US 3824805 A
An ice dispenser particularly for a household refrigerator includes an ice cube storage receptacle, integral dispensing and crushing means for dispensing batches of either ice cubes or crushed ice of two different grades, and control means for selectively operating the crushing means for delivery of the cube or crushed ice.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent, 1
Prada 1 July 23, 1974 [54 COMBINATION ICE CUBE AND CRUSl-[ED 3,602,441 8/1971 Alvarez 62/320 [CE DISPENSER SELECTOR MEANS  Inventor: Luis Prada, Louisville, Ky. Primary Examiner wmiam ,wayner Assignee: General Electric Company Attorney, Agent, or FirmFraflCiS H. B005, Jr.
 Filed: Apr. 9, 1973 21 Appl. No.: 348,940. [.57] ABSTRACT An ice dispenser particularly for a household refriger-  US. Cl. 62/320, 241/101 R ator in ludes an ice cube storage receptacle, integral  Int. Cl. F25! 5/02 dispensing and crushing means for dispensing batches  Field Of Search 62/320, 344, 266; of either ice cubes o crushed ice of two different 101 R grades, and control means for selectively operating the crushing means for delivery of the Cube or crushed  References Cited ice,
UNITED STATES PATENTS 11/1970 Alvarezn .1 62/344 X 3 Claims, 3 Drawing Figures CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION Certain ice crusher features described herein are,'as indicated hereinafter, specifically claimed in copending application, Ser. No. 348,867, filed Apr. 9,
1973 filed concurrently herewith in the name of Luis E. Prada and assigned to em invention.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION A number of modern household refrigerators include automatic ice makers and means for receivingand storing the ice pieces made by the ice makers at below freezing temperatures. Although the ice pieces prothe same assignee as the presduced by such ice makers may be of various shapes,
they are generally referred to as ice cubes, which-term will be used herein and in the appended claims as covering ice pieces of any shape or size producible by the ice maker suitable for household refrigerator use.
US. Pat. No. 3,602,441-Alvarez discloses and claims I a combination ice cube receptacle and storage means and ice dispensing means designed to dispense either ice cubes or crushed ice. g Y
The aforementioned application, 'Ser. No. 348,867, filed Apr. 9, 1973, which is an improvement on'the dispenser and crusher of the Alvarez patent, is designed to provide the user a selection of either ice cubes or crushed ice of two different grades, that is, either coarse or finely divided crushedice, and the present invention is directed to improved mechanical selector means for selectively operating the crusher means for dispensing the desired form of ice.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with the illustrated embodiment of the present invention, there is provided a combination ice cube and crushed'ice dispenser comprising a storage section for storing ice cubes and a crusher section separated from the storage section by a vertical wall. The wall has a dispensing opening therein and the crusher section has an outlet at the bottom thereof. For the purpose of dispensing crushed ice, there is provided a horizontally disposed rotatable member which extends through the wall above the outlet and adjacent and to one side of the dispensing opening. This rotatable member includes a plurality of crusher blades inthe crusher section which rotate upwardly through the path of ice cubes falling from the discharge opening to the outlet. A pivotally mounted interceptor means is movable to a position adjacent the crusher blades for intercepting the ice cubes so that the cubes are carried by the rotating blades into engagement with anvil means on the opposite side of the rotating member axis. The anvil means comprises two sets of arms. One set is stationary and disposed to provide coarse crushed ice while the second set is movable from an inoperative position to an operativeposition below the stationary arms but in the path of the rotating blades, the' spaces between the movable arms being narrower than those between the stationary arms for providing a finely crushed ice.
The dispenser includes selector means connected to the movable arms and movable generally perpendicular to the door axis for selectively operating the dispenser todeliver crushed or cube ice. The selector means is biased to a position removed from the door axis. Operating means operable from the exterior surface of the door selectively positions the selector means when the door is closed.
I BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING In the accompanying drawing:
FIG. 1 is a top view, partly in section, of the device of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a front elevational view, partly in section, of the crusher component of the invention; and
FIG. 3 is a view similar to FIG. 2 showing the operative components of the crusher in a second operative position.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT With reference to FIG. 1 of the accompanying drawing, there is illustrated a portion of a household refrigerator comprising a freezer compartment 1 having an access opening thereof closed by a door 2. The door 2 is pivotally supported by suitable hinges (not shown) on the refrigerator cabinet for opening and closing movement about a vertical axis adjacent one side edge of the door; Anice storage receptacle 3 is supported within the freezer compartment forreceiving ice cubes produced by a suitable ice maker positioned above the storage receptacle.
A horizontally disposed rotatable member ,5 includes means for conveying ice cubes stored-in the receptacle 3 to adischarge opening 6 (FIG. 2) in the front wall 7 of the receptacle. The member 5 is rotatably supported on the front wall of the receptacle for rotational movement aboutits longitudinal axis and includes a feed section 8 containing, as described in the aforementioned Alvarez patent, means in the form of a double blade screw or auger 9 (FIG. 2.), which periodically discharges a batch of ice cubes, for example, a batch of two ice cubes, through the opening 6 during each half rotation of the rotatable member 5.
