US 2346325 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
April 11, 1944' G. F. N. OLIVER 2,346,325
LI GHT BUOY Filed Aug. 26, 1941 XNVENTOR 62F. N. OLlVER W M +J w Z/ww ATTYS.
Patented Apriucnr nuor George Francis Norris. Oliver, London, England, asslgnor to Oliver Pell Control Limited, London,
England H Application August 26, 1941, Serial No. 408,391
v In Great Britain July 8, 1940 scams. (01'. 177-324) .as an automatically-operated distress signal for persons in the water through shipwreck or being forced to abandon theirship or otherwise or for persons on a raft or lifeboat.
One objection to such a signal is that owing to its self-igniting character it is a source of danger ,to inflammable cargo on a ship which is fitted with it and for this reason such distress signals are not permissible in vessels such as oil tankers.
It is also known to provide a buoy or float with an automatically-operated electric light for the same purpose and this has the advantage of not being so liable to cause fires but is practically invisible by day. I Y
It is an object of the present invention to provide a floating signal'for use as a distress signal or a locating means for'nets, seaplane landing areas, mine fields or other purposes.
The present invention comprises in a signal for the purposes referred to the combination with a buoyant float of an electric light signal and a device for emitting a smoke or smoke-like signal without producing externally to the apparatus a temperature likely to cause combustion of inflammable gases and liquids.
In order to produce the smoke or smoke-like signal various chemical means can be adopted. For example there may be contained in separate vessels a strong solution of ammonia'and one of hydrochloric acid and means may be provided to cause these solutions to mix automatically when the float is set adrift from a vessel or when for other reasons it is important that a signal should be made. This produces heavy dense white fumes easily visible by day.
Alternatively there may be provided means for emitting nitrogen peroxide which is a dark brown gas. The nitrogen peroxide may be carried on the float in compressed condition and released when desired, or alternatively nitric oxide may be carried underconpression and on being emit ted and coming in contact with the air nitrogen peroxide will be formed.
In other cases substances may be used which lead to combustion at a low temperature and give of! smoke, preferably with means to enclose the place of combustion so as to shield the surroundings from contact therewith.
In cases where the materials to be emitted do not of themselves generate sufllcient pressure for the purpose compressed air or other gas may be used to assist in their atomisation. In some cases a solid powder may be disseminated like a fume by a gas or air which is emitted under. pressure from a suitable mixing device. In all these cases it is convenient that the float with which the electric light is associated should contain means automatically to set the light into operation when the device is brought into use and that the same means should operate a valve or the like to'causethe emission of the smoke or. fume or other smoke-like substance. Such a valve can be operated by a low-consumption electric motor carried on the float and actuated by a dry battery through an automatic gravity-operated switch, and the connection of the motor to the valve may be such asto open it periodically and cause the smoke or smoke-like emission to occur in periodic bursts. This will economise the me.-
terial and lengthen the time during which signals will be shown. Alternatively the valve may be actuated either periodically or once and for all by the compressed air or gas used formaking float upright in the water with an upstanding portion I2 (see Figure 2) extending well above the water level. The buoy may be provided with a float chamber i3 or other means such as a belt of light wood or expanded rubber or the like for ensuring that it floats in the water at the appropriate level.
Within the buoy there is provided a. source of electric supply shown as a battery l4, IS. The electrical connections will be most easily followed from the connection diagram, Fig. 3, on which the parts bear the same reference numerals as on Fig. 1. The battery is located in an inner casing Ill and connected to anautomatic switch which may, for example, be constituted by a quantity of mercury in a mushroom-shaped glass vessel It. This is so set, and connected to the battery I4, that a circuit to a line wire I1 is completed when the buoy floats upright or at an angle which is not too great to the vertical, but is broken when the buoy is stored in a horizontal position on deck. As soon as the gravity-open ated switch It completes the, circuit to the line wirell, this starts in operation an electric motor l8 which is connected between the line I! and another line l9 leading to the other pole of the battery. The motor 18 drives through reduction gearing a rotatable cam I20 operating a switch arm 20 which in one position of the gearing completes the circuit from the line wire II to another line 2!, while in another position of the gearing this circuit is broken. Therefore the switch 20 will energise the line 2i intermittently.
In a metal inner casing H5, a bottle 22 for compressed air or gas is provided which is closed by a thin diaphragm 23. The diaphragm 23 is arranged in line with a piercer 24. The piercer is made hollow and is connected to a valve box 25 in a manner which does not interfere with the movement of the piercer, the valve box 25 being movable with the piercer, so as to avoid leakage in the connection of pipe 24 to the valve box 25. A soft washer 26 is provided for ensuring that if the piercer is moved'towards the closure 23 so as to pierce it leakage of air or gas from the .bottle 22 is prevented and the air or'gas' is conducted to the interior of the valve box 25.
