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Publication numberUS3402493 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 24, 1968
Filing dateSep 13, 1965
Priority dateSep 13, 1965
Publication numberUS 3402493 A, US 3402493A, US-A-3402493, US3402493 A, US3402493A
InventorsLawrence P Mellyn, Jr Earl W Roberts
Original AssigneeGen Electric
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Luminous display device
US 3402493 A
Abstract  available in
Images(2)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Sept. 24, 1968 MELLYN ET AL 3,402,493

LUMINOUS DISPLAY DEVICE Filed Sept. 15, 1965 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 EARL W. ROBERTS LAWRENCE P. MELLYN ATTORNEY INVENTORS Sept. 24, 1968 MELLYN ET AL 3,402,493

LUMIQNOUS DISPLAY DEVICE Filed Sept. 13, 1965 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 us 'gf INV'ENTORS EARL w. ROBERTS E LAWRENCE P. MELLYN ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,402,493 LUMINOUS DISPLAY DEVICE Lawrence P. Mellyn, Glocester, and Earl W. Roberts, J1 East Greenwich, R.I., assignors to General Electric Company, a corporation of New York Filed Sept. 13, 1965, Ser. No. 486,978 3 Claims. (Cl. 40-130) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A luminous display device for outdoor use is provided having an inverted U-shaped channel in which is mounted a light source and from which depends a light transmitting panel adapted to be illuminated by the light housed in the inverted channel. A message is displayed agamst an illuminated field of the panel by mounting characters on the panel surface.

This invention relates to a luminous display device which is readily adapted to displaying messages of vary ng lengths. More specifically, the luminous display device includes a luminous panel which is suspended from a support structure which encloses a light source.

A particular use of a luminous display device of the type of this invention is for providing lllum nated messages near doors, such as house numbers or exit slgns. But also, it is frequently desirable to provide messages of varying lengths, such as more descriptive messages wh1ch are necessarily of varying lengths.

Prior art luminous display devices, which have been provided for similar purposes, have been characterizedby a structure which includes a preassembled houslng wh ch is of a predetermined length. A prior art device housing is typically formed of sheet-metal, which 1s folded into a box-like structure such that the ends of the housing are formed integrally with the sides, whereby the length of the housing is not readily varied. The housings of prior art display devices are also characterized by the need for forming joints in the housing, such as by overlapping and folding the metal or by welding or riveting it. Also, 1n these prior art display devices the lumlnous portion of the device is necessarily preassembled to the housing due to the difficulty of assembly.

Due to this nature of construction of the prior art lumrnous display devices, an ultimate user is provided wrth a luminous display device having a predetermined length of display area. Further, many of the prior art d splay devices are characterized by having the symbols which are to be illuminated, such as house numerals, permanently formed on or within the illuminated display area, whereby the display device is not readily adaptable to changing of the numerals or of any other message displayed.

It is an object of this invention to provide a lumlnous display device which is readily adapted to displaying messages of varying lengths. I

It is an object of this invention to provide a luminous display device which is readily assembled by the ultimate user with a minimum number of implements and a minimum amount of mechanic skill.

It is a further object of this invention to provide a luminous display device wherein the displayed message can be easily provided by the ultimate user, and easily changed if necessary.

It is a further object of this invention to provide a lumi- 3,402,493 Patented Sept. 24, 1968 nous display device which is particularly adapted to the luminous display of a house number.

These objects are accomplished in accordance with this lnvention, in one form thereof, by providing a luminous dlsplay device principally comprising an opaque formed U-shaped channel of indeterminate length, a light source mounted within the channel, and a light transmitting panel of indeterminate length. The channel is mounted in an inverted position, and the light transmitting panel which extends downward from the channel is secured to the legs of the channel at the bottom of the channel, so as to close theppen bottom of the U-shaped channel. With semifiexlble end caps sealing the open ends of the channel the interior of the channel is sealed to protect it from the external atmosphere. Finally, by covering portions of the light transmitting panel with opaque material, an illuminated message can be formed thereon.

