US 3810275 A
A counterbalancing hinge structure according to the invention comprises first and second hinge arms with a pintle connecting the arms for relative movement about the axis of the pintle. One of the arms is fixed to said pintle, and the other of the arms is swingable about the pintle axis, and a torsion spring is provided having a main coiled portion sleeved on the pintle with one end anchored against rotation about said pintle, and the other end extending generally radially of said pintle axis, and connected to the swingable arm.
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 1 [111 ,8 0,275
Smith May 14, 1974  HINGE STRUCTURE FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS  Inventor: William smith, London Ontario, 456,278 5/1949 Canadanl 16/72 Canada 226,260 8/1962 Germany 16/189  Assignee: GSW Appliances Limited, Weston,
Ontario, Canada Primary ExaminerBobby R. Gay Assistant Examiner-Kenneth J. Dorner [5 7] ABSTRACT A counterbalancing hinge structure according to the 9 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures HINGE STRUCTURE FIELD OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to hinges and more particularly to a counterbalancing hinge for hingedly supporting and counterbalancing covers or closures of substantial size or weight, which pivot about a horizontal axis such as the covers of chest freezers or the like.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION In the supporting of the covers or closures for hori zontal chest freezers or the like where the covers are of substantial size and weight and swing about on a horizontal axis, it has been found necessary to employ hinges of sturdy and substantial structure to carry the weight and to also employ some form of counterbalancing so that the cover can be moved without exerting undue force and so that the cover will not constitute a serious hazard should it accidentally be allowed to fall on the hands or fingers.
The requirement for a sturdy or substantial hinge structure has resulted in the requirement of heavy duty, bulky hinge components at least some portion of which usually project externally of the container or chest and its cover to an appreciable extent. The requirement for a counterbalance has further added to the complexity, bulkiness and cost of the cover supporting and balancing mechanism. One of the problems encountered as a result of the presence of projecting hinge members in addition to their unslightly appearance, is that the container dimensions are increased and in the case of a chest freezer for which the hinge structure of the present invention is particularly adapted, the existence of a hinge projection may prevent the freezer from passing through doorways, particularly the frequently encountered narrow doorways and stairways leading to the basement where the freezer is frequently stored. As a result, the cover and hinges may have to be removed when the freezer is delivered. Because of the sturdy, bulky nature of the hinging structures and the counterbalancing mechanism, and the necessity to mount them solidly, there is normally an inherent degree of insensitivity in the cover support which makes it very difficult to obtain an intimate seal completely around the closure even when installation takes place in the factory. This problem is further complicated by inherent distortions in the cover itself due to its unusually large size and the fact that it is supported at one edge only. Where of course the cover has to be removed in transit it is almost impossible to get a proper reassembly of the chest and cover and as a result, air leakage may take place to seriously impair the efficient operation of the freezer.
Again the counterbalancing means are normally preset to meet the general desideratum for the cover counterbalance and are not readily adjusted for individual covers.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is the object of the present invention to overcome the abovementioned problems by providing a mechanically simple and compact yet rugged hinge structure for the cover or closure of a freezer chest or the like, the hinge structure being such that all parts are located internally of the freezer and there are no external projections.
Another important object is to incorporate a counterbalance in the hinge structure without substantially increasing its complexity or bulk and again without adding any external projections.
Another object is to provide a simple and effective counterbalance adjustment so that the counterbalance for each individual closure can be readily adjusted as desired.
Another important object is to provide an internally concealed hinge mounting system which provides a degree of flexibility or adjustability in the hinge mounting during installation such as to allow the closure to adapt or conform itself intimately to the chest under its own weight and accommodating its own distortion without restriction from the hinge to thereby provide an inti mate seal completely around the chest.
According to the invention, the hinge structure comprises a first arm for attachment to the underside of the cabinet cover, a second, preferably bayonet-like arm adapted to project down into the wall of the cabinet or chest, a guide bracket for mounting in the cabinet wall to receive and guide, the second arm and having locking means associated therewith for locking the second arm in an adjusted position in the bracket, said arms being relativelyrotatable about a horizontal axis with the hinge structure mounted in cover hinging position, and spring means to urge said arms to rotate, one relative to the other, in a cover opening direction.
More particularly, according to the preferred form of the invention the first arm comprises a channel member the flanges of which form spaced bearings for a pintle to which the second bayonet-like arm is affixed whereby the arms are relatively rotatable about the axis of the pintle, and the spring means comprises a torsion spring encircling said pintle and having one end fixed thereto and the other end extending away from said pintle and secured to said first arm. Still further according to the preferred form of the invention means accessible from the underside of the cover are provided to adjustably displace the point of securement of the extending spring end to the first arm to alter the spring tension tending to urge the cover open, and means are also provided to limit relative arm rotation.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 3 is a vertical sectional view taken on the line 3-3 of FIG. 2.
