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Publication numberUS3811990 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 21, 1974
Filing dateOct 18, 1972
Priority dateApr 1, 1972
Publication numberUS 3811990 A, US 3811990A, US-A-3811990, US3811990 A, US3811990A
InventorsStoff W
Original AssigneeGe Na Geschenke Gebr Nagel Kg
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Thermally actuated mobile
US 3811990 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

y 1974 w. STOFF THERMALLY ACTUATED MOBILE 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Oct. 18, 1972 Fig/l May 21, 1974 w. STOFF 3,811,990

THERMALLY ACTUATED MOB ILE Filed Oct. 18, 1972 v 2 Sheets-SheetZ Fig.2

United States Patent Oifice 3,811,990 Patented May 21, 1974 US. Cl. 161-12 12 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE An upright tube is adapted to contain a candle or other heat source and is surrounded by a sleeve, with end portions of flexible bimetallic strips being mounted intermediate the tube and the sleeve so that the arms extend Ollie wardly of both and can swing radially, carrying at their outer free ends respective weights. The sleeve can be raised and lowered with reference to the tube, or vice versa, to vary the swingable free length of the respective bimetallic strips.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to a mobile, and more particularly to a thermally actuated mobile.

Mobiles of the type here in question are intended for decorative purposes, in that the movement of the movable component thereof provides a steady pressure for the user. Mobiles are known from the prior art in which elognated flexible arms are provided one end of which is anchored in a base and the other end of which is provided with a weight. The arms swing gently when vibrations of any type are transmitted to the base, and in some instances also under the influence of even a relatively mild flow of air.

However, mobiles of the type according to the present invention are not known from the art.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION 1 i It is a general object of the present invention to provide an improved mobile of the type in which flexible arms can freely swing.

More particularly it is an object of the present invention to provide a mobile of this type which is thermally actuated.

Still a more particular object of the invention is to provide such a thermally actuated mobile in which the swinging movements of the very sensitive arms can always remain identical independently of fluctuations in the supply of thermal energy from the heat source.

In pursuance of these objects and of others which will become apparent hereafter, one feature of the invention resides in a thermally actuated mobile which, briefly stated, comprises a holder for a heat source, and a plurality of flexible arms which bend when heated and are arranged circumferentially about the holder. Mounting means engages first ends of the respective arms and connects the latter, the mounting means surrounding the holder. Weight means is provided on the respective second ends of the arms remote from the holder, and adjusting means is provided for raising and lowering the mounting means relative to the holder and for arresting it in respective se lected positions.

With this construction it is possible to initiate operation of the heat source, for instance a candle or the like, and

then to effect movement of the mounting means until the desired degree of swinging or flexing of the arms has been obtained, whereupon the mounting means is arrested against further displacement and during further use of the heat source, including fluctuations in the heat supplied by the same, the amount of swinging will always be unchanged.

If a candle is used as the heat source, then according to a currently preferred embodiment of the invention there is provided an upright tubular member having an upper open end bounded by an inwardly extending shoulder, in

which the candle is slidable. Underneath the candle there is provided a spring which urges the candle upwardly so that it will always abut against the upper shoulder as it burns away. The arms are constructed as bimetallic strips and the tubular member is surrounded by a sleeve which is upwardly open, with the first ends of the arms being mounted within the sleeve in the space between the same and the tubular member, so that they can extend out of the upper open end of the sleeve and swing radially with respect to the tubular member and thus to the heat source. The arms are springily supported with respect to the inner circumference at the upper open end of the sleeve, for which purpose a damping element of elastomeric material may be inserted which engages the inner side of the sleeve at the upper open end thereof and against which the arms ean abut when they swing. A similar interception of the arms during swinging can be achieved with respect to the tubular member by having the outer side thereof in the region of the upper open end made slightly convex in direction towards the opening at the upper open end of the tubular member.

Depending upon the manner in which the holder for the heat source is constructed, the sleeve can be made height-adjustable with reference to the stationary holder, or the holder can be made height-adjustable with reference to the sleeve in which case the latter would be stationary. The adjustability can be achieved in accordance with the present invention by making the respective movable element turnable and associating it with a helical guide arrangement so that turning of the movable element will cause it to move upwardly or downwardly, depending upon the direction in which it is being turned. The height adjustability assures that the arms can perform a lesser or a greater swinging movement, depending upon the adjusted position which is selected, before they abut against the upper circumference of the sleeve.

