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Publication numberUS3289629 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 6, 1966
Filing dateFeb 14, 1964
Priority dateFeb 14, 1964
Publication numberUS 3289629 A, US 3289629A, US-A-3289629, US3289629 A, US3289629A
InventorsRay Yarger Milton
Original AssigneeRay Yarger Milton
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Traffic signal
US 3289629 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Dec. 6, 1966 M. R. YARGER 3,

TRAFFIC SIGNAL Filed Feb. 14, 1964 26 INVENTOR.

MILTON RAY YARGER his ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,289,629 TRAFFIC SIGNAL Milton Ray Yarger, 300 1st St., Morgantown, W. Va. Filed Feb. 14, 1964, Ser. No. 344,870

2 Claims. (Cl. 116-63) This invention relates to a trafiic light or signal and, more particularly, to improvements that will enable motorists or pedestrians to tell at a glance how soon the light will change.

An outstanding disadvantage of conventional trafiic lights is that there is no way of telling how soon the light will change color. As a consequence, motorists and pedestrians proceed to cross an intersection just before the light changes from green to amber and sometimes are still crossing after the light has turned to red, particularly on wide streets, which very often results in accidents. Attempts have been made to overcome this difiiculty by providing separate timers to denote the remaining time a particular light will continue. Such timers have not been found satisfactory nor generally adopted for the simple reason that they add considerable expense and complication to the signal and provide an additional item to observe which causes difficulties since the motorist or pedestrian is obliged to watch two different objects at the same time.

An object of the present invention is to overcome the above-named disadvantages by providing a traffic signal of relatively simple and inexpensive construction wherein the light itself gives a visual indication of how long a period remains before the light will change.

A more specific object of the invention is to provide a novel traffic signal embodying a slowly rotating cylinder having staggered cut-outs :or window openings so arranged that red, amber and green signals will appear in succession and wherein such signals will provide a light of progressively changing size or area which provides a visual indication of the time remaining before the light will change in color.

Other objects and advantages will become more apparent from a study of the 'fiollowing description taken with the accompanying drawing wherein:

FIG. 1 is a plan view of a blank 1 firom which a rotating cylinder is formed having cut outs or windows carrying red, amber and green lenses and embodying the principles of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an elevational view of the traffic light containing such cylinder and illustrating illumination of a red signal;

FIG. 3 is an elevational view showing how portions of the red and green signal appear and vary in area while the amber signal is on;

FIG. 4 shows the light illuminating a green signal;

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view taken along line VV of FIG. 2;

FIG. 6 is a vertical, cross-sectional view with central portion cut-away for purposes of illustration to better show the internal construction of the light shown in FIG. 2; and,

FIG. 7 is a modification wherein the cylinder rotates by heated air convection cur-rents, instead of by a motor as shown in FIG. 6.

Referring more particularly to FIG. 1, numeral 1 denotes a sheet of thin, flexible material, such as plastic, cardboard, metal, preferably aluminum, or other suitable material. Cutouts or windows 2 are provided and are cove-red by red lenses of :glass, or plastic material. In vertically and circumtferentially staggered relationship, a plurality of circular cut-o=uts or windows 3 are provided which are covered by amber lenses 6, also cut-outs 4 covered by green lenses or windows 7 of glass or plastic ice material. It should be noted that the ends of sheet 1 are overlapped slightly and secured together to term a hollow rotatable cylinder.

FIGS. 2 and 6 show a complete traffic light assembly comprising a top disc 8 and a bottom disc 9 to which the cylinder 1 is attached to form a substantially closed cylinder. A housing 10 surrounds cylinder 1 and has corner sections .11 to which are attached panels 16 having cut-outs or openings 17 adapted to register with and fully expose the red light through lenses 5,. and having circular cut-outs 18 centrally thereof tor exposing the amber lenses 6, when in registry, and having cut-outs 19 for exposing the green lenses 7, when in registry. The cut-outs are so disposed relative to the lenses so as to tully expose red, amber and green lights in succession at each of the four side panels 16 of the signal.

Cylinder 1 is rotated about its axis by means of a motor 20 which, through a speed reducing gear 321, drives a shaft 22 at slow speed, which shaft is rigidly secured to disc 8 by nut 23 so that the cylinder is rotated by the motor at relatively slow speed. A cover or hood 10a, shown, broken away, covers the motor and reducing gear. An electrical outlet 27 is provided to which are connected electrical wires which extend through a hollow stem 26 and leading from an outlet box 25. Into the outlet are screwed a plurality of light bulbs 28. The advantage of a plurality of bulbs is that if one or two bulbs should burn out, the light will still operate.

