US 3475828 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Nov. 4, 1969 DE NEAL J. FELDMAN ET AL 3,475,828
STEAM AND AIR GARMENT FINISHER I Original Filed Oct. 7, 1966 I 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 ATTORNEY$ Nov. 4, 1969 DE NEAL J. FELDMAN ET AL 3,475,828
STEAM AND AIR GARMENT FINISHER Original Filed Oct. 7, 1966 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 FIG.6
United States Patent Int. Cl. 1326b 3/04 US. Cl. 34-22 11 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A process and apparatus for drying and finishing a washed fabric article having at least 65% polyester fibers wherein steam and hot air are blown into a freely suspended article and then hot air alone is blown therein so as to return the article to a state where ironing is not required.
This application is a continuation of application Ser. No. 585,135, filed Oct. 7, 1966, now abandoned.
The present invention relates to the drying and finishing of fabric articles treated in a liquid, and more particularly to the wrinkle-free drying of articles made from a fabric including some man-made fibers which when wet during the washing of the fabric causes the fabric to tend to wrinkle.
Many types of garments are made of a fabric comprised of a yarn made up at least in part of man-made fibers which are thermoplastic in nature. One example of such is a cloth composed of 65% polyester (such as sold under the trademark Dacron of Du Pont) and 35% cotton. Such is sometimes referred to as a memory type of fabric. The garments of interest may include coats and jackets worn by waiters and barbers and also uniforms worn by hairdressers, nurses and other hospital personnel. These garments are periodically laundered by washing them in a heated wash water including a detergent wherein the temperature of the water is sufiiciently high to remove dirt and stains. Because of the nature of the fabric, the elevated temperature of the wash water and the agitation of the garment in the Washing machine cause the garments to wrinkle. Consequently, after the garments have been washed and dried, they must be pressed or further treated in some manner in order to remove the wrinkles. A pressing operation is undesirable since each garment must be handled individually and accordingly the time and cost of laundering such garments is greatly increased. Further, even when great care is used in the ironing process, it is difiicult to iron the garments in a manner to remove all wrinkles therefrom.
One of the objects of the present invention is to provide an improved process and apparatus for the wrinklefree drying and finishing of such garments and fabric articles.
Another object of the invention is to provide an apparatus and method for the wrinkle-free drying and finishing of dripping wet laundered garments by the application of steam and heated air to the garment so as to obtain high quality in the most economical manner.
In one aspect of the invention, the apparatus may comprise a closed chamber having a removable rack therein upon which a plurality of garments may be suspended. Heated air is directed upwardly against the garments from a longitudinal slot in the floor of the chamber. Converging streams of steam are directed upwardly against the suspended garments from the bottom which may be from two loops of tubing having a series of spaced openings therein. The floor of the chamber does not have a drain therein so that it may function as an evaporator pan and the water evaporated therein is cir- 3,475,828 Patented Nov. 4, 1969 "ice culated throughout the chamber as vapor or steam. Means are provided on the chamber for recirculating a major portion of the combined steam and heated air back through the chamber.
In drying and finishing garments according to the present invention, a plurality of dripping wet garments are suspended within the closed chamber. Streams or jets of steam are then directed upwardly against the garments for about one minute. Next, for about four minutes, hot air is also blown upwardly into the garments and the combined action of the heated air and steam causes an agitation or quivering movement of the garments which greatly increases the effectiveness of the drying process. The application of the steam is then stopped and for about 10 to 12 minutes the heated air continues to blow upwardly through the articles to finish the drying and conditioning of the garments. Upon the completion of this drying, the garments are then dry and smooth and ready for wear without further treatment.
Other objects, advantages and features of the present invention will become apparent from the following description and accompanying drawings which are merely exemplary.
In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a top plan view of the apparatus;
FIG. 2 is an end elevational view of the apparatus shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a sectional view of the apparatus taken along the line 33 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a side elevational view of the rack showing the garments suspended therefrom with the dotted lines indicating the positions taken by the garments under the combined action of the steam and heated air;
FIG. 5 is a sectional view similar to that of FIG. 3 showing the effect of the steam and heated air upon the garments suspended therein; and
FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken along the line 6-6 of FIG. 2. and showing the arrangement of the steam loops and air slot within the chamber.
Referring to the drawings wherein like reference symbols indicate the same parts throughout the various views, the specific embodiment of the invention will be described in detail.
