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Publication numberUS3163739 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 29, 1964
Filing dateSep 13, 1961
Priority dateSep 13, 1961
Publication numberUS 3163739 A, US 3163739A, US-A-3163739, US3163739 A, US3163739A
InventorsHutt Philip
Original AssigneeGen Electric
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Switch with selectively lighted pushbutton actuators
US 3163739 A
Images(2)
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Dec. 29, 1964 P. HUTT 3,163,739

SWITCH WITH SELECTIVELY LIGHTED PUSHBOTTON ACTUATORS Filed Sept. 13, 1961 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Inventor'- Phihp Hutt,

3 His Attovneg Dec. 29, 1964 P. HUTT 3,163,739

SWITCH WITH SELECTIVELY LIGHTED PUSHBOTTON ACTUATORS Filed Sept. 13, 1961 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Inventor Philip Hutt,

5 v'ziw @41 His Attorney United States Patent 3,163,739 SWITCH WITH SELECTIVELY LIGHTED PUSH- BUTTON ACTUATORS Philip Hutt, Milford, Conn., assignor to General Electric Company, a corporation of New York Filed Sept. 13, 1961, Ser. No. 137,768 6 Claims. (Cl. 200-167) This invention relates to an improved pushbutton switch, and particularly to a multiple pushbutton switch wherein a plurality of switch operating members, such as pushbuttons, are constructed and arranged to provide a visual indication of their relative positions.

Pushbutton type switches have found widespread application as appliance switches for electric ranges, washing machines, etc. In many of these applications, such as, for example, when the switches are used to control the heating units of electric ranges, it is desirable to provide a simplified and compact structure for indicating in a visual manner, the positions in which one or more switch operating members have been set by the operator. Such switch structure should provide a clear and attractive visual indication of the position of the appropriate operating members and be capable of eflicient and durable operation over a long period of years.

An important object of this invention is to provide a pushbutton switch with a novel and eflicient construction and arrangement for indicating the positioning of switch actuating members.

Another object of my invention is to provide an improved multiple push-button switch wherein light transmitting elements are inserted in associated pushbuttons to convey illumination to an outer face of each pushbutton when said pushbuttons are in their depressed positions.

An additional object of my invention is to provide an improved pushbutton for use in a multiple pushbutton switch, which pushbutton includes a light transmitting element inserted in an opaque handle section and a novel retaining means for holding the element in the handle section.

A further object of my invention is to provide an improved multiple pushbutton switch which incorporates a visual indicating means, and due to its relative simplicity can be manufactured at a very reasonable cost.

In carrying out my invention, in one form thereof, I apply it to a multiple pushbutton type switch having a housing and a plurality of contacts arranged therein. A plurality of reciprocating members are extended through an outer wall of the housing and disposed in side-by-side relation for operating the contacts. Each of the reciproeating members has at its outer end a handle section of opaque material with a tunnel opening into a pair of outer faces of this handle section. The tunnelhas a niche formed in an interior wall thereof. One of the outer faces of the handle section is manually engageable to depress the associated reciprocating member and thereby operate contacts of the switch. A light transmitting element is inserted in the tunnel of each handle section. This element has an outer end terminating at, and in conformance with the contour of, one outer face of the handle section. The inner end of the light transmitting element has a reflective surface formed thereon and positioned near the other outer face of the handle section. A lug is formed on an outer wall of the element. This lug cooperates with the niche in the tunnel of the handle section to serve as a simplified retaining means for fastening these members together. A light source is mounted on the exterior of the switch housing. A light limiting adapter means is fastened to the switch housing. This adapter means has appropriately positioned windows which allow illumination from the light source to impinge upon a reflective surface of the light transmitting element only 3,163,739 Patented Dec. 29, 1964 when its associated handle section is in its depressed position. Light from the source thus impinges upon the reflective surface and passes to the outer end of the element to visually signal the depression of the reciprocating member. The aforesaid arrangement provides a pushbutton switch with a visual indicating means that is very simple in construction and efficient in operation.

