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Publication numberUS3605769 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 20, 1971
Filing dateApr 1, 1969
Priority dateOct 27, 1967
Also published asDE2443651A1, DE2443651C2, US3520726, US3605767, US3655040, US3738465
Publication numberUS 3605769 A, US 3605769A, US-A-3605769, US3605769 A, US3605769A
InventorsDennis P Bagwell
Original AssigneeDennis P Bagwell
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Self-cleaning dining table
US 3605769 A
Images(3)
Previous page
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

p 20, 1971 o. P. BAGWELL SELF-CLEANING DINING TABLE 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed April 1, 1969 mm mm mm Q mm wk M wylw MW 3 wkli i sm lik I .s m a S mw M w. m m MM N@Q@W W 1 NM B@B 1 Q @E@@ @E; J. vm I @I@EB i I 1 L a K N QQ 9 1 ilQ EL w; m Q IQQ; r LQFQHMMAL. S I m mm w\ ww 1 20, 1971 o. P. BAGWELL 3,605,769

SELF-CLEANING DINING TABLE Filed April 1, 1969 3 Sheets-Sheet F:

: A E 5 g Dennis Bagwe/l II Home]:

Sept. 1971 D. P. BAGWELL SELF-CLEANING DINING TABLE 3 Sheets-$heet 3 Filed April 1, 1969 Dennis R Bagwe/l @nwmmw @ggm United States Patent US. Cl. 134-115 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE An endless flexible belt mounted on a table defining panel for travel thereacross through an end located cleaning cabinet. A length of the belt equal to the length of the support panel is provided with at least one and pref erably multiple place settings, including integral food receptacles and removably mounted utensils. This portion of the belt travels through the cleaning cabinet in an inverted position and along a triangular path during which it is subjected to cleaning and drying operations, after which it is stored beneath the support panel until ready for use.

The instant invention is concerned with new and useful improvements in self-cleaning dining tables of the type wherein the dining surface is, through movement thereof, subjected to a cleaning process through the introduction thereof into a table associated cleaning cabinet.

More particularly, it is a primary object of the instant invention to provide a self-cleaning dining table which provides, through an end located cleaning cabinet, a simplified and highly effective means for cleaning the eating surface of the table, including integrally formed food receptacles and releasably mounted utensils, the cleaning operation proceeding automatically and requiring only the proper mounting of the individual utensils and the activation of a control switch.

The efficiency of the cleaning operation is effected economically through a unique traveling movement of the endless belt which defines the eating surface along a triangular inverted path while being subjected to washing, rinsing and drying procedures. The cleaning cabinet also includes garbage collecting and disposal means.

The actual eating surface comprises a section of a flexible belt which, during use, is positioned upwardly on a support panel to one side of the associated cleaning cabinet. This eating surface can in turn, subsequent to the cleaning operation, be located in an inverted position below the support panel, thus maintaining the eating surface in a stored location. At the same time, a smooth section or portion of the flexible belt will be positioned uppermost on the supporting panel so as to provide a smooth fiat work surface, thereby enabling a use of the table for other than merely dining.

In addition to providing for the releasable mounting of the utensils, and incidently cups, on the belt for travel through the cleaning cabinet, specific provision is made, through a contouring of the belt adjacent each of the utensil mounting portions, so as to eflect a thorough cleaning of all sides of the utensils through a controlled deflection of the cleaning fluid thereagainst.

Also of significance is the relatively thin construction of the unit at the actual eating area, thereby simulating a conventional tabletop and providing for convenient access thereto by people seated thereabout. This is achieved primarily through the utilization of a single fiat support panel with the upper and lower runs of the surface defining belt being slidably secured thereto by interlocking track means whereby no sagging of the lower run of the belt or excess thickness results or is required.

