US3789620A - Ice door mechanism - Google Patents

Ice door mechanism Download PDF

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US3789620A
US3789620A US3789620DA US3789620A US 3789620 A US3789620 A US 3789620A US 3789620D A US3789620D A US 3789620DA US 3789620 A US3789620 A US 3789620A
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closure
lower
passageway
upper
member
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L Benasutti
J Sucro
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Motors Liquidation Co
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Motors Liquidation Co
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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
    • F25DREFRIGERATORS; COLD ROOMS; ICE-BOXES; COOLING OR FREEZING APPARATUS NOT COVERED BY ANY OTHER SUBCLASS
    • F25D23/00General constructional features
    • F25D23/02Doors; Covers
    • 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
    • F25C5/00Working or handling ice
    • F25C5/20Distributing ice
    • F25C5/22Distributing ice particularly adapted for household refrigerators

Abstract

A refrigerator cabinet having a dividing partition with the top freezer compartment having an ice piece dispenser in communication with an upper passageway normally closed by a counterweighted ramp closure on the underside of the partition while the lower compartment door has an enclosure including a lower ice piece passageway forwardly offset from the upper passageway communicating with an exterior ice service area in the lower door. The lower passageway is closed by a closure member which when actuated to an upwardly and rearwardly inclined position engages a follower to pivot the ramp closure to downwardly and forwardly inclined position defining a connecting channel between the passageways. The closure member has delay means to allow all the dispensed ice pieces time to enter the lower passageway before closing thereof.

Description

United States Patent [1 1 Benasutti et al.

Feb. 5, 1974 [CE DOOR MECHANISM [75] Inventors: Louis D. Benasutti, Fairborn; Jost S.

Sucro, Dayton, both of Ohio [73] Assignee: General Motors Corporation,

Detroit, Mich.

[22] Filed: Nov. 27, 1972 [211 Appl. No; 309,935

Primary Examinerwilliam E. Wayner Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Edward P. Barthel [57] ABSTRACT A refrigerator cabinet having a dividing partition with the top freezer compartment having an ice piece dispenser in communication with an upper passageway normally closed by a counterweighted ramp closure on the underside of the partition while the lower compartment door has an enclosure including a lower ice piece passageway forwardly offset from the upper passageway communicating with an exterior ice service area in the lower door. The lower passageway is closed by a closure member which when actuated to an upwardly and rearwardly inclined position engages a foliower to pivot the ramp closure to downwardly and forwardly inclined position defining a connecting channel between the passageways. The closure member has delay means to allow all the dispensed ice pieces time to enter the lower passageway before closing thereof.

6 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures PATENTEU FEB 5 SHEH 3 (IF 4 PATENIEUFEB SHEURUF I [CE DOOR MECHANISM This invention relates to a domestic refrigerator and particularly to a refrigerator having a partition dividing the cabinet into upper and lower compartments with an ice piece dispensing arrangement for delivering ice pieces from a dispenser in the upper freezer compartment through both the partition and the lower compartment door to an exterior recessed ice service area in the door.

It is therefore an object of this invention to provide means in a refrigerator having a partition dividing the cabinet into upper and lower compartments with an automatic ice piece dispenser in the upper compartment for dispensing ice pieces through an upper passageway in the partition and a forwardly off-set lower passageway through the lower compartment door wherein the dispenser may be located in the rear area of the top freezer compartment such that a pair of oppositely swinging closure members for the passsageways are moved in sequence to their open positions in parallel inclined relation by actuator means from an exterior recessed ice service area in the lower door to define a connecting channel between the off-set passageways. I It is another object of the present invention to provide an upper and lower compartmental refrigerator having an ice maker including an ice piece dispenser in the upper freezer with an ice piece discharge chute device on the underside of the horizontal divider partition separating the compartments operative to deliver ice pieces from an upper passageway in the partition to a forwardly off-set lower passageway in the lower compartment door whereby the chute device includes an upper closure member maintained in closed position by counterweight follower and lever mechanism operative to pivot the upper closure member to a downwardly and outwardly inclined open position actuated from an ice service area in the outer face of the lower compartment door in conjunction with the pivotal movement of a lower passageway closure member to an upwardly and inwardly inclined open position arranged in paral lel channel forming relation to the lower closure member and whereby air operated delay means are provided to retard the closing of the closure members until all the ice pieces dispensed into the upper passageway have passed into the lower passageway for dispensing into the service area.