Further aspects of my invention will become apparent hereinafter, and the specification concludes with claims particularly pointing out and distinctly claiming the subject matter which I regard as my invention. The invention, as to organization and method of operation, together with further objects and advantages thereof, may best be understood by reference to the following description, when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a plan View of an improved multiple pushbutton switch embodying my invention;

FIG. 2 is an elevation view of the switch of FIG. 1, partially broken away to show the actuating sliders and the interior of the switch;

FIG. 3 is a bottom view of the switch;

FIG. 4 is a partially exploded perspective view of the switch;

FIG. 5 is an end view of the switch with one pushbutton shown in section to illustrate diagrammatically the manner in which light emission is conducted to the outer surface of the pushbutton;

FIG. 6 is a sectional view of a pushbutton taken generally along the line 66 of PEG. 1 with part of the light transmitting element shown in full; 7

FIG. 7 is a sectional view of a light transmitting elem nt, taken generally along the line '7-'7 of FIG. 4; and

FIG. 8 is a fragmentary plan view of the light reflecting surface of the light transmitting element.

Referring in detail to the drawings, and in particular to FIGS. 1 and 2, there is shown a multiple pushbutton switch unit 2 wherein my invention has been advantageously employed. Switch 2, as illustrated in FIG. 2, includes six reciprocating members 4 which are disposed in side-by-side parallel relationship and extend outwardly through apertures 6 (FIG. 4) formed in raised top walls 8 of hollow casing 10. Each of these members 4 includes a pushrod 12 with its inner end arranged within casing to operate a movable contact blade 14 when the member 4 is depressed.

To close the bottom of hollow casing 10 and cooperate therewith to form a switch housing as well as a larnpholder for my switch, a plate 16 of insulatingmaterial is fastened to the open bottom of casing 10 by terminals 18 and 26. Terminals 18 are staked to an outer wall of the casing 10 near one side thereof (FIG. 4) and also to the insulating plate 16 (FIGS. 3). Terminals 20 are staked to an outer wall of casing 16 near the other side thereof (FIG. 2) and also bent over to engage indented shoulders 22 formed on an adjacent side of the plate 16 (FIG. 3).

To actuate the switch unit 2, pushrods 12 extend downwardly through the apertures 6 of casing 10 (FIG. 4) into cavity 24 (FIG. 2). Each pushrod 12 has a cylindrically configured actuating portion 26 formed on its innermost end. (See FIG. 2). Portions 26 each cooperate with a group of generally aligned recesses formed in switch actuating sliders 23. These recesses open into the upper edges of sliders 28 and have inclined working surfaces 30 formed thereon'which are engageable with pushrod portions 26 in response to reciprocation thereof. Sliders 28 are of insulating material, and are disposed in parallel relationship in the well-known manner to reciprocate longitudinally and actuate the movable contact blades 14 of the switch. The lower edge of each slider, as shown by way of example for one of the sliders in FIG. 2, has one or more cam surfaces 32 formed on it. Cam surfaces 32 are for alternately engaging certain movable contact blades 14 to effect the opening and closing of predetermined contacts in certain operating positions of the sliders 28. The inclined working surfaces 30 formed in the upper edges of the sliders are so arranged on the different sliders that only one pushrod may be fully depressed at any one time. As is thus well-known in the art, the depression of one of the pushrods 12 causes the longitudinal movement of one or moreof the sliders 28, and this movement actuates one or more pairs of contacts of the switch by engagement and/or disengagement of cam surfaces 32 of the sliders with movable contact blades 14.

Turning now to a salient aspect of my invention whereby an improved means is achieved for visually indicat ing the depressed position of certain of the reciprocating members 4, it will noted that five of the members 4 have push-buttons 34 on their outermost ends (FIGS. 1 and 2). Each of these pushbuttons 34 is generally of two piece construction, including a generally solid handle section 36 (FIG. 4) of a suitable opaque material, and a light transmitting element 38 inserted in the handle section 36 (as shown in FIGS. 4 and Each of the handle sections 36 comprises a main body portion 37 and a depending bottom portion 39. The body portion 37 of each handle section 36 has a rectangular box-shaped configuration, as shown in FIG. 1. Concave outer face 37a of the body portion serves to provide a curved surface which corresponds at least in part to the contour of'an operators finger. The depending bottom portion 39 of each handle section has a T-shaped configuration, as shown by viewing FIGS. 2 and 4. For fastening the pushbuttons 34 to their associated pushrods 12, the handle sections 36 have inner cavities or recesses 40 (FIGS. 5 and 6) formed in the lowermost surfaces of the stem part of portions 39. Cavities 40 receive bifurcated outer ends 44 of an associated pushrod 12, as shown in FIG. 5. It will thus be seen that each pushbutton 34 is attached to its associated pushrod 12 by press fitting the handle section 36 of the pushbutton to the pushrod. Other than pushrod recess 40, the bottom face of T-shaped portion 39 is of solid construction.

