US 3605431 A
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P 20, 1971 J. L. CARSON PORTABLE REFRIGERATOR-FREEZER 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Sept. 10, 1969 FIG 5 JOHN L. CARSON INVENTOI? BUG/(HORN, BLORE, KLAROU/ST 8 SPAR/(MAN ATTORNEYS 3,605,431 PORTABLE REFRIGERATOR-FREEZER John L. Carson, P.0. Box 141, Woodburn, Oreg.
Filed Sept. 10, 1969, Ser. No. 856,662
Int. Cl. F25b US. Cl. 62190 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A portable two-temperature zone refrigerator having a movable partition disposed within a food receiving cabinet to divide the same into two adjustably sized food receiving sections. The partition is substantially equal to the width of the interior of the cabinet and has a depth less than the depth thereof selectively to permit refrigerated air to circulate vertically around the partition and thus between the two food receiving sections. The interior walls of the cabinet are made of metal. Refrigerating means are disposed within at least one of the food receiving sections and comprise a refrigerating coil attached to the metal interior wall of such food receiving section. Thermostatic control means are provided to adjust the temperature so as to achieve a temperature differential between the tWo food receiving sections. Vertical adjustment of the movable partition permits variation in the temperature differential between the two sections, while removal of the partition permits the entire cabinet to achieve one temperature which may selectively be below freezing.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The vast expansion in outdoor camping and boating activities has created a demand for a portable two-temperature zone refrigerator in which one section may be maintained at a temperature suitable for storing frozen foods while the other section is maintained at a temperature above freezing. Desirably such a refrigerator should permit the size of the two food receiving sections to be varied depending upon the relative amounts of frozen and unfrozen foods to be refrigerated.
Such a refrigerator should also be temperature adjustable in both of the food receiving sections to make it possible quickly to chill or freeze game or fish as such may be obtained by the user. The refrigerator-freezer should be operable on the usual storage batteries available in automobiles, campers, and pleasure boats. It should also be light, strong, durable and easily cleaned, thereby to be adaptable for the varied uses to which it may be put.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The portable two-temperature zone refrigerator of the present invention has a movable partition disposed within a food receiving cabinet to divide the same into two adjustably sized food receiving sections. The partition is substantially equal to the width of the interior of the cabinet snugly to fit thereagainst and has a depth less than the depth of the interior of the cabinet, selectively to permit air to circulate vertically around the partition and thus between the two food receiving sections. The cabinet thus becomes a portable combination refrigerator-freezer in which the relative sizes of the refrigerating and freezer sections may be varied at will.
Refrigerating means are disposed within at least one of the food receiving sections. Such refrigerating means comprise a refrigerating coil disposed adjacent the interior walls of such one food receiving section and means to adjust the temperature of such section.
Moving the vertical partition laterally with respect to the cabinet achieves a variation in the size of the two food receiving sections formed thereby. Vertical adjust- Patented Sept. 20, 1971 ment of the position of the partition with respect to the cabinet permits circulation of refrigerated air therearound and thus a selective adjustment of the temperature differential between the two food receiving sections. Removal of the partition and appropriate adjustment of the temperature adjusting means permits the entire cabinet to achieve a single temperature which may desirably be a temperature suitable for storing frozen foods.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the refrigerator-freezer of the present invention.
FIG. 2 is a sectional view taken on line 22 of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken on line 33 of FIG. 2.
FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken on line 44 of FIG. 2.
FIG. 5 is a perspective view showing in schematic fashion the refrigerating coil pattern and illustrating in phantom an alternative embodiment thereof.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring to the drawings, it will be seen that FIG. 1 is representative of the exterior and finished appearance of the two-temperature zone refrigerator-freezer of the present invention. The embodiment shown is designed to rest horizontally on a surface and is particularly suitable for use on a pleasure boat or in a camper, although it should be understood that it could be designed to stand vertically if so desired.
