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Publication numberUS3367206 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 6, 1968
Filing dateJun 10, 1965
Priority dateJun 10, 1965
Publication numberUS 3367206 A, US 3367206A, US-A-3367206, US3367206 A, US3367206A
InventorsJames B Moody
Original AssigneeWestinghouse Electric Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Pushbutton actuator
US 3367206 A
Images(2)
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Feb. 6, 1968 1 B. MOODY PUSHBUTTON ACTUATOR 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed June 10, 1965 INVENTOR James B. Moody BY M WQ ATTORNEY J. B. MOODY Feb. 6, 1968 PUSHBUTTON ACTUATOR I 2 Sheets-Sheet -2 Filed June 10, 1965 3,367,2tlo E USHEUTTGN ACTUATGR James E. Moody, llndiana Township, Pittsburgh, Pa, assignor to Westinghouse Electric Corporation, Pittsburgh, Pm, a corporation of Pennsylvania Filed lune lit, 1965, Ser. No. 462,978 4 Claims. (Cl. 74-5h3) AELQTRAQT OF THE DECLQBSURE More particularly, a plunger is slidably disposed in a supporting sleeve and includes a resilient portion of reduced cross-section which moves through an opening in a transverse web in the sleeve. The latter portion of the plunger includes projecting tabs which retain the plunger in assembled relation with the sleeve. Additional openings may be provided in the web of the sleeve or in the plunger to act as spring seats for the resetting springs disposed between the web and the plunger.

This invention relates to pushbutton structures and more particularly to pushbutton actuators adapted for mounting on a supporting panel.

Pushbutton operators or actuators are commonly employed to actuate associated electrical devices, such as switches, or to reset devices, such as thermostatic devices of the type which are included with motor starters. For applications where the pushbutton operator is to be mounted on a supporting panel, it has been found that pushbutton structures of the type described which have been employed in the past have several disadvantages. For example, certain types of known pushbutton structures do not readily lend themselves to mounting on an associated supporting panel. Other types of known pushbutton operators do not readily lend themselves to an oil-tight or fluid-tight construction or have the disadvantage that the pushbutton structure reduces the electrical insulating clearances between the supporting panel and associated electrical appsratus which is disposed adjacent to the supporting panel. It is, therefore, desirable to provide an improved pushbutton structure which overcomes the above disadvantages and also offers several additional advantages.

It is an object of this invention to provide a new and improved pushbutton actuator.

Another object of this invention is to provide an improved pushbutton operator which more readily lends itself to mounting on a supporting panel.

A more specific object of this invention is to provide an improved means for maintaining a pushbutton actuator and an associated supporting means in assembled relationship.

Other objects of the invention will, in part, be obvious and will, in part, appear hereinafter.

For a fuller understanding of the nature and objects of the invention, reference should be had to the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIGURE 1 is an exploded view, in perspective, of a pushbutton operator assembly embodying the principal features of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a view, partly in section and partly in elevation, of the structure shown in FIG. 1 when assembled on a supporting panel;

FIG. 3 is a view, in section, of the structure shown in FIG. 2 taken along the line IIIIII with the associated electrical apparatus indicated in phantom;

FIG. 4 is a top plan view of a supporting sleeve which performs part of the structure shown in FIGS. 1 through 3;

ttes Patent Q 3,3612% Patented Feb. 6, 1968 ice FIG. 5 is an exploded view, in perspective, of an alternate construction of a pushbutton actuator embodying the principal features of the invention.

FIG. 6 is an elevational view, partly in section and partly cut away of the structure shown in FIG. 5 when assembled on a supporting panel;

FIG. 7 is an elevational view, in section, of the structure shown in FIG. 6 taken along the line VIIVII; and

FIG. 8 is a diagrammatic view of a control system utilizing two of the pushbutton actuators shown in FIGS. 1 through 4.

Referring now to the drawings and to FIGS. 1 and 2 in particular, there is illustrated a pushbutton operator or actuator assembly it] which is particularly adapted for mounting on a supporting panel or housing wall 42 of an associated electrical apparatus, such as a motor starter. The supporting panel 42 may be formed from a suitable material such as sheet steel and in a typical application may comprise part of the door of an enclosure of the associated apparatus, such as the apparatus indicated in phantom in FIG. 3, which is adjacent to and spaced from the supporting panel 42. The pushbutton operator 10 may be operatively connected to the associated apparatus ltltl by an actuating member 92, as indicated in phantom in FIG. 3.

