US3362182A - Ice maker for refrigerators - Google Patents

Ice maker for refrigerators Download PDF

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US3362182A
US3362182A US63123467A US3362182A US 3362182 A US3362182 A US 3362182A US 63123467 A US63123467 A US 63123467A US 3362182 A US3362182 A US 3362182A
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ice
water
switch
housing
cylinder
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Frank M Walker
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H AND W IND Inc
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H AND W IND Inc
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    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25CPRODUCING, WORKING OR HANDLING ICE
    • F25C1/00Producing ice
    • F25C1/04Producing ice by using stationary moulds

Description

F- M. WALKER ICE MAKER FOR REFRIGERATORS Jan. 9, 1968 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed April 17, 1967 INVENTOR. Few/a A//. W4LKE-2 United States Patent 3,362,182 ICE MAKER FOR REFRIGERATORS Frank M. Walker, Oklahoma City, Okla., assignor to H & W Industries Inc., Oklahoma City, Okla., a corporation of Oklahoma Filed Apr. 17, 1967, Ser. No. 631,234 22 Claims. (Cl. 62-137) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE An ice maker for a refrigerator having a freezing compartment and a non-freezing compartment. The housing containing the ice molds is positioned in the freezing compartment to take advantage of the temperative maintained in the freezing compartment, while the mechanism for operating the ice ejectors associated with the molds is located in the non-freezing compartment of the refrigerator. The mechanism in the non-freezing compartment includes a piston moved in an ice-ejecting stroke by the pressure of water from a household water supply system, and the water used for moving the piston in an ice-ejecting stroke is subsequently forced by the piston into the molds for refilling the molds.

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS This is a continuation-in-part of applicants copending application entitled, Ice Maker," Ser. No. 595,853, filed Nov. 21, 1966.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the invention This invention relates to improvements in ice makers of the type powered by a source of water under pressure, such as a household water supply system, and more particularly, but not by way of limitation, to an ice maker adapted for use in a refrigerator having a freezing compartment and a non-freezing compartment.

2. Description of the prior art The ice maker disclosed in applicants co-pending application referred to above, as contrasted with prior ice makers, utilizes a direct application of the pressure of water from a readily available water supply to eject ice from one or more molds, and tests have shown it to be an improvement over prior known ice makers. However, applicants prior ice maker was designed to be substantially wholly contained in the freezing compartment of a household refrigerator or the like, and the mechanism thus takes up more room in the freezing compartment than is desirable in some cases. Also, since substantially the entire mechanism is contained in the freezing compartment, care must be taken to prevent the freezing of the actuating mechanism which requires, for example, the generation of heat adjacent to the actuating mechanism which must be insulated from the freezing compartment.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention contemplates, in one aspect, a refrigerator having a first compartment maintained at a temperature below 32 F. and a second compartment therebelow maintained at a temperature above 32 F. A housing containing vertically oriented molds is supported in the first compartment to freeze water in the molds to the desired configuration, and heater means are positioned in the housing for partially thawing and releasing ice from the molds when the ice is to be ejected. A conduit extends downwardly from the mold housing ice into the second compartment of the refrigerator and is used for refilling the molds with water. Also, ejectors positioned in the molds are connected to a rod which extends downwardly into the second compartment through the conduit for cyclicly ejecting ice from the molds. The entire mechanical mechanism for operating the ejectors and for directing water through the conduit to refill the molds is positioned in the second refrigerator compartment where it is isolated from the freezing temperatures in the first compartment and does not take up space in the freezing compartment.

In another aspect, the present invention contemplates a mechanism for operating the ejectors and refilling the molds of an ice maker which comprises a vertically oriented cylinder having a piston therein moved in one direction by water pressure action on a diaphragm sealed to the cylinder, and moved in the opposite direction by spring action. The piston is moved through an ice-ejecting stroke by the pressure of water directed from a water supply into the lower end of the cylinder. The piston is returned to the lower end of the cylinder by a spring to force the water previously used for moving the piston in an ice-ejecting stroke from the lower into the upper end of the cylinder. Thus, the water used for moving the piston in an ice-ejecting stroke is in turn moved by the piston in the next ice-ejecting stroke to refill the molds of the ice maker with the correct amount of water.

An object of this invention is to provide an ice maker for a household refrigerator or the like wherein the ice maker occupies minimum space in the freezing compartment of the refrigerator.

Another object of this invention is to provide an ice maker for a household refrigerator or the like wherein the ice is ejected from molds in the ice maker by the direct application of the pressure from a household water supply system against a piston connected to ice ejectors in the molds, and wherein the mechanism for driving the ice ejectors is positioned remotely from the molds.

A further object of this invention is to provide an ice maker wherein ice is ejected from the molds of the ice maker by the direct application of the pressure of the water from a household water supply system against a piston connected to ejectors in the molds, and wherein the water used for the ice-ejecting operation is subsequently used for refilling the molds.

A still further object of this invention is to provide an ice maker for a household refrigerator or the like having a long and trouble-free service life, and which utilizes a maximum of readily available, standard parts for its construction.

