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Publication numberUS3721026 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMar 20, 1973
Filing dateAug 2, 1971
Priority dateAug 2, 1971
Publication numberUS 3721026 A, US 3721026A, US-A-3721026, US3721026 A, US3721026A
InventorsMc Callum D
Original AssigneeNat Appliance Ind Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Apparatus for dry cleaning and pressing
US 3721026 A
Abstract
The invention provides an effective and practical method and apparatus of applying a series of commercially obtainable aerosol compounds for fabric improvement, as well as an efficient means for withdrawing deposited foreign matter in combination with normal pressing means by use of a portable dry-cleaning unit adaptable for home use which includes means to apply the dry-cleaning agent onto the surface to be cleaned, means for thereafter vacuum cleaning and agitating the fabric to remove particles therefrom and temperature control means for ironing it to provide a finished article that is both dry-cleaned and pressed.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 1191 McCallum ]March 20, 1973 1 APPARATUS FOR DRY CLEANING AND PRESSING Primary Examiner--Patrick D. Lawson [75] Inventor: David J. McCallum, Nyack, N.Y. Ammey"'LenaId w'suroff [73] Assignee: National Appliance Industries, Inc., [57] ABSTRACT New York, NY.

Filed: Aug. 2, 1971 Appl. No.: 167,898

52 us. 01 .f. ..38/75 [51] Int. Cl. ..D06f 75/00 [58] Field of Search ..38/75, 76, 77.1, 77.5, 77.83

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,427,474 9/1947 1,803,622 5/1931 1,789,869 1/1930 Hervmann 1,892,792 1/1933 Thompson ..38/75 The invention provides an effective and practical method and apparatus of applying a series of commercially obtainable aerosol compounds for fabric improvement, as well as an efficient means for withdrawing deposited foreign matter'in combination with normal pressing means by use of a portable dry-cleaning unit adaptable for home use which includes means to apply the dry-cleaning agent onto the surface to be cleaned, means for thereafter vacuum cleaning and agitating the fabric to remove particles therefrom and temperature control means for ironing it to provide a finished article that is both dry-cleaned and pressed.

29 Claims, 25 Drawing Figures PATENIEBMAREO ms 3,721. 026

SHEET 01 [1F 11 INVENTOR. DAVID J. McCALLUM PAIENTEDmzo I973 SHEET UZUF 11' NVENTOR. DAVID J. Mc CALLUM ATTORN PATENTEDMARZO I973 SHEET O3UF 11 P/u F PATENTEUMARZO I973 FIG-3 SHEET UQUF 11 INVENTOR. DAVID J. MC CALLUM A TTOR \P. Y

PATENTEDMARZO I973 SHEET U6 0F 11 FIG. 5

INVENTOH DAVID J Mc CALLUM PATENTEUMARZO 197s 3.721.026

SHEET 07 [1F 11 SYNTHE TIC BAY ROLLERS FIG. 6b

FABRIC STRETCH I PRESS GRID INVENT WRINKLE PROOF PRESSING DAVID J. MC LUM FEATU RE PATENTEDMARZO m5 3.721.026 SHEET OBOF 11 I LLUSTRATION FIG. 7 0m FIG. 7b

FIG. 70

- mm x' x x x x --v FABRIC CLEANNC AQUEOUS VACUUM COMPOSITE BASE HEAT SINK VACUUM CHAMBERS -L k HEAT TRANSFER 25 70 mamc- GRID SURFACE ILLUSTRATION VAPOR EXTRACTION VExTOR DAVlD J. M: CALLUM PATENTEDMAR20 I915 SHEET OSUF 11 ACTUATOR DOWN VACUUM VACUUM SPOTTER J VACUUM SPOTTER VACUUM CONTROL VALVE oowu VACUUM SWITCH i SPOTTING INVENTOR. DAVID J- MLCALLUM ATTORNEY VACUUM PATENTEDMARZO I973 SHEET 10 0F 1 1 8N3 SQ ......w.

r g i am INVENTOR. DAVID J MCALLUM ATTORNEY PATENTEDMAR20 I973 SHEET llUF 11 INVENTOR. DAVID J Mc CALLUM ATTORNEY APPARATUS FOR DRY CLEANING AND PRESSING BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The invention relates generally to new and useful improvements in the method and apparatus for cleaning garments, fabrics and other similar materials, and more particularly to an improved portable manually maneuverable unit which is expressly and suitably constructed for dry-cleaning operation in the home.

Before discussing the invention in detail it might be best to review applicants approach to the process of fabric cleaning, which analysis has in a sense resulted in the inventive effort embodied in the present invention. To approach the subject of fabric dry-cleaning, one must disregard the fact that he is dealing with soiled materials. Actual deposition of foreign materials on fabrics contribute only a fraction of a per cent of the material by weight. In view of this, applicant has approached the subject of dry-cleaning fabrics by regarding the foreign material as only a minute deposit upon the fabric surface which give the appearance of the fabric being soiled. Contrary to most beliefs that surface matter can only be removed by a soak and tumble process, the concept of dry dry-cleaning has been introduced and is used today for commercial purposes. lt is true that soaked-in materials must be soaked-out but beyond this dry matter such as lint, dust and other noncolloidial matter deposited in a dry state can easily be removed from the fabric surface by a removal process. A further aid to this process can be agitation, vibration, vacuum and an eppervesant chemical such as carbonation or other chemical solutions which will react with volitility in air and temperature causing foam or bubbling effects and theoretically floating out impurities with the aid of a vacuum.

