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Publication numberUS3784352 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 8, 1974
Filing dateFeb 7, 1972
Priority dateFeb 7, 1972
Publication numberUS 3784352 A, US 3784352A, US-A-3784352, US3784352 A, US3784352A
InventorsCourt P
Original AssigneeGarrity P
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Lighter and fuel reservoir
US 3784352 A
Abstract
A lighter and fuel reservoir is disclosed in which the fuel utilized is a liquified gas. The lighter is characterized by a deformable valve assembly which controls the flow of gaseous fuel to a burner where it is ignited by a spark generator. In turn, the flow of fuel from the reservoir to the valve assembly is controlled by a fuel regulator which includes a compressible porous member.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

0 United States Patent 1191 1111 3,784,352 Court Jan. 8, 1974 [54] LIGHTER AND FUEL RESERVOIR 2,626,517 1/1953 Ward 431/131 3,165,908 1/1965 Kihara... 431/131 [751 lnvemor- Palm. z West L05 3,303,673 2/1967 Ayres 431 150 Angeles, Callf- 3,072,151 1/1963 Quercia 431 131 x Assignee: Paul G. Garrity, Sta fo d Conn- COUI'I [22] Filed: 1972 Primary Examiner-Carroll B. Dority, Jr. [21] Appl. No: 224,051 Att0rneyJohn A. Mitchell [52] US. Cl 431/277, 431/344, 251/326, [57] ABSTRACT In] In C] A lighter and fuel reservoir is disclosed in which the 5 Field 131 142 fuel utilized is a liquified gas. The lighter is character- 43l/l43 277 ized by a deformable valve assembly which controls 1/356 the flow of gaseous fuel to a burner where it is ignited by a spark generator. In turn, the flow of fuel from the [56] References Cited reservoir to the valve assembly is controlled by a fuel regulator which includes a compressible porous mem- UNITED STATES PATENTS ber' 2,835,468 5/1958 Sparks 251/326 3,240,034 3/1966 Zellwcger et a]. 43l/277 10 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures PAIENTEB SHEET 10F 3 PAIENTEUJM 8l974 SHEET 38F 3 BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to lighters, particularly cigarette lighters, of the type using a liquifled gas such as butane for fuel; and, more particularly, to a lighter which may be discarded when the initial fuel supply has been exhausted. Such lighters are generally referred to as disposable.

The term lighter as used herein is meant to refer primarily to flame producing devices commonly called cigarette lighters; however, it is to be understood that the use of such lighters is not limited to the lighting of cigarettes, but they may be utilized for any other purpose in which a flame is desired.

Lighters may be generally broken down into three groups. The first group consists of lighters called refillable, in which liquified gas from a large supply container is allowed to flow into a reservoir contained within the lighters. When the fuel is exhausted, the res: ervoir is refilled. Such a lighter is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 2,743,597. The second group oflighters use a separate throwaway tank for a fuel cartridge and one is shown in US. Pat. No. 2,943,471. The third group of lighters is called disposable lightersand includes those which are intended to be thrown away after the initial supply of fuel has been exhausted. Disposable lighters are shown in my earlier issued patents, US. Pat. Nos. 3,290,905 and 3,148,522.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Lighters embodying the present invention would usually be of the disposable type. Howeveryif desired, a

fuel reservoir and fuel regulator sub-combination may be assembled as a separate unit and used as a disposable tank or cartridge.

An advantage of this sub-combination of the present invention is that the tank may be filled with fuel and then the regulator moved to a closed position, thus per-. mitting the gas tightness of the tank and regulator to be tested by being allowed to stand for a fixed period of time to determine if any leakage occurs.

