US 3670530 A
An additive dispenser for clothes washing machines or the like having a container that pivots from a vertical additive-retaining position to a substantially horizontal additive-dispensing position in response to centrifugal force developed by spinning of the agitator. The container is maintained in the retaining and dispensing positions by an elastic band urging the side and top walls, respectively, against the agitator, the elastic band stretching during agitator spin to allow the container to change positions. In another embodiment of the invention, the container is pivotally mounted to the agitator by a bracket that has a leaf spring depending therefrom, the leaf spring being operative to engage the top of the container after agitator spin to hold the same in its dispensing position.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Filipak [451 June 20, 1972 DISPENSER FOR CLOTHES WASHING ADDITIVES Edmund H. Filipak, 132 Grasrnere Ave.,
Mansfield, Ohio 44906  Filed: June 9, 1971 [211 App]. No.: 151,196
 0.8. CI. ..68/17 A, 233/26 [51 Int. Cl. 061 39/02  Field of Search ..68/17 R, 17 A; 233/26  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,967,416 1/1961 Devery ..68/17 A 2,969,072 1/1961 Barritt .68/ 17 R X 3,038,640 6/1962 Braga et al. ..68/17 R 3,268,120 8/1966 Durst ....68/l7 RX 3,575,021 4/1971 Bochan ..68/17 A Primary Examiner-Walter A. Scheel Assistant Examiner-Philip R. Coe Attorney-Oberlin, Maky, Donnelly & Renner  ABSTRACT An additive dispenser for clothes washing machines or the like having a container that pivots from a vertical additive-retaining position to a substantially horizontal additive-dispensing position in response to centrifugal force developed by spinning of the agitator. The container is maintained in the retaining and dispensing positions by an elastic band urging the side and top walls, respectively, against the agitator, the elastic band stretching dun'ng agitator spin to allow the container to change positions. ln another embodiment of the invention, the container is pivotally mounted to the agitator by a bracket that has a leaf spring depending therefrom, the leaf spring being operative to engage the top of the container after agitator spin to hold the same in its dispensing position.
8Clairrs,6l)rawingfigures INVENTOR. EDMUND H. F IL IPAK ATTORNEYS DISPENSER FOR CLOTHES WASHING ADDITIVES The present invention relates to an additive dispenser for clothes washing machines, and, more particularly, to a simplified dispenser that may readily be used with a number of different machines efficiently to discharge the additive to the washing basket at the proper time in the washing cycle.
The conventional washing cycle includes at least four distinct operational steps after inserting the items to be laundered into the washing basket. The first step is the washing sequence in which the basket is partially filled with water and a soap additive, and the clothes are moved through the water by oscillation of the agitator member. The second step is the extraction of the wash water by simultaneously spinning the washing basket and agitator, with the water exiting through holes in the annular sidewall of the washing chamber under centrifugal force. The third step is the rinsing of the clothes in water freshly supplied to the washing basket by oscillation of the agitator member. The fourth and final step is the extraction of the rinse water by centrifugal force as described above.
It may additionally be desirable to add laundering-aid materials, such as fabric or water softening solutions, and a number of different devices have been developed to accomplish this purpose.
For example, U.S. Pat. No. 2,967,416 discloses a dispenser assembly including an elongated arm that has a liquid agent cup pivotally suspended from one of its ends. The cup is in an upright position during impeller or agitator oscillation but pivots to a horizontal position in response tothe high speed rotation of the basket during wash water extraction. A latch or catch is provided on the arm to hold the cup in its horizontal position for dispensing the liquid agent after the basket has completed its rotational cycle. Other dispenser devices, such as US. Pat Nos. 2,949,025 and 3,268,] 20, include agent containers having internal bafiling to accomplish the dispensing at the proper time in the cycle. All of the patents have fairly complicated structure that involves a particular machine association for operation and mounting, thereby precluding the use of such additive dispensers with more than one specific machine model.
Accordingly, it is the primary object of the present invention to provide a relatively simplified dispensing device that is readily adaptable to existing machines of varying designs. This object is accomplished by having elastic or adjustable straps for mounting the dispensing cup or container to the top portion of the agitator post.
It is another important object of the present invenu'on to provide a resilient member that is adapted to maintain the cup in its additivedispensing position after the agitator member has completed its spi'n. In one embodiment of the invention, the propensity of the elastic mounting strap to return to its original shape is employed to urge the top of the horizontally positioned dispensing cup against the agitator post, thereby to maintain the cup in the additive-dispensing position.
Other objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent as the following description proceeds.
