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Publication numberUS2629814 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 24, 1953
Filing dateMay 24, 1948
Priority dateMay 24, 1948
Publication numberUS 2629814 A, US 2629814A, US-A-2629814, US2629814 A, US2629814A
InventorsBrown Ralph
Original AssigneeElectrical Products Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Luminescent tube support for sign structures and the like
US 2629814 A
Abstract  available in
Images(1)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Feb. 24, 1953 R. BROWN 2,629,814

LUMINESCENT TUBE SUPPORT FOR SIGN STRUCTURES AND THE LIKE Filed May 24, 1948 @5 34 hlmm li :3 9

//v VENTOR. RA 1. PH 520 w/v BY HAS ATTORNEYS. HA RIP/6} K/EcH, Forms a HARP/6 Patented Feb. 24, 1953 LUMINESCENT TUBE SUPPORT FOR SIGN STRUCTURES AND THE LIKE Ralph Brown, Fall Brook, Calif., assignor to Electrical Products Corporation, Los Angeles, Calif., a corporation of California Application May 24, 1948, Serial No. 28,762

11 Claims.

This invention relates generally to the display or advertising sign art and more particularly to illuminated signs employing luminescent tubes for illumination purposes. The present application is a continuation-in-part of my prior application for patent for Illuminated Sign, serial No. 28,763, filed May 24, 1948.

The application referred to above discloses and claims an improved luminescent tube for use in illuminating letters, numerals and other sign characters or for forming such characters. The present application pertains more particularly to clip means for supporting such a tube on the sign and contact terminal means for supplying electricity to the electrodes of the tube.

One object of this invention is, to provide means for supporting a luminescent tube in spaced relation to the face of the sign, such supporting means including spring clip members carried by support members mounted on the sign.

Another object is to provide a tube supporting clip member which is retained on the supporting member due to its inherent resiliency so that the use of separate fastening elements, such as screws, rivets or the like, for this purpose is unnecessary and the device is greatly simplified and its cost of manufacture and application to the sign is materially reduced. Moreover, since the luminescent tube is merely snapped into the spring clips, the installation of the tubes on, or their removal from, the sign is simplified and greatly expedited.

Another object is to provide a spring clip for retaining the tube on the sign, this clip being particularly adapted for supporting intermediate portions of the tube and being rotatable on its supporting member so that it can be readily adjusted to the contour of the luminescent tube forming the sign character.

Another object of the invention is .to provide an electrical contact element for conducting electricity which is adapted to resiliently engage the electrode tip of a luminescent tube so as to provide a positive electrical connection which will not shake loose due to vibration or from other causes.

Another object is to provide an electrical contact element which is capable of being readily applied to the tube supporting member or post without the use of extraneous fastening devices so that the structure is greatly simplified and the over-all cost of producing the sign is maintained at the minimum.

Another object is to provide a contact eleitto be flexed and looped around the supporting member, within a peripheral groove thereof, to hold the element in place, one side of the element having a contact arm adapted to engage the electrode tip of the tube, and the ends of the element being adapted to receive between them the end of a wire conductor which supplies electrical current to the tube by way of the contact element, the conductor serving to retain the element in place surrounding the supporting member.

Another object is to provide a contact element, of the character referred to, which has a series of notches, any of which are adapted to receive one or more lugs on the supporting member to hold the element in different selected positions of adjustment thereon.

Further objects of the invention will be apparent from the following detailed description and from the drawing, which is intended for the purpose of illustration only, and in which:

Fig. l is a longitudinal sectional view through a portion of the wall of an illuminated sign, showing a preferred embodiment of the clip means for mounting an illuminating tube on the sign and the electrode contact elements;

Fig. 2 is a cross-sectional view, taken on line 2-2 of Fig. 1;

Fig. 3 is a View of the blank from which the tube clip, shownin Fig. 1, is formed;

Fig. 4 is a view similar to Fig. 1, showing alternative forms of tube clip and electrode contact element;

Fig. 5 is a cross-sectional view, taken on line 5-5 of Fig. 4;

, Fig. 6 is. a' perspective view of the tube clip shown in Figs. 4 and 5;

Fig. '7 is a sectional view, taken on line 1-! of Fig. 4;

Fig. 8 isa sectional view, taken on line 88 of Fig. 4;

Fig. 9 is a viewof the blank from which the electrode contact element is formed; and

. Fig. 10 is a cross-sectional view, similar to Fig. 2, showing a further modified form of the tube clip.

