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Publication numberUS3576990 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 4, 1971
Filing dateSep 27, 1968
Priority dateSep 27, 1968
Publication numberUS 3576990 A, US 3576990A, US-A-3576990, US3576990 A, US3576990A
InventorsWallace F Johnson, William H Tilson
Original AssigneeWallace F Johnson, William H Tilson
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Lighting system
US 3576990 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [72] Inventors Wallace F.Johnson S T. m n P N m E F m, r a h C m .6. N 6A 6 5 7 n, .nTu SH W am uw 123,765 2/1962 Germany............ F ,Cal f. 93705 [zu APPLNQ S5328 837,726 8/1958 GreatBmam................ [22] Filed Sept. 27,1968 Primary Examiner-John M. Horan [45] Patented May 4,1971 Assistant Examiner-Michael Harris AtIorney-Huebner & Worrel [54] LIGHTING SYSTEM 7 Claims, 9 Drawing Figs.

PATENEn m 4m SHEU 1 0F 2 WALLACE fr JOHNSON WILL/AM H. T/LsO/v /NVENTORS A TTDRNEVS minimum 4m, 'BLS-Tasso snm a or 2 I WALLACE F. JOHNSON WILL IAM H. T/LSON /Nvf/vro/es Mtg/M A TTORNE V5 LIGHTING SYSTEM BACKGROUND OF TI-IE INVENTION Theinvention relates to lighting systems and more particularly to a lighting system for use in providing decorative lighting for walls, centerpieces, floral arrays, and the like.

The prior art includes a myriad of electrical lighting systems employed in ornamental schemes and decorative devices. Many of these systems are of a portable nature, and are ernployed to provide a desired lighting effect under given conditions. However, one of the existing problems encountered in decorative lighting is a lack of systems which are totally portable and yet do not require open flames or extendedelectrical connections.

l Systems which employ open flames are not suited for use in certain areas, particularly where an open flame is considered a fire hazard.

By the same token, lighting systems which employ electrical energy as a means for simulating a live or open flame have not met existing needs, simply because a plurality of extended electrical leads are normally required. Further, where batteries have been employed as a source of electrical energy for imparting the preferred portability, miniature lamps have been required as the source of light. ln the use of miniature lamps, with batteries of a given voltage, consideration must be given to the expected life span of the lamp, dueto the life factor of the filament employed, and to the output desired for achieving a given asthetic effect. For example, assuming that with a normally fixed power source of 2.5 volts, an output'of 0.12 candle power is desired for a continuous period of 14 hours, a selected lamp, for convenience designated X-48, characterized by 0.06 amps screw thread base may be employed. However, assuming that a new system requirement of 0.300 candle power for a life of 7 hours is imposed, a new lamp must be employed. As a practical matter, only a relatively few combinations of life spans and output factors are possible for commercially available lamps having a standardized base configuration, that is, any one of the types commonlyA referred to as the flanged, screw-threaded and bayonet types. However, when given the total number of types, presently commercially available, with the possible combinations for each type, an economic supply of readily available lamp exists. Therefore, asv the operative requirements are varied for systems heretofore employed, different sockets or receivers, have been required, as each miniature lamp employed required a receiver which accommodated a change to the type of lamp being employed. This requirement, of course, is undesired.

'Ihe saine lack of versatility is present in existing lamp enclosures normally employed as decorative caps, since the size and shape of the globes normally vary with each type of miniature lamp employed. Consequently, a complexity factor exists for those systems which heretofore utilized miniature lamps as the source of light. Furthermore, where the lights are employed in centerpieces or floral arrays, it has been found difficult to provide means for connecting a power source at selected locations within the circuit in order to protect the asthetic properties of the display.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION This invention overcomes the aforementioned difficulties through the use of an improved system including a plurality of novel circuit components which serve to impart universatilty to the system, whereby the system may be readily employed in Another object is to provide a lighting circuit including a plurality of universal circuit components imparting a high degree of versatility to an ornamental lighting system.

Another object is to provide simplified electrical connectors.

Another object is to provide a powerpack capable of being readily inserted into a circuit.

Another object is to provide a highly versatile circuit which includes a plurality of circuit components and interchangeable members, the versatility of which serves to enhance decorative lighting.

These together with other objects and advantages will become more readily apparent by reference to the following description and claims in light of the accompanying drawings.

, a system, including-female receivers, embodying the principles of the present invention. v

FIG. 2 is a partially sectioned view of the system shown in FIG l, with the components thereof assembled in an operative relationship.

` FIG. 3 is a sectioned view of one of the system components shown in FIGS. l and 2.

