US 2175072 A
Abstract available in
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Oct. 3, 1939.
.1. .1. WOMPEY ILLUMINATING DEVICE AND REFLECTOR THEREFOR Filed July 25, 1936 2 Sheets-Sheet l ATTORNEY.
Oct. 3, 1939. J J WQMPEY I 2,175,072
' ILLUMINATING DEVICE AND REFLECTOR THEREFOR Filed July 25', 1936 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR' Jomv J Wfl/MPEY BY W/l/TL-HEAD g M064 &
Patented Oct. 3, 1939 UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE ILLUMINATING DEVICE AND REFLECTOR THEREFOR 8 Claims.
This invention relates to illuminating devices, herein described as applied to illuminated signs and the like.
An object of the invention is to produce more brilliant, more pleasing and new efiects on the illuminated surface by the use of a reflector having a cross section composed of parabolic curves with the lighting elements adapted to be positioned at the foci of such parabolic curves.
A further object is to produce on such surface, illuminating effects including the blending and variations in blending of various colors suggesting or simulating kaleidoscopic or changing rainbow effects by use of a generally parabolic reflector and a rotating illuminating unit including vari-colored elements and adapted by rotation to bring different colored elements successively or alternately into focus within the reflector.
A further object is to provide such a device, including as the illuminating unit an. approximately circular series of illuminating elements such as neon tubes which may be straight, spiral, or in other suitable forms.
A further object is to provide a reflector which will effectively reflect the light from illuminated gas tubes such as neon tubes.
A further object is to provide, in such a device, a split focus or double focus parabolic reflector.
With these and other objects in view which will more fully appear from. the following specification, as illustrated in the accompanying drawings, the invention comprises certain novel constructions, combinations and arrangements of 35 parts as will be hereinafter more fully described and claimed, and as illustrated in the accompanying drawings, in which like characters of reference indicate corresponding parts throughout, and in which Fig. 1 is a front elevation of a sign constructed according to this invention, a portion of the sign face being cut away to disclose the lighting ele ment.
Fig. 2 is a section on line 22 of Fig. 1 looking 45 in the direction of the arrows.
Fig. 3 is a fragmentary view on line 33 of Fig. '7 is a diagrammatic illustration of a reflector designed to focus on the rear tube of a series for most effectively illuminating a comparatively low or narrow sign face.
I am aware that signs having characters 5 formed of or outlined in a jewelled, prismed, or other structures of glass, have been illuminated by rotatable series of lighting elements in the rear of such face and that reflectors have been placed in the rear of such lighting elements.
My invention resides in the provision of a new and improved reflector for such purpose and in the combined arrangement of such reflector and the lighting elements and especially in the combination of such reflector with lighting elements consisting of illuminated gas tubes.
The invention is adapted for use in various kinds of illumination as well as for illuminated signs. Its first and perhaps most general use will be in connection with illuminated signs and 20 the structure and use will be herein described as applied to illuminated signs, but from this description its use and manner of use for other purposes will be obvious to those skilled in the art.
In constructing an illuminated sign for use of my invention therein, I provide a housing I with means such as grooves or troughs 2 for holding any suitable sign face here illustrated as comprising an opaque screen 3 having openings therein as indicated at 4, the openings being in the shape of the characters desired to be illuminated and exhibited, as illustrated by the letter N at the right at Fig. 1. A translucent plate or sheet 5, which may be of glass having a. ground, prismed, jewelled or other irregular or lightdiffusing surface or structure is positioned adjacent the screen 3 and, conveniently, behind the screen and in the grooves 2, whereby the characters will appear to be formed of such translucent material. The characters may be actually constructed of such translucent material if desired, as by setting the translucent material directly in the openings 4. However, the structure which I have illustrated at Figs. 1 and 2 and above described will be found more economical and convenient in most cases and will lend itself to a greater variety of changes in the sign face and illuminated effects thereon. Many kinds of surfaces and structures of translucent material are available, each of which will give a different or modified effect and, with my illustrated structure, they may be interchanged whenever desired, with the same or different screens. The combinations of colors in the lighting elements as hereinafter described can also be varied as desired, and by such changes in the screen, translucent material, and colors of the lighting elements an almost infinite variety of combinations and modifications of illuminating effects may be obtained.
Revolubly mounted in the ends of the housing l, I provide a shaft ii carrying a plurality of members here shown as insulated discs I provided with recesses 8 for the reception of lighting elements such as neon tubes 9 whch may be straight as illustrated in Figs. 1 and 3 or in any other desired form as, for example, spiral as illustrated at 9d at Fig. 5. Suitable retainers it are provided to hold the tubes in recesses 8. It will be understood that the seating of the tubes in the recesses may be done in any approved manner to provide against breakage or variation of position.
This may be accomplished by the use of rubber or other padding or by any other suitable means, and no particular means are illustrated in the drawings.