These together with other objects and advantages which "ice will become subsequently apparent reside in the details of construction and operation as more fully hereinafter described and claimed, reference being had to the accompanying drawings forming a part hereof, wherein like numerals refer to like parts throughout, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a top plan view of the self-cleaning dining table comprising the instant invention;

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view taken substantially on a plane passing along line 22 in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a transverse cross-sectional view taken substantially on a plane passing along line 33 in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged cross-sectional detail taken substantially on a plane passing along line 4-4 in FIG. 1, illustrating a utensile and the mounting structure therefor;

FIG. 5 is an exploded perspective detail of the means for releasably mounting a utensil;

FIG. 6 is an enlarged top plan detail of a portion of a utensil mounting area;

FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional detail through a mounted utensil;

FIG. 8 is an enlarged cross-sectional detail taken substantially on a plane passing along line 88 in FIG. 1;

FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional detail taken through the terminal roller in the cleaning cabinet at the point where the cleaned belt exits;

FIG. 10 is a perspective detail illustrating the manner in which a cup is to be releasably mounted; and

FIG. 11 is a schematic view of a table constructed in accordance with the instant invention expanded so as to incorporate a food preparation area and a food heating oven.

Referring now more specifically to the drawings, reference numeral 20 is used to generally designate the basic self-cleaning dining table comprising the instant invention. This self-cleaning table includes a tabletop-like eating unit 22 and a cleaning cabinet 24 orientated at one end of the eating unit.

The eating unit 22 includes an enlarged relatively flat wide support panel 26 which supports the upper and lower runs of an endless wide flexible belt 28. This belt 28 provides the usable surface for the table, whether for eating, such being the normal purpose of the instant invention, or for general utility.

With reference to FIG. 1 in particular, it will be noted that the belt 28 includes a portion thereof, generally equivalent to the upper surface of the support panel 26, wherein at least one and preferably a plurality of place settings are defined. Each place setting includes a plurality of food receptacles 30 which actually constitute depressions within the belt 28 itself. In addition, each place setting includes slightly depressed utensil mounting areas 32 and a recessed cup mounting area 34.

It will be noted that the food receptacles or recesses 30, in conjunction with each place setting, are arranged in three rows of three recesses, thus providing nine individual recesses, each easily accessible to a seated user. While it will of course be appreciated that the invention is not limited to the specific number of food receptacles 30, the illustrated compact orientation of nine receptacles is deemed preferable so as to provide a user with ample space for the different types of food to be consumed at a meal, as well as an appreciable choice of the location of the various foods for most convenient access thereto. This convenience is deemed significant in that the user will of course not be able to physically move the receptacles relative to each other, however, any possible inconvenience in this regard is substantially completely eliminated by the multiple closely positioned receptacles 30. Incidently, in addition to the receptacles 30 provided at each place setting, a series of receptacles 36 can be provided centrally along the dining portion of the belt 28 between the place settings, such recesses or receptacles 36 constituting serving receptacles from which the food can be dispensed to the individual place settings.

Each of the utensil mounting areas 32, normally three being provided in conjunction with each place setting for the accommodation of a knife, fork and spoon, is in the nature of an oblong depression slightly longer than the particular utensil to be mounted therein. The actual mounting of the individual utensil within the corresponding area 32 is eifected by means of an integrally formed upstanding stud or stem 38, located generally centrally within the particular area 32, and a cooperating locking slot 40 on the particular utensil, such a stud and slot interlock being provided in conjunction with each of the areas 32 and utensils positionable therein. Each stud 38 is cylindrical and includes a pair of diametrically opposed locking grooves 42 just below the upper end thereof so as to provide in effect an enlarged retaining head 44. Each utensil slot 40 extends longitudinally along the handle of the utensil and is of a width capable of snugly receiving that portion of the associated stem 38 between the grooves 42 therein. Mounting of the utensil is effected through the provision of an enlarged circular aperture 46 at one end of the slot 40 whereby a passage of the retaining head 44 therethrough can be effected. With reference to FIG. in particular, it will be noted that the upper surface of the utensil, to the opposite sides of the elongated locking slot 40 therein, increases gradually in height from the enlarged head accommodating opening 46 to a point where it rather abruptly drops back to the normal level of the upper surface of the utensil. In other words, the thickness of the utensil increases along the length of the locking slot 40 therein from the enlarged aperture 46 to a point short of the second end of the utensil a distance generally equal to the thickness of the locking stem 38, and then returns to the original thickness. Further, the height of the stem grooves 44 is such so as to closely although slidably receive the normal thickness of the utensil, to the opposite sides of the utensil slot 40, therein. Thus, in mounting the utensil, the stern locking head 44 is initially introduced through the enlarged aperture 46 and the utensil moved, against the increasing resistance of the inclined upper surfaces of the utensil, until the stem is received within the opposite end of the slot 40 from the aperture 46 and immediately beyond the point at which the upwardly inclined surfaces drop off. In this manner, the utensil is positively locked in position and maintained in an elevated horizontal position, through the close engagement of the slot defining edge portions of the utensil within the stem grooves 42, above the bottom of the dish-shaped or recessed mounting area 32. As will be appreciated, a slight flexing of the stern locking head 44 will be necessary so as to move the stem into locked position within the utensil slot 40, and by the same token, so as to disengage the utensil from its locked position. This flexing will be possible due to the inherent nature of the belt material itself, from which the stem 38 is integrally formed. Incidently, it will be noted that while the height of the surface of the utensil to the opposite sides of the slot 40 drops abruptly at the locking end of the slot 40, rounded edges 48 are provided so as to allow for a movement of the utensil so as to reposition the stem 38 in alignment with the enlarged aperture or opening 46 for removement of the utensil upon the exertion of a degree of pressure thereon. In this manner, while the utensil is easily removable for use, it can at the same time be positively locked into position so as to be carried in a non-loosening manner through the cleaning cabinet and subjected to various cleaning processes therein without fear of the utensil being accidentally disengaged from the belt.

