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Publication numberUS3547566 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 15, 1970
Filing dateMay 12, 1969
Priority dateMay 12, 1969
Publication numberUS 3547566 A, US 3547566A, US-A-3547566, US3547566 A, US3547566A
InventorsTamarin Bernard J
Original AssigneeMcclure Charles A, Morris Cutler
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Lighter with gravity oriented safety
US 3547566 A
Abstract  available in
Images(3)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Dec. 15, 1970 B. J. TAMARIN 3,547,565

LIGHTER WITH GRAVITY ORIENTED SAFETY Filed May 12 1969 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 Dec. 15, 1970 a. J. TAMARIN LIGHTER WITH GRAVITY ORIENTED SAFETY 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed May 12, 1969 Dec. 15, 1970 a. J. TA MARIN LIGHTER WITH GRAVITY ORIENTED SAFETY 5 Sheets-Sheet 8 Filed May 12, 1969 mmwrm. 5561/4/99 J MIVAIV/A/ f7 Wak United States Patent 3,547,566 LIGHTER WITH GRAVITY ORIENTED SAFETY Bernard J. Tamariu, Philadelphia, Pa., assignor of onethird to Charles A. McClure, Malvern, Pa., and onethird to Morris Cutler, Philadelphia, Pa. Continuation-impart of application Ser. No. 604,981, Dec. 27, 1966. This application May 12, 1969, Ser. No. 823,827

Int. Cl. F23n /24 U.S. Cl. 431-88 12 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLGSURE A portable lighter is provided with safety means to render lighting more diflicult or even impossible when the lighter is inverted instead of upright. The safety means includes an object subject to gravity-induced change in location along a path of constraint between positions in which the actuating trigger for the spark means and/or fuel valve means is free to operate and alternatively is hindered partially or entirely from operating.

This is a continuation-in-part of my copending patent application for Lighter with Gravity Oriented Safety Mechanism, Serial No. 604,981 filed Dec. 27, 1966 and now Patent No. 3,450,143.

This invention relates to a hand-held lighter for cigarettes, cigars, pipes or the like, especially such a lighter provided with safety means to preclude lighting thereof in an inverted position or to render such lighting noticeably more difficult than when the lighter is upright.

Hand-held lighters have various types of triggers, usually pivoted at one end and leaving the other end manually depressible, as by the holders thumb. Such triggers usually are located along an edge, often a narrow side edge, of such lighters. The depressible end of such a trigger, although preferably located nearer the top than the bottom of the lighter, may be depressed from its rest position with the lighter inverted as well as when upright. Lighting when it is inverted presents an obvious risk of burning the holders hand or clothing and possibly further damage or injury, representing an intolerable safety hazard.

A primary object of the present invention is provision of a hand-held lighter that is notiecably more difficult to light when it is in an inverted position than when it is upright.

Another object is provision of such a lighter that is impossible to light when it is in an inverted position but that will remain lighted in an inverted position if lit before being inverted.

A further object is provision of such a safety lighter in which the safety feature can be defeated intentionally in advance of an attempt to light it if the user so desires.

Other objects of the present invention, together with means and methods for attaining the various objects, will be apparent from the following description and the accompanying diagrams.

FIG. 1 is a side elevation of a hand-held lighter lit in an upright position and, in phantom, inverted as to light a pipe;

FIG. 2 is a side elevation of a hand-held lighter lit in an inverted position;

FIG. 3 is a side elevation, partly in section, of a conventional lighter in upright position;

FIG. 4 is a plan, on a reduced scale, of such lighter with the top pivoted aside;

FIG. 5 is a side elevation, partly in section, and otherwise sirnilar to that of FIG. 3 but with the trigger depressed; and

FIG. 6 is a side elevation, on an enlarged scale and partly in section, of valve mechanism of the same lighter.

