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Publication numberUS3747363 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 24, 1973
Filing dateMay 30, 1972
Priority dateMay 30, 1972
Also published asDE2327051A1
Publication numberUS 3747363 A, US 3747363A, US-A-3747363, US3747363 A, US3747363A
InventorsB Grimm
Original AssigneeGen Electric
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Refrigerator including through-the-door ice service
US 3747363 A
Abstract
A refrigerator including an ice cube storage receptacle on the inner surface of the freezer door, a passage through the door communicating with the interior of the receptacle and a trap door pivotally mounted on the exterior surface of the freezer door for closing the passage. The trap door carries a delivery tube extending through the passage for picking up ice pieces from the receptacle and delivering the ice pieces to the exterior of the freezer door when the trap door is opened.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

llnited States Patent Grimm July 24, 1973 REFRIGERATOR INCLUDING THROUGH-THE-DOOR ICE SERVICE [75] Inventor: Bernard J. Grimm, Louisville, Ky.

[73] Assignee: General Electric Company,

Louisville, Ky.

22 Filed: May 30, 1972 [21] App]. No.: 257,701

[52] US. Cl. s 62/377, 62/344 [51] Int. Cl. F25c 5/18 [58] Field of Search 222/361, 362;

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,500,059 3/1950 Burnham 222/361 X 3,602,007 8/1971 Drieci 62/344 Primary Examiner-William E. Wayner Attorney-Walter E. Rule et al.

[57'] ABSTRACT A refrigerator including an ice cube storage receptacle on the inner surface of the freezer door, a passage through the door communicating with the interior of the receptacle and a trap door pivotally mounted on the exterior surface of the freezer door for closing the passage. The trap door carries a delivery tube extending through the passage for picking up ice pieces from the receptacle and delivering the ice pieces to the exterior of the freezer door when the trap door is opened.

9 Claims, 3 Drawing Figures REFRIGERATOR INCLUDING THROUGH-THE-DOOR ICE SERVICE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention is directed to a household refrigerator including a freezer compartment containing an ice receptacle mounted on the interior surface of the freezer access door and manually-operable means for delivering ice pieces from the receptacle through the door.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,572,053-Jacobus et al. and U.S. Pat. No. 3,640,088-Jacobus et al. disclose household refrigerators including exterior ice services including an ice passage in a freezer door and combination receptacle and dispensing means for delivering batches of ice pieces from the receptacle to the passage. The dispensing means is motor operated and designed to deliver batches of ice pieces periodically to the passage during operation of the motor.

U.S. Pat. Nos. 2,2l2,405-Rose et al. and 2,697,9l8--Comstock disclose exterior ice services in which ice pieces are dispatched directly from an ice maker through a cabinet wall or the cabinet door, the amount of ice available at any one time being limited by the storage capacity of the ice makers.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,602,007-Drieci discloses throughthe door ice service comprising a receptacle mounted on the interior surface of a small ice access door provided in the main freezer door so that the ice stored in the receptacle is available 'exteriorly by opening the pivoted ice access door without opening the main freezer door.

The present invention is directed specifically to an exterior ice service combining the advantages of an ice storage receptacle for storing a relatively large amount of ice pieces with a manually-operable ice dispensing means for dispensing small batches of ice, for example, batches of one to four ice pieces exteriorly of the refrigerator, without opening the main freezer door.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with the illustrated embodiment of the present invention, there is provided a refrigerator comprising'a freezer compartment and a main freezer door for closing the access opening to the compartment and an ice storage receptacle supported on the inner surface' of the freezer. door. The freezer door includes a passage communicating with the interior of the receptacle and a pivoted closure member mounted on the outer surface'of the door for normally closing the passage. The closure member includes a tubular ice piece delivery member carried on its inner surface and extending through the passage into the receptacle for receiving ice pieces stored in the receptacle when the closure member is in its closed position. The tubular member also includes an opening in the bottom forward wall portion thereof for dispensing ice pieces contained therein when the closure member is moved to its open position. Preferably, there is also provided stop means for limiting the number of ice pieces delivered during each opening of the closure member.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS With reference to the accompanying drawings: FIG. I is a side elevational view, partly in section, of the freezer portion of a refrigerator including the ice delivery means of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a sectional view of a portion of the door structure shown in FIG. 1 showing the ice delivery means in its dispensing position; and

