US 3698317 A
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United States Patent [151 3,698,317 Finch 1 Oct. 17, 1972 FLARE GUN Primary Examiner-Benjamin A. Borchelt Assistant Examiner-C. T. Jordan  Inventor $222k; gilt? g s Att'omey-Fulwider, Patton, Rieber, Lee & Utecht  Filed: April 19, 1971  ABSTRACT Appl. No.: 135,037
US. Cl. ..102/37.4, 42/1 Z, 89/1.5 R
A hand operated flare gunincluding a housing formed with an elongated flare magazine having an ejector compartment co-extensive therewith. The magazine terminates in its lower end with an outlet leading to the ejector compartment and an ejector is disposed in such compartment and includes a plunger reciprocable from a retracted position behind the outlet to an ejecting position adjacent such outlet. The ejector is biased to its ejecting position and includes a trigger disposed adjacent a hand grasp handle on the housing. Igniting means is disposed adjacent one end of the outlet whereby an operator may grasp the handle and pull the trigger rearwardly to enable a flare to be discharged from the outlet and into the path of the plunger and the trigger may then be released to enable the plunger to be biased to its ejecting position to engage the flare and eject it outwardly past the igniting means to ignite one end thereof.
10 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures PATENTEDHBT 17 I972 SHEET 1 OF 2 mvsmon. MLLIAM L. H/vcH FLARE GUN BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION l. Field of the Invention The present invention relates to a portable hand operated flare gun for automatically ejecting and igniting a series of flares.
2. Description of the Prior Art Numerous remotely controlled flare igniters and ejectors have been proposed for mounting on a vehicle or the like. An ejector of this type is shown in US. Pat. No. 3,298,307. However, ejectors of this type suffer the shortcoming that they are bulky and cannot conveniently be utilized as portable flare guns.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The hand operated flare gun of present invention is characterized by a housing formed with co-extensive magazine and ejector compartments with the magazine terminating at one end in an outlet feeding into the ejector compartment An ejector is disposed in such compartments and includes a plunger biased to an ejecting position adjacent the outlet. Igniting means is disposed at one end of the outlet so that upon retraction of the plunger of flare will be fed from the outlet and into the path of the plunger so that upon release of the plunger the flare will be engaged and ejected outwardly past the igniting means to automatically ignite one end thereof.
The objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from a consideration of the following detailed description when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a brokenperspective view of a flare gun embodying the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a broken vertical sectional view, in enlarged scale, taken along the line 2-2 of FIG. 1;
FIGS. 3 and 4 are partial vertical sectional views similar to FIG. 2;
FIG. 5 is a vertical sectional view taken along the line 5-5 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 6 is a vertical sectional view taken along the line 6-6 of FIG. 4; and
FIG. 7 is a vertical sectional view taken along the line 7-7 of FIG. 6.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring to FIG. 2, the flare gun of present invention includes, generally a rectangularly shaped housing 21 formed with respective co-extensive magazine and ejector compartments 23 and 25. The magazine compartment terminates at its lower extremity in an outlet 27 feeding into the ejector compartment 25 and an ejector, generally designated 31, is disposed in such ejector compartment and includes a plunger 33 which is reciprocable fro the retracted position behind such outlet shown in FIG. 3 to the ejecting position adjacent such outlet as shown in FIG. 2. A pair of igniter flappers 30 are disposed at opposite ends of the outlet 27 and are biased to their extended position shown in FIG. 5. The ejector 31 is biased downward to the plunger ejecting position by means of a pair of coil springs 37 and such ejector includes a trigger 39 disposed adjacent a handle 41 on the housing whereby such handle may be grasped for carrying the gun and the operator may grasp the trigger 39 and retract the plunger to the retracted position shown in FIG. 3 to enable a flare 43 to be fed into the ejector compartment 25 and such operator may then release the trigger 39 to enable the springs 37 to bias the plunger 33 rapidly downwardly to its ejecting position to engage the flare 43 disposed in the path thereof and eject it downwardly past the striker 30 to ignite one end thereof.