Finishing plays an important role in dry cleanable materials for the real motive in bringing the fabrics to the commercial stage in appearance even though the need of dry-cleaning may be negligible. Providing alternatives for the customer who has these demands of limited cleaning is a sound basis for a home product capable of satisfying these requirements and is incorporated in the present invention. Chemicals having the bubble-out" qualities needed for applicants new cleaning process are commercially available. The unitized clean and press process of the present invention is therefore, a means to satisfy the user's wide variety of fabric improvement requirements not limited to cleaning alone.

Accordingly, the advent of many new dirt emulsifying and ionic compounds composited with eppervesant chemical solutions, and more particularly a variety of aerosol products create a justifiable need for a new invention having the aim and scope of the one herein described. As a result of applicants research, it is believed that none exists that can envelope a series of these commercially obtained aerosol compounds and solutions into a practical application method. The present invention has the intent to satisfy the need for such an appliance in the light of recent improvements as well as to provide a method of applying an active cleaning agent to fabric materials and the excess of which will be removed by means of vacuuming and brushing.

OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION An object of the present invention is to provide a new and novel method and apparatus for the dry-cleaning of fabrics.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a portable manually maneuverable unit adapted to perform a series of interrelated steps designed to remove lint, spots or other foreign elements from garments, for example, suits, coats, dresses and the like.

Other objects will appear hereinafter as the description proceeds.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The invention includes a series of elements operating together in inter-related combination to obtain the beneficial cleaning results of the present invention.

In accordance with one aspect of the invention as essentially embodied in FIGS. l-l2 inclusive, we have an apparatus and method which is new in the field of fabric cleaning and incorporates features which are new in fabric improvement techniques; all of which are uniquely combined in a practical appliance. The context of the appliance employs commercial quality drycleanable fabric pressing as opposed to current hand ironing techniques in the fact that the product is specifically designed for dry cleanable fabrics and' can be regarded as an improvement to current household methods.

The unique arrangement and design of the drycleanable fabrics pressing head in combination with other fabric improvement features provide a professional approach to the techniques employed in fabric care, yet practical enough in size and weight for household use. The invention includes the following features:

I. A practical limited duty dry-cleaner for apparel.

2. A hand iron for dry-cleanable fabrics.

3. A new method for dry cleaning.

4. A hand iron with spot cleaning combination.

5. An alternate for lint removal.

6. A unique V-rotor wrinkle proofing innovation.

7. A unique arrangement of withdrawing moisture from fabrics while pressing.

Various methods are employed in a duty which is expressed as cleaning or more specifically dry-cleaning. A process which uses as its cleaning base a solution of water is called a wet process and a process which employs other than water solutions is called dry-cleaning. The process of one aspect of the present invention employs a base of water and should rightfully be called a wet-cleaning process if it were not for the special hot vacuuming grid which draws off the moisture as it is flashed into steam. However, certain fabrics require a non-aqueous solution in cleaning when used in a bathe and tumbler process. These fabrics shall hereafter be called dry-cleanable fabrics.

For several reasons these dry-cleanable fabrics should not be introduced to water, yet, in their finishing always an amount of steam or water is used. This amount of water or steam is all we are refering to in our process of cleaning. Hence, the method of cleaning that allows us to use aqueous solutions on dry-cleanable fabrics is what is new.

The dry-cleaning process or method of the present invention provides for; a cleaning solution which contains the right amount of finishing wetness and, a device which will make full use of the wetness introduced in the cleaning for finishing.

It is now important that the specific use of the device and the solution be understood. The solvent or water combination solution shall be discussed. Many liquid compositions can be used. Primarily nearly all fabric impurities are affected by the introduction of water. Few are affected by solvents. Water has the ability of softening the physical adhesion of impurities with the fabric. ln other words, impurities are locked into materials only because they are in a dry state. An emulsifying chemical added to the water aids in breaking down larger particles of impurities into amaller ones that can better find their way out of the fabric pores. This is also true of the solvents without the softening effect. These impurities are also coated with an oily appearing substance that is known as a sol, detergent or soap for ease of removal.

It is a well known fact of how suds or soap gather at the top of a water solution. This is caused by the water separation with the soap or detergent molecule when mixed together with a gas such as air. The heavier less concentrated water solution remains at the bottom being heavier than those mixed with air. This is much the same principle as the chemicals used in the process introduced.

Our sols become separate and appear at the top of the solution by three separate means each of which would be adequate in the method of cleaning prescribed.

A. A lighter than water or solvent cleaning coagulation separation from water or solvent by means of gas forming molecules such as carbonation, effervesance, where either CO is produced upon introduction or other gases which would change from liquid to gas.

B. A lighter than water cleaning coagulation or froth separation from water by means of air mixing with the sols or detergents.

C. A lighter than water mixture separation from water means by a lythophobic (water heating) sol or detergent itself; or any mixture of the three types of separations, all accomplishing the same objective-to leave behind an inactive layer of reasonably cleaning agent free water with an active layer of cleaning composition at the top.

After the solution obtains its bi-layer separation with its cleaning composition at the top and the heavier water retained within the fabric, it is possible to remove this top layer. The removal is done most effectively by means of a vacuum which skims off the layer of composition matter. An agitating brush should be provided to aid in this operation.

After the cleaning composition is vacuum cleaned, the fabric will retain a low saturation of the water base. This aqueous impregnation is desireable in making the fabric pliable for finishing, but undesireable if allowed to dry in this condition. So the moisture must be extracted. The extraction is done by both heat and vacuum. An illustration is hereinafter provided showing how the extraction is performed.

