US 3828445 A
A seal between the housing and rotating drum of a clothes dryer is formed of a spring wire laid in a zig zag pattern with a wear material secured to the zig zag wire by rows of stitching that also hold the wire loops together. The seal includes an air barrier and is mounted in the dryer in a generally conical shape to engage a sealing edge at an oblique angle, and the spring wire is selected for pressing the wear surface against the sealing edge with a predetermined force.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1191 Smoot Au 13, 1974 g CLOTHES DRYER SEAL 3 ,241,846 3/l966 Peickll 277 235  lnventor: Edward H. Smoot, Holcomb, N.Y. P E C n B D t J rzmary xammerarro on y, r. Asslgneei The Schlegel Manufacturing Assistant Examiner-Larry I. Schwartz p y, Rochester, Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Cumpston, Shaw & [22 Filed: Mar. 26, 1973 Stephens ] Appl. No.: 345,077 I  ABSTRACT A seal between the housing and rotating drum of a  I US. Cl 34/242,23747//ll3537, 227777//l25325, clothes dryer is formed of a spring wire laid in a g  Cl F26b 25/00 zag pattern with a wear material secured to the zig zag 58] Fieid H 52 157 wire by rows of stitching that also hold the wire loops 2.17/23 together. The seal includes an air barrier and is mounted in the dryer in a generally conical shape to engage a sealing edge at an oblique angle, and the  References Cited spring wire is selected for pressing the wear surface UNITED STATES PATENTS against the sealing edge with a predetermined force. 449,949 4/1891 Roadhouse 277/157 2,517,470 8 1950 Erisman 34/242 13 Clam, 5 Drawmg I2 /l3 IO f CLOTHES DRYER SEAL THE INVENTIVE IMPROVEMENT:
Present clothes dryer seals are formed of a relatively thick ring of felt stuffed and lodged into place between the housing and the drum to bear against the drum as it rotates. Such seals are necessary around the door of the dryer to prevent energy losses in undesired air flow between the dryer housing and the drum around the dryer door.
The dryer rides in wear rings as it rotates, and as the rings wear, the dryer settles down lower relative to the housing. Also, manufacturing tolerances between clothes dryer drums and housings are fairly liberal so that felt stuffing seals have been generally unreliable even in new dryers, and their sealing efficiency has decreased rapidly as the dryer is used.
The invention involves an understanding of the disadvantages of present clothes dryer seals and a recognition of the possibility of a much improved seal resiliently disposed between the dryer drum and housing. The invention aims at effective dryer sealing, accommodation to dryer construction, ease of installation, longer sealing life, and general economy and effectiveness.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION 7 The inventive seal extends between the housing and rotating drum of a clothes dryer and includes a spring wire laid in a zig zag pattern. A strip of wear material is laid over the zig zag wire, and several rows of stitching secure the wear strip to the zig zag wire and secure the loops of the zig zag wire together. The seal includes an air barrier substantially preventing air from passing through the seal and means for mounting the seal in place in the dryer so the wear surface engages a sealing edge. The seal is formed in a generally conical shape engaging the sealing edge at an oblique angle, and the spring wire is selected for pressing the wear surface against the sealing edge with a predetermined force during life of the dryer.
DRAWINGS FIGS. 1 and 2 are fragmentary, partially cut-away, plan views of preferred embodiments of the inventive seal;
FIG. 3 is a front elevational view of the inventive seal as installed in a dryer; and
FIGS. 4 and 5 are fragmentary, cross-sectional views of two preferred installations of the inventive seal.
Seal of FIG. 1 includes a spring wire 11 laid in a zig zag pattern as illustrated, with successive wire loops running along the length of a continuous strip. An air barrier strip 12 and a wear strip 13 are laid over zig zag wire 11, and rows of stitching l4 secures strips 12 and 13 to wire loops l1 and secure wire loops 11 together. A mounting flange 15 is overlapped with one edge of the zig zag pattern of wire 11, and a row of stitching l4 secures flange 15 to strip 10. All the elements of strip 10 are preferably fed to a single machine that forms wire 11 into the zig zag pattern, overlays strips 12, 13 and 15, and applies stitching 14. The result is a flexible and springy seal strip 10.
Wear strip 13 is made of a material that will have a long wear life in engaging a sealing edge in a clothes dryer, and felt is one material preferred for this. Several types of available felt are usable for strip 13, and a needlepunched felt is especially suitable.
Air barrier strip 12 is a material that prevents air from passing through seal 10. One preferred material for strip 12 is a non-woven, fibrous material having a coating that prevents air passage. Another possibility is a thin sheet of plastic material, and barrier 12 can be an air barrier coating applied to wear strip 13.