In general, the pushbutton operator 10 comprises a supporting sleeve or generally tubular member 20 and a plunger member or pushbutton member 30 which i slidably disposed in the supporting sleeve 20, as best shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. As illustrated in FIG. 1, the supporting panel 42 includes a generally circular opening 74 through which a portion of the supporting sleeve 20 passes during the assembly of the pushbutton operator 10 on the supporting panel 42.

More specifically, the supporting sleeve 20 is preferably formed from an electrically insulating material which is also resilient and which has suitable mechanical wearing properties. One suitable material which has been found to be particularly satisfactory is a thermoplastic material such as an acrylonitrile butadiene styrene resin. The supporting sleeve 24? includes a first portion 22 which has a larger outer periphery than the opening 74 in the associated supporting panel 42 and a second portion 24 which has an outer periphery smaller than the opening 74 and which passes through the opening '74 when the supporting sleeve 2% is assembled with the supporting panel 42, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. As shown in FIG. 1, a shoulder portion 22A is formed on the outer periphery of the supporting sleeve 20 where the first portion 22 joins or meets the second portion 24. When the supporting sleeve 20 is assembled with the supporting panel 42 as shown in FIG. 2, the shoulder portion 22A may bear directly against one side of the supporting panel 42 around the opening 74 or gasket member 72 may be interposed between the shoulder portion 22A and the supporting panel 42 to substantially prevent the entrance of oil or other fluids. In order to retain the supporting sleeve 2!) in assembled relationship with the supporting panel 42, a self-locking, bowed, retaining, snap ring 62 may be assembled over the second portion 24 of the supporting sleeve 20 and pressed against the other side of the supporting panel 42 opposite the shoulder portion 22A until the retaining ring 62 snaps into a groove 22B provided on the outer surface of the second portion 24 of the supporting sleeve 20. In order to properly position the supporting sleeve 20 with respect to the opening 74- provided in the supporting panel 42, a projecting portion 23 may be provided inside the groove 223 on the outer periphery of the second portion 24 of the supporting sleeve 2%. The projecting portion 23 projects into a corresponding guiding recess 74A which is disposed at a predetermined point around the periphery of the opening 74, as best shown in FIG. 1.

The supporting sleeve 29 is provided with a transversely extending web portion 29 having a generally rectangular opening 28 therein, as best shown in FIGS. 2 and 4. As illustrated, the supporting sleeve also includes a transversely extending recess across the bottom of the second portion 24 of the supporting sleeve 20 to thereby form a pair of shoulder portions 21 at the opposite sides of the opening 28, as best shown in FIG. 1. As will be explained in detail hereinafter, the web portion 29 of the supporting sleeve 20 assists in guiding the axial movement of the plunger member within the supporting sleeve 20 and also prevents rotation of the plunger member 39 in place during the operation of the pushbutton operator It).

As mentioned previously, the plunger member 30 is slidably disposed in the supporting sleeve 20 and is preferably formed from an electrically insulating material which is resilient and which has suitable mechanical wearing properties, such as the material previously mentioned in connection with the supporting sleeve 20. The plunger member 30 comprises an upper portion which is generally circular in configuration and which substantially fills the opening inside the first portion 22 of the supporting sleeve 20 and a second portion which is generally rectangular in configuration and which substantially fills the generally rectangular opening 28 in the web portion 29 of the supporting sleeve 20. Where desired, a recess as may be provided around the outer periphery of the upper portion 36 of the plunger member St) in which an O-ring gasket may be disposed to substantially prevent the entrance of oil or other fluids into the space or clearance provided between the outer periphery of the upper portion 36 of the plunger member 3% and the inner surface of the first portion 22 of the supporting sleeve 2%. The O-ring gasket 44 is preferably formed from a suitable resilient, electrically insulating material where provided.

