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Publication numberUS3550298 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 29, 1970
Filing dateJun 27, 1968
Priority dateJun 27, 1968
Publication numberUS 3550298 A, US 3550298A, US-A-3550298, US3550298 A, US3550298A
InventorsO'neill Roger L
Original AssigneeRoger L O Neill
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Letter construction
US 3550298 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed June 27, 1968 INVENTOR. 062@ A/f/ Dec. 29, 1970 RL. o'NElLL 3,550,295

LETTER CONSTRUCTION Filed June 27, 1968 1 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 l /3 J... u. u. /4

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IN VENTOR. 06f? h/f/z A T TORNE VS 3,550,298 LE'ITER CONSTRUCTION Roger L. ONeill, 322 N. Oak, Hinsdale, Ill. 60521 Filed June 27, 1968, Ser. No. 740,738 Int. Cl. G09f 13/00 U.S. Cl. 40-130 1 6 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A neon-lighted letter construction for outdoor advertising use incorporating a hinged transformer facilitating neon tube terminal connection with siiiall housing wall clearance for eliminating dark area and minimizing letter thickness.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Neon-lighted letters have widespread commercial use in outdoor advertising including letters wherein neon tubing is housed in a glass covered letter framework providing a diffused light wherein the individual neon light tubes within the housing are not visible. The effectiveness of this type' of letter depends upon a uniformly bright light radiation through the cover glass throughout all areas of the letter and a persistent problem has resulted from the necessity of allowing space for neon tube terminal connections with the transformer housed within the framework of the letter, which has tended to create an objectionable dark area adjacent such connection. Thus, it is conventional practice to provide multiple convolutions of a single neon light tube corresponding *to the letter form in order to provide adequate light intensity with all such convolutions extending in a common plane and with the two ends of the tubing formed in a parallel reversed bend curve downwardly and back to terminals connecting into the end of the transformer housed within the framework at the bottom of the letter. Since such terminal connections require axial movement of the terminals to engage the transformer sockets, the shifting of the tubing in making such connection has normally resulted in a final clearance between the effective lighted end of the neon tubing adjacent the terminal connections and the adjacent end wall of the letter housing such as to result in an undesirable dark area. While some attempts have been made to solve this problem by resorting to a terminal connection requiring additional letter depth, such solutions have not been satisfactory since minimal depth of letter construction is an equally important requirement to uniform lighting without dark areas.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention solves this problem by providing a hinge mounting for the transformer at the end opposite the sockets for terminal connection permitting the socket end to be raised for insertion of the terminal ends of the neon tube to a level permitting such tubing to overlie the end wall of .the letter housing until the axial movement of the tubing for completing the connection has occurred at Awhich time the transformer and connected tubing can be lowered into the housing with close clearance relative to the end wall of the letter housing. This provision also permits the letter to be constructed with minimal depth consistent with the space required by the transformer and required spacing of the neon tube convolutions from the glass cover to assure diffusion and absence of visibility of the individual tube outlines. The present invention further incorporates constructional improvements including a rigid structural back plate permitting the use of relatively light gauge aluminum extrusions roll formed to letter configuration for the side walls of the letter which may be assembled and welded to the back plate in fabri- Patented Dec. 29, 1970 ICC.

eating the letter so that the neon tubing can be installed and connected to the transformer as a final operation before completing the enclosure with the application of the glass cover. Consistent with this procedure of assembly the present construction also incorporates brackets for mounting the glass tubing within the housing which facilitate the removal and replacement of the tubing and brackets as an integral unit for servicing, as in the case of burned out tubing.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. l is a plan view of a typical letter R with the glass cover generally omitted for clarity;

FIG. 2 is a sectional view taken along the line 2-2 of FIG. 1 showing the hinged condition of the transformer at the time of installation of the neon tubing;

FIG. 3 is a view similar to FIG. 2 with the installation of the tubing completed and the glass cover applied;

FIG. 4 is a sectional elevation taken along the line 4-4 of FIG. 1 showing conventional bracket mounting for the neon tubing;

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary view similar to FIG. 4 show ing a modified construction in which the bracket is made removable with the tubing.

Referring to FIG. 1 the main elements of the letter include aluminum extrusion housing side walls 10 roll formed to the outline of the required letter, R in this case, welded to a relatively heavier gauge back plate 11, neon light tubing 12, a transformer 13 and brackets 14 adapted to mount the neon tubing. In the present illustration four lines of generally parallel and equally spaced neon tubing lying in a single plane at approximately mid depth in the housing are provided by continuous convolutions of a single tube having ends 15 adapted for terminal connection with the transformer sockets 16 by downward reverse bends as best shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. The transformer 13 is mounted to the back plate 11 with a hinge 17, a stud 18 welded to the transformer and a wing nut 19 which can be removed to permit the transformer to swing outwardly to the position shown in FIG. 2 for establishing the connection of the terminal ends 15 in the transformer sockets 16 with the lowermost convolution of the tubing 20 overlying the end wall 21 of the letter housing 10. After the connection has been made by sliding the tube ends 15 axially into the sockets 16 the hinged transformer with connected tubing can be lowered with letter housing as shown in FIG. 3 and the wing nut 19 applied in which position it will be lseen that the lowermost tube convolution 20 lies in close proximity to the end wall 21 in order to avoid any dark areas at the bottom end of the letter which would otherwise result if sucient clearance were provided to permit the neon tube connection to be made to the transformer while in fully attached position to the back plate. A lifting ring 35 is provided at the socket end. of said transformer extending between the ends of the neon tubing to provide access for raising the transformer and lowering same in assembling and servicing the tubing.

