US 3628841 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent  Inventor [21 1 Appl. No.  Filed  Patented  Assignee  REFUSE COMPACTOR CABINET STRUCTURE 8 Claims, 5 Drawing Figs.
 US. Cl 312/204, 312/303, 312/311  Int.Cl ..A47bl7/04, A47b 97/00, A47b 88/00-  Field of Search 312/204, 303, 31 1  Relere'nces Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,674,511 4/1954 Minor 312/219 1/1931 Roberts 312/303 X Primary Examiner-Paul R. Gilliam Attorney-Hofgren, Wegner, Allen, Stellman & McCord ABSTRACT: A refuse compactor having a drawer which is movable through a front wall of a cabinet selectively between an inner compacting position and an outer loading position. The cabinet is provided with a toe plate defining the lowermost portion of the front wall. The toe plate remains connected at the front of the cabinet at all times but is movable to permit a lowermost portion of the drawer to move through the space occupied by the upper portion of the toe plate in its normal upright position, thereby permitting the drawer to include usable compaction space below the level of the top of the toe plate.
REFUSE COMPACTOR CABINET STRUCTURE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates to refuse compactors and in particular to cabinet constructions for use in refuse compactors.
2. Description of the Prior Art To provide facilitated disposal of refuse and the like, as in a household kitchen, it is desirable to provide a refuse compactor which effects a substantial compaction of the refuse, permitting substantial quantities thereof to be disposed of in the conventional transfer containers such as garbage cans. Illustratively, refuse collected in a normal household over a period of two or three days may be compacted in such a compactor so as to be capable of being disposed in a single conventional garbage can. It is desirable to provide the compactor with a relatively large compaction container and to support the container positively against the compaction forces. A number of refuse compactors are known. However, the known compactors have the disadvantages of relatively small compaction containers and impositive support of the containers during the compaction operation. Thus, the known refuse compactors are disadvantageous where considered for installation such as in a kitchen counter wherein space is at a premium.
Another problem found in the known refuse compactors is the arrangement thereof preventing coordinated installation with means such as a kitchen counter. Such kitchen counters conventionally are provided with recessed toe plates and the known compactors do not effectively provide coordinated construction providing continuity of such toe plate means when installed in the counter space.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention comprehends an improved refuse compactor construction adapted for built-in installation in a kitchen counter or the like, including a toe plate means adapted to have coordinated relationship with the toe plate means of the counter. The invention comprehends the provision of such a refuse compactor wherein the compaction container, such as a drawer, is arranged to extend to below the upper level of the toe plate while yet is removable forwardly through the space normally occupied by the toe plate in its normal upright position.
The invention more specifically comprehends mounting the toe plate on the cabinet to define the lowermost portion of the front wall thereof. The mounting means comprises means for movably mounting the toe plate to permit it to swing away from its normal position when the drawer is moved outwardly from its innermost compacting position. Thus, the lowermost portion of the drawer may extend downwardly to rearwardly of the toe plate in the compacting position and may be supported by positive supporting means at the bottom of the cabinet to withstand the substantial forces generated during the compacting operation.
The toe plate may be moved by engagement thereof by the drawer so as to effect an automatic positioning of the toe plate. The toe plate may be biased to its normal upright position by suitable spring means. The drawer may be provided with a bearing surface slidably engaging the toe plate to effect the desired position thereof. The toe plate may extend fully across the front of the cabinet for coordinated arrangement relative to the toe plate of the kitchen counter in which the refuse compactor may be installed as a built-in unit.
The present invention is illustrated embodied in a refuse compactor, but may also be advantageously employed in other cabinet and drawer systems.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING Other features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following description taken in connection with the accompanying drawing wherein:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a refuse compactor embodying the invention disposed in a portion of a counter such as a kitchen counter;
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary perspective thereof illustrating the arrangement of the refuse compactor with the drawer moved outwardly from the retracted, compacting position;
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary enlarged vertical section taken substantially along the line 3-3 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary enlarged vertical section taken substantially along the line 4-4 of FIG. 5; and
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary rear elevation of the toe plate of the refuse compactor.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT In the exemplary embodiment of the invention as disclosed in the drawing, a refuse compactor generally designated 10 is shown to comprise a cabinet 11 adapted to be built into a structure, such as a kitchen counter 12. The compactor 10 includes a compaction container, herein a drawer 13, which is selectively movable through a front wall generally designated I4 of the cabinet 11 between a retracted, compacting position as shown in FIG. I and a forward, exposed loading position as shown in FIG. 2. The drawer is mounted for horizontal movement and includes a front panel 15 which defines a portion of the cabinet front wall 14.
