US 3081553 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
March 19, 1963 G. MILLER 3,081,553
APPARATUS FOR CLEANING FEATHERS AND THE LIKE Filed Oct. 5, 1960 v 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 FIG. I.
( INVENTOR GEORGE MVER mas. he/4;. AW
March 19, 1963 G. MILLER 3,081,553
APPARATUS FOR CLEANING FEATHERS AND THE LIKE Filed Oct. 3, 1960 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 FIG.2.
INVEN'TOR cscgagz Ml/LLER d) AM United States Patent @fitice 3,081,553 Patented Mar. 19, 1963 3,081,553 APPARATUS FSR CLEANING FEATHERS AND THE LIKE George Miller, Woodstock, Ontario, Canada Filed Oct. 3, 1960, Ser. No. 60,066 6 Claims. (0. 342) My invention relates to a method for cleaning, sterilizing and deodorising feathers and other like materials and an apparatus therefor.
Feathers are largely used in the filling of pillows, cushions and other household furnishings, and as these articles frequently and in most cases periodically become soiled and/or contaminated, recourse has to be made to cleaning such articles and also the feather fillings.
After the feathers have been removed from soiled pillows, cushions, etc., then the ticking may be washed with water and disinfecting soap :or detergents, and many unsuccessful attempts have been made to similarly clean feathers by such a wet process.
It is known that when treated with water or liquid in a cleaning operation, feathers tend to matt or stick together, and the difficulty of rinsing out the cleaning fluid and separating the matted feathers have rendered such methods economically unsound, and the subsequent operations of separating and drying the feathers have proved such cleaning operations to be extremely inefficient. Feathers also tend to retain the odor of soap or detergents, and when the partially cleaned feathers are again filed into a pillow ticking they could cause discomfort to the user of the pillow particularly if the user is allergic to the odors of detergents or soap.
Attempts have also been made to clean feathers by dry cleaning operations, .but as such operations entail the use of volatile cleaning fluids it is found that the feathers retain the odor of the cleaning fluids, and such cleaning methods have been found to be unsuitable. When it is remembered that the head of the user of a pillow rests on and closely contacts the pillow, and as the respiratory organs of the user are thus directly aifeeted by any odor of the pillow, it will readily be realized that the pillows must at all times be maintained in a scrupulously clean, fresh and odorless condition.
Soiled pillows are frequently found .in use in hotels, hospitals, homes for the aged, residential schools, clubs, private houses, etc., where attempts at cleaning may consist only in the periodic changing of pillow slips, but the laundering of these soiled pillow slips does not reach the heart of the problem, namely revivifying and cleaning the feathers Within the pillows. It will thus be clear that the problem of cleaning feathers is not an isolated problem but applies to every household, hotel, etc. using feather filled pillows, cushions or like furnishings.
I have carried out a number of experiments by circulating feathers in a closed container provided with an observation window, and air under pressure was delivered into the upper portion of the container so that a violent agitation of the feathers took place. This agitation of the feathers had of course to be controlled, but I found that when the pressure of air in the container equalled the pressure of the infiowing air to the container, then the agitation of the feathers ceased.
It was therefore necessary to provide a pressure differential between the infiowing air and the air pressure within the container, and in order to establish a gradient or differential of this pressure between the infiowing air and the air in the container, it was necessary to provide an exhaust valve for the air in the container, but such exhaust is desirably positioned at a point remote from the input of air pressure stream and also below the zone of agitation of feathers in the container.
Provision had also to be made to separate or denude the feathers from dirt which collects on or adheres to the feathers when feather pillows are in use, so that a precipitation zone for the dirt had to be established in the container and located between the agitating zone in which the feathers were held in suspension in the air above the exhaust zone in the container.
Different forms of turbulence or flotation of the feathers in the air in the container could be obtained by the proper directional control of the pressure air delivered to the container.
After considerable experimenting and research I have come to the conclusion that feathers can be cleaned or denuded of dirt or other foreign matter if the feathers are maintained in a finely separated form in a suspending medium such as air, so that all parts of the feathers will be subjected to the cleaning operation, and such cleaning operation should be carried out in the presence of a dry disinfecting media and in the absence of cleaning liquids.
To properly apply the findings of my research of my present invention it was necessary to comply with the following objects before my problem was solved.
One .of the objects of my invention is to consrtuct a feather cleaning device which can be shipped from a factory as a complete unit and delivered to the place of business where the cleaning device is to be installed.
Another object of my invention is to render the feather cleaning device portable and to so construct it that its use will not be restricted to large cleaning establishments, but on the contrary that the device may be installed in small cleaning establishments in small towns or in the laundry of hotels or other similar buildings equipped with and using feather filled cushions, pillows, etc.
