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Publication numberUS2865017 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 16, 1958
Filing dateMar 25, 1957
Priority dateMar 25, 1957
Publication numberUS 2865017 A, US 2865017A, US-A-2865017, US2865017 A, US2865017A
InventorsHeikes Calvin A
Original AssigneeHeikes Calvin A
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Traffic signal
US 2865017 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Dec. 16, 1958 c. A. HEIKES 2,865,017

TRAFFIC SIGNAL Filed March 25, 1957 3 Sheets-Sheet l INVENTOR.

C. A. HEIKES TRAFFIC SIGNAL Dec. 16, 1958 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed March 25, 1957 C. A. HEIKES TRAFFIC SIGNAL Dec. 16, 1958 3 Sheets-Sheet 3 Filed March 25, 1957 wei R.

United States Patent TRAFFIC SIGNAL Calvin A. Heikes, Omaha, Nebr. Application March 25, 1957, Serial No. 648,311

4 Claims. (Cl. 340-41) This invention relates to trafiic signals and more particularly it is an object of this invention to provide a trafiic signal of lower cost of manufacture, lower cost of operation, and of greater dependability than heretofore.

The most commonly used traffic signals of the type which are employed in the center of the intersections use red, yellow and green lenses on all four sides of the signal. Customarily separate lights have been used in such signals behind each lens to the end that twelve lamps have been necessary for each unit.

It is an object of this invention to provide a unit which is operable with much fewer lamps to substantially reduce the likelihood of a signal becoming inoperable because of a failure of a lamp.

A further object of the invention is to provide a signal in which multiple lamps are used in such a way that if one or more of the lamps fail the remaining lamp or lamps continue to maintain signalling in all four direc- A further object of the invention is to provide a signal adapted to eliminate the necessity for a large and expensive housing such as is necessary when there are twelve signal windows in a unit, thereby achieving economy of construction.

A further object of the invention is to provide a signalling unit, the lamps of which are constantly in operation rather than frequently turning off and. on as is common in units of the prior art. This provides much longer lamp life because of the constant operation rather than the changing of a lamp from off to on frequently, as is known to be a factor greatly reducing the life of incandescent lamps.

A more particular object is to provide a signal, the colors of which are. changed through the use of multicolored discs.

A further object of my invention is to provide a new signalling system in which the signal changes from red directly to green without an amber inbetween, and in which the signal changes from green to red with an amber inbetween.

A further object of the invention is to provide a unit as described,.the central portion of which containing all moving; parts is mounted on its own frame for ready removability'.

A further object of the invention is to provide in a disc signal center frame and an outer cover and having means to prevent the outer cover from undesirably contacting the moving discs.

A further object of the invention is to provide a signalling system in which the signal for cars going in one direction changes from green to amber and remains on amber a short length of time, during which time the signal for a car going in the transverse direction is on red wherebycollisions are avoided that heretofore came because signals for traffic traveling on each street were onamber at the same time.

(Other and further objects and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following detailed 2. description, drawings and claims, the cope of the invention not being limited to the drawings themselves as the drawings are only for the purpose of illustrating a way in which the principles of this invention can be applied.

Other embodiments of the invention utilizing the same or equivalent principles may be used and structural changes may be made as desired by those skilled in the art without departing from the present invention and the purview of the appended claims.

In the drawings:

Figure l is a perspective view of the signal of this invention as it would be seen in use;

Figure 2 is a vertical cross section taken through the center of the signal of Figure 1 with the exception that in Figure 2 the signal is mounted on a post rather than suspended from a cable;

Figure 3 is an exploded view of the signal of Figure l as seen in perspective;

Figure 4 is a top plan view of the signal of Figure 1 with the cover removed;

Figure 5 is a detail of a shaft lock and release mechanism; and

Figure 6 is a view-in-section taken along the line 66 of Figure 4.

The signal light of this invention comprises a housing 10 having four windows 12 extending outwardly therefrom on four different sides of the housing 10. The housing 10 is preferably square in top plan view as best seen in Figure 4.

The windows 12 are preferably of clear glass or other clear material and have hoods 13 disposed above them. The housing 10 has a top 14 removably attached thereto by means of bolts 15. The top 14 has an eyelet 16 suitably attached thereto for receiving a suspension cable 18 for suspending the signal in the center of and above the intersection between two streets.

