US 3798932 A
A liquid agent dispenser for introducing liquid solutions into an automatic wshing machine, including a receptacle having a curved side wall and an angular base wall terminating in a discharge openingat the lowermost point thereof, together in a discharge opening at the lowermost point thereof, together with means for injecting water tangentially of the curved side wall at a sufficient velocity to cause a vortex to exist in the receptacle with its axis substantially coinciding with the axis of the discharge opening, in combination with a siphon receiving the discharge from the discharge opening to render the receptacle self cleaning of particulate matter.
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 91 Tromblee Mar. 26, 1974  Inventor: Jon D. Tromblee, St. Joseph, Mich.
 Assignee: Whirlpool Corporation, Benton Harbor, Mich.
 Filed: May 8, 1972  Appl. No.: 251,428
 U.S. Cl 68/17 R, 68/207, 134/93  Int. Cl. D06f 39/02  Field of Search 68/17 R, 207; 134/93, 100,
1,134,483 11/1968 Great Britain 222/204 Primary Examiner-Peter Feldman Assistant Examiner-Philip R. Coe
Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Hi11, Sherman, Meroni, Gross & Simpson [5 7 ABSTRACT A liquid agent dispenser for introducing liquid solutions into an automatic wshing machine. including a receptacle having a curved side wall and an angular base wall terminating in a discharge opening at the lowermost point thereof, together in a discharge opening at the lowermost pointthereof, together with means for injecting water tangentially of the curved side wall at a sufficient velocity to cause a vortex to exist in the receptacle with its axis substantially coinciding with the axis of the discharge opening, in combination with a siphon receiving the discharge from the discharge opening to render the receptacle self cleaning of particulate matter.
10 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures SIPHONED VORTEX LIQUID DISPENSER FOR AUTOMATIC WASHERS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION l. Field of the Invention This invention is in the field of dispensers for automatic washing machines utilizing a vortex water action and a center tap siphon to cause a thorough mixing of the liquid agent with the stream of water and cleaning of the dispenser as the resulting liquid solution is being withdrawn from the dispenser.
2. Description of the Prior Art- There have been some suggestions in the prior art of using a vortexing action in a laundry agent dispenser to facilitate mixing of the laundry agent with the water for introduction in the washing machine. For example, in Butler and Wade U. S. Pat. No. 3,204,831, owned by the assignee of the present application, there is described a dispenser apparatus including a housing and an inner portion or cup residing within the housing. Rib members are formed integrally with the inner wall of the housing to support the cup so that there is a generally spaced relation between the housing and the cup. An inlet formed in a side wall of the housing is connected to a recirculating liquid hose. The cup also has an opening in a side wall which is partially in registry with the inlet of the housing such that when the circulating hose is feeding washing liquid into the housing, part of the liquid will enter the cup and mix with the laundering agent that has been deposited therein. An outlet formed in a bottom wall of the cup allows the mixture of liquid and laundering agent to flow downwardly into the housing of the dispenser where it becomes mixed with the washing liquid which has by passed the cup. The resulting solution is then passed by gravity to the washing zone of the washing machine.
Severance et al. U. A. Pat. No. 3,303,675 also owned by the assignee of the present application describes a self cleaning additive dispenser which makes use of a paddle wheel located within the dispenser enclosure and arranged to be rotatably driven by a stream of water to aid in mixing the additives into the stream and providing some degree of self cleaning in the enclosure.
In a copending Bunnell et al. application, Ser. No. l36,956, which issued on Oct. 10, 1972, as U. S. Pat. No. 3,696,970 and is owned by the assignee of the present application, water enters the liquid agent dispenser compartment through a valve and opening in or adjacent the bottom of the compartment. The agent is diluted and dispensed with the water through an overflow passage in the compartment to the treatment zone. At the end of the dispensing interval, the liquid contents of the compartment drain back through the opening and valve for ultimate discharge to the treatment zone. In some cases foreign particles such as sand left in the dispenser when it is drained through the valve tend to clog the valve and cause improper operation of the dispenser.
