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Publication numberUS3185514 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 25, 1965
Filing dateFeb 4, 1964
Priority dateFeb 4, 1964
Publication numberUS 3185514 A, US 3185514A, US-A-3185514, US3185514 A, US3185514A
InventorsFoster Charles E
Original AssigneeFoster Charles E
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Automatic fluorescent tube changer
US 3185514 A
Abstract  available in
Images(1)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

May 25, 1965 c. E. FOSTER AUTOMATIC FLUORESCENT TUBE CHANGER Filed Feb. 4, 1954 I NVEN TOR. CHARLES E. FOSTER GQMQ IQ United States Patent 3,185,514 AUTOMATIC FLUORESCENT TUBE CHANGER Charles E. Foster, 308 E. Washington Blvd.,

Los Angeles, Calif. Filed Feb. 4, 1964, Ser. No. 342,562 7 Claims. (Cl. 294-20) This invention relates to an automatic fluorescent tube changer for use in removing, installing and changing overhead fluorescent light tubes or bulbs.

It is the primary object of my invention to provide a new and improved device of the type described which is simpler and more eflicient in its structure and operation than the devices which are presently in use.

It is a further object of my invention to provide such a changer which utilizes the principles of my Patent No. 2,573,002 and which is an improvement thereupon.

In essence, my invention contemplates a changer which through a single continuous downward movement of a control acts automatically and sequentially to form a vacuum grip on the bottom of the tube, move a holding bar across the top of the tube and then downwardly to grip the tube, and then move the tube laterally to remove it from the socket. When my device is used to install a new tube, it holds the tube and mounts it in the socket.

It is accordingly an object of my invention to provide a tube changer having all of the benefits and advantages of the structure set forth above and described in further detail hereinafter in this specification.

My invention also comprises such other advantages and capabilities as will later more fully appear and which are inherently possessed by my invention.

While I have shown in the accompanying drawings a preferred embodiment of my invention, it should be understood that the same is susceptible of modification and change without departing from the spirit of my invention.

Referring to the drawings, FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of my automatic fluorescent tube changer in use in open position;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged side elevational view of the head portion of the device, with the fluorescent light tube gripping portion shown in closed position;

FIG. 3 is a sectional view of the same, taken on line 3-3 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a view similar to FIG. 2, after movement of the L-shaped arm and removal rod;

FIG. 5 is an enlarged sectional view taken on line 5-5 of FIG. 2.

A preferred embodiment which has been selected to illustrate my invention comprises an elongated hollow tube 10, which may be formed of metal or other suitable material. Reciprocably mounted within the tube is an elongated rod 11 of substantially smaller diameter. The length of the rod 11 is approximately the same as that of the tube 10. The lower end of the rod 11 protrudes downwardly from the bottom of the tube 10 and is provided with a substantially closed hook 12. The upper end of the rod 11 is normally disposed adjacent the upper end of the tube 10.

Mounted on the upper end of the tube 10 is a bulb head 13, which is preferably formed of resilient material. The bulb head 13 has a circularneck 14, which fits around the upper end of the tube 10. j

' The upper portion of the bulb head 13 is elongated in shape and provides a semi-circular cavity 16 which is open at the top. A diaphragm 17 extends across the bottom of the cavity 16. The diaphragm 17 fits against and extends across the upper end of the tube 10. The diaphragm 17 is provided with an opening 18 through which air can be drawn out of the cavity 16. The upper end of the rod 11 carries a resilient suction producing plunger 19, which is circular in outer contour.

The side of the tube 10 is provided with a centrally disposed longitudinally directed elongated slot 35. A cylindrical knob 25 has a diametrically reduced shank 26 which extends through the slot 24 and which is secured to a cylindrical collar 27 which surrounds and is attached to the rod 11. The knob 25 is adapted to be manually grasped by the operator and reciprocated vertically to cause reciprocal movement of the plunger 19 within the upper portion of the tube 10.

Mounted within the bottom of the tube 10 is a cylindrical guide bushing 28, which has a central opening through which the lower end of the rod 11 extends. The guide bushing 28 acts to keep the rod 11 disposed substantially in the center of the tube 10.

Mounted adjacent the bulb head 13 is a control member 30, which has a flat portion 31 extending adjacent to and along one side of the bulb head 13. Another portion 32 of the control member 30 extends around the other side of the bulb head 13. The control member 30 has a semicircular lower portion 33 which concentrically surrounds one-half of the neck 14.' A clamp 15 holds the control member 30 and bulb head 13 on the upper end of the tube 10.

