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Publication numberUS3188438 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 8, 1965
Filing dateMar 22, 1962
Priority dateMar 22, 1962
Publication numberUS 3188438 A, US 3188438A, US-A-3188438, US3188438 A, US3188438A
InventorsJohn Lovasco
Original AssigneeJohn Lovasco
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Toggle switch insulator
US 3188438 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

June 8, 1965 ov sco 3,188,438

TOGGLE SWITCH INSULATOR Filed March 22, 1962 "INVENTOR. J'obn [oa-aeca United States Patent 3,188,438 TOGGLE SWITCH INSULATCR John Lovasco, 7008 Rosemead Blvd San Gabriel, Calif. Filed Mar. 22, 1962, Ser. No. 181,643 Claims. (Cl. 200-168) This invention relates to a wall switch and is more particularly concerned with a shock proof toggle type wall switch construction.

The ordinary wall switch, such as is used in residential and commercial buildings, has become standardized and involves, generally, a forwardly opening metal box in the wall construction, a switch mechanism in the box having a forwardly projecting toggle lever, and an aperture cover plate releasably secured to the box to overlie the open front thereof and through which the toggle lever projects for easy access.

While such=constructions have proven very dependable and satisfactory, there are many situations where they are not safe, due to the presence of water and the like. Such situations exist in the ordinary bathroom, kitchen and laundry, where considerable quantities of water are used andiwhere it is not infrequent that the hands of the pertrocution, or are seriously injured by electric shocks, by

operating conventional toggle switches with wet hands, or where moisture has condensed on or about the toggle levers of such switches. Such deaths and injuries are caused by one of two specific situations, the first, where water is cast from the operat-ors hands onto the toggle lever and into the switch as the operator reaches for the switch, and, second, the switch arcs when operated, and the arc flashes along the toggle lever, which may be wet from condensation or flom the operators hands. The prior art has provided many waterproof and/or hermetically sealedswitch constructions, but each has been extremely complicated and costly to manufacture. As a result, builders, and the like, are reluctant to use them. Further, such switches have been designed for industrial use, are not attractive, and as a result, the ordinary housewife does not want them in her house. a

While it may be Well to use completely waterproof switches in situations such as set forth above, it is not necessary. All that is truly necessary is to waterproof the toggle lever which the operator engages, and to suitably shield the switch against Water splashed or otherwise cast or deposited on or about the toggle.

An object of the present invention is to provide a novel attachment for conventional toggle-type wall switches, which attachment cooperates therewith to provide a shock proof switch.

It is an object of my invention to provide an attachment engageable with the toggle lever and cover plate of the conventional wall switch which insulates the toggle lever and closes and seals the aperture in the cover plate to prevent the flow of water therethrough and into the switch.

Still another object is to provide an attachment of the character referred to which is extremely easy and economical to manufacture, easy to install, and which is rugged, dependable and durable.

A further object of this invention is to provide an attachment of the character referred to which is in the nature of a boot engageable over the toggle lever of the switch to which it is related, and having a retaining flange thereon to engage and seal with the plate of said switch construction.

It is an object of my invention to provide an attachment of the character referred to which is formed of a resilient material and is engaged with and between the toggle lever and plate, under tension, so that it retains itself in proper operating relationship with the said toggle lever and plate.

It is another object of my invention to provide a novel sealing means to seal between the plate and the attachment.

The various objects and features of my invention will be fully understood from the following detailed description of typical preferred forms and applications of my invention, throughout which description reference is made to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective View of a conventional wall switch having an attachment provided by the present invention related thereto;

FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of the construction shown in FIG. 1, showing the front, top and one side of the attachment;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the attachment that I provide showing the back, top and other side of my construction;

FIG. 4 is a sectional view showing the several parts going to make up the present invention, partially engaged; and

FIG. 5 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 4 showing the construction fully engaged and assembled.

The present invention relates to a shock proof wall switch and is shown as including a conventional wall switch construction A and a sealing or insulating boot B related thereto.

The switch construction A is shown as including the forwardly opening box 10 in a wall structure 11, a switch mechanism 12 arranged in the box and having a toggle lever 14 projecting forwardly therefrom and a cover plate 15 engageable over the open front of the box and having a central opening 16 therein to freely receive the toggle lever.

The box 10 is a sheet metal unit arranged in the wall structure 11 with the front edge thereof flush with the surface of the wall. The upper and lower sides of the box are provided with inwardly turned mounting flanges 17.

The switch mechanism 12 is shown as a block-like unit and, in addition to the forwardly projecting toggle lever 14, is provided with a vertically extending mounting strap 18, fixed to its front surface. The ends of the strap 18 occur adjacent the mounting flanges 17 on the box and are fixed thereto by suitable screw fasteners 19.