Referring first to Figs. 1, 2 and 3 of the drawing, the present improved tube clips and electrode contact elements are illustrated as applied to use in connection with an illuminated sign having a wall 15, the outer or obverse face of which constitutes the field upon which the letters, numerals or other sign characters may be inscribed, embossed or otherwise provided and illuminated by gas-filled electric luminescent tubes Hi. The glass illuminating tubes 16 may be more or less conventional in structure and their end portions I! are bent at right angles to their main portions to adapt them to project rearwardly through apertures la in the sign Wall or panel IS. The apertures 18 are preferably lined by bushings l9 and the inner or rearward ends of the tubes are protected from the atmosphere by sealing rings 20, these parts being fully disclosed in my prior application, referred to above. At their inner extremities, the ends ll of the tubes l6 are provided with elec trodes having exposed tips 22, which may be oiifset from the axes of the ends [1 as shown in Fig. 1 and disclosed more fully in my prior application.

Disposed near the apertures l8 are screwthreaded holes 23 into which the screw-threaded portions 25 of supporting members or posts 25 are screwed from the inner or reverse side of the wall 55, an annular flange 26 on the post h abutting the inner surface of the wall to limit such movement of the post. The outer end of the supporting member 25 projects forwardly from the wall l and is provided with a peripheral groove 2? adjacent this end.

Adapted to be held in the groove 21 of the supporting member is a tube clip element 30 which has a central portion 3| provided with an aperture 32 and a pair of fingers 33. The clip element 3B is stamped from spring metal, as shown in 3, and is bent to the bowed form illustrated in Fig. 2. Due to the inherent resiliency of the element 3!), its fingers tend to flex inwardly toward each other. To apply the clip element to the post 25, the element is unflexed so that its aperture 32 assumes a circular outline adapted to pass over the outer end of the post, the portions of the element surrounding the aperture thus entering the groove 21. When the clip element 3!] is permitted to flex to its normal shape, the aperture 32 becomes substantially oval, as viewed in plan, so that the element is retained the groove 21 with its curved fingers 33 extending upwardly therefrom. It is thus seen that the portions of the luminescent tubes 16 adjacent .iieir end portions ll may be snapped into position between the yieldable fingers 33 to be held against the outer ends of the supporting members 25 as shown in Fig. 2. Since the tubes are held firmly against the outer ends of the members 25, they are disposed at a predetermined distance from the outer face of the sign wall [5.

Each supporting member 25, which is made fromv glass or other suitable non-corrosive and dielectric material, is provided with an annular groove 34 adjacent its inner end for receiving an electrode contact element 35, a pair of locking projections or lugs 36 being provided in one face of the groove (Fig. 8). Each contact element is stamped. from spring metal to the T shape illustrated in Fig. 9 and has a central portion 31 from. which arms 38 and 39 project in opposite directions. The arm38 has a longitudinal opening ii. while the arm 39 is narrowed throughout the greater portion of its length. Projecting from the central portion 3l, at right angles to the arms 33 and 39 is a finger 4| which, when the contact element is to be used for supplying electrical current to offset electrode tips such as illustrated in 1, is curved downwardly to form, in effect, a leaf spring. One edge of the contact element 35 is serrated to provide a series of V-shaped notches 42. The arms 38 and 39 are bent into V shape as shown in Fig. '7.

