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Publication numberUS3361902 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 2, 1968
Filing dateJun 1, 1965
Priority dateJun 1, 1965
Publication numberUS 3361902 A, US 3361902A, US-A-3361902, US3361902 A, US3361902A
InventorsArthur E Cardenas, Cardenas Gustavo
Original AssigneeArthur E. Cardenas, Cardenas Gustavo
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Ornament combining audio and visual effects
US 3361902 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

1968 A. E. cARbENAs ETAL 3,


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9! BY 61/17/410 pin 4 United States Patent 3,361,902 GRNAMENT COMBINING AUDIO AND 1 VISUAL EFFECTS Arthur E. Cardenas, 19019 Galatea, Glendora, Calif.

91740, and Gustavo Cardenas, 959 Alice Lane,

Menlo Park, Calif. 94025 Filed June 1, 1965, Ser. No. 460,047 2 Claims. (Cl. 240) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE An ornament combining audio and visual effects for use as a Christmas tree decoration and the like. The ornament includes an electric light bulb with a thermostatic flasher and a bell housing which is mechanically joined to the light bulb socket. An electromagnet connected in electric circuit relationship with the light bulb is located within the bell housing. Operation of the flasher produces periodic energization of the electromagnet causing a striker to impact on the bell housing, ringing the bell.

This invention relates to decorations and, in particular, to animated ornaments providing visual and audible effects.

The invention is primarily intended for use as a Christmas tree ornament. In its preferred form, it consists of a plurality of connected Christmas tree light bulb and socket assemblies having a bell associated with each assembly. By providing flasher-type light bulbs for one or all of the assemblies and an electromagnetically operated striker with each bell, an effect of flashing lights and twinkling bells is obtained.

Uses in other related applications are readily apparent. In addition to functioning as an ornament for a Christmas tree, the invention lends itself to use as a decoration in many other locations, both indoor and outdoor. For example, the invention is utilizable as an exterior decoration for homes to outline windows, eaves, rooflines, outdoor trees, etc. as has become the prevalent Christmas custom. In addition, because the flashing lights and sounding bells add a distinct note of gaiety, the invention finds application in party-type situations and as amusements for children. Because it combines both audible and visual attention-attracting capabilities, it is also well suited to commercial and advertising uses. By proper choice of operating parameters, the size of the lights and bells can be increased or decreased to suit each particular situation.

The invention provides a decoration comprising a bell housing and an electric light bulb with a built-in flasher. Means are provided for connecting the light bulb to a source of electric power and an electromagnet is electrically connected in the light bulb circuit. A striker is located in an operative relation with the bell housing and electromagnet whereby when the light bulb is connected to a source of electric power, the light is flashed causing motion of the striker means and ringing of the bell.

Various specific embodiments of the basic concept of the invention are described below. Depending on the particular application for which the invention is intended, the size of the bells and lights and the power reqiurement for the circuit will vary. The various features of the invention will be more readily apparent after reference is had to the following detailed description and accompanyin g figures in which;

FIG. 1 is a view of a pair of lights and bulbs showing the relationship of the electromagnet to the bell housing,

FIG. 2 is an alternate embodiment of the bell housing with the electrom-agnet and striker arrangement located internally of the housing,

FIG. 3 is another alternate embodiment of the bell assembly with internal electromagnet and striker,

FIG. 4 is a third alternate embodiment of the bell housing with internal electromagnet and striker, and

FIG. 5 is a view of the light bulb and socket assembly of the invention with the electromagnet and striker located externally of the bell housing.

In its preferred form, the light and bell combination of this invention is provided with an electrical light bulb which has a bi-metallic strip as part of the filament construction within the bulb envelope. This strip acts in the nature of a thermostat to periodically make and break the electrical continuity of the light bulb circuit causing the light to flash on and off. Such bulb configurations are frequently referred to as flasher-type bulbs or bulbs with built-in thermostats. They are readily available through electrical supply outlets, an example being the type of bulb manufactured by the Westinghouse Electric Cor poration with model No. D-26. Since the invention employs an electric circuit using flasher-type electric bulbs, it lends itself to use of an electromagnet for providing the means for causing the bell to sound. In its preferred form, the electromagnet is an electric coil or solenoid having a plurality of turns wound about a hollow core. The coil is then connected in series in the light bulb circuit. A magnetizable core piece is located in the hollow core of the coil so that when the flasher closes the light bulb circuit, the coil is energized, attracting the core piece by magnetic force and causing it to strike the bell housing. The details of construction will be described in conjunction with the following figures.

In FIG. 1 is depicted a pair of light bulb assemblies 10 and 12 together with accompanying bells l4 and 16. The pair of lights shown here are representative of the plurality of lights which are customarily found in a string of Christmas tree lights. An electrical connection 18 pro vides continuity between adjacent lamp and bell combinations in the string and subsequent connections are extended from assembly 12 to succeeding lights in the string. A connection 20 running between the assembly 10 and bell 14 serves in the dual function of providing the electrical connections to an electromagnet located within the bell housing and the physical connection for suspending the bell from the light bulb assembly.