As noted previously, each place setting includes a cup mounting recess 34 within which a specifically formed cup 50 can be fixedly locked for retention on the belt 28 during the cleaning operation. The particular relationship between each cup 50 and the corresponding recess 34 will be best appreciated from FIG. 10. Each recess 34 is in the nature of a generally conical depression in the belt 28, terminating in a flat bottom 52 from which a truncated conical stem 54 centrally rises. A truncated conical recess 56 extends upwardly through the bottom of each of the cups 50, the cup recess 56 being of a size so as to be closely received over a corresponding stem 54. In order to effect a positive locking of each cup 50 to the corresponding stem 54 within the cup mounting recess 34, the stem 54 is provided with a pair of opposed generally vertical slots 58 which receive a pair of diametrically opposed lugs 60 mounted on the cup 50 and projecting inwardly of the stem receiving socket 56. These lugs 60 are received within the vertical grooves 58. The lower end of each of the stem grooves 58 is communicated with a lateral undercut portion 62 so orientated as to receive the lugs 50 upon a rotation of the fully seated cup. In addition, each of these undercut portions 62 includes a rounded locking projection 64 behind which, upon a rotation of the cup 90, the corresponding lug 60 will snap. This is effected either through the inherent slightly flexible nature of the belt material from which the stem 54 is integrally formed, or through a slight flexing of the lugs 60. In either event, a positive locking of the cup 50 is effected so as to enable a carrying of the cup through the cleaning cabinet. It is contemplated that the bottom of each cup 50 be flat over at least a portion thereof so as to be self-sustaining when placed on a flat portion of the belt during the actual use thereof. Incidently, it should be appreciated that the size of the cup receiving recess 34 relative to the cup 56 is such so as to allow for an open space about the outer surface of the cup 50 whereby a cleaning thereof will also be effected during movement through the cleaning cabinet 24.

From FIGS. 2 and 3, it will be appreciated that the overall thickness of the eating unit 22 is to be kept at a minimum, approximating, as much as possible, the thickness of a conventional dining table so as to allow the users thereof to seat comfortably thereabout. In this regard, the upper and lower runs of the belt 28 are to be positioned directly against and move along the upper and lower surfaces of the central support panel 26. As such, upper and lower guide rails 66 are provided at laterally spaced points lengthwise along the panel 26. These rails 66 are received within guiding grooves formed continuously about the inner surface of the belt 28 with the rails 66 and corresponding belt grooves being complementarily undercut so as to effect a positive locking therebetween, while at the same time allowing for a longitudinal movement of the belt about the support panel 26. In order to help guide and retain the belt 28 on the support panel 26 during the travel therealong, the opposed edge portions 68 of the panel 26 are both upwardly and downwardly enlarged, providing in effect shoulders which are received within corresponding edge recesses 70 defined in and continuously along the inner surface of the belt 28 along the opposed edge portions thereof. A pair of longitudinally extending cover plates 72 will also be mounted along the opposed edges of the support panel 26 so as to overlie the opposite edges of the upper and lower runs of the belt 28 and form a protective enclosure therefor.