Other objects and advantages of the invention will be evident from the following detailed description when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings which illustrate the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the major portion of an ice maker constructed in accordance with this invention as it is installed in a household refrigerator, with a portion of the refrigerator being shown in dashed lines for clarity of illustration.

FIG. 2 is a vertical sectional view through the ice receiving bin and with the remaining portion of the ice maker being shown in elevation.

FIG. 3 is a sectional view as taken along lines 33 of FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 is a plan view of the ice maker with the ice receiving bin removed.

FIG. 5 is a vertical sectional view taken along lines 5-5 of FIG. 4.

FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken along lines 6-6 of FIG. 5.

FIG. 7 is a sectional view taken along lines 77 of FIG. 5.

FIG. 8 is a schematic wiring diagram of the control circuit for the ice maker.

FIG. 9 is a partial sectional view through one end of mold housing showing a modified structure.

FIG. 10 is a schematic wiring diagram of the control system used in the modified ice maker illustrated in FIG. 9.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EM- BODIMENT Referring to the drawings in detail, and particularly FIG. 1, reference character 20 generally designates an ice maker illustrated as being installed in a refrigerator 22. The refrigerator 22 has a first compartment 24 and a lower, second compartment 26 separated by a horizontally extending partition 28. The first compartment 24 is sometimes designated herein as the freezing compartment and is maintained at a temperature below 32 F., as is common in the freezing compartments of household refrigerators. The second compartment 26 is sometimes designated herein as the non-freezing compartment, since it is a compartment maintained at above 32 F., and may be the usual refrigerated space in a household refrigerator, or could be the compartment or space housing the usual refrigerator compressor in models where the freezing compartment is below the non-freezing compartment.

The ice maker 20 basically comprises a mold housing 30 which is adapted to be secured in a fixed position in the freezing compartment 24 by suitable fasteners 32, and what may be generically designated as the hydraulic drive system 34 suitably secured in the non-freezing compartment 26 of the refrigerator 22.

As shown in FIGS. 4 through 7, the mold housing 30, which may be formed of any desired material having good heat transfer characteristics, such as aluminum, is provided with a plurality of mold cavities 36 therein. The mold cavities 36 are sometimes referred to herein simply as molds, and are arranged in a row with a vertical slot 38 formed in the housing 30 between each adjacent pair of molds 36, for purposes to be described. It will also be observed that each mold cavity 36 is oriented vertically and is opened at its upper end 40, with the side walls of each mold being slightly tapered upwardly and outwardly. Each mold cavity 36 may be of any desired cross-sectional configuration, such as circular, or rectangular as illustrated in FIGS. 4 through 7.

A bore 42 extends upwardly through the lower portion of the housing 30 into communication with the centrally located mold cavity 36 to receive a connector 44. The connector 44 is suitably secured to the upper end of a vertical rod 46 and functions as the ejector for ice formed in the respective mold cavity 36, as will be described further below. An elongated slot 48 is formed in the lower portion of a housing 30 on each side of the bore 42 and extends underneath the respective remaining mold cavities 36 to slidingly receive a bar 50. Each bar 50 is rigidly connected to the connector 4-4 and is of a size to be reciprocated vertically through the respective slots 38 between adjacent mold cavities 36, as will be described further below. An arcuate projection 52 is formed on the upper edge of each bar 50 in alignment with each mold cavity 36 (except for the cavity 36 above the connector 44) which is received in an arcuate depression 54 in the bottom of the respective cavity 36 to function as an ejector for ice formed in the cavities when the bars 50 are raised, as will be described.

What may be termed a switch housing 56, which may be formed of a synthetic resin plastic material, such as Delrin, nylon or Teflon, is secured to one end 58 of the housing 30 by suitable fasteners 64 The housing 56 con tains what may be called a master switch 62 which is manually operated by a switch arm 64, and the switch arm 64 is preferably readily accessible when the door of the refrigerator 22 is opened. The housing 56 also contains a switch 66 of the push button-type having an operating member 68, and the switch 66 is suitably held in the desired position in the housing 56 by fasteners 70. The housing 56 further forms a covering for a thermostat 72 held in a mating bore 74 of the housing 30 by a leafspring 76. The leaf-spring 76 is in turn held in the desired position by one of the fasteners 60. The thermostat 72 may be a conventional SPST bimetallic disc-type which provides an immediate opening or closing in response to sensing high or low temperature levels in the housing 30. In one form of the present ice maker used in a household refrigerator, the thermostat 72 was set to close a switch associated therewith when sensing a temperature of 18 F. and to open such switch when sensing a temperature of 50 F.

The housing 30, being of a material of high heat transfer characteristics, will be continuously cooled by virtue of the temperature in the freezing compartment 24 to provide a ready formation of ice in the mold cavities 36. The housing 30 is periodically heated by a suitable heater 78 secured in a mating groove 80 extending along the bottom of the housing 30. The heater 78 extends into proximity with each of the mold cavities 36 to partially thaw and release ice formed in the mold cavities when the heater is energized, as will be set forth more fully below.