Seal strip 10 can be mounted in a dryer by stapling through zig zag wire 11, without any special mounting flange, but for most circumstances, flange 15 is preferred for mounting seal 10 in place. Flange 15 is preferably a strip of resilient plastic material secured to seal 10 adhesively, by staples, or by the preferred stitching 14. Flange l5 and zig zag wire 11 can be formed in any cross sectional shape desired for securing to a dryer.
The alternative perferred seal 20 of FIG. 2 includes zig zag wire 11, stitching l4, and flange l5, and has a different wear strip 16 having a base 17 supporting pile material 18. Base 17 can be plastic sheet material, nonwoven fibrous material, or a woven fabric, and pile 18 can be woven, tufted, flocked, or otherwise applied to base 17. Pile-l8 provides an excellent wear surface and a long running life, and an air barrier is provided by coating the back of base 17 with a suitable material or by adding a separate air barrier strip.
A suitable length of one of the seal materials 10 or 20 is cut off and formed into a circular seal 30 as shown in FIG. 3, with the seal ends secured together by stitching 31 or some other means. For some circumstances, the ends of seal 30 can be left unsecured and merely butted or overlapped together, and the seal ends can be secured by staples, tape, adhesive, or other means. The wear surface 29 of seal 30 has a conical shape surrounding flange 15 which is secured to the dryer by staples, adhesive, or other means. Seal 30 can be mounted on the rotating dryer drum to engage a sealing edge on the housing around the drum, or can be mounted on the housing to engage a sealing edge on the rotating drum. Either way, seal 30 is arranged around the door of the dryer to provide an airseal between the housing and the drum so that air flow is confined to predetermined, desirable pathways within the dryer.
, FIG. 4 shows seal 30 secured to dryer housing 32 by staples 33 through flange 15 to dispose seal 30 in a conical shape with its wear surface 29 obliquely engaging a sealing edge 34 on a dryer drum 35. By proper selection of diameter, tensile strength, and modulus of elasticity for wire 11, seal 30 has a predetermined resilience so that wear surface 29 engages sealing edge 34 with a predetermined force. Wear surface 29 also has a substantial conical extent to accommodate manufacturing and wear tolerances between housing 32 and drum 35.
FIG. 5 shows a similar mounting of seal 30 to a drum flange 36 by staples 33 through flange l5. Flange 15 has an extruded cross-sectional shape to fit around the edge of flange 36 as illustrated, and seal 30 is disposed with wear surface 29 in a conical shape obliquely engaging a sealing edge 37 of a dryer housing 38. Many other mountings are possible for the inventive seal.
Persons wishing to practice the invention should remember that other embodiments and variations can be adapted to particular circumstances. Even though one point of view is necessarily chosen in describing and defining the invention, this should not inhibit broader or related embodiments going beyond-the semantic orientation of this application but falling within the spirit of the invention. For example, those skilled in the art will understand the materials usable in the inventive seal, and the various mountings possible to accommodate the seal to different dryers.
1. A seal between the housing and rotating drum of a clothes dryer, said seal comprising:
a. a spring wire laid in a zig zag pattern;
b. a strip of wear material laid over said zig zag wire and having a wear surface opposite from the surface laid over said zig zag wire;
c. a plurality of rows of stitching securing said wear strip to said zig zag wire and securing the loops of said zig zag wire together;
d. means on said seal for providing an air barrier substantially preventing air from passing through said seal;
e. means for mounting said seal in place in said dryer so said wear surface engages a sealing edge;
f. said seal being formed in a generally conical shape engaging said sealing edge at an oblique angle; and
g. said spring wire of said seal being selected for pressing said wear surface against said sealing edge with a pre-determined force.
2. The seal of claim 1 wherein said wear material is felt.
3. The seal of claim 2 wherein said felt is needlepunched felt.
4. The seal of claim 1 wherein said wear material is a pile material.
5. The seal of claim 1 wherein said air barrier means is a coated fabric material secured to said zig zag wire with said stitching.
6. The seal of claim 1 wherein said air barrier means is a coating on said wear material.
7. The seal of claim 1 wherein said air barrier means is a sheet plastic material.
8. The seal of claim I wherein said mounting means is a flange overlapping one edge of said zig zag wire pattern and extending outward from said overlapped edge.
means is a coated fabric material secured to said zig zag wire with said stitching.
13. The seal ofclaim 12 wherein said flange is a plastic strip secured to said zig zag wire with at least one of said rows of said stitching.