US 3728708 A
A vertical tier of lights are supported by brackets on a pair of elongated connector rods. Intermediate walls are located vertically between the lights and are supported by the connector rods. The lower ends of the connector rods are attached to a base plate which serves as a base support for a transparent plastic tubular body. The intermediate walls are snugly received within the body. The connector rods project upwardly through openings in a cover plate which rests on the upper end of the body. Wing nuts or the like are threaded onto the connector rods and used for securing the assembly together. The lights carry separate indicia and are separately controlled by a multi-position switch.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
[ Apr. 17, 1973 United States Patent 1 Culbertson ILLUMINATED MARKER Primary ExaminerThomas B. Habecker Assistant Examiner-Glen R. Swann, Ill AttorneyJ0hn O. Graybeal et al.
0 RM ,2 18 8 W me t we r. C mn m C 3 1J2 m r FB E O t n 6 V n I M 7  Filed: June 21, 1971 PP N04 155,021 A vertical tier of lights are supported by brackets on a pair of elongated connector rods. Intermediate walls are located vertically between the lights and are sup ported by the connector rods. The lower ends of the connector rods are attached to a base plate which serves as a base support for a transparent plastic tubunm 13 07 4 3 0 3 m A3 e n 0 4 0 3 4 n m ..m n c r u a u e H S I ll C s UhF H M 555 lar body. The intermediate walls are snugly received  References Cited within the body. The connector rods project upwardly through openings in a cover plate which rests on the UNITED STATES PATENTS upper end of the body. Wing nuts or the like are threaded onto the connector rods and used for secur- 340/378 ing the assembly together. The lights carry separate in- DaVlS.............................i......340/323 dicia and are eparately controlled by a multi-position switch.
2,549,627 4/1951 Musch et al 2,932,004 4/1960 Zurcher....... 3,444,548 5/1969 10 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures t 1 m @Hm he.
ILLUMINATED MARKER BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates to illuminated information display devices, and in particular to such devices as sidelines down markers for football games and team foul indicators for basketball games.
2. Description of the Prior Art In a football game the offensive team is given four downs in which to either advance the ball at least ten yards or relinquish control of the ball to the opposite team. Conventional apparatus for indicating from the sidelines the next down to be played includes a staff with four sheet metal leaves attached to its upper end. The leaves are marked l 2, 3 and 4, respectively. The leaf carrying number 4 is normally attached to the top of the staff, and the other three leaves are pivotally attached along their upper edges to the fixed leaf, so that they can be pivotally moved from positions forwardly of the fixed leaf to positions rearwardly thereof, for changing the down indication.
A disadvantage of this type of down marker is that it is quite often difficult for spectators to locate it at the sidelines, particularly during night games. It has been proposed to make down markers to include lights and to use a different distinctive color for each down. However, the proposed markers of which I am aware are generally quite complex in their makeup and comprise a large number of specially constructed parts requiring a considerable amount of special manufacture, making the markers quite expensive to manufacture. An example of a previously proposed illuminated sidelines down marker is shown by US. Pat. No. 2,549,627, granted Apr. 17, 1951 to William F. Musch and Russell S. Katz.
Accordingly, there is a need for an illuminated down marker which is relatively simple in construction and can be economically manufactured, and at the same time is capable of exhibiting a relatively large illuminated signal for each down. The main object of this invention is to provide an illuminated down marker which fulfills these requirements. It is also an object to provide a marker or indicator for basketball team fouls which possesses the same advantages.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In preferred form, the marker or indicator of this invention is characterized by a head assembly comprising four pairs of numbered lights situated on top of a pole or staff which carries batteries for powering the lights and control circuitry. A base plate is connected to the upper end of the pole. A pair of connector rods are firmly secured at their lower ends to this plate and extend upwardly therefrom. The connector rods support four vertically spaced apart light assemblies, each light assembly comprising a pair of oppositely directed wide face light bulbs and a supporting bracket structure which is connected to the connector rods. The connector rods also support divider walls situated between the light assemblies, for dividing the illuminated head structure into separate compartments, one for each light assembly. A tubular (e.g. cylindrical) body member of clear plastic is slidable endwise down over the tier of light assemblies. The divider walls are sized to be snugly received within such member. The base plate is wider than the tubular body so that such body can rest on and be supported by such plate. The assembly includes a top cover which is also wider than the body. The connector rods project through openings in the cover. Wing nuts or the like are screwed onto the connector rods for clamping the various parts of the assembly together.
A suitable number of batteries are housed in a portion of the pole. A five position switch is mounted on the pole and is used for individually controlling the light assemblies. A down number is associated with each light of each assembly, and preferably the lights for each down have a distinctive color, so that a color as well as the number is associated with each down.
