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Publication numberUS2631040 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMar 10, 1953
Filing dateMar 22, 1950
Priority dateMar 22, 1950
Publication numberUS 2631040 A, US 2631040A, US-A-2631040, US2631040 A, US2631040A
InventorsFerdinand F Constantine
Original AssigneeFerdinand F Constantine
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Artificial fireplace lighting system
US 2631040 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)


This invention relatesto the limitation of fire in a natural or artificial fireplace.

Various arrangements have been used for creating the illusion that a fire is actually burning in an artificial fireplace. Most of these arrangements have been relatively unsuccessful and the resulting appearance gives little suggestion of a fireplace flame. For example, various brightly colored rotating structures have been provided, but in general they provide a gradually changing appearance and fail completely to provide any simulation of the random flickering of a fireplace flame. The various proposed arrangements in many instances have been complex and therefore expensive to manufacture, and in other instances have been so delicate as to require extreme care in handling.

The present invention provides a lighting system for artificial fireplaces which, to a large extent, overcomes the above disadvantages and provides a random flickering illumination remarkably similar to the light given 01f by an actual flame. This invention contemplates the use of a first source of substantially continuous colored light augmented by a second light source which may be of the same color or a different color which, at random intervals, increases and decreases in intensity to provide a continually varying intensity of illumination. This flickering effect is obtained by using an impedance control device in series with the continually varying light source which opens and closes an electrical circuit at random intervals. A glow switch of the type ordinarily used for starting fluorescent lamps is well suited for this purpose and provides a compact, reliable, low-cost interrupter, that permits the lamp to glow at all times, but changes the intensity of illumination at random intervals.

Other features and objects of the invention will be apparent from the following description considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:

Figure 1 is a perspective view of a portion of the interior of a fireplace showing the arrangement of the light source; and

Figure 2 is a schematic diagram showing the electrical circuit of the apparatus.

In one method of use, logs 2, real or artificial, are placed on the andirons in the usual manner. Two incandescent electric lamps 4 and 6 are secured to the rear of one of the logs, for example, by means of clamps such as are shown at 8 in Figure 2 of the drawings, which are secured to a nail or other suitable support.

The lamps 4 and 6 may be orange orred in color, and may be of the same or different colors. The lamp 4 is secured at a position nearest the logs and is connected in series with a circuit interrupter, generally indicated at l 4, which causes this lamp to flicker, in an irregular manner. 'The lamp 6 is connected to the electrical circuits so that it is illuminated steadily. Ordinary volt lamps such as are ordinarily used for Christmas tree decorations have been found well suited for this purpose.

The colored lamp 6 is supported by a conventional socket I6, which also may be of the type used for Christmas tree lights, and is connected through two leads l8 and 22 to a conventional plug 24 which, in turn, is connected to conventional alternate or direct current power mains (not shown). v

This circuit diagram also shows another lamp 26 similar to lamp 4 and connected in parallel therewith. Either a single continuously burning lamp, as shown in Figure 1, or two or more continuously burning lamps, as illustrated by Figure 2, may be used depending upon the particular efiects desired.

The lead 22 is connected also through a socket 28 to one terminal of the lamp .4. The other lead It! is connected to a terminal 32 of the glow switch [4. This glow switch comprises a hermetically-sealed glass envelope 34 which contains an ionizable gas, such as argon or helium, or a mixture of such gases. Two normally spaced electrodes 36 and 38 are mounted within the envelope and connected respectively to terminals 32 and 42. The electrode 36, for example, may be in the form of a metal rod, of nickel or other suitable material, and the electrode 38 comprises a bi-metallic strip formed of two strips of metal having different coefficients of linear expansion and securely welded together. The inner strip has a greater coefiicient of expansion than the outer strip, so that as the temperature is increased the free end of the electrode 38 moves toward the electrode 36, and moves away from the electrode 36 with decreasing temperature. Such glow switches are widely used for starting fluorescent lights and may be incorporated in the arrangement described herein.

A condenser 44 is connected across terminals 38 and 42 to suppress radio interference. The terminal 42 of the glow switch I4 is connected through the socket 28 to the other terminal of lamp 4.