A further object of my invention is to provide for the ready inspection of feathers when under cleaning treatment to ascertain that the cleaning is being carried out with high efl'iciency and without the necessity of requiring to shut down the cleaning device during such inspection.
Another object still of my invention is to construct and adapt my feather cleaning device so that a source of air pressure service may be provided by using an ordinary vacuum cleaner such as are in common use in hotels, etc.
Still a further object of my invention is to construct the feather cleaning device with an observation window and to provide it with a resiliently closed opening through which the nozzle of a vacuum cleaner may be inserted into the container, the resilient closure providing and permitting a universal connection with the nozzle, permitting the nozzle to be positioned at any predetermined angle to produce a desired type or configuration of flow or circulation "of air through the chamber of the cleaning device or manually manipulated to direct the air in any desired direction.
Another object still of my invention is to subdivide the chamber of the cleaning device into three zones, the upper zone receiving the soiled feathers and maintaining them in flotation to permit of a separation of dirt and foreign matter from the feathers, an intermediate settling zone through which the dirt and foreign matter cleaned from the feathers may be precipitated into a lower collecting zone into which the separated dust is subsequently discharged. These zones communicate with each other, but with the intermediate zone and lower connecting zone separated by a screen.
A further object still of my invention is to provide a sterilizing device in the flotation zone of the container so that the cleaned feathers may be subjected to disinfecting rays during the cleaning of the feathers.
Other objects of my invention will be made clear as the specification develops.
So that the nature of my invention will be clearly understood, 1 have illustrated an embodiment of the same and will describe such embodiments in detail, but I wish it to be understood that I do not limit my invention to this specific disclosure but reserve the right to make any modifications therein falling within the scope of my appended claims and without departing from the spirit of my invention.
In the drawings:
FIGURE 1 is a side elevation of my assembled feather cleaning apparatus;
FIGURE 2 is a front elevation of the same;
FIGURE 3 is a rear elevation of my feather cleaning device;
FIGURE 4 is a plan view of my feather cleaning device, with the cover removed;
FIGURE 5 is a vertical section as taken on the line 55 of FIGURE 4, looking in the direction of the arrows;
FIGURE 6 is an enlarged front elevational of my resilient joint provided for the insertion of an air nozzle into the container or body of the feather cleaner, part of the joint being broken away to more clearly illustrate or show the structure of the joint;
FIGURE 7 is an exploded, vertical section of the resilient joint illustrated in FIGURE 6, as taken on the line 77 thereof; and
FIGURE 8 is an enlarged sectional elevation of the discharge conduit on the container showing the manner in which the clean ticking is releasably attached to the conduit for refilling the ticking with clean feathers.
Like reference characters indicate like parts in the several views.
Referring to the drawings, A represents a feather cleaning device comprising a container 10 which may be of a. convenient shape, and in the embodiment illustrated is of an irregular octagonal shape in cross section in which two of the oppositely disposed walls 11 and 12 converge to form a vertically disposed trough, so restricting the width of the path of circulation of the feathers towards the rear wall of the container.
Itwill be apparent that this unique shape of container possesses characteristics and advantages which are beneficial in the cleaning of feathers as will be explained hereafter. However, this shape may be modified from a structural standpoint without sacrificing the benefits referred to above.
This body portion has a closed lower end 13, but the upper end-14- is open and provided with a hinged closure or cover 15'as is clearly illustrated in FIGURES l and 5. The closed lower end of the container rests on and is supported by a base 16, and the container body may be rigidly or demountably attached to the base.
The cover or closure 15 is of unique shape with the rear wall 17 simulating a quadrant of a hollow cylinder, the upper or intermediate portion 18- of the cover being planar, and extending forwardly and inclined downwardly, the plane being substantially a tangential projection from the upper end or edge of the quadrant, and the front marginal portion 19 of this plane portion 18 joins a downwardly disposed arcuate wall 20 simulating a quad rant of a hollow cylinder which is of lesser size or dimensions than the back arcuate portion of the cover.
The side walls of the closure or cover depend downwardly and closely fit or engage the upp edge of the side walls of the body portion 19, S0 forming an tight closure between the cover and the upper g of thi y portion.
The forward side of the cover remote from the hinge is provided with a latch 2.1, which will secure the cover tightly in closed position when the feather cleaning operation is being carried on.
