US 3310953 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
March 28, 1967 T 3,310,953
PORTABLE REFRIGERATOR FOR BEVERAGE CONTAINERS AND THE LIKE Filed Oct. 23, 1965 Fig. 3
1a '9 '6 Fig. 2
Joseph M. Roit BY 3,316,953 PQRTABLE REFRIGERATOR FGR BEVERAGE QGNTAINERS AND THE LIKE Joseph M. Rait, 95 Huxley Drive, Snyder, NIY. 14226 Filed (let. 23, 1965, Ser. No. 503,698 6 Claims. (Cl. 62-3) This invention relates in general to a portable apparatus for refrigerating a container such as used for beverages and the like. More specifically it relates to a compartmented apparatus providing a close fitting receptacle for a multi-serving beverage container and a miniature refrigerating means adapted to thermally communicate with a Wall of said container.
Containers serving multiple portions of various beverages have become increasingly popular for home or other use because of their many advantages. Some electric refrigerating devices that have been available in the past for use with multi-serving containers have largely suffered from the fact that they are bulky and are often provided with expensive compressor refrigeration devices making them useful primarily for larger containers such as beer kegs or major fractions thereof. Smaller multi-serving containers have usually been chilled or maintain in a chilled condition in regular home refrigerators or smaller versions thereof. In such refrigerators the container often takes up an inordinate amount of valuable space especially when equipped with external dispensing means. Even when these refrigerators are of the portable variety, their bulk is usually much greater than the size of the containers involved. In addition conventional home type refrigerators require the container to be withdrawn for use or when used inside the refrigerator require the refrigerator door to be kept ajar thus interfering with its etficiency.
It is therefore an object of this invention to provide a highly portable refrigerator for a container holding multiple servings which is lightweight, eflicient and roomsaving.
It is a further object of this invention to provide a refrigerator of the above type which is inexpensive to construct and manufacture.
It is a further object of this invention to provide a refrigerator for use with a container holding multiple servings when such container is also adapted with a dispenser.
It is a further object of this invention to provide a refrigerator for a container from which multiple servings can be dispensed without opening a door of the refrigerator and without removing the container from it.
Other objects and uses of this invention will become apparent in reading the description and claims that follow.
FIGURE 1 is a front sectional view of one embodiment of my invention with the cover removed. FIGURE 2 is a side sectional view of this embodiment in use with a typical container and dispenser taken along the line 2-2 of FIGURE 1. In FIGURE 2 the cover is in place. FIGURE 3 is a plan view of the cover alone. FIGURE 4 is a front sectional view of the cover taken along the line 44 of FIGURE 3.
As shown in FIGURE 1, a substantially rigid molded casing of low thermal conductivity forms the walls of the refrigerator including part of the transverse wall 12. The casing thus provides both the thermal insulation and the structural shell. Although the casing may be manufactured from a number of materials including glass, phe- Bfllhfiii Patented Mar. 28, 1957 nolic resin, reinforced polyester and the like, I prefer a plastic foam such as polystyrene foam or urethane foam because of the excellent thermal insulating property of this type of material which thus renders feasible the use of a relatively small, light, inexpensive refrigeration unit including one having no moving parts other than a small fan.
Although not necessary to the practice of this invention, a skin of metal, plastic or the like may be formed on the casing for added strength or decoration. While the thickness of the casing is not critical, it should be thick enough to provide a structure capable of supporting the container and refrigeration unit and also be of sufficient thickness to provide adequate insulation.
The casing defines the walls of an upper compartment 11 and a lower compartment 16. The inner walls of the upper compartment fit closely around the container 11 as illustrated in FIGURE 2. This provides for great efficiency in chilling and maintaining the liquid at the desired temperature and also cooperates in permitting the use of a small refrigeration unit as indicated above. The transverse wall 12 slopes downwardly from the central portion so that its outer perimeter is lower than the central portion, accommodating the depending lower rim normally present in beverage containers and the like, and resting the bottom 14 of the container on the upper surface of a metal plate 15. The metal plate which is centrally mounted in the transverse wall completes the roof of the lower compartment 16, and transmits heat from the container to the thermoelectric module 17 fastener to its lower face. Being of substantial mass it also acts as a thermal reservoir preventing excessively cold spots and minimizing erratic operation of the refrigeration unit. It is preferably made from a highly conductive material such as aluminum, copper or brass. Although it may be large enough to form the entire transverse wall, it normally should cover about 10% to about of the bottom surface of the container, the outer perimeter of the wall being preferably a material of low conductivity to reduce the absorption of extraneous heat by the vertical edge of the plate. The plate should also be of sufficient thickness to avoid buckling and the consequent uneven contact with the containers bottom surface.
The thermoelectric module is a multijunction thermoelectric device which operates on the Peltier effect and develops a hot and cold side when a source of direct current is operationally applied to it. I interpose a thin copper plate (not shown) between the module and the plate when using certain methods of fastening the two involving high heat such as soldering.
The functional capacity of the thermoelectric module may vary between wide limits depending on the size of the container to be chilled, the speed with which this is to be accomplished and the efiiciency of the unit as a whole. In general, however, it should be of suflicient capacity to chill the contents of the container in a reasonable lengthof time. When larger capacities are desired a number of modules may be used in combination rather than one large module. The capacity is often expressed as the amount of heat per hour (Btu/hr.) removable when both surfaces are at one temperature (0 delta T). I have found, for example, that a low cost 31-junction module having a pumping capacity of 68 B.t.u./hr. at 0 delta T is quite adequate, despite this low cost, to handle a gallon container of beer or the like when incorporated in my highly efiicient apparatus.
The hot surface of the module is fastened to a heat sink 18 depending from it and consisting of a horizontally disposed conductive plate adapted with a series of vertically depending fins dissipating the heat generated by the module The module is surrounded by an insulating ring 32 separating the metal plate and heat sink. An electric motor and fan 21 attached to the unit removes the heat from the sink by circulating fresh air around it. A power supply 19 attached to the heat sink provides the direct current of low voltage required by the module. A wide variety of power supplies are commercially available for incorporation in this invention including supplies designed for use with alternating current sources, direct current sources such as automobile or boat storage batteries or a variety of sources. A power supply I have used in this embodiment is a power pack comprising a transformer, rectifier and choke operationally connected to operate from an alternating current source. A thermostat 20 attached to the under side of the metal plate in series circuit maintains the contents of the container at the desired temperature, Extended depending portions of the heat sink form supporting legs 34 for the unit.
The refrigeration unit is enclosed by the walls of the lower compartment 16, the transverse wall with its metal plate forming the roof of the compartment. Outwardly opening vents 31 protected by screening or the like cooperate in removing the heat from the sink by providing an entrance for the fresh air and an exit for the warm air.
A cover of low thermal conductivity Z2 fits over the top of the container abutting the inner edge of the upper compartment when laid in place. As seen in further detail in FIGURE 3, the cover has a centrally located hole 23 and a wide diametrically disposed groove 24 extending from one edge of the cover to the other for accommodating a container having a central neck and a dispenser having a draw tube and a holding device such as a diametrically opposed pair of arms adapted to lie across the top of the container gripping the edges. As shown in FIGURE 2, the hole communicates with the container neck, the arms 26 of the dispenser lying in the grooves of the cover and the draw tube 29 extending through the gasket 25 into the container. The downwardly extending ends of the arms grip the edge of the container through a pair of diametrically opposed slots 33 in the upper wall of the casing cooperating with the groove in the cover. The apparatus is not limited to this one type of dispenser, however, since the hole and groove in the cover and the cooperating slots in the compartment actually render it adaptable to accommodate a wide variety of dispensers.
The refrigerator herein described is useful for chilling containers holding beverages such as beer, soda pop, punch, whiskey cocktails, wine, coffee, tea, milk, fruit and vegetable juices and soups, as well as for chilling items not needing a dispenser including desserts such as gelatin, puddings, prepared fruit as well as for any other substance which is to be chilled before serving or chilled for any other purpose.