Further objects and advantages will become more apparent from the following specification, reference being had to the accompanying drawings of which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a refrigerator cabinet incorporating the present invention with the upper and lower compartment doors shown in an open position;

FlG. 2 is a fragmentary front elevational view of the ice service area of the present invention incorporated in the outer wall of the lower compartment door;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged horizontal sectional view taken along line 3-3 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged vertical sectional view taken generally along the line 44 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the underside of the horizontal partition separating the upper and lower compartments showing the ice piece dispensing chute unit in closed position;

FIG. 6 is a fragmentary vertical sectional view taken generally along line 6-6 of FIG. 3;

FIG. 7 is a fragmentary vertical sectional view taken generally along line 7-7 of FIG. 3.

Referring now to the drawings, especially FIG. 1, there is shown a refrigerator cabinet 10 having an upper freezing compartment 11 and a lower fresh-food storage compartment 12. The cabinet includes an insulated top outer wall 13, insulated side walls 14 and 15, the inner surfaces of which extend rearwardly from the cabinet front opening, and having disposed therebetween in the lower compartment a plurality of shelves l6 and lower storage pans l7 and 18 above compartment insulated bottom wall 19. The top freezer compartment 11 has an access opening 20 thereto closed by an upper insulated door 21 while the lower compartment [2 has an access opening 23 closed by main insulated door 24. The lower door 24 includes an outer sheet metal wall 25 while the inner wall of the door is provided with an inner door pan 26 preferably of sheet plastic material such as high impact polystyrene or ABS copolymer. The door pan 26 is bordered by a peripheral rib 27 having shelves 28 extending between the vertical portions of the rib. A breaker strip 29 of plastic material joins the door outer wall and inner panel. The inside of the door 24 includes an enclosure 30 positioned with its top surface 31 in downwardly off-set relation with the upper face of the rib 27 while its outer side surface is in inwardly off-set relation with the outer face of the vertical portion of the rib 27.

As seen in FIG. 4, the upper freezer compartment ll and the lower compartment 12 are separated by a horizontal divider or partition 32, filled with foamed resin insulating material 33, providing upper passageway means 34 in the form ofa rectangular cross section ice piece or ice cube passageway having its entrance 36 in the upper surface 38 of the partition 32 for receiving ice pieces from the discharge opening 40 ofsuitable automatic ice dispensing means 42, such as the screw conveyor disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,387,743 for example, including a receptacle or bin 44 for receiving and storing ice pieces produced by an automatic ice maker positioned thereabove in casing 46. It will be noted that the ice maker casing 46 and subjacent bin 44 are positioned in their conventional location in the rearward area of the upper compartment 11 such that applicants invention can be incorporated in a conventional refrigerator with a minimal amount of structural alteration. An example of one type of ice maker suitable for use with applicants invention is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,540,227, assigned to the assignee of the instant application.

As seen in FIGS. 1 and 4, a guide housing 50 having triangular side walls 51 joined by a sloping front wall 52 is provided in the upper compartment whereby the guide 50 encloses the discharge opening 40 of the ice dispensing means 42 and the entrance 36 of the upper passage 34 to provqde communication of the ice pieces therebetween upon actuation of the dispenser 42. it will be noted that applicants structure allows sufficient space forward of the dispenser 42 for the upper passageway 34 with minimal interference with the refrigerated air inlet slots 53 in divider 32. The exit 54 of passageway 34 is provided with a peripheral gasket 56 therearound for sealing engagement by a pivoted ramp closure 58 of a discharge chute housing, indicated generally at 60 in FIG. 5, having an inwardly curved rear wall 61 suitably affixed on the underside of the divider 32. The ramp closure 58 is mounted in the chute housing by horizontally reciprocating or sliding pivot means consisting of studs 62 located on either side of the rear edge 63 of ramp closure 58 slidably received in rearwardly extending slots 64 located in opposed relation on respective inner faces of chute unit side walls 66, 67. In this way the studs 62 are moved to a location at the rear open ended portion of the slots with the ramp closure 58 pivoted to its solid line horizontal closed posi tion as seen in FIG. 4.