At the front end of the receptacle 3 or, more specifically, overlying the opening 6, there is provided an ice crusher section generally indicated by the numeral 11. This crusher section includes, a shown in FIGS. 2 and 3 of the drawing, an outlet 12 at the bottom thereof through which either crushed or cube ice is discharged into the inlet end of a passage 14 provided in the door 2, the outlet end of the passage terminating in a recess (not shown) provided in the face of the door 2.
An extending portion 16 of the member 5 extending forwardly through the wall 7 into the crusher section 11 adjacent and to one side of opening 6 has mounted thereon a plurality of crusher blades 17 rigidly secured to the extension 16 and rotatable therewith. When a double blade auger means is employed for conveying ice through and from the feed section 8, the arms 17 extend on both sides of the shaft or extension 16 and are offset approximately from the front edges of the auger blades 9 as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3 of the drawing.
Also mounted-within the crusher section are anvil means generally indicated by numeral 19 which are positioned on the opposite side of the shaft extension 16 from the opening 6 and which cooperate with the blades 17 to provide crushed ice.
The angular relative positioning of the blades 17 relative to the forward edges of the auger blades 9 is such as to normally permit ice cubes discharged through the opening 6 to fall freely to and through the outlet 12 during each half rotation of the member in a counterclockwise direction, as viewed in FIGS. 2 and 3 of the drawing. In other words,.each time a forward edge of the auger blade 9 rises to the level of the lower edge of the opening 6, the blades 17 are in a substantially vertical position so that ice cubes mayfall from the opening 6 freely through the path between the crusher blades 17 and the opposite wall of the crusher section and exit through the outlet 12 before contact by the rotating blades.
For the purpose of selectively providing either ice cubes or crushed ice, there is provided within the crusher section 11 an interceptor'means generally indicated by the numeral 21 pivotally supported at its upper end, as indicated by the numeral 22, for movement between anice intercepting position illustrated in FIG. 2 of the drawing and a retracted position illustrated in solid lines in FIG. 3 of the drawing. The member 21 is of an arcuate plate-like shape and is preferably provided at its front surface with a pair of spaced vertically extending ridges 23 which aid in directing the ice pieces onto the blades 17 when the member 21 is in-the intercepting position and which are located on the member 21 intermediate the blades 16 as illustrated in FIG. 1 of the drawing. The lower ends 25 of these ridges project a short distance beyond the lower edge of the main body of the interceptor member 21.
In its retracted position, the member 21 is in a position removed from the path of the crusher blades-so that ice cubes discharged through the opening 6 will fall freely through the discharge opening 12 before they can be picked up by the crusher blades. However, in its advanced or ice intercepting position illustrated in FIG. 2 of the drawing, the arcuate member is positioned generally below the opening 6 but out of the actual path of the rotating crusher blades. However, as the lower end of the member 2l1extends to a position generally below the axis .of rotation of the blades, it prevents ice cubes falling from the opening 6 from reaching the outlet 12. As a result, the blades 17 pick up these ice cubes and carry them into crushing engagement with the anvil means 19. A crank arm 28 having a portion 29 loosely engaging a hook-shaped projection 30 on the rear of r claimed in the aforementioned co-pending application,
Ser. No. 348,867, filed Apr. 9, 1973 is designed to produce either coarse or more finely divided crushed ice.
To this end, the anvil. means 19 comprises a stationary set of arms or fingers 36 and a movable set of arms or fingers 37. The stationary arms 36 of nylon or the like are integrally formed with a base 38 suitably supported on the side wall 29 of the crusher housing opposite the interceptor plate 21. Asshown in FIG. 1- of the drawing, a finger 36 is positioned midway between the adjacent blades 17, and the spaces 40 between these fingers are sufficiently wide to provide a coarse grade of crushed ice. The fingers 36 also include arcuate "or concave upper surfaces 4l extending substantially from the wall 39 to a point beyond the axis of the shaft 16 so that, as will be seen in FIG. 2 of the drawing, ice pieces carried into engagement with the surfaces 41 will be cradled on these surfaces for crushing by the blades 17.
The movable blades 37 form part of a unitary structure of nylon or the like including a base 43 pivotally effect, narrow the spaces through which crushed ice can pass to the-outlet 12 thereby providing a finer grade of crushed ice. More specifically, the movable fingers 37, which preferably are arranged directly below and overlapping the arms 36, are spaced closer together to provide the finely divided'crushed ice. In addition, these arms 37 are in the path of the rotating crusher blades 17 so that the coarse crushed ice produced by the stationary fingers 36 passes downwardly through the spaces between the stationary fingers and is further crushed during passage of the rotating blades 17 through the narrower spaces between the movable fingers 37.
Since finely divided ice tends to accumulate within the anvil means and as such accumulation may cause displacement of the interceptor member 21 which is biased to its intercepting position only by the spring 50, the interceptormember 21 is locked in its operative position when the crusher is set for finely divided ice. To this end, the tips 25 of the ridges 23 are designed to overlap the tips of the movable arms 37 so that these arms will support the lower end of the interceptor member21 during operation of the crusher for the production of finely divided ice pieces.
