US 3381401 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
y 1968 'r. J. o. FULLER, JR 3,381,401
ILLUMINATED TRANSLUCENT S IGNS Filed April 27, 1966 r I I l United States Patent 3,381,401 ILLUMINATED TRANSLUCENT SIGNS Thomas J. D. Fuller, Jr., Cambridge, Mass, assignor to Thomas J. D. Fuller, Jr., trust Filed Apr. 27, 1966, Ser. No. 545,715 Claims. (Cl. 40-132) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A transilluminated sign assembly comprising a light box and laminated sign panel with the sign panel is provided with a plurality of slideways to removably mount a plurality of sign strips, and is further arranged to give the said panel an integral appearance.
This invention relates to illuminated translucent signs.
It is the object and purpose of this invention to provide an illuminated translucent sign having the appearance of a single integral panel with back-lighted sign characters appearing therethrough, but having Interchangeable panels.
An illuminated translucent sign having a fixed integral panel with back-lighted illuminated characters shining through the panel normally presents no great problems mechanically. But it is costly, and permits no fiexibillty in making changes in the sign. But to provide such a sign with interchangeable panels presents many problems, having to do particularly with preventing the leakage of light around the panels, halo effects, and permitting the ready interchangeability of the panels, and the ready replacement of the light bulbs, as needed. Also with such back-lighted signs, it is highly desirable for aesthetic and appearance purposes that the light be diffused and distributed evenly through the panel, so that all portions of the sign are lighted uniformly with the same degree of illumination. Attempts have been made heretofore to solve these problems in illuminated translucent signs, but to my knowledge, none have been successful 1n preserv1ng the appearance of a single integral panel, and in preventing light leakage of halo-effects around the interchangeable panels.
Briefly my invention comprises an illuminated translucent sign having interchangeable sign panels and comprising a frame including a lamp housing, a front panel of transparent material, a light diffusing panel behind said front panel, a rear panel of light-transmitting mate rial having alternate light transmitting and opaque surfaces formed on the front surface thereof, an opaque rib on each opaque surface defining on at least one edge a horizontal guideway for an insertablc insignia panel, slidable translucent panels insertable in said guideways formed by adjacent ribs, having an opaque coating on one surface and translucent insignia formed on said slidable panels overlying the light-transmitting surface on said rear panel and a source of light behind the rear panel.
Other objects and advantages of my sign will appear in the following description and accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a front view of the sign with frame shown in phantom.
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary section on line 2-2 of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a detail of the rear glass panel, as seen from the front.
As shown in the drawings (FIG. 1) indicates generally my illuminated sign. 12 represents a suitable metal rame shown in FIG. 1 in phantom, which includes the lamp housing, best seen in FIG. 2. The side panel at the right in FIG. 1 is omitted, to show more clearly how the interchangeable panels 24 are inserted from the side.
3,381 ,401 Patented May 7, 1968 It will be understood that the right side panel of the frame is removably attached to the top and bottom panels of the frame in any suitable manner as by screws, clips, or hinges (not shown). A front panel 14, preferably a fiat sheet of transparent glass, colorless or tinted, is mounted within the frame 12. But it will be understood that a flat sheet of clear, transparent, dimensionally stable plastic can be substituted. If desired, the front exposed surface of front panel 14 may be lightly patterned to provide a so-called non-glare surface, particularly to disperse reflections from light sources external to the sign. A separate translucent light-diffusing panel 16, preferably a thin rigid sheet of dimensionally stable and color stable plastic is next mounted, or inserted flush with the rear surface of front panel 14. Preferably the light diffusing panel 16 is a thin transparent plastic film with a matte surface on one side, which can be sandblasted, chemically etched, or coated thereon. A suitable material is du Ponts Mylar, a polyester of cellulose acetate, having a thickness ranging from .002 to .0075 inch. However, it will be understood that the separate light-diffusing plastic panel 16 can be omitted, and that the rear surface of front glass panel 14 can be frosted, sand-blasted or etched, to provide the same light diffusing effect of panel 16, if one does not object to a halo effect or radiation of light around the lighted insignia 26 (referred to below).
A rear panel 20, also a fiat sheet of translucent lighttransmitting glass which can be transparent, or translucent, is next provided, similar to front panel 14, but which is preferably mottled, roughened, or etched on its front and rear surfaces to provide a light diffusing effect in the rear panel. A series of spaced parallel horizontal opaque surfaces or stripes 18 are next formed on the front surface of the rear panel 20. In the drawings FIG.
