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Publication numberUS3285040 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 15, 1966
Filing dateSep 20, 1965
Priority dateSep 20, 1965
Publication numberUS 3285040 A, US 3285040A, US-A-3285040, US3285040 A, US3285040A
InventorsJohn Bochan
Original AssigneeGen Electric
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Agitator for fabric cleaning machine
US 3285040 A
Abstract  available in
Images(1)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Nov. 15, 1966 J. Boc 3,285,040

AGITATOR FOR FABRIC CLEANING MACHINE Filed Sept. 20, 1965 INVENTOR \5 JOHN BOCHAN ms ATTORUEY United States Patent 1 3,285,040 AGITATOR FOR FABRIC CLEANING MACHINE John Bochan, Louisville, Ky., assignor to General Electric Company, a corporation of New York Filed Sept. 20, 1965, Ser. No. 488,351 6 Claims. (Cl. 68-134) This invention relates to fabric cleaning machines such as clothes washers, and more particularly, to an improved agitator for use in such machines.

Automatic washing machines have been a boon to the American housewife because they automatically wash, rinse, and spin dry clothes and other fabrics without the housewife having to give constant attention to the machine. The more successful automatic washing machines normally include a container means to receive liquid and the fabrics to be cleaned in the liquid and some agitation means for causing relative motion between the various parts of the fabrics and the liquid. This agitation means normally takes the form of an agitator mounted in an upright or vertical position within the container and connected to a drive mechanism so that the agitator is driven in a suitable manner to effect the washing. In some machines the agitator is oscillated back and forth in a horizontal plane, in others the agitator is caused to describe an orbiting type motion and, in still others the agitator is caused to wobble about a generally vertical axis.

In each of these devices the washing action is a result of the agitator delivering power to the clothes. This washing power normally is delivered by means of a number of primary vanes disposed about the lower portion of the agitator so as to move through the liquid as the agitator is moved by the drive mechanism. The uniformity of the washing action depends upon the uniformity with which the primary vanes deliver power to the various fabrics. Thus, for a uniformly clean wash the clothes must be moved within the liquid container so that each of the fabrics in turn is brought into the area at which the vanes are transferring power. This movement of the clothes is called turn over.

Most of theagitators on the market today, as a result of their basic motion, will cause the clothes within the container to turn over when the container is not heavily loaded. They normally cause a toroidal motion of the water and clothes wherein the flow is downwardly around the agitator, outwardly between the vanes and across the bottom of the container, upwardly along the outer perimeter of the container and inwardly adjacent the upper surface of the liquid. However, as the fabric load size increases the density of the clothes increases and overcomes or at least greatly reduces the turn over effect of the vanes. When this happens the body of clothes tend to form a ring around the outer periphery of the container. Thus, particularly for large loads with respect to the container and agitator, some additional means is needed to improve the turn over.

In the prior art a number of expedients have been tried, none of which has had complete success. The primary vanes have been made flexible in the horizontal plane so as to push outwardly with greater force. However, this doesnt solve the problem because the weight of the ring of clothes still overcomes the upward motion of the Water along the outer periphery of the container. Rigid vanes have been provided extending up along the center post of the agitator. Such vanes help to some degree but are far from satisfactory. Their principal model of operation is to tend to cause garments to wrap around the center post of the agitator thus pulling them inwardly so that they may more easily be pulled downwardly into the area of primary vanes. Such an arrangement helps by taking "ice clothes from the top of the clothes ring but it provides no real downward push to the fabrics.

Some degree of downward push has been obtained in the past by forming the vanes extending upwardly along the center post with curved or spiral configuration. Although this helps to some extent, the effect is actually relatively slight. Regardless of the basic movement of the agitator, the vanes essentially move back and forth within the liquid. Thus, as they are moving in one direction, they tend to force clothes and liquid downwardly; however, when they move in the other direction, they tend to force the clothes and liquid upwardly. The only benefit results from the difference in the downward and the upward force, which is small at best.

