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Publication numberUS1054336 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 25, 1913
Filing dateJun 12, 1911
Priority dateJun 12, 1911
Publication numberUS 1054336 A, US 1054336A, US-A-1054336, US1054336 A, US1054336A
InventorsHarry D Brown
Original AssigneeWilliam H Clune, Harry D Brown
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Electric-writing sign.
US 1054336 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)




Patented Feb.- 25, 1913.


Patented Feb. 25, 1913.




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Patented Feb. 25, 1913.


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APPLICATION FILED JUNE 12. 1911 Patented Feb. 25, 1913.





Specification of Letters Patent. Patented Feb. 25, 1913.

Application filed June 12, 1911. Seriiil No. 632,526.

To all whom it may concern:

Be it known that-I, HARRY D. BROWN, a citizen of the United States, residing at Los Angeles, in the county of Los Angeles and State of California, have invented new and useful Improvements in Electric-lVriting Signs, of which-the following is a specification.

This invention relates to an electric writing sign (or a sign on which any desired matter may be spelled out) of the class employing an aggregation of elements known as monograms and employing a certain operating mechanism for displaying or visualizing any desired characters on the monograms; and this invention has particularly to do with the controlling mechanisms and the means of operating them rather than with the particular form of the monograms.

In arrangements and constructions heretofere there have been in common use monograms of difierent designs and arrangements. The monogram is merely an aggregation or group of lights in certain relative positions so that the lighting of suitable lights will show any desired letter or character. The controlling mechanisms for these lights constitute the bulk of the mechanism of such a Writing sign. Fundamentally the controlling mechanism is such an arrangement of switches and circuits as will enable the passage ofcurrent through any desired'lights in any desired monogram; and on these fundamentals my system of control is built up.

The normal features of my system are comprised mainly in my arrangement of circuits for the lighting of the lights and for the control of current through those circuits. I have entirely separated the lighting circuits from the control circuits (preferably using a low voltage current for all the control circuits, while the ordinary high voltage is used for the lights). In these controlling circuits I have provided arrangements which are the prime features of my present invention; and these arrangements, including relays and their circuits, are such as to provide for the following possible operations. As in all other devices of this character, I am enabled to supply current to any desired light or lights in any particular monogram, But, beyond this, I'

am enabled to eifect other operations of control peculiar to my own arrangement.

After lighting any desired lights in any desired monogram'or monograms I may extinguish the lights in any or all of the monograms, and I may substitute other characters for those originally shown in any or all of the monograms; all without interference with the showin s in other mon0- grams which are not Wis ed to be changed. I have also provided a means whereby the monograms which are in operation (where current is being supplied to some of their lights) are indicated by a luminous or other indicator on the keyboard of the machine and directly in front of the operator. This, in particular, is a great advantage as, in a large number of cases, the operator is at some distance from the sign itself and is unable to see the effect he is producing unless by some complicated arrangement. of mirrors or the like. And one of the prime advantages of my system resides in the small number of circuits and wires necessarily employed; for my system of relays and their individual circuits obviates duplication of wiring.

In a broad manner I may describe my wiring arrangements as. consisting in three sets of circuits; first, the lighting circuits; second, the controlling circuits (through the medium of which the lighting circuits are controlled to supply current to any desired lights in any desired monograms); and third, the holding circuits (through the medium of which the lights in any or all of the monograms may be held illuminated or be extinguished). The exact relations of these circuits will be best understood from tlie-fol-lowing; but it will here suffice to say that the connection of the lighting circuits to the lights is controlled by individual relays, and these relays are controlled in their actions by the controlling circuits and the holding circuits.

In the accompanying drawings 'I have shown a typical embodiment of my invention, in which drawings Figure 1 is a diagrammatic view illus trating the general arrangement of circuits for a sign consisting of nine monograms. Fig. 2 is a diagram illustrating the arrangement of wiring, exterior to the keyboard, for five of the lights of each of, say, the first two monograms. Fig. 3 is a partial plan of the lower part of the keyboard, the cover being removed. Fig. 4 is a longitudinal section of the same. Fig. 5 is a similar section of the upper portion of the keyboard. Fig. 6 is a diagram illustrating the connections within the keyboard. Fig. 7 is a diagram illustrating the complete connections for a single light in each of two monograms or groups of, lights.

