US 3612125 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent  lnventor Helmut Krauth Union, NJ.  Appl. No. 765,170  Filed Oct. 4, 1968  Patented Oct. 12, 1971  Assignee Unimaco, Inc.
Manhasset, N.Y.  Priority Oct. 18, 1967  Germany [311 ST 27474 X/346  CUTTING DEVICE 9 Claims, 7 Drawing Figs.
 US. Cl 146/68, 146/175, 259/108  Int. Cl B02c 18/12  Field of Search 146/68, 3.1 l, 175; 259/107, 108; 220/74, 94 A  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 202,999 4/1878 Crane 220/74 261,306 7/1882 Cartwright .1 22 0/74 2,235,744 3/1941 Gould 146/311 2,2 0,213 4/1941 Fromm", 146/311 X 2,3 38,084 8/1943 Lomax et a1. 220/74 X 3,1 2,442 3/1965 Otto 196/68 FORElGN PATENTS 1,258,428 3/1960 France a 259/108 Primary Examinerwiliiam S. Lawson Assistant ExaminerZ. R. Bilinsky Attorney-Michael S. Striker PATENTEDocnemn 3.612.125
sum 2 0F 2 Inventor? cur'rmc DEVICE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to cutting devices in general, and more particularly to chopping devices. Still more specifically, the present invention relates to devices which are specially suited for chopping lettuce and similar foodstuffs.
It is known to utilize cutting devices of the type here under discussion for cutting or chopping lettuce and analogous foodstuffs, usually in circumstances where it is necessary to effect chopping of large quantities of such foodstuffs in a short period of time. However, various problems have been encountered particularly with removal of the chopped material with the cleaning of the various components of the device and with other factors which reduce the speed and therefore the economy of operation afforded by these devices.
It is therefore a general object of the present invention to provide a cutting device of the type under discussion which is not subject to these disadvantages. I
More particularly, it is an object of the invention to provide such a cutting device which is simple in its construction and maintenance but which affords high productivity and great economy in terms of cutting time and maintenance time.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with one feature of my invention I provide a cutting device which is particularly suitable for chopping of lettuce and analogous foodstuffs. This device comprises in one possible embodiment an outer receptacle having a bottom wall and a circumferential wall. The inner receptacle is removably nested within the outer receptacle and comprises a peripheral wall at least a portion of which is apertured. A rotatable shaft extends through the bottom wall and the peripheral wall and includes a portion which is located in the interior of the inner receptacle. A hub assembly surrounds the portion of the shaft for rotation therewith and includes cutter blades which extend transversely of the hub assembly and of the shaft portion. Connecting means releasably connects the hub assembly to the shaft to thereby enable simultaneous withdrawal of the inner receptacle and the hub assembly from the outer receptacle.
The novel features which are considered as characteristic are set forth in particular in the appended claims.
The invention itself, however, both as to its construction and its method of operation, together with additional advantages thereof will be best understood from the following description of specific embodiments when read in connection with the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is a somewhat diagrammatic side elevation, partly sectioned, of a cutting device embodying my invention; and
FIGS. 27 show various different embodiments, partly in broken-away illustration, of the inner receptacle or insert utilized in the cutting device of FIG. 1.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Discussing now the drawing in detail, firstly FIG. 1 thereof, it will be seen that my novel cutting device therein illustrated comprises an upright outer receptacle 1 which is of generally bowl-shaped configuration. In accordance with the invention it is of circular cross section and it is mounted, as evident from the drawing, a top a motor 3 which may be supported by a frame or by legs 2. The rotatable output shaft 4 of the motor 3 extends upwardly in vertical direction and penetrates the bottom wall of the outer receptacle 1 which latter it is to be noted, is to be filled with liquid. usually water, so that the output shaft 4 must pass through the bottom wall of the outer receptacle I in fluidtight relationship. This is not illustrated or described in more detail because the means for effecting the necessary seal are well known in the art.
The upper end of the outer receptacle 1 is open and may be closed by a lid 5 which may be either a separate member entirely, and in this case is simply placed onto the outer receptacle l, or which may be permanently or releasably hinged to the outer receptacle 1 in the manner illustrated in FIG. 1. It is to be noted that the portion of the output shaft 4 which is located within the receptacle 1 extends to the upper open end of that receptacle, that is to the upper free edge portion thereof.