The cabinet 10 is provided with a removable cover 12 which is secured to the cabinet by a latch 14 at each end thereof. Each latch 14 incorporates a handle 16 to facilitate the carrying of the cabinet 10 The cover 12 is of double wall fiberglass construction with insulation therebetween and is further provided With transverse wood reinforcing beams 18 so that it may function as a seat if so desired. (See FIG. 2.) A gasket 19 is provided around its edge to insure an insulated fit with the body of the cabinet. As representative of the comparative size of the embodiment illustrated in the drawings, the horizontal length of the cabinet 10 is approximately 25 inches, its height is 15 inches, and its depth is 14 inches.
As indicated on the drawings, the cabinet 10 is made of double walled construction throughout, and the inner walls 20 are desirably made of metal for a purpose to be hereinafter disclosed. I have found copper particularly suitable at least for the inner walls of the food receiving section in which the refrigerating coils are disposed. This inner metal wall 20 is coated with a nontoxic stain resistant inert plastic coating 22 of the type suitable for finishing interiors of refrigerators. The outer wall 24 may desirably be made of fiberglass which may be painted as desired.
The interior of the cabinet 10 is stepped as indicated at 26 to provide a compartment 27 for the refrigerating system which is indicated generally by the numeral 28. (See FIG. 4.)
A feature of the invention resides in the fact that the cabinet 10 is provided with a movable partition 30 to divide it into two adjustably sized food receiving sections 32 and 34. The partition 30 is also made of double Walled fiberglass construction with insulation 36 therebetween. The vertical edges 38 of the partition 30 and the bottom edge 40 thereof have a plastic sealing gasket 42 applied thereto. Partition 30 has a width substantially equal to the width of the interior of the cabinet 10 so that the gasket 42 permits it to achieve a snug fit thereagainst. The depth of the partition 30, however, is approximately one inch less than the depth of the interior of the cabinet.
The partition 30 can be moved laterally with respect to the cabinet 10 to achieve a variation in the size of the two food receiving sections 32, 34. (See FIG. 2.) The partition 30 may also be adjusted vertically by virtue of the snug fits that the gaskets 42 achieve with the sides of the interior of the cabinet 10, so that it will remain in position with a space between its bottom edge 40 and the bottom 44 of the cabinet. This 'vertical adjustment permits selected amounts of refrigerated air to circulate around the partition 30 and thus, between the two food receiving sections 32, 34. For example, if the partition 30 is set in place against the bottom 44 of the cabinet 10 as shown in the solid line position in FIG. 2, no circulation of refrigerated air is permitted around the partition and the temperature of the section 32 will be substantially less than the temperature of the section 34. Section 32 is thus selectively a freezer; section 34, a refrigerator.
However, if the partition 30 is moved to the position shown by the phantom lines 30A in FIG. 2, with a space 45 underneath its lower edge 40 and another space 46 between its upper edge 47 and the bottom 48 of the cover 12, circulation of refrigerated air therearound is achieved and the differential in temperature between the two sections 32 and 34 will be significantly reduced.
It is thus possible to vary considerably the uses to which the two sections 32 and 34 may be put, as well as to vary their relative sizes. Firstly, one can maintain a temperature sufiicient to store frozen foods in the section 32 while normal refrigerating temperatures are maintained in the section 34 merely by setting the partition 30 in the position shown in the solid lines in FIG. 2. If, however, the partition 30 is raised to the position shown at 30A, the temperature of the section 34 is lowered considerably, that is, the temperature differential between sections 32 and 34 is reduced because of the circulation of air around the partition. Finally, the partition 30 may be completely removed from the cabinet 10, thus to convert the entire cabinet to a freezer suitable for storing frozen foods. Alternatively such latter possibility may be accomplished by moving the partition 30 completely to the end wall 50. (See phantom line position 30B in FIG. 2.)
As shown in FIG. 4, the refrigerating system 28 for the cabinet 10 is disposed within the compartment 27 therein, being concealed by a metal grill 51 at each end thereof. Such system 28 comprises a compressor unit 54, to which refrigerating gas is returned by means of a suction line 56, a fan '58 and a condenser unit '60 having the usual fins 61 for condensing the compressed gas into a liquid refrigerant and supplying the same through a line 62 to evaporate coils 64 attached to the interior walls 20 of the food receiving section 32. The compressor unit 54 includes a DC. motor operable by means of storage batteries so that the refrigerator-freezer can be operated by an automobile battery or a battery in a boat.
