US 3805055 A
An outdoor light to illuminate driveways, walks, swimming pools and the like comprising a base member installed in the earth, such as a lawn, flush with the upper surface and having a vertical socket extending downward from the upper end of the member to receive s supporting post member telescopically for support. The telescoping members have co-engageable electric contacts, the contact in the base member being connected by under ground cable above or within the ground to a source of current and the other contact being connected to an electric lamp on the post member. A bracket on the post member supports shades for the electric light and also has a handle to facilitate removal of the post member from the base socket to permit lawn mowing or other operations free from obstruction by said lights.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [191 Cassey [451 Apr. 16, 1974 REMOVABLE OUTDOOR LIGHT STRUCTURE  Inventor: Harold C. Cassey, 136 Main St.,
Salunga, Pa. 17538  Filed: Dec. 13, 1972  Appl. No.: 314,798
Primary Examiner-Joseph F. Peters, Jr. Attorney, Agent, or Firm-C. l-lercus Just [5 7] ABSTRACT An outdoor light to illuminate driveways, walks, swimming pools and the like comprising a base member installed in the earth, such as a lawn, flush with the upper surface and having a vertical socket extending downward from the upper end of the member to receive s supporting post member telescopically for support. The telescoping members have co-engageable electric contacts, the contact in the base member being connected by under ground cable above or within the ground to a source of current and the other contact being connected to an electric lamp on the post member. A bracket on the post member supports shades for the electric light and also has a handle to facilitate removal of the post member from the base socket to permit lawn mowing or other operations free from obstruction by said lights.
35 Claims, 23 Drawing Figures PATENTEBAPR 16 m4 3805l055 sum 1 OF 4 PATENTEDAPR 15 m4 SLBOSLOSS FIG. 8
I FIG. 9 i
PA'TENTEDAPR 16 m4 SHEEI 6 OF 4 FIG. 16
1 v REMOVABLE OUTDOOR LIGHT STRUCTURE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to outdoor lights and particularly those intended to be positioned along driveways, walks, around swimming pools and at any other location where, for example, a preferably low light is desired to supply limited illumination and not interfere with the driving of motor vehicles or be of a glaring nature. Various types of lights are used at present for this kind of illumination. A number of them are provided with spikes or other types of pointed ends which are driven into the ground in order to support the light. Various types of conduit means are employed to furnish current to the lights, including underground conduits as well as certain ones above ground. Patents directed to lights of this type include the following; U. S. Pat. No. 2,673,286 to Moore in 1954 U. S. Pat. No. 2,764,671 to Clark in 1956 U. S. Pat. No. 2,797,310 to Moore in 1957 U. S. Pat. No. 3,104,064 to Bellek in 1963 -U. S. Pat. No. 3,231,731 to McDonald in 1966 The principal difficulty encountered in regard to use of the aforementioned type is that they normally are intended to be fairly permanently installed in the ground adjacent a driveway or walk for example, such installation frequently being in a lawn area. It is obvious that attempting to mow a lawn around a permanently installed post of any kind presents difficulties and requires, in general, the use of hand-clippers which consitutes a nuisance. In the event the light is of a'type which has a spike on it inserted into the lawn, if it is desired to remove the light, especially for lawn-mowing purposes, it is necessary to pull theentire light, including the supporting spike, from the ground. This is frequently'not possible due to the underground wiring installation leading to and from the light. Therefore, to obviate this difficulty and'permit ready removal of any post light obstruction connected with outdoor lighting of the type referred to, so that'mowing of lawns may occur without any such obstruction, the present invention has been developed and affords several different embodiments of construction,representing a marked improvement over existing lights of the general character referred to above.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is the principal object of the invention to provide a removable outdoor light structure comprising a socket-Iike base member which is adapted to be installed permanently in the earth, such as in a lawn area, and including an electrical contact means therein which is connected by underground cable or the like to a source of current, and a post-like support member for an electric light which has one end insertable telescopically within the socket of the base member and also including electric contact means engageable with the electric contact means in the base member when the light post is installed in operative position within the socket of the base member, whereby the supporting post for the electric light is quickly removable from the socket and thereby render the lawn area adjacent the socket completely unobstructed by any upstanding projection so that lawn-mowing may occur by simply laying aside the lamp post which has been removed from the socket and then quickly reinstalling the same in the socket at the completion of the lawn-mowing operation.
Another object of the invention is to provide relatively simple foolproof and weather-proof coengageable electric contact means in the socket-type base member and the insertable light post, said contact means being of a character which readily establish an electric circuit when they are co-engaged, regardless of the occurrence of inclement weather or a limited amount of accumulation of grass clippings within the socket. I
A further object of the invention is to provide bracket means upon the upper end of the supporting post for the electric light to servethe dual purpose of supporting a weather shield above the electric light bulb and also including a handle by which the light post portion of the assembly readily may be removed from the socket of the base member without involving any exposed electrical conduit or otherwise.
Still another object of the invention ancillary to the foregoing object is to support a light shade upon the bracket means which preferably is colored suitably to present an esthetic type of illumination of a non-glaring nature.