In the drawings the numerals 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,

6, 7, 8 and 9 represent the different monograms of which the sign is composed, each of these monograms being possibly of the arrangement shown in Fig. 7. vLights 10 are so placed within suitable troughs or reflectors that, by the supply of current to any set of lights, any desired character may be shown. A keyboard 11 is illustrated as .a typical form of manual controlling means; there being many mechanical forms in which this means maybe assembled. The

keyboard as illustrated is provided with a set of lettered, or otherwise character-distinguished, keys 12 and with two sets of numbered keys 13 and 14. Keys 13 and 14 j are numbered to correspond with the numbering or positioning of the mono-grams in the sign; so that once the numbering of the monograms in the sign is understood, the correct key can be used by the operator to connect or disconnect the circuits of-that monogram. I have also shown release and gang keys 15 and 16 located adjacent keys 13 and 14 respectively. Leading from keyboard 11 is-a set of control wires A which lead to the sign and are each connected into each of the mondgrams through branch wires a. Current passing through wires A and a is controlled by the action of keys 12. Wires '0.

' connect to relays within the mono-grams,

which relays control the passage of current from lighting circuit B to the individual lights. Wires 6 lead from'the lighting circuit to the individual monograms and wires A and through whatever monogram corresponds to the key 13 operated. This current flowing through these control wires will immediately cause the operation of the relays to close the lighting circuits to certain lights; and the internal arrangements are such that, if the 1 key and the A key be pressed, then the letter A will be luminously shown'on monogram No. 1. The ar- "rangement within keyboard 11 is'such that,

after one of keys 13 is pressed down, thus making connection to the desired monogram,

then the circuit to that monogram will be held closed until the release key 15 is pressed. Thus the operator does not necessarily hold one of keys 13 down while he operates the desired one of keys 12.

After having made connection with the desired monograms, if the operator wishes to efi'ace all the written matter, he has only to press down on gangkey 16; but it, during the course of his writing on the sign he wishes to eiface the matter in one or more individual monograms, he will press downwardly on the corresponding keys 14. These keys control the holding circuits through wires D and these wires D run one to'each of the monograms. The function of these circuits is to hold the lighting circuits in the monograms closed after they have once been closed by the operation of keys 12 and 13; and the function of keys 14 and 16 is to operate the circuits through wires D to cause the lighting circuits within the monograms to open. With this general description of the operation of my sign I will now proceed to a detail description of the particular circuits and the operation of the switches and relays contained therein.

As before stated, each of the monograms contains a certain fixed number of lights, or of any other member capable of visualization by an electric current. Within the structure of each monogram there is contained a relay mechanism 20 for each light in the monogram. This isdiagrammatically illustrated in Fig. 2, where five lights and relay mechanisms are shown for each of two monograms. Each of the relay mechanisms consists of a movable armature 21 adapted to control two switches 22 and 23 by its movement. A pair of electro magnets 24 and 25 are adapted to attract the arma ture to close each of switches 22 and 23. Switch 22 of each of therelay mechanisms controls the passage of current through its corresponding light 10, each of the lights being connected in series with switch 22 and both switch and light being connected between wires B by means of a sub-circuit B within the monogram and wires 26, 27 and 28 leading from the sub-circuit through the switch and light. Thus, when the armature of any relay mechanism is attracted by the electro-magnets, the circuit through the cor responding light 10 closed and that. light is visualized.