With particular reference to FIGS. 2 and 4, it will be noted that a guide roller 74 is mounted transversely across and slightly outward of the extreme end of the support panel 26 opposite from the cleaning cabinet 24. This roller acts so as to guide the movement of the belt 28 about the end of the panel 26 in moving from beneath the panel to an overlying position thereon. FIG. 8 is also of significance in illustrating the manner in which a mounted cup 50 moves about the roller, the single stem interlocked between the belt and the cup allowing the belt to flex away from the cup while maintaining the positive interlocking relationship between the belt and the cup. An appropriate housing 76 will also enclose this end portion of the panel and be mounted in sufiicient outwardly spaced relation thereto so as to allow for the swinging of the cups thereby, these cups constituting the most outwardly projecting members on the belt 28. Also, a flexible cover flap or shield 78 can be provided over the upwardly directed exit of the end housing 76.

With continued reference to FIG. 2, it will be appreciated that the cleaning cabinet comprises an enlarged unit which encloses the adjacent end of the support panel 26, this end portion of the panel 26 extending through an opening in the forward face of the cabinet 24 and continuing approximately three quarters of the way across the cabinet. Positioned transversely across the cabinet in inwardly spaced relation to the corresponding end of the support panel 26 is a first rotatably mounted roller 80 about which the belt 28 is received. The belt 28 passes over the roller 80 and then downwardly and forwardly to and about a rotatably mounted power driven roller 82 positioned in the lower portion of the cabinet generally centrally between the front and rear walls 84 and 86 thereof. After passing over the lower intermediate roller 82, the belt 28 continues upwardly and forwardly over an exit roller 88 rotatably mounted just inward of the front wall 84 and adjacent the front wall opening below the support panel 26 and orientated relative thereto whereby the belt 28 can pass over the roller 88 and into rail guided engagement with the undersurface of the support panel 26 for movement 'therealong outward of the cleaning cabinet 24. Thus, it will be appreciated that the belt 28 follows a triangular path through the cleaning cabinet 24, relying on only three supporting and guiding rollers and exposing the outer surface of the belt 28, the surface that requires the cleaning, along two elongated cleaning runs 90 and 92. It will be noted that the rollers 80 and 82 engage the undersurface of the belt 28, and hence, can be of a constant diameter along the length thereof. However, the roller 88 engages the upper surface or face of the belt 28, and hence, must be relieved along the length thereof so as to allow for a passage of the belt mounted cups and utensils thereover. Noting FIG. 1, it will be appreciated that the diameter of the roller 88 is substantially reduced along the two portions thereof in alignment with the belt mounted cups and utensils, or in other words, with the opposed place settings. Attention is also directed to FIG. 9 wherein the manner in which the roller is relieved so as to allow for a passage of the cups is illustrated with a mounted cup actually passing thereabout. It is just beyond this point where the flexed belt, through a slight spreading of the rail receiving grooves, engages the panel rails 66.

The intermediate lower roller 82, as aforementioned, constitutes the drive roller for the belt, and is in turn belt driven from an appropriate motor 94, preferably mounted within the cabinet 24 itself between the two cleaning runs 90 and 92 of the cabinet received portion of the belt 28. If so desired, the roller 82 can be mounted in an adjustable manner so as to maintain the proper tension both on the motor drive belt engaged therewith, and on the main belt 28 itself.

A scrap or garbage collecting trough 96 is provided transversely across the lower portion of the interior of the cabinet 24 in spaced relation below the downwardly converging cleaning runs 90 and 92, the walls of the trough extending upwardly a suflicient distance so as to receive all of the food scraps and the like falling from the inverted belt, these scraps being downwardly directed to a central draining discharge area 98 which is in turn directly communicated with a heavy duty garbage disposal unit 100.

The actual cleaning operation is effected by sequentially subjecting the cabinet received portion of the belt to a wash, a rinse, and a drying cycle. The initial washing of the belt occurs along the first cleaning run 90 and is effected by the high pressure discharge of a water and detergent mix against the cleaning run 90 across the full width thereof through a plurality of discharge nozzles 102 extending through the collecting trough 96 and directed at a variety of angles so as to achieve a maximum cleaning turbulent fiow against the belt. These nozzles are of course communicated, through a main pipe 104, with any appropriate source of pressurized mixed water and detergent. It will of course be appreciated that the inverted nature of the belt along the first cleaning run thereof facilitates the removal of the accumulated scraps and the like therefrom, such falling into the collecting trough 96 for discharge through the disposal unit 100.