In the housing 10 is an inner support frame 24 which latter supports all later described moving parts. The support frame 24 is preferably of a box shape although it can have large openings in its sides to reduce its weight and the cost of construction.

Four colored discs 28 are disposed outwardly of the housing 24 and are adapted to rotate across the windows 12 on shafts 30 and 32 which are disposed beneath the windows 12.

The shaft 30 interconnects two opposite ones of the discs 28 and the shaft 32 interconnects the other two discs 28, the discs being mounted by screws 34 on a hub 36 which latter is attached to and rotates with the respective shaft 30 or 32.

The shafts 3i) and 32 are drivably synchronized by two gears 40 and 42 which are attached to the shafts 30 and 32 respectively and which are disposed in mesh with each other.

A spring pawl 46 is provided, as best seen in Figure 4, and the pawl 46 is suitably attached to the frame 24 to make it impossible for the gear 40 to rotate in any direction other than clockwise as seen from the right in Figure 4.

As best seen in Figure 4 there are many parts which will be later described for causing the shafts 31 and 32" Suitable cords 64 interconnect the bases 62 and a plug 66 which latter is adapted to plug into a receptacle 68,

best seen in Figure 2, and disposed at the bottom of the frame 24.

The receptacle 68 is self-connected by suitable wires 70 to contact members 78,best seen in Figures 2 and 6, which latter extend downwardly from a bottom 80 which is horizontally disposed across and attached to the frame 24. The contact members 78 are preferably elongated and resilient and preferably extend partially horizontally for contacting contact buttons 88 which are mounted above the bottom 90 of the housing and are suitably attached thereto.

A cord 92 extends downwardly from the contact buttons 88 which are mounted above a bottom 90 of the housing 10 and are suitably attached thereto.

A cord 92 extends downwardly from the contact buttons 88 through a pipe 94 seen in Figure 2. The pipe 94 is adapted to serve as a vertical standard and support the housing 10 when the cable 18 is not used. In this way the pipe 94 forms a modification of the invention although it be understood that, referring to Figure 1, the wire 92 is suitably attached to a cord 98 leading out from the housing 10 through a pipe 100, the cord 98 being adapted to extend to a suitable source of electric current, being supported, if desired, from the cable 18 on a ring 102 or a plurality of such rings.

Referring to Figure 3 it will be seen that the frame 24 has a plurality of upright posts 1 10 disposed one at each corner. The posts 110 are for receiving a rectangular member 112 thereon which latter has flat surfaces on four sides which are provided with openings 116 which are adapted to be disposed directly opposite, and are shaped similarly to, the openings of the windows 12.

The member 112 is adapted to be received on the posts 110 and to be upheld by transverse members 120 of the frame 24 which extend around the frame 24 adjacent the shafts 30 and 32.

It is the transverse frame members 1 which support the shafts and 32 rotatably.

Referring to Figure 3 a suitable hook 124 can be kept at all times in the housing supported from a hanger 126 which latter hooks over the top of the member 112.

Means are provided for rotating the shaft 32 and as best seen in Figure 6 this comprises a ratchet wheel 12'5 fixed to the shaft 32. A pawl 128 is pivotally attached to a pawl supporting member 130 in a position for engaging the ratchet wheel 125. A spring 132, mounted on the supporting member 130, holds the pawl in place against the ratchet Wheel 125. A lever 136 is attached to the pawl supporting member 130 and extends radially outwardly with respect to the shaft 32 having a weight 138 on its outer end.

'The lever 136 has a toggle or linkage 140 attached pivotally to the underside thereof and the linkage 140 extends downwardly to a strike-bar 144 which latter has an outer end pivotally attached by means of a pin 146 and ears 148 to the frame 24.

The pin 146 is disposed a substantial distance beneath the shaft 32 whereby when the lever 136 is in a rest positionit is disposed substantially vertically and its lower end 18 pivoted at a point approximately beneath the shaft 32.