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional plan view taken on line 4-4 in FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional plan view taken on line 5-5 in FIG. 3.

FIG. 6 is a sectional perspective of a female receiver illustrated in FIG. 5.

FIG. 7 is a bottom view of the assembly shown in FIG. 3. FIG. 8 is a cross section taken on line 8-8 in FIG. 2 on an enlarged scale.

FIG. 9 is a partially sectioned view of the male connector.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT A system employing the principles of the present invention I housing 16 and are sealed therein by means of a suitable screw-threaded cap 18. The batteries 17 are of the type which, for the sake of convenience, can be described as having a coaxially disposed positive pole 19.

Mounted on the casing 16, in coaxial. alignment with the positive pole 19 is a male connector 20 which, in operation, is

operatively disposed within one of a plurality of universal,

cup-shaped female connectors or receivers 22 concentrically seated in a plurality of caps 24. These receivers are connected with the circuit 14 and are adapted to receive the connector 20, in order that the batteries 17 may be electrically connected with the circuit. As better shown in FIG. 9, each connector 20 includes positive terminal or contact 26 supported in a body of insulating material 28. The contact is substantially circumscribed by a negative or tubular contact 30 which terminates in a laterally extended, annular flange 3l. The positive contact 26 also includes an elongated body or post 32 extending through the material 28 and retained in operative disposition therein by means of any suitable connector, such as a simple nut and washer 34. In practice, the nut and washer also serve as a contact for electrically engaging the positive pole of an associated battery 17.

In order that the male connector 20 Amay serve to complete a circuit to opposite sides of the batteries 17, a conductor 26, formed of a copper strip, issoldered to the flange 31 of contact 30 and extends into engagement with a negative pole or contact 37, as normally provided for the batteries 17. While the strip 36 could be so arranged as to engage a negative contact provided at the opposite end of eachbattery 17, the batteries presently employed are such as to provide a negative contact in radial disposition with respect to the positive terminal.

Various means may be employed for seating the male connector 20 within the end of the casing 16. However, it is preferred that a shoulder 38 be included within the casing against which the flange 3l of the contact 30 is operatively seated. ln order that the male connector 20 may be retained in a position against the shoulder 38, a suitable compression spring 40, FIG. 8, is employed to force the flange 31 against the shoulder 38. This spring is electrically conductive and serves to couple the contact 34 with the battery I7 at its positive terminal 19.

lt is to be particularly noted that all of the female receivers 22 are of a common design, and in addition to serving as a connector for the powerpack l serve as receivers or lamp sockets for receiving miniature lamps 42, FlG. 3. Each of the female receivers is of a cup-shaped configuration and is fabricated from a flexible polyethylene, or like material, which has nonconductive properties and which accommodates a radial expansion and contraction of the receiver. The resiliency of the material employed is preferably sufficient for permitting a lamp base of a lamp 42 to be received therein through its open top.

Bases of a general cylindrical configuration, including the screw-threaded bases, can be slidingly received in engagement with the ntemal surfaces of the receiver or connector 22. Each base is 'gripped or frictionally engaged in a manner sufficient to retain the base in its operative position. insertion of a lamp base including bayonets, or laterally extended pins, is accommodated through the use of diametrically opposed, elongated slots 46 which are cut into the internal surfaces of the connector and parallel its longitudinal axis. Since the base for miniature lamps normally employed are of approximately the same diameter, and since the material from which the receiver 22 is fabricated is of a resilient nature, the base of each of the employed lamps may be readily inserted within the receiver, regardless of its configuration, and is readily interchangeable with bases having a different configuration.

` ln order that the male connector 20 be permitted to be electrically coupled with the receivers 22, the connector is provided with an outside diameter approximately equal to the outside diameter of a base of a miniature lamp 42. Hence, it should be readily apparent that the male connector 20 may be inserted at any appropriate point within the circuit i4.

Each receiver or female connector 22 further includes a conductor strip 48 extending parallel to the longitudinal axis of the receiver 22, for completing a circuit to the lnegative terminal 37 of batteries 17. ln practice, the strip 48 is of a generally flexible material, however, in order to seat the strip within the connector, it is crimped to provide a crimped protrusion 50 which operatively seats against a bottom wall portion l, as is normally provided for the female connector. An additional protrusion 52 is formed in the strip which serves to engage the external surfaces of the bottom wall 51. Hence,

the strip 48 is retained in an operative disposition within the connector 22 through a cooperative effect of the protrusions 50 and 52. ln order that the strip 48 may be properly retained in its operative disposition at its opposite end, an additional locking crimp 54 is provided for engaging the opposed internal and external surfaces of the receiver near its open end.

