|Publication number||US3583748 A|
|Publication date||Jun 8, 1971|
|Filing date||Sep 9, 1969|
|Priority date||Sep 9, 1969|
|Publication number||US 3583748 A, US 3583748A, US-A-3583748, US3583748 A, US3583748A|
|Inventors||Arndt Jason S|
|Original Assignee||Slings Inc|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (3), Referenced by (31), Classifications (7)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
United States Patent Jason S. Arndt Brooklyn, N.Y. 856,280
Sept. 9, 1969 June 8, 1971 Slings inc. Brooklyn, N.Y.
inventor Appl. No. Filed Patented Assignee LAUNDRY HOPPER 10 Claims, 3 Drawing Figs.
US. Cl. 294/71, 150/49, 193/25 Int. Cl 865d 51/00  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,526,970 2/1925 Faber 294/71 3,464,733 9/1969 Shawmm... 294/71 3,480,059 11/1969 Schoening .4 150/48 Primary Examiner-Andres H. Nielsen Attorney-Blum, Moscovitz, Friedman and Kaplan ABSTRACT: A partially collapsible laundry hopper having top and bottom frames defining the inlet and outlet thereof respectively, and a flexible chute and a plurality of extensible supports extending longitudinally between said top and bottom frames, said supports being of a length less than said chute. The hopper also has a pair of downwardly and outwardly opening doors adapted to be sequentially closed across said hopper outlet and latch means for releasably securing said doors in their closed position.
PATENTEU JUN 8197! SHEET 1 [IF 2 INVI NTOR JASON S. ARNDT PATENTEUJUN 8l97| 3,583,748
SHEET 2 [IF 2 F/6.2 F/G.3
3 k i) 4* (if INVENTOR. JASON S. ARNDT ATTORNEYS LAUNDRY uorssn BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates generally to laundry hoppers utilized in connection with top-loading industrial washing machines. Where a laundry plant is located in a multistory building, the plant is generally provided with a fixed laundry chute disposed above each washing machine and having its input in the floor above said machine. However, this arrangement is impossible in a single story laundry plant, and might not be adopted even in multistory plants. In the alternative, movable laundry hoppers are generally suspended from a conveyor belt and carried from a loading station to a position above the washing machine, emptied into said machine, and carried by said conveyor belt back to said loading position. One disadvantage of the known conveyor-carried laundry hoppers is the fact that they remain extended to their full length when empty and therefore occupy a great deal of space which could be otherwise utilized. A further disadvantage of the known systems is the lack of a simple and efficient releasing and closing mechanism for the bottom door defining the outlet end of said hoppers.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Generally speaking, in accordance with the invention, a laundry hopper for transporting laundry from a loading station to a top-loading washing machine is provided which includes top and bottom frames defining the inlet and outlet thereof respectively, and a flexible chute and a plurality of extensible supports extending between said top and bottom frames, said extensible supports being of a length less than the length of said chute and being extensible at least to the length of said chute. The laundry hopper is partially collapsed, when empty, by said extensible uprights while being extendable to its full length when filled.
The laundry hopper is also provided with first and second downwardly and outwardly opening doors hingedly mounted on the bottom frame for closing the hopper outlet. The first door extends beneath and supports the second door when the doors are closed and latch means are provided for releasably securing the first door in its closed position. Closing means, consisting of a drawstring and a plurality of pulleys, is also provided for sequentially closing first said second door and then said first door.
Accordingly, it is an object of this invention to provide a laundry hopper which may be suspended from a conveyor belt and which is automatically partially collapsed when emptied.
Another object of the invention is to provide closing and opening mechanisms for the doors of a laundry hopper which are simple in construction and readily assembled and operated.
A further object of the invention is to provide a laundry hopper particularly adapted for use in conjunction with commercial top-loading washing machines in single story laundry plants.
Still other objects and advantages of the invention will in part be obvious and will in part be apparent from the specification.
The invention accordingly comprises the features of construction, combination of elements, and arrangement of parts which will be exemplified in the construction hereinafter set forth, and the scope of the invention will be indicated in the claims.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS For a fuller understanding of the invention, reference is had to the following description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. I is a perspective view of the laundry hopper in accordance with the invention.
FIG. 2 is a side elevation of the laundry hopper of FIG. 1 disposed with the doors in the open position; and
FIG. 3 is a side elevational view of the laundry hopper of FIG. I when loaded, with the central portion cut away, and with one door thereof shown in phantom lines in the open position.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now to FIG. I, the laundry hopper 10 shown therein includes a top frame 12 and a bottom frame 14. Each of said frames is rectangular and preferably formed from four L-shaped bars welded together at their ends. Extending between said top and bottom frames is chute 16 formed from a canvas or other flexible material. The chute is folded over the top surface of top frame 12 and secured thereto by means of four bars 18 and fasteners 20. In like manner, said chute extends under bottom frame 14 and is secured thereto by four bars 22 and fasteners 24. The chute is provided with a constricted area 26 adjacent its top to facilitate the partial collapse thereof as described below. The chute tapers outwardly from said constricted area to its full width at said top and bottom frames.
