US 3855816 A
A cooling device for a portable ice chest adapted to be placed in a conventional portable chest for cooling the contents thereof. The device comprises an enclosed box to contain a suitable refrigerant, such as dry ice. One or more pipes lead out of the box at one side for circulating cooling air therefrom into the chest adjacent the opposite end of the latter. The pipe or pipes may be enclosed in a sheet of plastic to facilitate supporting of the products to be cooled. Means is provided for recirculating the air from the pipe or pipes back into the box for recooling, which is shown in the form of a fan located in a duct through a wall of the box and may be provided, if desired, with a thermostatic control.
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
ilnited States Patent i191 Miller 1 Dec. 24, 1974 COOLING DEVICE FOR PORTABLE CHEST  inventor: Leslie E. Miller, 7314 Oak Manor Dr., Apt. 703, San Antonio, Tex. 78229 22 Filed: Apr. 10, 1973 21 Appl. No: 349,747
 U.S. Cl 62/387, 62/388, 62/457  Int. Cl. F25d 3/12  Field of Search 62/388, 514, 457, 384, 62/387, 371, 372
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,901,190 3/1933 Rabe 62/388 X 2,550,935 5/1951 Pike 62/384 X 3,006,157 10/l96l Haettinger et al.. 62/514 X 3,163,022 12/1964 Hottenroth 62/388 X Primary ExaminerMeyer Pcrlin Assistant Examiner-Ronald C. Capossela Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Burns, Doanc, Swecker & Mathis  ABSTRACT A cooling device for a portable ice .chest adapted to be placed in a conventional portable chest for cooling the contents thereof. The device comprises an enclosed box to contain a suitable refrigerant, such as dry ice. One or more pipes lead out of the box at one side for circulating cooling air therefrom into the chest adjacent the opposite end of the latter. The pipe or pipes may be enclosed in a sheet of plastic to facilitate supporting of the products to be cooled. Means is provided for recirculating the air from the pipe or pipes back into the box for recooling, which is shown in the form of a fari located in a duct through a wall of the box and may be provided, if desired, with a thermostatic control.
7 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures COOLING DEVICE 'FOR PORTABLE CHEST SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to improvements in cooling device for portable chests of the character used for containing food or beverages that should be kept cold for a desired period of time.
, Portable chests are in widespread use for containing food or beverages and usually are of a size to be capable of handling by one person. Various attempts have been made heretofore to provide for the cooling of the contents of the chest, usually by enclosing ice, dry ice or other coolant within the chamber of the chest. The cooling action thereof is by radiation and it is required that the coolant be dispersed substantially throughout the area of the chest or its cooling effect is limited to the immediate proximity of the source of cooling action. Such cooling'means does not involve any uniform cooling. Moreover, the cooling medium reduces appreciably the capacity of the chest.
One object of this invention is to simplify and improve portable chests and to provide for the uniform cooling of the goods contained therein.
Another object of the invention is to provide for a uniform circulation of cooling air substantially throughout the chamber of the portable chest that will effect positive and effective cooling of the contents thereof.
ceptable within the portable chest provided by the enclosed chamber thereof; One or more pipes are connected with one side wall of the box and lead out through the bottom portion of the chamber to the'opposite end of the chest for circulating air from the refrigerant medium to the opposite end of the chest into which the air is discharged. Suitable recirculating means is provided in a wall of the chest for the return of the air. This means is preferably in the form of a battery operated blower fan which has thermostatic control. The pipe or pipes may be enclosed in a suitable plastic sheet which forms a bottom surface on which the food or beverage may be placed within the cooling chamber of the c'hest..
I BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS This embodiment of the invention is illustrated in the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the cooling device, separated from the chest;
FIG. 2 is a disassembled perspective view showing the blower and power and control means therefor;
FIG. 3 is a diagrammatic view of the operating parts;
FIG. 4 is a longitudinal sectional view through a portable chest, having the cooling device in place therein.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS The invention is shown in connection with a protable ice chest having an enclosed insulated body portion, generally designated at 1 in FIG. 4, with a removable cover 2. These parts are effectively insulated and enclose a cooling chamber 3 within which the material to be cooled is enclosed such, for example, as food, beverages and the like. I j
The cooling device is adapted to be placed in the chamber 3 for effecting uniform cooling of the contents of the chamber. This cooling device includes a box 4 having surrounding walls 5 and a bottom 6 enclosing a refrigerant chamber 7. A cover 8 is formed so as to enclose the top of thechamber 7.