Other objects and further details of that which is beheved to be novel in the invention will be clear from the following description and claims taken with the accompanying drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a particular embodiment of this invention wherein the luminous display device is an illuminated house number assembly mounted on a portion of a house wall.

FIG. 2 is an exploded view of the illuminated house number assembly shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a front view of the illuminated house number assembly shown in FIG. 1, with portions removed to better show other portions of the assembly.

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view taken along the line 4-4 in FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view taken along the line 5-5 in FIG. 3.

FIG. 6 is an illustration of an alternative construction.

Referring to FIG. 1, an illuminated house number assembly 2 is mounted on a wall 4 of a house adjacent door trim 6. In FIG. 2 it will be seen that the illuminated house number assembly 2 principally includes a formed U-shaped channel member 8 and a light transmitting panel 10.

The channel 8 is conveniently formed as a continuous aluminum extrusion, which may be cut to any desired length, which in the illustrated embodiment is approximately 9 inches. The detailed cross-sectional shape of the channel 8 is best seen in the cross-sectional view of FIG. 4. The U-shaped channel 8 includes base and two downwardly extending legs. A first leg forms a vertical rear wall 12 which is held flush to the house wall 4 by a fastening member such as the screw 14. A hole 16 is provided in a lower portion of the rear wall 12 for receiving the screw. As is seen in FIG. 3, two holes 16 are normally provided for securing the channel to the house wall; of course, a greater number would be provided for a longer display device. The channel base forms a sloping top 1.8, the uppermost edge 20 of which abuts the house wall 4. The top slopes away from the house, so as to shed water away from the house wall 4. Water is further shedded away from the house wall 4 and beyond the light transmitting panel 10 by the second leg of the channel which forms a downwardly and outwardly extending front wall 22.

The inner surface of the rear wall 12 and the inner surface of the downwardly extending front wall 22 are provided with means for securing a light source 24 and the light transmitting panel 10 to the channel. More particularly, the bore in the channel which is generally U-shaped,

has vertical walls 26 and 28 which terminate at their upper ends in a semi-circular top wall 30. Top wall 30 serves as a rebector to increase the amoutn of light projected through panel 10. It is shown semi-circular, but could be parabolic or some other shape depending on lighting effects desired. Near the top of vertical side walls 26 and 28 are provided a pair of grooves or notches 32 and 34, respectively, for receiving a bracket 36 which supports the light source 24. Below the notch 32 is formed a larger groove or notch 38, and similarly below the notch 34 is formed a larger groove or notch 40. These notches, which have a semi-circular cross section are provided for receiving bosses 42 and 44 formed integrally with the light transmitting panel 10.

Referring to FIGS. 2 and 4, it will be seen that the bosses 42 and 44 are vertically offset, which insures that the panel 10 Will be mounted in the proper relationship with respect to the channel 8. A tapered portion 46 of the panel 10 extends from the bosses 42 and 44 to a rectangular thinner display portion 48. The display portion 48 is provided with a notch 50 for receiving in this particular embodiment house numerals 52. The upper tapered portion 46 is shaped to maximize the effective lighting provided to the display portion 48. When the bosses 42 and 44 of the light transmitting panel 10 are passed within the grooves 38 and 40 of the channel, as indicated by dotted line 53, the open bottom of the channel is effectively sealed, so as to prevent the ingress of dirt or moisture to the interior of the channel.

The light source 24 which is mounted on the bracket 36 is best seen in FIGS. 2 and 3. It is shown as comprising a pair of light sockets 54 and 56 which are mounted on downwardly extending portions 58 and 60 of the bracket 36. The sockets are shown to be of the bayonet type, with a lamp 62 being shown secured in socket 56. Horizontally extending portions 64 and 66 of the bracket are secured in the notches 32 and 24 in the channel 8. As is shown in FIG. 3, the bracket is conveniently placed in the center of the channel 8 in the embodiment shown but, additional light sources 24 may be utilized if a longer display panel is utilized. The use of the pair of lamps provides an even distribution of light over entire top edge 68 of the light transmitting panel 10, so as to provide even distribution of light over the display portion 48 of the panel.

