Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS3234506 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 8, 1966
Filing dateMay 16, 1962
Priority dateMay 16, 1962
Publication numberUS 3234506 A, US 3234506A, US-A-3234506, US3234506 A, US3234506A
InventorsRoy Hines James Lee
Original AssigneeH P Hodge Jr, Harry R Bridge
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Safety light informer
US 3234506 A
Abstract  available in
Images(3)
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Feb. 8, 1966 J. LEE ROY HINES 3,234,506

SAFETY LIGHT INFORMER 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed May 16, 1962 wrnes Lee Roy l-fihes Fig. 4

INVENTOR.

Feb. 8, 1966 .1. LEE ROY HINES SAFETY LIGHT INFORMER 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed May 16, 1962 Fig.5

James Lee Roy Hires INVENTOR.

g i 8 BY 'rRArr/c PROG' 1966 J. LEE ROY HINES 3,234,506

SAFETY LIGHT INFORMER Filed May 16, 1962 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 4 Fig 3 32 James Lee Roy Hines 1N VENTOR.

BY m:

Ammu s United States Patent 3,234,596 SAFETY LEGET INFGRMER James Lee Roy Hines, Abilene, Tern, assignor of forty-four percent to Harry R. Bridge, Abilene, Tor-3., and five percent to H. P. Hodge, .lr.

Filed May 16, 1962, Ser. No. 195,060 4 Claims. (Cl. 34943) This invention relates to traffic signalling apparatus and more particularly to the visual indication of elapsed time of the illuminated period of a traffic signal lamp.

Numerous devices have been heretofore devised for use in connection with traffic controlling signal lamp assemblies having red and green lamps facing different directions for frame control purposes. The general objective of all of these devices, is to provide a visual indication to the motorist in an approaching vehicle as to the amount of time remaining before a change in the traffic signal is to occur so that the vehicle operator may be in a better position to exercise judgment as to acceleration, deceleration or stopping of the vehicle. Prior time informing devices therefore involved the use of a plurality of time indicating lamps sequentially illuminated and extinguished to either indicate the elapsed or remaining time of signal lamp illumination by the position of the illuminated time indicating lamp or by the number it illuminates. A separate arrangement of such time indicating lamps was therefore required with respect to each directional side of the traffic signalling assembly and accordingly involved a relatively complex and expensive construction. Furthermore, operation of this plurality of time indicating lamps for each side of the traffic signalling assembly, Was necessarily associated with a relatively complex relay control system for effecting the sequential illumination and extinction of the lamps in timed relation to the programmed operation of the traflic controlling lamps of the trafiic controlling assembly. In contrast to such prior safety li ht informers, the device of the present invention involves a single lamp for each viewing side of the traflic signalling assembly and further avoids any complex relay control system, yet achieves the general objective aforementioned of providing the vehicle operator with a visual indication of the time elapsed or time remaining in the illumination period of a traffic signal lamp such as the green lamps illuminated in one direction to indicate permission for vehicle movement.

It is therefore a primary object of the present inevntion to provide a safety light informing device associated with a traffic signalling lamp assembly which is relatively simple in construction and operation as compared to comparable devices heretofore devised. 1 Another object of the present invention is to provide a safety light informing device utilizing a plurality of projector devices for projecting time information through an image transmitting window or translucent screen to thereby avoid the use of a plurality of sequentially illuminated and extinguished time indicating lamps and associated relay circuitry.

An additional object of the present invention is to provide a safety light informing device which is associated with a t-raflic signal lamp assembly, consisting of a light confining housing mounting image transmitting windows through which time information is projected by intermittent control projector devices mounted adjacent each corner within the light confining housing on opposite sides of the image transmitting windows which receive the projected information from centrally mounted mirrors adjustably mounted within the light confining housing.

An additional object of the present invention is to ice provide a safety light informer having projection lamps associated with each viewing side of the trafiic signalling assembly, said projection lamps being alternatively illuminated by the traffic programmer of the traffic signalling assembly, the images being projected by the projecting lamps being changed at timed intervals by indexing control mechanisms energized simultaneously with associated projection lamps.

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 typical traffic controlling signal assembly with the safety light informer of the present invention installed thereon.

FIGURE 2 is a top sectional view taken substantially through a plane indicated by section line 22 in FIG- URE 1.

