Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS3298118 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 17, 1967
Filing dateOct 21, 1965
Priority dateOct 21, 1965
Publication numberUS 3298118 A, US 3298118A, US-A-3298118, US3298118 A, US3298118A
InventorsVieceli Joseph L
Original AssigneeSunbeam Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Steam iron water level gauge
US 3298118 A
Abstract  available in
Images(2)
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Jan. 17, 1967 J. L. VIECELI STEAM IRON WATER LEVEL GAUGE 2 SheetsSheet 1 Filed Oct. 21, 1965 Jan. 17, 1967 J. 1.. \IIECELI 3,298,1m

STEAM IRON WATER LEVEL GAUGE Filed Oct. 21, 1965 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 xyiwzz This invention relates to steam irons and more particularly to improvements in water level gauges for the water reservoir in steam irons.

For some time, steam irons have been very popular because of their ability to function as either a dry or steam iron with the actuation of a steam control knob. Normally, steam irons are provided with a water filling opening in the forward portion of the iron handle in order to aiford access to the water storage tank positioned between the iron shell and sole plate. The water tank or reservoir is employed to store water for use in the steam generating chamber and, in the case of steam spray irons, for a water spray system. When the steam spray iron is used, the water in the tank may be rapidly depleted due to the steaming and spraying operations. Consequently, it is advantageous to provide a means for conveniently determining the amount of water in the tank or providing a visual means disclosing when the tank is almost empty in order that the water supply in the tank will not be exhausted unexpectedly. However, the added feature of the water level gauge should not greatly increase the cost of the iron, and it should be incorporated in the iron in such a manner as to prevent water leaks which might create a hazardous condition with respect to the electrical circuit.

Since steam irons are normally manufactured in very high volume along a rapidly moving assembly line, it is desirable that the water level gauge be easy to assemble and not require close tolerances which greatly increase the manufacturing cost. If the water level gauge is positioned on the upper surface of the water tank and projects into an opening in the handle assembly, the water level gauge construction should allow for an accumulation of assembly tolerances so that the gauge may rapidly and easily be assembled with the handle assembly. While the water tank does not reach an elevated temperature when it contains water, the tank becomes very hot when the iron is used for a considerable time at one of the higher temperature settings and the tank is empty. Since the water level gauge is associated with the handle and a portion thereof is exposed, the gauge must not reach an elevated temperature so that the user is not harmed or annoyed thereby. Thus, the water gauge must be constructed so that the exposed portion is not heated to a high temperature when used with the water tank empty for prolonged periods at a high temperature setting.

It is, therefore, an object of the present invention to provide the water reservoir of a steam iron with a water level gauge which is low in cost and easily assembled.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a steam iron having a water level gauge which is accurately positioned on an upper surface of a water tank, is low in cost and provides a waterproof construction.

Still another object of the present invention is to provide a steam iron having a water tank assembly with a water level gauge which is easily assembled with a handle assembly and compensates for an accumulation of assembly tolerances.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a steam iron having a water level gauge which is secured to a water tank with a connection which is strong and watertight.

Still a further object of the present invention is to provide a steam iron water level gauge which is attached securely to a water tank by a means which provides a tes Patent l 32%,ll8 Patented Jan. 17, 1967 watertight connection and a thermal barrie between the gauge and tank.

Further objects and advantages of the presentinvention will become apparent as the following description proceeds and the features of novelty which characterize the invention will be pointed out with particularity in the claims annexed to and forming a part of the specification.

For a better understanding of the present invention, reference may be had to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a spray steam iron utilizing an improved water level gauge;

FIG. 2 is an elevational view of the iron in the upended position with a portion of the handle assembly broken away in order to expose the water level gauge;

FIG. 3 is a fragmentary sectional view taken substantially along line 3-3 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a perspective exploded assembly view of the water gauge construction; and

FIG. 5 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view illustrating the assembly of the dome, gasket, sealant and tank.

Briefly, the present invention relates to an iron having a water tank with an upper surface having an elongated opening which is framed by an upturned flange. A resilient loop-shaped gasket is disposed adjacent the tank flange and extends upwardly therefrom. An elongated cupshaped translucent dome is provided at its mouth with an annular lip which includes a horizontally extending wall for engagement with the top of the gasket. The lip also includes a downwardly extending wall which is positioned adjacent the side surface of the gasket. A sealant is disposed between the dome lip and gasket and between the tank flange and gasket to form a watertight seal. The water tank and dome assembly is positioned below an iron shell with a portion of the dome extending upwardly therethrough. A handle is positioned on the shell and includes a relatively large elongated slot into which the dome portion extends so that the upper surface thereof is exposed. An escutcheon positioned on the handle has an opening into which the dome portion extends so that the escutcheon closely surrounds the dome portion. The escutcheon is sufficiently large to span the gap between the dome portion and handle.