The rinsing cycle occurs along the lower portion of the second cleaning run 92 and is elfected by means of a source connected plurality of discharge nozzles 106 through which a pressurized discharge of rinsing fluid, normally clear water, issues. The final or drying step is effected along the upper portion of the second cleaning run 92 immediately prior to a discharge of the belt from the cleaning cabinet 24. This drying step is achieved by the discharge, through a plurality of nozzles 108 along the full width of the cabinet, of blown hot air discharging directly against the washed and rinsed outer face of the belt 28. These heat discharging nozzles 108, as will be appreciated, are of course positioned across the full width of the cleaning cabinet 24, and consequently across the full width of the belt 28. Reference numeral 110 is used to designate any conventional combination blower and heater for supplying the air discharging nozzles 108.

Referring back to the mounted utensils, particular attention being directed to FIGS. 6 and 7, it will be noted that each of the utensil mounting recesses is provided with a series of small scoop or dish-like recesses completely thereabout and in general underlying relation to the particular mounted utensil. These dished portions, illustrated as extending in continuous steps about the utensil mounting area, are so angled as to receive sprayed fluid thereagainst and upwardly or outwardly direct the fluid against the undersurface of the utensil, this being best illustrated in FIG. 7. In order to elfect this, it will be appreciated that the closer the dished portions are to the central mounting stem 38, the sharper the angle thereof so as to best direct and utilize the sprayed water. In other words, the outermost scoop or dished portions assume approximately a 90 angle so as to direct the fluid at approximately 90 inward toward the outer edge portion of the utensil, while the innermost scoop or dished portion defines in effect approximately an arc so as to best direct the water upwardly against the undersurface of the utensil. While the scoop or dished portions have been illustrated as continuous, if so desired, individual randomly or systematically arranged indentations can be provided about the utensil mounting area for effecting the highly significant redirecting of the sprayed cleaning fluid against the undersurface of the mounted utensil.

It is contemplated that after the eating portion of the belt 28 passes through the cleaning cabinet, it be retained on the undersurface of the support panel 26 until use thereof is again required. In this manner, this portion will remain in effect in a covered location so as to maintain the cleaned nature thereof. By the same token, when the eating portion of the belt is so orientated, the portion of the belt overlying the top of the support panel 26 presents a flat upper surface for use in the manner of a conventional table, thus providing a full utilization of the tablelike structure at other than mealtimes for a writing table, a game area, or in fact any other conceivable purpose wherein a fiat surface is desired. Further, while not specifically illustrated, it will be appreciated that appropriate supports will be provided for a stabilization of the unit, particularly at the free end of the eating unit 22. In addition, appropriate switch means will be conveniently located so as to activate the unit when the cleaning operation is to be commenced and/or when movement of the belt is desired either with or without the cleaning operation being performed.

In actual operation, when the table is to be used for dining, the dining portion of the belt 28 is positioned in rail secured overlying orientation on the upper surface of the support panel 26, and the food distributed, either to the individual place settings or to the centrally located serving recesses. The individual diners then easily disengage their utensils, by a longitudinal sliding thereof out of engagement with the mounting stems 38, and the cup 50 through a 90 rotation thereof. After the meal is completed, the utensils and cups are remounted and both the belt activated for a transporting of the dining portion of the belt through the cleaning cabinet 24, and the cleaning cabinet activated to commence the cleaning operation. -If so desired, the activation of the apparatus within the cleaning cabinet can be effected automatically through an electrical control system switch activated by an appropriate switch throwing lug or the like mounted directly on the belt itself just forward of the leading portion of the dining area of the belt. As the dining portion of the belt travels through the cleaning cabinet, it will be subjected sequentially to a washing, rinsing and drying by a series of discharging nozzles directing the fluids against the traveling belt across the full width thereof. In doing so, through the unique mounting of the cups and utensils, the fluid flow will engage under pressure against all surfaces thereof, the cups and utensils being mounted within water deflecting depressions in a slightly elevated position therein, such depressions being so configured as to insure a complete washing of all surfaces of the cups and utensils. After the completion of the cleaning operations, the dining portion of the belt is discharged from the cabinet into rail mounted engagement beneath the support panel 26 where it is retained in a stored position until further use thereof is required. It should be recognized that when the dining portion of the belt is stored in an inverted position, the utensils and cups are positively retained. Further, the upper surface of the table area is overlaid with a flat portion of the belt so as to provide a table area usable for general purposes other than dining. Incidently, it should be appreciated that the belt, in addition to being flexible, should also be so finished as to enable a complete cleaning thereof, the corners of the food receptacles and the like being slightly rounded so as to allow a complete removal of the food scraps and the like therefrom.

