US 2515757 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
July 18, 1950 w. J. BROWNER 2,515,757
HIGH-FREQUENCY ACTIVATED NEON SIGN Filed March 28, 1947 INVENTOR.
W/LL/AM. J BROW/VEH Patented July 18, 1950 2,515,757 HIGH-FREQUENCY ACTIVATEDN EON SIGN William J. Browner, Chicago, 111., assignor, by mesne assignments, to Benjamin B. Schneider and Max Dressler, both of Chicago, Ill.
Application March 28, 1947, Serial No. 737,925
This invention relates to an electric sign and is an improvement upon the invention disclosed and claimed in my prior U. S. Patent No. 2,488,169, patented November 15, 1949. As disclosed in said application, ionization and luminescence of gas-filled envelopes may be accomplished in an unusually effective manner by impressing high frequency electric currents on electrodes having large surface area'and so disposed as to providean active electrode gap of between about one sixty-fourth of an inch and about threefourths of an inch and particularly of between about one sixty-fourth of an inch and about three-eighths of an inch. As'disclosed in said application, it is desirable to dispose such gasfilled envelopes as close as possible to the electrode surfaces. Thus, the mostintense portions of the electric fields are effective for ionization and luminescence. i r
The invention hereinafter disclosed and claimed improves upon the invention disclosed in the above-identified patent by providing electrode surfaces so shaped as to cooperate with magnetic retaining means carried by the sign elements for maintaining the same in the proper position. The
Browner patent referred to above discloses the tain the sign element in close proximity to the electrode surfaces.
For a more thorough understanding of the invention, referencewill now'be made to the drawing wherein Figure 1 shows an isometric view of a structure embodying the present invention;
Figure 2 is a section on line 2--2 of Figure 1; and i t Figure 3 is an enlarged detail.
Excepting for sign elements, a metal-housing, generally indicated by numeral l0, encloses the entire structure. Housing in comprises top portion-ll, bottom portion l2,end plates l3 and I4 at one end and corresponding plates and [6 at the other end. Housing l0, either in part or in whole, may consist of any metal or an rigidsupporting means, either insulating or conducting, upon whichan electrically conducting surface is provided. Part II of the housing has a generally U-shaped section consisting of top panel 18, sides l9 and and inturned edge portions 2| and 22. I
9 Claims. (01. 40-130) .Bottomportion l2. ofrthef' housing is also of a magnetic material. 'tory. The remainder of electrodes H and I2 may generally U-shaped cross section having bottom panel 24, sides 25 and 26 and internally off-set edge portions 2! and 28. Offset portions 21 and 28 are'connected to their respective sides 25 and 26 by step portions 29 and 30, respectively. Oifset portions 21 and 28 terminate in free edges 32 and 33, respectively. Edges 32 and 33 are spaced from inturned lips 2| and 22. The spacing may vary within wide limits and is unimportant forthe purposes of this invention. Thus as an example, a sgacing of about one-sixteenth inch has been use The entire housing is maintained in rigid fixed relation by insulating members 35 and 3B, bolted to the end plates with the end plates rigidly secured to the housing proper as by spot welding. Within the housing, there'is disposed means for generating high frequency oscillations, at any suitable frequency, preferably between about one megacycle andabout three hundred megacycles. Other frequencies, however, may be used. While any oscillator may be used for generating such frequencies, the oscillating system described and claimed in the copending application of Browner, Ser. No. 690,794, filed August 15, 1946, and'now abandoned, is particularly effective and is preferred. Cord 31 and plug. 33 may be used .for supplyingenergy to high frequency system.
For the purposes of this invention, it is necessary that offset portions 2'! and 28 be'of ferro- Thus, sheet iron is-satisfaceither be of sheet iron or may consist of any other electrically conducting material. The electrically conducting material may be in any suitable form, such' as a conducting film sprayed or otherwise formed on any suitable rigid backing member of insulating material, such as glass, Bakelite or the like. A simple construction, however, may be provided by forming members I I and [2 of sheet iron or sheet steel. The dimensions and depth of ofiset portions 21 and 28 are not important and may vary within wide limits. I
Cooperating with the electrodes formed by the housing are one or more sign elements generally indicated by numeral 40. Such sign elements may be formed in any shape and consist of sealed transparent insulating material, such as glass, within which are one or more ionizable gases or vapors. In general, such sealed glass envelopes are similar, except for the lack of electrodes, to conventional neon sign'elements and may contain the same gas or mixture of gases or vapors. Thus, asan example, one or more rare gases may be used, depending upon the color :face.
trodes. .bedisposed in position.
at an intermediate portion thereof. Such magnets may be formed of any suitable material,
such as Alnico or the like. Magnets 42 are-do signed to have any desired dimension along the length of the sign. However, the width of the magnet is so selected as to be less-than distance d between step 29 and inturned edge portion 2|.
The difference between the magnet width and distance d is in the range of critical gap dimensions specified in "the first-mentioned Browner application, namely between about one sixtyfourth of an inch and about three-fourths of an inch, with a preferred range of about between about one sixty-fourth. of an inch and about example, a width cfaboutifive eighths inch has been used. The width is unimportant otherwise and may'hav'e any desired value. Obviously,-distance 21 must be greater than about one sixtyfourth of an inch or whatever :active gap is desired for exciting a sign element.
It will be evident that, when a sign element is disposed in position, magnet 42 will fit into re cessed region 4| and permit the sign element itselfto lie substantially flush against panels I9 and 25 of the housing. In disposing a sign element, it is essential that a magnet fit against offset 21 and not extend across the gap between edge 32' and lip 2|.