FIGURE 3 is a partial sectional view taken substantially through a plane indicated by section line 3--3 in FIGURE 2.

FIGURE 4 is a partial sectional view taken substantially through a plane indicated by section line 44 in FIGURE 3.

FIGURE 5 is an exemplary circuit diagram illustrating the control system for the safety light informer of the present invention.

Referring now to the drawings in detail, it will be observed that the safety light informer constituting the improvement of the present invention, is generally referred to by reference numeral 10 and is shown mounted below a typical traffic controlling signal assembly generally referred to by reference numeral 12 mounted atop a post 14, the traffic controlling assembly having four viewing sides, each viewing side including a traffic signalling red lamp 16 indicating stop, a traffic signalling green lamp 18 indicating go and an optionally energized tramc signalling amber lamp 219 which may be illuminated during the interval between which the lamps 16 and 18 are illuminated. The safety informer device 10 is therefore arranged to provide a visual time indicating signal of the time remaining in the illuminating cycle of the green lamp 18 for example so that the vehicle operator approaching the trafiic signalling device 12 may better evaluate the situation in order to determine whether or not to accelerate, decelerate or stop the vehicle. For example, the traffic signalling assembly 12 may involve a fifteen second cycle or period during which the green lamp 18 is illuminated. Accordingly, at the instant the green lamp 18 is illuminated, the device 10 Will also be illuminated to provide an image in the form of number 1S indicating that fifteen seconds remain before the green lamp 18 is to be extinguished. The number image appearing through the device 10 will be changed each second until the green lamp 18 is extinguished at which time the illumination of the device 10 on the viewing side thereof associated with the corresponding viewing side of the trafiic signalling assembly 12, will be extinguished. It should also be appreciated that the mounting of the safety light informer device It) may be varied from that illustrated in FIGURE 1 in accordance with other types of traflic controlling signal assembly installations or in accordance with other more desirable relative locations between the safety'light informer 10 and the traffic controlling signal assembly 12. The device 10 need only be operatively interconnected with the traflic programmer of the tralfic controlling signal assembly 12 as will be hereafter explained and close enough thereto so that the time information provided by the device 10 will 3 be correlated to the traffic signals from the tratfic controlling signal assembly 12 when viewed by the vehicle operator.

Referring now to FIGURE 2 in particular, it will be observed that the device 19 is housed within a light confining enclosure generally referred to by reference numeral 22 which may be made of any suitable material such as plastic having the requisite strength for supporting the component parts of the device. The enclosure 22 is formed of 'a plurality of interconnected equally dimensioned side walls 24 respectively corresponding to the viewing sides of the associated traffic controlling signal assembly 12. Thus, as shown in FIGURE 2, the side walls 24 of the enclosure form a square and are interconnected by corner angle brackets 26. It will be appreciated however, that the enclosure 22 may be formed of any number of viewing sides desired to thereby enclose polygons having a different number of sides than that'shown. The side walls 24 are interconnected by a bottom base wall 28 to which the corner angle brackets are fastened by means of the fastener assemblies 30 as more clearly seen in FIGURE -3. The enclosure is then finally sealed both for light confining purposes and for protection against Weather deterioration of the parts by means .Dfal-idImember 32 fastened to the corner angle brackets {by means. of the fastener assemblies 34 Each of the side walls 24 of the enclosure is provided with an opening 35 exposing an image display member such as a translucent screen made of frosted glass, referred to by reference numeral 38. The image displaying screen member 38 is mounted on the side wall by means of screen mounting brackets 40 fastened internally to the side walls. An image projecting assembly 42 is mounted adjacent each corner of the enclosure between the base 28 and lid 32. The assemblies 42 are thereby disposed on opposite sides of each screen member 38,

one of which assemblies is operative to transmit the number image hereinbefore mentioned, through the screen member 38 with which it is asociated. Toward this end, a vertical mounting post member 44 is centrally disposed within the enclosure 22 for mounting a plurality of angularly related reflector holders 46 which respectively mount reflectors o-r mirrors 48 in such a position relative to an associated assembly 42 as to reflect a projected image of a number through an associated screen member 38. In the present case, four such mirror elements 48 are illustrated disposed perpendicular to adjacent mirror elements but atthe proper angle with respect to the optical axis from the projecting assembly 42' as to reflect an imagev confined to the image displaying screen member $8.