Finally, attention is specifically directed to FIG. 11 wherein the self-cleaning dining table of the instant invention has been schematically illustrated in conjunction with a food warming or cooking oven. With an arrangement of this type, it will be appreciated that the dining portion of the belt, labeled Dining Area will, in preparation for a meal, move from a subjacent stored position back through the unactivated cleaning cabinet, through the food preparation area and into the oven for a designated period of time prior to a movement to the illustrated position where the meal will be consumed. Subsequent to the meal, and a remounting of the utensils and cups, the Dining Area will be moved to the right through the unactivated oven, past the food preparation area, and into the activated cleaning cabinet. Once the Dining Area has passed through the cleaning cabinet, it can be stored in an inverted position in the same manner as with the initially described embodiment of the invention.

The foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described, and accordingly all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention.

What is claimed as new is as follows:

1. A self-cleaning dining table comprising horizontally elongated panel-like support means, a cleaning cabinet positioned transversely across one end of said support means, an endless belt overlying and underlying said support means, first guide means guiding said belt through said cabinet, second guide means guiding said belt about the other end of said support means, drive means for driving said belt along said support means and through said cleaning cabinet, said first guide means guiding said belt along two straight angularly related cleaning runs within said cleaning cabinet, the first cleaning run extending downwardly and inwardly relative to said one end at a belt inverting angle whereby the upper surface of the belt portion which overlies the support means is downwardly directed in said first cleaning run, said second cleaning run maintaining the upper surface downwardly directed and extending upwardly from the lower end of the first cleaning run at a diverging angle thereto to the bottom of the support means for a continued movement of the belt therealong, and cleaning means mounted within said cleaning cabinet outward of said runs and orientated so as to direct a flow of cleaning fluid against said downwardly directed upper surface of the cabinet received belt.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said second guide means comprises an elongated roller rotatably mounted transversely across the other end of the support means for a reception of the belt thereabout as the belt travels from a support means underlying position to a support means overlying position.

3. The apparatus of claim 2 including an enlarged collection trough Within said cleaning cabinet in underlying relation to the two inverted cleaning runs, and a scrap disposal unit communicated with said collection trough.

4. The apparatus of claim 5 wherein said cleaning means comprises a Wash fluid discharge means directed against the first cleaning run across the entire Width thereof and along substantially the entire length thereof, rinse means directed for discharge against the lower portion of the second cleaning run, and drying means directed against the upper portion of the second cleaning run above said rinse means.

5. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said first guide means comprises a first belt receiving and guiding roller positioned transversely across said one end of the support means within the cleaning cabinet, a second roller positioned below the first roller and laterally spaced therefrom in underlying position with the adjacent end portion of the support means, and a third roller above the second roller and laterally spaced relative thereto to the opposite side therefrom from the first roller, said third roller lying immediately below the support means and transversely thcreacross whereby the belt, upon movement thereover, will engage against the undersurface of the support means for movement therealong, the three first guide means rollers directing the belt along a belt reversing triangular path within the cleaning cabinet.

6. The apparatus of claim 5 including means securing the belt to the upper and lower surfaces of the panel-like support means for guided movement therealong in close contact therewith.

