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Publication numberUS2874496 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 24, 1959
Filing dateFeb 29, 1956
Priority dateFeb 29, 1956
Publication numberUS 2874496 A, US 2874496A, US-A-2874496, US2874496 A, US2874496A
InventorsLee L Rakes
Original AssigneeLee L Rakes
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
US 2874496 A
Abstract  available in
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Feb; 24, 1959 Filed Feb. 29. 1956 L. L. RAKES DISPLAY 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Feb.24, 1959 L. L. RAKES v2,874,496

' DISPLAY Filed Feb. 29, 1956" v 2 sheets-sheet 2 STEPHIYG COIL I l HMA/0- g 4 l l n l f x f l 75 l I ya, 1

E l 'i e i i i .5 4 l l\ i v' 5g 1N l @4' 152 1 l l maas i I-i 5211i l Lw w i 3E 15e l 30 i i i United" Statesv Patent C ice DISPLAY p Lee L. Rakes, Chicago, Ill.

Application February 29, 1956, Serial No. 568,587 Claims. (Cl. 40-28.3)

This invention is concerned generally with a display item, particularly one for the Christmas season.

Christmas displays are widely used in the home, in stores, and in manyf otherV places. Such displays generally include a'lighted Christmas tree, and may additionally include other items. Generally speaking, the displays are quiescent, or else any moving part continues to operate. ranged to ash onand off by means of a thermal timer incorporated in the vlighting system, but this timer or flashing switch must be removed manually if`it is desired for the lights to remain burning` constantly. Most Christmas displays are substantially alike. Thus, none is readily distinguished or attracts any attention relative to any others.- Christmas displays generally are left up 'provide1j-Christmas# display which is neitherquiescent non simply repetitive` butt-which changes 'markedly'.in

shaft 34 extends. Sometimes Christmas tree lights are ar- 2,874,496 -Patented Feb. 24, 1959 out through the windows and doors of the houses. There is also provided a toy train track 18 encircling the tree and having a train 20 thereon. Off to one side there isprovided a phonograph 22.

Thebase 12, as will be seen more particularly in Figs. 2 and 3, includes a cylindrical outer shell 24 having a surface covering 26 providing ornamentation thereon. The base 12 is provided with a base plate 28 resting on the floor or the like, and a cup 30 is positioned centrally of this base plate, the cup having a ball'32 rotatably resting thereon. A shaft 34 rests on the ball i32, and it will be understood that the cup and shaft, or one of them at least, has an indentation for properly positioning the ball 32. It will be apparent that the shaft could alternatively be supported by other means, such as `ball bearings.Y The shaft is maintained in upright position by means of' suitable spacers 36, which may take the form of solid platesA or of webs, or any other desirable construction, and which preferably are provided with bearings of some sort through which the At the upper end of the shaft 34 there is provided a cup 38 receiving the base of the tree 10, and having suitable clamping screws 40 orrthe like for mounting the tree. The cup is shown as integral with the shaft, but it can be detachable, as will be understood. An electric motor 42 is mounted within the cylindrical housing 24 by means of suitable brackets 44, and the output shaft of the motor is provided with a relatively small pinion 46 meshing with and driving a larger gear 48 secured on the shaft 34for driving this shaft at a reduced speed.

character: fromtime to'tirn'e in Yaccordan'cewith a Vprev arranged sequencem c s @More particularly', it-isv anobject of this invention to provide-a Christmasdisplay including a l tree mounted for movement, a village s ceneand 'train'beneath the-tree, and a phonographfor? other` soundrepioducery and .con-

' trolimeans, "both-'automatic andmanualfwforl operating thesame infany predetermined sequence.`- `Otherandfui'ther Vobjectsl-and advantages and the specific details of `an illustrativeembodiment of the in? vention willbe apparent from the followingdescription and' theaccompanying drawingsforming a portion of the disclosure .wherein: fr' i v Fig; 1 is .a perspective view generallyv showing theillustrativelparts of' the invention; i

Fig. 2 is a vertical `cross section through the base or standof the' Christmas tree; f t 'Fig-3 is `a Horizontal section therethrough substan- AFig 4iis a somewhatdiagrammatic Ytop'viewlof the phonograph; f

rFig. 5 is an enlarged detail view partlyin longitudinal section of vthe central support forthe'tree as taken along the line 5 5 in Fig. 3; and

Fig.` 6"is an'electricalwiring diagram for. the invention;