An elongated rod 82 extends along the top of the housing 30 and is journaled to the housing 30 at spaced points by brackets 84 secured to the housing by fasteners 86. The rod 82 is bent to provide what may be termed fingers 88 projecting partially over a portion of the mold cavities 36 in positions to be engaged by ice being ejected from the cavities 36, as will be described. The rod 82 is urged into a position with the fingers 88 extending substantially horizontal by a spring 90 anchored to the rod and to an adjacent portion of the housing 30; thus, the fingers 88 are sometimes referred to herein as spring-loaded fingers. It will also be observed that the rod 82 may be extended at its opposite ends over the top of the housing 30 and down along the front of the housing to form a bail 92 which increases the strength of the rod assembly and acts as a counterweight urging the finger 88 down. A projection 94 extends from the end of the rod 82 adjacent the end 58 of the housing 30 into the switch housing 56 in a position to depress the operator 68 of the switch 66 when the fingers 88 of the rod 82 are extended substantially horizontal, and to release such operator 68 when the fingers 88 are moved upwardly into elevated position, as will be described further below.

The lower end portion of the bore 42 in the central portion of the housing 30 containing the connector 44 previously mentioned, is threaded to receive the upper end of a conduit 96 extending downwardly from the freezing compartment 24 through the partition 28 into the nonfreczing compartment 26. The conduit 96 is used for filling the mold cavities 36 with water and maybe formed of any desired material, such as metal. In any event, a heater 98 is preferably wound around the conduit 96, and particularly over the length of the conduit 96 exposed to the freezing temperature in the freezing compartment 24, to assure that any water which may be frozen in the conduit 96 will be thawed when the mold cavities 36 are to be filled, as will be set forth below. The heater 98 is preferably enclosed by an insulating sheath 100 which may be formed of any desired insulating material, such as a synthetic resin material. It will also be observed in FIG. 5 that the rod 36 previously mentioned as being connected to the connector 44 extends downwardly through the conduit 96.

The lower end 102 of the conduit 96 is threadedly secured in a mating aperture formed in the upper end of a cylinder 104 of the hydraulic drive system 34. The cylinder 104 may be formed of any desired material, such as a synthetic resin material, and contains a reciprocating piston 106 formed, preferably, of the same material as the cylinder 104. The piston 106 is enveloped in the cylinder 104 by a flexible diaphragm 108 having the outer edge 110 thereof suitably secured and sealed to the lower end of the cylinder and having the central portion thereof extending underneath the piston 106. The diaphragm 108 is of a size to effectively roll from the outer periphery of the piston 106 to the inner periphery of the cylinder 104 when the piston 106 is moved upwardly. Thus, the diaphragm 108 may be characterized as a rolling diaphragm. In one size of ice maker made in accordance with this invention, the cylinder 104 has an inside diameter of 2.25 inches and the piston 106 has an outside diameter of 2.06 inches and travels 1.8 inches in the cylinder 104.

The piston 106 is preferably cup-shaped to receive the lower end portion of a helical compression spring 112, such that the lower end of the spring 112 is anchored to the piston 106. The upper end of the spring 112 is suitably anchored to the upper end 114 of the cylinder 104. In the ice maker made according to this invention and referred to above, the spring 112 exerted a force on the piston 106 of twelve pounds when the piston 106 was at the lower end of the cylinder 104 as shown in FIG. 5, and a force of thirty pounds when the piston 106 was raised the maximum extent.

An enlarged head 116 is provided on the lower end of the cylinder 104 and has a bore 118 formed therein providing a conduit communicating with the lower end of the cylinder 104. The outer end 120 of the bore 118 is suitably threaded for receiving a connector 122 extending from one port 124 of a three-Way solenoid valve 126. A second port 128 of the valve 126 is connected to a conduit 130 extending from a water supply (not shown), such as a conventional household water supply. The third port 132 of the solenoid valve 126 is connected to another conduit 134. The conduit 134 is secured to an aperture 136 in the upper end 114 of the cylinder 104 by a suitable tubing connector 138. The three-way solenoid valve 126 effectively forms a normally closed solenoid valve preventing communication between the conduit 130 and the conduit formed by the bore 118, as well as a normally open solenoid valve providing communication between the conduit formed by the bore 118 and the conduit 134, for purposes to be described.

A complete ice maker in accordance with this invention includes a bin 140, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, to receive ice ejected from the mold housing 30, with the bin 140 being supported to be readily removed by the user of the ice maker when ice pieces are desired. The bin 140 provides an ice receiving chamber 142 positioned below and in front of the mold housing 30. A flange 144 is formed at the upper end of the bin 140 and is arranged to rest in brackets 146 secured to one side 147 of the refrigerator 22 by fasteners 148 in such a manner that the lower end 150 of the bin 140 will tend to swing toward the wall 147 of the refrigerator, and the more ice deposited in the chamber 142, the greater will be the tendency of the lower end 150 of the bin to swing toward the wall 147.