FIG. 3 is a view of the stop means of the present invention adapted to limit the number of ice pieces delivered during each operation of the delivery means.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT With reference to the accompanying drawings, FIG. 1 illustrates a household refrigerator including a freezer compartment 1 having an access opening at the front thereof closed by a main freezer door 2. An ice storage receptacle 3 is suitably supported on the inner surface of the freezer door 2, the receptacle 3 being adapted to store a substantial quantity of ice pieces. The receptacle 3 may be manually filled with ice pieces, although preferably ice pieces are supplied to the storage receptacle 3 and the receptacle kept filled with ice pieces by a suitable ice maker 41 as described in the aforementioned Drieci U.S. Pat. No. 3,602,007 or in Swerbinsky U.S. Pat. No. 3,621,668 both of which patents are assigned to the same assignee as the present invention.

The door 2 includes a relatively small passage 5 extending through the door adjacent the bottom wall 6 of the receptacle and communicating with the interior of the receptacle by means of a coextensive passage 7 in the wall 9 of the receptacle adjacent the inner surface of the door. A closure member in the form of a small trap door 8 mounted on the outer surface of door 2 normally closes the passage 5 and in the illustrated embodiment of the invention this trap door 8 is pivotally supported along its upper edge, as indicated at 10, for tilting movement about a horizontal hinge axis from a normally closed position, as illustrated in FIG. 1 of the drawing, to an open position as illustrated in FIG. 2 of the drawing. A handle 11 is provided for convenient opening of the door 8.

The ice piece dispensing or delivery means comprises a tubular member generally indicated by the numeral 12 suitably supported on the inner or rear surface M of the trap door 8 and extending through the passage 5 into the receptacle 3. This tubular member, which may be of any cross-sectional shape but is preferably of a rectangular cross section, is of an arcuate configuration so that as the closure member 8 is pivotally moved between its closed position and its open position about its hinge axis 10 the tubular member 12 will clear or move freely through the passage 5. Preferably, the outer end of the tubular member 12, that is, the end mounted on the inner surface of the closure member 8, is provided with a mass of insulating material 16 further heat insulating the interior of the tube from the ambient air.

The bottom wall or wall portion of the tubular member 12 is provided with an opening 17 adjacent its outer end for dispensing ice pieces contained in the tubular member when the closure member is in its open position illustrated in FIG. 2 of the drawing.

The tubular member 12 is, of course, of a large enough cross-sectional size so that ice pieces stored in the receptacle 3 or contained therein above the level of the open inner end of 18 of the tubular member will freely pass into the tubular member and completely fill it. Preferably, the tubular member is of a length such that it will, on the average, contain a plurality of ice pieces, as for example, three or four ice pieces.

When the closure member 8 is pivoted to its open position, the outlet opening 17, normally closed by the forward bottom wall section 20 of the receptacle and by the adjacent wall portion of the passage 5, will be exposed exteriorly so that the ice pieces in the tubular member 12 will flow freely through the passage 17 and into a container (not shown) supported or held below the passage 5.

Preferably, in order to limit the number of ice pieces which will be dispensed during each opening of the closure member, there is provided a stop element 25 adapted to engage any excess ice pieces flowing into the tube during the opening of the closure member and to limit the number of ice pieces dispensed through the opening 17. In the illustrated embodiment of the invention, this stop means 25 comprises a polypropylene hinge member having a hinge 26, as illustrated in FIG. 3 of the drawing, with one portion of the member, that is the portion 27, secured to the exterior surface of the door and the second portion 29 preferably comprising a plurality of fingers 31 normally extending from the hinge 26 through the passage above tubular member 7 and slightly into the tubular member 12 through a slot 30 provided in the upper surface of the tubular member at a point adjacent the receptacle wall 9 when the closure member 8 is closed. This slot is generally opposite the inner edge 33 of the dispensing opening 17.

To assure operation of the stop during each opening of the closure member 8, the inner ends 32 of the fingers 31 are angled or bent downwardly as indicated by the numeral 32 in order to positively extend into the slot.