After the light transmitting panel 10 and the bracket 36 carrying the light source 24 are positioned in the channel, the ends of the channel are covered by a pair of end caps or covers 70 and 72. The end caps are conveniently formed of a semi-flexible thermoplastic, such that they can resiliently be secured to the ends of the channel 8. The top and side edges of the caps are provided with flanges 74 which engage the outer surfaces of the respective walls of the channel 8. A semi-circular portion 76 is provided on the inner wall of the end cap 72, and is shaped to fit within the semi-circular top wall of the channel 8. The end caps 70 and 72 are secured to the channel 8 by the resilient force between the semi-circular portion 76 and the outer flanges 74.

The end caps 70 and 72 are provided with notches 78 and 80 for bringing a wire 82 from the light source 24 out of the illuminated house number assembly 2 so that the wire may exit from either end. Low voltage bulbs are conveniently provided, such that the wire 82 can be conveniently connected to the voltage source present at a door bell switch which is usually provided adjacent the door trim 6.

The house number, or any other message which it is desirable to carry on the light transmitting panel 10, is formed from an opaque material, such as a plastic. Conveniently, a collection of numerals or letters of a height to fit the notch 50 are provided, from which the user can select the desired symbols. In the drawings, the numerals selected are 472. The numeral 2 is spaced apart from the panel 10 in FIG. 2. Conveniently the rear surface of numerals are provided with an adhesive surface, such as is provided by depositing an adhesive between the plastic numerals and a tear off paper strip. The paper is torn away to expose the adhesive when it is desired to place the numeral on the panel.

The rear display portion 86 and the bottom portion 88 of the light transmitting panel 10 is covered with a reflective opaque coating 84. This coating not only prevents the escape of light from those portions, but also reflects a greater amount of light out of the notched portion 50, to provide a better contrast between the illuminated surface of the notch 50 and the opaque numerals or letters.

Digit locating marks 89 may be provided on bottom portion 88 of light transmitting panel 10 to aid in positioning numerals 52. For example, to position four numerals, the left hand mark is used to position the first numeral. Other numerals are then aligned in order up against previous numerals. Digit locating marks 89 may be provided also for 3-digit, Z-digit, and l-digit numerals.

In the alternative, the message could be formed in the form of a stencil 90, as in FIG. 6, whereby all of notched portion 50 would be covered by an opaque stencil except for the symbols forming the message.

While a particular embodiment of the invention has been shown, other embodiments in the invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art, and is intended to cover by the appended claims all embodiments falling within the scope thereof.

What we claim as new and desire to secure by Letters Patent of the United States is:

1. A luminous display device comprising:

(a) a downwardly opening U-shaped channel of indeterminate length having first and second downwardly extending legs, each of which has inner and outer walls, with first and second grooves being formed in each of said inner walls, and mounting means being provided on said first leg for supporting said luminuos display device,

(b) a light source mounted within said U-shaped channel, said light source being at least one lamp which is received by a lamp socket which is supported by a bracket, portions of said bracket being received in said second grooves so as to be supported within said channel,

(c) a unitary light transmitting panel of the same length as said U-shaped channel, extending downwardly from said U-shaped channel so as to transmit light from said light source, and being provided with integral bosses for engagement with said first grooves in said U-shaped channel so as to be supported by said channel and to close the bottom of said channel, and

(d) an opaque material covering an external portion of said light transmitting panel so as to provide an illuminated message.