In orderfora disposable lighter to be commercially" marketable it must meet two basic criteria. First, it must be reliable in operation and second, it must be inexpensive to manufacture. The utilization of a fuel reservoir and fuel regulator which may be pre-assembled as a sub-combination and tested for gas-tight integrity, helps to reduce the overall cost of lighter production by eliminating faulty reservoirs and fuel regulators before the entire lighter is assembled.

v In addition to the fuel reservoir and fuel subcombination, the present invention also includes a simple, yet effective, fuel valve and burner assembly. Basically, the fuel valve consists of a deformable member through which a bore or opening is provided. This deformable valve member, which is preferably nonspherical in shape, cooperates with a sliding activating mechanism which may include a moveable burner tube, the mechanism closing the valve when the lighter is not in use or in an at rest condition. The valve, activating mechanism and burner are used in cooperation with the fuel regulator to provide a complete and inexpensive lighter which may be assembled from a minimum number of preformed or molded components and with a minimum amount of labor.

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a lighter which is efficiently manufactured and has an easy and reliable fuel flow reuglating device. It is another object of the present invention to provide a lighter having a simple, yet effective valve arrangement to permit the flow of gas to the burner.

These and other objects of the present invention will be obvious to one skilled in the art from a description of the illustrated specific embodiment.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view ofa lighter of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a sectional side view along lines 2--2 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged, partially fragmentary sectional view of a head portion of the lighter showing the fuel valve in an open position;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged sectional view along lines 4--4 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a sectional view along lines 5-5 of FIG. 3;

FIG. .6 is a sectional view along lines 6-6 of FIG. 3; and I FIG. 7 is a perspective exploded view of the components of the valve, activating mechanism and burner assembly of the present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE ILLUSTRATED EMBODIMENT Referring to the drawings and to FIG. I in particular, a lighter 10 in accordance with the present invention is shown. Referring to the other figures and FIG. 2 in particular, the lighter 10. includes a housing 12 which may be molded from any suitable plastic material which is resistant to the liquified gaseous fuel to bestored in the lighter, the standard fuel being butane. The housing 12 includes four side walls 14 a, b, c and d, a. bottom wall 16 and a top wall 18. These walls combine to form a fuel reservoir 20.

Mounted on the top wall 18 is a sparkwheel 22 which is rotatably fixed on a pair of arms which form a sparkwheel support 24. The sparkwheel 22 bears against a flint 26, the flint being located in a flint holder 28 which is a recess in the top wall 18. In order to urge the flint 26 against the sparkwheel 22 aspring 30 is provided. The flint and sparkwheel combine together to form the spark generator for the illustrated lighter.

The top wall 18 has substantial thickness and a bore 34 is provided therethrough. Intersecting the bore or first opening 34 is a second opening 36 which is provided in side wall 14a. Into the opening 36 is fitted a fuel regulator component 38. The fuel regulator 38 is preferably made from a porous material which is resistant to the effects of liquified butane or similar fuels. One materialsuitable for this purpose is polyurethane. Accordingly, the fuel regulator 38 may be made from a polyurethane foam. Preferably, the polyurethane foam has at least about 500,000 pores per cubic inch and such a material has been found to be satisfactory. In order to compress the regulator 38 in the opening 36 so as to control the flow of any fuel from the reservoir 20, an O-ring 40 made of a compressible rubber is placed adjacent to the regulator. Into the opening 36 a pressure piece 42 is next inserted. The pressure piece 42 includes a shaft 44 which fits moveably into the opening 36. The shaft 44 has a stub extension 45 at its end and the O-ring is fitted thereon. A screwhead 46 is also provided on the pressure piece 42 and it in turn engates screw threads on a widened outer portion 48 of the opening 36. By turning the pressure piece 42, the shaft 44 may be moved through the opening 36 and the O-ring 40, in turn, against the fuel regulator 38. Because of the highly porous nature of the regulator 38 it may be extensively compressed by O-ring 40 and stub 45 to shut off the flow of fuel from the reservoir to the bore or opening 34 in the top wall 18. Under pressure from the shaft 44 the O-ring also acts as a seal around the periphery of the opening 36 to prevent the flow of fuel from the reservoir into opening 36.