The housing 21 may be made of metal or plastic or the like and is formed with the magazine and ejector compartments 23 and 25 extending parallel to one another with the magazine outlet 27 feeding directly to the ejector muzzle 46. The magazine compartment 23 terminates in its top end in an inlet 47 which has a cover 49 secured to one side thereof by means of a hinge 51, the free end of such cover 49 being normally held closed by means of a latch 53.
, Still referring to FIG. 2, a slider 57 is disposed in the magazine 23 and is biased downwardly by means of a removable coil spring 59.
Referring to FIG. 5, the ejector 31 is in the form of a pair of upstanding posts 63 which project upwardly through respective bores 65 formed in the top wall of the ejector compartment 25. The posts 63 have a transversely extending bar secured to the top ends thereof to form the trigger 39, and the plunger 33 is secured to the lower ends thereof. Overlying the bottom face of the plunger 33 is flat seal 54. The coil springs 37 surround the respective posts 63 and are sandwiched between the top wall of the ejector compartment 25 and respective transverse spring retaining pins 67 projecting through such posts.
With continued reference to FIG. 5, formed intermediately on the outer sides of the respective posts 63 are a plurality of ratchet notches 71 having respective elongated release notches 73 at the upper ends thereof and recessed notches 75 at the lower ends thereof.
Respective ratchet pawls 77 are mounted in recesses 79 formed in the opposite sides of the ejector compartment 25, such ratchet pawls being mounted from respective pivot pins 81 ad being biased upwardly by means of torsion springs 83. The free extremities of the ratchet pawls 77 are biased downwardly to the position shown in FIG. 5 by means of respective coil springs 89 which have their upper extremities received in canted bores 91 formed in the opposite walls of the ejector compartment 25 and their lower ends engaged intermediately with such pawls.
Referring to FIGS. 3 and 4, the lower end of the ejector compartment 25 is formed on its opposite sides with elongated limit flanges 95 and 97 for being engaged by the seal 54 of the plunger 33.
Referring to FIGS. 6 and 7, the strikers 30 are mounted at opposite ends of the lower end of the ejector chamber 25 and are carried rigidly from respective pivot pins 101 that are rotatably carried from the housing 21. The striker flappers 30 are biased to their extending positions shown in FIG. 5 by means of respective torsion springs 103 (FIG. 7). The striker flappers 30 have striking material 105 afflxed thereto adjacent their free extremities for engagement by the flares 43 as they are ejected out the lower end of the ejector compartment 25. While the striker material 105 shown is similar to that used to ignite conventional flares, it will be appreciated that a chemical compound may be substituted therefor to cooperate with a complementary ignitable compound on the flares 43.
In operation the flare gun of present invention may conveniently be utilized by the highway patrol or other emergency vehicles and can conveniently be held out the window by the driver thereof and operated by one hand to eject and ignite flares 43. The flare gun is loaded by releasing the latch 53 and opening the cover 49 to remove the spring 59 and slider 57. Theflares 43 may then be fed into the magazine compartment 23 l and will be prevented from feeding outwardly from the lower end thereof by means of the plunger 33 which confronts the outlet 27. It will be appreciated that since striker flappers are disposed at both ends of the ejector muzzle 46 the flares 43 may be loaded with their ignitable end at either end of the magazine 23 and such ignitable ends will still be ignitedwhen the flares are ejected. After the flares have been loaded in the magazine compartment 23, the slider 57 may be reinserted and the biasing spring 59 replaced and the cover 49 closed and latched.
The flare gun may conveniently be stored in the trunk or back seat of a vehicle and when an emergency is encountered, such gun may be actuated by the operator grasping the handle 41 and wrapping his fingers about the trigger 39. Squeezing of the trigger 39 will draw it upwardly to raise the plunger 33 upwardly out of confrontation with the outlet 27 to enable a flare to roll downwardly onto the striker flappers 30 which are biased outwardly to their extended horizontal position shown in FIG. 5. Referring to FIG. 5, it will be realized that as the trigger 39 is drawn upwardly, the pawls 77 will be engaged by the ratchet teeth 71 and will be rotated upwardly and outwardly against the bias of the respective coil springs 89. If the trigger 39 is accidentally released while the teeth 71 are in engagement with the pawls 77, such pawls will serve to prevent the ejector 31 from being driven downwardly thereby preventing engagement with the flare 43 lying on the extended striker flappers 30 to prevent partial ejection and possible ignition thereof without full ejection and consequent ignition of the remainder of the flares 43 in the magazine compartment 23.
