US 3662381 A
The present invention has generally reference to lighting devices and to objects derived therefrom.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [151 3,662,38 1 Steffens [4 1 May 9, 1972  LIGHTING DEVICES References Cited  Inventor: Eric Steffens, 11 Victoria Road, Ardsley, UNITED STATES PATENTS 10502 3,174,144 3/1965 ONeill ..340/378.1 22 Filed: June 8, 1970 2,080,259 5/1937 Frei, Jr. ..340/383 2,227,861 1/1941 Petrone ..340/380  Appl. No.2 44,035 2,501,160 3/1950 Clarke ..340/38O v Primary Eraminer-Richard Murray  US. Cl ..340/378, 340/380, 240/10 Almmey Leon Strauss  InLCl. ..G08b5/00 5s FieldofSearch...... ....340/366,378, 380, 383; ABSTRACT The present invention has generally reference to lighting devices and to objects derived therefrom.
12 Claims, 9 Drawing Figures PATENTEDHAY 9 I972 SHLET 3 UF 3 INVENTOR Ef/C .S/EFfiEA/S LIGHTING DEVICES The invention specifically deals with light bodies, their line connections to an energy or power source and carrier mass maintaining said bodies in embedded condition thereon. The
novel lighting device includes further the production of reflecting surfaces or areas within the carrier mass, preferably at locations thereof in the proximity of the light bodies or bulbs and like light media.
The carrier mass may also enclose other lighting intensifying means in combination with light bulbs, such as neon lights, to bring about colored or other environmental effects to and through the transparent or translucent carrier and like plastic mass therewithout, which mass may assume any desirable configuration, such as spheric, hemispheric and other shapesv of special form or design of objects, specifically of a utilitarian object, such as a bottle, and like representations. Due to the specific employment of neon light bulbs or tubes which are thus protected against impact and like extraneous damage the resultant device may be kept in constant use and in accorded a long duration of life.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The invention deals with the manufacture of lighting devices capable of transmitting light of the same or of various intensities in a given sequence.
Such devices may be subjected for their manufacture to several procedural steps which include the embedment of light producing and/or transmitting means in a resinous mass or substance which initially may be in a fluid or liquid state and which may be then allowed to set and coagulate firstto a semiplastic and further to a solid state of mass having transparent or translucent property, so that the product derived therefrom forms a substantially homogeneous mass or object, which is resistant to impact or other undesirable effects, is impervious to acid and other liquid substances and requires little or no maintenance.
The carrier material or mass may further be composed of a plurality of various materials which are compatible with each other to make up a unique and unitary carrier or object having incorporated therein light emitting sources, such as neon tubes or bulbs.
It is therefore one of the primary objects of the invention to provide means leading to a simplified and highly economical method of manufacturing lighting unit with which are intimately associated one or more light sources of the same or different types characterized by great efficiency and uniqueness in visual effects.
It is another object of the present invention to provide means conductive to highly economical visual lighting effects through reflecting and/or refracting areas from within a plastic mass in which light sources are firmly embedded and arranged at predetermined locations thereof, through which magnified, as well as if desired, distorted light effects may be attained.
Yet a further object of the invention is the provision of means contributing to predetermined fan-shaped reflecting or mirror-like areas within a carrier body of the aforesaid type which hermetically encloses a plurality of light sources, such as neon tubes and the like.
It is still another object of the present invention to provide means facilitating visual as well as illusionary light effects in motion and in space, these lights effects being directed in various directions within a transparent or translucent mass for perception therewithout.
Still a further object of the invention resides in the provision of means resulting in additional visual experiences in mixed lighting effects by blinking, flickering or continuous background fonning light impressions and conditions next to the aforesaid light emitting neon tubes and similar sources.
Yet another object of the invention is to provide means effectuating variegated light appearances in and through a plastic, especially in a preformed thermoplastic mass for perception by an observer, thereby to enhance attraction, fascinating actions, unusual apparitions, etc., which may be employed to intensity sales appeal and the like in stores and other enclosures.