Onefurther object of the invention is to employ an electric circuit of a low voltage nature, such as 12 volts, thereby minimizing the risk of electric short circuits occurring due to inclement weather or otherwise and, accordingly, render the the light structure reasonably free from accidentally shocking anyone removing the light fromits supporting socket. I
An additional object of the invention is to incorporate anti-pilfering mechanism within the light structure which preferably is operable by a separate key-like tool or similar device and includes means to prevent removal of the base from the earth in which it is installed.
Details of the foregoing objects and of the invention, as well as other objects thereof, are set forth in the following specification and illustrated in the accompanying drawings comprising a part thereof.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a vertical elevation, partly in section, showing an outdoor type of light embodying the principles of the present invention and installed in a section of lawn shown in vertical section and illustrating an exemplary type of conduit by which current is supplied to the light.
FIGS. 2 and 3 are similar, fragmentary, vertical sectional views showing, respectively, two different types of electric contact means suitable for use in the light of the type shown in FIG. 1.
FIG. 2A is a fragmentary vertical sectional view of a detail of FIG. 2.
FIG. 4 is a transverse sectional view of details of the mechanism shown on the line 4-4 of FIG. 3.
FIG. 5 is a transverse sectional view of details of the structure of FIG. 2 as shown on the line 5-5 thereof.
FIG. 7A is a top plan view of the base member shown in FIGS. 6 and 7.
FIG. 8 is an enlarged side elevation, partly in section showing the supporting post and lamp per se of FIG. 1 partly broken away to show details.
FIG. 9 is a top plan view of the light structure shown in FIG. 8, partly broken away to show details.
FIG. 10 is an exemplary side elevation of the light shown in FIG. 1 as seen when installed in operative position.
FIGS. 11, 11A, 12, 13 and 13A show details of several embodiments of anti-pilfering structures comprising part of the invention.
FIG. 14 is a plan elevation of an additional antipilfering and closure device of the invention.
FIG. 14A is a fragmentary view of a further detail for FIG. 14.
FIG. 15 is a sectional view of FIG; 14.
FIG. 16 is a fragmentary side elevation of an alternate embodiment of closure for the base member.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION The light comprising the present invention essentially includes a base member 10 which is insertable into the earth 12, such as a lawn 14. The principal object of the present invention is to provide an illuminating means for installation in lawn areas adjacent driveways, walks or pathways, swimming pools and otherwise. The light is of such nature that the elements which project above the surface of the lawn quickly may be removed to clear the lawn, for mowing for example, without obstruction. Following such mowing, the elements of the light which have been removed quickly and readily may be reinserted into socket means in base member 10, whereby easy exchange of light types may occur.
The light assembly shown in FIG. 1 includes a postlike support member 16 to support an electric light socket at its upper end and a light shield or shade 20 surrounds the same.
The base member 10 may be formed from suitable rigid material such as appropriate sheet metal, such as steel or aluminum, or the same may be suitably formed from synthetic resin of suitable thickness and strength. Essentially, the base member comprises a tubular lower portion 22 which preferably is formed with a terminal pointed end 24 to facilitate inserting the base member into the earth to assume the position therein shown in exemplary manner in FIG. 1. Referring to FIG. 2, it will be seen that the upper end of the tubular member 22 preferably is spaced a short distance below the horizontal face plate 26 which has a central hole 28 therein. Plate 26 limits insertion of base 10 into the earth by contacting the surrounding surface thereof. Preferably, the face plate 26 is circular, as shown in FIG. 7A. Such shape is not to be regarded as restrictive however.
Lateral stablizing means for the base member 10 also are provided in the form of a plurality of radial fins 30. As will be seen from FIGS. 6 and 7, the fins 30 are substantially triangular in shape which also facilitates the installation of the base member into the earth. Particulary if the earth is seasonably soft at the time installation is made, the base members may be mounted therein by driving them into the earth. It will be understood that, from a practical standpoint, the overall vertical dimension of the base member 10 is, for example, of the order of9 to 12 inches. The lower portions of the fins 30 are provided with suitable connecting means,
such as narrow'transverse flanges 32, see FIG. 7A, which may be fixedly connected to the exterior surfaces of the tubular portion 22 of base member 10 by any appropriate means such as welding or otherwise. The upper ends of the fins 30 also are provided with narrow flanges 34, see FIGS. 6 and 7, which are suitably fixed, by rivets, welding or otherwise, to the lower surface of the face plate 26.
The base member 10 also is provided with elongated socket means defined by the upper portions of the inner edges of the fins 30, due to the fact that the inner edges of the upper portions of the fins are not connected. to the tubular portion 22 of the base member as best shown in FIGS. 6 and 7. Cutouts in the inner edge of fins 30 form the socket 36 for minimum resistance to the insertion of the lower end 38 of member 16 into base member 10 or removal therefrom. When inserting base member 10 into the ground, a cylindrical collar 39 which is fixed to tube 22 of base member 10 forms a hole larger in diameter than tube 22 to freely receive portion 38 of post-like member 16. If desired to prevent earth from falling into such enlarged hole, shield members 37, such as quadrants shown in FIGS. 6A and 63, may be fixed to fins 30 to preserve socket 36 but the lower edges of members 37 are spaced from tube 22 to provide passage for minor debris and water.
