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Publication numberUS3570158 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMar 16, 1971
Filing dateNov 4, 1968
Priority dateNov 4, 1968
Publication numberUS 3570158 A, US 3570158A, US-A-3570158, US3570158 A, US3570158A
InventorsHackett George Richard
Original AssigneeHackett George Richard
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Portable electric sign for use in parades
US 3570158 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

March 16, 1971 G. R. HACKETT PORTABLE ELECTRIC SIGN FOR USE IN PARADES Filed Nov. 4, 1968 I15 22 I8 g2 me FIG.4

T RH 0K C :NLA WM R A H m R a m E 6 wit apaAZiw/gw A770 NEYS United States Patent Ofice US. Cl. 40130 4 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A portable electric sign incorporates a rectangular array of miniature electric light bulbs selected ones of which may be energized to define a desired symbol. The structure is battery operated and several such signs of identical construction may be readily carried by a number of persons in a parade so that by standing in side-by-side formation, words or sentences may be spelled out or displayed by the several signs, each one exhibiting a given letter or symbol. To enable changing of the symbol, a switch means in the form of a rotatable drum is mounted to the rear of the board on which the rectangular array of lights are fixed. This drum includes openings defining row means arranged to be juxtaposed a row of fixed spring contacts connected to first contacts of the light bulbs. Second contacts of the light bulbs in turn connect to one terminal of the battery and the rotatable drum connects to the other terminal. Selected ones of the holes may have screws inserted therein such that these screws only will engage selected spring contacts to elfect an energization of selected lights in the array.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates generally to electric signs and more particularly to an improved portable electric sign for use in parades.

It is common practice in parades as well as cheering sections at sporting events for various members to carry placards or cards having certain letters thereon which may be simultaneously displayed to spell out a word or provide a desired symbol. Usually each participant carries a stack of cards in a programmed order so that upon a given signal, a selected card is displayed.

It would be desirable to provide a system for displaying letters or symbols by a number of persons in a parade or cheering section which would be readily visible at night as well as in the day time. Such could be accomplished by providing each participant with an electric sign in the form of an array of light bulbs certain ones of which could be energized to define the desired symbol. While such electric signs for advertising purposes are known, to the best of my knowledge no one has as of the present time, provided a suitable portable type electric sign which could readily be carried by a participant in a parade to realize many of the same results presently accomplished by means of cards or placards.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE PRESENT INVENTION With the foregoing considerations in mind, the present invention contemplates a unique portable electric sign including a board mounting a plurality of light bulbs preferably arranged in a rectangular array to define rows and columns of bulbs. On the rear side of the board, there is provided a switch means preferably in the form of a rotatable conductive drum having rows of holes therein defining row means, each row means having a number of holes corresponding to the number of electrical light bulbs employed on the board. A small battery such as one or more flashlight batteries is carried in the structure 3,570,158 Patented Mar. 16, 1971 and has one terminal connected to second contacts of all of the light bulbs and its other terminal connected to the conductive drum. A plurality of spring contacts are provided in the form of a row means running parallel to the axis of the drum and in fixed spaced relationship to the periphery of the drum. These spring contacts connect respectively to first contacts of the electric light bulbs.

With the foregoing arrangement, it is now possible to insert contact means in the drum as for example conductive screws in selected ones of the holes in the drum in such a manner that only selected ones of the spring contacts will be engaged when the drum is rotated to bring the row means of holes juxtaposed the spring contacts. Only certain light bulbs will accordingly be energized to display a light pattern corresponding to a desired symbol. The particular symbol displayed can be changed by simply rotating the drum to bring another preprogrammed row of holes incorporating the screws in given positions to a position juxtaposed the fixed spring contacts. As many as four different letters or symbols may be preprogrammed into the drum by means of judiciously selecting the screw openings in which screws are inserted.