It is to be noted that the cross-section of the upper portion 36 of the plunger member 30 is larger than the size of the opening 28 through the web portion 29 of the supporting sleeve 20 and also greater than the crosssection of the substantially rectangular lower portion 34 of the plunger member 36 to define a shoulder portion 36 where the upper portion 35 meets the lower portion 34 of the plunger member 32, as best shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. In the normal operating position of the plunger member 30 as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the shoulder portion 36 is axially spaced from the upper surface of the web portion 29.

In order to releasably retain the plunger member 30 in assembled relationship with the supporting sleeve 20, the projecting tab portions 38 are provided on the opposite sides of the lower portion 34 of the plunger member 30 to engage the shoulder portion 21 provided at the bottom of the web portion 29 of the supporting sleeve 20 when the plunger member 36 is assembled with the supporting sleeve 20. In order to permit assembly of the plunger member 30 with the supporting sleeve 20, one or more axially extending slots 35 are provided in the lower portion 34 of the plunger member 30, as best shown in FIG. 2, to permit the outer portions or prongs of the lower portion 34 of the plunger member 3d to deflect during the assembly of the plunger member 30 with the supporting sleeve 20 and to permit the lower portion 34 of the plunger member 30 to pass through the opening 28 until the outer portions of the lower portion 34 of the plunger member 30 spring to the position shown in FIG. 2 with the projecting portions 38 engaging the bottom of the web portion 29. As mentioned previously, the plunger member 30 is preferably formed from a resilient material to permit the deflection of the projecting portion 38 during the manual assembly of the plunger member 30 with the supporting sleeve 20 or the removal of the plunger member 39 from the supporting sleeve 20.

In order to receive one end of an actuating member, such as the actuating member 92 of an associated apparatus, such as the apparatus 160 indicated in phantom in MG. 3, the lower portion 34- of the plunger member 3% may be provided with a vertically extending opening 3'? into which one end of the actuating member 92 may project when the pushbutton operator 10 is assembled on the associated supporting panel 42. Durin the operation of the pushbutton operator 18, the plunger member 30 which is siidably disposed within the supporting sleeve 23 may be manually actuated or pushed in a downward direc ion, as viewed in FIGS. 2 and 3, to also actuate or push the actuating member 92 in a downward direction. Where the actuating member 92 is normally reset by a spring means included in the apparatus 100, the plunger member 30 will also be reset by the upward resetting movement of the actuating member 92 to the normal position shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. Where required, a resetting spring means may be included with the pushbutton operator assembly it), as best shown in FIGS. 1 and 3. this instance, the supporting sleeve 20 may be provided with a pair of vertically extending openings 26 which act as spring seats for a pair of associated resetting springs 32, as best shown in FIGS. 3 and 4. The compression springs operate to bias the upper portion 32 of the plunger member 38 away from the web portion 29 of the supporting sleeve 2% after the plunger member 30 has been manually actuated in a downward direction to thereby reset the plunger member to its normal position shown in FIGS. 2 and 3.

in certain applications, the opening 37 in the plunger 3% may be internally threaded or employed to receive a fastening means, such as a. bolt or screw, for securing an extension member to the lower end of the plunger 30 where required.

Where it is desired to support an associated apparatus, such as a switch, on the supporting sleeve 20 of the pushbutton operator assembly 1'3, the openings 26 may be shifted by a p 'edetermined angie from the positions shown in full in FIG. 4 to the positions indicated in phantom at in FIG. 4 and a pair 0t additional openings 27 may be provded in the supporting sleeve 20 to receive suitable fastening means such as bolts or screws. In the latter arrangement, the openings 27 may be internally threaded to engage the associated fastening means.

it is to be noted that, in the absence of the resetting springs 32 in a particular application, the upper surface of the web portion 29 of the supporting seeve 20 may act as a stop means during the movement of the plunger member 36 into the supporting sleeve 26 when the shoulder portion 36A of the plunger member 30 engages the upper surface of the web portion 29.

Referring now to FIGS. 5 to 7, there is illustrated an alternate pushbutton operator assembly ltii) which in general is similar to the pushbutton operator assembly 10 previously described except that the supporting sleeve 120 of the pushbutton operator assembly is also retained in assembled relationship with the associated supporting panel 42 by projecting tab portions 125, similarly to the projecting tab portion 38 of. the plunger member 30 of the pushbutton operator assembly 10.