The tubular portion 22 of base member 10 contains one of several embodiments of insulating plugs respectively illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3. Referring to FIG. 2, the insulating plug 40 is fixedly positioned within the upper end of tubular portion 22 and has a central opening 42 through which electrical conductor 44 extends which is connected electrically, such as by soldering, to fixed central bushing-type contact 48. Conductor 46 is connected, such as by soldering, to the interior of tubular metal sleeve contact 50 which is crimped around bulbous means on plug 40 and terminates below the upper end thereof to prevent accidental shortcircuiting, as when support member 16 has been removed from base member 10. The lower end of sleeve contact 50 extends into an insulating bushing 51 fitted into the upper end of tubular lower portion 22 of base member 10.
The lower portions of the conductors 44 and 46, which comprise a two-wire conductor, extend through a hole, not shown, in the wall of the'tubular portion 22 of the base member. Said hole is opposite the lower end of shield and plow member 52 which is best shown in FIGS. 6 and 7. The plow member 52 may be formed from metal and extends along and is suitably attached to one face of one of the fins 30 by any suitable means such as a screw 54, for example, adjacent the lower end thereof. Along the outer edge, member 52 has a reversely bent flange 56 which extends around the outer edge of said fin 30 to stabilize attachment of member 52 thereto. Plow member 52 is shaped to cover the conductors 44 and 46 which extend upwardly from the aforementioned hole in tubular portion 22 and along one face of said fin 30, whereby as the base member 10 is pressed or otherwise inserted into the earth 12, no undue abrasion of the conductors will occur. At the upper end of plow member 52, the conductors 44 and 46 are bent to extend laterally beneath the face plate 26 for installation in a shallow channel in the lawn 14, for example, as illustrated in exemplary manner in FIG. 1.
Said conductors 44 and 46 are connected to a suitable source of electric current carried by a 2-conductor cable disposed either below or above ground and extending along a row of the lights, which are individually connected thereto. Preferably, however, rather than employ conventional current of l volts, for example, it is preferred that a low voltage, such as of the order of 12 volts, be utilized in the electric circuit which supplies current to the lights in accordance with the principles of the present invention, thereby minimizing the possibility of short-circuiting, or producing objectionable electric shocks to persons or animals, even under inclement weather conditions. To supply such low voltage current, an appropriate transformer, not shown, may be installed, for example, where the overall circuit is connected to a source of current such as 1 10 volt capacity. The transformer may be positioned or mounted at any convenient location, such as in a basement or garage or outdoor weatherproof box.
From FIG. 2, it is to be noted in particular that the contact members 48 and 50 are no higher than the face plate 26. If desired, they may be slightly lower than the face plate 26, but under no circumstances should they be higher than said face plate, whereby the face plate 26 constitutes the uppermost part of the base member 10. Therefore, as shown in FIG. 1, as long as the base plate 26 is no higher than the surface of the earth upon which the lawn 14 is growing, for example, no obstruction to lawn mowing or other similar operations will be present after the post-like support member 16, which carries the lamp of the outdoor light structure, has been removed from the socket 36 of base member 10.
Referring to the second embodiment of contact structure illustrated in FIG. 3, an insulating plug 58, which is partly-broken away to expose the electrical conductors 44 and 46, extends upwardly from the upper end of tubular portion 22 of the base member 10. The cross-sectional shape of the insulating plug 58 is illustrated in FIG. 4. It will be seen that the same is generally cylindrical but, at circumferentially spaced locations, is provided with elongated grooves 60 which receive end portions of bowed friction wire members 62 which are of a springy nature. The intermediate portions thereof are bowed outwardly for frictional engagement with the inner surfaces of the lower tubular portion of the post-like support member 16, as clearly shown in FIG. 3. The lower ends of the wire members 62 are fixed to a metal ring 64 to which one end of electrical conductor 46 is connected at 66, for purposes to be described. The upper end of conductor 44 is connected electrically to a fixed central contact 68 which is insulated by the electric plug 58 from the metal ring 64 and conductor 46.
The post-like support member 16 preferably is of any desired height, from a range of from or 18 inches, to 5 or 6 feet, for example. It preferably is formed from a metal tube and the lower end portion 38 thereof is free from obstruction for a predetermined length thereof, such as of the order of at least 3 or 4 inches, for example, whereby the same is adapted to be inserted through the central hole 28 of face plate 26 and telescopically receive the upper end portion of the tubular member 22 of base member 10. This telescopic relationship is illustrated in both of the embodiments of contact arrangement respectively illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3. Said lower end portion 38 of the support member 16 is provided at a predetermined distance from the lower end thereof with an insulating plug which is securely connected thereto by any appropriate means. The arrangements of the electrical contacts within the lower end portions 38 respectively shown in FIGS. 2 and 3 are different from each other and are described in detail as follows:
Referring to FIG. 2 it will be seen that the insulated plug 70 is provided with either a channel or an elongated passage within which the metallic conductor 72 of the insulated electrical conductor 74 extends from the upper end of the tubular support member 16, where it is connected electrically to one of the contacts, not shown, in electric light socket 18, for example, and the metallic conductor 72, at its lower end, is electrically connected to an annular contact 76 which is segmentally slotted to form a series of U-shaped tongues comprising contact members, as shown in FIG. 2A, which frictionally and resiliently engage each other with a releasable snap action, as is evident from FIG. 2A and the foregoing description, and thereby electrically pointed contact the annular contact 50 within the base member [0. Socket 18 is electrically insulated from post 16 by any conventional means.