The assembly 10 includes a bulb 22 located in a light socket 24 which has been adapted to accommodate connection 20 so that a solenoid 28 is in series with the light circuit. Solenoid 28 is located within bell housing 26 and located in a chamber 27 which is formed as an extension of the hollow core of the solenoid is a core piece 30 of magnetizable material. The solenoid and core piece assembly is suspended within the bell housing by means of mounting 32 and electrical connections 34 connect the end of the electromagnet coil to the electrical connection 20. A connection 36 extends from the light bulb assembly 10 to an electric plug 37 which is connectable to a source of electric power (not shown).

The bulb in this particular embodiment is the flashertype bulb previously described. In operation, the circuit performs as follows. After connection to a source of power by means of plug 37, the circuit to the lamp is completed and the filament lit. After a short interval during which the bulb heats up, the envelope interior has reached a sufiicient temperature to cause a bi-metallic strip located within the envelope to flex, thereby breaking the electric circuit and causing the filament to be de-energized. After another short interval, the envelope cools to a point where the bi-metallic strip returns to its original position com= pleting the circuit and causing the filament to be re-lit. Closure of the circuit causes flow of current in the coil 28 creating a magnetic field which exerts a magnetic force on core piece 30. The core piece is drawn up through chamber 27 by means of the magnetic force with such a force as to strike the bell housing 26 causing it to sound. As long as a current flows in the coil, the core piece is held in position adjacent the housing by the magnetic field of the coil. When the coil is de-energized upon the next opening of the light bulb circuit, the core piece 30 returns to its original position at the base of chamber 27 under the influence of gravity to produce a gravity return of core piece 30, the coil 28 is inclined at an angle between the horizontal and the vertical as shown in FIG. 1. The cycle is then repeated.

An alternate embodiment of the solenoid and striker arrangement is depicted in FIG. 2. In this embodiment, a bell housing 38 has suspended from it a rigid support 44 which supports a solenoid 42 forming part of an electromagnet assembly 44 A second solenoid 46 is supported from the bell housing by means of a flat spring 50 and is provided with a striker 48 on the side adjacent the bell housing. Electrical connections 52 connect the coils to the lamp circuit.

The specific mode of operation of this embodiment depends upon the way in which solenoids 42 and 46 are wound. In the preferred mode, the solenoids are Wound in opposite directions. Where the circuit is closed, current flow through the solenoids generating opposed magnetic fields. The repulsion between like poles causes solenoid 42 to move toward the bell housing 38 until striker 48 contacts the housing causing it to sound. Tension on spring 50 is adjusted such that solenoid 42 returns slightly from coincidence with the housing after striking it to permit the bell to reverberate. When the light flashes off, the magnetic fields of the two solenoids collapse permitting the coils to return to the relative position shown in FIG. 2 until the cycle is repeated.

An alternate mode of operation is to provide solenoids wound in the same direction such that solenoid 46 is attracted toward solenoid 42 against the tension of spring 50 by the magnetic field generated when the coils are energized. In this mode of operation solenoid 46 is preferably located adjacent bell housing 38 with a small amount of spacing between the housing wall and striker 48. When the light flashes off, the magnetic fields collapse and in reaction to tension on spring 56, solenoid 46 moves toward the bell housing 38 and striker 48 impacts on the wall thereof, causing'it to sound. The coil then returns from the position of overtravel to its rest position at the spaced interval from the housing wall until the coils are re-energized. The cycle is then ready to be repeated.

FIG. 3 illustrates still another embodiment of the invention. In this embodiment, a casing 56 is suspended from a rigid support 58 within a bell housing 54. A coil or solenoid 60 is located within casing 56. The casing is provided with a hollow extension 57 on one side thereof with a slidable striker 64 disposed within it. The striker 64 is composed of a magnetizable material such as iron and is connected to casing 56 by means of a flat spring 66. Spring 66 may also be connected to the bell housing, the important consideration being that when the coil is energized, the striker is attracted toward the coil against tension in the spring so that when the magnetic force is eliminated, the striker springs back and against the bell housing 54 causing it to sound. As before, spring tension is adjusted so that striker 64 returns slightly from the bell housing after striking it. Electrical connections 68 complete the circuit to the coil 60.

The embodiment of the invention shown in FIG. 4 depicts a variation on the arrangement shown in FIG. 3. In this embodiment a casing 82 is suspended from a bell housing 84 by a rigid support 86. A solenoid 88 located within a cavity 83 in the casing is provided with series electrical connections 90 to the light bulb (not shown) and a tubular extension 85 from one side. A washer 92 or other apert'ured piece of magnetizable material is located at the side of the cavity adjacent extension 85 with its centrally located aperture arranged concentrically with 4. respect to a hollow extension 94 provided in the side of casing 82. A striker 96 of iron or hard plastic is located within extension 94 and is held in position by a fiat spring 97. Within cavity 83 are provided one or more coil springs 93 attached at one end to solenoid 88 and at the other end to support 86.