Additional features of the invention will be apparent from the following description taken in conjunction with the drawing.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING In the drawing like letters and numerals refer to like parts, and:
FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of a preferred embodiment of the invention, with a midportion of the pole or staff cut away to indicate indeterminate length, such view looking towards a tier of numbered lights on one side of the downs marker;
FIG. 2 is a fragmentedlongitudinal sectional view taken through the upper portion of the downs marker substantially along line 2-2 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary isometric view of the upper light region of the downs marker, with a side wall portion of the head cut away and certain parts spaced outwardly from their assembly positions, for clarity of illustration; and
FIG. 4 is a circuit diagram.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring more specifically to the several figures of the drawing, and particularly first to FIG. 1, the down marker is shown to comprise a pole or standard 10 and an illuminated head assembly 12 supported at the upper end of standard 10. In preferred form a lower support plate 14 is rigidly secured to the upper end of the standard 10. A pair of connector rods 16 are secured at their lower ends to the plate 14 and extend upwardly therefrom through the head assembly 12. Head assembly 12 also includes a tubular body member 18 which rests on and is supported at its lower end by the plate 14. A second plate 20 forms a cover or upper end wall for the head assembly 12. Plate 20 rests on the upper end of head member 18. The connector rods 16 include threaded upper end portions 22 which extend through openings 24 provided in cover 20. A seat nut 26 (FIG. 3) may be provided on each threaded portion 22 below the cover 20. Wing nuts 28 or the like are threaded onto the end portions 24 of the rods 16 above plate 20, for releasably holding the head assembly 12 together and in rigid securement to the pole or standard 10.
As best shown by FIGS. 1 and 2, the head assembly 12 is interiorly divided into four separate compartments 36, 38, 40, 42 (FIG. 2) by a plurality of vertically spaced apart intermediate walls 30, 32, 34. The connector rods 16 are threaded in the region of each wall 30, 32, 34 to receive upper and lower support nuts 44, 46, respectively. As best shown by FIG. 2, the end plates 14, 20 are slightly larger in transverse dimension than the tubular member 18, whereas the compartment forming wall members 30, 32, 34 are sized and shaped to snugly fit within the inside dimension of member 18.
According to the invention the connector rods 16 are used to support a light assembly in each of the compartments 36, 38, 40, 42. Each light assembly comprises a support bracket 48 and a pair of wide face lights 50. As best shown by FIG. 3, each bracket 48 includes a pair of mounting blocks 52, apertured to receive the con nector rod 16. Blocks 52 are made from an insulative material. The rods 16 are threaded in the regions of the blocks 52. Upper and lower clamping nuts 54, 56 threaded on each connector rod 16 immediately above and immediately below each block 52.
The brackets 48 include structure for supporting the lights 50 in back-to-back positions within the compartments 36, 38, 40, 42 in the manner illustrated, with the front faces of such lights 50 being vertically oriented when the pole is vertically oriented.
Starting at the lower end of head assembly 12, the two lights 50 in the first compartment are provided with the number 1 on the faces thereof. The lights 50 in the next compartment 38 are provided with the number 2. The two lights 50 in the third compartment 40 are provided with the numeral 3. The lights 50 in the fourth or top compartment 42 are provided with the numeral 4. In addition, each pair of lights may be made to illuminate as a different color from the rest. The example, the two lights 50 showing number 1" may be white lights. The two lights 50 showing the number 2 may be green lights. The two lights 50 showing the number 3" may be amber or yellow lights. The two lights 50 showing the number 4 may be red lights. Also, the two lights 50 showing the number 4 may include an element in their circuitry causing them to blink, as will hereinafter be explained in greater detail.
Preferably the plates 14, 20 and the interior walls 30, 32, 34 are made from an impervious sheet material. Tubular wall 18 may be a cylindrical sleeve of a transparent structural plastic material. The tubular member 18 meed only be transparent in the regions thereof directly outwardly from each light 50. The other regions of member 18 may be made semi or completely light impervious. The different colors may be provided by using a different translucent material for forming the numerals l, 2, 3 and 4 on the faces of the lights 50. Alternatively, the faces of the lights 50 may be colored in the regions thereof bordering the numerals. Or, the colors and numerals may be provided on member 18 immediately outwardly of the lights 50.