The direction through which the refrigerant flows through the coils 64 is itself another feature of the present invention, as is the fact that the coils 64 are directly attached to the interior metal walls 20. As shown in the solid lines in FIG. 5, the coils 64 are attached to the metal walls 66 of the food receiving section 32 in a manner such that the flow of refrigerant from the line 62 through the coils 64 is, with respect to each of the metal walls, in the direction from the bottom of such wall to its top. Specifically, it will be seen from FIG. that the coil pattern commences at point 67 adjacent the horizontal surface 68 and extends along such surface to the vertical wall 70 to which it is attached such that refrigerant flows through the coils 64 from the bottom of wall 70 to its top.
Thence, the coils 64 extend downwardly as at 72 along wall 70 to the bottom of the wall 74, again being laid in the direction such that the refrigerant passes through the coils from the bottom of the wall 74 to its top. Thence, the coil extends across the top of the wall 70 as indicated at numeral 76, passing to the bottom of wall 78' and again causing refrigerant to flow in the direction from the bottom of the wall 78 .to its top.
The final direction of the coils 64 is shown as at 80,
passing downwardly along the wall 78, across the bottom 44 of the cabinet 10, up along the wall81, and finally into the suction line 56. Installing .the coils 64 in this manner insures that the refrigerant is fully expanded from its liquid to its gaseous form prior to its return to the compressor 54. Such precludes any possibility of liquid refrigerant returning to the compressor unit 54, thereby tofrost the same.
The fact that the interior walls 20 of the cabinet 10, both in the sections 32 and 34, are made of metalin eifect makes such walls an extension of the coils 64. Thus, the interior metal walls 20 of both food receiving sections 32 and 34, being attached to the coils 64, serve to conduct heat from both of such sections 32 and 34 to the refrigerating coils, and this makes it possible to refrigerate the section 34 while the partition 30 is in place. As mentioned previously, the inner walls of section 32 may desirable be made of copper; while those of section 34 may be made of aluminum.
A waterproof thermostat 91 is installed in the top of the cabinet 10 adjacent to wall 74 to adjust the tempera ture in the food receiving section 32. Thus, the fact that the partition 30' is movable both laterally and vertically with respect to the interior of the cabinet 10 together with the temperature adjustability of section 32 which is provided by the thermostat 9 1, makes it possible to achieve wide versatility in the uses to which the cabinet 10 may be put.
Another embodiment of the present invention is illustrated in the phantom lines of FIG. 5. As shown therein, a second refrigerating coil 82 is attached to the interior walls 83 of the food receiving section 34. Coils 82 are also attached to the interior walls 8 3 in a manner such that the flow of refrigerant therethrough is always in a direction from the bottom of each wall to its top.
The second refrigerating coil '82 is installed within the refrigerant circulating system in parallel to the coils 64 by means of a T 84-. A valve 86 in communication with the line 88 selectively permits the introduction of refrigerant into the second set of coils 82. Thus, when the valve 86 is open, refrigerant flows simultaneously through both sets of coils 64 and 82 and thus, to both food receiving sections 32 and 34.
As mentioned previously, the flow of refrigerant through the coils 82 is, with respect to each of the interior walls of the section 34, also in the direction from the bottom of each such wall to its top. The end 90 of the coils 8 2 is attached to the suction line 56, as shown in 7 FIG. 5. Thus, in the case of a food cabinet having dimensions larger than those above mentioned, additional refrigerating capacity is selectively achieved by opening the valve 86 and permitting flow through the second set of coils 82, thereby to assist in cooling the food receiving section 34.