As shown in FIG. 3, the bin 140 is formed at 152 to fit around the insulating sheath 100 surrounding the conduit 96 and rod 46, and the bin is normally held in the desired vertical position by a leaf-spring 154 secured to the bin and engaging the insulating sheath 100. The Wall 156 of the bin 140 adjacent the refrigerator wall 147 is positioned to engage the operator 158 of a push button type switch 160 positioned approximately even with the lower end 150 of the bin 140 to open the switch 160 when the bin 140 is filled with ice. When the bin 140 is not filled with the desired amount of ice, the leaf-spring 154 maintains the wall 156 of the bin in such a position as not to actuate the switch 160.

The control for the ice maker 20' is schematically illustrated by the wiring diagram in FIG. 8 and comprises a circuit 161 including the switch 66 actuated by the spring-loaded fingers 88 in parallel with the bin switch 106, and with both of such switches in series with the thermostat switch designated by reference character 72a. The control circuit also includes the heaters 78 and 98 and the coil 126a of the solenoid valve 126 connected in parallel with one another and in series with the thermostat switch 72a. The master switch 62 is also connected in series with the heaters 78 and 98 and the solenoid valve coil 126a. The master switch 62 is, of course, normally closed and is manually opened only at the discretion of the user. The normally closed switch 66 is held in an open position by the projection 94 of the spring-loaded fingers 88 and is closed only when the fingers 88 are in elevated position, as will be described. As previously indicated, the bin switch 160 is normally closed and is opened only when the bin is filled with ice. As also previously indicated, the thermostat switch 72a is opened when the temperature of the housing 30 is elevated to the desired degree for partially thawing and releasing ice formed in the mold cavities 36, and is closed when the temperature of the housing 30 reaches the predetermined low temperature which signals that ice has been formed in the mold cavities 36.

OPERATION In reviewing the operation of the ice maker 20, let it be assumed that ice has been formed in the mold cavities 36; the piston 106 and diaphragm 108 are in their lowermost position in the cylinder 104, and the thermostat switch 72a has just closed by virtue of sensing the predetermined low temperature of the housing 30. With this action the solenoid valve 126 is actuated by its coil 126a to close off the conduit 134 and simultaneously provides communication between the water supply through conduit and bore 118 and the lower end of the cylinder 104. The closing of the thermostatically operated switch 72a also energizes the heaters 78 in the mold housing 30 and the heater 98 associated with the conduit 96. Thus, these heaters will partially thaw the ice in the mold cavities 36 and thaw water which is frozen in the conduit 96.

As soon as water in the conduit 96 is thawed and the ice is released from the cavities 36, the pressure from the water source acting on the lower side of the diaphragm 108 will raise the piston 106 against the action of the spring 112. The movement of the piston 106 is transmitted through the rod 46 and connector 44 for raising the bars 50 and the ejectors 52. As a result, the ejectors 52 and the connector 44 force ice upwardly from the mold cavities 36.

The ice bodies being ejected from the two outermost cavities 36 are schematically illustrated in dashed lines in FIG. 6 and designated by reference character 162. These ice bodies 162 will engage the fingers 88 and turn the rod 82 against the action of the spring 90. The fingers 88 will thus impose an oblique force on the adjacent ice bodies 162 and force such ice bodies away from the ejectors which in turn forces them from the top of the housing 30 and into the bin 140. It may also be observed in FIG. 6 that the fingers 88 are so positioned that they will be engaged by the ejectors 52 when the ice bodies 162 are harvested, such that the switch 66 will be maintained in a closed position as long as the ejectors 52 are in elevated position. The reason for maintaining the switch 66 closed at this time is to prevent the stopping of the ice maker 20 by any inadvertent movement of the bin when the ejectors 52 are being raised, and thus prevent the possibility of a partial ejection of the ice bodies from the molds which would result in an excess of water being directed into the cavities 36.

Simultaneously with the ejection of ice from the cavities 36, the diaphragm 108 forces water from the upper portion of the cylinder 104 through conduit 96 and into the bore 42 in the lower portion of the housing 30 to refill the mold cavities 36. It will be observed that the bore 42 communicates with the slots 48 extending underneath all 7 of the cavities 36 such that water directed to the bore 42 will effectively fill the cavities 36. The water forced from the upper portion of cylinder 104 through conduit 96 was supplied to the cylinder 104 during the previous cycle of operation, as will be described.

The thermostat 72 is set to open the switch 72a only after the ice is ejected from the cavities 36. As previously indicated, the thermostat may be set, for example, to open when it senses a temperature of 50 F. Therefore, when the thermostat 72 does reach said high temperature and opens the switch 72a, the heaters 78 and 98 and 126a of the solenoid valve 126 are de-energized. When the coil 126a is de-energized, the valve 126 closes off the water source conduit 130 from the conduit formed by the bore 118, and simultaneously provides communication between the bore 118 and the conduit 134. In this position of the valve 126, the spring 112 is free to force the piston 106 downwardly which in turn forces water from below to above the diaphragm 108. The lowering of the piston 106 lowers the connector 44 and ejectors 52, such that the Water standing in the cavities 36 will be ready to be frozen by virtue of the low temperature existing in the freezing compartment 24. Also, the fingers 88 are returned to their substantially horizontal positions by the spring 90, and the projection 94 from the rod 82 opens the switch 66. Thus, if the bin is then full, the bin switch 160 will be opened and no current will be available to energize the heaters 78 and 98 and the solenoid coil 126a until ice is removed from the bin 140. However, if the bin 140 is not filled with ice, the thermostat switch 72:: will again be closed when the housing 30 reaches the predetermined low temperature to start another cycle of operation.

