US 3793755 A
Apparatus for producing moving light patterns comprising a light source, a three-dimensional rotatable and light transmitting member having a multiplicity of light transmitting surfaces and mounted to receive light from the source and a rotatable wheel having multi-colored light transmitting segments mounted between the source and the member. The member may be a molded mass, a plurality of differently shaped or differently disposed objects secured together, a vessel with an irregular interior or exterior surface and/or filled, or partially filled, with said objects. Preferably, the wheel is rotated at a rate different from that of the member.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1191 Gersch et al.-
[111 3,793,755 1451 Feb. 26, 1974  ILLUMINATED DISPLAY APPARATUS 3,086,l46 4/1963 Edler 40/130 L 1 Inventors R-fleasch, Long valley, 1.3331133 131333 13/32 2 N.J.; heldon Lebowitz, Silver Spring, Md. FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS ASSig R. Gersch g y, 963,093 6/1950 France 40/132 E NJ. Primary ExaminerRobert W. Michell  Flled: Juiy 1971 Assistant ExaminerJohn F. Pitrelli ] Appl 2 879 Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Brooks Haidt & Haffner 521 US. Cl. 40/132 E, 40/77, 40/10652 [571 ABSTRACT 240/101 Apparatus for producing moving light patterns com- 4 L511 n F21!) G09f 19/20 prising a light source, a three-dimensional rotatable Fleld of Search 132 133 A, and light transmitting member having a multiplicity of -4 Q[ l0 6.53, 106.54, 106-3 light transmitting surfaces and mounted to receive v 2 2/ 8 D light from the source and a rotatable wheel having lti-coiored light transmitting segments mounted be-  References Clted mu 7 tween the source and the member. The member may UNITED STATES PATENTS be a molded mass, a plurality of differently shaped or 1,35 l',562 8/1920 Foster 40/130 K UX diff tly di o ed objects secured together a vessel 2,279,182 4/1942 Snyder 240/l0.l with an irregular interior or exterior Surface and/0r 316791888 33 g 40/ 2 67 filled, or partially filled, with said objects. Preferably, i 2 ff g 2 40 H the wheel is rotated at a rate different from that of the 3:1 l9:565 1/1964 Nottingham. 40/l06.53 x member- 3,242,330 3/1966 Schoffer. 240/31 X 571,656 11/1896 Golding 40/132 E 3 Clams 5 Draw; F'gum I (I g 12 1O 1 z 6 e o 15 15 1"! I l4 l ILLUMINATED DISPLAY APPARATUS The invention relates to illuminated display apparatus for producing colored moving images and light patterns on a wall or translucent screen.
There are many known types of display apparatus utilizing one or more light sources in association with reflectors, lenses, prisms, etc., one or more of such being movable to produce varying light patterns. Some of such devices use color wheels to vary the color of the light. One inherent disadvantage of such devices is that the same image or pattern repeats relatively frequently. Another disadvantage thereof is that major reconstruction thereof is required to make a substantial change in the images or patterns. Frequently, also, the images or patterns are projected in only a single direction with respect to the light source, and when reflectors are used, there is a loss of brilliance due to the reflection loss at the reflectors.
One object of .the invention is to provide apparatus which produces light patterns which donot repeat until after a time which long relative to the repetition time of prior art devices. I
Another object of the invention is to provide apparatus in which the pattern and image producing portion thereof may be easily changed by a user without the use of tools.
Another object of the invention is to provide apparatus in which both moving reflecting surfaces and moving refractors are employed to provide a great variety of effects.
The apparatus of the invention produces multifaceted images and patterns of random shape and color which may be viewed, at several angles. The images move in all directions, including into and out of the apparatus, imparting a three-dimensional illusory effect that is pleasing in character. The apparatus comprises a source of light, the light from whichpasses through an aperture in a light shield. The shield serves a 'dual purpose of blocking unwanted light reflections and of controlling the shape of the desired light beam. After emergence from the aperture, the light passes through a rotating body of relatively transparent colored material, which may also be given an oscillating or a vertical movement, as well as being rotated. Upon emerging from this body, the light passes through and is reflected from a three-dimensional member which is supported on a rotating turntable. The 'member is a relatively large mass of transparent or semi-transparent material having an irregular surface. The member may be entirely clear and transparent, partly clear and partly colored, partly clear and partly semi-transparent, partly transparent and partly opaque or any combination of these. The light, upon entering the mass, is bent, contorted and distorted due to the refractive properties of the member. The member may be a plurality of irregular pieces, or regular pieces irregularly oriented, secured to each other or may be molded in a unitary form from plastic or glass. The member may also be a hollow vessel, such as a drinking glass, with an irregular surface, and the effects may be increased or modified by placing at random a plurality of smaller transparent or semi-transparent objects in the vessel. A smooth walled vessel containing such objects can be used. The smaller objects intercept a portion of the light and redirect its path. Light will also be reflected from the surfaces of the member. Upon emergence of the member, the light The objects and advantages of the invention will be readily apparent from the following detailed description of preferred embodiments thereof, whichdescription should be considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic, side elevation view of one preferred embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 2 is a plan view of the embodiment of FIG. 1 with a slight shield;
FIG. 3 is a front elevation view of the embodiment shown in FIG. 2'and shows a screen;
F IG. 4 is a partially cut away, elevation view of a hollow vessel which may be used in place of the light refracting member shown in the preceding figures; and
FIG. 5 is an electrical schematic diagram illustrating an electrical circuit which maybe employed with the apparatus of the invention.