When full retraction upwardly of the trigger 39 has been completed, the release notches 73 will be registered with the pawls 77 to enable the free ends of such pawls to pivot downwardly when such trigger is released. As the trigger 39 is released, the ejector springs 37 will drive the ejector 31 rapidly downwardly to engage the plunger 33 with the flare 43 lying on the striker flappers 30 to drive such flare downwardly thereby pivoting the flappers 30 to their vertical position as shown in FIG. 6 and exposing the striker material 105 for engagement with the ignitable end of such flare to initiate ignition thereof. The ignited flare 43 will be ejected on past the flappers 30 to enable such flappers to again be pivoted inwardly to their horizontal position shown in FIG. 5. As noted hereinabove, downward travel of the plunger 33 is limited by the side flanges 95 and 97 and engagement of the resilient seal 54 on the lower end of such plunger with such flanges as shown in FIG. 2 serves to maintain a seal to prevent entry of moisture and contaminates into the flare gun.
The above-described operation may be repeated as many times as necessary while the vehicle driver continues to hold the flare the trigger 39.
From the foregoing it will be apparent that the flare gun of present invention provides an economical and convenient means for storing flares and for rapid and convenient ejection and ignition thereof.
Various modifications and changes may be made with regard to the foregoing detailed description without departing from the spirit of the invention.
l. A hand operated flare gun comprising:
a housing formed with an elongated flare magazine having an inlet and an outlet, said housing further including an ejector compartment extending adjacent said outlet;
ejector means in said compartment and including a plunger reciprocable between a retracted position behind said outlet to an ejecting position adjacent said opening;
ejector biasing means urging said plunger toward said ejecting position;
igniting means disposed at one end of said outlet and carried from said housing;
a hand grasp handle on said housing; and
trigger means connected with said ejector and disposed adjacent said handle whereby said magazine may be filled with flares and when it is desirable to eject ignited flares said handle may be grasped and said trigger retracted to retract said plunger to said retracted position to enable a flare to be fed out said outlet and said trigger then released to enable said biasing means to urge said plunger to said ejecting position to drive said flare past said igniting means to thereby ignite one end thereof as said flare is ejected.
2. A hand operated flare gun as set forth in claim 1 wherein:
said igniting means includes flapper means pivotally mounted from said housing and pivotable to a retaining position extending into the path of said flares to retain said flares in said housing after they have been discharged from said outlet; and
retainer biasing means urging said flapper means to said retaining position.
3. A hand operated flare gun as set forth in claim 1 wherein:
said compartment includes limit means for engagement by said plunger to limit extension thereof.
4. A hand operated flare gun as set forth in claim 1 that includes:
second igniting means disposed at the end of said outlet opposite said one end so flares which are ignitable on only one end may be placed in said magazine in longitudinally reversed orientation.
5. A hand operated flare gun as set forth in claim 1 that includes:
locking means engageable with said ejector upon initial retraction of said plunger to prevent ejection of said plunger and operable upon said plunger reaching said retracted position to release said ejector for travel of said plunger to said ejecting position.
gun out the window and operate 6. A hand operated flare gun as set forth in claim 1 that includes:
a pair of retaining flappers disposed at opposite ends of said outlet and pivotally mounted from said housing for being pivoted to a retaining position to retain flares ejected from said outlet in the path of said plunger; and
biasing means urging said flappers to said respective retaining positions.
7. A hand operated flare gun as set forth in claim 1 that includes:
second biasing means in said magazine for urging flares stored in said magazine toward said outlet.
8. A hand operated flare gun as set forth in claim 1 that includes:
sealing means disposed in the path of said plunger for