In addition, the strap 18 is provided with a pair of vertically spaced openings 20 to receive screw fasteners carried by the cover plate 15.

The cover plate 15 is a simple, flat, vertically disposed plate-like member of dielectric material having flat front and rear surfaces 21 and 22. The plate is considerably larger than the open front of the box, its peripheral portions overlie and engage the surface of the wall about the box.

The opening 16 in the plate is arranged centrally there- I .of and is shown as being rectangular and as having a greater vertical than lateral extent.

The plate is provided with a pair of vertically spaced screw receiving openings 23 in which screw fasteners 24 are engaged and carried. The fasteners 24 are adapted to be engaged in the openings in the strap 18 of the switch and serve to hold the plate in position about the toggle lever and against the wall 11.

In carrying out the invention the fasteners 24 are made of dielectric material such as glass. 7

The toggle lever is adapted to pivot or swing upwardly and downwardly and has an outer finger-engaging portion which is substantially square in cross section.

The foregoing is a standard, conventional wall switch construction and is well known to those skilled in the art. While certain variations or differences do exist in wall switch constructions produced by different manufacturers, these differences are of a minor nature and are such that they will in no way affect the present invention.

The. boot B that I provide is a unitary molded rubber part having front and rear portions 31 and 32.

The front portion 31 has a flat front wall 33, top and bottom walls 24 and and side walls 36. The said front portion 31 of the boot corresponds in inside configuration with the outside configuration of the forward finger-engaging portion of the toggle lever 14 and establishes sliding engagement thereon.

The rear portion 32 of the boot has an upwardly and rearwardly inclined top wall 37, a downwardly and rearwardly inclined bottom wall 38 and straight side walls 39. The top, bottom and side walls of the rear portion are integrally joined with and project rearwardly from the top, bottom and side walls of the front portion.

The rear end of the rear portion occurs in the open-.

ing 16 in the plate 15, and corresponds with the inside configuration of the said opening.

In addition to the foregoing, the rear portion of the boot is provided with a flat, outwardly projecting flange about its perimeter, at the rear end thereof. The flange.

40 occurs adjacent and bears against the rear surface 22 of the plate 15, about the opening 16 therein, as clearly illustrated in the drawings. a

The normal longitudinal extent of the boot, that is, the distance between the front wall 33 and the flange 40, is less than the distance between the forward end of the toggle lever 14 and the rear surface 22 of the plate 15, when the plate is made fast to the switch 12, by means of the screw fasteners 24. '-As a result of the above, it will be apparent that when the construction is fully assembled, the boot B is in tension longitudinally, and that the flange 40 is held in pressure engagement with. the plate.

With such a relationship of parts, the forward portion of the boot is yieldingly held in firm, snug engagement on the outer end of the toggle lever, and the rear portion of the boot and the flange 40 thereon are yieldingly held in proper cooperative relationship with the plate and the toggle, lever.

In practice, and so that the flange 40 is not subject to flexing and being pulled out through the opening 16, when the boot is tensioned, the flanges 40 can be suitably cemented or bonded to the rear surface 22 of the plate, or, as illustrated, the wall thickness of the flange can be made sufliciently heavy or thick so that it will not become displaced, or, as illustrated. in phantom lines in FIG. 4 of the drawings, a flat, rectangular backing and reinforcing frame 50, formed of a rigid dielectric material, can be cemented or bonded to the rear surface of the flange, to

provide it with the necessary rigidity.

In addition to the foregoing, I also provide sealing means between the flange 40 and the plate 15, which means is shown as including a forwardly projecting, soft, resilient sealing bead 51 about the outer portion of the flange 40. The sealing bead 51 is semicircular in cross section and is such that when the boot is tensioned, the

beadis. urged into pressure sealing engagement with the rear surface'22 of the plate, as clearly illustrated in FIG. 5 of the drawings.

With the construction set forth above, it will be apparent that the toggle lever 14 is jacketed and insulated by the outer portion 30 of the boot and that the opening 16 in the plate is closed and sealed by the inner portion 31 of the boot, the flange 4t) and the sealing bead 51. With the construction set forth above it will be apparent that water cannot be deposited on the toggle lever or be splashed or otherwise caused to flow through the opening in the plate in such a. manner that the switching mechanism can be shorted out and the operator of the switch shocked. 1 I

In practice: and so as to further insulate the operator from the electric current, the screw fasteners 24, securing the plate 15 to the plate mechanism 12, are formed of a "non-conducting plastic material, such as nylon.