Referring to FIGS. 1-3, light from a source, such as an incandescent lamp 10, passes through a rotatable color wheel 11 which is supported by a shaft 12 mounted on a bracket 13 secured to a base 14, such as by screws 15 and 16. The lamp 10 is mounted on a platform 17, also secured to the base 14, and a mirror 18 mounted on the platform 17 directs light from the lamp 10 toward the wheel 11. The base is supported by the brackets 14a. I v
Although the wheel 11 may be otherwise driven, preferably, the rim of wheel 11 makes frictional contact with a turntable 19 which is rotatable by the shaft 20 of a motor 21. Preferably, the turntable 19 is rotated at a relatively low speed, such as two r.p.m., and the motor 21 can include a speed reduction mechanism. As turntable 19 turns, wheel 11 will also turn around the shaft 12 due to frictional contact with turntable 19. Although the wheel 11 may have. a diameter equal to the diameter of the portion of the turntable ,19 which it contacts, preferably, it has a different diameter so that the color of light passed by the wheel 11 will vary with each revolution of the turntable 19. Thus, the
color wheel 11 has a plurality of differently colored light transmitting segments 22, 23, 24, etc. (FIG. 3), which may, for example, be red, green, blue, yellow, etc., adjacent segments being of different colors, and as the wheel 11 rotates, the'color of the light transmitted thereby changes. However, if I said diameters are the same, the color of the light transmitted by the wheel 11 will be the same in successive corresponding positions of the wheel 11 and the turntable 19, but if said diameters are different, the color segments and the turntable 19 will be in the same relative positions only once in several revolutions of the turntable 19 depending upon the relative diameters. In this way frequent repetition of the light patterns and images is avoided.
Preferably, the light source is surrounded by an opaque shield 34 (FIG. 2) having an aperture 35 (FIG. 3) therein which confines the light transmission to essentially the outline of the member 25 and therefore, which reduces the amount of non-moving light striking the screen 27.
The turntable 19 carries'a three-dimensional, light reflecting, transmitting and refracting member 25 having an irregular surface and therefore, having a multiplicity of irregularly oriented surface portions. The member 25 may be secured to the turntable 19 by the threaded portion 26 of the shaft 20 or it may be merely resting on the turntable 19. The member may be located centrally of the axis of rotation of the turntable 19 or may be located off-center with respect thereto. Preferably, the periphery of the member 25 is smaller than the circumference of the turntable 19.
The member 25 may be constructed in several ways to provide light transmission and refraction which varies as it is rotated. For example, it may be a solid mass of clear, colored or variably colored plastic molded to provide a multiplicity of irregularly oriented surfaces which deflect and refract the light. Preferably, however, it is made from a plurality of differently shaped objects of light transmitting material, such as cubes, cylinders, spheres, cones, etc. either regular or irregular, of clear, colored, partially colored or differently colored plastic secured together, such as by cementing. The objects may also be of the same'shape and of the same or different colors but secured together with their surfaces irregularly oriented. Some .of the objects may be opaque if shadow effects are desired. In this way, there is reflection and refraction within the member as well as at the exterior surface thereof.
Accordingly, as the member 25 is rotated, the light transmitted by the wheel 11 and impinging on the member 25 is reflected from some surfaces to an extent dependent upon the reflectivity thereof, is transmitted into the mass at some surfaces at various angles, where it may be further modified in direction if the member is formed of separate objects, and radiates outwardly therefrom at various angles dependent upon the orientation of the surfaces thereof through which the light radiates. Furthermore, some of the light will be merely passed through and be refracted by projections at the surface of the member 25.
The light transmitted by or reflected from the member 25 as it is rotated along with the color wheel 11 will continuously change in appearance, intensity, pattern and color, and if it is allowed to fall on a wall, or translucent screen, moving light patterns and images will be produced thereon which are continuously changing and of pleasing effect. Such patterns and images may, for example, be viewed through a translucent screen 27, shown in FIG. 2, which may be frosted glass or plastic treated to diffuse light. A f lm 28 having light transmitting areas in the form of patterns or printing may be interposed between the screen 27 to provide further effects or advertising. Since the member 25 also transmits and reflects light in directions other than toward the screen 27 shown in FIG. 2, the screen may be U- shaped so as to extend along the sides 29 and 30 of the base 14 and'so that the patterns and images can be viewed from the sides of the apparatus.