In the process of the extraction the fabric is compressed slightly by the perforated grid plate. The grid is so designed that the temperature controlled heat sink never touches the fabric. The heat sink if applied directly to the fabric could cause permenant damage to 'dry-cleanable fabric, as is the case with domestic hand ironer not meant for these fabrics. The temperature cushioning of the grid along with the quick dispersion of the water vapors away from the fabric keeps it from scourching or shining by a metered air volume circulating through the fabric. This vacuum grid then allows us to press dry-cleanable type fabrics in the process of the extraction.

In accordance with another aspect of the invention as essentially embodied in FIGS. 13-17 inclusive, the basic elements the apparatus are air vacuum removal means, pressing surface means, supply means in the form of a chemical spray of varying formulas, and applicator means to apply the chemical to the fabric being cleaned. The use of each will be hereinafter discussed.

The penetration of air through the fabric to obtain a vacuum by an air movement in directions adjacent to the fabrics surface, produces a picking up of sensible material. Dry particles not embedded into the material are lifted up by the vacuum quite easily without the aid of wetting or softening agents. To assure the separation of these particles from the fabric a brush or agitator means is provided. The vacuum removal means is a primary source of the cleaning even without a chemical assist and can be used in removing lint, dust, powders and other dry materials. The incorporation of a vacuum cleaning assist for fabric improvement enhances the cleaning action. The vacuum source may be either within the unit or coupled thereto.

The vacuum in wet cleaning (with chemical additives) accomplishes the same purpose as in the dry usage. The term dry-cleaning as used herein is not considered to be used as really meaning cleaned in a dry state but rather cleaned in a non-hydrous condition. So the addition of chemical aids in the process is necessary to unveil these impurities which have attached themselves to the fabric. The vacuum is essential in lifting these particles as well as the chemical.

The chemicals for the use in the unitized cleaner are preferably of a foaming type, that is cleaning in itself is accomplished by the application of an unstable chemical having the quality of boiling at a room temperature such as liquid or eppervesing (bubbling) and breaking down into water or another composition of elements of a nontoxic or non-flammable nature. The action created by this effect will bring the impurities to the fabric surface and later extracted by the vacuum. The content of other additives can be important to the fabric care and finishing process but must not interfere with the activity of the cleaning composition.

Additives may be made either to the cleaning ingredients or as separate alternatives as aids in finishing, fabric care, etc. or from alternative sources which have an individual or combined means of producing a desirable effect, such as an aerosol container may contain a fabric refreshing ingredient and aids in finishing. Another container may contain the cleaning solution. The two ingredients may be combined for both effects in one aerosol container alternatively. Another consideration is of the two chem-icals, that if they are highly active in producing the desired effect in the cleaning on the fabric, but could not exist in the same state within the same container, then the dispensing means may include two containers.

Water in any degree may be added to the solution as it is an aid to finishing and can be flashed off during its engagement with the hot-head of the processing means and since it is dryed in rigid support of the pressing surface there is no danger in deforming or shrinkage. Any other base or additive of the combination of ingredients not contributive to the fabric must also be flashed off during this interval with the pressing surface and a provision of vacuum channels within this surface is made for this purpose.

The pressing surface means has a two-fold purpose in that it transforms the moisture and other soluables absorbed into the fabric into a vapor to be drawn off the the vacuum, and it leaves the fabric in a dry and pressed condition. The surfaces have contours and perforations to allow the vapors to be drawn away. If slightly toxic vapors are created by the type of solution used, then provision can be made for filtering or external exhaust to a less harmful area from the vacuum blower.

The cleaning unit will perform well either with or without the agitator means which includes a rotary brush and is an aid to the cleaning but is not necessary for all cleaning applications. The agitator brush has a sweeping action opposite in rotation to the movement of the pressing surface so that it pushes away arinkles that might be built ahead of the surface. It also begins at a center point and itscontact with the fabric surface widens as it is rotated so as to also push wrinkles to the sides. It is not limited to a brush but may be of a solid material to act as a wiper.

The units lower portion has many purposes during operation of the units use over the fabrics surface. Its primary purpose is to create an easy ironing quality by its opposed rotation rotaries, allowing the operation to be performed with one hand as the rotaries perform the function of remaining wrinkles. When heat and pressure may be damaging to sensitive fabrics or when exposure of a timeelement may be desirable in drying the fabric by temperature, the vacuum grid will lift the fabric away from the supported surface underneath the fabric at the heated portion of the pressing grid. The invention contemplated placing an additional Teflon pad or coating at the pressing surface to eliminate all undesirable heated pressure contact with the fabric surface, this would not alter the performance of the unit on lightweight fabrics because of the magnet like adhesion of the fabric to the upper vacuuming surface.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS Although the characteristic features of this invention will be particularly pointed out in the claims, the invention itself, and the manner in which it may be made and used, may be better understood by referring to the following description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings forming a part hereof, wherein like reference numerals refer to like parts throughout the several views and in which:

FIG. 1, is a front elevational view of one form of cleaning unit in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 2, is a side elevational view in section of the cleaning unit;

FIG. 2A, is a partial front elevational view;

FIG. 3, is a horizontal sectional view, taken along the plane of the line 3-3 in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4, is a horizontal sectional view, taken along the plane of the line 4-4 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5, is a front elevational view in section of the cleaning unit;

FIG. 6-6D inclusive, are diagrammatic views illustrating the operation of the cleaning units illustrated in FIGS. l--5;

FIGS. 78 inclusive, are diagrammatic views illustrating the operation of the dry cleaning unit illustrated in FIGS. l-5;

FIGS. 9 and 10, are diagrammatic views illustrating the spotting features of the invention illustrated in FIGS. l-S;

FIGS. 11 and 12, are diagrammatic views illustrating the spotting features of the invention illustrated in FIGS. l5;

FIG. 13, is a side elevational view of another form of cleaning unit partially in section in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 14, is a top plan view thereof;

FIG. 15, is a front plan view thereof;

FIG. 16, is a bottom plan view thereof; and

FIG. 17, is a front plan view thereof.

PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION Referring now to the drawings in detail, and particularly FIGS. l-l2 thereof, the cleaning appliance or unit is designated generally by the reference numeral 10 and may be manufactured in plastic, metal, or other materials, each capable of functioning for its intended use. The entire device 10 includes a somewhat elongated housing means 15 having an exposed pressing surface means 20. Since the entire device is a readily portable appliance, the housing means 15 is provided at the top thereof with a convenient handle 16, which also serves to accommodate switches and electrical connections hereinafter to be described. The housing means 15 may take various shapes and forms and is illustrated as having an upper section 29 and lower section 31.

Operation of the appliance 10 begins with spraying of a chemical solution as illustrated in FIG. 7. The spraying may be a chemical dry cleaning solution as illustrated in FIG. 7A, or a chemical sizing spray, or an aqueous solution for pressing. After achieving any of these, or one solution with the combination of all three, the use of the device 10 may begin.

The appliance 10 is griped by the handle 16. All switches for the various functions are arranged for instant thumb control. Vacuum switch 11 controls both motorized vacuum fan 13 (FIG. 4) for driving worm gear reduction 19, drive gears 23, and in turn drive gears 21 as seen in FIGS. 2, 2A and 5. Vacuum switch 11 also has an integral multi-speed control with motor speed dependent on the speed selected on switch 11 and thereby achieving the desired amount of revolutions of both rotor assembly means 14 (FIG. 5) and vacuum blower 24 (FIG. 2).

The housing means 15 includes a cavity 17 in which the various elements of the appliance is located with the switch 11 mounted in a conventional manner in a vertically extending opening 26 through the upper portion of the housing with the contoured handle 16 extending therefrom. The electric motor 13 has a shaft 38 extending therethrough with the worm gear 19 mounted on the free and thereof. The electric motor 13 is mounted by front supports 39 (FIG. 2) having a tapped hole for receiving a screw 41 that extends through a stand-off 42 from the lower portion 44 of the housing. The electric motor 13 may be of various designs and mounted in fixed relation to the housing means 15. Mounted in fixed relation to the motor shaft 38 is the blower fan or impeller 24 as seen in FIG. 2.

By switching on the motor means to the desired speed, the rotation of the centrifigal fan 24 will displace the air entering into port A producing the desired vacuum forward of port A. The port A extends through the inwardly inclined front wall 46 of the housing means 15 and is in alignment with the blower 24. The source of the vacuum air begins at both vacuum enclosure means 22 (FIG. around the rotor means 14 and vapor relief ports 28 arranged advantageously on grid 25 as seen in FIG. 5. From the vacuum enclosure 22 air passes through ports D on both sides of the V-rotor assembly 14. Ports D are evenly arranged along the vacuum enclosure 22, above the rotor means 14, to allow sufficient passage of the air entering around the rotors and then directly into the vacuum plenum 27 (FIG. 5).

The vacuum enclosure 22 forms a skirt extending from the casing means beginning at the forward V- shaped portion of the appliance. As seen in FIGS. 3 and 5 the enclosure 22 includes a lower contoured section 48 extending into a horizontal plane section 52 with holes forming a port D extending therethrough as indicated by the arrows. The contoured arch section 56 is joined to the section 52 at one end and extends to the housing 15 at the junction between the upper housing section 29 and lower housing section 31. A lip rimmed section 54 as seen in FIGS. 1 and 5 adjoin the section 56 at points in proximity to spindle 100 as a means of detachment from section 56 for access.

As seen in FIG. 3 the vacuum enclosure 22 is supported by the shaped front end 58 which is secured to heat sink base 32 of the heat sink means 18 by a fastener in the form of a screw 62. The opposite end of the vacuum enclosure 22 at its lower contoured section 48 abuts a contoured side mount 64 having a pair of spaced apart clearance holes for screws 66 that extend through the housing means 15 and into the heat sink base 32.

A second source of vacuum air enters through the pressing grid 25 which forms part of the pressing means 20. A series of vacuum ports 28 are spaced along the press grid 25 (FIG. 5) so that air can enter the space between the grid 25 and the heat sink base 32 where they can be combined and circulated evenly and sent through a larger series of ports 63 in the heat sink base 32. The pressing grid 25 is shaped to conform to that of the housing means 15 and has a bottom flat surface 68 for engagement with the fabric being treated, and includes a series of spaced apart depressions 70, each containing a relief port 28 therein. As seen in FIG. 5 the pressing surface means includes the grid with the flat surface 68 having upwardly inclined support walls 72 with a connecting top wall 74 having an opening therein defining ports E. The entire pressing surface means 20 is mounted in fixed relation to the housing means 15. A secondary vacuum air enclosure for this vaporized air coming from the heat sink ports is uniquely placed above the heat sink means 18 where any condensate may be reflashed into vapor until entirely dissipated. The described enclosure or chamber mixes the vaporized air from the rotor enclosure 22 and grid relief ports 13 in the vacuum plenum 27. The combined air is then drawn through portB to port A as seen in FIGS. 9 and 10.

The appliance 10 is placed on the fabric in a fashion as to vacuum the fabric, or the cleaning coagulate on the fabric, as to vacuum clean all fabric impurities deposited there either by normal need-cleaning of the fabric or by the addition of cleaning aids as described. The vacuum pick-up is to continue through-out the various procedures and approaches or type of usage of the dry-cleaning iron.

