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Publication numberUS2114678 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 19, 1938
Filing dateDec 22, 1934
Priority dateApr 23, 1934
Publication numberUS 2114678 A, US 2114678A, US-A-2114678, US2114678 A, US2114678A
InventorsErwin Funk
Original AssigneeErwin Funk
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Device for controlling a plurality of luminous tubes
US 2114678 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

April 19,1938. E. FUNK 2,114,678

DEVICE FOR CONTROLLING A PLURALITY OF LUMINOUS TUBES Filed Dec. 22, 1934 5 Sheets-Sheet l ATTORNEY April 19, 1938. FUNK I 2,114,678

DEVICE FOR CONTROLLING A PLURALITY OF LUMINOUS TUBES Filed Dec. 22, 1954 5 Sheets-Sheet 3 f/w/mrwe ERWIN fZ/NK ATTORNEY April 19, 1938. FUNK 2,114,678

DEVICE FOR CONTROLLING A PLURALITY 0F LUMINOUS TUBES Filed Dec. 22, 1934 5 Sheets-Sheet 4 I sr 1 z i mumumumml sf 1 l 1 R2 lEo 1 0-1 1; L I T m f R1 1. g l J /NVNTOR [RN/N FUNK ATTORNEY.

April 19, 1938. E. FUNK. 2,114,678

DEVICE FOR CONTROLLING A PLURALITY OF LUMINOUS TUBES gvwxyz a :abcdefghijkIm/lapqrs f 152! 511.2. //VVNTOfl to electrode} of 9'1 7 222 I 7 0L I Arroalvsy Patented Apr. 19, 1938 PATENT OFFICE I DEVICE FOR CONTROLLING A PLURALITY OF LUltIINOUS TUBES Erwin Funk, Vienna, Austria Application December 22, 1934, Serial No. 758,716 In Austria April 23, 1934 4 Claims. (01. 177-346) My invention relates to luminous tubes for advertising and signalling purposes, filled with rare gases, such as neon, and operated by high tension and it has for its object to allow displaying of varying scripts or pictures of any desired design even of the most complex kind. It is also the object of my invention to provide a control system for a plurality of luminous tubes, avoiding all the dangers and difficulties involved in the use of high tension currents, thus rendering it possible to obtain a great variety of the picture .or script displayed and a rapid change of the luminous tubes employed.

Although my invention is not limited many 15 particular type of system or group of luminous tubes, my invention is especially adapted to be used in connection with the so-called universal letters. Such letters, as is well known are built up by a plurality of incandescent lamps or luminous tubes arranged in such a way that by 20 switching on particular groups of said lamps or tubes it is possible to display differentletters, figures etc.

The invention relates, more particularly, to a control system for such universal letters or other 25 changing pictures equipped with luminous tubes which may be operated by hand or from any desired, distance by means of a remote control device. My invention further relates to a keyboard device connected with said remote control device by a few low tension wires or an ordinary telephone cable and operable by hand or with the aid of stencil-sheets. My invention also includes or inserted into a closedbox, which may be luminous tubes and to the high tension supply; I

said switching means moreover bears a plurality of contacts, cooperating with the bank contacts. 55 Thereby the individual electrodes of the luminous tubes, in the different positions of the switching means, are connected with the high tension supply in such a manner that the desired character,

figure or the like is rendered luminous.

The switchingmeans above referred to is preferably a fiat disc of insulating material rotatable step by step by hand or by any mechanical, pneumatic, hydraulic or pneumatic remote control device or preferably by the electric remote control device described with reference to the drawings. The flat disc bears on both sides contacts and the wires interconnecting said contacts are preferably concealed within the disc.

A preferred modification of my invention shows a contact bank provided with a number of associated contacts supplying high tension to the tubes; in each position of the disc or other switching means a number of combinations, corresponding to an equal number of characters are ready to be switched in on the completion of 0 the circuit of the desired character. This completion is effected by means of one of a number of high-tension switches or relays.