counterweight lever means in the form of a pair of bellcrank levers 68, 69 are pivotally mounted on either side wall 66 and 67 of the chute housing by respective pivot pins 70, 71 intermediate their ends. The bellcrank levers are provided with forwardly and downwardly extending portions 72 and with rearwardly and downwardly extending portions 73. The side walls 66, 67 each have respective elongaged arcuate slots or tracks 74 and 75 for reception of the outer ends of horizontal bail yoke 76 extending through ramp closure 58 intermediate the forward 65 and rear 63 edges thereof. Chute follower means in the form of tubular roller 77 is rotatably supported on a transverse pin 78 joining the lower ends of lever portions 72 and functions as a counterweight to normally bias the closure member 58 in its horizontal closed position as shown in FIG. 4. Stop means in the form of structural crossbrace 79 is also provided above the follower 78 to integrally join the lower ends of lever portions 72. The arcuate slots 74 in cooperation with the bail yoke 76 and slidable studs 62 pivot the closure member 58 to a predetermined downwardly and outwardly inclined position, shown in FIG. 4 in phantom lines, which preferably is an angle of about 50 degrees below the horizontal.

FIG. 4 shows the outer wall 25 of lower cabinet door 24 including a housing member 80 preferably of plastic material located therein defining a recessed service area 82 for receiving a drinking glass (not shown) above a liquid overflow tray 83 to receive ice pieces delivered exteriorly of the cabinet from the ice dispenser 42. The enclosure 30 is located substantially coextensive with the service area 82 such that its upper surface 3] is located in vertically spaced relation a defined distance below the overlying bottom wall of the partition 32. it will be noted that the enclosure 30 extends inwardly into compartment 12 to a position wherein its rear wall 96 lies in a vertical plane, the extension of which intersects the divider partition 32 substantially along the forward edge of the upper passageway exit 54.

The lower passageway 86 is in the form of a downwardly inclined right angled elbow with its upper entrance 98 located in recessed portion 100 in horizontal enclosure surface 31 and includes closure means in the form of an insulated closure member 0 operable when in its horizontal position to seat on peripheral gasket member 112 to close in a sealed manner the entrance 98 of the lower passageway. As seen in FIG. 6, the upper wall 114 of door member is shown as sheet metal having downwardly formed flanges engag ing the edges ofa bottom panel 115 preferably of plastic material having hinge means at its outer pivotal edge in the form of a pair of forwardly extending integral spaced ears 116 having aligned apertures for receiving a transverse pin 118 the ends of which are pivotally received in the opposed side walls of recess 100. The closure member 110 hinge means thus allows the member to swing to an upwardly and rearwardly inclined position, shown in phantom lines in FIG. 4, in parallel inclined relation to oppositely swinging closure member 58.

The closure member 110 actuating means includes a pair of arcuate arms 120, 121 integrally formed on either side of the door panel 115 and extend through an arc of about 90 degrees within the lower passageway 86 so as to project outwardly beyond the rear wall 122 of the service area 82 for pivotal attachment to spaced parallel legs [26, 127 ofa U-shaped metal actuator 130 movably supported in service area housing 80. The U- shaped actuator legs 126 and H7 are slidably received for reciprocal movement in opposed longitudinal slots 128, 129 formed in the inner face of side walls 132, 133 of the housing 80.

As seen in FIG. 7 the arcuate arms 120, 121 each has integral outwardly projecting studs 134, 135 received in vertically oriented elongated apertures 136, 137 in respective actuator legs I26, 127. In this way pivotal movement between the arcuate arms and their associated actuator legs is achieved resulting in the movement of closure member 110 to its upwardly and rearwardly inclined open position upon the user pushing in on the U-shaped actuator operating bar portion 138 suitably affixed to its base 139 such as by screws 140.

A cover plate 141, suitably affixed on the front of housing 80 as by screws 142, includes a rectangular bearing 143 for guiding the reciprocal movement of the actuator 130 while a downwardly extending lip portion 144 serves to deflect ice pieces into the service area through the exit 84 of lower passageway 86. A face plate 146 may be used to provide a decorative finish for the serivce area including suitable nomenclature thereon to identify the actuators. As indicated in FIG. 2 the service area could also include water dispensing means 147 operated by a suitable actuator 148 in a manner disclosed by USv Pat. No. 2,786,338, for example. Further, a horizontally sliding panel 149 could be provided for tracking movement in upper and lower door guides 151, 152, if desired, to conceal the service area when not in use.