FIG. 7 is a side elevation, partly in section and otherwise similar to FIG. 5, of a first embodiment of lighter according to this invention shown upright and with the trigger depressed from its rest position;

FIG. 8 is a side elevation, partly in section, of the lighter of FIG. 7 in an inverted postion with the trigger in its undepressed rest position;

FIG. 9 is a side elevation, partly in section, of a second embodiment of lighter according to this invention, shown in an upright position and with the trigger in its undepressed rest position;

FIG. 10 is a side elevation of the lighter of FIG. 9 in an inverted position and with the trigger still undepressed;

FIG. 11 is a fragmentary side elevation of the lighter of FIGS. 9 and 10 in an inverted position and with the trigger depressed from its rest position;

FIG. 12 is a fragmentary side elevation of a third embodiment of lighter according to this invention, shown in an inverted position and with the trigger in its undepressed rest position;

FIG. 13 is a fragmentary side elevation of the lighter of FIG. 12 but with the trigger depressed from its rest position, as it appears when inverted after depression thereof;

FIG. 14 is a fragmentary side elevation of an alternative modification of the first embodiment including lockout means for defeating the safety feature thereof; and

FIG. 15 is a fragmentary front elevation corresponding to the side elevation of FIG. 14.

In general, the objects of the present invention are accomplished, in a hand-held lighter, by providing the spark-actuating and/or fuel valve-actuating trigger thereof with gravity-actuated safety means engaging both the lighter body and the trigger when the lighter is in the inverted position so as to hinder the user partially or entirely from depressing the trigger from its rest position to actuate the spark means and/or valve means in that position of the lighter, the safety means being disengaged in the upright position of the lighter so as to permit the trigger to be depressed freely from its rest position.

FIG. 1 shows conventional lighter 10 held by hand with trigger 11 depressed by the holders thumb to produce flame 12 at the top thereof. Shown in phantom in the same view is the lighter tipped to an inverted position, as to light a pipe (shown fragmentarily in phantom). FIG. 2 shows the same lighter lighted in an inverted position, as might occur if the user should fail to ascertain the orientation of the lighter before depressing the trigger. The likely resultant hand injury is obvious.

FIG. 3 shows lighter 10 in side elevation and partly sectioned away to show the interior at a level below windscreen 13, which is pivotally mounted at the top of the lighter. Trigger 11, which is pivotally mounted (at a concealed location) near the base of the lighter is shown in undepressed or rest position, with its exterior surface flush with that of abutting portion 31 of the lighter body. Projecting upward from the top interior end of the trigger is detent 21, which engages a slot in cam wheel 22 (shown partly cut away) mounted for rotation on vertical axle 23 (also partly cut away). At the left, cam surface 24 of the cam wheel engages strip-like valve lifter 30. Mounted for rotation about axle 23 is serrated striking wheel 26, which engages cylindrical flint 27 extending from the left. The striking wheel is not aflixed to the axle but is keyed by key 36 on plate 37 afiixed to the striking wheel and resting between pair of ears 32 upstanding from the peripheral edge of cam wheel 22, whereupon the striking wheel may be removed readily for replacement at the top of the lighter.

FIG. 4 shows lighter from the top, with windscreen 13, which is retained pivotally by screw 34, pivoted aside as for replacement of flint 27, seen in channel 28, and abutting serrated striking wheel 26. Pair of spare flints are visible in suitable recesses at the right of the top. Recess 33, which accommodates the head of screw 34 in the top of the windscreen, has aperture 39' therethrough to let the flame through when the windscreen is in place over the top of the lighter body, in which position the flame aperture is located directly over apertured valve-jet cap 40 affixed to strip-like valve lifter 30. When trigger 11 is depressed, as shown in FIG. 5, which shows the valve lifter raised at its end engaging cam surface 24 of cam wheel 22, the fuel valve is opened accordingly.