Accordingly, it is an object of my invention to provide an improved agitator for use in fabric cleaning machines such as clothes washers which impro'ves the turn over of the fabrics within the machine.

Another object of this invention is to provide such an agitator which is effective to positively force liquid and fabrics downwardly along the agitator center post.

A further, more specific object of my invention is to provide such an agitator including secondary vanes which are mounted above the primary vanes and have arms which flex vertically downwardly.

In one aspect of my invention I provide an agitator adapted for use in a fabric cleaning machine such as a washing machine having a liquid and fabric receiving container and a drive mechanism. The agitator includes a center post for mounting within the container in a generally vertical orientation, the center post being adapted for connection to the drive mechanism for movement thereby. The lower portion of the agitator is provided with a plurality of primary vanes extending outwardly therefrom to deliver power to fabrics in the container. The agitator is further provided with a plurality of secondary vanes mounted on the center post above the primary vanes. The secondary vanes are flexible in a gene-rally vertical plane to force liquid and fabrics downwardly along the center post to the inner end of the primary vanes.

The subject matter which I regard as my invention is particularly pointed out and distinctly claimed in the concluding portions of the specification. My invent-ion, 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 schematic front elevational view of a clothes washing machine including one form of my new and improved agitator, the view being partly in section to illustrate details; and

FIGURE 2 is a schematic front elevational view of a clothes washing machine similer to FIGURE 1, including another form of my new and improved agitator.

Referring now to FIGURE 1 of the drawing, there is shown therein, in schematic form, an agitator type washing machine generally indicated by the numeral 1. Machine 1 includes a clothes basket 2 having perforations 3 over its side and bottom walls and disposed within an outer imperforate tub or casing 4, basket 2 and tub 4 together forming a liquid and fabric receiving container. This entire structure is normally mounted within a suitable appearance and protective cabinet which, in this case, has been omitted for sake of clarity.

In the center of basket 2 there is provided an agitator 6 which is mounted in a generally vertical orientation and includes a center post 7. Extending outwardly from the lower port-ion of the center post are a plurality of vanes 8 which are mounted on the post at their base in some suitable manner such as by molding the post and vanes together from a suitable plastic material. In the embodiment shown in FIGURE 1, the vanes 8 are the primary vanes and are formed to flex is a generally horizontal plane, that is about the axis of the agitator. It is immaterial whether the vanes 8 are flexible or inflexible, as there are suitable configurations of both types for transferring power to the liquid and fabrics received within the container. However, by way of illustration, the vanes 8 may be made flexible by molding the agitator, including the vanes, of a suitable plastic material such as polypropylene. A plurality of. secondary vanes 9 are mounted on the upper portion of the center post 7 in a manner similar to the vanes 8. Each of the secondary vanes 9 includes a base portion 10 which is connected to the center post 7 and a free-hanging arm 11. The freehanging arms 11 are spaced slightly from the center post 7 and extend generally parallel thereto. The arms 11 are formed to flex in the vertical direction so as to force liquid and fabrics downwardly to the inner ends of primary vanes 8. Forthis purpose the secondary vanes 9 may also be molded integrally with the center post from suitable plastic such as polypropylene.

Both the basket 2 and agitator 6 are movably mounted. Conventionally, the basket is mounted for rotation and the agitator is mounted for some type of oscillatory motion which will effect a washing action on the clothes or other fabrics in the basket. In one conventional structure, basket 2 may be secured to the hollow shaft member 12, and the agitator may be secured to a shaft 13 which extends upwardly within shaft 12 in rotatable relationship therewith.

Basket 2 and agitator 6 are driven from a reversible motor 14 through a drive mechanism including a clutch 15 mounted on the motor shaft. Clutch 15 allows the motor to start without load and then to pick up the load as it comes up to speed. A suitable belt 16 transmits power to a transmission assembly 17 through a pulley 18. Thus, depending upon the direction of motor rotation, pulley 18 of transmission 17 is driven in opposite directions.

