US 3723945 A
A locking means for fluorescent lamps which will serve to prevent a lamp from becoming disengaged from the lamp holder in the presence of vibration or shock, such locking means being in the form of a relatively thin wafer-like member for insertion between the lamp end and the adjacent surface of the lamp holder and having open-ended slot means which terminate inwardly of the member in apertures for locking engagement with the bi-pins of the lamp upon insertion of the member into locking position with respect thereto, and the edge walls of said slot means having, intermediate the open ends thereof and said apertures, depressions or notches into which the said bi-pins may snap during their passage through said slot means upon either insertion or withdrawal of the member, thereby to apprise the user of the position of the member as to its seated (locking) or unseated (freeing) position with respect to the said bi-pins.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 Detc'h 1 Mar. 27, 1973  LOCKING MEANS FOR FLUORESCENT LAMPS  Inventor: Lewis Detch, 2133 Chalfant Street,
Pittsburgh, Pa. 15221  Filed: Apr. 3, 1972  Appl. No.: 240,519
Primary ExaminerMarvin A. Champion Assistant Egca rpiner-Terrell P. Lewis Attorney-William H. Finckel, Jr.
 ABSTRACT A locking means for fluorescent lamps which will serve to prevent a lamp from becoming disengaged from the lamp holder in the presence of vibration or shock, such locking means being in the form of a relatively thin wafer-like member for insertion between the lamp end and the adjacent surface of the lamp holder and having open-ended slot means which terminate inwardly of v the member in apertures for locking engagement with the bi-pins of the lamp upon insertion of the member into locking position with respect thereto, and the edge walls of said slot means having, intermediate the open ends thereof and said apertures, depressions or notches into which the said bi-pins may snap during their passage through said slot means upon either insertion or withdrawal of the member, thereby to apprise the user of the position of the member as to its seated (locking) or unseated (freeing) position with respect to the said bi-pins.
9 Claims, 10 Drawing Figures LOCKING MEANS FOR FLUORESCENT LAMPS The present invention therefore relates to modifications of that covered by my US Pat. No. 3,466,594, issued Sept. 9, 1969, and comprises locking means for fluorescent lamps including a wafer-like locking member for insertion between an end of the fluorescent lamp, and in relatively snug engagement with said lamp end and with the bi-pins thereof and also with the adjacent face of the lamp holder, such locking member preferably being formed of a dielectric or insulating material such as Nylon, or substantially similar or equivalent moldable synthetic plastic material, and provided with means for apprising the user of a proper, or improper, assembly thereof with the lamp and lamp holder, all as will be more particularly described hereinafter and finally claimed.
As a result of actual use of the device disclosed in my said patent by workmen who make the installations thereof, particularly in overhead locations, it has been noted that, occasionally, the locking device is not properly assembled between the end of the lamp and the adjacent face of the lamp holder and, in consequence, even though the lock is truly dependable, and foolproof" if installed in the manner intended, namely to its home position in which the terminal apertures of the slots are in secure engagement with the bi-pins of the lamp, its improper installation may result in release, and detachment, of the lamp with possible injury to the workman below.
The assurance of proper installation of the lock is given to the workman by the successive clicks as the bi-pins of the lamp pass through the slot notches and into the terminal apertures of the slots, such clicks being sensible to the workman not only audibly but also by feeling in his fingers which hold the lock during insertion.
Also, the slots which receive the bi-pins of the lamp are preferably of less width than the diameter of the bipins and this fact, taken with the division of the lock into three arms, tends to creation of a springy contact of the arms with the bi-pins as they engage and pass into, and through, the slots to home" position, thus ensuring proper assembly of the bi-pins with the finger clips of the lamp holders at opposite axial ends of the lamp and guarding against any tendency for rotation of the lamp and release of its bi-pins from such finger clips with the accompanying hazard of the lamp falling upon a workman, as hereinabove mentioned. Thus, when the workman is apprised of proper installation of the lamp lock, as hereinabove described, he can be reasonably sure that the hazard of a falling lamp has been done away with and that he is therefore safe from such hazard.
Accordingly, the primary object of my present invention is to provide a lamp locking means for ensuring the retention of fluorescent lamps in their complemental lamp holders by apprising the installing. workman audibly and/or by contact of his fingers with the locking elements that the lamps are properly assembled with the lamp holders.
Another object is similarly to apprise the workman that the lamp is preliminarily locked to the lamp holder by only a partial insertion of the locking means which will effect engagement of the bi-pins with the notches in the edge walls of the slots of the locking member.
A further object of the invention is to provide a lamp lock structure which will compensate for sub-standard lamp holders which may be smaller than normal and may thus have a tendency to permit inadvertent release of the lamp lock element and lamp in the presence of vibration and shaking when the installation has been made by the manufacturer prior to packaging of assembled fixtures and lamps and their shipping over considerable distances.
