US 2410287 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
H. A. JABERG 'y ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT Oct. 29, 1946.
` 2 sheets-sheet 1 Filed Deo. 15, 1943 eff Oct. 29, 1946A.
H. A. JABERG ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT Filed Dec.. 15, 194s 2 sheetssheet 2 G A & www m. m# m m: ma W. H W V.. Bl
Patented Cet. 29, 1946 UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE 6 Claims.
This invention relates to improvements in electrical equipment, and refers particularly to switch or outlet fixtures of a type that may be mounted to dispose the cover or escutcheon plate thereof flush with a surface, such as a wall or ceiling surface, if necessary or desirable. The fixture is so constructed that the cover or escutcheon plate thereof carries the switch or outlet member, which includes prongs or contactors adapted to make electrical contact with sockets permanently located within the fixture, upon mere bodily application of the escutcheon plate to the iixture. Applicationiof the escutcheon plate accordingly results in placing in circuit the switch or socket member carried by the plate, Without resort to the use of tools for establishing the necessary electrical connections.
An object of the invention is to provide a fixture of the character stated, including quickly replaceable switches, outlet members, or the like, and wherein improved means are incorporated for mounting of the fixture cover flush with a surface.
Another object of the invention is to provide in such a iixture, reliable and dependable means effective at all times for snuhing any arcs or flame that might originate in the fixture.
Another object is to facilitate and ensure the safe and proper installation of iixtures providing switches, outlets, or other types of service connections. while at the same time reducing the cost of the fixture and the cost of installation.
A further object of the invention is to provide a fixture of the kind referred to, which may be constructed principally of cheap dialectric material, with the employment of inexpensive manufacturing processes.
Another object of the invention is to provide in a iixture of the character stated, means whereby an unusually great number of different types of electrical connections may safely be effected, with the use of but a single fixture, thereby rendering the new xture of the invention universal in character, and highly flexible in its usages.
These and other objects are attained by the means described herein and disclosed in the accompanyirzg drawings, in which:
Fig. l is a perspective View of the device of the invention in assembled condition.
Fig. 2 is a side elevational view of the device shown as applied to a wall of a buliding.
1., Fig. 3 s a perspective view of the device, with .the escutcheon plate or cover removed.
,. Fig. 4 is a perspective view of the escutcheon plate or cover unit of the device, which is applicable to the assembly shown by Fig. 3.
Fig. 5 is a. longitudinal cross-sectional view of the terminal block or base, taken through the left bus bar of Fig. 3.
Fig. 6 is a view similar to Fig. 5, showing in cross-section the terminal block or base as viewed on a section line passing through the right bus bar.
Fig. 7 is a front elevational view of a modiiied form of cover or escutcheon plate unit.
Fig.` 8 is a perspective View of a second modification of the cover or escutcheon plate unit, showing its use as a decorative wall or ceiling fixture.
Referring to Figs. 3 and 4 of the drawings, the device will be seen to consist of three principal parts, these being the base or terminal block I2, an extension member I3, and the unit indicated generally at I4 oi Fig. 4. The unit I 4 comprises a cover or escutcheon plate I5 from which extends a hollow block-like element I6 referred to herein as a combination snufer block and prong guide. Within the hollow coniines of element I6 is disposed the housing I'I of an electric switch, outlet, or the like, which preferably is fixed relative to the cover or escutcheon plate.v From the housing II extends the several contact prongs I8.I I9 and 20 which feed current to the switch, outlet or the like built Within the housing I'I.
The switch or outlet mechanism within the housing I'! will hereafter be referred to as electricity control means, this term being intended to include switches, outlets, and similar service connections.
Except for the several contact prongs, which Will number two or more, depending upon the nature of the electricity control means, said means is intended to be substantially wholly embraced within the confines of the hollow combination snuffer block and prong guide I6. The part I6 may include a plural number of electricity control means, as indicated at I'I of Fig. 7, wherein one is shown as a switch and the other as a vservice outlet. The service outlet 'I8 and the switch actuator 'I9 are accessible at the front face 20| of the cover or escutcheon plate, as illustrated by Figs. l, 2 and 7.
As may be understood by referring to Figs. 1 and 2, the combination snuffer block and prong guide I6 is adapted to telescopically enter the Well 2l of the intermediate extension member I3. Block I 6 preferably has a close iit within the well or opening 2l, in order that the prongs of the electricity control means may be thereby guided toward sockets in the base or terminal block, while at the same time the telescopic connection serves to conne and snuiF any arc or flame originating within the xture.