The means for actuating the relay mechanisms to close the switches and supply current to the lights is comprised in selective circuits C, control circuitsAand'the switches and other mechanism acting in conjunction with'these circuits. One of wires C leads to each monogram and within each monogram a wire 30 leads from wire C to one side of electro-magnet 25. From the other side of each electro-magnetwire 0 leads and connects to an individual wire A of the controlling circuits, wires A leading back to the keyboard 11. Wires 35 and 36 lead into the keyboard from any suitable source of electrical energy; and the operation of the keyboard is such that wire 35 is adapted to be connected with-any desired ones of wires A, while wire 36 may be connected with any one or more of wires C. When such connections are made, the current will flow from wire 35 through keyboard 11, through certain of wires A, certain of wires a, certain of electro-magnets and certain of wires a certain. one or more of wires G, 11, back to wire 36. By this ac-' keyboard tion it will be seen that armatures 21 of certain definite ones' of the relay mechanisms are drawn to the right (in Fig. 2) and'cur-.

rent-is supplied to corresponding lamps 10. Ah the same time that switches 22 are closed by the movements of the relay armatures,

switches 23' arealso closed. Switches 23 are connected in series with correSpondingmagnets 24 and both in series are connected with holding circuit wires D and D through wires 40 and 41. Wire D forms one side of the holding circuits for all of wires D, there being only a single wire D and as many wires D as there are monograms. Wires D lead back to keyboard. 11 and therein are normally connected to a wire which leads from one side of a suitable source of electrical energy; while wire D connects with a wire 46 which leads from the other side of that source. Wires D and wire 45 are normally all connected together so that, upon operation of any of the relay mechanisms by t e means hereinbefore described, current will flow from wire 45 through keyboard 11,'certain of wires D, certain of wires 41 connectingwith those certain wires D, certain of magnets 24 and certain of wires 40 back to wire D and wire46. The arrangement within. the keyboard is such that a pressure on any one of keys 14 will break the connection between wire 45 and corresponding wire D. Immediately the connec-,

tion is broken the magnetism of magnets 24 ceases and the armatures heretofore attract-- ed are allowed to move back to their original positions by means of'a spring or gravity,

as the case may be. The mechanical construction of these relays ma be the same as shown and described herein 7 low. It is the idea of the arrangement that magnets 25 the switches in the keyboard are, closed, or.

to energize magnets 24 until switches 23 are closed. The current to lights 10 is consequently cut 011 until another operation ofapproximate .keys'12 and 13.

The foregoing described arrangement constitutes the basis of my invention; the

51. Switch bars 51 are of some longitudinal extent and carry spring pressed contact pins 53 set in them at suitable intervals and ar ranged over contact bars 52 which are set transversely of switch bars 51 andbeneath them. There'are as many bars 52 as there are lights in. each of the monograms, and wires A connect with these bars 52. Wire 35 connects with switch bars 51 in any suitable manner asthro-ugh a bar 35 and the spring I supports 51 of the bars 51, so that, when any one of .keys 12 is depressed and switch bar 51 is moved downwardlyto engage certain of contact pins 53 with certain of contact bars. 52, then current will flow from I I wire 35 through bar 35", supports 51*,th'e bars 51 and pins 53 to certain of bars 52 and wires A. What wires A will thus be supplied with current depends upon the arrangement and number 0 pins 53 placed in bars 51; and the arrangement is made sothat a pressure on any one of keys 12 will supply current to suitable'wires A which will actuate corresponding relay mechanisms 20 to supply current to lights 10 which, when visualized, will present the character desi ated on the key 12.

