US 3653224 A
An ice service for an household refrigerator comprising an ice receptacle and a flexible freezing tray so designed that the tray can be stacked on the receptacle in its upright position and, in the inverted position, can be supported on the receptacle so that pressure on an unsupported corner of the tray will twist the tray for ejection of ice pieces therefrom. To this end the receptacle is provided with a section extending upwardly from the rear wall thereof and having a slot for receiving a handle on one end of the tray when the tray is in an inverted position above the receptacle and a projection extending upwardly from a front portion of a receptacle sidewall for supporting a forward side portion of the inverted tray. This projection plus the anchoring of the handle in the slot supports the tray so that a downward pressure on an unsupported forward corner portion of the tray will twist the tray to release ice pieces therefrom.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [151 3,653,224 Tsen [451 Apr. 4, 1972  ICE SERVICE F OR HOUSEHOLD Primary Examiner-William F. O'Dea REFRIGERATORS Assistant Examiner-P. D. Ferguson Attorney-Walter E. Rule, Francis H. Boos, Jr., Frank L. Neulflvemofi John BOP-50W Tie", Loulsvllle, hauser, Oscar B. Waddell and John B. Forman  Assignee. General Electric Company S C  Filed: July 24, 1970 l An we service for an household refrigerator comprising an Ice PP N04 58,1 13 receptacle and a flexible freezing tray so designed that the tray can be stacked on the receptacle in its upright position and, in 52 US. or... ..62/344 249/127 inverted can be Pinned  Int. Cl. ..l' 25c 5/18 that pressure on 9 unsuppolted comer of the "X twist [58 Field of Search ..62/72 344 249/69 70 71 my l T0 end 249/l26 receptacle is provided with a section extending upwardly from the rear wall thereof and having a slot for receiving a handle 56] References Cited on one end of the tray when the tray is in an inverted position above the receptacle and a projection extending upwardly UNITED STATES PATENTS from a front portion of a receptacle sidewall for supporting a forward side portion of the inverted tray. This projection plus 3,053,059 9/1962 Volgtmann ..62/344 the anchoring of the handle in the Slot supports the tray so that 2,561,277 7/1951 a downward pressure on an unsupported forward corner por- 2,772,542 12/1956 Gaugler et al. ..62/344 tion of the tray will twist the tray to release ice pieces 3,159,985 12/1964 Keighley ..62/344 therefrom. 3,412,572 11/1968 Kesling ..62/72 X 4 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures 8 IQ, 9 f 1 I Q MP9 to K 1 l" l- 17 l4 a Z Z0 PATENTEDAPR 41972 3,653,224
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INVENTOR 3 JOHN BUR-Sow TSEN BY W ms A TORNEY BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION There are presently available on the market household refrigerators including an ice service comprising an ice storage bin or receptacle and one or more flexible freezing trays, the receptacle and trays being so constructed that one or more trays can be stacked in an upright position on top of the ice receptacle. As the trays and receptacle are of substantially the same horizontal dimensions, the horizontal space occupied by the combination, regardless of the number of trays included, is the same as the horizontal dimensions of a tray.
Ice services have also been used or proposed which include a storage receptacle or bin and one or more flexible freezing trays with either the receptacle or both the receptacle and the tray being provided with means for supporting three corners or two adjacent sides of the inverted ice tray on the ice storage receptacle in a manner such that manual depression of a free or unsupported corner of the tray will flex the tray to eject ice pieces from the tray compartments. Ice services of this type are shown for example in U.S. Pat. No. 3,053,059 Voigtmann and No. 3,159,985 Keighley. However, in these tray and receptacle combinations the means for supporting the tray on the receptacle during depression of the fourth corner are of a construction preventing the stacking of the upright trays on the open top of the receptacle.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is a general object of the present invention to provide a combination of an ice storage receptacle and one or more freezing trays including cooperative means, which will not interfere with the stacking of a tray on the receptacle, for supporting an inverted tray on the receptacle so that depression of the unsupported corner thereof will rack the tray for ejection of ice pieces therefrom.