Any suitable method of connecting the tube 9 with the source of electric current may be used, but I have illustrated one method comprising a disc of insulating material ll carried by shaft 6 and in turn carrying ring-shaped contacts l2 and I3. Resilient contact fingers M and it are mounted upon the end of the housing and. connected with the current source by wires H3 and i1, and mounting bolts i8 and 59, the fingers M and I5 respectively contacting rings i2 and H3 at all times even during the rotation of disc II with the shaft 6. One of the tubes is connected to ring 12 by lead 29 and bolt 2| and another tube is connected to ring it by lead 22 and bolt 23 and the tubes are suitably interconnected according to common practice, as partially illustrated at 24, whereby to provide a current running continuously through the series of tubes.
The shaft 6 is provided with any suitable means, not shown, for rotating the same.
The rear of housing I is adapted to be opened as by hinging the rear wall 25 as at 26 and providing a suitable friction catch as at 27, whereby the rear wall may be swung open and free access allowed to the interior of housing I.
My improved reflector generally indicated at 28 resembles a trough, the cross section of which is a combination of parabolic curves, the trough being of length substantially equal to the length of the sign face which, in ordinary practice, will be substantially the same as the length of tubes 9. The reflector 28 is carried by a supporting frame 29 the bottom of which is adapted to rest on the bottom of housing 1 as clearly shown at Fig. 2, whereby the reflector may be suitably positioned within the housing l or removed therefrom through the rear opening above described. When the reflector has been properly positioned within the housing so that it will be focused upon the lighting elements in the manner hereinafter described, it is affixed in such position by any suitable means as by set screw 36 which clamps the bottom of frame 25 to the bottom of housing i, whereby the inter-relative positions of the reflector and shaft 6 carrying the lighting elements, are fixed and maintained.
The construction of my improved reflector and its coordination with the lighting elements is diagrammatically illustrated in Figs. 6 and '7.
As stated above, the reflector is generally trough-shaped and the cross section of each side of. the trough is a parabolic curve. These curves may be upon a common axis and have a common vertex and this form will be most effective with a lighting element of pin point or knife edge type, that is to say, a light-emitting element of no substantial area.
My invention is herein described in terms of a sign using neon tubes as the lighting elements. The light-emitting element in this case is the illuminated gas within the tube and the width of the light-emitting element is, therefore, generally speaking, the diameter of the interior of the tube. The area of the lighting element therefore varies because neon tubes are of various diameters. Assume an inside diameter of a neon tube to be one-quarter inch. In such case the lighting element is one-quarter inch in width and with such a tube as the lighting element in a device constructed according to my invention, in order to obtain the most efficient illumination I construct my reflector on two parabolic curves having axes parallel but spaced apart onequarter of an inch so that when the tube is focused in the reflector the two axes will coincide, respectively, with the top and bottom of the gas in the tube.
Applying this description to Figs. 6 and 7, V?
the circles 3!, 32, 33 and 34 indicate the illuminated gas in each of the four tubes arranged in generally circular series. Fig. 6 illustrates a reflector designed to illuminate a wide or high sign face, the reflector comprising two parabolic curves 28a and 281) with axes respectively indicated at 35 and 36 and the focus of each curve being in the forward tube 33 and these foci being respectively at the top and bottom of the gas in such tube, the foci being indicated at 33a and 331), the lines 3'! indicating rays of light radiating from the focal points to the reflector and reflected therefrom in parallel lines.
The rays of light radiating from other portions of the gas indicated at 33 and from the gas indicated at El 32 and 3a in Fig. 6 are not shown but it will be obvious that such rays will be reflected at various angles and will cross the radiated and reflected rays indicated by the lines 3i and that the rays reflected from the focal points will be the dominating rays on the illuminated surface and the color of the tube in focus will be the dominating color on the illuminated surface.
It will be understood that the various tubes will be of different colors in such combinations as may be desired and it will be obvious that as the tubes change their positions with the rotation of shaft 6 the different tubes will come successively into focus and in each case the color of the tube in focus will be the dominating or prominent color on the illuminated surface of the sign, and the light-diffusing surface or structure of the translucent material 5 will transmit the various colored rays and diffuse and partially blend the same, producing an effect suggestive of the rainbow but without any clear or definite line of demarcation between the various colors.
As the series of tubes rotates with shaft 6 the color combinations, blendings and effects will constantly but gradually and smoothly change and such change will be devoid of interruption or intermittence.
Fig. '7 is a diagrammatic illustration of the reflector for illuminating a comparatively low or narrow sign face. The diameter of the illuminated gas in the tubes is illustrated as being the same as that illustrated in Fig. 6 and therefore the axes 35 and 36 are the same. The parabolic curves of the reflector, however, are different, and are indicated at 28c and 28d, which results in bringing the focus on the illuminated gas indicated at 31, being that in the rear tube instead of the forward tube 33 illustrated in Fig. 6. With these changes in structure in mind, the description of Fig. 7 will be the same as the foregoing description of Fig. 6, and it is therefore unnecessary to repeat the same.