' ithin the keyboard and beneath and corresponding to each of keys 13 is a relay mechanism 60. These relay mechanisms are duplicates of mechanisms 20, except that in mechanism 60 I have shown a single electromagnet with double windings 61 and 62. The armatures 63 of these relay mechanisms are adapted to close switches 64 and 65 when attracted by the actions of the magnets. Beneath each of ke s 13 isarranged a normally open switc 70, a pin 71 projecting downwardly from the key, being adapted to engage with the switch to close it when key 12 is pressed downwardly. Beneath release key 15 is a normally closed switch 72 adapted to be opened by the pressure of a pin 73 when key 15 is pressed downwardly. The above described mechanism within that part of the keyboard which is normally arranged closer to the operator. Keys 14 and 16 are mounted on that part of the keyboard normally farther from the operator and beneath each key 14 is mounted a normally closed switch 75 adapted to be opened through the medium of a pin 76 when key 14 is depressed. Key 16 merely rests is contained mechanically on the arms 23 of key s. 14, and pressure on key 16 will press all of keys 14 downwardly and open all of switches 7 5.. For each-ofkeys 14 a-third relay mechanism 80 is provided, this mechanism having double magnet windings 81 and 82, a movable armature 83 and armature controlled switches 84 and 85. In the upper part of. the keyboard provision is made for a series of small transparent panes 90 arranged somewhat as illustrated and numbered so as to he identified with the various monograms. Beneath each of these transparen cies a small indicator light 91 is placed and this light is supplied with current, through the medium of relay 80, as long as thereois current flowingjthrough the corresponding holding. wires Normally open swit one side by a wire 100 to'wire 45 andon the other side it is connected by wires 101 and. 102 to one. side of one of the windings of each of relays 60 and 80. Wires 103 and 104 connect the other'sides of these relay windings to a wire 106 which leads back to wire. 46. On closure of switch 70 armatures 63 and 83 are both attracted and the four switches 64 and 65, 84 and 85 are closed. Immediately these switches are closed current flows through the other windings of the electro-magnets to hold the armatures in position. For this purpose-switch 64 is connected in series with magnet winding 62 by a wire.110, mid wires 111'and 1%12 connect the winding and switch with wire 106 and spect'ively. The other side of switch '72 is connected by a wire 113 with wire 100 which leads from wire 45. Switch 84 is connected in series with winding 81 by "means of a wire 120, while a wire 121 conn I ts the'otlier side of winding 81 with one side fnormally closed switch 75, and a wire 122-connects the other side of switch 84 with .wir ef46. The" other side of normally closed switch 7 5 .isconnected to wire 45, while the first men-' tioned side of the switch 75 .is connected to individual wire D. When the relay switches are closed current will flow from wire 45 through wires 100 and 113, switch 72, wire 112, switch 64, wire 110, winding 62, wire 111 and wire 106 back to wire 46. This will energize the relay magnet and hold switches 64 andf65 closed until switch 72 is opened. To one side of switch 65 individual wire C is connected and to the other side of this switch wire 36. is connected. Thus, until switch 72 is opened, the circuit will be closed between wire 36 through switch 65 to wire- C. At the same time current will fiow from wire 45 through switch 75, wire'121, winding 81, wire 120, switch 84 and wire 122 back to wire 46. This will energize the relay magnets and hold relay switches 84 and 85 65' closed until switch 75 is opened. Light 91 ch is connected on one side of normally closed switch 72, rea is connected on one side by wire 130 with wire 45 and is connected on the other side by wire 131 withone-side of switch 85. A wire 132 connects the other side of. switch 85 with wire 122; so that, as long as switch 85 70 is closed, current will flow from wire 45- through light 91-and switch 85 back to wire 46. This current will flow, and light 91 will be visualized, as long as switch 7 5 remains closed. When switch is opened it not only breaks connection between wires 45 and D (thereby breaking the holding circuit hereinbefore' described) but it breaks the circuit leading through winding 81 and allows the relay switches to open. The relay :switches will remain open until current is sent througlrwinding 82 again, this being accomplished by the closure of switch 70.

I Wlll now follow out a typical set of circuits and ex lain atypical operation of the various mec anisms. Sup ose that it is desired to show the letter on monogram No. 1. Key 13 bearing the numeral 1 is depressed. This immediately closes corresponding switch 70 and operates both relays 60 and effecting a closure of circuit between wire 36 and wire C and a closure of circuit-through light 91 which is located beneath transparency bearing the numeral 1. The lighting of this trans arency 'in-. dicates that connections are ma e to monogram No. 1 and that thatmonogram is in condition to receive currents for causing visualization of any desired lights. Key 12 bearing the designation 1' is then de-.