An example of my invention will now be fully described in detail with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

Fig. 1 is a diagrammatic view of a universal letter built up by luminous tubes. This type of universal letter is well known in itself and the invention relates, as above stated, to the control of groups of luminous tubes, as shown in Fig. 1 by way of example.

Fig. 2 is a plan view and Fig. 3 a vertical section along the line 33 in Fig. 2 of the switching means operated by remote control and of 5 the cooperating contact bank and the associated parts.

Fig. 4 is a plan view and Fig. 5 a partial vertical section along the line 5-5 of Fig. 4 of the keyboard of the remote control device. .40

Fig. 6 is a complete wiring diagram of the remote control device and Fig. '7 is a sectional view of two operating keys with built in pilot lamps.

Figs. 8 and 9 are diagrammatic sections through the switching means and the double contact bank cooperating with the same.

In Fig. 1 the electrodes of the tubes to be connected in a circuit for the formation of the letter T are designated by a, b, c, d, e, f, those for the letter U by g, h, i, 9', k, l, m, n, o, p, q, 1' and those. for the letter V by s and t. Said electrodes are connected by high tension wires to the contacts 29 of a double contact bank 22 (Fig. 2), the cor-. responding individual contacts being designated by the same reference letters. Each tube electrode is .connected to an individual contact of the bank. The electrodes of the tubes corresponding to the desired letter, picture, character or the like are connected to high tension supply terminals Str, Sta, Sta connected to contacts also arranged on the bank 22, For this purpose, a switching means passing over the contact bank 22 is provided which consists in a rotatable fiat disc 24. This particular shape requires only a minimum of space and may be combined with the universal letter to form a very compact unit adapted to be inserted into the interior of the wing of an airplane, the surface of saidwings being preferably covered with translucent material.- The form of the switching means may also be that of a drum, an endless belt or the like. The switching disc is subdivided into a plurality of sections 21 and by rotating it stepwise either by hand or by any suitable control means, each of the sections 21 may be brought in juxtaposition to the contact bank 22. This bank bears, besides the contacts 29 associated to the tube electrodes, a number of contacts supplying. the high tension and each of the sections or sectors 21 carries a number' of contacts cooperating with the contacts on the bank and connected in such a manner that the luminous ,tubes required for the formation of the letter, character, figure, picture, or the like can be switched into a high tension circuit. The necessary connections or cross connection wires are preferably concealed within the disc 24 and are indicated in Fig. 2 by dotted lines for the section 21 just in operation. It is obvious that the other sections 21 are also provided with a plurality of interconnected contacts not shown in the drawings for the sake of cleamess.

In the embodiment of the invention shown in the drawings, a number of contact pairs on the bank 22 are'connected to high tension terminals St1, Sta, Sta and in each position of the disc 24, or on each section 21, three different combina tions, according to three diil'erent letters or the like, are ready for service and are'rendered eifective by applying high tension to one of the pairs of the terminals Sti, Stz, Sta;

In Fig. 8, the movable switching means is,

designatedby 24 and the part of said switching means corresponding to the sector 21 in Fig. 3 by 21. 22 is the contact bank formed by an upper anda lower portion as shown in Fig. 3. In order to clearly explain the circuit, it has been assumed in the diagrammatic Figs. 8 and 9, that all the contact studs 39 of the disc or other switching means 24 and the cooperating contact springs or other contact-making 'means 29 on the bank .22 are located in one plane. The