Mounted in coaxial alignment within the receiver 22, there is s positive terminal S6 which is supported by the wall 5 l. The post 56 includes -a radially extended flange or shoulder 58 disposed in operative supporting engagement with the internal surface of the wall 5l and further includes an elongated coaxially aligned post portion 60 extending through the wall. ln practice, a spring 62 is seated in coaxial alignment with the flange and is provided to engage a positive pole of a lamp base or male connector inserted therewithin in order to complete the circuit between the post 60 and the inserted positive terminal.

vEach receiver 22 is, in turn, seated in concentric relationship within a cap 24, as hereinbefore mentioned. Each cap includes a tubular internal surface 64, FIG. 8, and an external terminal portion having a truncated frustoconical surface 66 terminating in an annular base or supporting shoulder 68. The shoulder 68 defines the supporting end terminal surface of the terminal portion. ln order that the cap 24 may be mounted in a suitable support, a mounting portion having a surface 70 is extended away from the shoulder 68, in a direction opposite to the terminal portion, and is so formed so as to be provided with a cylindrical configuration. This portion is in operation received in any suitable structure, such as, `for example, appropriately formed openings 72, illustrated in FIG. l. The terminal portion of each of the caps 24 further includes, at its truncated surface, an annular lip 74 which serves as a retainer for engaging an end surface of the wall of the female connectors 22 for retaining them therein, while allowing the base of a lamp or a male connector to be inserted concentrically therethrough. Furthermore, each of the caps 24 is provided with an elongated slotted keyway 76. The keyway serves to receive the crimped portion 54 of the conductor strip 48 as the' connector is seated against the lip 74. Hence, it will be appreciated that once the receiver 22 is inserted within the cap 24, any relative rotation therebetween is impeded through engagement of the surfaces of the keyway 76 with the crimped portion 54 of the conductor strip 48. ln practice, a locking ring 78 is provided for maintaining the required engagement of the receiver with the lip 74.

As a practical matter, the opening 72 may be fonned in any suitable structure for operatively supporting the caps 24. However, for purposes of illustration, a supporting structure 80 is provided as a mounting member for supporting the com'- ponents of the herein described lighting system. Hence, the assembled cap 24 and receiver 22 may be readily mounted, simply by inserting the mounting portion within a suitable opening 72 formed within the supporting structure 80, it is preferred that the receivers 22 be electrically connected in circuit parallel. However, should it be deemed advisable, the circuit could be wired as a series circuit.

As better illustrated in FIG. 2, the support 80 further includes an additional or auxiliary support 8l upon which there is mounted a plurality of male connectors 82. Each connector 82 includes a positive post 84 which terminates in a contact 86. The post 84 is secured in place by means of a suitable screw-threaded extension 88, threaded nut or connector 90, which also serves to connect the post 84 with the circuit. The connector 82 further includes a negative strip 92 which extends electrically to engage the negative strip 48 for completing the return side of the circuit. As each of the male connectors 82 are of similar design and construction, only a single connector is described in the interest of brevity.

ln order that each of the connectors 82 may be connected in parallel, a pair of connector leads 94 are extended therebetween. As a practical matter, the male connectors may be connected at their negative strips by any suitable means, such as by soldering the leads 94 thereto, while the lead 94 which connects the positive post 84 may be provided with suitable connectors which permit the nut to be screw threaded and seated in an electrical connection of well-known design.

Since the connectors 82 are connected in parallel it will be appreciated that the powerpack ll) may be plugged into any one of the receivers 22, while the remaining receivers may be provided with miniature lamps. Therefore, it should bevfully appreciated that the circuit may be energized from any one of the receivers 22 connected thereto.

lt should be understood that the circuit herein described has utility separate and apart from an ornamental lighting system. However, in practice, the system is particularly suited for use in ornamental lighting for reasons hereinbefore discussed. ln order to achieve the desired effect, it is often necessary to pro vide each lamp 42 with a miniature cover 96. The cover 96 preferably is formed of a flexible polyethylene material and is pigmented to the extent necessary to achieve the desired color when applied over the globe of a given lamp. Since it is intended that globes of the miniature lamps employed be of different sizes and different configurations, it is necessary that each of the covers or tips 96 be of such design as to accommodate its use with any one of the miniature lamps having globes of mutually exclusive size and configuration. Therefore, the material from which the tip 96 is fabricated is preferably such a's to be capable of withstanding elevated temperatures while retaining a desired degree of resiliency. A flexible polyethylene material has been found to be quite suitable i for this purpose. Since it is intended that the lamp 42, in its assembled state, represent a lighted candle, the tip 96 is preferably acuminate to simulate the tip of a flame when rendered incandescent by an energization of the filament of the lamp 42.

