US 3704864 A
This invention relates to mixing devices, such as food mixers. One embodiment includes a mixer unit which may be removably, sealingly affixed to the top of a receptacle containing the material to be mixed and the combination thereafter inverted during the mixing operation. Thereby a short-shafted universal mixer device may be used with a wide variety of receptacles.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Lee 1 Dec.5, 1972 [s41 MIXING APPARATUS 3,064,949 11/1962 Dewenter ..259/108  Inventor: Virginia Olga Lee, Homeward Lane, 3l28996 4/1964- Weston C MOI'I'IS t 3,376,878 4/1968 Shoemaker ..259/99 x Filed: April 28, 1970 Ap l. No.: 32,598
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 8/1957 Schwaneke ..259/108 1/1960 Marfuggi ..259/108 Primary Examiner-Jordan Franklin Assistant Examiner-George V. Larkin Attorney-William G. Rhines [5 7] ABSTRACT combination thereafter inverted during the mixing operation. Thereby a short-shafted universal mixer device may be used with a wide variety of receptacles.
2 Claims, 3 Drawing Figures x H I z z 5 I I| gg fi .4 a
11 lllllllllllllllll PATENTEDDEB 5 I972 VIRGINIA OLGA LEE ENVENTOR.
ATTORNEY I MIXING APPARATUS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION the receptacle and. the mixershaft is inserted into the I types of devices have the added disadvantage of difficulty in keeping the agitator mechanism clean, since it is usually inconvenient and sometimes impossible to remove and/or wash the entire unit or the mixer portion ofit. f
An attempt has been made to circumvent these disadvantages by making a unit in which the impeller mechanism is an integral part of the receptacle. Thus,
in these devices, the impeller rests at the bottom of the receptacle and is connected to a clutch means by means of a shaft extending through the base of the receptacle. In use the receptacle is seated atop a base structure which includes a clutch portion for corresponding interengagement with the clutch means on the receptacle. After the receptacle has been so placed, a motor residing in the base structure is actuated and the impeller is thereby caused to turn. While mixers of this design are somewhat easier to clean and do not have the drawback of dimensional criticality between the shaft length and the receptacle depth inherent in mixers as described above, they still are not entirely satisfactory since the impeller structures aredifficult to clean thoroughly and the receptacles are necessarily heavy and cumbersome, and generally unattractive decoratively because of the impeller-in-base structure. In addition, the contents of the receptacle usually must be transferred to another container for serving and/or storage, because the mixing receptacles typically are not suited to or attractive enough for these uses.
Accordingly, objects of this invention are to produce mixer devices which are easy to use and are readily cleanable, and may be used with a wide variety of receptacles which are not dimensionally critical to the shaft length of the mixer impeller mechanism.
It is another object of this invention to produce mixer devices which may be used with receptacles which are attractive and may be used as serving and/or storage vessels without the necessity of transferring their contents to another container.
It will be apparent that the foregoing as well as other objectives are attainable through practice of the present invention.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In one embodiment of the present inventionthere is provided a mixer device comprising a motor in an enclosed housing with an agitation means, such as impeller blades, mechanically connected to the shaft of the motor. The housing of the device includes means for removably affixing the device to an associated receptacle such that the device with the. receptacle affixed thereto may be inverted without the contents of the receptacle, leaking through the juncture between the device and the receptacle. The motor shaft may be short and the interrelationship of shaft length to receptacle height, therefor not critical dimensionally. Optionally, the device may include a pressure switch whereby the motor may be actuated by the weight of the receptacle, or the combined weight of the device and the receptacle.
DESCRIPTION'OF DRAWINGS In the attached drawings, v I FIG. 1 illustrates one embodiment of the presentinvention. I V k i I FIG. 2 illustrates a receptacle which may be used with the embodiment of the present invention shown in FIG. 1,'and
FIG. 3 illustrates the embodiment of the present in vention shown in FIG. 1 in use with the receptacle shown in FIG. 2.
DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring first to FIG. 1, there is shown a mixer device 1 embodying the present invention. It comprises a housing 3 containing an actuating means, such as a motor (not shown)connected to'an impeller 5 or other agitation means, by means of a shaft 7 or other mechanical motion transfer means. Of course, the housing may be made in any desired fashion or shape from a wide variety ofmaterials, none of which considerations are critical per se to the practice of the present invention provided the'choice is suitable to the intended use. However, it is particularly advantageous to. make the housing frommoldedl plastic, since it may thereby be shaped easily, attractively colored, and rendered waterproof so the unit as a whole (when apertures therein for the shaft, and optionally,.the pressure switch hereinafter described, are also waterproofed according to well known techniques), may be immersed in water in order to clean it. The motor may likewise be of any ofa wide variety of designs and types suitable for the intended use. Thus, although it might, for example, be a spring actuated motor, an electric motor might also be used, and it might be battery operated as well as, or in lieu of, being cord-operated, in order to render it portable. Similarly, the agitation means by which the material to be mixed will be agitated may be a varied, propeller-type impeller as shown in FIG. 1 or may be of any of a wide variety of other known shapes, such as a bent rod. The agitation means may be made from a variety of appropriate materials, although it preferably is made of a resilient material, such as rubber, to minimize the possibility of injury to persons should the agitation means become actuated while the'agitation means is exposed. Likewise the shaft 7 may optionally include a speed reducing or increasing mechanism, or otherwise interconnect the agitation means with the actuating means by any other known or suitable motion transfer means, such as belting and the like. The device includes an affixation means for removably affixing it to an associated receptacle in which is contained the material to be mixed. The affixation means shown in FIG. 1 is a thread system 8 for interengagement with a corresponding thread system in the associated receptacle. Because the base housing 3 and, more particularly, the thread system 8 thereof is made of plastic, which is relatively soft, it serves as a kind of gasket to effect sealing of the juncture between the housing 3 and the associated receptacle. Of course, this sealing could also be effected with actual gasketing made of rubber or 'other suitable material, or other well known means. Of
course, other suitable affixation means could also be used, such as those shown in the aforesaid US. patents, provided it is of such a nature as to ensure against objectionable leakage of the material from the receptacle when it and the mixer device are affixed to each other and are inverted as hereinafter described. The affixation means could be positioned at any suitable location on the device so that, for example, the portion of the housing enclosing the motor might actually reside within the receptacle when the device is affixed thereto instead of outside it as would be the case with the device shown in FIG. I.
Also shown in FIG. 1 is a switch device 9 for actuating the motor, the use of which, although optional, is advantageous. Although such a switch device might be made in the form of a button projecting slightly from the housing 3,or in any of a wide variety of forms which will be apparent to those skilled in the art, as shown in FIG. 1 the switch device comprises a flat plate 10 of roughly the same configuration and area as the adjacent surface of the housing 3. In this form the entire structure will be positionally stable when inverted. The switch device may be so spring loaded that when the mixer device alone is inverted so that the switch bears its weight, the switch will not be actuated or causethe motor to operate, but will be actuated when it bears the combined weight of the mixer deviceand the receptacle. By this means the device may be rendered so that'it may rest with the agitation means upward when not in use with the motor not operating, but the motor will be caused to operate when the device is similarly positioned but with the receptacle affixed thereto.
It will also be clear that other weight sensitive switch means may be used. Thus, for example, the mixer device might be so made that the weight of the receptacle alone actuates the switch means, as by so positioning a pressure sensitive switch with respect to the affixation means that this portion only of the device will be actuated through operation of the weight of the receptacle. This might be done, for example, by having the threaded section of the mixer device free floating" and juxtaposed to the switch means.
As noted above, the switch device utilized may be of any of a wide variety of forms known per se to those skilled in the art, since it is not the exact form of the switch as such which critical to the practice of the present invention, and obviously a multitude of basic spring switches, for example, could be adapted in a conventional manner to perform the function herein contemplated. Thus, for example, as is also noted above, the spring loading of the switch device 9 may be made to normally impel the flat plate 10 component of the switch device away from the housing 3 until it is overcome by the added weight of the receptacle means, the resulting relative motion then being translated in closure of actuating circuit contact points in a known per se manner.
