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Патент USA US2404972

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July 30, 1946.
l.. L. MALLARD
2,404,972
PNEUMATIC ICE TRAY AND CUBE RELEASE
Filed Dec. 4, 1941
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«2,404,972
Patented July 30, 1946
UNITED STATES PATENT :OFFICE
2,404,972
PNEUMATIC ICE TRAY AND CUBE RELEASE
Logan L. Mallard, Norfolk, Va.
Application December 4, 1941, Serial No. 421,646
11 Claims. (Cl. 62-108.5)
1
This invention relates to refrigeration and more
particularly to the freezing unit and trays asso
ciated therewith in which water or other matter
is placed for freezing or congelation.
Removing an ice tray from the support upon
which it is frozen and removal of cubes from
the tray has been a recognized problem and nu
merous attempts have been made toward a solu--
2
tion of the refrigerator with a tray in position
to have its cubes released;
Fig. 4a is a fragment of the tray of Fig. 4 show
ing the flexible bottom or diaphragm of one of
the grid compartments in normal freezing posi
tion;
Figs. 5 and 6, respectively, enlarged detail sec
tional views of a pneumatic bellows or foot pump
and air-release nozzle.
As shown on the drawing a refrigerator cabinet
directed likewise to a solution of this problem 10
I0 of conventional construction is provided with
above stated, it being an object of the invention
a door II affording access to the food compartn
to provide (l) an improved means for breaking
ment I2. Within the food compartment is located
the ice bond between a tray and its support so
a refrigerating unit I3 having shelves I4 between
that the tray may be easily removed from the
cooling unit, and (2) also improved means for 15 which are a series of compartments I5 adapted
to receive trays I6 for containing matter to be
freeing the cubes from the tray after the tray is
frozen or congealed.
removed so that the cubes may be readily acces
tion of this problem.
The present invention is
A tray releasing member I'l is associated with
one or more of the shelves I4 in a position to en
The present invention utilizes fluid pressure
gage the tray for breaking the ice bond between
means for freeing the tray from the support to
the tray and the shelf thereby freeing the tray
which it is frozen and for freeing the cubes from
from the shelf after its contents have been frozen.
the Walls of the cells of the tray in which they
This tray releasing member is preferably expan
are formed. An expansible diaphragm or other
sible or inflatable and as shown is a metallic en
member movable under the influence of fluid
pressure is located between a portion of the tray 25 velope or diaphragm of thin metal which may be
of good heat conducting properties to provide
and its supporting shelf, and this member is
maximum heat transfer, although the same is
operated by fluid pressure supplied thereto by
not necessary. Means is provided for accommo
some suitable means, such as for example as by a
dating this tray freeing member, and according~
manually operated pump. The ice tray is pro
30 ly for the purpose of illustration although not in
vided with a pressure area or chamber and the
sible for use.
bottom of each ice cube cell is movable or flex
ible to facilitate removal of the ice cubes. The
tray is` also provided with a valve inlet so that
compressed air or other fluid may be introduced
into said area or chamber to flex the bottoms
a restrictive sense, the tray is provided with a
recess or depression I 8 to receive the releasing
element I l as shown particularly in Figs. 2 and 3.
The tray release I‘I is preferably of a size com
: mensurate with the tray to be used and is adapted
to be inflated by air or other fluid from any
of the cells and free ice cubes therefrom. The
desired source, as for example, a foot pump 2i)
construction is such that the compressed air or
mounted in the vicinity of the base of the cabinet
other fluid pressure for freeing the cubes may be
to be readily accessible for foot operation. The
supplied from the same source as that for freeing
40 pump 20 consists of a cylinder having a piston
the tray from its support.
2l rcciprocable therein maintained in its upper
The foregoing and other objects and advan
position by means of a spring 22. A foot lever
tages of the invention will become apparent in
23 is provided with a pedal 23', said lever being
view of the following description taken in con
pivoted at its one end to a bracket 24 and at
junction with the drawing, wherein:
an intermediate point being slidably or movably
Fig. 1 is a front elevation of a refrigerator em
connected to the stem of piston 2|, note Fig. 5.
bodying the invention, the refrigerator door be
A tube 25 connects at its one end to the pump
ing broken away to reveal the evaporator and
chamber and leads upwardly and is provided with
coacting tray dislodging means;
a series of branch connections 26 which are con
Fig. 2, an enlarged section taken substantially
nected to their respective expansible tray-releas
on the line 2--2, Fig. 1;
ing members I'I.
