US 3766397 A
An electric hand dryer comprising a cabinet having a pair of circular openings provided in the front surface thereof for receiving the user's arms and hands, a sterilizing air bath chamber into which the arms and hands of the user are inserted, and through which sterilized, heated air is circulated for drying the hands of the user, a sterilization chamber in which a plurality of horizontally-disposed air baffles and germicidal lamps are disposed for sterilizing the air, and a pair of air blowers for forcing air into and out of the sterilization chamber and into the air bath chamber for drying the user's hands with the sterilized air. An air filter is provided for filtering the air drawn into the sterilizing chamber from outside the cabinet.
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Unite States Patt [191 [111 3,766,397
Rockson [451 *Oct. to, 1973 STERILIZING HAND DRYER Primary Examiner-James W. Lawrence  Inventor: Thomas Rockson, 1920 Railroad Asssmm Church Avenue Holbmok, NX. AttorneyAll1son C. Collard Notice: The portion of the term of this 57] ABSTRACT patent subsequent to June 6, 1989 has been disclaimed An electric hand dryer comprising a cabinet having a a 7 w a pair of circular openings provided in the front surface  Filed: 1972 thereof for receiving the users arms and hands, a ster- . Appl' 243,274 ilizing air bath chamber into which the arms and hands of the user are inserted, and through which sterilized, heated air is circulated for drying the hands of  US. Cl 250/432, 34/202, 250/437 the user, a Sterilization chm-her in which a plurality of  hit. Cl. F26!) 19/00 horizontallydisposed air baffles and germicidal lamps  Fleld of Search 250/43, 51, 52, 85, are disposed for sterilizing the and a pair of 250/48; 34/202 blowers for forcing air into and out of the sterilization chamber and into the air bath chamber for drying the  References Cited users hands with the sterilized air. An air filter is pro- UNITED STATES PATENTS vided for filtering the air drawn into the sterilizing 3,667,134 6/1972 Rockson 34/202 chamber from Outside the cabinet 2,248,618 7/1941 Fischer 250/48 10 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures 1 STERILIZING HAND DRYER The present invention relates to sterilizing hand dryers, and in particular to a sterilizing hand dryer including a sterilizing air bath chamber through which heated sterilized air is circulated to dry the users hands.
Conventional hand-drying devices generally comprise an air blower which forces a stream of air through electric heating elements outwardly from an outlet nozzle over the hands of the user. Such devices are limited, since only one side of the users hands may be dried at one time, and it is necessary that the user rotate his hands in front of the forced air stream so that they will be completely dried during the drying cycle. In institutions, such as hospitals where medical personnel, such as operating surgeons, are required to scrub their hands with antiseptic prior to performing an operation, sterilized towels are generally provided for drying their hands. It has, however, been found that if the hands of medical personnel are dried by air, rather than by sterilized towels, under controlled conditions, the amount of bacteria which collects on the hands after they are dry is less than if they utilized towels.
Accordingly, the present invention provides a sterilizing hand dryer, comprising a housing including a sterilizing air bath chamber inwhich the users hands are inserted through a pair of openings or portholes in the front of the housing, A tangential blower draws air into the cabinet and forces'it through a filter and a sterilizing chamber past a-plurality of germicidal lamps and interdisposed, horizontal air baffle'plates. Another tangential blower draws the air from the sterilizing chamber and forces it into the air bath chamber for sterilizing the users hands. A heater is disposed adjacent the second tangential blower for heating the air just before it is forced into the air bath chamber. The germicidal lamps provide continuous sterilization of the air forced through the sterilizing chamber, and the inside surfaces of the cabinet are polished so that the light radiated from the sterilizing lamps is reflected evenly inside the cabinet. A foot pedal switch is provided to activate the dryer when the user steps up to the housing and places his hands in the openings provided therein. A proximity sensor switch may be disposed in the-air bath chamber in lieu of the foot switch to activate the drying device. It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a sterilizing hand dryer into which a user may insert his hands to be dried, I V It is also an object of the present inventionto provide a sterilizingha nd dryer in which sterilized, heated air user during the dryingoperation. 1 I
It is another object of the present invention toprovide a sterilizing hand dryer which may be activated without manual action of the user; I 1
It is a further object of the present. invention to provide a hand dryer which sterilizes the hands of the user is circulated around and over the entire hands of the more efficiently than sterilized towels or forced air drying systems. I i i g Other objects and features of thepresent invention will become apparent from the following detailed de- In the drawings,'wherein similar reference numerals denote similar elements throughout the severalviews:
FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a sterilizing hand dryer constructed in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional side view of the sterilizing hand dryer, taken along section 2-2 of FIG. 1; 7
FIG. 3 is a rear view of the sterilizing hand dryer, looking in the direction of arrows 3-3 of FIG. 2; and
FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional top view of the sterilizing hand dryer, taken along section 4-4 of FIG. 2.