The insulating plug 70, as shown in FIG. 2, is provided with a central elongated opening 78 which has a constriction within which the lower end of the contact 80 extends. The contact 80 is provided with a shoulder 82 against which a spring 84 abuts at one end and the other end of the spring abuts the inner end of an insulating tubular insert 86 which is secured against relative movement with respect to the plug 70 by means of a suitable radial locking pin 88, for example. This arrangement maintains contact 80 in firm contact with contact 48 and the snap-acting connection of contacts 76 with contact 50 is adequate to prevent spring 84 from accidentally separating contacts 48 and 80. The locking pin 88 may be inserted radially from the outer end of an appropriate hole formed in the plug 70 and insert sleeve 86 before the insulated plug 70 is inserted in operative position within the portion 38 of the tubular support member 16. An additional insulating insert 89 is fitted into plug 70 and affixed thereto by suitable means such as cement, or integrally molded therewith. An electrical conductor 90 is connected at one end to the upper end of spring-pressed contact 80, as clearly shown in FIG. 2. The opposite end of the conductor 90 extends upwardly through the tubular post or support member 16 and is connected to an appropriate contact, not shown, in the electric light socket 18 shown in FIG. 8. Annular contact 76 is seated between the lower end of insert 89 and annular shoulder 91 which is integral with plug 70, as shown in FIG. 2A. The coengaging surfaces of contacts 50 and 76 preferably are silver-plated for durable conductivity.
Referring to the embodiment of the invention shown in FIG. 3, the electrical current carried by the conductor 74 of FIG. 2 is carried by the metallic post member 16 in FIG. 3. Also in FIG. 3, there is only a single contact associated with the insulating plug 70 in view of the fact that metallic post member 16 becomes the second conductor of the circuit. As previously described, the bowed wire members 62 are connected to the metal ring 64 to which the conductor 46 is connected, and by means of the frictional contact of the member 62 with the inner surface of lower end portion 38 of tubular post member 16, connection of conductor 46 thereto is established. In this embodiment, light socket 18 is electrically connected to post 16.
As in regard to the embodiment of FIG. 2, the conductor 90 in FIG. 3 is electrically connected to the spring-pressed contact 80 which also has a shoulder 82 thereon against which one end of the spring 84 abuts and the opposite end of the spring is abutted by tubular insert 86 which is of insulated nature and is held in fixed relationship with the insulated plug 70 by means of a locking pin 88. Thus, the spring-pressed contact 80 is maintained in firm electrical contact with the fixed central contact 68 when the tubular post member 16 is inserted within the socket 36 of the base member 10, as in regard to the embodiment of the invention shown in FIG. 2. Similarly, it is only necessary to axially pull the tubular post member 16 in each embodiment from the socket 36 of the base member 10 in order to separate the post member 16 and the lamp and shade carried thereby from the base member to render a lawn, for example, free of obstruction, as when it is desired to mow the lawn.
Incident to mowing the lawn, it also is to be observed that there is little if any opportunity for grass clippings to interfere with the establishment of electrical contacts by the various relatively movable and coengageable contacts of the several embodiments of the electrical contacting structure. Also, as in regard to the embodiment of FIG. 2, the arrangement in FIG. 3 is such that when the post member 16 and the light and shade carried thereby have been removed from the base memer 10, no part of the base member 10 extends above the face plate 26 thereof which, in turn, is no higher than flush with the upper surface of the earth 12 upon which the lawn 14 is located.
The upper portion of the tubular post member 16 also is of interest with respect to the present invention in that it includes a bracket means 92 which preferably comprises a plurality of spider members 94 which may be formed, for example, from relatively stiff wire of suitable gauge. Intermediate portions of the spider members 94 are affixed to the outer surface of the upper portion of the tubular post member 16, such as by weldments 96, as shown in FIG. 8. The opposite end portions of the spider members 94 are bent angularly to extend outwardly substantially equal distances in a radial direction. The lowermost ends 98 of the spider members 94 project laterally outward a short distance to form an abutment to receive the lower rim 100 of the cylindrical shade 20.
The shade 20 is illustrated as being cylindrical but, if desired, other geometrical shapes may be utilized, such as squares, hexagons, octagons, etc. The dimensions-of the spider members 94 are selected in accordance with the shape and cross-sectional size of the shade selected for use with the lamp assembly. Illumination is provided with an appropriate electric bulb 102 which is complementary to the electric light socket 18, the bulb being of standard commercial type. If desired, either the bulb and/or the shade 20 may be selected to have a certain color of either utilitarian or esthetic type. It also will be understood that the conductors 74 and 90 of FIG. 2 and conductors l6 and 90 of FIG. 3 are attached to appropriate binding screws, not shown, associated with the electric light socket 18, or by soldering.
