Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS3809295 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 7, 1974
Filing dateOct 30, 1972
Priority dateOct 30, 1972
Publication numberUS 3809295 A, US 3809295A, US-A-3809295, US3809295 A, US3809295A
InventorsM Vitencz
Original AssigneeM Vitencz
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Ice cube dispensing machine
US 3809295 A
Abstract
An ice cube dispensing machine is provided which is adapted to store ice cubes without having the cubes sticking to each other and to dispense one or more ice cubes at a time. The ice cube dispensing machine includes a storage member having a chamber therein for storing ice cubes and an inlet and outlet, a rotatable shaft, horizontally disposed within said chamber driven by motor means, and having a plurality of angular bars extending therefrom, for keeping ice cubes from sticking to one another and moving the ice cubes to the outlet in said storage member. Cover means are provided for the outlet in said storage member, which are adapted to move between open and closed positions, for dispensing ice cubes or for retaining ice cubes in said chamber, respectively.
Images(3)
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Vitencz May 7,1974

[ 4] ICE CUBE DISPENSING MACHINE 221 Filed: Oct. 30, 1972 21 App1.No.:30l,979

[ 5 6] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,602,406 8/1971 Jacobus et a1. 222/413 3,348,656 10/1967 Hall et a1. 62/344 2,579,527 12/1951 Weyerhaeuser 198/56 2,849,035 8/1958 Morey, 141/360 Primary ExaminerStanley 1'1. Tolberg. Assistant Examiner-Larry Martin ABSTRACT An ice cube dispensing machine is provided which is adapted to store ice cubes without having the cubes sticking to each other and to dispense one or more ice cubes at a time. The ice cube dispensing machine includes a storage member having a chamber therein for storing ice cubes and an inlet and outlet, a rotatable shaft, horizontally disposed .within said chamber driven by motor means, and having a plurality of angular bars extending therefrom, for keeping ice cubes from sticking to one another and moving the ice cubes to the outlet in said storage member. Cover means are provided for the outlet in said storage me'mber, which are adapted to move between open and closed positions, for dispensing ice cubes or for retaining ice cubes in said chamber, respectively.

The ice cube dispensing machine is portable or may be secured to a shelf or table top or other support and employed in the home or in commercial establishments suchas restaurants or bars, for dispensing ice cubes. i

8 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures PATENTEDIAY 7 1974 fllll 1 ICE CUBE DISPENSING MACHINE FIELD OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to an ice cubedispenser which is adapted to store ice cubes while keeping the cubes separated from each other and to dispense one or more ice cubes at a time, as desired.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Every home, restaurant, or bar makes use of ice cubes stored in dispensers. For example, in the home, ice cubes are normally made in the freezer of a refrigerator and stored in the freezer until ready for use. The ice cubes may be removed from the freezer and used directly or may be stored in an insulated storage unit prior to use. In restaurants of bars, ice cubes are normally prepared in a freezer and removed therefrm and stored in large containers prior to use.

It has been found that when ice cubes are stored in conventional storage units, the ice cubes tend to stick to one another and cannot be removed from the storage unit one at a time. It is usually necessary to remove two or three or more ice cubes, all stuck toether, and

separate thecubes from each other.

Commercial ice cube making and vending establishments have recognized this problem for some time and have apparently solved it. To do so, they have developed complex commercial ice cube making and vending machines which normally comprise means formaking ice cubes and means for storing the cubes which include means for keeping the cubes separated from each other. The means for keeping the cubes separated usually comprises a rotatable shaft which includes a plurality of spikes positioned thereon; as the shaft rotates, the spikes contact the ice cubes and keep them separated from each other, but do not aid in moving the ice cubes from the storage means to an outlet or dispensing means. The shaft and associated spikes are usually part of a complex and expensive piece of equipment which is suitable for home use and even in small business establishments. For example, US. Pat. No. 3,18,958 to Swart discloses an ice cube vending machine which includes an anti-bridging device which comprises a bin element having converging walls and a curved bottom wall; the bin includes an elongated feed screw element driven by an electric motor and a shaft having a plurality of spikes extending therefrom positioned above the feed screw element. The shaft functions to keep the ice cubes separated as they fall onto the screw element which moves the cubes to dispensing means. The shaft carrying the plurality of spikes is vertically disposed within the vending machine.

US. Pat. No. 3,217,509 to Weil, et. al discloses a horizontally-disposed rotatable shaft in combination with complex ice making and vending apparatus. This apparatus is not for dispensing ice Cubes but is designed to dispense crushed ice.