As best seen in Figure 6 a jogging arm 150 is disposed beneath the strike-bar 144 and the arm 150 has a horizontally extending nib 1'52 thereon which is adapted to strike the strike-bar 144 as the jogging arm 150 rotates about its other end which is fixed to a shaft 154 by suitable means. The outer end of the shaft 154 extends through an opening in a brace 160 which latter, as best seen in Figure 3, extends to and is attached to the frame- 24, although in Figure 6 it has been broken away for clarity of illustration, and is held in place by a clip 156.

The jogging arm 150 rotates in the direction of the arrow 164 and rotates counter-clockwise as best seen in Figure 6. This rotation causes the lever '136 to raise upwardly a sufficient distance to set the pawl 128 in a new position whereby when the jogging arm 150 has passed the strike-bar 144 and the lever 136 is free to fall, the weight 138 on the lever 136 will cause the lever 136 to fall, thus rotating the shaft 32.

It is desirable to prevent the shaft 32 from rotating any more than one-quarter turn and so for this reason a shaft lock and release mechanism, generally indicated at in Figure 5, is provided. This mechanism includes a wheel 172 having four outwardly protruding arms 174 extending outwardly from its hub, each arm 174 being spaced apart from the next arm ninety degrees. The wheel 172.is fixed to the shaft '32 supporting the hub.

As the lever 136 approaches the upper end of its upper swing it strikes a receiving bar 178 which extends transversely across the top of the lever 136.

As the lever 136 moves upwardly, at the upper end of the swing, it strikes the lower end of a screw 180 which is mounted through the end of the bar 178 thereby moving the member 178 upwardly. The member 178 extends horizontally and is attached at one end to a vertically extending member v1'82 which is attached to a long horizontal lever 184 of a bell-crank assembly which has a shorter lever 186 disposed at a right angle to the longer arm 184, the lever 186 extending vertically and having a horizontal dog 188 on its upper end which is adapted to extend over and arrest movement of the wheel 172 at times when the bell-crank is not disposed in the upper dotted line position shown in Figure 5. However, when the bell-crank is in the dotted line position shown in Figure 5, by rotating about its shaft 190 fixed to a frame member of the frame 24, the dog 188 is to one side of the path of the wheel 172 whereby the wheel is free to rotate.

The bell-crank is urged into the downward pull line vposition shown in Figure 5 by an elongated spring 196 fixed by member 198 to a part of the frame 24 whereby the bell-crank and the screws 180 return to the downward pull line position best shown in Figure 5 whenever the lever 136 retreats downwardly again.

As thus described the mechanism shown in Figure 5 permits a rotation of exactly ninety degrees upon each upward movement of the lever 136. This is important as the discs 28 must be rotated ninety degrees each time as will be later described.

As best seen in Figure 4, a shaft rotating mechanism similar to that previously described is shown disposed along the shaft 32 inwardly of the part described. This second set of mechanisms include a ratchet wheel 225 which is similar to the ratchet wheel 125; a pawl 228 similar to the pawl 128, a pawl supporting member 230 similar to the pawl supporting member 130, a lever 236 similar to the lever 136, and a spring 232 similar to the spring 132. All these parts serve similar purposes and the further link 240, similar to the link 140, extends downwardly from the lever 236 to a second and inwardly disposed strike-bar 244 similar to the strike-bar 144 and also mounted on the pin 146. The second strike-bar 244 is caused to jog upwardly by a second nib 252 similar to the nib 152 for extending outwardly and horizontally from the opposite side of the jogging arm 150 from the nib 152. The nib 252 can best be seen in Figure 3 and it will be a short distance inwardly along the jogging arm 150 from the nib 252 whereby the striking-bar 244 tends to move upwardly simultaneously with the striking-bar 144 but the striking-bar 144 will start its movement eariler than the bar 244 as will complete its movement sooner than the bar 244 inasmuch as the nib 152 will pass by and release the striking bar 144 before the nib 252 will release the longer striking-bar 244., The striking-bar 244 is longer for a purpose later described so that the levers 136 and 236 have different actions.

As the lever 236 reaches the upper end of its stroke it will strike a screw 280 disposed through the member 178 of the mechanism best seen in Figure 5 whereby the part shown in dotted lines in Figure 5 will move upwardly to the dotted line position causing the dog 188 simultaneously.

