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Publication numberUS2316669 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication date13 Apr 1943
Filing date29 Sep 1939
Priority date29 Sep 1939
Publication numberUS 2316669 A, US 2316669A, US-A-2316669, US2316669 A, US2316669A
InventorsMario Busi
Original AssigneeSilver Globe Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Dry cleaning system and method of dry cleaning
US 2316669 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

April 13, 1943.

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M. BUS] April 13, 1943.


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M. BUSI April 13, 1943.



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April 13, 1943. M. Bus! 2,316,669


Patented Apr. 13, 1943 DRY CLEANING SYSTEM AND METHOD OF DRY. CLEANING Mario Busi, New York, N. Y., assignor to The Silver Globe Corporation, New York, N. Y., a corporation of New York Application September 29, 1939, Serial No. 297,070

1 Claim. (01. 68-18) This patent application is a continuation-inpart of my copending patent application Serial No. 180,481, filed December 18, 1937.

This invention relates to a new and improved method for the treatment of garments and fabrics, and is more particularly directed to an improved method of dry cleaning in which a volatile solvent is utilized. The solvent may be benzene, carbon tetrachloride, perchlorethylene, trichlorethylene, etc., but I prefer to use perchlorethylene.

The invention is also concerned with a new and improved method for treating and recovering the volatile solvent used for dry cleaning in such a manner as to avoid the necessity, now usual in commercial dry cleaning machines, of periodically distilling the dry cleaning solvent in order to purify it by freeing it from oils, soil, colors, and other foreign material removed from the goods during the dry cleaning operation.

This invention also relates to a new and improved dry cleaning apparatus wherein a volatile solvent is utilized for cleaning the fabrics and garments. While this apparatus is particularly adapted for use in solvent dry cleaning operations, it might of course also be used for washing operations wherein a solvent not normally considered as a volatile solvent, such as water or water containing various cleansing agents such as soap might be employed. This new and improved apparatus provides not only for washing the garments or fabrics with the dry cleaning solvent, but also includes means for recovering the volatile solvent from the garments and fabrics after they have been cleaned. The arrangement of my new and improved dry cleaning apparatus is so designed as to provide for a unit capable of handling commercial load capacities at a minimum operating and constructional cost. In other words, the design of my improved dry cleaning machine has been reduced to a simple and inexpensive construction which can be manufactured commercially and sold at prices much lower than those at which units of equivalent capacity now known to the industry are marketed.

This invention also concerns, in addition to an improved construction of the dry cleaning machine utilized, a new and improved dry cleaning method and various associated apparatus and communicating conduits which comprise a unit for the recovery and purification of the dry cleaning solvent utilized. This associated apparatus including filters, referred to generally as the solvent recovery system, has also been so designed as to provide a workable and efficient unit at the minimum cost. The efiicient operation of this unit makes possible the repeated use of the dry cleaning solvent for the treatment of successive loads of fabrics or garments without the necessity for stopping operations and periodically distilling the dry cleaning solvent in order to free it from impurities introduced thereinto from the materials being cleaned.

In fabric treating machines, particularly apparatus for the dry cleaning of fabrics or garments, it is desirable that the operator be able to use repeatedly the same dry cleaning solvent. It is essential under such conditions of reuse that the dry cleaning solvent, sometimes termed the detergent, be equally effective for the treatment of successive loads of fabrics. This is made possible in the dry cleaning apparatus and recovery system with which this invention is in part concerned by removing the foreign matter from the dry cleaning solvent by means of filters, and by treatment of the solvent with various purification aids after a load or batch of garments has been dry cleaned.

The necessity for periodically distilling the solvent, in addition to the increased initial cost of the distillation equipment and of the cooling apparatus necessary, also occasions not only a loss in time, but additional operating expense. In present commercial apparatus wherein periodic distillation in order to purify the solvent is necessary, the cost of this step introduces a substantial item of expense into the process, which item of expense is eliminated by the use of the dry cleaning solvent recovery system forming a part of my invention.

It is also desirable in dry cleaning equipment to have the entire air circulation system closed to as great an extent as possible in order to prevent loss to the atmosphere of the volatile dry cleaning solvent employed. Since the air currents circulated through the garments or fabrics during the drying or extraction operation in order to completely dry the garments at the conclusion of the washing step contain vapors amounting to a substantial part of the volatile solvent utilized, it is essential for economical commercial operation to provide means for removing this solvent from the vapor-laden air. The apparatus with which this invention is concerned, and the solvent recovery system forming a part of my invention, employ a completely closed circulating system provided with means for condensing the vapors present in the circulating all and returning the condensate, after removal of water therefrom, to the dry cleaning machine for further utilization.

It is accordingly an object of this invention to provide an improved dry cleaning method and an apparatus for carrying this method out in practice, this dry cleaning process being carried out without the necessity for periodically stopping operations and distilling the dry cleaning solvent in order to purify it from impurities acquired during the dry cleaning operation. In attaining this object, the further object is involved of providing an improved solvent recovery system, adapted for use in conjunction with the improved dry cleaning apparatus, which solvent recovery system will operate to remove oils, soil,

colors, and other materials present in the solvent, this solvent being then returned to the dry cleaning apparatus for further reuse without the necessity of distillation.

It is a further object of this invention to provide an improved dry cleaning method which is carried out under such conditions that removal of the moisture which the goods naturally hold will be controlled during the dry cleaning operation. In this way shrinkage and other troubles such as are usually experienced when wool and acetate fabrics are extracted or dried in present commercial dry cleaning operations by the utilization of heat are controlled.