As seen in FIG. 4 the closure member 110 has a forward free cam edge downwardly sloped such that upon an initial small upward movement of the member 110 its cam edge 160 will sequentially engage the follower roller 77 and overcome the counterbalancing downward gravity bias of the roller to initiate downward movement of the closure member 58. Continued upward movement of the member ll0 will cause the crossbrace stop member 79 to depress a plunger I61, protruding downward from the under-surface of partition 32, for upward movement within switch housing 162 to thereby actuate button 163 of a microswitch 164 which in turn closes a circuit to energize an electrical drive motor (not shown) of the ice dispenser 42. Thus, the ice dispenser will deliver ice pieces through opening 40 only upon the closure member 110 attaining its upwardly and rearwardly inclined position (shown in phantom in FIG. 4) defining the angle of about 50 with the horizontal so as to be in substantially parallel relation with downwardly and outwardly inclined closure member 58 and together defining a con necting channel between the upper and lower vertical off-set passageways 34 and 86 for transfer of the ice pieces therebetween. It will be noted that cross brace structural member 79 engages the switch housing 162 lower surface after depressing plunger 161 to thereby serve as stop means for both upper and lower closure members 58 and 110.

The service area housing 80 has molded in each side wall tubular cylinder 172, 173 the axes of which extend in parallel horizontal fashion whereby each encloses a resilient damping or retarding means in the form of corrugated bellows diaphragm members 176, 177 which can be made of rubber. metal or plastic material each operable for reciprocable movement within its respective cylinder. Each bellows member [76. 177 has its outer end affixed to its outermost fold juncture by respective encircling rings 178, 179 of L-shaped brackets 182, 183 suitably attached to actuator legs 126. 127 while the inner ends of each bellows are anchored by means of concentric restricted inner openings 184, 185 which releasably engage the innermost fold juncture of its respective bellows in snap-in fashion.

As seen in FIG. 3 each bellows has a reduced connector I86, 187 which sealingly receives therein an associated flexible tube 188, 189, the opposite ends of which are sealingly connected to valve means 190 in the form of a common valve chamber l9l having op posed side inlets I92, [93 positioned symmetrically between the parallel axes of tubes 172, 173 within embossment 194. The valve includes a circular disc 195 which is adapted to close the valve outlet port 196 and to cut off communication between the interior of each of the bellows and the atmosphere. The valve disc 195 is normally urged inwardly to its seated position by a helical coil spring 198 positioned around valve stem 199 and bearing against the outer end of the valve chamber [91 and at the face of valve stem plate 200. The valve chamber 19] has a relatively small air inlet port 202 which allows air to bleed into the chamber 191 and the interior of each of the bellows.

Thus, in operation when the actuator 130 is depressed by the operator. both of the bellows 176, 177 are simultaneously operated causing the air therein to be compressed responsive to the contraction of the be]- lows and thereby force air from the valve chamber 191 through outlet port 196 by overcoming the spring 198 and moving the valve disc 195 out of engagement with its valve seat to its open position. in this manner the closure members 110 and 58 are radially moved to their inclined open position as explained above to allow immediate dispensing of ice pieces. After the release of the actuator and with the valve disc returned by spring 198 to sealingly close the outlet port 196 air will slowly bleed back into the bellows through the small inlet port 202 allowing the bellows to slowly expand under the influence of the gravity biased counterweight follower 77 moving to its normal downward position resulting in a delayed closing of the closure members 110 and 58. This delayed closure of the members H0, 58 insures that the dispensed ice pieces have had sufficient time to clear or pass from the upper passageway 34 into the lower passageway 86 and not be caught-up by the closure members to prevent their full return to a horizontal closed position. it will be noted that the chute housing side walls 66, 67 cooperate with the opened closure member 58 to form a discharge chute and properly direct the ice pieces into the entrance of the lower passageway and prevent the ice pieces from exiting into the lower compartment.

