US 3403933 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Oct. 1, 1968 LE ROY J. Rossow 3,403,933
MAGNETIC LATCH Filed Dec. l5, 1966 United States Patent O 3,403,933 MAGNETIC LATCH Le Roy J. Rossow, 857 Rice St., St. Paul, Minn. 55117 Filed Dec. 15, 1966, Sel'. No. 602,037 6 Claims. (Cl. 292-2515) This invention relates to a magnetic latch, and more particularly, relates to a self-aligning magnetic latch adapted to be mounted on the exterior of a refrigerator.
Often times, in the repair of older model refrigerators, a replacement latch is necessary to provide for proper closing of the refrigerator. The serviceman, in servicing older model refrigerators, is often faced with attempting to repair a handle in that replacement parts have long since become unavailable. This repair is often costly but must be carried out to properly service the refrigerator for eflicient operation. The mechanics of the refrigerator, except for the mechanical latch, are such that the life of the refrigerator is almost indefinite. Consequently, many makes and models of older refrigerators are presently in use and in need of closures which will tightly close the units to provide proper efliciency. However, the serviceman who deals in refrigerator repair cannot possibly stock replacement handles for all of the makes and models which he may be called upon to repair and, of course, many of the latches are no longer available.
Although universal-type latches have been developed as replacement parts for obsolete refrigerator latches, many a-re not truly universal, and others are extremely difficult to install and require special tools. Other of the universal-type latches presently available are not only costly, but unless meticulously installed do not provide proper closure of the refrigerator door and, consequently, do not provide for optimum efficiency of the refrigerator on which the latch is installed.
With these comments in mind, it is to the elimination of these and other disadvantages to which the present invention is directed, along with the inclusion therein of other novel and desirable features.
An object of my invention is to provide a new and improved magnetic latch for exterior mounting on refrigerators, which latch is of simple and inexpensive construction and operation.
Another object of my invention is to provide a novel magnetic latch which is self-aligning thereby compensating for variances in the door of the refrigerator and permitting optimum closure of the door.
Still another object of my invention is the provision of an improved and novel magnetic latch for exterior mounting on refrigerators which may be mounted on rightor left-hand doors `and which may be mounted on the top or side of the unit.
A still further object of my invention is the provision of an improved magnetic latch which may rbe quickly and eiiiciently installed by a person of minimum skill or manual dexterity.
An additional object of my invention is the provision of an improved magnetic latch which may be installed on any existing refrigerator or freezer, a latch which is not mechanical and therefore not subject to breakdown of wearing parts and a latch which includes a cooperating housing which not only matches most refrigerators or freezers but which contributes to the eiciency of the latch.
These and other objects and Vadvantages of my invention will more fully appear from the following description made in connections with the accompanying drawings wherein like reference characters refer to the same or similar parts throughout the several views, and in which:
FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic sketch showing a typical usage of my magnetic latch;
3,403,933 Patented Oct. 1, 1968 FIG. 2 is a diagrammatic sketch showing an additional typical usage of my magnetic latch;
FIG. 3 is a front View of the magnetic latch of my invention shown installed on a refrigerator having the door closed and with the latch housing broken away for clarity;
FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken along the line 4-4 of FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is a sectional view taken along the line 5-5 of FIG. 3; and
FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken Ialong the line 6--6 of FIG. 3.
One form of the present invention is shown in the drawings and is described herein. The magnetic latch of my invention is shown in FIG. 1 and is indicated, in general, by numeral 10. The latch 10 is shown attached to a refrigerator, indicated in general by numeral 11. Latch 10 comprises a striker plate assembly 10a shown attached to a refrigerator door 11a and cooperating magnetic unit 10b shown attached to the stationary box portion 11b of refrigerator 11. Another type of installation is shown in FIG. 2 with the magnetic latch 10 attached to refrigerator 12 on top of the unit rather than on the side of the refrigerator as in refrigerator 11. The striker plate assembly 10a is mounted on door 12a of refrigerator 12 and the magnet unit 10b is mounted on the top stationary panel 12b of refrigerator 12. It should be noted that my magnetic latch may be attached to the side of a rightor left-hand opening door and may be attached to the top of a right- |or left-hand opening door without any adjustment whatsoever to the magnetic latch at either the striker plate assembly 10a or the magnet unit 10b.
ln FIG. 3, the magnetic latch 10 is shown attached to a refrigerator in the closed position. It should be noted that the magnetic latch does not interfere with the door seal and is mounted on the exterior of the refrigerator. The striker plate assembly comprises a door mounting bracket 13 having three openings 14 therein whereby mounting screws 15 may be received for attachment to the door 11a. Bracket 13 is U-shaped and includes outwardly projecting, opposed parallel flanges 16 adapted to receive striker plate 17. Striker plate 17 is pivotally mounted on flanges 16 of door mounting bracket 13 by rivets 18 providing pivotal movement to striker plate 17 about an axis which is parallel to the striker plate 17. Striker plate 17 is essentially U-shaped and includes flanges 19 which mate with flanges 16 of the door mounting bracket for mounting thereto. The striker plate and ydoor mounting bracket are typically formed from a hot rolled, zinc-plated steel. Striker plate assembly housing 20 is detachably mounted on the striker plate `door mounting bracket surrounding bracket 13 and covering it as well as mating with the door 11a of the refrigerator 11. The housing 20 is deta-chably mounted by a press fit relation with rivets 18 and the housing 20 is open to expose strike-r plate 17. The housing is constructed from a molded irnpact-resistant plastic.
