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.


  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS3398261 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 20, 1968
Filing dateMar 3, 1967
Priority dateMar 3, 1967
Publication numberUS 3398261 A, US 3398261A, US-A-3398261, US3398261 A, US3398261A
InventorsMays Durward W
Original AssigneeDurward W. Mays
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Electrode-type steam bath steam generator
US 3398261 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Aug. 20, 1968 p. w. MAYS I 3,398,261


I L lgw 'sw f 7 4 F ATTORNEYS Aug. 20, 1968 D. w. MAYS' 3,398,261


v ATTORNE Y5 United States Patent 3,398,261 ELECTRODE-TYPE STEAM BATH STEAM GENERATOR Durward W. Mays, 708 Statti St.,

Humble, Tex. 77338 Continuation-impart of application Ser. No. 401,319, Oct. 5, 1964. This application Mar. 3, 1967, Ser.

3 Claims. (Cl. 219-285) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A steam generator employing electric current flow between a pair of electrodes, the spacing of which is adjustable from the exterior of the generator, .uses a timer to control the period of steam generation. The timer operates a solenoid valve. In one position the valve permits water to flow into the generator at a regulated rate. When the timer terminates the steam generating cycle, the valve is switched to its other position, simultaneously terminating flow of water to the generator and opening the generator to a drain so as to remove Water containing increased concentrations of salt each time the generator is operated.

This application is a continuation-in-part of my US. application Ser. No. 401,319, filed Oct. 5, 1964, now abandoned.

This invention relates to improvements in apparatus for generating steam for use in steam baths which apparatus is of the type employing electric current flowing between two electrodes to heat the water and thereby generate steam.

The principle of heating water to convert it into steam by causing an electric current to flow through it has been suggested in the past as a means for generating steam. Where such principle has been embodied in apparatus for generating steam for steam baths, there have been encountered a number of difficulties. First, as the water is evaporated in the generator, the salt content thereof tends to be concentrated due to the vaporization of steam. In many areas, particularly those where there is considerable calcium and magnesium hardness, this has resulted in scaling of the electrodes between which the current flows. As a result, the capacity of the unit decreases and the unit may eventually become plugged with the calcium and magnesium deposits.

Another problem is that the salinity (i.e., salt content with the term salt being used in its broadest chemical sense) will vary from area to area. This variation will cause a corresponding variation in the amount of water evaporated per unit of time for any given size of electrode and any given spacing between the electrodes. In order to compensate for this varying salinity, it would be desirable to have some means for easily adjusting the spacing between the electrodes. In the prior art, the various means for adjusting the electrode spacing have been complicated and largely have necessitated dismantling the unit in order to adjust the spacing.

It is accordingly an object of this invention to provide an apparatus for generating steam for steam baths in which the concentrated brine remaining in the unit at the end of each period of use is automatically dumped to waste, thereby minimizing the formation of scale in the unit, and also automatically turning the unit off.

Another object is to provide such an apparatus in which the spacing between the electrodes can be readily adjusted from the exterior of the unit without having to first dismantle the unit.

Another object is to provide such an apparatus which is relatively simple in construction and yet which pro- 3,398,261 Patented Aug. 20, 1968 duces adequate quantities of substantially dry steam within a minimum of time after the unit is turned on.

Another object is toprovide such an apparatus in which the electrodes are arranged so that the steam which is evolved flows betwen the electrodes so that it emerges in a substantially dry state.

Other objects, advantages and features of the invention will be apparent to one skilled in the art upon consideration of the specification, the appended claims and the attached drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is a front elevation of a preferred embodiment of the invention with parts of the apparatus being broken away in order to better illustrate the interior construction and also schematically showing an electrical control system;

FIG. 2 is a cross sectional view of a preferred form of a rate of water flow control;

FIG. 3 is a view taken on the line 3-3 of FIG. 1; and

FIG. 4 is a view, partially in section, illustrating the construction of typical mounting and electrode posts.

Like characters of reference will be used throughout the several Views to indicate like parts.

The apparatus includes a fluid-tight housing designated generally as 10. In a preferred form, the housing comprises a pair of plates 11 and 12 separated by a spacer ring 13 and clamped by a series of bolts 14. In order to eliminate any odors in the generated steam and to reduce corrosion and the deposit of scale, the housing is lined with a suitable medium, such as Teflon as indicated at 14. This medium extends between the spacer ring and plates, as at 14a to provide a seal therebetween.

An electrode means is disposed within the housing and electrically insulated therefrom in such a way that water within the housing will flow between the electrodes to conduct current between them, thereby generating steam. In the preferred form, the electrodes comprise a pair of spaced-apart, parallel plates 15 and 16. These plates extend substantially the full length of the housing for a purpose which will be described later. In the illustrated embodiment, the electrode plate 15 is held in fixed position by a suitable mounting means here illustrated as comprising mounting stud 17 and the electrode stud 18. As indicated in FIGS. 1 and 3, these studs extend through openings 19 in electrode plate 16 so that there is no electrical connection between these studs and the plate 16.