It is still another object of this invention to provide a novel dry cleaning method and an apparatus for carrying this method out in practice, both characterized by extreme ease, simplicity, and efiiciency of operation. This object is attained, in part, by the provision of an extremely simple and inexpensive construction for the dry cleaning apparatus itself. This construction, for example, provides for simplicity and inexpensiveness in mounting the various items including fans, cooling coils and heating coils, which form a part of that dry cleaning apparatus and solvent recovery system, and which will be more fully described hereinafter. More par ticularly, the fans and cooling and heating coils are mounted in a simple and direct manner, without the necessity for providing a separate compartment or expensive mounting members and conduits, which mounting nevertheless permits of ready removability of any one or several of these elements as desired. My improved dry cleaning unit is mounted in such a manner as to be readily dismantled for overhauling as needed, and to be reconstructed and placed into operating condition again with equal simplicity with standard parts.

A further object of this invention may be said to involve the development of a solvent recovery system employing a plurality of filters, so that one of these filters may be in use for filtering solvent while the used solvent is applied to the filtering elements of a second filter in order to wash down and remove therefrom accumulated filter aid and associated impurities, thus placing the second filter into condition for use in the filtration of solvent during subsequent operations. The provision of a plurality of filters, one filter being in use while another is prepared for use later in solvent treatment operations, constitutes an important object of this invention.

Another and still further object of this invention is the provision of a lint trap provided with means for holding a solvent treating agent. The solvent is brought into contact with this solvent treatment agent during washing operations, thus mecuring purification of the solvent without the necessity for periodic distillation and consequent loss of time.

Still other objects of my invention include the provision of a new and improved construction for the partition or partitions in the rotatable washer or tumbler element, which partitions are so designed as to secure the utilization of an entirely new method of washing and drying. The attainment of this new and improved washing method, wherein the goods are cleansed by the action of the Volatile solvent, this method involving the use of imperforate partitions of novel and improved design, constitutes an important aim of this invention.

Finally, it may be said that various details of dry cleaning apparatus, such as the doors, door latches, driving means, and the construction and spacing of the partitions, have been improved.

The securement of these improvements consti- I tutes important ancillary objectives of this invention. In attaining these objects the unitary or single compartment arrangement of the dry cleaning machine, placing essential elements of the dry cleaning machine such as fans, cooling coils and heating coils in the same compartment with the rotatable washer element contributes to their attainment. It is thus possible to perform the complete cycle of cleaning, drying, and solvent recovery operations within a single compartment.

Various objects and advantageous features of my invention, in addition to those specifically set forth in the foregoing summary, will be apparent from the following description. A preferred embodiment of my invention is illustrated in the accompanying drawings, wherein similar characters of reference designate corresponding parts and wherein:

Fig. 1 is an isometric view of the improved dry cleaning machine and associated solvent purification and solvent treatment system, together with the conduits communicating between the different portions of the system. Certain portions of the dry cleaning machine and lint trap are cut away in order to show interior constructions, and fans, cooling coils and heating coils are not shown in the upper part of the casing l5.

Fig. 2 is a cross-sectional view taken generally on the bent line 22 of Fig. 3, some parts bein shown in elevation. Fig. 3 is a plan view in crosssection, some parts being shown in elevation, taken on the line 33 of Fig. 2. Fig. 4 is a schematic diagram showing the dry cleaning machine, associated filters and solvent purification apparatus, and the interconnecting piping.

Fig. 5 is a detailed view, parts being broken away to show the interior construction, of one of the doors in the external casing. Fig. 6 is a cross-sectional view of this door taken along the line 66 of Fig. 5. Fig. '7 is a detailed view, some parts being shown in section, of one of the interior doors located in the Washing container or tumbler 25. Fig. 8 is a cross-sectional view, some parts being shown in elevation, taken along the line 8-8 of Fig. 7.

Fig. 9 is a schematic diagram indicating an alternate form for the interior partition or baflie member in the washing container or tumbler. Fig. 10 is a front elevational view of the improved dry cleaning unit, showing the control switches and the power inlet connections for supplying power for operating the fans.

Referring specifically to Figs. 1, 2, and 3, it is apparent that my improved dry cleaning apparatus (represented generally by the numeral l4) involves certain operating members, all positioned within a unitary casing represented by the numeral l5. This casing, which may be formed of sheet steel or other metal, is divided into a lower compartment or solvent sump tank represented by the numeral It by means of the bent partition I In the upper portion I9 of the compartment 23 there are positioned fans, cooling coils and heating coils. A bent supporting bracket 20 provides a supporting means for this equipment positioned in the upper part of the single compartment 23 in which all essential operations including washing, drying, and solvent recovery are carried out. This bracket, is provided with a perforated portion 22 through which air currents may circulate. As shown, this arc provided gage glass l3 and hand hole |2 (for afiording access to the sump) in the sump compartment IS.

The compartment 23, which comprises that part within the casing located above the partition contains the rotating cylindrical washer element, garment container, or tumbler 25. As previously stated, in its upper portion l9 there are provided heating means, cooling means, and fans, all more fully described below. This washer element, is provided with two doors, located at flattened portions 24 of the cylindrical container, which doors are represented generally by the numerals 26. These doors include certain new and improved locking elements which will be hereinafter more fully described. Access may be gained to either of doors 26 through doors 28 and 29 positioned in the external casing l5.

The rotatable cylindrical washer element 25, rotating in the direction represented by the arrow, is provided with an internal partition member 30 which is generally Z-shaped in form and which is provided with V-shaped bent portions forming a generally diamond-shaped or rhomboidal-shaped protective member 3| over the driven shaft 32. The rotatable washer 25 is mounted for rotation with the driven shaft 32. The driving means for rotating the washer 25 includes electric driving motor of any suitable form 34, driving belt which may be generally V-shaped in cross section 36, and driven pulley 38. A metal grille or other belt guard 31 may surround the belt 36.

The upper portion IQ of the unitary compartment 23 into which casing I5 is divided by partition I1 and supporting bracket 20, contains finned cooling coils 40 and heating coils 4|. Air is circulated through these coils by means of fans 43 and 44 driven respectively by electric motors 46 and 41. As shown, both cooling coil 40 and heating coil 4| are provided with fins to secure more satisfactory radiation. It is apparent that these elements are all positioned in the unitary single compartment 23 in which all essential dry cleaning and solvent recovery operations are carried out.