The terminal ends of the upper portions of the spider members 94 are suitably dimensioned so as to slideably engage the inner surface of the shade 20, for example,
as illustrated in FIG. 8. The terminal ends of spider member 94, as described, are suitably prepared for operatively securing shade 20 thereto by appropriate mechanical means, including, but not limited to, horizontally and radially match-boring shade 20 and spider 94 to insert compression clips, self-tapping screws 95 or other suitable mechanical means. Also, extending between an opposite pair of said spider members 94 is a horizontal bar 104 which comprises a handle by which the post member 16 and the light and shade structure attached thereto quickly may be removed from the base member as well as being re-established therewith after the mowing of a lawn, for example, has been completed. Further, the upper portions of the spider members 94 are utilized to support a shield 106 which is above the electric bulb 102 a predetermined distance to protect it from the elements. If desired, the inner surface of the shield 106 may be of a light-reflecting nature to reflect light from the bulb 102 downwardly. Appropriate small positioning members 108 are fixed to the upper portions of the spider members 94 to engage rim portions of the shield 106. If desired, the shield 106 may be of a flexible nature to permit snapping the same below the positioning members 108 to position the shield upon said brackets.
To limit the insertion of support member 16 into base member 10, a stop ring 110 is fastened to member 16 for engagement thereof with chamferred edges of the fins 30 of base member 10 as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. If desired, the walls of member 16 may be upset to provide equivalent stop means. Stop ring 110 is fixedly positioned at the required location on support member 16, to provide and insure and visibly indicate adequate mechanical contact of the appropriate, previously described complementary contacting elements in the upper portion of base member 10 and within support member 16. Said mechanical contacts provide necessary electrical circuit continuity for light bulb 102. When stop ring 110 is seated within the socket therefor in base member 10, said ring preferably is no higher than flush with the upper surface of face plate 26. Also, if desired, a luminous ring 112 of paint or otherwise may surround hole 28 in face plate 26 to facilitate inserting the end of member 16 into said hole, especially after dark.
Post member 16 is capable of being protected from pilferage by a plurality of types of locking devices respectively shown in FIGS. 11 and 13 and in FIGS. 11A and 13A, details of which are described as follows. In FIGS. 11 and 13, in which only half of face plate 26 is shown, a circular metal lock plate 114 is fixed eccentrically to a stud 122 which is mounted rotatably within a suitable bearing hole in face plate 26. When in locked position, the lobe 115 of lock plate 114 slidably overlies ring or flange 110 on post member 16 when in operative position within the socket 36 of base member 10 and thereby prevents removal of post member 16 from said base member 10. The ring 110 may be in the form of an annular flange, as shown specifically in FIG. 13. Lock plate 114 is rotatable manually by the use of exemplary rod-like key devices having an end configuration complementary to the socket opening 124 in stud 122 such as, but not limited to, the half round configuration thereof shown in FIG. 11. Stud 122 is fitted with releasable latching means in the form of a pin 120 extending through stud 122 and the ends being received within spring seats 128 depressed from face plate 26, for example and adequate to prevent manual release when locking lobe 115 is in latching position relative to ring or flange 110. Release requires force by said aforementioned tool. If desired a pair of lock plates 114 may be employed at opposite sides of the axis of face plate 26.
Referring to FIGS. 11A and 13A, another exemplary half section of base and plate 26 are shown to which another embodiment of anti-pilfering locking device, somewhat similar to that shown in FIGS. 11 and 13 and comprising a circular metal lock plate 114 fixed eccentrically to a stud 122 rotatably mounted within a bearing hole in face plate 26 and the lobe 115 thereon, is adapted to slidably overlie the ring or flange 110 on post 16 to latch the post against removal from base 10.
As in the preceding embodiment, stud 122 has a socket opening 124 of irregular shape to receive a tool of complementary shape to rotate stud 122 and locking plate 114 between latching and unlatching position relative to ring or flange 110. To releasably maintain lobe 115 in latching position over ring or flange 110 and prevent free manual release, a spring washer 116, is mounted on stud 122 between circular plate 118 and face plate 26 to create rotational resistance. Pin 120 secures plate 118 on stud 122. If desired a detent 126 may be formed'in face plate 26 to increase resistance to rotation.
To deter pilfering removal of base member 10 from the earth in which it is sunk, base member 10 preferably is provided with any suitable earth-anchoring means such as spring leaves 130 attached to some or all of radial fins 30 by rivets 132, in FIG. 6. The upper ends of leaves 130 are inclined to extend outwardly and thereby will dig. into the surrounding earth when upward movement is attempted. Insertion of the base member 10 into the earth is not impeded by said leaves due to their resilient nature. If prefered, the spring leaves or fingers 130 may be mounted on the tubular lower portion 22 of base member 10 and, if desired, may be pivotally connected thereto for only limited outward movement, such as to a horizontal position, for example, by means of appropriate restriction means on the hinges.