It will thus be seen that the pressure of water from the the water source is applied directly to the lower side of diaphragm 108 which in turn raises piston 106 for both ejecting ice from the cavities 36 and refilling the cavities with the water used for moving the piston 106 on the previous ice ejection stroke. It may also be noted that either the bore 118 or, preferably, the conduit 130, is of reduced diameter to provide a restriction in the flow of water from the water source to the lower end of the cylinder 104. This restriction may be sized to provide the desired speed of movement of the piston 106 in its ice ejecting and refilling stroke, such that water is prevented from being sprayed from the bore 4-2 or the slots 48 out through the cavities 36 into the freezing compartment 24 of the refrigerator.

MODIFIED EMBODIMENT A portion of a slightly modified ice maker 200 is shown in FIG. 9. The ice maker 200 is of the same construction as the ice maker 20 previously described, with very minor exceptions. In the ice maker 200, the portion 92 of the rod 82 is extended downwardly in front of the mold housing and into a suitable ice-receiving bin a sufiicient distance so the spring-loaded fingers 88 will be maintained in elevated positions when the bin is filled with ice by virtue of the contact between the rod portion 92 and ice in the bin. In addition, the mold housing, designated by reference character 30a in FIG. 9, has been slightly modified to provide a bore 202 adjacent to the bore 74 containing the thermostat 72 to receive a relatively small heater 204, such as a fifty watt heater. Finally, the switch controlled by the projection 94 of the rod 82 has been changed to SPDT push-button type switch, designated by reference character 66a in FIG. 9 and having an operator 68a.

The control circuit for the modified ice maker 200 is illustrated in FIG. 10 where it will be noted that the switch 66a and the solenoid coil 126:: are both connected in series with the thermostat switch 72a. Terminal A of the switch 66a is connected in series with the heater 204, and the terminal B of the switch 66a is connected in series with the heaters 78 and 98 which are in parallel.

In operation of the modified ice maker 200, the piston 106 will be in its lowermost position and the thermostat switch 72a will be open when ice is being frozen in the mold cavities 36. At this same time, the fingers 88 will be in their substantially horizontal positions and the projection 94 will be in engagement with the switch operator 68a to hold the arm of the switch 664 in engagement with terminal B of the switch 66a. When ice is frozen in the cavities 36 and the thermostat 72 is actuated to close the thermostat switch 72a, current will be applied to the solenoid coil 126a and the heaters 78 and 98 to provide an ejection of ice from the mold cavities and a refilling of the cavities in the same manner as set forth above for the ice maker 20. In the present embodiment, however, the ice being ejected, and the ejectors 52, will raise and hold the spring-loaded fingers 88 in elevated position.

As the fingers 88 are elevated, the projection 94 releases the switch operator 68a to switch the arm of the switch 66a from terminal B to terminal A. Thus, the larger heaters 78 and 98 are de-energized. However, the smaller heater 204 is then energized to continue the application of heat to the thermostat 72 until the high actuating temperature of the thermostat is reached to open the thermostat switch 72a. When the thermostat switch 72a is opened, the solenoid coil 126a is de-energized to actuate the three-way solenoid valve 126 and close off the water supply pressure from the lower end of the cylinder 104, as well as simultaneously provide communication between the lower and upper ends of the cylinder 104. Thus, the piston 106 will be lowered by the action of the spring 112 and lower the ejectors 52 which in turn lower the spring loaded fingers 88, such that the projection 94 of the rod 82 will again depress the switch operator 68a and move the switch arm of the switch 66a from terminal A to terminal B. However, in the event the ice ejected from the cavities 36 fills a bin associated with the ice maker, the rod portion 92 will be held upwardly by the ice in the bin and retain the spring loaded fingers 88 in their elevated position, even though the ejectors 52 are lowered through the actuation of the solenoid valve 126. Therefore, the arm of the switch 66a will remain in contact with terminal A and prevent further operation of the heaters 78 and 98. Thus, when the thermostat 72 is cooled sufliciently to again close the thermostat switch 72, the ice frozen in the cavities 36 will not be partially thawed and released, and the pressure applied by the water from the water source to the lower end of the piston 106 will not be sufficient to raise the ejectors 52. As a result, the thermostat switch 72a will cycle back and forth between open and closed positrons, and the solenoid valve 126 will be cycled between its operating positions. However, the ice maker 200 will be effectively stopped from harvesting ice until ice is removed from the bin and the rod portion 92 is released for lowering the spring-loaded fingers 88 and projection 94 to again depress the switch operator 68a and move the switch arm of switch 66a from terminal A to terminal B. From the foregoing, it will be apparent that the present invention provides an ice maker particularly adapted to a household refrigerator or the like having a freezing compartment and a non-freezing compartment. Only the necessary portions of the ice maker are positioned in the freezing compartment for economy of space in the freezing compartment and also to minimize the possibility of the hydraulic driving mechanism from becoming fouled by a freeze-up. It will further be apparent that the present ice maker will have a long and trouble-free service life, utilizes the maximum of standard parts and will be economical to construct and maintain.

