US 3654780 A
A portable hand held clothes steamer has structure therein to prevent sputtering and dispensing of water droplets with the steam under various operating conditions. The structure includes a circulating type heater immersed in water, a circuitous passageway to a steam dispensing head and structure adapted to separate condensed water droplets from live steam.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
O United States Patent [151 3,654# 80 Frank [451 Apr.. 11, 1972 [541 CLOTHES STEAMER DEVICE 3,272,964 9/1966 Carlos er nl. 6s/222 x 3,423,966 1/l969 Mitchell ..68/222  lnvemof- Bemard Frank Shamokm Pa' 3,470,719 |0/1969 Frank 6s/222  Assignee: Dart Industries, Inc., West Bend, Wis. 3,485,065v 12/ 1969 Frank ..68/222  Filed APP 2l, 1971 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS [2li Appl- N04 136,220 29,928 9/.1925 France 6s/222 188,518 ll/l922 Great Britain... ..219/319 Related U-S' Applcmo Dat 487,876 6/1938 Great Britain ..219/319 |63] Continuation of Ser. No. 817,932, Apr. 2l, i969, 508,866 7/1939 Great Britain ....219/319 abandoned. 454,902 1/l928 Germany ..68/222  U.S. Cl ..68/222, 219/319 Primary Examinerf-William I. Price [5 l] Int. Cl. ,.D06c l/00, D06f 75/00  Field of Search ..68/222; 219/319  ABSTRACT A portable hand held clothes steamer has structure therein to  References Cited prevent sputtering and dispensing of water droplets with the UNITED STATES PATENTS steam under various operating conditions. The structure in cludes a circulating type heater immersed in water, a cir- Cavaller ..t X Cuitous passageway to a Steam dispensing head and Structure L91 64066 6/1933 Moyle r --219/319 X adapted to separate condensed water droplets from live steam. 1,617,755 2/1927 Gott ..68/222 2,691,089 10/1954 Blais ..219/319 X 5 Claims, l Drawing Figlre PATENTEDAPR 11 |912 3, 654, 780
INVENTOR. BERNARD FRANK AT TOH/VE Y CLOTHES STEAMER DEVICE This is a continuation of application Ser. No. 817,932, filed Apr. 2 l 1969 and now abandoned,
This application is copending with applications Ser. No. 854,241, filed Aug. 29, 1969, now U.S. lPat. No. 3,570,276 and Ser. No. 708,657, filed Feb. 27, 1968, now U.S. Pat. No. 3,485,065 and Ser. No. 692,828, filed Dec. 22, 1967, now U.S. Pat. No. 3,470,719.
This invention relates to clothes Steamers and more particularly it relates to portable hand held Steamers having a dispensing surface for stroking over garments to pass live steam therethrough.
In a garment steamer clothes are dewrinkled without pressing with a hot iron surface against an ironing board. The action of live steam passing through the garment serves the purpose of conditioning the fibers to hang out smoothly and return to their unwrinkled condition. However if the steam is mixed with water droplets so that the garment becomes damp or wet, the steamer does not work properly. A hot iron serves to evaporate such moisture which is always present in the conventional steam iron, but such ironing surface is not present in a steamer of the type disclosed herein.
Several factors contribute to the sputtering or mixture of water droplets with the live steam dispensed from a clothes steamer. Generally a water chamber has immersed therein an electrical heater element for boiling the water. However in a portable garment steamer various changes of voltage may be encountered. The nominal 110 volts AC used in the United States may vary from 100 to 125 volts depending upon power factors, loading and local conditions. Also the amount of water in the heating chamber may vary over large relative limits from full to empty condition, so that use of a simple heater unit without expensive thermostatic controls with capacity enough to boil water in a full chamber may cause excessive turbulance as the chamber empties so that water droplets are passed out with the live steam.
ln addition the passageway through which steam passes to a distributing dispensing head will be subject to condensation of water droplets, which by force of a current of live steam may be carried out into the garment. Also the hardness of the water, mineral deposits, etc., contribute to sputtering.
Accordingly it is an object of this invention to provide an improved steamer device correcting the foregoing problems to pass live steam through a garment which is devoid of water droplets.