distribution of these contacts on the surfaces of Sp are spare contacts which may be used if an increased number of tubes is employed. Six of the contact-making means 29 on the bank 22 are connected to three pairs St1, Sta, Sta of high tension terminals. In each section 21 of the disc or other switching means 21, the contact-studs 39 are interconnected by means of cross-connection wires 40 imbedded in the disc 24 or other switching means. The circuit connection of these cross-section wires is such that three groups of luminous tubes are connected to the, three high tension terminalsv St1, Sta, Sta so that by applying high tension to any one of said three pairs of terminals, a selected group of tubes is made luminous. Each such group forms a letter or character. In the examples chosen for Fig. 8, the letters U, V and T may be displayed by applying high tension to the terminals Sn, Stz and Sta respectively. Each group may comprise one or more luminous. tubes connected in series or in parallel or in a combined series-parallel circuit. If tubes are connected in parallel, care should be taken that the three letters served by one and the same section 21 of the switching means do not have tubes in common, as for instance the letter-groups T U V or A B X or I J K or P Y Z. In the case of parallel tubes, the usual precautions should be taken to insure stable parallel working of the tubes, especially if they are of inequal length. These precautions are well known to anybody skilled in the art. For instance, resistances or impedances of appropriate values in series with each tube may be provided.

In most cases, however, each letter is formed by a single circuit of luminous tubes in series. In this case, they may be no tubes in common, or they may be common tubes, as for instance in the event'of the letters E F L served by one sector 21, as illustrated in Fig. 9 in a similar manner to Fig. 8.

If for instance the letter T is to be displayed, the source of high-tension current is connected, in a manner to be described later, to the terminals s ti. The current flows from say the "upper terminal to the bank contact 29 connected to said terminal. From said contact the current is distributed by means of the contact-studs, springs or the like on the disc 24 and by the cross-connection wires embedded in the disc 24 (shown by dotted lines in Fig. 2) to the other 'bank-contacts 29 connected to the individual electrodes a, c, c (Fig. 1). From the other electrodes b, d, f of said tubes. the current flows back to the bank-contacts designated by the same lettersin Fig. 2 and through the cross-connection wires in the disc 24 back to the lower terminal of the pair St1. In this manner, the three luminous tubes forming the letter T" (Fig. 1) are connected in parallel between the terminals S131.

If it is desired to display the letter U" or V no movement of the disc 24 is required and it is only necessary to connect the contacts Site or Sta, respectively, to the high-tension supply. The

current then flows from, say, the upper terminal of the pair Sta through the bank contacts 29 and the springs, studs or other contact-means on the disc 24 contacting with said contacts 29 and through the cross-connection wires embedded in The' contacts connected with the same and designated by the same reference letters in Fig. 2. From the bank contacts h, l, p the current flows, through the contacts and the cross-connection wires on the disc 24 to the bank contacts 1', m, q and to the tube-electrodes designated by the same reference letters in Fig. 1 connected therewith. As the other electrodes 9', n, r of said tubes are connected, over their respective contacts and the contacts and cross-connection wires on the disc 24 to the lower terminal Stz, the six luminous tubes forming the letter 0 are connected in three parallel groups between the pair of terminals Sta, each group comprising two tubes arranged in series. The letter V is formed for example by on single tube with the electrodes .s and t (Fig. 1). The corresponding bank-contacts s and t (Fig. 2) are connected, by means of the contact-studs or the like and the cross-connection wires on the disc 24, to the bank-contacts connected to the pair of terminals Sta.

The electrodes of the other luminous tubes 1 Fig. 1 are wired to other bank-contacts 29 on the double contact bank 22. In the example of a universal letter shown in Fig. 1, twenty-nine luminous tubes are used, having fifty-eight elec-. trodes. Accordingly, a total number of fifty eight contacts wired to said electrodes and six more contacts connected to the supply terminals St1, Sta, Sta are required. The double contact-bank 22 (Fig. 3) gives ample room for this number of contacts 29 and even for a number of spare contacts. For the sake of clearness, only the bankcontacts 29 and the corresponding electrodes of the luminous tubes which may be displayed in the position shown in Fig. 2 have been designated by reference letters a-t, but it may be understood that all the other contacts on both the upper and the lower sectionof the double contact bank 22 (Fig. 3) are also wired to the electrodes of the other luminous tubes.

