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Publication numberUS3574992 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 13, 1971
Filing dateOct 13, 1969
Priority dateOct 13, 1969
Publication numberUS 3574992 A, US 3574992A, US-A-3574992, US3574992 A, US3574992A
InventorsLadas George T
Original AssigneeLadas George T
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Linear time column
US 3574992 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [72] lnventor GeorgeT.Ladas 937 Second Ave., New York, N.Y.

[2 [1 Appl. No. 865,641 [22] Filed Oct. 13,1969 [45] Patented Apr. 13, 1971 [54] LINEAR TIME COLUMN 5 Claims, 4 Drawing Figs.

Primary Examiner-Richard B. Wilkinson Assistant ExaminerEdith C. Simmons Attorney-Michael Ebert ABSTRACT: A linear time display clock in the form of a column having a translucent face behind which is a vertical stack of 11 cells. Electric bulbs in the cells are selectively activated by an electrical control circuit operated by a timer, whereby the cells are sequentially illuminated to provide a colored panel on the face of the column whose position is indexed linearly to indicate the passage of time. The hours one to 11 are indicated by illumination of cells one to 11, respectively, going from top to bottom, whereas the 12th hour (noon and midnight) is indicated by again illuminating the sixth or midpoint cell, the distinction between the sixth and 12th hour being established by a difference in panel color. Five-minute increments, which are 11 in number, running from five minutes to 55 minutes, are indicated by sequentially illuminating cells one to II, but in a color distinct from the hourindications.

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g. g 5% kwg kwhvxm hwxw E09 bhwwm Rvbww twbmq Illllllllllllllll Arm/var LINEAR TIME COLUMN BACKGROUND OF INVENTION This invention relates generally to timepieces, and more particularly to a clock in the form of a column having a linear time display.

In conventional clocks, the time display is almost invariably in the form of hands which turn at difi erent rates to afford hour and minute indications. The appearance of a standard clock, however modern its casing and however streamlined or stylized its time display, is nevertheless incongruous in a contemporary setting. The current trend toward minimal art in architecture and in interior design involves a reduction in apparent detail in order to establish an environment in which mechanical, structural and electronic elements are obscured or submerged. Existing clocks fail to meet the criteria for minimal art.

Living in a highly advanced technology in which individuality has little place, the individual, in order to regain his equilibrium and sense of personal worth, seeks in his domestic environment to avoid the appearance of complexity without, however, sacrificing engineering advantages. Thus, it is often the practice to house stereophonic high-fidelity equipment in cabinets of extreme simplicity having a so-called black light panel, which, in the absence of internal illumination, presents a perfectly blank mirrorlike surface concealing the underlying dials and meters.

1n minimal art, furnishings take the form of basic geometric shapes, such as slabs, cubes, cylinders and parallelepipeds, the shapes being adapted to function as beds, seats and sofas. Use is often made of grain-free plastic materials which may be transparent or translucent, rather than traditional woods or metals, again for the purpose of avoiding all ornamentation or display other than that imparted by the basic geometric form.

Numerical indications and moving hands afford a mechanistic time display which runs counter to the modern decorative trend and to some degree is also superfluous. Because the typical observer has long been conditioned to read time in terms of position along a scale, numerical indicia are not essential. Moreover, while one must be informed as to the hour, minute and second, to know the exact time, as a practical matter in a domestic environment, such information is more than necessary, for it is quite sufficient to read time in 5-minute increments. For this reason, many household clocks designed for their decorative appeal only mark the 5-minute increments.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION In view of the foregoing, it is the primary object of the invention to provide a clock in the form of a column having a linear time scale in which the passage of time is indicated by the position and color of an illuminated panel along the face of the column.

More specifically, it is an object of the invention to provide a time column in which the passage of time is linearly related in 5-minute intervals utilizing 1 1 illuminated color positions to afford a constant progression of hue and form relationships.