In operation, when a suitable voltage, for example, 115 volts A. 0., is applied to the leads 22 and Hi, the lamps 6 and 26 are energized and glow continuously. The gas in the envelope 34 is ionized by the voltage appearing between electrodes 36 and 38, allowing a small amount of current to flow through the lamp 4 and causing it toglow at low intensity. This current through the interrupter l4 causes the electrode 33 to become heated so that the end of the electrode 38 moves toward electrode 36 and makes contact with it to complete the-'circuitathrough lamp 4' and cause tact between electrodes 36 and 38 is completed,

10" it to glow at fullbr'illiancy; Assoon as thgconthe electrode 38 cools ofi because the gas has been cle-ionized and the-resistance of electrode 38 is relatively small. The end of electrode 38 then moves away from the electrode-3S to "open the circuit of the lamp 4. The gas then immediately ionizes again causing the lamp 4 to glow "dimly and the temperature of electrode 38 to' again increase. This cycle is ordinarily repeated at a melatively rapid and irregular rate producing the desired flickering. efiect.

The rate atcwhich the lamp 4 will flicker del pends, among other factors, upon the pressure of 1 the gasin the envelope 34. I have found slight-increase in the pressure of the gas over that'used in conventional fluorescent lamp start- ;l ers' gives a somewhat'more realistic flickering ef fe'ct'. Glow switches of the general type utilized in the above embodiment of theinvention are that a described more fully in U. S. Patents 2,332,809

-' and 2,329,134.

I I-claim:

' 1. Apparatus for simulating the light given ofi by a flame, comprising means connectibleto a 1 "source of power, a first lamp connected to said means so as tc-glow continuously, a glow switch including means for automatically and continually varying-its'electrical conductivity, an incandesc'ent filament type second lamp connected 40 *in'series with saidglow switch and to said first electrode having a by-metallic strip arranged to complete the circuit between said electrodes when its temperature is increased, plug means connectable toa source of power, circuit means connecting said glow switch in series with said first lamp and to said plug means and connecting said second lamp directly to said plug means, whereby when electrical energy is applied thereto through said plug means said first lamp is caused to flicker continually and irregularly and said second lamp i to glow steadily.


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

- UNITED STATES PATENTS Number Name Date 1,514,608 Ely Nov.'11,1924 1,590,083 Collins June 22, 1926 1,339,165 Roseby Dec. 29, 1931 2,329,134 Peters Sept. 7,1943

FOREIGN PATENTS Number Country Date 450,149 Great Britain Ju1y'6,"1936

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1514608 *Mar 1, 1924Nov 11, 1924Alfred ElyIlluminated traffic sign
US1590083 *May 10, 1924Jun 22, 1926Collins Harry SElectric log
US1839165 *Apr 26, 1928Dec 29, 1931Automatic Telephone Mfg Co LtdThermo-magnetically operated device
US2329134 *Jul 1, 1941Sep 7, 1943Gen ElectricThermal switch
GB450149A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2761980 *Feb 8, 1952Sep 4, 1956Constantine Ferdinand FImpedance apparatus for producing rapid irregular changes in current flow
US2926861 *Apr 21, 1955Mar 1, 1960John F CadyMagnetic sound recording apparatus
US4272908 *Jun 15, 1979Jun 16, 1981Henry BassettiElectrified doll house fireplace
US6460284 *May 22, 2000Oct 8, 2002Frederick N. RaboSimulated wing movement on a decoy
US7275838 *Oct 11, 2001Oct 2, 2007Casey Robert WFireplace lighting system
US7770312Jan 12, 2007Aug 10, 2010Dimplex North America LimitedFlame stimulating assembly
US8361367Nov 29, 2011Jan 29, 2013Dimplex North America LimitedFlame simulating assembly
US8480937Jan 2, 2013Jul 9, 2013Dimplex North America LimitedMethod of forming a simulated combustible fuel element
U.S. Classification40/428, 315/76, 40/902, 307/157
International ClassificationF24C7/00
Cooperative ClassificationY10S40/902, F24C7/004
European ClassificationF24C7/00A2