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Publication numberUS3197791 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication date3 Aug 1965
Filing date29 Jan 1964
Priority date18 Jul 1963
Publication numberUS 3197791 A, US 3197791A, US-A-3197791, US3197791 A, US3197791A
InventorsWalton Richard R
Original AssigneeGen Motors Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method of agitating clothes
US 3197791 A
Abstract  available in
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Aug. 3, 1965 R. R. WALTON METHOD OF AGITATING CLOTHES 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Original Filed July 18 1963 HIIIHII Fig.

INVENTOR. Ric/70rd Ii. Walton H/s Afro/nay Aug. 3, 1965 R. R. WALTON METHOD OF AGITATING CLOTHES 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Original Filed July 18, 1963 jg INVENTOR. Richard R. Wa/fon H/s Al/om e y United States Patent O 3,157,791 RFIETHQD (3F AGITATING CLQTHES tichard R. Walton, Boston, Mass, assignor to General Motors Corporation, Detroit, Mich, a corporation of Delaware Original application July 13, 1963, Ser. No. 295,952, now Patent No. 3,132,592, dated lViay 12, 1964. Divided and this application Jan. 29, 1964, Ser. No. 341,947 4 Ciaims. (Cl. 8-159) This invention relates to a domestic appliance and more particularly to a new method of vertically reciprocatingly agitating in a clothes washer and is a division of my copending application Serial No. 295,952 filed July 18, 1963, now Patent 3,132,502 issued May 12, 1964.

One type of domestic clothes washer uses vertical reciprocation for washing clothes wherein an agitator is attached to the top of a vertically reciprocable power shaft for movement in a water filled tub. As the agitator moves up and down, toroidal water currents are produced in the tub which cause the clothes to turn over and overthe flexing of the clothes in the presence of the surging currents serving to eiiect a cleaning process.

Clothes tangling has been a troublesome problem in prior art clothes washers of this type and such problems probably existed due to the different orbiting speeds between the clothes and the washing fluid. Where the clothes are turning over in a restricted area at the radially outer portion of the tub and the water is toroidally circulating throughout the entire tub, relative movement is set up between dilierent garments in the tub and an intertwining or tangling condition results. This invention is directed to a novel agitator for use with vertical reciprocation which overcomes these and other problems.

Accordingly, it is an object of this invention to provide a vertically reciprocable clothes washer agitator which eliminates the problem of clothes tangling.

It is another object of this invention to provide a clothes washer agitator adapted for vertical reciprocation and including a hollow column, a pump ring below the column for producing toroidal currents in response to vertical reciprocation, and a pair of elongated, frusto-conical clothes actuator rings on said column above said pump ring for ratcheting the clothes in an orbital path, the space formed between the column and each of said clothes actuator rings being vented to atmosphere through the hollow column.

It is a still further object of this invention to provide in the above clothes washer agitator adjustable means for venting the space between the column and the clothes, whereby varying the amount of venting to atmosphere controls the rate of clothes turnover.

Further objects and advantages of the present invention Will be apparent from the following description, reference being had to the accompanying drawings wherein a preferred embodiment of the present invention is clearly shown.

In the drawings:

FIGURE 1 is a schematic sectional view, partly in elevation, of a clothes washer provided with the new clothes agitator of this invention;

FIGURE 2 is an enlarged sectional view of a clothes washer spin tub in combination with the agitator of this invention showing the circulating currents obtainable with this invention;

FIGURE 3 is a top elevational view of the agitator cap usable as a clothes turnover adjustment means;

FIGURE 4 is a sectional view taken along line 4-4 in FIGURE 2; and

FIGURE 5 is a view taken along line 55 in FIG- URE 4 to illustrate the manner in which surge pressures are variably relieved, thereby to adjust clothes turnover.

' ports 38, is 21 /2 inches.

3,197,?91 Patented Aug. 3, 1955 In accordance with this invention and with reference to FIGURE 1, a clothes washer 26 is comprised of a control housing portion 22 and an outer cabinet or casing 24. The

casing 24 is generally divided into a mechanism portion or compartment 26 and a washing portion or water container chamber 28. A generally centrally located bulk head 30 separates the mechanism compartment 26 from the water container chamber 28 which is further bounded by a cylindrical water container Wall 32. Within the water container 32 is a spin tub 34 having a top opening 36 and a plurality of centrifuging outflow ports 38. The ports 38 are designed to permit egress of water from the tub 34 when the tub is rotated at high speed. For filling the tub 34 with water, a conventional water supply system may be provided with a hot water solenoid actuated valve 43 and a cold water solenoid actuated valve 42, both of which are manifolded into a mixed water supply conduit 44 leading to a chute 46 which overlies the opening 36 of the tub. Within the tub 34, an agitator or pulsator i8 is adapted to reciprocate for producing toroidal circulation of water in the tub and for agitating cloths therein. Thus, clothing placed within the tub 34 is washed as the agitator 48 forces surging currents of washing fluid and detergent through the fabric. Conventional sequentially operating timer means, shown generally at 50 on the control housing 22, may be included to selectively admit water through the supply conduit 44, to spin the tub 34 and to vertically reciprocate the agitator 48.