When the closure member 8 is in its closed position, the stop means, or more specifically the end portions 32 thereof, extend only a slight distance into the tubular member 12, as shown in FIG. 1 of the drawing, and do not interfere with the passage of ice pieces into the tubular member. When the closure member 8 is opened, or more specifically during opening of the closure member 8, forward movement of the tubular member 12 causes the fingers 31 to gradually penetrate into the tubular member 12. When the slot approaches the vicinity of the hinge 26, the inner or rear edge 33 of the slot positively engages the fingers to cause them to pivot about hinge 26 until they assume a generally vertical position, as illustrated in FIG. 2 of the drawing, when the closure member is fully open. Thus, the fingers in moving to this vertical position will engage and trap any additional ice pieces entering the tube during opening of the closure member so that they cannot exit through the outlet 17. Thereafter, during closing of the closure member 8, additional ice pieces can enter the open end 18 of the tubular member as it is thrust upwardly through the mass of ice pieces contained in the receptacle 3. At the same time, the stop means fingers 31 are gradually pivoted upwardly to their normal or inactive position so that these ice pieces can completely fill the tubular member 12 for storage therein until the closure member 8 is again opened.

From the above description it will be seen that there has been provided a simple, low-cost, manuallyoperable, ice dispensing means adapted to dispense small batches of ice, as for example, a batch sufficient to fill a normal drinking glass, from a receptacle adapted to store a relatively large amount of ice pieces.

While there has been shown and described a specific embodiment of the invention, it will be understood that it is not limited thereto and that it is intended by the appended claims to cover all such modifications as fall within the true spirit and scope of the invention.

I claim: 5 1. In a refrigerator comprising a freezer compartment and a door for closing the access opening to said compartment;

an ice storage receptacle supported on the inner surface of said door;

said door having a passage communicating with the interior of the receptacle;

a closure member mounted on the outer surface of said door for closing said passage, said member being pivotally mounted on said door above said passage;

a tubular member carried on the inner surface of said closure member and extending through said passage and opening into said receptacle, said tubular member having a shape adapted to clear the walls of said passages during pivotal movement of said closure member;

said tubular member having an opening in the bottom wall portion thereof intermediate the ends of said member for dispensing ice pieces contained in said tubular member when said closure member is in its open position.

2. A refrigerator according to claim 1 in which said tubular member has an arcuate shape as the end thereof extends upwardly into said receptacle.

3. A refrigerator according to claim 1 in which said tubular member is of rectangular cross-section.

4. A refrigerator according to claim 1 including stop means for limiting the passage of ice pieces through said tubular member when said closure member is opened.

5. A refrigerator according to claim 4 in which said tubular member has a slot in the top surface thereof and said stop means comprises an element having an end portion extending into said slot and movable to a position extending across said tubular member when said closure member is opened.

6. In a refrigerator comprising a freezer compartment and a door for closing the access opening to said compartment; w

an ice storage receptacle supported on the inner surface of said door;

said door having a passage communicating with the interior of the receptacle;

a closure member mounted on the outer surface of said door for closing said passage, said member being pivotally mounted on said door above said passage;

a tubular member carried on the inner surface of said closure member and extending through said passage and having an end opening upwardly into said receptacle, said tubular member having an arcuate shape for clearing the walls of said passages during pivotal movement of said closure member;

said tubular member having a discharge opening in the bottom wall portion thereof intermediate the ends of said member and normally closed by the bottom wall of said receptacle for dispensing ice pieces contained in said tubular member when said closure member is in its open position.

7. A refrigerator according to claim 6 in which said tubular member is of a rectangular cross-section.

3,747,363 6 8. A refrigerator according to claim 7 in which said 9. A refrigerator according to claim 8' in which said tubular member has a slot in the top wall thereof generally opposite the inner edge of the discharge opening and a stop means for limiting passage of ice'pieces exdoor and extends through Passage' tends through said slot. 5

stop means is pivotally mounted on the outer surface of

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US3602007 *Oct 16, 1969Aug 31, 1971Gen ElectricRefrigerator including through-the-door ice service
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Classifications
U.S. Classification62/377, 62/344
International ClassificationF25C5/18, F25C5/00, F25D23/02, F25C1/24
Cooperative ClassificationF25D23/02, F25C5/005, F25C1/24
European ClassificationF25C1/24, F25D23/02, F25C5/00B2