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Publication numberUS3723046 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMar 27, 1973
Filing dateOct 26, 1971
Priority dateOct 26, 1971
Also published asCA954788A, CA954788A1
Publication numberUS 3723046 A, US 3723046A, US-A-3723046, US3723046 A, US3723046A
InventorsE Calkins, R Fagaly, D Poling
Original AssigneeDept Of Physics And Astronomy
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Simulated fire apparatus
US 3723046 A
Abstract
Simulated fire apparatus wherein a gas or electrically operated flame portrayer is adjusted to vary the type of flame portrayed. Such adjustments are coordinated with adjustments in sound effects produced by a speaker.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 1191 Poling et al.

[ 1 Mar. 27, 1973 SlMULATED FIRE APPARATUS Inventors: Dun W. Poling, PO Box 2006, Lincoln City, Oreg. 97367; Edward E.

Calkins, Box

137, Rose Lodge, Oreg.; Robert L. Fagaly, Dept. of

Physics and Astronomy, University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio 43606 Filed: on. 26, 1971 Appl. No.: 192,114

Primary Examiner-Carroll B. Dority, Jr. Attorney- M. H. HartwelLJr.

[57] ABSTRACT Simulated fire apparatus wherein a gas or electrically U.S. Cl. ..431/l8, 43l/l25, 272/14, erated flame portrayer is adjusted to vary the type 1 lo/10651 of flame portrayed. Such adjustments are coordinated Int. Cl. F2311 with adjustments i Sound ff d d b a Field of Search ..272/l4, 15; 431/18, 125; Speaker 10 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures SIMULATED FIRE APPARATUS This invention relates to apparatus for producing a simulated fire, and more particularly to such apparatus which includes means for visually portraying a fire, which may be gas or electrically operated, as well as means for producing fire sound effects.

The apparatus produces varied sound effects, and such are coordinated with changes made in the type of flame portrayed, to produce a very realistic simulation of an authenic fire.

One object of the invention, therefore, is to provide novel apparatus for simulating a fire which includes means for coordinating changes in fire sound effects with changes in the type of flame simulated by the apparatus.

Another object is to provide such apparatus wherein fire sounds are produced electrically.

Yet another object of the invention is to provide apparatus as described which includes manually controlled means for controlling the intensity of sound produced, and means responsive to this manual control producing a change in the manner that the flame is portrayed.

These and other objects and advantages will become more fully apparent from the following description, when such is read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is a schematic illustration of apparatus according to one embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2-is a view of a modified version of apparatus according to the invention with a portion of the apparatus illustrated in cross section;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged view, taken generally along the line 3-3 in FIG. 2; and

FIG. 4 is a simplified schematic diagram of an electrical circuit in the invention as illustrated in FIG. 2.

The apparatus illustrated in FIG. 1 is one in which gas fuel is relied upon to produce the flame. As indicated earlier, the invention contemplated herein is also usable in conjunction with electrically operated means for simulating a flame, with such flame simulating means being well known in the art. With an electric system, some modification of the apparatus would be required, as will be hereinafter described.

Considering now in more particular the details of the invention as illustrated in the figure, a simulated log is shown at of the type that might be placed in a fire. The log, as would be conventional, is made of nonflamable material. Associated with the log, and indicated schematically at 12 and 14, are a pair of gas burners, such having conventional burner jets through which gas is ejected to be ignited on leaving the jets.

The log and the burner jets are referred to herein broadly as a visual flame portrayer, such being actuated by gas fed to the log, such gas or fuel being referred to broadly as an operating medium fed to the portrayer. 1n the case of an electrical system, the operating medium comprises electrical current fed to the flame portrayer.

indicated generally at 16 is a gas supply. Gas is fed to the log from the gas supply through a conduit 18, what is referred to as a gas regulating valve 20, which is adjustable to vary the rate of gas flow downstream of the valve, a conduit 22, a flow divider 24, and conduits 26, 28.

uniform size and intensity. Conduit 26 connects with burnerjet 12 through a valve 30, also referred to herein as a flow attenuator, since on adjustment of the valve to close it the valve cuts down the flow to the burner jet. As will become more fully apparent, adjustment of the valve 30 is relied upon to produce periodically a change in the size and intensity of the flame emanating from burnerjet 12.

As discussed briefly, with the apparatus of the instant invention sound effects are produced which accompany the visual effect of the burning log.