In the preferred embodiment, there is provided a push button switch in series with one of the terminal leads from the battery to one of the sets of contacts on the lights such that a person utilizing the device, after selecting a particular symbol by rotating the drum, can then energize the selected bulbs simultaneously by pushing the push button to close the circuit.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS A better understanding of the invention will be had by referring to a preferred embodiment as shown in the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a number of participants in a parade or cheering section utilizing a number of the portable electric signs of this invention for display purposes;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged front elevational view of the portable electric sign;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged rear elevational view of the portable electric sign with the rear cover removed to expose the interior;

FIG, 4 is a greatly enlarged fragmentary view partly in cross section taken in the direction of the arrows 4-4 of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is an enlarged fragmentary cross section taken in the direction of the arrows 5-5 of FIG. 3; and,

FIG. 6 is a fragmentary schematic electrical circuit diagram useful in explaining in greater detail the operation of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring first to FIG. 1 there is illustrated the manner in which the portable electric sign of the present invention may be used. The sign itself comprises a generally rectangularly shaped frame structure 10 having a front board carrying a plurality of light bulbs in a rectangular array such as indicated at 11. Certain ones of these light bulbs are energized to form a light pattern defining a given letter or symbol such as the letter S as shown for the sign 10. The particular symbol displayed can be controlled by a knob 12 connecting to a multiple switch means within the frame 10. A push button switch 13 in turn is provided for actually energizing the selected light bulbs for display.

The electric sign is completed by the provision of a strap 1 to facilitate a person in a parade carrying the sign. In FIG. 1, for example, there are shown several participants in a parade or cheering section each provided with a sign such as indicated at 10", and so forth. By aligning themselves properly, a particular word or message may be spelled out such as indicated in FIG. 1.

Referring now to FIGS. 2 and 3, further details of the electric sign will be described. Since all of the various signs illustrated in FIG. 1 are identical, a detailed description of one will suffice for all.

With reference to FIG. 2 first, it will be noted that the rectangular frame 10 includes a mounting board prefera'bly of insulating material. The plurality of light bulbs 11 are mounted on this board preferably in a rectangular array defined by a series of rows and columns. For example, the rows may be indicated as at r1, r2, 1'3, and so forth and the columns as indicated at c1, c2, c3 and so forth.

There are provided a suflicient number of light bulbs such that all of the letters of the alphabet and the ten numeral symbols may be conveniently designated by energization of selected ones of the light bulbs. It is found that it is not necessary to have a complete rectangular array of light bulbs to achieve this end. Thus, it will be noted that certain light bulbs are missing such as in the row r2 and column c3. In other words, the remaining light bulbs are sufficient to form any of the letters or numerals and thus for economy purposes, there is no need to include a complete rectangular array wherein every coordinate position incorporates a light bulb.

In FIG. 2, the letter S is displayed by energizing certain ones of the bulbs as indicated.

Referring now to FIG. 3, there is mounted to the rear of the board 15 a plurality of elongated conducting strips such as shown at 16, 17, 18 running parallel to each other in positions corresponding to the columns 01, c2, and (:3, for example, as described in FIG. 2. These conducting strips are electrically connected together as by a common lead 19 to one terminal of a battery 20. As will become clearer as the description proceeds, the elongated conducting strips 16, 17, 18, and so forth connect to second contacts of the respective light bulbs 11. The first contacts of these light bulbs in turn engage small conducting tabs such as indicated at 21, 22, 23 and so forth associated at each intersection of a row and column wherein a light bulb is present. These conducting tabs connect through leads 24 to a series of spring contacts disposed behind a drum 25 as viewed in FIG. 3. The drum 25 itself is rotatably mounted to the rear of the board 15 for rotative movement by the knob 12 about a generally horizontal axis running parallel to the spring contacts which are in fixed position behind the drum. The drum is electrically connected through a lead 26 to a push button switch 13 and thence through lead 27 to the other terminal of the battery 20.

Referring now to FIG. 4, details of the manner in which the contacts of any one of the electric light bulbs are connected as described in FIG. 3 will be evident. As shown, the elongated conducting strip 17 includes a threaded opening 28 receiving the threaded base of the bulb 11 which threaded base constitutes the second contact associated with the bulb. The first contact in turn constitutes the tip end of the threaded base and when in the threaded position shown will engage the overlapping tab 22. The tab 22 is in spaced relationship to the strip 17 and thus is insulated therefrom. When the strip and tab connect to the respective terminals of the battery by way of the common lead 19 and drum structure described in FIG. 3, a light bulb 11 threaded into the opening in the strip 17 will have its respective contacts engaged by the strip and tab as shown in FIG. 4 to thereby become energized.