A :magnet' bearing against ferromagnetic offset 21 will maintain a signelementti'ghtly in position. It is understood that a sign element mayhave as many magnets as necessary.
.Each magnet 42 has sufficient electrical conductivity so that the surface of the magnet adjaoent a sign-element becomes an electrode sur- I-Ience, .a sign, element may. be disposed inclose proximity to. the active. electrode surfacesand extend across a suitable gap of :critical dimensions and be retained. by-magneticmeans.
It is understood, of course, that the reverse face of the sign formed by portions .and 26 issimilar to the one described andmay have sign elements. If" desired, the housing may :beso: constructed that letters may be disposed against one side-only.
In the actual operation of a sign, the gap-between the free edges of bottom portion l2 and thelips of upper portion I.I.merely function as capacitors. An actual: gap of the: dimensions falling within the ranges specified above is. only formed when a signqelementcarrying amagnet is disposed in operative, relationship to the elec- As many sign elements assdesired. may
The: electrode surfaces may be protected in It: is
4 ing coating between the two merely provides a condenser with offset 21 and magnet 42 as the opposing electrodes.
If large sign elements are to be accommodated, a structure corresponding to Figs. 5 or 8 of the first-mentioned Browner application may be provided having a number of separate parallel offsets. Thus, alarge sign element may. have magnets at various portionsthereof cooperating with various offsets.
1. A neon-type sign comprising one electrical conductor having a portion lying in a flat plane, asecond electrical conductor having a portion lying in the same flat plane, said two conductors being spaced from each other, said second conductor' having a ferromagnetic portion offset from the fiat plane and opposed to an edge portion of said first conductor, said conductors being adapted to have high frequency electric currents impressed thereon to provide a difierence of potential 'therebetween, and :at least one sign element consisting of .a sealed transparent envelope containing an icnizable medium and being free of electrodes, at least one permanent magnet attached to said sign element, said magnet being so proportioned. and disposed with respect tosaid sign element that said signzelement may be disposedadjacent thectwo fiat'portions :of. the conductors and extend acrossqthe offset with the magnet :extending to. said ofiset and cooperating.therewith to maintain the sign element in position, said magnet functioningjto provide a conductor adjacent the. sign element and defining an activegap with, one of :saidother conductors of between about one sixty-fourth of aninch and about three-quartersof an :inch;
2. The structure of claim 1 wherein said conductors are formed of sheet iron.
3. The structure according to .claim 1 wherein said one conductor has .an inturned edge' portion opposed to said ferromagnetic offset portion.
4; The'structure of claim 1 wherein said'active gap between said magnet and first conductor is between about. one sixty-fourth of an inch and about 'three-eighths'of an inch.
5. The structure according to claim 1 wherein said one conductor rhasyan inturned edge-portion opposed to said ferromagnetic offset portion and wherein the active gap between the magnet and one conductor is between about one sixty-fourthpf an-inch and. about three-eighths of an inch.
6. A neon-type sign comprising a housing'having sides in generally. parallel planes, the two sides. being. similar and each side having one electrical conduotor having; a portion lyingina flat plane, a second electrical conductor having a portion lying in the same flat plane, said two conductors being spaced from each other; said second conductor having a ferromagnetic-portionofisetfrom the flat plane and opposed to an edge portion of said first conductor, said conductors being adapted .to.ihave high frequency electric currents impressed thereon to provide a difference of potential therebetween; andvat least one'sign element for each side, said .sign'ielement consisting: of a sealed.transparentienvelope containing an ionizable medium and being free of electrodes, at least; one permanent: magnet carriedyby said sign element, said .magnet-wbeing 'so.;proportioned andf 'disposed; onusaid sig'rinelement that said sign element may be disposed adjacent :the two"fiat;portions :of. the conductors and extend across the oiiset with the magnet extending to said offset and cooperating therewith to maintain the sign element in position, said magnet functioning to provide a conductor adjacent the sign element and'defining an active gap with said first conductor of between about one sixty-fourth of an inch and about threequarters of an inch.
7. The structure according to claim 6 wherein said housing is of sheet iron and wherein said active gap is between about one sixty-fourth of an inch and about three-eighths of an inch.
8. A neon-type sign comprising two generally U-shaped elongated metal members, insulating means for retaining said members in rigid predetermined relation with the free ends of said Us in opposed spaced relation to form a housing with the sides of said Us being aligned and having portions in spaced parallel planes, one of said side portions having an oflset extending inwardly of the housing, there being one ofiset on each side of the housing, said U members being adapted to have high frequency currents impressed thereon to provide a potential difference therebetween, and at least one Sign element for each side, said sign element consisting,
of a sealed transparent envelope free of electrodes and containing an ionizable medium, at. least one permanent magnet carried by said sign element, said magnet being so proportioned 30 and disposed on said sign element that said sign element may be disposed adjacent the sides of said two Us across the offset with the magnet extending to said offset and cooperating therewith to maintain the sign element in position, said magnet functioning to provide a conductor adjacent the sign element and defining an active gap with a cooperating U side, said gap having a transverse dimension of between about one sixty-fourth of an inch and about three-eighths of an inch.
9. The structure of claim 8 wherein said housing has means within the same for generating high frequency currents to be impressed on said U members.
WILLIAM J. BRO-WNER.
REFERENCES CITED The following references are of record in the file of this patent:
UNITED STATES PATENTS Number Name Date 1,624,741 Leppke et a1. Apr. 12, 1927 2,166,036 Bertoye July 11, 1939 2,184,530 Penny et al Dec. 26, 1939 FOREIGN PATENTS Number Country Date 502,572 Great Britain Mar. 21, 1939