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Publication numberUS3559886 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 2, 1971
Filing dateOct 29, 1968
Priority dateOct 29, 1968
Publication numberUS 3559886 A, US 3559886A, US-A-3559886, US3559886 A, US3559886A
InventorsMary Lee Howard
Original AssigneeMary Lee Howard
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Portable steam generating unit
US 3559886 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [72] Inventor Mary Lee Howard 1,391,350 9/1921 Tucker 126/271.1 P.O. Box 661, Poughkeepsie, NY. 1260] 1,936,391 12/1929 Ewing... 239/136(X) 21 Appi, No. 771,402 2.726,.314 12 1955 Prain 126/271.1 [22] Filed Oct. 29, 1968 Prima E ry xammerLl0yd L. Kmg [45] Patented 1971 Assistant Examiner-Gene A. Church Att0rney-Robert R. Strack [54] PORTABLE STEAM GENERATING UNIT 10 Claims, 3 Drawing Figs.

[52] US. Cl 239/136, 126/271.1,126/369 [51] I'll. Cl B05b 1/24 ABSTRACT; A unit with no moving parts adapted to generate [50] Field of Search 239/ 1 36, steam in response to an electric heating element, wherein the 338; 126/271-L 3691219/271-275; l22/40 water chamber is separated from a steam chamber which, in turn, is separated from the atmosphere by a further protective [56] References cued chamber. Means are provided for the selective use of a plurali- UNITED STATES PATENTS ty of steam-emitting heads in order to permit utilization of the 1,018,345 2/1912 Roberts et a1 239/ 1 36( X) device for diverse operations.


INVENTOR MARY L HOW/\RD my! atw arm/21v: r

PORTABLE STEAM GENERATING UNIT FIELD OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to steam generating apparatus; more particularly, it relates to portable. steam generating apparatus that can be used in the home by nonprofessional operators for a multitude of housekeeping functions.

There is a need for a portable steam cleaning unit that can be employed by private home owners much in the fashion that vacuum cleaners are employed. It is well appreciated that the cleaning functions around a house or apartment often require more than simply suction to effect the necessary results. On the other hand, the use of water is frequently prohibited because of the direct damage it causes and the ancillary damage and mess in surrounding areas.

Among the many chores around the usual household that could be improved by the use of an appropriate steam generating appliance are the cleaning of venetian blinds, rugs, and furniture. Private automobile engines and similar greasy machines also benefit from periodic steam cleaning. In another area of activity, portable steam generating units can be, and are, employed to assist in the removal of wallpaper. Finally, where an appropriate unit is available, steam can be adapted to provide the health-giving benefits of humidification.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART The prior art has illustrated a number of units which are individually capable of either humidification of a room or of being used to provide minor cleaning advantages. In general, these units are either too cumbersome to permit of portable utilization, too expensive to provide economical operation in the normal household, or too complex to enable the average housewife to use them.

From another aspect, devices which do not employ steam have been provided for performing all of the cleaning functions to be described hereinafter. Such devices as contoured brushes and water ejecting mechanisms may be used, for example, in the cleaning of venetian blinds and furniture. Almost without exception, these devices are of a complex nature and rely upon moving parts in order to effect the desired results.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to a portable unit adaptable for household use and having no moving parts. More particularly, it relates to a portable steam generating unit easily adaptable to effect a plurality of functions.

It is an object of the invention to provide an improved portable steam generating unit.

It is another object of the invention to provide an improved portable steam generating unit adaptable to receive a plurality of steam emitting heads.

It is another object of the invention to provide an improved steam cleaning unit particularly effective for cleaning venetian blinds, rugs, and furniture.

It is still another object of the invention to provide an improved portable steam cleaning unit capable of providing a detergent with the steam in order to effect cleansing.

It is yet another object of the invention to provide an improved portable steam generating unit having individual control over the heating and steam emitting elements of the apparatus.

In accordance with the invention there is provided a portable steam generating unit comprising an internal water chamber having a heating element therein, a partially surrounding steam chamber, a further protective chamber completely surrounding said steam chamber, and controlled exit means for the steam; said exit means being adapted to receive a plurality of steam emitting heads.

Further objects and features of the invention will become apparent from the following detail description of particular embodiments. These embodiments are explained in conjunction with the drawing.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG 1 is a top view with a portion broken away illustrating a portable steam generating unit in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 2 is an elevational cross section taken along the line 2-2 in FIG. 1; and

FIG. 3 is a partial view of the steam exiting portion of an illustrated embodiment of the invention wherein means are provided for adding a detergent to the emitted steam.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT The specific structure of a particular embodiment of the invention can be understood by reference to FIGS. 1 and 2. As shown in these FIGS., a water chamber 12 is provided within the internal portion of a rail-supported unit. Water chamber 12 contains a heater coil, or coils, 10 which are electrically energized via usual electrical conductors 3. Surrounding the water chamber on three sides and the top, is a steam chamber 35. The walls and floor of the water chamber 12 are solid and watertight. and the upper portion 18 is a baffle unit containing a plurality of perforations 27. In the preferred embodiment of the invention, these perforations are sufficiently small to impede the flow of water therethrough in a liquid state, yet provide free passage of steam.