A prime moving system, shown generally at 52, in the mechanism compartment 26 is adapted to selectively rotate the tub 34 and reciprocate the agitator 48. Two agitating and spinning mechanisms suitable for such selective use with this invention are shown in the patents to Sisson 2,987,904, issued June 13, 1961, and to Brucken 3,087,321, issued April 30, 1963. Such mechanisms may be designed for agitate speeds of 330 and 220 1.75-inch strokes per minute with spin speeds of 710 and 465 revolutions per minute. In addition to selectively operating the spin tub and the agitator, the agitating and spinning mechanism 52 includes a pump for draining the water container 32 through the drain conduit 54.

Turning now to FIGURE 2, the novel agitator 48 of this invention is shown installed in a spin tub 34 having the following dimensions. The overall height A is l2 inches and the distance B from the top of the ballast ring to the fluid level 56 in the tub is 2 inches. The outer diameter of the tub 34 at its greatest point, not counting the small out-turned flange adjacent the outflow For strengthening thereof the tub 34 is atlixedly supported on an annular casting 58 which is affixed to the spin shaft portion 60 of the agitat ing and spinning mechanism 52. The vertically reciprocable agitator shaft 62 extends through the spin shaft 60 and the tub support casting 58 into the tub where it is adapted to receive the agitator 48. A concentric bellows arrangement includes a water seal bellows 64 and an oil seal bellows 63 which interconnect the bottom of the tub 34 and the tub mounting nut 65 in a manner to provide a water seal to prevent water from reaching the mechanism and an oil seal to prevent oil from reaching the inside of the tub. The agitator 48 is shown in its uppermost position in FIGURE 2its lowermost position being shown by the phantom line indication 66. The length of stroke C traveled by the agitator 48 is 1.75 inches.

The agitator 4% is comprised of a cylind ical hollow column portion 63 having an aflixed central partition 7% and an out-turned generally frusto-conical pump ring 72 at the bottom thereof. The partition has a central opening 73 through which the threaded end 74 of the agitator shaft extends. A column mounting nut 7 6 threads a 3- onto the top of the agitator shaft-a nylon spacer 73 being provided to hold the frusto-conical ring 72, in its lowermost position, at the proper distance from the bottom of the tub 34. On the outside of 'the cylindrical column 68 is an upper generally frusto-conical clothes actuator ring 8t} and immediately therebelow a lower generally frustoconical clothes actuator ring 82. In general, the pump ring 72, serves to produce toroidal circulation of water, as shown by the water ilow arrows 83, while the upper clothes actuator rings 30 and 82. nudge the clothes portions adjacent thereto in rather a ratcheting or pulsatingly submerging manner to tuck these clothes portions downwardly as they rollingly move inwardly toward the agitator.

In view of the vertical s acing between the three rings on the agitator .8, downwardly opening annular surge pressure chambers are formed. For instance, between the pump ring 7?, and the lower clothes actuator ring 9-2 a lower surge pressure chamber 92 is formed; and between the lower clothes actuator ring 82 and the upper clothes actuator ring 89 an upper surge pressure chamber is formed.

When the agitator 43 is reciprocated, water or washing fluid and entrained air from the tub 34 surges into and out of confined areas like the sur e chambers 92 and 94. Washing fluid is not normally compressable in such surge chambers and thus the tendency is for the washing fluid to back out of the chambers, thereby preventing the clothes from coming into close actuatable engagement with the clothes actuator rings of the agitator. This further results in the clothes orbiting in a tight toroidal fashion in a small portion of the cross section of the tub adjacent its radially outer side. It is an object of this invention to relieve or reduce the pressures built up between the rings on the agitator, thereby creating a suction or pressure relief zone between the rings rather than a pressure zone said sucking action serving to draw clothes toward the agitator rather than repelling them so that the clothes actuator rings 8t) and 82 can pulsatingly submerge the clothes coming in contact therewith. This action causes the clothes to turnover throughout the same cross section of the tub utilized by the washing fluid, i.e., the entire cross section. When the clothes orbit along the same path traveled by the washing fluid, there is no tendency to tangle. For accomplishing the foregoing results, the novel no-tangle concept of vertical clothes agitation is embodied in structure which relieves to atmosphere those fluid pressures built-up in the chambers between the rings by the surging thereinto of washing fluid.