To enable each of the pushbuttons 34 to effectively indicate the depressed position of the reciprocating member 4 with which it is associated, an elongated tunnel 46 is formed in each of the handle sections 36. This tunnel 46 is formed in part within handle section 36 by a box shaped arrangement of spaced parallel side walls in perpendicular relationship with spaced parallel end walls of shorter dimension (FIGS. 1 and 4). The outer and upper end of tunnel 46 (viewing FIG. 4) opens into the concave face 37a of the handle section, and the inner or lower end of the tunnel 46 opens into a window 48 formed in outer side wall 50 of the winged part of bottom portion 39. It will thus be seen that tunnel 46 opens into top and side walls of the pushbutton handle section, which walls are in general disposed in perpendicular relationship. On an inner side of tunnel 46 opposite window 48 an angular wall 52 is formed (FIG. 6). Wall 52 slopes downwardly and to the right (viewing FIG. 6) to intersect a vertical wall 54 which terminates at an inner side of horizontal floor 56. The outermost side of floor 56 is below and spaced apart from the bottom of Window 48 (viewing FIG. 6) to provide a shoulder 58 at the bottom of each window 48. The purpose of shoulder 58 shall be described hereinafter.

To pipe illumination through each tunnel 46 of the pushbuttons 34, as shown in FIG. 4, the light transmitting element 38 is fitted into the tunnel 46, from above the outer face 37a of the handle section 36. Element 38 is a slender light-reflecting prism of transparent material, preferably of the plastic type, such as polymethyl methacrylate. Light is directed toward the prism element 38 by a source 60 inthe form of a suitable lamp, as shall be described hereinafter.

Considering now in more detail the structure of each of the transparent elements 38, attention is direction to FIGS. 4-6. Each of the elements 38 includes a generally rectangular shaped body with a wedge shaped bottom. More particularly explained, element 38 comprises an outer face 38a which conforms to the curvature of face 37a of handle section 36, spaced generally parallel sidewalls 61a, 61b, which taper slightly away from each other toward face 38a at their upper ends, (FIG. 4), and spaced parallel end walls 63 which are generally perpendicular to walls 61a, 61b and taper in the same manner as the side walls 61a, 61b at their upper ends (FIG. 4). To form the wedge shaped bottom of the element, the outer-most vertical wall 61a (FIG. 6) treminates at a sloped surface 62 inclined inwardly and downwardly at an angle of approxmiately 5 from wall 61a, and the innermost wall 61b terminates at a sloped reflecting surface 66 (shown in detail in FIG. 8) inclined outwardly and downwardly at an angle of approximately 36 with its associated wall 61b. The reflective surface 66 intersects sloped surface 62 at apex 69 and is disposed at an acute angle to the slightly sloped front surface 62 of the element 38 to reflect light to the top face 38a thereof (see FIG. 5

The light reflecting surface 66 of my element 38 has one set of parallel grooves 66a arranged perpendicular to another set of parallel grooves 66b. These grooves 66a, 66b are of shallow V-shaped configuration and arranged in a grid like network to form an aggregation of pyramidal prisms 660 between them. The prisms 66c assure maximum reflection and ditfusion of light toward surface 38a of the element 38 and at the same time produce a sparkling effect.

To simply and efiiciently secure the light transmitting element 38 within tunnel 46 of the pushbutton handle section 36, as shown in FIG. 6, as one aspect of my invention, a small aperture 68 is formed in the innermost side wall 46b of tunnel 46. The aperture 68 is centrally located between the vertical end walls of tunnel 46, and extends transversely between tunnel 46 and pushrod cavity 40. On the innermost side wall 61b of element 38, a lug 70 is formed. Lug 70 is centrally disposed between the end walls 63 of element 38 and protrudes outwardly from the surface 61b to cooperate with aperture 68, as shown in FIG. 6, when element 38 has been positioned within tunnel 46. It will thus be seen that lug 70 and aperture 68 provide a simplified and effective arrangement for ensconcing element 38 within tunnel 46 of thepushbutton.

