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Publication numberUS3188761 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 15, 1965
Filing dateFeb 27, 1961
Priority dateFeb 27, 1961
Publication numberUS 3188761 A, US 3188761A, US-A-3188761, US3188761 A, US3188761A
InventorsWillis L Harrold
Original AssigneeWillis L Harrold
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Illuminated sign
US 3188761 A
Abstract  available in
Images(2)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

June 15, 1965 w. HARROLD ILLUMINATED smu Filed Fb. 27, 1961 2. Sheets-Sheet 2 0 ML M Y ER E W N [H M L 5 H m w n United States Patent 3,138,761 HLLUMINATED SIGN Wiilis L. Harrold, 4305 Lincolnway E, Mishawaka, ind. Filed Feb. 27, 1951, Ser. No. 91,829 4 Claims. (Cl. 40-130) The present invention relates to signs and more particularly to illuminated signs, plates and symbols.

Illuminated signs, plates and symbols in extensive use are primarily of two basic types, one consisting of the neon gas types which require specialists in the field in order to form letters, symbols or other indicia with closed tubes and which are not available to the public over the counter and cannot be installed by unskilled or inexperienced workmen, and the second consisting of an electric light and a transparent plate with the symbols or indicia formed by masking the plate either over or around the desired symbols or indicia. The former type has the inherent disadvantage of being an unchangeable, permanent structure, which is cliiiicult and expensive to install and which is fragile and relatively immovable. The latter type is relatively large and bulky and often has poorly or unevenly illuminated symbols or indicia. It is therefore one of the principal objects of the present invention to provide a sign, plate or symbol structure which is compact, thin and attractive, and which can be readily assembled and installed by an unskilled workman without the use of special tools or equipment.

Another object of the invention is to provide an illuminated sign or plate which can be easily seen and read when the sign is either illuminated or unilluminated, and the indicia or symbols of which can be readily changed from time to time without changing or modifying the basic structure.

Still another object of the invention is to provide a sign for use as a name plate or house number, in which a thin solid plate is illuminated by a direct electrical charge and the designations or indicia are formed by thin opaque characters or symbols masking portions of the illuminated plate surface.

A further object is to provide a sign or plate of the aforesaid type which can readily be mounted on a fiat wall surface with one or two screws, or supported on a bracket away from the wall, and which can be used effectively and safely over long periods of time in unprotected places where it is exposed to moisture, rain, snow, ice and dirt.

Another object of the invention is to provide a sign, plate or the like which is economical to operate and maintain and relatively inexpensive to construct and install.

Additional objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following description and accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIGURE 1 is a front elevational view of an illuminated house number plate device embodying my invention, in which three numbers selected at random illustrate the manner of assembling the numbers in place in the device;

FIGURE 2 is an enlarged front elevational view of the house number plate device shown in FIGURE 1 with the numbers removed;

FIGURE 3 is a rear elevational view of the plate device shown in FIGURES 1 and 2;

FIGURE 4 is a vertical cross sectional view of the plate device shown in the preceding figures, taken on line 4-4 of FIGURE 1;

FIGURE 5 is a vertical cross sectional view of the plate deviceshown in the preceding figures, taken on line 5-5 of FIGURE 1;

FIGURE 6 is a fragmentary view of the electrical connecting means for the illuminating plate of the present device; and

Patented June 15, i965 FIGURE 7 is an enlarged fragmentary end view of the illuminating plate used in the present device.

Referring more specifically to the drawings, the present illuminated sign device it consists of a front section I2 forming the body of the device, a rear section 14 removably secured to the front section by a plurality of screws 16, 13, 2t? and 22 extending through hole-s in the edge of the rear section into the front section. The two assembled sections form a narrow compartment 23 for an illuminating panel 24 and indicia or symbols 26, those shown being a set of house numbers merely for the purpose of illustrating the invention. Various other numbers or other indicia or symbols, such as letters, silhouettes and representations of products, articles and objects can be used in place of the numbers in space 23 between the inner surface of front section 12 and the front face of illuminating panel 24 Front section 12 contains a transparent panel 34 supported by a rearwardly extending frame 36 extending completely around panel 34, and consisting of horizontally, rearwardly extending portion 38, forming the outer wall of compartment 23, and laterally and rearwardly extending portions 4i) and 42 forming a recess 43 for receiving rear section 14. As can be clearly seen from FIGURES 4 and 5, the external or peripheral edge is contained completely Within the recess so that the rear edge 44 of portion 42 can seat firmly against the wall or other surface supporting the sign device. Protrusions 46 and 43 containing holes 5i) and 52, respectively, are joined to the upper edge of portion 42; at the rear thereof, for attaching the device to the supporting structure. In the particular embodiment shown in the drawings, the entire front section 12 and rear section 14 are constructed of transparent plastic material, well known and readily available on the market including most thermoplastics such as Cellulose acetate; however, it may be constructed of other suitable materials, such as glass, either as a single piece or in two or more pieces either of different or like materials, so long as the front panel 34 is transparent and the frame is sufficiently strong and rigid to support the panel.

