US 3768186 A
A backlighted stationary billboard is disclosed which includes a lamp chamber closed at its front by a novel display panel so that lamps within the lamp chamber may illuminate the display panel from behind. The novel billboard display panel includes a unitary fiber glass and polyester resin panel having a display sheet embedded therein with the display indicia applied to both sides of the display sheet. A novel process of making the novel display panel is disclosed. The panel itself and process are claimed in a divisional application.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
\ nite States Qhase et a1.
1 1 Oct. 36, 1973 STATIONARY BACKLIGHTED BILLBOARD, BILLBOARD DISPLAY PANEL  Inventors: Bernard S. Chase, 1717 Kane St.,
' Lindenhurst, N.Y.; Raymond 11-1. Frederick, 17 North Ave., Montvale; Victor T. Gorglione, 40 Lewis St., Old Bridge, both of NJ.
 Filed: Aug. 18, 1971  Appl. No.: 172,618
 11.8. C1. 40/125 16, 40/125 F, 40/132 R,
40/135, l61/5,161/6, 161/18  Int. Cl. (10917/00  Field 01 Search 161/5, 6,518, 43;
40/132 R, 130 B, 132 1), 132 11,133 R, 130 A, 125 1 ,125 R, 135
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,717,738 6/1929 Schwarz 40/132R X 1,894,512 l/l933 Eschenbach 40/132 D 2,163,763 6/1939 Ray 40/130 B 2,195,362 3 1940 Ellis 260/75 2,255,313 9/1941 Ellis 2,620,580 12/1952 Dwinell. 1,487,705 3/1924 Bateman FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 1,188,884 9/1959 France .1 40/132 Primary Examiner-Robert W. Michell Assistant ExaminerGeorge Yahwak Attorney-David B. Miller  ABSTRACT A backlighted stationary billboard is disclosed which includes a lamp chamber closed at its front by a novel display panel so that lamps within the lamp chamber may illuminate the display panel from behind. The novel billboard display panel includes a unitary fiber glass and polyester resin panel having a display sheet embedded therein with the display indicia applied to both sides of the display sheet. A novel process of making the novel display panel is disclosed. The panel itself and process are claimed in a divisional application.
7 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures 1 STATIONARY BACKLTGHTED BILLBOARD,
BILLBOARD DISPLAY PANEL This invention relates to a novel backlighted billboard, and to a novel billboard display panel used therein, and to a method of manufacturing the novel billboard displaypanel.
Billboards are well known advertising media which are extensively used today. They are relatively large display devices having a minimum size of.5 feet by 11 feet. The common most popular billboard, such as that seenalong highways today, is 9 feet 7 inches by 21 feet 7 inches, and some are even larger;
Billboard structures today generally consist of a vertical panel, commonly of galvanized metal, of the desired 4 dimension, which is supported on the ground or on a building by a frame, usually of wood. There is pasted on this panel from time to time sheets of paper making up a poster containing the desired display, usually an advertising message. The billboard panels are standardized in size, and the sheets of paper are standardized in size. For the most popular large billboard described above, commonly several sheets of paper are pasted on the vertical panel side by side to cover the same, wall paper fashion, in a mosaic, so that the finished mosaic makes a poster carrying the desired advertising message. Annually, about 2,500,000 of these posters are produced.
Although the paper employed in the ordinary billboard is relatively inexpensive, nonetheless the several sheets, 8-l2 actual sheets of paper in the case of a socalled 30 sheet" poster, must each be applied individually to the supporting structure, and all the sheets must be carefully mosaicked to produce the desired advertising message. The labor of applying the paper posters is expensive. Additionally the finished display paper is exposed to the elements and rapidly deteriorates under their influence. If imperfections occur in application of the paper to the support panel, the deteriorating effect of the elements is greatly accelerated. Oxidation fades the colors in the poster, and peeling and bucklinghthe so-called flagging," of the paper occurs. Consequently, eventhough the initial raw material cost may not be great, the display v erysoon loses much of itsinitial appeal because of the loss of quality due to deterioration from the elements. Because of this the posters commonly are changed once a month, and in many cases are changed more frequently.
Commonly billboards are lighted to render them visible at night. From the inherent nature of the structure, the lighting most commonly used is front lighting, i.e;, a light is placed in front of the billboard and aimed at the panel, so the light shines on the panel. This merely illuminates the paper panel, whatever its condition, without enhancing the character of the display.