A significant feature of the invention is that the linear time column has a severe, pure geometric form, free of hands or numerical indicia, in which time indicia are derived from the position and color of the panel which is indexed along the face of the column.

While a novel display in accordance with the invention entails some degree of reconditioning in reading time, this is easily acquired, in that the time display, though perhaps mysterious to the uninitiated, is perfectly clear and aesthetically satisfying to the knowledgeable owner.

Briefly stated, in one embodiment of the invention, these objects are accomplished in a column having a translucent face, behind which is disposed a stack of 1 1 cells of equal size, each having bulbs therein which are selectively energized by an electrical control circuit operated by a timer. The arrangement is such that the cells are sequentially illuminated in a manner whereby the hours 1 to 1 1 are indicated by cells 1 to l 1 respectively, going from top to bottom of the column, whereas the 12th hour, (noon or midnight), is indicated by again illuminating the sixth cell, the distinction between the 6th and 12th hour being established by a difference in color. Five-minute increments, which are 11 in number, running from minutes to 55 minutes, are indicated by sequentially illuminating cells 1 to 1 1 but in a color distinct from the hour indications.

In another embodiment of the invention, the minute display is effected by a separate column having 11 cells standing next to the hour column to provide a twin column system.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS For a better understanding of the invention as well as other objects and further features thereof, reference is made to the following detailed description to be read in conjunction with the accompanying drawing, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a single system linear time column in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 2 schematically shows the arrangement of light bulbs in the cells of the column;

FIG. 3 is a schematic diagram of the electrical circuit for energizing the bulbs in a timed sequence; and

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a double linear column in accordance with the invention.

DESCRIPTION OF INVENTION Referring now to FIG. 1, there is shown a linear time column in accordance with the invention, the column having a rectangular cross section and being provided with a translucent face 11 made of a dark-grey plastic material, preferably an acrylic such as Plexiglas. The column is otherwise opaque and may be of polished stainless steel or similar material. Time is indicated by illuminated light panels such as panels 12 and 13 whose position and color along the column are representative of the passage of time. In the absence of illumination, the face of the column is dark, so that one sees nothing but the particular panel being illuminated.

Referring now to FIG. 2, behind the face of the column is a vertical stack of l l rectangular cells 1. to 11, of equal dimensions. Disposed within cells 1 to 11 on the right side thereof are 11 electric light bulbs BM, to BM,, which, in practice, may be green colored, to indicate the passage of minutes in S-minute increments. Thus, bulb BM,, when activated, indicates 5 minutes after the hour; bulb BM-,, 10 minutes after the hour and so on to bulb BM,, which indicates 55 minutes after the hour.

Disposed in the left side of the cells are bulbs BH, to 8H,, to indicate the passage of hours I to XI. In practice, these bulbs may all be blue except for bulbs EH BI'I, and BI-l,,, which are of magenta to highlight the third, sixth and ninth hours. The 12th hour, (noon or midnight), is indicated by bulb BH, which is disposed in cell 6 between bulbs 8H,, and BM,,.

The activation of the bulb is selectively controlledby a suitable electronic or mechanical switching device operated by a timer so that, in the course of each hour, starting a moment after l2-noon or 12 -midnight, the following switching actions occur:

A. Bulbs BM, to BM are sequentially energized to provide successive green light indications in cells I to 11, indicative of S-minute, 10-minute, 15-minute, -minute, -minute, minute, -minute, -minute, -minute, -minute and minute intervals.

B. At minutes after l2-noon or IZ-midnight, blue bulb BH, is activated to indicate 1 o'clock.

C. Thereafter, bulbs BM, to BM,, operate in sequence to indicate 1:05, 1:10, 1:15 and so on to 1:55, whereas at 1:60 blue bulb BH, is activated to indicate 2 oclock. D. At 3, 6 and 9 oclock, bulbs 8H,, 8H,, and 81-1 which are then activated, have a magenta color to better establish these time periods.