Nested within the outer receptacle is an inner receptacle or insert 9, whose configuration corresponds to the outline of the interior of the outer receptacle 1. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1 the upper free edge portion 10 of this insert 9 is bent over inwardly so as to provide a circumferentially extending gripping edge which may be grasped by an operator so that the insert can thereby lifted out of and placed into the outer receptacle 1. The peripheral wall of the insert 9 is provided with an opening 12 which, when the insert 9 is received in the outer receptacle 1, registers with the shaft 4 so that the same extends through this opening 12 into the interior of the insert 9 as illustrated in FIG. 1.
Once the insert 9 is received in the outer receptacle 1 in the manner illustrated in FIG. 1, a hub assembly is connected to the shaft 4. This hub assembly consists of a sleeve-shaped carrier 7 which is placed over the shaft 4 and which is suitably secured thereto in such a manner as to be compelled to rotate with the shaft 4. The means for this are well known and need therefore not be discussed in detail. For instance, the shah 4 and the interior of the sleeve-shaped carrier 7 may be keyed to one another, that is they may be provided with flat faces, or any other suitable instrumentality may be provided. The carrier 7 is provided with radially and transversely extending cutter blades 8 which are so positioned that they are upwardly spaced from the bottom portion of the peripheral wall of the insert 9. The blades may be angled, that is their cutting edge may be downwardly inclined in the direction of rotation, as illustrated in FIG. 1. However, this is only one possible embodiment and is by no means compulsory. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. I the upper open end of the shaft 4 is screwthreaded and a suitable nut 6 is threaded onto this upper open end, so as to maintain the carrier 7 in place. Of course, alternate possibilities for this purpose may be readily envisioned bythose skilled in the art and it is conceivable that depending on the type of connection between the carrier 7 and the shaft 4, the nut 6 may be completely eliminated.
In operation of the device illustrated in FIG. I, the insert 9 is positioned within the outer receptacle 1 in the manner illustrated, and the hub assembly is placed over the shaft 4, also as shown in FIG. 1. Now the material to be cut, which will be assumed to be lettuce, is placed into the interior of the device which is filled with water. The lid or cover 5 is closed and, if the shaft 4 is now rotated for only a few seconds at speeds of between 750 and 3,000 r.p.m., preferably at 1,500 rpm. the rotating cutter blades 8 effect immediate high-speed circulation of the water in the device and consequently of the lettuce or other material which swims in the water. Thus, the entire contents of the device are rapidly brought into the range of the rotating cutter blades 8 and are subdivided thereby cleanly and rapidly into small-sized pieces.
On completion of the cutting process the lid or cover 5 is opened and the insert 9 containing the hub assembly and the chopped lettuce is simply lifted out of the outer receptacle 1. The insert 9, it will be understood, is of course at least in part apertured as will be discussed in more detail below. This assures that, when the insert 9 is lifted out of the outer receptacle I, almost all of the water will run out of the insert 9 and thus be retained in the outer receptacle 1 so that the loss of water is kept at a minimum. The removal of the chopped contents of the insert 9 is extremely quick and efficient contrary to previous practice where it was necessary to "fish" the contents out of the water, and the insert 9 is immediately ready for reinsertion into the outer receptacle 1 so that a new batch of material may be chopped. On the other hand, the insert 9 and the hub assembly consisting of the carrier 7 and the cutter blades 8 can be readily cleaned prior to reinsertion into the outer receptacle 1 and, if such should be desired, the insert 9 which has just been removed may be replaced with a different insert, for instance an insert having apertures of different size.
It has just been pointed out that the peripheral wall of the insert 9 is at least in part apertured. FIGS. 2-7 show various different embodiments of such inserts. Thus, the insert illustrated in FIG. 2 is of one-piece construction, that is its bottom wall portion is integral with its sidewall portion, and this insert as all the others may consist completely or in part of aluminum. The insert illustrated in FIG. I is apertured throughout, namely both in its sidewall portion and in its bottom wall portion. In place of the tumed-over circumferential handgrip portion shown in FIG. 1, the insert shown in FIG. 2 is provided with two substantially diametrally opposite cutouts 1 1 serving the same purpose.
The insert illustrated in FIG. 3 has an imperforate sidewall portion and its bottom wall portion 9a is perforated. Conversely, in the insert of FIG. 4, it is the bottom wall portion which is imperforate, except for the center opening 12 for passage of the shaft 4 while the sidewall portion 9b is provided with perforations. It is clear, of course, that in the embodiments of FIGS. 24 the inserts 9 may consist entirely or in part of mesh material, that is material constituting a sieve rather than a perforated sheet material.