As can readily be appreciated, each tip 96, particularly the portions thereof which extends above the top of an associated globe, when the tip is mounted, contains a limited quantity of air. Since a lamp tends to give up heat as it is energized, the air entrapped above the lamp expands as it is heated. This expansion has a tendency to cause the tips to pop" off the top of the globes. To overcome this, a plurality of flutes 98 have been incorporated along the internal surfaces of the tips. These flutes extend longitudinally from the base of the tip to its apex and serve as means for dispelling the air as it is heated so that the pressure can be relieved and the tip 96 be permitted to remain in place. Furthermore, the flutes are sufficiently pronounced as to enhance the universatility of the tip. ln other words, the flutes are deep enough and are sufficient in number as to permit the material that is included in the lands between the grooves to be deformed into the grooves for thus increasingthe effective diameter of the base as a globe is forcibly inserted into the tip.

Conversely, should lthe globe be sufficiently small in diameter as not to require a deformation of the lands, the material of the tip has a memory sufficient to permit the lands to remain erect and thus engage the surfaces of the globe about which the ltip is seated.

Where total flexibility is preferred, the'supporting structure 80 may be readily eliminated, so that the wires or leads 94 are permitted to serve as supports for the male connectors 82 as the candles are strung" into a desired and coupled relationship. While not shown, it is entirely feasible, to connect the post 60 of each of the receivers 22 with one of the leads 94, while the other lead is connected with the strip This connection may be made in any suitable manner, suchas by soldering, for example. lf the leads 94 are employed without the male connectors 82, increased flexibility may be realized. Therefore, while the male connectors 82 have been illustrated, it is entirely feasible to connect the circuit components without requiring any rigid construction as may be the case in the trimming of Christmas trees, floral wreaths and vthe like.

While not a part of the present invention it should be readily appreciated that each of the powerpacks 10, with the male connectors 20 fixed thereto, may be inserted into an electrical battery charging circuit having a plurality of receivers 22 connected therein. ln this manner, each of the powerpacks may be readily stored when not in use and thus prepared or recharged for the next use at a later date, all without requiring a removal of the batteries and while achieving the recharging of batteries while they are retained within the casing l0.

ln operation, it may be assumed that a plurality of the components have been assembled into a plurality of structures each including a truncated frustoconical cap 24, having mounted therein a receiver 22 into which has been seated a miniature lamp 42 encased in a flame-shaped tip 96. The structures are positioned in a manner dictated by decorators. Each of the candlelike structures are supported in any suitable means such as the rigid support 78 into which the caps 24 have been inserted. However, should it be desired, a simple clip can be applied to each of the structures in order to support the candlelike member or component in operative position. The components are then connected, through leads 94, in a parallel circuit arrangement. [nto one of the receivers supported by cap 24 is inserted the powerpack 10. The male lconnector of the powerpack engages the contact 62, while the negative ycontact of the powerpack engages the strip 48, so that a circuit is completed to the candlelike components. Once the circuit has been completed, the battery 17 applies the necessary voltage across each of the receivers 22 in order to cause a miniature lamp 42 retained therein to become energized and be rendered incandescent. Should it be desired to interchange any of the miniature lamps 42 with different lamps having different bases, such is readily facilitated through the employment of the universal connectors or receivers 22 without requiring a change of the particular receiver employed for receiving the lamp. 4

ln view of the foregoing, it should be readily apparent that a simplified circuit, having a plurality of interchangeable circuit and system components, has been provided which serve to enhance decorative operation and involved in creating displays having certain asthetic value.

Although the invention has been herein shown and described in what is conceived to be the most practical and preferred embodiment, it is recognized that departures may be made therefrom within the scope of the invention, which is not to be limited to the details disclosed herein but is to be accorded the full scope of the claims so as to embrace any and all equivalentdevices and apparatus.

We claim:

l. A lighting system comprising:

a. an electrical circuit including therein a plurality of electrically connected, commonly configured universal receivers, each receiver including a cylindrical body formed of a resilient, insulating material, a negative terminal having a terminal strip extending along the inner wall of the receiver, and a positive terminal mounted in concentric relationship with the body of the receiver;

b. an integrated powerpack including a source of electrical energy and an electrical terminal probe electrically coupled with the source and seated in one receiver of the plurality of receivers electrically connecting said circuit with said source of electrical energy; and

. a plurality of integrated miniature lamps, each lamp including a globe and a depending base operatively seated in a selected receiver of the plurality of receivers and electrically coupled with said circuit through the receiver so that electrical energy simultaneously is applied to said plurality of integrated miniature lamps from said source through said probe.