Driving motor 46 for fan 43 is securely held, as shown, within a metal box represented by the numeral 48. Similarly, motor 41 is seated within metal box 49. These metal boxes may be secured by bolts, not shown, to the casing l5. The positioning of these driving motors within metal boxes which are readily removable from the casing l5 provides for ready disassembly of the operating elements filling that portion of compartment 23 designated by the numeral Hi. In order to gain access to the compartment in which cooling coils 40 and heating coils 4| are housed it is only necessary to remove plate 50 which, as shown in Fig. l and Fig. 2, is bolted to the casing I5.

it will be apparent that fans 43 are surrounded by ring-shaped members 5|, while fans 44 are surrounded by ring-shaped members 52. These ring-shaped members are supported from plates 51 in a manner which will be presently described.

Cooling coil 40 and heating coil 4| are supported by a plurality of straps which may be secured by bolting or welding to plates 51, which plates, in turn, support the rings 5| and 52 surrounding fans 43 and 44. These straps 55 may rest on the bent-over portion of supporting bracket 20. It will be apparent that cooling coil 40 and heating coil 4| are securely supported at either end by the straps 55, these straps, in turn, being supportedfrom plates 5'! which are rigidly attached to and in fact form an extension of casing I5.

As shown, cooling fluid flows into the cooling coil 40 through conduit 6|. The cooling liquid, after flowing through the various portions of this coil 40, emerges through conduit 62, in which is positioned thermostat 63. This thermostat controls the thermostatically controlled valve 55 positioned in outlet conduit 66, and so regulates the rate of fiow of water, brine, or other COOIing fluid through the cooling coil 40.

Heating fluid such as live steam is supplied to the heating coil 4| through inlet conduit H1, in which is positioned the control valve 1|. After flowing through the various portions of this coil the steam, or other heating fluid, emerges through outlet conduit I2, controlled by valve 13, and flows into the steam trap 15.

Supporting bracket 20, above which is positioned in compartment 23 the elements indicated generally at I9, is, as shown, provided with a low point adjacent the lateral center of the casing. This low point in effect forms a sump for condensed vapors of dry cleaning solvent, which sump is drained by conduits 11, one conduit extending, as shown, each side of the dry cleaning apparatus. These conduits lead to a water separator, as will be more fully described hereinafter.

The driving connection between pulley 38 and rotatable washer element 25, as shown in Fig. 3, comprises bearing 19 securely held in place by collar 80. As this driving connection may be of any standard form, it is unnecessary to describe it in further detail.

Spray pipe or solvent distributor pipe 83 is provided within the compartment 23 closely adjacent rotatable washer 25. As will be more fully apparent hereinafter, liquid solvent is forced out through a plurality of spray nozzles in this pipe into contact with the fabrics or garments being cleaned Within the rotatable Washer 25 through the perforated walls of the latter.

The operation of the dry cleaning apparatus and of the associated solvent recovery and solvent treatment equipment will now be described, with particular reference to Figs. 1, 2 and 4. As shown particularly in Figs. 1 and 4, liquid solvent which is forced into the central or washing compartment 23 through solvent spray pipe 83, after flowing through the clothes within the washer 25, may collect to form a layer of a few inches depth supported by the bent partition M. It is of course possible to control the rate at which solvent is supplied to the spray pipe 83 by the pump 91 so that no pool of liquid solvent collects on partition plate IT. From the lowermost portion of this bent partition N there is provided a conduit through which the liquid solvent flows to the lint trap and solvent treating apparatus 9|. This lint trap and solvent treating apparatus is provided with a perforated removable basket 92 which may be formed of brass or some other metal resistant to corrosion. In addition to removing the lint which may be present in the solvent as the result of treating fabrics with that solvent, the solvent may be treated in said lint trap 9| with solvent treatment agents, which may conveniently be placed within the perforated basket and the solvent brought into contact therewith.

After flowing through the perforated removable basket 92 of lint trap 9I, the solvent flows through conduit 94 into the sump chamber I6, this sump chamber constituting the lowermost compartment of casing I5, the compartment positioned below partition I1. The removal of solvent from this sump compartment I 6 is accomplished by means of conduit 96 leading to pump 91. This line 96 is controlled by valve 99 and check valve I90, which check valve, while permitting solvent to flow out from the sump to the pump 91, prevents solvent flowing back into the sump in the reverse direction.

The solvent removed from the sump I is pumped by pump 91 through conduit I02 to either filter I03 (filter No. 1) or filter I04 (filter No. 2). The purpose and operation of these filters, which may be of leaf type and of which two are shown but a greater number may be present if desired, are more fully described hereinafter. Access to filter I03 is afforded through conduit I05 controlled by valve I06, while access to filter I 04 is through conduit I08 controlled by valve I09. Either valve I06 or valve I09 may be closed, thus allowing the solvent to be forced to either filter I03 or filter I04, as desired.

As shown, there is also provided conduit IIO controlled by valve I I2 and extending from conduit I02 to lint trap 9I. The purpose of this by-pass line I I0, and its operation in the solvent recovery and purification operations, will be made more fully apparent hereinafter.

After passing through filter I03 the filtered solvent emerges through conduit II4 provided with check valve I I5. Similarly, after filtration in filter I04, the solvent emerges through line I I6 provided with check valve II 1. These check valves, while permitting solvent to flow out of the filters and thus to conduit II8, prevent the flowing of solvent back into the filters. As shown, there are also provided outlet conduits I2I and I23 from filters I03 and I04 respectively, these outlet conduits being provided with quick opening valves I22 and I24. These conduits serve to permit complete drainage of the solvent in the filters, as desired, the drained solvent returning to lint trap 9I through conduit I25. As shown more particularly in connection with the representation of filter No. 1 (I03) in Fig. 4 of the drawings, when solvent is withdrawn through outlet I2I (or through outlet I23 in connection with filter I04), it is not filtered but serves to wash down the filter aid material and associated impurities removed during the filtration from filter elements represented generally by the numeral I01.

