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Publication numberUS3273140 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 13, 1966
Filing dateJul 19, 1963
Priority dateJul 19, 1963
Publication numberUS 3273140 A, US 3273140A, US-A-3273140, US3273140 A, US3273140A
InventorsFoster Jacques Y, Thompson Le Roy J
Original AssigneeFair Play Mfg Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Combination message and image display unit
US 3273140 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Sept. 13, 1966 J Y FOSTER ETAL COMBINATION MESSAGE AND IMAGE DISPLAY UNIT 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed July 19, 1963 /2 M Fir ZERO? J. momma/v 54 2 ZTTOP/VE V5 Sept. 13, 1966 J FOSTER ET AL 3,273,140

COMBINATION MESSAGE AND IMAGE DISPLAY UNIT 5 Shee ts-Sheea 2 Filed July 19, 1963 QQR i? M Arrows 9 5 United States Patent 3,273,140 COMBINATION MESSAGE AND IMAGE DISPLAY UNIT Jacques Y. Foster and Le Roy J. Thompson, Des Moines,

Iowa, assignors to Fair-Play Manufacturing Co., Des

Moines, Iowa, a corporation of Iowa Filed July 19, 1963, Ser. No. 296,317 1 Claim. (Cl. 340334) Electrical scoreboard and sign units employing various combinations of lamp patterns have been employed heretofore. This invention relates generally to such a structure, but embraces specifically the concept of utilizing at least a portion of the lamps of a message-type sign for also presenting movable or stationary images.

A principal object of this invention is to provide a combination message and image display unit whereby a portion of the lamps in the unit can be selectively used for the projection of either images or messages.

A further object of this invention is to provide a combination message and image display unit which can present both messages and images and which can instantly replace a pictorial image at any time with a written image, and vice versa.

These and other objects will be apparent to those skilled in the art.

Our invention consists in the construction, arrangements, and combination, of the various parts of the device, whereby the objects contemplated are attained as hereinafter more fully set forth, specifically pointed out in our claim, and illustrated in the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIGURE 1 is a front elevational view of a scoreboard employing the instant invention, wherein a message and pictorial image are being simultaneously presented;

FIGURE 2 is a front elevational view of a scoreboard similar to that of FIGURE 1, but illustrating the case where the pictorial image has been replaced by the written message;

FIGURE 3 is a schematic layout of the various components of this invention;

FIGURE 4 is a partial elevational view of typical lamps disposed on the scoreboard;

FIGURE 5 is a more detailed view of the memory storage facility; and

FIGURE 6 is a more detailed view of the control panel.

The specific construction of the various components of this invention will not be presented in detail as the invention is deemed to lie in the combination and could operate successfully even if the structure of :a given component were altered. In this connection, conventional electrical components are employed -as elements of this combination, as will be appreciated from the following description.

The numeral 10 generally designates a scoreboard structure having supporting posts 12. The scoreboard or sign 10 can assume any convenient or desired shape but often assumes the general proportions of 140 feet long and 20 feet high. A plurality of lamps 14 and 14A are electrically connected to board 10 in a plurality of vertical columns and horizontal rows. For purposes of descrip tion, the lamps 14 and 14A mounted on the board '10 are located in two separate rectangular groups or banks designated by the numerals 16 and -18. In addition, the banks 16 and 18 are normally subdivided into bank units 19 which range from 18 to 36 inches high. Each unit includes 35 gas filled lamps 1 4 or 14A of 40, 60 or 75 watts encased in individual aluminum reflector tubes behind sun filter screens. The individual lamps 14 and 14A are positioned in horizontal rows and vertical columns, as are the units 19.

An operators electric typewriter 20 and control panel 22 are normally remotely positioned from the scoreboard 10, at least in the athletic field environment. The typewriter is used to program the message display on board 10, and it is controlled through appropriate switches on the control panel 22, such as the switch 20A shown in FIGURE 6. Although this specific phenomenon does not embrace the instant invention, the typewriter 20 can be used to prepare punched paper tape or punched cards for permanent storage of messages. This punched material can be used in a memory installation, to be discussed hereafter, wherein the stored message can be selectively imposed on the scoreboard 10. The output signals from the typewriter are in an 8-channel coded format. The typewriter provides at least all 26 letters of the alphabet, 1 0 numbers, and 6 or more punctuation symbols.