These and other objects of the invention ensue from'the following detailed description, which has reference to the attached drawings, the latter being exemplary and explanatory of the principles of the invention and being in-no way restrictive thereof.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a lighting or lamp device pursuant to the invention, the base of the device being broken open to expose to view certain operative parts accommodated therein.
FIG. 2 illustrates, in perspective a somewhat different form of a lighting device embodying the invention with parts installed on a holder.
FIG. 3 shows a lighting device with neon tubes within a hemispheric mass and electrical connections therefor associated with a printed circuit located in the lower part of the device, a wall portion of the same being removed.
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a platecarrier (seen toward the top thereof) with neon tubes mounted thereon and provided with a printed circuit.
FIG. 5 shows a wiring diagram employable in the invention.
FIG. 6 is a partial wiring diagram'for battery operation of the lighting device according to the invention.
FIGS. 7'and 8 are further embodiments of the invention employing a circuitry seen in FIG. 9.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION disclosed in FIGS. 1 and 3 two different embodiments of the invention. As seen in FIG. 1 the lighting device 10 consists of an upper spherical mass 12 of resinous, especially thermoplastic transparent material and a base member 10a of tubular formation in which the operable elements of an electric circuit 16 (FIG. 5) are fitted, to which reference will be made later on.
Fig. 3 illustrates a semi-spherical masslZa which rests on a correspondingly shaped lower housing or base member 56 which includes a first base or mounting plate or board 58 and spaced therefrom an upper or second board 50, which carries on its upper surface a printed electric circuit 50a (FIG. 4) and operable electrical components connected to said circuit on the other or underface of said board.
Further details of said embodiments ensue from the disclosure hereinafter set forth.
Referring now more specificallyto FIG. 1 there is depicted in perspectivea lighting or lamp device 10 constructed in accordancewith the invention. The lamp base 10a is generally cylindrical in shape, which supports the spherically shaped transparent and light conducting mass. or carrier 12. In this mass are placed a plurality of light sources 13, for example, neon tubes or bulbs with their respective lead wires or conductors 14, which latter are not provided withan insulation cover, are bare and are also embedded in and held substantially hermetically enclosed within the'carrier mass. The base may be made of a suitable plastic material or metal. of any suitable color and shape, as shownin FIG. 1, which is merely illustrative A conventional plug and wire assembly 15 has access through an aperture 11 to the base member 10a to establish a power supply to electric circuit means accommodated in the base 10a.
This base member 10a houses electric circuit means 16 (FIG. 5) utilized-to actuate aplurality of neon tubes 13 supported by and located in the carrier mass 12. Thehollow base member 10a is closed at its lower end by means of an electric insulating protective plate 17, which is circular to conformto the inner wall configuration of base 10a. A vertically extending elongated cylindrical stem element 18 preferably threaded at each end, is centrally located within the base 10a and rigidly and threadedly connects with protective plate 17 by means of a nut 20 or other fastening means engaged on threaded stem 18. A pair of lamp sockets 22-22a are also mounted on and secured to the central stem 18 about midway thereof at 19. Such sockets are adapted to receive suitable incandescent light sources or lamps 24, 24a which may be colored (e.g. by red and blue envelopes). A rheostat or variable resistor element 26 is mounted on plate 17 and is provided with an adjustment knob 26a. accessible to an operator from the bottom of the lamp device 10.
. Before discussing one of many possible methods of manufacturing the device of the present invention, it appears to be appropriate to describe at first the electronic circuitry which actuates the neon tubes 13 or like light emitting sources and the mentioned arrangement of the incandescent lamps 24, 244. FIG. illustrates a wiring diagram of an electronic circuit which will energize a plurality of mass-embedded neon lights 13, as well as incandescent lamps 24, 24a in either a predetermined sequential or random pattern, as desired. A suitable hand switch element 28 is placed in a power supply line 30 to operate the circuit, to which a conventional full wave rectifying diode bridge 32 is connected. Such a bridge with diodes D1, D2, D3, and D4 converts AC current supplied from the mains or power line 30 to a current of rectified DC voltage suitable for actuating he neon tubes 13. A smoothing filter capacitor 33 is placed across the DC output of the bridge rectifier 32 to eliminate undesirable ripple and like effects. DC current derived from the bridge rectifier 32 is supplied via one terminal 31 through fuse 34 to one side of the aforementioned variable resistor or rheostat 26 having a control knob 26a with wiper arm 36 for controlling and adjusting the resistance thereof. The variable resistor 26 is further connected via conductor 35 to a plurality of circuits 38 connected in parallel and containing neon bulbs 13. Each parallel-energizing neon bulb circuit 38 is provided with a time delay circuit 39 for controlling the rate of electric current flow at which the neon tubes or bulbs 13 are periodically flashed or energized. Variable resistor 26 in this mode of execution is connected through parallel connection of resistor 40 and capacitor 42 to one side of each neon tube 13. The other side of neon tubes or bulbs 13 is connected through a common current limiting resistor 44 to the other DC rectified supply tenninal 31a thereby completing the electrical circuit.