After flowing into conduit IIB the solvent is returned to either the lint trap 9| or to the dry cleaning machine represented generally by the numeral I4, as desired. Conduit H8 is provided with sight glass I21, through which the clarity of the filtered solvent may be observed. On the effluent side of the sight glass there is provided a branched conduit, conduit I29 provided with valve I30 permitting return of the solvent to the spray pipe 83, while conduit I32 provided with valve I33 permits return of the solvent to the lint trap 9I.

It is thus apparent that used solvent which finds its way into the sump I6 via conduit 90, lint trap 9| provided with brass basket for holding treatment agent 92, and conduit 94, may be circulated through either filter No. 1 or filter No. 2, as desired, until solvent passing through sight glass I21 shows clear and of sufficient purity to permit its return to the spray pipe 83. This is readily accomplished by keeping valve I30 closed and valve I33 open. The solvent, after leaving the sump I6 will, in this case, flow through conduit I02 to either filter No. 1 or filter No. 2, whichever filter is in the circuit (this being controlled by operation of valves I06 and I09), and thence, after filtration, back through line II8, sight glass I21, and conduit I32 again to the lint trap 9|. After flowing through the lint trap and coming in contact with treating agent which may be present in basket 92, the solvent will flow back through conduit 94 into sump I6, from which it is again circulated through either filter No. 1 or filter No. 2, whichever happens to be in the circuit, by pump 91 and conduit I02. When the solvent passing through the sight glass I21 shows sufficiently clear, valve I33 may be closed and valve I30 opened. This will result in the solvent, which has been pumped from sump I6 by pump 91 through either filter No. 1 or filter No. 2, flowing directly into the dry cleaning machine I4 through the spray pipe 83, instead of being again recirculated for further treatment through the lint trap 9I and whichever filter happens to be in the circuit. After emerging from the nozzles of the spray pipe 83 the solvent will flow through the clothes present in the rotatable washer 25, collect on one of the two angled or V- shaped portions formed by the partition 30, collect on bent partition I1, and will again be returned to the sump I6 through conduit 90, lint trap 9| with perforated basket 92, and conduit 94.

It is apparent that filter No. l and filter No. 2 can be used alternately, valve I06 or valve I09 being closed as required. If under any circumstances it should be desired, both valves I06 and I09 may be simultaneously opened, at which time both filters I03 and I04 are simultaneously utilized. When the used or impure solvent is employed for washing down accumulated filter aid and impurities present in either filter, the used or impure solvent flowing in through conduit I05 or conduit I08, instead of passing into the interior of the filtering elements represented generally by the numeral I01 positioned within filters I03 and I04, flows over the outside of these elements. washing down accumulated filter aid and impurities present thereon, and is permitted to emerge from filter I03 or filter I 04 through conduit I2I or conduit I23. This is accomplished by opening valves I22 or I24, as the case may be, the impure solvent flowing back to lint trap 9I through conduit I25.

After washing operations are complete, the used or impure solvent is allowed to collect in sump I6, pump 91 being of course not operated to remove the solvent from this sump. The solvent remaining in the garments, fabrics, or other goods present in the rotatable washer 25 is removed therefrom by means of high speed operation of the washer 25, as will be more fully described hereinafter. This serves to extract by centrifugal action the residual quantities of solvent remaining in the goods. This solvent as extracted from the garments collects within the compartment 23 on divided partition I1 and flows into the sump I through conduit 90, lint trap 9|, perforated basket 92 and conduit 94.

Even after high speed rotation of the rotatable container 25 containing the garments which have been washed or dry cleaned, there remain in these goods substantial quantities of residual solvent. This residual solvent is removed from the garments by means of a current of heated air which is circulated through compartment 23 (Figures 2 and 3), through perforated portion 22 of supporting bracket 20, cooling coil 40, heating coil 4|, and back as shown through the blades of fan 44 into the compartment 23. The arrows in Fig. 2 indicate the direction of this current of circulated air. In order to secure this air circulation at the end of extraction operations, or if desired at other times such as during solvent extraction operations, fans 43 and 44 are operated by starting motors 46 and 41. Fans 43 serve to pull the air Within the perforated container 25, through perforated portion 22, and thence through the space surrounding cooling coils 40. Fans 44, arranged to force a current of air in the direction shown by the arrows in Fig. 2, serve to pull the air through the space surrounding heating coils 4| and thence return it to the compartment 23. The air, warmed by contact with the heating coils 4|, (ordinarily to a temperature not in excess of 100 F.), picks up residual solvent in the form of Vapor. This vapor is removed from the air stream by condensation when that air stream is cooled by contact with cooling coils 40. During this portion of the solvent recovery operation cooling liquid such as water, brine, etc. is permitted to flow through cooling coils 40, while steam or other heated fluid fiows through heating coils 4|. It is apparent that by rapid heating of the air stream in contact with coil 4| and by rapid removal of picked-up vapors by condensation when the current of air flows through cooling coil 40, the residual solvent can be removed from the fabrics or garments within the washer 25 to a very complete degree.

As shown particularly in Figs, 2 and 3, the solvent removed by condensation when the circulated air stream comes in contact with cooling coils 40 collects at the low point 60 of the bent supporting bracket 20. From this low point the condensed solvent is removed via conduits 11, one of these conduits being positioned at either end of the apparatus. The condensate may contain substantial quantities of water, and it is thereafter permitted to flow to a water separator I3I. This water separator is of conventional type, the water being separated from the solvent used (such as carbon tetrachloride, trichlorethylene or perchlorethylene), by gravity separation. The water emerges from the water separator I3I through water outlet I33, while the dry cleaning solvent with the water present therein removed flows out through conduit I34. As shown, there may be provided valved outlet I36 to permit removal of the condensed solvent freed from water at this point if desired. This outlet permits ready draining of solvent from the system when the system is to be drained.