The rotor brush or agitatior means 14 may or may not be a part of this vacuuming, depending on the option of the operator. The brushes 75 serve three purposes; (I) an assist to loosening fabric impurities in cleaning as illustrated in FIGS. 7-7b. (2) An assist in finishing to provide a unique wrinkle-proof feature as illustrated in FIGS. 6-6D. (3) An assist in spot scrubbing as indicated in FIG. 3. At the option of the operator the rotor control button (3) can be depressed to rotate the action rotor assembly 14.

ROTOR CONTROL MEANS The rotor control means 50 coacts with the rotor drive assembly 51, with rods 76 extending through the gear reduction assemblies as in FIGS. 2, 4, and 5. The actuating rods 76 are mounted relative to the drive gears 23 and gears 21, that when the actuating assembly 51 is depressed it is forced to mate with the transfer gears 57 and the spindle assembly 55 rotates. Before making contact, the two gears 21 and 57 are separated by a rubber O-ring 79. The purpose of the O- ring is to begin the rotation of the transfer gear 57 and spindle 51 by maintaining contact with the gear 57 until intimate contact with the two matching gears are obtained at which time the O-ring 79 is pushed up and held at the top of the groove 80 provided for it in drive gear 21 until released for a succeding cycle.

By holding down the rotor control button 50, the two spindles 51 drive the V-rotor assembly 14. The V-rotor assembly 14 as in FIGS. 6-6D inclusive, rolls out fabric excess and keeps it from folding up under the press grid surface 25 along with assisting in the vacuum pick up of materials. Release of the rotor control button 50 disengages the gears 21 and 57 by a spring return and the motion of the rotors 75 stop while the vacuum continues. Just as important as the vacuum and rotors are to the cleaning, vacuum and rotors are important to the vapor extraction and finishing. The unique arrangement of the press grid 25 behind and adjacent the rotors 75 allows the cleaning and finishing to be accomplished at the same time.

As seen in FIG. 2A the rotor control button 50 has two arms 81 extending from the body portion 82, and adapted to receive therein the rods 76. A spring surrounds each rod 76 and abuts the collar 84 such that when the switch 50 is released it springs back to its normal position as seen in FIG. 2A. The bottom of the spring 85 rests upon a shaft or sleeve 86 which has the drive gears 23 mounted thereon for engagement of the worm gear 19. The bottom of the tubular sleeve 86 has vertical slots 88 with a ring 90 in a groove provided therefor. The shaft 76 has an enlarged portion 92 adapted to move vertically in the slot a sufficient distance to permit the O-ring 79 to first engage the gear 57 to obtain the relative motion therebetween.

VAPOR EXTRACTION AND FINISHING Since the basis of our cleaning rests in the appliances ability to extract moisture and solvents from the fabric after cleaning, adequate attention is given this procedure. The unique arrangement of the press grid 25 behind and adjacent the rotors 75 allows the moisture and solvents used in the cleaning also to be used in the finishing, thereby accomplishing both at the same time. When the appliance 10 has passed beyond the area vacuumed by the vacuum enclosure 22 with the V-rotor assembly 14, the fabric is exposed to the press grid 25 which is an ironing surface but uniquely designed for the thermo-sensitive fabrics (synthetic). When the press grid 25 is in contact with the fabric as illustrated in FIG. 7C and FIG. 6D heat is conducted from the heat sink 32 to the press grid 25 as illustrated in FIG. 8. A series of depressions 70 inverted on the grid 25 holds this surface away from the heat sink 32 leaving a space between grid 25 and heat sink 32. The space protects the fabric from becoming too hot too fast, scortching the fabric surface before the temperature has reached farther into the fabric to dissipate the excess of moisutre. The grid 25 may then be held longer in this position until the entire body of fabric has reached near the heat of evaporation temperature where it may either be flashed into vapor or drawn off by hot circulated air moving through the fabric to the vapor relief ports 63, shown in FIG. 5.

Vapor and air are then transmitted through the heater base and port E enclosure into ports]! and A by vacuum. The vapor and air moving through the space provided between the grid and heat sink base 12 also aids in leveling out the temperature differences between the two surfaces so that the grid 25 will arrive at a compromise temperature with even distribution.

THE WRINKLE-PROOF FEATURE The rotors 75 have another purpose useful in the finishing. The rotors 75 shown in detail on FIG. 3 form a V arrangement and rotate in opposite directions. The effect created by this fashion is to sweep the wrinkled fabric to the outsides of the appliance l and holding in into this position by friction until the stretched out fabric comes in contact with press grid 25, then the grid 25 can pass over it with relative ease. Moist fabrics and especially fabrics where additives, starches, sizings, etc. are present have a tendency to stick to a heated pressing surface and cause wrinkles to be pressed-in underneath the pressing surface plane.

The rotors 75 holding an outward tension on the fabric passing under it will eliminate this tendency and will relieve the operator of the appliance of the extra work involved of stretching out the fabric by hand at the same time as the pressing procedure is in progress. The vacuum being applied on both sides of the rotors 75 tend to lift fabric tight against them maintaining a constant friction tension and cause air to be circulated on both sides of the fabric; sweeping it free of particles and lint.

THE CLEANING AND THE ROTORS assist the vacuuming by agitating and by sweeping. The mode of cleaning is expressed in three parts. (I) acting by themselves without additional cleaning aids, the rotors 75 and vacuum will perform to rid the fabric of loose lint, free dust and other particles on the surface. (2) with a cleaning aid (chemical) the rotors 75 will sweep foam, suds or froth to the outside, gather it and carry the matter with it in rotation into the vacuum enclosure 22 where a higher velocity of moving air will draw it off into the vacuum air stream, as seen in FIG. 7B (3) by maintaining a slow progression of the appliance 10 over the fabric. The rotors 75 themselves are preferably constructed of a light porous material in which air can move through as well as around.

