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Publication numberUS3694645 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 26, 1972
Filing dateOct 5, 1970
Priority dateOct 5, 1970
Publication numberUS 3694645 A, US 3694645A, US-A-3694645, US3694645 A, US3694645A
InventorsMalcolm H Brantz
Original AssigneeMalcolm H Brantz
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Kinetic display
US 3694645 A
An illuminated display includes a housing with a front wall through which light can pass. The housing behind the wall is divided into a number of compartments. A wheel having an array of light sources thereon is rotatable in the housing on an axis generally perpendicular to the wall and when it is rotated, different light sources are continually brought opposite various compartments in the housing so that constantly changing light patterns are projected onto the housing front wall.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

EJmte States Patent 1 1 3,694,645 Brantz 1 Sept. 26, 1972 [54] KINETIC DISPLAY 1,445,977 2/ 1923 Shephard ..240/ 10.1 X [72 Inventor: Malcolm H. Brantz, 130 Lucerne 1,687,106 10/1928 Rae ..40/130 F X St" Del-Chester #3 Mass 0212 3,283,136 1 1/1966 Dmkler et al ..240/l() [22] Filed: 1970 Primary Examiner-Louis R. Prince {21] App]. No.: 77,804 Assistarzt ExaminerDaniel M. Yasich Attorney-Cesari and McKenna [52] US. Cl ..240/l0.l, 40/106531, 402/;Z28CIi), ABSTRACT [51 Int. Cl. ..G09f 11/02 An illuminated display includes a housing with a front 1 Field 01 l' h---240/l l, 40/130 R, 1 wall through which light can pass. The housing behind 272/8 D the wall is divided into a number of compartments. A wheel having an array of light sources thereon is 156] References C'ted rotatable in the housing on an axis generally perpen- UNITED STATES PATENTS dicular to the wall and when it is rotated, different light sources are continually brought opposite various Laroche X compartments in the housing so that constantly hang- 1,904,901 4/ 1933 Lawrence "240/191 X ing light patterns are projected onto the housing front 1,800,054 4/1931 Craig ..240/l0.1 walL 1,593,419 7/1926 Bielecki ..240/10.1 X 1,918,123 7/1933 Newman ..240/l0.1 7 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures PATENTcnzrzs me I I 3.694.645

I L Q 380 3 38 VENTOR MALCOLM BRANTZ TTORNEYS KINETIC DISPLAY BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to an illuminated display. It relates more particularly to a display of this type which produces colored patterns whose color and design constantly change in a random fashion.

Kinetic display devices have wide application for attracting potential customers attention to store windows, shelf displays and the like. There are various displays of this general type which are currently in use. Some of these employ rotating colored discs, flashing lights, and other kinetic elements to attract the eye. Many of them are quite complex and expensive for the intended application. On the other hand, other less costly display devices do not produce the random design variations and color patterns which most readily attract and hold the observers attention.

Accordingly, this invention aims to provide an illuminated display which produces a very wide variety of constantly changing, random-colored patterns.

Another object of the invention is to provide illuminated display apparatus which is relatively easy and inexpensive to make.

Yet another object of the invention is to provide illuminated display apparatus which produces many different patterns with no recognizable repetition thereof.

Still another object of the invention is to provide an illuminated display whose pattern includes color shading and mixed colors during different operating periods.

A further object of the invention is to provide an illuminated display which is simple in nature, yet produces a lighting effect for the observer which is very complex.

Other objects of the invention will in part be obvious and will in part appear hereinafter.

The invention accordingly comprises the features of construction, combination of elements and arrangement of parts which will be exemplified in the construction hereinafter set forth, and the scope of the invention will be indicated in the claims.

In general, the present display comprises a box-like housing having a translucent front wall. A multiplicity of dividing walls are arranged inside the housing generally perpendicular to the translucent wall thereof. The dividing walls extend in various directions for various distances so as to create within the housing an array of compartments having different shapes and sizes.