The instant invention relates to a backlighted stationary billboard having a display panel which has a longuseful life when exposed to adverse weather conditions. Consequently a single display panel, can be left in place for considerable periods of time without loss of quality.
The billboard panel of this invention is especially adapted to a backlighted display in which the illumination for the panel lights the panel from behind and shines through the panel. Not only does the backlighting render the panel visible in the dark, it adds greatly to the character, brilliance and liveliness of the visual impact of the display on an observers eye.
The display indicia according to this invention is arranged in such a manner as to greatly enhance the liveliness and brilliance of the display panel when backlighted.
The billboard display panel according to this invention includes a unitary panel of fiber glass and a display sheet embedded in polyester resin. The display sheet is a carrier paper sheet which has the display indicia applied to both sides of the carrier sheet to form a single desired display. The fiber glass is arranged in layers adjacent the carrier sheet, and the resin impregnates both the carrier sheet and the fiber glass. The finished display panel is a semi-rigid panel not over about 1 /4 inch thick in which the carrier sheet and fiber glass are, for practical purposes, substantially invisible, and only the display indicia is visible to any substantial extent.
In a large billboard, a plurality of these unitary panels, each embodying a portion only of the desired finished display, are assembled side-by-side in a mosaic to produce the desired overall display.
According to this invention, the unitary billboard display panel is produced by the following novel process. A carrier sheet, preferably paper, has the desired display indicia applied to both sides thereof in registry so that the carrier sheet would have substantially identical appearances when viewed from either side, and to the extent the carrier paper transmits light, the indicia on one side might be thought to reinforce the indicia on the other. Preferably this indicia is photogelatine printed on each side of the carrier paper. One or more of the carrier sheets with the indicia on both sides thereof are then brought to the laminating station where a sheet of cellophane is spread on a supporting surface such as a belt. A mat or mats of fiber glass at least as large as the desired finished billboard panel are unrolled onto this cellophane to substantially occupy the entire area of the desired finished panel. The carrier sheet or sheets with the indicia thereon is then spread over the fiber glass to occupy at least the area desired in the finished billboard panel, an additional layer or mat of fiber glass is spread over the carrier sheet, and the resin in liquid form is poured over the assemblage to impregnate the same and to embed the same inthe resin. A second layer of cellophane is applied over the thus formed unit, and the resin is heated to cure the same and produce a semi-rigid panel which may be trimmed as necessary to produce the finished billboard panel. Surface texture may be given the panel, if desired, by appropriate complimentary surface texture on the supporting surface on which the first sheet of cellophane is spread.
The backlighted billboard according to this invention includes a lamp chamber having an open, generally rectangular, side of billboard dimensions. The lamp chamber carries means to receive one or more of the panels'spanning and closing this open side, so that, except at the'borders, only the panels are visible at this open side. Fluorescent lamps are arranged within the lamp chamber to uniformlylight the panel from behind to produce an illuminated billboard.
For a better understanding of the nature of this invention, reference should be had to the following de- FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of the billboard of FIG. 1 along the line 2-2;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged fragmentary view of a panel employed in the billboard of FIG. 1 illustrating the arrangement of the several components of the panel;
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary cross-sectional view of the panel along the line 4-4 of FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is a face view of a billboard panel mosaic for a large 9 feet 7 inches by 21 feet7 inches billboard;
FIG. 6 is a detail along the line 66 of FIG. 5, and
FIG. 7 is a flow diagram illustrating the method of this inveniton used to produce the panel.
Referring to FIG. 1 of the drawing, an illuminated billboard according to this invention is shown. This figure illustrates a normal 5 feet high by l 1 feet wide billboard indicated generally by the reference character 10 which is supported on the legs 11. As appears in FIGS. 1 and 2, the billboard includes a generally boxshaped lamp chamber or housing 12, of galvanized iron or the like, having length and width dimensions slightly larger than the dimensions desired for the display panel, and having an overall thickness of about 8 inches. As appears best from FIG. 2, the back and peripheral borders of this lamp housing are closed, but the exposed display side, or face, (on the left of FIG. 2) is open except for relatively small flanges 13, which extent inwardly about an inch from the periphery and which receive the U-cross section channels 14, 14' by bolts 18. These U-channels in turn are about an inch deep, so they do not close to any substantial extent the rectangular opening, in this case approximately 5 by l 1 feet in size, in the exposed face of the lamp housing 12.
