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Publication numberUS3889888 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 17, 1975
Filing dateJun 17, 1974
Priority dateApr 9, 1973
Publication numberUS 3889888 A, US 3889888A, US-A-3889888, US3889888 A, US3889888A
InventorsLuis E Prada
Original AssigneeGen Electric
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Combination ice cube and crushed ice dispenser
US 3889888 A
Abstract
An ice dispenser particularly for a household refrigerator includes an ice cube storage receptacle and an integral dispensing and crushing means for dispensing batches of either ice cubes or crushed ice of two different grades.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 11 1 Prada 1 1 COMBINATION ICE CUBE AND CRUSHED ICE DISPENSER [75] Inventor: Luis E. Prada, Louisville, Ky.

[73] Assignee: General Electric Company,

Louisville, Ky.

[22] Filed: June 17, 1974 [21] Appl. No.: 480,040

Related U.S. Application Data [62] Division of Ser. No 348,867, April 9, 1973, Pat. No

[52] U.S. Cl. 241/1011; 62/320; 241/190; 241/239; 241/243; 241/DIG. 17 [51] Int. Cl. B026 13/06 [58] Field of Search 241/86, 88.2, 88.4, 89 K, 241/101 R, 101.1,190, 238, 239, 243, DIG. 17; 62/320 1 1 June 17, 1975 [56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,208,040 7/1940 Moeller 241/243 X 2,213,166 8/1940 Majewski .1 241/238 2,398,932 4/1946 Grant 241/239 UX 2,628,037 2/1953 Krider 241/239 2,643,065 6/1953 Clawson 241/190 X 2,865,571 12/1958 Ferdon 24l/D1Gv 17 3,602,441 8/1971 Alverez 1, 241/DIG. 17

Primary ExaminerRoy Lake Assistant Examiner-Howard N. Goldberg [57] ABSTRACT An ice dispenser particularly for a household refrigerator includes an ice cube storage receptacle and an integral dispensing and crushing means for dispensing batches of either ice cubes or crushed ice of two different grades.

4 Claims, 3 Drawing Figures CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION This application is a divisional of copending Application Ser. No. 348,867, filed Apr. 9, 1973, now US. Pat. No. 3,843,067, Oct. 22, 1974.

Certain mechanical control features described herein are, as indicated hereinafter, specifically claimed in Application Ser. No. 348,940, now US. Pat. No. 3,824,805, July 23, 1974 filed concurrently with Application Ser. No. 348,867 (US. Pat. No. 3,843,067) in the name of Luis E. Prada and assigned to the same assignee as the present invention.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION A number of modern household refrigerators include automatic ice makers and means for receiving and storing the ice pieces made by the ice makers at below freezing temperatures. Although the ice pieces produced 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 -Alvarex discloses and claims a combination ice cube receptacle and storage means and ice dispensing means designed to dispense either ice cubes or crushed ice.

The present invention, which is an improvement on the dispenser and crusher of the Alvarez patent, is de signed to provide the user a selection of either ice cubes or crushed ice of two different grades, that is, either coarse or finely divided crushed 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 in the 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 operative position 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.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the accompanying drawing:

FIG. I 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 ofa 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. An ice storage receptacle 3 is supported within the freezer compartment for receiving 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 a discharge 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 about its 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, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3 of the drawing, an outlet I2 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 I7 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 drawmg.

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 5 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 20 of the opening 6, the blades 17 are in a substantially vertical position so that ice cubes may fall 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 an ice intercepting position illustrated in FIG. 2 of the drawing and a retracted position illustrated in solid lines in H0. 3 ofthe 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 2] is in the intercepting position. The ridges are positioned on the member 2] at locations intermediate the blades 17 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.

hi 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 ofthe drawing. the arcuate member is positioned generally beiow the opening 6 but out of the actual path of the rotating crusher blades. However, as the lower end of the member 21 extends 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 the member 2] serves to move the member 21 into and out of its intercepting position.

All of the above-described components of the ice dispenser and crusher are broadly common to the crushed and cube ice dispenser of the Alvarez patent, and reference is made to that patent for a detailed description thereof.

ln accordance with the present invention, the crusher 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 39 of the crusher housing opposite the interceptor plate 21. As shown in FlG. 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 aiso include arcuate or concave upper surfaces 41 extending substantially from the wall 39 to a point beyond the axis of the shaft 16 so that, as will be seen in FlG. 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 supported as indicated at 44 on the exterior of the crusher housing with the fingers 37 extending into the housing below the stationary blades 36. The fingers 37 are also of an arcuate shape matching the arcuate lower surfaces 45 of the stationary arms or fingers 36. A spring 47 biases the movable fingers to a position below the stationary arms 36 as shown in FlG. 2 of the drawing and, when in this position, the arms 37, as shown in FIG. 1, are wider than the stationary arms 36 and. in 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. ln 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 movabie 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 interceptor member 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 member 21 during operation of the crusher for the production of finely divided ice pieces.

The positioning of the interceptor plate 21 and the movable arms 37 may be electrically controlled by the user using, for example, suitable solenoids such as the solenoid described in the aforementioned Alvarez patent for positioning the interceptor means. Preferably, there is employed a mechanical means for selecting ice cubes or two grades of crushed ice.

A suitable mechanical means more particularly claimed in Application Ser, No. 348,940 (US. Patv No. 3,824,805) is designed to mechanically interconnect 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.

To this end, 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 arm structure so that in one position of the control lever 54, that is the position in which the pin 58 engages the righthand end of the slot 57 as 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 the 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 FlG. 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 oftwo different grades comprises a Bowden wire or push-puli 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 rod 63 is of a length suffi cient 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 left hand 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 ex treme 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 mecha nism 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.

What is claimed is:

l. A combination ice cube and crushed ice dispenser comprising:

walls defining a crusher housing having an outlet at the bottom thereof;

a horizontally rotatable member carrying crusher blades in said crusher housing; said housing including an ice inlet opening generally above and to one side of the axis of said rotatable member through which ice cubes are introduced into the rotational path of said crusher blades;

said crusher walls adjacent and opposite said opening confining the ice cubes passing downwardly through said crusher housing to said outlet to a discharge path intersecting the rotational path of said crusher blades;

means for rotating said rotatable member in a direction such that said arms move upwardly along said discharge path;

said crusher including anvil means on the opposite side of said axis from said opening for cooperating with said crusher blades to crush ice pieces conveyed to said anvil means; said anvil means comprising a set of stationary arms spaced to provide coarse crushed ice and a set of movable arms movable to an operative position below said stationary arms and in the path of said blades for providing finely crushed ice; and said crusher including a pivotally mounted member movable between a first position permitting said ice cubes to pass directly to said outlet and a second position in which the lower end thereof overlaps said stationary arms for intercepting the passage of said ice cubes downwardly through said passage whereby said ice cubes are picked up by said crusher arms and conveyed to said anvil means;

said movable arms engaging and supporting the lower end of said interceptor means when said movable arms are in their operative position.

2. A dispenser according to claim 1 in which said movable arms are wider than said stationary arms and aligned therewith.

3. A dispenser according to claim 1 in which the lower edges of said stationary arms and the upper surfaces of said movable arms are of approximately the same curvature.

4. A dispenser according to claim 3 in which said movable arms are spring biased to their operative posi tion.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification241/101.1, 62/320, 241/DIG.170, 241/239, 241/243, 241/190
International ClassificationF25C5/04, F25C5/00
Cooperative ClassificationF25C5/046, F25C5/005, Y10S241/17
European ClassificationF25C5/00B2, F25C5/04C