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Publication numberUS2658295 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 10, 1953
Filing dateOct 25, 1948
Priority dateOct 25, 1948
Publication numberUS 2658295 A, US 2658295A, US-A-2658295, US2658295 A, US2658295A
InventorsHouseman George A, Young Don H
Original AssigneeHouseman George A, Young Don H
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Luminous sign
US 2658295 A
Abstract  available in
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Nov. 10, 1953 D. H. YOUNG ETAL LUIIINOUS SIGN Filed Oct. 25, 1948 2 Sheets-Sheet l mvsmons non H. vouus scone: AMOUSEMAN )71/ ATTORNEY Nov. 10, 1953 o. H. YOUNG ETAL LUMINOUS SIGN 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Oct. 25, 1948 l 7 oh 3 3 m 0 7 G 3 F a e W a FIG. 3'. 4

INVENTOR8 non H.YUNCI zonar A- H M ATTORNEY Patented Nov. 10, 1953 PA; i v1x121 XQFQFAICE LUMINOUS SIGN 1561; i1. Yo'iingand Gedr'geAi Hmiseman; Phoenix, Ariz.

fl iplicatibnoctbber 25, 1948', Serial NIL-56,416

Thepresent invention relates toluminous signs and" particularly to "signs'such'as luminous street 'n'un'ibersigns such'as are used for residential identification; street identification; and the like. It relates more "particularly to signs which are visible at'any time dayor night;and "to simple, rugged constructionand'arrangements of the eleinents theieof. v

In recent years there hasben a growing demand, especially inconnection with house numeral signs "a'nd'the like for devices which may be-placed'atsoine "distance from a building or other conventionalsupport; for example, on-a 'lawnor near a sidewalk or curb.

Itis, therefore; one" 'objectof' the-present in- Veiitiomto construct a street or* house number sign, or the Iikejwhichmeets theabove requirements and, is'sim'pland inexpensiveandis highly weather resistant. While-the inventionis 'described and *illusti'a'td' in the main V as being applied to'adaiwn"type'residential' liouse' or street humbersigmiifiwill be undefstoodthat it is equally" applicable to other'types' of signs.

1"'It"is"'a"nother and aparticular "object of the :inv n t ionto c'n'structa smip1e;='ccmpactanaattractive sign raving-numerals "or "other indicia nts et ss i f asft b le 'r i e by c ntr st i dayl t brfl bie' ii s 19 refl ti fpyi artificial li'ghtgf'and"by phosphorescence -(or e a i iv w n a i d rknsss Afi ri'hq q fi q fi ii iioe e 'ble interchan' le ii mralpr ether indiciaelejmentstpgethe it filler or spacing meanswh'en desired; i into a, simple ged i' rame 1 structure iwhr it ev .Wi ellie wi h; 'iib en protectionagainstj weather and against tamperi in a s cureama rrae veimannsr- A still"further"object*is to design the numeral "01" other indicia elements so thattheyfmay be produced eeanamiuy; thisbeing accomplished, for exaniple,' by forrning'thebasic elements with "s riface features at"diiferent'elvations to facil- "jitate coating and othenbperations.

The 'invientioriiwill jbe bettefunder stood by a detailed' description of a :S PGOifiQ embodiment. "Fig; 1 is a frontelevational j view L of" a device :"suitablej for use' as a house number"'sign embodythe' 1 present f invention}certain parts being shown only fragmentar ily;

Fig". 215 an end elevati'cnal View of the device of is guanya o gthg '1ipe;; 3 oi ing; 1', showing '12 vice of Figs. 1 to 3; taken substantially-from; the line 44 of Fig. '1;

' Fig.-5 is a front elevationalview-sofanumber plate or block, or indicia member, forming a part of; the invention;

Fig. 6 is a vertical sectional view of the element of Fig. 5, taken substantially along the lined-6 of Fig. 5 and looking-inthe-direction of the-arrows;

"Fig. '7 is a front elevational-view of a spacer or filler element which may -be used along with indicia elements of the typeshown'in'Fig; 5 t0iflx their location;

I Fig. 8 is a detail view of=- a'spring element which may be used in one embodiment.

