US 3414999 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 3,414,999 ILLUMINATED SIGN Leonard Mason, 1411 New York Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11210 Filed May 4, 1967, Ser. No. 636,036 Claims. (Cl. 40132) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE In a street sign or the like, a housing is provided for totally enclosing illumination means and indicia. The housing is translucent and includes an access panel whereby the indicia may be readily changed and the illumination means may be replaced when needed.
This invention relates generally to illuminated signs and more particularly to a changeable sign having removable indicia illuminated from within.
The present invention will be described and illustrated in connection with outdoor street signs but it should be understood that the application of the inventive features is not limited thereto. The present invention may be used wherever low cost signs are required. It would be of particular advantage in a supermarket, for example, where signs must be frequently changed and where each sign may be different.
In its application to outdoor street signs, the present invention has several important features and advantages. The housing is compact and of relatively low cost so that it may be employed in large numbers without incurring prohibitive expense. The structure that will be described hereinafter is weather-resistant so that the sign will have a long and useful life. In almost any metropolis a large number of signs are used at street intersections and heretofore where they have been made up individually, considerable expense is involved. The present invention provides a universal housing that may be readily secured to an existing light post. Means are provided within the housing for removably receiving the desired indicia. Because the housing is translucent and because the illumination means are internal, the signs may be read at great distances. Access means are provided so that the sign may be customized for any particular street intersection merely by inserting the appropriate indicia. It is therefore unnecessary to make up special dies for each street in a given city.
Accordingly, it is an object of this invention to provide an improved illuminated street sign.
It is another object of this invention to provide an illuminated street sign having removable and replaceable indicia.
It is a particular object of this invention to provide in a sign, a low cost translucent housing that may be illuminated from within.
A further object of this invention is to provide, in a sign, a totally enclosed housing that protects internal indicia from inclement weather.
A feature of this invention is that the housing is essentially self-cleaning.
Still another object is to provide an improved illuminated sign that may be utilized with existing installations.
The novel features which are believed to be characteristic of the invention are set forth with particularity in the appended claims, but the invention itself will best be understood by reference to the following description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a pictorial view illustrating the installation of this invention with a conventional lamp post;
FIG. 2 is a sectional plan view taken along line 2-2 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a longitudinal, sectional elevational View taken along line 3-3 of FIG. 2; and
FIG. 4 is a transverse, sectional elevational view taken along line 44 of FIG. 3.
Referring now to FIG. 1 of the drawing, the present invention, comprised of a sign 10, is shown for illustrative purposes to be secured to a vertical post P having a laterally extending arm A at the top thereof and a lamp L secured to the outer end of the arm. The post, the arm and the lamp are typical of existing street lights such as may be found at street intersections in almost any city. A convention source of power (not shown) is used to energize the lamp. As shown in FIG. 2 and FIG. 4 the post is hollow in order to accommodate the conductors and a bracket 12 is provided so that the street signs comprising this invention may be secured to the post.
FIGS. 2 and 3 and 4 illustrate the construction of the present invention. Housing 14 is a generally U-shaped, elongated member fabricated from almost any translucent plastic material. It is to be understood, of course, that the particular materials utilized should have the primary characteristics of translucency, resistance to extremes of environmental changes and low cost formability. The body of the housing includes two generally parallel sides 16 and 18 that are spaced from each other and are connected at the top thereof by a curved central portion 20. Closure members 22 and 24 are secured to the ends of the body. Preferably, one of the closure members should be removable in order to permit access to the wiring contained within the housing. A slid-ably removable access door 26 completes and totally encloses the housing. It will be seen in FIG. 4 that the access door interfits with the sidewalls 16 and 18 by means of a tongue and groove arrangement. Other arrangements such as hinges may also be utilized.
A shelf 28 is provided within the housing in order to support fluorescent tube 30 on lamp sockets 32. As shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, shelf 28, which is contained in elongated slots in walls 16 and 18 defines a chamber 34 at the top of the housing to accommodate the wiring W for the illumination means. The wiring is fed out through grommets 36 that are installed in the side walls of the housing and the wires are then led to ballast B that is contained within the lamp post. As mentioned above, it may be desirable to have one of the closure members 22 and 24 removable so that access may be had to the wiring.
The inside surfaces of walls 16 and 18 are provided with integrally formed channels 4!). These are arranged to slidably and removably receive indicia 42. The drawing illustrates three channels positioned one above the other on each of the side walls. It is to be understood that either more or less channels may be provided in accordance with the requirements of each sign. In the embodiment illustrated the central channel on each side is arranged to receive the indicia indicating the street parallel to the sign. The channel directly above, which may if desired be narrower, can be used to indicate the street that is perpendicular to the sign. For convenience, somewhat smaller indica are indicated. The lowermost channel could be used to indicate the direction of traffic movement on the street parallel to the sign.
Referring now particularly to FIG. 3, it will be seen that the channel members do not extend along the entire length of the walls. The purpose for this is to permit indicia of different lengths to be inserted. The left-hand end of the top channel must be spaced from end member 22 by a dimension sufiicient to receive the length of the sign Third Avenue. Alternatively, of course, individual letters could be used. The central channel is arranged to receive individual letters of the alphabet which in combination make up the name of the street parallel to the particular sign. In the embodiment illustrated, all but the last letter of Main Street has been inserted. The letter T that will complete the name is shown to the left with arrows indicating that it is first moved upwardly when access door 26 is not in place and then inserted to the right. The lowermost channel has one long leg and one short leg. This is necessary in order to accommodate the length of the traflic flow arrow. When all the appropriate indicia have been inserted, the access door may be replaced. Suitable fastening means (not shown) may be employed for security purposes.
