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Publication numberUS3624635 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 30, 1971
Filing dateAug 19, 1968
Priority dateAug 19, 1968
Publication numberUS 3624635 A, US 3624635A, US-A-3624635, US3624635 A, US3624635A
InventorsLess Raymond L
Original AssigneeLess Raymond L
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Distress signal
US 3624635 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent lnventor Raymond L. Less 478 Goundry Ave., North Tonawanda, N.Y. 14120 Appl. No. 753,562 Filed Aug. 19, 1968 Patented Nov. 30, 1971 DISTRESS SIGNAL 1 Clalm, 4 Drawing Figs.

U.S. Cl 340/326, 340/371 Int. Cl G081: 7/06, G08b 13/02 Field of Search 340/326, 75, 371, 88; 200/51 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3/1942 Matthews 340/371 2,632,154 3/1953 Ponell 340/371 X 2,942,249 6/1960 Paull 340/326 X 3,142,833 7/1964 Bosley et al 340/371 X 3,457,383 7/1969 Roberts, Jr. et 31.. 200/51 X 2,317,525 4/1943 Finley et al. 340/371 X 1,231,298 6/1917 Reinker 340/88 1,958,028 5/1934 Aymar 340/88 3,176,268 3/1965 Meyer 340/88 Primary Examiner-Stanley M. Urynowicz, Jr. Attorney-Bean & Bean ABSTRACT: A distress signal including electrically operated audible and visual signals for aid, which is adapted to be mounted on the roof or other prominent portion ot'a dwelling and be operated in an emergency by occupant-manipulated switches appropriately placed within the dwelling.

PATENTEU nuvso 197i SHEET 1 OF 2 INVIiN'lIIR. RAYMOND 1.. L E55 62m 445 A Y'TOR/V/Z'YS PATENTED WHOM SHEEI 2 [IF 2 INVENTOR. RAYMOND L. LESS GM *Qm A TTORNEYS nrsrruass SIGNAL Due to the recent increase of molestations by prowlers and burglars in dwellings, there has been created an ever increas ing demand for police protection and devices which will summon aid.

While heretofore special fire and burglar alarms have been devised for business establishments, such devices have been either ineffective, prohibitively expensive or not suitable for use in a dwelling. Thus, in dwellings, aid has normally been solicited by means of telephone or by voice call. Such modes of summoning aid are not always effective, due to the immediacy of the emergency which prevents the searching for a telephone number to call or the distance between dwellings or lateness of the hour, which minimizes the chance of a voice call being heard and responded to.

Additionally, a better mode of summoning aid is required for other emergencies, including fires, wherein not only must aid by obtained from the outside, but other dwelling occupants need be quickly appraised of possible disaster. Another type of emergency which does not permit the summoning of aid in a normal manner is that of illness, such as a heart attack where the individual may only have moments of consciousness during which he can make an effort to contact outside assistance.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention is generally directed towards a novelly constructed distress signal which offers an improved mode of summoning assistance to a dwelling upon the occurrence of an emergency therein. Specifically, the present invention is directed towards a distress signal in the form of a single compact unit, including both an audible and visual signal arranged within a housing of asthetic design, which is adapted to be installed the ridge of a dwelling roof or other prominent location. When the distress signal is actuated, it can be seen or heard from a great distance. Preferably, the audible signal will be adapted to give a high-pitch distinctive sound, which may be characteristic as howling"and.heard over a great radius, and be employed to attract the attention of neighbors or others within the vicinity to the visual signal in the form of a blinking light serving to accurately designate the dwelling in which an emergency exists.

The distress signal may be energized by conventional dwelling electrical power or by any other suitable source of electrical power, such as battery, and be selectively actuated by any one of a plurality of pushbutton operators strategically located in various desired rooms of the dwelling. Also, the distress signal may additionally function as a burglar alarm by providing one or more operators associated with windows or outside doors.

Once actuated by one of the pushbutton operators, the distress signal will function continuously until turned off by a suitable distress signal reset button, which may be conveniently located on or adjacent to the master electrical control panel of the dwelling.