Considering now in more detail the means provided for providing sound effects, shown generally at 36 is what I have referred to broadly as a player unit, which in the particular embodiment illustrated includes two output channels 38 and 40. Unit 36 is effective to produce in each an electrical signal which is electrically representative of a sound effect characterizing a burning fire, so as to produce such a sound when fed to an amplifier and speaker which converts the same to audio sound. By providing two channels, it is possible to produce in one a signal representative of a continuous roaring sound, such as characterizes a fire, and in the other a signal representative of a snapping or popping sound, also characterizing a log fire.

The player unit may take any of a number of forms, as for instance the usual tape cassette, with the tape having two tracks thereon. The cassette which houses the continuous tape as well as the drive unit therefore is indicated at 42. Also part of the player unit are the two read heads for the two tracks on the tape, indicated at 44 and 46, respectively, producing in channels 38 and 40 the two types of signals representing electrically two types of tire burning sounds.

Considering specifically output channel 38, shown at 48 is an amplifier serving to amplify the signal. Such is fed through a volume control 50 to a speaker shown at 52.

Output channel 40 is electrically connected to amplifier 54 which amplifies the signal in this channel. The signal then is fed through a volume control 56 adjustable to change the volume of the signal, and thence through what is referred to as a signal attenuator 58 to a speaker 60.

Volume control 50 and volume control 56 are ganged to a control knob 62, also referred to as a manually adjusted control. On turning of the knob, therefore, both are adjusted simultaneously to produce an increase or decrease in the volume of the signalbeing handled. In the case of the signal in output channel 38, for a given setting of the knob the volume of the signal feed to the speaker 52 remains constant. In connection with channel 40, the signal fed to speaker 60 is additionally effected by adjustments made in signal attenuator 58.

Shown at 66 is a variable speed motor driving a drum or actuator 68. in the particular form of the invention illustrated, such may have cams or other means 70 on the periphery thereof moved in circular courses on rotation of the drum. The motor and drum constitute means in the organization for producing periodically adjustments in signal attenuator 58 as well as in a flow attenuating control 72. Such may be done as through sensors or fingers, such as are shown at 74, 76, which are arranged to be in the path of the cams disposed on such drum thereby to be shifted into position on moving over a cam to effect an adjustment in the signal attenuator and flow attenuating control, respectively.

Signal attenuator 58 may be merely a switch which is opened and closed with movement of the sensor 74 periodically to cut off and then restore the signal to speaker 60. Alternatively, the attenuator may be of a construction wherein the signal is not completely cut off, but instead periodically sharply reduced in volume on the sensor riding over one of such cams.

With flow attenuator or valve 30 being a solenoid operated valve, flow attenuating control 72 may take the form of a switching device actuatable periodically to open and close the valve in response to cam movement relative to sensor 76.

Also illustrated in the figure is a motor speed control 78. This is connected to the variable speed motor whereby adjustments in the speed control produce a change in the speed at which the motor runs. The motor speed control is also ganged to control knob 62. The connection is such that with the knob turned to increase the volume in controls 56 and 50, motor speed increases to increase the activity of the signal attenuator 58 and flow attenuating control 72.

Also to be noted in the drawing is that the gas regulating valve may be ganged to the knob so that with adjustment of the knob to increase the volume the valve is opened up a greater extent. This is reflected in a more brilliant flame in burner jet 12 and burner jet 14.

From the above it will be seen that signal attenuating means, in the form of the actuating drum and attenuator 58 and attenuating control 72, is connected between the circuit supplying the speaker 60 with the signal and the means, more specifically conduit 28, supplying the gas or operating medium to the log 10. It should also be apparent that with the apparatus of the invention, attenuation in the flow of fuel to the log is coordinated with attenuation of the signal supplied to speaker 60.

In an installation where an electrically operated means is provided for simulating the flame, means such as a rheostat would be substituted for the valve 30, for the purpose of varying the current supplied to the electrically operated device from a source of electric current. Suitable electronic components would be substituted for the flow divider and flow attenuator, to obtain the desired control in the flow of electric power to the log simulator.

Referring now specifically to FIG. 2, at 90 is indicated generally a modified version of simulated fire apparatus according to the invention. Apparatus 90 includes a gas burner 92 which is connected, through a pipe 94, to a gas supply indicated generally at 96. Gas fed to the burner is ejected through holes 100 disposed in a pair of rows on top the burner. Ignition of such gas produces a visually observable flame above the burner which may be seen above, and may appear to be burning from, an, artificial log 102 adjacent the burner, when viewed from the opposite side of the log.