As is well apparent from FIG. 5, the current flows to the individual capacitors 42 to each of which is connected in parallel a resistor 40. The respective resistor causes each capacitor to build up an electric charge, then discharges it and recycling occurs thereafter. This charge passesthrough the respective neon bulb 13, flashes the same and then goes to the ground through ballast resistor 44, which limits the current flow through each bulb.
The value of each resistor 40 and capacitor 42 may be so chosen as to provide a different delay circuit time constant which causes neon bulbs 13 to be blinked on or be energized at different flash and time rates. A suitable neon bulb which may be utilized in the present invention is, e.g., V4 watt GE type NE-ZUT neon bulb. Variable resistor element 26 may be adjusted to vary the blinking rate of the neon bulbs 13 to achieve any desired light effects. Incandescent lamps 24 and 24a are directly connected across the input AC power line at 25, 25a and can be continuously energized or self-actuating to blink in a manner well known in the art. When desired, the lighting device of the present invention may constitute a selfcontained unit with battery sources 46 and 48 (FIG. 6) supplying power to the aforementioned delay circuits and bulbs with a multi-vibrator (known per se) circuit (not shown) for actuating the incandescent lamps 24, 24a.
With the above description of the electrical circuitry for actuating neon bulbs 13 completed, a description of the manufacturing process will now be presented.
With particular reference to FIG. 4, acircuit board or plate 50 which may be transparent is utilized to carry the electrical elements (resistors, capacitors, etc.) thereon with conventional plating or known printing techniques employed for achieving the desired electrical connections therebetween. Bare and uninsulated fine wires 14 which may be of copper or other suitable relatively stiff electro-conductive material connect the neon bulbs 13 to respective electrical connection points in the aforesaid circuit (FIG. 5). Due to the nature of the mass 12 or carrier medium insulation is not required for the lead wires or conductors 14. The capacitative and resistive elements 40 and 42 are mounted in upright (FIG. 1 and 2) or in any other suitable (see FIG. 3) position'and accommodated below the mounting board 50 between respective electrical contact points to achieve the above-mentioned electrical connections for the circuit branches energizing and actuating the neon bulbs 13, as disclosed in FIG. 5.
After the wire harness assembly 52 consisting of the printed circuit including the diode bridge 32, upright wires 14 and neon bulbs 13, as well as of the associated resistive and capacitive elements 40, 42 are installed and with the wires 14 properly connected, as seen in FIG. 4, a heat-resistance mold will first be prepared. This heat-resistance mold of metal, plaster, glass, rubber or the like is employed for this purpose and is filled with a liquid thermoplastic mass and the electronic harness assembly 52 is placed or dipped into the liquid mass of the mold which may be spherical in shape to produce the above shown spherical carrier form 12 (FIG. 1). The carrier material may also be poured or injected over the bulbs, wires and harness assembly into the carrier mold.
As the thermoplastic material or carrier medium cools down either naturally or by rapid refrigeration, it coagulates during the change from a fluid to a solid phase. During this stage a plurality of fissures or fractures may be formed in the areas around the connections between each wire and a respective neon bulb due to their differing heat coefficients. Such fractures result from the changing degrees of contraction and expansion to cause certain areas of the carrier or mass to burst and break in a predetermined fashion, e.g. in fan-shaped or leaf-shaped formations 53. The fractures are constituted in the adjacent mass areas around these connections. These areas may even merge into each other to form a generally irregular or a kind of variously fan-shaped fissures or fractures which serve as light-reflecting and diffusing surfaces or facets 53 within the thermoplastic mass. Such an effect may also be achieved by controlling the reduction of temperature of the liquid thermoplastic material at different temperatures to enhance such fissure or fracture conformations.
