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Publication numberUS3209137 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 28, 1965
Filing dateApr 29, 1963
Priority dateApr 29, 1963
Publication numberUS 3209137 A, US 3209137A, US-A-3209137, US3209137 A, US3209137A
InventorsLeo G Stahlhut
Original AssigneeK S H Plastics Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Luminous ceiling
US 3209137 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Sept. 28, 1965 G. srAHLHUT mmmous CEILING 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed April 29, 1963 Sept. 28, 1965 L..G.s1'AHLr-|ur LUMINOUS CEILING .'5 Sheets-Shut 2 Filed April 29, 1963 Sept. 28, 1965 L. G. sTAHLHuT LUMINOUS CEILING 3 Sheets-Sheet 5 Filed April 29. 1963 United State-s Patent O 3,209,137 LUMINUUS CEILING Leo G. Stahlhut, Kirkwood, Mo., assigner to K-S-H Flastics, Inc., Kirkwood, Mo., a corporation of Missouri Filed Apr. 29, 1963, Ser. No. 276,397 Claims. (Cl. 1240-9) This invention relates to luminous ceiling assemblies.

Commonly, luminous ceilings are made up of a grid of T rails or other shapes, suspended from the rafters or j oists of the structural ceiling. Lighting panels are mounted on the T rails, and fluorescent fixtures which may consist only of fluorescent tube holders or may include reflectors, are carried independently by the rafters or joists. When reflectors are used, the light tends to be confined thereby to a limited area. If a reflector is not provided, the ceiling must serve the function of a reflector, and to that end should be plane and light in color. In practice, this is very difficult to achieve. In either case, the presently used arrangement is space-consuming, because the space between the fluorescent tube and the lighting panel below it must be sufficient to provide adequate diffusion and a satisfactory cut-off or tube masking effect.

Another problem which luminous ceilings present is that of cleaning. Dust, paint, plaster flakes, and the like, fall onto the upper surface of the panels, and in the usual arrangement, where the light from the fluorescent tubes is directed onto and through the top of the panels, this dims the transmitted light, or produces an objectionable appearance.

One of the objects of this invention is to provide a luminous ceiling in which the vertical space required is much reduced over the space required by luminous ceiling construction now in use.

Another object is to provide a luminous ceiling which is sealed against access by dust and other foreign matter to the top surface of the light transmitting panel.

Another object of this invention is to provide a luminous ceiling in which fluorescent tubes, providing the light, can be and are carried by the shapes making up the ceiling grid.

Still another object is to provide such a luminous ceiling in which, between successive shapes making up the grid, the light is substantially uniformly diffused.

Still another object is to provide a luminous ceiling which is easy to install, easy to maintain, and efficient.

Still another object is to provide a luminous ceiling with a permanent, self-contained, reflecting surface.

Other objects will become apparent to those skilled in the art in the light of the following description and accompanying drawing.

In the drawing, FIGURE l is a fragmentary view in perspective of one illustrative embodiment of luminous ceiling of this invention;

FIGURE 2 is an enlarged broken sectional View taken along the line 2-2 of FIGURE l;

FIGURE 3 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view taken along the line 3 3 of FIGURE l;

FIGURE 4 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view taken along the line 4-4 of FIGURE l, showing one illustrative embodiment of marginal pod of this invention;

FIGURE 5 is a sectional view corresponding to the section shown in FIGURE 3, showing one embodiment of pod of this invention swung down into cleaning or lamp replacing position;

FIGURE 6 is a View in perspective of the embodiment of pod shown in FIGURES 3 and 5; and

FIGURE 7 is a view in perspective of a bracket plate part of the luminous ceiling of this invention.

In accordance with this invention, generally stated, a luminous ceiling is provided of the type in which a grid of shapes is suspended from a structural support, in which 3,20%,137 Patented Sept. 28, 1965 ICC pods are mounted on the grid, each pod including a lighting panel such, for example, as the usual planar prismatic panel, and a mantle sealed to or integral with the panel and provided with a long side Wall which is light transmitting and a reflector portion which is light reflecting. The pods are so constructed as to permit fluorescent X- tures to be mounted on and along shapes forming part of the grid, with fluorescent tubes (lamps) above the level of the lighting panel but below the level of the top of the mantle of the pods. Suitable brackets for mounting the fluorescent lamp fixtures are provided. The pods, except for marginal panels, are double sided, i.e., symmetrical about a longitudinal center line and gull winged or butterlly-arched as viewed in transverse cross section, so that two long, transparent side walls are provided and a trough in the center of the top wall. The trough portion of the mantle (top wall) does not meet the lighting panel at its center, so that direct light from the fluorescent tubes at each side is projected through the lighting panel at its center, producing a uniform light distribution across the full width of the lighting panel.