The atmospheric venting arrangement is effected with three relativeiy wide elongated slots 96 and three relatively narrow elongated slots as in the column 68 of the agitator communicating the upper surge relief chamber 94 with the hollow of the agitator column. Similarly and immediately below the upper slots, three relatively wide elongated slots 1G9 and three relatively narrow elongated slots 3&2 connect the lower surge relief chamber 92 with the hollow of the agitator column. The relatively wide and relatively narrow slots on both levels of the agitator may be alternately positioned with each other around the circumferencevof the agitator column.

An agitator cap 1% is supported on upstanding tabs 1% extending from the upper end of a turnover adjustment cylinder 1W7 which nests into the agitator column 68, thereby positioning the radially outer peripheral edge 108 of the cap a spaced distance from the column to form an annular vent passageway 136 connected to atmosphere completely around the cap. The adjustment sleeve 1G7 has turnover adjustment slots such as 126, 128 (FIGURE which may be selectively indexed with adjacent slots such as $6, 98 in the cylindrical agitator column to relieve to atmosphere those pressures built up under the clothes actuator rings 89 and 82.

In a clothes washer, the agitator 4-8 operates as follows. When the agitate shaft 62 is vertically reciprocating and more particularly during a down stroke of 1.75 inches, the

pump ring '72 initiates a toroidal circulation of washing fluid in the tub 3 Powerfully surging currents of water and detsrgent are forced through the reticulations of the cloth fabric adjacent thereto to clean the fabric as the clothes are rolled over and over along side the agitator. Also on the down stroke Washing fluid and entrained air will be caused to rush into the surge relief chambers 92 and underneath the clothes actuator rings. These surging currents of air and fluid then burst into the hollow of the column through the slots, such as 93, 9 5, 16d and M32, adjacent their respective surge chambers. From the hollow of the column 63 the pressures attendant such surging currents are then relieved completely to atmosphereby way of the annular passageway tilt). As these surge pressures are relieved, a suction or reduced pres sure zone is created adjacent the peripheral edges 12d and 122 of the upper and lower clothes actuator rings respectively. is this sucking action along the radially inner diameter of the toroi-d of circulating washing fluid which draws the clothes into touching engagement with the actuator rings and holds hem there during the down stroke of the agitator, thereby to puisatingly submerge or downwardly ratchet the clothes toward the pump ring. On the upstroke of the agitator the sucking action ceases so that the agitator can return upwardly relative to the clothes prior to its next succeeding ratchet-like actuation of the clothes.

in accordance with another aspect of this invention, the rate of turnover of clothes in the tub is made adjustable. This is accomplished by th manual manipulation of the cap in the manner suggested by the cap indicia {PK URE 3). Since the cap is carried at the upper end of the sleeve Th7, relative rotation of the cap will laterally displace adjusting sleeve slots 26 from column slots 93, thereby to reduce the size of the relief opening such as 13%} (FIGURE 5) to form a restriction in the passageway leading to atmosphere. As the opening is restricted, the clothes turnover is reduced. Such an adjustment finds utility in the washing of delicate fabrics for which a minimum of flexing is desirable.

With reference to FIGURES 2, 4 and 5, a preferred agitator 43 built in accordance with the concepts of this invention has the following dimensions. The overall height D of the agitator is 10 7 inches. The outside diameter E of the agitator column 68 is 3% inches and its height F is 7% inches. The lower frusto-conical pump ring '72 has a height G of 2 inches and a maximum diameter X of 8 inches. Although the pump ring '72 is shown as a sheet metal addition to the cylindrical column 68, this ring could be formed of a yieldable material, such as neoprene or urethane in order to minimize overload problems which could occur where clothes are caught between the bottom of the tube 34 and the pump ring '72.

The lower clothes actuator ring 82 is positioned with its peripheral edge a distance H of 1% inches above the bottom of the agitator and is formed as a frusto-couical member having a height I of 4% inches and a diameter Y at its lower edge 12?. of 8 inches.

The upper clothes actuator ring 3% is positioned on the Column 68 with its lower edge 12% a distance K of 3 inches above the bottom of the agitator and is formed as a frusto-couical cone having a height L of 5 inches and a maximum diameter Z at its peripheral edge 12%? of 8 inches.

The cap has a height M of 1%; inches and a diameter N of 4 inches. The sleeve 137 carried by the cap has a diameter just sufficiently smaller than the column housing 68 so that the two members will fit in closely nested relationship to each other.

