US 3337035 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
u 22, w57 M. PENNYBACKER HANDLING PROTECTOR FOR UfTuBvs Filedr Dec. 21 1364 v INVENTOR. MILES PENNYBACKER BY if l n AfroRA/Ex United States Patent O 3,337,035 HANDLING PROTECTOR FOR U-TUBES Miles Pennybacker, Westport, Conn., assigner to .lames A. Schoke, Westport, Conn. Filed Dec. 21, 1964, Ser. No. 420,045 2 Claims. (Cl. 20G-46) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE This invention relates to a handling protector for fluorescent lighting tubes, and more particularly for U-tubes; i.e., tubes bent in the shape of a U, and having bases for electrical contacts at each end of the U.
In the shipping and handling of such tubes, and more particularly in the manual handling necessary to unpack the tubes and install them in fixtures, breakage of the tubes has been found to be undesirably high. An examrelatively low, in some cases as low as two pounds, and such a force can be exerted very easily by one handling the tube, almost without realizing it.
In accordance with this invention, I provide an eX- tremely simple and inexpensive protector which can be applied to the tube at the factory after the tubes are completed and before they are packed, which will prevent the tube ends from being accidentally or unwittingly pressed together or spread apart sufficiently to break the tube, during shipping, handling, and installation in the fixture. The protector is so designed and constructed that it may be left on the tube after installation, without loss of appreciable light from the tube, and without interference with the fixture. Additionally, the weight of the protector is so small that it does not add any significant amount of weight to the tube in shipping or when installed in the fixture.
Previous braces for spacing the ends of U-tubes have been fastened permanently to the bases at the ends of the lamp; they have been relatively costly and heavy, compared to the present wire brace. More important, all previous braces for this purpose have crossed through the central axis of the U, whereas the protector of my invention is offset to one side of the axis and does not interfere with the metal support rod which is desirably and frequently used along the central axis of the U-tube.
From the foregoing, it will be understood that among the objects of this invention are:
To provide a simple, inexpensive, but effective pro* tector for fluorescent Utubes, to prevent breakage due to pressure applied in a direction to spread or close the open ends of the U;
To provide such a protector which may be of wire, simply manufactured on an automatic machine;
To provide such a protector having sufficient resiliency to grip the tube snugly without breaking the glass, and hold sufficiently tightly to resist accidental displacement from its installed position;
To provide such a resilient protector which is of very light weight, adding no significant weight to the tube in sluprnent or in the fixture, and which may be left on the tube in use, without noticeably reducing the light radiated, and without interference with the tube mount.
Still other objects and advantages of my invention will be apparent from the specification.
The features of novelty which I believe to be characteristic of my invention are set forth with particularity in the appended claims. My invention itself, however, both as to its fundamental principles and as to its particular embodiments, Will best be understood by reference to the specification and accompanying drawing, in which FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a U-tube with the protector in position,
FIG. 2 is a plan view of the protector, and
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a U-tube with the protector in position, in a fixture.
Referring now more particularly to FIG. 1, arrow 10 designates a fluorescent U-tube having the straight portions 11 and 12, and connecting curved portion 13. The ends of the portions 11 and 12 are provided with suitable bases 14 and 15, of any desired type, usually carrying pins (not shown), which engage contacts in sockets in the fiX- ture and supply power to the tube.
The protector as a whole is designated by arrow 17, and is formed of relatively heavy and stiff wire of circular cross section, yet having some elasticity, and has a straight body portion 17a, and arcuate portions 18, forming somewhat more than semi-circles, and relatively short end portions 19 extending inwardly, to keep the possibly burred ends of the wire from engaging the glass of the tube. The radius of curvature of the arcuate portions 18 is preferably made slightly less than that of the tube to which it is to be fitted, enabling the protector to grip the tube snugly enough to prevent accidental displacement, yet to permit the protector to be slid onto the tube and moved to the desired position.
The protector is preferably and most economically formed from steel wire (plated if desired with a corrosion resisting metal) of the order of 1/s inch diameter, and may be easily formed and cut from stock on an automatic wireforming machine of any type well known in the art. It may, however, be made of plastic if desired.
The protector is designed to protect against spreading of the ends of the tube, by offering resistance, considerably more than that of the tube, against spreading forces suflcient to break the tube, and thus itself takes and resists the spreading force. The tube is similarly protected against forces pressing the tube ends together by the inner ends of the arcuate portions, which protect the tube against inwardly acting forces. Thus the protector prevents any ordinary spreading or squeezing pressures acting on the tube, and so eliminates the greatest cause of breakage of such tubes.
It will be noted that in the form shown, the body portion is offset from the center line of the tube, and so does not interfere with the center post with which some fixtures are equipped. This is shown in FIG. 3 in which 20 designates a plate adapted to be secured to a wall or other supporting surface, provided with sockets (not shown) to receive and supply power to the tube 10. The fixture may include a substantially V-shaped plate 21, at the apex of which is mounted center post 22, carrying at its outer end 1n turn carrying spring arms 24 and 25 portion 13 of the tube to brace of the main body 17a of the protector 17 eliminates possible interference with center post 22, and fabrication of the protector from wire provides minimum absorption of light radiated, which could occur to a significant degree were the protector formed from fiat stock.
In the foregoing, I have described the preferred embodiment of my invention, and the best mode presently known to me for practicing the same, but it should be 4 lnderstood that rnodications and changes may be made protector is formed of relatively heavy cross-section Wire.
without departing from the spirit and scope of my invention, as will be clear to those skilled in the rart. References Cited resiliently embracing the U-branches of said tube respectively, and resisting deflection of said U ends either in- THERON E. CONDON Primary Examiner Wardly or outwardly.
2. The combination claimed in claim 1 in which said 10 WILLIAM T- DIXSON, JR Examiner-