FIG. 6 shows, in side elevation and partly in section, the fuel valve means and closely related parts. Underlying centrally apertured valve-jet cap 40 and attached strip-like valve lifter 30 is jet-retaining means comprising serrated intermediate surface 41 and, thereunder, threaded lower end 43 screwed into the top of fixed tank housing 44. Underlying that lower end and about upper stem 51 of valve jet is compression spring 49, which bears at its lower end against jet collar 53, thereby biasing the valve jet in the downward direction. The upper stem of the jet extends upward through the aforementioned elements (where it is shown in broken lines) and terminates within the apertured cap. Lower stem 52 of the valve jet extends downward into cup 54, which has top flange 55 underlying jet collar 53 and resting on resilient O-ring 57 on the top edge of inlet 58 to fuel tank 56. The cup has aperture 59 through the center of its base portion, which is closed off by the bottom of the lower stern in the illustrated position. Jet bore 60 extends axially from the top of upper stem 51, in line with aperture 49 in cap 40 to intersection with transverse bore 62 near the bottom of lower stem 52. Inlet baflle plate 68 terminates the cylindrical inlet to the fuel tank inside, with passages 66 therebetween for flow of fuel therethrough.

It will be apparent that depression of trigger 11 from its rest position pivots cam wheel 22 by means of detent 21, thereby raising strip-like valve lifter 30, which raises attached cap 40, thereby permitting valve jet 50 to rise, whereupon fuel issues through aperture 59 in the cup and passes into transverse bore 62 and then axial bore 60 in the valve jet. The fuel issues through aperture 41 in cap 40, where it begins to burn. Rotation of the cam wheel also rotates adjacent striking wheel 26, by means of key 36, against flint 27, thereby striking sparks to light the fuel as it begins to issue. It will be understood that the fuel issues in gaseous form, although it may be stored in the fuel tank under sufficient pressure to keep it liquid until released. Examples of suitable fuels are propane and butane.

Normally lighter 10 will light in an inverted position as well as in an upright position. According to this invention, however, as shown in subsequent views, similar lighters 10, 10, and 10" are modified according to this invention to eliminate that undesirable characteristic. Modified parts corresponding to those of lighter 10 are designated by corresponding numbers with primes added (not necessarily the same as the primes designating the lighter embodiments themselves), with or without separate mention in the description.

FIGS. 7 and 8 show that first such lighter 10' differs from conventional lighter 10 by having long and short longitudinal bores 74 and 73 in trigger 11' and fixed abutting portion 31 of the lighter body, respectively, which are shown with slightly exaggerated spacing from one another to accommodate lead lines and/or reference numerals in the interest of clarity. The respective bores are aligned in the undepressed or rest position of the trigger. Short bore 73 has ramp inclined from the base of the bore toward the lighter interior. Pin 71, which has rounded top end 72, rests entirely with long body 74 in the trigger when the lighter is in an upright position,

4 whether undepressed or depressed, as shown in elevation in FIG. 7.

When lighter 10 is inverted with the trigger undepressed, as shown in elevation in FIG. 8, the pin slides under the influence of gravity partway out of long bore 74 in the trigger and into shorter bore 73 in the fixed abutting portion of the lighter body. In order for the user to depress the trigger in that inverted position the pin must be forced out of the short bore and back into the long bore by contact of its head 72 with ramp 75. Of course, unless the trigger can be depressed, no fuel can be released and no spark produced.

The frictional resistance encountered by the user in forcing such return movement of pin 71 is readily discernible (even over and above the usual spring biasing of the trigger toward its undepressed rest position) so as to alert the user to the inverted condition of the lighter, whereupon suitable precautions can be taken. It ma be thought that pin 71 could escape from long bore 74 or become jammed when the lighter is inverted after depression of the trigger from its rest position. Instead, rounded head 72 of the pin rests on the normally lower surface of fixed abutting portion 31, and if the trigger is relaxed to its rest position while the lighter is inverted the pin Slides further back into the long bore, by reason of such surface contact of its head, as the angle of depression returns to Zero. Of course, when the lighter iS returned to an upright position, the pin slides back into the longer bore in the trigger itself, regardless of the trigger position.