The magnet unit 10b is shown mounted to the stationary box portion 11b of refrigerator 11. It should be noted that door 11a is tightly closed by the latch 10 properly engaging seal 21 between the door 11a and stationary box portion 11b. The magnet unit comprises a magnet unit mounting plate 22 which is angulated at panel 23 to provide an offset portion spaced apart from stationary box portion 11b. The magnet unit mounting plate includes slotted openings 24 which receive screw assemblies 25 therein. The slots are oriented with the longitudinal axis substantially lnormal to the door opening of stationary box 11b to provide movement forwardly toward the door opening or rearwardly from the door opening to provide proper alignment of the magnet unit relative to the striker lplate assembly. Magnet unit mounting plate 22 includes a magnet-receiving portion 26 which receives magnet 27 with an outer pole 28 and an inner pole 28a sandwiching the magnet therebetween. A rivet Z9 secures pole-s 28 and 28a with magnet 27 therebetween together and onto the magnet-receiving portion 26 of magnet unit mounting plate 22. It should be noted that offset portion 23 of magnet unit mounting plateI 22 positions the magnetreceiving portion away from the outer wall of stationary box 11b a distance indicated by the dimension X. Housing 30 is constructed of an impact-resistant molded plastic and covers the magnet assembly and magnet unit mounting plate and is secured to the magnet unit mounting plate at the upright flange 31 as by screw assemblies 32. The housing covers the unit and is flush with the stationary box 11b while exposing forward edge portions 33 vand 33a of poles 28 and 28a, respectively, to mate with striker plate 17. Poles 28 and 28a are typically constructed of a cold rolled steel and are zinc plated. The magnet unit mounting plate is aluminum and therefore does not affect the forces of magnet 27 which is constructed from a rubber which is impregnated with barium ferrite. The rivet 29 is aluminum to permit optimum efficiency of the magnet 27.
Referring to FIG. 4, housing 30 includes shoulder 34 which engages inner pole 28a retaining the magnetic pole 28a away from the refrigerator 11b so that poles 28 and 28a efficiently contact striker plate 17 with maximum force. Further, shoulder 34 prevents flexing of the magnet unit mounting plate 22 at offset portion 23 from the force of the poles 28 and 28a generated by the traction of the door 11a or stationary box 11b for the magnetic poles. This, of course, Iprevents any bending action at offset plate 23 thereby eliminating metal fatigue at that point. It should be noted that housing 30 converges a dimension indicated by Y so that shoulders 34 are snugly positioned under inner magnetic pole 28a properly spacing inner pole 28a away from the refrigerator 11 under all conditions.
In operation, the magnetic latch of my invention may be installed on a refrigerator accurately and for optimum operation with a maximum of ease. The striker plate assembly a is first attached to the door of the refrigerator. The striker plate assembly is attached to the door with the striker plate 17 parallel with the door opening. The door mounting bracket 13 is positioned on the side of the door and a hole is drilled into the door 11a at the middle opening 14 of door mounting bracket 13. Sc-rew 15 is then assembled thereto so that the strike-r plate may pivot somewhat about screw 15. The striker plate assembly is located midway between the top and bottom of the door on which it is attached. Next, magnet unit 10b, with housing 30 removed, is positioned on the door with the forward edges 33 and 33a of inner and outer magnetic poles 28 and 28a in contact with striker plate 17. The door is now closed tightly with seal 21 properly positioned between door 11a and stationary box 11b. The magnet unit mounting plate is then secured to the stationary box 11b by drilling into the refrigerator stationary box 11b at the middle opening 24 of the magnet unit mounting plate 22. The middle screw assembly is then secured tightly thereon and the alignment of the mating surfaces of the striker plate 17 against edges 33 and 33a of poles 28 and 28a, respectively, are set such that there is a straight and flush contact therebetween. Of course, the striker plate 17 will align itself about pivots 18 to provide an axis of rotation parallel to the door opening such that the straight and flush contact between striker plate 17 and pole edges 33 and 33a is achieved in spite of poor alignment of door 11a. The door mounting bracket may be slidably moved forwardly or rearwardly in slotted holes 24 for obtaining maximum closing effect between door 11a and stationary box 11b. Finally, screw assemblies 15 are assembled to door 11a completing the attachment of door mounting bracket 13 thereto; and screw assemblies 25 are attached to station- Cil ary box 11b completing the assembly of the magnet unit mounting plate to the stationary box. Striker plate assembly housing 20 is then press fit onto the rivets 18 of bracket 13 and housing 30` is slid onto the magnet unit 10b with shoulders 34 positioned between lower pole 28a and the stationary box 11b such that the poles 28 and 28a are not drawn toward the refrigerator but rather drawn to the striker plate 17. This, of course, prevents metal fatigue at the offset portion 23 of magnet unit mounting plate 22 which would be caused if the magnetic forces were drawn toward the refrigerator. The housing 30 is then assembled to the flange 31 of magnet unit mounting plate 22 by screw assemblies 32.