SPOT REMOVAL The appliance 10 has two features of spot removal; one for light spotting where extra attention can be given to them during normal use. This feature is seen in FIG. 3. The spot scrub agitator 60 is a single porous foam rubber lip 61 appearing on two sides of the rear of the rotor. The lip 61 is a heavier density than the ramainder of the rotor 75 and has a heating and sweeping effect on that portion of fabric exposed to it; also greater vacuum because of an additional opening when the rotor turns 90. The alternating effect of this portion of the rotor 75 during rotation gives an increased aid in spotting when the appliance 10 is tilted to the left or right. As seen in FIG. '3 the spot scrub agitator 60 is mounted on shaft 95 having end portions 96 mounted in the shaped front end 58 at one end and in the side mount 64 at the other end and adapted to rotate freely therein in any conventional manner. A snap ring 98 or other means may be provided to maintain the brush 75 and spot scrub agitator 60 spaced from each other but mounted for rotation with the shaft 95. The strap or pully belt 99 (FIG. transmits the rotary motion from shaft 100 of the rotary drive assembly 51, that is coupled to the gear 57 in a conventional manner, to the shaft 95.

The other spotting feature appears at the front section of the appliance in the form of a vacuum spotting assembly 65, that is best seen in FIG. 2 with its operation appearing in FIGS. 9 and 10, or with the unit in upright position as shown in FIG. 11. In this manner by switching the on-off speed control switch to the proper position, the appliance 10 may be used for heavy spotting. The spotting assembly 65 is so constructed as to divert the main incoming vacuum from port B to port C shown in FIGS. 9 and 10. The spotting assembly consists of a holder or support frame 101 with a finger grip 102 having a lip adapted to slide in a groove 103 in the housing to permit vertical adjustment of the frame 101. As the lower end of the frame 101 is a porous member 105 supported thereby with a brush member 106 mounted partially around the porous member. This is done by pushing the spotting actuator means 65 in the down position. By directing the mainstream of vacuum from the lower vacuum ports to the single spotting assembly 65 a greater con- The rotors also serve in the cleaning of fabrics to 1 centration of vacuum is place on the air impervious face of the assembly (a higher suction and air velocity). The effect is to generate intensity of air movement at the face of this screen so as to lift out impure particles as they are loosened from the fabric as shown in FIG. 12.

The procedure for spotting with the assembly 65 is to place the spot over the vacuum screen, and with the vacuum left on the fabric will be held into position by the vacuum. Then, use the aerosol spotting agent or chemical by spraying the reverse side of the fabric spot. The aerosol spray when placed close to the spotted area will tend to drive the spot out of the fabric from inside out rather than driving the spot farther into the fabric as is the case with most spot removers. The vacuum will carry the liquid directly through the fabric into the screen along with the impurities. The procedure is shown in FIG. 11. The fabric is then gripped on either side of the spotted area and shifted from direction A to direction B as shown in FIG. 12. A continuous movement from A to B causes the spotted segment to be worked over the stationery brushes on each side of the screen. The scrubbing with the aid of the vacuum will loosen the remaining deposit and cause the liquid retained to vaporize, or the solvent retained in the fabric may be vaporized by placing it on the heated grid plate section 25.

THERMOSTAT MEANS The thermostat means 33 (FIG. 2) controls the temperature of the heating element 34 cast-in the heat sink base 32 as shown in FIG. 3. The control knob 108 for the On-Off temperature selector 33 is provided to extend beyond the housing means as seen in FIG. 1. The selector, which may be of a conventional design, pivots a cam which moves an arm counterpart up or down to conform to the cam, which in turn positions the contactor of the power source with another moveable bi-metal contactor. When the temperature has fullfilled the requirement of the selector the bi-metal contactor breaks its connection between the power source and the element.

REFUSE TRAY AND FILTER A refuse tray 110 is provided at the rear of the housing 15 for the exhausted unclean air. After the air is expelled by the force of the centrifigal fan 24, it moves through the motor casing body until it is dumped into the ports 111 provided for it at the rear bottom of the blower and motor casing. The refuse tray is open at the top but contains a filter 112 at its rear end. If volitile chemicals are used in the appliance cleaning process, a combination active carbon filter is used. Both tray 110 and filter 112 are detachable in one assembly when emptying or the replacement of the filter are necessary. As seen in FIG. 2 the tray 110 has a bottom wall 113 with spaced apart side walls 115 and rear wall 116 and adapted to slide outward from the housing 15 to remove the waste material therein.

ANOTHER EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION Referring now to the drawings in FIGS. 13-17 the cleaning unit is in accordance with another aspect of the invention designated generally by the reference numeral 10a and as will be apparent, comprises a somewhat elongated housing means 150 which is substantially in the form of an iron or pressing surface means 20a. Since the entire device is a readily portable applicance, the housing means 15a is provided at the top thereof with a convenient handle 16a, which also serves to accommodate various switches and electrical connections hereinafter to be described.

Pressing Surface Means The pressing surface means 20a in the form of an iron includes a substantially flat pressing surface 25a having diagonal grooves 120a, as seen in FIG. 16, to form a diamond shaped pattern. The grooves 120a provide a contour to allow the vapors of the chemical aids to be drawn away or to, in a sense act as exhaust ducts for the vapors. The top of the pressing surface means 20a has a casing enclosure 122a thereon which contains the temperature regulating means 33a in the form of a heater element 34a extending within the iron to heat same with the thermostat means 33a mounted on the top of the heating sink 32a and wired to the heater element in a conventional manner not shown. The thermostat means 331: has a control lever 108a extending therefrom and connected to a control knob which extends above the casing enclosure 122a to vary the temperature of the pressing surface 25a as desired by the user. The pressing surface 25 a transforms the moisture and other soluables absorbed into the fabric into a vapor to be drawn off by the vacuum and leaves the fabric in a dry and pressed condition.

