US 3760798 A
A self-illuminating gripping handle adapted to have attached to it a tongue depressor or the like, the insertion of the tongue depressor within the handle urging an internal spring-like switch through closing movement completing an energizing circuit which provides illumination contributing to effective use of the tongue depressor.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States, Patent- [191 Edinger Sept. 25, 1973 SELF-ILLUMINATING TONGUE 1,339,711 5/1920 128/16 1,932,473 10/1933 Morgan et a1. 128/16 3,638,644 128/16 DEPRESSOR AND THE LIKE  Inventor:
Ladislav Leslie Edinger, 1084 Primary Examiner-Lucie H. Laudenslager Attorney-Bauer, Amer, P.C.
Allerton Ave., Bronx, N.Y. 10469 Nov. 24, 1971  Filed:
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A6lb 1/24 of the tongue depressor within the handle urging an in- 128/6,l5,16,l8
ternal spring-like switch through closing movement completing an energizing circuit which provides illumination contributing to effective use of the tongue depressor-  Field of Search 1,364,873 Fitzgerald 128/16 8 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures 220 44 4 8 .3 &2
5 w. 7 2 we /r V 6 s 3 8 4V 0 4 O 4 6 5 6 Z ir .6. 65 9 m I 4 nw Me 0 2 5 5 .w 2 2 The present invention relates to illuminatedtongue depressors or the like, and more particularly to an improved gripping and supporting handle for the tongue depressor.
It is advantageous to not only provide a tongue depressor to assist in medical examinations, but also to provide illumination of the throat or other patient area being examined. While several models of selfilluminating tongue depressors are known and in use, their construction and operation are not entirely satisfactory. For example, those models having lightenergizing circuits with an on/off switch, or wherein the battery to light bulb connection includes a wire or electrical conductor soldered to a terminal, are subject to malfunction due to faulty operation of the switch or disengagement of the soldered connection.
Prior art attempts to obviate the aforesaid components from the'energizing circuit, as exemplified by U.S. Pat. Nos. 1,932,473 and 1,274,547, have resulted in an unweildy elongated structure in which the tongue depressor extends longitudinally of the gripping handle, rather than in the obviously preferred 90 or transverse orientation. Said transverse relationship of the tongue depressor to its gripping handle not only makes the structure more compact, but greatly facilitates manipulation of the tongue depressor.
Broadly, it is an object to provide an improved self-- illuminating tongue depressor overcoming the foregoing and other shortcomings of the prior art. Specifically, it is an object to provide a hand grip and supporting handle adapted to removably accommodate an end of the tongue depressor inserted laterally therein, and wherein the inserting movement thereof within the handle is against a yeilding spring which both effectively completes the light-energizing circuit and contributes spring pressure or bias which holds the tongue depressor in place.
A tongue depressor and, more particularly, a handle attachable thereto demonstrating objects and advantages of the present invention includes a housing bounding an internal battery and light socket compartment which, in practice, is loaded with these items. The housing also has an opening through which the end of the tongue depressor is projected and guided between gripping walls during establishment of a removable engagement with the housing. A movable switch in the energizing circuit is advantageously located in the path of guided movement of the tongue depressor and is urged by it through circuit-completing movement.
The above brief description, as well as further objects, features and advantages of the present invention, will be more fully appreciated by reference to the following detailed description of the presently preferred, but nonetheless illustrative embodiment in accordance with the present invention, when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing, wherein:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a self-illuminating handle for a tongue depressor or the like according to the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the handle showing internal structural features thereof;
FIG. 3 is similarly a side elevational view, but show ing a tongue depressor attached to the handle; and
FIGS. 4a and 4b are respectively side elevational and plan views of a disposable member serving as a tongue depressor or the like.
Reference is now made to the drawing and in particular to FIG. 1 illustrating an assembly of a selfilluminating handle, generally designated 10, and a removable member 12 serving as a tongue depressor or the like extending laterally of the handle 10. In accordance with the present invention, theassembly of the member 12 within the handlw l0 automatically results in the illumination of a battery-operated bulb 14 and the beaming of the light therefrom, as depicted by the arrows 16 in FIG. 3, down toward the distal end of the tongue depressor 12. The aforesaid, in an obvious way, facilitates the use of the tongue depressor. The manner in which illumination of the light 14 is automatically achieved is attributable to the construction of the handle l0, and this and also other noteworthy features of the handle 10, will now be described in particular reference to FIGS. 2 and 3 in conjunction with FIG. 1.