Referring to the drawings, there is shown a sterilizing hand dryer including a cabinet or housing 10 in the top portion of which is disposed a sterilizing air bath chamber 11. The cabinet includes a front sloping deck 12 in which a glass or transparent plastic window 13, and a pair of circular apertures or portholes 14 are disposed. Apertures 14 are of sufficient diameter to admit the handsland arms of an average person using the drying device." An air sterilizing chamber is disposed adjacent the sterilizing air bath chamber and includes a plurality of horizontally-disposed, air baffles 15 which are removably affixed by side wall clamps 16 and front wall clamps 17 to the inside of cabinet 10. The baffles are preferably constructed of aluminum, and have a reflectivesurface to reflect light from a plurality of germicidal 'flourescent lamps 18 disposed in the air sterilization chamber adjacent the air baffles. Air is forced into the sterilization chamber by a first tangential blower 19 which draws air from outside cabinet 10 in through louvered opening 20 provided in the back of cabinet 10..
The air, is forced through an impregnated medicated germicidal air filte'r screen 21, such as, for example, an
includes a germicidal lamp 18, and the inside of the airbath sterilization chamber is provided with a reflective surface so that the light rays from the gerrnicidal'lanip scription takenin connection with the accompanying are reflected entirelyover the users arms and hands while they are disposed in the air ,bath chamber. A. proximity sensor switch 28 is disposed inchamber 1-1' to actuate the blowers whenfthe useri -places his hands. in the chamber. Air is circulated through the air steril ization chamber aroun dfthe users hands and out 2, Ion; veredair exit 29 provided in the back of cabinet .10, A
foot switch, comprising a'p'lanar rectangular foot lever 30, an electromechanical switch 31 and a'coil spring 32 is provided for actuating the tangential blowers when the user places his hands in thedryer. Either the proximity switch or the foot switch, or both, may be utilized in the drying'apparatus.
' An on-off switch 33 is provided in the back'of the cabinet to disconnect the tangential blowers, the'heatpower source. When the switch is 'in'the on position,
a 25 percent load is placed on heating'element 33 to. heat it constantly and insure that when'the foot switch or proximity switch actuates the blower warm air is blown into chamber 11. The sterilizing lamps are also activated when the switch is in its on position to insure that the air in the housing is maintained in a sterile condition. When the switch is in the on position, the foot switch and proximity switch are coupled to the power source and will actuate the blowers when the user depresses the foot switch or places his hands in chamber 11.
Tangential blowers 19 and 24 are of conventional type, and consist of a cylindrical blower with a plurality of curved blades disposed thereon attached to the shaft of an electrical motor. Each of the blowers is disposed between a pair of curved plates which direct the air in a desired direction. It should be noted, however, that a tangential blower is not required, and that any suitable type of airblower may be used. Cabinet is also provided with a side surface door 34 which is pivotably mounted on the side of the cabinet. The door enables the baffle plates to be removed, the germicidal lamps to be replaced, and the filter and tangential blowers to be serviced. The hand drying apparatus may be constructed in any suitable manner of any suitable materials. The electrical coupling of the motors and lamps to the foot switch may be achieved by any suitable conventional means.