As thermoplastic material was found to be suitable Y polyester, epoxy, and methyl methacrylate. It is understood that also any suitable colored thermoplastic material may be employed and further, layers of such materials may be provided with difierent colors to enhance visual effect variations presented by the lighting device of the present invention. When mass coagulation occurs by rapid refrigeration, the neon bulbs 13 are frozen permanently into respective positions and are hermetically embedded in the mass 12. After the manufactured molded device which includes the embedded electronics, bare wires and neon tubes or bulbs, is removed from the mold, it is attached, e.g. to the top of a stem 18 by means of threaded connection 54, thereby firmly holding the carrier and ensconced electronics to and within base assembly 10a.
As an advantage of the present invention, the thermoplastic mass itself serves as an insulating medium between bare wires 14, thereby obviating the need for conventional insulation cover means. The lamp or light display unit is substantially self-contained and requires practically no maintenance. Suitable neon bulbs having a life expectancy of 25,000 to 50,000 hours under constant use may be utilized. In all probability with such bulbs the light display unit will outlive its usefulness.
The carrier or mass 12 can be cast in almost any form utilizingsimultaneously several different types of material to provide a wide variety of visual effects. The unit may be fabricated in mass production with the aforesaid components and materials and is relatively inexpensive to manufacture.
The visual expressions and light effects achieved with the present invention are that of light in motion and depth due to the effectiveness of different time constants actuating the respective neon tubes or bulbs. In addition, when the circuit board 50 is preferably made of transparent plastic material incandescent light sources 24, 24a located therebelow provide still additional visual background features and aspects because of the reflection and/or refraction of such light by said fan-like reflecting facets or surfaces 53 formed strictly within the mass. The lead wires or conductors l4 themselves provide around them and therealong light conducting ducts or cannulas 53a, which carry and conduct interruptedly especially colored light from the colored incandescent lamps 24, 24a or 24c (FIG. 3) along the wires to enhance still other sensory sights.
It may be appreciated that such a novel display device may find wide application for use in connection with Christmas tree ornamentations, advertising displays, wall plaques, sign boards, kinetic art objects, etc. to achieve generally psychedelic light effects. Furthermore, additional visual appearances, apparitions and the like may be subjected to a certain magnification on the surface of the plastic mass and thus enhanced lead to unique results of unusually fascinating, attractive and remarkable visual effects.
Although the principles of the present invention have been described with particular reference to a spherically shaped carrier mass 12, other shapes or configurations may be, of course, produced. For instance, and as more particularly seen in FIG. 3, a hemispherical shape may be imparted to the mass 12a which corresponds to the hemispherical housing or base member 56 which is hollow for compactly housing all abovenamed electrical components, but the bare conductors l4 and their respective neon tubes or light emitting bodies 13, which are embedded in the mass 12a as shown in FIG. 3. Incandescent light source 240 is then located and mounted on a support plate 58 which serves as the end of the spherical or domeshaped device 56.
It may be appreciated that a different visual effect is often presented depending upon the location of the viewer. Such different effects result from the irregular shape of the facets formed within the mass. It should further be noted that fractures resulting in said facets 53 terminate remote from the outer surface of the carrier mass, thereby not detracting from the generally attractive appearance of the display device embodying the invention.
Referring now specifically to FIG. 7 there is disclosed a glass or like bottle 60 mounted on a casing or base 61. Bottle 60, in this instance, forms a mold or matrix into which is poured a suitable colored thermoplastic material 62 (e.g. epoxy resin) within which are accommodated, as shown, neon glow bulbs or lamps 63. Lamp 64 extends out of said mass 62 beyond its level 65, only its blank or non-insulated wires 66, 67 are preferably embedded or encapsulated in said thermoplastic material and thus insulated from each other and from the remaining conductors of lamps 63.