In the firstembodiment showm -in the drawings the sign comprises a reasonably strong and rigid frame indicated generally by :thereference character H, Figs. 1, 2. The frame ll consists of two identical units orhalf frames i5,--'each :of which is complete in itself and maybeused-a-lone as the basis of asingle faced-sign. It-is usually advantageous, -hOW8V8IptO use two such members, as shown, these being secured together b'aclcto back (or corner to 'corner)- in' amanner to-be-"set forth more fully'hereinafter; so that a'sigmfacing in two opposed or divergent:directions,-' and having a closed-structure within which--ivarious elements are enclosed, isprovided. -However; the invention contemplates also the use of a 'isingle unit or half sign frame member l5; withlassociat'ed indicia ornumber blocks,' iorming a complete usable unit. Each half frame unita mav'ibe provided "with 'means for fastening it to'i the ground or to 4 any '--S'u'pp'brt,- b'ut asshown herein, the assembled frame consisting oi two halt units is designed to b'e'fittedwitha plurality of stakes or pins l2 whicli -may be-drivenin'the grOund, or set in concrete ofotl-ienmasonry, or' fast'ened 'in' wood o1"(' the'rwise"-suppcvrted inor upon-a base. These pins or stakes l 2 also perform certain additionalfunctions in securing the frame components together, 'ina preferred arrangement,=as will be described-presently. =By-me'ans 0f the 1 pin or stake elein'nts' I 2; the sigrimafibe eitherpermanntly br temporarily securedin I place by attalichmntto' -the "groundorto some other appropriate base.

Each unit or half frame I5 consists mainly of a display frame structure 'des-igned 'to hold -and exhibit numeral plates or b1ocks-,'-or similar units -bea-ringletters' of the alphabet or'-equivalent*insigma. The face of the' frameiasi'tbest appears }Fig. 1 comprisesan iippeiand substant'fally hdrizhtal b'ar oi' boi der lemient adapted to receive and hold or assist in holding certain interchangeable numeral plates or blocks, etc., at their upper edges. This element I1 is preferably integral and continuous with a left end member I5, as viewed in Fig. 1, a right end member 2|, and a bottom member 23. As indicated in the drawing, the end members I9 and 2| may be embellished or ornamented as by being grooved or fluted, providing ornamental or reinforcing ribs 25. The bottom member 23, which, as shown, is preferably a heavier part of the frame, provides adequate strength and rigidity for the structure. This member 23 may also be embellished or ornamented, as by being grooved or fluted, as indicated at 21, 29. The type of ornamentation may be varied as desired. As shown, a small panel 3| may be left smooth, to receive the manufacturers label, or to receive ornamentation or the like, this feature of course being optional. The frame members I may be recessed at each end, as indicated at 32, Fig. 2, for a similar purpose, also to reduce weight and bulk or save metal in manufacture, e. g. when made by casting or molding.

As best shown in Fig. 3, the top or upper border element I1 of the frame is preferably formed with a rearwardly extending flange element 33 which may form a top surface cover or closure for the sign when two half frame units are assembled back to back. In the arrangement shown, the resulting top surface of the assembly is substantially smooth and continuous.

The element I1 of frame unit I5 is also provided, as shown herein, with a rearwardly extending arm 35, as best shown in Fig. 3, so located as to lie immediately beneath and in alignment with a thickened lug element 31 which is also provided in each half frame unit I5. Thus the front frame member I5, as seen in Fig, 1, may have an arm 35 in juxtaposition with a lug 31 on the rear member I5, at the right end, while at the left end, the front member is provided with the lug 31 while the rear member has the arm 35. An arm at the right and a lug at the left makes it possible to form the half frame units I5 all identical, so that complementary parts, such as elements 35 and 31 come together when the two half frame units are assembled back to back. One or both of the members 35, 31 is provided with a threaded opening adapted to align with an opening in the other.

The frame units I5 may thus be secured together by means such as a pair of screws or bolts, or preferably, as shown in Fig. 3, the pins or stakes I2, may extend to the top of the frame and secure the parts just described together. It will be understood, of course, that the location of the arms 35 and lugs 31, and the number of each which are used, may be varied as desired. It is merely necessary that they be located and designed so as to be complementary and so as to come into juxaposition as the frame units I5 are brought together. The openings 39 and 4|, shown respectively in arms 35 and lugs 31, and the bolt or screw elements 43, are indicated in Fig. 1. The alternative construction, wherein the parts are secured together by the stakes I2,

is shown in Fig. 3. Either construction may be used.