2. A luminous display device comprising:

(a)'a downwardly opening U-shaped channel of indeterminate length having tirst and second downwardly extending legs, each of which has inner and outer walls, with a groove being formed in each of said inner walls, and mounting means being provided on said first leg for supporting said luminous display device,

(b) a light source mounted within said U-shaped channel,

(c) a unitary light transmitting panel of the same length as said U-shaped channel, extending downwardly from said U-shaped channel so as to transmit light from said light source, and being provided with integral bosses for engagement with said grooves in said U-shaped channel so as to be supported by said channel and to close the bottom of said channel,

(d) an opaque material covering a portion of said light transmitting panel so as to provide an illuminated message, and said light transmitting panel being formed with a notched portion thereon for receiving said opaque material, and all of said light transmitting panel extending without said channel except said notched portion being provided with a white opaque reflective coating to prevent the exit of light therefrom and to increase the light level in said notched portion.

3. The luminous display device defined in claim 2 wheretin said grooves formed in said inner Walls are vertically offset, and said bosses on said light transmitting panel are correspondingly ofiset, such that said light transmitting panel and said channel can only be assembled with said notched portion of said light transmitting panel facing away from said first leg.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS Fuller 40--130 Gardner 40-152.2 I-Iowenstine et a1 40130 Spitzer 40--130 Fazekas 40-130 Endelson 40 -130 Frink et a1 40--130 White 40130 George et al. 40-132 EUGENE R. CAPOZIO, Primary Examiner.

15 R. CARTER, Assistant Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1741748 *Apr 12, 1927Dec 31, 1929Harry F WhiteIlluminated sign
US2206866 *Apr 1, 1939Jul 9, 1940Jr Thomas J D FullerHanging type of edge illuminated signs
US2523290 *Apr 3, 1947Sep 26, 1950Norman C GardnerIlluminated picture exhibitor
US2564110 *May 13, 1949Aug 14, 1951Neon Products IncEdge-lighted sign
US2694270 *Mar 27, 1950Nov 16, 1954Ina Jean B SpitzerIlluminated sign
US2958969 *Feb 25, 1957Nov 8, 1960Leslie J FazekasIlluminated house number plate
US2994148 *Jan 21, 1959Aug 1, 1961Mcphilben Mfg Co IncDirectional luminaire
US3015900 *Nov 7, 1958Jan 9, 1962Richard F FrinkInternally illuminated sign
US3137083 *Dec 22, 1961Jun 16, 1964Donald L GeorgeIlluminated house number construction
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3591941 *Jan 26, 1968Jul 13, 1971Perfeclite IncLight fixture
US4344244 *Jun 12, 1980Aug 17, 1982Tyke Charles RSignage system and method of making same
US4561203 *Aug 4, 1983Dec 31, 1985Dual-Lite ManufacturingOpaque sign plaque with dual reflector illumination
US4951406 *Jun 17, 1988Aug 28, 1990Lemire Honore MIlluminated sign for residence street address
US7810262 *Mar 17, 2008Oct 12, 2010Eli SadonSolar powered led illuminated alphanumeric display
US8177404 *May 15, 2009May 15, 2012Wei-Fan WengEdge-lit back plate for a product rack
US20090229154 *Mar 17, 2008Sep 17, 2009Eli SadonSolar powered led illuminated alphanumeric display
US20100290214 *May 15, 2009Nov 18, 2010Wei-Fan WengLuminescent back plate for a product rack
EP0414201A2 *Aug 21, 1990Feb 27, 1991Mareco S.P.A.Illuminated sign structure
WO1997034281A1 *Mar 13, 1997Sep 18, 1997Herbert QuickDirection and information light and corresponding profiled sections
WO2009059771A1Nov 6, 2008May 14, 2009Zumtobel Lighting GmbhPictogram lamp
Classifications
U.S. Classification40/563, 40/576
International ClassificationF21V8/00
Cooperative ClassificationG09F13/18, G02B6/0091
European ClassificationG02B6/00L6U6R, G09F13/18