It is the outer lever 136 which engages the respective screw 180 of the receiving bar 178 before the other lever 236 engages the other screw 280 of the receiving bar 178.

The time interval between the time when the lever 136- strikes its screw 180 and the lever 236 strikes its screw 280 is sufficient for the receiving bar 178 to move upwardly into the dotted line position shown in Figure and fall downwardly into the full line position shown in Figure 5 again whereby as the second lever 236 moves the receiving bar 178 upwardly into the dotted line position shown in Figure 5 and downwardly again the wheel 172 makes a ninety degree rotation. In other words the wheel 172 and shaft 32 rotates ninety degrees as a result of the lever 136 moving upwardly and then falling downwardly again and also the wheel 172 and shaft 32 ,rotates a second ninety degrees as a result of the second lever 236 moving upwardly and downwardly again.

The difference in timing between the levers 136 and 236 is two and one-half seconds as is the desired length of time for the amber colored light signal to operate.

Referring now to Figure 3 it will be seen that the disc 28 which is shown separate from the machine has a ninety degree segment 300 which is uppermost and which is red in color, a second ninety degree segment 302 which is downwardly and to the left of the section 300 and which is also red in color, the segment 302 being disposed directly behind the segment 300 in rotational position inasmuch as rotation of the disc at the right hand in Figure 3 is in a clockwise direction as indicated by the arrow 304. i A third ninety degree segment is shown at 306 and is of green color and follows the section 302 and the seg ment 306 is disposed at the bottom of the disc as shown in Figure 3.

A fourth segment 308 is shown at the right in Figure 3 and this segment is amber in color and is of a quarter portion of the circle. v As thus described it will be seen that as the discs are shown in Figure 3 the red color is showing on two sides and the green is showing on two sides, the red showings being opposite each other for giving the same signal to the same street while the greens are opposite each other for giving the green signal on both sides of the indicator to the street that is disposed at ninety degrees to the street receiving the red signal.

At the next ninety degree rotation the discs shown separate in Figure 3 will have red uppermost for two and one-half seconds, the earlier red segment 300 having been in place forty-seven and one-half seconds.

Next the green segment 306 will replace the red segment 302 in the uppermost position, the green segment remaining in place forty-seven and one-half seconds. Thereafter the amber segment 308 will replace the green segment 306 in the uppermost position. The amber seg ment will remain in place two and one-half seconds. During, these same periods the same colors are showing on the opposite side of the signal from the disc which has been removed in Figure 3.

However it will be interesting to note that while the disc which is removed in Figure 3 rotates in a clockwise direction to a person facing the disc, the opposite disc rotates in a counterclockwise direction to a person facing that disc, inasmuch as both discs are on the same shaft.

As. thus described the signal changes from red to green without an amber color inbetween. However it: changes from green to amber before it changes again. to red. In this way the cars that are in motion have a chance to stop before the red signal comes. But the cars that are stopped at a red light receive no amber signal before the light changes to green. This has the effect of tending to prevent motorists from starting on an amber light.

The signal can be operated by any suitable mechanism part of which is contained in a housing 310 best seen in Figures 2 and 6. The shaft 154 is driven by the mechanism in the housing 310 and it will be understood that such mechanism includes a gear train for attaining a porper speed reduction, the gear train being driven by a shaft 312 of a motor 314. The motor 314 in the housing 310 are both suitably secured to a mounting bracket 316 which is itself attached to the frame 24 at the bottom of the frame, suitable bolts 320 being used to mount the motor on the bracket 316.

The motor 314 receives power through wires 322 which are attached respectively to the contact members 78 earlier described.

The frame 24 is removably disposed in the outer housings 10 and it has leg-screws 350 which hold the bottom of the frame 24 spaced upwardly from the bottom of the outer housing 10.

The screws 280 and of the receiving bar 178 are for adjustment of the lock and release mechanism 170. Other adjustment screws are provided which arrest the downward travel of the strike-bars 144 and 244 and in particular, screws 402 and 404 which are disposed extending upwardly through the bottom of the bracket 148. The screw 402 is adapted to contact the strike-bar 144 and the screw 404 contacts the strike-bar 24.4 upon release of the levers 136 and 236 by the release mechanism.