pressed, and tithis causes connection to be made between wire 35 and'certain of wires A (say, those wires A which are particularly shown in Fig. 2). 7 Current immediately flows from wire 35 through wires A and through the relay mechanisms 20 to wire-C and thence to wire '36, as herein I ,gbefore set forth irr detail. Relays 20 are '-'"thereby'actuated and their switches closed, when current isiriimediately allowed to flow 11 0 through the holding circuits controlled by keys14. The passage of current through these holding circuits and through magnets 24 of the relays will hold the relays closed and supply currentto the desired lights until switches 75 are opened. -When it is desired to era e the showing made in monogram No. 1, key 14 hearing the numeral. 1

.is depressed (or, if there are showings on other monograms wished to be efiaced, key 16 may be. depressed and the showings on all the monograms extinguished). The opening of switch 75 will' cause the release of relay 80 and of relays 20 in monogram 1, causing the extinguishment of the monogram showing and of light- 91. Thus light 91 will indicate the ,monogram or monograms to which current is being supplied and as long as that current is supplied, the lights 91 being extinguished when the the first mono ram to be used, then 12 correspon ing to the characterto be monograms are extinguished. In this manner the operatoris perfectlyaware of, the

monograms in use and those not in use, be-

ing enabled to arrange his ,work upon thesign in a pleasing :manner and also being enabled to have a check on what-he has produced on the ,sign and What is yet to be pro-.- duced. Relay 60 is released by the opening of switch 72 as soon as the operator has pressed the desired key 12 and has visual ized mono-gram, 1 as desired. .The opening of twitch 72 releases relay60 and allows switches Stand/65 to open. This immediately cuts ofi the current through wire C and wires A and places the whole apparatus in condition. for the depres'ihion of another key connect with anothermonogram and the depression of any'key 12 to visualize any desired character upon that monogram.

The operators work is thus seen to consist of first deciding just how he will arrange the written matter on the sign, then depressing the required key 13 corresponding with t e key placed in that monogram,'and then the key 15 to release connection with that particular "monogram. This operation is repeated until the whole matteris spelled out on the sign. If the operatormistakenly depresses any of keys 12 or 13 and connects to the wrong mono am or places the wrong character in tha monogram,- he may 1mmedi-' .ately efiace' whathe has written in' that monogram by a depression ofcorresponding key 14; and, after he had completely written the subject matter in hand, he can efface the whole showing by a depression of key 16.

It will be understood tha'tI have made the above described showing ina typical manner and have not endeavored to include all of the combinations or variations which may be included in the monogram; For instance, I may substitute characterson keys 12 other than those shown, and I may greatly increase thenumber, of monograms' without at all interfering with the nature of operation of my device. And I do not limit myself to incandescent or other lamps for use in the monograms; any device will suf fice which is capable of visualization-by an electric current I have also shown the manner of w1r1ng connections which-now appear to me most simpleg-but'thereare and may be other systems of connection which Wlll accomplish the same result in substantially the same manner. These I intend to be within the scope of my invention.

Having described my invention, I claim 1. An electric sign, comprising in combination a plurality of groups of electrical illuminants, a group selector switch for each 'group, a plurality of character selector switches, and a normally closed 'release switch for each group,,switches each controlling electric current to one illuminant,

means controlled by the group selector switches and'the character selector switches release switches to hold-closed the illuminant controlling switches of each groupqzzitln' e indicator illuminant for each group 0 first mentioned illuminant-s, means whereb, current is supplied to any-one of said indicator illuminants simultaneously with the operation of the correspondin group selec tor switch, and means where y current is cut ofi from any one of said indicator illu- -minants simultaneously-with the operation of the correspondinggroup release switch.

2. An electric sign, comprising in combination "a plurality of groups of electrical illuminants, a group selector switch for each group, 'a plurality. of character selector switches, and l a normally closed release lay mechanism comprising a' pair of electromagnets, an armature operablethereby and. a pair of switches adapted to be operated by the actionof the armature, circuits each including oneiof the illuminants and one of. its corresponding relay switches in series,

circuits each including in series the other of said relay switches and one of said relay magnets and a release switch corresponding to the same group, connections between one side of each of the other'relay magnets of a complete] group and the corresponding .group [release switch to continue current to the corresponding indicator illuminant.