The present invention is directed to mechanicallyoperated means for positioning the interceptor means and the crusher arm means for selectively dispensing ice cubes or one or the other grades of crushed ice. To this end, there is provided means for mechanically interconnecting the interceptor plate 21 and the movable arms 37 in such a manner that a single control lever 54 rigidly supported on the lower end of the pivoted base 43, plus suitable operating means operable from the exterior of the refrigerator door 2, can be employed by the user to make the desired ice selection.
As illustrated, there is provided a tie strip or link 55 having one end pivoted as indicated at 56 on the crank arm 28 for operating the interceptor plate- 21 and having the other end provided with a slot 57 for slidably receiving a pin 58 connected to the movable crusher arm structure. The slot 57 provides a lost motion connection with the movable armstructure so that in one position of the control lever 54, that is the position in which the pin 58 engages the right-hand 'end of the slot 57 as Y viewed in FIG. 2, the movable arm structure 37 is in a position to provide finely crushed ice with the tips 37 of the movable arms supporting the lower end of the interceptor plate 21.
Movement of control arm 54 to a point where it is substantially in engagement with the opposite end of the slot 57 retracts the movable arms 37 to provide a coarse grade of crushed ice while the interceptor plate 21 remains in its intercepting position as indicated in the dotted lines of FIG. 3. Further movement of the control arm 54 to the left, as viewed in FIG. 3, causes the strip 55 through the crank arm 28 to move the interceptor plate against the biasing action of spring 50 to its full-line position illustrated in FIG. 3 of the drawing, so that ice cubes or pieces can fall directly from the discharge opening 6 to the outlet 12. In the, operation of this mechanism, the biasing spring 47 which normally biases the movable arms 37 to their finely crushed ice operating position also, through the link 55, positions the interceptor plate in its ice intercepting position.
Means for exteriorly positioning the arm 54 for the selection of either cube ice or crushed ice of two different grades comprises a Bowden wire or push-pull cable 60 generally positioned within the door 2 and having its outer end connected to a control knob 61 slidably supported within a guide 62 on the outer surface of the door. The inner end of the cable 60 is connected to a rod 63 extending inwardly from the door 2 and slidably supported in a guide 64. The rod63 is of a length sufficient to engage a slot 65 in the control arm 54 when the door 2 is closed. Thus, movement of the control knob 61 to its right-hand position, as viewed in FIG. 1 of the drawing, effects movement of the arm 64 to its lefthand position, thereby positioning the control arm lever 54 to retract the movable arms 37 and position the interceptor plate in its full-line position, or inoperative, as shown in FIG. 3, for delivery of ice cubes. Movement of the control knob 61 a short distance to the left similarly moves the control rod 63 to position the lever arm 54 for the delivery of coarse crushed ice. Further movement of the control knob 61 to its extreme left-hand position permits the rod 63 to become disengaged from the arm 54 so that the spring 47 associated with the arm 37 positions the crusher mechanism to provide finely divided crushed ice.
As will be noted from FIG. 1 of the drawing, when the door is open or in a partially open dotted-line position, the rod 63 becomes completely disengaged from the control arm 54. Hence, during each door opening, the crusher mechanism is set by the spring 47 to provide finely divided crushed ice. However, as the door is closed,'the rod 63 again engages the control lever 54 and moves the dispensing mechanism to the position selected by the setting of the control knob 61.
While there has been shown and described a specific embodiment of the present invention it will be understood that it is not limited thereto and it is intended by the appended claims to cover all such modifications as fall within the true spirit and scope of the invention.
1. A refrigerator cabinet comprising:
a freezer compartment having an access opening and a door pivotally mounted on said cabinet for closing said opening;
an ice delivery passage in said door;
a combination ice cube and crushedice dispenser in said freezer compartment for delivering either crushed or cube ice to said passage;
said dispenser including selector means movable in a path generally perpendicular to the axis of said door between a plurality of positions for selectively operating said dispenser to deliver either crushed or cube ice;
means biasing said selector means to one of said positions most removed from the door axis; and
operating means carried by said door and operable from the exterior of said door for engaging and selectively positioning said selector means when said door is closed, said operating means comprising a rod slidably supported on the inner surface of said door for engaging said selector means when the door is closed.
2. A refrigerator cabinet comprising:
a freezer compartment having an access opening and a door pivotally mounted on said cabinet for closing said opening;
an ice delivery passage in said door;
a combination ice cube and crushed ice dispenser in said freezer compartment including interceptor means movable between two positions for delivering either crushed or cube ice to said passage;
said dispenser including selector means movable in a path perpendicular to the axis of said door between a plurality of positions for selectively positioning said interceptor means to deliver either crushed or cube ice, movable anvil means for selectively providing finely divided or coarse crushed ice, and means interconnecting said interceptor means and said movable anvil means;
means biasing said selector means to one of said positions most removed from the door axis; and means carried by said door for engaging and selectively positioning said selector means when said door is closed. 3. A cabinet according to claim 2 in which said interconnecting means includes a lost motion connection operable to position said interceptor means in intercepting position in either position of said anvil means. =l =l