Welded to opposed side edges of top frame 12 are channelshaped bars 28. Upstanding from bars 28 and secured thereto are hooks 30 by means of which the hopper may be suspended from the lower run of an overhead conveyor belt.
Plates 32 are welded to each corner of top frame 12 and extend downwardly therefrom. Each of said plates is formed with an aperture 34 in the lower portion thereof. In like manner, plates 36 are welded to each comer of bottom frame 14. Each of the latter plates extends upwardly from said bottom frame and is also formed with an aperture 38 extending through the upper portion thereof. Extending between top frame 12 and bottom frame 14 are four extensible supports 40. Each of said extensible supports is secured at its upper end to one of said corner plates 32 by means of interlocking rings 42 which pass through apertures 34, and at its lower end to the corresponding corner plate 36 by means of like interlocking rings which pass through apertures 38. Said extensible supports are formed from longitudinally extending strips of a resilient material such as rubber and each is of a length less than the length of chute 16, whereby hopper 10 is partially collapsed when empty. When loaded, the extensible supports expand to permit chute 16 to extend to its full length.
A pair of downwardly and outwardly opening doors 44 and 46 are provided to retain the laundry within chute 16 when closed. Said doors are hingedly mounted on bottom frame 14 by means of corner plates 36 which also extend downwardly from said bottom frame and bolts 48. Each of said doors preferably consists of only a metal frame as shown in FIG. 3, the open portion of each door being closed by a downwardly extending wing 50 of chute 16. Each of said wings 50 is secured at its outer edge to the leading edge of its respective door by bars 52 and fasteners 54, as shown in FIG. 2. Doors 44 and 46 could be provided with separate panels secured to and closing the frame thereof, in which case wings 50 would be unnecessary. As best shown in FIG. 2, a block 56 extends downwardly from bottom frame 14 and cooperates with a second block 58 secured to the side of door 46 to stop the upward movement of said door. Plates 60 welded to the leading edge of door 44 and extending outwardly therefrom are adapted to extend beneath and support door 46 when said doors are closed.
Latch means 62 is provided for releasably retaining doors 44 and 46 in their closed position. To this end, finger 64 is secured to and extends outwardly from the side of door 44. Latch means 62 is provided with a notch 66 adapted to receive finger 64 and a spring loaded lock member 68 which automatically closes to retain finger 64 and therefore doors 44 and 46 when said finger engages heel 70 of said lock member. Release lever 72, when displaced, displaces lock member 68 to its open position, thereby releasing finger 64 and permitting the doors 44 and 46 to open. Release lever 72 is operated by means of draw string 74 which is tied at one end to said release lever and passes through staple 76. The other end of drawstring 74 is tied to pull ring 76 and a further ring 80 is secured intermediate its length to prevent the drawstring from passing upwardly through said staple.
Door 46 must be closed slightly in advance of door 44 in order to permit the former to clear plates 60 extending from the latter Accordingly, the means provided for closing doors 44 and 46, namely drawstring 82 and associated pulleys is specifically adapted to sequentially close first door 46 and then door 44. In this manner, plates 60 suport door 46 in the closed position, door 44 being in turn retained and supported by latch means 62.
As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, aside from drawstring 82, the closing means includes pulley 84 rotatably mounted on door 44, a pair of transfer pulleys b5 and 86 mounted on bottom frame 14, pulley 88 mounted on door 46 and pulley 90 also rotatably mounted on bottom frame 114. Each of said pulleys is movided with a cage 92 to retain the drawstring therearound and to provide a support for the axles thereof. Drawstring 82 is tied at one end to staple 76 and extends along its length about pulley 84, then the pair of transfer pulleys 85 and 86, then pulley 88 and finally pulley 90, from which the other end of drawstring 82 hangs downwardly. Pull ring 94 is tied to the latter end of drawstring 82 and a further ring 86 is secured to said drawstring between pull ring 94 and pulley 90 to prevent said drawstring from passing upwardly past the latter pulley.
In operation, 'hopper I0 is suspended from the lower run of a conveyor belt by means of hooks 30 and, with doors 44 and 46 closed, is loaded with laundry through the inlet end thereof defined by top frame 12. When loaded, extensible supports 40 permit the hopper to extend to its full length, as determined by the length of chute 16. The loaded hopper W, as shown in FIG. 3, is then carried to a position above a top-loading washing machine, with bottom frame 14 defining the outlet of said hopper in registration with the inlet to said machine. Pull ring 78 secured to drawstring 74 is then pulled, either by hand or by means of a hooked pole to displace release lever 72 to open latch means 62. The weight of the laundry then forces doors 44 and 46 open, permitting said laundry to pass out of hopper l0 and into said washing machine. The hopper is automatically partially collapsed by means of resilient supports 40 which contract upon the removal of the weight of the laundry to reduce their length. The constriction 26 in chute l6 facilitates the telescoping of said chute as bottom frame 14 is raised by supports 40 to effect the partial collapse of the hopper. FIG. 2 shows hopper disposed in this position.