Figs. l and 2 show the ice cube trays in normal
Fig. 3, an enlarged view of a portion of Fig. 2
freezing position with the expansible tray-releas
showing the tray dislodging means in operation;
ing members I‘I lying flat in their respective
Fig. 4, an enlarged fragmentary sectional ele
recesses I9 on the shelves I4 of the evaporator,
vation of the evaporator and adjacent Wall por
2,404,972
3
4
while Fig. 3 shows one of the members l'l ex
panded to break the ice bond between a tray and
a cooling unit disposed in heat transfer relation
ship with respect to said food compartment, said
cooling unit being provided with a freezing com
partment, a tray removably disposed in said freez
the shelf on which it rests. In this manner, one
or more trays may be dislodged by simply manipu
lating the foot, leaving the hands free to remove
the trays or for other purposes.
To dislodge ice cubes from the grid sections of
means of good thermal conductivity disposed be
tween the wall of said freezing compartment and
the respective freezing trays, the bottom of each
grid compartment is provided with a flexible dia
said tray, and means for injecting fluid under
pressure into said expansible means to dislodge
ing compartment, thin~walled fluid expansible
phragm 2l and beneath the series of grid co.. - 10 said tray from said wall.
partments is a hollow air-pressure chamber 23,
4. In a refrigerator, a cooling unit having a
note Fig. 4. At its one end the tray is provided _ freezing compartment, a tray removably disposed
with a socket 29 having projecting from the center
in said freezing compartment, a wall on which
thereof a push rod or stem 29’. A branch tube
said tray rests, said wall having a depression
30 connects into the air-pressure system at the 15 formed therein, a hollow expansible member dis
upper end of tube 25 and projects outwardly
posed in said depression, a source of fluid under
through the adjacent wall of the cabinet. A valve
pressure, and a conduit communicating said
cage or nozzle 3l is connected to the outer end
source with said expansible member whereby upon
of the branch tube 30 and has therein a Valve
injection of fluid under pressure into said mem
in the form of a ball 32 which is spring-pressed 20 ber the ice bond is broken between said tray and
against its seat at the front or outer end of the
wall.
cage, the latter being provided with an exterior
5. A freezing tray to be disposed in the evap
flexible sealing gasket 33 to prevent leakage of air
orator of a domestic refrigerator having a plu
when engaging the socket 29.
rality of compartments for the fluid to be con
When it is desired to dislodge ice cubes from the 25 gealed or frozen provided with flexible bottoms
grid compartments of any of the trays I8, it is only
necessary to press the socket 29 of the tray
against the valve cage 32, thereby causing stem
29’ to unseat the ball valve 32 and permitting air
to be injected into the air chamber 28 and act on 30
constituting diaphragms, the base of said tray
being formed with a hollow pressure chamber in
communication with said diaphragms, said tray
also having a nozzle with an opening therethrough
communicating with said pressure chamber and
the expansible diaphragms 21 by simply manipu
a valve unseating member in said nozzle.
lating thefoot pedal 23. When pressure is relieved
6. A metal freezing tray for use in the evapo
from chamber 28, the diaphragm 2l ñexes down
rator of a domestic refrigerator comprising a plu
wardly against the bottom wall of the tray, as
rality of compartments for the fluid to be frozen
illustrated in Fig. 4a, making contact for good 35 each having the bottom wall thereof provided
thermal conductivity.
with a flexible diaphragm, said tray also having
From the foregoing, it will be seen that any one
or more of the evaporator trays may be readily
dislodged from thev evaporator shell and for ice
cubes dislodged from the grid compartments of 40
the tray by asimple manipulation of the foot,
leaving the hands free to handle the trays.
It will. be understood that certain limited
changes in construction and design may be
a pressure chamber and a socket forming part
of a detachable coupling having an opening there
in communicating with said chamber to permit
introduction ef fluid under pressure thereto to
flex said diaphragme and dislodge frozen matter
from ' said compartments.