FIG. 7 shows a modification of the invention including a housing 30 having a top portion 31 with a circular cut-out 32 into which a rotating cylinder 33 is disposed, which cylinder has a top disc provided with a plurality of upstru-ck vanes 36. The cylinder 33 is supported for rotation by intersecting frame member 34 which carry a vertical spindle 35 attached to the disc and about the axis of which the cylinder rotates. As the result of convention cur-rents caused by the heat of the lamp bulbs 28 which pass through vanes 36 by chimney effect, the cylinder 33 is slowly rotated without the necessity of a driving motor. This modification is extremely inexpensive and highly useful in rural communities having a low bud-get for traffic signals or "for maintenance thereof.

In operation, it will be noted from FIG. 2 that when the red lens 5 and cut-out 17 are in registry, only a red light signal will be given at opposite panels 16. As cylinder 1 rotates counter-clockwise, as viewed from the top, the exposed area of the red signals will gradually diminish in size, as shown in FIG. 3, until opposite amber lenses 6 come into full registry with cut-outs 18 to fully expose the amber signals, while at the same time, a segment of the green lens 7 will become exposed, on each opposite panel 16, as shown. It will be readily apparent to motorists and pedestrians, by noting how small in area the red light has become, or how progressively large the green light signal has become, exactly how much time is left for the light to change from green to amber. Similarly as the cylinder slowly rotates from the position shown in FIG. 3 to that shown in FIG. 4, the observer will know exactly how soon the green light will be fully on by noting how small the amber light area has become, therefore will be better able to judge whether or not he should walk across an intersection or drive across an intersection, depending upon whether the observer is a pedestrian or motorist, respectively.

While circular cut-outs and lenses are shown, it will be apparent that other shapes, such as square, rectangular etc. may be used instead, or other arrangements may be used so long as the principle of the light of progressively diminishing area is used to give a visual indication of the time remaining for a light change.

Thus it will be seen that I have provided. an efiicient Patented Dec. 6, 1966 traffic signal that will give to the motorist and pedestrian a visual indication of how much time remains for a light to change from red to green or green to red by noting the extent that the area of exposure of a given color light has decreased or increased, therefore providing greater safety by completely eliminating the risk of misjudging how much time remains for a light change, which has been a source of numerous traffic accidents in the past.

While I have illustrated and described several embodiments of my invention, it will be understood that these are by way of illustration only, and that various changes and modifications may be made within the contemplation of my invention and Within the scope of the following claims.

I claim:

1. A traffic signal comprising a hollow cylinder having circular pairs of red, amber and green lenses mounted in cut-out portions thereof staggered vertically and circumferentially of said cylinder, the amber lenses being central lenses, whereby only one pair of lenses will be fully exposed at any one time, and means for slowly rotating said cylinder with respect to said housing so as to efiect sequential full registry with pairs of said lenses, whereby an observer will have a visual indication of the time remaining for a change in signal by noting the amount of area of exposure of the various lenses.

2. A traflic signal as recited in claim l, wherein said means comprises a top disc on said cylinder having a plurality of upstruck vanes disposed circumferentially and through which air currents caused by said light bulb means flow to effect rotation of said cylinder.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,827,481 10/1931 Mosher 34043 2,260,231 10/ 1941 Parker 11663 2,274,018 2/ 1942 Weed 11663 2,294,883 9/1942 Anderson et a1. 34084 NEIL C. READ, Primary Examiner. I. 'J. LEVIN, Assistant Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1827481 *Dec 16, 1929Oct 13, 1931Mosher Harvey GAutomatic signal light
US2260231 *Aug 8, 1940Oct 21, 1941Parker Jr James HTraffic signal
US2274018 *May 23, 1941Feb 24, 1942Weed Walter ATraffic signal
US2294883 *Jul 25, 1938Sep 8, 1942Eagle Saignal CorpTraffic signal lamp
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3618005 *Sep 23, 1968Nov 2, 1971Jensen Wayne EmilTraffic signal with shutter means
US3790937 *Jun 29, 1971Feb 5, 1974Krawczyk CSignal light
US4652851 *Nov 7, 1983Mar 24, 1987Ian LewinLamp control system
U.S. Classification116/63.00R, D10/115, 340/930
International ClassificationG08G1/096
Cooperative ClassificationG08G1/096
European ClassificationG08G1/096