Sept. 25, 1962 3,055,032
H. DE BUSE AUTOMATIC CLEANING AND POLISHING DEVICE Filed Aug. 22, 1955 INVENTOR. '5 47 I2 /5/ Helen DeBuse -Ff AL ga ged/,9.
flZTORNEY ilnited States Patent @ffice 3,fi55,032 Patented Sept. 25, 1962 3,055,032 AUTQMATIIC CLEANING AND POLldI-HNG DEVIQE Helen De Base, Spencer Arms Hotel, Broadway and 69th St, New York, NEE. Filed Aug. 22, 1955, tier. No. 529,64 9 Claims. (Cl. 15-97) This invention relates to improvements in utensil and silverware cleaning and polishing devices and the like.
An object of the invention is to provide a novel and improved device for cleaning quickly and easily, such articles of tableware as knives, forks, spoons, and the like.
Another object of the invention is to provide a novel and improved device whereby a plurality of eating utensils, such as knives, forks, spoons and the like, are disposed in a hop er or receptacle after they have been used, and are removed therefrom either one by one, or in some desired combination or plurality, and subjected to successive step by step cleaning and polishing opera tions automatically, being finally deposited in a receptacle for cleaned eating utensils.
A further object of the invention is to provide a novel and improved automatic eating utensil cleaning and polishing device, in which a plurality of soiled knives, forks and/or spoons, are disposed in a first receptacle, being then either individually or in any desired pluraity or sequence, grasped by a lifting device and lifted out of the first receptacle, being then brought into proximity to a cleaning and polishing head coated or impregnated with cleaning and polishing fluid or the like, the utensil being rubbed or stroked against the cleaning and polishing head in a manner simulating the stroking motion of the hand when polishing and cleaning such utensils, then being lifted to and dipped into a trough of rinsing fluid, and finally being dropped into a final receptable to drain dry ready for use.
Still another object of the invention is to provide a novel and improved automatic eating utensil cleaning and polishing device, in which there is a swinging boom, carrying on its outer end a prehensile means for grasping articles of tableware or flatware, the boom being swingable to bring its grasping means over any operative portion of the device, such as the initial soiled utensil receptacle,
then the cleaning head, then the rinsing trough, and then over the final receptacle into which the utensils are dropped to drain dry, all its swinging and extension and prehension operations being carried out automatically and in any predetermined sequence and timing arrangement.
Still a further object of the invention is to provide a novel and improved automatic cleaning and polishing device for eating utensils, in which the prehensile means carried by the boom may be formed as a mechanical tongs with gripping jaws which may be resiliently biased apart normally, and including mechanical or electrical or magnetic means for drawing them together to grip an article of tableware to be cleaned or polished, or in which the prehensile means may be in the form of one or more magnetic engaging heads which are electrically energized when brought into proximity with tableware which is responsive to magnetic attraction, so as to attract and hold the same while the various operations of the machine are being carried out, being then de-energized to release the utensils when the cleaning operation is completed, and the prehensile means is holding the cleaned utensil over the final receptacle into which it is dropped to drain and dry.
Another object of the invention is to provide a novel and improved automatic tableware cleaning and polishing device, in which means is provided for lifting one or more articles of tableware out of a first receptacle, and for bringing the same into close proximity to a spraying head from which a spray of cleaning fiuid is caused to impinge upon the article to be cleaned, with substantial force of stream flow, thus cleaning and polishing the utensil, the spraying head being provided with a plurality of spraying orifices which are directed against difierent surfaces of the utensil, and wherein the article is then subjected to a spray of rinsing fluid to rinse off all dirt and cleaning fluid, and then is subjected to a blast of dry warmed air to dry the same, being subsequently dropped into a final receiving hopper for use.
Still another object of the invention is to provide a novel and improved device for automatically cleaning and polishing articles of tableware, which is simple in design, inexpensive to manufacture, which has few parts, and is quite efiicient in use.
These and other objects and advantages of the inven tion will become apparent from the following description of a preferred embodiment thereof, as illustrated in the accompanying drawings, forming a part hereof, and in which:
FIGURE 1 is a sectional elevational view showing a composite cleaning and polishing device according to the invention, and showing in broken lines more than one successive position of the main prehensile boom arm.
FIGURE 2 is a top plan view on a reduced scale, of the device shown in FIGURE 1.
FIGURE 3 is a fragmentary sectional elevational view showing a modified form of the invention, with spray nozzle means for cleaning, polishing and/or rinsing.
FIGURE 4 is a schematic circuit diagram in simplified form of the electrical connections, it omitting for clarity only, timing and cyclic control devices, represented here by the switches shown.