Referring now to FIG. 5, details of the referred to fixed flexible springs and drum structure 25 are shown. Thus, the drum 25 itself is provided with rows of holes defining pairs of row means such as indicated at 30', 31, 32, and 33. If there are 58 light bulbs as is the case for the board shown in FIG. 2, there would be provided a total of 58 holes in the row means constituted of the pairs of rows. Thus each row constituting the pair of rows 30 in the drum would have twenty-nine holes. The reason for providing dual rows is to accommodate on the drum a total number of holes without having to provide an excessively axially long drum structure.

Behind the drum illustrated in FIG. 3 and as shown clearly in FIG. 5, are the flexible spring contacts also formed in two parallel rows 34 and 35 extending into the plane of the paper as viewed in FIG. 5. This row means of spring contacts runs parallel to the axis of the drum and in a position adjacent to but spaced from the periphery of the drum. A mounting strip board 36 may be provided to support the spring contact rows 34 and 35. There would be provided twenty-nine spring contacts in the row 34 and twenty-nine spring contacts in the row 35 to correspond to the total number of light bulbs associated with the pairs of holes in the drum 25.

A plurality of conducting screws one of which is illustrated at 37 may be threaded into selective holes in the rows of holes. The screws are such that their heads project beyond the periphery of the drum 25 in a manner to engage a corresponding spring contact 34 or 35 or both should adjacent holes in the dual rows have screws inserted therein. By providing four pairs of row means 30, 31, 32, and 33, it is possible to successively display four different light patterns on the board to define four different symbols by simply rotating the drum to position the row means juxtaposed the spring contacts.

FIG. 4 illustrates by means of electrical schematic diagram a portion of the drum 25 wherein the row of holes 30 is shown extending therealong for cooperation with the rows 34 and 35 of fixed resilient spring contacts. In FIG. 6, the rows 34 and 35 of fixed spring contacts are shown on diametrically opposite sides of the drum 25 merely for purposes of clarity. Actually, the springs are disposed adjacent to each other as depicted in FIG. 5.

As shown, the drum may include numerical notations such as the numerals 1, 2, 3, and so forth adjacent to specific openings. With this arrangement, specific selected openings designated by the numbers may be selected for insertion of screws whereby a contact is effected between the conducting drum 25 and a spring contact in one of the rows 34 or 35 thereby connecting a first contact of the corresponding light bulb to the drum and thence to the battery.

In FIG. 6, the various electrical elements shown are designated by the same numerals employed to designate the corresponding components in FIGS. 3, 4, and 5.

OPERATION The overall operation of the portable electric sign as described will now be set forth.

Assume first that there are provided a large number of signs such as the eight signs shown in FIG. 1 and it is desired to display the words SAMO HIGH. In this event, the first electric sign 10 would be programmed such that when the knob 13 is in afirst fixed position, the letter S will be defined by the illumination of selected Ones of the light bulbs as depicted in FIG. 2. Towards this end, a given row means such as the row means 31 shown in FIG. 5 would have the holes defining the rowsfilled with screws to engage corresponding spring contacts 34 and 35 which electrically connect to the first or tip contacts 29 by way of the tabs 22 of the light bulbs involved. When the drum 25 is rotated to the position shown in FIG. 5, the screws will then engage the spring contacts and when the button 13 is closed, an electrical circuit will be completed, with reference to FIG. 6, from the battery 20 through lead 27, switch 13, lead 26 and drum 25, through. the particular screws engaged by the fixed spring contacts and thence through the corresponding leads 24 to the first terminals or tips of the light bulbs. The second contacts of the light bulbs all connect to the common strips 17 and through lead 19 to the other terminal of the battery 20.

The other signs such as 10", and so forth shown in FIG. 1 would be programmed by inserting screws in proper selected openings of row means in these signs to define the other letters.

Each sign is capable of successively displaying four different symbols or letters corresponding to the four row pairs described in FIG. 5. Thus, when a different letter is to be exhibited, the user will simply rotate the knob a quarter turn to cause a next row means of holes with selected ones having screws therein to be in position juxtaposed the spring contacts 34 and 35.

The push button switch 13 enables a finer degree of control as to the exact moment when the lights will be energized so that on a given signal from a parade leader or cheerleader, the butons will be depresed simultaneously on the various signs to form the particular word or phrase.