An additional embodiment of anti-pilfering device from that shown in FIGS. 11 and 11A illustrated in FIGS. 14 and 15. The top plan view of face plate 26 in FIG. 14 shows an elongated combination cover plate and locking member 134 which is pivotally and slidably mounted upon the upper surface of face plate 26, between the covering position over central hole 28, shown in full lines, and the latching position thereof shown in phantom in FIG. 14. One side edge of cover plate 134 has a downwardly struck tongue 136 which is movable. in arcuate slot 138 formed in face plate 26 for purposes of limiting the movement of cover plate 134 toward the closed position thereof.
Cover plate 134 preferably is strongly urged constantly toward the covering position thereof by a leaf spring 140 which, at one end 142 thereof, is firmly secured to a stud 144 by a pin 146. The stud 144 is firmly secured to cover plate 134 and is also rotatable within a bearing hole 148 in face plate 26 and has a socket 150 therein of a non-circular configuration which is adapted to receive an operating tool or wrench, not shown, having a stud thereon which is complementary in shape to said socket 150. The opposite end of spring 140 abuts a fixed stud 152 which depends from the undersurface of face plate 26. Due to the stud 144 being fixed to cover plate 134, it will be seen from FIG. 14 that the spring 140 will bias the cover plate 134 constantly toward the hole-closing positions thereof and also will maintain the same in said closed position when support member 16 is removed from base member 10.
Due to such urging or biasing of the cover plate 134 toward the hole-closing position thereof, said plate also serves the additional feature of serving as a latch or locking member which is adapted to overlie the ring or flange 110' on support member 16 when the same is within the central hole 28 of face plate 26. The cover plate 134 is strongly held in such overlying position by spring and the strength of the spring preferably is great enough that merely attempting to remove the plate 134 from such overlying latching position by hand is not possible. It is intended to be necessary, in accordance with the invention, that a specially shaped wrench or key is required to actuate the stud 144 in a direction to move the cover plate 134 from its latching position and thereby permit removal of supporting member 16 from the base member 10. It thus will be seen that plate 134 serves the dual function of both a cover for hole 28 and an anti-pilfering latch.
A further feature of the invention is illustrated in FIG. 16, which is a fragmentary exemplary vertical sectional view of the base member 10 with which the support member 16 is shown in phantom. In said figure, another embodiment of cover plate 154 is provided to cover central hole 28 when support member 16 is removed therefrom. The plate 154 is connected to face plate 26 by a spring biased hinge 156 which is secured to face plate 26 by a bolt or rivet 158. When the support member 16 is positioned within central hole 28, the cover plate 154 readily may be pivotally moved to the elevated, idle position thereof, shown in phantom, in FIG. 16.
From the foregoing, it will be seen that the present invention provides a convenient type of outdoor light of a variety of different shapes, styles and heights, which are removable from mounting means therefor comprising a base member insertable into the earth and having no portion extending appreciably above the upper surface of the earth and especially earth upon which a lawn is established. Upon withdrawing the tubular post member of the light from a complementary socket in the base member, no obstruction of any kind exists on the lawn as far as the light structure is concerned and mowing of the lawn may occur without the nuisance of having to mow around a fixed post or trim remaining grass from around the post as is necessary under normal conditions with respect to outdoor lights which are fixed relative to a lawn surface. In addition, especially by providing a base plate around the upper portion of the base member, such base plate prevents grass from growing immediately adjacent the socket of the base member and, correspondingly, immediately adjacent the post member which projects upwardly from the base member when the lamps are in operative condition upon a lawn.
Relatively foolproof and durable electrical contacts comprising co-engageable members are provided in several different embodiments of circular arrangements between the base member and the lamp upon the post member. Further, an esthetically pleasing light shade is provided and includes a positioning means which serves the additional function of affording a handle by which the removable portion of the lamp assembly may be separated from the base member which remains in the lawn. Anti-pilfering devices for the lamp structures, as well as covers for the central hole of the base members, also are provided.
In the spring actuating means for the cover and latch means 134, if additional strength is desired to resist turning stud 144 in a direction to unlatch post member 16, over the strength afforded by spring 140, another embodiment of the invention is shown in FIG. 14A in which, for example, pin 146, of FIG. 14, may be formed from suitable spring rod and extend at one end 160 to abut another stop pin 162 projecting from face plate 26. Said extension 160 is strongly flexed when cover 134 is in latching positioning relative to ring 110 on post member 16. Also, if desired, tongue 136 can be so positioned on cover 134 that, when said cover is in latching position, the tongue will be in flexing engagement with spring 140 and thereby increase the resistance to rotating the cover 134 in unlatching direction,
thus insuring that a special tool or wrench must be used to release the post 16 from engagement by cover 110.
While the invention has been described and illustrated in its several preferred embodiments, it should be understood that the invention is not to be limited to the precise details herein illustrated and described, since the same may be carried out in other ways falling within the scope of the invention as illustrated and described.
1. An outdoor electric light comprising in combination, a base member insertable in the earth at a level no higher than the surface of the earth and having a socket open at the top and extending downward thereinto and having plug-like means centrally therein extending upwardly therein, a tubular post-like support member insertable axially slidably into said socket for support by said base member and telescopically receiving said plug-like means, co-engageable electric contact means within said tubular support member and on said pluglike means separably engaging each other when said tubular support member is inserted into said socket telescopically, an electric light carried by said support member, and means on said base member connectable to an underground source of current to supply current to said contact means.