In connection with the various household and kitchen chores, that of cleaning and polishing eating utensils, such as knives, forks, spoons, and the like, is usually quite time consuming, and in many cases quite difiicult for the average home or restaurant to take care of more than once a day without use of additional. labor or personnel. The present invention is intended to perform such cleaning and polishing operations automatically, in a quick, simple and efficient manner, simulating to a great extent, the hand operation, but using mechanical and electrical elements to do this, so that the housewife, kitchen personnel, or others charged with this work, can perform other chores in the meantime.
In order to understand clearly the nature of the invention, and the best means for carrying it out, reference may now be had to the drawings, in which like numerals denote similar parts throughout the several views.
As shown, there is a main base or platform generally indicated at 10, which may be formed of any suitable material, such as plastic, wood, metal or the like, and has an upraised rim 12 extending around its outer edge, so as to block spillage of liquids therefrom, or dislodgment of any of the articles carried thereon. The main base 10 may have depending support legs 14 depending from its undersurface 16, to support it well above a table top, floor or the like 18.
The main platform or floor member 10 has supported thereon a first container or hopper 20 which may conveniently have downwardly convergent side walls 22 which rest upon the floor member 10 upper surface 26 in the manner shown best in FIGURE 1. Since this first container 20 is intended to receive eating utensils such as knives, forks, and spoons 28 which are to be cleaned and/or polished, its floor 30 may be raised above the lower edges of the side walls 22, and either apertured or .3). formed of wire mesh, to allow any moisture or the like, which is on the soiled spoons, knives and the like, to drip or drain downwardly, apertures also being formed in the side walls 22, as at 32 in FIGURE 1, to avoid trapping such drained liquids. It will also be apparent that by making the apertures or openings in the mesh floor sufficiently large to receive the handles of the silverware 28 which is to be disposed therein, each such utensil will slide partly through the apertured fioor 30 and thus be maintained in an upright position ready for being pulled or lifted out when its turn comes, and without crowding or bunching up of such utensils.
A main support post has its base 42 resting upon the floor or platform 10, or secured rigidly thereto, so as to support at its upper end 44, the proximal end 46 of the lifting boom arm 48, which is secured between the bifurcations 50 by means of a pivot pin or shaft 5'2. The boom arm 48 is thus arranged for vertical angular traverse as indicated by the arrows 54 and 56 in FIGURE 1, and also for lateral angular traverse as indicated by the a rows 58 and 60 in FIGURE 2, that is, about the axis of the post 40. Similarly the vertical traverse is about the axis of the pivot pin 52, which in turn is turnable as indicated.
A gripping tong member generally indicated at 58 is carried on the outer or distal end 66 of the boom arm 48, being secured thereto in any suitable manner, depending upon the type and construction of gripping tong employed. Thus the tong 58 may have a pair of main levers 62 and 64, pivoted together at 66, and with their outer ends biased toward each other by tension spring 68. A second pair of levers 70 and 72 are pivoted at 74 and 76 to the outer ends of the main levers 62. and 64, respectively, being in turn pivoted at pin 78 to each other intermediate their ends. The outer ends 80 and 82 of the second levers 7t and 72, are bent inwardly as seen best in FIGURE 1, to form gripping fingers for grasping or gripping the eating utensils 28 which are to be cleaned and polished. It is thus apparent that the effect of the spring 68 is to maintain the gripping fingers 80 and 32 in gripping positions, that is, continuously biased toward each other so as to hold a utensil 28 with which they are brought into contact. An electromagnetic solenoid 86, as seen in FIGURE 1, has its coil housing 88 pinned to lever arm 62, and its plunger 90 pinned to lever arm 64, so that as it is energized through the wires 92, the solenoid plunger moves outwardly, and thus tends to spread apart the levers 62 and 64, opening the clamping arms or fingers 8t and 82, and thus releasing any utensils held thereby.
There is also mounted on the floor surface 26, a container which contains a cleaning and polishing fluid or agent 102 suitable for the particular metal or alloy of which the utensils 28 are formed, such as silver polish if they are silver or silver plated, and other suitable metal polish if or other metals or the like. A support post 104 has its base 196 mounted on the platform floor 10 securely, and has its upper end preferably bifurcated as at 108, to receive the reduced portion of the cleaning and polishing thumb member generally shown at 114.
The thumb member 114 has a thumb head 116 extending outwardly to the right as seen in FIGURES 1 and 2, and formed of soft sponge-like material, such as sponge, chamois leather, or it may also, according to another form, be provided with bristles extending therefrom. The thumb head 116 is bent into a sort of hooked shape, as seen in FIGURE 1, and its end portion is brought into position over the container 100, so that it may be dipped into the fluid in the container periodically, and then uplifted for rubbing and cleaning the utensils 28 brought against its surface, by the tong 58 when in the position shown at 5811 in FIGURE 1, being swung into this position by turning of the post 44 and boom 48.
