|Publication number||US3883204 A|
|Publication date||May 13, 1975|
|Filing date||Apr 3, 1974|
|Priority date||Apr 3, 1974|
|Publication number||US 3883204 A, US 3883204A, US-A-3883204, US3883204 A, US3883204A|
|Inventors||Bryant Jack M, Prada Luis E|
|Original Assignee||Gen Electric|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (4), Referenced by (31), Classifications (16)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
United States Patent [191 Prada et al.
1 1 ICE BUCKET RETRIEVING APPARATUS OF A REFRIGERATOR  inventors: Luis E. Prada; Jack M. Bryant, both of Louisville, Kyv
 Assignee: General Electric Company,
 Filed: Apr. 3, 1974 ] App]. No.: 457,481
 US. Cl 312/273; 62/344; 312/138 R  Int. Cl A47b 97/00  Field of Search 62/344, 377; 49/170;
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,643,464 2/1972 Hilliker et al. 62/377 X [451 May 13,1975
3,738,727 6/1973 Race et a1 312/276 3.744270 7/1973 Wilcox 62/377 X 3.752.357 8/l973 Harris .r 312/138 X Primary E.raminerWilliam E. Wayner Assistant Examiner-W. E. Tapolcai, Jr.
[ ABSTRACT An ice bucket retrieving apparatus having an actuating element and an ice bucket retrieving element for releasably latching onto the bucket and moving the bucket relative to an access opening of a freezer door ofa refrigerator in response to opening and closing an associated ice-access door of the freezer door.
6 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures PATENIEDIW v 9 5 SHEH 2 OF 2 ICE BUCKET RETRIEVING APPARATUS OF A REFRIGERATOR BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION It is now common to find automatic ice makers in the freezer section of household refrigerators that store the ice cubes in a bucket or receptacle. To provide access to the ice bucket without opening the entire freezer door, small access doors are provided with mechanisms that will latch onto the bucket and pull it forward as the access door is opened, thereby making it easier to get at the ice cubes in the bucket. An example of such a mechanism is disclosed in US. Pat. No. 3,643,464-Hilliker.
While the mechanism disclosed in this patent operates satisfactorily, it has been found desirable to provide an improved mechanism that is stored compactly out of the way when the freezer door is opened and is also able to assure latching of the bucket despite various positioning of the bucket within the freezer.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with this invention, an ice bucket retrieving apparatus is associated with an ice-access door of an ice-access opening ofa main freezer door of a refrigerator and comprises a housing, an ice bucket retrieving element and an actuating element.
The housing has a slot and is pivotally connected to the main freezer door.
The ice bucket retrieving element has an actuating arm and means for engagement with an ice bucket and is pivotally connected to the housing.
The actuating element has a trigger arm and is slidably positioned within the housing slot and movable between first and second positions. At the first position, the trigger arm is at a first elevation. At the second position, the trigger arm is at a second lower elevation in contact with the actuating arm and'the ice bucket retrieving element is pivoted outwardly therefrom.
Means is provided for biasing the actuating element toward the second elevation of the trigger arm.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic view in partial section of a portion of a refrigerator showing a trigger arm at the first position;
FIG. 2 is a diagrammatic view in partial section of a portion of a refrigerator showing the trigger arm at the second position;
FIG. 3 is a diagrammatic view in partial section of a portion of a refrigerator showing the ice bucket retrieving element latched to the ice bucket; and
FIG. 4 is a sectional view of a portion of the ice bucket and the ice bucket retrieving element.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION In the embodiment of FIG. I, a refrigerator such as a household refrigerator, has a freezing compartment 12, a main freezer door 14 opening into the freezing compartment 12, a shelf 16 within the freezing compartment 12, and an ice bucket 18 positioned on the shelf I6. The freezer door 14 has an ice-access opening 20 (better seen in FIG. 3) formed therethrough and an ice-access door 22 pivotally connected at a lower edge thereof by means 24, as known in the art. The ice-access door 22 is pivotally movable relative to the freezer door I4 between a first position (FIG. 1)
at which the ice-access door is closed and covering the ice-access opening 20 and a second position (FIG. 3) at which the ice-access door 22 is at least partially open for providing access to the freezing compartment 12 without opening the major freezer door 14.
The ice-access door 22 has first and second walls 26, 28, first and second end portions 30, 32 and is pivotally connected at the first end portion to the freezer door 14.
A housing 34 has first and second end portions 36, 38, a slot 40 extending between the first and second end portions 36, 38, and is connected to the first or inner wall 26 of the ice-access door 22.
An actuating element 42 is movably positioned within the housing slot 40. The actuating element 42 has first and second end portions 44, 46 and a trigger arm 48 extending laterally from the first end portion 44 in a direction toward the interior of the freezing compartment 12. The actuating element 42 is slidably mov able within the housing slot 40 between first and second positions. At the first position (FIG. 1), the trigger arm 48 is at a first elevation in response to contact of the second end portion 46 of the actuating element 42 with the main freezer door 14. At the second position (FIG. 2), the trigger arm 48 is at a second, lower elevation relative to said first elevation, is in contact with a hereafter more fully described actuating arm 50, and is pivoting a bucket retrieving element 52 outwardly therefrom in response to pivotal movement of the iceaccess door 22.
The ice bucket retrieving element 52 has first and second walls 54, 56 and first and second end portions 58, 60.
A means, for example a hook 62, is positioned on the first end portion 58 of the retrieving element 52 and extends from the second wall 56 generally toward the interior of the freezing compartment. The actuating arm 50 extends laterally from the first wall 54 of the retrieving element 52 in a direction from the retrieving element 52 toward the adjacent actuating element 42.