Changes may be made in the combination and arrangement of parts or elements as heretofore set forth in the specification and shown in the drawings, it being understood that changes may be made in the embodiments disclosed without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the following claims.

What is claimed is:

1. Apparatus for producing ice from a source of water under pressure, comprising:

a housing having a plurality of vertically oriented molds therein for containing the water to be frozen and being open at their upper ends;

means for freezing water in the molds;

heater means in the housing associated with each mold for partially thawing and releasing ice from the molds;

an ejector reciprocally disposed in each mold for ejecting ice from the respective mold when moved upwardly;

a cylinder having a first end and a second end;

piston means in the cylinder for reciprocation between said first and second ends;

means constantly urging the piston means toward the first end of the cylinder;

means connecting the piston to said ejectors for raising said ejectors when the piston means is moved toward the second end of the cylinder, and for lowering said ejectors when the piston means is moved toward the first end of the cylinder;

a first conduit connecting the water source to the first end of the cylinder for moving the piston means in the direction to eject ice from the molds with the pressure of water from said source;

a second conduit connecting the first conduit to the second end of said cylinder;

a third conduit connecting the second end of the cylinder with the molds; and

valve means interposed in the first and second conduits for closing off the second conduit when the piston means is moved from the first toward the second end of the cylinder for ejecting ice from the molds, and shutting off the water source from the first end of the cylinder and providing communication between the first and second ends of the cylinder when the piston means moves toward the first end of the cylinder, whereby the water used for moving the piston means in an ice ejecting stroke is forced by the piston means into the molds on the next subsequent ice ejecting stroke thereof.

2. Apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein said valve means comprises a normally closed solenoid valve in the said first conduit and a normally open solenoid valve in the said second conduit.

3-. Apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein said valve means comprises a three-way solenoid valve interposed at the junction between the first and second conduits.

4. Apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein the piston means comprises a diaphragm sealed to the wall of the cylinder, and a piston in the cylinder between the diaphragm and the second end of the cylinder, whereby the diaphragm rolls from the outer surface of the piston to the inner surface of the cylinder when the piston is moved from the first to the second end of the cylinder.

5. Apparatus as defined in claim 1 where the cylinder is vertically oriented with the first end thereof facing down, and the cylinder is positioned below the housing; and

said means connecting the piston means to the ejectors includes a rod extending vertically through the second end of the cylinder and through the third conduit.

6. Apparatus as defined in claim 5 characterized further to include heater means associated with the third conduit to thaw water frozen therein.

7. Apparatus for producing ice from a source of water under pressure, comprising:

a refrigerator having a first compartment maintained at a temperature below 32 F. and a second compart- 10 ment therebelow maintained at a temperature above a housing supported in the first compartment having a plurality of vertically oriented molds therein for containing the water to be frozen and being open at their upper ends;

heater means in the housing associated with each mold for partially thawing and releasing ice from the molds;

an ejector reciprocally dispose-d in each mold for ejecting ice from the respective mold when moved upwardly;

a conduit extending downwardly from the housing into the second compartment and connected at its upper end with the molds for supplying water to the molds;

a rod loosely telescoped through said conduit and connected at its upper end to said ejectors for operating said ejectors; and

means in the second compartment connected to said rod for cyclicly raising said rod and ejecting ice from the molds when the ice is released from the molds, and connected to the lower end of said conduit and said water source for cyclicly directing a measured quantity of water through said conduit to refill the molds.

8. Apparatus as defined in claim 7 characterized further to include a heater associated with that portion of said conduit positioned in the first compartment to thaw water frozen in said conduit when the molds are to be filled.

9. Apparatus as defined in claim 8 characterized further to include an insulating sheath around the last-mentioned heater.

10. Apparatus as defined in claim 7 wherein said molds are arranged in a row with vertical slots between adjacent molds, said ejectors are connected by a bar reciprocable through said slots; and said rod is connected to the central portion of said bar.