As a final summary of the many advantages to be realized by the instant invention, the following, inter alia, are mentioned. The relative sizes of the two food receiv-. ing sections 32 and 34 may be adjusted by means of lateral adjustment of the partition 30 as shown in FIG. 2. Below zero temperatures may be achieved in section 32 while normal refrigerating temperatures are maintained in section 34. If the partition 30' is raised vertically with respect to the interior of the cabinet 10* as shown at 30A in FIG. 2, a circulation of air is achieved vertically around the partition 30 and thus between the two food receiving sections 32 and 34. Such reduces the temperature differential between the two sections, in effect reducing the temperature of the section 34. v
If the partition 30 is moved entirely across the cabinet to the wall 50 as shown at 30B in FIG. 2, or if the partition 30 is entirely removed from the cabinet 10, as it may easily be since it is not attached thereto in any manner, the cabinet may be converted into a miniature frozen food storage locker or the temperature within the cabinet may be maintained at any desired level. Adjustment of the temperature setting in section 32 by means of the thermostat 91 in effect creates an almost infinite variation in the temperatures that may be maintained in the sections 32 and 34 and in the temperature differentials therebetween.
Finally, if an additional set of coils 82 is installed as shown in phantom in FIG. 5, the cabinet may be made larger and still further flexibility is achieved in maintaining the temperature of the food receiving section 34 at any desired level.
The fact that the refrigerant in all cases flows through the coils 64 (and selectively, 8 2.) in a direction, with respect to the inner walls 20, from the bottom of each such wall to its top, permits the cabinet to achieve very low temperatures without any danger of frosting of the compressor unit 54. The fact that the interior walls 20 of the cabinet are made of metal in effect transforms such Walls into extensions of the coils 64 and '82, thereby permitting such metal walls to serve as heat conducting means from both of the food receiving sections to the refrigerating coils.
A refrigerator-freezer has been constructed in accordance with the present invention weighing only 28 pounds, and yet has the capacity to hold between 50 and 60 pounds of food.
The seamless construction throughout, wherein the external walls are constructed of fiberglass and the interior walls are constructed of metal coated with plastic, makes the entire cabinet easy to clean and impervious to the elements and particularly suitable for use on pleasure boats inasmuch as there is no exposed sheet metal to corrode. The location of the thermostat 91 at the top of the wall 74 further aids in making the inner walls 20 easy to keep clean.
Finally, the waterproof construction of the cabinet permits it to float in water even if the cover is lost. I have found that it will support at least 150 pounds in Water; thus the cabinet may even serve as a life preserver.
1. A portable two-temperature zone refrigerator comprising a food receiving cabinet;
a vertically and longitudinally movable insulated partition disposed within said cabinet to divide said cabinet into two adjustably sized food receiving sections,
said partition having a width substantially equal to the width of the interior of said cabinet snugly to fit thereagainst,
said partition having a depth less than the depth of said interior of said cabinet selectively to be movable vertically to permit air to circulate vertically around said partition and thereby between said two food receiving sections; and
refrigerating means comprising compressor means disposed in only one of said food receiving sections,
a refrigerating coil disposed adjacent the interior walls of said one food receiving section, and
means to adjust the temperature of said one food receiving section, thereby to create a temperature differential between said two food receiving sections.
2. The portable two-temperature zone refrigerator of claim 1 further comprising gasket means on the vertical edges of said movable partition to insure close contact between said edges and said interior of said cabinet.
3. The portable two-temperature zone refrigerator of claim 1 in which the interior walls of said cabinet comprise metal walls, said refrigerating coil being attached to the metal walls of said one food receiving section, said metal walls of both said food receiving sections serving to conduct heat from both of said food receiving sections to said refrigerating coil.
4. The portable two-temperature zone refrigerator of claim 3 in which said refrigerating coil is so disposed with respect to said metal walls of said one food receiving section that flow of refrigerating fluid through said coil is, with respect to each of said metal walls, in the direction from its bottom to its top.
5. A portable two-temperature zone refrigerator as in claim 1 further comprising a second refrigerating coil attached to the interior walls of the other of said food receiving sections, and valve means disposed between said first mentioned and said second refrigerating coils selectively to permit communication therebetween.
References Cited UNITED'STATES PATENTS 1,882,596 10/1932 Hilger 62-442 2,327,355 8/1943 Klist 62442 3,437,414 3/1948 Archbald 62329 2,532,234 11/1950 Kimble 62-457 2,534,272 12/1950 Klist 62-329 3,438,149 4/1969 Ilg 62-329 FOREIGN PATENTS 1,032,702 6/1966 Great Britain 62457 WILLIAM J. WYE, Primary Examiner US. Cl. X.R.