US 2575820 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Nov. 20, 1951 LIN-[9N 2,575,820
ILLUMINATED COVER PLATE FOR ELECTRICAL OUTLETS Filed Oct. 10, 1944 Patented Nov. 20, 1951 ILLUM INATED COVER PLATE FOR ELEC- TRICAL OUTLETS William C. Linton, Washington, D. 0., assignor to Fuse Indicator Corporation, Rockville, Md., a
corporation of Delaware Application Octoberll), 1944, Serial No. 558,054
The present invention relates to cover plates for cutout boxes which house various electrical circuit breakers and makers and among the primary objects of the present invention is to render such cover plates more attractive and of pleasing appearance over the conventional cover plates now in vogue.
An equally important object of the invention is to provide a cover plate of the above character which may be rendered luminous when the electrical device housed within the cutout base is inoperative, whereby the cover plate and the electrical device when positioned in dark or secluded places will be more readily visible and when the electrical device is rendered operative, the illumination to the cover plate will disappear.
Another equally important object of the invention is to provide a luminating device for the conventional cover plates which may be easily and readily applied thereto and comparatively inexpensive in the cost of manufacture, thereby rendering the same commercially desirable.
Still another equally important object of the present invention is to provide a lamp support for such luminating device upon which will be mounted the lamp, resistor and lead Wires, all in one self-contained unit, whereby such lamp unit or support can be readily and quickly mounted upon a cover plate by unskilled persons or arranged within the housing for the lamp.
A still further object of the present invention is to provide a cover plate of the aforesaid character which can be produced in any of the colors of the spectrum whereby it can be matched with or harmonized with the color scheme of a room in which it is installed and when illuminated,
. will be highly attractive and decorative.
Other objects of the invention will be in part obvious and in part pointed out hereinafter.
'In order that the invention and its mode of operation may be readily understood by persons skilled in the art, I have in the accompanying drawings and in the detailed following description based thereupon. set out an embodiment of the same.
In the drawings:
Fig. 1 is a front elevation of my improved cover plate as applied to a wall switch.
Fig. 2 is a vertical section through the cover platewhen removed from the wall switch.
Fig. 3 is a rear elevation of the same.
Fig. 4 is an enlarged detail sectional view of a slightly modified form of the invention.
Fig. 5 is also an enlarged sectional view showing another slightlymodified form of the inventioii.
Fig. 6 is an enlarged detail sectional view showing still another slightly modified form of the invention.
Fig. 'l is an enlarged detail sectional view show ing still another modified form of the invention.
Fig. 8 is a horizontal section of the cover plate shown in Fig. 7 and taken on the line ii8 thereof in the direction of the arrow points.
Fig. 9 is a detail perspective view of the closure and lamp-containing unit, and
Fig. 10 is a rear perspective view of the same.
In the accompanying drawings, I have illustrated a conventional cover plate for receiving a single-throw switch of the toggle type, but the 7 present invention may be applied to all types of cover plates whether they be foruse in housing multiple switches of the toggle or' push-button type or whether such cover plates are employed for housing other forms of circuit breakers and makers. Such cover plates are usually installed in secluded places as they are generally unattractive or do not harmonize with the color schemes of the room in which they are installed. Furthermore, such cover plates and the electrical devices housed in the cutout boxes to which they are applied are somewhat difficult to locate when they are installed in dark places. Various 11- luminating devices have heretobefore been employed for designating or indicating such cover plates but the present invention is designed solely for the purpose of illuminating such cover plates to such an extent as would render the same more visible without establishing an indicating or ponetrating glow of light from the lamp of the illuminating attachment.