At 106 is indicated generally apparatus operable to produce a random popping noise, such as occurs in natural wood fires, and for varying the visually observable effect of the flame at the burner with such coordinated with the random popping sounds.

Apparatus 106 includes a motor 108 having an output shaft rotatable about a substantially horizontal axis. The right end of shaft 110 as viewed in FIG. 2, is mounted for rotation in a stationary support 1 12.

A hollow cylindrical manifold 114is secured to the end of the shaft for rotation therewith. A plurality of holes 116 disposed in a spiral pattern open through the sides of the manifold. The right end of manifold 114 is journaled for rotation in a stationary support 1 18.

A port 119 opens through the right end of manifold 114 and communicates with the interior of an expandible-compressible bellows 120. The left end of bellows 120, as viewed in FIG. 2, is secured against movement on support 118. The right end of the bellows is closed off and secured to the left end of an elongated plunger 122. Plunger 122 is mounted for sliding movement in the direction of its longitudinal axis, (to the left and right as seen in FIG. 2) in a stationary support member 124.

Plunger 122 projects to the right from support 124 and through the coil ofa solenoid 130. When the coil is deenergized, plunger 122 is in the position shown in FIG. 2, which is a position shifted to the right, with bellows 120 expanded. Energizing of the solenoid drives the plunger to the left with head 126 of the plunger striking a sounding member 128 and producing a popping sound. As the plunger is driven to the left by the solenoid, bellows 120 is compressed, forcing compressed air into manifold 114.

An elongated, hollow, cylindrical tube 132, having an internal diameter slightly greater than the outer diameter of manifold 114 surrounds manifold 114 and is secured at its ends in supports 112, 118. A series of openings 134 are disposed in-line along the top of the tube. Openings 134 communicate with the interior of tube 132 and each has an end of an elongated conduit 136 connected thereto. Each of conduits 136, in turn, has an inverted J-shaped nozzle 138 connected to its other end. Each of nozzles 138 is secured in a position whereby it may direct a flow of air form its associated conduit 136 onto one of holes 100 in burner 92, as will be described in greater detail below.

Holes 116 distributed in a spiral pattern about manifold 114 are so positioned that as the manifold is turned by motor 108 each of holes 116 will successively register with an associated one of holes 134 in tube Air forced into manifold 114 by the compression of bellows escapes through the hole 116 in manifold 114 which is then adjacent one of holes 134 and is routed through the conduit 136 associated with such hole, whereby it is blown against the flame emanating from one of holes 100 in burner 92. This air blowing against the flame from one of holes 100 either momentarily extinguishes such flame, or diverts it substantially whereby it alters the visual effect of the flame from the burner. This occurs in coordinated relationship with the popping sound produced by the head 126 of the plunger striking sounding member 128.

The operationof solenoid is controlled by a random timing device indicated generally at 144 (see FIGS. 2 and 3). Device 144 includes a roller bearing assembly 146 which has a stationary outer ring 148, a rotatable inner ring 150, and a retainer ring 152 between rings 148, 150. Inner ring 148 is secured to shaft 110 for rotation therewith. Retainer ring 152 is rotatable also and maintains a plurality of ball bearings 154 aligned in the races provided in inner and outer rings 148, 150, respectively.

A plurality of pins 158 are secured to one side of inner ring 150 and project outwardly therefrom in a direction paralleling shaft 110. Pins 158 are all equidistant from the longitudinal center line of shaft 110 (as best seen in FIG. 3) and are randomly spaced thereabout. A plurality of pins 160 and 162 are secured to and project outwardly from retainer ring 152 in a direction paralleling pins 158. Pins 160, 162 are equidistant from the center line of shaft 110 and are randomly spaced thereabout on the retainer ring. Pin 162 has a head which is considerably larger than the heads of pins 160. Ring 150 and its associated pins are referred to herein as an operator, and ring 152 and its associated pins are referred to as another operator.

As shaft 110 is rotated in a counterclockwise direction as viewed in FIG. 3, inner ring 150 and retainer ring 152 are rotated in a counterclockwise direction at different rotational speeds. Ring 150, being secured to shaft 110, will rotate at the speed of the shaft. The rotational speed of retainer ring 152 is governed by the rotational speed of bearings 154 in the races and any slippage which may occur between the bearings and rings.