If it is desired to display other letters or the like as U, T or V, the disc 24 is rotated to another position and another of the nine sectors 2] is brought in juxtaposition to the double contact bank 22. In each of these operating positions of the disc 24, three different letters or the like may be selected by connecting one of the terminals St1, Stz or Sta, respectively, to the source of high tension current. If for instance the letters E F. or L are to be displayed, the disc 24 or other switching means is brought in the position shown in Fig. 9'. It now high tension is applied to terminals ,Str by means of a double-pole switch or a similar relay, the current flows through the tubes dc, but, aibi, gh. i7, no, we, ya and these luminous tubes are forming the letterE. If high tension is appliedto the terminals Sig or St; by means of double-pole switches orrelays, this series combination of luminous tubes is tapped at the points d and v, or g and 1; respectively and thus the letters F and L are displayed. It may be seen that by suitably grouping the letters of the alphabet and/or figures or the like, a great number of characters, say the 26 letters of the alphabet and two additional characters, may be displayed, using for instance nine sections on the switching means and '''three cases obtained by switching in each section or position of said switching means. I do not wish, however, to limit my inventionto any particular grouping of letters etc. or to a certain number of sections or switching cases.

terminals Str, Sta, Sta.

or periphery and meshes with a pinion or a worm 25. Each of the sections 21 is provided with a notch. 26, into which a' locking pawl may fall which may be withdrawn by means of a sole- .noid or electromagnet S1 so as to release the disc.

Moreover, each of the sections is provided with a controlling element 28 which may be a cam, stop, or, as shown, a groove or indentation. The

controlling elements are located at different radial distance and are so arranged from the center that they will not interfere with the contacts 29. Each controlling element operates as it passes below the bridge 3|, one of the contacts of a multiple cut out switch U. The operation of the contacts takes place by means of rods 30 one of which is shown in Fig. 3, said rods entering into the indentation 28, whereby the respective contact is opened. Each of the individual contacts of the multiple cut outswitch U is arranged in a circuit including a controlling contact or a group of such contacts connected in parallel and all these circuits are connected in series with the electric motor M, that drives the worm 25 and causes the disc 24 to be'rotated and with the releasing magnet Si. If one of these circuits is completed, the disc 24 revolves, until the circuit ,is broken by one of the contacts U operated by the respective controlling member 28. As this circuit is interrupted, the magnet Si is deenergized and' releases its armature, which falls into one of thenotches 26 and locks the disc 24 against further rotation. In the position shown in Fig. 2, the letters T, U or V may be selected by applying high tension by means of the high tension relays R1, R2, R3 to one-of the pair of In order to facilitate the selection of a letter, picture devicacharacter or the like, a keyboard comprising a' plurality of double pole switches arranged in several rows is provided in a central station (Figs. 4-6). Referring to Fig. 6, it will be seen from the wiring diagram that all the contact pairs KL, S aligned in one row are arranged in parallel. Likewise all the contact pairs ii, 112 aligned to form a column are also arranged in parallel. The contacts it, ii. are

arranged in series with the cut-out contacts of the multiple switch U and are determining the position of the disc 24. As already described, all the circuits comprising the contacts M, i2

are arranged in the circuit of the motor M or of a relay-operating said motor. In the same circuit is arranged the battery or other source The contacts KL, S are controlling high tension relays R1, Ra, Ra selecting one of the three letters, pictures, devices or characters which are ready to be displayed in each position of the disc 24.

In order to display a particular letter, picture or character, it is only necessary to operate the double pole-switch allotted to it. "In this case,