In accordance with the invention therefore a portable, cylindrical, electrically heated steamer casing about the size of a flashlight is provided, The steamer operates in an upright position with its axis vertical and a dispensing head at its upper extremity. At the lower extremity is a removable water containing chamber which is filled when removed to thereby limit the maximum water level in the chamber. At the bottom of this chamber is a heater element, surrounded by stovepipelike circulation means that circulates water into contact with the heater element. ln the steam conveying passageway are elements for removing condensation droplets from the steam conveyance pathway.
A further detailed description of the invention, together with its additional features, advantages and objectives is found in the following specification which refers to a preferred embodiment illustrated in the accompanying drawing.
In the drawing a portable garment steamer is shown in elevation view partly in section.
A lower water chamber section 3 comprises a plastic cylindrical base section with an integral handle 4. A steam dispensing head 5 is contained at the extremity of the upper portion 6 which is sealed onto the bottom portion by means of an O-ring gasket in the bayonet type coupling 7.
Plugged into the water chamber section 3 is a coaxially positioned heater element 8 held frictionally in place by means of a bolt 9 to serve as the chamber floor. About the cylindrical heater element 8 is friction fitted in thermal conductive contact a metallic pipe 19 having apertures 10 at its lower extremity for permitting water to enter and circulate upwardly inside the pipe 19. As the water level I3 lowers, and during other conditions of overvoltage, etc., the plain heater element 8 would tend to introduce considerable turbulence in the water causing sputtering of droplets that would tend to pass out through dispensing head 5. The pipe section 19 serves to eliminate this type of sputtering over a wide range of conditions of heater voltage supplied at cord 14 and water level 13 including those encountered when the water includes minerals, etc. The size of apertures 10 is not critical and may typically be between one thirty-second to one-eighth inch in diameter, thereby permitting proper turbulance free circulation into direct contact with heater element 8. The pipe 19 additionally serves to heat the water because of thermal contact with element 8, but more gently because of the temperature gradient as the distance from the heater element varies. However the heating ability for the full water capacity is not diminished.
Preferably the pipe 19 closely surrounds the heater element 8 and is slightly spaced therefrom at its upper extremity, and the pipe 19 is long enough to extend beyond the top of the heater element 8.
In addition to the sputtering of the water in chamber section 3, condensation takes place in upper chamber passageway 6 and head 5 so that there is a tendency for passing steam to carry droplets out the aluminum stroking plate 12 which serves to substantially evenly dispense steam over a predetermined area. As may be seen the head is inwardly embossed to derive steam from an open central inner part of head piece 5 and thus causing any condensation on metal plate 12 to return to the water compartment 13 along the walls 5 and through apertures 18, etc. which are located to permit gravity feed of water back to the chamber 3.
A baffle arrangement 1l is located inside upper portion 6 in the steam conveyance path, to cause the steam to take a circuitous path, thereby discouraging the conveyance of any water droplets therewith from water compartment section 3. The baffles 1l also provide for feeding water condensation droplets back into the water chamber.
In order to provide for the safety of the device when the heater is on in the absence of water in the lower compartment 3, mounting elements 15 and 16 are preferably thermally insulating members which serve to prevent conduction of excessive heat into the base or container walls. A ring of phenolic plastic could be used as part of the plug within the bottom of the cylinder surrounding the heater to reduce the heating in the event the water is gone and the steamer heater element is left on.
It is also found that apertures 10 located near the top of the pipe or sleeve 19 disposed over and around the heating element aids in circulating water while reducing the sputtering and excess condensation obtained from violently boiling water.
1. A portable hand held steamer device for clothing comprising in combination a casing having a distributing head which dispenses live steam substantially evenly over a surface area for dewrinkling garments, a cylindrical water containing chamber in said casing, a plug means mounted frictionally and coaxially inside the casing at its lower extremity to provide a floor in said chamber, a cylindrical heater element mounted on said plug means and positioned in said water containing chamber to be immersed in the water having a heating capacity to boil the water and produce steam therefrom, and a hollow open ended tubular member in said water chamber, said tubular member comprising a metal pipe section having a substantially constant diameter surrounding said heater element and spaced therefrom and in thermally conductive contact therewith at its lower extremity and at least at its lower extremity having through its walls aperture means for permitting circulation of water through said tubular member.
2. A device as dened in claim l wherein said water chamber comprises a removable lower cylindrical section of a portable steamer having a capacity limiting the amount of water held in the chamber.
5. A device as defined in claim 1, wherein said plug means surrounds the heater element and consists of a heat insulating material, which protects the device from overheating in the event the heater element is energized without water in said chamber.