7. A self-cleaning dining table comprising horizontally elongated panel-like support means, a cleaning cabinet positioned transversely across one end of said support means, an endless belt overlying and underlying said support means, first guide means guiding said belt through said cabinet, second guide means guiding said belt about the other end of said support means, drive means for driving said belt along said support means and through said cleaning cabinet, said first guide means guiding said belt along two angularly related inverted cleaning runs within said cleaning cabinet, the first cleaning run extending downwardly at a belt inverting angle from the level of the top of the support means, said second cleaning run extending upwardly from the lower end of the first cleaning run to the bottom of the support means for a continued movement of the belt therealong, cleaning means mounted within said cleaning cabinet orientated so as to direct a flow of cleaning fluid against the cabinet received belt, said second guide means comprising an elongated roller rotatably mounted transversely across the other end of the support means for a reception of the belt thereabout as the belt travels from a support means underlying position to a support means overlying position, an enlarged collection trough within said cleaning cabinet in underlying relation to the two inverted cleaning runs, and a scrap disposal unit communicated with said collection trough, said cleaning means comprising a wash fluid discharge means directed against the first cleaning run across the entire width thereof and along substantially the entire length thereof, rinse means directed for discharge against the lower portion of the second cleaning run, and drying means directed against the upper portion of the second cleaning run above said rinse means, said first guide means comprising a first belt receiving and guiding roller positioned transversely across said one end of the support means within the cleaning cabinet, a second roller positioned below the first roller and laterally spaced therefrom in underlying position with the adjacent end portion of the support means, and a third roller above the second roller and laterally spaced relative thereto to the opposite side therefrom from the first roller, said third roller lying immediately below the support means and transversely thereacross whereby the belt, upon movement thereover, will engage against the undersurface of the support means for movement therealong, the three first guide means rollers directing the belt along a triangular path within the cleaning cabinet, and means securing the belt to the upper and lower surfaces of the panel-like support means for guided movement therealong in close contact therewith, the means securing the belt to the upper and lower surfaces of the support means comprising elongated rails defined along the upper and lower surfaces of the support means and rail receiving grooves defined within the belt for sliding reception about the rails.

8. The apparatus of claim 7 wherein said belt includes a dining portion generally coextensive with the upper surface of the panel-like support means, said dining portion including integrally formed recessed food receptacles within the belt itself, and both utensil and cup mounting areas.

9. The apparatus of claim 8 wherein the food receptacles and utensil and cup mounting areas are arranged in a plurality of individual place settings, the food receptacles in each place setting being arranged in a rectangular layout consisting of three rows of three receptacles each.

10. The apparatus of claim 9 wherein the utensil mounting areas comprise a recess defined within the dining portion of the belt for each utensil, and means within each utensil receiving recess for mounting the utensil in an elevated position therein in a manner whereby an accidental dislodging of the utensil during movement thereof through the cleaning cabinet is specifically precluded.

11. The apparatus of claim 10 wherein each utensil mounting area recess has the surface thereof, below and about the mounted utensil, configured to define a plurality of dished upwardly opening portions orientated so as to receive and upwardly and inwardly direct fluid against the undersurface of the mounted utensil throughout the full extent of the recess.

12. The apparatus of claim 11 wherein the utensil mounting means comprises a vertical stem, an enlarged head on the upper end of said stem, and a cooperating slot through said utensil, said slot including an enlarged head receiving hole at one end thereof for the introduction of the head therethrough prior to a lateral shifting of the utensil so as to engage the mounting stern within the slot, said mounting stem further including an enlarged portion in spaced relation below the enlarged head for a securing of the utensil between the stem enlarged portion and the enlarged head.

13. The apparatus of claim 12 wherein each cup mounting area comprises a recess defined within the dining portion of the belt, and cup mounting means within the cup recess for mounting a cup therein in a manner whereby 10 a fluid accommodating space is defined about the mounted cup.

14. The apparatus of claim 13 wherein the cup mountiIlg means comprises a conical stem projecting integrally upward from the bottom of the cup recess, and a conical socket defined in the bottom of the cup for reception of the stem, said cup socket and cup mounting stem including cooperating guide and locking means thereon effective to lock and release the cup upon a rotation of the mounted cup relative to the cup mounting stem.

15. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said belt includes a dining portion generally coextensive with the upper surface of the panel-like support means, said dining portion including integrally formed recessed food receptacles within the belt itself, and both utensil and cup mounting areas.

16. The apparatus of claim 15 wherein the utensil mounting areas comprise a recess defined within the dining portion of the belt for each utensil, and means within each utensil receiving recess for mounting the utensil in an elevated position therein in a manner whereby an accidental dislodging of the utensil during movement thereof through the cleaning cabinet is specifically precluded.