The reservoir 20 may be filled with fuel by injecting the liquified fuel into the opening 34 in the top wall 18 and through the fuel regulator which is not in a compressed condition. When the desired amount of fuel is in the reservoir 20, the pressure piece 42 may then be moved simply by threading the screwhead into the threads on the widened opening 48. When the shaft 44 has been moved to a position whereby the regulator 38 is substantially fully compressed, the flow of fuel from the reservoir is cut off.

The completed reservoir and fuel regulator subcombination may be incorporated as a disposable fuel cartridge into a lighter having a permanent valve mechanism and a spark generating device. However, in the illustrated embodiment it is incorporated into a valve and sparkwheel combination which is part of an overall disposable lighter. The completed sub-combination may be shelf tested for gas-tight integrity by allowing it to stand for a selected period of time, such as 24 hours, to determine if there is any loss of fuel during this period. If there is no substantial fuel loss, then the complete lighter may be assembled.

Referring to the drawings and to FIG. 3 in particular, the top wall 18 is provided with a recess 50 which is illustrated as annular. Into this recess a ball valve 52 substantially in the shape of an ellipsoid is inserted. It is to be understood that the recess may be of any desired configuration and the valve 52 preferably of any nonspherical shape without departing from the scope ofthe present invention. The term ball is used in a broad sense and is not intended to have the limited meaning of being only roundish.

A bore 54 is provided through the ball valve 52 and the lower end of the bore 54 generally aligns with opening 34 in the top wall 18.

When the pressure piece 42 has been adjusted to permit the desired flow of fuel through the fuel regulator 38, fuel will also flow through the bore 54 and into the burner 32. In the operating position, the burner 32 is aligned with the bore 54 as shown in FIGS. 3 and 5. However, in the normal at-rest or closed position, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 4, the burner 32 is not so aligned. When this occurs, the opening 54 is closed by either the use of a member overlying it to seal the bore, such as the flange plate 56 of burner 32, or by a substantial distortion of the ball valve 52 so as to close off the passage through bore 54.

The ball valve is preferably made of a suitable rubber, such as Buna N synthetic rubber, which is resilient and yet may be deformed under pressure to create a seal with a tightly fitting element to prevent the unwanted escape of gaseous fuel through the bore 54, or even around the ball valve.

The opening and closing of the valve is obtained by means of a valve activator 58. The valveactivator 58 is a spring member which is L-shaped and formed from a pair of legs 60 and 62. Leg 60 is placed so as to overlie the top wall 18 and the other leg 62 is positioned against the side wall 14b. As shown in FIGS. 3, 6 and 7, the burner tube 32 is inserted through an opening 64 in leg 60 so that the leg 60 also rests on the burner flange plate 56.

A slot 66 is provided in leg 60 and a stub guide 68 on the upper portion of the top wall 18 rides in this slot 66. The length of slot 66 may be used to determine the extent of the movement of the leg 60 in its sliding relation to the top wall 18 and the ball valve 52.

Movement of the leg 60 and the held in place burner tube 32 is accomplished by means of an L-shaped actuator bar 70. The bar 70 has a vertical leg 72 and a short transverse leg 74 and the valve activator leg 62 is fastened to the actuator vertical leg 72 by means of a screw 78 fitted into the threaded opening 76. Alternately, leg 60 may be sonically staked to a protrusion within the acturator bar, which is preferably molded of plastic. As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the unattached end portion 80 of leg 62 is brought to bear against the side wall 14a. Inasmuch as the lower end portion 82 of the actuator bar leg 72 is fastened to the lower end of side wall 14a by a screw 84 (or by sonic staking), leg 62 acts as a spring to bias the actuator bar leg 72 away from side wall 14a. Since the valve activator 68 is fastened to the actuator bar 70, the spring action carries the burner tube out of alignment with bore 54 when the lighter is in an at rest position as shown in FIGS. 2 and 4. The movement of the actuator bar is limited by a tab 86 which bears against the rear wall 88 of a cover 90 surrounding the head portion of the lighter.