The switch device, of whatever design, may be supplemented with appropriate safety devices, such as a supplementary switch, to render itso that it will not be actuated inadvertently. This might be doneaccording to well known techniques, such as putting a holding coil connected to contacts in series with the rest of the motor circuit.
FIG. 2'illustrates a receptacle useful in connection with the mixer device shown in FIG. l. Although receptacles suitablefor this use may be made from any of a wide variety of materials, including glass, plastic, or metal, in any of a wide variety of shapes, sizes, colors and configurations having in mind the artistic, decorative and utilitarian effects desired, and may be made from heat resisting material to accommodate hot material to be mixed, and with any of a wide variety of affixation means corresponding to the affixation means on the associated mixer device, the receptacle shown in FIG. 2 is a tapered glass vessel 11 with a threaded portion 14 near the top as an interengaging affixation means corresponding to the affixation threads 8 of the mixer device 1 shown in FIG. 1, and a spout 16 formed at one edge of the receptacle access opening 18 to facilitate pouring of liquified or other fluid material from the receptacle. Of course, the variety of shapes which can be so used include ones which taper to a bottom or base portion the same size as or wider than the top portion as well as vice versa. v
FIG. 3 illustrates the device shown in FIG. 1 in use with the receptacle shown in FIG. 2. After the material to be mixed is placed in the receptacle, the mixer device isaffixed to the receptacle at the access opening therein through useof the affixation means-The receptacle with the mixer device affixed thereto is then inverted (so that the receptacle is positionally atop the mixer device) and placed on a surface whereby the combined weight of the mixer device and the receptacle, plus, of course, any contents of the latter, will overcome the spring loading of the switch and will cause the motor to propel the agitation means, and the material in the receptacle to be agitated and mixed. After the contents of the receptacle are mixed as desired, the receptacle and the mixer may once more be reverted and the mixer removed from the receptacle, following which the mixer may be cleaned and the receptacle may be used directly, for example as a table dispenser or a refrigerator storage container (with or without a storage top (not shown) as desired) or the contents may be transferred to some other container. Where a storage top is used, it might include a handle and/or a pouring aperture according to well known designs and construction.
It will also be apparent that it is within the contemplation of this invention to include a heating device in the mixer device, such as an electrical coil or plate, whereby the contents of the receptacle may be heated and/or the heat thereof maintained during mixing.
It will be readily apparent that although the present invention has been described in this application in terms of its use as a food mixer, this invention is useful in connection with treating a wide variety of other materials, such as paint, for example. Similarly, it is to be understood that the embodiments shown and described in this specification, and the terms and expressions used are by way of illustration and not of limitation, and that a wide variety of equivalents may be used without departing from the spirit or scope of the present invention.
1. An apparatus for agitating material comprising a housing, an actuation means enclosed by said housing, a mechanical motion transfer means connected to said actuation means and extending outside said housing, an agitation means affixed to that portion of said mechanical motion transfer means which is outside of said housing, an affixation means on said housing, a receptacle means having an opening therein and a complementary affixation means for joining said opening to said housing with said agitation means positioned within said receptacle means, a base on which said housing may be placed while said housing bears the weight of said receptacle means, and a switch device means in said housing which will cause said actuation means to operate when the weight of said receptacle means bears on said housing and will be inoperative to cause said actuation means to operate when said housing is not bearing the weight of said receptacle means.
2. An apparatus for agitating material comprising a housing, an actuation means enclosed by said housing, a mechanical motion transfer means connected to said actuation means and extending outside said housing, an agitation means affixed to that portion of said mechanical motion transfer means which is outside of said housing, an affixation means on said housing whereby said housing may be joined to an associated receptacle means, a base on which said housing may be placed while said housing bears the weight of an associated receptacle means, and a switch device means in said housing which will cause said actuation means to operate when the weight of an associated receptacle means bears on said housing and will be inoperative to cause said actuation means to operate when said housing is not hearing the weight of an associated receptacle means.