11. Apparatus for producing ice from a source of water under pressure, comprising:

a refrigerator having a first compartment maintained at a temperature below 32 F. and a second compartment therebelow maintained at a temperature above 32 F;

a housing supported in the first compartment having a plurality of vertically oriented molds therein for con taining the water to be frozen and being open at their upper ends;

first heater means in the housing associated with each mold for partially thawing and releasing ice from the molds;

an ejector reciprocally disposed in each mold for ejecting ice from the respective mold when moved upwardly;

a cylinder mounted in the second compartment having a lower end and an upper end;

piston means in the cylinder for vertical reciprocation therein;

means constantly urging the piston means downwardly in the cylinder;

a conduit extending vertically between said compartments providing communication between the upper end of the cylinder and the molds;

second heater means associated with said conduit to thaw water frozen therein;

a rod extending from the piston means through said conduit into communication with said ejectors for raising the ejectors when the piston means moves upwardly in the cylinder; and

means connecting the water source to the lower end of the cylinder for raising the piston means in the cylinder with the pressure of the water from the source, and connecting the upper and lower ends of the cylinder to transfer water from the lower to the upper ends of the cylinder when the piston means moves downwardly in the cylinder.

12. Apparatus as defined in claim 11 wherein said molds are arranged in a row with vertical slots between adjacent molds, said ejectors are connected by a bar reciprocal through said slots, and said rod is connected to the central portion of said bar.

13. Apparatus as defined in claim 11 wherein said piston means includes a piston and a diaphragm secured to the piston and the cylinder for sealing the piston in the cylinder.

14. Apparatus as defined in claim 13 wherein said means for constantly urging the piston downwardly comprises a spring in the cylinder having its upper end anchored to the upper end of the cylinder and its lower end anchored to the piston.

15. Apparatus as defined in claim 11 wherein said means connecting the water source to the lower end of the cylinder and the upper and lower ends of the cylinder comprises a three-way solenoid valve having one port thereof connected to the water source, a second port thereof connected to the lower end of the cylinder, and the third port thereof connected to the upper end of the cylinder.

16. Apparatus as defined in claim 15 characterized further to include:

a thermostatically controlled switch thermally connected to the housing in a position to sense the temperature of the housing and operable to switch from open or closed position when the housing reaches predetermined high or low temperature levels;

an electric circuit including said first and second heater means and the coil of the said solenoid valve in parallel, and said thermostatically controlled switch in series to control the circuit.

17. Apparatus as defined in claim 16 characterized further to include:

a normally closed bin switch interposed in said electric circuit; and

a bin mounted in the freezing compartment in a position to receive ice ejected from the molds and moveable to open the bin switch when filled with ice.

18. Apparatus as defined in claim 17 characterized further to include a spring-loaded finger carried by the housing in a position extending partially over at least one of the molds to be deflected upwardly by ice being ejected from the mold and force the ice from the housing into the bin, said finger being held in an upper position by the respective ejector as long as the piston is at the upper end of the cylinder; and

a switch connected in parallel with the bin switch in said circuit and positioned to be closed by said finger when said finger is deflected upwardly to prevent deenergizing said first and second heater means and solenoid valve while said finger is deflected upwardly.

19. Apparatus for producing ice from a source of water under pressure, comprising:

a housing having a plurality of vertically oriented molds therein for containing the water to be frozen and being open at their upper ends;

means for freezing water in the molds;

an ejector reciprocally disposed in each mold for ejecting ice from the respective mold when moved upwardly;

means connected to the housing and ejector including electric heating means and solenoid valve means to utilize the pressure of the source of water to move the ejector upwardly to eject the ice and refill the mold with water;

a bin supported to receive the ice ejected from the molds and moveable when filled with ice; and

control means for the apparatus, including:

an electric circuit;

a thermostatically operated switch in the electric circuit connected in series with the heater means and solenoid valve means in parallel adapted to energize the heater means and solenoid valve means when the housing reaches a predetermined low temperature and de-energize the heater means and solenoid valve means when the housing reaches a predetermined higher temperature;

a moveable member carried by the housing moveable to a first position when the heater means and solenoid valve means are energized and moveable to a second position when the heater means and solenoid valve means are de-energized;

a first normally closed switch in the electric circuit positioned to be opened by the bin when the bin is moved by the weight of the ice received from the molds;

a second normally closed switch in the electric circuit mounted on the housing and positioned to be opened by the moveable member in the second position; and

said first and second switches being in parallel in said electric circuit whereby the apparatus is prevented from being stopped by ice falling in the bin from the molds while the heater means and solenoid valve means are energized.

20. Apparatus as defined in claim 19 wherein said moveable member comprises a spring-loaded finger carried by the housing in a position extending partially over at least one of the molds to be deflected upwardly to said first position by ice being ejected from the mold and held in said first position by the respective ejector as long as the ejector is in a raised position.

21. Apparatus for producing ice from a source of water under pressure, comprising:

a housing having a vertically oriented mold therein for containing the water to be frozen and being open at its upper end;

means for freezing water in the mold;

an ejector reciprocally disposed in the mold for ejecting ice from the mold when moved upwardly;

means, including a solenoid valve, for cyclicly operating the ejector and refilling the mold with water;

a first heater in the housing associated with the mold for partially thawing and releasing ice from the mold;

a thermostat carried by the housing;

a second heater carried by the housing in proximity with the thermostat;

a switch opened by the thermostat when the thermostat reaches a predetermined high temperature and closed by the thermostat when the thermostat reaches a predetermined lower temperature;