From the foregoing it will be seen that I have provided an external magnetic latch which may be attached to refrigerators, whether rightor left-hand opening and whether top or side mounted. Further, the magnetic latch of my invention is self-aligning and is so designed that the magnetic forces are directed toward the striker plate rather than toward the refrigerator. Further, the housing on the magnet unit of my magnetic latch is so designed that the offset aluminum mounting bracket is not flexed and therefore does not break down under repeated use. Consequently, there is a minimum of moving parts and the magnetic latch life is therefore indefinite. No special tools are required to assemble my magnetic latch to a refrigerator and, further, my magnetic latch may be properly assembled to a refrigerator by a person of minimum skill or mutual dexterity. The operation of attaching my magnetic latch is such that an optimum installation Imay be obtained by one installing the latch with no previous experience. My magnetic latch is adjustable to provide varying degrees of tightness between the door and the stationary box and the self-aligning feature of the striker plate provides optimum closure each time.
It will, of course, be understood that various changes may be made in the form, details, arrangement and proportions of the various parts without departing from the scope of my invention.
What I claim is:
1. A magnetic latch adapte-d to be attached to the exterior of a refrigerator, the refrigerator having a stationary box and a door attached thereto swingably mounted for positioning between an open and closed position, said magnetic latch comprising a striker plate assembly, said striker plate assembly comprising a door mounting bracket adapted to be afiixed to the swingable door of the refrigerator, said door mounting bracket having outwardly projecting striker plate receiving fianges attached thereto,
a striker plate, said striker plate having flanges projecting outwardly therefrom affixed to the flanges of said door mounting bracket whereby said striker plate is positioned substantially parallel with the edge of the swingable door of the refrigerator, and
a magnet unit, said magnet unit 'comprising a magnet unit mounting plate adapted to `be affixed to the stationary box of the refrigerator, said magnet unit mounting plate having a magnet receiving plate attached thereto and spaced apart therefrom by an offset plate portion whereby the magnet receiving plate is spaced apart from the stationary door of the refrigerator a predetermined distance and a magnet having poles thereon affixed to the magnet receiving plate, the poles positioned whereby the poles cooperate with said striker plate in the closed position of the swingable door relative to the stationary box of the refrigerator, thereby maintaining the swingable door of the refrigerator in closed position and whereby the magnetic forces of said magnet are directed toward said striker plate and away from the refrigerator in the open position of the door relative to the stationary box of the refrigerator.
2. The magnetic latch of claim 1 wherein said striker plate s pivotally attached to said door mouting bracket whereby said striker plate rotates about an axis substantially parallel with the edge of the door of the refrigerator thereby aligning said striker plate relative to the p-oles of said magnet in the closed position ofthe swingable door relative to the stationary tbox of the refrigerator.
3. The magnetic latch of claim 1 wherein said magnet unit mounting plate includes a plurality of elongate openings having a longitudinal dimension substantially normal of the edge of the swingable door of the refrigerator thereby providing movement of said magnet unit mounting plate forwardly toward the door and rearwardly away from the door whereby the magnetic force of said magnet mounted on said magnet unit mounting plate relative to said striker plate may be adjusted.
4. The magnetic latch of claim 1 including a striker plate assembly housing detachably mounted on said striker plate assembly and a magnet unit housing affixed on said magnet unit.
`5. The magnetic latch of claim 4 wherein said magnet unit housing includes shoulders aixed thereon and positioned between the stationary box of the refrigerator and the magnet receiving plate of said magnet unit mounting plate whereby the magnetic force of said magnet are directed toward said striker plate and away from the refrigerator in the open position of the door relative to the stationary box of the refrigerator.
6. The magnetic latch of claim 5 wherein said magnet unit housing converges whereby the shoulders thereof are snugly positioned between the stationary box of the refrigerator and the magnet receiving plate of said magnet unit mounting plate.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,261,631 7/1966 Alessi 292-2515 3,287,051 11/1966 Anderson 292-2515 BERNARD A. GILHEANY, Primary Examiner.
G. HARRIS, Assistant Examiner.