Transmission 17 is so arranged that it supports and drives both of shafts 12 and 13. When motor 14 is rotated in one direction the transmission causes agitator 6 to be oscillated through shaft 13. Conversely, when the motor is driven in the opposite direction the transmission drives both basket 2 and agitator 6 together at high speed through shafts 12 and 13 for centrifugal extraction of liquid from the fabrics. While a particular form of the drive mechanism does not form part of the present invention, reference is made to Patent 2,844,225 issued on July 22, 1958 to James R. Hubbard et al., and owned by the General Electric Company, assignee of the present invention. That patent discloses in detail the structural characteristics of a transmission suitable for use in the illustrated machine.

In order to introduce washing and rinsing liquid into the container formed by basket 2 and tub 4, suitable conduit means 19 and 20 are provided'for connection to hot and cold water supplies to lead hot and cold water to a supply valve 21 of the machine. The passage of hot and cold water may be controlled by solenoids 22 and 23. Energization of solenoid 22 permits the passage of cold water through the valve, energization of solenoid 23 permits the passage of hot water through the valve, while energization of both solenoids permits mixing of hot and cold water in the valve and passage of warm water therefrom through an outlet conduit 24. Water passing from outlet conduit 24 flows through a nozzle 25 into the container. A conventional pressure-sensitive switch 26 may be provided in the bottom of tub 4 to deenergize whichever of solenoids 22 and 23 are energized when the proper level of liquid is reached in tub 4 so as to shut ofi the supply of water.

-agitator are designated with In addition to operating transmission 17 as described, motor 14 also provides a direct drive through a flexible coupling 27 to a pump structure, generally indicated by the numeral 28, which includes separate pumping units 29 and 30, both of which are operated in the same direction simultaneously by motor 14. Pump unit 29 has an inlet connected by a conduit 31 to an opening 32 formed at the lowermost point of tub 4. Pump unit 29 also has an outlet connected to a conduit 33 which leads to a drain (not shown). Pump unit 29 is formed so that it tends to pump toward the opening 32 during washing operation, but .during spinning of the agitator and basket the pump unit 29 draws liquid from opening 32 through conduit 31 and discharges it through conduit 33 to drain.

Pump uni-t 30 has an inlet which is connected by a conduit 34 to the interior of tub 4, preferably adjacent the bottom thereof, and also has an outlet connected by a conduit 35 to a nozzle 36 positioned to discharge liquid back into basket 2 and tub 4. During wash, or the first direction of motor rotation, pump unit 30 draws liquid in through conduit 34 and discharges it through conduit 35. During spin, or the opposite direction of motor rotation, pump unit 30 is substantially ineffective. A suitable filter may be positioned so that the liquid recirculated through conduit 35 and nozzle 36 is filtered to remove lint and dirt particles prior to its re-entry into the tub and basket 2. For instance a suitable filter pan may be mounted on the top of agitator 6 so that the liquid would enter if, and, after being filtered, would fall back into the basket 2.

In the embodiments shown pump units 29 and 30 are -'turbine type pumps and both are driven by motor 14, it being well known that turbine type pumps reverse their pumping direction when their direction of rotation is reversed. However, in the direction of rotation in which they are not pumping liquid from tub 4, both of the pumping units are substantially ineffective, merely tending to pump air into tu-b 4.