2. The outdoor light according to' claim 1 in which said base member is provided with stabilizing fins extending radially from the axis thereof and the inner edges thereof having cutouts to form said socket, and said fins being engageable with the earth in which the base member is mounted and operable to stabilize the same against tilting or wobbling when inserted in the earth. I
3. The outdoor light according to claim 2 in which said base member has a tubular lower portion relative to which the post-like support member is positioned in axial alignment when in operative position therewith, and said stabilizing fins projecting radially from said tubular lower portion of said base member. a
4. The outdoor light according to claim 3 in which said base member further includes electrical conductors connected to one of said stabilizing fins and extending radially to an opening provided therefor in said tubular portion of said base member, and said base member further including shield and plow means connected to said fin and overlying at least a portion of said electrical conductors to protect the same incident to the base member being operatively positioned within the earth.
5. The outdoor light according to claim 1 in which said base member additionally includes a face plate extending across the upper end of said base member radially outward beyond said socket and positionable substantially at the level of the earth within which the base member is mounted to limit the insertion of said base member into the earth, and said base member including tubular means coaxial with said socket within which additional electrical contact means are mounted, said face plate being interconnected to said tubular means.
6. The outdoor light according to claim 5 further including a plurality of circumferentially spaced stabilizing fins projecting radially from said tubular means of said base member and the upper ends of said fins also being connected to said face plate to strengthen the base member and thereby facilitate the insertion thereof into the earth.
7. The outdoor light according to claim 6 further including shield means extending between said fins of said base member and spaced from the axis of said base member a greater distance than said tubular means to define a limited annular space radially beyond said socket of said base member to accommodate debris and earth migrating into said socket.
8. The outdoor light according to claim 1 in which said base member has a tube positioned centrally thereof at the lower end portion of the member, said tube including an insulating plug projecting from the upper end thereof, contact means supported by said insulating plug, and said postlike support member at the lower end thereof being insertable within said base member for telescopic reception of said insulating plug.
9. The outdoor light according to claim 8 in which said insulating plug in said central tube of said base member supports a plurality of said contact means in spaced insulated relationship to each other adjacent the upper end of said base member and one of said contact means being at a lower level than the other, whereby when said post-like support member is removed from said base member, the possibility of accidentally establishing a short circuit across said contact means is minimized.
10. The outdoor light according to claim 9 in which one of said contact means is substantially central of said insulating plug and the other contact means is radially spaced therefrom upon said insulating plug and the upper ends of said contact means are at different axial levels relative to said plug and the uppermost contact means being substantially surrounded by a portion of said plug.
1 1. The outdoor light according to claim 8 further including a plurality of circumferentially spaced and radially extending stabilizing fins interconnected to said central tube, the inner edges of said fins having vertically extending clearance spaces between the ends thereof to permit reception of the tubular lower portion of the post-like support member within said base member and engage the inner surfaces of said fins at restricted sections thereof to provide ease of insertion and withdrawal of said support member relative to said base member.
12. The outdoor light according to claim 11 addition ally including an insulating plug within said tubular lower end portion of said post-like support member, and spring-type contact means supported by said insulating plug within said post-like support member for engagement with an electrical contact carried by said base member and positioned therein for contact by said spring-type contacts of said post-like support member.
13. The outdoor light according to claim 12 in which said base member and post-like support member additionally include snap-acting friction-type coengageable contacts operable to establish a second line of electrical circuitry between said members when the same are connected together in operative relationship and prevent accidental separation thereof by the spring force of said spring-type contact means operating against said contact carried by said base member.
14. The outdoor light according to claim 8 further including a plurality of circumferentially spaced wire friction members having outwardly extending and flexible bowed portions and connected to said base member in a manner to prevent relative longitudinal movement therebetween, said friction members being frictionally engageable with the inner surface of the tubular portion of said post-like support member to stabilize said support member with respect to the base member and additionally establish electrical contact between said members for one line of circuitry therein.
15. The outdoor light according to claim 1 in which said base member and post-like support member respectively include telescopically interfitting connection means, said tubular means on said post-like support member having an electric bulb socket supported at the upper end thereof, and bracket means connected to said upper end portion of said post-like support member, said bracket means including a substantially horizontal handle connected thereto above said bulb and arranged to be manually engaged to facilitate upward telescopic withdrawal of the post-like support member from the socket of said base member and also faciliate re-engagement of said members in operative relationship with respect to each other.
16. The outdoor light according to claim 15 further including a shield member carried by said bracket means of said post-like support member below said handle and supported thereby in axial alignment with and above said electric bulb to shield the same from weather elements.
17. The outdoor light according to claim 15 further including a vertically extending shade which surrounds said electric bulb and socket carried by said post-like support member, said shade removably slidably interengaging said bracket means for support thereby.
18. The outdoor light according to claim 17 further including securing means extending through said shade and connectable to said bracket means to prevent ready removal of said shade from said bracket means and thereby deter pilferring of said shade.