Steam chamber 35 is a pressure-tight chamber. A blowoff valve 8 is provided and may be set, for example, to open at approximately 5 pounds/square inch of pressure. In addition, an overload switch 9 is provided to open the heater electrical circuit at a particular steam pressure, for example, 5 pounds/square inch.

Completely surrounding steam chamber 35 is a further chamber 36. The function of chamber 36 is two-fold. First, it protects the operator of the equipment in the event of excess steam pressure and similarly protects the surrounding area. Secondly, it makes possible the improved appearance of the entire unit.

The external housing 16 which defines the outer limits of chamber 36 is suitably mounted upon base plate 17 to provide a watertight joint. Any suitable gasket or similar arrangement may be provided. With respect to the mounting of the internal housing 20 which defines steam chamber 35, a similar mounting arrangement to the base plate 17 may be provided. It would also be acceptable to establish a more permanent connection with respect to the steam chamber in order to insure both safety and moisture proofing.

The filling of the disclosed unit with water is effected through a filler pipe 21 having cap 22 thereon. This filler pipe penetrates chambers 35 and 12 through grommets 25 and 26, respectively. These grommets insure a steamtight connection and prevent the escape of steam around the filler pipe 21.

It will be seen that the entire unit is mounted upon rails 19 (one rail only shown). These rails may be positioned on opposite sides of the unit and provide sliding contact with the floor. Of course, the rails could be replaced by suitable substitutes, such as wheels. The unit is capable of easy movement throughout a household and is sufficiently light to permit vertical movement when required. Suitable lifting handles may also be provided on the sides of the unit if desired.

Two switches, 6 and 7, are provided on the beveled front facing of external housing 16. These switches are wired to provide an initial on/off control and a steam control. The electrical wiring of the system includes a single-pole switch for applying power to the heater element 10. This power is applied through the pressure overload switch 9 which is in a normally closed state. Accordingly, in the event of excessive steam pressure, overload switch 9 automatically opens and disconnects the power from the heating element 10. In parallel with the heater and pressure switch 9; the second single-pole switch 7 is provided in series with a solenoid valve 11. When switch 7 is closed, solenoid valve 1] rs actuated to an open position and permits the emission of steam from chamber 35 to a hose 13. It will be noted that hose I3 is connected via rigid couplings and through grommets 24 and 23 tothe steam chamber. Thus, in the event of excess pressure, power will continue to be applied to the solenoid valve 11 in order to reduce the pressure by permitting continued emission of steam therethrough until the control switch 7 is opened; simultaneously. the heating coil 10 will be deenergized in order to permit immediate cooling of the water.

Hose 13 is of a conventional nature and is contemplated as being entirely flexible. The length of this hose is optional; however, it should be at least sufficiently long to permit the operator easy access to the upper corners of a room. As shown in FIG. I, a solid pipe portion 14 is connected to the end of the hose. This pipe portion may effectively serve as a handle grip in some applications. On other applications, it may be an elongated cylindrical member of the telescoping type which will permit extension of the effective length of the hose.

Affixed at the outer end of pipe 14 is a nozzle 15. This nozzle may be one of a plurality of nozzles, each of which are suitable for use with the steam generating unit of the present invention. The function of the nozzle 15 is to emit steam in directed jets at the particular object to be cleaned. In FIG. 1, a venetian blind slat 27 is illustrated between upper and lower projections 34 and 33 respectively of nozzle 15. These projections provide perforations on the inner surface which direct steam at both the upper and lower surfaces of the venetian blind being cleaned. The width of the nozzle (not illustrated) is sufi'rcient to provide coverage of a short length of blind and it is contemplated that the nozzle would be moved horizontally along each blind slat as it is hung in an opened position on a window. The inner surfaces of nozzle 15 may advantageously be covered with a spongelike material in order to accumulate dust and moisture as it is driven off the surface of slat 37.

In addition to the venetian blind nozzle illustrated in FIG. 1, it is contemplated that spray-type nozzles may be employed in order to emit the steam in a spray directly in front of the nozzle. The diameter and number of perforations provided in such a nozzle is a function of the steam pressure provided in the chamber and the intensity with which the steam is to be applied to the material being cleaned or moistened. It will be appreciated that where this unit is employed for moistening wallpaper prior to removal, the pressure in the steam chamber and the rate of emission will be greater than when it is being employed as a humidifrcation unit. Suitable controls may be provided for effecting various operations of the unit and it will be immediately apparent that rather than a single heating coil, several individually controlled coils may be provided in the water chamber in accordance with the desired operating conditions.