Each of the walls 5, 6 and 8 is relatively thick, an example of which is 1 /2 inches. Each wall is made of an effective insulating material, such as polyurethane, that has a thin skin or vapor barrier coating over the exterior thereof, as indicated generally at 9. This prevents the leakage of cooling media through the walls of the boxand thereby to provide an effective insulation even though the chamber 7 is maintained at a very low temperature. The material forming the box 4 should be a vacuum formed polyvinyl type of plastic, the cavity within the thin skin 9 to be filled with an expandable type substance-such as polyurethane foam.
A suitable refrigerant is indicated generally at R, en-
closed within the chamber 7. Any suitable refrigerant for the purpose may be used such, for example, as dry ice or solid carbon dioxide. This may be inthe form of pieces of dry ice placed in the chamber 7 or enclosed within a suitable container therein, but should be suitably located that air will circulate around and over the refrigerant to dissipate the heat from the air. Extending laterally through one of the'walls of the box 4 are air pipes l0, of which three are illustrated, but any suitable numbermay be used, one or more, as found desirable. By locating three such pipes at intervals along the width of the wall 5, these may be sufficiently small in cross sectional area for freedom of circulation of air therethrough to cool the chamber 3 without requiring the use of pipes of larger sizes.
Pipes are shown also at 11 extending lengthwise in the bottom portion of the chamber 3'from the box 4 to points adjacent the opposite .end of the chest. These pipes 11 are connected by suitable coupling elbows 12 with the pipes 10. Additional coupling elbows are pro-' vided at the opposite ends of the pipes 11 as indicated at 13, which open into the bottom portion of the chamber 3 of the chest for circulating the air into this chamber adjacent the outer end thereof. Plastic pipes may be used for this purpose if desired, being-light in weight and easily fabricated to desired dimensions.
It is also preferred that the pipe or pipes 11 be enclosed in a relatively thick sheet, indicated generally at 14. This sheet 14 may be made. of any suitable plastic material and which will fit in the chamber 3 between the box 1 and the opposite end of-the chest. In effect, the sheet 14 will form the bottom of the cooling chamber 3, upon which the goods to be cooled, such as food or beverages, may be placed. The box 4 encloses the pipes 1 1, which are embedded therein, but is of a thickness that the upturned elbows 13 which form the outlets for the pipes will be openat the top surface of the sheet. The couplings 12 which connect the pipes 11 to the pipes 10 also extend through the top surface of the sheet.
A wall 5 of the box 4 may be provided with means for circulating the air back into the refrigerant chamber 7. This is shown as the same wall through which the pipes extend in the direction of the length of the chest.
According to this embodiment of the invention, the recirculating means includes an opening extending through the forward wall 5 from face-to-face thereof. One end of the opening 15 is open to the interior of the refrigerant chamber 7, while the opposite end of the opening is covered by the housing of a small fan 16. The housing encloses an impeller 17, operated by a motor 18, as shown in FIG. 1.
The motor 18 is mounted in a receptacle 19 provided on one end of an elongated housing 20 resembling in size and shape a flash-light casing. The receptacle 19 is screw-threaded at 21 to be screwed into a side of the fan housing 16.
Batteries 22 are enclosed within the housing 20 and confined therein by a cap 23. These batteries are connected through suitable electric contacts in the housing 20 with the fan motor 18 under control of a switch 24. A thermostat 25 may be included in the electric circuit (see FIG. 3) for operation of the fan 16 under thermostatic control, set according to the temperature desired.