Handle 10 is preferably a plastic article of manufacture consisting of two housing halves 18, 20 which have cooperating male and female structure which permit these two housings to snap together. Assembly of the handle is completed with a cap 22 having a friction fit about the bottom of the assembled housing units 18, 20.
As is perhaps best shown in FIGS. 2, 3, the assembled housing units 18, 20 bound an internal battery and light compartment 24. Widthwise compartment 24 is sized to accommodate two dry-cell batteries 26 and 28 which at one end are connected in series by a metallic springlike member 30 supported internally of the cap 22.
In the upper or remote end of the compartment 24, the two housing units 18 and 20 cooperate to provide a circular opening 32 which is sized to accommodate an end of a plastic light socket 34. A cylindrical base 36 of the socket is centered between semicircular configurated walls 38 that are in facing relation with each other in each of the housing units 18 and 20. It will be understood that light socket 34 is effectively retained in its position extending inwardly of the opening 32 within the compartment 24 by any appropriate structure, such as for example a peripheral lip 40 and circumferentially spaced projections 42 which cooperate to engage the edge bounding the opening 32 on opposite sides.
The housing unit 20, which will be understood to be the unit shown in FIGS. 2, 3, is appropriately fabricated with structural features factilitating the accommodating of elelctrical contacts for completing an energizing circuit between the dry cell batteries 26, 28 and the terminal portion 48 of the previously noted light bulb 14. In accordance with the present invention, these contacts consist of two metallic spring-like members 50 and 52 which are electrically connected between the batteries and the light terminal 48 to provide an energizing circuit for the light 14. A noteworthy aspect of this energizing circuit is that it does not include any wires or similar electrical conductors which ordinarily require soldering or a similar positive connection to a cooperating electrical terminal.
The energizing circuit contact-supporting structure consists, more particularly, of two spaced-apart discontinuous walls 54 and 56, which have lateral offset openings 58, 60 and 62. Utilizing to advantage the resiliency or spring-like aspect of contact 50, the same, as clearly illustrated in FIGS. 2, 3, is seated in interleaved fashion between the walls 54 and 56, having a depending end extended through the opening 53 into electrical contact with the battery 26. The other end of contact 50 is held by a stop 64 in electrical contact against the light terminal 48.
The other spring-like contact 52 is interleaved through the openings 60 and 62 of the walls 54 and 56, similarly having a depending end establishing electrical contact with the other battery 28. The other portion or free end of contact 52 is, in reality, a movable switch 65, the degree of movement thereof being from an opening position, as depicted in FIG. 2, to a circuitcompleting or closed position, as illustrated in FIG. 3. Limiting the closing movement of switch 65 and, to some extent, cooperating to provide this switch with its proper circuit-completing contact with the light terminal 48 is a stop 66 located substantially centrally of the upper portion of the compartment 24. Stop 66 will be understood to extend transversely of or in spanning re lation across the holding units 18 and 20.
Automatic closing of the switch 65 is occasioned by insertion of the tongue depressor member 12 within the handle 10. To this end, a transversely oriented substantially rectangular opening 68 is provided in the housing units 18 and 20 just below the light 14. Extending inwardly of the opening 68 are tongue depressor guiding walls 70 and 72 which both accommodate and guide the end of the member 12 which is projected within the opening 68. In accordance with the present invention, contact 52 is located at the end of the contemplated path of movement of member 12 so that the attached end 74 thereof, as can best be appreciated by comparison of FIGS. 2 and 3, physically abuts against the contact 52 and urges it through movement to its FIG. 3 circuit-completing position. Naturally, once contact 52, or more particularly switch 64 thereof touches the bulb terminal 48, the circuit is completed between the batteries 26, 28 and the bulb l4, and bulb 14 will thus be energized.
Removably holding member 16 in its inserted position within the handle is :1 depending projection 76 at the inserted end thereof, said projection snapping behind the rounded end 78 of the lower guide wall 72. The rounded curvature is not essential, but it is helpful in facilitating the removal of member 12 after its use.