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

We claim:

1. A refrigerator including a cabinet having a horizontal partition dividing said cabinet into a lower freshfood compartment and an upper freezer compartment, an insulated door for closing the open front of said lower fresh food compartment, said door including an outer wall and an inner panel. an ice service area in the outer wall of said door, said inner panel having a rearwardly extending enclosure including an upper horizontal surface spaced a defined distance below the underside of said partition. a first lower passageway ex' tending through said door and having an upper entrance positioned in said enclosure upper surface and a lower exit in said ice service area a closure member closing said first passageway entrance having hinge means at its forward portion for pivoting said first closure member between a normal horizontal closed position and an upwardly and inwardly inclined open position. ice piece dispensing means within said freezer compartment, a second upper passageway extending through said partition having an entrance positioned to receive ice pieces from said dispensing means, said upper passageway having a lower exit positioned in rearward offset relation to said lower passageway en trance, chute means on the underside of said partition including a closure ramp, said closure ramp having pivot means adjacent the rearward edge of said upper passageway exit for movement between a horizontal position closing said upper passageway exit and a downwardly and outwardly inclined open position with said closure ramp forward edge positioned adjacent the rearward edge of said lower passageway entrance, lever means operating said closure ramp, said lever means including an operating follower positioned in overlying relation to said lower passageway closure member rearward edge, said follower being gravity biased to a first position causing said lever means to move said closure ramp to its horizontal closed position, actuating means in said service area operatively connected to said lower passageway closure member for moving said closure member from its normal closed position to its open position, said closure member in its course of travel engaging said follower resulting in said closure ramp being moved to its open position permitting ice pieces dispensed from the dispenser to be guided between said closure member and said closure ramp from said upper passageway into said lower passageway.

2. A refrigerator including a cabinet having a horizontal partition dividing said cabinet into a lower above freezing compartment an an upper freezer compartment, an insulated door for closing the open front of said lower fresh food compartment, said door including an outer wall and an inner panel formed of a nonmetallic sheet, a box-shaped ice service area in the outer wall of said door havind a vertical back wall. said inner panel having integrally formed therein a rearwardly extending enclosure including an upper horizontal surface spaced a defined distance below the underside of said partition, a lower forwardly inclined passageway extending through said door and having an upper entrance positioned in said enclosure upper surface and a lower exit in said ice service area vertical back wall, a closure member closing said lower passageway entrance, hinge means by which said closure member is secured to said upper surface for pivotal movement between a normal horizontal closed position and an upwardly and inwardly inclined open position,

said hinge means positioned substantially at the intersection of the planes of said ice service back wall and said horizontal upper surface, said closure member having a pair of spaced arcuate arms which extend through said lower passageway and terminate in the upper portion of said service area when said closure member is in its normal closed position, an ice piece dispensing means positioned in the rearward portion of said freezer compartment, an upper passageway extending through said partition in a downwardly and outwardly inclined direction having an entrance in the upper surface of said partition positioned to receive ice pieces from said dispensing means, said upper passageway having an exit in the undersurface of said partition, said upper passageway exit forward edge being in substantial vertical alignment with the rearward edge of said lower passageway entrance, a chute housing on the underside of said partition including a closure ramp, said closure ramp having slidable pivot means adjacent the rearward edge of said upper passageway exit for movement within said chute housing between a normal horizontal closed position and a downwardly and forwardly inclined open position with its forward edge positioned adjacent the rearward edge of said lower passageway entrance, lever means pivoted on said chute housing operatively connected to said ramp closure, said lever means including a follower positioned in overlying relation to said door, said follower being gravity biased to move to a first position operating said lever means to move said ramp closure to its horizontal closed position, actuating means in said service area operatively connected to said closure member arcuate arms for moving said closure member from its normal closed position to its open position, the rearward edge of said closure member being beveled to provide a camming portion thereon, said closure member in its course of travel causing said camming portion to engage said follower resulting in said closure ramp being moved to its open position substantially parallel to said closure member permitting ice pieces dispensed from the dispenser to be guided between said closure member and said closure ramp from said upper passageway into said lower passageway.