US. Pat. No. 3,146,915 to Gregor discloses a vibratory transfer chute which includes a horizontallydisposed .rotatable shaft having a plurality of teeth extending therefrom. The chute is essentially for transferring non-free flowing materials such as macaroni, vegetables and the like from scaling or measuring devices, without bridging or clogging the chute.

A number of other patents disclose a rotatable shaft having teeth, angular bars, or spikes disposed thereon 2 which could be employed for keeping ice cubes separated from each other. Each of these patents has one thing in common, namely that the rotatable shafi is dis posed vertically within a housing and thus the shaft does not aid in 'moving ice cubes to dispensing means. Examples of some of these patents are US. Pat. No. 2,353,132 to Frank; US. Pat. No. 3,075,363 to Conto; US. Pat. No. 3,101,872 to Dickinson; U.S.'Pat. No. 3,144,965 to Burton et 2.1.; U5. Pat. No. 3,196,628 to Reynolds and Pat. No. 3,608,786 to Shelly et al.-

None of the above-mentioned dispensers is adapted to be employed in the home or in small eating or drinking establishments for dispensing ice cubes one or more at a time, as desired.

BRIEF STATEMENT OF THE INVENTION In accordance with the present invention, there is provided an ice cube dispenser which stores ice cubes while keeping the cubes separated from each other and dispenses cubes one or more at a time, as desired by the user. The dispenser of the invention is of simple and inexpensive construction, easy to maintain, but surprisingly efficient and is adapted for use in the home or at restaurants or bars or other establishments where ice cubes are stored and dispensed.

The ice cube dispenser in accordance with the invention comprises a storage member having a chamber therein for storing ice cubes, said storage member including an inlet and outlet for ice cubes, a rotatable moving member horizontally disposed within said chamber for keeping the ice cubes from sticking to one another and moving the ice cubes to the outlet in the storage member and 'means for rotating said moving member.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the rotatable moving member comprises a shaft horizontally disposed in said chamber, said shaft having a plurality of angular bars extending therefrom; the shaft is rotated by-driving means such as a motor which can run on batteries, or be plugged into an electric outlet.

The storage member and chamber therein are provided with openings for receiving ice cubes to be stored in the chamber and for dispensing ice cubes; In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the openings comprising the outlet for dispensing the ice cubes is separated from the inlet opening and includes cover means which are mounted over the opening, said cover means being movable between open and closed positions, during which ice cubes may be dispensed through the opening or retained in the chamber by the cover, respectively.

The ice cube storage member is preferably positioned within a housing, which includes a removable or hinged top cover positioned over the inlet opening in the storage member. The housing will also include openings aligned with the outlet openings in the storage member.

The ice cube dispenser of the invention thus may take the form of a compact machine, which may be portable or may be permanently secured to a support such as a ledge, shelf or table top; where the dispenser is permanently secured to a support, the openings in the housing corresponding to the outlet and covers therefor in the storage member will preferably extend over said ledge, shelf or table. In this embodiment, when an ice cube is desired, a glass or other container be released or moved into the closed position.

DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES FIG. 1 is a perspectiveview of an ice cube dispensing machine in accordance with the invention.

FIG. 2 is an exploded view of the various components of the ice cube dispensing machine shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a front view of the ice cube dispensing machine shown in FIG. 1 which shows by phantom lines the various components making up the dispenser.

FIG. 4 is a side view of the ice cube dispenser shown in FIG. 1.

Referring to the various Figures, wherein like numerals represent like parts in the several views, the numeral generally refers to the ice cube dispenser of the invention, which includes a housing 12 having a removable top 14 connected to the top of the housingas shown. The removable top 14 may be completely removed from the housing 12, or the back edge of the top cover may be hinged to the housing 12 by hinge 16 as shown in FIG. 4 as will be apparent to one skilled in the art.

The housing 12 also includes recessed openings 18 and 20 as shown.

Within the housing 12, there is positioned storage member 22 which as shown is preferably in the form of a cylinder including end sections 23, 24, an open top 25 through which ice cubes may be filled, openings 26 and 28 through which ice cubes may be dispensed and a storage compartment or chamber 30. It will be understood that the dispenser of the invention may have any number of outlet openings. As shown, the outlet openings 26, 28 as well as any other outlet openings which may be present) include cover means 32 which may take the form of metal strip 34 having a tab 36, the strip being secured to the storage member 22 by brackets 38, 39 as shown. In the embodiment shown, the metal strip is adapted to slide in the brackets 38, 39 to open and close off the openings 26, 28. The cover means can be speing loaded to facilitate movement between the open and closed positions. The tab 36 of the metal strip 34, or the metal strip 34 itself, can be con-' nected to the storage member 22 by spring means 40 which are secured for example, by screws, to the cover means and storage member 22. The use of the springs 40 is not essential and is only optional.