Referring to the drawings in which like numerals designate like parts throughout the several views, the spray steam iron is designated generally by the reference numeral 11. As seen in FIGS. 1 and 3, the spray steam iron 11 includes a sole plate assembly 12 supporting a shell 13 and a looped handle 14 secured to the top of shell 13. The operation of the iron is regulated by controls disposed at the forward upright portion 24 of handle 14 and the controls include a water spray button 15, steam control lever 16 and a pivotally mounted temperature setting knob 17. In addition, the front handle portion 24 defines a water inlet 18 which leads into a passageway 19 forming an access into water tank 20 which is formed by joining together two stainless steel half sections 20a and 20b. Spaced behind the control section of the iron handle is a hand gripping portion 21 which overlies and is substantially parallel to a saddle portion 22. loining portions 21 and 22 is a rear upright portion 23.

The construction of the sole plate assembly and the thermostat assembly does not form a part of the present invention. However, the sole plate assembly is disclosed in detail in the copending application assigned to the same assignee having a Serial No. 299,750, filed August 5, 1963 and the spray mechanism is disclosed in detail in the application Serial No. 280,770, filed May 14, 1963, assigned to the same assignee. It should be appreciated that the water contained in tank 20 is used for both the spray system which has a discharge nozzle 25 disposed at the water inlet 18 and for steam generation in the chamber 26 in sole plate assembly 12. Means are provided in the sole plate to conduct the steam from chamber 26 into a plurality of steam discharging apertures 2'7. The tank assembly 20 is disposed between the shell 13 and sole plate assembly 12 and is connected with handle 14 whereby the water may enter inlet 18 and pass through passageway 19 into the tank 20 for storage.

As heretofore mentioned, tank 20 is fabricated by unit ing two stainless steel sections together. Both sections are formed from sheet metal and while the upper section 26a is being formed with an opening 28 adapted to coopcrate with passageway 19, there is also formed an elongated opening 39 which is framed by an annular upturned flange 31. Since the tank opening 28 for the passageway 19 must be formed in order that the tank may be filled, the forming of flange 31 may be done during the same manufacturing operation and, consequently, does not require a separate operation or increase the manufacturing cost of upper section Ztla. The flange 31 has a longitudinal dimension of approximately 2.4-7 inches, is approximately .40 inch wide and extends upwardly approximately .08 inch. Closely surrounding the tank flange 31 is an elongated loop-shaped gasket 35 which is preferably formed from a pliable silicone rubber which is not adversely affected by elevated temperatures. The gasket 35 stands approximately .18 inch high so that it extends above the top of tank flange 31. As may be seen in FIGS. 3 and 5, the gasket 35 has an inside annular surface -36 adjacent to the outside surface of upturned tank flange 31. In addition, outside surface 37 of the gasket 35 faces away from the upturned flange 31 while a bottom gasket surface 38 faces and is parallel to the upper surface of the tank section 29a. A top gasket surface 39-is parallel to surface 38 and projects above the top of the upturned tank flange 31. In order to prevent water leakage from the tank between the gasket 35 and the tank flange 31, a sealant 41 is placed between the gasket bottom surface 38 and the upper surface of the tank section 20a. Preferably, the sealant 41 provides good adhesion between the gasket and the tank and is resistant to a wide range of temperatures so that it remains resilient and never hardens to a brittle state. One acceptable sealant for this purpose is RTV-732 Adhesive Sealant manufactured by Dow Corning.

To provide a visual indication of the amount of Water contained within tank 20, there is provided a cup-shaped elongated dome 45. The dome is translucent and is employed in an inverted position so that the mouth of the cup-shaped dome which is defined by an annular lip 46 is in engagement with gasket 35. The lip 46 includes a downwardly extending annular wall 47 positioned adjacent to the inside gasket surface 36 and an outwardly extending annular wall 4-8 overlying and overhanging the upper gasket surface 39. A plurality of spaced apertures 49 are defined along outwardly extending annular wall 48 and are positioned immediately above the upper gasket surface 39. v The apertures 49 are formed by tapered walls so that they have larger openings at the top than bottom thereof. For the purpose of affording a watertight, strong seal between the gasket 35 and the dome 45, sealant 41 is placed between the gasket upper surface 39 and the outwardly extending dome wall with the sealant 41 entering into the apertures 4-9 and extending there-' therebetween. It should be noted that the downwardly extending wall 47 terminates above the top of the upturned flange 31 whereby heat cannot be directly transmitted between the tank 20 and the dome 35. Further, the gasket 35 is fabricated from material which is not a good heat conductor. Thus, the dome 45 may remain at a much lower temperature than the tank it) when the iron is operated with an empty tank and used at a high temperature setting.

