US 3735099 A
A warning device for a cigarette lighter includes a counter wheel which indicates the cumulative total of times the cover of the lighter has been opened to expose the flint and wick. Thus, the counter indirectly indicates the number of cigarettes consumed by the lighter's owner which acts as a device for discouraging smoking.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
atem 1 1 err 1 May 22, 1973  CHGARETTE LIGHTER 2,757,867 8/1956 McKay ..235 91 R Inventor: Barry C Herr 404 willow o 3,493,172 2/1970 Bromage ..116/133 Savannah, FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS Filed: 1971 785,954 11/1957 Great Britain ..431/253 [2!] Appl' l18459 Primary Examiner-Stephen J. Tomsky Att0rneyCushman, Darby & Cushman  US. Cl ..235/91 R, 116/133, 431/253  Km. 1 ..G06m 1/00, G09f 9/00  ABSTRACT  Field of A warning device for a cigarette lighter includes a counter wheel which indicates the cumulative total of times the cover of the lighter has been opened to ex-  References Clted pose the flint and wick. Thus, the counter indirectly UNITED STATES PATENTS indicates the number of cigarettes consumed by the lighters owner which acts as a device for discouraging 1 831,068 9/1906 Helms ..235/91 B ki 1,030,786 6/1912 Manchester ....235/9l B 2,636,469 4/1953 McKay .235/91 R 6 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures Pmmgnmzzlsn 5,099
INV ENTOIS ATTORNEYS CIGARETTE LIGHTER BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates to cigarette lighters.
2. Description of the Prior Art Cigarette lighters known to the prior art have had at least two major disadvantages. First, these lighters use at least one replaceable substance. Whether it is the flint, the fuel or the wick, the useful life of the lighter does not exceed the life of the least durable item and the unexpected exhaustion of the least durable item causes embarrassment and frustration.
Of course, the life of the least durable item is related to the usage of the lighter so that a counter which would indicate the number of uses of the lighter would help to prevent any embarrassing lighter failure. When the lighter had been used the maximum number of times suggested by the manufacturer the user could then replace the least durable item before it caused a lighter malfunction.
The other major disadvantage of cigarette lighters is that they are often used to light cigarettes which are then smoked to the detriment of the smoker. Many devices are known to help a smoker quit his habit including certain warnings which are appended to smoking materials. One of the problems with known warnings, however, is they they do not provide a running total of the cumulative danger of smoking and they do not provide a new eye-catching warning with each use of smoking materials.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In view of the disadvantages described above it is a fist object of the invention to provide a lighter which is less likely to malfunction due to the exhaustion of fuel, flint etc. It is another object of the invention to provide a lighter which provides a dynamic and cumulative warning to the user of the dangers of smoking.
Both of the above objects can be accomplished by associating a countenindicator device with a lighter so that with each use of the lighter the counter-indicator is activated to indicate a new cumulative total for uses.
Basically, the present invention resides in a device which causes a detent to index a ratchet wheel each time the cover of the cigarette lighter is opened. The
wheel is contained within the lighter case and faces a window formed in the side thereof. Further, numerals in arithmetic order are arranged on the wheel so that a constantly increasing number appears at the window as the cover is repeatedly opened.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 shows a side view of a first embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 2 shows a side view identical to the view of FIG. 1 but partially in section;-
FIG. 3 shows an end view, partially in section, of the first embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 4 shows a side view, partially in section, ofa second embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 5 shows an end view, partially in section, of the second embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 6 shows a side view, partially in section of the third embodiment of the invention; and
FIG. 7 shows an end view, partially in section of the third embodiment of the invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS FIG. 1 shows a side view of a fist embodiment of the invention. The cigarette lighter in general is indicated by reference number 10. This lighter has a movable cover 12 and a case 14 to which the cover is pivotally attached. A legend 16 is embossed, painted or otherwise affixed to the side of the case 14 which is presented in this figure. This legend alerts the smoker to the dangers of his habit and preferably draws his attention to the window 18 formed in the side of the case 14 and protected by the transparent cover 20. The window 18 contains a number which represents the total number of times the lighter has been used.
The manner by which this number is related to the lighters operation will now be discussed in detail with respect to the two major types of cigarette lighter construction.
In the first type the cover 12 is merely hinged to the case 14 at hinge l3 and spring loaded to the closed position as shown in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3. In the closed position the cover 12 encloses the fire producing portion of the lighter, indicated generally by numeral 22. This portion includes the wick 24 which is connected to a source of liquid fuel contained within the case, a wind guard 26 surrounding the wick but allowing some air circulation thereto through perforations 28, a friction wheel 30 mounted on the wind guard for rotational motion and a flint 32 which is in contact with the periphery of the serrated edge 34 of wheel 30.