The end section 24 of the cylindrical storage member 22 has a central opening 52 through which shaft 54 having angular bars 56 extending therefrom is positioned. The shaft 54 is in operative communication with motor 60 and reduction gear housing 60a, as shown. As seen in FIGS. 3 and 4, the angular bars 56 form two sets, the first set of alternating bars lying in a first plane with the bars being parallel to each other and the second set of alternating bars lying in a second plane perpendicular to the first plane with the bars being parallel with each other. Each set of angular bars is skewed from the shaft 54, to form acute angles between adjacent bars. The shaft 54 and angular bars 56 are designed to fit in the chamber of storage mem-,

'ber 22 with the end 62 of shaft 54 fitting in a mount or opening64 in end section 23 of the storage unit 22. The

end section 24 of storage unit 22 is designed to fit on the open end of the storage unit 22 and be secured thereto by clamps 70 or other conventional means which lock the end section 24 in place.

The storage unit 22 is mounted on mounting means 80 which is supported on bottom plate 82 of the housing 12. As shown in FIG. 1, bottom plate 82 may be secured to ledge or shelf 90 by screws or other conventional means.

The ice dispensing erates as follows:

The ice dispensing machine is filled with ice cubes'by lifting the top cover 14 from the top of the'housing 12 along hinge 16; ice cubes are fed-through opening 25 in storage member22 into chamber 30. At this time, the covers 32 are in a closed position over the outlet openings 28- and 26. In addition, the shaft 54 having angular bars 56 extending therefrom is made to rotate by energizing motor means 60. The ice cubes are loaded into the storage member 22 until the chamber 30 is loosely packed with ice cubes. It will be apparent that the ice cubes should be loosely packed into the chamber 30 so that the shaft 54 and angular bars 56 may romachine shown in the figures optate without breaking up the ice cubes or burning out the motor means 60.

As the shaft 54 and the angular bars 56 rotate in chamber 30, the bars contact the ice cubes stored therein and continually cause the ice cubes to move and rotate within the chamber while keeping the ice cubes separated from each other. Furthermore, the bars 56 help move ice cubes along the shaft54. Thus, when ice cubes are removed through openings 26, 28 of chamber 30, the angular bars 56 will automatically move other rotating ice cubes horizontally along the shaft 54 until the cubes reach the openings 26, 28. v

Whenan ice cube is desired, a container, such as a glass is positioned under one of the openings 18 or 20 in the housing. Cover 32 extending out from the opening 18 0r 20 and positioned over the opening 26 or 28, respectively, is moved into an open position by pushing the glass against the tab 36 and causing the metal strip 34 to slide in the brackets 38, 39 down and away from the operator. As the'cover 32 is moved away from the opening 26 or 28, the springs 40 assumea biased state. After the cover 32 isfully opened, tab tube 36 is held to keep the springs 40 biased and to prevent the cover from springing closed. Ice cubes will fall through the openings into the container. When the desired number of cubes is dispensed, the tab 36 is released and the action of the spring 40 moving to an unbiased position will cause the cover means 32 to return to a closed position. it

It will be apparent that the ice cube dispensing machine shown in the Figures is for illustrative purposes only. The housing 12 may be of many different shapes such as rectangular, square, circular, oval, triangular and the like. The housing as well as the storage member 32 and shaft 54 may be made from any durable solid material such as plastic, wood or metal. The storage member 22 may be in cylindrical form as shown or any other desired shape as long as the shaft 54 having the angular bars 56 extending therefrom may be horizontally disposed in the storage member 22 and the angu- I keeping the ice cubes separated from each other and moving the ice cubes along a horizontal path to the openings 26, 28 and dispensing means of the storage member 22.

It will also be appreciated that the angular bars 56 actually cause ice cubes to pass just above the opening 26 or 28, and the bars 56 actually push the ice out of the openings into the glass. This is in contrast to theuse of a chute wherein non-moving ice cubes stick together and cause the chute to become clogged.

The storage member 22 is preferably of cylindrical shape so that any pockets of non-moving ice which could build up in corners if the storage member were of square or rectangular configuration, is avoided.