Since wash water which is used to mix with and dilute the liquid agent to be dispensed may contain foreign particles such as sand or lint, it is important to clean the dispenser thoroughly to prevent a build-up of such particles in the dispenser which might cause improper operation or clogging. The sand poses a particular problem because of its high density and the necessity of providing a fairly rapidly moving water stream to cause it to move along the bottom of a chamber on which it has settled. The present invention is particularly applicable to that type of situation, namely, where the wash water contains foreign particles which tend to settle out, and provides a moving water stream which tends to keep the solid particles in suspension and further provides a washing action which removes any solid particles which may have settled.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention provides an improved dispenser for introducing a liquid laundering additive such as soap, detergent, bleach, or the like into a circulating water stream under conditions of efficient agitation and water circulation whereby the laundering additive is homogenously mixed into the water stream while minimizing or preventing the precipitation of solid foreign particles on the base of the dispenser. The dispenser is compact and can be secured in the interior of the washing machine without taking up a substantial amount of room. The dispenser comprises a receptacle which has a bottom wall with a discharge opening and means forming a side wall having a curved surface portion. A stream of wash water is injected tangentially of the curved side wall with sufficient mass velocity that a vortex is formed within the dispenser, the axis of the vortex being substantially in line with the axis of the discharge opening. This condition of extreme agitation thoroughly mixes the additive into the wash stream and minimizes the tendency of solid particles to settle therefrom. A siphon device is also provided, the siphon having its inlet end connected to the discharge opening of the receptacle and having a generally inverted U- shaped conduit alongside the side wall of the receptacle. It has been found that the combination of the vortex action and the siphoning from the center of the receptacle assures that all foreign particles, particularly sand, are cleaned from the dispenser by the end of the dispensing operation.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. I is a somewhat schematic fragmentary view of an automatic washer assembly of the type in which the present invention can be applied;
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary view in perspective of the top of the washing machine, with the lid open to show the location of the dispenser;
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary plan view of the top of the washing machine illustrating the position of the dispenser;
FIG. 4 is a plan view of the dispenser itself with the top removed to illustrate the interior;
FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view taken substantially along the line VV of FIG. 4; and
FIG. 6is a view in elevation of the siphon assembly.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT In FIGS. I and 2, reference numeral 10 indicates generally an automatic washing machine of the vertical axis type including a cabinet 11, a top 12, and a control console 13 on which there is located a timer mechanism 14 to put the washing machine through its progressive cycles of operation, as is well understood by persons skilled in this art. A hinged door 15 closes off a recess or well portion 16 and permits access to the interior of the washing machine which includes an imperforate tub 17 in which there is mounted a rotatable, perforate basket 18 in which the laundry is introduced. A shaft 19 carries conventional agitator vanes 20, the shaft being driven through a transmission 21 from a motor 22. The motor 22 also drives a reversible pump 23 to which is connected a conduit 24 for draining the contents of the tub l7 and a conduit 25 for directing a stream of wash water into an additive dispenser generally indicated at reference numeral 26 in the drawings. A filter 27 is connected to the pump 23 by means of a conduit 28 and a drain hose 29 is provided to discharge the soiled laundry water to a suitable drain at the completion of the washing operation. Check valves 30 and 31 are provided for directing the water flow either into the tub 17 or into the drain hose 29. A solenoid 32, under the control of the timer mechanism 14, is provided to control the flow of wash water to the dispenser 26. During the agitation portion of the washing cycle,
- water is drawn from the tub 17 through check valve 31,
through the filter 27 to the pump 23 and pumped back to the tub through the conduit 24. The valve operated by solenoid 32 is shut during the operation of the washer until it is desired to dispense the liquid from the dispenser. Consequently, no wash water flows in conduit 25 unless it is desired to dispense liquid from the dispenser and the valve 32 is open. During discharge of water from the machine, the water is drawn from the tub through conduit 24, it is pumped through the filter 27, then through check valve 30 and out hose 29 to the drain. Solenoid operated valve 32 is closed during this portion of the cycle and no water flows in the conduit 25.
The dispenser assembly of the present invention is best illustrated in FIGS. 3 to of the drawings. It includes a removable top 33 which has a handle portion 34 formed thereon. As best seen in FIG. 2, the dispenscr assembly is located in the recess 16 adjacent the entry to the tub. The dispenser chamber itself has a side wall means including a rounded side wall 35 and means forming a generally frusto-conical bottom wall 36 at which a discharge opening 37 is located at its lowermost point. A valve housing 38 having an inlet 39 houses a valve element (not shown) which is actuated by operation of the solenoid 32 and is arranged to be seated on a valve seat 40. An annular space 42 is provided around the valve seat 40, in which there is an aperture 43 which forms a portin the side wall 35. When the valve is open, water flows through the seat 40 through the annular space 42 and the port 43 into the dispensing chamber generally identified at reference numeral 44. The entering wash water travels around the side wall 35 in a circular motion thereby securing intimate admixture between the additive and the wash water.
The dispensing assembly is also provided with a siphon which is indicated generally at reference numeral 45. It consists of a generally horizontal conduit 46 which is in fluid communication with discharge opening 37 and a generally inverted U-shaped conduit portion consisting of legs 47 and 48 joined by a bright portion 49. The inverted U-shaped siphon is best illustrated in FIG. 6 of the drawings. The leg 48 of the siphon is formed with a discharge opening 50 which is received in a flange 51 which circumscribes the opening to the interior of the machine, as seen in FIG. 3. A channel shaped member 52 is provided above the siphon to serve as a vent to relieve air pressure from the interior of the chamber 44 and also to act as an overflow means.