However, after leaving the water separator I3I, in normal operation the condensed solvent willflow back to lint trap 9| through conduit I34. From the line trap it may then flow back to sump I6 through conduit 94 and is thus returned to the dry cleaning liquid storage space for further utilization in the dry cleaning of fabrics or garments. As shown, return line I34 is provided with an air and vapor vent I38, so that no difficulty with displaced air is experienced in returning the condensate to the lint trap 9| via conduit I34.

The operation of my new and improved dry cleaning apparatus will now be apparent. In order to carry out the washing or dry cleaning step of operation, container 25 is rotated until either of doors 26 is in registry with either door 28 or door 29. Door 28 or door 29 is then opened, affording access to either of doors 26, which is likewise opened. The container is filled by placing therein an equal weight of garments in each compartment of the rotatable washer into which the washer is divided by imperforate Z-shaped partition 30. It is desirable to have approximately the same weight of clothes or fabrics in each compartment in order to avoid the development of excessive stresses due to lack of balance during high speed operations.

Pump 91 is now started and solvent, collected from previous dry cleaning operations in sump I6, is circulated through conduit I02, either through filter I03 or filter I04, through conduit II8, sight glass I21, and thence in either one of two directions: either back to the filter via conduit I32 controlled by valve I33, and lint trap 9|; or, if the solvent shows sufficiently clear in sight glass I21, into the spray pipe of the dry cleaning apparatus 83 through conduit I29 controlled by valve I30. After the pump is started in practice the solvent is forced through either filter I03 or I04, as desired, and the solvent recirculated through the filter via conduit I32, lint trap 9| and conduit 94, returning back to sump I6, until the solvent as viewed through the sight glass appears to be clear and sulficiently pure to permit its use for dry cleaning. When the clarity of the solvent is sufficiently high, valve I30 is opened and valve I33 is closed, the clarified solvent being then forced through conduit I29 into spray pipe 83.

When the solvent is sufiiciently pure to permit of its being forced through spray pipe 83 and utilized for dry cleaning, the rotatable washer 25 is caused to rotate about the axis defined by shaft 32 by starting motor 34. It has been found that with container 25 having a diameter of about 40 inches, the container should be rotated at a speed of 32 to 65 revolutions per minute. Under these conditions, the solvent being continuously forced in through spray pipe 83 by the agency of pump 91, there will collect liquid solvent at two levels; part on the V-shaped por tions of the Z-shaped partition 30 having the diamond shaped portions 3|; and part on the dividing partition IT. The rotating tumbler is thus caused to move through this reservoir of dry cleaning solvent, part of the solvent being picked up by imperforate partition 30 and being positively forced through the garments. Of course it is not necessary to pump solvent at such a rate that a pool of solvent collects on partition H, as the liquid sprayed in through spray pipe 83 and flowing over the clothes in the washer 25 (gaining access thereto through the perforations in the wall of the washer), will serve to extract soil from those garments.

The solvent, after leaving the compartment 23 by means of conduit 90, flows through the lint trap 9|, through the perforated basket in the lint trap containing solvent treatment materials wherein it is purified to a substantial extent, and then back into sump I6 through pipe 94. From this sump it is again recirculated through whichever filter is in the circuit and back through sight glass I21 into spray pipe 83. In this Way the washing operation may be continued as long as desired. In practice it is carried out for a sufficient length of time to thoroughly remove all soil from the fabrics or garments which are being dry cleaned.

At the conclusion of washing operations the used solvent is permitted to collect in sump I6, circulating pump 91 being stopped and the solvent thus no longer circulated through the filter or filters which happen to be in the circuit. However, the garments or fabrics Within the container 25 still contain substantial quantities of liquid solvent, and a large part of this liquid solvent is removed from the fabrics or garments by high speed rotation of the container 25, this high speed rotation serving to remove the solvent by centrifugal extraction. In order to secure this high speed rotation, the motor 34 is caused to operate at a higher speed than the speed employed during washing operations. I have found that with a washer of about 40 inches diameter, speeds ranging from 150 to 600 revolutions per minute will accomplish the desired extraction of solvent from the fabrics or garments within from three to five minutes. In order to secure rotation at fairly low speeds for washing and rotation at substantially higher speeds for ex traction or solvent recovery, I have found that the use of an ordinary shunt-wound electric motor, wherein the speed of rotation is controlled by means of a resistance in the field circuit of the motor, is to be preferred. Of course, my invention is not restricted to the use of such electric motor, as any other means for securing low speed rotation for washing and higher speeds of rotation for extraction may advantageously be adopted. The solvent extracted from the goods by centrifugal extraction will collect on partition plate I1 and is thence returned to sump I6 via conduit 90, lint trap 9|, and conduit 94.

At the end of the extraction operations, which will in commercial machines usually require approximately from three to five minutes for the usual type of fabrics encountered in commercial dry cleaning operations, there still remain considerable quantities of solvent in the fabrics or garments. Accordingly, rotation of the container 25 is now returned to low speed, and fans 43 and 44 are started. As previously explained, air is heated by means of heating coils 4|, is circulated via fan 44 through the garments positioned within container 25 and thence, through perforated portion 22 of bracket 20, fan 43, and cooling coils 40, back to the heating coils 4|. When the heated air passes through the garments it picks up considerable quantities of the solvent in the form of vapor, and these vapors are condensed out of the air stream when that stream is cooled by contact with cooling coils 40. In this way the last traces of residual solvent are removed from the garments, which garments can then be taken out of container 25 in absolutely dry condition. The condensed solvent passes out through conduits TI, to water separator I3I, and thence through lint trap 9| back to sump I6.

During this drying period the process of solvent purification, involving treatment of the solvent by chemical and mechanical action, is advantageously carried out. It is evident that by purifying the solvent during the drying period, or period of operation wherein the residual solvent is vaporized and removed from the garments, considerable time in the complete dry cleaning and solvent recovery process is saved. In addition to this important saving in time, both the space required by the complete unit and the number of individual parts or elements needed to carry out dry cleaning and solvent purification operations are reduced to a minimum.

