the illustrated form of the invention is a channeled cross bar 31 which spans the cabinet side walls, and extending downwardly therefrom intermediate the length of said bar are a pair of rigid, closely spaced parallel bracket arms 32 and 33, said arms projecting downwardly to a point spaced above the cabinet lower channel 29. Rotatably projected through said bracket arms intermediate the height thereof is a transverse rod 34 ('FIG. 3) which extends across the width of the cabinet, said rod being journaled in the inner side walls and having suitable sealed bearings 30, and one end of said rod projects outwardly through the cabinet side Wall 13 and is provided with a crank or handle 36 on the cabinet exterior. Mounted on and for rotation with said rod 34 between the bracket arms 32, 33 is a pinion 37, the function of which will be hereinafter seen.
A transverse bolt or stud 38 is carried by and between the lower ends of the bracket arms 32, 33, and rotatably mounted thereon is a gear sector 39 which extend-s upwardly to mesh with the aforementioned pinion 37. As best appears in FIG. 2, elongated transverse rods 41 and 42 are welded or otherwise permanently secured on the toothed periphery of said gear adjacent the ends thereof to function as stops, thus limiting the rotary or pivotal movement of said gear within approximately an 80 arc when it is driven by said pinion. Moreover, said rods 41, 42 are preferably of unequal lengths (FIG. 3) and are provided with transversely deflected end portions, said rods providing novel means for breaking up the ice and preventing the cubes from sticking together within the cabinet interior, as will be described.
Fixed to the lower end of said rotatable gear 39 is a leg 43 which extends downwardly into the cabinet bottom channel 29, said leg having an icebreaking arm 44 projecting therefrom, and pivotally secured to the lower end of said leg is a link 46 connecting said leg and gear sector to a lug 47 on the front of a box-like ejector member 48.
As is shown, said ejector member 48 is rectangular in form and is designed to closely movably fit within the cabinet bottom channel 29. Said ejector is movable from the rearward position illustrated in full lines in FIG. 2 to the forward position shown in broken lines therein, and is actuated through the pivotal motion of the gear 39, through the connecting leg 43 and links 46, 47. A rod 49 is carried on the underside of said ejector member adjacent each longitudinal edge thereof (FIG. 3), and closelyspaced pairs of rods 51, 52 are mounted on the cabinet bottom to provide guideways within which said upper rods 49 slidably fit, thus providing track means to facilitate the forward and backward traversing movement of said ejector 4 8 during the operation of the present invention, as will now be explained.
In the use of the novel machine comprising the present invention, ice cubes are formed by a conventional cubemaking apparatus (not shown) housed in the upper portion of the cabinet, and as said cubes are produced they are funneled downwardly and inwardly by the hopper walls 25, 26 into the lower, channel-like compartment 29. When it is desired to remove a quantity of ice cube-s, the user positions a container 16 beneath the discharge chute 15, and he pushes the handle 36 rearwardly. As hereinabove described, the rod 34 on which said handle is mounted has a pinion 3'7 thereon which meshes with the gear 39, and thus when said rod and pinion are rotated by the action of said handle 36, the gear and attached leg 43 thereon are pivoted about the stud '38.
Pivotal movement of said gear 39 in a counter-clockwise direction causes the depending leg 43 thereon to swing rearwardly and to thus push the ejector member 58 to its rearwardmost position or station, as shown in full lines in FIG. 2, thereby permitting ice cubes from the hopper to fill the channel 29. The user then pulls the handle 36 forwardly to cause the gear 39 to pivot in the opposite direction, and the ejector member 48 is drawn forwardly through the linkage 43, 46, 47 to the broken line position of FIG. 2. As said ejector moves forwardly it engages the ice cubes in the channel, of course, and pushes a quantity of said cubes out the discharge chute 15 and into the container 16 therebelow, from which they can be individually removed with a tongs or the like. The result is a unique dispensing mechanism which eliminates the necessity for manually handling the ice cubes.
