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Publication numberUS3602441 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 31, 1971
Filing dateFeb 20, 1970
Priority dateFeb 20, 1970
Also published asDE2108031A1, DE2108031B2, DE2108031C3
Publication numberUS 3602441 A, US 3602441A, US-A-3602441, US3602441 A, US3602441A
InventorsRobert J Alvarez
Original AssigneeGen Electric
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Combination ice cube and crushed ice dispenser
US 3602441 A
Abstract  available in
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

ilnite States Inventor App]. No.

Filed Patented Assignee tent Robert J. Alvarez Louisville, Ky.

Feb. 20, 1970 Aug. 31, 1971 General Electric Company Continuation-impart of application Ser. No. 756,934, Sept. 3, 1968, now abandoned.

COMBINATION ICE CUBE AND CRUSHED ICE DISPENSER 12 Claims, 6 Drawing Figs.

US. Cl 241/101, 62/320, 241/190, 241/DIG. l7 ..B02c 13/06,

Int. Cl

[50] Field of Search 62/320; 241/101, 186,188,190, DIG. l7

[56] Referencrs Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,342,213 2/1944 Ostrander 241/101 X 2,522,651 9/1950 Van Vleck. 241/D1G. 17 2,645,910 7/1953 Leeson 62/320 X 2,779,165 1/1957 Pichler et al 62/320 3,313,493 4/1967 Scott et al 241/19OX Primary ExaminerTher0n E. Condon Assistant ExaminerRobert L. Spruill Attorneyx-Walter E. Rule, F, H. Boos, Joseph B. Forman,

Oscar B. Waddell and Frank L. Neuhauser ABSTRACT: An ice dispenser particularly for household refrigerators includes an ice cube storage receptacle and an integral dispensing and crushing means for dispensing batches ofeither cube or crushed ice.

PATENT En AUBB 1. ran

SHEET 1 BF -2 INVENTOR. "ROBERT J'. ALVAREZ H\S ATTORNEY PATENTEU A1183] IS?! SHEET 2 0F 2 INVENTOR. ROBERT J. ALVAREZ BY W 454%-.-

H \s ATTORNEY COMBINATION ICE CUBE AND CRUSI'IEI) ICE DISPENSER CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION This application is a continuation-in-part of my copending application, Ser. No. 756,934 filed Sept. 3, 1968 and now abandoned.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Many modern household refrigerators include automatic ice makers and a receptacle for receiving and storing the ice made by the ice makers at below freezing temperatures Although the ice pieces produced by such ice makers may be of various shapes, they are generally referred to as ice cubes, which term will be used herein and in the appended claims as covering ice pieces of any shape and of a size such that from about four to six ice cubes will be used to cool the contents of an ordinary drinking glass, regardless of whether the cubes are, for example, of a generally cubical shape, of a cylindrical shape such as those produced by the ice maker of the Baker et al. U.S. Pat. No. 3,163,017, or of a crescent shape such as those produced by the ice maker of U.S. Pat. No. 2,717,495 Anderson.

As an added convenience, it has been proposed to include in such refrigerators means for dispensing the ice pieces from the receptacle in batches of two or more ice cubes. Ice cube storage and dispensing means particularly adapted for use in a small freezer or in the freezer compartment of a household refrigerator are described and claimed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,422,994 issued in the name of Robert J. Alvarez, and U.S. Pat. No. 3,437,244 issued in the names of Robert J. Alvarez and Dwight W. Jacobus, both of which patents are assigned to the same assignee as the present invention. Briefly described, such services comprise a receptacle for receiving and collecting ice cubes and a dispensing means rotatably supported in a horizontal position within the receptacle so that upon rotation thereof, ice pieces will be automatically dispensed through a discharge opening in one wall of the receptacle.