Referring again to FIG. 1, the standard or pole 10 is shown to include a battery receiving compartment at its lower end, closed by a lower end cap 58. The pole l0, cap 58, plate 14, and portions of the brackets 48 may be made of metallic materials to form the ground" path of an electrical control circuit. Such a circuit is schematically illustrated by FIG. 4. A plurality of short batteries B (or a single long battery) are located within the battery compartment (FIG. 1). The battery compartment cap 58 is assembled over the lower end of pole 10. Cap 58 is in contact with the lower end of the lower battery and with the side wall of tube 10. The negative terminal of each light 50 is connected to the metallic bracket member 48 which supports the light 50. These bracket members 48 are connected by wires 79 to the plate 14 or to pole 10. The upper end of the upper battery B contacts the lower end of a rod 60. The upper end of rod 60 is connected to one end of a multiposition switch S. As schematically shown by FIG. 4, the switch S has a normally open position 62, a first circuit making position 64, a second circuit making postion 66, a third circuit making position 68, and a fourth circuit making position 70. When switch S is in position 62 the movable contact arm of the switch is insulated from the grounded pole 10. When the contact arm is in position 64 it is in contact with a conductive member which through wiring 72 is connected to the positive" terminals of the lower lights 50 which show the number 1." When the contact arm of switch S is in position 66 it is electrically connected via wiring 74 with the positive terminal of the two lights 50 which show numeral 2. When the switch contact arm is in position 68 its contact arm is in circuit making contact with wiring 76 connected to the positive terminal of the lights 50 which show number 3. When the switch contact arm is in its fourth position it is in circuit making contact with wiring 78 (FIG. 3) which is connected to the positive terminal of the upper pair of lights 50 which illuminate number 4. As schematically illustrated in FIG. 4, a blinker device BD may be associated with each fourth down light 50 as an additional reminder that a fourth down situation exists.
As a modified embodiment, the illuminated marker of the present invention might be provided with a fifth compartment housing a fifth pair of numbered lights, adapted to light the number 5. In such embodiment each tier of five lights could be operated by a separate multi-position switch so that the device could be used by sideline officials at a basketball game for indicating the number of team fouls committed by each team in a period. The marker could be pole mounted, as in the preferred embodiment, but provided with a large base at the lower end of the pole for supporting the complete assembly on the floor. Or, the head assembly alone could be provided with the base for mounting it on a table. Such a team foul marker could include a longitudinal wall between the two lights of each pair of lights. The pairs of lights could be supported so that their faces are separated by an acute angle or point in substantially the same direction. Also, one tier of lights may be labeled by an H, designating the home team, and the other may be identified by a V, designating the visiting team.
The invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit or central characteristics thereof. The present embodiments are therefore to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive, the scope of the invention being indicated by the appended claims rather than by the foregoing description, and all changes which come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are therefore to be embraced therein.
What is claimed is:
1. An illuminated indicator comprising a base, at least one connector rod secured at its lower end to the base and projecting upwardly therefrom, a plurality of transverse walls connected to connector rod and spaced therealong from each other and from said base to form a plurality of compartments, a bracket in each compartment secured to the connector rod, and at least one light connected to each bracket, a tubular body sized to slip over and snugly receive all of said transverse walls, and to sit on and be supported by said base, a cover sized to extend across the upper end of said body, said cover including an opening therein for receiving the upper end portion of said connector rod, fastener means connectible to the upper end of the connector rod above said cover, and an electrical energy source for said lights, including means for selectively controlling said lights, and said tubular body being light emitting in-at least those portions thereof spaced forwardly of said lights.
2. An illuminated indicator according to claim 1, wherein said connector rod is threaded and each light bracket and each transverse wall includes an opening through which the connector rod passes, and each bracket and each wall is secured to the connector rod by upper and lower nuts on the connector rod which are screwed into clamping contact with each bracket and wall.
3. An illuminated indicator according to claim 1, wherein the portion of the connector rod projecting upwardly above the cover is threaded and a nut is screwed onto such portion and down against such cover, and serves to clamp the tubular body between said base and said cover.
4. An illuminated indicator according to claim 1, wherein said base is secured to the upper end of an elongated pole, and said electrical energy source includes battery means inside said pole.
5. An illuminated indicator according to claim 1, comprising a pair of laterally spaced apart connector rods of the character described, wherein each bracket and each end wall includes openings therein for receiving the connector rods, and such walls and brackets are secured to the connector rods by clamp means around said openings situated partially below and partially above the brackets and the walls.
6. An illuminated indicator according to claim 5, wherein each bracket supports two oppositely directed wide faced lights.
7. An illuminated indicator according to claim 6, wherein each pair of lights in each vertical compartment is provided with a distinguishing item of indicia.
8. An illuminated indicator according to claim 7, wherein each item of indicia is a numeral.
9. An illuminated indicator according to claim 7, wherein each item of indicia is a color.
10. An illuminated indicator according to claim 1, comprising four separate compartments and at least one light in each compartment, each light having a wide face and having a numeral associated therewith, with said numbers ranging from one through four, and with the light associated with the numeral four being a blinking light.