As shown in FIGS. 2 and 4 in particular in the illustrated embodiment, the flange 56 of burner tube 32 is utilized to seal off the opening 54. However, it is to be understood that the burner tube may be fixed in place in alighment with the opening 54 but spaced therefrom to permit the sliding movement of a valve closure mechanism, such as leg 60 of the valve activator 68, to open and close the valve. In such an arrangement the opening 64 would be moved into alignment with the bore 54 to open valve 52 permitting the escape of gas to the burner tube.

The leg 60 is preferably spring biased downwardly to insure sealing of the bore 54 and the opening 34.

As shown in FIGS. 3 and 5, when the opening 54 and the burner tube 32 are in alignment, gas will escape from the tube and may be ignited by a field of sparks generated by turning sparkwheel 22 against flint 26. As long as the activator bar 70 is maintained in a pressed position against side wall 14b, the gas will continue to flow and the flame to burn. Merely by releasing the pressure on the activator bar 70 the spring action will bias the bar and the leg 62 of the valve activator 68 to the at-rest position of FIGS. 2 and 4 so that the supply of gaseous fuel is cut off and the flame extinguished. The operation of the actuator bar is the result of the natural action of merely squeezing the lighter in ones hand.

The side wall 92 of the cover 90 has an opening 94 therein which has a lesser diameter than opening 48 in the side wall 14a. The head 46 of pressure piece 42 has a hub portion 96 which fits within the opening 94 in cover 90. In order to prevent the accidental removal of the pressure piece from the side wall 14a, a shoulder 98 on head 46 limits the extent withdrawal of the pressure piece and the outward movement of the shaft 44 in the opening 36. This construction has the further advantage of acting as an effective limitation on the amount of fuel which may pass from the reservoir into bore 34 and through the fuel regulator 38. This prevents an unsafe flame or a flare-up from too much fuel from being ignited by a field of sparks from the sparkwheel 22. Too large an amount of fuel passing through the regulator 38 might prove to be a safety hazard and a danger to the operator of the lighter.

An opening 100 is necessarily provided in the cover 90 to accommodate the flame from the burner 32 and provide access to the sparkwheel 22. A series of openings 102 are provided in side 92 of the cover 90 and these openings serve the dual purpose of a decorative adornment of the lighter and also act as a means of permitting a series of screws 104 to hold the cover in place. If desired, the screws 104 may be eliminated and protrusions from the molded housing inserted into the opening 102 and fastened against the cover by means of sonic staking which is well known to those skilled in the art.

The objectives of the present invention as set forth hereinbefore and others which are obvious to those skilled in the art may be accomplished by the illustrated embodiment.

What is claimed:

1. A lighter of the type using liquified gas as a fuel, said lighter comprising:

a housing;

a fuel reservoir in said housing for holding a supply of fuel;

a burner;

deformable valve means connected to said reservoir and said burner and adapted to be opened to permit the escape of gaseous fuel from said reservoir to said burner;

said deformable valve means including a resilient valve member contained within a recess in said housing; said member having a valve opening therethrough connected to said reservoir;

a slidable valve activating mechanism including a base plate having an opening therethrough and located adjacent said valve means and controlling the opening and the closing of said deformable valve means; and

a generator for a spark to ignite fuel escaping from said burner when said valve is in an open position.

2. A lighter as defined in claim 1 wherein said burner comprises a tubular member in communication with the opening in said plate and moveable from a nonaligned, at-rest position to a position in alignment with said valve opening.