The numeral 24 designates a decoder and control assembly which normally is located at or near the scoreboard 10. As schematically shown in FIGURE 3, the decoder 26 in the assembly 24 accepts the 8 channel coded output signals of the typewriter 20 through the control panel 22. The decoder 26 converts these coded signals into signals required to illuminate the proper lamps on the board 10 to create the desired figure or numeral. Thus, if the letter R is struck on the typewriter, the decoder 26 interprets the coded signal for R from the typewriter and transforms it into the necessary signals to illuminate an -R on the scoreboard. Again, it should be pointed out that the precise construction out such a decoder is of the type presently in use and on the market today. The decoder 26 also generates control signals for the operation of the lamp row and column selector switches 28 and 30, respectively, and provides signals for the various display, erase, and programming functions (not involved here) as dictated by the control panel 22. The row switch or selector 28 is controlled by the decoder 24 in conjunction with the control panel 22 and typewriter 20, and switch 28 selects the row into which the programmed information will be entered. The column switch 30 is similarly controlled and it selects the lamp bank unit 19 in a particular row into which the programmed information is to be placed. As schematically shown in FIGURE 3, the row and column selectors or switches 28 and '30 are also connected to the control panel 22 through the control section 34 of assembly 24.

The display lamps 14 in the message bank 1 6 are electrically connected to solid state display switches 36 which serve to control the individual lamps. Solid state switches assume numerous designs and are particularly adaptable to display lamp usage. They normally utilize transistors or silicon controlled rectifiers and serve to handle the high initial inrush current much better than conventional relays. Relays have a very short life, and the mechanical parts thereof are subjected to wearing and consume valuable time in completing their function. The solid state switches, which act instantaneously, overcome the problems presented by the conventional relays.

The lamps 14 in the message bank .16 are electrically connected to the row and column selectors 28 and 30, respectively, through their respective solid state switches 36 and through the message memory or storage installation 38. The installation 38 contains stored information in memory banks from typewriter 20, and this information can be selectively imposed on the lamps 14 by the control panel 22. Memory banks 38A and 383 have been shown in FIGURE 5, and a short message such as that imposed on group of lamps '16 in FIGURE 1 can be stored on bank 38A, while a long message such as that imposed upon groups of lamps 16 and '18 in FIGURE 2 can be stored on lamp 383. The selection of memory bank 38A is made at the control panel 22 by closing switch 38C to energize relay 38D thereupon. Similarly, switch 38E on control panel 22 can be gauged to switch 38C whereby the closing of switch 38E will open switch 38C, whereupon memory bank 38B will be selected by the energization of relay 38F. 'Relays 38D and 38F are electrically connected to switches 38C and 38B, respectively, on control panel 22 by any convenient and conventional electrical means. Message signals are permitted to by-pass or pass through the installation 38 when it is desired to allow the typewriter 20 to directly transmit a message to the board 10. This is accomplished by closing switch 38G on control panel 22, which will energize relay 381-1, and the memory bank 38A will then be connected to line 52 and hence, will be connected to the lamps .14. It is assumed at this point that neither a long nor short message has been stored on memory bank 38A. The closing of switch 20A on the control panel 22 will then directly connect the typewriter to the lamps 14 in group 16. The operator could thereupon directly type a short message of the type shown in FIGURE 2, and it would be fed directly onto the group of lamps 16. If it was desired to type a long message ot the type shown in FIGURE 2, it would be necessary to close switch 50A on control panel 22 to actuate relay 50B of switch 50 to cut in the remaining group of lamps 18. The stored message signals in installation 38 can be selectively imposed on the lamps 1'4 (and 14A) in lieu of the typewriter signals at the option of the control panel operator. If a short message has been imposed on memory bank 38A, switch 38G on control panel 22 can be closed to energize relay 38H to connect the memory bank 38A to line 52, and hence, to lamps *14 of the group of lamps 16. If it is desired to impose a stored long message of memory bank 38B on both groups of lamps 1'6 and 18, switch 3'8I on control panel 22 is closed to energize relay 38K, whereupon memory bank 383 is connected to output line 52. With switch 50 closed in the manner described above, the resulting output from memory bank 3 8B will be imposed over lamps 14- and 14A in groups of lamps 1 6 and 18, respectively. Again, the precise functional details of the installation 38 are presently available and in use on the market, and the details thereof have not been shown since they, of themselves, do not constitute a part of this invention.