In the sign device illustrated in the drawings, panel 24 is rectangular in shape and is assembled in compartment 23 supported at its four edges by the rectangularly arranged portion 33 of frame 36, and on the front by two spaced horizontal, longitudinally arranged ribs 57 and 58 formed integrally with the rear surface of transparent panel 34. Panel 24 is pressed firmly against these ribs by a pair of horizontal ribs 59 and 60 on the inner surface of the rear section contacting the rear surface of panel 24.

The indicia or symbols are constructed of any suitable opaque material, such as cardboard, plastic, laminated paper, metal or wood cut to the desired shape, and are mounted against spaced longitudinal ribs 62 and 64 in compartment 23 between spaced ribs 57 and 58, the latter two ribs forming abutments above and below the indicia or symbols which assist in retaining them in proper viewing position behind transparent panel 34. The indicia and symbols are preferably of such thickness that they are clamped lightly between the front face of illuminating panel 24 and ribs 62 and 64. It is seen from FIGURE 1 that the numerals are substantially equal in height to the distance between ribs 57 and 58, and when the device is in its upright position the numerals rest on the lower rib 58. Two rows of letters, figures or the like can be mounted in the device by clamping one row between panel 24 and rib 62 and the other row between said panel and rib 64-.

The illuminating panel or plate 24 is constructed of a metal sheet coated with an electroluminescent material which glows when the plate is electrically charged. This panel from humidity and physical damage.

' type of panel of well known construction and is readily available on the, market in various sizes and shapes. 'A suitable type is sold under the trade name of Panelescent lamps by Sylvania Electric Products, Inc,, Salem,

Massachusetts and, as seen in FIGURE 7, consists of a 1 base 'metal plate 65, a glass-based current-conducting material 66, a layer. 67 of ceramic material containing electroluminescent phosphorus, a transparent current f' conducting material 68, and a sealing and insulating layer" of transparent glass 69 which hermetically protects the The total thickness of the four coating layers on the metal is approximately one-fifth of an inch andthelayers form a suitable background surface for the indicia whether the panel is charged or not. panel are connected to the transparent current-conducting material-.68 and to the glass-based current-conducting material 66.

The electrical leads for the In order to facilitate the assembly of the present sign device and the replacement and substitution of the indicia and symbols from time to time during the use of'the device, panel 24 is removablyf connected toan electrical outlet 70 by contacts 72 and 74 engaging contacts 75 and 78, respectively, of the outlet 70. Contacts 76 and '78 are rigidly mounted in a hollow body portion 8t) and are connected by leads 82 and 84to a suitable source of electrical current such as that found'in a standard circuit of the'modern home. When rear section 14 is inserted in recess 43 with ribs 59 and 60 firmly engaging the back side'of panel 24, contacts '72 and '74 likewise firmly engage contacts '76and 78, respectively, thus forming a good electrical connection'between the four contacts.

permitting theindicia or'symbols to be easily removed and new indicia inserted in the front section before-panel 24 is reinserted in compartment 23; After the panel has been assembledin place, the rear section is then again seated in recess/3 and secured/therein by's'crews 16, 18, and-22.

While the present" devicei'has been illustrated as a house number unit, it is apparent that it can be 'used as It is thus seen that when the rear section 14 V has been removed, panel 24 can be lifted completely independently of either the front or back sections, thus contacts on said plate ribs, an'illuminating plate seated on said-first two mentioned ribs in said compartment and having a coating of electroluminescent phosphorusthereon facing said panel and two spaced electrical contacts connected thereto, cut- I out indicia of opaque material disposed between 'said inner ribs-and said plate and between said first and second ribs, a rear section seated in said recess and having two horizontal rib. on theinner surface of said panel near the bottom thereof, two spaced horizontal inner ribs of transparent material on the inner surface of said panel disposed between and spaced from andbeing smaller than said first and second ribs, an illuminatingplate seated on said firsttwo mentioned ribs and 'havinga coating of electroluminescent phosphorus thereonv facing said panel and two spaced electrical contacts connected thereto, cutout indicia of opaque material disposed between said inner ribs and said plate and betweensaid first and second ribs, a rear section: haying two horizontal ribs engaging the rear surface of said, plate, means retaining said'sections firmly together with said indicia clamped between said two inner ribs and saidplate, and an electrical connection mounted on said rearsectionland having two electrical contacts mechanically engaging the two 3. 'A thin illuminated sign, comprising a front section of plastic material havin'ga transparent panel, a frame a name plate and, either in its present form or with minor f modifications, as a store, trafiic or restaurant sign, and

In adapting 'it to,

for a number of other similar uses. the various uses, it may be necessary to increase the length 'and/ or the height while maintaining the thickness substantially the same as that shown in the present drawings.