Extending parallel to the tube 10 along one side thereof is a flat slide plate 34 having a slot 35 which slidably fits around the shank 26 of the knob 25. The upper portion of the slide plate 34 is slightly offset outwardly. The upper end of the slide plate 34 terminates adjacent to the lower edge of the flat portion 31 of the control member 30.

The slide plate 34 is provided at its extremeupper end with a short longitudinal slot 36, beneath which are disposed three outwardly directed flanges 37, 38 and 39. The flanges 38 and 39 have circular openings therein. A vertically directed fiat holding bar 40 has its lower end disposed against the upper surface of the flange 37. The holding bar 40 extends upwardly through the circular openings in the flanges 38 and 39. The upper portion of the holding bar 40 extends above the top of the slide plate 34 and is provided with a substantially ninety degree twisted portion 41 which functions as a cam in a manner described hereinafter.

The portion of the holding bar 46 beneath the twisted portion normally extends substantially parallel to the slide plate 34, while the portion thereabove normally extends substantially transversely to the slide plate 34. The upper end of the holding bar 40 is bent at a right angle to form a laterally directed gripping portion 42, which is adapted to engage the top of a fluorescent light tube and which may be suitably covered or padded.

A coil spring 43 surrounds the midportion of the holding bar 40. The upper end of the coil spring 43 bears against the bottom of the uppermost flange 39, while the lower end bears against a pin 44 which extends through the holding bar 40.

A Z-shaped cam member 45 is mounted on a pair of posts adjacent to the upper edge of the fiat portion 31 of the control member 30. The cam member 45 is adapted to engage the twisted portion 41 when the holding bar 40 is given sliding vertical movement to cause substantially ninety degree rotation of the holding bar 40, with con sequent rotational movement of the gripping portion 4-2.

An L-shaped arm 46 is pivotally mounted at its midportion on a stud 47 which extends outwardly from the lower corner of a triangular flange 48 which extends downwardly from the flat portion 31 of the control member 30. A spring 49 extends around the stud 47 and engages the side edge of the triangular flange 48 and one side of the L-shaped arm 46. The spring 49 urges the L-shaped arm 46 into a position in which a stop member 50 which is carried by the other side of the L-shaped arm 46 engages the lower edge of the triangular flange 48. A

pin 51 is carried by the end of one side of the L-shaped arm 46. The pin 51 is slidably mounted within the short slot 36 adjacent to the upper end of the slide plate 34.

An elongated removal rod 53 is attached at one end to the end of one side of the L-shaped arm 46. The rod 53 extends substantially parallel to the bulb head 13 across the control member 30 beneath a semi-circular guide plate 54 and a substantial distance laterally outwardly from the control member 30. The outer end of the removal rod 53 is bent to form a pair of transversely directed semi-circular portions 55 and 56.

In use, the device is raised and the outermost semi-circular portion 55 is brought into engagement with the inside of the socket of a fluorescent light tube. The open upper end of the cavity 16 of the bulb head 13 is brought into engagement with the side of the tube. The hook 12 is then moved downwardly to retract the rod 11 and plunger 19, forming a vacuum within the cavity 16 which provides a secure grip by the bulb head 13 upon the tube.

Continued downward movement of the rod 11 causes the shank 26 of the knob 25 to engage the bottom of the slot 35 of the slide plate 34 and move the slide plate 34 downwardly. Downward movement of the slide plate 34 exerts downward pressure upon the holding bar 40 through the coil spring 43 and pin 44.

Downward movement of the holding bar 40 moves its twisted portion 41 downwardly into engagement with the Z-shaped cam member 45, causing the holding bar 40 to be rotated substantially ninety degrees, moving the gripping portion 42 into a position wherein it is disposed directly above the top of the tube and extends substantially transversely to the tube. Continued downward movement of the holding bar 40 causes the gripping portion 42 to move downwardly and engage the top of the tube.

During this time, the pin 51 moves upwardly along the slot 36 in the slide plate 34 and the L-shaped arm 46 and removal rod 53 remain stationary. Further downward movement of the slide plate 34 after the pin 51 reaches the top of the slot 36 causes downward pivotal movement of the side of the L-shaped arm 46 which carries the pin 51, causing the removal rod 53 to be moved outwardly with respect to the bulb head 13.