A wheel is rotatively supported within the housing about an axis generally perpendicular to the translucent housing wall. This wheel also has a number of dividing walls which project outward toward the walls within the housing. These dividing walls also define a number of odd-shaped compartments on the front face of the wheel.

Different colored lights are mounted on the wheel so that there is at least one light in each compartment. The lights are all connected by way of sliding contacts to an external power supply. The wheel is rotated by means of a conventional electric motor mounted on the housing.

When the lights are energized and the wheel is rotated, a constantly changing color pattern is projected onto the translucent wall of the housing. More particularly, different colored light fills each compartment on the wheel. This light is projected into the opposing compartments in the housing and appears on those areas of the translucent housing wall bounded by the latter compartments.

The wheel is constantly rotating so that the wheel compartments are continually brought opposite different compartments in the housing. Therefore, the light projected into a particular housing compartment is constantly changing and may, in fact, comprise a plurality of colors, depending upon the alignment of the two sets of dividing walls.

The height of the dividing walls also contributes substantially to the variety of color patterns obtainable from the present display. This is because the walls produce a shadow effect which varies the intensity of the colored light projected through the translucent wall from the various housing compartments. In other words, as the orientation of the wheel relative to the housing changes, the angles of incidence on the various housing compartment walls of the light emanating from a particular bulb on the wheel continually change. Consequently, the amount of light reflected from these walls through the translucent wall changes correspondingly, thereby producing constantly changing gradations in color, intensity and hue.

Even though the present display is constructed of simple, relatively inexpensive parts, it produces a kinetic display which is characterized by a vast range of color designs which constantly change in a random way. Thus as a practical matter, the observer never sees the same design more than once. For this reason, when the display is placed in a store window or on a counter, it is able to attract and hold the attention of even the most casual observer. Consequently, it can function as a valuable advertising device as well as an attractive piece of kinetic art.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING For a fuller understanding of the nature and objects of the invention, reference should be had to the following detailed description taken in connection with the accompanying drawing, in which:

FIG. 1 is an isometric view of an illuminated display embodying the principles of my invention;

FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view showing the FIG. 1 display in greater detail;

FIG. 3 is a side elevational view of the display with parts broken away; and

FIG. 3A is an isometric view on a larger scale of the sliding contacts used in the FIG. 1 display.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring to FIG. 1 of the drawing, the elements of my display are contained in a box-like housing 10 having an enlarged base 12 for stability. The walls of housing 10 are opaque except for the front wall 14 which consists of a translucent sheet of glass or plastic or frosted glass. The illuminated display shown generally at 16 which is produced by the subject apparatus is visible through translucent wall 14.

This display comprises a kinetic portion indicated generally at 16a and a static portion shown generally at 16b. In the illustrative embodiment of my invention, the kinetic portion of the display encompasses a circular area in the middle of wall 14 while the static portion of the display fills the remaining area of the wall 14 surrounding that circular area. 1

As suggested in FIG. 1, the static display portion 16 consists of angular areas of various sizes, shapes and colors, while the kinetic portion 160 is comprised of rounded areas which constantly change in size and shape as well as in color. The arrangement for generating these static and changing color areas will be described presently.

Turning now to FIGS. 2 and 3, housing contains a multitude of dividing walls 22 arranged generally perpendicular to the translucent housing wall 14. Walls 22 are of varying length and extend in various directions so as to divide the interior of housing 10 into a multiplicity of odd-shaped compartments 24. As best seen in FIG. 3, the wall 22 portions lying within a central circular area 26 extend back from housing wall 14 a distance of only about half the depth of housing 10. On the other hand, those walls 22 portions lying outside area 26 extend the full depth of the housing. In other words, the dividing walls within circular areas 26 are recessed into the back of housing 10.