In the claims the word sign is intended to refer to all" the various uses of the present device and indicia to any type of letters, numbers, symbols, pictures or the like i used in the device, whether the indicia are formed by I masking the portions constituting the indicia or whether theyare formed by masking'the remainder of the plate, leaving theopenin'gs-as thel indicia. Although only one embodiment of the invention hasv been disclosed in detail herein, various fchanges and modifications other than. those mentioned above may be made without departing from the scope of'the present invention; T

'Iclaim: i

1. A thin illuminated sign, comprising a front said panel and a second rearwardly extending portion forming a recess behind and, larger than said com'partsection of plastic material having a'rectangular transparent panel, 'a framexjoined to said panel and having a first rearwardly. extending portion forming a compartment behind joined to saidpanel, a first ribon the inner surface of saidpanel near theitop thereof, a second rib on the inner surface of said panel near the bottom thereof, two spaced inner ribs of transparent material on the inner surface of said paneldisposed betweenan'd spaced from and 7 being smaller than said first and second ribs, an illuminating plate seated on said first two mentioned ribs, cutout indicia of opaque material disposed between said second mentioned ribs and said plate and being clamped therebetween, a rear section having two Iibs engaging the rear surface of said plate, means retaining said sections firmly together, and an electrical connection for said plate 4. An illuminated sign, comprising a front section having a transparent panel, a frame supporting said panel, a first rib on the inner surface of said panel near the top thereof, a second rib on the inner surface of said panel near the bottom thereof, two spacedinner ribs of transparent material on the inner surface of said panel disposedzbetween and spaced from and being smaller than 'said first and second ribs, an illuminating plate seated on said firsttwo mentioned: ribs, cut-out indicia of opaque material disposed between said second mentioned ribs fand said plate and beingclamped therebetween, airear section, mean-sretaining said sections firmlytogether, and

went, a first horizontal rib on the inner surface of said panel near the top thereof, asecond horizontal rib'on the inner surface of said panel near the bottom thereofrtwo spaced horizontal inner ribs. of transparent material on theinner surface of said panel disposed between and spaced from and'being smaller than said first and second an electrical connection for'said plate.

References Cited bythe Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,361,479 10/44 Ioffo 40 2o4 7 2,716,298 8/55 Spielmannetal. '313+108.1 2,958,762 11 /60 Cheney: 40-420 X CHARLES A. WILLMUTH,'Pr'im\ary'Examiner.

V a: v BENHAM, JEROME SCHNALL, Examiners.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2361479 *Nov 9, 1942Oct 31, 1944Joffo David PIdentification device
US2716298 *Sep 15, 1951Aug 30, 1955Tablet & Tickel CompanyIlluminated directory
US2958762 *Jun 13, 1957Nov 1, 1960Contronics IncElectroluminescent light construction
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3344269 *Apr 5, 1965Sep 26, 1967 Electroluminescent panel device
US3404474 *Jun 21, 1965Oct 8, 1968James F. JohnsonLighted sign
US4457089 *Oct 2, 1981Jul 3, 1984Phillips Jr Wilbert HDecorative, illuminated automotive reflector
US4578617 *Nov 7, 1983Mar 25, 1986Astronics CorporationElectroluminescent panels
US4848017 *Aug 7, 1987Jul 18, 1989Bailey James MIlluminated building number assembly
US5666749 *Sep 14, 1995Sep 16, 1997Waters; RonnieAutomobile plate protector and display apparatus
US5692327 *Jan 23, 1996Dec 2, 1997Illuminating Cars Uniquely, Ltd.Illuminated license plate
US5709045 *Apr 16, 1996Jan 20, 1998Thelen; Brian L.Electroluminescent identification device
US6060838 *Nov 21, 1995May 9, 2000Creative Concepts And Consulting CorporationIllumination device
US6101748 *Nov 13, 1998Aug 15, 2000Cass; S. ThorntonComposite panelling materials for displaying back-lit graphics and colors
US6732460Nov 27, 2001May 11, 2004Bill BlakesleeIlluminated display assembly
US7263792 *Dec 9, 2003Sep 4, 2007Darrel Robert SlowskiIlluminated identification panel
US20050120604 *Dec 9, 2003Jun 9, 2005Slowski Darrel R.Illuminated identification panel
Classifications
U.S. Classification40/544, 40/204, 40/576
International ClassificationG09F13/04
Cooperative ClassificationG09F13/04
European ClassificationG09F13/04