Referring now to the drawing for one illustrative embodiment of luminous ceiling of this invention, and particularly FIGURES l and 4, reference numeral 1 indicates a part of a luminous ceiling in a corner of a room 2, bounded by side Walls 3 and 4. The luminous ceiling 1 is made up of a grid 10 of shapes 11, 12 and 13 and pods 20 and 40'. The pods 20 are full pods. The pods 40, are marginal pods, as shown particularly in FIG- URE 4.

In the embodiment shown, the shapes 11, 12 and 13 consist of main T rails 12, cross Ts 11, and (L-shaped) Wall angles 13, all standard shapes.

Referring now especially to FIGURES 3, 5 and 6, each of the full pods 20 of this embodiment includes a plane prismatic lighting panel 21, the top of which is totally ernbraced by a mantle 22. In this embodiment, the edges of the panel 21 are also embraced by the mantle 22. The mantle 22 has ends 23, side walls 24 and a top wall 25. The top wall 25 has, in transverse cross section, as shown particularly in FIGURES 3 and 5, a butterfly arch configuration, with a central trough 26 and two wings 27.

In the embodiment shown, the mantle 22 is sealed to the panel 21 along the marginal edge walls of the panel 21 and a narrow area along the upper edge of the panel, in a seat defined by a stepped flange 28, extending er1- tirely around the margin of the mantle 22. The stepped flange 28 terminates in a foot 29, below the panel 21, which rests upon the top surface of cross Ts 11 through the full length of the long margins of the pod.

In the embodiment shown, ears 30 are formed integrally with the end walls 23 and project outwardly therefrom far enough to extend over main T rails 12, as shown in FIGURES 2 and 6. The part of the stepped flange 23 and foot 29 which extends along the end walls does not project over the T rails 12 but is positioned closely adjacent the T rails 12.

The side walls 24 are light-transmitting. They may be completely transparent, or somewhat translucent, but they are preferably as completely light transmitting as can be practically arranged. The top wall 25 is coated with a reflecting material, which may be applied to either the outside or inside of the top wall. The end walls 23, in this embodiment, are transparent.

It Will be observed that the trough 26 of the top wall 25 is spaced a substantial distance above the inner face of the panel 21.

The marginal pods 40 of this embodiment alsoy have a planar prismatic panel 41 of light transmitting material, a mantle 42, end Walls 43, a light transmitting side wall 44, and a reflective top wall 45. The mantle 42 also has a stepped flange 48 providing a seat in which the panel 41 is sealed, and a foot 49. Ears 50 are made integral with the end lwalls 43. The top wall 45 of the marginal pods 40 extends in continuous curve from the top of the side wall 44 to the flange 48 on the side away from the side wall 44. On that side, the foot 49 rests upon a wall bracket 13. On the opposite, side Wall 44 edge, the foot 49 rests on the inner face of a head of a cross T 11. As in the case of the pods 20, the transverse, end, fianges are adjacent to but not superposed with respect to the main T rail 12, and the ears 50 project over an inner face of the head of parallel main Ts.

In a fully illuminated ceiling, as indicated in FIGURE 1, at each of the intersections of the cross Ts 11 and main Ts 12, there is provided a fluorescent lamp fixture bracket 60. Each of the fixture brackets 6i), in this embodiment, is made up of a pair of bracket plates 61. Two bracket plates 61, back to back, are bolted, riveted, or otherwise secured to form the complete fixture bracket. Each of the bracket plates 61, as illustrated in FIGURE 7, consists of a web 62, the upper part of which is bent over at right angles to form a shelf 63, and a lower skirt 64, forwardly offset from the plane of the web. A slot 65 extending upwardly from the transverse center of the bottom edge of the skirt 64 is of a width closely to embrace the stem of a T rail 11 and of a height to permit the lower edge of the skirt to rest upon the upper surface of the head of the (inverted) T. The web 62 and shelf 63 are blanked out to provide a socket receiving opening 68,' and a socket mounting screw opening 69. The web 62 is also provided with holes 66 to take rivets or bolts 67. As shown in FIGURE 2, the offset of the skirts 64 of two plates 61, fastened back to back, is sufiicient to permit the skirts to straddle a T rail 12.

