US 2221290 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Nov. 12, 1940. M. G. $LAWSON 2,221,290
RAILWAY-HIGHWAY GRADE CROSSING WARNING SIGNAL Filed Oct. 23, 1939 2 Sheets-Sheet l @m'on ac/yzwan NOV. 12, 1940. M s wso 2,221,290
RAILWAY-HIGHWAY GRADE CROSSING WARNING SIGNAL Filed Oct. 25, 1939 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Inmentor 6: (/Xrwwon W 6 Gttorneg I Patented Nov. 12, 1940 UNlTED STATES RAILWAY-HIGHWAY GRADE CROSSING WARNING SIGNAL.
Marion G.- Slawson, Girard, Kans. Application October 23, 1939, Serial No. 300,831
This invention relates to a railway-highway grade crossing warning signal, and it has for its object to provide an improved device of this character comprising parts of such a nature and so correlated that the resultant structure may be economically manufactured, will comprise a limited number of moving parts, and those of a rugged and reliable nature, and.one in which only a small amount of current is required to operate the same.
More specifically, the invention comprises an improved article of this nature, in which the warningelements consist of lights arranged to be flashed in succession and in such order as to simulate the swinging of a lighted lantern crosswise of the highway. It is a further object of the invention to provide a signal of this character, the body portion of which corresponds in shape to the conventional circular discs'which,
-throughout the nation, have been adopted by highway authorities as signs indicative of railway crossings.
It is a further object of the invention to provide a crossing signal of the character indicated embodying, in conjunction with suitable flashing lights and illuminated warning elements, means for illuminating the railroad crossing itself. That is to say, powerful lights are proyided, the rays of which are directed in such manner that they will illuminate the railroad rails and thus display to approaching drivers, from even along distance ofi, two or four streaks of light reflected from the rails and extending across the highway. Whether there are two or four streaks will depend upon whether the track is a single or double track.
These warning streaks of light indicate to the drivers of vehicles the exact location of the railroad crossing, and this is of importance, because there has been a wide variance, in the different sates, as to the distance between the warning signal and the railroad crossing. In some states, the signals are placed much closer to the cross- L ing than in others, and drivers who havebeen Fig. 2 is a front elevation of one of the signals; Fig. 3 is a view like Fig. 2 but with the face of the signal removed to illustrate the motor and lights therein;
Fig. 4 is an edge elevation of the signal of Fig. 2;
Fig. 5 is a horizontal sectional View through the letter-carrying wall of the signal, illustrating the mounting of colored, transparent or translucent buttons therein, and the reflectors associated therewith;
Fig. 6 is a fragmentary view of a modified form of signal casing, and
Fig. 7 is a side elevation of Fig. 6.
Like numerals designate corresponding parts throughout the several figures of the drawings.
Referring now to Fig. 3, it will be seen that the signal of the present invention comprises a round central body portion 5, this round form of signal being adopted to correspond to the form which, under highway practice throughout the nation, is indicative of railway crossings. A cross buck 6 is supported upon the casing 5 and carries reflecting elements or buttons 1. The words Railroad crossing are painted upon the arms of the cross buck as shown, and preferably in black, so that in the daytime, these letters can be seen from a long distance. The reflecting crystal buttons 1 conform in their positioning to the outlines of the letters so that at night; the reflected light from automobile headlamps makes these letters stand out as clearly as in the day.
By referring to Fig. 3 it will be seen that the interior of the casing 5 is divided into an upper compartment 8, an intermediate compartment 9, anda lower compartment Ill. The compartment 8 houses a suitable signal I I, such as a bell, siren, or the like. The intermediate compartment 9 houses a group of incandescent lamps l2 that are supported in suitable brackets or panels l3. The lower compartment [0 houses an electric motor l4 and flasher I5, of the conventional sign flasher type, the function of which will be hereinafter set forth.
, Four of lamps l6, provided with visors H, depend from the lower portion of the casing 5 and are disposed in an arcuate path so that when these lights are illuminated successively, first in one direction and then in the other, the effect is to simulate the swinging of a lantern across the highway. Preferably, the lenses of these lamps are of red glass, so that apparently a red lantern is being swung. A suitable standard 18 and base I9 serve to support the structure.
The cover plates 20, hereinafter described, which close the sides of the casing 5, are so formed as to cover all of the sound compartment 8 except an opening 2|, which is left to permit the sound to be heard but which is covered by wire screen 22 to prevent the entry of insects. Hoods 23 overlie the opening 2|. Those portions of the cover plates 20 which lie opposite the compartment 9 and which consequently are brought opposite the lamps l2, carry translucent or transparent buttons 24.
By referring to Fig. 2 it will be seen that this portion of the cover bears the word Stop painted in black upon a yellow or other lightcolored background, and the letters of this word are studded and outlined by buttons 24. These buttons are not reflecting buttons; they are transparent or translucent buttons. It is very desirable that the light from all of the lamps 12 be diffused over the whole area of the word Stop, so that no one button will be more brilliantly illuminated than another. It is to be noted that there are four of the lamps [2, one for each of the letters of the word Stop, so that each letter will have ample and equal illumination. This, with the shape and nature of the reflecting walls of the compartment 9, in-
sures that the maximum amount of light from the lamps l2 will pass out through the red buttons of the word Stop.