The dome 45 has relatively straight long fiat sides 59 and 51 and relatively short front and rear walls 52 and 53, respectively. So that the dome may conform with the saddle portion 22 of the iron handle, the dome has a top 54 which is relatively flat and is inclined at the same angle as the saddle portion. In order to provide a pleasing appearance, the dome, which is molded from a polycarbonate resin, has its inside surfaces frosted or made opaque by sand blasting.

Inasmuch as the dome 45 extends considerably higher than the shell 13, there is provided a clearance opening 57 in the shell above the tank opening 36 to allow the dome 45 and gasket 35 to extend therethrough. Since the exact location of dome 4-5 may vary due to an accumulation of tolerances throughout the iron, a relatively large opening or slot 643 is defined in the iron handle saddle portion 22 so that a portion of the dome 4-5 may extend therethrough. The saddle opening 66 is formed by an annular lip 61 which is spaced from the portion of the dome extending through said opening to form a gap theiebetween. However, it should be appreciated that the location of the dome 4-5 is controlled in part by the cooperation between the outside surface of the downwardly extending wall 47 and the inside gasket surface 3-6 which, in turn, is positioned relative to the upturned flange 31 due to the engagement of the upturned flange 31 with the inside gasket surface 36. Nevertheless, the accumulation of assembly tolerances does not permit the precise positioning of dome 45.

Bridging the gap between the handle edge or lip 61 and the portion of the dome 45 which extends throughopening 60 is an escutcheon 65 having an opening 66 which is adjacent to the portion of dome 4-5 which projects above the handle saddle surface 22. Since the outside configuration of the dome 45 and the escutcheon opening 66 may be precisely controlled, there would be a very slight gap between these two members if they could be accurately positioned in a way to avoid the tolerance build up between the reservoir and the handle.

The escutcheon is fabricated from aluminum foil and has printed thereon indicia 67 to indicate the amount of water in the reservoir 21 when the iron is in the upended position as indicated in FIG. 2. In addition to the water level indicia 67, the escutcheon 65 may bear printed matter indicating the preferred temperature setting for various materials. The escutcheon is placed over the portion of the dome 4-5 which extends above saddle surface 22 after the tank 21) and handle have been secured in their operating position. In this manner, the escutcheon may be located on the saddle portion 22 in a position determined by the location of the dome '45, thereby minimizing the clearance necessary between escutcheon opening 66 and dome 45. Therefore, the location of the escutcheon 65 will vary slightly from iron to iron depending on the position of the dome 45 with respect to opening as in the saddle portion of the iron. However, from the outward appearance of the iron, the user is unable to ascertain that the escutcheon is slightly to one side or the other and the escutcheon substantially conceals the gap between the dome 45 and the annular handle edge 61. Therefore, the problems associated with the accumulation of tolerances effecting the position of amount of water in the water tank and is ruggedly constructed to afford a watertight connection between the dome and the water tank to eliminate any electrical hazards caused by water leaks. In addition, the connection between the dome and the tank is accomplished not only by the adhesiveness of the sealant but by a mechanical construction. Furthermore, there is provided a thermal barrier between the water tank and the dome which permits the dome to remain at a relatively low temperature even when the iron is operating at high temperature settings. The improved water level gauge for a steam iron or a spray iron employs a minimum number of parts, and these parts are easily and inexpensively manufactured. The assembling of the water level gauge construction lends itself to high volume production techniques and the accumulation oftolerances of the articulate design does not present a serious assembly problem in fabricating an iron having a pleasing appearance.

While there have been shown and described a particular embodiment of the present invention, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications may be made without departing from the invention in its broader aspects 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 present invention.

What is claimed :as new and desired to be secured by Letters Patent of the United States is:

1. In a steam iron comprising a water tank defining an elongated opening framed by an upturned flange, an elongated loop-shaped gasket having a rectangular cross section disposed around said flange and secured thereto by a sealant to form a watertight connection, a cup-shaped elongated translucent dome overlying said gasket and being provided with an annular lip around its mouth, said dome lip being secured to said gasket by sealant to form a watertight connection therebetween, said gasket being sufficiently large to prevent said tank and dome from directly contacting each other to establish a thermal barrier therebetween.

2. The steam iron of claim 1 wherein said gasket engages said tank flange, said lip including a downwardly extending annular wall and an outwardly extending annular wall, said gasket engaging the outside surface of said downwardly extending wall.

3. The steam iron of claim 2 wherein said outwardly extending wall defines a plurality of apertures through which said sealant extends to firmly anchor said gasket to said dome.