After the washing and extraction steps and during the drying period the solvent purification process is carried out by the introduction into the lint basket 92 of trap 9| of a suitable amount of a chemical composition adapted to purify the dry cleaning solvent. It is not necessary to touch any of the valves or equipment which regulate or control the washing or extraction operations, the solvent flowing from sump I6 through pipe 96, valves 99 and I00, and pump 9'! into conduit I02. The pump 91 is operated, which, of course, does not in any way interfere with the drying process then taking place within the dry cleaning machine I4.

On entering the conduit I02, the solvent may flow into either filter I03 or I04, whichever happens to be in circuit, if either valve I06 or I09 is open. Either valve I22 or valve I24 being open, the solvent may then flow into the trap 9| through conduit I25. However, it is not necessary that the solvent go through either of the filters, as when valve 2 is opened the solvent will flow through conduit 0 into the trap 9|, wherein it comes into contact with the solvent purification composition present in the basket 92. The solvent then flows back into sump I6 through conduit 94. The result is that at the same time a load of fabrics or garments is drying in compartment 23, the solvent undergoes a process of mechanical and chemical purification in compartment I6. The continuous agitation and mixture of compound and solvent will cause the absorption, in proportion to the extent of the agitation, of all deleterious impurities such as dirt, oils, coloring matters, acids, etc. present in the solvent. In this way the solvent is maintained constantly in the pure state, thispurification taking place without any loss of time during the drying step, thus rendering unnecessary the stopping of the continuous operations carried out in my dry cleaning unit for distillation of the solvent. It will be appreciated that by avoiding the necessity for distilling the solvent, not only is considerable time saved in continuous dry cleaning operations, but also the cost attendant distillation is entirely eliminated.

It is evident that by positioning all elements essential for cleaning, extracting residual solvent, drying and recovering residual solvent within the single compartment 23 of the casing I5 it is possible to control the air circulation and the moisture removal in a novel and improved manner. Because the rotatable washer 25, fans 43 and 44, cooling coils 40 and heating coils 4| are all positioned within a single compartment it is apparent that no vacuum or pressure can be created therein, regardless of the amount of air in circulation. It is also possible to have the air forced into circulation by either the front fans 43, the back fans 44, or by both sets of fans together. This permits the precise control of conditions of humidity and heating. For example, if the front fans 43 are operated alone with moderate heating, the natural humidity will not be extracted from the fabrics. The air is not, under these circumstances, positively forced through the fabrics or garments. At the same time it is possible to control exactly the amount of air which is circulated. If the back fans 44 are operated alone a greater degree of heating is applied directly to the fabrics or garments and the drying period thus reduced and a greater amount of humidity removed from the garments. If all fans are operated a balanced condition is created. Under such circumstances a maximum amount of air is. circulated, which greatly shortens the drying period, without, however, excessive removal of the moisture present in the garments.

At the conclusion of washing, extraction, and drying operations, and after the clothes, with the last traces of residual solvent removed therefrom, have been taken out of the container 25, it is desirable to wash down accumulated filter aid material from either filter No. 1 or filter No. 2, whichever filter has been utilized for filtering the solvent employed to dry clean the garments during the washing step. This filter aid material is of course collected on the filtering elements of the filter and contains the impurities which have been taken out of the solvent. It is desirable to place the filter (say filter No. 1) in condition for further operations, and this may even be done while utilizing filter No. 2 (previously treated to refit it for further use) for filtering solvent to be used in the dry cleaning.

When reconditioning filter No. 1, for example, for furtheruse, the used solvent, instead of being filtered therein and withdrawn through conduit II4 and valve "5, is drawn out by opening quick-opening valve I22. The solvent, containing the washed-down filter aid material suspended therein, flows out through conduit I2I and back to the lint trap 9| via conduit I25. After passing into the lint trap it comes into contact with the solvent treatment material held in perforated basket 92 and is subjected to purification. After purification it flows back to sump I6 through conduit 94 and is reused for dry cleaning. It is of course evident that used solvent may be permitted to wash down accumulated filter aid and other impurities present, for example, in filter No. 1, while filter No. 2 is simultaneously being utilized for the filtration of the solvent and even while the filtered solvent is being forced through spray pipe 83 in dry cleaning operations carried out within the machine. When so utilizing the used or impure solvent to wash down the accumulated filter aid material, valves I06 and I09 are both open. Valve I22 is similarly opened, while valve I24 is closed. Accordingly, used or impure solvent is passed downwardly through filter No. 1 (I03) and flows out through conduit I2I back to lint trap 9|. Solvent is also simultaneously flowing into filter No. 2 (I04) through conduit I08, but since valve I24 is closed, this solvent is forced through the filter elements ml of filter No. 2 (I04) and flows out through conduit H6 in filtered condition. After flowing through conduit IIB it is of course returned to sight glass I21 Via conduit H8 and may, as desired, either be recirculated by further filtration in filter No. 2 (I04) via lint trap 9|, or it may be permitted to flow into the dry cleaning machine through spray pipe 83 and employed for washing operations. It is thus evident that I may simultaneously utilize one filter for filtering solvent, this solvent being repeatedly refiltered and treated with material in perforated basket 92 until sufficiently clarified before being allowed to pass into spray pipe 83 of the dry cleaning apparatus, while the other filter is simultaneously being prepared, by washing down the accumulated filter aid material and adsorbed impurities therein, for later reuse. Each filter can therefore be alternately used for filtering operations, the previously used filter being simultaneously washed down and prepared for later reutilization.

The construction of doors 28 and 29 positioned in the external casing I5 is shown in detail in Figs. 5 and 6. As will be apparent from these figures, the locking means comprises a threaded bolt I40 provided with an eye and mounted for pivotal rotation about the bolt or pin I4I. This bolt or pin I4 I, provided with nut I43, is attached to a bracket member I45 which may be attached by bolting or welding to the exterior casing I5. As shown, there are two of these supporting brackets with associated eye bolts I40, pins MI and nuts I43.