An electromagnetic solenoid 120' has its coil housing 122 pinned or secured to the post 103 or the base 106,
so as to be relatively fixed, while its plunger 124 is pinned to the outer extension 126 of the thumb arm assembly 114. When the solenoid is not energized, it is seen that the gravity force acting on the rightward or thumb end of arm 114, pulls it in a downward directly, dipping it into the container 100 to pick up cleaning fluid. When the solenoid is energized, through Wires 128, the plunger 124 is pulled inside the coil 122, and the thumb arm 1116 is pulled upwardly as seen in FIGURE 1. Thus it is readily seen that by alternately energizing and de-energizing the solenoid in any cyclic sequence as needed, the thumb head 116 will undergo corresponding upward and downward oscillations and thus rub and clean the utensil 28 held thereagainst by tong at 58a. A spring may be used also on arm 114, to enhance the oscillations, and it is understood that I do not desire to be limited to the precise moving means shown, since other means may be employed for this purpose.
After the utensil 23 is cleaned and polished by thumb head 136, the boom 48 is swung around in the direction of arrow so that the tong 58 overlies the rinsing bowl or container 142. The latter container contains a rinsing fluid, such as clear water or the like 144, and is disposed substantially at the position shown in FIGURES l and 2, on the arcuate path of travel of the tong 58. By means of the controls contained in the control sequence housing mounted on post 4th, the boom 48 is then lowered slightly so as to dip the spoon 23 into the rinse water and thus to rinse it oif. The boom 48 may be given oscillatory motion up and down in any suitable manner, as by means of a spring action, or otherwise, to facilitate the rinsing action, and then the boom arm 48 is uplifted again to elevate the spoon 28 out of the rinsing water.
The spoon or utensil 28 being new cleaned and rinsed, the boom 48 is swung again around on its arcuate path in the same direction of arrows 140, by means of the turning means 15%, actuated through wires 15?. connected to a source of electric power, as are wires 92 and $.28, so that the tong 53 now overlies the chute 16% which is formed through the opening 162 in floor 19. A receptacle 164 is disposed below the chute 166, and may rest on the surface 18 as seen in FIGURE 1. By energizing the tong solenoid 86, it is seen as explained above, that the tong fingers 3t} and 82 are spread apart, allowing the cleaned utensil as at 23a to drop into the receptacle 64 with the other cleaned utensils. The boom 48 is then swung around to overlie initial container 2t}, and it picks up another utensil and goes through the same cycle.
Where the utensils 28 are made of metal which can be attracted magnetically, then the tong 53 may be replaced by an electromagnet which picks up one utensil at a time as heretofore. The final receptacle 164 may also be provided with a wire mesh elevated inside floor or rack 168 to allow any excess fluid to drain off the cleaned spoons 28a. Similarly, an air feeding nozzle 17% may be disposed as shown in FIGURE 1, to blow a blast of warm dry air across the top of container 164, to dry off the utensils further as they drop into it.
According to a modified form of the invention, instead of the use of the thumb 114, and container 1%, they may be changed to a container 2% inside within which there is a spray nozzle 262 for spraying cleaning fluid right onto the utensil 28 when it reaches the position with tong at 58a, so that the utensil is sprayed by one or more such spray nozzles with fluid, and then after it is thoroughly cleaned and polished, rinsed off and dropped into the bucket 164.
The entire assembly may be provided with a cover member which fits onto the rim 12, and is removable when needed, although it may be left in position while the cleaning is proceeding.
Although I have described by invention in specific terms, it will be understood that various changes may be made in size, shape, materials and arrangement without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as claimed.
When the modified form of spray nozzle container 2% is used, as seen in FIGURE 3, the cleaning and polishing fluid is fed from a pressurized source such as a pump by duct 204, sprayed by several nozzles 2%2 from all sides onto the utensil extended therein, the residue of fluid leaving through drain 206 for recirculation by the pump if desired.
As seen in FIGURE 1, a suitable solenoid 47 may be supported on the boom arm 48 with its plunger carried on the bracket 49, the bracket being in turn carried by the turnable bifurcations 5% so as to turn therewith. This permits the elevation and lowering of the boom arm as desired, and also, by interruption of the solenoid current, permits shaking or stroking motion of the boom arm and the parts carried thereby. Such interruption be carried out in any well known manner, and the shaking may be aided by means of a spring engaging the parts involved. FIGURE 4 shows a simplified circuit diagram of the connections, including the motor 151 which is disposed inside housing 150 and turns the boom arm about a vertical axis as needed to its various positions. It is understood that various well known timing and control means may be used for timing the actuation of the switches to. the various elements, at suitable periods in a cycle of operation. Such timing and control elements are available on the market ready for use to control any timing cycle desired.