Thus, lighter 10' of this invention can be used in inverted position as well as conventional lighter 10, such as to light a pipe as shown in FIG. 1. If the holder of the lighter does not wish to light the lighter by depressing the trigger before inverting the lighter but prefers to invert it first, he can do so. However, a careless user who might undertake to light the lighter in an inverted position without having checked its orientation Would be cautioned from doing so and thereby be protected from being burned or having his clothing set afire by the lighter of this invention.

FIGS. 9, 10, and 11 show second lighter 10" from the side, partly sectioned, in several different positions: upright, with the trigger in its undepressed rest position; inverted, with the trigger in its undepressed rest position, and (fragmentarily) inverted, with the trigger depressed from its normal rest position. In this second embodiment of the invention, ball 81 replaces pin 71 as the movable component of the safety means, susceptible to gravity-induced change in position between upright and inverted orientation of the lighter.

In the upright position of lighter 10" the ball rests entirely within bore 74, which is only a bit deeper than necessary to contain it. The top surface of trigger 11" is curved convexly upward (in FIG. 9) and has detent 84 (v. also FIG. 11, especially) extending therefrom alongside the bore and spaced closely adjacent a complementary concave surface of fixed body portion 31", which has opposing bore 73 therein and detent 83 separated therefrom by the intervening concave surface. Bore 73 has stepped ramp 75 therein and is so shallow that, with the lighter in inverted position and with the trigger in its undepressed rest position, the ball fits only partially into the bore (FIG. 10). The vertical sidewall portion of the step of the ramp is shorter than the ball radius so that, if the trigger is depressed after the lighter is inverted, the ramp will force the ball out of bore 73' and back into bore 74' so that the trigger can be depressed to light the lighter. Detents 83 and 84 abut one another to limit the depressed position of the trigger (FIG. 11) and prevent escape of the ball.

It will be understood that the step of ramp 75 in shallow bore 73 provides a greater obstacle to lateral movement than a full ramp would, and the user must employ increased pressure to depress the trigger and force the ball back into bore 74'. The eflfort required to do this, as compared with the relatively freer depression of the trigger when the lighter is upright, provides the user with a tactile indication that the lighter is inverted rather than upright. The advantages and benefits are like those accruing to a user of the first lighter embodiment of this invention and require no further comment.

FIGS. 12 and 13 show fragmentarily third lighter of the present invention inverted and with trigger 11" thereof undepressed and depressed, respectively. Fixed body portion 31' with ramp 75 in bore 73 therein is the same as employed in the first lighter embodiment of this invention. Bore 74" in the trigger has its longitudinal axis offset inwardly, however, from that of bore 73 and has ramp 85 therein parallel to ramp 75 of bore 73. It will be seen that, when the lighter is inverted, the ball rolls under the influence of gravity to a rest position between the two ramps, whereupon it provides a wedging action when the user attempts to depress the trigger. Thus, the trigger cannot be depressed to the position shown in FIG. 13 unless well started before the lighter is inverted or unless the user relieves the pressure on the trigger to free the ball sufiiciently that a tap from above (on the bottom of the lighter, which is inverted) will cause the ball to occupy bore 74 momentarily. Then, if the trigger is depressed soon enough to capture the ball in that deeper bore before it falls between the two ramps again, the trigger can be depressed sufficiently to light the lighter. As a corollary of such conscious effort, the user is aware that the lighter is inverted instead of upright.

It is possible, of course, that few persons, such as some pipe smokers, might wish to defeat the safety feature, whether over a given period or permanently. Such convertibility to a non-safety lighter form is provided in lighter 10'a of FIGS. 14 and 15. This lighter modification is an alternative form of lighter 10' of the first embodiment of this invention, in which sliding pin 71 was used. The top portion of trigger 11a is relieved laterally and is provided with matching slot 92 therethrough to both sides, principally perpendicular to the front face of the trigger and at their frontrnost extent intersecting bore 74 therein. Fitted snugly but movably in the slot is lockout pin 91, which is headed on both ends and is thereby adapted to be moved manually in the slot between a position (as shown) obstructing bore 74 and an alternative unobstructing position (broken lines, FIG. 14). It will be apparent that when lockout pin 91 obstructs bore 74 it retains pin 71 captive therein and thereby defeats the safety feature otherwise presented thereby. The slot has a downturned end to assist in retaining the lockout pin when in the alternative position, in which the safety means functions as described above for lighter 10. Of course, similar lockout means could be provided in the embodiments of lighters in which the pin is replaced by a ball, as in FIGS. 9 to 13, if desired. The lockout means may incorporate friction washers or similar means to assist in retaining whichever setting the user desires, whether safety or nonsafety, without hindering manual resetting thereof.