These neon glow lamps are all connected to an alternating relay circuit 80 disposed in hollow base 61 to which reference will be made later on.
It will be here noted, that lamps 63, 64 will be actuated through said circuit in any desired sequence in order to obtain the effects of optical illusion or that said lamps are flickering from the bottom of the bottle in upward direction thereby to imitate operation of sparkling condition or impressions for advertising, publicity and other purposes.
It is to be mentioned that in this example the plastic mass 62 may be differently colored than the glass or the material of the bottle 60 which forms in this case the mold to which said mass conforms and which remains together with the mass as a final product or item. It is further contemplated that still another thermoplastic body may be placed beyond mass level 65 if desired.
FIG. 8 shows a light arrangement 70 of a neon glow lamp embedded in a suitably shaped (e.g. round) transparent or opaque resinous carrier mass 72. This mass may also assume the known shape of a Christmas tree light, may contain a fluorescent substance activated by the neon glow lamp for continuous effects, etc. and may further enclose configurations or designs having reference to Christmas decoration and like environment In the present instance insulated wires 73, 74 are connected to a circuit and power source (see FIG. 9) and are connected to cooperating plug-socket 75, 76 for carrying ball-shaped mass 72 which encloses neon glow lamp 71. Socket 76 may be removed from plug 75 in a well known manner, mass 72 constituting a cold Christmas light carrier which is not affected by the action of flickering neon glow bulbs 71.
It is to be noted that the lighting arrangement 70 can be employed to produce a cold light in a wiring diagram of Christmas trees and other objects for use in advertisement, in signal appliances, in commercial and decoration lighting arrangements, as well as apparatus for producing special and environmental lighting effects. Flickering and similar lighting effects and brightness thereof can be controlled and the same will not in any way affect any heating of the enveloping solid and preferably clear, resinous carrier mass 72, as it is well understood.
The lighting arrangement indicated in FIG. 7 is connected to a wiring system accommodated in base 61, said wiring system being activated through the employment of an electric circuit 80 as depicted in greater detail in FIG. 9.
In the wiring diagram this circuit 80 is connected to an AC source 80a with which is connected via switch 81 a transformer Y whose secondary windings 82, 82a furnish DC current to terminals 83, 84 via respective pairs of diodes D5, D6 and D7, D8. Resistor elements and capacitors 85, 86 are in series with said terminals 83, 84.
The circuit further includes, besides this power supply section, a relay section and further a pulse generator section about to be described.
The relay section contains coil 88 with terminals 87, 89 which are connected to the positive output of DC current of rectifier A and the DC negative input of rectifier B, respectively. The relay section proper 90 has terminals 91, 92 connected to relay contact blades 94, for actuating alternately respective neon light bulb systems L1, L2 in the following manner.
If coil 88 becomes energized, relay contacts will be actuated against their spring actions from their normal positions to positions 94a 95a, respectively, whereby the series of neon lights of system L1 will be activated via alternating current source 800, whereas pulse generator system PG will charge capacitor 100. As soon as the current flow through coil 88 is, however, interrupted relay contacts 94, 95 will assume positions 94b, 95b so that current flow through the series of neon light bulbs of system L1 will be interrupted and current flow through neon light bulb system [.2 will be established. In this position of contact blades 94, 95 the pulse generator PG will be operated. In this latter circuit are included neon bulbs 96, 97 which act like a switch for capacitor causing it to charge, discharge and recycle.
The speed of the pulse is controlled by the value of the capacitor 100 and by the resistor 98 and variable resistor 99, which are wired in series. If the value of the capacitor 100 is increased the pulse will slow down and vice-versa, if it is decreased the pulse will speed up. The variable resistor 99 is employed to likewise slow down the pulse if its resistance is increased and vice-versa.
The operation of the circuit will now be clearly understood. If current flows through the closed contact 94 at 940 to the pulse generator PG this causes capacitor 100 to discharge. The current from capacitor 100 flows through the neon bulbs 96, 97 to ground at terminal 84, which is the negative side of rectifier part B. When capacitor 100 thus discharges, it immediately begins to recharge because of the characteristics of the neon bulbs 96, 97. Thesebulbs light up from the first pulse of current from capacitor 100. After this current passes through bulbs 96, 97, they leave a negative potential which This cycle continues as long as power is supplied to circuit 80 from power source 80a via switch 81. Variable resistor 99 allows the speed to be adjusted while circuit 80 is in operation.