In ractice the boot can'be made in various colors and P is such that it can be mass produced and marketed at very low cost, thereby making it possible for persons to protect themselves against the hazards associated with the ordinary wall switch construction, without adversely affecting the appearance of the wall switch, and at very little expense of time and money.

Having described only a typical'preferred form and application of my invention, I do not wishto be limited or restricted to the specific details herein set forth, but wish to reserve tomyself any modifications or variations that may appear to those skilled in the art and fall within the scope of the following claims. 7

Having described my invention, I claim:

1; In combination, a wall structure with a flat, front surface and a forwardly opening switch-receiving opening, a toggle type switch arranged within the opening and having an elongate, forwardly projecting lever, rectanguhr in cross-section, pivotally mounted on a horizontal axis spaced rearward of the front surface and projecting forwardly therefrom, a cover plate engaging said front surface to overlie the opening and having a flat, rearwardly disposed rear surface and a vertically extending aperture freely receiving said lever and a unitary molded rubber insulator related with the lever and the plate to insulate the lever and seal between'the lever and the plate, said insulator having a front portion with a front wall, side walls, and top and bottom walls slidably engaged over the forward end of the lever, a. rear portion continuing rearwardly from the front portion and having parallel side walls and rearwardly divergent top and bottom walls, the rear end of the rear portion corresponding in outside configuration with the inside configuration of the aperture and projecting rearwardly therethrough, and a retaining flange projecting radially outwardly from about the rear end of the rear portion and having a flat front surface opposing the rear surface on the plate, the normal longitudinal extent of said insulator being less than the distance, between the forward end of the lever and the rear surface. of'the plate whereby the rear portion is tensioned and the forward portion is thereby yieldingly held in engagement on the lever and the flange is thereby yieldingly urged forwardly toward the plate.

2. A structure as set forth in claim 1 wherein the wall thickness of the flange is greater than the wall thickness of the rear portion, whereby said flange is not subject to being drawn from engagement behind the plate and through the aperture.

3. A structure as set forth in claim'l including sealing means to seal between the flange and the plate and about said aperture, said sealing means including a forwardly 5 projecting resilient sealing bead on the flange and engaging the rear surface on the plate about the aperture.

4. A structure as set forth in claim 1 including a flat, rigid, dielectric reinforcing member coextensive with and fixed to the rear surface of the flange and adapted to prevent the flange from being drawn from engagement behind the plate and through the aperture.

5. A structure as set forth in claim 1 including a flat, rigid, dielectric reinforcing member fixed to and coextensive with the rear surface of the flange and a forwardly projecting resilient sealing bead on the forward surface 5 of the flange about the outer perimeter portion thereof to engage and seal on the rear surface of the plate about the aperture.

References Cited by the Examiner FOREIGN PATENTS 6/60 Germany.

BERNARD A. GILHEANY, Primary Examiner. ROBERT K. SCHAEFER, Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
DE1082649B *Jun 8, 1955Jun 2, 1960Casp Arn Winkhaus FaWasserdichter Kippschalter
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3597526 *Oct 13, 1969Aug 3, 1971Boatwright Daniel JFlush box for plug receptacles
US3778577 *Jan 3, 1973Dec 11, 1973Singer CoMoisture sealing device for toggle switches
US4105884 *Apr 4, 1977Aug 8, 1978Damsky Arnold MElectrical toggle switch lever extender
US5124513 *Apr 19, 1991Jun 23, 1992Earl BlairFlexible electrical switch extender
US5380968 *Sep 29, 1993Jan 10, 1995A.P.M. Hexseal CorporationProtective cover for switches
US5712450 *Aug 5, 1996Jan 27, 1998Leviton Manufacturing Co., Inc.Splash guard for wiring devices
US5811729 *May 2, 1996Sep 22, 1998Rintz; William J.Light switch cover
US5811730 *Dec 18, 1996Sep 22, 1998Rintz; William J.Light switch cover
US5874693 *Apr 4, 1997Feb 23, 1999Rintz; William J.Light switch cover
US5900584 *May 6, 1997May 4, 1999Cady; James L.Enlarged wall switch plate
US6051787 *Jan 20, 1998Apr 18, 2000Rintz; William J.Light switch cover
US6384354 *Jan 8, 2000May 7, 2002Michael ShoteyCover for electrical switch
US6586694Jan 22, 2002Jul 1, 2003Michael ShoteyCover for electrical switch
US6818845 *Sep 27, 2001Nov 16, 2004Phonak AgElectromechanical switch
US6909060 *Jan 27, 2003Jun 21, 2005Michael ShoteyCover for electrical switch
U.S. Classification200/333, 200/302.3, 174/66
International ClassificationH01H23/00, H01H23/14
Cooperative ClassificationH01H23/146
European ClassificationH01H23/14D