The general practice in luminous ceiling constructions is to provide a margin of acoustic or other nonilluminated panels immediately adjacent the walls of the room. If this practice is followed with the present ceiling, no special provision need be made for single bracket plates or the like to hold a iixture at the room Wall.

If the illuminated ceiling is carried to the very walls, then at the ends of the T rails 11 which rest upon wall brackets 13 or some similar support, a single plate 61 may be used, secured to the wall by fasteners taking through the holes 66, if desired.

The bracket 61 supports a lighting fixture which consists of a wiring and ballast housing 70, and fiuorescent tube receiving sockets 72, depending from the housing 70 and which are connected electrically with the wiring and ballast in the housing 70. Fluorescent tubes 75 are mounted in the tube sockets 72. As can be seen particularly from FIGURES 2 through 5, the fluorescent tubes 75 are positioned about midway of the vertical height of the side walls 24 of the pods 20 and the side Walls 44 of the marginal pods 40, so that the light transmitting side walls 24 and 44 extend substantially above the tubes 75. The entire assembly is very compact as compared with conventional luminous ceiling construction, because the lighting fixtures are supported on the T rods, and the construction of the pods permits the fiuorescent tube to be quite close to (by way of example, two and onehalf inches to three inches above) the stem of the T rail along which it extends.

It will be observed that the light transmitting area extends from the top of the plate 41 to a point just below the place at which the top wall becomes substantially horizontal. That is to say, the light transmitting side wall, kfrom the iiange 48 to the top Wall 42, is all directed upwardly from the horizontal. Dust, foreign materials and the like are therefore not likely to accumulate on the light transmitting side Wall.

In the installation of the ceiling of this invention, the grid of shapes is installed in the usual manner. The suspdying wire or hanger strap, may be attached to the main T a short distance away from the junction of the i main T rail 12 and cross T 11, because, as has been indicated, the lower margin of each pod, at its two ends, does not overlap the T rail. This provides sufiicient clearance for the installation of the hanger straps or suspending wires in the usual way.

When the grid of shapes has been installed, the ilu orescent lighting brackets 60 are installed by slipping them over the rails 11 and 12 at their junctures, as illustrated in FIGURES 2, 3 and 4. The brackets 60 are kept from rocking laterally by the abutment of the fiat bottom margin` of the skirt 64 on the rails 12, and from rocking in a direction at right angles, both by the engagement of the facing inside surfaces of the skirts 64 with the stem of the T rail 12 and by the engagement of the bottom edges of the two skirts with the upper face of the inverted head of the T rail 12, but also by the lamp fixtures themselves, when they are installed.

The lamp boxes or housings 70 are put in place, resting on the shelves 63, with the depending lamp sockets 72 extending through the rectangular opening in the shelf 63 and U-shaped opening in the Web 62. A mounting screw extends through the opening 69. In this way, the sockets 72 are properly positioned, and they in turn contribute to the stability of the installation. A bail can be looped over the housing 70, with its ends projecting through holes 78 in the shelf. The ends can be bent, to retain the bail.

After the necessary electrical connections have been made to the lamp fixtures, the fluorescent tubes may be installed in the sockets, and the pods put in place.

In order to mount the pods, it is only necessary to turn them slightly askew with respect to a long T rail, and insert the side of the pod closer to the ears 30, until the ears 30 have cleared the T rails 12. The pod is then straightened, raised almost to the position shown in dotted lines in FIGURE 5, when the inner side edge must be raised to clear the stem of the T rail, until the opposite edge margin can clear the head of the parallel T rail. The panel is then shifted back until the two edge margins rest upon the inside faces of the head of the two Ts.

Thereafter, for cleaning, replacement of lamps, and the like, it is only necessary to raise the edge of the panel nearer the ears 30 until it clears the stem of the T rail, shift the edge slightly toward the adjacent pod, and swing the pod down as shown in FIGURE 5.

Since the panel 21 is entirely enclosed, its inner surface cannot become dusty, or covered with foreign material of any sort. Since the top wall of the mantle is entirely retiective internally, the presence of dirt or other foreign material on its outer surface makes no difference to its effectiveness. Accordingly, only the light transmitting areas, the side walls 24, need be cleaned as far as the illuminating efliciency of the ceiling is concerned.