As may be seen in FIGS. 1 to 3, the apparatus is indicated generally at 1 and comprises a closed chamber 2 which may be termed a hot box. The chamber has a top 3, a bottom or floor 4, ends 5 and 6, and side walls 7 and 8. The chamber may be a sheet metal box built around a structural framework of right angles and channels and is mounted upon supports or feet 9 so as to be raised slightly off the floor. The structure or enclosure can also take other structural forms.
The end 5 is provided with a door 10 to permit access to the interior of the chamber and a viewing window 11 so that garments can be viewed during the finishing process. This may be in the form of a Pyrex glass. While not shown in the drawings, a vapor-tight light also may be mounted within the chamber to render the garments therein more visible.
The outer surface of the chamber may be covered with a suitable insulating material, such as, for example, Celotex.
On the floor 4 of the chamber there are mounted two longitudinally extending channels 12 which form guides or rails for the movable garment rack indicated at 13. The garment rack has a framework and includes the hanger bar 14 from which garments such as 15 may be suspended. For mobility purposes, the rack is mounted upon rollers 16 which are spaced to be received within the rails 12. Other means may be employed for moving the garments into and out of the enclosure.
There is a longitudinally extending slot 17 in the floor of the chamber from which heated air is blown. The slot 17 is positioned substantially along the center of the chamber and is located beneath the garments as may be seen in FIGS. 3 and 5.
Mounted slightly above the floor of the chamber is an outer loop 18 and an inner loop 19 of tubing having a plurality of spaced openings therein. The tubing may be of copper or any other suitable material. The openings on the inner loop are angled at about 45 degrees from the vertical so as to direct streams of steam therefrom in the direction A as indicated in FIG. 5. As an example, when diameter tubing is used, the apertures may be every 8". The outer loop 18 may have openings angled alternately at 45 degrees and vertically as schematically shown in B and C in FIG. 2, these openings being every 4".
The top 3 of the chamber is provided with two square openings 20 and 21 in a circular opening 22. The square openings are connected by intake elbows 23 and 24 to one side of a steam coil box 25 having steam coils 26 therein.
On the other or downstream side of steam coil box 25 there are connected blowers 27 and 28 with the blower discharges connected to elbows 29 and 30 which lead to a flat manifold 31 which extends down the rear wall 8 and under the floor 4 of the chamber to connect to the air slot 17.
Round opening 22 is connected to a dampered stack 32 whose damper can be adjusted to bleed off and exhaust a controlled amount of the circulating hot air and steam. About of the circulating hot air and steam can thus be exhausted.
On the upstream side of the steam coil box 25 there is provided a dampered duct 33 which brings in makeup air to replace the exhausted hot air and steam.
The blowers, steam and blower motor may be turned on and off manually by the operator or may be connected to automatic controls so as to operate on a predetermined c cle.
The process as disclosed herein is essentially a batch process and is commenced by rolling a rack loaded with garments into position into the chamber and closing the door. The garment rack can be easily rolled about, and one man can readily lift one end of the loaded rack to insert the rollers into the guide channels and then push the rack into the chamber.
As an example of operation, for about the first one minute of the cycle, steam at a temperature of 330 F. and about 120 psi. is blown upwardly from the steam loops 18 and 19 into the garments in diverging 45-degree rows of steam from approximately 100 orifices or openin s.
During the next four-minute interval, the live steam continues to blow into the garments but, in addition, heated air is blown upwardly into the garments through slot 17. This air is heated to about 300 F. by being passed through steam coils 26. The air temperature may vary from about 296-302 F. as the cycle progresses. This air is recirculated, except for about 5% exhaust and replacement of fresh air. Merely by way of example, the velocity of air in the heart of the slot 17 could be in the range of 2200 feet per minute which, of course, fans out and slows down.
The combined action of the live steam and hot air blowing upwardly into the suspended garments brings about an agitation and continuous quivering motion of the garments as compared to a mere billowing action. The steam, hot air and agitating of the garments all contribute to returning the garments toward their initial pressed state.
During the third stage, which can last from to 12 minutes, the live steam is turned otf but the heated air continues to recirculate upward through the clothes to finish the drying of the garments.
At the completion of this third stage, the garments are then dry and smooth and ready for wear.