'7. In a refrigerator, a cooling unit having a
freezing surface, a tray removably disposed on
adopted without departing from the spirit and 45 said surface, expansible means between said sur
scope of the invention as defined in the appended
claims.
What is claimed is:
face and said tray constructed to receive a fiuid,
a source of fluid under pressure, and means for
supplying said ñuid under pressure to said ex
pansible means to actuate the same and dislodge
i. In a refrigerator having an evaporator pro
vided with a freezing compartment, a shelf in 50 thesaid tray from said surface,
said compartment, a tray removably disposed on
8. In a refrigerator, a, cooling unit provided
said shelf, a hollow expansible member interposed
with a tray compartment having a refrigerated
surface, a tray removably disposed on said sur
draulic means providing a source of fluid under
face, a hollow expansible member interposed be
pressure, a conduit communicating said hydraulic 55 tween said tray and said refrigerated surface, a
means with said expansible member and whereby
source of iiuid under pressure, and means for in~
upon actuation of said hydraulic means fluid
jecting said fluid under pressure into said expan
under pressure is injected into said expansible
sible member to effect dislodgment of said tray
from said surface.
member to dislodge the tray from said shelf.
2. In a refrigerator having a food compart 60
9. For use in a refrigerator having a cooling
ment and an evaporator disposed in heat trans
unit and a freezing compartment, a tray adapted
to be positioned in said freezing compartment
fer relationship with `respect to said food com
and said tray in turn being provided with one or
partment, said evaporator being provided with a
freezing compartment, a shelf in said freezing
more freezing compartments and a fluid cham
compartment, a tray removably disposed on said 65 ber, each of said tray compartments having a
shelf, a hollow expansible member positioned be
flexible wall subject to pressure in said chamber,
said tray beinfr also provided with a socket open
tween said shelf and tray, a source of ñuid under
pressure including a foot-actuated hydraulic
ing into said ñuid chamber, a source of fluid
between said tray and shelf, foot actuated hy»
pump having a pressure chamber, a conduit com
municating said pressure chamber with said ex
under pressure, a conduit connecting at one end
70 with such source and at its opposite end` ter
pansible member and whereby when said pump
minating in a nozzle accessible from the exterior
is operated fluid under pressure is injected into
of the refrigerator, a normally seated yieldable
said expansible member to dislodge the tray from
valve in said nozzle, and means in said socket
said shelf.
cooperative with said valve whereby when the
3. In a refrigerator having a food compartment, 75 tray is brought in a position effecting coopera
2,404,972
5
tion of said socket with said nozzle the valve is
unseated to permit introduction of ñuid under
pressure into said chamber.
10. For use in a refrigerator having a cooling
unit and a freezing compartment, a tray adapted
to be positioned in said freezing compartment and
said tray in turn being provided with one or more
freezing compartments and a iiuid pressure cham
ber, each of said tray compartments having a fiex
ible Wall subject to pressure in said chamber, said 10
tray being also provided with a socket opening
6
11. For use in a refrigerator having a cooling
unit and a freezing compartment, a tray adapted
to be positioned in said freezing compartment
and said tray being provided with one or more
grid compartments and a fluid pressure com«
partment, the bottom Walls of said compartments
being flexible, a source of fluid under pressure,
conduit means extending from said source and
terminating in an exteriorly accessible nozzle hav
ing a depressible valve member controlling dis
charge from said nozzle, said tray being provided
with a socket in communication with said iiuid
into said pressure chamber, a source of ñuid
pressure compartment and said socket having a
under pressure, a conduit communicating with
valve unseating member disposed therein and ar
said source and terminating in a nozzle accessible
from the exterior of the refrigerator, a normally 15 ranged so that when the tra-y .is brought into a
position effecting cooperation of said socket with
seated yieldable valve in said nozzle, means in said
said nozzle the Valve is unseated to permit in
tray socket cooperative with said valve whereby
roduction of iiuid under pressure into said fluid
when the tray is brought into a position effecting
pressure compartment to fiex the bottoms of said
cooperation of sald socket with said nozzle the
valve is unseated to permit introduction of fluid 20 grid compartments and dislodge matter there
from.
under pressure into said chamber, said source of
LOGAN L. MALLARD.
fluid including a foot actuated pump.
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