Drawer front panel 15 extends fully across the front of the cabinet 11, as shown in FIG. 1, to fit the space in the counter 12. As seen in FIG. 2, drawer 13 is somewhat narrower rearwardly of panel 15, being adapted to be received between the side walls 16 and 17 of the cabinet 11.
Drawer 13 includes a lowermost portion 18, as seen in FIG. 2, extending to below the level of the bottom 19 ofthe panel 15 In the retracted position of FIG. I, the drawer portion 18 is received within the cabinet 11 rearwardly of a toe plate 20 defining the lowermost portion of the front wall 14. As best seen in FIG. 3, toe plate 20 is recessed below the bottom edge 19 of the front panel 15 to conform to the configuration of the conventional toe plates 21 of the counter 12.
Referring now more specifically to FIGS. 3-5, toe plate 20 comprises a subassembly which includes a panel portion 22 having a lower end 23. The means for mounting the toe plate for movement away from forwardly or in front of the drawer includes a portion 23 which is enlarged to define a pair of cylindrical recesses 24 extending laterally outwardly from a rearwardly opening central recess 25. A wire torsion spring 26 is mounted in panel portion 23. and includes oppositely extending leg portions 27 received in the recesses 24. Two groove pins 49 inserted in the cylindrical recesses 24 (see FIGS. 4 and 5) support the portions of spring 26 adjacent central recess 25. Each leg 27 is provided at its distal end with a turned portion 28 for locking the legs against rotation about the longitudinal axes thereof. Intermediate the legs 27, spring 26 is provided with a looped portion 29 which extends outwardly through recess 25 to extend through an opening 30 in a front plate 31 of the cabinet frame 32. As shown in FIG. 4, the spring 26 biases the toe plate 20 in a counterclockwise direction to an upright position.
The toe plate is pivotally mounted on the front plate 31 by a pair of pivot elements 33. As shown in FIG. 3, each element 33 includes a base portion 34 provided with an opening 35. The front plate is provided with a corresponding sized opening 36 and suitable securing means such as self-tapping screws 37, are provided for locking the base portion 34 to the front plate 31. The base portion may be further provided with a rearwardly extending dowel 39 receivable in a small opening 40 in the front plate 31 for positioning the pivot element 33 on the front plate 31. The pivot element further includes a pivot post portion 41 extending laterally from base portion 34 into the recess 24 for pivotally mounting the toe plate 20. Pivot 41 is carried on a rearwardly projecting flange portion 42 of the base portion 34 as shown in FIG. 3. As shown in FIG. 3, the pivot elements 33 may be formed of suitable material such as molded plastic.
Torsion spring 26 may be readily installed in the lower end 23 of the toe plate by movement of the legs 27 upwardly through a downwardly opening slot 48 opening to the cylindrical recesses 24 as seen in FIG. 4. The looped portion 29 may be readily pulled away from the rear surface of the recess 25 in the toe plate to be extended through the front plate opening 30 as shown in FIG. 4 for facilitated connection of the spring to the cabinet frame 32. The torsion spring 26 is thusly loaded during installation of the toe plate subassembly to the refuse compactor 10. The toe plate subassembly including the torsion spring 26 and the pivot elements 33 can be secured to the compactor as a unit by inserting the looped portion 29 through front plate opening 30, then torsionally loading spring 26 by rotating the toe plate panel portion 22 approximately 90 in a clockwise direction as seen in FIGS. 3 and 4 with looped portion 29 held in opening 30, and then fastening the pivot elements 33 to the compactor front plate 31 with the screws 37. The described arrangement thus facilitates assembly of the compactor ltl As shown in FIG. 5, the rear surface 43 of the toe plate may be provided with suitable slide strips 44 which may be formed of suitable low friction material, such as Mylar tape, to be engaged by the lower front edge 45 of the drawer 13 as the drawer is moved forwardly from the cabinet 11. Thus, the toe plate is automatically pivoted about the axis of the aligned pivot portions 41 as an incident of the movement of the drawer. As spring 26 biases the toe plate 20 to the upright position of FIG. 1, upon return of the drawer to the retracted, compacting position of FIG. 1, the toe plate automatically swings back to the upright position as seen therein. By virtue of the movable mounting of the toe plate 20, the lower portion 18 of the drawer 13 may be disposed rearwardly of the toe plate 20 (as seen in FIG. 3) when the drawer is in the compacting position whereby the bottom 46 of the drawer may be supported on a bottom plate 47 of the cabinet frame 32 thereby providing a positive support of the drawer during a compacting operation. Further, by permitting the drawer to extend fully downwardly to the bottom plate 47, increased capacity of the drawer is provided while yet permitting the front wall 14 of the cabinet 11 to include the desirable recessed toe plate construction discussed above.