The push button operators may be wall mounted, if desired, and preferably placed at a sufficient elevation to prevent the unauthorized use thereof by children. Rather than having the pushbutton portion of each operator permanently mounted, there may be provided in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention one or more portable pushbutton portions, which are each adapted to be plugged into one or more operator receptacles which are permanently mounted at strategic points throughout the dwelling.

The present invention further anticipates that distress signals made in accordance with the present invention may be used in other building structures, such as business establishments and apartment buildings. When employed to call attention to an emergency condition existing in only one of many apartments, an appropriate indicator light panel suitably mounted in the halls of the apartment building may be provided to pinpoint the apartment needing help.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. I is afragmentary perspective view of a dwelling showing the present invention applied thereto;

FIG. 2 is a vertical sectional view taken through a housing for the visual and audible signals of the present invention showing it mounted on the ridge of a roof;

FIG. 3 is a diagrammatical view of the electrical circuit employed in the practice of the invention; and

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a portable pushbutton, which may be employed to operate the distress signal.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION Now referring to FIG. 1, it will be seen that the distress signal of the present invention is generally designated as I and adapted to be mounted on a prominent portion of a dwelling or other building structure, such as the ridge of a roof 2. Operation of the signal may be initiated by the manual operation of one or more pushbutton operators, which are generally designated as 3a, 3b, 3c, and adapted to be strategically located on walls within one or more rooms, generally designated as 4a, 4b, 4c. If desired, operation may also be initiated by unauthorized operation of one or more window or door frame mounted operators, circuit breaking position. as dwelling front window frame mounted operator 5. A suitable control circuit for distress signal 1, which will be more fully described with reference to FIG. 3, may be housed within a suitable box or enclosure 6 mounted on or adjacent to the central electrical control panel 7 of the dwelling, which is normally disposed in an out-of-the-way place, such as basement, generally designated at 8.

Ofperators 30-30 may be of any suitable design, but pre erably include a wall-mounted casing adapted to slideably support a pushbutton actuator, which when depressed, functions to complete the electrical control circuit of the distress signal. Normally, operators of this type include spring means, not shown, which are adapted to return the pushbutton actuator to its normal inoperative or circuit-breaking position immediately upon release thereof by an operator.

Alternatively, one or more of the operators may be formed in the manner illustrated in FIG. 4, wherein a suitable wallmounting plate 10 is employed to cover electrical contacts, not shown, of the control circuit and is provided with apertures ll, 12 adapted to afford access to the contacts and removably receive projecting contacts l3, 14 carried on an operator housing 15, which additionally serves to slideably support a manually operated pushbutton 16. When contacts 13, 14 are placed in apertures ll, 12, pushbutton 16 may be depressed against the bias of a return spring, not shown, in order to complete the control circuit across contacts I3, 14. Upon release of pushbutton 16 by an operator, the return spring acts to immediately return the pushbutton to its normal inoperative or circuit-breaking position.

The arrangement described with reference to FIG. 4 has a decided advantage in that although wall plates 10 may be mounted in convenient locations, which are readily accessible to small children, unauthorized operation of the distress signal may be prevented by an adults merely removing operating housing 15 from its seated position and retaining it on his person or placing it in a location secure from children.

Now referring particularly to FIG. 2, it will be seen that distress signal 1 includes a visual signal, such as a colored light 20, and an audible signal, such as electrically driven air horn or siren 21. Signals 20, 21 are mounted in a housing which generally includes an open-ended base or roof mounting, generally designated as 22; a signal fixture support, generally designated as 23; and an adapter 24, which may be suitably affixed to or formed integrally with mounting 22 and serves to interconnect fixture support 23 and mounting 22. Adapter 24 is, for purposes of illustration, shown as being screw-threaded to receive corresponding screw threads provided on fixture support 24. However, any other mounting or locking arrangement may be employed, or if desired, adapter 24 may be completely dispensed with and fixture support 23 directly mounted on roof mounting 22.

Roof mounting 22 is shown as being of generally rectangular cross signal configuration and having opposed sidewalls 26, 27 and connecting walls 28, 29, which cooperate to define a siren-receiving cavity or protective enclosure having relatively upper and lower open ends. The lower marginal edges of sidewalls 26, 27 are shown particularly in FIG. 2 as being provided with a pair of downwardly extending integrally formed flanges 30, 31, through which nails or screws 32 are adapted to be driven in order to anchor the mounting to roof 2. The lower ends of connecting sidewalls 28, 29, -which are preferably sold in an unindented condition may be conveniently cut out or trimmed away, as at 33, by a workman immediately prior to installation, so as to insure conformity of the lower marginal edges of sidewalls 28, 29 to the surface of roof 2.