The economy of this process is considerably enhanced by the floor of the chamber which has no drain. As a result, the floor acts as an evaporating pan. Thus, heat is utilized to evaporate the water and the resulting vapor re- 4 circulates in the system so that the heat is absorbed and stays in the system instead of being lost down the drain.
The lips of the longitudinal slot 17 may be divergent so as to cause the air discharged therefrom to fan out and slow down before hitting the clothes in the event there is too much disturbance and whipping around of the garments under the combined action of the steam and heated arr.
It should be apparent that the present invention discloses an apparatus and process for the drying and finishing of fabric articles in their original wrinkle-free state. The combined action of the steam and heated air assists the memory of the thermoplastic fibers within the fabric so that the fibers are returned to their original unbent condition. It also is possible to admit both steam and air at the beginning.
It is to be understood that various details of construction and arrangement of the parts can be changed without departing from the spirit of the invention, except defined in the appended claims.
1. A process of drying and finishing a wrinkled fabric article having at least 65% polyester fibers and the remainder cotton fibers treated in an aqueous liquid comprising the steps of freely suspending the article in a closed chamber, blowing streams of steam upwardly and convergingly against the inside of the freely suspended article and concurrently blowing heated air upwardly therewith and into the suspended article so that the combined actions of the steam and air cause billowing of the article in a shaking movement tending to stretch the fabric, and stopping the steam against the article and continuing blowing the hot air in the same manner to finish drying of the article whereby the article is dried and returned to a state where ironing is not required.
2. A process of drying and finishing a fabric article as claimed in claim 1 wherein steam alone is first blown upwardly against the inside of the freely suspended article.
3. A process of drying and finishing a fabric article as claimed in claim 2 wherein the streams of steam converge.
4. A process of drying and finishing a fabric article as claimed in claim 3 wherein the streams of steam are at about degree angles.
5. A process of drying and finishing a fabric article as claimed in claim 2 wherein the steam is blown for about one minute, the steam and hot air are blown for about four minutes and the hot air alone is blown for about ten to twelve minutes.
6. In an apparatus for wrinkle-free drying and finishing a fabric article having at least 65% polyester fibers and the remainder cotton fibers treated in an aqueous liquid, the combination including a closed chamber having a bottom surface, means within said chamber for freely suspending a fabric article therein spaced above said bottom surface, heating means associated with said chamber, an opening in said bottom surface, duct means extending from said heating means to said opening, and blower means in said duct means for directing upwardly and into the freely suspended article a stream of heated air, and means within said chamber adjacent said bottom surface and said opening for directing upwardly into said freely suspended article converging streams of steam.
7. An apparatus as defined in claim 6 wherein the steam directing means comprises two spaced loops of tubing having spaced openings therein for said streams of steam.
8. An apparatus as claimed in claim 7 wherein said loops are rectangular with an inner and outer loop.
9. An apparatus as claimed in claim 8 wherein the spaced openings in the inner loop direct the steam angularly outwardly and some of the openings in the outer loop direct steam upwardly and some of the openings direct steam angularly inwardly.
10. An apparatus as claimed in claim 6 wherein the closed chamber has a bottom surface in heat conducting relation with the heated air supply.
5 11. An apparatus as claimed in claim 6 wherein the air directing means comprising a longitudinal slot in an imperforate bottom surface and the air input duct is connected to said slot and is in heat conducting relation to said bottom surface so as to evaporate moisture therefrom.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 6 Gayring 34-106 XR Lovelace 223-70 XR Jackson 223-70 Erickson 34-216 Wentz 34-31 KENNETH W. SPRAGUE, Primary Examiner 3/1931 Milazo et a1 223-70 10 216 US. Cl. X.R.
f2 g UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE 4 CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION Patent No. 3A75 828 at November 4. 1969 In e DeNeal J. Feldman. Jack J. Feldman. and Milton J.
Moscowitz It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and e that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:
In the heading, "to Economy Linen Sc Towel Service, Inc.,
Dayton, Ohio, a corporation of Ohio should be by mesne assignments, to Ametek, Inc., New York, N. Y., a. corporation of Delaware-.
SIGNED AND SEALED MAR 2 41970 (SEAL) Afloat:
Edward M. Fletcher, Jr.
I WILLIAM E. EQHUYLER, JR.
Attoatmg Officer Commissioner of Patent!