Further, it will be seen that vertically disposed runners 400 attached to each of the upright frame members 110. These runners 400 extend diagonally outward as best seen in top plan view of Figure 4 and serve as guides when placing the frame into the outer housing 10 and in so doing engage each of the corners of the housing 10.

The runners 400'space the frame 24 away from the interior side walls of the housing 10 providing clearance for the operation and rotation of the signal discs 28.

From the foregoing description, it is thought to be obvious that a traffic signal constructed in accordance with my invention is particularly well adapted for use, by reason of the convenience and facility with which it may be assembled and operated, and it will also be obvious that my invention is susceptible of some change and modification without departing from the principles and spirit thereof, and for this reason I do not wish to be understood as limiting myself to the precise arrangementand formation of the several parts herein shown in carrying out my invention in practice, except as claimed.

I claim:

1. A trafiic signal adapted for long lamp life and operation with minimum lamp replacement servicing, comprising a frame, a housing enclosing said frame, said housing having openings on four sides thereof, windows of clear transparent material mounted on said housing and covering said openings, four discs each having a portion thereof disposed opposite a respective window, said discs being disposed between the frame and said housing, said discs each having a plurality of sections of dilferent colors for signalling motorists, lamp means in said housing and disposed inwardly of said discs whereby the colored light from said discs shining through said windows signals motorists, means for mounting said discs rotatably on said frame and for causing intermittent rotation of said discs whereby said discs each remain motionless during a period in which one colored portion of a disc is opposite the respective window and whereby the disc then rotates until another colored portion is opposite the respective window, the disc remaining stationary until a further signalling period'using the other-color has been completed, said means for causing said intermittent rotation comprising a first and second means for jogging rotation of said discs and means for intermittently actuating said first and second means with a time lapse between the time the first means is actuated and the time the second means is actuated, said sections being in sequence of appearance at a window, a color indicating stop for a one hundred eighty degree section of said disc, a color indicating go ahead for a ninety degree section, and a color indicating the end of the go ahead period for a ninety degree section, said time lapse being synchronized with the position of said discs whereby said time lapse is equal to the time at which the section indicating the end of the go ahead period of a disc is opposite to its respective window, and whereby the time lapsing between the intermittent actuations of said first and second means is equal to and synchronized with the time that the stop and go colors in two opposite ones of said sections of said discs are opposite the respective window whereby said discs, intermittently rotating as described, make possible a sufficiency of light changes with a minimum of turning on and off of the lamp means for eliminating a major cause of lamp failure.

2. A traffic signal adapted for long lamp life and operation with minimum lamp replacement servicing, comprising a frame, a housing enclosing said frame, said housing having openings on four sides thereof, windows of clear transparent material mounted on said housing and covering said openings, four discs each having a portion thereof disposed opposite a respective window, said discs being disposed between the frame and said housing, said discs each having a plurality of sections of different colors for signalling motorists, lamp means in said housing and disposed inwardly ofsaid discs whereby the colored light from said discs shining through said windows signals motorists, means for mounting said discs rotatably on said frame and for causing intermittent rotation of said discs whereby said discs each remain motionless during a period in which one colored portion of a disc is opposite the respective window and whereby the disc then rotates until another colored portion is opposite the respective window, the disc remaining stationary while the other colored portion is opposite the window until a further signalling period using the other color has been completed whereby said discs, intermittently rotating as described, make possible a sufiiciency of light changes with a minimum of turning on and off of the lamp means for eliminating a major cause of lamp failure, said colors comprising: a color indicating stop for a one hundred and eighty degree section of said disc, a color indicating go ahead for a ninety degree section, and a color indicating the end of the go ahead period for a ninety degree section.