More specifically, the pushbutton operator assembly 100 includes a supporting sleeve or generally tubular member 129 and a plunger member 130 which is slidably disposed in the supporting sleeve similarly to the pushbutton operator assembly 10. The supporting sleeve 12% includes an upper portion 122 which is generally circular in configuration and which has a larger outer periphery than the opening 74 in the associated supporting panel 42 and a second portion 124 which has a smaller outer periphery than the first portion 122 of the supporting sleeve 120. The supporting sleeve 120 is preferably formed from an electrically insulating material which is resilient and which has suitable mechanical wearing properties, such as the material previously disclosed in connection with the supporting sleeve Zll of the pushbutton operator assembly 19.

In order to releasably retain the supporting sleeve 120 in assembled relationship with the associated supporting panel 4-2;, the second or lower portion 124 of the supporting sleeve 129 includes a plurality of projecting tab portions 125 which project outwardly beyond the periphery of the opening in the supporting panel 42 when the supporting sleeve 12!) is assembled with the supporting panel 42 to engage one side of the supporting panel 42. It is to be noted that when the supporting sleeve 128 is assembled with the supporting panel 4-2, the supporting panel 4-2 is disposed between a shoulder portion 122A which results where the upper portion 122 of the supporting sleeve 12d meets the lower portion 124 and the projecting tab portions 125 which are axially spaced from the shoulder portion 122A by a predetermined distance which is substantially equal to the thickness of the supporting panel 42. In order to permit the projecting tab portions 125 to deflect during the assembly of the supporting sleeve 120, with the supporting panel 42-, a slot 27 may be provided adjacent to each of the projecting tab portions, as best shown in FIG. 5, to permit the projecting tab portions 225 to deflect inwardly away from the edge of the opening 74 provided in the supporting panel 2.

Similarly to the supporting sleeve Zll, the supporting sleeve 1% includes a transversely extending web portion 129 having a generally rectangular opening 128 provided therein which similarly assists in guiding the reciprocating movement of the plunger member 13% within the supporting sleeve Pt) and which also prevents rotation of the plunger member 1345 in place. As illustrated, the transversely extending web portion 129 includes a pair of upwardly extending projecting portions 1223 and 122C on the opposite sides of the opening 128 which may be employed as spring seats where resetting springs are included as part of the pushbutton operator assembly Iltltl.

Similarly to the plunger member 39, the plunger memher 130 of the pushbutton operator assembly includes a generally circular upper portion 132 and a generally rectangular lower portion 13-45. The lower portion 136 includes a pair of projecting tab portions 133 at the lower end thereof and may include one or more vertically extending slots 35 to permit the deflection of the projecting tab portions 133 during the assembly or removal of the plunger member 139 into or out of the supporting sleeve 1%. The lower portion 134 may also include a vertically extending opening 137 which is adapted to receive one end of an actuating member of an associated app ratus similarly to the opening 37 provided in the plunger member 39 of the pushbutton operator assembly 16' previously described. Where required for resetting springs such as a resetting spring 182 shown in FIGS. 5 and 7, the upper portion 132 of the plunger member 139 may include one or more vertically extending openings 126 which are adapted to receive one of the associated resetting springs 182 and function as spring seats. As shown in PEG. 7, one end of each of the resetting springs 182 is positioned on one of the spring seat portions 122A or 1223 and the other end of the resettin spring is disposed inside one of the openings 126 provided in this instance in the upper portion 132 of the plunger member 13%. It is to be noted that the projecting tab portions 13% provided on the plunger member 13s engage the bottom surface of the web portion 129 adjacent to the opening 123 provided in the web portion 129.

The operation of the pushbutton operator assembly 1% is similar to that of the pushbutton operator assembly ltl previously described. The plunger member 136 may be manually actuated in a downward direction to actuate an associated apparatus which is operatively connected to the pushbutton operator assembly 1% in similar fashion to the pushbutton operator assembly it) previously described. As previously mentioned in connection with the pushbutton operator assembly llll, the resilience of the material from which the plunger member is formed permits the deflection of the lower portions of the plunger member 13 5 during the assembly or removal of the plunger member 13s with respect to the associated supporting sleeve 1229.