To the accomplishment of the foregoing and related ends, the invention, then, comprises the features hereinafter fully described and particularly pointed out in the claims, the following description and the annexed drawing setting forth in detail certain illustrative embodiments of the invention, these being indicative, however, of but two of the various ways in which the principle of the invention may be employed.
In the drawing:
FIG. 1 is a fragmentary elevation of the additive dispensing device mounted to the agitator post prior to or during its oscillation in the washing step;
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary elevation similar to Fig. 1 showing schematically the position of the dispensing cup during agitator spin;
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary elevation similar to FIG. 1 showing the container in its additive-dispensing position afier the agitator spin cycle has been completed;
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary perspective showing a second embodiment of the present invention prior to or during oscillation of the agitator in the washing step;
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary elevation of the dispensing device of FIG. 4 before the agitator spin cycle; and
FIG. 6 is a view similar to FIG. 5 showing the container in its additive-dispensing position during and after the agitator spin step.
Referring now in more detail to the drawing and initially to the first embodiment shown in FIGS. l-3, the top portion of an agitator post 10, of conventional design and forming no part of the present invention, is shown with the dispensing device mounted thereon.
The dispensing device includes a substantially cylindrical cup or container 12 into which the additive charge of water or fabric softener solution is inserted. The container is provided with an aperture 14 in the sidewall, such aperture being positioned against the agitator member in the vertical additiveretaining position shown in FIG. 1. Additionally, the top of the annular sidewall is tapered slightly downwardly with respect to a plane transverse to the longitudinal axis of the container, as shown at 16 in FIG. 1, and is covered and sealed by cap 17 to prevent loss of charge or dilution of the same during agitator oscillation. As an alternative structural form to prevent loss of charge during oscillation, the container may be provided with a longitudinal internal bafile or partition to divide the volume of the container into smaller chambers, thereby to minimize splashing of the additive solution. A container measuring 2 inches deep and 1% inches in diameter has been found to be particularly well adapted to the additive dispensing function, although, of course, other sized or shaped containers may likewise be employed.
The container 12 is mounted to agitator 10 by an elastic band or strap 18 that extends around the agitator. At its free ends, the elastic strap 18 is joined at 20 to opposite sides of the container sidewall in such manner as to pivotally suspend container 12 from agitator 10 as shown in FIG. 1. Alternatively, elastic strap 18 could be an endless loop extending around the agitator 10 and through the top portion of container 12. A nonelastic limiting cord 22 likewise extends around agitator post 10 and is connected at its free ends to the container 12 at 20. Limiting cord 22 is longer than elastic strap 18 in the relatively unstretched FIG. 1 and FIG. 3 positions of the latter; therefore, slack loops 24 are formed in the limiting cord by clips 25 encircling both strap 18 and cord 22, such clips additionally acting to position the limiting cord on the agitator post.
In operation, the additive charge is placed in the container, and the dispenser device is positioned in its additive-retaining vertical position of FIG. 1 by stretching elastic strap l8 around agitator post 10. The contents of the container are sealed against either dilution or loss during the washing cycle by cap 17 and the positioning of aperture 14 against the agitator post. During the agitator spin centrifugal force causes the container 12 to move radially outwardly as shown by arrow 25 in FIG. 2 and to swing to a substantially horizontal position after clearance is obtained from the agitator. The radial outward movement of the container 12 is permitted to a limited extent by both slack loops 24 in limiting cord 22 and extension of elastic strap 18 by stretching. The non-elastic limiting cord 22 upon becoming taut, as shown in FIG. 2, precludes further stretching of strap 18 and limits the distance between top 17 of container 12 and agitator post 10. The centrifugal force developed by the agitator spinning at between 500 and 600 rpm is sufiicient to keep the additive charge in the bottom of container 12 during spin, thereby to preclude the dispensing of any additive from aperture 14 during the spin cycle.
Upon completion of the spin cycle, the elastic strap 18 contracts, due to the propensity to return to its normal configuration, and draws the top 16 of container 12 against the agitator post. The limiting cord by establishing the maximum distance between the container and agitator insures that the top 16 will be urged against the agitator before the container may pivot out of its horizontal additive-dispensing position. Slanted top 16 acts to hold the container 12 in a slightly inclined position, as shown in FIG. 3, such position promoting the flow of the additive solution from the container as shown by arrow 26.