This construction of the cover is important since the arcuate rear and forward ends of the cover impart a directional circulating course of flow to the feathers being treated, while the forwardly sloping or intermediate planar portion 18 of the cover acts as a deflector to direct the feathers in suspension downwardly and along the inner front face of the front walls of the body of the container.
It will be readily understood that the circumferential walls of the cover which extend downwardly have an aerodynamic configuration not dissimilar to the side walls of the container.
The container 16' is provided in one of its side walls intermediate of its length with an inspection window 22 permitting a clear uninterrupted view into the interior of the container, so that the circulation of the feathers within the container is clearly visible.
Located below the window 22 the front Wallo'f the container ltl is provided with an orifice or aperture 23 which is closed by a pair of similar overlapping resilient flaps 24 of rubberized material and each of these flaps is provided with a pair of intersecting slits 25 in the form of a cross and the slits of the two superposed flaps are disposed at 45 degrees to each other. i
The resilient flaps 24 are held in assembled position over the aperture 23 by a skeleton retainer frame 26 which is attached to the outer wall of the container 15) by set screws or other suitable means, so that removal of the retaining frame will permit of new resilient flaps 24 being installed when such is found desirable. nozzle E of an air supplying device may be inserted n intimate engagement through the off registry slits 25 1n the resilient flaps 24, and owing to the disposition of the slits 25 to each other, the edges of the slits will fit snugly around the periphery of the nozzle with the eight tapermg fingers formed thereby in intermediate engagement with such nozzle and so effectively seal the orifice against leakage or escape of air from the container 10. This form of resilient joint permits the airnozzle being ad usted upwardly or downwardly relative to the contamer lti (see FIGURE 5) without any appreciable escape of air from the container.
Adjacent the lower end of the container 10 a screen 28 1s removably mounted and the space between the closed lower end 13 of the container and the screen, forms a dirt receiving compartment or zone D in which dirt separated from the feathers during the cleaning operation may be collected.
In the upper end of the container I provide an electrrcally controlled disinfecting device C which radiates and/ or pro ects disinfecting rays on the feathers when in suspension in the container, so sterilizing the feathers when they are separated and in flotation during the process of the feathers being cleaned. This disinfecting device may be on ozonizer or other conventional form of electrical equipment which is suitable for this purpose.
It will be realized that three distinct zones exist in the container 10, namely; an upper turbulent zone created by the inflowing air stream fed under pressure into the container, and below this zone there is an intermediate or less turbulent zone which is not directly influenced by the pressure of the inflowing air, and this may be referred to as a settling or quiescent zone, and thirdly a lower collecting zone D in which the dirt separated from the feathers is deposited.
A discharge conduit 29 is provided which projects from the container and is located above the screen 28,
and this conduit is of convenient shape in cross section such as elliptical, and the conduit is formed with an outer peripheral flange 30 which is spaced from the adjacent wall of the container, so providing a channel shaped groove around the conduit.
The open end of a cleaned pillow ticking may be pulled over the conduit and be retained in position by a clamping ring 31 of resilient material such as rubber. This discharge conduit is normally closed by a cover 32 which is pivotally hinged within the container 10 but which may be operated externally of the container 10 by the outwardly projecting finger-gripping lever 32.
The lower dust collecting zone D is provided with a cleanout door 34, at one side so that the dirt that is separated from the feathers while being cleaned may be removed from the collecting zone subsequent to the cleaning operation and evacuation of the feathers.
It is essential that the air in the container shall not become static but shall remain in circulation during a feather cleaning operation, and to this end I have provided a bleed valve 35 in the collecting zone D, and the bleed valve is preferably a one-way valve, so that when the pressure in the container 10 exceeds atmospheric pressure, then a constant bleeding of the air from the container will take place.
In this way a differential of pressure is maintained within the container 10, such pressure being less than the pressure of the incoming air so that a static condition of air pressure within the container is avoided and in fact cannot take place.
In operating the feather cleaning device, the cover of the container 16 is opened to permit of the soiled feathers from a pillow ticking or cushion etc. being emptied into the container, after which operation the cover is closed and locked by the latch 21.
The cover 32 is in closed position over the outlet conduit 22 before a cleaning operation is started and the nozzle E of a vacuum cleaner or other suitable source of air power is inserted through the slits 25 of the resilient overlapping flaps 24.
When air under pressure is delivered to the container 10, the nozzle E is disposed in an upward direction as shown in FIGURES l and 5, and the air stream entrains the feathers into the path of travel of the air current. The feathers in suspension are carried upwardly through the trough formed by the walls 11 and 12 and when the stream of air reaches the upper end of the container it travels around the inner arcuate rear wall 17 of the cover 15. The air stream with the feathers then travels along the under face of the forwardly inclined planar wall 13 of the cover 15, then downwardly along the arcuate wall 20 of the forward end of the cover 15 and thence downwardly along the inner face of the front wall of the container 10 until it comes under the influence of the pressurized air stream passing through the nozzle E, and carries the feather laden air rearwardly to the trough between the walls 11 and 12 and the air current then continues upwardly.