' Referring now in greater particularity to the drawings,

y and first to Fig. l, there will be seen a Christmas tree The shaft 34 is provided with a central bore 50 through which a pair of wires 52 leads to a pair of slip rings 54 or theV equivalent mounted on the circumference of rthe shaft, and insulated therefrom. The wires atthe upper end of the shaft pass radially outwardly through the cup 38 to a socket"56 into which the plug of the treelights 14 is-inserted. Brushes 58, or some other desirable type of sliding contact, are carried in insulated manner by suitable bracket means (Figs.` 2 and 3) in contacting engagement with the sliprings V54 lor the like. -Wires'62 connectthe brushes or the like S'Swithjappropriate relays in a relay box 63 vas will be setgifo'rth hereinafter with p regard to theelectrical circuit. f The relay box preferably is located Ywithin thefbase, asdshown, butte-an be.

located externally thereof. Y f

l and is provided with a bush-button actuator 74 thereon.

It will 'be understood that 'the `turntable 68 and arm 70 comprise parts of a conventional automatic recordchanger of any suitable type. When the arm returns from the solid line playing position to the dash'line position of Fig. 4 at the end of the record, the arm 70 engages the push-button 74 of the switch 72 to actuate a control function as will be brought out hereinafter.

The electrical construction of the step switch and relay box 63 will be seen with regard to Fig. 6, the box being indicated by broken lines. The box 63 is provided with a flexible service wire 76-having a plug 78 on the end thereof for insertion into a wall socket. Within the box 63 one side of the line or wire 76 is connected cludinga pluralityV of lfixedl contacts `86, =therebeing tent" "n such. contacts in the present illustrative embodiment, and

' asiatico also including a lmovable switch contact 88. The movable switch contact "is" connected'toA a bus`line 90, 'and the other of the wires ofjhe lead 76 is connected to this bus line. .The first fixed contact 86 is not connected to anything. 'The remaining contacts, numbered 2 through l0, are connected -through relay coils`92, conveniently numberedl fthrough9. The opposite side of each relay coil 92 is connected to thebus'lineSZ.

The movable switch contact 88 is arranged to be moved step-wise by a Ystepping coil, as willbe understood, each time .the stepping coil is energized. The stepping coil is hereinafter identilied by the numeral 94. One.. end of this stepping coil is connectedto the bus 82. The'other endis connected through three switches 'in parallel to the bus line'90. These switches comprise the phonograph switch 72 .(in' series with a toggle switch 95), atime switch 96 I(inseries with a toggle switch 97), anda push-button switch 98. The time switch 96 may be of any standard type, and conveniently is mounted-withn-thesbox 63, but, may be mounted voutside thereof. ,The vpllshbutton Switch -98 is shown also in Fig. Al, and is mounted outside of the box, a exible connecting cable 100 leading from the push-.button switch to the box. This'push-button switch is of the well known type whichis normally open, and which is closedupon depression of the push-button, the switch' reopening under the influence of.a spring upon release of the pushfbutton.

Thereisalso a plurality of groups of relay switches, such groups respectively being numbered 102, 104, 106, 107 and 108. One side of all of the relay contacts is connected tothe bus line 90. The relay contacts are of the type which are normally open, and which are closed upon energization of a corresponding coil. Thus, the first group of switches, group 102, has switch contacts which are closed by any of the relay coils 8, 5, 1, 3, 4, 6 or 7. Switches 8 and 5 are connected together at a junction 110 and lead through a cam operated switch 112 to a junction 114. The remaining switches of group 102, namelyy switches l, 3, 4, 6 vand 7 are connected together to the junction 114, and the junction 114 is con nectedY to the tree lightssocket 56, the otheriside of the socket beingconnected to `the bus line 82. The cam operated switch 112 maybe supported inA any suitable manner within the housing 24 vand engages'a cam 116 ,on the tree supporting shaft 34.` Alternatively, this cam could be provided in atimer. j

In,the group of switches 104, switches 2 and 6 are connectedvtogether to a junction 118. Switches 7 .and

8 are connected together to a cam switch 120and the cam switch is connected to `the junction. The jjunction 118 is connected to a socket 122 for thevillage lights within the -houses 16. The cam switch 120 maybe mounted for actuation by a cam 124 `(Fig. 5) on the shaft 34, similarly to the switch 112. Of course, the switch `120 couldbe time operated.

All of the group of switches 106 lare connected in common lto a Asocket or -connectionA126 for the motor, and the group of switches 108 is connected to the -socket 128 for the phonograph.