Still referring to FIGS. 2 and 3, a wheel shown generally at 28 fits within this recessed circular area 26. Wheel 28 comprises a flat disc 32 whose diameter is slightly less than the diameter of area 26 in housing 10. Several dividing walls 34 extend out generally perpendicular to disc 32 for av distance slightly less than the depth of the recessed area 26. Walls 34 are also of varying lengths and extend in various directions so that they define a number of compartments 36 on the face of the wheel. The compartments 36 toward the center of the wheel are fully enclosed, while those at the edge of the wheel are open-sided.

Preferably, but not essentially, walls 34 on wheel 28 have the same arrangement as the walls 22 within recessed area 26 in housing 10. Consequently when the wheel is in place as shown in FIG. 3 and oriented at a particular angle relative to the housing, the compartments 36 are all in register with the compartments 24 in the housing. I have found that this arrangement produces an optimum number of color and design variations.

Housing 10 has a rear wall 100, shown in FIG. 3 and partially in FIG. 2 covering the back of the housing outside area 26. Consequently, the dividers 22 outside area 26 are normally not visible from the rear of the display device- Wheel 28 is connected at its axis to the shaft 380 of a small electric motor 38. Motor 38 and the attached wheel 28 are supported on the housing by means of straps 42 extending out in different directions from the motor and attached to the housing rear wall 10a by screws 44 or similar fasteners. When the motor and wheel are properly mounted, the wheel can rotate about its axis within the area 26 without its dividers 34 touching the dividers 22 in the housing.

Still referring to FIGS. 2 and 3, a number of lamps 46 are installed through openings (not shown) in the housing rear wall 10a and in the wheel disc 32. Suitable clips (not shown) are used for this so that the lights can easily be replaced. Lamps 46 project into the compartments 24 and 36 and preferably there is at least one lamp in each compartment. For 'best-results, lamps 46 should be colored differently and include heat-responsive circuit breakers so that they blink on and off at different times in much the same manner as some Christmas tree lights.

Turning to FIGS. 3 and 3A, lamps 46 on wheel 28 are all electrically connected together in series or in parallel by electrical leads 48 which lead to a pair of sliding contacts 52a and 52b. These contacts make sliding contact with a pair of concentric ring electrodes 54a and 54b, respectively, on the face of an insulating disc 56 which is affixed to the front of the motor 38 housing. An opening 58 is provided at the center of the disc to accommodate the motor shaft 38 and the ring electrodes 54a and 54b are electrically connected to the power line which supplies the motor 38. The lamps 46 in housing 10 are also connected by leads 48 (FIG. 3) to the power line.

When the unit is energized, the lamps 46 which are mounted in the housing wall 10a illuminate the compartments 24 in which they are located so as to produce the static color design 16b shown in FIG. 1. As mentioned previously, lamps 46 should be colored differently and, most preferably, should blink on and off so that the design portion 16b is not truly static in the strict mathematical sense.

The kinetic portion 16a of the illuminated display is produced by the blinking lamps 46 in the wheel compartments 36 which are constantly changing position relative to their counterparts in the compartments 24 within the area 26 of housing 10. The arrangement is such as to create wavy areas having varying colors,

hues and intensities which can only be suggested in FIG. 1 and which are continually changing. The illustrated pattern has distinct divisions. However, in reality this is not the case because wall 14 is translucent or frosted.

The present device produces an extremely wide variety of color designs in the kinetic portion 16a of the display. This is due in a large measure to the shadow effect produced by the dividing walls 22 and 34. At any given moment, the light from one, two or even three compartments on wheel 28 may be projected into a given compartment in housing 10. Consequently, the area of the translucent wall 14 corresponding to that housing compartment will be a mixture of all those colors. However, the relationship between these opposing compartments is constantly changing so that the color contribution to the design from the various wheel compartments is also continually changing. Thus, both the hue and the intensity of the components making up the design portion in question change correspondingly.