3. A referigerator including a cabinet having a horizontal partition dividing said cabinet into a lower freshfood compartment and an upper freezer compartment, an insulated door for closing the open front of said lower fresh food compartment, said door including an outer wall and an inner panel, an ice service area in the outer wall of said door, said inner panel having a rearwardly extending enclosure including an upper horizontal surface spaced a defined distance below the underside of said partition, a first lower passageway extending through said door and having an upper entrance positioned in said enclosure upper surface and a lower exit in said ice service area, a closure member closing said first passageway entrance having hinge means at its forward portion for pivoting said first closure member between a normal closed position and an open position, ice piece dispensing means within said freezer compartment, a second upper passageway extending through said partition having an entrance positioned to receive ice pieces from said dispensing means, said upper passageway having a lower exit positioned in rearward offset relation to said lower passageway entrance, chute means on the underside of said partition including a closure ramp, said closure ramp having pivot means adjacent the rearward edge of said upper passageway exit for movement between a position closing said upper passageway exit and an open position, means operating said closure ramp, said means including an operating follower positioned in overlying relation to said lower passageway closure member, said follower being gravity biased to a first position causing said means to move said closure ramp to its closed position, actuating means in said service area operatively connected to said lower passageway closure member for moving said closure member from its normal closed position to its open position, said closure member in its course of travel engaging said follower resulting in said closure ramp being moved to its open position permitting ice pieces dispensed from the dispenser to be guided by said closure ramp from said upper passageway into said lower passageway, a delayed closing mechanism for said closure member, said mechanism including at least one bellows positioned within said door anchored at its inner end to said door and having its outer end adapted for manual actuation by said actuator toward said anchored end to contract said bellows, said bellows communicating with a valve chamber having a check valve air outlet port communicating with the atmosphere, thus to compress air within said bellows responsive to the contraction of said bellows and thereby rapidly force air from said valve chamber outlet port to permit rapid movement of said closure member and said closure ramp to their open positions, said valve chamber having a relatively small air inlet port communicating with said bellows to allow air to slowly return to and expand said bellows and thus delay the closure of said closure member and said closure ramp under the influence of said gravity biased fol lower to assure a sufficient time interval for the ice pieces dispensed into said upper passageway to pass into said lower passageway.

4. A refrigerator including a cabinet having a horizontal partition dividing said cabinet into a lower freshfood compartment and an upper freezer compartment, an insulated door for closing the open front of said lower fresh food compartment, said door including an outer wall and an inner panel, an ice service area in the outer wall of said door, said inner panei having a rearwardly extending enclosure including an upper horizontal surface spaced a defined distance below the underside of said partition, a first lower passageway extending through said door and having an upper entrance positioned in said enclosure upper surface and a lower exit in said ice service area, a closure member closing said first passageway entrance having hinge means at its forward portion for pivoting said first closure member between a normal horizontal closed position and an upwardly and inwardly inclined open position, ice piece dispensing means within said freezer compartment, a second upper passageway extending through said partition having an entrance positioned to receive ice pieces from said dispensing means, said upper passageway having a lower exit positioned in rearward offset relation to said lower passageway entrance, a chute housing on the underside of said partition including horizontally spaced side walls having a closure ramp therebetween, horizontally slidable pivot means provided between said side walls and the rearward edge of said closure ramp for movement between a horizontal position closing said upper passageway exit and a downwardly and outwardly inclined open position, a counterweighted lever mechanism operating said closure ramp, said mechanism including a pair of bellcrank levers pivotally mounted on either side wall of said chute housing, one arm portion of said levers having a transverse bail yoke supported thereon and extending through an intermediate portion of said closure ramp, said chute housing side walls having arcuate tracks for travel of the outer ends of said bail yoke thereon, the other arm portion of said levers having a transverse counterweighted roller follower rotatably supported therebetween so as to be positioned in overlying relation to said lower passageway closure member rearward edge, said follower being gravity biased to a first position causing said levers to move said closure ramp to its horizontal closed position, actuating means in said service area operatively connected to said lower passageway closure member for moving said closure member from its normal closed position to its open position, said closure member in its course of travel engaging said follower resulting in said closure ramp 10 being moved to its open position permitting ice pieces dispensed from the dispenser to be guided between said closure member and said closure ramp from said upper passageway into said lower passageway.

5. The refrigerator of claim 1 wherein said closure member and said closure ramp in their open positions being in substantially parallel relation and each having an angle ofinclination of about 50 from the horizontal.

6. The refrigerator of claim 3 wherein said delayed closing mechanism includes a pair of said bellows, a housing positioned in said service area slidably supporting said actuating means, said housing having a pair of tubular cylinders the principal axes of which are parallel to and symmetrically positioned on either side of the path of movement of said actuating means, each of said cylinders enclosing one of said bellows, whereby inward pressure on said actuating means simultaneously compresses said pair of bellows to insure axial movement of said actuating means.

