US 3061716 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Oct. 30, 1962 G. B. BENANDER ELECTROLUMINESCENT NIGHT LIGHT Filed Dec. 22, 1960 fin e/rza/ Gaffe 5 ie/ralror 9 [5/014 644214-014 x76 flffaf/rgy G. a. BENANDER 3,061,716
ELECTROLUMINESCENT NIGHT LIGHT Oct. 30, 1962 Filed Dec. 22, 1960 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 [flue/7:: Ga fe 5 56/26/1049 Muf 4. Afihdxl i ms flaw/75y United States Patent O M 3,061,716 ELECTROLUMINESCENT NIGHT LIGHT George B. Benander, Oaklawn, R.I., assignor to General Electric Company, a corporation of New York Filed Dec. 22, 1960, Ser. No. 77,721 7 Claims. (Cl. 240-73) This invention relates to a plug-in night light utilizing an electroluminescent cell as alight source. More particularly, the invention relates to an electroluminescent cell night light which also serves as a current tap which will accommodate a plurality of attachment plugs.
One of the objects of the present invention is to provide a combination electroluminescent cell night light and triple tap for receiving three attachment plugs.
Another object of the invention is to provide a plug-in night light in which the attachment prongs may be pivoted to control the positioning of the light.
Another object of the invention is to provide a triple tap having two contacts within a six-sided housing in which there are attachment inlets on three sides and contact prongs extending from a fourth side.
Another object of the invention is to provide a wiring device contact spacing arrangement which will provide voltage surge protection.
Other objects of the invention will become apparent from the following specification taken in conjunction with the drawings in which FIG. 1 shows the face of the night light with the electroluminescent cell positioned thereon;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a night light mounted on a wall outlet with two attachment plugs connected to the night light;
FIG. 3 is a side View of the night light illustrated in FIG. 1 showing the manner in which the attachment prongs may be pivoted;
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the base housing of the night light showing the arrangement of guide bosses and contacts within the housing; and
FIG. 5 is an exploded perspective view of the individual elements of the night light.
Briefly stated, in accordance with one of its aspects, the invention is directed to a night light comprising a rectangular base of molded insulated material, the base having four sides defining a cavity, a set of attachment plug channels on three of the sides and a channel for the passage of contact prongs on the fourth side, a plurality of contact-positioning bosses on the interior of the base, the bosses serving to maintain a pair of contact strips in register with the attachment plug channels, a pair of contact strips maintained in criss-cross diagonal spaced rela tion in the cavity by the bosses, the ends and an intermediate portion of each contact strip being in register with a contact prong channel, an attachment contact prong connected to each contact strip and extending through the channel on the fourth side of the base, a cover on the base, and an electroluminescent cell mounted on the cover and electrically connected across the contacts.
A base preferably composed of molding compound such as a phenolic serves as the back portion of the night light housing. As best shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, a number of guide bosses are integrally molded in the base member. Essentially, these bosses form four groups 11, 12, 13, and 14 at the corners of the base 10, bosses 15 and 16 symmetrically disposed in a central position, and bosses 17 and 18 oppositely disposed in side positions. The base 10 has built up sides 19, 21, 22, and 23 which define a cavity in which the bosses 11-18 are positioned. Each of the sides 19, 21, and 22 is equipped with a set of channels 24 shaped and spaced to accommodate the prongs of an attachment plug and the boss groups 11-14 as well as the 3,061,716 Patented Oct. 30, 1962 bosses 17 and 18 are positioned in guiding relationship with attachment prongs extending through the channels 24. The side 23 of the base 10 has a channel 25 (FIG. 5) in which there is pivotally positioned a contact blade retainer and guide 26 composed of insulating material.
A pair of contact strips 27 and 28 are maintained in criss-cross diagonal spaced relation on the base 10 by means of the bosses 11-18. One end of each contact is lined up in register with an oppositely disposed blade channel 24 and the strip is then wrapped around the nearest corner formed by the sides 19, 21, 22, and 23. The blades are then criss-crossed at the center of the base 10, contact being avoided by cutting away the crossing portions of the strips and an intermediate portion of each blade is then passed in register with the channels 24 of the side 21 after which the strips are again run around the periphery of the cavity formed by the base 10 and the opposite ends are positioned in register with a channel 24. The cut-away portions of the contact strips 27 and 28 are dimensioned to leave a small gap between the blades at the crossover point. This gap is an economical way to provide voltage surge protection. An attachment blade 29 is attached to each of the contact members 27 and 28 by means of a pivot 31. It will be noted that identical parts may be used for the contact strips 27 and 28.