As indicated above, it is frequently necessary to adjust the spacing between the electrode plates in order to compensate for variations in salinity of the incoming water. In accordance with this invention, the electrode plate 16 is mounted in the housing by an adjusting means permitting the plate to be moved toward and from the fixed electrode plate 15 by an adjustment which can be made exter'iorly of the housing. Thus the adjustable electrode plate is carried by a stud 20 and an electrode stud 21 which extend through openings in the housing wall and are secured to the adjustable electrode 16. A link or yoke 22 extends between these studs and also is connected to a pair of adjustment studs 23. Thus by appropriate turning of the respective ones of nuts 23a, the position of the link 22 and hence that of moveable electrode 16 can be adjusted to give the desired spacing between the two electrodes.

A pair of stop nuts 23b, or other suitable stops, can be provided to limit movement of electrode 16 toward electrode 15 thereby assuring that the two electrodes can never come into direct contact with one another. Also, openings 24 can be provided in electrode plate 15 so that the inner ends of the-studs 20-21 cannot contact the electrode when the electrodes are spaced closely together.

Means are provided for forming a seal between each stud and the wall of the housing through which it extends. This seal is such that it will permit adjustment of the longitudinal position of the various studs. A typical arrangement is shown in FIG. 4 for stud 21. Thus the housing plate 12 is provided with an opening formed by a bushing 25. Disposed within this opening and around the stud 21 are a pair of resilient seal rings 26, which preferably are of rubber. Means are provided for expanding these seal rings radially into sealing engagement with the wall of bushing 25 and with stud 21. In this instance, this means comprises a spacer 27 abutting on the nut 28 and another spacer 29 on the other side of the seal rings. Thus by screwing down on nut 30, the two seal rings can be expanded radially into sealing engagement as aforesaid.

The sleeves 27 and 29 should be made of some sort of insulating material, such as nylon.

Since stud 21 serves to conduct electricity to plate 16, it is electrically insulated from the case by the sleeveresilient ring arrangement and is also electrically insulated from link 22 by washers 31 and 32 and a sleeve 33. These all may be made of insulating material such as nylon.

Studs 21 and 17 have electrical connectors 34 and 35 connected thereto so as to be able to apply the desired voltage across plates 15 and 16. In a preferred embodiment, this voltage is 220 volts.

Referring now to FIG. 1, it will be seen that the housing is provided with a steam outlet 40 which can be connected to any desired enclosure in which the steam bath is to be taken. The housing is also provided with a water inlet 41 having a valve means. This valve means alternately connects inlet 41 with a source of water and to a drain. The valve means desirably is in the form of a two-way valve 42 having an inlet connected to a water pipe 42a and a waste pipe 43. Valve 42 may be solenoid operated and is available on the open market. It is of the type that when it is not energized, the inlet 41 will be in fluid communication with waste line 43 so that any water remaining in the housing will be drained to waste. When the solenoid is actuated, it interrupts communication with the waste line and turns the Water into the unit through the inlet 41.

Conrol means are provided for controlling the solenoid valve. Preferably this takes a form of an interval timer 44 which is of the type that when manually set to desired interval of time, will close a set of contacts to complete the circuit from the secondary 45 of transformer 46 to the solenoid valve to energize the same. Upon lapse of the time interval, the circuit is broken by the timer and the valve de-energized. Thus it will be seen that when the timer is set to take a steam bath, the solenoid valve will be actuated to turn water into the housing. As the water rises therein, it will eventually immerse a portion of plates and 16 whereupon current can flow between these two plates to heat and vaporize the water. It will be noted that these plates are continuously energized so that the steam bath unit is actually turned on and off by flowing water into and draining it from the unit. Thus when the timer times out, it de-energizes the solenoid valve which shuts off the inlet water and opens the unit to drain. This permits the liquid in the housing to drain out and thereby interrupt formation of steam. This also results in draining the con- ,centrated brine from the housing after each steam bath so that there is less likelihood of formation of scale, etc. The inlet to the solenoid valve is preferably provided 1 with a pressure regulator 47 which reduces normal city water pressure to a lower controlled but super atmospheric value, say of the order of p.s.i.g. In order to regulate the rate of water flow into the unit, there is provided orifice fiow nozzle 48 shown in detail in FIG. 2. It comprises a nipple 49 having a bushing 50 screwed thereinto, which bushing holds a replaceable orifice 51. Thus by regulating the setting of regulator 47, a constant pressure upstream of the orifice is provided so that the pressure drop across the orifice, and hence the flow rate through it, is constant.

4 In this connection, it has been found that the water level in an operating unit is normally in the lower half of the housing and sometimes in the lower one-fourth. As a result, the steam which emerges from the water passes upwardly between the two electrode plates and emerges as substantially dry steam.

From the foregoing, it will be seen that this invention is one well adapted to attain all of the ends and objects hereinabove set forth, together with other advantages which are obvious and which are inherent to the apparatus and structure.

It will be understood that certain features and subcombinations are of utility and may be employed without reference to other features and subcombinations. This is contemplated byand is within the scope of the claims.

As many possible embodiments may be made of the invention without departing from the scope thereof, it is to be understood that all matter herein set forth or shown in the accompanying drawings is to be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.

The invention having been described, what is claimed is:

1. An apparatus for generating steam for steam baths comprising a housing, a steam outlet from an upper portion of the housing and a water inlet to a lower portion of the housing, first and second spaced apart electrode plates, means mounting the first plate in the housing and electrically insulating it therefrom, means mounting the second plate in the housing parallel to the first plate and including first and second parallel elongate members attached to the second plate and extending through respective openings in a side Wall of said housing and insulated therefrom, means exteriorly of the housing for adjusting the longitudinal position of said members and hence the spacing of the second plate with respect to the first plate and including a rigid link connecting the two elongate members together, said adjusting means also including means for moving said link so as to move said members in unison, and means providing a fluid tight seal between each of said members and said housing, said apparatus including means for connecting said electrode plates to a source of power.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said seal includes a resilient ring around each of said members adjacent the housing, and means for compressing said ring to expand it radially into sealing engagement with both the elongate member and the housing.

3. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said means for connecting said electrode plates to a source of power includes an electrical connector at the outer end of at least one of said elongate members so that it acts as a conductor of electricity to said second plate.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,821,614 1/1958 Jansons 219-285 3,104,308 9/1963 Wilson 219-293 X 1,424,340 8/ 1922 Cavitt 219286 1,665,793 4/1928 Sandborgh 219286 2,542,439 2/1951 Tatem et al. 219-288 2,783,355 2/ 1957 Vassilier 219295 X 2,790,890 4/1957 Kasuga 219-287 3,083,288 3/1963 Vischer 219-288 FOREIGN PATENTS 472,479 9/ 1937 Great Britain.

784,163 4/ 1935 France.

629,894 9/1949 Great Britain.

245,010 6/ 1947 Switzerland.

ANTHONY BARTIS, Primary Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1424340 *Apr 27, 1921Aug 1, 1922 Etectbic -heathst
US1665793 *Aug 29, 1921Apr 10, 1928Alfred Sandborgh OlofAutomatic electric steam boiler
US2542439 *May 17, 1949Feb 20, 1951G W B Electric Furnaces LtdElectrode type liquid heater
US2783355 *Nov 10, 1955Feb 26, 1957Carbon Heater CorpFixed electrode water heater
US2790890 *Jul 22, 1955Apr 30, 1957Carbon Heater CorpControl system for electrical heaters
US2821614 *Jul 22, 1955Jan 28, 1958Carbon Heater CorpElectrical steam generator and method of steam generation
US3083288 *Nov 27, 1959Mar 26, 1963Vischer Jr AlfredVapor generator
US3104308 *Feb 15, 1960Sep 17, 1963Wilson Ernest EElectrically operated continuous steam generator
CH245010A * Title not available
FR784163A * Title not available
GB472479A * Title not available
GB629894A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3761679 *Jun 3, 1971Sep 25, 1973H DallElectrode air-humidifier
US3987632 *Jul 30, 1971Oct 26, 1976Pereda Eugene FLiquid air engine
US4105894 *Jan 14, 1976Aug 8, 1978Parks John AllenSteam heated hot air furnace having an electric steam boiler
US4119833 *Mar 14, 1977Oct 10, 1978Welch Stephen AElectric water heater
US4190762 *Jul 17, 1978Feb 26, 1980General Electric CompanyAdjustable gap electrode arrangement for electrolytically heated steam iron
US4948947 *Jul 26, 1988Aug 14, 1990Pacific Steam Equipment, Inc.Steam boiler
US6153240 *Dec 15, 1999Nov 28, 2000Dennis E. TottenhamApparatus and method for food surface microbial intervention and pasteurization
US8750695 *Aug 9, 2011Jun 10, 2014International Green Boilers, LlcDevice for heating liquid and generating steam
US20050112255 *Nov 25, 2003May 26, 2005Tottenham Dennis E.Apparatus and method for microbial intervention and pasteurization of food and equipment
US20130322860 *Aug 9, 2011Dec 5, 2013International Green Boilers LLCDevice for heating liquid and generating steam
U.S. Classification392/329, 392/338, 392/315
International ClassificationF22B1/00, F22B1/30
Cooperative ClassificationF22B1/30
European ClassificationF22B1/30