If it is desired to withdraw more ice, the user merely pushes the handle 36 to return the ejector to a rearward position, thereby allowing the channel 29 to be refilled with ice cubes from the hopper, and forward movement of said handle 36 will then cause the discharge of additional cubes. With respect to said handle 36, incidentally, it can be of any desired length, and a handle somewhat longer than that illustrated might be preferred for some machines in order to obtain greater leverage. In addition, while the handle in the illustrated form of the invention can be pivoted approximately 80, corresponding to the vantages over the prior art.
travel arc of the gear sector 39, this can be varied to suit particular requirements, depending upon the size of the machine and the required travel of the ejector 48, etc., and the invention is not to be limited in this respect. Moreover, it is contemplated that the manual ejector actuating mechanism illustrated and described herein could be readily adapted to a motor drive, and the invention is by no means to be confined to a manually-powered dispensing apparatus. What is novel in the present invention, and what is intended to be covered herein, is the concept of an ice machine having means therein for mechanically ejecting the ice cubes without the necessity of their being handled or touched.
With reference again to FIG. 2 of the drawing, it Will be seen that the downwardly-angled deflector or baffle 13 on the cabinet back wall is designed to prevent ice cubes in the hopper from falling between said wall and the rear of the ejector 48 when the latter is in its forward position, which could prevent the return travel of said ejector to its rearward station. The bafile 17 on the cabinet front wall is designed to prevent ice cubes in the hopper from accumulating too far forwardly in the channel 29, and possibly inadvertently falling through the discharge chute J15 when the machine is not being operated.
As hereinabove mentioned, the ice breaking rods 41, 42 and 44, carried by the movable, coacting gear and arm members 39 and 43 are important elements of the invention. Without said breaking members ice cubes within the hopper might freeze together in groups or in a mass, as sometimes occurs in conventional ice making machines, and which not only produces an inferior product but which can jam the machine and render it inoperative. With the present structure, however, movement of said gear and arm members 39, 43 during each dispensing operation causes said elongated rods 41, 42, 44 thereon to move through the accumulated ice cubes to break them up and forcibly shift them about, thus reducing the possibility of said cubes freezing or sticking together and obstructing subsequent operation of the dispenser.
From the foregoing detailed description it will be seen that the present invention provides a new and improved ice cubemaking machine having several important ad- Principally, of course, the present machine is especially well adapted for use in hospitals and other institutions wherein sanitation is critical, as well as in restaurants and the like, because the present invention makes it unnecessary to manually handle the ice cubes, and because the machine cannot be used as a refrigerator for storing soft drink bottles and the like. Moreover, the presentmachine is provided with novel means for preventing the ice cubes from freezing or sticking together, said machine is rugged and durable, it is simple and reliable in operation, and it is relatively inexpensive in design and construction.
It is to be understood, of course, that the structure.
hereinabove described is intended merely as an illustrative embodiment of the invention, and numerous changes or modifications may be made therein without departing from the intended scope of the invention. It is contemplated, for example, that other cabinet designs and sizes could be employed, and the dispensing mechanism could be power driven in lieu of the hand-operated model shown, as well as numerous other variations in the details of construction. Moreover, the dispenser could be advantageously utilized in a machine producing chip or crushed ice, as well as cubes. In short, what is intended to be covered herein is not only the illustrated form of the invention, but also any and all modifications or variations both in the construction and use thereof as may come within the spirit of said invention, and within thescope of the following claims.
What I claim is:
1. An ice cube machine, comprising: a cabinet having a pair of side walls, a rear wall, and a front wall, said front wall having a cube discharge opening in its lower portion; a cover secured on the top of said cabinet; an ice cube-producing apparatus in the upper portion of said cabinet; a funnel-like hopper in said cabinet below said ice cube-making apparatus and adapted to receive ice cubes produced thereby; an elongated channel formed integrally on the lower end of said hopper and adapted to receive ice cubes therefrom, said channel extending from the back of the cabinet to the front thereof and communicating with said discharge opening; a horizontal rod rotatably journaled in said cabinet, said rod projecting through one of said cabinet side walls and having a handle on its outer, projecting end; a piniOn mounted on and for rotation with said rod; a gear sector pivotally mounted below said pinion and meshing therewith; stop means limiting the pivotal movement of said gear; mova-ble ice-breaking means operatively associated with said gear member adapted to forcibly separate ice cubes in the hopper to prevent the same from sticking together; a leg on the lower end of said gear extending downwardly into said cabinet lower channel; and an ejector member movably carried in said cabinet channel and connected to said gear leg, whereby pivotal movement of said gear and leg, through rotation of said rod and pinion, will cause said ejector member to move forwardly or rearwardly in said channel, forward travel of said member pushing a quantity of ice cubes in said channel outwardly through said discharge opening, and rearward travel of said ejector permitting said channel to be refilled with ice cubes from the hopper thereabove.