As previously mentioned, the back plate is made of relatively heavy gauge material to provide sulcient structural rigidity for the letter when the relatively lighter gauge extruded side wall is spot welded thereto as a subassembly. As best shown in FIG. 4, brackets 14, welded at intervals to the back plate, provided with the tube mount risers 23 on which spring clips 24 (or attaching wires) may be anchored to hold the tubing 12 in position. The frosted glass cover 22 mounted on the outer flanges 25 of the extruded side walls 10 with alsealing gasket 26 and aluminum retainer strip 27 completes the assembly of the letter per se, which can be mounted on any desired support surface 28 by suitable brackets 29.

For servicing and replacement of the neon tubing the glass cover 22 can be removed, the clips 24 detached, the tubing disconnected as shown in FIG. 2 and lifted out of the letter housing. In the modification shown in FIG. 5 each bracket 14a is detachably mounted to the back plate by a locating pin 30, stud 31 and wing nut 32 so that the complete tubing and brackets sub-assembly can be lifted out of the letter housing without detaching the spring clips 24.

While a particular embodiment has been shown and described above in detail, it will be understood that numerous modifications might be resorted to without departing from the scope of the invention as dened in the following claims.

What is claimed is:

1. A sign construction for letters or other indicia comprising a housing having a back plate, and side walls, a transformer mounted on the back plate having end sockets for connection with terminal ends of neon tubing to form an indicia and, convolutions of neon tubing mounted within the housing having terminal ends engaging said transformer sockets and a translucent cover closing said neon tubing within said housing, said side walls conforming closely to the outline of said indicia; characterized by a mounting for said transnformer permitting the socket end thereof to be raised from said back plate during the connection of said terminal ends of the neon tubing -to said transformer sockets whereby the installed clearance between the neon tubing portion adjacent said connection and the adjacent indicia side wall may be minimized to avoid a dark area of the letter when illuminated.

2. A sign construction as set forth in claim 1 wherein a hinge is provided for said transformer connection to said back plate at an end opposite said socket connection.

3. A signal construction as set forth in claim 1 wherein a hinge connection is provided for said transformer to said back plate at an end opposite said socket connection, and a releasabie connection is provided between the socket end of said transformer and the back plate.

4. A sign construction as set forth in claim 3 including a lifting ring for said transformer accessible at the installed tubing level.

5. A sign construction as set forth in claim 1 wherein said back plate is constructed of relatively heavy gauge material compared to the side walls of said indicia.

6. A signal construction as set forth in claim 1 wherein said back plate is constructed of relatively heavy gauge material compared to the side walls of said indicia, and said side walls are formed of aluminum extrusions, roll formed to the particular letter configuration.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,104,337 1/ 1938 Wamser 40l30G 2,236,324 3/1941 Thomas 40-130G 2,284,309 5/1942 TSchOpp 40-130G 2,540,271 2/19451 Lytton 40-130G 2,753,640 7/1956 McConnell 40-130G 0 EUGENE R. CAPOZIO, Primary Examiner R. CARTER, Assistant Examiner 3, 550 ,298 Dated December 29 1970 Patent No.

Roger L. O'Nell Inventor(s) It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:

Column 3, line 26, "'transnformer" should read transformer Column 4 line 4 "signal" should read sign line l5, "sgnal should read sign Signed and sealed this 25th day of May 1971 (SEAL) Attest:

EDWARD M.FLETCHER,JR. WILLIAM E. SCHUYLER, JI Attesting Officer Commissioner of Patenti FORM Pc3-1050 (1D-69) uscoMM-Dc scan-

Referenced by
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US3919798 *Sep 12, 1973Nov 18, 1975Mutzhas Maximilian FIlluminated advertising device
US4998365 *Oct 13, 1989Mar 12, 1991Kazor Systems Inc.Segmented neon display
US5339230 *Sep 1, 1993Aug 16, 1994Devorris Philip EEncapsulated charged gas light apparatus
US5725299 *Jan 16, 1996Mar 10, 1998Devorris; Philip E.Encapsulated charged gas lighting apparatus
US5814938 *Aug 5, 1996Sep 29, 1998Transfotec InternationalCold cathode tube power supply
US6080013 *Mar 11, 1997Jun 27, 2000Transfotec International LteeElectrode mounting structure
US6419374 *Feb 2, 2000Jul 16, 2002Neon Changeables International, Inc.Neon light system
US7797865 *Apr 4, 2007Sep 21, 2010Ledstar Inc.Changeable message sign structure
US20080244942 *Apr 4, 2007Oct 9, 2008Ledstar Inc.Changeable message sign structure
EP0779534A1Dec 11, 1996Jun 18, 1997Xerox CorporationBound document imager with page turner
U.S. Classification40/545
International ClassificationG09F13/04
Cooperative ClassificationG09F13/0404
European ClassificationG09F13/04B