The cavity formed by the base 10 includes a guide partition 32 in alignment with the channels 24 of the side 21 and this partition defines a cavity to which a key hole slot 33 leads through the base 10. The key hole slot 33 in the base 10 enables the night light to be mounted on a nail.
Each of the contact strips 27 and 28 anchors one lead of a resistor 33 and it will be noted that the sides 19 and 22 have an interior notched section 34 to accommodate the looped lead wire of the resistor. The other end of each resistor 33 is initially positioned in resting engagement with a partition 35 integral with the group of bosses 12 and 13.
An electroluminescent cell 41 positioned against a cover 42 of insulating material has its contact leads 43 wrapped around the cover 42 and in contact with the ends of the resistors 33 which are resting on the partitions 35. The cover 42 has threaded apertures (not shown) which are in register with apertures 44 in the bosses 17 and 18 and the cover 42 is maintained in tight engagement with the contact strips 27 and 28 by means of screws 46 passing through the apertures 44 and tightened in the threaded apertures of the cover 42.
Electroluminescent cells are well known in the art and therefore will be discussed only briefly here. They are composed of a phosphor positioned between two conducting surfaces one of which is transparent. When the two conducting surfaces are connected to an alternating electric field after the manner of a capacitor, the phosphor emits light which is proportional to the strength of the field and the frequency.
Electroluminescent cell 41 is retained against the cover 42 by means of a retainer 51 which has sides which abut the sides 19, 21, 22, and 23 of the base 10 and which has channels 52 which register with the channels 24 of the base 10 to form prong-receiving apertures. The re tainer 51 is maintained in contact with the sides of the base 10 by means of double spring clips 53.
In utilizing the night lamp of this invention, it is merely necessary to plug the prongs 29 into a standard convenience outlet as illustrated in FIG. 2. The circuit through the electroluminescent cell 41 is thereby completed and the cell begins to emit light. While the cell is emitting light at all times that the device is plugged into an outlet, the cells draw so little power that many months of operaion are needed to consume electric power costing one cent. ,The night lamp of this invention is particularly valuable in a house with insufficient convenience outlets since it not only replaces the outlet it uses but supplies two additional outlets besides.
While the invention has been described with reference to a specific embodiment, it is obvious that there can be variations which fall within the true spirit of the invention. Therefore, the invention should be limited in scope only as may be necessitated by the scope of the appended claims.
What I claim as new and desire to secure by Letters Patent of the United States is:
l. A night light comprising a rectangular base of molded insulating material, said base having four sides defining a cavity, a set of attachment plug channels on three of said sides and a channel for the passage of contact prongs on the fourth side, a plurality of contact positioning bosses on the interior side of said base, said bosses serving to maintain a pair of contact strips in register with said attachment plug channels, a pair of contact strips maintained in criss-cross diagonal spaced relation in said cavity by said bosses, the ends and an intermediate portion of each contact strip being in register with a contact prong channel, an attachment contact prong connected to each contact strip, said prongs extending in spaced relation through the channel on the fourth side of said base, a cover on said base, and an electroluminescent cell mounted on said cover and electrically connected across said contacts.
2. A night light as claimed in claim 1 wherein the attachment contact prongs are pivotally connected to the contact strips. i
3. A night light as claimed in claim 1 wherein the electroluminescent cell is maintained in position on the cover piece by means of a retaining frame.
4. A night light as claimed in claim 1 wherein a spark gap between the contact strips at the cross over point provides voltage surge protection.
5. A night light as claimed in claim l'wherein the electroluminescent cell is connected across the attachment contact prongs through a pair of resistors anchored in position between the contact strips and electroluminescent cell terminals by the pressure of the cover piece against the resistor leads. 6. A night light comprising a housing having a front, back, and four sides formed by a base and a retaining frame, said housing having a set of contact prong-receiving openings on each of three sides thereof and an opening in the fourth side for attachment contact prongs, a plurality of bosses on the interior of said housing positioned to maintain electrical contact strips in register with said prong-receiving openings, a pair of contact strips in said housing, each contact strip having its two ends in register with a prong-receiving opening and an intermediate section also in register with such an opening, the said contact strips being in symmetrical criss-cross spaced relation whereby each set of prong-receiving openings has a portion of each contact strip in register therewith, an attachment contact prong connected to each contact strip and extending through the opening in the fourth side of said housing, and an electroluminescent cell mounted on the front of said housing, said electroluminescent cell being electrically connected across said contacts.
1 7. A night light as claimed in claim 6 wherein the attachment contact prongs are pivotally connected to the contact strips.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS