US 3176420 A
Abstract available in
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
April 6, 1965 H. c. ALvERsoN 3,176,420
REFLEX SIGN Original Filed April 6, 1959 l" F fg.
\x Refecue Film 24 2 Acryh' //Plber Gloss Howard 6I A/verson lVA IN VENTOR.
i l. BY @M ma ni/away 5mm United States Patent 3,176,420 REFLEX SIGN Howard C. Alversou, 1539 W. Glenn Ave., Springfield, Ill. Continuation of application Ser. No. 804,324, Apr. 6, 1959. This application Oct. 31, 1962, Ser. No. 234,908 Claims. (Cl. 40-135) This invention relates to signs and also to the method of making signs as set forth in prior copending application Serial No. 804,324, filed April 6, 1959 now abandoned, with respect to which this application is a continuation.
An object of the invention is to provide a new and improved sign of a iiexible, reflex type wherein the sign has a highly reflective and durable face constructed of a plurality of lenticular surfaces arranged for refraction and high reflection of light.
Briefly, the sign is made of a flexible backing on which there are superposed layers of transparent essentially spheroidal beads at least partially embedded in layers of transparent pigmented mastic functioning as a binder for the beads to form a reflex reective surface. The layer of beads nearest to one face of the backing is embedded in pigmented mastic wherein the pigment is of one color or a mixture of colors producing the effect of a homogeneous color. A second reflex reflective layer of similar beads is embedded in a second mastic layer located on the first lenticulated surface. However, the second mastic layer contains a pigment or combinations of color pigments yielding a different light from that of the first layer'of mastic so that there is a contrast between the two colors involved. The second or outer layer of beads covers only selected areas of the lenticulated surface nearest to the backing and the same holds true for the second layer of mastic, thereby leaving exposed a portion of the lenticulated surface. The exposed portion forms a pattern that may be the character of the sign or any configuration such as the letters of a stop sign, railroad code marking and others.
In order to add to the durability of the sign and to aid in holding the glass beads of the second layer in place, there is a plastic coating encapsulating the backing and outermost glass bead layer. Further, the encapsulating coating adds to the weather resistant properties of the sign and being iiexible, the coating yields and returns to original shape upon impact and bending of the sign, always maintaining the beads in their correct orientation when the sign is restored to its original position, for instance after deflection due to impact. To further enhance the weather resisting properties of the sign a final transparent coating in one or more layers may be applied to the encapsulating coating. In those instances wherein the light reflection is preferably increased, a film, a sheet or coating of reiiective substance, as aluminum, tin foil,- or other metals or non-metals having light reflective properties, is electrodeposited or otherwise adhered between the backing and the beads of the lenticulated surface nearest to the face of the backing.
Another object of the invention is to provide a structurally 4improved flexible, retiex sign made essentially in accordance with the foregoing and which is exceedingly durable, lasting for a long time under various rigors imposed on the sign in both normal and abnormal use,
i especially in the weather.
AA further object of `the invention is to provide a new arrangement of steps and association of materials for manufacturing signs. The method of manufacture includesnthe applying of a smooth layer of approximately spheroidal transparent beads, for instance glass spheres,
over a face of a non-metal backing and holding the glass beads in place to formV a lenticulated surface by retention of the glass beads in pigmented mastic that is preferably essentially transparent whereby a film of light reflective substance between the backing and the glass beads increases the reiiectivity of the sign. The next step in the procedure is to apply another layer of transparent plastic pigmented with a different color or colors but in a pattern over the lenticulated surface so that the character or characters of the sign are formed by leaving certain portions of the lenticulated surface exposed at the front face of lthe sign backing. Thereafter, a second layer of beads which are similar to the beads of the lenticulated surface, is applied to the second mastic layer thereby still leaving certain areas of the lenticulated surface exposed at the front face of the sign and preserving the character or characters of the sign.
The final steps are for both weather-proofing the sign construction and for holding the beads of the second layer thereof firmly in place. These final steps include encapsulating with a flexible transparent plastic, for instance an acrylic resin and optionally, coating with a transparent substance possessing greater weather-proof qua1ities, one example being ordinary transparent lacquer in one or more coats and covering .the entire sign face, sides and back surface. An optional step applies a thin layer of acrylic resin or some other plastic substance as the initial step in the process, on the front face of the backing. Acrylic resin is mentioned as a possible plastic since it is contemplated that the best possible backing considering all factors including cost, durability and others, is constructed of pressed ber glass fortified with acrylic plastic so that the acrylic layer will have an aflinity for the fortifying acrylic resin in the essentially fiber glass backing.
These together with other objects and advantages which will become subsequently apparent reside in the details of construction and operation as more fully hereinafter described and claimed, reference being had to the accompanying drawings forming a part hereof, wherein like numerals refer to like parts throughout, and in which:
FiGURE 1 is a front elevational view of a sign constructed in accordance with the invention.
FIGURE 2 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view taken on the line 2 2 of FIGURE 1 with the various layers identified.
In the accompanying drawing sign 10 is shown as a stop `sign mounted on a post 12 by means of a pair of bolts 14. It is to be clearly understood though, that the sign need not be a stop sign and it need not be mounted in this way. Sign 19 merely diagrammatically represents a typical sign made by following the techniques of the invention.
Sign 10 is constructed of a backing 20 which is flexible and elastic in the sense that when deflected the backing returns to its original shape. A preferred base is constructed of glass fibers with an acrylic laminating resin. Onerecommended system for use with acrylic laminating resin employs a semi-continuous lay-up, and over stacky cure with the addition of moderate heat (2 hours at 155 F. and 0.3 p.s.i.) with corrugated aluminumA cull sheets and conventional trimming equipment. For detailed'description reference is made to page 118, Modern Plastics, January l5, 1959, volume 36, No. 5. Numerous other examples are available in literature. The method ofY actually producing backing 20is variable in accordance with economic factors such as costs, and also practicability depending on the volume of production. Furthermore,
i the compoistion--of backing '20. may Vbe varied, one example beingV given below:
l Thereiare Vseveral polyester resins Yavailable that would do a creditable job on this sign application, Yand'o'ne of the best is-Plaskon 9404 madeby the Coal Tar & Chemi- Street, New 'York'V City.l v styrene is available from the MonsantoChernical Com-V vrmentfin layer 30Vfis red.
' urther,'layer 30 covers only a portion of the area'of the lenticulated surface leaving exposed portions ofthe lenticulated surface in a definite pattern to form the character'or characters of the sign.
- Ini a 4stop sign these characters Vwould.` be the lettering (FIGURE l). T heftechniquefor so applying thermastic of layer 30 maybe astenciling, silk screening orrnasking. Y In this r'Way the referredrto portions ofthe lenticulatedsurface to form the character or characters of the sign are leftexpo'sed. Y f
Layer 32 of transparent essentially spheroidal beads are l applied to the'entire area of layer 30 of mastic. This auto-VY maticallyy leaves the previously mentioned portions of the lenticulatedzsurface -exposedbecause there is' no mastic 15 cals Division, Allied Chemical Corporation, 40 Rector Polymer grade monomeric f pany, Dow Chemical Company, Koppers, etc. Monomeric methyl methacrylateis available from Rohm and Haas andfrom the E. I. du Pont de NemourstCompany. The glass iber mat is available from 'Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corporation, Toledo, Ohio, and from the yFiber Glass Division, FerroCorporatio'n, Nashville, 'I`e`nnes`seey The typefused for sign backs* is known Vas HSS '(high styrene solubility) and 3 ounces per square footl density Vwouldbe used. p
` Aelayeru-22 of acrylicresin is appliedV onto one face Y of backing 20, and it may be applied/ by anyof the known techniques such as spraying,fpainting and others. Layer 2,2 is anoptional layer Whichmay beincluded or omitted.r When included it forms a foundation for otherlayersand' of layer 30 thereon. The -unext step is the. application of an acrylic resinous coating 3 4 on all edges, the back surface of backing 2,0 and yon the outer surface of thebeads u of a layer 3:2.V 'lfhis acrylicresin ispreferably a` lacquer as described previously. so that when the solvent or sol-` .vents aredrivenv oit, as jby heat and/or air drying, a
' clear-hlm orj acrylic remainsV to form ther encapsulation coating 34.VV Furtherpbeing" in liquid lacquer form1 when applied, kcoating 34 ows around. the upper parts of the beads in layer 32 forming individual sockets for each head the lsame asl individual sockets are formcd'iny the various layers'of mastic when the beadsare applied theref Inasmuch as all surfaces ofthe sign areV covered with the encapsulating coating 32, those portions ofthe lenticulated surface of` layer 28 left exposed when'layers 30V and 32 are applied lare also coated (FIGURE 2).v It has'been proven that the material and method of'lapplica-A tion of the encapsulation does'not adversely affect the intimately unites with Ythe acrylic resin of 'backing 20. Y
Actually there are two different types Vof acrylic vresins Y used in the sign. In the Ybacking there is a Ymonomeric methyl methacrylatewhich improvesgthe lwetting of the glass bers andfprovidesgood Weather resistance'forthe backing. Oneof the final steps rin the manufacture of the sign is the coating with' ank acrylic lacquer whichis a mixture of different acrylic polymers. dissolved in solvents.V Zylene and toluene Vare the most rpopular solvents' for this type of' product. When the lacquerdries the, solvents evaporate leaving behind a clear lm lof the acrylic resin. Layer 22, when and ifit isused hasan atiinity for-,the
acrylic resinv in backing 20 IandY firmly unites therewith.VV The next layer 24'inthe sign isalso optionalV Vinthat it' Y may be omitted or used as desired.l It consists ofaA re- Elective film. or sheet to "obtain light reectivity from the' rsign'. The lm of light reflective substance which Vmay.