For maximum enjoyment of an ice service means in a home appliance, it is desirable that the service provide both cube and crushed ice. The present invention is directed to and has as its principal object the provision of an ice service including a rotatable, horizontally disposed dispensing means in combination with an ice crusher and means so designed that either cube ice or crushed ice can be dispensed by operation of the dispensing means.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The combination ice cube and crushed ice dispenser of the present invention comprises a receptacle or storage section for storing ice cubes and a crusher section separated from the storage section by a vertical wall and having an outlet at the bottom thereof. The vertical wall includes a dispensing or discharge opening therein above the crusher section outlet. For the purpose of dispensing either cube or crushed ice, there is provided a horizontally disposed, rotatable member, the axis of which extends through the wall above the outlet and adjacent and to one side of the opening. The rotatable member includes a dispensing portion in the storage section for discharging ice cubes through the opening and crusher arms in the crusher section rotatable into and then out of the path of ice cubes dropping from the discharge opening toward the outlet. These crusher arms are arranged so that when cube ice is desired they are substantially out of the ice path at the time ice is discharged from the opening so that the ice cubes fall freely to the outlet. The crusher section also includes means cooperatively arranged with reference to the crusher arms for producing crushed ice and means for selectively effecting engagement of the ice cubes dropping through the crusher section by the upwardly moving crusher arms so that they are carried thereby into contact with the crushing means.

In accordance with the illustrated embodiments of the invention the dispensing means comprises a double helix conveyor auger enclosed within a tubular member to form in combination with the tubular member two spiral longitudinally extending passages for the transfer of ice pieces in a single file to the discharge opening.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING In the accompanying drawing: FIG. 1 is a front elevational view of a household refrigerator including an ice dispensing service of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a top view, partly in section, of the dispensing service;

FIG. 3 is a vertical sectional view taken generally along lines 3-3 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 illustrates a second embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a view similar to FIG. 4 illustrating the interceptor means in a retracted position; and

FIG. 6 is a sectional view along line 6-6 of FIG. 4.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT In FIG. 1 of the accompanying drawing there is illustrated a household refrigerator cabinet comprising a freezer compartment 1 in the upper part thereof with the usual door for closing its access opening removed. The freezer compartment 1 is separated by a horizontal partition from a lower fresh food compartment having an access opening closed by a door 3. Within the upper portion of the freezer compartment 1, there is mounted an automatic ice maker 4 which may be any of the well-known types presently provided in household refrigerators for the automatic production of ice pieces generally referred to as ice cubes, regardless of their particular size or shape.

The ice cubes produced by the ice maker 4 are discharge into a receptacle 5 which in accordance with the present invention forms the storage section of an ice cube or crushed ice dispensing means.

A horizontally disposed, rotatable member 7 includes means for conveying ice cubes stored in the receptacle 5 to a discharge opening 8 in the front wall 9 of the receptacle. The member 7 is rotatably supported on the front wall of the receptacle for rotational movement about its longitudinal axis and includes a feed or dispensing portion 11 in the front end of the receptacle, a conveyor portion 12 at the rear end of the receptacle and a shaft portion 10 extending forwardly from wall 9. The illustrated conveyor portion 12 comprises a helical coil designed upon rotation to transport ice cubes from the rear of the receptacle 5 to the dispensing portion 1 l.

The illustrated dispensing portion 11 comprises a cylindrical collar 14 containing means in the form of a double-blade screw or auger within and rotatable therewith for picking up ice cubes at the inlet end of the portion 11 and advancing the ice cubes to the discharge opening 8. The diameter of the sleeve 14 and the pitch of the blades indicated by numeral 16 are such that the blades form with the inner surface of the collar two spiral passages of a cross section such that the ice cubes freely pass therethrough in single file arrangement. Thus during rotation of the dispensing portion in a counterclockwise direction as viewed in FIG. 3, ice cubes are conveyed toward the dispensing portion 11 by the conveyor portion 12 and through passages in the portion 11 to the opening 8.

The ice cubes are retained in the portion 1 1' until one of the passages therein registers with the opening 8. Thus the discharge of the ice cubes is controlled by the position of the opening 8 or more specifically the position of its lower edge 18 relative to the outlet end of the dispensing portion 11. More specifically, the edge 18 forms the top of a dam overlying the lower front or outlet end of the feed section, which prevents discharge of ice cubes until the forward or discharge edge 20 of a blade 16 has rotated upwardly from a position below the axis 22 of the dispensing means into alignment with the edge 18. The position of the lower edge 18 thus determines the approximate number of cubes in each bath of delivered ice since ice pieces cannot be discharged through opening 8 until a blade edge 20 clears the edge 18 and at that time all of the ice pieces which are still supported on a downwardly sloping portion of a blade slide through the opening 8. The structural components thusfar described are common to the ice dispensing means disclosed and claimed in the aforementioned Alvarez and Alvarez et a1. patents to which reference is made from more detailed description of the character and operation thereof.