FIG. 4 is a broken-away perspective view showing the manner in which the torsion spring is anchored to the pintle.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION With reference to the drawings, the hinge is shown as comprising a first hinge arm generally designated at l in the form of a channel having spaced side flanges 2 and a connecting web 3. The flanges 2 are provided with outwardly extending mounting feet 4 at one end and inwardly extending mounting feet 5 at the opposite end. Extending through aligned openings 6 in the flanges 2 above the mounting feet 5 is a pintle 7, the flange openings 6 fonning bearings for the pintle. Sleeved on the pintle 7 between the flanges 2 is a torsion spring 8 having one end 9 fixed to the pintle against rotation relative thereto by projecting through a slot 10 in one end of the pintle. The opposite end of the torsion spring 8 is provided with an extension 11 projecting generally radially outwardly from the common axis of the pintle and the spring 8. The spring extension 11 extends beneath a saddle l2 engaging a threaded block 13 located within the saddle l2 and actuated by a threaded bolt 14 towards and from the web 3 of the first hinge arm 1 for adjusting the tension in the torsion spring 8 as will hereinafter appear. Fixed to the end of the pintle 7 opposite to the slotted end 10 and located outside the flanges 2 but contiguous one of the flanges is a second lever arm 15 shown as formed from a flat bar and constituting in effect a bayonet projection. The second lever arm 15 has a hub portion 16, a relatively short portion 17 extending generally tangentially of the hub portion 16 and an elongated portion generally designated at 18 extending generally at right angles to the portion 17 and including an offset portion 19 and a somewhat pointed end portion 20.
It will be appreciated that the arrangement is such that the hinge arms 1 and 15 can be moved one relative to the other about the common axis of the pintle 7 and torsion spring 8. The hub portion 16 of the second hinge arm 15 carries a pin projection 21 operating through an arcuate slot 22 in the contiguous side flange 2 of the hinge arm 1 to limit relative hinge arm movement between hinge-open and hinge-closed positions, the relative relation of the hinge arms in the hingeclosed position being illustrated in FIG. 2 and their relative relation in the hinge-open position being shown in FIG. 1.
It will be understood that in applying the hinges of the invention for example to a chest freezer where the chest and its closure are of substantial size and length, there will be a hinge required for each end of the closure. As illustrated in FIG. 1, showing one end installation, the first hinge arm 1 is secured to the internal flanging 23 of the closure 24 by means of suitable fasteners attaching one of the out-turned mounting feet 4 and the two in-turned mounting feet 5. The second of the out-turned mounting feet 4 is not used when the hinge is mounted in the position shown in FIG. 1 but of course it will be understood that it would be used when the hinge is mounted in the similar position at the opposite end of the closure 24, the symmetry of the hinge structure making it possible to employ the sameparts for mounting at either end of the closure.
The torsion spring 8 is arranged to exert through the extension 11 a force urging the first hinge arm 1 to rotate about the pintle 7 to the hinge open position as limited by the pin projection 21 moving in the arcuate slot 22. It will be understood that the tension in the torsion spring 8 may be increased by operating the block 13 by means of the bolt 14 away from the web 3 of the arm 1 to more tightly coil the spring on the pintle 7.
The means for securing the second hinge arm 15 to the freezer body 26 is a bracket arrangement generally designated at 27. This bracket arrangement is mounted internally in the wall of the freezer body 100 and comprises a channel structure having a pair of vertically spaced horizontally extending arms 28 provided with slots 29 in vertical registration. Between the arms 28 is a locking channel 30 also provided with elongated slots 31 adapted to be moved into and out of registration with the slots 29 by means of a locking bolt 32 operating through a nut 33 mounted on the web 34 of the locking channel 30.
One of the features of the invention is that when a pair of hinges are secured to the closure 24 at opposite ends thereof, the closure may be assembled to the freezer body 26 by inserting the bayonet like hinge arms 15 through suitable slots 35 in the upper wall 36 of the freezer body, which slots are in register with the registering slots 29 and 31 of the bracket 27 and locking channel 30, respectively. These slots 29 and 31 serve to generally guide and support the bayonet arms 15 but at this stage do not rigidly lock the arms in position. Up to this time of the assembly the closure 24 is maintained in a generally open or upright position until the resilient under-sealing gasket 37 contacts the upper surface 36 of the freezer body. The closure is then allowed to swing down under its own weight against the counterbalancing action of the torsion spring 8, it being understood that the tension in the torsion spring will not be sufficient to prevent the closure 24 from swinging down to the closed position illustrated in FIG. 2 under its own weight. As the closure swings down to the closed position shown in FIG. 2 it will accommodate itself due to the measure of inherent flexibility in a closure of the size involved, to provide a complete and essentially uniform seal between the closure gasket and the chest surface 36 completely around the freezer, such self adjusting being uninhibited by the hinge connections due to the play permitted between the bayonet arms 15 and the mounting brackets 27 and locking channels 30. Once this self adjustment has taken place, the locking channel 30 may then be operated by the locking bolt 32 to move the slots 31 out of registration with the slots 29, effectively clamping and locking the bayonet arms in the correct position for proper closure seal.