In operation, the cover 12 must be first removed from the area of the fire producing portion and then the wheel 30 is rotated causing the serrated edge 34 to stroke the flint 32 and create a spark which ignites the fuel which has soaked up through the wick 24 to an area adjacent the flint. 7
Obviously, the foregoing is a summary of only one of a number of fire producing systems possible in a cigarette lighter. The important thing to note is that the cover 12 must be removed before the tire producing portion can be activated. Thus a connection which moves with the cover can give a reasonably good indication of the number of times the lighter is used. Such a connection is provided by holding pin 36 which is fixedly attached to the inside of cover 12 and link 38 which is pivotally attached at one end to rotate about pin 36. The other end of link 38 is formed into a detent 40 which engages the serrated edge 42 of ratchet wheel 44. The wheel 44 has a sequential series of numbers and is mounted for rotation about the axis 45 which is affixed to the case 14. The wheel 44 is restrained from rotating in the counterclockwise direction by the pawl 46 and the pawl is, in turn, also mounted to the casing 14 by pin 48 about which it can rotate. The pawl is urged towards the serrated edge 42 of the ratchet wheel by the tension spring 50 and the detent is urged towards the serrated edge by the tension spring 52.
In operation, when the cover 12 is rotated about its hinge 13 to expose the fire producing portion 22 the detent 40 is drawn upwards by pin 36 and link 38 which causes the wheel 44 to index one step in the clockwise direction and place the next higher sequential number on the wheel in registry with the window 18.
The second embodiment of the invention, illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5 is similar to the first embodiment except that in the second embodiment the cover 12' and the wheel 30 (not shown) are both activated by the depression of the button 54. When depressing the button 54 a portion of the operators hand also engages the button of the case 14' which, in turn, causes the push button 56 to be depressed.
The depression of button 56 causes the link 58 which is attached thereto to move upwards against the action of spring 60 (which spring biases button 56 to its inoperative position). A detent 40' is attached to the other end of link 58 from the button and it acts in a manner identical to the detent 40 discussed above with respect to the first embodiment. The remaining elements in the second embodiment are identical in construction and operation to those discussed with respect to the first embodiment and therefore need not be discussed here.
The third embodiment of this invention which will presently be described with reference to FIGS. 6 and 7 could be applied to either of the major types of cigarette lighter construction but for the sake of simplicity this embodiment will be discussed only with respect to the Ronson type.
In FIG. 6 the push button 56 is replaced by push button 62 which is spring loaded by spring 64 to a neutral position flush with the bottom of the lighter case but which button, when depressed, causes the contact 66 which is connected thereto to complete an electrical circuit.
The circuit thus completed, starts at the battery 68 and proceeds to the coil 70 of the solenoid 72. The circuit then returns through the contact 66 to the other side of the battery 68. Thus, when the circuit is completed, power is transferred from the battery 68 to the coil 70 and the solenoid armature 72 is activated to extend the detent 74, which is connected thereto and which engages a ratchet wheel, a fixed distance thus indexing the ratchet wheel. When the button 62 is released spring 64 returns it to the neutral position, the electrical circuit is opened the solenoid deactivated and the detent is urged to its original position by spring 76.
Since the other elements shown in FIGS. 6 and 7 are identical in construction and operation to the elements described above they need not be discussed further at this point. All that need be said is that a new cumulative use total is portrayed each time the button 62 is depressed. Since the button 62 is depressed each time the cover is removed, the cumulative total gives an indication of cumulative lighter uses and thus cumulative cigarettes smoked.
While the above description covers the two preferred embodiments of the invention, it is understood by those skilled in the art that many modifications are possible within the scope of the invention. For example, ratchet wheel could be placed on both of the broad sides of the lighters case to insure that the counter-indicator would always be turned towards the user.
In addition, a plurality of numeral bearing wheels could be interlocked in a known manner to indicate in a number of windows a larger number than is possible to represent by a single wheel.
Also, the electronic counter system, which was described above with reference to FIGS. 6 and 7, could be modified such that the push button is replaced by a capacitance sensor which would produce a signal each time the lighter is grasped by a human hand.
What is claimed is:
1. A cigarette lighter comprising:
pivotable means attaching said cover to said casing;
a number indicating means housed within said casing and successive visually identifiable numbers disposed thereon and visibly seen through said casing; and,
means attached to said cover for sequentially advancing said visually identifiable numbers on said number indicating means upon opening said cover.
2. A cigarette lighter as in claim 1 wherein said casing includes a window aligned with said visually identifiable numbers as said advancing means is sequentially operated.
3. A cigarette lighter as in claim 2 wherein said number indicating means is a wheel and said advancing means being a detent mechanism.
4. A cigarette lighter as in claim 3 wherein said wheel is a ratchet wheel having a detent mechanism.
5. A cigarette lighter as in claim 4 having a spring loaded pawl in association with said ratchet wheel to prevent rotation of said wheel in a direction opposite to that effected by the advancing detent mechanism.
6. A cigarette lighter of claim 5 wherein said detent mechanism is in association with said cover and the ratchet wheel which on moving said cover causes said detent mechanism to effect rotation of said ratchet wheel.