The apparatus described above is low in cost and readily manufactured with present day techniques. Highly skilled personnel are not required to either install or change the signs. It will be appreciated that the present invention has extreme versatility because of the removability and interchangeability of the indicia. The translucent housing and the internal lighting permits the sign to be read from great distances. As a further feature it should be noted that the curved top portion permits rain water, snow or the like to flow downwardly. This serves the useful purpose of prohibiting an accumulation of material that would obscure the sign as well as providing some limited washing to the outside surface of the sign. The totally enclosed structure that has been described effectively protects the internal components from inclement weather. By use of this invention, it is no longer necessary to die-stamp or otherwise fabricate signs for each street. A universal housing may be adapted quite readily for any particular location. As mentioned earlier, the novel sign has utility in applications other than street signs.
It will thus be seen, particularly from FIG. 3, that with the structure of the invention the one-piece elongated body of translucent material which is of a substantially U-shaped cross section to form the housing 14 is provided with the elongated guide channels 40 at a region extending from the right end closure member 24 of FIG. 3 toward the left but terminating at a substantial distance from the left end closure member 22 so as to provide a convenient space for the introduction of the interchangeable indicia components as pointed out above. Furthermore, it will be noted that the supports 32 for the elongated fluorescent lamp 30 position the latter substantially in alignment with the guide channels 40 for the indicia so that all of the light will be efliciently directed to whatever indicia is carried by the channels 40 of the pair of opposed walls. This arrangement is also apparent from FIG. 2 which in addition indicates how the grommets 36 and the fastening bracket 12 coact with that portion of the housing 14 which is situated beyond the lamp 30 and the supports 32 therefor as well as beyond the indicia-supporting guide channels 40, so that in this way the lighting is in no way influenced by such features as the structure. for mounting the housing or the structure for introducing the wiring thereto. Thus, an exceedingly efficient undisturbed illuminated area which is in no way occupied by fastening components or components for bringing electrical conductors into the housing is achieved.
Furthermore, as is apparent from FIG. 3, when the bottom closure wall 26 is shifted to the left, as viewed in FIG. 3, to give access to the interiorof the housing, the right end of the wall 6 can remain connected with the housing while still providing full and free access to the lamp 30, in the event that the latter has to be changed, for example, thus enabling operations in connection with the lamp to be carried out while the wall 26 remains connected with the housing in an open position giving access to the interior thereof.
Thus, the particular arrangement shown in FIGS. 2 and 3 according to which the housing has beyond one end of the lamp and indicia-carrying rails 40 a greater dimension than beyond the other end thereof provides very great conveniences both with respect to maintenance of the structure and with respect to achievement of the best possible illumination.
While a specific embodiment of the invention has been shown and described in detail to illustrate the application of the inventive principle, it will be understood that the invention may be embodied otherwise without departing from such principles.
What is claimed is:
1. An improved sign comprising: a hollow, translucent housing; opaque indicia removably disposed in said housing; and electrically energizable illumination means disposed within the interior of said housing whereby said indicia are visible from a point exterior of said housing, said housing comprising a pair of spaced opposed elongated side walls, an upper central portion connecting said side walls, a closure member positioned at each end of said side walls and a bottom plate extending between said side walls and said closure members, internal support means for said illumination means, and said support means comprising a shelf extending between said side walls and said closure members whereby a chamber is defined in combination with said central portion, the conductors for said illumination means being disposed in said chamber.
2. A sign comprising an elongated hollow translucent housing having a pair of opposed parallel walls interconnected at the top of said housing by. an arched top wall which is integral with and forms a one-piece body with said pair of opposed walls, and said housing having a pair of opposed end closure members closing the ends of said elongated one-piece body and a bottom wall extending between the end closure members and opposed walls and removably connected thereto for removably closing the interior of said housing, said housing having at inner surfaces of said opposed parallel walls thereof elongated indicia-supporting channel members for removably and slidably supporting indicia which will be rendered visible through said opposed walls, all of said indicia-supporting channels extending parallel to each other from a region closely adjacent to one of said end closure members toward the other of said end closure members and terminating at a substantial distance from the latter substantially greater than the distance of said channel members from said one end closure member, and an elongated substantially straight lamp located in said housing in substantial longitudinal alignment with and having a length substantially corresponding to that of said indicia-supporting channel members, whereby there is situated in the region of said other end closure member a free space through which indicia may be introduced into said channel members when said bottom wall is in an open position, mounting means at a portion of one of said opposed parallel walls which is situated at the region beyond said channel members for mounting the housing and means at said latter region for introducing into the housing conductors for the lamp, whereby the mounting means and means for introducing the conductors are situated beyond the lamp and indicia-supporting channel members at a location out of the path of light directed from the lamp to the opposed walls at the region of the indicia-supporting channel members thereof.
3. The combination of claim 2 and wherein said indiciasupporting channel members are integral with said opposed parallel walls.
4. The combination of claim 3 and wherein a shelf is located in said housing extending between said opposed parallel Walls over said indicia-supporting channel members and carries a pair of end supports for said lamp.
5. The combination of claim 2 and wherein said bottom Wall has a pair of opposed edges provided with tongueand-groove connections with said opposed parallel walls so that said closure wall can be longitudinally shifted to an open position where an end thereof remains connected with said opposed walls at a location beyond said channels giving free access to the interior of said housing, for purposes such as replacing a lamp, while said bottom wall remains connected to said housing.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS Colton.
Allen 40131 Dwinell 40-132 Myerson 40-132 EUGENE R. CAPOZIO, Primary Examiner.
W. J. CONTRERAS, Assistant Examiner.