In accordance with the present invention, means are also provided whereby, at the users discretion, each batch of ice can be dispensed in the form of either ice cubes or crushed ice. To this end there is provided at the front end of the receptacle or more specifically overlying the opening 8, an ice crusher section generally indicated by numeral 24. This crusher section includes spaced sidewalls 23 and 26 and a front wall 27 which together with the front wall 9 of the storage section define an ice-crushing chamber having an opening 29 at the bottom thereof through which either ice cubes or crushed ice are discharged. The portion of the member '7 extending forwardly from the wall 9 and into the crusher section 24 has mounted thereon a plurality of crusher arms 32 rigidly secured to the extension 10 and rotatable with the extension and hence with the member 7. When a double blade auger means which discharges batches of ice cubes during each 180 rotation thereof is employed, the arms 32 extend on both sides of the shaft 22 or in other words two diametrically opposed sets of crusher arms are provided.

Also mounted within the crushing section, or more specifically on the wall 25 thereof which is on the opposite side of the extension I0 from the opening 8, are spaced stationary crusher arms or anvils 33. These stationary arms 33 are positioned intermediate the arms 32 and in cooperation therewith provide the crusher means for crushing ice cubes which, as is described more fully hereinafter, may be carried by the rotating arms 32 into contact with the stationary arms 33.

The arms 32 are mounted on the shaft extension 10 at an angular position relative to the forward edges of the auger blades so as to normally permit ice cubes discharged through the opening to fall freely to and through the outlet 29 during rotation of member 7. When a double blade auger is employed in the dispensing portion III, the crusher arms 32 are offset approximately 90 from the auger blade edges 20 as illustrated in FIG. 3 of the drawing. Thus, each time an auger blade 20 rises to the level of the edge 18 to discharge ice cubes through the opening 8, the arms 32 in both sets are in a substantially vertical position whereby the ice cubes may fall freely through the path between the crusher arms 32 and the wall 26.

For the purpose of selectively providing crushed ice, there is provided within the crusher section 24 means for intercepting the fall of the ice cubes from the opening 8 towards the outlet 29 so that the ice pieces can be picked up by the arms 32 and carried into crushing contact with the stationary arms 33. In the embodiment of the invention illustrated in FIGS. l-3, the intercepting means comprises a rakelike element 36 including spaced fingers 37 adapted to extend into the spaces between the arms 32. This intercepting means 36 is pivotally mounted on the wall 26 of the crusher section below the discharge opening 8 and is spring biased to the full line position illustrated in FIG. 3 by means of a spring 39. With the element 36 in this position, the ice cubes are intercepted by the fingers 37 and rest thereon until they are picked up by the rotating crusher arms 32 and carried thereby over the top of the shaft extension 10 and into engagement with the stationary arms 33 where they are crushed. The crushed ice is then discharged through the outlet 29.

When ice cubes as such are desired, the element 36 is moved from its full line intercepting position to the dotted line inoperative position illustrated in FIG. 3 of the drawing by a crank arm 40 operated by a solenoid 41. In the dotted line position, the fingers 37 leave sufficient room between the crusher arms 32 above and below the axis and the wall 26 and fingers 37 so that the ice cubes can drop freely from the opening 8 to the outlet 29.

As a further means for assuring the free fall of all of the ice cubes in each batch to the outlet 29 whena double blade dispensing means and two sets of crusher arms are employed, the crusher arms 32 of each set are preferably staggered with the arms closest to the wall 9 in the lead and each of the remaining arms trailing the adjacent arm closer to the wall 9 by a few degrees, for example by about 15. By this arrangement, the arms closest to the wall 9 in the set of arms above the axis of member 7 are far enough from the edge 18 so as to permit immediate discharge of ice cubes from opening 8 at the time blade edge 20 clears the lower edge 18. The arms trailing the lead arm in the set below the opening 8 provide additional space adjacent front wall 27 for the ice cubes to fall freely to outlet 29.