Referring now to FIG. 8, there is illustrated diagrammatically a typical application in which two of the pushbutton operator assemblies fill may be employed. As illustrated, an electric motor 25% is arranged to be energized from a three-phase source of alternating current electric power, as indicated by the terminals S1, S2 and S3, through the separable contacts 212, 214 and are, respectively, of a contactor 2110. in order to electrically connect the motor 2% to the terminals S1, S2 and S3, the operating coil or solenoid 222 of the contactor 21b is energized by actuatin a normally open ON pushbutton to the closed position to thereby form a series circuit which extends from the terminal Sl, through the normally closed contacts 226 and 23d of the overload relays 229 and 2W, respectively, through the operating coil oi the contactor Zltl, through the OFF pushbutton which is normally closed and the momentarily closed ON pushbutton 242 to the terminal S2. The contacts 212, 21 and 21d of the contactor Zlll will then be actuated to the closed position to thereby energize the motor along with a contact 218 which will close and form a holding circuit around the ON pushbutton 2 32 which is normally a momentary pushbutton. In order to protect the motor 25% from certain overload conditions, the heater elements 224 and 234 of the overload relays and respectively, are electrically connected in series with the contacts H2 and are, respectively, of the contactor Zltl between the motor 23% and the source terminals S1 and 33, respectively. When certain overload conditions result in the motor 259, the bimetallic elem nts Bit and B2 of the overload relays 2236 or 23%, respectively, are actuated by the associated heater elements 224; and 23 respectively, to cause the normally closed contacts 226 or 235, respectively, to open and deenergize the operating coil 222 of the contactor 219 to open the contacts 112, Zl l and 216 and to thereby electrically disconnect the motor from the source terminals Sl, S2 and S3.

In order to reset the bimetallic elements B1 or B2 of the overload relays 220 or 23% respectively, a pushbu'tton operator assembly it may be provided adjacent to each bimetallic element to reset the bimetallic elements B1 or B2 after the bimetallic elements have cooled following the electrical deenergization of the motor 25% by the contactor 21th, as just explained. The motor 254) may also be dcencrgized in a conventional manner by OFF pushbutton 244 which may be actuated to an position manually to deenergize the operating coil the contactor in a typical motor control system. It is to be noted that the pushbutton switches 242 and may include a pushbutton actuator, such as the pushbutton actuators it} and rec previously disclosed. In the latter construction, the pushbutton operators it) or ltltl would actuate conventional separable contacts of any suitable type.

It is to be understood that a pushbutton operator assembiy, as disclosed, may be employed to reset electrical apparatus as just described in a typical application or may be employed to actuate an associated electrical apparatus, such as a switch, which is operatively connected to the pushbutton operator assembly.

The apparatus embodying the teachings of this invention has several advantages. For example, a pushbutton operator assembly as disclosed may be assembled in a simpler manner and in certain applications without the use of special tools. In addition, the pushbutton operator assembly, as disclosed, which is formed preferably of electrical insulating material provides increased electrical insulating clearances between the supporting panel on which the pushbutton operator assembly is disposed and the associated apparatus which is normally disposed adjacent to and spaced from the supporting panel. Finally, a pushbutton operator assembly as disclosed readily lends itself to an oil-tight or fiuidtight construction.

Since numerous changes may be made in the above described apparatus and different embodiments of the invention may be made without departing from the spirit and scope thereof, it is intended that all the matter contained in the foregoing description or shown in the accompanying drawings shall be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.

I claim as my invention:

1. A pushbutton actuator comprising a supporting sleeve having a transverse web with a central opening therein which extends axially therethrough, a plunger member slidably disposed in the sleeve, said plunger member including a first portion which has a cross-section larger than said opening and which is disposed on one side of the web and a second portion which has a cross-section smaller than said opening and which extends through said opening, the second portion of the plunger member including one or more projecting tabs which engage the other side of the web to releasably retain the plunger member in assembled relationship with the sleeve, the web of said sleeve including one or more additional openings laterally spaced from said central opening and extending axially only partially therethrough, and spring means disposed between the first portion of the plunger member and the web to extend into each of the additional openings and to bias the plunger member away from the web.

