US 3613959 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Inventor Anthony Mason St. Joseph, Mich. App]. No. 842,989 Filed July 18, 1969 Patented Oct. 19, 1971 Assignee Whirlpool Corporation LIQUID DISPENSER 11 Claims, 5 Drawing Figs.
US. Cl .Q 222/187, 134/95, 222/372 Int. Cl B6711 3/00 Field of Search 222/187, 54, 190, 372; 134/100, 101, 58 D, 95
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,599,561 6/1952 Knight 222/187 X 3,062,032 11/1962 Toma 134/100 X 3,082,736 3/1963 Waters 222/187 X 3,207,373 9/1965 Dannenmann 134/58 D 3,373,905 3/1968 Laufer, Sr 134/100 X 3,478,757 11/1969 Tuthill 134/101 X Primary Examiner-Lloyd L. King Assistant ExaminerThomas C. Culp, Jr.
Attorneys-James S. Nettleton, Thomas E. Turcotte, Gene A.
Heth, Burton H. Baker, Donald W. Thomas, Frank C. Harter and Hofgren, Wegner, Stellman & McCord ABSTRACT: A liquid dispenser in which liquid is transferred from a container as by capillary action to a retaining member such as a spongy mass and then expressing means selectively compressing the retaining member at the desired time to force expressed liquid therefrom and conveying means such as a trough structure for conveying the expressed liquid away from the retaining member and the container.
LIQUID MSPENSEIR One of the features of this invention is to provide a liquid dispenser of the above type that includes a wick or similar capillary member for transferring liquid from a container to a retaining member such as a sponge that is capable of holding the liquid but when compressed releases it. The retaining member is not necessarily a sponge but could very well be a bellows, piston and cylinder or other similar compressible liquid holding but releasing member.
Other features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following description of one embodiment thereof as shown in the accompanying drawings. Of the drawings:
FIG. I is a fragmentary perspective view of the open front end of a dishwasher in which one embodiment of the invention is shown.
FIG. 2 is a perspective view from the front of the liquid dispenser showing the tubular filling trough extended.
FIG. 3 is a sectional elevational view of the rear of the dispenser with the rear panel of the liquid container removed.
FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken substantially along line 4-4 of FIG. 3 but with the liquid transfer wick means omitted for clarity of illustration.
FIG. 5 is a sectional view taken substantially along line 5-5 of FIG. 3 but with the liquid transfer wick means omitted for clarity of illustration.
The liquid dispenser of this invention is illustrated as embodied in a dispenser for liquid wetting agent for a dishwasher that is operable to a preselected time in the washing cycle to introduce the liquid wetting agent into the interior of the dishwasher.
In the illustrated embodiment the dishwasher is of the front opening type that uses a hinged door 11 which is shown in open position to enclose the interior 12 containing a pair of the usual dish supporting racks 13.
The liquid dispenser 14 which is illustrated in FIGS. 2-5 is positioned within the door 11 and includes a container 15 for the liquid in the shape of a box having opposite sides 16 and 17 with this container being located between an inner panel 118 and outer panel 19 of the door.
The side 16 of the container is positioned adjacent the inner panel 18 and the container carries on its interior a compressible liquid-retaining member 20 at the top of the container so as to be above the normal liquid level therein. This retaining member as shown is a compressible sponge with one such sponge being formed of reticulated hydrophilic polyurethane capable of retaining a considerable amount of liquid in the usual manner when in the uncompressed state.
In order to transfer liquid from the interior 21 of the container to the sponge 20 there is provided a transfer means which as shown is embodied in an elongated wick 22 that is preferably of fabric with this wick serving as a capillary member which will keep the sponge 20 supplied with the liquid held in the container. However, sponge 20 and wick 22 could be a unitary member completely molded from a spongy material. This wick 22 is retained in position extending downwardly from the sponge 2&1 to the bottom 23 of the container by a pair of spaced walls 24 that are integral with the side 16 of the container and that extend toward but short of the opposite side 17.
In order to compress the sponge 20 there is provided an expressing means for selectively compressing the retaining member or sponge 20 to force the expressed liquid therefrom. In the illustrated embodiment this expressing means comprises a pair of relatively movable squeezing surface members between which the compressible member or sponge is located and means for moving at least one of these surface members toward the other when it is desired to eject liquid from the dispenser.
In the illustrated embodiment this pair of relatively movable squeezing surface members comprises a bottom shelf 25 on which the sponge 20 rests. The sponge 20 is provided with a central opening 26 which is located above a trough 25 which leads to an outlet 29 in the side 1.6 of the container. When sponge 20 is compressed, liquid collects in opening 26 from whence it will be transferred by trough 28 to outlet opening 29.
On the side of the sponge 20 opposite the supporting surface member shelf 25 there is provided a vertically movable compressing plate 30 having a stem 31 extending through the top wall 32 of the container and guided in a bearing member 33 in this top wall.
The stem 31 is moved in a vertical path to compress and then remove the compressing pressure from the sponge 20. In the illustrated embodiment this movement and thus the dispensing of the liquid within the sponge 20 is controlled by a U-shaped bimetal 34 which is adapted to be heated by an elec trical circuit (not shown) that includes the bimetal 34 and two electrical contact posts 35 each of which is at one end of the bimetal. As is customary in electrically heated bimetals of this type the base which contains the circuit posts 35 is fixed to an insulating block 36 so that when an electric current flows through the bimetal the end containing the stem 31 of the compressing plate 30 is moved downwardly toward the fixed shelf 25 to squeeze the sponge 20 therebetween and express liquid therefrom which flows out the opening 29 and into the interior 12 of the dishwasher.