Inspection of the course of the circulation of the feather-laden air may be made through the window 22, and it will be seen that the air stream is circulated in an elliptical path, and owing to the centrifugal force setup the dust and impurities are shaken from the feathers and being heavier are carried to the outer strata of the stream of air and as the air stream descends, the dust is discharged or precipitated under gravity through the central quiescent zone of the container and passes through the screen 23 into the dust collecting compartment D.
The circulation of the dust denuded feathers is continued through the upper turbulent zone of the container 1t and during the elliptical flow of the feathers they are subjected to the rays of disinfecting device C, so that the feathers are effectively deodorized and sterilized.
On the completion of this cleaning operation, the feathers settle onto the screen 28 and the cover 32 is swung upwardly into the container by the fingergrip 32*. For the feather transfer operation, a pillow, cushion cover or like ticking is secured to the flanged outer end of the conduit 2-9 by the clamp ring 31, as described and the nozzle E is swung or rotated into a downwardly disposed discharging position, as shown in dotted outline in FIG- URE 5, and the cleaned feathers are ejected through the conduit 29 into the ticking receiver.
When the ticking has been filled with the clean sterilized feathers, the air pressure from the nozzle E is shut off so that the ticking will not be inflated but will return to its normal shape or condition, after which the ticking may be disconnected from the conduit 29 and closed by sewing or other means.
The cleaned feather pillow or cushion has no odor, but possesses a clean air freshness which is so desirable in such articles.
From the foregoing description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, it will be manifest that a method and apparatus for cleaning feathers and the like is provided that will fulfill all the necessary requirements of such a device, but as many changes could be made in the above description and many apparently widely different embodiments of the invention may be constructed within the scope of the appended claims, without departing from the spirit or scope thereof, it is intended that all matters contained in the accompanying specification and drawings shall be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limitati-ve or restrictive sense.
Having thus described the invention, what I claim as new is:
1. A device for cleaning feathers comprising a container having front, rear and side walls, a. closed lower end and an open upper end, said container being divided into an upper flotation zone, an intermediate settling zone and a lower precipitation zone, each zone interconnecting with an adjacent zone, a cover for the open upper end having a rear arcuate wall and a relatively smaller arcuate front wall connected by an intermediate planar wall, means for delivering air under pressure to the flotation zone to circulate feathers through the flotation zone of the container and means for discharging clean feathers from the container adjacent the lower end thereof and a disinfecting device on the upper flotation zone and located above the air delivery means.
2. The device for cleaning feathers claimed in claim 1 in which the arcuate walls of the cover are connected by the intermediate planar wall which is disposed downwardly from the back arcuate wall to the front arcuate wall, and means restricting the width of flow of airborne feathers over the rear wall of the container.
3. The device claimed in claim 1 in which a screen is positioned between the settling zone and the precipitation zone and a discharge conduit is provided on the container adjacent the lower w-all thereof, and a cover adjustably mounted on the inner end of the container and co-acting with the discharge conduit.
4. A device for cleaning feathers comprising a container having a closed lower end and an open upper end, a cover for the open upper end having rear and front arcuate walls connected by an intermediate planar wall, means for delivering air under pressure to the container to circulate feathers through the upper zone of the container, the air being delivered to the container through a nozzle projecting through a lateral wall of the container, the nozzle making movable contact with the container wall to control the directional flow of air entering the container, and means for discharging clean feathers from the container adjacent the lower end thereof.
5. A device for cleaning feathers comprising a container having a closed lower end and an open upper end, a cover for the open upper end having rear and front arcuate walls connected by an intermediate planar wall, means for delivering air under pressure to the container to circulate feathers through the upper zone of the container, a bleed valve being provided in the container to maintain an air pressure differential Within the container; and means for discharging clean feathers from the container'adjacent the lower end thereof.
6. The device claimed in claim 1 in which the side walls of the container converge to form a trough in the rear wall of the container.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS Lutz Aug. 9, 1881 Koppelmann July 31, 1900 Mattern Feb. 9, 1926 Gallagher Feb. 23, 1926 Woodson May 4, 1926 McShea Dec. 13, 1949 Frederick et al. Mar. 27, 1956 FOREIGN PATENTS Austria Aug. 25, 1932