The intermediate extension member I3 providing the well 2l, preferably is of porcelain or othei` dielectric material and will conveniently be made c-oextensive with the base or terminal block l2. As illustrated by Fig. 3, member I3 may be firmly seated upon the terminal block IE, and secured in place thereon in any suitable manner, such as by means of screws or other fasteners 22 located at opposite ends thereof.
The base or terminal block I2 preferably is made in the form of a slab of molded dielectric material, of which porcelain is an example, and at its ends may be provided with suitable weakened areas presenting knock-outs 23 and 2:1 through which electric conductors may be insertcd for making the necessary electrical connections to the bus bars indicated at 25, 25, 2l and 28. The bus bars preferably res-t within individual longitudinal channels 2S formed in the molded dielectric material of the terminal block. The bus bars may be mounted upon the terminal block by means of the various screws or rivets, as shown. Terminal screws are also provided, to which may be fastened the electric conductors necessary for serving the device.
As illustrated by Figs. and 6, the busses have attached thereto spring metal sections 35i shaped to furnish resilient clips or sockets, several ci which are indicated by the characters 3i, these sockets or clips being adapted to slidably receive the several prongs illustrated at I3, I B and 2U of Fig. 4. The clips or sockets 3| may be formed integrally with the busses, if desired, although as herein disclosed they are formed from spring metal conductor strips welded, brazed or otherwise suitably secured to the busses for conveying electric current. The sockets may be housed Withing suitable depressions 32 formed within the material of the terminal block.
The number of prong sockets associated with the busses may vary, although for general usage it is found desirable to provide ve sockets as indicated at 3| of Fig. 3, the sockets associated with busses being electrically connected together as indicated by Fig. 5, whereas the sockets associated with busses 21 and 28 are separated by a barrier 33 of dielectric material. Under certain circumstances, it may be found desirable to electrically connect the busses 21 and 28 by means of a strap 34 shown as being applied at the rear of the terminal block, using screws 35. Whether or not the strap is needed, will be determined by the Wiring plan of any given installation. The strap will be omitted. for example, when other than a three-way switch is used, as shown in Fig. 4.
The base or terminal block preferably has a side mounting face 36 adapted to abut against the side of a wall stud or other structural element of a building, indicated at 31 of Fig. 2. It may be held in position upon the member 31 by means of nails, screws or other fasteners 33 passing through the mounting lugs 39 which extend from the ends of the base or terminal block. The mounting lugs may be integral with the base or block as shown, or they may be separate elements attached thereto, if desired. The mounting lugs preferably are faced at an angle, as i1- lustrated at 40 of Figs, I and 3, and provided with suitable bores 4I angularly inclined, so that nails or screws may be conveniently driven into the side face of the wall stud or other structural elements ci a building. The contact area L12 of each mounting lug is made coplanar with the face 36 of the base or terminal block, for proper seating ci the block when mounted.
From the foregoing, it will be understood that the base or terminal block I2 may be permanently mounted upon a wail stud during erection of a building wall, and that all electrical connections may be made therein through the several knockouts without leaving extra wire for attachment to the switch or outlet. Upon establishing the necessary connections to the bus bar screws, the electrician will mount the intermediate extension f member i3 upon the base or terminal block as illustrated by Fig. locating; the forward continuous edge thereof at such a distance forwardly of the wall stud as to make it substantially flush with the anticipated plaster thickness of the wall. This completes the installation so far as the electrician is concerned, since upon completion of the wall any unskilled workman may apply the escutcheon plate unit of Fig. 4 through the opening M leit in the wall bythe plasterer.
In Fig. 2, the plaster thickness is indicated at fis, while d3 indicates the wall lath. In the installation represented by Fig. 2, it may be assumed that the electrician failed to advance the forward continuous edge d3 sufncicntly to make it flush with the plaster coating of the wall, but as will be understood, the eiectricians lack of proper judgment has not resulted in a defective installation, due to the fact that the telescopic sealing block I6 of the escutcheon plate unit extends considerably into the weil of member I3 and effects a substantial closure of the fixture. The several prongs of the electricity control means I1 are made suiiiciently long to enter their respective sockets in the base or terminal block irrespective of variations in the Wall thickness. The escutcheon plate unit may be held in place by means of screws lll' which pass through openings t8 of the escutcheon plate, and enter threaded bores i9 in the intermediate extension member I3.