In accordance with the illustrated embodiment of the invention, there is provided a rectangular ice piece storage receptacle and one or more rectangular plastic freezing trays. The trays and the upper edge of the storage receptacle are so constructed that the trays can be stacked on one another and on the receptacle.
The receptacle and trays also include means which will not interfere with the stacking of the trays on one another and on the receptacle, for positioning and supporting an inverted tray on the receptacle for discharge of ice pieces to the receptacle. To this end each tray is provided with a transversely extending handle projecting outwardly from one end wall thereof and the receptacle includes a section extending upwardly from the rear wall thereof, this projection having a slot therein for receiving a tray handle when the tray is in its inverted position. TI-Ie receptacle also includes a projection extending upwardly from one side wall edge forwardly from the rear wall supporting one side of the inverted tray at a point spaced from the rear wall. This projection and the anchoring of the tray handle in the slot supports the tray in such a manner that when the unsupported side edge of the tray is depressed the tray is twisted to release ice pieces therefrom.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING In the accompanying drawing:
FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of the ice service of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a side view of a portion of the ice service illustrating the tray component supported in an inverted position on the receptacle component;
FIG. 3 is an end view of the ice service components in the positions shown in FIG. 2; and
FIG. 4 is a view similar to FIG. 3 illustrating the flexing of the tray for discharge of ice pieces therefrom.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED IMBODIMENT The ice service of the present invention illustrated in the accompanying drawing comprises an ice storage receptacle 1 and at least one freezing tray 2, the receptacle 1 and tray 2 being so constructed that the tray can be normally stacked on top of the receptacle 1 in the freezer compartment of a household refrigerator.
The receptacle 1 of rectangular cross section comprises opposed sidewalls 3 and 4, a rear wall 5 and a relatively short front wall 6 providing an access opening 7 at the front of the receptacle through which ice pieces can be removed without removing the tray from the top of the receptacle 1. The upper edge of the side walls 3 and 4 of the receptacle 1 are in the same horizontal plane and form a supporting surface on which the tray 2 can be stacked.
The tray 2, which is also of rectangular construction and is preferably formed of a plastic material, comprises two longitudinally extending rows of compartments 8 for receiving the liquid to be frozen, these compartments having slanting side walls to facilitate removal of ice pieces therefrom. The tray 2 also includes a flat rim 9 and a depending skirt 10 extending about the four sides of the tray, the skirt 10 providing reinforcement for the tray during the flexing thereof. Shouldered legs 14 provided at the four corners of the tray between the skirt l0 and an adjacent compartment 8 provide means for normally supporting the tray 2 in an upright position on the receptacle 1 as illustrated in FIG. I of the drawing. The rim 9 of the tray and the legs 14 are also designed so that an additional tray or trays can be stacked vertically on a tray supported on the receptacle 1. Thus an ice service for a household refrigerator may include one receptacle and one or more trays stacked on the receptacle and positioned, for example, along one side wall of the freezer compartment of a household refrigerator.
An ice service having this stacking feature is presently provided in at least one commercially available household refrigerator. In this commercially available ice service, it is necessary to remove the receptacle and trays from the freezer compartment in order that a tray containing ice pieces can be inverted and while held by both hands above the open top of the receptacle twisted to discharge the ice pieces into the receptacle.
In accordance with the present invention, the receptacle 1 and tray 2 are provided with means facilitating the positioning and supporting of an inverted tray on the receptacle 1 so that ice pieces can be harvested from a tray and discharged into the receptacle 1 without removing the receptacle from the freezer compartment.