Preferably, one or more of the mounting sidewalls are punched out, as illustrated in the case of side walls 26, 27, to provide openings 34 for the escape of sound from siren 21, which openings are shielded from the elements by louvres 36 formed integrally with such sidewalls. The admission of flying bugs through openings 34 may be effectively prevented by screening 38, which may be suitably affixed to the inside surface of mounting sidewalls 26, 27 as by soldering, adhesives, or machine screws, not shown.

Mounting 22, may be suitably fabricated, such as from thin gauge sheet metal or molded plastic.

Signal fixture support 23, is shown particularly in FIG. 2 as including a generally L-shaped annular ring 40 having a depending flange portion 41, which is threaded to receive adapter 24, and a radially inwardly extending annular flange portion 42, which is adapted to support siren-mounting fixture 43, lighbmounting fixture 44 and light fixture mounting flange 45.

Siren-mounting fixture 43 is shown as being in the form of a rectangular opening topped metal box, such as a conventional electrical junction box, with the back or lower wall thereof punched out, as at 46, to receive siren mounting 47. While for purposes of illustration, siren mounting 47 is shown as being threaded and adapted to be attached to fixture 43 by means of a nut 48, it will be readily apparent that the siren may be otherwise attached, depending on the siren structure employed. Also, one of the sidewalls of fixture 43 may be punched out as at 49, to receive sheathed conductors 50 passing to light fixture 44.

Light fixture mounting flange 45, which may be either in the form of a narrow strip or disc, is centrally apertured as at 51, to receive conductors50, and provided with a plurality of threaded apertures 52 adapted to receive light fixture attaching screws 53. Preferably, flange 45 and fixture 43 are simultaneously attached to flange portion 42 by a plurality of machine screws 54.

Light fixture 44 is shown as including a one-piece casing, which defines a central cavity 56 having sidewalls 57 threaded to receive a translucent light-protecting cover 58, and a depending annularly extending skirt portion 59 adapted to be seated on flange portion 42. A suitable ceramic light socket 60 may be supported within cavity 56in any suitable manner, not shown, and the bottom wall of cavity 56 is apertured, as at 61, to receive conductors 50.

Preferably, annular sealing gaskets 62, 63 are employed to provide weather-tight seals between cover 58 and fixture 44 and between fixture 44 and flange portion 42, respectively.

Conductors 50 and conductors 65 passing to siren 21 maybe passed into the dwelling through any suitable weather seal 66.

Preferably, a sealable opening is provided in the roof immediately adjacent to the distress signal in order to permit a workman or dwelling occupant to readily change light 20 or perform other maintenance on the distress signal when necessary without the need for climbing onto roof 2.

The control signal employed in the practice of the present invention is illustrated diagrammatically in FIG. 3, wherein terminals 70, 71 are connected to a suitable source of electrical power, such as l l-volt house current. To insure operation of the distress signal in the event of power failure, there is provided a reserve power control, indicated generally at 73, which may include a storage battery, not shown. Preferably, control 73 also includes means, not shown, for the purpose of transforming the alternating house current to direct current. Alternatively, suitable rectifying means, not shown, may be provided within the circuit only where necessary, as for instance in series with the solenoid to be described.

More particularly, the circuit includes ,a normally closed manually operated, pushbutton type, reset switch 74, which is preferably mounted in an out-of-the-way place such as enclosure 6 disposed in basement 8; a plurality of normally open switches 75a-75c, which are arranged in parallel and associated with pushbutton operators 30-30, respectively; and a pair of normally open switches 76, 77 adapted to be simultaneously closed upon energization of solenoid 78.

In the event that it is desired to additionally employ the control circuit as an automatic burglar alarm, a normally open switch 79, associated with operator 5, may be arranged in parallel with switches 75a-75c. When employed, switch 79 would be maintained in a normally open position by a closed door or window and include means, such as a spring, not shown, to bias the switch to a circuit-closing position upon unauthorized opening of the door or window with which operator 5 is associated.