Each electrode contact element 35 is mounted on its respective supporting member 25 by flexing the central portion 3'! around the element within the peripheral groove 3% while forcing the arms 58 and 39 toward each other. The reduced angular portion of the arm 39 enters the opening "it of the arm. 38 and a substantially circular opening 43 is thus provided between the crossing portions of the arms. The bent end 43 of an electrical conductor 15 is then inserted through the opening 43, Whereafter pressure against the arms is relieved to permit them. to spring outwardly, due to their inherent resiliency, so that the end 43 of the conductor is firmly gripped between the arms. It is thus seen that the end of the conductor serves to hold the contact element 35 in flexed condition in the groove 34. Referring to Fig. 1, it will be seen that the lugs 36 are received in a pair of the notches 42 so as to prevent rotation of the contact element on its supporting member 25. Since the lugs 33 can enter any of the several notches 42, the contact element 35 can be adjusted to any position to insure positive engagement of its contact finge' ll with the electrode tip 22 01 the illuminating tube 16. It will be apparent that electric current supplied. through the conductor flows through the contact element 35 to the electrode tip 22 of the luminescent tube is to energize the latter and thus to illuminate the sign.

When the electrode tip 22 of an illuminating tube 16 is disposed in axial alignment with the end portion 1?, shown in Fig. 1, the contact ringer ll is made to project in a plane normal to the axis of the supporting member 25 so as to engage the tip.

It is within the concept of this invention to provide a tube clip element 59 of the alternative type disclosed in Figs. 4, 5 and 6, this element being formed from spring wire stock. As shown best in Fig. 6, the clip element 50 includes a. central arcuate portion or base 5 l, the sides of which are adapted to straddle and grip the periphery of the grooved portion 21 of the supporting member 25 when the element is snapped into place thereon. From the central base portion 5|, the ends of the wire are bent upwardly, then down wardly in loops 52 of a. diameter adapted to receive the tube It as shown in 5. The clip element 5%, being rotatable on the supporting member 25, may be turned to accommodate tubes 16 having various outlines.

The clip elements 30 and 59, described above, are herein shown as carried by the supporting elements 25 which are employed adjacent the terminal portions of the tubes l6 or 16. However, supporting members of this type are not required for supporting tube clips which are used for holdlng intermediate portions of the tubes since no electrical contact elements are necessary at these points. Fig. 10 illustrates a supporting member and clip combination which is particularly adapted for use in holding intermediate portions of the tube. The alternative supporting member 60 includes a body portion 6! having a reduced stem portion 62 projecting therefrom and adapted to extend through an aperture 63 of the sign wall 15, the end of the body portion being held against the side of the sign wall by a spring locking element 64. The body portion 6! has a transverse opening 65 and the stem portion has an axial bore 66 communicating with the opening. A wire clip element 68 has a pointed end or head 89 adapted to be disposed in the opening 55, the ends of the wire extending from the pointed end in fingers 1.0 which pass outwardly through the bore 66. The outer ends of the fingers 10 are curved so as to adapt them to receive and grip the tube [6 therebetween when the tube is snapped into place. To mount the clip element 68 on the supporting member 69, the sides of the element are drawn together so as to contract the width of the pointed head to allow the latter to be inserted through the bore 86 and into the opening 65, after which the sides are released to per mit the head to expand within the opening so as to retain the clip element on the supporting member. The clip element 68 is thus rotatably mount ed on the supporting member 55) so that it can swivel thereon to accommodate tubes of different contours.

As will be apparent, the supporting member 25 might be secured to the sign wall 5 9 in substantially the same manner in which the supporting member 60 is mounted. For example, instead of being provided with the threaded portion 25, the member 25 can have a plain cylindrical portion extending through a hole in the sign wall, the cylindrical portion having a peripheral groove into which a spring clip is insertable to retain the supporting member in place on the sign wall, this construction being similar to that disclosed in Fig. 10 and therefore not illustrated. in detail.

While the embodiments of my invention herein illustrated. and described are capable of providing the advantages primarily stated, it is to be understood that the invention is not restricted to these specific forms but may include all modifications and variations coming within the scope of the appended claims.

