US 3726580 A
The support means for a rack, such as a dish-supporting rack in a front opening dishwasher cabinet, includes means for manually adjusting the level of the rack in accordance with the size of items to be placed on the rack or a rack vertically adjacent thereto. Each side of the rack is preferably adjusted between upper and lower positions, and adjustment of the side from an upper position to a lower one is a particularly rapid operation accomplished by manually releasing a locking means whereby the rack side will move downwardly to its lowermost position.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Unite Sttes Guth atent 1 1 RACK LEVEL ADJUSTMENT APPARATUS IN AN APPLIANCE CABINET  Inventor: Lauren W. Guth, Louisville, Ky.
 Assignee: General Electric Company, Louisville, Ky.
 Filed: June 1, 1971  Appl. No: 148,840
 US. Cl. ..312/351, 312/311, 312/312  Int. Cl. ..A47b 96/00  Field of Search ..312/351, 311, 312; 211/162, 181, 94.5; 287/54.l, 103 A, 3;
[5 6] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS Geiger ..3 12/351 Bollhoefer Sandin ..312/351 X [451 Apr. 10, 1973 3,352,431 11/1967 Smith ..3l1/176 3,560,069 2/1971 Doepke ..312/351 3,614,187 10/1971 Cuthbert ..312/351 Primary ExaminerJa.mes T. McCall Att0meyGeorge C. Atwell, Francis H. Boos, Jr., Frank L. Neuhauser, Scar B. Waddell and Joseph B. Forman [5 7] ABSTRACT The support means for a rack, such as a dish-supporting rack in a front opening dishwasher cabinet, includes means for manually adjusting the level of the rack in accordance with the size of items to be placed on the rack or a rack vertically adjacent thereto. Each side of the rack is preferably adjusted between upper and lower positions, and adjustment of the side from an upper position to a lower one is a particularly rapid operation accomplished by manually releasing a locking means whereby the rack side will move downwardly to its lowermost position.
8 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures PATENTEU APR] 0 I973 SHEET 1 OF 2 INVENTOR. LAUREN w. GUTH HS M W ATTORNEY PATENTED 3,726,580
SHEET 2 [IF 2 INVENTOR. LAUREN W. GUTH HlS ATTORNEY RACK LEVEL ADJUSTMENT APPARATUS IN AN APPLIANCE CABINET BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates generally to a shelf or rack supporting structure in an appliance cabinet and particularly pertains to apparatus for adjusting or shifting a rack in an appliance cabinet from one predetermined level or position to another to thereby provide more effective use of available space within the cabinet. The invention is believed particularly applicable for use in an automatic dishwasher of the front-loading type.
In a patent issued Feb. 2, 1971, to Donald G. H. Doepke, U.S. Pat. No. 3,560,069, rack adjustment means is provided in combination with the support means for an upper rack in a front-opening dishwasher that enables the housewife or operator of the dishwasher to physically adjust a side of the dishwasher rack between a low position and a higher level in order to accommodate dishware or other items of unusual size to be washed in the dishwasher.
In a patent application filed concurrently herewith, by Donald G. H. Doepke, Ser. No. 148,846, apparatus is disclosed for the same general purpose, but utilizing structure that is comparatively somewhat more difficult to operate.