17. The apparatus of claim 16 wherein each utensil mounting area recess has the surface thereof, below and about the mounted utensil, configured to define a plurality of dished upwardly opening portions orientated so as to receive and upwardly and inwardly direct fluid against the undersurface of the mounted utensil throughout the full extent of the recess.

18. A self-cleaning dining table comprising horizontally elongated panel-like support means, a cleaning cabinet positioned transversely across one end of said support means, an endless belt overlying and underlying said support means, first guide means guiding said belt through said cabinet, second guide means guiding said belt about the other end of said support means, drive means for driving said belt along said support means and through said cleaning cabinet, said first guide means guiding said belt along two angularly related inverted cleaning runs within said cleaning cabinet, the first cleaning run extending downwardly at a belt inverting angle from the level of the top of the support means, said second cleaning run extending upwardly from the lower end of the first cleaning run to the bottom of the support means for a continued movement of the belt therealong, cleaning means mounted within said cleaning cabinet orientated so as to direct a flow of cleaning fluid against the cabinet received belt, said belt including a dining portion generally coextensive with the upper surface of the panel-like support means, said dining portion including integrally formed recessed food receptacles within the belt itself, and both utensil and cup mounting areas, each cup mounting area comprising a recess defined within the dining portion of the belt, and cup mounting means within the cup recess for mounting a cup therein in a manner whereby a fluid accommodating space is defined about the mounted cup, the cup mounting means comprising a conical stem projecting integrally upward from the bottom of the cup recess, and a conical socket defined in the bottom of the cup for reception of the stem, said cup socket and cup mounting stem including cooperating guide and locking means thereon effective to lock and release the cup upon a rotation of the mounted cup relative to the cup mounting stem.

19. A self-cleaning dining table comprising horizontally elongated support means, a cleaning cabinet positioned transversely across a portion of the support means, an endless belt mounted on said support means for travel thereabout through the cleaning cabinet, guide means for guiding said belt through said cabinet, and cleaning means within said cabinet for directing a flow of pressurized cleaning fluid against a cabinet received portion of said belt, said belt including a dining portion, said dining portion including integrally formed recessed food receptacles and separate utensil areas, said utensil areas comprising a recess defined within the dining portion of the belt for each utensil, and means Within each utensil receiving recess for mounting the utensil in an evelated position therein in a manner whereby an accidental dislodging of the utensil during movement thereof through the cleaning cabinet is specifically precluded, each utensil area recess having the surface thereof spaced below and outwardly completely about the mounted utensil, and defining a plurality of dished upwardly opening portions orientated at varying angles to each other to receive and upwardly and inwardly direct fluid against the undersurface of the mounted utensil throughout the full extent of the recess.

20. The apparatus of claim 19 wherein said belt dining portion includes cup mounting areas, each cup area comprising a recess defined within the dining portion of the belt, and cup mounting means within the cup recess for mounting a cup therein in a manner whereby a fluid 1 2 accommodating space is defined about the mounted cup, the cup mounting means comprising a conical stem pro jecting integrally upward from the bottom of the cup recess, and a conical socket defined in the bottom of the cup for reception of the stern, said cup socket and cup mounting stem including cooperating guide and locking means thereon eifective to lock and release the cup upon a rotation of the mounted cup relative to the cup mounting stem.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS WILLIAM H. SCHULTZ, Primary Examiner US. Cl. X.R.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4907539 *Dec 12, 1988Mar 13, 1990Abulhasan Fadia NPet food bowl and mat
US5687752 *Nov 15, 1995Nov 18, 1997Boylan; Carroll J.Dining table having integral dishwasher
US5720226 *Sep 25, 1995Feb 24, 1998Padovano; Diane GailObject retaining device
US6378537Jun 9, 2000Apr 30, 2002Dehart Harold F.Dining table with integral dishwasher
Classifications
U.S. Classification134/115.00G, 15/77, 108/25, 108/20, 15/74
International ClassificationA47B33/00, A47L15/24, A47L21/02, A47L15/00, B65G29/02, B07C99/00
Cooperative ClassificationA47L15/00, A47L21/02, Y10S209/932, A47L15/247, A47B33/00, B65G29/02, Y10S209/926, B07C9/00
European ClassificationA47L21/02, A47L15/00, A47B33/00, B65G29/02, A47L15/24D, B07C9/00