2. A pushbutton actuator adapted for mounting on a supporting wall comprising a supporting sleeve having a transverse web with a central opening extending axially therethrough, a pushbutton member which is slidably disposed in the sleeve, said sleeve having a first portion which has a periphery larger than the opening and a second portion which has a periphery smaller than the opening to define a shoulder at the line of junction between said first and second portions which is adapted to bear against one side of the supporting wall, the second portion of the sleeve including one or more projecting portions on the outer periphery spaced from the shoulder and adapted to engage the other side of the supporting wall and to releasably retain the sleeve on the Wall, said pushbutton member including a first portion having a cross-section larger than the opening through the web disposed on one side of the web and a second slotted portion having a cross-section smaller than the opening and extending through the opening of the web, the slotted portion of the pushbutton including one or more projecting portions adapted to engage the other side of the web and to releasably retain the pushbutton member in assembled relation with the sleeve, the web or" said sleeve including one or more additional openings laterally spaced from said control opening and extending axially only partially therethrough, and spring means disposed inside the sleeve between the web and the first portion of the pushbutton member to extend into each of the additional openings and to bias the pushbutton member away from the Web.

3. A pushbutton operator comprising a supporting sleeve having a transverse web with a substantially rectangular opening therein, a plunger member slidably disposed in the sleeve, said plunger member including a first portion which has a cross-section larger than that of the opening in the web and which is disposed on one side of the web and a second slotted portion which has a substantially rectangular cross-section smaller than that of the opening in the web and which substantially fills the opening, the second portion of the plunger member being formed of a resilient material and extending through the opening in the web, one or more projecting tabs integrally formed with the second portion of the plunger member to engage the other side of the web and to releasably retain the plunger member in the sleeve, and spring means disposed inside the sleeve between the web and the first portion of the plunger member to bias the first portion of the plunger member away from the web, the second portion of the plunger member including an axially extending opening only at the end away from the first portion which is adapted to receive an actuating member of an associated apparatus.

4. A pushbutton operator comprising a supporting sleeve having a transverse web with a substantially rectangular opening therein, and a plunger member slidably disposed in the sleeve, said plunger member including a first portion which has a cross-section larger than that of the opening in the web and which is disposed on one side of the web and a second slotted portion which has a substantially rectangular cross-section smaller than that of the opening in the web and which substantially fills the opening, the second portion of the plunger member being formed of a resilient material and extending through the opening in the Web, and one or more projecting tabs integrally formed with the second portion of the plunger member to engage the other side of the Web and to releasably retain the plunger member in the sleeve, the first portion of the plunger member including one or more openings extending axially from adjacent the second portion of the plunger member through part of the first portion and spring means disposed between the web and the first portion of the plunger member to extend into each of the latter openings and to bias the first portion of the plunger member away from the web.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,047,700 7/1962 Bailey. 3,099,771 7/1963 Matiyak et al. 3,169,410 2/1965 Armandroff 74503 3,172,985 3/1965 De Smidt.

3,212,351 10/1965 Ruckriegel et al. 74-503 3,234,566 2/1966 Rupp 74-503 FOREIGN PATENTS Ad. 58,102 9/1953 France.

FRED C. MATTERN, 111., Primary Examiner.

W. S. RATLIFF, Assistant Examiner.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3478186 *May 2, 1968Nov 11, 1969Int Standard Electric CorpPushbutton assembly incorporating self-fastening elements
US3511956 *Mar 14, 1968May 12, 1970Dynamics Corp AmericaElectrical switch housing
US3617077 *Oct 3, 1969Nov 2, 1971Gen ElectricKnob means for electronic device slideable control
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US3928741 *Sep 16, 1974Dec 23, 1975Texas Instruments IncMomentary contact single pole switch
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US4439655 *Oct 18, 1982Mar 27, 1984Inventio AgPush button for electrical switch
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Classifications
U.S. Classification74/503, 200/345
International ClassificationG05G1/02
Cooperative ClassificationG05G1/02
European ClassificationG05G1/02