be any of the lightmetals vor*predominantly light metals,
mastic iin-'which the .beads are embedded nor decrease the reflective property of the beads to anyfappreciable extent. l
fTo increase -the durability andfweather resistance of the sign a nal lacquer coating 36 which may beapplied in one or more layers may be sprayed, Adipped orjother wise adhered to the acrylic resinous encapsulating coat,-V
ing 34.V `The lacquer co'ating'36 may be of the same subi Ystancefas coating 34Y` or of'a different substanceso long as it is transparent and`servesV the intended .purpose of weather-resistance Vto a highf degree.
is electro-deposited, painted or otherwise adhered to thel layer 22u/henr used ordi'rectlyeto the; backing 20 when layer 22 is omitted. A pigmented transparent mastic Vlayer `26 is adhered to lm 24 when used, lor layer 22 when used, .or directly to theV face of backingV 20lvvhen` 1ayers,22 zand, 24 arel omittedl The pigmented reflective masticis essentiallyl transparent Vwith a color pigment` Y be the same u 'as that vdisclosed -in`US. Paten-ts Nesi 2,354,048,
2,354,049: and 2,379,702. These 'patents further-disclose* transparent spheres, usually glass-'beads which. are the same as theglass beads in Vlayer 2S. Layer` 2t;` is madel there'rfnor White pigment, and the mastic lrnay of a number of glass beads .partially embedded inthe pig- V -rnented mastic layer26iand .smoothed to forma vsmooth.A
lenticulated: surface Yhaving light reexl reflective proper- When the light 'rays' strike the'outer coating on the front face of the sign they pass essentially therethrough undis- Vtorted,er`ccept for unavoidable absorption rmaintained low by using a highlyV transparent substance for the outer coatings. vThe lightY rays then pass through thebeads of layer` 32 and are optically retracted due to the naturerof eachspheroidalbead functioning asv a'lens.y These rays Ythen pass through the pigmented transparent mastic and Yundergo asimilar actionV in passing through the beads of the lenticular surface formingvlayer 28. The white Ypigmented transparent' mastic .layer 26 forms a back@ groundV for light reflection'withfsome ofthe light passing through the pigmented mastic to be reilecte'd'r by lm 24 ywhenjthe metalized4 iilrn 24 is. used. vInreturning the 'Y lightfraysV must pass'through'fthe pigmented layer` 30 giving alightwhich iscompatible with therpigmcntation of layer 30, for instance the color redfor a stop sign, whenl usingawhite pigmented-layer 26 or asecondary color due tocolor'mixing when a color pigmented layer- 26 is used necessarilydiffering from the pigmentation of Y vlayer 30 .as hereinbefore indicated.
tives as'disclosed in these patents.v V'Thus,-the bead layers are V operative as refractive media toV modify the lpattern The next layer 30i`rinjthe vconstruction of the isi'arn-l of reected lightlultimatelly emerging'from theouterlayer 4 y70; l other larerfof Vpsrri'cnted mastic.. A)difference' bewees;v Vthe mastic of layer. A30and .the masticvolaye isf L htl the pigment inflayerfrtl `is contrastinglydifrentffromg ,Y thepigment iin-'a layer 26.r .Int ai typical examplefofal stop vsign `the'pigrnent in layer 26 's' whitelwhilefthqpig- .Howeverggin'the regionfofi'the Ycharacters of the sign Ythelightfrays pass throughthelouter coating or coatings andthen passdirectly through-the portion of the lenticulated surface Hforming' beads "which lare not masked, by
thelayers. 3.0and 32. Reilected .resultingrligh therefore,
is: notoptically"aiecte'dby4 'any' 'pigmented mastic `30.`
vInstead,.it appearsunmixedthereby as white-Where the layer 26,-Kis sofpigmented."and/ ory silvery in thecase .of "agstop sign/where `whiteforjthe lettering is desired. vIt isevidenttthat convention.injchoice-,foff colors will be For.. instance, advertising signs may t `be i any,Y
colori Ral road sign convention requiresyellow and'blacl'c for numerous applications. Other colors consistent with convention and personal choice may be used simply by substitution of different color or colors of pigmentation and/ or reflective film.
The foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the a'rt, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described, and accordingly, all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention as claimed.