In viewing FIGS 4 and 7, it will be noted that the end walls 63 of element 38 each have a spacing projection 72 formed thereon. The outermost side wall 61a of element 38 has a pair of spaced apart projections 74 formed thereon near walls 63. The innermost side wall 61b has a spacing shoulder 76 formed on each side of lug 70. When the light transmitting element 38 is positioned in tunnel 46 of the pushbutton 34, the tapered outer periphery of element 38, shoulders 76, and projections 72 and 74 engage the adjacent vertical walls of tunnel 46 to generally space the side and end walls of the tunnel from the walls 61a, 61b and 63 of the element 38 and thereby prevent any foreign matter such as greases from being drawn between the wall surfaces by capillary action. One example of such foreign matter might be trying fumes which tend to occur near the cooking surface of an electric range. Such a spacing arrangement is very important, since any foreign matter which collects between element 38 and these tunnel walls would tend to obstruct internal reflectance of light though the element 38.

To enable each of the pushbuttons 34 to signal the depression of its asociated reciprocating member 4 by the appearance of light of a different color at face 38a, each of the pushbuttons 34 has a rectangular shaped color screen or filter 78 specially selected to transmit light of a desired wave length. The filter 78 for each pushbutton is of oblong configuration, having a shorter dimension that is suitably larger than the shorter dimension of window 48 and a longitudinal dimension generally corresponding to the longitudinal dimension of window 48. To assemble each filter 73 to its associated pushbutton, one longitudinal edge 78a of the filter is located between the upper longitudinal border of handle window 48 and element 38 (FIGS. 4 and 6) and the other longitudinal edge 78!) is positioned behind should 58 and upon door 56 near the bottom of window 48. Filter 78 is thus held against the sloped angular wall 62 of element 38 on the inside of window 48, as shown in FIG. 6.

To enable source 60 to illuminate each reciprocating member 4 only when that particular member 4 is depressed, I have provided a generally Z-shaped light shielding adapter 80. (See FIG. 5.) The adapter 80 includes a plurality of lower flanges 82 (FIGS. 2 and 4) each suitably fastened to the top of casing 10 (as shown in FIG. 4), between an adjacent pair of raised top walls 8 thereof. Flanges 82 are connected in perpendicular relationship to an elongated fiat body section 84 with a series of windows 86 formed therein. Body section 84 is disposed in parallel relationship to the switch actuating sliders 28 (FIG. 2) and is also in spaced parallel relationship to the side walls Ell of the bottoms of the pushbuttons 34 and the side walls 36a of the pushbutton handle sections 36.

Each of the windows 86 of adapter 8t? is positioned in transverse alignment with one of the reciprocating members 4, as shown in FIG. 2, and in spaced proximity to an associated window 48 of one of the pushbuttons 34. In forming each of the windows 86 of the adapter 80, at the top of the window (FIG. 5), a shielding arm 88 is turned outwardly from and in perpendicular relationship to the plane of section 84. The shielding arms S8 are thus positioned at the top of each of the windows 86 and their outermost edges are in close proximity to side wall 56 of the pushbutton bottom to control the impingement of light from source 60 to the window 48 of the pushbutton.

From the upper edge of body section 84 of the adapter, an elongated flange 90 is projected outwardly in a direction away from the pushbuttons 34. The purpose of flange 90 is to help prevent light leakage when the switch 2 is mounted in an appliance panel and also to enhance the structural rigidity of the adapter $8.

By using adapter 86 in my improved switch 2, light is only permitted to pass from source 60 to window 43 of a pushbutton 34, when that particular pushbutton 34 is depressed. Thus when viewing FIG. 5, it will be noted that the pushbutton 34a, shown in the foreground, is in its depressed position. Rays of light from source 60 thereupon pas through window 86 of adapter 8%), window 48 of the pushbutton, and color filter 73 to impinge upon refiective surface 66. At surface 66 of element 38 the filtered light rays are then diffused and transmited to the outer face 38a of the element 33, in the manner suggested by FIG. 5. When the operator of the switch 2 looks toward the surface 66 from above (viewing FIG. 4), or directly opposite the face 33a, he sees a sparkling colored indication which signal to him that that pushbutton has been depressed.