The doors 44 and 46 can be readily closed by pulling on pull ring 94, either by hand or by means of a hooked pole. The drawstring 82 secured to said pull ring and the pulleys associated therewith are specifically adapted to sequentially close first door 46 and then door 44 so that the former may be supported by plates 60 extending from the latter. When finger 64 engages heel 70 of lock member 68, said lock member is displaced to retain the doors in the closed position. The hopper is now carried by the conveyor back to the loading position for recycling.
Because it is partially collapsed, the space occupied by the empty hoppers is substantially reduced as compared to the known arrangements. Further, the construction of the doors of the hopper and the arrangement for closing and releasing same is extremely simple, the hopper according to the invention being inexpensive to manufacture, and readily operated. If the partially collapsible feature of the laundry chute according to the invention is not desired, resilient supports 40 may be dispensed with completely, provided chute 16 is of a sufficiently strong material to bear the weight of bottom frame 14, doors 44 and 46 and the laundry. In the alternative, inflexible supports may be substituted for resilient supports 40, in which case the supports would preferably be of a length substantially equal to the length of chute 16.Further, the latch means need not be of the form shown in the drawings and described herein, but rather, any type of latch adapted to releasably retain doors 44 and 46 may be utilized.
It will thus be seen that the objects set forth above, among those made apparent from the preceding description, are efficiently attained and, since certain changes may be made in the above construction without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, it is intended that all matter contained in the above description or shown in the accompanying drawings shall be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.
It is also to be understood that the following claims are intended to cover all of the generic and specific features of the invention herein described, and all statements of the scope of the invention which, as a matter of language, might be said to fall therebetween.
What I claim is:
l. A laundry hopper comprising a top frame defining the inlet to said hopper; a bottom frame defining the outlet thereof; a flexible chute extending longitudinally between and secured to said top and bottom frames; downwardly opening door means hingedly mounted on said bottom frame for closing said hopper outlet; latch means for releasably retaining said door means in its closed position; and a plurality of extensible supports, of a length less than the length of said chute, extending between said top and bottom frames, whereby said laundry hopper is partially collapsed when empty while being extendable to its full length when filled.
2. A laundry hopper as recited in claim 1, including suspension means secured to said top frame, whereby said hopper may be suspended from a conveyor belt.
3. A laundry hopper as recited in claim 1, wherein a portion of said chute is constricted to facilitate the partial collapse of said chute and hopper when empty.
4. A laundry hopper as recited in claim ll, wherein said door means includes first and second downwardly and outwardly opening doors, said first door having a portion extending beneath and supporting said second door when said doors are closed, said latch means retaining said first door in its closed position.
5. A laundry hopper as recited in claim 4, including means for sequentially closing first said second door and then said first door.
6. A laundry hopper as recited in claim 5, wherein said closing means includes first pulley means rotatably mounted on said first door, second pulley means rotatably mounted on said second door, third and fourth pulley means rotatably mounted on said bottom frame and a drawstring secured at one end to said bottom frame and extending along its length about first said first pulley means, then said third pulley means, then said second pulley means, and lastly said fourth pulley means, said closing means being operative by pulling on the end of said drawstring extending from said fourth pulley means.
7. A laundry hopper as recited in claim 5, wherein said latch means automatically retains said first door when said first door is brought into engagement therewith by said closing means, and includes a release lever operative, when displaced, to release said first door, said hopper including a second drawstring operatively secured to said release lever for remote operation thereof.
8. A laundry hopper comprising a top frame defining the inlet to said hopper; a bottom frame defining the outlet thereof; a chute extending longitudinally between and secured to said top and bottom frames; first and second downwardly and outwardly opening doors hingedly mounted on said bottom frame for closing said hopper outlet, said first door extending beneath and supporting said second door when said doors are closed; latch means adapted to releasably secure said first door in its closed position; and closing means for sequentially closing first said second door and then said first door.
9. A laundry hopper as recited in claim 8, wherein said closing means includes first pulley means rotatably mounted on said first door, second pulley means rotatably mounted on said second door, third and fourth pulley means rotatably mounted on said bottom frame and a drawstring secured at one end to latch means automatically retains said first door when said first door is brought into engagement therewith by said closing means, and includes a release lever, operative when displaced, to release said first door.
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|U.S. Classification||294/68.24, 193/25.00C, 294/68.1, 220/9.2|