Referring now to FIGURES 3 and 4 in particular, it will be observed that each of the projection assemblies 42 includes a directional timinglamp '50 including a projection type lainp bulb 52 received within a mounting socket member 54 fastened in any suitable manner to a mounting bracket assembly 56 to fixedly position the lamp 59 adjacent to a corner of the enclosure inter- .mediate the bottom wall 28 and the top lid 32. A refiector shield is therefore mounted'on one side of the bulb 52 for directing light therefrom radially inwardly of'the enclosure 22. Inwardly spaced and lateral- 1y offset with respect to the directional lamp 5% is a hearing support 60 fastened to the bottom wall 28 by the fastener assemblies .62 for mounting a bearing assembly '64 adjacent the upper end thereof. Rotatably mounted by the bearing assembly 6.4-, is a driven number disk '66 having located adjacent the peripheral portion thereof, a plurality of spaced number cut-outs oii'by means of which time indicating images are formed. The number disk dais madeof opaque material and thereby arranged to block the light transmitted from the directional timing lamp 50 except through the cut-out openings of the number cut-outs 68 which are thereforeselectively aligned with the-light bulb 52 for such purpose by incrementalrotationofthe disk b6. An indexingmcchanism for each disk is therefore provided including a plurailty of axially projecting index pins 70 disposed between the cut-out numbers 68 for engagement by circumferentially spaced drive .pins 72 that extend radially from a. drive disk 74. The drive disk 74 is connected to the output shaft of an electric motor '76 associated with each of the projection assemblies 42, said motor 76 being fixedly mounted in the enclosure by a supporting bracket assembly 73 fastened to the top lid member 32. It will therefore be apparent that upon energization of the electric motor '76, the drive disk 74 will be operative to intermittently dis-place the number disks 66 by an incremental amount so as to bring a different number cut-out 68 into optical alignment with the directional timing lamp 50. Light in the form of a number image substantially reduced in size as compared to the size of display screens 38 will therefore be transmitted through the peripheral portion of the numberdisk 66' when the lamp 5%) is energized.

The light projected through the light blocking number disk 66, is optically aligned with the focusing lens assembly 80 which is mounted in proper optically aligned position for such purpose by means of a mounting rod 82 which extends inwardly from the supporting bracket assembly 56 on which the lamp 50 is mounted. It will therefore be apparent that the image formed by the light passing through the number disk as, will be enlarged when focused on the screens 33 by the projection unit 42 within the limited space of the enclosure 22 because of the relationship between the projection unit and the centrally mounted reflector assembly which establish optical paths that do not interfere with each other and which the long enough to produce the'desired enlargement on the screen members 38.

From the foregoing description, operation of the safety informer device ill will become apparent. Referring therefore to FIGURE 5, it will be observed that each ofthe indexing drive motors 76 is connected in parallel with its associated projection lamp 56 so that the indexing drive occurs simultaneously with the energization of an asso- .citated projection lamp. It will also be observed, that diagonally opposite project-ion unit assemblies 42 are interconnected in parallel -for,alternate energization. Each pair of projection assemblies is therefore energized in accordance with the direction in which the traflic controlling assembly indicates traffic may move. Thus, the respective pairs of projection unit assemblios42are alternatively energized from the power source v84 that may bevavailabl-e for operation of the traff c controlling signal assembly 12 upon alternate closing of micro switches 86 and 88 operated through the same trafilc programmer system 90 that controls operation of the traffic controlling signal assembly 12. It will be further appreciated from the foregoing description, that other projection arrangements may be resorted to within the contemplation of the present invention, achievingthe purposes and objectives in anequivalentror similar manner by forming time indicating symbol imagesth-rough theuse of intermittently displaced light blocking facilities, the intermittent displacement being accomplished by anindexing mechanism energized simultaneously with projection lamps energized under directional control. In this manner, time indicating images of a readily visible size may be displayed by apparatus of unexpectedly simple construction, .lowcost and reduced size. l

The foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the traffic signalling lamps facing different directions, a time informing system comprising, a light confining enclosure having image display portions facing said different directions adjacent to the trafiic signalling lamps, a plurality of time-indicator light sources mounted within said enclosure for emitting light simultaneously with illumination of associated trafiic signalling lamps, movable means mounted in said enclosure within the optical paths of the light emitted from said light sources for projecting time indicating images on said display portions of the enclosure, motor means energized simultaneously with said emission of light from the time-indicator light sources and indexing mechanism drivingly connecting said motor means to said movable means for sequentially changing the images projected therefrom in timed relation to the period of illumination of said traific signalling lamps.