The ice selectively dispensed by the combination ice cube and crushed ice dispenser may be delivered to any suitable service area. For example, the outlet 29 may communicate with a duct 43 extending downwardly through the partition into the fresh food compartment or, as illustrated, into an interconnecting duct 44 in the upper edge of the door 3 through which the ice pieces are delivered to a service area 45 provided on the outer surface of the door 3. A service of this type is described and claimed in the copending application, Ser. No. 756,746 filed Sept. 3, 1968 and now U.S. Pat. No. 3,537,132 in the name of Robert J. Alvarez and assigned to the same assignee as the present invention. This service area 45 may also contain the controls required for the operation of the ice dispenser, these controls being indicated in FIG. I of the drawing as including a switch control arm 46 movable between a first position for actuating only the motor 47 driving the dispensing means 7 and a second position in which both the motor 47 and the solenoid 41 are energized. In the first position, crushed ice would be dispensed to the service 45 while in the second position ice cubes would be dispensed.

In the embodiment of the invention illustrated in FIG. 4, 5 and 6 of the drawings, the means for intercepting the ice pieces discharged from the opening 8 comprises an arcuate member 50 pivotally supported at its upper end by a pivot pin 51 for movement of member 50 between an ice intercepting position illustrated'in FIG. 4 of the drawing and a retracted position illustrated in FIG. 5 of the drawing. Movement of the member 50 between these two positions can be effected manually or by means of a solenoid operated crank arm 52.

The member 50 may be an arcuate platelike member and is preferably provided on its front surface with a pair of spaced vertically extending ridges on projections 53 which aid in directing the ice pieces onto the arms 32. When such projections are employed, they preferably are positioned on the plate 50 intermediate the opposed crusher arms 32 as illustrated in FIG. 6 of the drawing and their lower ends may extend a short distance into the spaces between the arms 32.

In its retracted position illustrated in FIG. 5 of the drawing, member 50 is in a position sufficiently removed from the crusher arm 32 so that ice pieces discharged through the opening 8, by the forward edge 18 of an auger blade will fall freely through the discharge opening 29 before they can be picked up by the crusher arms 32. In its advanced or ice intercepting position illustrated in FIG. 4 of the drawing, the arcuate member 50 is positioned generally below the opening 8 but substantially out of the actual path of the rotating crusher arms 32. However in this position, the lower end portion 55 of the member 50 in cooperation with the adjacent rotating arms 32 prevents the ice pieces falling from the opening 8 from reaching the outlet 29. As a result, the arms 32 pick up these ice pieces and carry them into crushing engagement with the crusher means 33. In other words the interception of ice pieces is effected by cooperation of the member 50 and the arms 32, the member 50 in effect deflecting the ice pieces falling from the outlet 8 into the path of or onto the forward surfaces of the arms 32. Thus while the same result is obtained by means of the member 50 as is 'obtained by means of the fingers 32 in the embodiment of the invention illustrated in FIGS. 1-3 of the drawing, no substantial portion of the member 50 extends into or between the paths of the rotating arms 32.

While there has been shown and described specific embodiments of the present invention, it will be understood that it is not limited thereto and it is intended by the appended claims to cover all such modifications as fall within the true spirit and scope of the invention.

What I claim as new and desire to secure by Letters Patent of the United States is:

1. An ice dispenser comprising:

a storage section for ice cubes and a crusher section having an outlet and being separated from said storage section by a vertically extending wall having a discharge opening therein above said outlet;

a horizontally extending rotatable member passing through said wall above said outlet and adjacent said opening and including a dispensing portion in said storage section for discharging ice cubes through said opening to said crusher section, said crusher section including crusher arm means mounted on said rotatable member for movement into and out of the path of ice cubes passing from said opening to said outlet;

said crusher section including means for intercepting the ice cubes passing therethrough for contact by said crusher arm means to effect crushing of the intercepted ice pieces;

said intercepting means being movable to an inoperative position and said crusher arm means being arranged to be out of the path of said ice cubes during the passage thereof from said opening to said outlet when said intercepting means is in its inoperative position.

2. The dispenser of claim 1 in which dispensing portion includes a double blade auger for discharging ice pieces through said opening and said crusher arm means is mounted on said rotatable member at an angle of about 90 relative to the discharge edges of the auger blades.