The lamps 14A in image bank 18 are also electrically connected to individual solid state switches 36A, and are also in communication with the message transmitting signals t typewriter and the message storage installation 38, as described above. The lamps 14A in the image bank 18 are independently controlled from the control panel 22, as schematically shown in FIGURE 3, so that the message circuit, as defined by elements 20, 2-2, 24, 2'8,

'30 and 38, can be instantaneously removed (from the lamps 14A. This is accomplished by opening the switch 50A on control panel 22, which will remove lamps 14A in group 18 from the message circuit even if a portion of a long message from storage bank 38B was on these lamps.

An image circuit is comprised of projector 40, photo 'cell grid 42, and photo cell amplifier 44. The projector 40 is adapted to project from a film or the like an image on the grid 42, which is comprised of a plurality of photo electric cells 48 which are each electrically connected to one of the lamps 14A in the image lamp bank 18. The projector may be a motion picture type, still- ,slide type, or any other device suitable for projecting either still or moving pictures. As indicated, the photo cell grid contains one photo-cell ctor each display lamp 14A used in image lamp bank 18, and the photo cells are correspondingly arranged in the same pattern as the lamps 14A in the bank 18. The optical pattern of light and dark from the projector energizes the various photo-cells to form electrical signals corresponding to the visual image of the projected picture. Thus, the light intensity of the lights in the bank 18 will vary in accordance with the optical pattern of light and dark trom the projector. The photo-cell amplifiers 44 increase the electric signal from the photo-cell to enable it to control the solid state switches 36A to which each amplifier is electrically connected.

The normal operation of the device of this invention is as follows: When it is desired to use both of the lamp banks 16 and 18 for messages, as indicated in FIGURE 2, the image circuit of elements 40, 42 and 44 are withdrawn in the manner described from influencing the lamps 14A in the image lamp bank 18. This withdrawal of the image circuit is effected at the control panel 22 by switch 50C. Switch 50C can close ed the projector 40 and hence remove the source of energy tfOl lamps 14A. Messages can then be fed to both lamp banks 16 and 18 either from the typewriter 20 or the message storage center 38 in the manner described.

The message signal impulse to lamps 14A can be interrupted at the control panel as described above. The opening of switch 50 can protect the lamps 14A [from message signals at all times, regardless of whether message signals are being fed to the lamps during or subsequent to the actuation of this control. The image circuit is then actuated from the control panel 22 through lead 54 and the image circuit thereupon sends signals to the image lamp bank 18 and to the lamps 14A therein in the manner described. Message signals can be simultaneously directed to the message lamp bank 116 and lamps 14 to create the effect shown in FIGURE 1. This is accomplished by actuating a stored short message from memory bank 38A in the manner indicated; or by directly typing a short message on lamps 14 through blank memory bank 38A, as described above. Obviously, the message and image circuits can be independently energized or can be both simultaneously energized. The tull or long message depicted in FIGURE 2 is created by actuating a stored long message from memory bank 38B in the manner indicated, or typing a long message on lamps 14 and 14A through blank memory bank 38A with switch '50 closed, as described above. The simultaneous image and message shown in FIGURE 1 is accomplished by utilizing a short message, as previously described, and energizing the image circuit by switch 500 as previously discussed. By opening switch 50C, the image circuit is withdrawn from the sign, and the short image shown in FIGURE 1 would normally be withdrawn by opening switch 386.