The retrieving element 52 is nestable in a concave portion 64 of the housing 34 and is pivotally connected to the housing 34 at the second end portion of said retrieving element 52 adjacent said actuating arm 50.
Biasing means such as, for example, a compression spring 66, is positioned about the first or upper end portion 44 of the actuating element 42 and in contact with the housing 34 and biases the actuating element 42 toward the second end portion 38 of the housing 34.
Referring to FIG. 4, a stop means, such as a protrusion 68, extends outwardly from the second wall 56 of the retrieving element 52 in a direction from the retrieving element 52 toward the interior of the freezing compartment 12. The protrusion 68 is positioned on the retrieving element 52 at a higher elevation than the hook 62.
It should be noted that the length and configuration of the retrieving element 52 and the configuration of the latching element 72 and ice bucket 18 are sufficient for operation of the apparatus, as set forth herein, when the ice bucket 18 is positioned at various angles and locations within the freezing compartment 12.
In operation of the apparatus of this invention, the main freezer door 14 can be opened and closed with the ice-access door 22 remaining in the closed position as shown in FIG. 1. If access to ice within the ice bucket I8 is desired, the operator can leave the main freezer door closed and open only the ice-access door 22.
In the embodiment of FIG. 2, during opening of the ice-access door 22, the bottom edge 70 of the housing 34 moves away from the main freezer door 14 permitting the spring 66 to drive the actuating element 42, trigger arm 48, and associated actuating arm 50 from its first position, as shown in FIG. I, generally downwardly in a direction toward the lower or second end portion 38 of the housing 34. to a second position, as shown in FIG. 2.
Movement of the actuating arm 48 downwardly causes the retrieving element 52 to pivot and swing the hook 62 outwardly to a position adjacent a latching element 72 of the ice bucket 18.
In the embodiment of FIG. 3, further pivotal movement of the ice-access door toward the open position causes the hook 62 to releasably latch into the latching element 72 of the ice bucket 18 and move the ice bucket l8 forward toward the ice-access opening 20 and preferably move at least a portion of said ice bucket I8 through the main freezer door 14.
After the operator recovers ice or other items from the ice bucket 18, he closes the ice-access door 22, thereby sealing the ice-access opening 20.
In the embodiment of FIGS. 3 and 4, movement of the ice-access door 22 from the open position (FIG. 3) toward the closed position (FIG. 1) causes the hook 62 to be released from the latching element 72 of the ice bucket I8. Further movement of the door 22 toward the closed position (FIG. 1) causes a portion of the protrusion 68 to contact the latching element 72 and urge thereagainst for sliding the ice bucket 18 into the freezing compartment 12 in response to said closing of said ice-access door 22.
As the ice-access door 22 approaches the closed position of FIG. 1, the second end portion 46 of the actuating element 42 contacts the freezer door 14 and is cammed upwardly. Further closing of said door 22 moves the trigger arm 48 upwardly, thereby permitting the actuating arm 50 to move upwardly and the retrieving element 52 to gravitationally move to the nested position in the concave portion 64 of the housing 34.
By so constructing the apparatus of this invention, the main freezer door 14 can be opened without latching into or moving the ice bucket 18, and the bucket retrieving element 52 will remain nested within the housing, thereby protecting an individual from injury caused by contacting said element 52. When only access to the ice bucket is desired, an operator can open only the ice-access door 22, thereby causing the ice bucket to be automatically moved to a position at which items within the ice bucket 18 can be readily recovered through the ice-access opening 20. Subsequent closing of the ice-access door 22 automatically returns the ice bucket I8 and the retaining element 52 to the positions shown in FIG. 1.
This apparatus therefore provides an ice delivery system of improved convenience and appearance.
Other modifications and alterations of this invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the foregoing discussion, and it should be understood that this invention is not to be unduly limited thereto.
What is claimed is:
I. An ice bucket retrieving apparatus associated with an ice-access door of an ice-access opening of a main freezer door of a refrigerator, comprising:
a housing having a slot and being pivotally connected to the main freezer door;
an ice bucket retrieving element having an actuating arm and means for engagement with an ice bucket and being pivotally connected to the housing;
an actuating element having a trigger arm and being slidably positioned within the housing slot and movable between a first position at which the trigger arm is at a first elevation and a second position at which the trigger arm is at a second lower eleva tion in contact with the actuating element and the ice bucket retrieving element is pivoted outwardly therefrom; and
means for biasing the actuating element toward the second elevation of the trigger arm.
2. An apparatus, as set forth in claim I, wherein the housing has a concave portion for receiving the ice bucket retrieving element at the first position of the trigger arm.
3. An apparatus, as set forth in claim I, wherein the means for biasing is a compressing spring positioned at an upper end portion of the actuating element.
4. An apparatus, as set forth in claim 1, wherein the means for engagement with the ice bucket is a hook of a configuration for releasably latching onto an ice bucket at the outwardly pivoted position of the retrieving element.
5. An apparatus, as set forth in claim 4, including a stop element positioned on the retrieving element at a location between the hook and a second end portion of the hook for contacting and moving the ice bucket during movement of the ice-access door from the open toward the closed position.
6. An apparatus, as set forth in claim I, wherein the access door and ice bucket retrieving element are of dimensions sufficient for moving at least portions of the ice bucket through the main freezer door in response to opening said ice-access door.
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|U.S. Classification||312/273, 62/344, 312/321.5|
|International Classification||A47B96/00, A47B96/16, F25C5/00, F25D23/02, F25D25/00|
|Cooperative Classification||F25D25/00, F25C5/00, A47B96/16, F25D23/02|
|European Classification||F25D25/00, F25C5/00, A47B96/16, F25D23/02|