Referring again to FIG. 2, a switch 164, also referred to herein as an actuator, is suspended adjacent bearing assembly 146. Switch 164 has a stationary contact 164a and another contact 164k which is shiftable toward and away from contact 164a and is spring biased to 21 normally spaced position, as shown in FIG. 2. Contacts 164a, 164b are spaced from the longitudinal axis of shaft 110 the same distance as pins 158. As a pin 158 is rotated into a position adjacent switch 164 it will momentarily close contacts 164a, 16412, and after it passes, it allows the contacts to open. When the contacts are closed, the switch may be considered to be in an actuating state and when they are opened the switch may be considered to-be in a non-actuating state.

A similar switch 166, shown in broken outline in FIG. 3, and also referred to herein as an actuator, is suspended adjacent switch 164 and is in a position whereby its contacts are closed momentarily as one of pins 160 or 162 pass thereby with rotation of retainer ring 152. It should be noted that since pin 162 has a larger head than pins 158, 160, it will close the contacts of switch 166 for a longer period of time.

Switches 164, 166 are connected to solenoid 130 through an electrical circuit, shown diagramatically in FIG. 4. As is seen in FIG. 4, the left sides of switches 164, 166 are-connected to a suitable source of positive voltage. The right sides of the switches are connected through separate conductors to the upper and lower input terminals A and B, respectively, of a conventional AND circuit 170. AND circuit 170 is so constructed that when a signal is present at both of its input terminals a signal will be produced at its output terminal C. Should the signal cease at either one or both of its input terminals, the signal at output terminal C ceases.

presented at the input of control circuit 172, solenoid is deenergized.

Explaining the operation of timing device 144, rotation of shaft 110 causes inner ring and retainer ring 152 of the roller bearing assembly 146 to rotate at dif ferent speeds. As the rings rotate, pins 158, 160, 162 periodically close switches 164, 166. At random intervals switches 164, 166 will be closed simultaneously producing simultaneous signals at input terminals A, B of AND circuit which operates, through solenoid control circuit 172, to energize solenoid 130. As has been explained previously, when solenoid 130 is energized plunger 122 is driven to the left. Head 126 strikes sounding member 128 to produce a popping noise and bellows 120 is compressed forcing a stream of pressurized air through one of conduits 136 and against one of holes 100 in burner 92 to deflect the flame emanating therefrom.

It will be noted that at least one pair of pins 158 are closely spaced (that pair immediately below switch 164 as seen in FIG. 3). Should pin 162, having an enlarged head, and such closely spaced pins 158 reach their respective switches 166, 164 at the same time, a double popping noise and jet of flame-varying air will be produced. Explaining further, the enlarged head of pin 162 is capable of holding switch 166 closed a sufficient time for such pair of closely spaced pins 158 to produce successive closing, opening, and then reclosing of switch 164.

The apparatus described thus is operable to vary the visually observable effect of a flame produced by the burner and at the same time produce a popping noise which simulates the sound of a natural wood fire. Through this apparatus the means for varying the flame and for producing the popping flame are interconnected whereby the visual and audible effects are coordinated.

It should be obvious that changes and variations are possible without departing from the spirit of the instant invention.

It is claimed and desired to secure by Letters Patent:

1. Simulated fire apparatus comprising a fuel burner,

a supply of fuel and means for feeding fuel from the supply to the burner for producing a visually observable flame at the burner,

varying means for varying the visually observable effect ofa flame produced at the burner, v

sound producing means for simulating the sound of another type of tire burning, and

connecting means interconnecting the varying means and the sound producing means for coordinating the relationship there-between.

2. The apparatus of claim 1, which further comprises timing means operable to produce substantially simultaneous operation of said varying means and sound producing means at random time intervals.

3. The apparatus of claim 2, wherein said timing means comprises a pair of actuating means, each of which has an actuating and a nonactuating state, means operatively connecting said actuating means to said varying and sound producing means whereby said varying and sound producing means are actuated only when both of said actuating means are in their actuating states simultaneously, a first operator associated with one of said actuating means operable intermittently to shift said one actuating means from its nonactuating to its actuating state, and a second operator associated with the other of said actuating means operable intermittently to shift said other actuating means from its nonactuating to its actuating state.

4; The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said varying means comprises means fordirecting a stream of pressurized fluid against a portion of a flame produced at such burner.

SQThe apparatus of claim 1, wherein said varying means comprises a plurality of nozzles, each adapted to direct a stream of pressurized fluid against a different portion of a flame produced at said burner, and supply means for intermittently supplying such a stream of fluid to certain of said nozzles at random time intervals.