The pushbutton 341), which is shown behind the pushbutton 34a in FIG. 5, is in its outermost or undepressed position. With pushbutton 34b in this position, the window 48 thereof (not shown) is raised above the position of the window 48 of button 34a (viewing FIG. 5) and shielding arm 88 for the window 86 of the adapter adjacent button 34b is disposed suitably underneath the window 48 of this button. More particularly, the outer edge of the arm 88 adjacent button 34!) is closely adjacent the opaque bottom surface 59a of the side wall 50 underlying window 48. (See also FIG. 4.) Light rays emitted from source 69 thereupon are precluded from entering window 48 of the undepressed pushbutton 3412 because they impinge only upon the opaque bottom surface 50a of handle section 36 underlying the widow 48, or upon shielding arm 88. Light is also likewise precluded from entering elements 38 for the other pushbuttons 34 which are in their undepressed positions. It will thus be seen that structure and arrangement of the various pushbuttons 34 in combination with the arrangement and structure of adapter provide a simplified and effective visual indication of any depressed pushbutton 34.

Turning now to a description of the light source of my improved pushbutton switch 2, attention is directed to FIGS. 1, 4 and 5. As shown in particular in FIG. 4, insulating plate 16 is of an enlarged configuration. More specifically, plate 16 includes a segment shaped extension 92 which protrudes outwardly in lateral fashion from the bottom side of casing 10 above which the adapter windows 86 are located. (See FIG. 4.) Extension 92 has a circular aperture 94 formed therethrough, as shown best in FIG. 3. Above aperture 94 (viewing FIG. 4) there is positioned a first lamp contact 96 which includes a pair of curved contacting faces 96a. Contact 96 i fastened to base 10 and connected to terminal 1811, as shown in FIG. 4. The faces 96a are coaxial to the circular aperture 94 and positioned on the upper side of insulating extension 92 (viewing FIG. 4). To limit resilient outward movement of the contacting faces 96a of contact 96 a C-shaped insulating member 98 brackets the outer curved surfaces of each of the faces 96a, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 4. The inner surfaces of the contact faces 96a have suitably constructed ribs 961') embossed therein to facilitate threaded engagement with a threaded contact 160 of lamp 102. (See also FIG. 5.) The bottom contact 104 of lamp 182 engages a cantilevered contact 166 fastened to terminal 2611 by screw 110. (See FIG. 3.) It will be understood by those skilled in the artthat a current source is connected across lamp terminals 18a and 2%.: for energizing lamp 102 and thereby emitting light to the depressed pushbuttons 34. It will be now further understood that insulating plate 16 not only serves as part of the housing for my switch 2, but it also serves as a supporting part of a lampholder for lamp 182.

As shown in FIG. 1, the lampholder contact faces 96a are centrally located upon the insulating segment so that the lamp 182 is positioned next to the third pushbutton from the left. Such positioning of the lamp 102 serves to enhance uniformly of illumination of the pushbutton elements 38 for the five pushbuttons 34.

Pushbutton 112, which is located on the right end of switch unit 2 as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 does not carry a light transmitting element 3-8, but is rather of unitary construction. The pushbutton 112 is connected to a pushrod 12 in the same manner as are the pushbuttons 34, and this particular pushrod 12 in the illustrated embodiment is manually depressed to return any previously depressed other pushbuttons to their outermost positions and to open all of the circuits controlled by the switch unit 2'.

To furnish a reflector for lamp 102 and thereby effectively increase the intensity of illumination emitted therefrom toward the windows 86 of adapter 80, I have provided a polished reflector 114 (see FIGS. 1 and 4). Reflector 114 is constructed from a fiat thin sheet of polished aluminum and is generally bow-shaped, including a flat central section 116, a pair of curved arms 118 connected to each end of section 11% and .a pair of flange 12% formed at the outer ends of arms 118. The flanges 120 each have a V-shaped notch 122 formed in their elongated outermost edges, near corner cutout sections 124.

For attaching the reflector 114 to switch unit 2, the

flanges 126 are pinched together or toward each other slightly and the V-shaped notch 122 of each'fiange is fitted into cooperative engagement with a turned up ear 126 formed at each end of adapter 86) (see FIG. 4). In particular, the upper edge of notch 122 (viewing FIG. 4) is fitted behind ear 126 and the bottom or innermost part 7 of notch 122 engages the inner and lower corner 126a of ear 126 (see also FIG. 2). The cutout sections 124 provide clearance for the lower side shoulder of casing 10 when the reflector is mounted upon the adapter 80.

