US 3650039 A
Oxygen is removed from the interior of a housing or chamber adapted to contain silverware so that the silverware will not oxidize or tarnish due to oxidation. The oxygen may be removed from the silverware housing by means, for example, of an oxygen consuming flame burning within the housing, by purging the interior of the housing with a non-oxidizing gas so as to provide therein a non-oxidizing atmosphere, or by evacuating the housing and replacing the evacuated atmosphere with a non-oxidizing gas.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Harding 1451 Mar. 21, 1972 54 SILVERWARE CABINET 3,111,371 11/1963 Bull ..21/2.5 3,188,166 6/1965 Dietz et al.. ..21/2.5  m 204 Tarrymw 3,519,398 7/1970 Roberts ..148/16.7 x
Rlchmond, Va. 23229  Filed: Jan. 13, 1970 Primary Examiner-Frederick L. Matteson Assistant ExaminerHarry B. Ramey 1 1 pp 2,495 AttorneyBac0n&Thomas 52 us. 61 ..34 4s, 21 2.5, 34/74,  ABSTRACT 34/218, 206/75, 312/31 Oxygen is removed from the interior of a housing or chamber  Int. Cl ..F26b 21/14 adapted to contain silverware so that the silverware will not  Field of Search ..34/15, 36, 74, 218, 44, 45; xidiz 0r tarnish due to oxidation. The oxygen may be 21/2 5; 14 /1 3; /75; 312 31 removed from the silverware housing by means, for example, of an oxygen consuming flame burning within the housing, by 56] References Cited purging the interior of the housing with a non-oxidizing gas so as to provide therein a non-oxidizing atmosphere, or by UNITED STATES PATENTS evacuating the housing and replacing the evacuated atmosphere with a non-oxidizing gas. 1,939,497 12/1933 l-lerrlng ..206/75 X 1,979,820 11/1934 Bowling ..148/l6.7 7 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures SILVERWARE CABINET BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART In the past, various methods and apparatus have been employed in an endeavor to prevent silverware from tarnishing and oxidizing, so that it will retain its characteristic bright and shining polished appearance. Polished silverware has been coated with various air impervious materials, stored in closed, sealed housings often when chemicals or substances purported to prevent tarnishing or oxidating, and wrapped or covered with material designed to prevent the ambient air from circulating in contact with the silverware in order to prevent or reduce the oxidation and tarnishing of the silverware. However, no suitable solution has been provided in the prior art for maintaining uncoated silverware in a nonoxidizing environment for extended periods of time.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to a housing or cabinet for storing clean and brightly polished silver in an atmosphere containing substantially no oxygen, that is a nonoxidizing or inert atmosphere, so that the silverware will not become tarnished or oxidized due to oxygen reacting with the surface of the silverware and forming a dark, unsightly tarnished surface of silver oxide.
It is an object of this invention to provide a sealed silverware cabinet from which substantially all of the oxygen may be removed in order to prevent tarnishing and oxidation of the surface of silverware contained therein.
It is also an object of the invention to provide a silverware cabinet in which silverware can be stored for extended periods of time in a nonoxidizing environment.
Another object of the invention is to provide a silverware cabinet from which substantially all of the oxygen may be removed by purging the interior thereof with a nonoxidizing or inert gas.
It is a further object of the invention to provide a silverware cabinet which may be evacuated in order to remove substantially all of the oxygen therefrom and the removed oxygen replaced by an atmosphere of a nonoxidizing or inert gas.
An additional object is to provide a silverware cabinet in which an oxygen consuming flame may burn in order to remove the oxygen from the air within the cabinet.
It is also an important object of this invention to provide a sealed silverware cabinet from which the ambient atmosphere may be automatically removed in response to closing the access door thereof and an inert or nonoxidizing atmosphere automatically supplied to the cabinet to replace the removed oxygen containing atmosphere.
These and other objects of the invention will become apparent and better understood when considered in the light of the following specification and claims taken with the drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a front elevational view of a silverware cabinet according to this invention;
FIG. 2 is a sectional view of the silverware cabinet of FIG. 1 taken on line 2-2 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a sectional view of the silverware cabinet taken on line 3-3 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is a view similar to FIG. 2 showing a modified form of the silverware cabinet of FIG. 1; and
FIG. 5 is an enlarged, schematic, fragmentary, perspective view partly broken away of a further form of the invention wherein the ambient oxygen containing atmosphere is automatically evacuated from the silverware cabinet and replaced by a nonoxidizing or inert atmosphere.