6. Simulated fire apparatus comprising a visually observable flame portrayer actuated by the supply of an operating medium thereto,

a supply of such operating medium and means for feeding such to the flame portrayer,

recording player means including at least two output channels and means for introducing a different signal on each channel, with one signal being electrically representative of one type of fire burning sound and the 'other signal being electrically representative of another fire burning sound, speaker means for said channels and electrical circuit means for each channel connecting the channel to the speaker means for delivering the signal of the channel to the speaker means, and attenuator means connected between the electrical circuit means for at least one of said channels and the means for supplying operating medium to the flame portrayer producing attenuation in the sound produced by the speaker means coordinated with attenuation in the supply of operating medium to the flame portrayer.

7. The apparatus of claim 6 which further comprises manually adjusted control means for regulating the amplitude of the signal in said one channel delivered to said speaker means, and wherein said attenuator means includes means responsive to an adjustment of said control means for changing the attenuation produced by the attenuator means.

8. The apparatus of claim 6, wherein said attenuator means comprises a signal attenuator producing changes in the signal delivered to said speaker means, a supply attenuator for changing the supply of operating medium fed to the flame producer, and a power-operated actuator for the two attenuators for actuating the two in a coordinated manner.

9. Simulated fire apparatus comprising a gas burner operable to produce a gas flame,

a supply of such gas and means for feeding gas from the supply to the burner,

recording player means including an output channel and means for introducing a signal on such channel with such signal being electrically representative of a type of fire burning sound,

a speaker and electrical circuit means connecting said channel to the speaker, and attenuator means connected between the electrical circuit means and the means for feeding gas to the burner producing attenuation in the sound produced by the speaker coordinated with attenuation of the gas supplied to the burner.

10. The apparatus of claim 9, wherein said attenuator means comprises a signal attenuator producing changes in the signal delivered to the speaker, a valve for changing the supply of gas fed to the burner, and a power-operated actuator for the signal attenuator and valve constructed to actuate the two in a coordinated manner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3526984 *Mar 22, 1968Sep 8, 1970Drum Fire IncLighted fireplace and fire noise simulator
US3543741 *Jul 30, 1968Dec 1, 1970Intern Products IncArtificial log fireplace with flame and log position control
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4203241 *Aug 2, 1977May 20, 1980Wallace Charles WAction sign
US4886445 *Nov 2, 1987Dec 12, 1989Vermont Castings, Inc.Gas burning artificial log assembly
US5092313 *Apr 5, 1991Mar 3, 1992Vermont Castings, Inc.Gas log fireplace with high heat output
US5571008 *Jul 1, 1994Nov 5, 1996Vermont Castings, Inc.Gas burner for use with artificial logs
US5635898 *Jun 7, 1994Jun 3, 1997American General Products, Inc.Fire sound simulator and related transmissions
US5774040 *Aug 11, 1997Jun 30, 1998Lastoria; Dominic H.Fire sound simulator
US5826357 *Jul 8, 1996Oct 27, 1998Hechler; DuaineEntertainment and fireplace assembly
US6162045 *Nov 25, 1998Dec 19, 2000Superior Fireplace CompanyWave flame control
US6354831Apr 20, 1998Mar 12, 2002R & R Holdings, Inc.Porous gas burner
US6537058Mar 23, 2000Mar 25, 2003Peter EvansGas appliances
US20050204645 *Mar 17, 2004Sep 22, 2005Bachinski Thomas JSurround entertainment system for a fireplace
EP1039229A2 *Mar 23, 2000Sep 27, 2000Concentric Controls LimitedImprovements in or relating to gas appliances
EP1039229A3 *Mar 23, 2000Apr 17, 2002Concentric Controls LimitedImprovements in or relating to gas appliances
WO1999027300A1 *Nov 25, 1998Jun 3, 1999Superior Fireplace CompanyWave flame control
WO2001057447A1Jan 23, 2001Aug 9, 2001Anthony Christopher RyanCombustion simulating device
Classifications
U.S. Classification431/18, 472/64, 472/65, 431/125
International ClassificationG10K15/04, F24C3/00, A63J5/00, F24C3/12, A62C99/00
Cooperative ClassificationF24C7/004, F24C3/006, F24C3/122
European ClassificationF24C3/12A, F24C3/00A2, F24C7/00A2