The semi-circular portion 55 at the outer end of the removal rod 53 is prevented from movement by its engagement with the socket holding the light tube. The outward movement of the removal rod 53 accordingly results in moving the bulb head 13 and the light tube along the longitudinal axis of the tube to loosen the tube and permit its removal and downward movement. Fluorescent light tubes of the type now in use have sockets with a spring at one end. The tube is removed from the sockets by moving it axially to compress the spring and free the opposite end of the tube for removal from its socket.

When my changer is used to install a new tube rather than to remove an old one, the changer may be oriented oppositely with respect to the socket. It will be noted that the slot 36 allows downward movement of the slide plate 34 and holding bar 40 without pivoting the L-shaped arm 46, in order to rotate the gripping portion 42 into po sition btfore the removal rod 53 is operated. The coil spring 43 permits the holding bar 40 and gripping portion 42 to remain substantially stationary during the further downward movement of the slide plate 34 which pivots the L-shaped arm 46 and operates the removal rod 53.

All of the acts necessary to change the fluorescent light tube are performed automatically and in proper sequence merely by the operation of the single rod 11.

I claim:

1. An automatic changer for fluorescent light tubes comprising:

an elongated tube,

a bulb head disposed adjacent to the top of said tube and extending transversely thereto, said bulb head being in communication with said tube,

a rod slidably mounted within said tube,

a vacuum producing plunger carried by said rod,

a control member mounted adjacent the top of said tube,

a slide plate extending parallel to said tube, said slide plate and tube each having an elongated longitudinal slot, said slots being aligned,

a knob carried by said rod and slidably mounted within each of said slots, three spaced outwardly directed flanges carried by said slide plate, a vertically directed flat holding bar extending upwardly from the bottom flange through circuit openings in the two flanges thereabove,

a coil spring surrounding said holding bar between the upper flange and a pin carried by said bar disposed adjacent to the center flange,

a substantially ninety degree twisted portion formed in said holding bar above the upper flange,

a right angular gripping portion formed at the upper end of said holding bar above said twisted portion,

a Z-shaped cam member on said control member adapted to engage said twisted portion to rotate said holding bar and gripping portion,

an L-shaped arm pivotally mounted at its midportion on said control member,

an elongated removal rod attached at one end thereof to one end of said L-shaped arm, said removal rod extending substantially transversely to said tube,

spring means normally urging said removal rod toward retracted position,

a pin carried by the other end of said L-shaped arm,

a short longitudinal slot formed in the upper end of said slide plate, said pin being slidably mounted in said short longitudinal slot,

said rod adapted upon downward movement thereof to sequentially move said plunger downwardly to form a vacuum within said bulb head to grip the fluorescent light tube, then move said slide plate and holding bar downwardly to rotate said gripping portion substantially ninety degrees across the top of the fluorescent light tube, and then move said slide plate further downwardly to pivot said L-shaped arm and move said removal rod laterally with respect to said bulb head to move said fluorescent light tube laterally for removal or installation.

2. An automatic changer for fluorescent light tubes comprising:

an elongated tube,

a bulb head disposed adjacent to the top of said tube and extending transversely thereto, said bulb head being in communication with said tube, rod slidably mounted within said tube,

a vacuum producing plunger carried by said rod,

a control member mounted adjacent the top of said tube,

a slide plate extending parallel to said tube, said slide plate and tube each having an elongated slot, said slots being aligned,

a knob carried by said rod and slidably mounted within each of said slots,

a vertically directed fiat holding bar disposed adjacent the upper end of said slide plate,

a coil spring surrounding said holding bar,

a substantially ninety degree twisted portion formed in said holding bar,

a right angular gripping portion formed at the upper end of said holding bar above said twisted portion,

a Z-shaped cam member adapted to engage said twisted portion to rotate said holding bar and gripping portion,

an L-shaped arm pivotally mounted on said control member,

an elongated removal rod attached to one end of said L-shaped arm,

spring means normally urging said removal rod toward retracted position,

a pin carried by the other end of said L-shaped arm,

a short slot formed in the upper end of said slide plate, said pin being slidably mounted in said short slot,

said rod adapted upon downward movement thereof to sequentially move said plunger downwardly to form a vacuum within said bulb head to grip the fluorescent light tube, then move said slide, plate and holding bar downwardly to rotate said gripping portion substantially ninety degrees across the top of the fluorescent light tube, and then movesaid slide plate further downwardly to pivot said L-shaped arm and move said removal rod laterally with respect to said bulb head to move said fluorescent light tube laterally for removal or installation. '3. An automatic changer for fluorescent light tubes comprising an elongated tube,

a bulb head dipsosed adjacent to the top of said tube and extending transversely thereto, said bulb head being in communication with said tube,

