US 3651319 A
A display device comprising an envelope of diffuse material enclosing a plurality of individually flashing lamps disposed within a cluster of opaque light barriers which may be the conductive wires leading the the lamps. Flashing of the lamps displays irregular patterns on the envelope which vary randomly in regard to point of origin, distinctness and character of pattern and color.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Norris et a1.
[451 Mar. 21, 1972  DISPLAY DEVICE 221 Filed: Sept. 14, 1970 211 App1.No.: 46,179
 U.S. Cl ..240/10.1  Int. Cl ..F2lp 1/03  Field ofSearch 240/10, 10.1, 10 T, 10 S, 126, 240/101, 10.6, 100, 36; 84/464  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,541,687 6/1925 Cory ..240/l0.l 1,871,073 8/1932 Walker.... 240/101 1,957,763 5/1934 Dupler 240/1011 2,131,934 10/1938 Burchfield ..84/464 2,168,799 8/1939 Korkosz et al. .....240/10.1 UX 2,242,597 5/1941 Quandee ..240/10 T 2,280,684 4/1942 I Bronner, Sr. ..240/10.l
3,035,163 5/1962 Paumgardhen... ..240/10.l
3,283,136 11/1966 Dinkler et al. ....240/l26 X 3,538,323 11/1970 Ziegler ..240/10.1
OTHER PUBLICATIONS Publication: Edmund Scientific Co. Harrington, NJ. Light Boxes 1969, pp. 11.1-11.6
Primary Examiner-Louis J Capozi Attorney-Smith, Michael, Bradford & Gardiner  ABSTRACT A display device comprising an envelope of diffuse material enclosing a plurality of individually flashing lamps disposed 6 Claims, 2 Drawing Figures PATENTEDMAR 21 972 FIG 1 FIGZ RAYMOND H. NOR R18 R I CHAR n H.8RADFOR012 INVENTORv I M mm DISPLAY DEVICE BACKGROUND OF INVENTION Illuminated display device comprising a globe or similar envelope enclosing an array of light sources which are independantly activated to change the color of the illumination have been suggested in such U.S. Pat. Nos. as Hay 1,283,751, issued Nov. 5, 1918 and in Dinkler, et al., 3,283,136 issued Nov. 5, 1918. It has also been known to interpose a light obstructing element between such an array and the diffuse envelope in order to augment the color display with a silhouette which is varied by movement of the light obstructing element. See, for instance, Burchfield US. Pat. No. 2,131,934 issued Oct. 4, 1938.
In the aforementioned prior art, the light sources have been arranged in an array of predetermined formal geometric disposition, as in a straight line or on a common plane, and the indicia or light obstructing element is placed remotely from the array. Hence, while the resultant light patterns have been somewhat random in their recurrance due to the random flashing of the independent light sources, the patterns are confined to relatively few variations as prescribed by the indicia or light obstructing elements and do not vary appreciably in form or significantly in location as a result of the flashing of the individual lamps. The resultant effect is one of frequently recurrent predetermined patterns.
OBJECTS OF THIS INVENTION within the display,
3. light patterns continuously varying in apparent intensity,
4. light patterns continuously varying in configuration,
5. light patterns continuously varying in distinctness of outline,
6. light patterns continuously varying in color,
7. light patterns simultaneously varying in each of the foregoing characteristics wherein the variations involve some gradual periods of change interspersed with abrupt periods of change, and
8. light patterns which may be readily changed to accommodate individual whims of the user.
These, and other self-evident advantages of this invention, will become more evident from a consideration of the ensuing specification in which,
FIG. 1 is a vertical section of a display device constructed in accordance with this invention and FIGS. 2, A, B and C are side views of the device illustrating exemplary light patterns.
Referring initially to FIG. 1, the display device comprises an envelope of light diffusing material, such as glass or plastic, in any form but here illustrated as a globe 1 having an upper opening bordered by an upstanding lip 2. The globe l is supported by a suspension comprising a housing 3 which carries a motor 4 of geared type for imparting slow speed rotation to a depending countershaft 5. A plate 6 including a hub 7 is attached to the countershaft by a set screw 8, and further includes a depending peripheral flange 9 which carries set screws 10 for supporting engagement with the lip 2 of the globe l in conventional fashion. The entire assembly is suspended from an overhead structure by a chain 11 attached to the housing 3. It is obvious that one may, without departing from the concept of this invention, omit the motor assembly and attach the plate 6 directly to the chain 11 where rotation of the device is not desired, and equally obvious that the envelope may be supported from a wall or other vertical surface or inverted and supported on a base.
The essence of this invention involves the disposition within the confines of the globe l of a cluster or entanglement comprising a plurality of lamps, as at 12, interconnected by opaque light obstructing elements such as the wires 13 interconnecting the lamps with a current source, not shown. In the illustrated rotational embodiment, this connection is established through a conventional slip ring 14 and brush l5 assembly and power cord 16.
The cluster or entanglement of wires 13 and lamps 12 may be of the conventional Christmas tree string type in which the lamps are of the individually flashing type wherein the pattern of flashing is random in nature. The cluster is preferably concentrated near the center of the enclosure of the envelope whereby sharp outlines of the wires 13 are avoided in the light patterns created on the surface of the envelope, although considerable lattitude may be exercised by the individual user in the arrangement of the cluster. To assist the user in so arranging the cluster, a skeletal support element, here shown as a wire 17 may be provided. Further individual creativeness may be exercised by supplementing the patterns to be created by the wires with indicia such as an advertising insignia. It may be desireable to place a light obstructing element (not shown) in the form of such insignia near the envelope so that a relatively well defined outline is returned.
