Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.


  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS2920408 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 12, 1960
Filing dateSep 17, 1956
Priority dateSep 17, 1956
Publication numberUS 2920408 A, US 2920408A, US-A-2920408, US2920408 A, US2920408A
InventorsThomas B Mcguire
Original AssigneeReed Res Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Electric display sign
US 2920408 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Jan. 12, 1960 T. B. MCGUIRE 2,920,408

ELECTRIC DISPLAY SIGN Filed Sept. 17, 1956 I31 ll III II"- 'll ll"- ll loo 1111111? 111 11T' L11111i FIG. 5

INVENTOR THOMAS B MCGUIRE ATTORNEY ELECTRIC DISPLAY SIGN Application September 17, 1956, Serial No. 610,200

1 Claim. (Cl. 40-52) The invention relates to electric display signs and more particularly to an electric display sign wherein the illuminated symbols may be changed with facility without resort to complex circuitry.

Electric display signs wherein the illuminated symbols are periodically changed are relatively common. However, such signs normally require complex circuitry and considerable programming in order to achieve the desired degree of versatility and speed. The cost of such circuitry and programming is such that for many applications, signs of this type cannot compete, pricewise, with other display devices.

Accordingly, it is the primary object of the instant invention to provide an electric display sign wherein the illustrated symbols may be changed rapidly with facility and economy.

For a greater appreciation of this and other objects.

of the invention, reference is made to the following specification and accompanying drawing wherein:

Fig. 1 is a diagrammatic view of an electric display sign construced in accordance with the instant invention; Fig. 2 is a top plan view of one of the matrices of the sign illustrated in Fig. 1;

Unite States Patent 0.

t 2 ones of the conductors 11, and may be manually or automatically actuated. Specific circuitry applicable to the switching mechanism is well known in the art, and requires no further elucidation since the ,specific details of such circuitry form no part of the instant invention.

When any of the conductors 11 are connected to the oscillator 8, an R.F. voltage will be applied thereto, and an R.F. field will surround the conductors. Such field will be relatively strong in those areas where the conductors are wrapped about the tubes 5 and relatively weak in other areas.

An inherent characteristic of a neon tube is to glow when subjected to an R.F. field of sufficient intensity. Accordingly, those tubes about which the hot conductors are wrapped will glow while the remaining tubes will not. By wrapping each conductor 11 about selected tubes 5 as is indicated in Fig. 5, an intelligible glow pattern, in this case the digit 2, can be obtained when an R.F. voltage is applied to the associated conductor 11.

It should be obvious that as many conductors 11 as desired may be employed in conjunction with each tube matrix, and that similarly, as many'matrices as desired may be employed in any given display sign. Since each conductor 11 associated with any given matrix is wrapped Fig. 3 is a bottom plan view of the matrix of Fig. 2; v

Fig. 4 is a view taken along line IV-IV of Fig. 2; and,

Fig. 5 is a view taken along line VV of Fig. 4.

Referring now more particularly to the drawing, the numeral 1 generally designates an electric display sign having three matrices 2, 3, and 4. It should be understood that although three matrices are indicated herein for illustrative purposes, any number may be employed as desired without departing from the'scope of the instant invention.

Each matrix comprises a plurality of neon tubes 5 arranged in rows and columns. As is herein illustrated, there are seven rows and five columns, but it is understood that any number of either may be employed as appears to be best suited for the symbols to be illustrated. As is best seen in Fig. 3, all of the tubes 5 are connected in parallel by means of bus bars 6 and 7. The bus bars 7 are in turn connected in parallel to R.F. oscillator 8 by means of conductors 9 in the manner indicated in Fig. 1. The oscillator 8 may be of any of the suitable types well known in the art, and its exact details form no part of the present invention.

A plurality of laminations 10 composed of non-conductive material and having perforations therein of a size and spacing comparable to the tubes 5 are stacked thereupon as is indicated in Fig. 4. Conductors 11 are interspersed between the laminations and are wrapped about selected ones of the tubes 5 for a purpose and in a manner to be hereinafter described.

As is indicated in Fig. 1, the conductors 11 are all connected to a switching mechanism 12 which is in turn connected to the R.F. oscillator 8 by means of conductor 13. The switching mechanism is adapted to selectively electrically connect the oscillator 8 to desired about a different combination of tubes, the selective application of voltage to the conductors associated with the various matrices will result in the achievement of any desired glow pattern. In Fig. 1 a glow pattern indicating the numeral 293 is illustrated. Shifting the voltage to other conductors would result in a pattern indicative of any other number, word or symbol, dependent solely upon the specific tubes about which the conductors are wrapped.