By referring to FIG. 3, it will be apparent that upon actuation by a dwelling occupant or any one of the pushbutton operators, its corresponding switch, as for instance switch 75a, is closed whereby a circuit is established between terminals 70, 71 via conductors 80, 81; switch 75a; conductors 82, 83; solenoid 78; and conductors 84, 85 to energize solenoid 78 and close switches 76, 77. Upon closing of switch 76, light 20 and siren 21 are energized by being placed in a circuit established between terminals 70, 71 via conductors 80, 86; switch 76; and conductors 87, 50, 65, 85. Simultaneously therewith, a holding circuit for solenoid 78 is established between terminals 70, 71 via conductor 80; switch 77; conductors 88, 83; solenoid 78; and conductors 84, 85.

Thus, it will be apparent that it is only necessary for a dwelling occupant to momentarily actuate one of the pushbutton operators in order to establish an operating circuit for the signals, which circuit will thereafter continue to function even though the pushbutton operator is released by the occupant which results in the opening of its associated switch. Operation of the signals will continue until an authorized person depresses pushbutton reset switch 74, which functions to interrupt the holding circuit of solenoid 78 which is turn operates to open switch 76, 77

Preferably, the control circuit employed in the practice of the present invention includes a flasher unit, generally indicated as 90 in FIG. 3, for the purpose of increasing the effectiveness of the audible and visual signals. If desired, the control circuit may also be provided with a transformer to permit sirens having other than i 10 -volt ratings to be employed.

While there has been described in detail, a preferred embodiment of the present invention, various modifications thereof will likely occur to those skilled in the art in view of the foregoing description. Accordingly, I wish to be limited only by the scope of the appended claims, wherein:

I claim:

1. In a family dwelling building structure having interior wall surfaces and a roof presenting a ridge, a distress signal system for summoning outside aid in the case of emergency, which system includes an electrically operated audible signalproducing means; an electrically operable visual signalproducing means; and an electrical control circuit for said signal-producing means, said circuit including at least one manually operable circuit-closing switch disposed one of said interior wall surfaces of said building structure, the improvement comprising: a housing adapted to mount both of said signal-producing means on said ridge of the building structure, said housing including mounting means and supporting means, said mounting means including wall means defining a cavity, said wall means adjacent the lower end of said cavity being shaped to straddle and rest upon'said ridge of the building structure, said wall means adjacent the upper end of said cavity being adapted to position said supporting means, said wall means includes a pair of spaced sidewalls and a pair of joining sidewalls, said facing sidewalls having depending flanges disposed adjacent the lower marginal edges thereof for attaching said housing on said ridge of the building structure, and at least one of said sidewalls having a through opening to permit the escape of sound from said cavity, said supporting means being positioned at the upper end of said cavity to suspend said audible signal producing means within said cavity and position said visual signal producing means in exposed condition above said cavity, said supporting means includes a connecting flange portion joining said supporting means to said walls and an integrally fonned supporting flange portion extending radially inwardly of said connecting flange portion said visual signal producing means is an electric light, and there is further provided a first fixture for mounting said audible signal producing means disposed relatively below said supporting flange portion a mounting flange disposed above said supporting flange portion a second fixture for mounting said light disposed relatively above said mounting flange and said supporting flange portion and means to simultaneously attach said mounting flange and said first fixture to said supporting flange portion and said second fixture includes a casing having a depending rim portion seated on said supporting flange portion and defining an upwardly open light-mounting cavity, a socket for said light mounted on said casing within said light cavity, a light-transmitting cover for said light mounted on said casing, and means exposable upon removal of said cover from said casing to attach said casing to said mounting flange.

l t I! I III

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3798375 *Jul 12, 1972Mar 19, 1974Delisle GSilent alarm system and means for directing airborne personnel to emergency site
US3863236 *Oct 31, 1972Jan 28, 1975Clardy Lewis LWall mounted selectively controlled alarm
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U.S. Classification340/326, 340/815.69
International ClassificationG08B7/06, G08B7/00
Cooperative ClassificationG08B7/06
European ClassificationG08B7/06