The. time switch 96 is-provided with a motor, as will be understood. VOne Aside of the motor is connected through .the line to the bus line 90. The other side of the motoris connected through awire 130 to the bus line 82. Thus, whenever ythe plug 78 lis insertedrin a wall socket Vthetime switch will-be running. It will be Yunderstood that aswitch could be incorporated in the lead line or wire 76V if so desired. Assuming that `the movable switch contact 88, is on xed switch Contact #1, and the time lswitch '96 `is ,open when `the plug78 `is inserted, nothing will happen relative-to the display. Atcr a predetermined .time lthe Vtime ;switch will close `momentarily, `'thereby actuating the stepping coil 94, andgmoving the movable;contact88` to -lixedcontact #.2. This'will actuate relay #l coi1=and.-accordinglyvwillclose switch contacts 1 of the group 102, thereby causing the tree lights to' burn.

After a predetermined time lapse the time switch again will operate, and will act through the stepping coil 94 to move the movable contact 88 to fixed contact #3. This energizes coil #2, and hence closes switch contacts 2 of the group 104, thereby causing the village lights to be turned on. The 'tree lights simultaneously are turned otr through dre-energization of relay coil #1, and opening of switch contacts l of group 102.

After another predetermined ltime 1 interval, the time switch will operate,and relay coil #3 will be energized. This causes switch'contacts 3 to close in group 102 and also in group 106.v yThis causes the tree lights to burn, and energizes the motor so that the tree is rotated. It will be understood that at the same time the relay coil 2 is deenergized, and the village lights .are turned oi.

Following another predetermined time interval, the time switch operates to move the movable contact to contact #5, thereby energizingrelay coil #4, and closing all of ,the switch `contacts #4, `such switch contacts being ,in groups 102106, 107 and 108. As a result of this, the tree revolves, the tree lights Yare on, the train runs, and the phonograph plays. The time interval in this instance is. not ended by the time switch.. The interval of the time switch is` longer than the time necessary to play a record on the phonograph. Accordingly, when the arm 70 of the phonograph returns to rest position and closes the phono switch 72 (assuming the toggle switch 95 to be closed as the switch 97 has been assumed to be closed), the phono switch causes energization of the stepping coil, and moves the movable contact 88 from tixed lixed contact #6.

'Ihisis necessary in order to prevent the time switch from `operating first, and thereby stopping the phonograph in the middle of a record. Aside from the undesirability of stopping in ,the middle of a record, it will be apparent that subsequent starting in Athe middle of a record would be mosty disconcerting due to the unpleasant noises that would be caused before the turntable came up to operating speed.

,Contacting of the lixed switch 6 causes energization of the'relay coil 5, and hence closing of the contacts 5 in group 102 and` in group 106. This causes the tree. lights to be lighted, and the motor to operate to rotate thetree. Rotation of the tree supporting shaft 34 causes the cam switch 112 to be opened and closed, thereby causing the tree'lights to blink as the tree rotates. v

Following another predetermined time interval the time switch again operates, and the movable contact moves from xed contact #6 to lixedcontact #7. In this instance the village lights are turned on along with the tree lights, and the tree is stationary.

The passing of another time interval causes the time switch to move vthe movable contact from contact 7 to contact 8. In this instance the tree lights are on, the motor runs to rotate'the tree, and the village lights blink upon opening and closing of `the cam switch of group 104.

After another time interval has elapsed the movable contact shifts from tixed contact #8 to fixed contact #9. This causes all of the various parts of the display to oper ate at the same time. The tree lights and the village lights both blink on and oft', the tree rotates, the train runs,.and the phonograph plays. Upon completion of a record, the phono vswitch operates to terminate lthis portion of the sequence by moving the contact 88 to xed contact #10. This causes energization of coil #9, and coil #9 is a reset coilwhch acts to reset the movable contact back to xed contact #1.

An illustrative-embodiment-of the invention now vhas been vfully disclosed. It willbe apparent 'that other items could be added to the display, and operated in the proper sequence by thetime switch 96 and the phonograph switch 72. ..In theillustrative embodiment, and in'other embodiments of the invention, it is of extreme importance to note that the push-button switch is in parallel with the phonograph switch and with the time switch. Thus, if for any reason it is desired to terminate one portion of the sequence prior to its normal time, all that is necessary is to depress the button of the push-button switch. This can be done several times to skip certain portions of the sequence if it should be so desired.

It will be understood that the toggle switch 95 can be left open to remove the cycle from the control of the phonograph, and records will play in succession. If the toggle switch 97 also is left open, any portion of the cycle will remain in operation until changed manually by the push-button switch 98. If the toggle switch 95 is closed, and the toggle switch 97 is opened, the cycle will be controlled manually and by the phonograph.