It will be understood from the foregoing that my new and improved pushbutton switch unit, such as herein illustrated, provides a simple and efficient means for visually indicating in an attractive manner the positioning of pushbuttons. Internal reflection by the light transmitting transparent element inserted in the pushbuttons provides a sparkling colored indication when the depressed pushbutton(s) are viewed from the front of the switch. It should be realized that certain aspects of my invention may be incorporated beneficially in other numerous and various pushbutton switch applications.

While in accordance with the Patent Statutes I have described what at present is considered to be the preferred embodiment of my invention, it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that various changes and modifications may be made therein without departing from my invention and I, therefore, aim in the following claims to cover all such equivalent variations as fall within the true spirit and scope of this invention.

What I claim as new and desire to secure by Letteis Patent of the United States is:

1. A pushbutton switch comprising a housing, contact means disposed in said housing, and a plurality of reciprocating members operating said contact means by the selective positioning thereof, at least one of said members having a handle section including an outer face manually engageable to depress said one member and operate said contact means, said handle section being of a relatively opaque material with a tunnel formed therein, said tunnel opening at one of its ends into the outer face of said handle section, a light transmitting element inserted in the tunnel, said element having an inner reflective surface disposed in said tunnel reflecting light to the outer face of said handle section, a light source mounted on the exterior of said housing emitting light along a path external of the switch housing toward said reflective surface through another end of said tunnel, means positioned between said light source and said handle section preventing the impingement of light from said source upon the inner reflective surface of said element when the associated recipro cating member is in one position thereby to indicate the positioning of said member, and means retaining said light transmitting element in the tunnel of said handle section solely by cooperation of said element and said section.

2. A pushbutton switch comprising a housing, contact means disposed in said housing, and a plurality of reciprocating members operating said contact means by the selective positioning thereof, at least one of said members having a handle section including a first outer face manually engageable to depress said one member and operate said contact means, said handle section being of a relatively opaque material with a tunnel formed therein, said tunnel opening at one of its ends into said first outer face and at another of its ends into a second outer face in transverse relationship with said first outer face, a light transmitting element inserted in the tunnel of said handle section, said element having an outer end terminating at the first outer face of said handle section and an inner reflective surface disposed in said tunnel adjacent the second outer face of said handle section reflecting light tothe first outer face of said handle section, said first outer face and said inner reflective surface being located externally of said housing, a light source mounted on the exterior of said housing, means positioned between said light source and said handle section allowing light from said source to impinge upon the inner reflective surface of said element through the second outer face only when the associated reciprocating member is depressed thereby to indicate the positioning of said one member, and means retaining said light transmitting element in the tunnel of said handle section solely by cooperation of said element and said section.

3. A pushbutton switch comprising a housing, contact means disposed in said housing, and a plurality of reciprocating members operating said contact means by the selective positioning thereof, at least one of said members having a handle section including a top face manually engageable to depress said one member and operate said contact means, said handle section being of a relatively opaque construction and having a tunnel formed therein, said tunnel including a plurality of walls opening at one of its ends into said top face and at the other of its ends into a side face in generally perpendicular disposition relative to said top face, a niche formed in one wall of said tunnel, a light transmitting element inserted in the tunnel of said handle section, said element including a plurality of walls in spaced adjacency to the walls of said tunnel and having an outer end terminating at the top face of said handle section and an inner end disposed closely adjacent the side face of said handle section, a lug formed in one of the walls of said element, said lug of said element cooperating with said niche in said wall thereby to efliciently retain said element in secure engagement with said handle section, a reflective surface formed on said element near the inner end thereof reflecting light to the top face of said handle section, said top face of said handle section and said reflective surface of said element being located externally of said switch housing, a light source mounted on said housing, and means positioned between said light source and said handle section allowing light from said source to impinge upon the reflective surface of said element through the inner end thereof only when the associated reciprocating member is depressed, thereby to indicate the positioning of said one member.