To this end, the cover plates are, in effect,
made as double-wall elements, comprising the outer steel letter face, having openings 2|] formed therethrough for the passage of the protuberant bulbous portions 20 of the buttons 24. A steel letter back 20 is held in spaced relation to the wall 20 by suitable rivets and spacers 20 -and 2!] respectively. The bulbous portions 20 of the buttons are integral with and are carried by cup-like inner portions 20 Sheets of reflecting material 20 which may be made of stainless steel, polished chromium, or other non-corrosive and non-oxidizable material, are secured to the steel letter back 20 and are provided with inturned flanges 20 which engage inside of the buttons. These flanges surround openings am, through which light may pass directly from the lamps through the bulbous portions of the buttons, and through which light from the lamps, reflected back from the polished reflector on the other side of the lamps, may pass, it being understood that the structure of Fig. is duplicated at each side of the casing 5. That is to say, the cover plates of the casing are, in substance, double-walled elements in which the buttons 24 are mounted and held, to have both direct and reflected light pass therethrough to give the uniform illumination desired.
Those portions of the cover plates 2|] below the compartment l0 may be single-Walled structures since they carry merely reflecting crystal [65 buttons 25, disposed to conform to the outline of the letters 26, forming the words On red lite. These words are preferably painted in black to show clearly during the day. The letters of the word Stop are also preferably 70 painted in black to show, in like manner, during the day. At night, however, the words Railroad crossing and On red lite are outlined in white light by the crystal reflecting buttons, while the word Stop" is outlined in red by the 7 internally illuminated red buttons through which light intermittently flashes, in conjunction with the apparent swinging of a red lantern.
Flood lights 2'! are mounted upon the tops of the casings and are adapted to be turned to direct their rays rearwardly and downwardly. (See Fig. lA.) Thus the light rays from the flood lamps do not blind approaching drivers but illuminate the shiny rails A of the railroad track to vmake these shiny rails stand out as bright streaks across the highway B.
The lenses of the flood lights are preferably of amber glass, this amber light being more penetrative of fog than white light.
In the form illustrated in Fig. 3, the lamps K5 are shown as being independently supported by brackets l6 from the casing 5. In the modification illustrated in Fig. 7, webs 60 are supported by brackets 6| from casing 5, and the lamps I6 with their visors Il are supported from these webs. Any desired way may be resorted to of securing the elements of the cross buck, housin lamp brackets, etc. together, either by flanges and rivets, as indicated with respect to bracket Bl inFig. 7, or by spot welding, this being merely a matter of engineering choice. Any suitable proportions of parts may be employed. However, I find that if the central circular housing is made about 36" in diameter, it enables me to make the letters of the word Stop a full ten inches in height. With this height of letter, the word is readable a full seven hundred feet from the signal.
Therefore, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to the precise construction set forth, but that it includes within its purview whatever changes fairly come within either the terms or the spirit of the appended claims.
Having described my claim is:
1. In a signal of the character described, a housing, a row of lamps therein, a closure for the side of said housing comprising a pair of invention, what I spaced walls, a plurality of buttons comprising cup-like bodies and bulbous tops, said buttons being made of colored, translucent or transparent material and being of a size to span the space between said spaced walls, the outermost of said walls being pierced for the passage of the bulbous portions of said buttons, said' bulbous portions being smaller in diameter than the cup-like bodies of the buttons to thereby provide a shoulder which limits the movement of the buttons outwardly through said outer wall, the inner portions of said buttons bearing upon the inner wall, and said inner wall being pierced to provide openings to permit the entry of light to the interior of said buttons.
2. In a signal of the character described, a housing, a row of lamps therein, a closure for the side of said housing comprising a pair of spaced walls, a plurality of buttons comprising cup-like bodies and bulbous tops, said buttons being made of colored, translucent or transparent material and being of a size to span the space between said spaced walls, the outermost of said walls being pierced for the passage of the bulbous portions of said buttons, said bulbous portions being smaller in diameter than the cuplike bodies of the buttons to thereby provide a shoulder which limits the movement of the buttons outwardly through said outer wall, the inner portions of said buttons bearing upon the inner wall, and said inner wall being pierced to provide openings to permit the entry of light to the interior of said buttons, said buttons being disposed to form a warning design.
3. In a signal of the character described, a housing, a row of lamps therein, a closure for the side of said housing comprising a pair of spaced walls, a plurality of buttons comprising cup-like bodies and bulbous tops, said buttons being made of colored, translucent or transparent material and being of a size to span the space between said spaced walls, the outermost of said walls being pierced for the passage of the bulbous portions of said buttons, said bulbous portions being smaller in diameter than the cup-like bodies of the buttons to thereby provide a shoulder which limits the movement of the buttons outwardly through said outer wall, the inner portions of said buttons bearing upon the inner wall and said inner wall being pierced to provide openings to permit the entry of light to the interior of said buttons, and a reflecting material covering the inner face of the inner wall. I
4. A structure of the character described comprising a casing having open sides, a row of lamps disposed substantially centrally therein and extending thereacross, closures for the sides of said casing, each comprising a pair of walls tied together but lying in spaced relation to each other, a plurality of red transparent buttons, each comprising a cup-like body portion and a bulbous head, the head being of smaller diameter than the body portion and the outer wall being provided with a plurality of openings through which the bulbous portions .of the buttons are passed, said buttons spanning the space between said walls and having their inner portions resting against the inner wall, each of said inner walls being covered with reflecting material and each of said inner walls being provided with openings which match with the interiors of said cup-like buttons whereby direct light may .pass from the lamps to said interiors and reflected light may pass from the reflecting material carried by the inner wall at the opposite side of the