US 3569689 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent  inventor Frederick Leonard Nestrock Avon, Conn.
 Appl. No. 737,422
 Filed June17, 1968  Patented Mar. 9, 1971  Assignee Union Manufacturing Company New Britain, Conn.
 CONTINUOUSLY ILLUMINATED GRAB BAR 13 Claims, 5 Drawing Figs.
52 U.S. c1 240/2, 240/9  Int-.Cl F21v33/00  Field of Search 240/ 2, 2
[5 6] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,770,055 7/1930 Williams 3 l 5/86X 2,310,593 2/ l 943 Orlicki 240/2 2,091,599 8/1937 Larson et a1. 240/2X 2,479,500 8/1949 Longberg 2,721,255 10/1955 Lanmon Primary Examiner-Samuel S. Matthews Assistant Examiner-Michael Harris AttorneyHopgood and'Calimafde ABSTRACT: A grab-bar or handrail system not only incorporates its own spaced directional illumination sources but also its complete electrical cabling. Thus, installation of the system requires virtually no special electrical cabling or con duit within the wall, such ducting being limited to that required for a single end connection, or to bridge a discontinuity in the handrail, as where the wall is interrupted for a doorway, window, or the like opening. Illumination sources are provided within and as part of each supporting bracket,
and individual electrical connection thereof to the supply cabling is made adjacent each support and within the grabbar. Provision is made for automatic transfer from house voltage supply to standby storage supply, in the event of power failure, thus assuring the maximum safety that constant illumination can provide.
PATENTED MAR 9 |97l CONTINUOUSLY ILLUMINATED GRAB BAR This invention relates to an illuminated grab-bar or handrail system and incorporates modifications beyond the structures disclosed in my copending application, Ser. No. 646,1 l2, filed Jun. 14, l967,now abandoned.
In said application, I described a restful illumination system for institutional use, whereby wall mounted grab-bar systems are the source of light for localized nighttime illumination of floor areas, as in halls, bathrooms and corridors.
It is an object of this invention to.provide an improved device of the character indicated.
Another object is to provide anilluminated grab-bar construction wherein electrical wiring is materially simplified and rendered more reliable.
A specific object is to provide a construction of the character indicated wherein wiring is flexibly adapted to installation requirements, with minimum involvement of wall penetration.
Still another specific object is to provide such a construction in which electrical supply to an entire multiple-unit installation is readily accommodated by a minimum of electricalsupply outlet boxes and in which the cover plate for each such outlet box functionally serves both the mechanical structure of the grab bar and the efficient supply of electric power throughout the installation.
Other objects and various further features of novelty and invention will be pointed out or will occur to those skilled in the art from a reading of the following specification in conjunction with the accompanying drawings. In said drawings, which show various illustrative forms of the invention:
FIG. 1 is a simplified view in elevation of a wall, stair and door development to which an illuminated grab bar of the invention has been installed;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged fragmentary perspective view of parts of the installation of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged fragmentary exploded perspective view of an electrical clamp connector which may be used in making an installation of my invention;
FIG. 4 is an electrical diagram schematically indicating wiring connections for the installation of FIG. 1; and
FIG. 5 is a simplified plan view of an alternative structure for one end of the system of FIG. 1.
Briefly stated, the invention contemplates a grab-bar or handrail system which not only incorporates its own spaced directional-illumination sources but also the complete electrical cabling necessary to supply the same. Thus, installation of the system requires virtually no special electrical cabling or conduit within the wall, such ducting being limited to that required for a single end connection, or to bridge a discontinuity in the handrail, as where the wall is interrupted for a doorway, window, or the like opening. Illumination sources are provided within and as part of each supporting bracket, and individual electrical connection thereof to the supply cabling is made adjacent each support and within the grab bar. Provision is made for automatic transfer from house voltage supply to standby storage supply, in the event of power failure, thus assuring the maximum safety that constant illumination can provide.
FIG. 1 shows a typical length of a grab-bar .or handrail system of the invention, installed along the length of wall of a pedestrian passage, running from a corner wall 11 at a lower floor level 12, up a flight of stairs 13, to an upper floor level l4. At the level 14, a doorway 15 interrupts the continuity of wall it The grab-bar system employs spaced bracket light sources 16, secured to the wall 10 and positioning tubular bars or rail lengths, such as those at 17-48;, suitably offset from the wall surface; similar bent tubular bars 18 adapt the rail alignment to the changing passage slope at stairs l3. At the wall ill, a wall-mounted bracket or fitting 19 supports one end of the bar 20 which extends to the nearest light-source bracket 16. Special tubular bracket fittings Zl-Zl provide wall termination of the interrupted ends of the handrail, adjacent the respective sides of the doorway 15.