The bolts I40 are provided at one end with a ring-shaped portion which encircles the bolt I4I, while at the other end there are provided screw threads. There are two of these bolts mounted for pivotal movement about the pin I4I, one at either side of the door which is represented generally by the numeral I41. There is provided a hand wheel I49 at either end, which hand wheel is designed to screw down tightly on the bolt I40. This hand wheel bears against the bracket members I53. It is evident that when it is desired to release the door I41 it is merely necessary to loosen hand wheels I49 until bolts I40 can be moved laterally out of the slots I5I formed in the bracket members I53. These bracket members I53 are rigidly secured to the door I41 and in effect constitute lugs or extension ears on that door.

When it is desired to open the door, hand wheels I49 are rotated, as previously described, until bolts I40 can be moved out of slots I5I. The doors I 41 will then drop downward, being pivoted on the rod I55. This rod is, as shown, mounted to an extension member of the casing I56 and is provided with cotter pins at either end retaining it in place. In closing the doors the reverse procedure is followed, hand wheels I49 being securely screwed down after bolts I40 are seated in slots I5I of lugs I53.

The door I41 may be formed of metal, but is also preferably provided with a cork gasket I58, which forms a tight seal between the door I41 and the extension portion I56 of easing I5 in which is positioned the opening into the casing constituting the door. The cork gasket I50 may be held in place by means of a metal plate I60.

By opening either of the external doors 28 or 29, access is gained to the doors 26 positioned in the inner rotating cylindrical washer element. These doors are shown in detail, together with their locking means, in Figs. 7 and 8.

As shown, there are attached to the erforated wall of the cylindrical washer element 25 bracket members I10, which stifien the bent-over portions I12 of the wall of the washer element. An extension of the casing of this washer element, represented by the numeral I13, provides a door bearing extending entirely around the periphery of the door opening. It is against this bearing that the perforated door closure member I bears.

Door I15 is provided with angle portion I11, which angle portion is rigidly attached to and forms a handle by which the door may be held for opening or closing. This door I15 is mounted for pivotal movement around the axis defined by the rod I18.

The members I88 are generally T-shaped in cross-section, formed with an upstanding flange, and are positioned one at either end of the door structure. These members I88 are rigidly secured to the casing of the cylindrical washer element 25. As shown, there is provided a curved slot I82 in the upstanding leg of each of these T-shaped members. Into this slot operating rod I84 fits for the purpose of securely locking the door in position.

Bronze housing members I85 are rigidly secured as by brazing or bolting to the perforated door I15. Each of these housing members I85 is adapted to retain a reciprocable rod I86 which operates against the action of spring I88. As shown, there are two of these bronze housing members, each provided with a spring I88 against which reciprocable bolt I86 may be pressed. As shown, in each of the bolts I86 there is provided a projection I81 adapted to travel in slots I89 in the bronze housing members I85. In this way the travel of the bolts I86 in the housing members I85 may be controlled.

As shown more particularly in Fig. 7, the rod I84, which is employed as a handle when the door is locked or unlocked, is securely attached by means of sleeves I9I to the reciprocable rods I86. It is evident that when it is desired to open the door the rod I84 is pulled downwardly, thus pressing bolts I88 downwardly against the action of springs I88 and permitting the rod I84 to be withdrawn from the curved slot I82 in the T- shaped members I88. This permits the angle I11 to be grasped and the door I15 to be opened, this door rotating with the rod I18 as a pivot. On the other hand, when the door is to be closed, rod I84 is pressed downwardly, reciprocable rods I86 being pressed downwardly against the action of springs I88, until the rod I84 is seated in the slot I82. It is there held in spring-pressed engagement, and forms a positive locking means, preventing the door from opening no matter at what speed the inner container is rotated, until it is desired to open the door. In this way the danger of the door I15 being opened unexpectedly during washing or extraction operations is avoided, and the door will withstand pressure during extraction operations.

As shown, the housings I85 may be secured by bolts I93 to the rod I18 which serves as a bearing for the door I15 when it is rotated during opening or closing. This rod I18, as well as operating rod I84, may be provided at its ends with nuts which are screw-threaded in place. It is evident that the construction shown provides a simply constructed, efiicient door-operating mechanism, which prevents undesired opening of the door during washing or extraction operations, but which is readily operated manually when it is desired to open the doors 26 to gain access to the inner cylindrical container.

Fig. 9 shows an alternate construction for the partition which is shown in Fig. 2 as generally Z-shaped in section. As shown, this partition I95 divides the tumbler 25 into three compartments numbered respectively 28I, 282, and 283. Radiating portions 284 of partition I95 extend approximately 120 from each other around the shaft 32. These portions 284 may 'extend approximately one-half of the radial distance between shaft 32 and the circumference of the shell of cylindrical washer element 25, when they are bent at right angles and thereafter extend to the circumference of the washer. As shown, the three termini 281 of these portions 289 of the partitions I are spaced at substantially from each other around the circumference of the washer 25.

The control devices and power inlet for operating the fans 43 and 44 are shown schematically in Fig. 10. The numeral 2 represents the fan plugs, which plugs bring electric current from a suitable power source for operating the fans. The numeral 2 I2 represents a control switch for operating the pump. The fans are operated from control switch 2l4, while switch 2I5 controls the power supplied for operating the rotatable washer element 25. As shown, there is also provided a timer 2 I1, by which the period of rotation of the tumbler 25 at any speed of rotation may be controlled.

The process of dry cleaning carried out in the washer or tumbler 25 provided with imperforate Z-shaped partition 38 may be briefly described as follows. This process results in improved cleaning action and constitutes a distinct advance over those washing methods now practiced in washing and dry cleaning operations.