The type of lamp employed with my illuminator for cover plates is a miniature glow lamp containing a mixture of inert gases having a leak resist-- ance connected in series therewith. This lamp and resistor should be connected to the terminals of a switch or other electrical device arranged within the cutout box and when connected to an ordinary lighting circuit, the lamp and resistor will be arranged in parallel to the switch but in series with the terminals thereof. From this arrangement, it is quite obvious that when the switch is opened, the current will be permitted to flow to the lamp to cause the same to glow and when the lamp once strikes or glows, sufllcient current will be permitted to leak by the resistor to the lamp for keeping the lamp glowing but when the electrical device is rendered operative, the current will fail to pass... the leak resistor, whereby the lamp will be extinguished. The leak resistor provides a protective device for prevent-' 3 ing' excessive currents from passing therethrough or the lamp connected in series therewith and by permitting a leakage of the current therethrough, the consumption of current for keeping the lamp glowing will be infinitesimal and, still further, the life of the lamp will be greatly prolonged. The small amount of illumination given off .by such a miniature glow lamp is sufiicient to render a cover plate luminous when installed in a dark. or secluded place and through my method of housing this lamp, the rays of light therefrom will be directed upon or through the cover plate and prevented from giving a direct glow through the housing of the lamp as wouldestablish an indica: tor for the cover plate and distract from the attractive appearance thereof.
The cover plate 47 as shown ,inFigs. 1, 2 and .3 of the drawings, is molded from suitable translucent materials of any desired color, having the openings 38 formed therein for receiving the attaching screws 49 and an opening 50 formed therein for receiving the knob '51 of the switch arranged within the cutout box to which the plate is attached by means of the screws 49. Thls plate has an opening 6 formed therein and extending about this opening 6 is a bulged portion 52 forming a lamp housing in which the lamp 30 :may be installed. The-plate 4'! and lens 52 are molded in one unitary piece of plastic material and the shell or lens 52 extends from theouter face of the plate 4'! above the switch knob 5| without a light emitting opening therein. The walls of the lens 52 as best shown in Fig. 2 of the drawings, are less in thickness than that of the plate '47 so that the rays of light may be emitted down'towards the switch knob .51. The plate 41 being translucent will, when applied to a wall switch, cover and hide from view, exteriorly of the plate, the switch mechanism contained in the cutout box of the wall switch. 7 v
Inthe modified form of the invention as (115 closed in Fig. 4 of the drawings, the lamp housing 41 is so formed as to cover the entire exterior face of a conventional cover plate I having an opening 6 formed therein and. is retained upon the same by means of the attaching screws 49. This lamp housing 41 is preferably molded from translucent molding powders in various colors and would match or harmonize with a room in which the cover plate is installed.
-,In Fig. 5 of the. drawings, I have illustrated another slightly modified form of the invention in which the standard cover plate I is used with- V out the opening 6 andthe lamp housing 42 consists of a transparent molded material which fits entirely over the outer face of the cover plate i.
'The plate 12, which has the lamp supported thereupon, fits within the recess 9 of the lamp housing but upon the outer face of the plate i, whereby.-the lead wires 3-3 extending from the lamp 30 arranged within the lamphousing will pass between the outer covering 32 and the plate I to the switch knob opening 4 of the cover plate from where these lead wires 33 may be connected to the terminals of the electrical device arranged within the cutout box to which the cover plate is applied. As this form of lamp housing 5 2 is molded from, transparent materials, the inner face thereof should be silvered or coated with paint 45. Also, a coat of paint ttshould be placed about the innerface of the lamp housing and between the latter and the lamp 39 in the manner as shown,,whereby the lamp will not be visible from the exterior of the lamp housing but the rays of, light thereirom may. be emitted- 7 through the lamp housing and be reflected therefrom corresponding to the color of the paint 45 so that one may readily select the desired switch arranged within the cover plate.
In Fig. 6 of the drawings, I have illustrated a cover plate which is molded from a mirrored glass having-a bulged portion 53 in which can be housed the, lamp "39.. The inner face of this bulged portion 53 is also mirrored as at 54 so as to prevent one from seein-gthe lamp arranged therein as would be possible should the glass forming this bulged portion 53 be clear. A portion of the mirror background of the glass is removed, as shown at 55, whereby the rays of light from the lamp 30 may be concentrated and reflected through this umnirrored portion 55 of the :cover plate and thereby be projected downwardly in the direction of the arrow points as shown, whereby, the outer face of the cover plate may be illuminated.