The present invention comprehends a significant improvement on structure of the type disclosed by Doepke inasmuch as the improved apparatus is believed comparatively more efficient in its intended function and much more convenient for the housewife to operate.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention provides, in an appliance cabinet having oppositely-disposed side walls defining a chamber therebetween and a load-bearing rack mounted in the chamber, adjustment means for manually changing the level of the side of the rack between predetermined vertically-spaced positions. The adjustable means preferably includes a pair of spaced-apart slidable mechanisms located along a side edge of the rack. Each slidable mechanism has a first and second member arranged to slide, one upon the other. One of the members protrudes downwardly from the rack side and the other member has means for mounting it to the chamber side wall. The first member is adapted to slide vertically relative to the second member permitting the rack side to move from one of the vertically-spaced positions to another. The slidable mechanisms are adapted to be locked by holding means therewith to prevent downward movement of the first member relative to the second member when the rack is in a high level position. Means for manually releasing the holding means enables the housewife or operator to quickly enable the rack side to drop to a lower level position as desired. Features of the present invention include the holding means which locks the sliding mechanisms at the side of the rack whereby the rack cannot be inadvertently moved downwardly except by releasing the holding means purposely, and the provision of actuation means conveniently located adjacent the front corner of the rack.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING Other features and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the ensuing description when read in reference to the accompanying drawing wherein;
FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of a front-opening automatic dishwasher having a side wall thereof cut away to show certain internal components thereof including a vertically-adjustable rack in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary view in vertical section taken along lines 2-2 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a view similar to FIG. 2 but showing components of the apparatus as they are disposed in accordance with vertical adjustment of a dishwasher rack;
FIG. 4 is an elevational view showing a portion of a dishwasher chamber side wall with components of the present invention mounted thereto and in accordance with the dishwasher rack thereof being adjusted to an upper position or elevation;
FIG. 5 is a plan view of certain related components of the present invention;
FIG. 6 is an elevational view showing part of the rack structure as shown in FIG. 4, with components of the invention disposed as they would appear at an intermediate point during the function of the invention; and
FIG. 7 is a view similar to FIG. 6 and differing therefrom by showing disposition of components of the present invention as they appear after the rack has been adjusted from the position shown in FIG. 4 to a lower predetermined level.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT In FIG. 1 there is shown a front-opening dishwasher 10 including a rectilinear cabinet 1 1 and an access door 12 hinged at its lower end to pivot on a horizontal axis and open outwardly from the cabinet 11. Within the cabinet 1 l is a chamber 13 which is defined by the door 12, oppositely-disposed side walls 15 a top wall 16, and a chamber floor or bottom wall 17. Since the dishwasher 10 is typical of such machines, no attempt will be made herein to describe its general operation or components thereof which are not considered pertinent to the present invention.
Mounted within the wash chamber 13 is a pair of dish-supporting racks 20 and 21. Each of the racks is provided with means permitting it to be slidably withdrawn outwardly through the chamber access opening whereby the rack may be loaded or unloaded and thereafter retracted back to the position shown. In combination with the rack 21 is an adjustable means, preferably provided at each side of the rack, to permit manual adjustment of the side between verticallyspaced predetermined positions. The adjustable means includes a pair of spaced-apart slidable mechanisms 25 each having members projecting from the rack 21 arranged to be vertically slidable on respective wallmounted members.
The vertically-slidable member may be in the form of a bracket 26 joined rigidly at its upper end to the undersurface at the side of the rack 21. The wall-mounted member is preferably in the form of a vertically-elongated rectangular plate 27 The plate 27 is carried on a stud 28 protruding laterally therefrom toward the chamber side wall that also serves as an axle for a roller 29. The roller 29, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, is adapted to be slidably movable horizontally in a path parallel to the dishwasher side wall by means of a slide bar 30 carried between upper and lower sets of rollers 31. The rollers 31 are rotatably mounted to the side wall of the wash chamber 13 and each roller has an annular intermediate groove for engaging on the slide bar 30. As shown in FIG. 1, the slide bar 30 is mounted to be slidably movable horizontally between two sets of the rollers 31, and the roller 29 is disposed for its horizontal movement in a longitudinally elongated slot 32 provided in slide bar 30. The slide bar 30, with the rollers 29 and 31 in contact therewith, serve as means for slidably mounting the mechanism to the side wall 15 of the chamber 13.
As shown most clearly in FIGS. 4 and 5, the bracket 26 is generally U-shaped in horizontal cross-section whereby it has opposed portions or sides 34 oriented perpendicular to its major portion. The plate 27 has a width permitting it to be contained between the sides 34 whereby it fits therebetween just loosely enough to permit the sliding action of the bracket 26 on the plate 27. The sides 34 of the bracket 26 are slotted to permit extension therethrough of a horizontally-disposed elongated bar 35. The bar 35 is disposed to be slidable in the direction of its extension within the slots provided in the bracket sides 34. The bar 35 has means therewith for urging it to slide inone direction, preferably toward the rear of the chamber 13. The urging means may be in the form of an expansion spring 36 adapted to fit onto the bar 35 at one end thereof. The bar 35 may be properly slotted as shown in FIG. 7 to receive the spring 36 about an intermediate portion thereof whereby the spring 36 will press between the bar and an adjacent side 34 of the bracket 26. It is also shown in FIGS. 6 and 7 that the preferred means for holding or locking the members of the sliding mechanism 25 in a high level position and preventing inadvertent movement preferably includes a plate projection 37 engagable by a tooth 38 on the bar 35.