It'can be seen that since the iiuorescent lamps are immediately above the T rail or other shape, and there is no overhang of the pod, a plurality of lamps, spaced vertically, can be employed for increased illumination. Such an arrangement is suggested in dotted lines in FIG- URE 4.

It is quite apparent that numerous variations in the construction of the ceiling of this invention may be made, within the scope of the appended claims. For example, the stepped flange around the open margin of the mantle can be replaced by a simple fiange sealed against the top surface of the panel. The entire pod may be extruded or formed in various other ways. For example, all of the transparent partv (panel and side walls), might be made in one piece, and the reflective top Wall, made in another piece, sealed to it. The pod or parts of it may be made by vacuum forming, extrusion, blow molding, or any other suitable method. The positioning and shape of the ears 30, and their relation to (e.g., integral with or mounted on) the end walls, may be varied. The mounting bracket may take different shapes and forms. It can also be seen that the main Ts and cross Ts may be reversed or the shapes may take other forms besides a simple T. These modifications are merely illustrative.

Having thus described the invention, what is claimed and desired to be secured by Letters Patent is:

1. In a luminous ceiling in which a grid of shapes is suspended from a structural support, the improvement comprising a plurality of bracket means resting upon, spaced along, and supported by said shapes, a lamp fixture mounted on said bracket means with fluorescent tube mounting means in vertical alignment with and immediately above one of said shapes so that an elongated fluorescent tube mounted in said fluorescent tube mounting means is directly above and aligned with said shape, and a reflective mantle having a long side wall positioned with a light transmitting area of said Wall extending along and vertically above said shape and lengthwise along said tube.

2. A pod for a luminous ceiling of the character described comprising a rectangular lighting panel, and a transversely symmetrical mantle with a continuous marginal edge sealed at and around said lighting panel substantially coextensively with the margin of said panel, said mantle having two side walls with a light transmitting area extending along and above parallel long edges of the panel and a reflective area extending between said light transmitting area and longitudinally substantially through the length of the lighting panel, the reflective area of said mantle having in transverse cross section, a butterfly arch configuration, the central trough of which is spaced from said lighting panel and the two wings of which extend from said central trough to said side walls.

3. In a luminous ceiling in which a grid of T rails is suspended from a structural support, means for mounting a fluorescent tube on and in vertical alignment with a T rail, comprising a pair of plates each having an offset portion, said plates being joined back to back to provide between said offset portions a T stem receiving channel, each of said plates having a T stem receiving slot in the transverse center of an edge of said plate, extending longitudinally, and means at the opposite end of said plate for mounting a fluorescent tube-receiving fixture.

4. A luminous ceiling comprising a grid of shapes suspended from a structural support, fluorescent tubes mounted above, along and vertically aligned with a least one of said shapes, reflector mantles each having a side wall positioned with a light-transmitting area along and above the shape above which a u-orescent tube is mounted and along and extending above one of said fluorescent tubes, and lighting panels below said reflector mantles.

5. In a luminous ceiling in which a grid of shapes is suspended from a structural support, the improvement comprising bracket means mounted on said shapes, a fluorescent lamp fixture mounted on said bracket means with fluorescent tube mounting means in vertical alignment with and in superposition to one of said shapes, and a pod mounted on said shapes adjacent a fluorescent tube in said fluorescent tube mounting means, said .pod having a rectangular, planar, panel, and a transversely symmetrical mantle with a continuous planar marginal edge sealed at and around its planar edge to said planar panel substantially coextensively with the margin of said panel, said mantle having a side wall with a light transmitting area extending along an outboard side wall parallel to and adjacent said fluorescent tube and a reflective area extending from the said side Wall over the planar panel and substantially through the length of the panel, the reflective area of said mantle having in transverse cross section, a butterfly arch configuration, the central trough of which is spaced from said planar panel.

e. The pod of claim 2 wherein the planar panel is prismatic.