2 shows opaque surfaces or stripes 18 as grooves formed by grinding or sandblasting, with top and bottom sides 19 for the surfaces 18. But it will be understood that the space between a pair of adjacent surfaces 18, as bordered by the top and bottom edges 19, define a translucent surface 21 on the front side of rear panel 20, which allows light to pass through the rear panel 20-, from a light source located behind the rear panel 20. But it will be understood that the so-called grooves can be a flat surface on the same plane with the translucent surface 21. The surfaces or stripes 18, including top and bottom sides 19 thereof are then coated with a black or very dark opaque coating, designed to exclude and shut out out all light from passing through the rear panel 20 within the area of opaque surfaces 18 and between the top and bottom sides 19 of opaque surface. It will be understood that the number of opaque surfaces 18 provided is determined by the number of interchangeable panels desired, to be provided in the sign 10. A series of horizontal opaque ribs 22 of a suitable opaque plastic or resinous material are preferably adhesively attached to the front surface of the rear panel 20, along the center line of each opaque surface 18, and midway between the edges 19 of any opaque surface 18. The top and bottom sides of the ribs 22 constitute guideways for a series of slidable, insertable translucent panels 24. It will be understood that the thickness of the translucent surface 21 above the plane of the opaque surface 18, plus the thickness of an insertable panel 24, will approximately equal the thickness of each rib 22, after allowing a reasonable tolerance for the ready insertion of insertable panels 24. Top and bottom ribs 32 are also provided on the top and bottom opaque surfaces 18 (FIGS. 1 and 3), similar to ribs 22, and differing only in that insertable panels 24 are mounted only within the inside edges of top and bottom ribs 32. It will be understood that opaque ribs 22 and 32 can be formed integrally with the opaque surface 18, instead of being adhesively attached, and in that case they will be cut to the same height as ribs 22 and 32 when adhesively attached. The open ends of ribs 22 are preferably sloped or bevelled to permit the ready insertion of insertable panels 24, as shown on the right side of FIGS. 1 and 2. Slidable and insertable panels 24 are preferably formed of a semi-rigid translucent plastic, and have a dark opaque coating applied to their front surfaces. This permits the appropriate insignia 26, LOANS, DEPOSITS and MORTGAGES as shown in FIG. 1, to be cut into the top surfaces of the insertable panel 24, by an engraving tool, which cuts through the top opaque coating, leaving translucent insignia 26, through which light may pass from the light source 28 behind the rear panel 20. As shown in FIG. 2, a suitable light source, such as the fluorescent light bulb 28 is mounted within rear portion of the frame 12, to provide the light for illuminating the sign 10.
It will be noted, by comparing FIGS. 1 and 3, that insertable panels 24 have a width bounded by the space between inner edges of an adjacent pair of ribs 22, which form the guideways for the insertable panels 24, that the top and bottom edges of insertable panels 24 substantially overlie the fixed horizontal translucent panel 21 formed between the sides 19 of opaque surfaces 18. It is thus impossible for the light passing from the light source 28, .and passing through the rear panel 20, to pass through or around the insertable panels 24, because of the opaque surfaces 18, sides 19 and ribs 22 and 32. Thus the insignia 26 are illuminated by the light passing through them from the rear, and there is no possibility for leakage of light around the insertable panels 24-.
It will be understood that the several panels, including front panel 14, light diffusing panel 16, and rear panel 20 with ribs 22 and 32, are tightly held together within the frame 12, and when so held together, provide tunnels for the insertion of the slidable panels 24, bearing the sign insignia 26. It will thus be seen that when all the insertable panels 24 are in place, and the frame 12 closed, and the face panel 14 is lighted, that the insignia 26 appear to be applied to an integral sheet of opaque material.
It will be understood that in FIG. 1 of the drawings the insignia 26 shown in black, and the surface of front panel 14 shown in white, are the exact reverse of the sign as described in the specifications above, wherein the insignia 26 is lighted, and the surface of front panel 14 is opaque with no light passing therethrough.
With my construction, it will be seen that I am able to provide an illuminated back-lighted translucent sign having sharply etched lighted insignia which appear to be on one integral sheet of opaque material, because there is no leakage of light escaping through the sign from the rear, although actually the insignia are formed on a number of interchangeable and insertable panels.
1. An illuminated translucent bacl -lighted sign having interchangeable insignia panels, comprising a frame, including a lamp housing,
a front panel of transparent sheet material,
a light diffusing panel behind said front panel,
a rear panel of light-transmitting material having alternate light-transmitting and opaque surfaces formed on the front surface thereof,
an opaque rib on each opaque surface defining on at least one edge a horizontal guideway for an insertable insignia panel,
slidable translucent panels insertable in said guideways formed by adjacent ribs, having an opaque coating on one surface and translucent insignia formed on said slidable panels overlying the light-transmitting surface on said rear panel,
and a source of light behind said rear panel.
2. An illuminated translucent sign having interchangeable insignia panels, as in claim 1, in which the opaque ribs are adhesively attached to said opaque surfaces formed on the front surface of said rear panel, and constitute spacers between the light diffusing panel and said rear panel.
3. An illuminated translucent sign having interchangeable insignia panels, as in claim 1, in which the light diffusing behind the front panel is a separate thin dimensionally stable plastic sheet.
4. An illuminated translucent sign having interchangeable insignia panels, as in claim 1, in which the rear panel of translucent sheet material has a rear surface of light diffusing character formed thereon.
5. An illuminated translucent back-lighted sign having interchangeable insignia panels, comprising a frame,
a front panel of translucent sheet material,
a light diffusing panel behind said front panel,
a rear panel of translucent sheet material, spaced parallel horizontal grooved surfaces formed in the front surface of said rear panel,
an opaque coating on the front surface and sides of said grooves,
an opaque rib in each groove defining on at least one edge a horizontal guideway for an insertable panel,
a fixed horizontal, translucent panel on the front surface of said rear panel between the adjacent edges of two spaced grooves,
slidable translucent panels insertable in said guideways formed by adjacent ribs, having an opaque coating on one surface,
and translucent insignia formed on said slidable panels,
overlying said fixed translucent panels,
and a source of light behind said rear panel.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,875,520 9/1932 Steinmetz 40l32 2,163,298 6/1939 Wamser 40-132 2,607,144 8/1952 Harris 40-132 2,775,050 12/1956 Ellsworth 40l59 EUGENE R. CAPOZIO, Primary Examiner.
N. J. CONTRERAS, Examiner.