The bar 35, in the portion thereof which resides between the sides 34 of the bracket 26, is provided with an irregular slot 39 into which the tooth 38 protrudes. A portion of the slot 39, a recess 40, underlies the tooth 38. Thereabove, the tooth 38 has an edge 41 slanting obliquely toward the top edge of the bar 35. This edge 41 serves as a ramp for guiding the tooth 38 around the plate projection 37 as will be hereafter described. The bracket 26 has a centrally disposed vertical slot 43 opening outwardly on its lower edge. The slot 43 extends inwardly and upwardly on the bracket 26 to provide clearance, during the brackets vertical movement, for the stud 28 supporting the plate 27. As shown in FIG. 5, the stud 28 extends transversely to the bracket 26 through its slot 43.
The operation of the adjustable means at the side of the rack 27 can probably be best understood by particular reference to FIGS. 4, 6, and 7. In FIG. 7, the rack 21 is shown disposed at a lower level or position wherein the brackets 26 of the mechanisms 25 are disposed downwardly relative to the plates 27. The rack side may be moved upwardly to the position shown in FIG. 4 by grasping the rack and lifting it. The action will cause each bracket 26 to slide upwardly relative to the plate 27. The slide bar 35 carried on the bracket 26 will move upwardly therewith and the ramp 41 of the tooth 38 will move upwardly into contact with the plate projection 37, as shown in FIG. 6. The ramp 41 will slide against the side edge of the projection 37 and therebycause the bar 35 to slide transversely to the bracket 26 until the projection 37 is seated at the bottom of the slot 39. At this point, the tooth 38 will have gone entirely around the side edge of the projection 37 whereby, at the urging of the spring 36, the bar 35 will reverse its direction of movement so that the tooth 38 slides over and seats upon the projection 37. The spring 36 will tend to hold the recess 40 in a disposition about the projection 37 whereby the rack side will be held or locked in the raised position.
When it is desired to lower the rack side, a handle portion 42 located adjacent the front corner of the rack 21 provides means for releasing the sliding mechanism 25 whereby the rack side will drop downwardly to a lower position. The handle portion 42 is integral to the bar 35 such that grasping it and pulling it outwardly relative to the dishwashers chamber 13 serves to move the tooth 38 laterally relative to the projection 37 whereby the tooth 38 is disengaged therefrom so that the bracket 26 is again slidable relative to the plate 27 The weight of the rack side will then serve to push the bracket 26 downwardly relative to the plate 27 to the lower position shown in FIG. 7. The portion of the bar 35 constituting the handle portion 42 may be of greater width than the remainder of the bar 35 whereby a shoulder 44 is formed to engage against the area of the bracket side 34 and thereby prevent longitudinal retractive movement of the bar 35 beyond a predetermined distance when the rack side is in its lowermost position.
The invention heretofore described by reference to a preferred embodiment thereof is not meant to be limited to particular details of construction of the embodiment illustrated and described. It is contemplated that various modifications or applications will occur to those skilled in the art. It is therefore intended that the appended claims shall cover all such modifications and applications as do not depart from the true spirit and scope of the invention.
1. In an appliance cabinet having oppositelydisposed side walls defining a chamber therebetween, and a load-bearing rack mounted in the chamber, adjustable means at the side of the rack permitting manual adjustment of the side between verticallyspaced positions, comprising:
a. a pair of mechanisms located in a spaced-apart relation along the rack side, and adapted to permit the rack side to be moved directly upwardly and downwardly,
. each mechanism including a first member extending from the rack and a second member having means mounting it to the chamber side wall, the first member being adapted to slide directly upwardly and downwardly relative to the second member whereby the rack side moves from one of the vertically-spaced positions to another,
. holding means operatively-associated with the mechanism,
d. the holding means being adapted to prevent movement of the first member relative to the second member when the first member is in one of the positions above the lowermost of the verticallyspaced positions,
e. means for releasing the holding means including linkage extending between the pair of mechanisms, and
f. means adjacent the front corner of the rack for manually operating the releasing means whereby the first member will move downwardly to a lower one of the positions.
2. The invention of claim 1 wherein the second member is a plate, the plate is disposed in a spacedapart relation generally parallel to the chamber side wall, the first member is a bracket adapted to slide upwardly and downwardly on the plate, the linkage is a rod extending between the spaced-apart mechanisms, and the bracket of each mechanism has means thereon supporting the rod for slidable movement in the direction of the rod s extension.
7 means includes a projecting portion of the plate engagable by a tooth integral to the rod.
7. The invention of claim 6 further including means urging the tooth to engage the projection on the plate.
8. The invention of claim 1 wherein the means mounting the second member to the chamber wall includes means permitting slidable movement of the second member ina generally horizontal plane.