7. In a luminous ceiling in which a grid of shapes is suspended from a structural support, a pod, mounted on said grid, comprising an elongate rectangular planar panel and a mantle With a margin substantially coextensive with the edges of said planar panel so that said mantle `forms a cover for said planar panel, said mantle and planar lpanel being connected, said mantle having a side wall with a light transmitting area extending along each long side of said panel above its adjacent margin of the panel, and a reflective area extending between said light transmitting area and substantially through the length of the panel, the reflective area of said mantle having in transverse cross-section, a butterfly arch configuration, the central trough of which is spaced from said panel and the two wings of which extend from said central trough to said side walls, and said panel resting with its long edges on top of spaced parallel shapes and its transverse edges adjacent but not superposed with respect to spaced parallel shapes, said pod having oppositely extending ears, one projecting from each transverse end of said pod a distance suflicient to extend over the shapes adjacent said transverse ends.

8. The pod of claim 2, wherein ears project outwardly from the opposite transverse edges of the pod, said ears being adapted to engage spaced shapes adjacent but not superposed by said transverse edges of said pod.

9. A pod for a luminous ceiling, comprising a rectangular elongate horizontal planar panel, and a unitary mantle covering one broad side of said panel, said mantle being joined to said panel at its edge and spaced therefrom through the remainder of the area of said panel, said mantle having a light reflecting portion and a light transmitting portion, said light transmitting portion extending along and constituting part of a long side wall of said mantle through the length thereof, and all of said light transmitting side wall portion being upwardly directed from the plane of the planar panel.

10. In a luminous ceiling in which a rectalinear grid of shapes is suspended from a structural support, the improvement comprising a pair of facing fluorescent tube mounting means supported upon, by and above one of two parallel spaced shapes and adapted to receive a fluorescent tube to mount said in superposed alignment with said shape; a pod mounted on and supported by said two parallel shapes, said pod having a light refractor panel and, above said panel, a mantle with an upwardly extending side wall having a light transmitting area, said side wall extending along, adjacent and above the shape upon which the fluorescent tube mounting means are mounted and upon which the pod is supported, and said mantle having a reflective area extending from the said side Wall toward the other of said shapes, in vertically spaced relation to the reflective panel.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,050,429 8/36 Dorey et al 240-106 2,888,113 5/59 Schwartz et al 240-9 X 2,988,633 6/ 61 Rosenfield 240-9 3,035,165 5/62 Trott 240-9 X 3,085,152 4/63 Schwartz et al 240-51.11 3,158,327 11/64 Dameral 240-9 3,158,330 11/64 Van Steenhoven 240-147 NORTON ANSHER, Primary Examiner.

UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE -f f CERTIFICATE 0F CORRECTION Patent No. 3,209,137 September 28, 1965 Leo G. Stahlhut ppears in the above numbered pat- It is hereby certified that error a aid Letters Patent should read as ent requiring correction and that the s corrected below.

Column 5, line 25, for "area" read areas --5 line 43, for "a" read at column 6, line 45, after "sald" lnsert tube Signed and sealed this 27th day of September 1966.

(SEAL) Attest:

EDWARD J. BRENNER ERNEST W. SW'IDER Commissioner of Patents Attesting Officer

Patent Citations
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3308288 *Oct 29, 1964Mar 7, 1967Ades William HSuspended ceiling construction
US3599911 *Nov 6, 1969Aug 17, 1971Sunbeam Lighting Co IncMeans for end-to-end assembly of elongated fluorescent lamp ceiling fixtures
US3780286 *Sep 20, 1972Dec 18, 1973Armstrong Cork CoCurved vault luminaire system
US4363082 *Aug 26, 1980Dec 7, 1982Levolor Lorentzen, Inc.Panel ceiling and light fixture
US8061865 *May 22, 2006Nov 22, 2011Philips Solid-State Lighting Solutions, Inc.Methods and apparatus for providing lighting via a grid system of a suspended ceiling
EP1586813A1 *Apr 16, 2004Oct 19, 20053M Innovative Properties CompanyLight box
EP1688662A2 *Feb 6, 2001Aug 9, 2006Zumtobel Lighting GmbHLuminaire
EP1956289A2 *Feb 6, 2001Aug 13, 2008Zumtobel Lighting GmbHLighting device
WO2005106321A1 *Mar 14, 2005Nov 10, 20053M Innovative Properties CoLight box
Classifications
U.S. Classification362/150, 248/300, D26/120
International ClassificationF21S8/02, F21V15/00, F21V7/00
Cooperative ClassificationF21V13/04, F21S2/00, F21V15/00, F21S8/02, E04B9/32, F21Y2103/00
European ClassificationF21S8/02, F21S2/00, F21V15/00, F21V13/04, E04B9/32