Claims (6)

1. A refrigerator including a cabinet having a horizontal partition dividing said cabinet into a lower fresh-food compartment and an upper freezer compartment, an insulated door for closing the open front of said lower fresh food compartment, said door including an outer wall and an inner panel, an ice service area in the outer wall of said door, said inner panel having a rearwardly extending enclosure including an upper horizontal surface spaced a defined distance below the underside of said partition, a first lower passageway extending through said door and having an upper entrance positioned in said enclosure upper surface and a lower exit in said ice service area, a closure member closing said first passageway entrance having hinge means at its forward portion for pivoting said first closure member between a normal horizontal closed position and an upwardly and inwardly inclined open position, ice piece dispensing means within said freezer compartment, a second upper passageway extending through said partition having an entrance positioned to receive ice pieces from said dispensing means, said upper passageway having a lower exit positioned in rearward offset relation to said lower passageway entrance, chute means on the underside of said partition including a closure ramp, said closure ramp having pivot meanS adjacent the rearward edge of said upper passageway exit for movement between a horizontal position closing said upper passageway exit and a downwardly and outwardly inclined open position with said closure ramp forward edge positioned adjacent the rearward edge of said lower passageway entrance, lever means operating said closure ramp, said lever means including an operating follower positioned in overlying relation to said lower passageway closure member rearward edge, said follower being gravity biased to a first position causing said lever means to move said closure ramp to its horizontal closed position, actuating means in said service area operatively connected to said lower passageway closure member for moving said closure member from its normal closed position to its open position, said closure member in its course of travel engaging said follower resulting in said closure ramp being moved to its open position permitting ice pieces dispensed from the dispenser to be guided between said closure member and said closure ramp from said upper passageway into said lower passageway.
2. A refrigerator including a cabinet having a horizontal partition dividing said cabinet into a lower above freezing compartment an an upper freezer compartment, an insulated door for closing the open front of said lower fresh food compartment, said door including an outer wall and an inner panel formed of a non-metallic sheet, a box-shaped ice service area in the outer wall of said door havind a vertical back wall, said inner panel having integrally formed therein a rearwardly extending enclosure including an upper horizontal surface spaced a defined distance below the underside of said partition, a lower forwardly inclined passageway extending through said door and having an upper entrance positioned in said enclosure upper surface and a lower exit in said ice service area vertical back wall, a closure member closing said lower passageway entrance, hinge means by which said closure member is secured to said upper surface for pivotal movement between a normal horizontal closed position and an upwardly and inwardly inclined open position, said hinge means positioned substantially at the intersection of the planes of said ice service back wall and said horizontal upper surface, said closure member having a pair of spaced arcuate arms which extend through said lower passageway and terminate in the upper portion of said service area when said closure member is in its normal closed position, an ice piece dispensing means positioned in the rearward portion of said freezer compartment, an upper passageway extending through said partition in a downwardly and outwardly inclined direction having an entrance in the upper surface of said partition positioned to receive ice pieces from said dispensing means, said upper passageway having an exit in the undersurface of said partition, said upper passageway exit forward edge being in substantial vertical alignment with the rearward edge of said lower passageway entrance, a chute housing on the underside of said partition including a closure ramp, said closure ramp having slidable pivot means adjacent the rearward edge of said upper passageway exit for movement within said chute housing between a normal horizontal closed position and a downwardly and forwardly inclined open position with its forward edge positioned adjacent the rearward edge of said lower passageway entrance, lever means pivoted on said chute housing operatively connected to said ramp closure, said lever means including a follower positioned in overlying relation to said door, said follower being gravity biased to move to a first position operating said lever means to move said ramp closure to its horizontal closed position, actuating means in said service area operatively connected to said closure member arcuate arms for moving said closure member from its normal closed position to its open position, the rearward edge of said closure member being beveled to provide a camming portion therEon, said closure member in its course of travel causing said camming portion to engage said follower resulting in said closure ramp being moved to its open position substantially parallel to said closure member permitting ice pieces dispensed from the dispenser to be guided between said closure member and said closure ramp from said upper passageway into said lower passageway.