As can be seen in FIGS. 3 and 5 the sponge 20 and expressing means 25 and 311 are contained within an isolating wall 37 located in the corner between the inner side 16 and the top wall 32 of the container 14.
The container 14 is provided with means 38 forming an access opening for introducing liquid into the interior 2] of the container. In the illustrated embodiment this means comprises a cylinder 39 extending through the inner side 16 of the container adjacent the top thereof and screw threaded into an annular inwardly extending collar 40. This cylinder 39 carries on its inner end a circular disc 41 that has an edge portion 42 angled toward the container 14. This disc 41 covers the outlet opening 29 without blocking liquid flow outwardly therefrom in order to protect this opening from entry of dishwashing liquid from the interior 12 of the dishwasher during the dishwashing operation. Thus the disc operated as a shield located externally of the container 14 and spaced from but covering the expressed liquid exit opening 29.
The access opening 43 to the interior of the container 14 comprises the inner cylindrical surface of the access opening means cylinder 39. In order to close this opening 43 when desired there is provided a movable closure 44 that comprises a section 45 of a cylinder .that is movable inwardly and outwardly within the opening 43 of the larger cylinder 39. This movable closure 44 also includes a circular knob 46 attached to the outer end of the section 45 and carrying on its inner surface an annular ring 47 that has an inwardly directed annular flange 48 that is elastic.
In order to provide a liquid-introducing trough accessible when the closure 44 is in open position as shown in FIG. 4 the top of the inner cylinder 45 is cut away on a chord with this cut away portion 49 which is at the top serving as means to introduce liquid into the exposed cylinder 45 and from there by gravity flow into the access opening 43 and into the interior 21 of the container.
In order to guide the inner and outer movements of the closure 44 and inner cylinder 45 the inner end of this cylinder 45 inwardly of the section 49 is provided with an annular ring part 50 that has sliding engagement with the cylindrical surface forming the opening 43. As further support for this movement the external end of the outer cylinder 39 is provided with a ring flange section 51 which engages the outer surface of the cylinder 45 during this sliding movement and which also cooperates with the ring 50 to limit the outward movement of the closure 44 to the position shown in FIG. 4.
The operation of the illustrated embodiment is as follows. When the closure 44 is extended as shown in FIG. 4 the interior 51 of the inner cylinder 45 is exposed through the top section 49. Liquid wetting agent or similar liquid may then be in troduced into the interior of the container 14 by pouring the liquid through the section 49 for gravity flow into this interior. Then the closure 44 can be moved to closed position or to the left of its position in FIG. 4 until the flexible annular flange 48 engages a holding groove 52 on the outer surface of the outer cylinder 43 externally of the shield disc 41. The interior of the container 14 is then isolated from the interior of the dishwasher by the fact that the closure 44 is closed and by the covering of the exit opening 29 by the disc 41.
The wick 22 keeps the sponge 20 substantially saturated with liquid from the interior 21 of the container 14. Then at the preselected moment in the dishwashing cycle an electric current is directed through the bimetal 34 which heats it causing it to curl downwardly as viewed in FIG. 2 to apply a squeezing force to the sponge 20 by the downward movement of the squeezing plate 30 and the thusly expressed liquid then flows out the opening 29 into the interior of the dishwasher.
Having described my invention as related to the embodiments shown in the accompanying drawings, it is my intention that the invention be not limited by any of the details of description, unless otherwise specified.
The embodiment of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed is defined as follows:
1. A dispenser for dispensing preselected quantities of liquid comprising: a container for holding a preselected quantity of liquid to be dispensed; a compressible liquid-retaining member spaced from the liquid in the container; transfer means for transferring liquid from said container to said retaining member; expressing means for selectively compressing and releasing said retaining member to express seriatim a plurality of discrete preselected portions of said preselected quantity of liquid from the container; and conveying means for conveying said expressed discrete liquid portions from said retaining member and said container.
2. The dispenser of claim 1 wherein said retaining member comprises a sponge.
3. The dispenser of claim 1 wherein said transfer means comprises a capillary member.
4. The dispenser of claim 3 wherein said capillary member comprises a wick.
5. The dispenser of claim 1 wherein said expressing means comprises a pair of relatively movable squeezing surface members between which said compressible retaining member is located and means for moving at least one of said surface members toward the other.
6. The dispenser of claim 5 wherein said means for moving said surface members comprises a thermally activated member.
7. The dispenser of claim 1 wherein said retaining member comprises a sponge, said transfer means comprises a wick, and said expressing means comprises a pair of relatively movable squeezing surface members between which said compressible member is located and means for moving at least one of said surface members toward the other.
8. The dispenser of claim 1 wherein said container is provided with means forming an access opening for introducing liquid to said container and means forming an exit opening as a part of said conveying means.
9. The dispenser of claim 8 wherein said container is provided with a shield located externally of said container and spaced from but covering said exit opening.
10. A dispenser for dispensing preselected quantities of additive liquid, comprising: a container for holding a preselected quantity of liquid to be dispensed; a compressible porous mass spaced from the liquid in the container; transfer means for transferring liquid from said container to said porous mass; expressing means for selectively compressing and releasing said porous mass to express seriatim a plurality of discrete portions of said preselected quantity of the liquid from the container; and conveying means for conveying said expressed discrete liquid portions from said porous mass and said container.
111. The liquid dispenser of claim 10 wherein said porous mass is formed of hydrophilic synthetic plastic material.