In the embodiments of FIGS. 5 and 6, the sidewall portions 9c of the inserts shown therein are both assumed to consist of sheet material, preferably of aluminum, and in both cases the sidewall portions 90 are imperforate. In the embodiment of FIG. 5 the bottom wall portion which is here identified with reference numeral I3, is provided in form of an apertured plate which may be welded, bonded (adhesively or otherwise) or mechanically connected--by turning over the lower edge portion of the sidewall portion 9c-to the sidewall portion of the insert 9. The embodiment of FIG. 6 differs from that of FIG. 5 in that the bottom wall portion 13a is assumed to consist of a mesh or sieve member which is connected by spotwelding to the sidewall portion 90 at the points I4.
Finally, the insert 9 illustrated in FIG. 7 differs from those of FIGS. 2-6 in that it is of basket type. The insert of FIG. 7 consists of a plurality of bars 9d extending in upright direction and being joined at their upper and lower ends and intermediate these ends by hoops or annuli 9e. In this case the bottom wall portion 9f is imperforate. It may be secured to the bars and hoops 9d and 92 in any desired manner. Again, of course, it is to be understood that the member 9 shown in FIG. 7 may be of one-piece construction and may for instance be produced by casting, stamping or in another suitable manner. The bottom wall portion 9f need not, of course, be imperforate as illustrated.
The device according to the present invention is highly efficient and is capable of chopping large quantities of material with great speed. At the same time the removal of the chopped material, the cleaning of the insert 9 and of the hub assembly and the substitution of a different insert for the one previously used are very simple and very speedy. Beyond this it will be appreciated that the immediate positioning of the receptacles atop the motor 3 makes for a very compact construction, thus also facilitating storage and transport.
It will be understood that each of the elements described above, or two or more together, may also find a useful application in other types of cutting devices differing from the types described above.
While the invention has been illustrated and described as embodied in a cutting device which is particularly suitable for chopping lettuce and analogous foodstuffs, it is not intended to be limited to the details shown since various modifications and structural changes may be made without departing in any way from the spirit of the present invention.
Without further analysis, the foregoing will so fully reveal the gist of the present invention that others can by applying current knowledge readil adapt it for various ap lic ations without omitting eatures at from the standpoint 0 prior art,
fairly constitute essential characteristics of the specific or generic aspects of this invention and, therefore, such adaptations should and are intended to be comprehended within the meaning and range of equivalence of the following claims.
What is claimed as new and desired to be protected by Letters Patent is set forth in the appended claims:
1. A cutting device, particularly for chopping lettuce and analogous foodstuffs, comprising, in combination, an outer receptacle having an upper open side, a bottom wall, and a circumferential wall and being adapted to accommodate and retain a body of liquid; an upwardly open inner receptacle removably nested within said outer receptacle and adapted to accommodate the material to be cut and at least some of said liquid, said inner receptacle comprising a peripheral wall at least a portion of which is apertured and an upper free edge portion in the region of said open side; a rotatable shaft extending through said bottom wall and said peripheral wall and including a portion located in the interior of said inner receptacle and having a threaded upper end adjacent said open side; a hub assembly surrounding said portion for rotation therewith and comprising cutter blade means extending transversely of the same for cutting said material in said inner receptacle; and connecting means including nut means meshing with said threaded upper end and engaging said hub assembly in said region of said upper open side for releasably connecting said hub assembly to said portion of said shaft to enable simultaneous withdrawal of said inner receptacle and said hub assembly from said outer receptacle upon release of such connection without contamination of the material which is retained in said inner receptacle while said liquid passes from said inner receptacle through the apertures in said portion of said peripheral wall.
2. A device as defined in claim I, wherein said inner and said outer receptacle are of circular cross section.
3. A device as defined in claim 1, wherein said peripheral wall of said inner receptacle comprises a bottom wall portion and a sidewall portion, and wherein said cutter blade means is upwardly spaced from said bottom wall portion when said hub assembly surrounds said portion of said shaft.
4. A device as defined in claim I, wherein said peripheral wall of said inner receptacle comprises a bottom wall portion and a sidewall portion, and wherein at least one of said wall portions is apertured at least in part.
5. A device as defined in claim I, wherein at least one of said wall portions consists of a plurality of rodlike elements together constituting a mesh.
6. A device as defined in claim 4, said one wall portion being said sidewall portion.
7. A device as defined in claim 4, said one wall portion being said bottom wall portion.
8. A device as defined in claim I, wherein said receptacles are of circular cross section and wherein said portion of said shaft is coaxial with said receptacles.
9. A device as defined in claim I; further comprising a lid covering said outer receptacle; and wherein said free end portion is located closely adjacent to said lid.