4. In a steam iron comprising a water tank secured to a base assembly, said tank defining an elongated opening in its upper surface, an elongated translucent dome overlying said tank opening, gasket means locking said tank and dome together and forming a seal therebetween, a handle secured to said base assembly and overlying said dome, said handle being provided with an annular edge which defines an opening through which a portion of said dome projects with considerable clearance between said edge and dome in order to compensate for an accumulation of assembly tolerances, and an escutcheon on said handle defining an opening into which said dome portion projects, said escutcheon being sufficiently large to bridge the gap between said dome and handle.

5. The steam iron of claim 4 wherein indicia is positioned on said escutcheon to indicate the amount of water in said tank when in the upended position.

6. A steam iron comprising a base assembly, an elongated water tank secured to said assembly and defining an upturned flange which defines an opening in the upper surface thereof, a cup-shaped shell attached to said assembly and covering said tank, said shell forming an opening over said tank flange, a handle on said shell having an annular edge which defines an opening overlying said tank flange, a resilient gasket positioned around said tank flange, a cup-shaped dome for indicating the amount of water in said tank having a lip around the open end thereof which has an annular vertical wall adjacent the inside surface of said gasket and an annular horizontal wall overlying said gasket, sealant between said gasket and said dome and between said gasket and said tank to provide a watertight connection therebetween, said dome projecting into said handle opening, and an escutcheon on said handle covering the space between said dome and handle edge.

7. In a steam iron comprising a water tank assembly with a member which permits the user to determine the amount of water in the assembly, a handle overlying said member and forming an annular edge which defines an opening into which portion of said member projects with considerable clearance between said edge and portion, and an escutcheon on said handle which defines an opening to receive said portion so that said escutcheon completely surrounds said portion and is immediately adjacent thereto, said escutcheon being sufiiciently large to cover the space between said portion and handle edge.

8. In a steam iron comprising a Water tank having an upturned annular flange defining an opening, a resilient loop-shaped gasket surrounding and adjacent said flange, a dome for revealing the amount of water in said tank being provided with an annular lip including a first leg adjacent the inside surface of said gasket and second leg adjacent the top of said gasket, sealant means between said dome and tank and cooperating with said gasket to form a watertight connection therebetween.

9. The steam iron of claim 8 wherein one of said legs has a plurality of apertures into which said sealant means enter to lock said dome and tank together.

It). In a steam iron comprising an elongated water tank defining a narrow opening extending lengthwise thereof, an elongated loop-shaped gasket disposed around said tank opening, a narrow dome overlying said gasket, a handle on the iron having a saddle portion which define an arrow slot for receiving a portion of said dome to visibly indicate the amount of water in said tank when the iron is upended, said saddle opening extending nearly the length of said saddle portion, said dome having two annular integral walls each of which is in engagement with said gasket, and a sealant between said gasket and tank and between said gasket and at least one of said walls to provide a watertight connection between said tank and dome.

11. In a steam iron comprising a water tank assembly defining an opening in its upper surface, a member covering said tank assembly opening for indicating the amount of water in said tank assembly, said member defining a plurality of apertures near the periphery thereof, and sealant between said tank assembly and member which enters said apertures for securely locking said member and tank together forming a watertight connection therebetween, said member including a Wall disposed parallel to said tank upper surface and said wall defining said plurality of apertures, said member wall apertures being spaced around said tank upper surface opening and formed by tapered walls so that they have larger openings at the top thereof whereby said sealant within each aperture assumes a corresponding tapered configuration for mechanically anchoring said member to said tank surface.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,825,986 3/ 1958 Pavlic 38-77 2,878,601 3/1959 Burmeister et al. 38-77 3,075,309 1/ 1963 Seyfriend et al 3877 3,163,954 7/1965 Robison 3877 PATRICK D. LAWSON, Primary Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2825986 *Jul 1, 1954Mar 11, 1958Hoover CoSteam irons
US2878601 *Feb 12, 1954Mar 24, 1959Gen Mills IncPush button steam iron
US3075309 *Nov 9, 1959Jan 29, 1963Scovill Manufacturing CoSteam iron water gauge
US3163954 *Jun 13, 1962Jan 5, 1965Ludmilla WestinFishing apparatus with automatic bobbing mechanism
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3903625 *Nov 29, 1974Sep 9, 1975Sunbeam CorpElectric pressing iron
US4031638 *Aug 20, 1976Jun 28, 1977General Electric CompanySteam iron water gauge
US4195428 *Nov 6, 1978Apr 1, 1980General Electric CompanySteam iron water gauge
Classifications
U.S. Classification38/77.2, 73/331
International ClassificationD06F75/14, D06F75/08
Cooperative ClassificationD06F75/14
European ClassificationD06F75/14