The silverware cabinet of FIGS. 1-3 includes a rectangular shaped cabinet having a back wall 3, side walls 5 and 7 and top and bottom walls 9 and 11 respectively. Preferably, the cabinet 1 is maintained a short distance above the supporting surface by the legs 13.
The front wall 15 of the cabinet 1 includes vertical side members 17 and 19 with horizontally extending top and bottom members 21 and 23 extending between the side members 17 and 19 to form an open rectangular framework or access opening 27. A resilient seal 25, formed of suitable rubber, plastic or like material, is fixed to the front face of the side members 17 and 19 and of the top and bottom members 21 and 23 to provide a continuous seal around the rectangular shaped access opening 27.
An access door 29, which may have glass panes 31 installed and sealed therein, is mounted on the front wall of the cabinet by a plurality of hinges 33 fastened to the vertical member 19 and to the door. The access door 29, when in the closed position, bears against the resilient seal 25 with sufficient force to provide a gas tight seal entirely around the periphery of the door. The door is maintained in the closed, sealed position by any suitable fastening means such as the latch 35 mounted on the fixed pivot pin 37 carried by the access door and engageable with the keeper 39 fixed on the side member 17.
The interior of the cabinet 1 includes a portion referred to as a housing 41 in which the silverware is to be stored and which is substantially gas tight when the access door is closed, and a chamber 43 in which apparatus to be discussed later is mounted. The housing 41 is separated from the chamber 43 by a vertical partition 45 extending downwardly from the top wall 9 and between the side walls 5 and 7 to a horizontal partition 46 extending rearwardly of the cabinet from the vertical partition 45 to the rear wall 3 and between the side walls 5 and 7. A door 47 mounted on the hinges 48 at the rear of the cabinet and held closed by the fastening device 49 provides for access to the chamber 43.
The walls of the housing 41 and the access door 29 are constructed of selected materials and in such a manner that they are substantially air impervious so that the housing will be substantially gas tight when the access door 29 is in the closed position bearing against the resilient seal 25. A plurality of vertically spaced shelves 50 provided for supporting silverware or boxes for holding silverware thereon, extend between the side walls 5 and 7 in the housing portion of the cabinet.
In the form of the invention shown in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, the oxygen is removed from within the housing 41, when the access door 29 is sealed closed, by an oxygen consuming flame 51. Fuel for the flame may be provided by a suitable combustible gas, preferably hydrocarbon gases which are readily available and inexpensive such as propane, natural gas, etc., maintained under pressure in the tank 53 supported on the horizontal partition 46 in the chamber 43 and secured therein by a resilient clamp 55 fixed to the side wall 7. A suitable gas burning nozzle 57 extends into the housing 41 from an opening formed in the lower portion of the vertical partition 45 and is connected with the outlet of the tank 53 by a flexible hose 59. The tank 53 is of conventional construction and is provided with the usual manual shut-off valve, pressure gauge to indicate the pressure of the gas within the tank, and adjustable pressure reducing valve. A control valve 61 for controlling the flow of the gas from the tank 53 to the nozzle 57, is connected with the flexible hose 59 between the nozzle 57 and the tank pressure reducing valve and may be mounted in the chamber 43, as shown, or in the housing 41 adjacent to the partition 45. The control valve 61 may be opened and closed manually by the valve handle 62 or it may be a thermostatically actuated valve of conventional construction having a thermostatic couple 63 extending from closely adjacent the nozzle 57 to the valve 61 so as to be heated by the flame 51 for maintaining the valve 61 in the open condition as long as a flame is burning at the nozzle 57 and for automatically closing the valve 61 when the flame is extinguished. Preferably, the valve 61 is of the type which may be opened and closed thermostatically as well as manually.
Obviously in the simplest form of the invention, the control valve 61 would be opened and closed manually by the valve handle 62 and the thermostatic couple 63 would be eliminated. Thus by manually opening the valve 61, lighting the gas at the nozzle 57 and closing the access door 29, the oxygen within the housing would be consumed by the flame. As
soon as the flame became extinguished, as observed through the panes 31 of the access door, the flow of gas from the tank 53 would be manually shut-off, leaving the silverware in the housing in a nonoxidizing atmosphere.
When the thermostatic couple is employed for controlling the valve 61, and a flame is applied to the nozzle 57 and to the thermostatic couple 63, the valve 61 will open and gas will flow through the hose 59 and the nozzle 57 where it will be ignited, after which the access door will be closed tightly against the resilient seal 25. The flame at the nozzle 57 will continue to burn and to consume oxygen until substantially all of the oxygen in the housing 41 is consumed, after which the flame will die out whereupon the heat sensitive thermostatic couple 63 will operate to close the valve 61. In this condition, the interior of the housing 41 will contain substantially no oxygen and the silverware supported therein will be stored in a nonoxidizing environment.
The pressure within the housing 41 will be reduced to below normal atmospheric pressure due to the flame 51 consuming the oxygen. While the silverware may be stored in this low pressure, nonoxidizing atmosphere, it is preferred to replace the consumed oxygen with a nonoxidizing or inert gas and to maintain the interior of the housing 41 at substantially atmospheric pressure or at a small positive pressure. For this purpose, a pressure tank 64 having the usual shut-off valve, pressure gauge and pressure reducing valve mounted thereon and containing a nonoxidizing or inert gas is mounted in the chamber 43 on the horizontal partition 46 and is connected with a suitable shut-off valve 65, such as a tapered plug valve, by a hose 66 passing through an opening formed in the partition 45. The shut-off valve 65 is mounted on the side wall with the valve stem extending through an opening formed in the cabinet wall 5 so that the valve can be opened and closed from the exterior of the cabinet by means of a valve handle 67 fixed on the valve stem.
The valve 65 may be opened at any time after the flame 51 is ignited and the access door closed to provide the interior of the housing 41 with a nonoxidizing atmosphere from the tank 64. The pressure regulating valve carried by the tank 64 is preferably set to furnish gas to the interior of the housing 41 at a pressure at least equal to average atmospheric pressure or a slight positive pressure so as to provide a condition wherein, should any gas leakage occur past the access door seal 25, the nonoxidizing or inert gas would flow out of the housing 41 rather than the oxygen containing atmosphere flow into the housing.
In the event that a nonoxidizing atmosphere is not provided in the housing 41 and it is desired to permit the pressure within the housing to remain below normal atmospheric pressure, a manually actuated valve 68 may be mounted on a pipe 69 passing through the side wall 5. The valve 68, which is normally closed, would be opened just prior to access door 29 in order to permit air to enter the housing and equalize the inside pressure with that outside of the cabinet so that the access door could be easily opened.
In the form of the invention shown in FIG. 4, the silverware cabinet construction is the same as the one already described. A tank of nonoxidizing or inert gas 70 is mounted on the partition 46 in the chamber 43 and is provided with the usual shutoff valve, pressure gauge and adjustable pressure reducing valve. A nozzle 71 mounted in the upper portion of the partition 45 is connected with the pressure reducing valve of the tank by a hose 72 and a manual flow control valve 74 is mounted in a pipe 74a which bypasses the pressure reducing valve of the tank 70. A one way check valve 73 mounted in the bottom wall 11 is constructed and arranged to open when the gas pressure within the housing 41 is a small amount, usually of few pounds, above the maximum atmospheric pressure to be expected in the region where the silverware cabinet will be used.
The oxygen containing atmosphere in the silverware cabinet of FIG. 4 may be purged from the housing 41, after the access door 29 has been closed, by manually opening the flow control valve 74 and permitting the nonoxidizing or inert gas in the tank 70 under pressure to bypass the pressure regulating valve of the tank and to enter the housing 41 through the nozzle 71 thus forcing the ambient air out of the housing through the check valve 73. After it has been determined that all of the oxygen containing air has been purged from the interior of the housing and that nonoxidizing or inert gas is issuing from the check valve 73, the manual control valve 74 is closed. The pressure regulator valve on the tank 70 is set to open at a pressure which is slightly less than that required to open the check valve so that the interior of the housing will be automatically maintained at a small value above atmospheric pressure. Thus, if the nonoxidizing or inert gas leaks out of the housing and the pressure therein is reduced, the pressure regulating valve will open and supply the housing with sufficient nonoxidizing gas to maintain the desired elevated pressure therein. I
In FIG. 5, a schematic arrangement is shown for automatically evacuating the interior of the housing upon closing the access door and for replacing the evacuated air with a nonoxidizing or inert atmosphere.