3. A combination ice cube and crushed ice dispenser comprising:

a storage section for ice cubes and a crusher section having an outlet at the bottom thereof and being separated from said storage section by a vertical wall having a discharge opening therein above said outlet;

a rotatable member extending through said wall above said outlet and adjacent said opening and including a dispensing portion in said storage section for periodically discharging ice cubes through said opening to said crusher section and crusher arm means in said crusher section rotatable into and out of the path of ice cubes passing from said opening to said outlet;

said crusher arm means being arranged to be out of the path of said ice cubes during the periodic discharge thereof for free travel of the cubes from said opening to said outlet; and

said crusher section including means for selectively effecting engagement of the ice cubes discharged through said opening by said crusher arm means to effect crushing of the ice pieces.

4. The dispenser of claim 3 in which said dispensing portion includes a double-blade auger and said crusher arm means is arranged at an angle of about 90 relative to the forward edges of the blades of said auger.

5. The dispenser of claim 3 in which said crusher arm means comprises a plurality of spaced crusher arms.

6. The dispenser of claim 4 in which said arms are staggered with the arm closest to said opening in the lead and each of the LII remaining arms trailing the arms closer to said opening.

7. The ice dispenser of claim 5 in which said means for effecting engagement of said ice cubes by said crusher arms comprises fingers adapted to extend between said spaced crusher arms.

8. A combination 1ce cube and crushed ice dispenser comprising:

a storage section for storing ice cubes and a crusher section separated from said storage section by a vertical wall and having an outlet at the bottom thereof;

a rotatable member extending throughsaid wall and including a dispensing means in said storage section and crusher arms in said crusher section;

said wall including a discharge opening therein adjacent and generally above and to one side of the axis of said rotatable member through which said dispensing means discharges ice cubes into the rotational path of said crusher arms;

said crusher section including walls adjacent and opposite said opening for confining the ice cubes passing downwardly through said crusher section to said outlet to a discharge path intersecting the rotational path of said crusher arms;

means for rotating said rotatable member in a direction such that said arms move upwardly along said discharge path;

said crusher section including means movable between a first position permitting said ice cubes to pass directly to said outlet and a second position for intercepting the passage of said ice cubes downwardly through said passage whereby said ice cubes are picked up by said crusher arms;

said crusher section including anvil means on the opposite side of said axis from said discharge opening for cooperating with said crusher arms to crush ice pieces conveyed to said anvil means by said crusher arms.

9. The dispenser of claim 8 in which said dispensing means comprises a double blade auger having forward blade edges for periodically discharging ice cubes through said opening during each 180 rotation of said member and said crusher arms are offset about from said edges.

10. An ice dispenser comprising:

a storage section of ice cubes and a crusher section having an outlet and being separated from said storage section by a vertically extending wall having a discharge opening therein above said outlet;

a horizontally extending rotatable member passing through said wall above said outlet and adjacent said opening and including a discharge portion in said storage section for discharging ice cubes through said opening to said crusher section, said crusher section including crusher arm means mounted on said rotatable member and rotatable therewith for movement into and out of the path of ice cubes passing from said opening to said outlet;

said crusher section including a member movable between a first position for dispensing ice cubes from said outlet and a second position for effecting engagement of ice pieces discharged from said opening by said crusher arm means for dispensing crushed ice from said outlet.

11. The dispenser of claim 10 in which said crusher arm means comprises a plurality of spaced arms and said movable member included fingers arranged to extend between said spaced arms when said member is in its second position.

12. The dispenser of claim 10 in which said member is of arcuate shape and in its second position is adjacent said crusher arm means and deflects ice pieces from said outlet into the path of said crusher arm means.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3824805 *Apr 9, 1973Jul 23, 1974Gen ElectricCombination ice cube and crushed ice dispenser selector means
US3889888 *Jun 17, 1974Jun 17, 1975Gen ElectricCombination ice cube and crushed ice dispenser
US4176527 *Jul 13, 1978Dec 4, 1979Whirlpool CorporationIce crusher for refrigerator
US4627556 *Jul 26, 1984Dec 9, 1986General Electric CompanyIce dispenser for a household refrigerator
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Classifications
U.S. Classification241/101.2, 241/DIG.170, 241/190, 62/320
International ClassificationF25C5/02, F25C5/04
Cooperative ClassificationY10S241/17, F25C2400/08, F25C5/046, F25C5/02
European ClassificationF25C5/02