I claim as my invention:

1. In an illuminated sign having a wall pro vided with an aperture and a luminescent tube mounted at one side of the wall and having an end projecting through the aperture, said end being provided with an electrode tip: a supporting member having a portion to be secured to the wall and a portion projecting from the side of said wall opposite from said. tube and providing an extending end thereof, said supporting member having a peripheral groove adjacent said extending end, said groove providing shoulders at its op posite sides; and a contact element engageable in said groove and against said shoulders for maintaining the position of said element, said element having a portion adapted to engage said electrode tip.

2. The combination defined in claim 1 in which said contact element is resilient and is flexed around said supporting member within said groove in position to be engaged by retaining means for holding said contact element in said flexed condition.

3. The combination defined in claim 1 in which said contact element is resilient and is flexed around said supporting member within said groove, and including an electrical conductor engageable with said contact element to retain the same in said flexed condition.

l. In an illuminated sign having a wall provided with an aperture and a luminescent tube mounted at one side of the wall and having an end projecting through the aperture, said end being provided with an electrode tip: a supporting member secured to the wall and projecting from the other side thereof, said supporting memher having a peripheral groove adjacent its end; a contact element disposed in said groove and provided with a resilient contact finger engageable with said electrode tip.

5. In an illuminated sign having a wall provided with an aperture and a. luminescent tube mounted at one side of the wall and having an end projecting through the aperture, said end being provided with an electrode tip: a supporting member secured to the wall and projecting from the other side thereof, said supporting member having a peripheral groove adjacent its end, said supporting member having at least one lug disposed within said groove; and a resilient contact element disposed in said groove and having a plurality of notches for receiving said lug so as to retain said element in difierent positions of rotative adjustment on said supporting member, said contact element being engageable with said electrode tip.

6. In an illuminated sign having a wall provided with an aperture and a luminescent tube mounted at one side of the wall and having an end projecting through the aperture, said end being provided with an electrode tip: a supporting member secured to the wall and projecting from the other side thereof, said supporting member having a peripheral groove adjacent its end; said supporting member having at least one lug disposed within said groove; aresilient contact element adapted to be flexed around said supporting member within said groove, said element having a plurality of notches for receiving said lug so as to retain said element in different positions of rotative adjustment on said supporting member, said element having a contact finger engageable with said electrode tip; and an electrical conductor engageable with said contact element for maintaining said element in said flexed condition.

7. In an illuminated sign having a wall provided with an aperture and a luminescent tube mounted at one side of the wall and having an end projecting through the aperture, said end being provided with an electrode tip: a supporting member secured to the wall and projecting from the other side thereof, said supporting member having a peripheral groove adjacent its end; a resilient contact element engageable in said groove and adapted to engage said electrode tip, said contact element being flexed around said supporting member within said groove, the ends of said contact element being adapted to cross each other; and retaining means adapted to be disposed between said crossing ends to maintain said contact element in said flexed condition.

8. In an illuminated sign having a Wall pr0- vided with an aperture and a luminescent tube mounted at one side of the Wall and having an end projecting through the aperture, said end being provided with an electrode tip: a support ing member secured to the wall and projecting from the other side thereof, said supporting mem ber having a peripheral groove adjacent its end; a resilient contact element engageable in said groove and adapted to engage said electrode tip, said contact element being flexed around said supporting member within said groove, one end of said element being V-shape and having an elongate aperture therein and the other end of said element being V-shape and receivable in said elongate aperture and cooperating with said apertured end to define an opening between said V-shaped ends; and an electrical conductor receivable in said opening and acting to retain said contact element in said flexed condition.