The arrangement of the tubes in spiral as illustrated at Fig. 5 instead of straight as illustrated at Fig. 3 does not require any change in the construction of the reflector nor of the other parts of the device, except the obvious adaptation of the discs I and the recesses 8 therein to accommodate the change in shape of the tubes 9a.
It will be obvious that when the spiral tube is used only a small portion of such tube is in focus at any particular time, but the different portions of each tube will come into focus successively at different points along the length of the reflector as the tube rotates with shaft 6. The resulting effect on the sign face will be that of moving the dominating or prominent color from one end of the sign to the other. As the color of one tube moves along the face of the sign the next tube in the series will come into focus and its color will be the prominent or predominating color at a given point on the face of the sign following the color of the first mentioned tube and so on throughout the series. At each point on the face of the sign there will be the predominating color of the tube which is in focus behind that point and this will be combined with the other colors and blendings of colors and the resulting effect will simulate the movement of a rainbow longitudinally along the face of the sign, it being understood that the various colors will be diffused and partially blended as hereinabove described.
It will be further understood that the tubes may be constructed in various forms as well as in the two forms hereinabove described and the effects will be accordingly varied.
While I have described my invention as applied to the illumination of signs with the use of neon tubes for lighting elements, it will be understood that similar lighting effects may be produced on surfaces other than sign surfaces, and that my invention can be readily adapted by means obvious to those skilled in the art, to a great variety of uses.
A reflector having curves with coincident axes and vertices will produce new and pleasing effects even with neon tubes of substantial diameters, but the most effective and efficient reflector for use with such tubes is the reflector hereinabove described, comprising a combination of parabolic curves with axes parallel but spaced apart so that the axes will coincide with the extremities of illuminated gas within the tube.
I do not wish to be limited to the details of construction hereinabove described nor to those illustrated in the drawing, as many variations in matters of structure will occur to those skilled in the art but will be within the spirit of this invention and within the scope of the appended claims.
I claim 1. In an illuminating device, in combination, a trough-shaped reflector whose sides are of the same parabolic cross section but interrelatively opposed and spaced apart and a rotatable member comprising elongated light emitting units spaced from, parallel with and rotatable about the axis of the member, said member being positioned to bring said units, successively during rotation of the member, into the foci of said sides with the opposite surfaces of the unit respectively coincident with the foci of said two spaced sides.
2. An illuminating device comprising in combination, a trough-shaped reflector whose sides are of the same parabolic cross section but interrelatively opposed and spaced apart and whose foci are correspondingly spaced apart and an elongated lighting element Whose light emitting portion has substantial width, the opposite surfaces of said light emitting portion being respectively coincident with the spaced foci of said two spaced sides.
3. An illuminating device comprising, in combination, a trough-shaped reflector whose sides are of the same but opposed parabolic cross section and spaced apart and whose foci are correspondingly spaced apart and a luminous tube having the opposite surfaces of its light emitting portion respectively coincident with the spaced foci of said two spaced sides.
4. In an illuminating device, a plurality of light emitting elements in substantially circular arrangement and adapted to be rotated around an axis, each element having an elongated light emitting portion of substantial width and a substantially trough-shaped reflector having each of its sides formed in parabolic cross-section with the axes of the parabolic curves parallel but spaced apart equal to the width of such light emitting portions, the foci of the curves being in a plane perpendicular to the two axes, said light emitting elements being mounted at such position, relative to such reflector, that as said light emitting elements are rotated about their axis the light emitting portion of each of said elements will successively come between the axes of the curves with the opposite lateral extremities of such portion coincident with the foci of said curves.
5. In an illuminating device, a face having translucent, light diffusing characters, a substantially trough-shaped reflector behind said face, and having a generally parabolic cross-section and a plurality of illuminated gas tubes arranged in substantially circular series adapted to rotate around an axis between said face and said reflector and positioned to bring said tubes into focus in said reflector successively during such rotation.
67 In an illuminating device, a face having translucent, light diffusing characters, a substantially trough-shaped reflector behind said face, and having a generally parabolic cross-section and a plurality of illuminated gas tubes arranged in substantially circular series adapted to rotate around an axis between said face and said reflector and positioned to bring said tubes into focus in said reflector successively during such rotation, the sides of said reflector being positioned with the axes of their parabolic curves parallel but spaced apart.
7. In an illuminating device, a face having translucent, light diffusing characters, a substantially trough-shaped reflector behind said face, and having a generally parabolic cross-section and a plurality of illuminated gas tubes arranged in substantially circular series adapted to rotate around an axis between said face and said reflector and positioned to bring said tubes into focus in said reflector successively during such rotation, the sides of said reflector being positioned with the axes of their parabolic curves parallel but spaced apart equal to the width of the illuminated gas within the tubes.
8. In an illuminating device, a face having into focus in said reflector successively during such rotation, the sides of said reflector being positioned with the axes of their parabolic curves parallel but spaced apart equal to the width of the illuminated gas within the tubes and their foci in a plane perpendicular to the axes of the 5 two parabolic curves.
JOHN J. WOMPEY.