a rod slidably mounted within said tube,

a vacuum producing plunger carried by said rod,

a slide plate extending parallel to said tube, said slide plate being'connected to said rod. for reciprocal movement thereby,

a vertically directed holding bar disposed adjacent to the upper end of'said slide plate, said holding bar being mounted for reciprocal movement by said slide plate,

a substantially ninety degree. twisted portion formed in said holding bar,

a right angular gripping portion formed at the upper end of said holding bar above said twisted portion,

a fixed cam member adapted to engage said twisted portion upon reciprocal movement of said holding bar,

an arm connected to the upper end of said slide plate,

an elongated removal rod attached to said arm,

said rod adapted upon downward movement thereof to sequentially move said plunger downwardly to form a vacuum within said hub head to grip .the

fluorescent light tube, then movesaid slide plate and holding bar downwardly to rotate said gripping portion substantially ninety degrees across the top of the fluorescent light tube, and then move said slide plate further downwardly to pivot said arm and move said removal rod laterally with respect to said bulb head to move said fluorescent light tube laterally for removal or installation.

4. An automatic changer for fluorescent light tube comprising:

nected to said rod for reciprocal movement thereby,

a vertically directed holding bar disposed adjacent to the upper end of said slide plate, said holding bar being mounted for reciprocal movement by said slide plate,

a gripping portion disposed at the upper end of said holding bar, I

an elongated removal rod connected to said slide plate, said rod adapted upon downward movement thereof to sequentially move said plunger downwardly to form a vacuum within said bulb head to grip the 5 fluorescent light tube, then move said slide plate and holding bar downwardly to move said gripping portion across the top of the fluorescent light tube, and then move said removal rod laterally with respect to said bulb head to move said fluorescent light tube 10 laterally for removal or installation.

5. An automatic changer for fluorescent light tubes comprsing:

an elongated tube, a bulb head disposed adjacent to the top of said tube and extending transversely thereto, said bulb head being in communication with said tube, a rod slidably mounted within said tube, a vacuum producing plunger carried by said rod, a holding bar connected to said rod for movement thereby,

a gripping portion disposed at the upper end of said holding bar, an elongated removal rod connected to said rod for lateral movement upon reciprocal movement of said rod,

said rod adapted upon downward movement thereof to sequentially move said plunger downwardly to form a vacuum within said bulb head to grip the fluorescent light tube, then move the gripping portion of said holding bar across the top of the fluorescent light tube, and then move said removal rod laterally with respect to said bulb head to move said fluorescent light tube laterally for removal or installation. 6. An automatic changer for fluorescent light tubes comprising: 7

an elongatedtube,

a bulb head disposed adjacent to the top of said tube and extending transversely thereto, said bulb head being in communication with said tube,

a rod slidably mounted within said tube,

a vacuum producing plunger carried by said rod,

a holding bar having a gripping portion, said gripping portion being movable between two positions, in one of which it extends substantially parallel to said bulb head and in the other of which it extends substantially transversely to said bulb head,

said rod adapted upon downward movement thereof to move said plunger downwardly to form a vacuum within said bulb head to grip the fluorescent light tube, and a means operable upon the downward movement of said rod to move said gripping portion of said holding bar into overlying gripping relationship tothe fluorescent light tube. 7. The structure described in claim 6, and an elongated removal rod, and means operable upon the further downward movement 7 of said rod to move said removal rod laterally with respect to said bulb head to move said fluorescent. light tube laterally for removal or installation.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,573,002 10/51 Foster 294-41 1 2,658,786 11/53 Ziese 294-20 SAMUEL F. COLEMAN, Primary Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2573002 *Oct 3, 1949Oct 30, 1951Charles E FosterAppliance for removing and installing overhead electric lamps
US2658786 *Sep 9, 1952Nov 10, 1953Ziese Carl HTool for changing fluorescent lamp tubes
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3731966 *May 10, 1971May 8, 1973Nagy SApparatus for changing fluorescent lighting tubes and the like
US3799599 *Jan 26, 1973Mar 26, 1974Jordan BFluorescent lamp handling device
US5330243 *Nov 30, 1992Jul 19, 1994Held James HReplacement apparatus for fluorescent bulbs
US6048010 *Apr 16, 1998Apr 11, 2000Stocker; Harold L.Apparatus for manipulating suspended display systems
Classifications
U.S. Classification81/53.11
International ClassificationH01J9/00
Cooperative ClassificationH01J9/006
European ClassificationH01J9/00B1