It will be understood that location of projection 76 at the tongue depressor end 74 is such that contact of switch 65 with bulb terminal 48 is actually established before this projection snaps behind the wall edge 78. Thus, switch 65 actually contacts the stop 66 while there is still slight movement required in the member 12 before the depression 76 snaps behind the wall edge 78. As a consequence, there is a slight expansion in the curved medial portion 80 of contact 52 (see FIG. 2) and this expansion, in an obvious manner, results in the exertion of a spring bias or force on the inserted end 74 which has the effect of holding member 12 in place within the handle 10.
From the foregoing, it should be readily appreciated that there has been described herein a self-illuminating handle 10 for a removable member 12, which may be effectively. utilized as a tongue depressor or the like, wherein the construction of the handle 10 is noteworthy in that it is devoid of complicated structural features, including even a wire or other such electrical conductor for the light energizing circuit. The construction of handle 10 also obviates the need for an on/- off switch since merely upon insertion of the tongue depressor 12 within the handle, the light bulb M is automatically energized.
A latitude of modification, change and substitution is intended in the foregoing disclosure, and in some instances some features of the invention will be employed without a corresponding use of other features. Accordingly, it is appropriate that the appended claims be construed broadly and in a manner consistent with the spirit and scope of the invention herein.
What is claimed is:
1. In combination, a removable member serving as a tongue depressor or the like and a handle attachable thereto, said handle comprising a housing, an opening defined in said housing for attaching movement of said tongue depressor into said handle and for removal therefrom, tongue depressor-gripping means in said housing for engaging said tongue depressor incident to attaching movement thereof into said handle, a batteryoperated light operatively arranged in said housing in focusing relation along said attached tongue depressor, an energizing circuit within said housing including said light, and a movable, normally open switch member in said energizing circuit located in the path of said attaching movement of said tongue depressor so as to be actuated by the attaching movement of said tongue depressor into a closed position completing said energizing circuit, whereby the attached position of said tongue depressor within said handle automatically provides illumination for the use of said tongue depressor.
2. The combination as defined in claim 1 including cooperating engaging means on said tongue depressor and on said tongue depressor-gripping means effective to removably hold said tongue depressor in said position resulting in the illumination of said light.
3. The combination as defined in claim 2 wherein said engaging means on said tongue depressor is a depending projection adjacent an end thereof.
4. The combination as defined in claim 2 wherein said switch member is fabricated of a material effective to urge said engaging means into its engaged condition.
5. A self-illuminating handle for a tongue depressor or the like comprising a housing, a battery-operated light disposed in said housing, said housing having an opening adjacent said light for the projection of said tongue depressor therethrough into attached relation with said handle, wall means extending from said opening within said housing for guiding said tongue depressor during said projection thereof within said housing, and switch means located within said housing adjacent said wall means so as to be actuated to operate said light by the projected insertion of said tongue depressor into said opening and into engagement with said switch means.
6. The self-illuminated handle as defined in claim 5 wherein said tongue depressor has a depending projection adjacent one end and said switch means is a spring, whereby said projection against the opposing urgency of said spring snaps behind one said guiding wall means during the insertion of said tongue depressor within said handle so that said tongue depressor is thereby removably held in place.
7. The self-illuminating handle as defined in claim 6 including batteries and an energizing circuit for said light consisting only of said switch means and exposed metallic contacts electrically connected to said batteries.
8. A self-illuminating handle for a tongue depressor or the like comprising a housing, a housing opening, a
member located in said path of movement adjacent an end thereof, and a tongue depressor having an operative end with a depending depression thereon adapted to be inserted within said housing opening and prospaced pair of horizontally oriented gripping walls ex- 5 jected along said path of movement between said griptending inwardly from said housing opening within said housing defining therebetween a path of movement for inserting said tongue depressor within said housing, a battery-operated light disposed in said housing above said housing opening in focusing relation forwardly thereof, a light energizing circuit within said housing including a normally open, movable spring-like switch ping walls into abutting relation against said switch, whereby said switch member is effectively urged into a circuit-closing position by said tongue depressor and said depending depression thereon snaps behind the lower of said gripping walls to removably hold said tongue depressor in place.
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