3. An electric sign, comprising in combination a plurality of groups of electrical illuminants, a group selector switch for each 'grou a plurality of character selector swltc es, d a release switch for each group, a relay mechanism for each illuminant of each group/each relay mechanism comprising a pair of electro-ma'gnets, an

'to close the said illuminant controlling, switches, means controlledby corresponding- .switch for each group, a relay mechanism for each illuminant of each group, each re-I armature operable thereby and a pair of switches adapted by the action. of the armature, circuits each including one of the illuminants-and one of its corresponding relay switches in series circuits each including in series thev other of said relay .switches and one of said' relay magnets and a release switch corresponding to the same group, connections between one side 130 of each of the other relay magnets of a complete group and the corresponding group selector switch, connections each leading from one of the character selector switches -to the other side of one of said last mentioned relay magnets of each group; a relay mechanism for each of the group selector switches comprising an armature adapted by its movement to close said group selector switch, another switch adapted to be closed by the movement of said armature, and a pair of electro-magnets adapted to operate the armature, a normally open switch and a circuit including it and one of said electro-magnets in series, a normally closed switch and a circuit including it and the other .electro-magnet and the other armature operated switch in series; an indicator mechanism for each group tioned illuminants, comprising an indicator illnminan't, a switch connected to the indicator illuminant, means for 'closing said switch when the. corresponding one of said normally open switches is closed, and means controlled by the corresponding group re lease switch to hold said indicator switch closed.

4. An electric nation a plurality of groups of electrical illuminants a group selector switch for each group, a plurality of characterselector switches, and a normally closed release switch for each group, a relay mechanism for each illuminant of each group, each relay mechanism comprising a pair of electromagnets, an armature operable thereby and a pair of switches adapted to be operated by the action of the armature,.circu1ts each including one of the illuminantsand one of its, corresponding relay switches in series, circuits each including in series the other ofsaidvrelay switches and one of said relay magnets and a release switch corresponding of first mensign, comprising in combitothe same group, connections between one side of each of the other relay magnets of a open switch and a circuit including it and.

one of said electro-magnets in series, a normally closed switch and a circuit including it and the other electro-magnet and the other armature operated switch in series; an indicator mechanism for each group of first mentioned illuminants and comprising an indicator illuminant and'a relay mechanism lncludmg an armature, a palr oi, swltches adapted to be closed by the movement of the armature, and a pair of 'electro-magnets for operating the armature, a circuit including oneof'sa d switches. one of said magnets and the corresponding group release switchrin series, a circuit including the other ofsaid switches and the indicator illuminant in series, and a circuit including in series the other'of said magnets and the normally open responding group of illuminants.

In witness't-hat I claim the foregoing I have hereunto subscribed my name this 23d day of May, 1911. p 1

' HARRY D. BROWN. Witnesses: I


switch of the relay mechanism for the corx

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2791850 *Oct 5, 1953May 14, 1957 noble
US3526887 *Jun 30, 1967Sep 1, 1970Singer CoDigit order and decimal point display system and circuit therefor
US3594762 *Mar 27, 1967Jul 20, 1971Stewart Warner CorpDisplay system
US3594778 *Mar 28, 1967Jul 20, 1971Stewart Warner CorpDisplay system
US4163228 *Jun 27, 1977Jul 31, 1979Sadjadi Kambiz MInformation display system having digital logic interconnections
US4185281 *Jun 1, 1977Jan 22, 1980Elliott Brothers (London) LimitedArrangement for selecting a desired data display
US4340887 *Jan 24, 1980Jul 20, 1982National Semiconductor CorporationPushbutton data entry and display system
U.S. Classification315/132, 315/136, 235/23, 345/168, 315/316
Cooperative ClassificationH02H7/1209