This is accomplished by means including an outwardly extending projection or handle 16 at one or both ends of the tray 2, the handle structure preferrably being of a rectangular cross section as illustrated in FIG. 3 of the drawing. The receptacle includes a section 17 extending upwardly and rearwardly from the rear wall 5, this section including horizontal rectangular slot 18 adapted to receive a handle I6 when the inverted tray is positioned on the upper edges of the receptacle 1 as illustrated in FIG. 2 of the drawing. More specifically the handle 16 and slot 18 are respectively positioned on the tray 2 and receptacle 1 so that when the tray 2 is in its normal or upright position on the receptacle 1 as shown in FIG. I the rearwardly extending handle 16 is out of horizontal alignment with the slot 18 and the section 17 is positioned rearwardly from the rear wall 5 of the receptacle a distance sufiicient so that neither the slot nor the section 17 interfere with the normal stacking of the tray on the receptacle. The relative positions of these components are shown in FIG. 1 of the drawing. However, when the tray is inverted and placed on the receptacle 1 as illustrated in FIG. 2 of the drawing with the tray at a slight angle with reference to the upper surface of the receptacle 1, a handle 16 extends into and is anchored within the slot 18. Thus the engagement of the handle 16 with the slot 18 anchors one end of the tray with reference to the rear wall of the receptacle 1.
ai -far can?! Also in accordance with the present invention, there is provided a projection 20 extending upwardly from one side wall of the receptacle 1 spaced from the rear wall and preferably close to the front portion of the receptacle for supporting one side edge of the tray 2 when the tray is in its inverted position and the handle 16 is in the slot 18. The projection 20 is of a height such that it clears the lower edge portion 21 of the skirt when the tray is in its normal position as illustrated in FIG. 1 of the drawing.
With the tray in its inverted position as shown in F165. 2 and 3, the end thereof having a handle 16 extending into the slot 18 is anchored against twisting movement relative to the receptacle and one forward side edge portion is supported above the top of the receptacle 1 by the projection 20. when thus supported, a downward pressure on the unsupported front corner of the tray causes the tray 2 to flex as illustrated in FIG. 4 of the drawing thereby twisting the tray enough to release ice pieces from the compartment 8 and these ice pieces fall directly into thereceptacle l. The empty tray is then removed from the receptacle, refilled and positioned on top of the receptacle as shown in FIG. 1. Access to the ice pieces in the receptacle can thereafter be obtained through the opening 17 in the front wall of the receptacle. As has been previously indicated additional trays may be stacked on top of the receptacle.
While there has been shown and described a specific embodiment of the present invention, it will be understood that it is not limited thereto and it is intended by the appended claims to cover all such modifications falling within the true spirit and scope of the invention. a
I. An ice service for use in a refrigerator comprising:
a flexible rectangular plastic tray including a rectangular body portion composed of aiplurality of compartments adapted to contain liquid-to be frozen and from which the resultant ice pieces can be released by longitudinal twisting of said tray;
said tray having legs at the four comers of said tray;
said tray including a transversely and outwardly extending handle on at least one end thereof;
a rectangular ice piece storage receptacle including opposed side walls having upper side edges in the same horizontal plane for supporting said legs when said tray is stacked on said receptacle in an upright position;
said receptacle including a section extending upwardly from and spaced rearwardly of the rear end wall thereof and having a transverse slot therein vertically offset from said tray handle when said tray is stacked in an upright position on said receptacle and adapted to receive and anchor said handle when said tray is placed in an inverted position on said receptacle;
said receptacle including a projection extending upwardly from the forward end of one side wall thereof for engaging a side edge of said tray when said tray is in said inverted position with the tray handle received in said slot so that downward pressure on the opposite side edge of said tray will twist said tray to eject ice pieces from said compartments.
2. An ice service according to claim 1 in which said tray includes a skirt surrounding said body portion of a length such that is does not contact said projection of said receptacle when said tray is stacked on said receptacle.
3. An ice service according to claim 1 in which said handle and said slot are substantially rectangular.
4. An ice service according to claim 1 in which the front wall of said receptacle is shorter than the side walls thereof to provide an opening therein for access to ice pieces stored in said receptacle.