When the invention is being employed as a cleansing apparatus, it may be advantageous and desirable to include a detergent along with the steam that is emitted via hose 13. A particularly efficacious manner of providing a detergent when utilizing the present invention is illustrated in FIG. 3. In this FIG., a portion of the base plate 17 and exterior housing 16 is shown. Base plate 17 is extended somewhat in order to pro vide a mounting surface for a container 30. As shown by the breakaway view of element 30, it contains a liquid detergent 31 and a pipet 32 extending upward to the hose 13. In any suitable manner, container 30 may be affixed to hose 13; of course, the point of connection would be solid and a simple T- coupling may be employed. When operating, the steam passing through hose 13 will serve to provide the necessary vacuum for sucking up a prescribed amount of detergent 31, carrying this detergent along with it, and applying it to the surface being cleaned. Obviously container 30 may be transparent and preferably is provided with markings to indicate the amount of detergent that is to be inserted for particular jobs.

Of course, it is also permissible and, in some instances, desirable to include additives in the fluid of the water chamber in order to improve vaporization and enhance the cleansing or other operative effects of the vapor produced.

As a particular example of a unit constructed in accordance with the teaching of this invention, water chamber 12 may have the dimensions of 4 X 6 X 12 inches. Such a chamber provides for a gallon of water with sufficient additional room for air and steam generation. Steam chamber 35 may have dimensions of 5 X 10 X 16 inches. With such dimensions, and an appropriate nozzle, the unit may operate for a running time of approximately Z'hhours without refilling.

Particular embodiments of the invention have been described and suggestions for the possible modification of these embodiments in order to obtain improved versatility and additional features have been made. It is contemplated that those skilled in the art will immediately recognize further modifications and it is intended that the appended claims cover all variations coming within the spirit and scope of the invention as described above.

I claim: i

l. A portable steam generating apparatus comprising in combination, a first chamber containing heating means and a liquid, a substantially vapor-tight second chamber at least partially surrounding said first chamber, a third substantially liquid-tight chamber at least partially surrounding said second chamber, each of said chambers having at least one common wall, said first chamber having a portion thereof .through which vapor may penetrate into said second chamber, conduit means for transmitting vapor connected at one end to said second chamber, and nozzle means at the other end of said conduit means adapted to emit said vapor in a predetermined pattern.

2. A portable steam generating apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said nozzle has projecting portions in facing relationship spaced apart by a narrow channel, and perforations in the opposing faces of said portions adapted to eject steam into said channel from both sides.

3. A portable steam generating apparatus comprising in combination; a first chamber containing electrically energized heating means, a second chamber at least partially surrounding said first chamber, said first chamber having a portion thereof through which vapor may penetrate into said second chamber, conduit means for transmitting vapor connected at one end to said second chamber, an electrically controlled valve for closing said conduit means, said valve and said heating means being energized in parallel circuits, and nozzle means at the other end of said conduit means adapted to emit said vapor in a predetermined pattern.

4. A portable steam generating apparatus according to claim 3, wherein the circuit containing said heating means includes a normally closed pressure-responsive switch operative to open when the 'vapor pressure in said second chamber exceeds a predetermined value.

5. A portable steam generating apparatus according to claim 4, wherein the circuit containing said valve includes a manually controlled switch.

6. A portable steam generating apparatus according to claim 3, including a third chamber at least partially surrounding said second chamber, said second chamber being substantially vapor-tight and saidthird chamber being substantially liquid-tight.

7. A portable steani generating apparatus according to claim 6, including pressure-sensitive valve means between said second and third chambers, operative to open when the pressure in said second chamber exceeds that in said third chamber by a predetermined value.

8. A portable steam generating apparatus according to claim 7, wherein each of these chambers has at least one common wall.

9. A portable steam generating apparatus according to claim 8, including vapor-tight conduit means penetrating said second and third chambers and affording fluid access between claim 9, including means connected to said conduit means for adding detergent to the vapor as it passes therethrough.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3841560 *Jul 16, 1973Oct 15, 1974Airco IncAnesthetic vaporizer
US5200039 *Jan 18, 1991Apr 6, 1993Emerson Electric Co.Steam chamber for a water distiller with contamination prevention baffle and check valve
US5447597 *Mar 6, 1995Sep 5, 1995J. Wagner GmbhApparatus for loosening wallpaper
US5963708 *Oct 2, 1996Oct 5, 1999Well Men Industrial Co., Ltd.Heating system
US7763118 *Feb 8, 2007Jul 27, 2010Lg Electronics Inc.Dishwasher
US8245630 *Mar 5, 2009Aug 21, 2012Houraney F WilliamCordless hand held device and method of heating/reheating food
US20080000506 *Feb 8, 2007Jan 3, 2008Lg Electronics Inc.Dishwasher
US20130139813 *Nov 28, 2012Jun 6, 2013Stobi Gmbh & Co. KgVaporizer with combined air and radiation heating
U.S. Classification239/136, 126/271.1, 392/405, 126/369
International ClassificationA47L11/34, B44C7/02, A61H33/06, A47L4/00
Cooperative ClassificationA47L11/34, A61H33/063, A47L4/00, B44C7/027, A47L11/4086
European ClassificationA47L11/40N4, A47L4/00, A47L11/34, A61H33/06H, B44C7/02D