KL is connected to S and II to l2 (or l2 .to II l and also to S, as shown by the dotted line in Fig. 6). Thereby the motor M is started and turns the disc 24 until it reaches the required position. Simultaneously one of the relays R1, R2, R3 is energized and selects the desired letter from the group of three letters arranged onthe respective section 21. If another letter is to be selected, the previously closed double pole switch is opened and the other switch is closed. If the new letter is one of the same row, the disc 24 remains stationary and merely another relay R1, Re, Re is actuated.- If the new letter pertains to an other transverse] group, the motor is actuated and turns the disc 24 until'it reaches the new position. The double pole switches are preferably constructed of the push button type It), as shown in Figs. 4 5 and 6. The push buttons 10 are moving in openings of a plate I! of insulating material attached by means of brackets I8 to a casing 2f. If the buttons ID are pushed downwardly, they are short-circuiting the con- .tact springs Ii, l2 and KL, S respectively. In order to restore the buttons to original position a plate l6 isprovided, which may be pressed by means of a handle I and a lever gear l3, l4, l5

against the ends of the buttons III. This restoring device is locked by an electromagnet S4 during rotation of the disc 24.

' Thesolenoid S4 (Fig. 4) is wired in series with the motor M, the primary cut-out switches S3 and S2, the locking and releasing magnet'S1 of the switching means and the multiple cut-out switch U. During operation of the motor M, that is to say during the rotation of the disc 24, the solenoid S4 is energized and attracts an armature, which actuates a suitable brake locking the operating handle -I in its position. Said brake may be of any suitable construction and may comprise for instance a notched disc keyed to the shaft of the handle I and a pawl operated by thecoil S4 engaging the notches of said disc.

If the switching means has attained its stationary operating position, the coil S4, as well as the motor M and the other parts of the circuit, are deenergized and the handle I may be operated to restore the buttons-to normal position.

The push buttons may be operated by hand or they may be actuated by stencil-sheets 9, havforations.

ing holes corresponding to all the buttons which are not to be actuated. The stencil'sheets are shown in Fig. 5 only. To allow the use of stencil sheets, a device 4, 5, 6, I, 8 very similar to the restoring device is provided in the. casing 2| which may be closed by a lid 20. The said device is operated by a handle I connected to said device by means of a linkage 2, 3, 4. The stencil sheet is inserted through a slot l9 (Fig. 5) and pressed against the buttons by means of the cams 8 when the handle is turned, as indicated by the arrow in Fig. 5. By this movement the individual button l0, which corresponds to a nonperforated part of the stencil sheet, is depressed, the other buttons passing freely through the per- Several stencil sheets may be combined to form a disc or an endless belt and they may be fed in succession to the keyboard.

\ The'push buttons may be equipped with pilot lamps L, which are switched in by means of the contact KL. In this case, the cap K of the button I0 may contain a transparent picture of the corresponding letter, picture, device or character to indicate what letter was chosen even in the darkness. Alternatively, an annunciator may be employed to indicate the letter or character displayed. Such an annunciator may be provided with pilot lamps (incandescent lamps .or luminous tubes) arranged in similar manner candescent lamps or by low or high tension,

if tubes are used.

The modification illustrated is only chosen by way of example and many other modifications are possible without departing from the spirit of the invention. A'switch T may be provided to enable the operator to cause the disc 24 to turn, should the remote control device fail to Work properly.

What I claim is:-

1. In a device for controlling a plurality of luminous tubes, a number of luminous tubes, each having electrodes, a contact bank, contacts on said bank corresponding to said electrodes, means for connecting said contacts individually to their corresponding electrodes of said luminous tubes, groups of high-tension contacts on said bank, a number of high-tension switches corresponding to said groups, means operated by each of the last said switches to connect the corresponding group of high-tension contacts to a source of high-tension current, switching means movable stepwise past said contact bank, and

contacts on said switching means engaging the contacts on said bank when the switching means is in stationary operating position, said contacts on the switching means being interconnected in a manner as to connect to said high-tension contacts, in each operating position of said switching means, a diiferent combination of luminous tubes for each group of high-tension contacts on said bank.