Electric cabling for supply to the spaced bracket light sources is effectively continuous within the successive grabbar lengths, extending from wall H to the fitting 2!. and, therefore, requiring no special wall-conduit provision for this great span. A local wall conduit detours around the doorway l5 and connects the cabling to the next major span of the handrail, beginning at fitting 21'; again, no special wall-conduit provision is needed. A single supply for the entire rail system is provided from a supply box 22 on the back side of wall 11, via short conduit 23 to a wall junction box 24, to which the fitting 19 is removably secured.
Greater detail is presented in FIG. 2 which shows each bracket light source l6 to comprise a base 30 with provision at 31 for secure mounting to the wall. A tubular bar-support portion 32 is connected by an offsetting bracket arm 33 to the base 30; in the form shown, the offset arm 33 positions the axis of alignment of bar support 32 generally above the base 30 and in parallel spaced relation to the wall surface. A part of the underside of the offset arm 33 is cutaway and fitted with a glass, plastic or the like window 34, to provide a locally transparent opening in the otherwise opaque tubular wall of arm 33. A low-wattage electric lamp 35 (not shown in FIG. 2 but schematically indicated in FIG. 4) is retained within arm 33, as in the manner described in said copending application. The general downward directional distribution of lamp light at the brackets 16 is suggested by phantom lines, as at 35, in FIG. 1; it will be understood that by reason of the upward and outward orientation of arms 33, this light distribution also extends substantially over the adjacent areas of floor or stairs, as the.
case may be.
Mechanically, the tubular rail or bar sections 17 have telescoping end fit with corresponding adjacent ends of the bar-support members 32 at each bracket; in this connection, I indicate preference for bars 17 to fit within the ends of the bar-support members 32. In the case of the exposed open end of one support member 32 in FIG. 2, an internal stop or shoulder 36 is visible; stop 36 will be understood to limit bar insertion so that interior space within arm 33 may communicate with that in the rail bars 17, 18,18, 20. The bar 20 which connects the last bracket light 16 to fixture 19 is shown having telescoping fit within the tubular bar-support element 37 of fixture 19; element 37 forms a fixed part of the base or plate 38 of fixture 19. Preferably, bar 20 is sized to telescope into the bar-support part 37 to a limited extent, suggested by dotted outline in FIG. 2; a setscrew 37' threaded in the body of part 37 projects radially inwardly into interfering and, hence, retaining relation with the inserted axial end of bar 20.
Electric cable from the wall splice box 24 is shown as two flexible insulated buslines 39-39 effectively running the length of the grab-bar system. Each individual lamp 35 has its own associated support and supply leads 40-41 which are bridge-connected or tapped to bus 39-39 at a location adjacent each lamp. For the case of the exposed open fitting 32 in FIG. 2, the bridging connector 42 is shown in phantom outline as establishing adjacent connection of the leads 40-41 to lamp 35. In FIG. 3, connector 42 is shown as comprising an insulating body part 43 having parallel spaced elongated grooves 44-44 at a clamp face 45, for local guided reception of the insulated bus cable lines 3939. Sharp-edged, upwardly projecting conductive elements 46-46 in the respective grooves 44-44 provide means for conductive branch connection to the lines 39-39 by piercing the insulation of lines 39-39' and biting the central conductors 3939 when clamp 42 is set. The upper part of the clamp body is shown as a substantial insulating washer 47, sized to span conductors 3939 at their overlap with elements 4646'; and a clamping screw or bolt 48 passing through washer 47 and threaded at 49 into body 43 provides adequate clamp action to establish the bridge connection. It will be understood that each brac ketlight assembly 16 may be complete with its lamp 35 and flexible insulated supply leads 40-41 to the clamp body 43; body 43 and its associated leads 40-4l are preferably preassernbled in a position drawn through the interior of arm 33 and out one end, say the left end, of each bracket l6.