19. The outdoor light according to claim 17 in which said bracket means comprises a plurality of spider members spaced circumferentailly around the axis of said post-like support member and extending radially therefrom, said spider members being connected to the upper portion of said post-like support member and the lower ends thereof projecting radially outward beyond the shade supported by said bracket means and the lower edge of said shade abutting said projecting portions of said spider members to maintain said shade in operative position with respect to said bracket means.
20. The outdoor light according to claim 17 further including a shield, and means on said bracket means engaging said shield to support the same substantially centrally above said electric bulb, and said bracket means also having portions engageable with the interior surfaces of the upper portions of said shade to position the same in operative position upon said post-like support member.
21. The outdoor light according to claim 1 in which said post-like support member has an electric bulb socket supported adjacent the upper end thereof, spider members connected to the upper end portion of said tubular support member and extending outwardly and upwardly therefrom, a shield member supported by said spider members above said electric bulb socket in axial alignment therewith to protect an electric bulb from weather elements when mounted in said socket, and positioning means on said spider members engaging said shield adjacent the periphery thereof at circumferentially spaced locations to support the same in operative position above said socket.
22. The outdoor light according to claim 21 in which said shield member has limited flexibility and said positioning means on said spider members engaging the upper portions of the perimeter of said shield member to detachably secure the same against said spider members which extend downwardly and inwardly from the perimeter of said shield member.
23. The outdoor light according to claim 1 further including interengageable means on said base member and said post-like support member comprising a lock member movably carried by said base member which engages an abutment on said support member to prevent separation of said'support member from said base member, and lock means operable by a key and adapted to maintain said interengaging means in the engaged position thereof.
24. The outdoor light according to claim 23 in which said lock means is mounted on said base member and is of the type which requires a key device to actuate the same for rotational disengagement of such lock member from engagement with said abutment on said postlike support member to permit separation of said postlike support member from said base member.
25. The outdoor light according to claim 23 in which said lock means also is shaped to function as a cover and is arranged to be disposed over the socket of said base member when said support member is removed from said base member.
26. The outdoor light according to claim 23 further including earth anchoring means mounted yieldably on said base member and operable to permit insertion of said base into the earth without appreciable obstruction and including movement resisting means movable relative to said base member in a direction to engage the earth below the surface thereof in a manner to oppose upward movement of said base member from the earth to comprise anti-pilfering means for said base member.
27. The outdoor light according to claim 1 in which said base member has a cover movably mounted thereon and is positionable over said socket in said base member to cover the same when said supprot member is removed therefrom, said cover being spring biased toward said covering position over said socket.
28. The outdoor light according to claim 1 further including positioning means on said support member adapted to engage stop means on said base member to limit the insertion of said support member into said socket of said base member and thereby provide means to insure adequate engagement of said co-engageable electric contact means in said socket and on said support member without damage to said contact means.
29. The outdoor light according to claim 28 in which said positioning means on said support member is visible when in engagement with said stop means in said socket and thereby serves as a visible indicator to show when full insertion has occurred.
30. An outdoor electric light comprising in combination, base means adapted to be inserted in the earth and including a face plate having an opening defining an entrance to a socket extending axially from said opening, fin-like members connected to and extending perpendicularly from one surface of said face plate and extending radially therefrom at circumferentially spaced locations thereon and adapted to engage the surrounding earth in a manner to stabilize the position of said base means in the earth, said tin-like members having inner edges spaced from each other to define the sides of said socket, a tubular post having one end adapted to be telescopically received within said socket and engageable with said inner edges of said fin-like members to position said post for support by said base means, an electric light socket mounted upon the upper end portion of said post, and an electric conduit extending axially of said post and connected at one end to said electric light socket and the other end being connectable to a source of electric current.
31. The light according to claim 30 in which the sides of said socket between the inner edges of said fin-like members are open to permit said one end of said post to push any debris in said socket aside through said openings incident to inserting said one end of said post into said socket.
32. The light according to claim 31 further including a tubular end member on said base means opposite said face plate and portions of said fin-like members being fixedly connected to said end member, said end member being tapered to facilitate insertion thereof into the earth and the diameter of said end member being adapted to form an opening into the earth ahead of said socket when said base means is being mounted in the earth, whereby the walls of said opening in the earth partially define said socket to receive said one end of said post.
33. The light according to claim 32 further including axial plug means extending from said tubular end member into said socket and having electrical contact means thereon connectable to a source of current, and said one end of said tubular post having electrical contact means therein spaced from the terminal end thereof and connected to said conduit in said post and said one end of said post receiving said plug means when said post is mounted in said socket in said base means to coengage said electrical contact means in said post and on said plug.
34. The light according to claim 33 in which one of said electrical contacts is pointed and is pressed axially by a spring and thereby firmly engaging the other contact through the force of said spring to insure the establishment of a circuit between said contacts by penetrating debris and the like if necessary.
35. The light according to claim 34 further including additional coengageable contacts on said axial plug means and within said one'end of said tubular post which are of a separable snap-acting friction type and adapted to resist any accidental separation thereof by forces exerted by said spring against said pointed electrical contact.