A still further object of the invention is to provide a dual-purpose lamp locking device for securement of the fluorescent lamp in the lamp holder as well as a tool that may be used by a repair man or service man for cleaning the bi-pins of the lamp merely by sliding the tool in one direction back and forth laterally of the extent of the pair of bi-pins and then rotating the lamp through an angle of so that another portion of the bi-pins may be cleaned.
Another object of the invention is to provide an arrangement in the dual-purpose lamp locking device where parallel spacedly arranged first and second wafer-like locking members are provided having alternative types of slotted areas.
In the accompanying drawings illustrating the invention, in the several figures of which like parts are similarly designated,
FIG. 1 is a schematic fragmentary perspective view of an assembly of a fluorescent lamp with a pair of complemental lamp holders, a locking device according to the invention being shown inserted between the end of the lamp and the lamp holder at the right-hand end of the figure, and a similar locking device being shown at the left-hand end of the figure in position for insertion at that end;
FIG. 2 is a face view of the form of lamp lock shown in FIG. 1 in which one end of a fluorescent lamp is shown in broken outline with its bi-pins engaged in the locking member;
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an alternative form of the locking member provided adjacent to its lateral edges with offstanding parallel ribs adapted for embracing engagement with the outwardly disposed walls of a lamp holder;
FIG. 4 is a face view of the device of FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a modified embodiment of the locking member including a rib construction somewhat similar to that shown in FIG. 4;
FIG. 6 is a face view of the device as shown in FIG. 5 in functional association with a lamp holder, a portion of which latter is shown in broken lines;
FIG. 7 shows in elevation one face of a still further modified form of the locking device;
FIG. 8 is an edge elevation of the structure shown in FIg. 7;
FIG. 9 is a view of the opposite face of the device to that shown in FIG. 7; and
FIG. 10 shows, in elevation, a further modification of a dual purpose lamp locking device having the walls of its slot means of sinusoidal conformation for locking engagement with the bi-pins, and for bi-pin cleaning purposes.
Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, which show the lamp lock in its simplest form, the structure comprises a flat, relatively thin, wafer-like body 10 with a perforated depending grip member 11, all substantially as disclosed in my aforesaid US. Pat. No. 3,466,594. Extending inwardly of the body from its outer, or leading, edge is a pair of slots 12 opening through said leading edge and each terminating substantially midway of the body in an aperture 13 for the reception and engagement of one of the conventional bi-pins of the lamp l4, and with the conventional finger clips, not shown, of the lamp holders 15 of FIG. 1. As well shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the central portion 16 of the lamp lock between the said slots 12 is in the form ofa tongue preferably including an arcuate edge 17 which functions as a guide for the portion 16 to positively align the parallel slots 12 of the lamp lock with the said bi-pins of the lamp 14 as the lamp lock is slid into engagement therewith. The walls of the slots 12 are provided with laterally aligned and hence confronting notched areas 18 disposed between the leading edge of the lock member and the apertures 13. In the light of the disclosure of my US. Pat. No. 3,466,594, it is believed to be apparent that I there considered the locking operation to be achieved only when the lamp lock had been fully seated, so that the apertures 13 engaged the bi-pins and the lug 19 was positioned in the complemental socket of the lamp holder 15. However, experience has shown that there are instances, when a workman is standing on a step ladder and reaching overhead to grasp a fluorescent lamp fixture which is depending in a free swinging position from a chain affixed to a ceiling thereabove, that he is more concerned with whether he is going to fall from the ladder than he is with properly seating the lamp lock in a home" position where the apertures 13 fully engage the bi-pins. With the modification presently disclosed, for example in FIGS. 1 and 2, it is merely necessary for the workman to partially insert the lamp lock between the lamp holder and the adjacent end of the fluorescent lamp until he hears a recognizable snap or click of the slots over the bi-pins at which time the lamp lock will have become firmly fastened to the bi-pins in the intermediate notched areas 18.'The snapping action of the notched areas 18 into engagement with the bi-pins is not only audibly perceptible to the workman, but can also be sensed through his fingers, as hereinbefore noted.
As shown in FIG. 2, the lamp lock member 10 has been assembled by way of its slots 12 and apertures 13 into a fully home" position with respect to the bi-pins 20 of the lamp 14 which is shown in broken outline. It will be apparent from this view that the operator could readily have engaged the bi-pins 20 of the lamp with the notched areas 18 of the lock member and still have achieved a locked-in condition between the lamp holder and the lamp.
In the modification of the lamp lock body 10, FIGS. 3 and 4, it is provided with laterally spaced guide ribs 21-21, the function of which is to embrace the side walls of the lamp holder 15 for properly, seatingly, guiding the lock member. In this form of the invention the lug 19 hereinbefore referred to as cooperable with the usual complemental socket in the bottom of the lamp holder through which the bi-pins of the lamp are introduced, may be omitted.