It is to be remarked that the current from AC source is switched by contact 95 between contact points 95a and 95b at approximately 2 and 4 cycles per second to light system L1,
L2 which may each comprise any number of neon bulbs each equipped with a ballast resistor to limit the current. Light systems L1, L2 are disposed to produce a predetermined optical illusion as may be required in some cases.
The aforesaid and other modifications of the invention are covered by the latter in its broader aspects and the invention is not considered to be limited to the particular embodiments herein shown and described. Departures of any sort may be had without deviating from the principle of the invention and without sacrificing its chief advantages.
What I claim is:
l. A lighting device comprising a thermoplastic mass of predetermined configuration, a plurality of first light emitting sources of the neon tube type hermetically embedded in said mass, lead wires extending from said sources, respectively to without said mass, respective means connected to said wires to energize said sources within said mass in a predetermined sequence, and broken areas integral with and located within said mass in the proximity of said light emitting sources to constitute fan-shaped mirroring formations at said sources.
2. A light display device comprising, in combination, a mass of preshaped resinous material, one or more light emitting bodies spaced from each other and substantially hermetically encased in said material, bare conductors leading from each of said bodies through said mass therewithout and electrically insulated by the latter, circuit means including a plurality of time delay means controlling the rate of flow of electric current to said conductors of said bodies, respectively, and connected to an electric current supply source, incandescent colored lamp means switched to said circuit means for irradiating at least a portion of said mass in alternate relation to light effects emitted by said bodies, and light rays reflecting facet means forming part of said mass and embedded therein remote from the surface of said mass and coacting with the light effects of said light emitting bodies and of said colored lamp means.
3. A device according to claim 2, wherein said reflecting means are located in said mass in the proximity of said light emitting bodies, the colors of said lamp means being different from each other and contrasting with those of said bodies.
4. A device according to claim 2, wherein said bare conductors are surrounded in said mass by respective capillary ducts along which light rays are perceivable which emanate from said light emitting bodies and said lamp means.
5. A device according to claim 2, said plurality of time delay means being connected to one side of said circuit means, a mounting board carrying on one face said light emitting bodies including their conductors and supporting on the opposite face the remainder of said circuit means including said time delay means and said incandescent lamp means which are joined to the other side of said circuit means, and a hollow support for said mass, said mounting board forming a partition between said preshaped mass and said support.
6. A device according to claim 2, including a variable resistance element connected via said circuit means to said plurality of time delay means for simultaneously changing the periodic energization of said light bodies.
7. A device according to claim 2, in which said bare conductors form li ht conducting cannulas within said mass.
8. A disp ay device having lighting means and a hollow base for accommodating therein means forming an electric circuitry to operate said lighting means; comprising a substantially transparent upright receptacle forming a mold, a translucent resinous mass of predetermined color filling at least partly said mold, said lighting means being neon glow bulbs arranged in said mass and having respective conductors insulated by said mass, said conductors being connected to said circuitry in said base, and actuatable means forming part of said circuitry to operate said lighting means in predetermined sequence and fashion.
9. A display device according to claim 8, said lighting means forming a series of neon glow bulbs of which some are operated at times different than others to bring about differing lighting effects from within said receptacle for perception therewithout.
10. In a display device for producing light effects, the combination of a thermoplastic body, with a neon glow light source hermetically embedded within said thermoplastic, body, insulation-bare conductors leading spaced from each other from the terminals of said neon glow light source through said body, and light conducting means forming ducts within said body and structured for accommodating said conductors and for guiding rays of light from said light source along the walls of said ducts.
11. In a display device according to claim 10, wherein said neon glow light source is located completely heat-insulated in said body, enclosing further a fluorescent and like substance to enhance the effects of said light source.
12. In a lighting device according to claim 10, including one or more facet portions formed in and integrally with said body, which constitute fan-shaped mirroring formations to enhance the lighting effect of said light source.