Advantages and benefits of this invention have been mentioned in and are otherwise apparent from the foregoing description as supplemented by the diagrams, which are exemplary only rather than limitative. Some modifications have been included, but others may be made, as by adding, combining, or subdividing parts, while retaining all or some of the advantages and benefits of the invention, which itself is defined in the following claims.

The claimed invention:

1. In a hand-operated lighter having a depressible trigger for actuating fuel valve means or spark means, the improvement comprising a movable safety device susceptible of gravity-induced change in location upon change in orientation of the lighter between upright and inverted positions, the trigger being so depressible when the lighter is in any orientation, including inverted position, the safety device being operatively interconnected with the trigger to move therewith upon depression thereof and occupying a location wherein it is free of frictional engagement with immovable parts of the lighter and thereby enabling the trigger to be freely depressed when the lighter is in an upright position, and occupying a location in frictional engagement with an immovable part of the lighter and thereby hindering depression of the trigger sutficiently to require a greater force to depress the trigger when the lighter is in an inverted position.

2. Hand-operated lighter according to claim 1, including means carried on the trigger and movable relative thereto from a position of disengagement with the safety device to a position of engagement therewith to prevent the safety device from coming into such frictional engagement with an immovable part of the lighter and thereby disabling the safety device from hindering depression of the trigger when the lighter is in inverted position.

3. Hand-operated lighter according to claim 1 wherein the depressible end of the trigger abuts part of the body, and both that end of the trigger and that abutting part of the body are bored internally, their respective bores aligning with one another when the trigger is in an undepressed position and misaligning when the trigger is in a depressed position, and wherein the safety device comprises a member fitting movably within either bore and having a first rest position such that it is located within the trigger bore when the lighter is upright and having a second rest position such that it is located partially within each bore when the trigger is in an undepressed position and the lighter is inverted, the bore in the abutting part of the body having a ramp along the side toward which the safety device is pressed upon depression of the trigger in the inverted position, depression of the trigger being unhindered when the lighter is upright and being hindered by such engagement of the safety device with both the trigger bore and the damp of the body bore when in that second rest position.

4. Hand-operated lighter according to claim 3 wherein the safety device is positioned by gravity.

5. In a hand-operated lighter having a depressible valveactuating trigger pivotably supported at one end, the improvement comprising a safety device normally located within a hollow in the trigger when the lighter is in an upright position wherein the trigger is readily depressible by exertion of a given force thereon, the safety device being further adapted to protrude partially from the hollow in the trigger into engagement with an abutting fixed ramp portion of the lighter when in an inverted position such that the trigger is then less readily depressible and can be depressed only by exerting thereon a sufliciently greater force to slide the safety device up the ramp and further back into the hollow in the trigger.

6. Hand-operated lighter according to claim 5 wherein the pivotably supported end of the trigger is located below the depressible end when the lighter is upright.

7. Hand-operated lighter according to claim 6 wherein the safety device comprises an elongated pinlike member.

8. Hand-operated lighter according to claim 6 wherein the safety device comprises a single spherical member.

9. In a portable lighter having a body and a depressible trigger mounted relative thereto for actuating means from the class consisting of spark means and fuel valve means, the improvement comprising a safety device for permitting relatively free depression of the trigger to actuate such means when the lighter is in other than an inverted position and permitting relatively hindered or less free depression of the trigger to actuate such means when the lighter is in an inverted position, comprising an object operatively interconnected to the trigger to move therewith upon depression thereof and susceptible of gravity-induced change in location upon change in orientation of the lighter between upright and inverted positions when the trigger is undepressed, the location occupied by the object when the lighter is in inverted position with the trigger undepressed involving frictional contact between the object and a fixed part of the body and thereby imposing an increased requirement of force to effect depression of the trigger, and the location of the object when the lighter is in an upright position effectively freeing the trigger from such contact and thereby from such increased force requirement to effect depression of the trigger, and including means for constraining the path of movement of the object between the locations in which the trigger is hindered and free, respectively.