3. A referigerator including a cabinet having a horizontal partition dividing said cabinet into a lower fresh-food compartment and an upper freezer compartment, an insulated door for closing the open front of said lower fresh food compartment, said door including an outer wall and an inner panel, an ice service area in the outer wall of said door, said inner panel having a rearwardly extending enclosure including an upper horizontal surface spaced a defined distance below the underside of said partition, a first lower passageway extending through said door and having an upper entrance positioned in said enclosure upper surface and a lower exit in said ice service area, a closure member closing said first passageway entrance having hinge means at its forward portion for pivoting said first closure member between a normal closed position and an open position, ice piece dispensing means within said freezer compartment, a second upper passageway extending through said partition having an entrance positioned to receive ice pieces from said dispensing means, said upper passageway having a lower exit positioned in rearward offset relation to said lower passageway entrance, chute means on the underside of said partition including a closure ramp, said closure ramp having pivot means adjacent the rearward edge of said upper passageway exit for movement between a position closing said upper passageway exit and an open position, means operating said closure ramp, said means including an operating follower positioned in overlying relation to said lower passageway closure member, said follower being gravity biased to a first position causing said means to move said closure ramp to its closed position, actuating means in said service area operatively connected to said lower passageway closure member for moving said closure member from its normal closed position to its open position, said closure member in its course of travel engaging said follower resulting in said closure ramp being moved to its open position permitting ice pieces dispensed from the dispenser to be guided by said closure ramp from said upper passageway into said lower passageway, a delayed closing mechanism for said closure member, said mechanism including at least one bellows positioned within said door anchored at its inner end to said door and having its outer end adapted for manual actuation by said actuator toward said anchored end to contract said bellows, said bellows communicating with a valve chamber having a check valve air outlet port communicating with the atmosphere, thus to compress air within said bellows responsive to the contraction of said bellows and thereby rapidly force air from said valve chamber outlet port to permit rapid movement of said closure member and said closure ramp to their open positions, said valve chamber having a relatively small air inlet port communicating with said bellows to allow air to slowly return to and expand said bellows and thus delay the closure of said closure member and said closure ramp under the influence of said gravity biased follower to assure a sufficient time interval for the ice pieces dispensed into said upper passageway to pass into said lower passageway.
4. A refrigerator including a cabinet having a horizontal partition dividing said cabinet into a lower fresh-food compartment and an upper freezer compartment, an insulated door for closing the open front of said lower fresh food compartment, said door including an outer wall and an inner panel, an ice service area in the outer wall of said door, said inner panel having a rearwardly extending enclosure including an upper horizonTal surface spaced a defined distance below the underside of said partition, a first lower passageway extending through said door and having an upper entrance positioned in said enclosure upper surface and a lower exit in said ice service area, a closure member closing said first passageway entrance having hinge means at its forward portion for pivoting said first closure member between a normal horizontal closed position and an upwardly and inwardly inclined open position, ice piece dispensing means within said freezer compartment, a second upper passageway extending through said partition having an entrance positioned to receive ice pieces from said dispensing means, said upper passageway having a lower exit positioned in rearward offset relation to said lower passageway entrance, a chute housing on the underside of said partition including horizontally spaced side walls having a closure ramp therebetween, horizontally slidable pivot means provided between said side walls and the rearward edge of said closure ramp for movement between a horizontal position closing said upper passageway exit and a downwardly and outwardly inclined open position, a counterweighted lever mechanism operating said closure ramp, said mechanism including a pair of bellcrank levers pivotally mounted on either side wall of said chute housing, one arm portion of said levers having a transverse bail yoke supported thereon and extending through an intermediate portion of said closure ramp, said chute housing side walls having arcuate tracks for travel of the outer ends of said bail yoke thereon, the other arm portion of said levers having a transverse counterweighted roller follower rotatably supported therebetween so as to be positioned in overlying relation to said lower passageway closure member rearward edge, said follower being gravity biased to a first position causing said levers to move said closure ramp to its horizontal closed position, actuating means in said service area operatively connected to said lower passageway closure member for moving said closure member from its normal closed position to its open position, said closure member in its course of travel engaging said follower resulting in said closure ramp being moved to its open position permitting ice pieces dispensed from the dispenser to be guided between said closure member and said closure ramp from said upper passageway into said lower passageway.
5. The refrigerator of claim 1 wherein said closure member and said closure ramp in their open positions being in substantially parallel relation and each having an angle of inclination of about 50* from the horizontal.
6. The refrigerator of claim 3 wherein said delayed closing mechanism includes a pair of said bellows, a housing positioned in said service area slidably supporting said actuating means, said housing having a pair of tubular cylinders the principal axes of which are parallel to and symmetrically positioned on either side of the path of movement of said actuating means, each of said cylinders enclosing one of said bellows, whereby inward pressure on said actuating means simultaneously compresses said pair of bellows to insure axial movement of said actuating means.
US3789620A 1972-11-27 1972-11-27 Ice door mechanism Expired - Lifetime US3789620A (en)

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