2. An ice cube machine, comprising: a cabinet having a pair of side walls, a rear wall, and a front wall, said front wall having a cube discharge opening in its lower portion; an open-bottom discharge chute projecting from said cabinet front wall in registration with said discharge opening; a cover secured on the top of said cabinet; and ice cube-producing apparatus in the upper portion of said cabinet; a funnel-like hopper in said cabinet below said ice cube-making apparatus and adapted to receive ice cubes produced thereby; an elongated channel formed integrally on the lower end of said hopper and adapted to receive ice cubes therefrom, said channel extending from the back of the cabinet to the front thereof and communicating with said discharge opening; a vertical bracket in said cabinet extending downwardly to a point spaced above said lower channel; a horizontal rod extending through and rotatably journaled in said bracket, said rod projecting through one of said cabinet side walls and having a handle on its outer, projecting end; a pinion mounted on and for rotation with said rod; a gear sector pivotally mounted on the lower portion of said bracket and projecting upwardly to mesh with said pinion; a pair of elongated, transverse bars secured in spaced relationship on the periphery of said gear sector to provide stop means engageable with said pinion limiting the pivotal movement of said gear, and said elongated bars functioning as ice-breakers when said gear member is pivoted to forcibly separate ice cubes in the hopper to prevent the same from sticking together; a leg on the lower end of said gear extending downwardly into said cabinet lower channel; an elongated ice-breaker bar attached to said leg; and an ejector member movably carried in said cabinet channel and connected to said gear leg, whereby pivotal movement of said gear and leg, through rotation of said rod and pinion, will cause said ejector member to move forwardly or rearwardly in said channel, forward travel of said member pushing a quantity of ice cubes in said channel outwardly through said discharge chute, and rearward travel of said ejector permitting said channel to be refilled with ice cubes from the hopper thereabove.
3. The ice cube machine recited in claim 2, and Wherein the bottom of said channel is angled rearwardly and downwardly, and having a drain opening in the rearward portion of said channel bottom to permit water formed by melting ice to drain from said cabinet.
4. The ice cube machine recited in claim 2, and having: a bafile on the cabinet back wall extending downwardly and forwardly at an angle thereto, said baffle preventing ice cubes in the hopper from falling between said back wall and the rear of the ejector member when the latter is in a forward position.
5. The ice cube machine recited in claim 4, and having: a second bathe extending downwardly and rearwardly from the cabinet front wall, said second baffie being adapted to prevent ice cubes in the channel from inadvertently falling outwardly through the discharge chute when the machine is not in operation.
6. An ice cube machine, comprising: a cabinet having a pair of side walls, a rear wall, and a front wall, said front wall having a cube discharge opening in its lower portion; a cover secured on the top of said cabinet; an ice cube-producing apparatus in the upper portion of said cabinet; an elongated channel positioned below said cube-making apparatus and adapted to receive ice cubes therefrom, said channel communicating with said discharge opening; a rod rotatably journaled in said cabinet, said rod projecting through one of said cabinet walls and having a handle on its outer, projecting end; an eject-or member longitudinally-movably carried in said channel; connecting means operatively connecting said rod and ejector members whereby oscillation of said handle and rod will cause said ejector member to move forwardly or rearwardly in said channel, forward travel of said ejector pushing a quantity of ice cubes in said channel outwardly through said discharge opening, and rearward travel of said ejector permitting said channel to be refilled with ice cubes from said cube-producing apparatus thereabove; stop means limiting the oscillating movement of said rod; and movable ice-breaking means operatively associated with said connecting means adapted to forcibly separate ice cubes in the cabinet to prevent the same from sticking together.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 263,096 8/ 1882 Barker 222245 1,472,280 10/1923 Ousdahl 222409 2,607,520 9/ 1952 Bateman. 3,021,035 2/1962 Hill 222-245 ROBERT A. OLEARY, Primary Examiner. W. E. WAYNER, Assistant Examiner.