3. A lighter as defined inclaim 2 wherein said slide mechanism is spring biased into an at-rest position.

4. A lighter asdefined in claim 3 including a biasing spring comprised of at least two arms, one arm having an opening therein through which said burner is inserted and said arm overlies the base plate, the second arm adapted to bear against the housing and to urge the burner and plate to an at-rest position whereby the burner and the valve member opening are non-aligned and the valve opening is closed.

5. A lighter of the type using liquified gas as a fuel, said lighter comprising:

a housing;

6 a fuel reservoir in said housing for holding a supply of fuel; a burner;

deformable valve means connected to said reservoir and said burner and adapted to permit the escape of gaseous fuel from said reservoir to said burner;

said valve means including a valve member made of resilient material contained within a recess in said housing, said member having a valve opening therethrough connected to said reservoir;

said valve means further including a first opening in said housing between said reservoir and said recess;

a spring biased valve activating slide mechanism including a base plate having an opening therethrough and located adjacent said valve means and adapted to control the opening and closing of said valve opening;

a generator for a spark to ignite fuel escaping from said burner when the valve is in an open position;

a second opening in said housing intersecting said first opening; a compressible cellular member inserted into said second opening and intersecting said first opening;

said cellular member having sufficient porosity to permit the passage of gaseous fuel through it and said first housing opening; and

a solid compression member fitted into the second opening and adapted to be moveable therein whereby the cellular member may be compressed and the passage of gaseous fuel therethrough regulated.

6. A lighter as defined in claim 5 wherein said cellular member has a porosity of about at least 500,000 pores per cubic inch in its uncompressed state.

7. A lighter as defined in claim 5 and further including sealing means between said cellular member and said compression member to prevent the passage of gaseous fuel to the atmosphere through said second opening.

8. A lighter as defined in claim 7 wherein said sealing means includes a compressible O-ring.

9. A lighter as defined in claim 8 wherein said cellular member has a porosity of about at least 500,000 pores per cubic inch in its uncompressed state.

10. A lighter of the type using liquified gas as a fuel, said lighter comprising: t

a housing;

a fuel reservoir in said housing for holding a supply of fuel;

a burner;

deformable and resilient valve means connected to said reservoir and said burner and adapted to be opened to permit the escape of gaseous fuel from said reservoir to said burner;

said deformable valve means including a resilient and substantially ellipsoidal valve member contained within a recess in said housing, said member having a valve opening therethrough connected to said reservoir;

a slidable valve activating mechanism including a plate having an opening therethrough and located adjacent said valve means and controlling the opening and closing of said deformable and resilient valve means; and

a generator for a spark to ignite fuel escaping from said burner whensaid valve is in an open position.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2626517 *Mar 10, 1951Jan 27, 1953Ward Lawrence TCigarette lighter
US2835468 *Feb 13, 1956May 20, 1958Clary CorpValve construction
US3072151 *Oct 12, 1959Jan 8, 1963Rech S Tech Soc EtDevice for regulating a flow of gas
US3165908 *Oct 15, 1962Jan 19, 1965Hirota Wood Working Mach WorksBlow-out valve for gas of gas lighter
US3240034 *Jul 23, 1963Mar 15, 1966Nationale SaPyrophorically ignited lighters
US3290905 *Sep 25, 1964Dec 13, 1966Court Patrick R JLighter
US3303673 *Nov 2, 1964Feb 14, 1967Erskine Ayres JohnOperating mechanism for cigarette lighter
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4325692 *Jul 9, 1979Apr 20, 1982Seiichi KitabayashiThrowaway type gas lighter
US4457697 *Jan 15, 1982Jul 3, 1984Seiichi KitabayashiThrowaway type gas lighter
US6648632 *Jan 11, 2002Nov 18, 2003Ronson International LimitedLighter
Classifications
U.S. Classification431/277, 251/326, 251/349, 431/344
International ClassificationF23Q2/167, F23Q2/00, F23Q2/173
Cooperative ClassificationF23Q2/167, F23Q2/173
European ClassificationF23Q2/173, F23Q2/167