E. At 12 oclock, (noon or midnight), the red bulb 13H, is operated, this bulb appearing in the cell 6 position.

Thus, the hours 6 and I2 are indicated at the midpoint in the column, a color distinction serving to establish the hour in question. The side-by-side colors in each cell may be delineated by a partition which, in effect, divides the color panel into two sectors of different color. Or, the partition may be omitted to cause an overlap of colors in the junction areas. But, in either case, hours and minutes are represented by different colors. In place of bulbs, one may use color cards which are operated electromagnetically or mechanically and are shifted into a visible position at appropriate intervals.

Following are examples of time indications produced by the linear time column using the color code specified previously.

Example l. Second panel blue Sixth panel green (2:30)

Example 2. Second panel blue l lth panel green (2:55)

Example 3. Third panel magenta No green (3:00)

Example 4. Third panel magenta First panel green (3:05)

Example 5. Third panel partially magenta, partially green (3:15)

Example 6. Sixth panel magenta- No green (6:00)

Example 7. Sixth panel red No green (12:00)

An electronic circuit for carrying out the above-described switching operations is shown in FIG. 3 where it will be seen that the hour indicating bulbs BH to BH each have one end connected to one terminal 14 of an electric power line. The other end of bulbs BH to BH are connected to the fixed selector contacts S to S of a stepping mechanism 15 whose movable armature I6 is connected to the other terminal 17 of the power line. Thus, when armature I6 engages contact 8,, bulb BH is energized, when it engages contact 8,, bulb bh is energized, etc.

The minute-indicating bulbs BM, to BM are each connected at one end to terminal I4 of the power line, and at the other end to selector contact S to S of a stepping mechanism whose first contact S is left blank. The movable armature 19 of this mechanism is connected to the other power line terminal 17. Thus, when armature 19 engages contact S bulb BM is activated, when it engages contact S bulb BM is activated and so on. Both stepping mechanisms are electromag'netically energized.

Stepping mechanism 18 is operated through a normally closed contact 20 which connects this mechanism across the power line to effect energization thereof, the associated armature 19 being caused to step to the next position when contact 20 is broken.

Contact 20 is operated by a timing motor 21 powered from the line, the motor causing the normally closed contact 20 to open at 5-minute intervals, such that 'at the beginning of the hour, armature 19 engages contact 8,, at which point no bulb in the BM, Mm series is activated, but at minutes after the hour, armature 19 is stepped to engage contact S at which point BM is activated. This stepping action continues at 5- minute intervals until at contact S bulb BM is activated to indicate 55 minutes after the hour.

When bulb IBM is activated, a relay 22 shunted across the bulb is energized, the relay then acting to open a normally closed switch 23 in series with stepping mechanism 15. Thus, at the conclusion of the 55-minute interval, what occurs at 60 minutes after the hour, relay 22 is deenergized, thereby closing switch 23 and activating stepping mechanism 15, at which point armature 16 is caused to step to one contact (S to S,,,). Hence, at the conclusion of any hour, as indicated by the deenergization of relay 22, armature 16 steps to operate an appropriate hour bulb. In this manner, after each sequential operation of the minute bulb series BM, to BM an hour bulb BH, to BH is activated to indicate the next hour.

In FIG. 4, the time display is effected by twin columns 24 and 25, column 24 containing bulbs BH, to BI-I for the hour display in a stack of I I cells and column 25 containing bulbs BM, to BM for the minute display in a similar stack of 11 cells. This arrangement functions in the same manner as the single column in FIG. 1, except that the minute bulbs are physically segregated from the hour bulbs.

While there has been shown a preferred embodiment of the invention, it will be obvious that many changes may be made within the scope of the invention. Thus, the switching action called for may be effected by a motor-operated cam whose cyclical rotation activates microswitches to effect the sequential activation of the bulbs. The columns need not have a rectangular cross section and, in practice, other configurations may be used.