a movable member carried by the housing movable to a first position by ice being ejected from the mold, held in such first position by the ejector when the ejector is raised, and moveable to a second position when the ejector is lowered into the mold;

a double pole switch controlled by the moveable member to move the arm thereof against one terminal thereof when the moveable member is in its first position and move the arm thereof against the other terminal thereof when the moveable member is in its second position; and

an electric circuit connecting the thermostatically operated switch in series with the coil of the solenoid valve and double pole switch in parallel to energize the solenoid valve and double pole switch when the thermostat reaches a predetermined low temperature and de-energize the solenoid valve and double pole switch when the thermostat reaches a predetermined high temperature; and

said circuit connecting said first and second heater means to the opposite terminals of the double pole switch in parallel with the solenoid valve coil to con- 13 14 tact the thermostatically operated switch to the first References Cited heater when the moveable member is in said second UNITED STATES PATENTS position and connect the thermostatically controlled switch to the second heater when the moveable mem- 231 2 3 1 g; h b t t t her is in said first position, w ere y the hermos a 5 3,300,998 1/1967 Jacobus et a1. 62*353 is exposed to heat from said second heater until the solenoid valve is de-energized. 22. Apparatus as defined in claim 21 wherein the ROBERT OLEARY Examme" second heater is of smaller wattage than the first heater. W. E. WAYNER, Assistant Examiner.

US3362182A 1967-04-17 1967-04-17 Ice maker for refrigerators Expired - Lifetime US3362182A (en)

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Cited By (10)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3678701A (en) * 1970-12-16 1972-07-25 Gen Electric Ice maker
US4489567A (en) * 1983-09-16 1984-12-25 The Manitowoc Company, Inc. Stackable water pressure ejection control ice cube maker
US4649712A (en) * 1985-12-17 1987-03-17 Whirlpool Corporation Thermostat mounting
EP0290001A2 (en) * 1987-05-08 1988-11-09 I.T.I.F.- S.r.l. Ice-making device
FR2733308A1 (en) * 1995-04-20 1996-10-25 Dupont Claude Machine for production of ice blocks
US5596182A (en) * 1994-01-28 1997-01-21 France/Scott Fetzer Company Icemaker
WO2000066956A1 (en) * 1999-04-28 2000-11-09 Wiltoe Innovatie B.V. Device for the production of ice cubes
US6658869B1 (en) * 2002-05-24 2003-12-09 Kenneth L. Thornbrough Microcontroller ice maker
US20090308095A1 (en) * 2008-06-13 2009-12-17 Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. Ice maker and refrigerator having the same
US20140123687A1 (en) * 2012-11-07 2014-05-08 Whirlpool Corporation Refrigerator having ice maker with flexible ice mold and method for harvesting ice

Citations (3)

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Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3160018A (en) * 1963-01-11 1964-12-08 James V Johnston Electron gyroscope
US3228202A (en) * 1962-09-06 1966-01-11 Cornelius Co Method and means for making cracked ice and the like
US3300998A (en) * 1965-12-09 1967-01-31 Gen Electric Hydraulic ice maker

Patent Citations (3)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3228202A (en) * 1962-09-06 1966-01-11 Cornelius Co Method and means for making cracked ice and the like
US3160018A (en) * 1963-01-11 1964-12-08 James V Johnston Electron gyroscope
US3300998A (en) * 1965-12-09 1967-01-31 Gen Electric Hydraulic ice maker

Cited By (14)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3678701A (en) * 1970-12-16 1972-07-25 Gen Electric Ice maker
US4489567A (en) * 1983-09-16 1984-12-25 The Manitowoc Company, Inc. Stackable water pressure ejection control ice cube maker
US4649712A (en) * 1985-12-17 1987-03-17 Whirlpool Corporation Thermostat mounting
EP0290001A2 (en) * 1987-05-08 1988-11-09 I.T.I.F.- S.r.l. Ice-making device
EP0290001A3 (en) * 1987-05-08 1989-03-01 I.T.I.F.- S.r.l. Ice-making device
US5889243A (en) * 1994-01-28 1999-03-30 France/Scott Fetzer Company Time switch with clutch mechanism and cam operated contacts
US5596182A (en) * 1994-01-28 1997-01-21 France/Scott Fetzer Company Icemaker
US5718121A (en) * 1994-01-28 1998-02-17 France/Scott Fetzer Company Icemaker
FR2733308A1 (en) * 1995-04-20 1996-10-25 Dupont Claude Machine for production of ice blocks
WO2000066956A1 (en) * 1999-04-28 2000-11-09 Wiltoe Innovatie B.V. Device for the production of ice cubes
US6658869B1 (en) * 2002-05-24 2003-12-09 Kenneth L. Thornbrough Microcontroller ice maker
US20090308095A1 (en) * 2008-06-13 2009-12-17 Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. Ice maker and refrigerator having the same
US8534089B2 (en) * 2008-06-13 2013-09-17 Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. Ice maker and refrigerator having the same
US20140123687A1 (en) * 2012-11-07 2014-05-08 Whirlpool Corporation Refrigerator having ice maker with flexible ice mold and method for harvesting ice

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