9. For an illuminated sign having a sign wall and a luminescent tube provided with an end having an electrode tip, means for mounting said tube on said sign wall and including: a supporting member having a portion to be mounted in said sign wall, a portion fixed to and extending from one end of said mounting portion to extend from one side of said sign wall, and a portion fixed to and extending from the other end of said mounting portion to extend from the other side of said sign wall; an open-ended spring clip mounted on one of said fixed portions and comprising spring fingers spaced at their outer ends to receive said tube through such space and to grip said tube; and a contact element mounted on the other of said fixed portions and having a projecting finger to engage an electrode tip on a rearward portion of said tube upon proper positioning of said tube in said spring clip, the outer end portion of each of said fixed portions being provided with a groove having opposing shoulders between which said clip and element are respectively mounted.

10. Mounting means as in claim 9 wherein said fixed. portions and said mounting portion of said supporting member are axially aligned.

11. For an illuminated sign having a sign wall and a luminescent tube provided with an end having an electrode tip, means for mounting said tube on said sign Wall and including: a supporting member having a portion to be mounted in said sign wall, a portion fixed to and extending from one end of said mounting portion to extend from one side of said sign wall, and a portion fixed to and extending from the other end of said mounting portion to extend from the other side of said sign wall; an open-ended spring clip mounted on one of said fixed portions and com- RALPH BROWN.

REFERENCES CITED The following references are of record in the file of this patent:

UNITED STATES PATENTS Number Name Date 1,704,472 Grandjean Mar. 5, 1929 1,722,363 Young July 30, 1929 2,020,886 Hammar Nov. 12, 1935 2,067,818 Bell Jan. 12, 1937 2,147,847 Kresge Feb. 21, 1939 2,152,319 Link Mar. 28, 1939 2,235,640 Kresge Mar. 18, 1941 2,311,829 Hart Feb. 23, 1943 2,375,484 Miller May 8, 1945 FOREIGN PATENTS Number Country Date 360,350 England Nov. 5, 1931 465,616 England May 11, 1.937 469,239 England July 21, 1937

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1704472 *Aug 1, 1925Mar 5, 1929Rainbow Light IncYielding holder for luminous tubes
US1722363 *Jul 9, 1927Jul 30, 1929Rainbow Ligrt IncMounting for luminous tubes
US2020886 *Jan 2, 1934Nov 12, 1935Fed Electric CoLamp support
US2067818 *Apr 20, 1936Jan 12, 1937Bell FrankLuminous tube mounting
US2147847 *Feb 2, 1937Feb 21, 1939Kresge Harry LElectrical connection for electric signs
US2152319 *Aug 11, 1938Mar 28, 1939Louis Link GeorgeConnecting electrode unit for neon signs
US2235640 *Jun 4, 1940Mar 18, 1941Harry L KresgeElectrode connection for electric signs
US2311829 *Feb 2, 1942Feb 23, 1943Hart Harry JHousing for electrodes of luminous tubes
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GB360350A * Title not available
GB465616A * Title not available
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2885538 *May 21, 1956May 5, 1959Clyde C HeyerNeon tubing support
US3011744 *Jun 17, 1959Dec 5, 1961Morgan Jr Walter FrankFixtures for luminous tubes
US4161767 *Oct 3, 1977Jul 17, 1979Conwed CorporationTask lighting system with angularly-displaced fluorescent tubes
US4569004 *Sep 17, 1984Feb 4, 1986Peterson William ACove light fixture
US4666109 *Sep 25, 1985May 19, 1987Draft Systems, Inc.Tube support assembly
US4997147 *Oct 31, 1989Mar 5, 1991Velke Sr David CSupport for electrically energized tubing
US5058838 *Oct 9, 1990Oct 22, 1991Velke Sr David CSupport for variably sized electrically energized tubing
US5575558 *Nov 10, 1994Nov 19, 1996Osram Sylvania Inc.Miniature discharge lamp tube holder
US6122438 *May 20, 1999Sep 19, 2000Heraeus Noblelight GmbhShort-wave infrared surface radiator assembly with angled connection tubes
Classifications
U.S. Classification362/216, 174/138.00H, 248/50, 362/225, 439/231
International ClassificationH01R33/02
Cooperative ClassificationH01R33/02, G09F13/26, G09F7/18
European ClassificationG09F13/26, G09F7/18, H01R33/02