4. A pushbutton switch comprising a housing, contact means disposed in said housing, and a plurality of reciprocating members operating said contact means by the selective positioning thereof; at least one of said members having a handle section including a top face manually engageable to depress said one member and operate said contact means, said handle section being located exteriorly of said housing of relatively opaque construction and having a tunnel formed therein; said tunnel including a plurality of walls opening at one of its ends into said top face and at the other of its ends into a side face in generally perpendicular disposition relative to said top face; a niche formed in one wall of said tunnel; a light transmitting element inserted in the tunnel of said handle section; said element including a plurality of walls in spaced adjacency to the walls of said tunnel, a light output end terminating at the top face of-said handle section, and a light input end disposed closely adjacent the side face of said handle section; a lug formed in one of the walls of said element; said lug of said element cooperating with said niche in said wall thereby to efficiently retain said element in secure engagement with said handle section; a reflective surface formed on said element near the input end thereof; a filter disposed at the light input end of said element between said side face of said handle section and said element; a light source mounted on the exterior of said housing; and means positioned between said light source and said handle section allowing light from said source to passthrough said filter and through the input end of said element to impinge upon the reflective surface of said element only when the associated reciprocating member is depressed, thereby to indicate the positioning of said one member.

5. A pushbutton switch comprising a casing, an insulating plate fastened to said casing to provide a housing for said switch, said plate including an extension formed thereon, contact means disposed in said housing, a plurality of reciprocating members extending into said housing operating said contact means by the selective positioning thereof, at least one of said members having a handle section including a first outer face manually engagcable to denress said one member and operate said contact means, said handle section being disposed exteriorly of said housing of relatively opaque material and having a tunnel formed therein, said tunnel opening at one of its ends into said first outer face and at another of its ends into a second outer face of said section in transverse relationship with said first outer face, a light transmitting element inserted in the tunnel of said handle section and contained therein, said element having an outer end terminating at the first outer face of said handle section and an inner reflective surface disposed in said tunnel adjacent the second outer face of said handle section reflecting light to the first outer face of said handle section, a lampholder arranged on the extension of the insulating plate of said switch, a lamp cooperating with said lamp holder to provide a light source for said switch, means positioned between said lamp and said handle section allowing light from said lamp to impinge upon the inner reflective surface or said element through the second outer face thereof only when the associated reciprocating member is depressed thereby to indicate the positioning of said one member, and means retaining said light transmitting element in the tunnel of said handle section solely by cooperation of said element and said section.

6. A pushbutton actuator comprising a handle having a first outer face manually engageable for operation of said actuator and a second outer face disposed in transi ii verse relationship to said first outer face, said handle being constructed from a relatively opaque material, a tunel formed in said handle, said tunnel opening at a first end into said first outer face and at a second end into said second outer face, a light transmitting element inserted in the tunnel of said handle and conta ned therein, said element having one end terminating at the first end of said tunnel and the other end terminating adjacent the second end of said tunnel, a reflective surface formed on said element and disposed within said tunnel, said reflective surface of such a shape as to direct light rays impinging thereupon through said tunnel toward said one end of said element thereby to illuminate said actuator, and said light transmitting element having integral means engaging at least one internal wall of said tunnel and comprising the sole means retairdng said element in said tunnel.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,431,904 12/47 Andrews 200-5 2,437,555 3/48 Rees 200l67 2,440,063 4/48 Andrews 200-167 2,766,373 10/56 Gehel 240-2 BERNARD A GILHEANY, Primary Examiner.

ROBERT K. SCHAEFER, Examiner.

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US5450653 *Jan 5, 1994Sep 19, 1995The Grigoleit CompanyComposite knob with an insertable position indicator
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US6568036May 1, 2002May 27, 2003The Grigoleit CompanyComposite indicator knob and a method for manufacturing a knob
US7036188Mar 24, 2004May 2, 2006The Grigoleit CompanyComposite knob with light pipe leakage barrier
US7203998 *Mar 17, 2006Apr 17, 2007The Grigoleit CompanyComposite knob with light pipe leakage barrier
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DE1665631B1 *May 9, 1966Mar 16, 1972Rau Swf AutozubehoerBeleuchtungseinrichtung fuer schalter von fahrzeugen insbesondere von kraftfahrzeugen
DE1790270B1 *May 9, 1966May 4, 1972Rau Swf AutozubehoerBeleuchtungseinrichtung fuer schalter von fahrzeugen, insbesondere von kraftfahrzeugen
DE1790276B1 *May 9, 1966May 31, 1972Rau Swf AutozubehoerBeleuchtungseinrichtung fuer schalter von fahrzeugen, insbesondere von kraftfahrzeugen
Classifications
U.S. Classification200/314, 362/253, 362/247, 200/DIG.470, 116/279
International ClassificationH01H13/02
Cooperative ClassificationH01H13/023, Y10S200/47
European ClassificationH01H13/02B