1. A clock having a linear time display, said clock comprising:

A. a column having a translucent, indicia-free face which is dark in the absence of illumination from behind said face;

B. a stack of l 1 equal cells disposed behind said face, each having a colored light bulb, except for the sixth cell which is in the exact middle of the column and has two light bulbs of different color, said bulbs when activated providing illuminated light panels along said face; and

C. timing means cyclically to activate said bulbs in a sequence wherein the hours 1 ml 1 are indicated by the cells I to II from top to bottom and the 12th hour is indicated by activating the second bulb in the sixth cell.

2. A clock as set forth in claim 1, further including a second set of colored light bulbs in said cells and timing means to operate said light bulbs sequentially from top to bottom to indicate S-minute increments.

3. A clock as set forth in claim I, wherein said bulbs for the third, sixth and ninth hours are differently colored from the other bulbs.

4. A clock as set forth in claim 2, wherein said cells are partitioned to separate the hour from the minute bulbs to provide distinct sectors of light on said panels.

5. A clock as set forth in claim 2 wherein said second set of light bulbs are disposed in cells in a separate column parallel to the main column.

Patent Citations
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US3439492 *Aug 15, 1967Apr 22, 1969Gravenson Guy FChromoclock
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3744235 *Dec 6, 1971Jul 10, 1973Kratomi STimepiece indicating time by generated images in sets
US3775964 *Aug 13, 1971Dec 4, 1973Suncrux Res Office KkTime indicating apparatus
US3809877 *Feb 16, 1973May 7, 1974Marconi Co CanadaIndicator pointer
US3841082 *Jan 13, 1972Oct 15, 1974Cuevas JBinary clock
US3854279 *Feb 4, 1974Dec 17, 1974Edmunds FMethod and apparatus for indicating time in terms of color
US3889458 *Mar 15, 1973Jun 17, 1975Casio Computer Co LtdElectronic clock devices
US3958409 *Sep 12, 1974May 25, 1976Solomon ManberWatch display
US4752919 *Jan 3, 1986Jun 21, 1988Clark Lloyd DClock with digital hour station and line of discrete, binary minute substations
US4845689 *Apr 4, 1988Jul 4, 1989Michael VoleClock
US5214624 *Oct 30, 1991May 25, 1993Siebrasse Christoph RDisplay device having a scale
US5628531 *Apr 26, 1995May 13, 1997Bundy CorporationQuick connector with secondary latch
US5757731 *Nov 19, 1993May 26, 1998Rosenberg; Burton A.Linear digital-analog interactive wristwatch
US6256265Oct 6, 1999Jul 3, 2001Richard J. SepulvedaTime display
US6628571 *Nov 19, 2001Sep 30, 2003Rosemarie KrakowWatch
US7376052 *Mar 21, 2006May 20, 2008Sela Eliot JClock having a linear array of graduations and light bands indicating hours, minutes, and seconds
US7835231Jul 11, 2008Nov 16, 2010Christopher George GarciaLinear time display with symbolic indicators
US7978566 *May 26, 2009Jul 12, 2011Christopher RussoTiming apparatus for alerting a user when time has elapsed
US20060256663 *Mar 21, 2006Nov 16, 2006Sela Eliot JClock having a linear array of graduations and light bands indicating hours, minutes, and seconds
US20080175106 *Jan 22, 2007Jul 24, 2008Michael VikeslandChronometric display means
US20110103194 *Oct 29, 2010May 5, 2011Scott TrantinaLinear Clock
USD763314 *Mar 5, 2013Aug 9, 2016Yandex Europe AgDisplay device with a graphical user interface showing a vehicle navigator traffic level indicator element
WO1994004967A1 *Aug 12, 1993Mar 3, 1994Axel KnodelClock
WO1999017173A1 *Sep 24, 1998Apr 8, 1999Philip HicksA time display device and method
U.S. Classification368/82, 368/234, 968/946, D10/25
International ClassificationG04G9/00, G04G9/04
Cooperative ClassificationG04G9/04
European ClassificationG04G9/04