The large vent relief ports, such as 96 in the column 68 and 128 in the adjustment sleeve 167 have a height 0 of 1 /2 inchesand a width P of inch whereas the small siots, such as 93 in the column housing 68 and 127 in the adjustment sleeve have a height Q of 1V2 inches and a width R of /2 inch.

It has long been known that vertical reciprocation provides the best cleaning method for fabrics. The clothes are not dragged back and fourth but are circulated in a toroidal or orbiting path in a manner whereby the flexing fabrics are presented preiodically to surging currents of Wash water and detergent for release of the soil therefrom. The tendency of prior art devices of this type to tangle clothes has been overcome by the agitator of this invention which not only provides in a single unitary device means to initiate the surging Washing currents, but includes also means for ratcheting the clothes in an orbiting path, said ratcheting means made effective by the release to atmosphere of surge pressures in the vicinity of the ratcheting means. Such action provides for a continuous, constant rate presentation of clothes to the surging Wash currents of the pump ring and results in clothes moving throughout the entire cross section of the tub at speeds in relation to the washing fluid which will not cause clothes to tangle.

While the embodiment of the present invention as herein disclosed constitutes a preferred form, it is to be understool that other form might be adopted.

What is claimed is:

l. The method of vertically reciprocatingly agitating clothes in a fluid Without tangling comprising the steps of, initiating a toroidal circulation of said fluid, introducing clothes to said toroidal circulation of fluid along the inner diameter of said toroidal circulation, ratchetingly submerging said clothes in said fluid at the inner diameter of said toroidal circulation, and substantially completely venting directly to atmosphere those pressures at the point where said clothes are being ratchetingly submerged for maintaining the continuous ratcheting submergence of said clothes and the homogeneous toroidal circulation thereof.

2. The method of linearly reciprocatingly agitating clothes in a fluid Without tangling comprising the steps of, initiating a toroidal circulation of said fluid, introducing clothes to said toroidal circulation of fluid along the inner diameter of said toroidal circulation, ratchetingly submerging said clothes in said fluid at the inner diameter of said toroidal circulation, and substantially completely venting directly to atmosphere those pressures at the point where said clothes are being ratchetingly submerged for maintaining the continuous ratcheting submergeuce of said clothes and the homogeneous toroidal circulation thereof.

3. The method of vertically reciprocatingly agitating clothes in a fluid without tangling comprising the steps of, initiating a toroidal circulation of said fluid, introducing clothes to said toroidal circulation of fluid along the inner diameter of said toroidal circulation, pulsatingly submerging said clothes in said fluid at the inner diameter of said toroidal circulation, and selectively adjustably venting to atmosphere those pressures at the point where said clothes are being pulsatingly submerged for varying the amount of continuous pulsating submergence or" said clothes in accordance with the desired rate of clothes turnover.

4. The method of linearly reciprocatingly agitating clothes in a fluid Without tangling comprising the steps of, initiating a toroidal circulation of said fluid, introducing clothes to said toroidal circulation of fluid along the inner diameter of said toroidal circulation, pulsatingly suomerging said clothes in said fluid at the inner diameter of said toroidal circulation, and selectively adjustably venting to atmosphere those pressures at the point Where said clothes are being pulsatingly submerged for varying the amount of continuous pulsating submergence of said clothes in accordance with the desired rate of clothes turnover.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,3 84,876 8/21 Voss. 1,820,853 8/31 Warren 68218 2,421,803 6/47 Neal 68208 X 2,471,876 5/49 Kuhn 68131 2,637,190 5/53 Ferris 68-131 FOREIGN PATENTS 609,985 10/ 48 Great Britain.

IRVING BUNEVICH, Primary Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1384876 *21 Jul 191719 Jul 1921Voss William HWashing-machine mechanism
US1820853 *15 May 193025 Aug 1931Warren Arthur JHand washer
US2421803 *18 Oct 194310 Jun 1947Gen Motors CorpScum overflow for clotheswashing machines
US2471876 *11 May 194231 May 1949Gen Motors CorpClothes-washing and cleaning machine
US2637190 *2 Jan 19485 May 1953Gen Motors CorpClothes washing machine
GB609985A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US675593718 Apr 200029 Jun 2004Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc.Paper sheet having improved rate of absorbency
US71122577 Jan 200426 Sep 2006Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc.Method of mechanical softening of sheet material
Classifications
U.S. Classification8/159, 68/131, 68/218
International ClassificationD06F13/00, D06F13/04
Cooperative ClassificationD06F13/04
European ClassificationD06F13/04