It will be appreciated that the hinge structure per se is entirely concealed with the closure 24 in the closed position and the only exposed part in the whole assembly is the head of the slide actuator 32. While its projection is inconsequential for practical purposes, it will be understood that the insulation in the freezer walls (not shown) will be sufficient to maintain the bracket 27 and the locking channel 30 in sufficiently accurate registration that if necessary the locking bolt or actuator 32 could be removed. Moreover, it will be appreciated that if for any reason it is desired, after factory installation, to remove the closure 24, it can easily be removed by operating the locking slide 32 to move the slots 31 back into registration with the slots 29 at which time the closure can readily be lifted ofi'. For reassembly the customer or person delivering the freezer can easily reassemble the closure to the body through the simple steps of inserting the bayonet arms 15 into the slots 29 and 31 with the closure in the open position and then allowing the closure to close under its own weight and then looking the arms 15 by actuating the slide 30 as described above.
While the effect of the counterbalancing torsion spring 8 will eliminate the danger of the closure 24 slamming down and damaging the closure and/or sealing gasket 37, or injuring the user, it is desirable that the tension in the spring be substantially less than that completely counterbalancing the closure so that there will be a tight seal. However, the simple provision for the spring tension adjustment as provided by the bolt 14 enables the user with the aid of a simple screwdriver to set the counterbalancing tension to suit his or her particular wishes.
While the preferred embodiment of the invention has been shown and described, it will be understood that variations may be made in the details thereof without departing from the spirit of the invention or the scope of the appended claims.
1. A counterbalancing hinge structure comprising first and second hinge arms, a pintle connecting said arms for relative movement about the axis of the pintle, one of said arms being fixed to said pintle, the other of said arms being swingable about the pintle axis, and a torsion spring having a main coiled portion sleeved on said pintle and being anchored against rotation about said pintle at a point removed from one end, said one end of said torsion spring having an extension extending generally radially of said pintle axis, and means connecting said spring extension to said swingable arm, said arm fixed to said pintle comprising a bayonet arm having a first portion extending away from said pintle generally in the same direction as said swingable arm and a second portion extending generally transversely of said swingable arm when the hinge is closed.
2. A hinge structure as claimed in claim lin which bracket means are provided to receive and guide the free end of said bayonet arm, said bracket means having clamp means associated therewith and movable transversely of the free end of said bayonet arm to clamp said bayonet arm in adjusted positions in said bracket means.
3. A hinge structure as claimed in claim 2 in which said means connecting said spring extension to said swingable arm are adjustable to displace said extension about the axis of said pintle with said hinge arms held in fixed relative relation to alter the tension in said torsion spring.
4. A hinge structure as claimed in claim 2 in which means are provided to limit relative movement of said hinge arms.
5. A counterbalancing hinge structure for a chest freezer or the like comprising a first hinge arm having spaced flanges and a connecting web therebetween forming a channel arm, a pintle extending between and journalled in said spaced flanges, a second hinge arm fixed to said pintle, a torsion spring sleeved on said pintle between said flanges and anchored against rotation relative to said pintle at a point removed from one end of said spring, the said one end of said torsion spring having an extension extending generally radially of said pintle, and means connecting said spring end extension to said first hinge arm; said spring acting to urge relative rotation of said arms in a hinge opening direction and to resist relative arm rotation in a hinge closing direction, said second fixed arm comprising a bayonet arm having with the flange closed a first portion extending away from said pintle in the same direction as said first arm and a second free end portion extending generally at right angles to said first arm.
6. A hinge structure as claimed in claim 5 in which bracket means are provided to receive and guide said free end portion of said bayonet arm, and means moveable on said bracket transversely of said free end for locking said bayonet arm in adjusted positions in said bracket.
7. A hinge structure as claimed in claim 5 in which said bayonet arm is fixed to one end of said pintle outside said channel arm contiguous one of the flanges thereof and lies generally in a plane perpendicular to the axis of said pintle.
8. A hinge structure as claimed in claim 5 in which said spring end extension extends within said channel and said means connecting said spring end extension to said channel shaped hinge arm are adjustable to effect movement of said spring end towards and from the web of said. channel shaped hinge arm to alter spring tension urging hinge opening and resisting hinge closing.
9. A hinge structure as claimed in claim 7 in which said bayonet arm is provided with a pin projection and said flange of said channel arm contiguous said bayonet arm is provided with a slot in which said pin projection rides to limit relative movement of said first and second hinge arms.