During the agitation portions of the Washer operation motor 14 drives transmission -17 so as to oscillate agitator 6 about a generally vertical axis. This oscillation of the agitator causes the primary vanes 8 to flex in a horizontal plane through the lower portion of basket 2, thus imparting power to the body of liquid and the clothes contained in the basket. This oscillatory motion tends to cause a toroidal motion of the fabrics and liquid wherein they move outwardly across the bottom of the basket, upwardly along the outer periphery of the basket, inwardly at the upper level of the body of liquid and downwardly along center post 7. If a large load of fabrics is being washed they tend to effectively damp this toroidal motion so that uneven and unsatisfactory washing results. However, the arms 11 of secondary vanes 9 flex in a generally vertical plane, that is generally parallel to center post 7. This flexing action has little cleansing effect on the fabrics because of the relatively small size of the arms. However, this vertical flexing of the arms causes a positive displacement downwardly of the liquid and fabrics adjacent the center post 7. This positive displacement downwardly substantially adds to the turn over capability of the agitator and results in a uniform washing action even with very high density fabric loads in the machine.

Referring now to FIGURE 2, there is shown therein, in schematic form, a washing machine similar to the one shown in FIGURE 1, except for a different form of agitator. For this reason all components apart from the the same numerals as FIG- URE 1.

In the embodiment of FIGURE 2, an agitator 40 is mounted on shaft 13 in a generally vertical orientation and includes a center post 41 having an outwardly flared skirt 42 formed at its lower portion. A number of primary vanes 43 are mounted on the lower portion of the center post, including the flared skirt 42, by some suitable method such as molding. By this method of connecting the vanes to the center post and by making them relatively thick, these primary vanes 43 are substantially rigid. A plurality of secondary vanes 44 are mounted around the upper end of center post 41 and include base portions 45, which are connected to the center post by some suitable means such as molding therewith, and free hanging arm portions 46 which extend downwardly from the base portions in generally parallel, spaced relationship with center post 41. The operation of agitator 40 is substantially the same as that of aigtator 6 in FIGURE 1. During agitation operation of the machine, the center post 40 is oscillated about a generally vertical axis through shaft 13. As a result of this oscillation primary vanes 43 force the liquid and fabrics generally outwardly along the lower portion of basket 2 and tend to cause it to rise along the outer periphery of the basket 2, flow inwardly along the top surface of the body of liquid to the center post 41, and downwardly again to primary vanes 43. However, as explained above, a dense load of clothes will effectively damp out this toroidal motion, were it not for the presence of the secondary vanes, whose arms flex in a vertical plane to positively force the liquid and fabrics downwardly along center post 41.

While both the embodiments of FIGURES 1 and 2 show agitators which are oscillated about a generally vertical axis, my invention is not restricted to the particular structures shown. For example, it will be obvious to one skilled in the art that, with minor obvious changes, my invention may be utilized in a washing machine wherein the agitator is caused to orbit about a generally vertical axis or to wobble about a generally vertical axis.

My new and improved agitator is of substantial benefit to the home laundry industry today because of its efforts to increase the load capacity of washing machines without increasing their size. However, it will be recognized that my new and improved agitator is not limited to what are commonly called high load machines but will substantially increase the washing cap-ability of any size machine.

It will be understood that, while in accordance with the patent statutes, I have described what at present are considered to be the preferred embodiments of my invention, it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that various changes and modifications may be made therein without departing from the 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 the invention.

What I claim as new and desire to secure by Letters Patent of the United States is:

1. An agitator adapted to effect cleaning of fabrics in a washing machine or similar device having a liquid and fabric receiving container and a drive mechanism; said agitator comprising:

(a) a center post for mounting generally vertically in the container, said center post being adapted for connection to the drive mechanism;

(-b) a plurality of primary vanes mounted on the lower portion of said post and extending outwardly therefrom to deliver power to liquid and fabrics in the container;

(c) and a plurality of secondary vanes mounted on said post above said primary vanes and being flexible in a generally vertical plane to force liquid and fabrics downwardly toward said primary vanes.

2. An agitator as set forth in claim 1 whehein each of said secondary vanes includes a base portion attached to said center post and a free-hanging arm portion flexible in a generally vertical plane.