A comparable arrangement is provided for attaching together the lower parts of frame members I5. Each half frame I5 is provided, as shown herein, with one long arm 5| and one short arm 53. A plurality of each may be used, and preferably would be used on large units. For

units of moderate size, the construction shown is satisfactory and adequate. The long arm 5| is preferably braced and reinforced by a web or rib element 55, shown herein as of generally triangular shape. The shorter arm 53 is similarly reinforced or braced by a somewhat similar web or rib element 51. As with the arms 35 and lugs 31 at the top of the frame, the parts are complementary and are provided with openings which come into alignment when the two half frame members I5 are brought together. They may be secured by any bolt element, such as the threaded upper end of the stakes I2, as shown in Fig. 1, or they may merely receive the extended type of stake I2 as shown in Fig. 3. See also Fig. 4.

It will be noted that the frame units I5, comprising the elements I1, I9, 2| and 23 previously mentioned, provide a display panel or opening in which numeral elements or other insignia elements are received. Around the panel or opening, the framing elements I1, I9, etc., are rebated or recessed as indicated at 6|, so that insignia or numeral elements may be positioned Within the recessed area to be seen through the framed opening but to be retained within the frame. This construction is best shown in Fig. 3. Along at least two members, such as framing members I1 and 23, a secondary rebate 53 may be provided. These rebates receive respectively the character or insignia elements 1 I, to be described, and a backing element 55. As shown at the left of Fig. 3, there may be provided holding or securing means 51 and 59 along the upper and lower framing elements I1 and 23, respectively, to hold the character or numeral plates 1| and the like in place by engaging the back of the plate member 55. This member 55 may be a plate or sheet of metal or other material of appropriate strength and rigidity (e. g. glass, plastic, wood, fibreboard) and the detent means 51, 59 may either be secured to or form a deformable part of the frame I5. As shown they are simply struck up out of the material of the frame units. Two of each of the detent means 51, 59 are shown .near each end in Fig. l, but the number may be varied, depending upon the size of the numeral plates or blocks, their number, the rigidity of plate 55, and various other obvious factors.

The rebate 5|, as indicated at the lower left part of Fig. 3, may be so proportioned as to make room for a friction retainer to hold the character or numeral blocks 1| against movement. With this arrangement, there is preferably employed a marcelled or serpentine retaining spring 10 of brass or bronze preferably (to resist rusting in the presence of water). Such a spring is shown in detail in Fig. 8. It may be of steel or other suitable material if rusting is immaterial, or if it is suitably coated or painted to withstand the elements. At the lower and upper right, as seen in Fig. 3, there may be provided a series of small studs 12 to hold type for holding the back elements 55 in place. Fasteners, such as those commonly sold under the name of Timmerman" fasteners are quite suitable for the purpose.

Referring to Fig. 5 and Fig. 6, a typical indicia element, in the form of a numeral plate or block 1| is shown. It may consist of any appropriate material with the numeral or other indicia formed thereon in relief, preferably, and provided with a suitable coating material. For the purposes of this invention, it is desirable that the numerals or other characters formed on the plates or blocks 1| have the following properties: (1) They should be clearly visible by contrasting colors in daylight. (2) They should be clearly visible in artificial light by being fluorescent or reflective, fluorescence being preferable. (3) They should be clearly visible in total darkness by phosphorescence or radioactivity.

The body material of plates or blocks ll, Fig. 6, is phosphorescent per se, being formed of a plastic material which is impregnated with a material which will cause it to glow in total darkness. Preferably, it is also impregnated with a fluorescent material, and when this is done, the characters may be formed in color or the background may be colored to contrast. In one modification commercially available synthetic resin plastics, which can be molded into the shape and form desired, and which are impregnated with phosphorescent minerals are used. Radioactive materials which glow in darkness without requiring activation by light may also be used, of course.

It will be understood that in the preferred construction, the body or background of the numeral plate or block is phosphorescent. For contrast in darkness the number or other character should not glow. For contrast in daylight the character should differ markedly in appearance, preferably in color, from the background. For contrast in artificial light, which is relatively weak as compared with sunlight but is often too bright to permit seeing the much weaker phosphorescent light, either the numeral or the background should be fluorescent and the adjoining area nonfluorescent. According to the present invention all these requirements are met either by impregnating the body of the plate or block with both a phosphorescent or fluorescent material forming the character itself (or the contrasting background) with a paint which makes both phosphorescent and fluorescent, or by coating the numeral (or other indicia) itself with a paint or coating composition which is in strong color contrast to the background in daylight and which is impregnated with at least a moderately fluorescent material and preferably with a high- 1y fluorescent material which masks the phosphorescent base. A sheet material which is highly fluorescent and/or reflective, may be used in lieu of paint, if desired.