Regardless of the particular arrangement created by the user, it is inherent in the nature of the cluster that the lamps are placed in random positions throughout a substantial 3- dimensional area of the envelope, and that their orientation, is equally random in nature. Stated more precisely, random orientation refers to a disposition of individual lamps wherein axes drawn through the respective lamps and their opaque bases are randomly disposed. Hence, each lamp tends to illuminate one portion of the globe to a greater extent than another portion which is more remote from the lamp and/or is shaded by the lamp base. In addition to the aforementioned variation in illumination and shading, variations in light patterns are introduced by distribution of the lamps throughout a surrounding cluster or entanglement of light obstructing elements including the wires 13. By virtue of this distribution,
- portions of the light obstructing elements are disposed in various positions and in random arrangements between the lamps and the envelope surface. Where these obstructing elements lie close to the envelope surface, the outlines created by shading of the surface are relatively distinct in outline and of a relatively dark nature. Conversely stated, where they are more proximate to the lamp, they are relatively indistinct in outline and intensity. Further, the entangled nature of these obstructions brings about an overlapping which in turn is multiplied by the fact that more than one lamp is generally illuminated at one time. Hence, the illumination produced on the envelope surface at any one instant presents variations throughout the surface in respect to light intensity and color depending upon the position, general shading (as by the lamp base), and color of the particular lamp which is activated at that moment, and further variation is introduced by the blending of these efiects when more than one lamp is illuminated. In addition to the variations in illumination occurring over the surface of the envelope at one time, the pattern created by the light obstructing elements varies in regard to time as the flashing of the lamps effectively changes the point of origin of the light, resulting in the aforedescribed variations of pattern in regard to nature of outline, distinctness, darkness. The combination of variations may be abrupt, as where a lamp close to the observed surface is extinguished at the same time that, by chance, a second lamp is activated. These abrupt changes are interspersed with more subtle changes which result upon changes in illumination of lamps located more remotely from the observer and where one lamp is activated prior to the extinguishment of another, thus creating an overlapping or blend in the aforementioned manner. The result is a constant change of moods between subtle changes in blends of colors and indistinct outlines to a harsh or abrupt change of more brilliant illumination and distinctly demarked patterns. The nature or preponderance of moods of the display may be controlled to some extent by distributing the cluster including the lamps throughout a greater area of the enclosure whereby portions lie closer to the envelope surface where a more harsh overall mood is desired, or by favoring one side of the display over the other if it is desirable to display a harsh mood on one side of the envelope and a preponderance of subtle changes in the other. While the number of lamps utilized is at the discretion of the user, the aforedescribed variation in moods is best accomplished with the use of from ten to twenty lamps. The more lamps that are used, the more blending and overlapping that occurs. Hence, the overall mood tends to be more subtle as the number of lamps is increased.
FIGS. 2, A, B and C present representations of a variety of patterns indicative of only a sample of the wide variation which is exhibited by the display device of invention. In FIG. 2 A, a relatively distinctly outlined elongated pattern is evident at 18, which is representative of a pattern created by a wire lying more proximate to that portion of the envelope surface than the balance of the cluster. On the other hand, more indistinct patterns created by more remote light obstructing elementsare evident at such positions as indicated by reference numeral 19 in FIG. 2B. These figures also represent various combinations of colors, such as the blend of green, red and blue symbolized in FIG. 2A and of orange and green in FIG. 28, it being understood that the transitions zones between colored areas comprises a blend of the colors involved.
From the foregoing it is evident that the illuminated display device as described provides a pattern which continuously varies in changing moods of pattern change, nature of pattern, intensity, etc., with a resultant impression of a psychodelic display nature not previously attained. The description is for illustrative purposes only and is not to be construed as limiting the basic inventive concept to the described embodiment. As it might pertain to various modifications and alternative embodiments to that described, the scope of the invention is to be determined by reference to the following claims.
1. A display device comprising a three-dimensional envelope of light diffusing material defining therewithin an enclosure of substantial volume in each of said three dimensions, a cluster occupying a substantial three-dimensional area of said enclosure and comprising a plurality of lamps of the independently flashing type and an entanglement of opaque conductive elements electrically interconnecting said lamps and a power source, said conductive elements comprising wires hav ing sufficient rigidity to be self-sustaining and to support said lamps in a spaced random disposition throughout said cluster, means supporting said cluster in spaced relationship to said envelope, said entangled conductive elements including portions intermingled among said lamps to constitute light barriers disposed between individual lamps and limited random areas distributed over substantially the entire surrounding surfaceof said envelope, said structure defining a device wherein the independent flashing of said lamps illuminates said surface of said envelope from varying points throughout said substantial three-dimensional area to project thereagainst images of differing light barrier portions and thus establish changing light patterns throughout the extent of said envelope, which patterns vary randomly in regards to intensity and character of pattern dependent upon the point of light origin at a particular instant.
2. A display device as set forth in claim 1 wherein said lamps include lamps of various colorations whereby said light patterns additionally vary randomly in regard to color.
3. A display device as set forth in claim 1 including support means, said means including a rotatable member for rotating said envelope.
4. A display device as set forth in claim 1 wherein said lamps and said entanglement of conductive elements occupy substantially the inner two-thirds of the said substantial threedimensional area within said envelope surface. I
5. A display device as set forth in claim 1 wherein said lamps include opaque bases which constitute additional light barriers, the lamps and their bases being positioned so that axes drawn through each lamp and its base are randomly oriented with respect to each other whereby the respective bases shade differing respective portions of said envelope from direct illumination by said lamps.
6. A display device as set forth in claim 1 wherein the number of lamps falls within the range of 10 to 20, the individual flashing resulting in overlapping periods of illumination of different lamps interspersed with abrupt changes between periods of illumination of respective lamps whereby the mood of pattern change varies randomly between subtle and abrupt changes.