3. An agitator as set forth in claim 1 wherein each of said primary vanes is flexible in a generally horizontal plane.

4. An agitator as set forth in claim .1 wherein said primary vanes are substantially rigid.

5. An agitator adapted to effect cleaning of fabrics in a Washing machine or similar device having a liquid and fabric receiving container and a drive mechanism; said agitator comprising:

(a) a center post for mounting generally vertically in the container, said center post being adapted for connection to the drive mechanism;

(b) a plurality of primary vanes mounted on the lower portion of said center post and freely extending outwardly therefrom to flex in a generally horizontal plane;

(c) and a plurality of secondary vanes including base portions mounted on said center post in vertically spaced relationship with said primary vanes and freehanging arm portions flexible in a generally vertical plane.

6. An agitator adapted to effect cleaning of fabrics in a washing machine or similar device having a liquid and fabric receiving container and a drive mechanism; said agitator comprising:

(a) a center post for mounting generally vertically in the container said center post being adapted for connection to the drive mechanism and including an outwardly flared skirt at its lower end;

(b) a plurality of substantially rigid vanes mounted on the lower portion of said post including said flared skirt for movement therewith;

(c) and a plurality of secondary vanes including base portions mounted on said center post in vertically spaced relationship with said primary vanes and freehanging arm portions flexible in a generally vertical plane.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,716,960 6/1929 Hirschy 68-134 1,737,421 11/1929 Hirschy 68-134 1,745,595 2/1930 Altorfer 68-133 1,955,403 4/1934 Barker 68-134 X 2,021,097 -1 1/ 1935 Maus 68-133 2,619,827 12/1952 Castricone 68-134 X 3,112,632 12/1963 Walton 68-54 FOREIGN PATENTS 757,412 9/1956 Great Britain.

IRVING BUNEVICH, Primary Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1716960 *Jan 23, 1928Jun 11, 1929Hirschy Herman CWashing machine
US1737421 *Sep 14, 1928Nov 26, 1929Hirschy CompanyWashing machine
US1745595 *Jun 4, 1925Feb 4, 1930Altorfer Alpheus WWashing machine
US1955403 *Oct 8, 1930Apr 17, 1934Cinderella Washing Machine ComWashing apparatus
US2021097 *May 13, 1925Nov 12, 1935Apex Electrical Mfg CoWashing machine
US2619827 *Nov 1, 1949Dec 2, 1952Altorfer Bros CoWashing machine provided with resilient agitator
US3112632 *May 4, 1962Dec 3, 1963Walton Richard RAgitator for washing machines
GB757412A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3736775 *Mar 9, 1972Jun 5, 1973Maytag CoOscillatable tub with flexible blade
US3738130 *Mar 9, 1972Jun 12, 1973Maytag CoOscillatable tub for washing machine
US3987508 *May 15, 1975Oct 26, 1976Whirlpool CorporationMethod of washing clothes
US3987652 *May 8, 1975Oct 26, 1976Whirlpool CorporationUnidirectional agitation accessory for automatic washer
US4068503 *Jun 16, 1976Jan 17, 1978Whirlpool CorporationCombined oscillating and unidirectional agitator for automatic washer
US4207760 *Sep 29, 1978Jun 17, 1980General Electric CompanyVane arrangement for clothes washing machine
US4338802 *Jun 27, 1980Jul 13, 1982Whirlpool CorporationAgitator mounted filter for an automatic washer
US5440903 *Jul 6, 1994Aug 15, 1995Maytag CorporationWashing machine agitator
US5784902 *Jan 31, 1997Jul 28, 1998Whirlpool CorporationAutomatic washer and load responsive agitator therefor
US5784904 *Jul 25, 1996Jul 28, 1998Daewoo Electronics Co., Ltd.Washing machine with a compound pulsator having a plurality of sub-pulsators
US7013683 *Oct 29, 2002Mar 21, 2006Walsh Eugene JTurbine-like air-circulation enhancer for use with a clothes washing machine
Classifications
U.S. Classification68/134
International ClassificationD06F13/00
Cooperative ClassificationD06F13/00
European ClassificationD06F13/00