The piercer 24 is normally spaced a little from the closure disc 23 and is engaged by a lever 21 pivoted at 28 close to one side of the piercer 24, A spring 28 pushes on the piercer 24 in the direction to cause it to pierce the disc 23 and the spring is made strong enough to ensure that if it is allowed to operate, piercing will actually take place. The lever is however normally prevented from movement under the action of the spring 29 by means of a tension bar 30 one end of which is fixed to the lever 21 and the other end of which is secured at 3| to a fixed point within the casing II. The tension bar is made in two parts which are soldered together with an easily fusible metal and it is surrounded by an electric heating coil 32. The coil 32 derives cur-- vice being thrown into the sea so that it floats upright, the heating coil 32 will be heated, the fusible metal which unites the two parts of the tension bar 30 will be melted and the lever 21 released whereupon the circuit of coil 22 breaks itself. Under these conditions piercer 24 is driven into closure 23, and the air or gas in the bottle 22 will be released to the valve box 25. The valve box 25 contains a piston valve 33 which is urged in the outward direction by a spring 34. The end of the piston valve projects beyond the valve box 25 and carries an iron solenoid core 35 which is surrounded by a solenoid winding 25. The construction is such that if the solenoid 35 is energised the valve 33 is forced inwardly'against the spring 34 and the passage through the valve box 25 is interrupted. If the solenoid winding is deenerglsed the valve is allowed to be moved outwardly by the spring 34 and the passage through the valve box is re-established. The solenoid the line wire 2| and the return connection through casing I I5. This will show an intermittent light at night.
In the case where the signal is produced by combustion or by blowing solid powder out of a container by means of air under pressure, a slight modification will be necessary in the apparatus as described in connection with Figure ,1. Referring to Figure 2, this shows a casing ll containing the same parts as in Fig. 1. The outlet from the valve box 25 however leads into a mixing and disseminating chamber 4| within the float i3 in which there may take place either combustion of fuel with a smoky flame or mixing and dissemination of a fine smoke-like powder with the air, for example a powder of lamp black 1. From the mixer or combustion chamber 4! the smoke produced passes through opening 42 into the upper part of pipe l2 to an outlet 38 above sea level as already described. In other respects the apparatus is similar to Figure 1.
In oper tion, the valve 25 ensures that the emission o the smoke or iume is intermittent and thus will economise material and lengthen the period during which-the buoy remains in service.
It will be understood that other modifications may be made in the construction described; for instance, in addition to, or instead of, the automatically-operated switches l5 and 20 there may be a manually-operated switch, which could be worked by the user to start the signal, or to stop it for a time so as to economise the stored energy and to bring the signal into use only when a suitable opportunity for attracting attention arises. The switch 20 may be modified to give any desired interval or a series of varying intervals for the emission and cessation of the smoke or fume, thus if desired conforming to a code.
1. In a float-signal the combination with a buoyant float of an electric light signal, a device for emitting a smoke signal, a valve for controlling the said emission, electro-magnetic means for opening and closing said valve, a source winding is connected between the line 2| and cas- 6o ing H5 so that it is intermittently energised by the rotation of the cam I20 operating the switch 20. From the valve box 25 there extends a smoke pipe 31 which terminates in the pipe H, which latter conveys smoke as high as possible above the. water level.
If the bottle 22 is filled with a gas under pressure, such as nitrogen peroxide or other gas hereinbefore referred to, the result will be that a puff of fumes visible by day will be periodically emitted from the mouth 38 (Figure 2) of the pipe 12.
In addition there is an electric light 39 supplied by wires 40 which, like the other parts of the electric circuit, are connected across between of electrical power for supplying said electromagnetic means, a switch for interrupting said supply, an electric motor operated by the source of electric power geared to said switch so as periodically to open and close the same, a vessel having a puncturable seal and containing gas under pressure, means to puncture the seal comprising electro-magnetically operated releasing means, an electrical circuit includin said electro-magnetically operated releasing means, and an automatic gravity operated switch so set as to close the circuit when the float assumes an upright position in water, and means for suppllying the released gas to assist the smoke emiss on.
2. A signal device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the puncturable seal is disposed in line with a movable piercer and the piercer is released by the melting of an easily fusible retaining device,
operated by an electric heating circuit automatically closed by the said gravity operated switch.
3. A signal device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the operation of the piercer serves to direct gas under pressure into a smoke producing chamber from which the flow of the gas is utilised to carry the smoke into the atmosphere.
GEORGE FRANCIS NORRIS OLIVER.