3. A traffic signal adapted for long lamp life and opera tion with minimum lamp replacement servicing, comprising a frame, a housing enclosing said frame, said housing having openings on four sides thereof, windows of clear transparent material mounted on said housing and covering said openings, four discs each having a portion thereof disposed opposite a respective window, said discs being disposed between the frame and said housing, said discs each having a plurality of sections of different colors for signalling motorists, lamp means in said housing and disposed inwardly of said discs whereby the colored light from said discs shining through said windows signals motorists, means for mounting said discs rotatably on said frame and for causing intermittent rotation of said discs .until another colored portion is opposite the respective window, the disc remaining stationary while the other colored portion is opposite the window until a further signalling period using the other color has been completed, said means for causing said intermittent rotation comprising a first and second means for jogging rotation of said discs and means for intermittently actuating said first and second means with a time lapse between the time the first means is actuated and the time the second means is actuated whereby said discs, intermittently rotating as described, make possible a sufficiency of light changes with a minimum of turning on and off of the lamp means for eliminating a major cause of lamp failure, said colors comprising: a color indicating stop for a one hundred and eighty degree section of said disc, a color indicating go ahead for a ninety degree section, and a color indicating the end of the go ahead period for a ninety degree section.

4. A traffic signal adapted for long lamp life and operation with minimum lamp replacement servicing, comprising a frame, a housing enclosing said frame, said housing having openings on four sides thereof, windows of clear transparent material mounted on said housing and covering said openings, four discs each having a portion thereof disposed opposite a respective window, said discs being disposed between the frame and said housing, said discs each having a plurality of sections of different colors for signalling motorists, lamp means in said housing and disposed inwardly of said discs whereby the colored light from said discs shining through said windows signals motorists, means for mounting said discs rotatably on said frame and for causing intermittent rotation of said discs whereby said discs each remain motionless during a period in which one colored portion of a disc is opposite the respective window and whereby the disc then rotates until another colored portion is opposite the respective window, the disc remaining stationary while the other colored portion is opposite the window until a further signalling period using the other color has been completed, said means for causing said intermittent rotation comprising two shafts, said discs each being mounted on a shaft, gear means drivably interconnecting shafts for rotation of said shafts at equal speeds, ratchet wheel means on one of said shafts, pawl means engageable with said ratchet means, pawl mounting means attached to said pawl means and rotatably mounted on said shaft for the rotation of said pawl around said gear as said pawl supporting means is rotated around said shaft, means for causing said pawl mounting means to rotate a desired degree intermittently, means responsive to said pawl supporting means rotation for permitting said shaft to rotate ninety degrees with each movement of said pawl supporting means but arresting said shaft from further rotation whereby said discs, intermittently rotating as described, make possible a sufficiency of light changes with a minimum of turning on and off of the lamp means for eliminating a major cause of lamp failure, said colors comprising: a color indicating stop for a one hundred and eighty degree section of said disc, a color indicating go ahead for a ninety degree section, and a color indicating the end of the go ahead period for a ninety degree section.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2136804 *Nov 13, 1935Nov 15, 1938Henry PaulTraffic signaling device
US2225577 *Sep 28, 1939Dec 17, 1940Werling George ATime period indicating traffic signaling apparatus
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4652851 *Nov 7, 1983Mar 24, 1987Ian LewinLamp control system
US5239452 *Oct 8, 1991Aug 24, 1993Chen Liang MingColor changing lamp
US5387908 *May 6, 1992Feb 7, 1995Henry; EdgetonTraffic control system
US5805081 *Dec 23, 1996Sep 8, 1998Fikacek; Karel JohnPortable traffic signals
US6121897 *Aug 5, 1998Sep 19, 2000Reliance Controls CorporationDedicated transfer switch for a single electrical load, such as a traffic signal
US7015404Feb 23, 2004Mar 21, 2006Briggs & Stratton Power Products Group, LlcDo-it-yourself system for portable generator
US7250875Jun 21, 2005Jul 31, 2007Geh-Tran CorporationTraffic signal transfer switch
US7471505Mar 20, 2006Dec 30, 2008Briggs & Stratton CorporationDo-it-yourself system for portable generator
US7737864Jul 31, 2007Jun 15, 2010Gen-Tran CorporationTraffic signal transfer switch with interlock constructions
US7843361Jul 31, 2007Nov 30, 2010Gen-Tran CorporationTraffic signal transfer switch with housing constructions
Classifications
U.S. Classification340/907, 340/927, 340/916, 116/63.00R
International ClassificationG08G1/095
Cooperative ClassificationG08G1/095
European ClassificationG08G1/095