In operation, the laundry additive is introduced into the chamber 44 and when it is desired to dispense the liquid, wash water is introduced to the dispenser housing at the inlet 39 of the valve housing 38 by actuation of the solenoid 32. This wash water is injected tangentially with respect to the curved side wall 35 and is injected with sufficient mass velocity so that is forms a vortex having its axis substantially coinciding with the axis of the discharge opening 37. As the water and liquid to be dispensed mix and rise to a level about the level of the bight portion 49, the siphon begins to function, and the resulting mixture is drawn out of the receptacle 44 through the discharge opening 37, into the conduit 46, up the conduit 47, across the bight portion 49, down the conduit 48 and out into the washing zone through the discharge opening 50. The combination of the vortex motion and the center tap siphon thoroughly mix the additive to be dispensed with the incoming water and clean the chamber 44 of any foreign particulate matter. Any particles in the dispenser are driven by the swirling water to the center of the chamber, through the discharge opening 37, and out through the siphon. When the inlet water is shut off by the operation of the valve, the siphon continues to empty the chamber. If the water level in the chamber should rise too high, the channel shaped member 52 provides an overflow means.
From the foregoing, it will be seen that the dispenser assembly of the present invention provides a combination of vortex action and a center tap siphon to ensure that all foreign particles are cleaned from the dispenser by the end of the dispensing operation so that the possibility of accumulating such foreign particles in the receptacle is minimized. It will also be understood that the dispenser described and illustrated in the drawings is compact and is readily secured to existing washing machine assemblies without taking a substantial amount of space. It should also be evident that various modifications can be made to the described embodiments without departing from the scope of the present invention.
The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:
1. In an automatic washer having a receptacle for receiving laundry and pump means for providing water flow, a liquid agent dispenser comprising,
a container having a bottom wall and means forming a side wall with a curved surface for receiving a liquid agent to be dispensed,
outlet means centrally located in said bottom wall for dicharging liquid from said container,
water inlet means in said container arranged to introduce water substantially tangentially with respect to said curved surface to thereby form a vortex of water in said container with its axis substantially coinciding with said outlet means,
conduit means including said pump means, connecting said receptacle with the container water inlet means,
valve means for controlling the flow of water from said receptacle to said water inlet means,
and a siphon having an inlet in fluid communication with said outlet means and an outlet in fluid communication with said receptacle, said siphon operating to discharge liquid from said container whenever liquid in said chamber rises above a predetermined level.
2. An automatic washer according to claim 1 in which said bottom wall is downwardly sloping and said outlet means is disposed at the bottom of said bottom wall.
3. An automatic washer according to claim 1 in which said siphon includes a substantially horizontal conduit portion at its inlet and an inverted U-shaped conduit portion extending vertically alongside said means forming the side wall.
4. An automatic washer according to claim 3 which also includes vent means for relieving air pressure from within said container.
5. For use with an automatic washing machine, a liquid agent dispenser comprising,
a receptable having a bottom wall having a centrally disposed drain aperture and means forming a side wall with a curved surface,
means for introducing a stream of water into said receptacle tangentially to said curved surface to thereby form a vortex of water in said receptacle having its axis substantially coinciding with the axis of said drain aperture,
and siphon means connected to said drain aperture for discharging liquid from said receptacle.
6. The liquid agent dispenser of claim 5 which includes vent means for relieving air pressure from within said receptacle.
7. The liquid agent dispenser of claim 5 in which said siphon includes a horizontal conduit portion extending from said drain aperture and an inverted U-shaped conduit portion extending vertically alongside said means forming the side wall.
8. In an automatic washer having a receptacle for receiving clothes, a liquid agent dispenser comprising,
side and bottom wall means together forming a chamber for receiving a liquid agent to be dispensed, said side wall means having a curved surface and having formed therein an inlet port for directing water tangentially against said curved surface of said side wall,
means forming a centrally disposed outlet for liquid in said bottom wall means,
a siphon having an inlet in fluid communication with said centrally disposed outlet, and an outlet in communication with said clothes receptacle, and valve controlled means for selectively supplying water from said receptacle to said inlet,
whereby water introduced into said chamber through said inlet forms a vortex in said chamber, said vortex having a center on an axis essentially concentric with said centrally disposed outlet in said bottom wall means so that liquid flows from said centrally disposed outlet, through said siphon, to said siphon outlet whenever liquid in said chamber rises above a predetermined level.
9. An automatic washer according to claim 4, wherein said vent means also provides an overflow means in fluid communication with said container above the upper level of said inverted U-shaped conduit portion.
10. A liquid dispenser according to claim 6 wherein said vent means also provides an overflow means in fluid communication with said receptacle above an upper level of said siphon means for controlling a discharge of overflow from the receptacle.