There are mounted within the lamp housing a plurality of lamps designed to backlight and billboard display panel. In the embodiment illustrated in the drawing, these lamps are fluorescent lamps 15 with their usual bulbs, sockets, ballast and supporting equipment. In a 5 feet high billboard such as that illustrated in the drawing, these fluorescent lamps can conveniently be 40 watt bulbs 4 feet long, and arranged vertically with their ends spaced equally distant from the top and bottom borders of the open face of the lamp chamber. The several lamps are electrically interconnected, and are connected through a power lead 16 to a source of electricity to illuminate the billboard. In the embodiment illustrated, 11 such lamps are shown with the two end lamps spaced approximately one-half foot from their respective endsof the open face of the box and the intermediate lamps being spaced from each other at one foot intervals to produce a uniform backlighting for the billboard. When desired, the spacing and arrangement of the lamps can be varied to enhance the display of the panel; for example a plurality can be grouped more closely, or lamps of greater intensity can be used at a selected area, to light one part of the panel more brilliantly than the rest to emphasize a part of the display.
As best appears in FIG. 2, the panels 17 of this invention have a slightly greater vertical dimension than the opening in the face of the lamp housing or chamber 12 so that these panels may be slid into the U channels 14 and will then be held in place by the U channels. The U channels in turn are bolted by the bolts 18 to the small flanges 13 of the lamp housing 12. Preferably one vertical end channel 14' should be readily removable, so that it may be removed while the panels 17 are being slid into the billboard and may be replaced when the panels are in place to hold them in the billboard. Conveniently, this can be arranged by making the bolts 18 at this end readily accessible from the outside, as through holes 32 in channel 14'.
Referring next to FIGS. 3, 4 and 7, the unitary billboard panel 17 of this invention and its method of manufacture are illustrated. This panel 17 includes a display carrier sheet 20, which most conveniently can be paper, although other sheets such as Mylar (polyester) and other man-made materials may be used for some purposes. MYLAR is a trademark for a polyester film of polyethylene terephthalate resin; The desired indicia, in this case the rectangular color display 21 and the letters 22 forming the words FLY AIRWAYS, are applied to the carrier sheet. In many cases, it will be found especially advantageous to apply the desired indicia 21 and 22 to the backside of the carrier sheet as well, with the back indicia 21 and 22' in registry with the face indicia 21, 22. When the indicia is applied to both sides of the carrier sheet, it greatly increases the brilliance and liveliness to the eye of the observer of the finished display.
The indicia 21, 21 and 22, 22 can be applied to the carrier sheet 20 by various techniques such as lithography, rotogravure, photography, silk screening and hand painting, but especially advantageous results are achieved in brilliance and clarity by applying the indicia to both sides of the sheet by photogelatine printing.
Photogelatine printing is a familiar graphic art technique today. Photogelatine printing is a screenless printing process in which a plate of monel or aluminum is given a coating of chemically treated gelatine and dried. The display to be reproduced is photographed by direct exposure on continuous tone film which is developed and retouched as desired to produce the negative. The negative is masked on the sensitized plate, which is then exposed to light to etch the gelatine, after which the sensitizing chemicals are removed from the plate, ink is rolled over the plate, and the paper to be printed is printed from the plate, with both sides of the paper being printed with the same indicia.
The visual impact achieved in the finished panel is influenced by the opacity of the carrier paper 20. A high opacity paper, such as l-lammermill Decision 92 paper, gives especially good results. The number 92 in the name of this paper indicates the degree of opacity, and this paper is very opaque. On a scale of 100, the 92 opacity of this paper would compare with an opacity of about 80 for the paper normally used in photo-offset work for posters, mailings and the like. A 25 by 38 inches basis lb. weight paper is found especially desirable.
Inks which are highly resistant to bleeding when exposed. to styrene, the reactive monomer commonly used in the resin mixture, will be found especially desirable, and inks of this type are readily available. For example, those sold by the I-Iandschy Chemical Company under its code numbers Yl 1008A (yellow), R25058 (red), B21896D (blue) and B60108 (black) are of this type.