A hollow, light transmitting vessel in any suitable shape, such as a truncated cone, a cylinder, a bowl, etc., may be used in place of the member 25 provided that it has an irregular exterior or interior surface or contains light transmitting objects providing irregularly disposed surfaces or both. Such a vessel 31 is illustrated in FIG. 4, the vessel 31 being a deeply etched drinking glass having irregular surface portions 32 caused by the etched or blow patterns on the exterior surface thereof. Such vessel 31 may be used alone or filled, or partially filled, with variously shaped or oriented, light transmitting objects 33. If such objects are used, the interior and exterior surfaces of the vessel 31 may be smooth if desired. The vessel 31 and the objects 33 may be clear, colored or partially colored, and one or more of the objects may be opaque to create shadow images. As with the member 25, the vessel 31 may be merely placed upon the turntable 19 at any position thereon which permits it to remain clear of the wheel 11, and either the member 25 or the vessel 3l may be easily replaced by another member 25 or vessel 31 to change the light effects.
Utilizing the above mentioned options, that is, changing the shape and/or color of the vessel or cylinder, changing the placement of the vessel on the turntable, and changing'the shape and or colors of the small refracting objects placed within the vessel, the user then has at his disposal apparatus that is capable of creating completely unique visual images. The user also has the capability of modifying the color content of the display by simply inserting or interchanging the small plastic or glass objects than can be deposited in the vessel or cylinder.
The apparatus, in essence, can be considered to be a creative art object whose limitations are limited solely by the creativity and resourcefulness of the user. The apparatus may be used in many ways, such as advertising displays, personal enjoyment at home, in doctors, dentists and psychiatrists offices to effect tranquilizing of the patient. Also, it may be used to achieve a color wall background forexhibits of various types of products, and a kinetic art form study apparatus for art classes, and as such, a possible basis for paintings because of the unusual geometric forms achieved with this device, it being noted that the motion can be stopped wheneverit is desired to observe a particular image or pattern.
FIG. 5 shows an electrical circuit diagram including a diode rectifier 36 in series with the lamp 10. Such an arrangement is preferred for the purpose of increasing the lamp life, since the apparatus of the invention frequently is used for extended periods of time and during times when it is unattended, such as in store windows after store hours. The use of such a rectifier reduces the average lamp currentwhich increases the lamp life many times without an unacceptable loss'of light.
In FIG. 5, the lamp 10 is connected at one side to a terminal 37 of the electrical power source and at the other side to the other terminal 38 of the source through the rectifier 36, a fuse 39 and a switch 40. The motor 21 is connected at one side between the fuse 39 and the rectifier 36 and at the other side-to the terminal 37. i
It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications of the invention can be made without departing from the principles thereof as exemplified by the preferred embodiments shown and described herein.
What is claimed is:
1. Apparatus for producing moving light patterns comprising a rotatable member mounted for rotation around a predetermined axis, said member comprising a vessel of light transmitting material which rotates with said member and which contains a plurality of separate, superimposedv light transmitting objects of at least semi-transparent material mounted with their surfaces oriented irregularly to provide a multiplicity of irregularly oriented light transmitting surface portions which are asymmetrically disposed with respect to said axis and are spaced therefrom, said surface portions being formed by said light transmitting material and being at least semi-transparent and said objects having therein light transmitting paths extending from interiorly of a plurality of first ones of said surface portions at one side of said vessel to interiorly of a plurality of second ones of said surface portions at another side of said vessel, at least a portion of said paths being formed by said material, thereby to permit light to enter said objects at said first ones of said surface portions, travel through said material and exit from said second ones of said surface portions, a light source for directing light on and through said member, a color wheel mounted for rotation intermediate said source and said member, said wheel having a plurality of differently colored, light transmitting segments disposed around the axis of rotation of said wheel and means for rotating said member and said wheel. i
2. Apparatus as set forth in claim 1, wherein said vessel has irregularly oriented surface portions said surface portions of said vessel being said surface portions of said member. I t
3. Apparatus for producing moving light patterns comprising a rotatable member mounted for rotation 6 around a predetermined axis, said member comprising a vessel of light transmitting material which rotates with said member, said vessel having irregularly oriented, light transmitting, surface portions which are asymmetrically disposed with respect to said axis and are spaced therefrom, said surface portions being formed by said light transmitting material and being at least semi-transparent and said vessel having therein light transmitting paths extending from interiorly of a plurality of first ones of said surface portions at one side of said member to interiorly of a plurality of second ones of said surface portions at another side of said member, at least a portion of said paths being formed by said material, thereby to permit light to enter said vessel at said first ones of said. surface portions, travel through said material and exit from said second ones of said surface portions, a light source for directing light on and through said member, a color wheel mounted for rotation intermediate said source and said member, said wheel having a plurality of differently colored, light transmitting segments disposed around the axis of rotation of said wheel and means for rotating said member and said wheel.