The ice cube dispensing machine of the present invention can take all standard type ice cubes.

What is claimed is:

1. An ice cube dispenser comprising, in combination an ice cube storage member having a chamber therein for storing ice cubes and including side walls, an inlet and an outlet for ice cubes;

a rotatable moving member disposed within said chamber and comprising a shaft horizontally disposed in said chamber, said shaft having two sets of alternating angular bars extending therefrom, said angular bars being separated from each other along said shaft, the first set of alternating bars lyingin a first plane and said bars being parallel to one another and the second set of alternating bars lying in a second plane perpendicular to said first plane and said bars of said second set being parallel to one'another, adjacent bars being skewed from said shaft and forming acute angles between adjacent bars, the space between said angular bars extending from said shaft and the side walls of said chamber being sufficiently large to receive ice cubes directly from said inlet between said angular bars without allowing buildup of ice cubes before such ice cubes contact said shaft or said bars, while allowing rotation of said shaft and its angular bars to keep ice open position.

cubes from sticking to one another and moving said ice cubes horizontally along said shaft fromsaid inlet to said outlet of said chamber;

and means for rotating said rotatable moving member.

2. The ice cube dispenser as defined in claim 1 wherein the means for rotating said moving means comprises motor means operatively connected to said shaft.

3. The ice'cube dispenser as defined in claim 1 wherein the chamber is of substantially cylindrical shape.

4. The ice cube dispenser as defined in claim 3 wherein said inlet for ice cubes in said chamber comprises an opening in said chamber spaced from said outlet in said chamber.

5. The ice cube dispenser as defined in claim 1 wherein said outlet in said chamber comprises one or more openings in the side walls of said chamber, and a removable cover mounted on said ice cube storage member over each of said openings.

6. The ice cube dispenser as defined in claim 5 wherein said cover for said outlets are slidably mounted in brackets attached to said storage member and are spring biased so as to easily slide within said brackets 8. The ice cubedispenser as defined in claim 7 I wherein said housing is adapted to fit over and be secured to a support member so that a container can be positioned under the said openings in said housing and said chamber and can directly receive ice cubes falling through said openings upon moving said cover to the

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2579527 *Jul 23, 1948Dec 25, 1951Rock Island Millwork CompanyMethod and means for loading dry granular mixtures
US2849035 *Aug 4, 1955Aug 26, 1958Ole MoreyPowdered soap and detergent dispensing device
US3348656 *Nov 25, 1966Oct 24, 1967Jon D HallConveyor apparatus
US3602406 *Sep 12, 1969Aug 31, 1971Gen ElectricIce dispenser for a household refrigerator
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3940116 *Apr 24, 1974Feb 24, 1976Mile High Equipment CompanyIce dispenser
US4997109 *Feb 12, 1990Mar 5, 1991Whirlpool CorporationManual dispensing ice storage bucket
US7426945Apr 5, 2006Sep 23, 2008Ice House America, LlcAutomated ice bagging apparatus and methods
US7735527Apr 27, 2006Jun 15, 2010Ice House America LlcAutomated ice delivery apparatus and methods
US7806152Apr 18, 2008Oct 5, 2010Ice House America LlcAutomated ice bagging apparatus and methods
US8245488Apr 27, 2010Aug 21, 2012Ice House America LlcAutomated ice delivery apparatus and methods
US8561655Aug 30, 2010Oct 22, 2013Ice House America LlcAutomated ice bagging apparatus and methods
US20060174969 *Apr 5, 2006Aug 10, 2006Ice House America LlcAutomated ice bagging apparatus and methods
US20070267086 *Apr 27, 2006Nov 22, 2007Dunn Danny LAutomated ice delivery apparatus and methods
US20080196788 *Apr 18, 2008Aug 21, 2008Ice House America LlcAutomated Ice Bagging Apparatus and Methods
US20100206899 *Apr 27, 2010Aug 19, 2010Ice House America LlcAutomated ice delivery apparatus and methods
US20100294618 *May 28, 2010Nov 25, 2010Akoona, LlcIce Agitation and Dispensing Device and Method
US20100319806 *Aug 30, 2010Dec 23, 2010Ice House America LlcAutomated ice bagging apparatus and methods
Classifications
U.S. Classification222/183, 366/193, 222/412, 366/325.2
International ClassificationF25C5/00
Cooperative ClassificationF25C5/002, F25C2500/08
European ClassificationF25C5/00B