Furthermore, the angle at which the light from a lamp 46 on wheel 28 is projected into a compartment 24 in the housing varies as the wheel turns. At one point, light from the lamp may be directed straight into a housing compartment. Atthe next instant, the light from the same lamp may reflect off one or another of the walls 22 defining that compartment and thence through the wall 14, thereby causing a change in intensity of the portion of the kinetic design contributed by that lamp. At the same time, light from another lamp on the wheel may be projected into the same compartment in much the same manner at varying angles so that the hue of that design portion changes as well.

The movement of the lamps 46 relative to the housing divider walls 22 also creates constantly moving shadow effects which contribute to the overall design playing upon the translucent wall 14. All of these lighting effects contribute to making a very complex illuminated multicolored pattern which continually changes in a random fashion. Thus, as a practical matter, the observer never sees the same design a second time.

If the arrangements of the dividing walls 22 within area 26 and the dividing walls 34 are the same, then once during each revolution of wheel 28, the compartments 24 and 36 will be in register. At that instant, the kinetic portion 16a of the display will look very much like the static portion 16b in FIG. 1. That is, it will be composed of straight-sided areas having different colors, with some of these areas blinking at that instant as well.

Even more complex display patterns are possible using the present technique by employing two or more rotatable wheels which rotate relative to one another and to housing 10. In other words, the unit may include at least one intermediate wheel situated within area 26 between housing and wheel 28. In this event, the intermediate wheel does not include a disc 32, but is composed of divider walls supported by a shaft extending to the geometric center of the array of divider walls. That is, the intermediate wheel consists of open-ended compartments through which the light from the lamps on wheel 28 projects toward the translucent housing wall 14. The intermediate wheel is geared to motor 38 so that if it runs at a different speed than wheel 28, rotation of both wheels at once produces very complex design patterns composed of different color shades and shadows mixing and merging in a completely random way.

Other variations on my principle also suggest themselves. For example, some or all of the dividing walls 22 and 24 may be curved instead of straight. Also, their heights may vary so as to provide some light leakage from one compartment to another. Also, of course, the speed of motor 38 can be made to vary to contribute another kinetic component to the display portion 16a. Still further design variations are possible by including a perpendicular wall 39 around part or all of the circumference of disc 32 as shown in dotted lines in FIG. 2.

While my display creates very complex kinetic designs, it is constructed of relatively simple and inexpensive parts. Therefore, its cost is relatively low so that store owners are well able to afford to purchase the unit. Furthermore, the display has only one moving part and, therefore, can be expected to have a long, useful life even though it may be operated for long periods without interruption. Still, however, when repairs are necessary, such as when a lamp burns out, the parts are relatively accessible so that maintenance costs are kept to a minimum.

It will thus be seen that the objects set forth above, among those made apparent from the preceding description, are efficiently attained and, since certain changes may be made in the above construction without departing from the scope of the invention, it is intended that all matter contained in the above description or shown in the accompanying drawing shall be inte rete as illustrative and got in alim'ti gsense.

1s a so to be understoo that the o owing claims are intended to cover all of the generic and specific features of the invention herein described.

I claim:

1. An illuminated display comprising A. a stationary housing having a front wall through which light can pass,

B. an array of dividing walls 1. extending out from the housing front wall an appreciable distance, and

2. dividing the housing interior into a number of odd-shaped, relatively deep compartments,

C. a wheel rotatable .in the housing about an axis generally perpendicular to the housing front wall,

D. an array of light sources distributed on the wheel,

said light sources comprising 1 a multiplicity of dividing walls,

a. extending toward the dividing walls in the housing, and b. forming an array of odd-shaped compartments on the wheel, 2. lamps located in the wheel compartments, and 3. means for energizing the lamps, and E. means for rotating the wheel so that different light sources are continually brought opposite various compartments in the housing so that constantly changing light patterns and shadows caused by the varying angles between the compartment walls and the light sources are visible on the front wall of the housing.