From the foregoing, it is seen that the instant invention does accomplish its major objectives of providing a sign structure employing groups of display lamps that can be selectively actuated to present either message or image productions, or a combination thereof.

Some changes may be made in the construction and arrangement of our combination message and image display unit without departing \fIOIl'l the real spirit and purpose of our invention, and it is our intention to cover by our claim, any modified [forms of structure or use of mechanical equivalents which may be reasonably included withintheir scope.

We claim:

In a device of the class described,

a sign structure,

a first group of electrical display lamps mounted on said sign structure,

a second group of electrical display lamps mounted on said sign structure adjacent to said first group of electrical display lamps,

a first electrical control circuit electrically connected to each of said lamps in each group of lamps,

first means electrically connected to said first electrical circuit for selectively illuminating various of said lamps whereby said illuminated lamps will [formulate only a message in the form of letters and numerals,

a second electrical control circuit electrically connected first group of lamps, and an image is simultaneousonly to said second group of lamps, ly formed only on various of said lamps in said secsecond means electrically connected only to said second group of lamps.

nd electrical control circuit tor illuminating various of said lamps whereby said illuminated lamps will References Cited by the Examiner formulate an image in the form of pictures, said UNITED STATES PATENTS second means including means rfor projecting a light image having varying degrees of light intensity on a 1072152 9/1913 Ocampo 340-339 1,103,294 7/1914 Jones 340-339 photo-cell grid comprised of a plurality of individual photo-cells, with each photo-cell being electrically 10 1,359,274 11/1920 Reckeconnected only to a single lamp in said second group 1,394,565 10/1921 Long 340339 of lamps; said photo-cells and the corresponding 1,973,539 9/ 1934 Morton et al 340 339 X lamps to which they are connected being positioned 2,069, 85 1 2/ 1937 Rosenberg 340-339 in an identical p 2,121,987 6/1938 Rosenberg.

and a control means electrically interconnecting said 15 2 14 57 2 1939 Haselton et 1 34() 337 first and second control circuits to control and coordi- 2,148,450 2/1939 Eitzen 3 33 nate the illumination of said first and second groups 2 154 4/1939 Parks X of lamps, said control means including means for se- 2221109 11/1940 Reid X lectively limiting the energization of said first elec- 2221525 11/1940 gg 340 339 trical control circuit to said first group Olf lamps 20 3146436 8/1964 crow g while said second electrical control circuit is energized to form an image on said second group of I lamps, whereby a message in the form orf numerals NEIL READ Primary and letters is formed only on various lamps in said R. M. GOLDMAN, Assistant Examiner.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3432846 *Apr 19, 1965Mar 11, 1969Gen ElectricTraveling sign controlled by logic circuitry and providing a plurality of visual display effects
US3445827 *Jan 7, 1966May 20, 1969IbmMemory controlled shift register display device
US3544991 *Jun 7, 1965Dec 1, 1970Matsushita Electronics CorpElectric sign devices
US3594762 *Mar 27, 1967Jul 20, 1971Stewart Warner CorpDisplay system
US3594778 *Mar 28, 1967Jul 20, 1971Stewart Warner CorpDisplay system
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US3638215 *May 28, 1970Jan 25, 1972Stewart Warner CorpDisplay system with solid matrix display board
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US3868675 *Sep 4, 1973Feb 25, 1975Capsule Communications IncDisplay system with combined dynamic and static display
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US5597994 *May 31, 1995Jan 28, 1997Hornung; ThomasInformation display system
US5612710 *Aug 22, 1995Mar 18, 1997Fairtron CorporationReal time low cost, large scale array 65K color display using lamps
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U.S. Classification345/30, 40/452
International ClassificationG09F13/26, G09F13/00
Cooperative ClassificationG09F13/26, G09G3/02
European ClassificationG09F13/26, G09G3/02