What is claimed as new is as follows:
1. A flexible reflex sign comprising a flexible backing of plastic fortified fibrous substance, a light reflective film adhered in place at the front of said backing, a first layer of pigmented transparent mastic adhered over said reflective film, a first layer of approximately spheroidal transparent beads embedded in said first layer of mastic to form a lenticular surface completely covering said front of said backing, a second layer of differently pigmented transparent mastic covering portions .of said lenticular surface and leaving exposed a portion of the lenticular surface in a pattern to form a character of the sign, a second layer of transparent generally spherical beads partially embedded in said second layer of mastic still leaving completely exposed said portion Aof said lenticular surface which forms the sign character, and a flexible transparent coating encapsulating said backing and said second layer of beads and said portion of said lenticular surface.
2. The sign of claim 1 wherein said transparent beads of said portion of said lenticular surface are only partially embedded in said first layer of mastic.
3. A sign comprising a backing, a first layer of transparent mastic containing color pigment, a first layer of approximately spheroidal transparent beads embedded in said first layer of mastic to form a lenticular surface completely covering said front of said backing, a second layer of transparent mastic covering portions of said lenticular surface and leaving exposed a portion of the lenticular surface in a pattern to form a character of the sign, pigment in said second layer of mastic and being of ra color different from the first mentioned pigment, a second layer of transparent generally spherical beads partially embedded in said second layer of mastic still leaving completely exposed said portion of said lenticular surface which forms the sign character, and a flexible transparent coating encapsulating said backing and said second layer of beads and said portions of said lenticular surface.
4.7A pattern light reflector comprising, flat, non-patterned reflective backing means, first reflex reflective layer means through which light is optically refracted completely coating said backing means and second reflex reflective layer means through which light is optically refracted coating portions of the first layer means to optically cooperate therewithfor passage of light differently fromA optically exposed portions of the first layer means forming a light pattern of reflex reflections only.
5. The combination of claim 4 wherein said first and second layer means are formed from transparent spheres embedded in transparent mastic pigmented differently from each other.
6. A pattern light reflector comprising, backing means, an underlying light refracting layer completely covering said backing means and united thereto, an overlying light refracting layer mounted in spaced relation to said underlying layer and covering only portions thereof,
ylight transmissive mastic united to said layers for spacing thereof in a predetermined orientation on the backing means to produce a light pattern, and flexible encapsulat- 6 ing means enveloping said backing means and embedding said overlying layer and portions of said underlying layer exposed through the overlying layer.
7. A pattern light reflector comprising, reflective backing means, at least two light refractive layers through which incident and reflected light passes, first light transparent means mounting one of said layers in spaced relation on said backing means for transmitting light to and from the reflective backing means, second light transparent means mounting the other of said layers in spaced relation to said one of the layers optically exposing portions thereof for establishing different patterns of light emerging from the second layer and the optically exposed portions of the rst layer respectively.
8. The combination of claim 7 wherein said first and second light transparent means comprise differently pigmented mastic so that said different patterns of emerging light will display contrastingly different colors.
9. The combination of claim 8 including a transparent flexible encapsulation coating the second layer and the optically exposed portions of the first layer.
10. The combination of claim 7 including a transparent flexible encapsulation coating the second layer and the optically exposed portions of the first layer.
1l. A pattern light reflector comprising; a backing, a first transparent adhesive layer, a first layer of refractive elements embedded in said first adhesive layer to form a reflex reflective surface completely covering the backing, a second transparent adhesive layer partially covering said reflex reflective surface leaving portions thereof exposed to form a design, and a second layer of refractive elements embedded in said second adhesive layer exposing said portions of said reflex reflective surface.
12. The combination of claim 11 including a transparent coating encapsulating the backing, the second layer of refractive elements and the exposed portions of the reflex reflective surface.
13. The combination of claim l2 wherein said adhesive layers are pigmented differently to contrastingly color the light emerging from the exposed portions of the reflex reflective surface and the second layer of refractive elements respectively.
14. The combination of claim l1 wherein said adhesive layers are pigmented differently to contrastingly color the light emerging from the exposed portions of the reflex reflective surface and the second layer of refractive elements respectively.
15. In combination with a reflex reflective surface, transparent adhesive coating portions of said surface to form a design pattern thereon, a layer of refractive elements embedded in said transparent adhesive for optically modifying reflected light emerging only from the portions of the reflex reflective surface coated by the transparent adhesive, said adhesive containing pigment for producing a color of light emerging from said layer of refractive elements which is contrastingly different from the reflected light emerging from uncoated portions of the reflex reflective surface.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 864,387 8/07 Pfister 117-25 1,580,921 4/26 Sherer 40-135 X 2,294,930 8/42 Palmquist 40--135 X 2,827,720 3/58 Phillippi 40--137 2,910,792 ll/59 Pfaff 40-134 X 3,079,729 3/63 Newton 117-25 X OTHER REFERENCES 586,021 12/ 24 France.
JEROME SCHNALL, Primary Examiner.