It may therefore be seen that by merely manipulating the switching mechanism 12 so as to apply voltage selectively to the desired conductors 11, any desired glow pattern may be achieved. Naturally one, or some, or all of the matrices available may be employed at any given time, the number actually used being determined by the number of symbols it is desired to flash simultaneously.

It should, be noted that in the illustrative embodiment herein described, neon tubes have been utilized. However, any other means having the characteristic of emitting light when subjected to an R.F. field may be employed in their stead without departing from the scope of this invention:

It may therefore be seen that by utilizing an electric display sign constructed in accordance with the instant invention, the desired number of symbols may be flashed and changed rapidly and with facility.

Having disclosed an exemplary embodiment thereof, what I claim as my invention is:

An electric display sign comprising, a plurality of matrices, a plurality of illuminating means within each matrix, at least some of said illuminating means having the characteristic of emitting light when subjected to an R.F. field, means for generating an R.F. voltage, a plurality of conductors operatively associated with the generating means, each of said conductors being additionally associated with selected ones of the illuminating means within one of said matrices, the selected ones of the illuminating means associated with each conductor being so spaced with respect to one another so as to simulate a specific symbol, and further means interposed between the generating means and the conductors for selectively controlling the application of R.F. voltage to the conductors, the application of R.F. voltage to a conductor resulting in the emission of light by the associated illuminating means so as to form a visual simulation within the corresponding matrix of the related symbol, the concurrent application of voltage to one conductor associated with each matrix thereof resulting in the Patented Jan, 12,

eeneurrent visual simulation 'of the related symbols by the illuminating means within the respective matrices.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1 Bowers July 2, 1935 Diebel Mar. 12, 1940 Fodor July 9, 1940 Fuller Jan. 18, 1949 Farris Jan. 18, 1949 Browner Nov. 15, 1949 Williams et a1 Mar. 30, 1954 Stegner Dec. 27, 1955 Marcy Nov. 13, 1956

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1799731 *May 29, 1929Apr 7, 1931Day & Night Novelty Ads LtdElectromechanically-operated apparatus for advertising purposes
US1919490 *Jul 1, 1932Jul 25, 1933Von Lepel EgbertSource of light and method of operating the same
US1923523 *Jun 4, 1932Aug 22, 1933Whitney Paul BAutomatic sign
US2006436 *Feb 4, 1931Jul 2, 1935William SaalElectric current subdividing connecting device
US2193478 *Jul 11, 1938Mar 12, 1940Cornelius F McintyreElectric sign
US2207217 *May 26, 1939Jul 9, 1940Fodor JosephElectric discharge device
US2459422 *May 31, 1947Jan 18, 1949Fuller Charles HarveyExciting means for high-frequency display tubes
US2459633 *Jul 14, 1947Jan 18, 1949Farris Clarence EFluorescent lamp
US2488169 *Feb 20, 1946Nov 15, 1949Benjamin B SchneiderNeon-type sign
US2673976 *Dec 19, 1952Mar 30, 1954American Sign & Indicator CoDisplay sign
US2728258 *Nov 19, 1951Dec 27, 1955Stegner Albert LDisplay apparatus
US2770061 *Dec 30, 1955Nov 13, 1956IbmDisplay apparatus
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3187320 *Jun 13, 1962Jun 1, 1965Burroughs CorpSegment display device
US3315388 *Aug 26, 1965Apr 25, 1967Sylvania Electric ProdDisplay device
US3357010 *Apr 28, 1964Dec 5, 1967Amp IncInformation display and storage means employing multi-aperture transfluxors
US3581301 *Oct 24, 1967May 25, 1971Contraves AgDisplay arrangement for symbols
US3916403 *Feb 12, 1973Oct 28, 1975Fok Gyem Finommech ElektApparatus for the rapid indication of visual information arranged in a mosaic system by means of magnetic indicating elements
US5257020 *Jun 12, 1991Oct 26, 1993Fiber-Optics Sales Co., Inc.Variable message traffic signalling trailer
US20110157186 *Jan 20, 2010Jun 30, 2011Biegert Funk GmbH & Co. KGDevice for displaying a text message
USB331895 *Feb 12, 1973Jan 28, 1975 Title not available
WO1991010984A1 *Jan 15, 1991Jul 25, 1991Gte Prod CorpRadio-frequency driven display
U.S. Classification40/452, 315/248, 362/812, 345/60
International ClassificationH01J17/49, G09F9/313
Cooperative ClassificationH01J17/492, G09F9/313, Y10S362/812
European ClassificationG09F9/313, H01J17/49D