To assure proper positioning of the drum with a particular row means juxtaposed the fixed contacts, there may be provided on the drum an indexing wheel such as indicated at 38 in FIG. 5. This indexing wheel 38 includes indentations at every ninety degrees corresponding to the positions of the row pairs. A spring biasing structure 39 in turn is arranged to detent into these indents when the drum is in one of its four possible positions. As a matter of convenience, the lead 26 described in FIG. 3 to the drum may connect directly to this indent spring structure 39 so that electrical contact with the drum is assured.

The foregoing structure as described is extremely rugged. Further, the same is also extremely reliable, the provision of individual screws assuring a positive contact for each of the particular corresponding light bulbs. No power drives or the like are necessary, the sign being entirely mechanically operated by simply rotating the knob 12 and actuating the push button switch 13. Thus, there is only needed a small electrical supply in the form of the battery 20 for actually energizing the bulbs after proper switching has been effected.

From the foregoing description, it will be evident that the present invention has provided a unique and novel portable electric sign particularly well suited for display purposes in parades or cheering sections and the like.

What is claimed is:

1. A portable electric sign for use in parades, comprising, in combination:

(a) an insulated board for mounting a plurality of individual light bulbs on its front face, each light bulb having first and second contacts;

(b) a manually rotatable drum of electrically conductive material mounted to the rear face of said board, said drum having threaded holes therein defining distinct row means of holes, each row means including a number of holes corresponding to the total number of light bulbs on said board;

(6) a spring contact terminal strip including a row means of flexible spring contacts running parallel to the axis of said drum and adjacent to the periphery of said drum but spaced therefrom so as to be normally out of electrical contact with said drum, the number of spring contacts being equal to the number of light bulbs and being electrically connected to said first contacts of said light bulbs respectively;

(d) battery means having one of its terminals connected to all of said second contacts of said light bulbs;

(e) lead means connecting said drum to the other terminal of said battery;

(f) individual conducting screws adapted to be threaded into selected ones of said holes such that their heads extend beyond the periphery of said drum to engage corresponding ones of said spring contacts when said drum is rotatably positioned to position said screw heads juxtaposed to said spring contacts; and

(g) indexing means for indexing said drum in the position in which said screw heads are juxtaposed to said spring contacts,

whereby selected light bulbs corresponding to their associated spring contacts engaged by said screws will be energized to define on said board face a lighted pattern defining a given symbol.

2. A sign according to claim 1, in which said light bulbs are arranged in rows and columns to define a rectangular array, the rear face of said board including a number of elongated conducting strips running parallel to each other in the direction of said columns, said strips having openings therein corresponding in positions to said columns of light bulbs, said board having registering openings such that a bulb may be threaded into any one opening in any one strip from the front face of said board, the second contact of said bulb corresponding to the threaded base thereof and making electrical connection with said strip, said one battery terminal being connected to all of said second contacts by electrically connecting said strips together and to said one terminal, said first contacts of said light bulbs constituting the tip ends of the bases of said bulbs protruding through the rear openings in said strips, and the electrical connection of said spring contacts to said first contacts being effected by individual tabs positioned to overlap in spaced relationship the rear openings of said strips such as to be engaged by said tips when bulbs are screwed into said strips, said tabs being electrically connected respectively to said spring contacts.

3. A sign according to claim 1, in which there are provided a plurality of said row means of holes in said drum so that by positioning successive ones of said row means juxtaposed said spring contacts, different symbols as defined by the program in which screws are inserted in selected holes in said drum for the corresponding row means, are successively displayed.

4. A sign according to claim 1, in which said lead means for connecting said drum to the other terminal of said battery includes a normally open push button switch whereby said symbol is only displayed when said row means is positioned juxtaposed said spring contacts and said push button switch is closed.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 721,194 2/1903 Horn 40130(E)UX 1,137,070 4/1915 Miller 40130(E)UX 2,167,107 7/1939 Dvornik 40130(E)UX FOREIGN PATENTS 512,773 12/1937 Great Britain.

ROBERT W. MICHELL, Primary Examiner R. CARTER, Assistant Examiner US. Cl. X.R. 40-129

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U.S. Classification40/452, 40/586
International ClassificationG09F21/00, G09F9/307, G09F21/02
Cooperative ClassificationG09F21/02, G09F9/307
European ClassificationG09F21/02, G09F9/307