To facilitate formation of the coated numeral or the like indicia, in either of the methods just described, the character itself is preferably formed with a surface raised at least slightly above the general background surface of the element H. The difference in elevation, indicated at '15, Fig. 6, may be obtained either by casting the plastic member H or by milling or cutting, or abrading, etc., to leave the character raised somewhat. In one practical embodiment the elevation was of the order of .030 inch, more or less. The plates or blocks II are preferably provided with peripheral reinforcing flanges 13 on their rear faces, especially if they are thin enough to have appreciable flexibility.

The coating composition of layer 11 is preferably one which attaches very firmly to the material of the background element H.

In Fig. 7 there is shown a spacer or filler element 9| which preferably is of the same size as the character element H. This element 9| may be used to fill up space not used by indicia elements. Element 9| is preferably provided with at least a marginal reinforcing flange 93 and preferably also is designed to be broken rather readily along a vertical line into two parts each half the size of a character element 1|. Thus the spacer or filler 9| may be weakened along the central vertical division line and flanges for reinforcing purposesmay be provided on either side of said line. The division line is indicated at 95 and the flanges at 91. Either half 99 of the divided filler element 9! may then be used, either between numeral elements, when spacing is desirable, or at the ends of a group of numeral elements when such a group is insufficient to fill the frame member 15. In the embodiment shown, the frame is designed to receive five elements I I. This is about the maximum ordinarily required for house numbering in cities, but of course, the number may be greater or less as desired. If, in the structure shown, the user requires only three digits for his number, he may use the three numeral blocks H and two spacer or filler elements 9|. For symmetry one unit 9| may be used at each end with three numeral blocks H centrally located in the frame. If the house number requires four digits, one spacer 9| will be used, preferably being broken into two halves of which one is used at each end to center the four digits in the frame.

What is claimed is:

1. A sign comprising in combination a pair of opposed frame members adapted when assembled together to form a substantially enclosed unitary hollow structure for exhibiting sign elements on two generally opposing faces thereof, said members each including a pair of dissimilar upper and lower connecting lugs so arranged that a short lug on each member connects with a long lug on the other and vice versa, and a stake member adapted to be driven into a supporting base and projecting through a lower and upper set of said lugs to hold the opposed frame members together.

2. A sign according to claim 1 wherein each frame member is fitted with a plurality of selfluminous individual sign characters.


References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS Number Name Date 1,201,786 Willwerscheid Oct. 17, 1916 1,535,823 Goodwin Apr. 28, 1925 2,110,555 Pfafi Mar. 8, 1938 2,142,571 Menke Jan. 3, 1939 2,163,695 McConnell June 27, 1939 2,417,384 Switzer Mar. 11, 1947 2,436,182 Schmidling Feb. 17, 1948 2,459,693 Gordon Jan. 8, 1949 2,470,173 Le Vernez May 17, 1949 2,470,449 Williams May 17, 1949

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1201786 *Feb 23, 1915Oct 17, 1916Theodor R WillwerscheidSign.
US1535823 *Mar 22, 1924Apr 28, 1925Roy GoodwinLuminous sign
US2110555 *Jun 15, 1937Mar 8, 1938Pfaff Jr Henry CSign holding device
US2142571 *Oct 27, 1937Jan 3, 1939Menke Edward WReflecting sign
US2163695 *Oct 6, 1938Jun 27, 1939Fred W NeunerHouse number sign
US2417384 *Jul 16, 1943Mar 11, 1947 Dyed visible - l
US2436182 *Nov 26, 1941Feb 17, 1948Gilbert T SchmidlingPhosphorescent resin composition
US2459693 *Aug 14, 1944Jan 18, 1949Gordon Joseph MLaminated phosphorescent fluorescent article
US2470173 *Oct 17, 1945May 17, 1949Rca CorpPhosphor materials
US2470449 *Oct 17, 1945May 17, 1949Rca CorpPhosphor materials
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2929349 *May 6, 1955Mar 22, 1960Robert H KlettTraffic diverter
US4831760 *Jan 24, 1986May 23, 1989Walker Joseph LSign assembly
US5286922 *Jul 14, 1992Feb 15, 1994Curtiss Thomas EFluorescent coated wire
US6060838 *Nov 21, 1995May 9, 2000Creative Concepts And Consulting CorporationIllumination device
WO1997043746A1 *May 14, 1997Nov 20, 1997Per Ole BjoernImprovement in luminescent signs or other markings
U.S. Classification40/542, 109/63.5, 40/612
International ClassificationG09F7/02
Cooperative ClassificationG09F7/02
European ClassificationG09F7/02