To make an installation of exposed parts of the grab-bar system of my invention, the junction box 24 is installed, with supply connection 23 thereto, at the desired offset from wall and elevation above floor 12. The bar-support cover plate or fixture 19 is then located on box 24 and flush with wall 11, as by securing screws 50. The first, i.e., the adjacent bracketlight assembly 16 is then mounted to wall 10 at the correct elevation for horizontal bore alignment'of the bar-support members 3237. Fixture 19 may now be removed, with screw 37' backed off, to permit preassembly of bar 20 in member 37. An adequate length of flexible insulated bus 39-39 is cut and passed (left-to-right) through the first bar-support member 32 and bar 20 (with fixture 19 preassembled thereto), so that bus-cable ends project towardthe splice box. Access for splicing is available by sliding the fixture 19 back over bar 20. After splicing is complete, fixture 19 is returned to its position flush with wall 11. Setscrew 37.may then be driven into' interfering relation with the end of bar 20, and mounting is secured by screws 50. 1
At this point in the assembly, a large length of bus cable extends beyond the open end of the bar-support member of the first bracket 16; in FIG. 2, this open end location is designated 51. At this open end location 51, the tap assembly 42 hangs loosely from its preassembled flexible leads; and the tap connection should be set to establish the connection of the first one (52, FIG. 4) of the series of lamps.
The next bracket-light assembly 16 should be suitably mounted to the wall 10, with its tubular support 32 aligned with the installed bar 20; and just before finally securing the mount of this second assembly 16, the connecting bar 17 should be preassembled thereto, and the bus cable 39-39 should be drawn through the preassembly, so as then to project beyond the open end location designated 53 in FIG. 2. After the cable is drawn through, the other end of bar 17 is telescoped into the open end 51, and the second bracket assembly l6 finally secured in mounted position. At this point, the tap assembly 42 is suspended out open end 53, and the second bridge-tap connection should be made (for lamp 35).
The described cycle of assembly is of course repeated for each successive section of grab-bar rail or tubing to be installed. Preferably, the initial supply of bus cable 3939 is adequate for the entire length, at least to the next junction box 54 (FIG. 5), at fitting 21, but in the event of cable runout before reaching this point, a splice of bus cable can conveniently be made and retained within the conduit formed by the described grab-bar structure.
FIG. 5 illustrates the fitting 21 for enabling bus-cable splicing at junction box 54 to continuing cable within conduit at the doorway 15. This fitting is shown to comprise a tubular elbow, of mitred connecting arms 55-56, one of which 56 forms a fixed part of a base or cover plate 57 for the box 54, and the other of which 55 has telescoping fit within the adjacent support end of the adjacent bracket-light 16. Fixture 21 is assembled to bus cable 3939 after the bridge-tap connection for lamp 58 (FIG. 4) is established at the then-open end 59 of bracket 16 (FIG. 5); splicing at box 54 is accomplished; and finally, fixture 21 is secured as a cover plate for box 54.
The supply at box 22 (FIG. 1) to the installed grab-bar system may be various, depending upon particular requirements. In institutional applications, this supply should be such as to assure constant operation of all bracket lights, even in the event of house power-supply failure. A system for accomplishing full-time operation is shown in FIG. 4 wherein a relay 60 having double-pole double-throw contacts 6162 serves to transfer houseline supply 63 to a standby or storage supply 64,.in the event of line failure. Thus, the coil 65 of relay 60 is shown continuously connected for line excitation, to determine line supply via upper-position connections of contact of the low-voltage, low-wattage variety, the reduced voltage being normally available from the line via suitable transformer means 66. The storage means may conveniently be a nickelcadmium battery.
It will be seen that the invention provides a readily installed system to assure efficient and soft illumination of vital passages and safety structures in institutions for the physically handicapped. The illumination is provided at minimum power consumption and it is extremely unobtrusive, assuring soft but positive definition of vital features including all passages and stairs. These results are achieved with minimum need for breaking into a wall, inasmuch as the grab-bar system is at the same time both the source of distributed light and the electrical conduit for supply of such light.
Although the invention has been described in detail for the preferred system shown, it will be understood that modifications may be made within the scope of the claimed invention.