The silverware cabinet of the form of the invention illustrated in FIG. 5 is constructed substantially the same as the one described in connection with FIGS. 1-3 although it is not shown in its entirety. A tank of nonoxidizing or inert gas 75 provided with the customary shut-off valve, pressure gauge and pressure regulating valve, is mounted on the partition 46 in the chamber 43. The tank 75 is connected with the interior of the housing 41 by a conduit 76 which passes through an opening formed in the partition 45. A unitary electric motor and vacuum pump 77 is mounted in the chamber 43 with a pipe 78 connecting the suction or inlet of the vacuum pump with the interior of the housing 41. The outlet or discharge from the vacuum pump passes out of the chamber 43 to the atmosphere through a suitable grillwork 47a formed in the chamber door 47.
An electric switch 79 mounted at the upper left-hand corner of the cabinet in position to be operated by the access door when it is closed, completes an electric circuit for actuating the electric motor and vacuuming pump 77. As soon as the pressure in the housing 41 decreases below atmospheric, for example, a few pounds, a normally open pressure actuated switch 80 exposed to the pressure in the housing 41 will close and complete a circuit across the contacts 800 and 80b to a solenoid operated keeper 81 which will lock the access door latch 82 against movement and prevent the opening of the access door while the vacuum pump is running and the pressure in the housing is low.
When a high degree of vacuum is obtained in the housing 41 and substantially all of the oxygen containing atmosphere has been evacuated, a vacuum actuated switch 83 exposed to the pressure in the housing 41 will be actuated from the full line position to that of the dotted line to open the circuit to the electric motor through the contact 83a and to complete a holding circuit through the contact 83b to a solenoid actuated valve 84 connected with the conduit 76 downstream of the pressure regulating valve of the tank 75. The nonoxidizing or inert gas will then flow into the housing 41 and replace the evacuated air. The pressure regulator of tank 75 is preferably set to maintain a positive pressure above atmospheric in the housing 41. As the pressure in the housing approaches atmospheric the switch 80 will open the circuit to the solenoid operated keeper 8] so that the latch 82 will be released.
The cabinet may remain in this condition, that is with the housing containing a nonoxidizing or inert atmosphere at a small positive pressure, for as long as desired. Opening of the access door will open the circuit at the door switch 79 releasing the holding circuit to the solenoid valve 84 and shutting off the flow of gas from the tank 75 and the switch 83 will be moved to its initial position shown in full line for completing a circuit to the electric motor 77 when the access door is again closed. The automatic operation described above may be interrupted at any time by opening a manual switch 85 mounted on the side wall 5 and in the electric supply line 86. The interior of the housing 41 may then be connected to atmosphere by opening the valve 68 in the pipe 69 extending through the wall 5. The interior of the housing 41 may be illuminated by a light bulb 87 controlled by a switch 88 mounted in the top wall 9.
While the cabinet of the present invention has been described as being particularly adapted for storing silverware, it would obviously serve for storing other articles or materials which desirably are to be kept in a nonoxidizing or inert atmosphere.
What I claim is:
l. A silverware cabinet, comprising: a closed housing having an access door; means for supporting silverware within the housing; means providing a substantially gas tight seal between the access door when it is closed and the housing; and means for sustaining an oxygen-consuming flame for removing substantially all of the oxygen from within the housing when the access door is closed.
2. A silverware cabinet according to claim 1 in which means is provided for replacing the removed oxygen with a nonoxidizing gas.
3. A silverware cabinet according to claim 2 in which the gas is an inert gas.
4. A silverware cabinet according to claim 3 in which the gas is nitrogen.
5. In a closed silverware cabinet having a gas tight sealed access door, means for evacuating the cabinet when the access door is sealed closed; a source of non-oxidizing or inert gas; means for releasing said gas into the interior of the cabinet; means for interrupting the release of the gas while the access door is open and while the cabinet is being evacuated; means responsive to the closing of the access door for actuating the evacuating means; means responsive to a relatively high degree of vacuum in the cabinet for deactuating the evacuating means and for actuating the means for releasing the gas into the cabinet to provide therein an atmosphere of the gas of at least substantially atmospheric pressure.
6. A closed silverware cabinet according to claim 5, including a normally deactuated means for locking the access door, and means responsive to a pressure in the cabinet of less than about average atmospheric pressure for actuating the lock means.
7. A closed silverware cabinet according to claim 5, in which said gas is nitrogen.