2. In a device for controlling a plurality of luminous tubes, a number of luminous tubes; each having electrodes, a contact bank, contacts on said bank corresponding to said electrodes, means an connecting said contacts individually'to their corresponding electrodes of said luminous tubes, groups of high-tension contacts on said bank, a number of high-tension switches corresponding to said groups, means operated by each of the last it said switches to connect the corresponding group of high-tension contacts to a source of high-tension'current, switching means movable stepwise past said contact bank, and contacts on said switching means engaging the contacts on said bank when the switching means is in stationary operating position, said contacts on the switching stepwise including a source of electricity, an electric motor operatively connected with said switching means, the individual switches of the multiple cut-out switches being arranged, each in series with an operating contact, in parallel in the circuit of said motor.

3. In a device for controlling a plurality of luminous tubes, a number of luminous tubes, each having electrodes, a contact bank, contacts on said bank corresponding to said electrodes, means for connecting said contacts individually to their corresponding electrodes of said luminous tubes, groups of high-tension contacts on said bank, a number of high-tension switches corresponding to said groups, means operated by each of the last said switches to connect the corresponding group of high-tension contacts to a source of hightension current, switching means movable stepwise past said contact bank, and contacts on said switching means engaging the contacts on said bank when the switching means is in stationary operating position. said contacts on the switching means being interconnected in a manner as to connect to said high-tension contacts, in each operating position of said switching means, a different combination of luminous tubes for each group of high-tension contacts on said bank, a remote control device for the switching means, comprising a multiple cut-out switch formed by a plurality of individual switches, the said switching means having elements for operating, in different operating positions, a selected-one of the individual switches forming the multiple cut-out switch, means for moving said switching means stepwise and locking the same in each operating position, said moving and locking means comprising a source of electricity, an electric motor operatively connected with said switching means, the individual switches of the multiple cut-out switch being arranged, each in series with an operating contact, in parallel in the circuit of said motor, said circuit also including an electromagnet operating a latch forming the locking means for the switching means.

4. In a device for controlling a plurality of luminous tubes, a number of luminous tubes, each having electrodes, a contact bank, contacts on said bank corresponding to said electrodes, means for connecting said contacts individually to their corresponding electrodes of said luminous tubes, groups of high-tension contacts on said bank, a number of high-tension relays corresponding to said groups, means operated by each of the last named relays to connect the corresponding group nf high-tension contacts to a source of high-tension current, switching means movable stepwise past said contact bank and contacts on said switching means engaging the contacts on said bank when the switching means is in stationary operating position, said contacts on the switching means being interconnected in a manner as to connect to said high-tension contacts, in each operating different combination of luminous tubes for each group of high-tension contacts on said bank, a remote control device for the switching means, comprising a multiple a plurality of individual switches, the said switching means having elements for operating, in difterent operating positions, a selected one of the individual switches forming the multiple cut-out switch, means for moving said switching means stepwise, including a source of electricity, an

electric motor operatively connected with said switching means, the individual switches of the multiple cut-out switches being arranged, each in series with a group of operating contacts, in parallel in the circuit of said motor, a group of normally open double pole switches, each swtch corresponding to a certain combination of luminous tubes to be displayed, the switches being arranged in rows, means to connect the contacts of one pole of said'last switches in parallel in longitudinal rows, each row connected to and controlling one of said high-tension relays, means to connect the contacts of the other pole of last said switches to a parallel group in transverse rows, and each said group "of contacts in series with one of said individual switches of the multiple cut-out switch in the circuit of said electric motor.

ERWIN FUNK.

cut-out switch formed by position of said switching means, a.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2583184 *Aug 19, 1948Jan 22, 1952Marine Aircraft CorpController for monogram signs
US2918608 *Jun 25, 1956Dec 22, 1959Rieth Harold FSelective group energizing system
US4167005 *May 31, 1978Sep 4, 1979Societe AatonDevice for displaying figures by a combination of character segments
US4877405 *Mar 7, 1988Oct 31, 1989Stewart Mark RSystem of modules for composing alphanumerics
Classifications
U.S. Classification315/184, 315/313
International ClassificationH05B41/36, H05B41/44
Cooperative ClassificationH05B41/44
European ClassificationH05B41/44