It is immaterial to the invention, of course, whether the wall 5 be of plaster or of some other wall material, so long as it may be considered a panel. The device of the invention is applicable to ceiling structures, as well as to walls, and in some instances the installation may be made upon structural elements not plastered or otherwise paneled. In the latter instance, the escutcheon plate will simply abut the continuous forward edge 43 of the intermediate extension member I3.
Referring now to Fig. 8, the plaque or member 50 may be properly considered a cover or escutcheon plate carrying the combination snuffer block and prong guide I5 in substantially the manner explained in connection with Fig. 4. This escutcheon plate is adapted to be secured to an intermediate extension member such as I3, by means of screws passing through the openings 5I thereof. In this modified form of the device, the escutcheon plate carries one or more bosses or extensions 52 adapted to house an ordinary screw type socket for accommodating a lamp 53. As will be understood, the escutcheon plate in this instance may be decorated, and may of itself furnish an acceptable ceilingl or Wall fixture. Any suitable means, such as a flange 54 and an jacent recess 35 be provided upon the bosses for the attachment of an ordinary lamp shade, if desired. The electricity control means I1 oi the Fig. 8 xture requires but two prongs or conductors as indicated, since the screw socket of the iixture will ordinarily be connected across two bus bars of the terminal block.
From the foregoing it will be understood that the device of the'invention possesses many advantages over prior devices of a kindred nature. It may be constructed almost wholly of inexpensive moldable materials, and may be fabricated using simple manufacturing processes, with metal working reduced to a practical minimum. The device possesses a high safety rating, due to the absence of electricity conducting parts that would ordinarily constitute a hazard threatening personal injury and property damage. In this connection, it should be noted that switch or outlet replacement does not require a person to loosen or disconnect any of thewiring, nor to in` any way expose himself to the danger oi electric shock in effecting the replacement. He need only to remove the escutcheon plate screws, bodily retract the plate unit, and replace it with a new unit. As concerns property damage due to nre that might result from arcing at the contacts, and spreading to the combustible elements of the wall or ceiling structure, it has been previously explained that the telescopic sealing means provided by the block I6 and well member' I3, effectively preclude such danger even though the body of the iixture be carelessly' or unintentionally installed more deeply than necessary in the wall structure. Of` considerable advantage also is the fact that much time and labor may be saved in the course of wiring a building under construction, since with the use of the present device the electrician can complete the wiring job before completion of the building walls and ceilings, it being unnecessary for him to return to the job after the walls and ceilings are plastered, to make any connections to the switches and outlets. The switch and outlet units are easily applied whenever desired, by the mere insertion oi a selected unit into the previously installed portion of the xture.
Various other advantages and conveniences of more or less limportance will be appreciatedA by persons skilled in the art to which the invention pertains.
Finally, it is to be understood that various modifications and changes in the structural details of the device may be made, without departing from the spirit of the invention. Among such, are various substitutions of materials, and the telescoping of parts I6 and 23 in reverse direction, that is, with the block I6 providing a well into which may enter the forward portion of member I3. Obvious also is the possibility of having the base or terminal block to carry the prongs, while the escutcheon plate unit carries the complementary sockets or spring clips, this being a mere reversal of the structure as illustrated and described herein. 'I'hese and other possible modiiications and alterations are possible within the spirit of the invention, and are comprehended within the claims except where express limitations are included therein.
What is claimed is:
1. In a device of the class described, the combination of a dielectric base block adapted for fixation relative to a support, iixed electrical contact means on the dielectric base block including means for attachment of electric conductors thereto, cover means for said base block, and electricity control means associated with said cover means, including conductor members to abut the fixed contact means of the base block, a. deep open frame member of dielectric material detachably xed to the base block and including peripheral walls forming a well through which the contact means of the base block are exposed, an elongated apertured plug on the back oi the cover means surrounding the electricity control means, said plug being telescopically engageable with the well for guiding said conductor members of the control means into electricity conducting contact with the iixed contact means of the base block, as the cover means ls applied, said telescopic engagement serving to seal of! arcs and name originating in the device, and being of sufiicient range to maintain the seal at various degrees of spacing between the base block and the cover means occasioned by varying thicknesses of an interposed wall material.