2. The illuminated display defined in claim 1 wherein the housing front wall is a translucent material.

3. The illuminated display defined in claim 1 wherein the light sources on the wheel are in a variety of colors.

4. The illuminated display defined in claim 1 and further including means for causing the lamps to blink on and off so that different portions of the design visible on the housing front wall blink of and off correspondingly.

5. The illuminated display defined in claim 1 wherein the wheel is recessed into the dividers in the housing so that when the wheel rotates, the display visible on the front wall of the housing is characterized by A. a circular area in the middle having constantly changing patterns, and

B. a peripheral area whose color pattern is substantially static.

6. The illuminated display as defined in claim 5 wherein the lamps have a variety of colors.

7. The illuminated display as defined in claim 5 wherein the wheel has a wall around part or all of its periphery which extends toward the housing front wall.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1445977 *Feb 24, 1922Feb 20, 1923Percival W ShephardAdvertising sign
US1593419 *Aug 7, 1923Jul 20, 1926Bielecki Stanislawa MOptical device
US1687106 *Mar 30, 1926Oct 9, 1928Frank B RaeIlluminated display sign
US1755607 *Mar 2, 1928Apr 22, 1930Philemon LarocheDisplay device
US1800054 *Oct 15, 1929Apr 7, 1931Richard M CraigDisplay mechanism
US1904901 *Apr 4, 1931Apr 18, 1933Lawrence Harry WElectric light fixture
US1918123 *Oct 15, 1931Jul 11, 1933Newman FrankIlluminating apparatus
US3283136 *Dec 5, 1963Nov 1, 1966Technical Entpr IncMulti-color display apparatus
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4120248 *Nov 24, 1975Oct 17, 1978Ronald BroachIlluminated decorative tables
US4381537 *Jan 4, 1982Apr 26, 1983Hinrichs David KIllusionary wheel cover structure
US4882661 *Sep 3, 1987Nov 21, 1989Annick ArnaudProcess for the enhancement of light structures and light instrument
US5276599 *Feb 21, 1992Jan 4, 1994Neeley Willard LLight sculpture device
US5355600 *Jun 6, 1991Oct 18, 1994Thompson Marion EPoint-of-purchase displays and signs with light transmitting visual effects
US5893626 *Apr 5, 1993Apr 13, 1999Poling; Thurman QuentinSafety light with colorful rotating illumination pattern
US6601964 *Mar 14, 2001Aug 5, 2003Ritek CorporationLamp having a readable disk with an electro-luminescent element
US6692138 *Dec 5, 2001Feb 17, 2004Todd E. ChornenkyIllumination display device without mirrors
US7344276Mar 18, 2005Mar 18, 2008Todd Eric ChornenkyIllumination matrix with substantially symmetrical arrangement
US7719210Apr 28, 2008May 18, 2010Ceelight, Inc.Constant brightness control for electro-luminescent lamp
US7816864Oct 19, 2010Ceelite, Inc.Double-shielded electroluminescent panel
US7990362Apr 22, 2010Aug 2, 2011Ceelite, Inc.Constant brightness control for electroluminescent lamp
US20050219842 *Mar 18, 2005Oct 6, 2005Chornenky T EIllumination matrix with substantially symmetrical arrangement
US20050275347 *Feb 16, 2005Dec 15, 2005Liang Chih PDouble-shielded electroluminescent panel
US20080265792 *Apr 28, 2008Oct 30, 2008Chih-Ping LiangConstant Brightness Control For Electro-Luminescent Lamp
US20100237804 *Apr 22, 2010Sep 23, 2010Ceelite, Inc.Constant brightness control for electroluminescent lamp
U.S. Classification40/432, 362/811, 40/573, 40/581
International ClassificationG09F19/12, G09F11/23, G09F19/18, G09F13/00
Cooperative ClassificationG09F11/23, G09F19/18, G09F19/12, Y10S362/811, G09F13/00
European ClassificationG09F13/00, G09F19/12, G09F19/18, G09F11/23