10. Hand-operated lighter according to claim 9 wherein the movable object of the safety device is movable along its constrained path from the free trigger location to the hindered trigger location by inverting the lighter.

11. Hand-operated lighter according to claim 9 wherein the movable object of the safety device is movable 8 along its constrained path from the hindered trigger location to the free trigger location by turning the lighter upright.

12. Hand-operated lighter according to claim 9 wherein the hindering of the actuating trigger is occasioned when the object occupies simultaneously portions of its path of constraint established by abutting fixed parts of the trigger and the body, respectively.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,588,479 3/1952 Burchett et al. 43 l88X 2,672,038 3/1954 Burchett 431-88 EDWARD G. FAVORS, Primary Examiner

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2588479 *Feb 26, 1949Mar 11, 1952Ronson Art Metal Works IncLighter locking mechanism
US2672038 *Mar 26, 1952Mar 16, 1954Ronson Art Metal Works IncGas lighter valve
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3884614 *May 22, 1974May 20, 1975Mansei Kogyo KkGas lighter
US3899286 *Aug 23, 1974Aug 12, 1975Scripto IncCigarette lighter having orientation sensitive valve actuation means
US5002482 *Sep 2, 1988Mar 26, 1991Bic CorporationSelectively actuatable lighter
US5076783 *Apr 23, 1990Dec 31, 1991Zdenek FremundSafety lighter
US5092764 *Jul 11, 1990Mar 3, 1992Bic CorporationSelectively actuatable lighter with locking valve cap
US5125829 *Dec 22, 1989Jun 30, 1992Bic CorporationBidirectional selectively actuatable lighter
US5215458 *Sep 25, 1991Jun 1, 1993Bic CorporationChild-resistant lighter with spring-biased, rotatable safety release
US5295819 *Oct 14, 1992Mar 22, 1994Flamagas, S.A.Pocket lighter having a safety mechanism
US5417563 *Jun 1, 1993May 23, 1995Bic CorporationChild-resistant lighter with spring-biased, rotatable safety release
US5427522 *Oct 23, 1992Jun 27, 1995Bic CorporationSelectively actuatable lighter
US5427523 *Feb 24, 1994Jun 27, 1995Harbour Union LimitedSafety lighter having lever arrested default state
US5445518 *Oct 23, 1992Aug 29, 1995Bic CorporationSelectively actuatable lighter
US5456598 *Jul 1, 1991Oct 10, 1995Bic CorporationSelectively actuatable lighter
US5487657 *Jun 3, 1993Jan 30, 1996Bic CorporationSelectively actuatable lighter
US5584682 *Feb 27, 1995Dec 17, 1996Bic CorporationSelectively actuatable lighter with anti-defeat latch
US5628627 *Jun 6, 1995May 13, 1997Bic CorporationSelectively actuatable lighter
US5636979 *May 22, 1995Jun 10, 1997Bic CorporationSelectively actuatable lighter
US6077069 *May 13, 1997Jun 20, 2000Bic CorporationSelectively actuatable lighter
US9734378Jan 17, 2014Aug 15, 2017John Gibson Enterprises, Inc.Portable biometric lighter
EP0538170A1 *Sep 23, 1992Apr 21, 1993Flamagas S.A.Pocket lighter having a safety mechanism
Classifications
U.S. Classification431/88, 431/153, 431/254, 137/38
International ClassificationF23Q2/00, F23Q2/16
Cooperative ClassificationF23Q2/16
European ClassificationF23Q2/16