2. In a device of the class described, the combination of a dielectric terminal block adapted to be mounted behind a panel opening, electrical contact means on the terminal block including means for the attachment of electric conductors thereto, an escutcheon plate for `covering said terminal block and overlying the panel opening, electricity control means associated with said escutcheon plate and accessible at the exposed face of the plate when in covering position over the opening of said panel, conductor members on said .control means to make electrical contact with the contact means of the terminal block incident to placement of `the escutcheon plate in 3. In a device of the class described, Ithe combination of a dielectric terminal block adapted to be mounted behind a panel opening, electrical contact means on the terminal block including means for the attachment of electrical conductors thereto, an escutcheon plate for covering said terminal block and overlying the panel opening, electricity control means associated with said escutcheon plate and accessible at the exposed face of the plate when in covering position over the opening of said panel, conductor members on said control means to make electrical contact with the contact means of the terminal block incident to placement of the escutcheon plate in the covering position stated, a combined snufier block and contact guide comprising a hollow elongated plug xed relative to the escutcheon plate in surrounding relationship tothe electricity control means, said plug extending from the rear iace of the escutcheon plate toward the terminal block, and a separate extension member intermediate the escutcheon plate and the terminal block, and bearing an abutting relationship to the latter, said extension member including a Well having a. snug telescopic relationship with the combined snuffer block and contact guide, for effecting a seal therewith under varying conditions of panel thickness between the escutcheon plate and the terminal block.
4. In a device ofthe class described, the combination of an elongated dielectric terminal block including means for the mounting thereof behind a. ,panel opening, electrical contact means on the `block including means for the connecting of electric conductors thereto, an escutcheon plate for covering said terminal block and overlying the panel opening, electricity control means associated with said escutcheon plate and accessible at the exposed face of the plate when in covering position over the opening of said panel, conductor members on said control means to make electrical contact with the contact means of the terminal block incident to placement of the escutcheon plate in the covering position stated, a combined snuifer block and contact guide comprising a hollow plug surrounding the electricity control means and extending from the rear face of the escutcheon plate toward the terminal block, an intermediate extension member substantially co-extensive in length with the terminal block, and detachably superposed thereon, said extension member includingr a well to telescopically receive the combined snuiier block and Contact guide of the escutcheon plate, the well having a peripheral continuous outer edge for disposition Within the opening of the panel, said telescopic connection serving to guide the conductor members into electrical contacting relationship with the terminal block contact means, and to confine arcs and llame originating thereat.
5. In a device of the class described, the cornbination of a dielectric terminal block includingT means for the mounting thereof behind a panel opening, electrical contact means on the block including means for the connecting ci electrical conductors nereto, an escutclieon plate for covering said terminal block and overlying the panel opening, electricity control means associated with said escutcheon plate and accessible at the exposed face of the plate when in covering position over the opening of said panel, conductor members on said control means to make electrical contact with the contact means of the terminal block incident to placement of the escutcheon plate in the covering position stated, a combined snuiler block and contact guide comprlsing a hollow plug surrounding the electricity control means and extending from the rear face of the escutcheon plate toward the terminal block, an intermediate extension member detachably superposed on said block, said extension member including a well to telescopically receive the combined snuler block and Contact guide of the escutcheon plate, the well having a peripheral continuous outer edge of reduced size for disposition within the opening of the panel, said telescopic connection serving to guide the conductor members into electrical contacting relationship with the terminal block contact means, and to confine arcs and flame originating thereat.
6. In a device of the class described, the combination of a substantially flat elongated dielectric terminal block having channels formed in one face thereof lengthwise of the block, bus bars disposed within the channels in electrically independent relationship with one another, means associated with the bus bars providing electric sockets within the confines of the terminal block, said bus bars being accessible through openings in the block for making electrical connections to the bus. bars, an open frame-like member detachably secured to the terminal block and providing a well surrounding the bus bars, said well extending away from the terminal block and presenting a peripheral continuous Wall edge spaced from the block, a cover to overlie said Well, electricity control means carried by said cover and accessible at one face of the cover, a sealing block comprising a hollow plug surrounding the electricity control means and extending from the opposite face of the cover and dimensioned to slidably enter the well with a snug t when the cover is placed in covering relationship therewith, electricity conducting prongs extending from the electricity control means of the cover, and through the sealing block, to enter the well and make electrical contact within the sockets of the terminal block buses, the depth of the well and the length of the sealing block and the prongs being so related, that either full or partial advancement of the sealing block into the well establishes the electrical contact aforesaid, and maintains a seal between the sealing block and the Well member.
HOWARD A. JABERG.