2. The system of claim l, wherein said terminal probe includes a cylindrical negative terminal having an outwardly directed mounting flange and a concentric positive terminal supported within the negative terminal by means including an insulating material whereby the terminal probe may randomly be inserted into a selected receiver of said plurality of receivers for establishing an electrical contact between the negative terminal of the terminal probe and the terminal strip of the selected receiver, and the positive terminal of the terminal probe and the positive terminal of the selected receiver, to complete an electrical circuit between the source and the negative and positive terminals of the plurality of receivers.

3. The combination of claim 2, wherein the system further includes a cap having a truncated frustoconical external surface and a cylindrical internal surface for supporting said receivers in a mannerr such that each receiver is adapted alternately to receive a male connector and a miniature lamp.

4. Thecombination of claim 3 further including a flameshaped cap operatively seated on the globe of each of said lamps, being formedof a resilient material, and including a plurality of longitudinally aligned flutes adapted to facilitate mounting of the cap and to dispel heated air as voltage is applied to said lamps.

' 5. The system of claim 1 wherein each of said lamps further includes a translucent ornamental cap encompassing the globe of each of said miniature lamps.

6. A lighting fixture including:

a. a supporting capV having an external surface including a cylindrical body terminating in a shoulder adapted to support the cap in selected mounting structure, a terminal portion having a truncated frustoconical configuration extending away from the shoulder, and a cylindrical internal surface;

b. a universal female receiver having a cylindrical wall a positive terminal concentrically disposed within the receiver including a terminal post extending through the bottom of said receiver, and a springlike portion concentrically arranged within the receiver and extended in coaxial alignment with the post;

. a miniature lamp seated in said receiver and connected across said terminals; and

. a decorative cap having a plurality of longitudinally directed flutes being formed of a flexible material and having a flame-shaped configuration encompassing the globe of said lamp.

7.A lighting fixture including:

a. a supporting cap having an external surface' including a cylindrical body terminating in a shoulder adapted to support the cap in selected mounting structure, a terminal portion extending away from the shoulder, and a cylindrical internal surface;

b. a universal female receiver of a cuplike configuration having a' cylindrical wall formed of a resilient flexible material and provided with means defining within the wall diametrically opposed, elongated slots and including a negative terminal comprising a conductor strip extended along one longitudinal segment of the wall beyond the opposite ends thereof, and having arcuately deformed seg?l ments coupling said strip to the receiver;

c. a positive terminal concentrically disposed within the receiver including a terminal post extending through the bottom of said receiver, and a springlike portion concentrically arranged within the receiver and extended in coaxial alignment with the post; andd, a miniature lamp seated in said receiver and connected across said terminals.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3760177 *Feb 16, 1972Sep 18, 1973Acla IncLighting device
US3995150 *Jan 9, 1975Nov 30, 1976ACLA, Inc.Lamp apparatus and method of assembly
US6479965Jun 20, 2001Nov 12, 2002Vessel Inc.Autoilluminating rechargeable lamp system
US6819080 *Nov 9, 2002Nov 16, 2004Vessel Inc.Autoilluminating lamp system
US7391182Nov 15, 2004Jun 24, 2008Helen Of Troy LimitedAutoilluminating rechargeable lamp system
US7400112Jul 27, 2006Jul 15, 2008Helen Of Troy LimitedAutoilluminating rechargeable lamp system
US20030146735 *Nov 9, 2002Aug 7, 2003Barbeau Stefane E.Autoilluminating rechargeable lamp system
US20030171690 *Mar 5, 2002Sep 11, 2003Peter MichalosEnhanced electronic nasolacrimal intubation
US20060262525 *Jul 27, 2006Nov 23, 2006Stefane BarbeauAutoilluminating rechargeable lamp system
US20080144310 *Aug 10, 2007Jun 19, 2008Stefane BarbeauRechargeable lighting apparatus
USRE41628Nov 16, 2006Sep 7, 2010Helen Of Troy LimitedAutoilluminating lamp system
WO2005048393A1 *Nov 6, 2003May 26, 2005Vessel, Inc.Autoilluminating rechargeable lamp system
U.S. Classification362/184, 439/602
International ClassificationF21S2/00, F21S8/00, H01R33/90
Cooperative ClassificationF21S2/00, F21W2121/00, H01R33/90
European ClassificationF21S2/00, H01R33/90