In Figs. 7 and 8 of the drawings, I have illustrated a still further modification of the cover plate which is molded from a polymerized methyl methacrylate molding powder sold to thetrade as Lucite. This cover plate may be molded in the shape anddesign of any standard or conventional cover plate but having a bulged out portionfifi forming a recess therein in which may be seated the lamp 3? The rear walls of this cover plate are covered by a coating 5? which may be of any color of the spectrum, whereby the colors will be visible from the outer face of the cover plate. The inner face of the bulged portion 56 is also coated with a paint 58 s as to prevent the lamp 30 arranged therein from being visible and further causing the rays of light from the lamp to bereilected through the Lucite casing in the direction of the arrow points shown upon the drawings, 1 a V In Figs. 9 and 10 of the drawings, I have 11- lustrated a form of lamp unit to be used .in connection with either form of cover plate herein shown with the exception of that form shownin Fig. 6 which consists of a plate 59 having openings 60 formed therein for receiving the set 7 screws (not shown) but formed with one face of this plate 59 is a cup 6 l. The lamp 3!] is mounted upon and secured to one face of this plate having a lead wire 62 extending through the cupand in contact with the leak resistor arranged within The lead wire I8 extends through the cup 6|. an opening formed within the plate 59 wherein it will contact with the leak resistor arranged within the cuplil and the other :lead wire 16 extends through the plate 59, whereupon it may be directly connected to the other lead wire of the lamp 3!]. This rectangularly shaped plate 59 extends over the opening 6 within the rear wall of the cover plate so as to close the compartment in which the lamp is housed as shown in Fig. 2 of the drawings. Instead of employing set screws for attaching the plate 59 to the cover plate 41 I may place sealing compounds around the plate 59- andpermit the same to adhere to' thereto an ad e ve which would dissolveithei molded materials and when the solvent contained within the adhesive dries, the plate 59 will readily adhere or be welded to these molded cover plates. The inner face or that face of the plate 59to which the lamp is attached is preferably provided with a reflecting surface whereby the rays of light from the lamp will be refiected therefrom through the lamp housing.
Manifestly, the construction herein shown is capable of considerable modification and such modifications as come within the scope of my claims, I consider within the spirit of my invention.
1. A cover plate for electrical outlets comprising a rectangular body portion molded from plastic materials having an opening formed through the medial portion thereof for receiving a portion of the electrical device arranged within the outlet, means for rendering said body portion opaque, a shell molded from translucent materials without a light emitting opening therein and extending from'the outer face of said rectangular body portion and positioned at one side of the opening formed therein, said shell having a lampreceivin cavity of rectangular cross-section formedtherein and extending over the outer face of said body portion and said lamp-receiving cavity being open from the rear face of said rectangular body portion.
2. An illuminated plastic switch plate molded in one unitary piece of plastic material comprising a body portion having an opening extending therethrough for receiving the knob of the switch, a shell formed with said body portion and extending from the outer face thereof above the opening extending therethrough, said shell having a lamp-receiving cavity formed therein, said lamp-receiving cavity being open from the rear face of said body portion, and means for closing the opening of said lamp-receiving cavity, said shell being translucent whereby rays of light may extend therethrough and be emitted down towards the opening extending through said body portion.
3. An illuminated plastic switch plate molded in one unitary piece of plastic material comprising a rectangularly shaped body portion having an opening extending therethrough for receiving the knob of the switch, a shell formed with said body portion and extending from the outer face thereof, said shell being positioned adjacent the upper end of said body portion and above the opening therein which receives the knob of the switch, said shell having a cavity of rectangular cross-section formed therein and extending horizontally across the outer face of said body portion, the outer wall of said shell being molded without an opening therein and being sufiiciently translucent as to permit light rays to extend therethrough and be emitted down upon the outer face of said body portion, the rear face of said body portion having a rectangular opening therein communicating with the cavity formed within said shell, and means for closing said opening within the rear face of said body portion.
WILLIAM C. LINTON.
REFERENCES CITED The following references are of record in the file of this patent:
UNITED STATES PATENTS Number Name Date 1,631,678 Godley June 7, 1927 1,931,310 Wegner Oct. 1'7, 1933 1,991,111 Murrell Feb. 12, 1935 2,015,698 Tiffany Oct. 1, 1935 2,134,695 Bigman Nov. 1, 1938 2,179,199 Reed Nov, 7, 1939 2,193,740 Reed Mar. 12, 1940 2,343,598 Wagner Mar. 7, 1944