1. A grab bar or the like as a combined electrical conduit and light source, comprising an elongated bar element, longitudinally spaced mounting-structure elements for spaced parts of said bar element for mounting the same in clearance relation relation with the face of a wall or the like, a source of light contained within each of a plurality of said mountingstructure elements each of which is also capacitated to externally and directionally transmit light from its respective source in a general direction normal to the elongation axis of said bar element, and electric-supply means including an elongated flexible cable extending within said bar element for at least the combined length comprehended by the spacings of said mounting-structure elements, said respective light sources being connected to said cable at the locations of adjacency thereto, said supply means including a bar member connected at one end to one of said mounting-structure elements and including at its other end cover-plate-connection means removably securable to an electric-supply junction box, with said cable extending through said bar member to said junction box.
2. A grab bar or the like as a combined electrical conduit and light source, comprising an elongatedtubular bar open at both longitudinal ends, two bar-support bracket members having bases adapted for mounting at spaced locations along a wall or the like, each bracket member including a tubular bar support and an offset arm connecting said tubular support to said base, each tubular support being open at both longitudinal ends and being adapted for telescoping interfit with a bar end, each offset arm having a locally transparent opening and carrying an electric-light source positioned to transmit light through said transparent opening, the respective ends of said bar being telescopically fitted to adjacent ends of said tubular bar supports, electric-supply cable means extending through said bar and bar supports, and separate bridging connections to said light sources from adjacent portions of said cable, said bridging connections being contained within tubular parts of said-bar and brackets.
3. A grab bar according to claim 2, in which ends of said bars are telescopically received within said tubular bar supports.
4. A grab bar according to claim 2, in which said bridging connections for each light source comprise flexible-lead means connected at one end to its light source and connected at the other end to a bridging connector, said bridging connector including first and second clamp parts of electrically insulating material capacitated to receive and clamp separate conductors of said cable means in locally spaced relation, a first conductive element carried by one clamp part and projecting between said parts for conductive interception of a first clamped cable conductor, a second, conductive element carried by a clamp part and projecting between said parts for conductive interception of a second clamped cable conductor, said conductive elements being connected by flexible conductor means including separate leads to said light source, and means retaining said clamp parts in clamped relation 5. A grab bar or the like as a combined electrical conduit and light source, comprising plural elongated tubular bars each open at both longitudinal ends, plural bar-support brackets having bases adapted for mounting at spaced locations along a wall or the like, each bracket including a tubular bar support and an offset arm connecting said tubular support to said base, each tubular support beingopen at both longitudinal ends and being adapted atboth longitudinal ends for telescoping interfit with a bar end, each offset arm having a locally transparent opening and carrying an electric-light source positioned to transmit light through said transparent opening, the respective ends of each bar being telescopically fitted to adjacent ends of adjacent tubular bar supports, electric-supply cable means extending through said bars and bar supports, and separate bridging connections to said light sources from adjacent portions of said cable, said bridging connections being contained within tubular parts'of said bars and brackets.
6. A grab bar according to claim 5, and including a cover plate for the open face of a wall-outlet receptacle box, said cover plate including a short tubular bar member having an open end extending away from the plane'ofthe open face, said last-mentioned open bar-member end having telescoping interfit with an open end of one of said elongated bar and bracket members, and said cable extending through said short tubular member for splicing connection within the receptacle box to which said cover plate is fitted.
7. A grab bar according to claim 6, in which said short tubular member is telescopically fitted withinthe adjacent end of the adjacent bar support.
8. A grab bar according to claim 6, in which said short tubular member telescopically receives the adjacent end of the adjacent one of said bars.
9. In combination, a grab-bar support bracket having a light-transmitting opening in a localized wall part thereof, said bracket containing light-source means in the region of said opening, wall-mounting means for support of said bracket in a direction offset from the surface of wall support, bar-support means forming part of said bracket and having a bar-receiving opening offset from said surface and communicating within said bracket to the region of said light-source means, and electrical supply means for said bracket including conduit means having telescoping fit at one end with said brackets at the barreceiving opening, said conduit means at its other end including a cover-plate element removably securable to an electricsupply junction box.
10. The combination of claim 9, in which said cover-plate element has a central opening and said conduit means includes a conduit element secured to said plate element at said opening.
11. The combination of claim 10, in which said conduit element is straight on an axis generally normal to said plate element.
12. The combination of claim 10, in which said conduit element has opposed ends on substantially perpendicular axes, the end secured to said plate element being substantially normal thereto.
13. The combination of claim 12, in which the axis of the other end of said conduit element is offset from the general plane of said plate element, by substantially the same extent as the axis of said bar-support opening is offset from the wallsupport surface of said bracket.