2. In combination with a traffic signalling device having traflic signalling lamps alternatively illuminated and directional time indicator lamp means illuminated simultaneously with one of said trafiic signalling lamps, means for indicating elapsed time of illumination of one of said traffic signalling lamps comprising, light confining enclosure means housing said time indicator lamp means and having directional image display portions, movable means mounted in said enclosure means and disposed in the optical paths of light emitted from said time indicator lamp means for selectively transmitting different time indicating images to said display portions, and drive means operative simultaneously with said illumination of the time indicator lamp means for displacement of said mov able means by incremental amounts in timed relation to the period of illumination of said traflic signalling lamps, said movable means comprising a plurality of rotatable opaque disks each having peripheral numbered cutout portions substantially smaller than said display portions and selectively aligned with said time indicator lamp means, said drive means comprising motor means energized simultaneously with said time indicator lamp means, and an indexing mechanism drivingly connecting said motor means to each of said rotatable disks.

3. The combination of claim 2, including projection lens means mounted within said enclosure means in said optical paths of light between said movable means and the image display portions for producing an enlargement of the time indicating images formed by the movable blocking means.

4. In combination with a traffic signalling device having traflic signalling lamps alternatively illuminated and directional time indicator lamp means illuminated simultaneously with one of said traffic signalling lamps, means for indicating elapsed time of illumination of one of said traflic signalling lamps comprising; light confining enclosure means housing said time indicator lamp means and having directional image display portions, movable means mounted in said enclosure means and disposed in the optical paths of light emitted from said time-indicator lamp means for selectively transmitting different time indicating images to said display portions, and drive means responsive to illumination of said time indicator lamp means for displacement of said movable means by incremental amounts in timed relation to the period of illumination of said traffic signalling lamps, projection lens means mounted within said enclosure means in said optical paths of light between said movable means and the image display portions for producing an enlargement of the time indicating images formed by the movable means, and reflector means fixedly mounted in said enclosure means for extending said optical paths of light between said timeindicator lamp means and the image display portions, said enclosure means being polygonal in cross-section and fixedly mounting said time indicator lamp means adjacent each corner on opposite sides of each image display portion, said reflector means comprising a plurality of angularly spaced mirrors mounted centrally within the ent closure means for receiving inwardly directed, non-intersecting light rays from the time indicator lamp means and reflecting said light rays outwardly to said image display portions, said movable means comprising a plurality of rotatable opaque disks each having peripheral number cutout portions substantially smaller than said display portions and selectively aligned with said time indicator lamp means, said drive means comprising motor means energized simultaneously with said time indicator lamp means, and an indexing mechanism drivingly connecting said motor means to each of said rotatable disks.

References Cited by the Examiner

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1137512 *Jun 24, 1914Apr 27, 1915Harry MillerAdvertising-clock.
US2095928 *Mar 19, 1930Oct 12, 1937Albert A RossmanTraffic signaling device
US2396971 *Apr 26, 1944Mar 19, 1946Parks Rucker BenjaminTraffic signal
US3030855 *Mar 17, 1958Apr 24, 1962Shop O Rama IncOptical projection display apparatus
GB349113A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US5519390 *Feb 2, 1995May 21, 1996Casini; PeterTraffic light timer
US6072407 *Sep 17, 1998Jun 6, 2000Transportation & Environment Research Institute Ltd.Variable message traffic signal lamp
US6175313 *Apr 28, 1999Jan 16, 2001Yefim BerezovskyAttachment to traffic light apparatus for visual indication of traffic light duration
US6331824 *Aug 10, 2000Dec 18, 2001Paul A. FirestoneTraffic control signal with displayed time-elapse
USRE40737Dec 16, 2003Jun 16, 2009Firestone Paul ATraffic control signal with displayed time-elapse
DE2933774A1 *Aug 21, 1979Mar 12, 1981Michel Dipl Ing BeugnetSignalanlage fuer eine strassenkreuzung o.dgl..
Classifications
U.S. Classification340/929, 353/40, 340/815.57
International ClassificationG08G1/096
Cooperative ClassificationG08G1/096
European ClassificationG08G1/096