It will be apparent that the display heretofore disclosed has both a visual and an auditory appeal, and is calculated to attract the attention of anyone in the vicinity. The display can be used indoors, or it can be used outdoors with a weather-proof base. Alternatively, the display can be used outdoors with the control box indoors, and in this instance weather-proong is not critical. Various changes in structure will no doubt occur to those skilled in the art, and are to be understood as forming a part of the invention insofar as they fall within the spirit and scope of the appended claims.

The invention is hereby claimed as follows:

1. A Christmas display comprising a plurality of items including a Christmas tree mounted on a rotatable stand, lights on said Christmas tree, and a scene adjacent said Christmas tree and having lights thereon, said items being alternatively quiescent or activated to appeal to at least one of the perceptory senses, a plurality of switch means operable individually and in groups for similarly rendering said items quiescent or activated, time switch means for operating said plurality of switch means individually and in gro-ups in predetermined order, and manually operable switch means connected in parallel with said time switch means for operating said plurality of switch means irrespective of the operation of said time switch means.

2. A display as set forth in claim 1 wherein the plurality of switch means comprises a stepping switch, a plurality of relays selectively energized through said stepping switch, and a plurality of relay switches, said items .being connected singly and in groups to said relay switches, and further including a relay coilY energized' through said time switch means or said manually operable switch means for operating said stepping switch.

3. A display comprising a Christmas tree, a stand mounting said Christmas tree for rotation, lights on said Christmas tree, a setting beneath said Christmas tree having a plurality of lights and a toy train, controlling means for alternately starting and stopping said train and turning on and olf said setting lights in accordance with a predetermined pattern, said controlling means selectively effecting rotation and stopping of said Christmas tree, and switch' means opened and closed by rotation of said Christmas tree for turning said lights off and on.

4. A display as set forth in claim 3 and further including a phono-graph, the controlling means elfecting starting of said phonograph, and said phonograph further having a switch operable upon the completion of a record playing operation to shut olf said phonograph and to act insteadof said controlling means to change the condition of the remaining parts of the display.

5. A display comprising a plurality of items alternatively quiescent or activated to appeal to at least one of the perceptory senses, one of said items having an independent time cycle, a plurality of switch means connected to said items for changing the condition of quiescence or activation thereof, means for operating said plurality of switch means in accordance with a predetermined pattern and means operated by the item having the independent cycle for operating said switch means independently of the pattern operating means.

i References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 966,520 Bumiller Aug. 9, 1910 1,614,952 Geyer Ian. 18, 1927 1,680,982 Goerk et al. Aug. 14, 1928 2,098,216 Andres Nov. 9, 1937 2,116,127 Steiert May 3, 1938 2,211,868 Steeneck et al Aug. 20,. 1940 2,555,994 Pennell June 5, 1951 FOREIGN PATENTS 546,174 Great Britain July 1. 1942

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2956357 *Feb 19, 1959Oct 18, 1960Rakes Lee LDisplay
US4249331 *Mar 5, 1979Feb 10, 1981Vernon John BDynamic star burst display
US4801478 *May 12, 1987Jan 31, 1989Abraham GreenblattMusical ornament for celebrated occasions
US5131618 *Feb 12, 1991Jul 21, 1992Chapin Michael JElevated Christmas tree track
US5209692 *Jan 8, 1992May 11, 1993Coleman Thomas JCombination, a novelty toy and a candy holding device
US5211366 *Jan 13, 1992May 18, 1993Cummings John WOrnamental support for Christmas tree and the like
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US6868754 *May 26, 2002Mar 22, 2005Cris Annette EixApparatus for rotating objects around a base of a tree and a method for making the apparatus
US8196530Jun 18, 2009Jun 12, 2012Elizabeth Van DykChristmas tree supporting table
US8221185 *Feb 11, 2011Jul 17, 2012Dorothy TomeMethod of use of decorative christmas tree base and assemblage
US8250810 *Jun 30, 2006Aug 28, 2012Fred Van ZijlPlant support and method for cultivating a plant
US20030217618 *May 26, 2002Nov 27, 2003Eix Cris AnnetteApparatus for rotating objects around a base of a tree and a method for making the apparatus
US20040111935 *Nov 10, 2003Jun 17, 2004Sheila TipayAnimated tree
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US20080209806 *Jun 30, 2006Sep 4, 2008Fred Van ZijlPlant Support and Method for Cultivating a Plant
US20090119983 *Nov 5, 2007May 14, 2009Edward Michael JonesChristmas tree stand
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U.S. Classification40/457, 446/242, 40/411, 40/432, 428/7, 248/523, 40/473, 40/415, 47/39, D11/130.1, 40/466
International ClassificationA47G33/12, G09F19/12
Cooperative ClassificationA47G33/126, G09F19/12
European ClassificationG09F19/12, A47G33/12R