A carrier sheet, preferably paper, has the desired display indicia applied to both sides thereof in registry so that the carrier sheet would have substantially identical appearances when viewed from either side, and the indicia on one side might be thought to reinforce the indicia on the other. Next the carrier sheet with the indicia on both sides goes to the embedding station where, as illustrated in the FIG. 7 flow diagram, a sheet pletely envelop the same, so as to saturate the fiber glass and carrier sheet and to embed them in the resin, after which a second sheet of cellophane is applied over the top of the assemblage and the resin is heat cured in a conventional way to produce a semi-rigid panel.
Fiber glass bats used in fiber glass resin laminates are well known. These are sheets of woven or non-woven fiber glass which, in this case, should have an area dimension substantially the same as that desired in the finished panel, and a sufficient thickness to produce with the resin and carrier paper a panel of the desired final thickness. Since lubricating compounds are commonly used in the preparation of glass fiber and glass fabrics, it is desirable that such fibers and fabrics be cleaned beforeincorporation in the panel. As is well known to those familiar with glass fiber and fabric technology, organic residues on these materials can be conveniently removed by heating the fibers athigl'i temperatures e.g., around 750F. The mode of treating the glass to free its surface from extraneous material which will adversely affect the bonding of the resin thereto is well known to those skilled in the art and need not be further described in detail.
The resin employed in this invention is a polyester resin. These polyester resins are well known and are extensively used in fiber glass laminates. .These resins comprise co-polymerizable mixtures of unsaturated polyester resins and reactive monomers such as described in Ellis, U.S. Pat. Nos. 2,255,313 and 2,195,362. More specifically, the resinous composition used in this invention comprises a polymerization catalyst which usually is an organic peroxide, and an esterification product of an alpha, beta-ethylenically unsaturated dicarboxylic acid with a glycol, this esterification product being an advanced linear polyester containingnon-esterified carboxyl groups and having an acid number offrom 5 to 100 and being dissolved in and co-polymerizable with a liquid-monomeric polymerizable ethylenic compound which is immiscible with water. Polyesters of this type are described in U.S. Pat. No. 2,195,362. Examples of the liquid monomeric polymerizable ethylenic compound with which the linear polyesters of this type are mixed are, for instance, styrene, diallyl phthalate and triallylcyan'urate. Typical resinous mixes of unsaturated linear polyester and co-polymerizable monomers useful in this invention are described ,in US. Pat. No. 2,255,313 and in British Patents 540,168 and 540,169. As descriptive of such mixes, the disclosure of said patents is hereby incorporated by reference. As is well known the unsaturated dicarboxylic acid may be partially replaced by another dibasic acid which may be typified by adipic acid, succinic acid, sebacic acid, phthalic acid, and tetrachlorophthalic anhydride, and which may 'be used in amounts up to 3 moles per mole of unsaturated dicarboxylic acid.
When a low opacity paper, such as that described above as normally used in photo-offset work for posters, mailings and the like, is used for the carrier sheet 20, it is found advantageous to add a blank diffuser sheet of the same paper to the laminate and behind the carrier sheet during tributes especially to the visual impact of the display panel when backlighted. It blends the backlighting, and it holds the color density of the display indicia.
AFter the mixture is poured, the assemblage of fiber glass, carrier sheet, indicia and resin (and diffuser sheet, if used) between the two sheets of cellophane is then subjected to a curing process for the resin, as by heating it under infra-red lamps. Desirably, the finished panel is relatively thin'and preferably is not above about 1/4 inch thick. l/8 inch thick panels have been found especially satisfactory.
In the billboard illustrated in FIG. 1 of the drawing, only a single panel 17 has been illustrated. Although technically feasible, production of single panels of this size is practically difficult, and the use of a plurality of panels will often be desirable in large billboards such as the 5 by 11 feet and larger sizes. The arrangement of a plurality of panels for use in large billboards is illustrated in FIG. 5 of the drawing where the panel usable in a large 9 feet 7 inches high by 21 feet 7 inches wide billboard is illustrated. Although FIG. 5 illustrates a panel for such a large billboard, the principles disclosed here can be employed in the making of smaller billboards as well.
In the embodiment of FIG. 5, the billboard panel 17 includes six display sub-panels 25, which are arranged side by side. The indicia, applied to the display panel in the manner above described, is arranged on the six panels so that when'the panels are assembled in the opening of the billboard, they form a mosaic which carries the desired display again the message FLY AIRWAYS. The individual panels 25 are of such dimension that they overlap slightly, up to about 3 inches, at one edge, as illustrated generally at 29 in FIG., 5 and shownin greater detail on FIG. 6, so the back illumination does not shine through a gap between the panels. In-this way, the entire open face of a lamp housing 12 will be closed by the display panel, and only the display panel is visible in the billboard.