In operation, energization of solenoid 88 generates a magnetic field causing the solenoid to be attracted toward washer 92. The solenoid extension 85 contacts striker 96 and drives it against the bell wall causing the bell to ring. Under the influence of bias from springs 97 and 98, the striker and solenoid, respectively, are retracted slight ly after impact on the bell wall to allow the bell to vibrate. When solenoid 88 is de-energized, the magnetic field collapses allowing the striker and coil to return to the positions shown in FIG. 4. The cycle is then ready for repetition.

In FIG. 5 is illustrated an embodiment of the invention in which the electromagnet and striker is located outside of the bell housing. In this case, the invention comprises a light socket asembly 70 on which is mounted a solenoid casing 72. A bell 74 is suspended from the socket assembly by means of suspension 76. The bell is provided with a striker 78 suspended from an armature 8t associated with the solenoid. The solenoid is located inside the casing 72 in an arrangement similar to that shown in FIG. 3. Electrical connections are provided to complete the circuit from the light socket to the solenoid such that light bulb and solenoid are in series. 7

In operation, the making and breaking of the light bulb circuit due to the bi-metallic strip in the flasher-type bulb energizes the solenoid and attracts armature causing striker 78 to sound the bell. By providing the proper amount of overtravel, the striker 78 can be arranged to retract slightly from its position of contact with the bell to allow the bell to resonate.

In its various embodiments, the invention provides a combination bell and light circuit for producing random ringing of the bell as the light flashes under the influence of a built-in thermostat. Other variations in the embodiments shown are possible without departure from the scope of the invention.

What is claimed is:

I. A decoration comprising:

an electric circuit having at least one electric light bulb socket assembly, I

a light bulb mounted in the socket, the bulb being provided with a bi-metallic strip within the envelope thereof for periodically opening and closing the electric circuit,

means for connecting the circuit to a source of electrical power,

a bell housing suspended from the socket assembly,

a solenoid located within the bell housing at an angle between the horizontal and the vertical and connected in series with the electric circuit, the solenoid having a hollow core, and

a magnetizable core piece located within the core and oriented at an angle between the horizontal and thevertical whereby closing of the circuit causes current flow in the solenoid and motion of the core piece to thereby cause the bell to be sounded and return to a rest position under the influence of gravity.

2. A decoration comprising:

an electric circuit having at least one electric light bulb socket assembly,

a light bulb mounted in the socket, the bulb being provided with a bi-metallic strip within the envelope thereof for periodically opening and closing the electric circuit,

means for connecting the circuit to a source of electrical power,

a bell housing suspended from the socket assembly,

a first solenoid electrically connected in the circuit and 5 mounted on a rigid support disposed within the bell housing,

a second solenoid electrically connected in the circuit and located adjacent the first solenoid, the second solenoid being provided with a striker located on the side thereof opposite the first solenoid, and

spring means for supporting and biasing the second solenoid away from the first solenoid whereby interruption and closure of the circuit causes the second solenoid to periodically strike the bell housing causing it to sound.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS Davis 240-10 XR Greenlee 240-10 XR Vaughn et a1. 24-0-10 XR Klotz 24010 XR Felsher 46-227 NORTON ANSHER, Primary Examiner. D. L. JACOBSON, Assistant Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2304888 *Feb 19, 1940Dec 15, 1942Davis Jr George BThermostatic flasher
US2558747 *Oct 22, 1945Jul 3, 1951Greenlee William BElectric lighting system
US3077138 *Jul 19, 1960Feb 12, 1963Product Desing IncBell lights
US3145323 *Oct 31, 1962Aug 18, 1964Klotz ReneElectric candle
US3232004 *Jan 15, 1963Feb 1, 1966William FelsherElectrical flashing and sounding toys
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4677892 *Oct 1, 1985Jul 7, 1987Justin KramerElectrical actuator for percussion instruments
US4854214 *Sep 9, 1988Aug 8, 1989Lowe Donald JIlluminated wind chime
US5174645 *Jan 29, 1992Dec 29, 1992Martin ChungElectric candle with sound producing means
US5307051 *Sep 24, 1991Apr 26, 1994Sedlmayr Steven RNight light apparatus and method for altering the environment of a room
US8421252 *Mar 6, 2012Apr 16, 2013World Factory, Inc.Solar wind chime
U.S. Classification362/86, 362/802, 84/407
International ClassificationF21S10/06, F21V33/00, G08B7/06
Cooperative ClassificationF21W2121/04, F21V33/0052, Y10S362/802, F21S10/06, G08B7/06
European ClassificationF21S10/06, F21V33/00A9, G08B7/06