To operate the sterilizing hand dryer, switch 33 is moved to its on position, switching on lamps 18 and heating element 27, and the user steps up to cabinet 10 and places his hands and forearms in apertures 14 and sterilizing air bath chamber 11. If the proximity sensor switch 28 is used, the dryer will automatically start. If, however, the foot switch is used, the user then places his foot on lever 30 to activate switch 31 and couple the power source to blowers 19 and 24. When the user steps on the foot switch, blower 19 is activated and draws air inwardly through intake opening 20 and forces it downwardly through filter 21 and louvered opening 22 in the direction of arrows 23. The air is then forced upwardly into the air sterilization chamber, horizontally back and forth and vertically upward around air baffles and germicidal lamps-18. At the top of the sterilization chamber, the air is drawn through opening 25 into blower 24, which forces the air past the heater 27 through opening 26 into airbath chamber 11. The user may scrub and rotate his hands while observing them through window 18. When the user is finished drying his hands, he withdraws them from apertures 14, whereupon proximity switch 28 shuts off the drying apparatus, or withdraws his hands and lifts his foot from the foot switch to turn off blowers 24 and 19. Tocompletely shut off the entire unitso that it willnot be responsive to the foot switch or proximity switch, toggle switch 33, which is affixed to the back of cabinet 10 adjacent input opening 20, is switched to its offf position. 7
While only one of the embodiments of the present invention has been shown and described, it will be obvious to those persons skilled in the art that many changes and modifications may be made thereunto without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.
What is claimed is:
1. A sterilizing, hand dryer, comprising:
a housing, including a first hand-receiving compartment having at least one aperture provided therein for receiving a body limb, and an air sterilization compartment, coupled to and disposed adjacent said hand-receiving compartment for sterilizing air;
air blower means, disposed within said housing for circulating air from outside said housing through said air sterilization compartment;
a plurality of horizontally-disposed, vertically spaced-apart baffle members, disposed in said air sterilization compartment, for providing a horizontal and vertical path through said sterilization compartment;
a plurality of sterilizing lamps, disposed adjacent said baffle members in said sterilization compartment, for sterilizing the air circulating through said sterilization compartment;
at least one additional sterilizing lamp, disposed within said hand-receiving compartment, for sterilizing air flowing through said compartment; and
heater means, disposed between said sterilization compartment and said hand-receiving compartment, for heating air circulating from said sterilization compartment to said hand-receiving compartment.
2. The sterilizing hand dryer as recited in claim 1, wherein said housing further comprises an air inlet opening, disposed adjacent and coupled to said sterilization compartment, a first air outlet opening coupled to said sterilization compartment, and a second air outlet opening disposed adjacent and coupled to said hand-receiving compartment, and wherein said blower means comprises a first air blower disposed adjacent said air intake opening for drawing air in through said opening and forcing the air into said sterilization compartment, and a second air blower, disposed between said sterilization compartment and said hand-receiving compartment for forcing air from said sterilization compartment into said hand-receiving compartment.
3. The sterilizing hand dryer as recited in claim 2, further comprising heating means, disposed adjacent said second air blower between said' sterilizing compartment and said hand-receiving compartment, for heating the air forced from said sterilization compartment to said hand-receiving compartment. I 4. The sterilizing hand dryer as recited in claim 3, further comprising filter means, disposed between said first air blower and said sterilizing compartment, for filtering air drawn from outside said housing into said sterilization compartment. 5. The sterilizing hand dryer as recited in claim 4, further comprising switch means, coupled to said air blowers and said sterilizing lamps, for activating said lamps and said blowers when the user places his arms and.
hands in said hand-receiving compartment.
6; The sterilizing hand dryeras recited in claim 5, wherein said switch means is a proximity sensor switch, disposed within said hand-receiving compartment.'
- 7. The sterilizing hand dryer as recited in claim 5, wherein said switch means is a foot switch, comprising a planar member pivoted at one end, an electromechanical switch coupled to said sterilizing lamps and said blowers, and a spring member, disposedbetween said housing and said planar member, for coupling an electrical power source to said blowers and said sterilizing lamps when said planar member is depressed by the foot of the user.
8. The sterilizing hand dryer as recited in claim 5, wherein said housing further comprises a transparent window, disposed adjacent said pair of apertures, for
housing said first and second air blowers and separating said blowers from said sterilization and hand-receiving compartments of said housing.
10. The sterilizing hand dryer as recited in claim 5, wherein said air intake openings and said air exitopenings in said housing are louvered.