FIGS. 5 and 6 show, in perspective and face views, respectively, a modification of the structure of the lamp lock body 10 shown particularly in FIGS. 3 and 4, in which the guide means or ribs 21 21 include convergent lower extremities 2222 which are substantially complemental to the convergent exterior walls of a lamp holder 15, the view of FIG. 6 clearly disclosing how the lug 19 is in seated engagement within the complemental socket in the bottom of the lamp holder and the convergent extremities 2222 of the ribs 21 -21' snugly embrace the sloping walls of the said holder.
As shown in FIGS. 7, 8 and 9, the wafer-like lamp lock 10 has the combination therewith by the use of spaced parallel guide ribs similar to the ribs 21 of FIGS. 3 and 4 of a panel 23 of wafer-like form provided with slots 24 the edges of which are of sinusoidal conformation similar to those of FIG. 10 and for the same purpose. It will be noted that the spacing of the two waferlike members is such that they will slide over the end of the lamp holder 15. As explained hereinbefore, particularly with reference to'FIGS. 3 through 6, the parallel spaced guide means 2121 are adapted to embrace the offstanding exterior side walls of the lamp holder 15, and in this further improvement, shown in FIGS. 7 through 9, there is shown a concept wherein the integrated spaced wafer-like bodies 10 and 23 have slotted arrangements which not only permit the lamp lock to be slid over the end of the lamp holder and also to be reversible to achieve a differing degree of engagement of the slots of the bodies with the bi-pins, but also one wafer-like body may be used as a bi-pin cleaner. In particular, the wafer-like body 10 is slotted in substantially the same manner as that of the device shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 but, as explained earlier, also includes in spaced arrangement another slotted wafer-like body 23 the slots 24-24 thereof having their walls of sinusoidal form, thus serving as a bi-pin cleaner element. The device of FIGS. 7-9 includes only one grip element, as shown, since this has been found adequate for the purpose intended. In the embodiment of FIG. 10 the wafer-like body 10 includes not only a grip portion 11 for ease of assembly and disassembly of the device relative to the bi-pins, and with a lamp holder, but also the sinusoidally formed edges of the slots 12 may be used not only for locking engagement with the bi-pins of a fluorescent lamp but also as a bi-pin cleaner in the manner explained hereinbefore.
Various changes and modifications are considered to be within the principle of the invention and the scope of the following claims.
What is claimed is:
1. Lamp locking means for assembly of a fluorescent lamp with the lamp holder means therefor, including a wafer-like locking member having a body portion for insertion between an axial end of the lamp and the adjacent face of the lamp holder means, said body portion having a leading edge and being provided with a pair of relatively laterally spaced slot means extending through said leading edge for reception of the bi-pins of the lamp, said slot means being of a width slightly less than the diameter of said bi-pins and the walls of which terminate in said body portion inwardly of said leading edge in apertures for locking reception of said bi-pins, certain of said slot walls being provided with notched areas disposed in alignment transversely of said slot means and located therein between said leading edge of the body portion and the bi-pin receiving apertures of said slots, said notched areas and said apertures serving for engagement of said bi-pins when the locking member is advanced in its insertion between the end of the lamp and the lamp holder means into functional engagement with the bi-pins, thus to secure the lamp to the lamp holder means.
2. Lamp locking means as defined in claim 1, in which the walls of said slots are of sinusoidal conformation and the valley portions of such conformation constitute the said notched areas.
3. Lamp locking means as defined in claim 1, in which the said body portion is provided with. relatively laterally spaced offstanding rib means for embracing location with respect to the side walls of the lamp holder means.
4. Lamp locking means as defined in claim 3, in which the offstanding edges of the rib means carry a second wafer-like member in spaced substantially parallel relation to the first wafer-like member, said rib means and the two wafer-like members serving for location of the locking means in embracing relation with respect to the four surfaces of the lamp holder means confronted thereby.
5. Lamp locking means as defined in claim 4, in which the second wafer-like member is provided with slot means for engagement with the bi-pins of a lamp, the walls of said slot means being of sinusoidal conformation and adapted not only for locking engagement with said bi-pins but also for use in cleaning said pins.
6. Lamp locking means as defined in claim 3, in which the end portions of said rib means inwardly of the said body portion are convergent to accommodate the locking means to lamp holder means having side walls provided with rounded termini.
7. Lamp locking means as defined in claim 1, in which the said notched areas of the slot walls are located substantially medially of said walls between the said leading edge of the locking member and the bi-pin receiving apertures of the slot means.
8. Lamp locking means as defined in claim 1, in which the body portion of the locking member is divided by said slots into three laterally associated elements comprising a central tongue and two marginal portions, said tongue serving to appropriately guide the locking member for engagement of the bi-pins of a lamp within the said slots upon insertion of said member between the end of the lamp and the adjacent surface'of the lamp holder.
9. Lamp locking means as defined in claim 8, in which the marginal leading edge of the central tongue is provided with an arcuate conformation which serves, upon insertion of the locking member, to guide such tongue between the bi-pins of the lamp and thus align the two pin-receiving slots of the locking member with such bi-pins.