The cooling device should be made of a size substantially to fit the area of the chamber of the portable chest in the relation illustrated in FIG. 4. The box should extend transversely in one end of the chamber 3, preferably throughout the width of the chamber and with the pipes 11 and the sheet 14, if the latter be employed, extending lengthwise in the bottom portion of the chamber 3 substantially to the opposite end of this chamber. The pipe or pipes 11 will circulate cooled air from the bottom of the refrigerant chamber 7 lengthwise in the bottom portion of the chamber 3 to the outer end where it is discharged in the chamber through the open ends 13 of the pipes. The circulation of this air lengthwise through the chamber and around the food or beverages therein is accomplished by the operation of the blower 16, thereby effecting not only a lengthwise movement of the air through the cooling chamber, but also a return of this air into the refrigerent chamber 7. In this passage, the air will absorb heat from the food or beverage in the chamber 3 and will again be cooled in the chamber 7. In this way, a recirculation of the air is accomplished lengthwise throughout the cooling chamber.
The box 4 can be made somewhat more effectively insulated than is usually provided for the chest and thus will accommodate a lower temperature of cooling of the air. At the same time, the refrigerant will last longer and be more effective in keeping the food or beverage cold that is enclosed in the chest.
The cooling device is simple in construction and thus is inexpensive to provide and to use, but enhances materially the usefulness of the portable chest for its intended purpose) While the invention has been illustrated and described in one embodiment, it is recognized that variations and changes may be made therein without departing from the invention as set forth in the claims.
1. A cooling unit for a portable chest comprising a box adapted to sit in the chest on the bottom thereof,
4 said box having surrounding walls of insulating material enclosing a chamber adapted to contain a refrigerant, a pipe having an open connection with said chamber through one of the walls adjacent the bottom thereof and extending outwardly therefrom to be disposed in the chest adjacent the bottom thereof for circulating air from the region of the refrigerant into the chest, means forming an opening through said one wall of the box into the chamber from within the chest, and means mounted on said one wall for circulating air through said opening by the refrigerant and for recirculating the air therefrom into the chest, said circulating means including an electrically operated blower mounted on said one wall of the box for causing the recirculation of the air through the opening, a housing connected with the blower, and means within the housing for electrically energizing the blower.
2. A cooling unit according to claim 1, including an electrically operated blower within the wall opening for effecting recirculation of the air, and thermostatic means for controlling the blower.
3. A cooling unit according to claim 1, wherein the housing is elongated and detachably connected with the blower at one end, and encloses the electrically energizing means in the opposite end.
4. A cooling unit for a portable chest comprising a box adapted to sit in the chest on the bottom thereof, said box having surrounding walls of insulating material enclosing a chamber adapted to contain a refrigerant, means forming an opening through said one wall of the box into the chamber from within the chest, and means mounted on said one wall for circulating air through said opening by the refrigerant and for recirculating the air therefrom into the chest, a plurality of pipes connected at one end with one of the walls of the box and extending outwardly therefrom and having outer open ends to be disposed in the chest, and a thick sheet of plastic material enclosing the plurality of pipes and having a relatively flat surface adapted to form the bottom of the chamber of the chest to receive materials supported thereon, said sheet of plastic having the open ends of the pipes adjacent the top surface thereof.
5. The combination with a portable chest having surrounding walls, a bottom and a removable cover, of a cooling unit therefor comprising a box sitting upon the bottomof the chest, said box including surrounding walls of insulating material adapted to contain a refrigerant, at least one pipe connected at one end with one of the walls adjacent the bottom thereof and extending outwardly therefrom in the bottom portion of the chest, the pipe having an open outer end for circulating air from within the box into the chest, means forming an opening through a wall of the box in the upper portion of the chest for admitting air from within the chest into the box for cooling by the refrigerant, an electrically operated blower mounted on a wall of the box for causing the recirculation of the air through said opening, a housing connected with the blower, and means within the housing for electrically energizing the blower.
6. The combination according to claim 5 including a thick sheet of plastic material having at least one pipe extending lengthwise therethrough from a point adjacent the box to the outer end of the chest and having the outer end of said pipe open substantially at the upper surface of the sheet, and means connecting the inner end of the pipe with the interior of the box for circulation of air therethrough.
7. The combination according to claim 5, wherein the housing is elongated and detachably connected with the blower at one end, and encloses the electrically energizing means in the opposite end.