The invention herein described may also be combined with a simple device for sparging the contents of the container with carbon dioxide while being cooled thus providing a low cost cold carbonator for making beverages and the like It is understood that changes in detail, materials and arrangements of parts, which have been herein described and illustrated in order to explain the invention may be made by those skilled in the art within the principle and scope of the invention as expressed in the claims.
1. A portable electric refrigerator for a beverage container and the like comprising:
(a) a molded compartmented casing having substantially rigid walls of low thermal conductivity for housing and thermally insulating said refrigerator,
(b) an upper compartment of said casing open at the top for receiving said container, having walls generally conforming to the shape of said container and holding it with a close fit, said walls having means in their upper edge for accommodating a dispenser,
(c) a transverse wall compartmenting said casing and forming the fi-oor of said upper compartment, said floor having its outermost perimeter lower than the central portion,
((1) a thermally conductive metal plate mounted in said transverse Wall being of sulficient thickness to support said container without buckling and having an upper surface corresponding in size to a substantial portion of the bottom of said container, said lower outermost perimeter of said floor adapting bottom of said container to rest firmly on said plate,
(e) a thermoelectric refrigerating unit comprising a thermoelectric module attached to said metal plate, a heat sink adapted to absorb heat from said module, and means for providing the module with direct current of low voltage,
(f) blower means for dissipating the heat firom said heat sink,
(g) a lower compartment enclosing both said refrigerating unit and blower means, being vented by a protected opening in its side wall for dissipating the heat from said heat sink and having a roof formed by said transverse wall, the lower face of said plate forming a substantial part of said roof,
(h) a cover for the top of said container having groove and hole means cooperating with said wall means to accommodate dispensing means for the contents of said container.
2. The apparatus of claim 1 in which said casing is molded in one piece from plastic foam, the upper and lower compartments being generally monaxially disposed.
3. The apparatus of claim 1 in which the thermoelectric refrigeration unit operates in the Peltier effect and includes a thermostat regulating its operation.
4. A portable electric refrigerator for a generally cylindrical beverage container and the like comprising:
(a) a generally vertical molded compartrnented casing having substantially rigid walls of low conductivity for housing and thermally insulating said refrigerator,
(b) an upper compartment, open at the top for receiving said container, having generally cylindrical walls generally conforming to the shape of said container with a close fit, said walls being the upper walls of said casing and having diametrically opposed slots in their upper edge for accommodating a dispenser,
(c) a transverse wall compartmenting and forming the floor of said upper compartment, said floor having an outermost perimeter lower than the central portion,
(d) a thermally conductive metal plate mounted in said transverse wall being of sufiicient thickness to support said container without buckling and having an upper surface corresponding in size to a substantial portion of the bottom of said container, the outermost perimeter of said floor accommodating any depending rim of said container thereby adapting the bottom of said container to rest firmly on said plate,
(e) a thermoelectric refrigerating unit operating on the Peltier effect and including a multijunction module having a hot and cold surface, a finned heat sink fastened to the hot surface of said module, and means for providing the module with direct current of low voltage, said cold surface being attached to said metal plate,
(f) blower means for dissipating the heat from said heat sink,
(g) a lower compartment enclosing said refrigerator unit and blower means, being vented by a protected opening in its side wall for dissipating the heat from said heat sink and having a roof formed by said transverse wall, the lower face of said plate forming a substantial part of said roof,
(h) a removable cover forthe top of said container having a groove and a central hole cooperating with the slots in the walls of the upper compartment to accommodate dispensing means for the contents of said container.
5. The apparatus of claim 4 which includes in addition means adapted by said hole, groove and slot to fit said container for sparging contents of said container with carbon dioxide said apparatus increasing solubility of said gas by chilling contents and removing the heat of solution.
6. The apparatus of claim 5 wherein said sparging References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,104,467 1/ 1938 Marzolf 623 89 2,991,628 7/1961 Tuck 62-3 3,018,631 1/1962 Bury 62--3 3,250,433 5/ 1966 Christine 62-3 WILLIAM J. WYE, Primary Examiner.