Vacuum Removal Means The vacuum removal means is a primary source of the cleaning unit even without a chemical assist, and can be used in removing lint, dust, powders and other dry materials. In addition in wet cleaning with chemical additives as herein contemplated, the chemical aids unveil the impurities which have attached themselves to the fabric and the vacuum is essential in lifting these particles as well as the chemical.

The housing means 15a includes a housing cover section 290 containing a conventional electric motor 13a mounted therein in a conventional manner with an outwardly extending shaft 38a to which is secured a fan or blower 24a, the latter being disposed at the rear of the electric motor 13a, as shown in FIG. 13. Rearwardly of the blower 24a is a transverse partition 126a having an opening 127a therein through which the removed particles will travel as illustrated by the arrows 130a. A switch 11a is mounted beneath the handle 16a and electrically connected to the motor 13a to energize same as desired.

The particles entering the housing cover 29a through the opening 127a are collected in an exhaust cannister or refuse tray 110a which may be of a replaceable design, mounted within the forward end of the housing cover 15a and so dimensioned to fit therein by friction alone. The exhaust cannister 110a may be made of a screen or mesh 112a to act as a filter material capable of catching the particles while permitting the air to exit through the elongated ports 131a.

Supply Means and Applicator Means To perform the dry-cleaning operation of the present embodiment of the invention supply means 1350 is pro vided in operative association with an applicator means 140a.

The supply means 135a may include an aerosol container 136a horizontally mounted above the surface means a by retaining means 141a in the form of tabs or cars 142a that may be of a flexible material to grip the container 136a and hold it firmly in place. The aerosol valve 138a is adjusted between its open and closed position by actuating means 145a which includes a pivotally mounted actuating member 146a having a transverse pin 147a extending through the side lips 148a and supported by the housing wall at its free ends. The lower end of the actuating member 146a has a skirt portion 149a adapted to engage the top 150a of the aerosol valve 138a when the upper end 1510 of the actuating member 146a is engageable with a manually operated spray actuator switch 154a. The switch 1540 includes a contact arm 155a fixedly secured at one end thereof and having a free end 156a which when the actuator swtich 154a is depressed against the contact arm 155a, when gripping the handle 16a it automatically depresses the valve 138a causing the atomized cleaning aid to be dispensed from the container 136a. The necessarymotion is transmitted by the free end 156a engaging the upper end 151a of the actuating member 146a which pivots about the pin 147a resulting in the skirt 149a engaging and depressing the aerosol valve 138a.

The applicator means 1400 includes a nozzle or spray head 157a extending at the front of the cleaning unit 10a and adapted to apply to the fabric to be cleaned by the cleaning aid. The spray head 1570 may be mounted in any conventional manner to the housing and coupled to the supply means 135a by a conduit 158a which is of a size to permit the passage of the aerosol therethrough.

The chemicals for the use in the unitized cleaner are preferably of a foaming type, that is cleaning in itself is accomplished by the application of a unstable chemical having the quality of boiling at room temperature such as liquid or eppervesing (bubbling) and breaking down into water or another composition of elements of a non-toxic or non-flammagle nature. The action created by this effect will bring the impurities to the fabric surface and later extracted by the vacuum. The content of other additives can be important to the fabric care, and finishing process but must not interfere with the activity of the cleaning composition.

Chemical solution which applicant has found to be effective for the process is a combination of Kor Corporation's KO-l 3 concentrate and Faultless Starch Company's Fabric Refresher". With a high concentration of iso-butane added to the aerosol form, a more effective bubble action can be achieved with Duponts liquid Freon MF solution which boils at room temperature but its effectiveness as a cleaner is limited because of its non-compatibility with hydrous combinations when used in other than 100 percent solution.

The scope of chemicals which can be used with the invention ranges from a simple solution of water and detergent, to complete foam soaking solutions and fabric improvement; give still another range of additives such as sweetners, spotting solutions, sizings, and mild oil-based softeners. Desirable is a base such as carbonic which breaks down into water after its foaming effect with a combination of cleaners and additives, then the water can be used in the process as steam and vapor when flashed by the temperature of the pressing hot-head. However, the use of a fabric additive and ordinary air vacuum should not be disregarded as an effective means of removing surface impurities.

Balancing Means Balancing means 160a is interposed between the applicator means 140a and pressing surface means 20a and has many purposes during operation of the units use over the fabrics surface. Its primary purpose is to create an easy ironing quality by its low-friction base 161a, preferably made from Teflon or Delrin. The base is mounted on a plate 162a which in turn is connected by individual pins or bolts 163a that are free to move vertically relative to the cover 29a through which they extend and have compression springs 164a mounted thereon which oppose the weight of the motor 13a and blower 24a of the vacuum removal means until pressure is applied by the hand. Heavy friction with the pressing surface 25a is eliminated to a degree by the pad 161a raising of the front pressing surface at the will of the operator. By rocking the unit forward the full contact pressing surface 25a can be made but also be controlled by the pressure of the hand. This will be necessary when heat and pressure may be damaging to sensitive fabrics or when exposure of a time element may be desirable in drying the fabric by temperature but undesirable with the amount of pressure that is applied. This rocking effect, which places the surfaces contact at the rear of the unit, also will lift the fabric away from the supported surface underneath the fabric by the vacuum contact above allowing additional air movement underneath the fabric without any actual pressure being applied to the fabric at the front portion of the pressing surface 25a.