It is evident from the construction of the Z-shaped partition itself that the garments or clothes within the tumbler 25 are dropped twice during each revolution of the container. The projections formed by the rhomboidal or diamond-shaped partition 3| prevent the garments from sliding down the imperforate surface of the partition, and thus insure the free dropping of the garments in each compartment of the rotary washer.

Since partition 38 is without perforations it is evident that the garments receive two saturations with solvent during each revolution of the rotary drum 25. The garments are first saturated With pure filtered solvent in the form of spray, which filtered solvent flows from the solvent spray pipe 83 and into the rotary washer through the perforations in the walls thereof. As solvent collects on the partition I1 it is evident that during the downward motion or movement of the partition 38 through this layer of solvent, solvent is scooped up through the perforated wall of the container 25, this scooping action occurring during that phase of the rotation of the washer wherein the motion of the partition is changed from a downward motion to upward motion. Solvent in the form of spray is thus brought into contact with the clothes during one phase of the rotation, while solvent is forced over the garments by the scooping action of the Z-shaped partition (solvent being scooped up from the layer which accumulates on the partition plate I1), during the other half of the rotation.

My improved washing method thus insures two drops of the clothes for each complete revolution of the rotary drum, these drops being practically the full diameter of the drum. Sliding of the clothes down the partition is of course prevented by the diamond-shaped partition 3 I The clothes are :brought into contact with solvent twice during each revolution of the drum, first with pure filtered solvent issuing from the solvent spray pipe 83, and then with solvent collecting on the partition I! as the result of the positive scooping action of the Z-shaped partition 30. It is evident that by providing two drops per revolution, and two saturations of the goods with solvent during each complete rotation, the maximum washing action is secured. This action constitutes a distinct improvement over the types of washing actions now known in the art, whether that washing action be secured with a vertical agitator such as is used in certain types of domestic washing machines, by means of a drum provided with inner ribs, or by means of a drum provided with a partition which is not of Z-shaped form. When a vertical agitator is utilized, not only is satisfactory washing action not obtained, but the amount of agitation necessary to secure even a small degree of washing efiiciency is extremely harmful to fabrics possessing a high pile such as velvet and camels hair. The common drum provided with a number of inner ribs secures its maximum cleansing action only when reversing, and then only when the number of reversals does not exceed two or three per minute. In addition to poor Washing action, the necessity for periodic reversal makes for relatively inefiicient mechanical action. When a partition is provided in the rotary drum which partition is not Z-shaped, the mechanical action is reduced to a mere sliding of the fabrics on the partition, and satisfactory dropping of the garments or fabrics through the compartment of the washing container and the solvent therein is not secured. Mere sliding action does not result in positive dropping such as is attained by the use of my improved Z-shaped partition with a diamond-shaped central portion. Sliding of the fabrics on the partition, characteristic of those methods now in use not utilizing a Z-shaped partition, is not capable of efiective washing. It is of course evident that if more than two partitions are present in the drums of this character now known to the art the mechanical action is correspondingly reduced to a drop since the clothes are restricted to a distance of not exceeding the radius of the drum, instead of to a drop substantially equivalent in distance to the diameter.

When employing my improved Z-shaped partition it is sometimes possible, as shown in Fig. 9, to provide more than one partition and still insure dropping the clothes an efiective distance. This is attributable to the improved characteristics of the Z-shaped partition and to the improved washing action secured during dry cleaning operations in the improved process. This results in the securement of more eflicient washing with less drop than is attained with those machines now in use in the industry which do not utilize a Z-shaped partition.

In Figure 9 there is shown a rotary washer 25 with three compartments numbered respectively 20!, 202 and 203. The partitions 209 provide a substantially right-angled portion between the legs 204 and 209. There are provided three doors, as shown, and it is evident that during each rotation the clothes drop twice in each of the compartments. Because of the angled shape of the partitions, sliding is prevented and positive dropping is obtained in each compartment. While the distance of drop is somewhat less than the diameter of the washer, it is evident that it is still substantially greater than the radius of the drum. As previously pointed out, as the direct result of the scooping action of the partitions more effective washing action is secured, and it is therefore possible in some instances to operate with less drop than is provided by the form of rotary drum shown in Figure 2.

The construction shown in Figure 9 is practical for load capacities of pounds and over. When constructing a 50 pound washer (a Washer capable of handling 50 pounds of garments per load), the diameter may be approximately onehalf that of a 300 pound washer, while the ratio of the respective volumes of the rotary drums in each instance will be approximately as 1 is to 6.

To those skilled in the art many modifications and widely different embodiments and applications of my invention in the general fields of washing and dry cleaning fabrics and/or garments will be readily apparent. The descriptions of my improved dry cleaning machine, dry cleaning system and dry cleaning method as given herein are intended to be illustrative and not restrictive, since various changes may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of my invention. It is intended that the invention is not to be restricted to specific embodiments, specific details, or specific modes of operation other than as necessitated by the prior art and appended claim.

I claim:

In a dry cleaning machine, an external casing, a rotatable washer mounted for rotation within said casing and adapted to retain therein clothes to be dry cleaned, means for supplying a solvent in contact with said clothes held in said rotatable washer so that said clothes may be cleansed, a plurality of fans for forcing air through said rotatable washer and the garments positioned therein, said fans being mounted at the upper portion of said casing and adapted, respectively, to remove air by suction from the area adjacent said rotatable washer and to deliver air by positive pressure into said area adjacent said rotatable washer, and means for operating one or more of said fans, at will, so that the amount of air circulated can be controlled, thus serving to secure removal of residual solvent from garments positioned in said rotatable washer without removing to an excessive extent the natural moisture present in said garments.


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U.S. Classification68/20, 210/167.3, 34/77, 8/142, 68/18.00R, 34/131, 34/109
International ClassificationD06F43/02, D06F43/00, D06F43/08
Cooperative ClassificationD06F43/02, D06F43/086
European ClassificationD06F43/08D, D06F43/02