Where slide strips 44 are formed of plastic, they provide the additional feature of reduced operating noise in the movement of the drawer against the toe plate. The toe plate may be formed of a suitable material, such as extruded aluminum. lllustratively, the toe plate may have a height of 4 inches corresponding to a conventional kitchen counter toe plate.
While the invention has been described in connection with a cabinet 11 adapted to be built into cabinetry, such as kitchen counter 12, the provision of the highly aesthetic toe plate 20 offers an advantageous construction similarly where the cabinet 11 comprises a freestanding cabinet.
The foregoing disclosure of specific embodiments is illustrative of the broad inventive concepts comprehended by the invention.
The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:
I. In a refuse compactor having a front wall, a drawer for receiving refuse, means for movably supporting the drawer for selective movement between a retracted position rearwardly of said front wall and a loading position forwardly of said front wall, the improvement comprising: a toe plate defining a lowermost portion of said front wall; a bottom portion of said drawer extending to below the level of the top of said toe plate providing supplemental capacity for holding refuse in said drawer; and means for mounting said toe plate for movement away from forwardly of said drawer bottom portion as an incident of movement of said drawer from said retracted position toward said loading position, the bottom portion of the drawer at said front wall being disposed forwardly of said toe plate in said loading position.
2. The refuse compactor of claim 1 wherein said mounting means includes means pivotally supporting said toe plate on said compactor and means on said drawer for pivoting said toe lat p 3 The refuse compactor of claim 1 including bearing surface means on said toe plate and means on said drawer movably engaging said bearing surface means to move said we plate as an incident of movement of the drawer means.
4. The refuse compactor of claim 1 wherein said mounting means includes means pivotally supporting the toe plate for pivoting about a horizontal axis at the bottom of the toe plate, and further including means on said drawer slidably engaging cooperating surface means on the toe plate adjacent the top of the toe plate for pivoting said toe plate about said axis as an incident of movement of the drawer.
5. The refuse compactor of claim 1 wherein said mounting means includes means biasing the toe plate to a position of alignment relative to said front wall, said mounting means facilitating movement of said toe plate to a position of disalignment relative to said front wall.
6. The refuse compactor of claim 1 wherein said drawer has a width less than that of said front wall and said toe plate extends the full width of said front wall.
7. The refuse compactor of claim 1 wherein said mounting means includes a torsion spring means for biasing said toe plate to an upright position.
8. A cabinet structure having a front wall provided with a drawer for receiving and storing material, means for movably supporting the drawer for selective movement between a retracted position rearwardly of said front wall and a loading position forwardly of said front wall, the improvement comprising: a toe plate defining a lowermost portion of said front wall; a bottom portion of said drawer means extending to below the level of the top of said toe plate providing supplemental capacity for said drawer; and means for mounting said toe plate for movement away from forwardly of said drawer bottom portion as an incident of movement of said drawer from said retracted position toward said loading position the bottom portion of the drawer at said front wall being disposed forwardly of said toe plate in said loading position, said mounting means including a torsion spring and hinge means retaining the spring in association with said toe plate and pivotally supporting the toe plate subjacent said front wall.