. When-a plurality ofpanels 25 are employed in a bill board, the use of receptacle channels 14 may sometimes prove inefficient, and in that case the panels may be bolted directly to the flanges 13 by bolts passing through holes 30 drilled in the sub-panels 25.
- In especially large billboards, it may also be found desirable to back-up the sub-panels 25 and fasten them together where they overlap to prevent their shifting relative to each other. One device suitable for this purpose is illustrated in FIG. 6 of the drawing in which a V-cross section aluminum channel 31 is fixed to the housing with the point of the V extending along the seam and bearing against the rear-most panel 25. Bolts 32 pass through both the panels 25 and are screwed into threaded openings in the V-Channel 31.
In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 5, the individual panel 25 is approximately 9 feet 7 inches high by 3 feet 10 inches, wide. The display carrier sheet 20 for this individual panel will commonly be one-half the size of the single panel 25, and in that case two sheets of paper are mosaiced in the laminating step before being embedded in the resin to produce the overall pattern desired in the finished sub-panel 25.
Billboard panels as contemplated by this invention have a minimum dimension of 30 by 46 inches, and will usually have a minimum dimension at least 42 by 84 inches. The invention offers special advantages in the by l 1 feet billboard illustrated and described above. As is customary usage in the billboard art, the dimensions stated are the display area dimensions, and the actual panel sizes will customarily be somewhat larger. In the photogelatine printing art, the maximum sheet size customarily employeed is 48 by 64 inches, and the maximum printing area is 46 by 62 inches, so that when larger displays are desired, it will be necessary to mosaic several sheets intoone large display sheet in the manner herein described.
Having thus described our invention, what we claim and desired to protect by Letters Patent is:
1. A stationary billboard at least 30 by 46 inches in size, comprising a unitary billboard panel of fiber glass and a display sheet impregnated with and embedded in a panel matrix formed of a resinous polymerization product of a mixture of a resin obtained by the esterification of a compound selected from the group consisting of an alpha, beta-ethylenic dicarboxylic acid and the anhydride thereof with a polyhydric alcohol, and a reactive monomeric substance having a group, said display panel including a carrier sheet having indicia thereon forming a desired display, layers of said fiber glass being arranged adjacent said display sheet in said unitary panel, said carrier sheet and said fiber glass layers being capable of passing light therethrough when impregnated with said resinous polymerization product, said resinous polymerization product being capable of passing light therethrough, said display sheet being arranged in said panel matrix such that said indicia is visible through at least one side of said panel, a lamp chamber, a lamp socket in said chamber, said chamber having a first side thereof constructed and arranged to permit light from a lamp in said socket to pass therethrough, means to hold said unitary panel adjacent said first side of said chamber with the side of said panel through which said indicia is visible exposed to view and disposed away from said lamp socket, whereby said panel may be illuminated from behind by a lamp in said socket.
2. A billboard according to claim 1 in which said display is at least 42 by 84 inches in size, and in which said carrier sheet has indicia on both sides thereof, said indicia on the two sides of the carrier sheet forming a single desired display, said unitary panel being not over about 1/4 inch thick.
3. A billboard according to claim 2 in which said carrier sheet is paper and said indicia applied to both sides of said carrier sheet is photogelatine printed ink.
4. A billboard according to claim 3 including a plurality of said unitary panels, said display on each of said plurality of panels being arranged and composed to cooperate with the display on the others of said plurality of panels to produce an overall unitary display when said plurality of panels are arranged in a selected mosaic, and means maintaining said plurality of panels in said selected mosaic adjacent said first side of said chamber so the overall unitary display may be illuminated from behind.
5. A billboard display according to claim 4 in which the first side of said chamber is open, and said means to hold said unitary panel adjacent said first side includes channel members having a U-cross section, said channel members being disposed around the periphery of said open side, said channel members being arranged to receive said plurality of unitary panels in edge overlapping relationship to form said selected mosaic and to close said open side.
6. A billboard display according to claim 4 in which said display is 5 by l 1 feet in size, and wherein said carrier sheet is paper, and said indicia applied to both sides of said carrier sheet is photogelatine printed ink.
7. A billboard display according to claim 6 including a diffuser sheet of paper behind said carrier sheet.