Referring now to FIGS. 4-6, a second embodiment of the invention, applying the same general principle of using centrifugal force to pivot a container to additive-dispensing position, is shown in association with a conventional agitator post 10. A bracket member 30 is attached to agitator 10 by two elastic or adjustable plastic retaining straps 32, although any number of retaining straps might be used. The bracket consists of an elongate vertically disposed section 34 and two laterally spaced, outwardly extending arms 36. A pivot pin 38 extends between arms 36 and passes through container 40, thereby pivotally to suspend such container.
The container 40 is generally cylindrical in shape and has an open top through which the additive charge may be poured. The open top of container 40 is covered in its vertical or upright addifive-retaining position by circular plate 42, which is pivotally connected to bracket section 34 by hinge plate 44. A leaf spring 46 is likewise connected to the top portion of bracket section 34 and extends downwardly and outwardly therefrom. The spring 46 is selected to be of a strength or rigidity slightly to bow as shown in H6. 5 when thecontainer has the additive charge placed therein, thereby to allow the container to maintain its vertical or upright position.
It will be appreciated that the cup attaching mechanism of the second embodiment could be built as a part of or fixedly connected to the agitator post. For example, the arms 36 could be made as an integral extension of the agitator member, with the cover 42 and leaf spring 46 being connected directly to such member.
In operation, the container 40 will pivot about pin 38 during the agitator spin cycle due to centrifugal force. Such pivoting of the container will move the same to a substantially horizontal additive-dispensing position as shown in FIG. 6, with the cover 42 pivoting upwardly and away from the top of container 40 to allow such movement. The spring 46 will flex and extend across a portion of the container top, thereby to maintain the same in a slightly inclined position and to provide an opening for the container around the spring edges. As in the first embodiment, the centrifugal force developed by the agitator spin is sufficient to keep the solution against the bottom of the container, thereby to preclude premature dispensing of the additive. After the spin cycle has been completed, the additive solution will pass downwardly along the side of the container and be discharged into the washing basket through the top opening.
The embodiments of the invention in which .an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:
1. In a clothes washer having a washing basket and an agitator member, an additive dispenser comprising a container having an aperture therein, said container being pivotally suspended from the agitator member to spin with the same in such a manner as to swing from a substantially vertical additive-retaining position to a substantially horizontal additivedispensing position in response to centrifugal force developed by spinning of said agitator member, and resilient means associated with said agitator member operative to maintain said container in its additive-dispensing position after said agitator member completes its spin, thereby to allow said additives to be discharged through said opening into said basket.
2. A dispenser as set forth in claim 1, wherein said resilient means comprises an elastic strap that extends around the agitator member and is connected to opposite sides of the container to form the pivotal connection, said elastic. strap stretching during agitator spin to allow the container to swing to a substantially horizontal position and contracting after agitator spin to draw the top of the container against the agitator to maintain the container in its additive-dispensing position.
3. A dispenser as set forth in claim 2, further including a, non-elastic limiting cord that likewise extends around the agitator member and is connected to opposite walls of the container at substantially the same location as the elastic member, said limiting cord being of predetermined length to be slack while said container is in its additive-retaining position and to be taut when said container is in its a drtivedispensing position during spin, thereby to limit the extent to which the elastic member stretches during spin so that after spin the top of said container will be brought against the agitator member by the contraction of the elastic member before the container pivots from its additive-dispensing position. position.
4. A dispenser as set forth in claim 3, wherein prior to agitator spin, the elastic strap urges a side of the container against the agitator to hold the container in its substantially vertical additive-retaining position, said container having the aperture in the side wall thereof, with such aperture being positioned against the agitator, thereby to preclude entry of water into the container.
5. A dispenser as set forth in claim 3, wherein the top of the container is tapered with respect to a plane transverse to the longitudinal axis of the container, so that when the top of the container is against the agitator, the container is inclined slightly upwardly away from the agitator to promote additive flow to the aperture.
6. A dispenser as set forth in claim 1, wherein said container is pivotally suspended from the agitator member by a bracket connected thereto having a pivot pin passing through opposite walls of the container.
7. A dispenser as set forth in claim 6, wherein the opening in the container is in the top wall thereof, the opening being covered in the additive-retaining position of the container by a cover plate pivotally connected to the bracket, said cover plate being adapted to pivot away from the top when the container is in the additive-dispensing position.
8. A dispenser as set forth in claim 7, wherein said resilient means comprises a leaf spring depending from said bracket, said leaf spring being adapted to extend across a portion of the top of said container when in its additive-dispensing position, thereby resiliently to maintain the same in such position and to allow the additive to be dispensed from the uncovered portions of the top opening after spin.