1. A cleaning and polishing device comprising a first container for receiving a plurality of discrete articles of silverware and the like to be cleaned and polished, means in said first container for supporting said articles in a regularly oriented array, traversable boom means movable relative to the elements in said device, prehensile means carried by said boom means and releasably engageable with selected discrete articles to lift the same out of said first container while releasably holding the same, cleaning thumb means arranged for wiping movement, means for placing cleaning and polishing compound on said cleaning thumb means, said boom means being con structed and arranged for bringing said articles into wiping proximity with said cleaning thumb means for being wiped clean and polished thereby, rinsing means disposed near said cleaning thumb means for receiving said articles after being wiped clean, for being rinsed thereby, and final hopper means for receiving said cleaned and rinsed articles following said rinsing process.
2. The construction according to claim 1, characterized further in that said first container comprises an inner partition floor containing apertures arranged for orientation of articles of silverware placed therein, so as to make them ready for convenient grasping by said prehensile means.
3. The construction according to claim 2, wherein said inner partition floor comprises wire mesh forming elongated apertures between adjacent wire sections to constrain the handles of silverware and the like into predetermined orientation patterns.
4. The construction according to claim 2, wherein said inner partition floor comprises wire mesh forming elongated apertures between adjacent wire sections to constrain orientation of silverware into predetermined patterns, and in which said floor is substantially elevated above the bottom of said container, with outlet openings in the walls of said container below said floor for outflow of excess fluids therefrom.
5. The construction according to claim 1, characterized further in that said boom means comprises automatically actuated sequentially controlled moving means for moving said boom means in sequential steps into each operative position in a continuous cycle of operation from said first container to cleaning thumb, to rinsing bath, and to final receptacle.
6. The construction according to claim 1, characterized further in that said boom means comprises automatically actuated sequence controlled moving means for carrying out the predetermined cyclic operation movement and return to initial position at said first container, and wherein said thumb means comprises a thumb support, thumb lever arm means pivoted in said thumb support, thumb head means carried by said thumb lever arm means for movement therewith, said thumb head means being formed of soft material which is yieldable to afiord optimum cleaning engagement with an article to be cleaned, and solenoid means for causing said thumb head means to be oscillated in movement while moved for said cleaning purposes.
7. The construction according to claim 1, wherein said cleaning thumb means comprises a spongy mass carried on a thumb lever.
8. The construction according to claim 1,. wherein said cleaning thumb means comprises a thumb body formed of soft yielding material, and covered with soft chamoislike covering material arranged in undulated surface array, to define hollow areas intermediate said undulations for maximum yielding contact while cleaning.
9. A cleaning and polishing device for articles of table- I ware, comprising a main base, boom support post means carried by said main base, boom arm means carried by said boom support post means for movement over said main base, prehensile gripping grasping arm means carried by said boom arm means at its outer end and movable therewith to selected positions on said main base and thereover, first receptacle means on said main base for containing articles of tableware to be cleaned and polished, means in said first receptacle means for orienting said articles of tableware according to a desired pattern of positioning, to facilitate being grasped by said prehensile grasping arm means, solenoid means for actuating said prehensile grasping arm means to open and close the same, spring means for opposing said solenoid means, actuating means for moving said boom arm means to a series of selected positions over said main base, a container for cleaning fluid, thumb means carried on said main base for dipping into said container of cleaning fluid to carry said cleaning fluid on its surface, whereby as said boom arm is swung to proximity to said thumb means the article carried thereby is brought into contact with said thumb means, oscillating means for oscillating said thumb means to wipe said article clean and polish the same with said fluid, said boom arm being swingable to another position on said base, rinsing container means at said. other position and containing rinsing fluid, said boom arm being movable to dip said article into said rinsing fluid in oscillatory fashion to rinse the same therein and to lift it out therefrom, final receptacle means for receiving rinsed articles, said boom arm being movable to position over said final receptacle means, means for releasing the prehensile grip of said boom arm thereon, so that said article is free to drop into said final receptacle means.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,104,388 Rubush July 21, 1914 1,356,911 Doujak Oct. 26, 1920 2,104,456 Friedman Ian. 4, 1938 2,184,020 Repasy Dec. 19, 1939 FOREIGN PATENTS 168,259 Great Britain Sept. 1, 1921