Agitator Means To assist in the removal of particles from the fabric agitator or rotor assembly means 14a may be employed and interposed between the balancing means 160a and surface pressing means 20a. The agitator means 14a may consist of a brush a outwardly extending from cylindrical shafts a mounted by end supports 96a within recesses in the housing in a conventional manner to permit free rotation of the shaft 95a.

The shafts 950 are spaced from each other with a belt 990 mounted on the shaft 380 so as to drive the agitator means 14a in the direction to obtain a sweeping action opposite in direction to the pressing surface means 20a so that it pushes away wrinkles that might be in the fabric. The brushes 75a are designed such that the brush filaments begin at a center point and its contact with the fabric surface widens as it is rotated in full 360 so as to also push wrinkles to the sides. As seen in FIG. 16, the brush 75a extends the longitudinal length of the shaft 95a with a spiral contour for the sweeping action. The brush 7 5a although illustrated as being constructed of individual bristles it may be of a solid material to act as a wiper.

Operation There is a variety of ways the unit of the present invention as illustrated in FIGS. 13-17 can be used. The options, alternatives and skill of use is left to the operator. She or he may alter aerosol containers for a desired effect, or task, or he may not use any fluids. It may be desirable to use only the vacuum without the heated surface or spray, or any of the other features used individually or in any combination or sequence.

By way of example, standard procedure would be as follows:

Obtain the desired temperatures of the pressing surface by setting the therrnostat control. Position the garment on a normal ironing board. Move the unit into a beginning pass position and spray the area forward of the unit by pressing the spray button at the top unit handle grip. While the spray is activating the fabric, proceed to move the unit forward over this area with the underneath grip button depressed, activating the vacuum and agitator. Proceed slowly over the fabric assuring proper pick-up of remianing fluids and vapor. After each pass is complete release the vacuum grip button and adjust fabric for a succeeding cycle after accomplishing both clean and press to this area.

The only replaceable items on the unit will'be the aerosol container which plugs into its co-acting receiver applicator means in a horizontal direction from the rear, and the cannister filter means which surrounds the vacuum blower motor. The filter means which may be in the form of a container is also a receiver for the water products of the unit. The unit of the invention contains the following novel aspects.

1. An ironing device with unitized vacuum for cleaning 2. An ironing device with unitized aerosol container,

or containers, for applying finishing aids.

3. An ironing device capable of counter-balancing its own weight for varying pressure for a diversity of fabric and effects.

4. An alternate process for dry-cleaning in the home by means of eppervesant or foaming fluids.

5. A means in which cleaning and pressing of fabrics can be accomplished by non-commercial means.

6. A means of finishing fabrics without a double surface contact by the vacuum holding of the fabric against the heated surface.

7. An ironing device capable of finishing wool and synthetic fabrics by the circulation of air and isolation of the pressing surface.

The scope of the invention provides an effective and practical method of applying a series of commercially obtainable aerosol compounds for fabric improvement as well as an efficient means for withdrawing deposited foreign matter in combination with normal pressing means.

lclaim:

1. Apparatus for domestic household use comprising A. housing means adapted to be hand held,

B. pressing surface means adapted to engage the surface to be cleaned and mounted at substantially one end of said housing means,

C. means for heating said pressing surface means,

D. tensioning means positioned in front of said pressing surface means substantially along the plane of said pressing surface means for engagement with the surface to be cleaned, E. vacuum means for applying a suction force substantially along the plane of said pressing surface means for removal of material from the surface to be cleaned, and F. applicator means to apply a spray of fluid onto the surface to be cleaned and positioned forward of said pressing surface means. 2. Apparatus as defined in claim 1, and wherein said pressing surface means includes a plurality of spaced apart apertures communicating with said vacuum source for applying the suction force therethrough.

3. Apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein said tensioning means includes a. a pair of spaced apart rollers, b. means for rotatably mounting said rollers from said housing means in angular relation thereto, 0. means connected to said rollers for rotating same in a direction to apply a tensioning force to any fabric in engagment with said pressing surface means. 4. Apparatus as defined in claim 1, and further including a temperature regulating means for controlling temperature of said heating means.

5. Apparatus for domestic household use comprising A. housing means adapted to be hand held, B. pressing surface means adapted to engage the surface to be cleaned and mounted at substantially one end of said housing means, C. means for heating said pressing surface means, D. tensioning means positioned in front of said pressing surface means substantially along the plane of said pressing surface means for engagement with the surface to be cleaned, E. vacuum means for applying a suction force sub stantially along the plane of said pressing surface means for removal of material from the surface to be cleaned, and F. vacuum spotting means mounted at the front of said housing means and including a. a porous member mounted in relatively fixed spaced relation to said housing,

b. a vacuum port in said housing in alignment with said porous member, and

c. means movable between said housing vacuum port and said porous member from an open position in which the vacuum passes through the porous member for engagement with the surface to be cleaned, to a closed position in which said vacuum is contained within said housing.

6. Apparatus as defined in claim 5, and further including a brush member mounted in substantial surrounding relation to said porous member.

7. Apparatus as defined in claim 1,

a. wherein said pressing surface means includes a member having a planer surface for engagement with the surface to be cleaned and including a plurality of spaced apart apertures extending substantially vertically through said member,

b. said vacuum means in said housing adapted to create a suction force through said apertures.

8. Apparatus for domestic household use comprising A. housing means adapted to be hand held,

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Classifications
U.S. Classification38/75
International ClassificationD06F43/00, D06F75/22, D06F75/08
Cooperative ClassificationD06F75/22, D06F43/002, D06F75/08
European ClassificationD06F43/00B, D06F75/22, D06F75/08