The novel features which are considered as character istic for the invention are set forth in particular in the appended claims. The invention itself, however, both as to its construction and its method of operation, together with additional objects and advantages thereof, will be best understood from the following description of specific embodiments when read in connection with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a vertical section of an embodiment of the present invention, showing one height-adjusted position at the left-hand side and another height-adjusted position at the right-hand side;

FIG. 2 is a section taken on line 11-11 of FIG. 1; and

FIG. 3 is a developed view of the elements which cooperate to achieve the height adjustability in FIGS. 1 and 2.

3 DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Discussing the drawing in detail it will be seen that in the illustrated embodiment of FIGS. 1-3 the heat source is a candle one which of course also provides light. Mounted circumferentially of the candle is a plurality of arms in form of bimetallic strips 2, which are outwardly swingable within a chimney or globe 3. A base 4 is provided having a centrally upwardly extending tubular section 5 into which a tubular member 6 is inserted, for instance by means of a bayonet closure or the like, so that it can be removed. The tubular member 6 has an upper end portion 7 which is slightly outwardly convex in direction towards the central opening through which the flame of the candle 1 can pass. The candle 1 is constantly urged upwardly under the pressure of a helical spring 8, so that it will always abut against the upper edge 7 of the tubular member 6 even as it burns away.

Provided on the tubular section 5 of the base 4, which section is slightly stepped in diameter, are outwardly extending surfaces 9 which are distributed with spacing over the circumference of the tubular section 5 and are inclined in a helical manner, as is shown most clearly in FIG. 3. The surfaces 9 are contacted by correspondingly inclined surfaces 10 provided on the inner side of a tube 11 which can be turned with reference to the base 4 about the axis of the tubular section 5 to a limited extent (which may be determined by abutments), so that it can be raised or lowered by for instance 5-6 millimeters in the direction of the double-headed arrow 21 in FIGS. 1 and 3, that is it can travel by a certain distance, for instance 5-6 millimeters, between its uppermost and its lowermost positions which are shown at the two sides of FIG. 1. Abutments 12 are provided in the illustrated embodiment at the two ends of one of the surfaces 10, which delimit the extent to which the tube 11 can turn by cooperating with a projection 13 which also serves for securing the tubular member 6 with the base 4.

The upper end of the tube 11 is provided with a sleeve which is inserted into this upper end, an annulus 14 of elastomeric material being interposed. The sleeve 15 is tightly fitted into the lower opening of the globe 3 and serves to mount the lower end portions of the arms 2. In particular, a slotted ring 16 or the like is inserted under pretension into an appropriate annular recess of the sleeve 15, and the lower ends of the arms 2 are connected to the ring. Upwardly of their connection with the ring 16 the arms 2 are slightly bent in direction towards the upper rounded or convex portion 7 of the tubular member 6, and then are slightly bent outwardly. Due to this configuration, the arms can swing between the sleeve 15 and the tubular member 6. In outward direction such swinging movement is dampened by the provision of a damping element 17 of elastomeric material which is interposed between the inner circumference of the sleeve 15 and the lower bent ends of the arms 2. Advantageously, the element 17 will be a ring of rubber or the like with an appropriate rectangular or quadratic cross section.

The swinging movement of the arms in the other direction, that is inwardly towards the heat source, is dampened by contact with the upper rounded portion of the tubular member 6. The outer free ends of the arms 2 carry weights 18, such as spheres or the like of metal, heat-resistant synthetic plastic, glass or the like.

In the left-hand portion of FIG. 1 the tube 11 is shown in its lowermost position, and it will be seen that only a relatively narrow annular cap exists between the damping element 17 and the rounded outer circumference at the upper end of the tubular member '6. This means that in this position the arms 2 can perform swinging movements of only a relatively small amplitude, as indicated by the double headed arrow 2. On the other hand, the

right-hand side of FIG. 1 shows the tube 11 in its uppermost position. In this instance there is a larger gap be tween the damping element 17 and the rounded upper end portion of the tubular element 6, so that the arms in this position can swing with a substantially larger amplitude as indicated by the double headed arrow 20, before they abut against the tubular element 6.

It will be appreciated that by merely turning the tube 11 to raise or lower it, the amplitude of the swinging movements of the arms 2 can be precisely adjusted to a desired extent, and this extent can be selected in dependence upon the personal preference of the user, and taking into account the amount of heat energy supplied by the heat source. Very small vibratory movements at low amplitude can be obtained for the arms, as well as very slow swinging movements with a correspondingly larger amplitude, and in any case such movements can be maintained constant over the entire lifetime of the heat source.

It will be understood that each of the elements described above, or two or more together, may also find a useful application in other types of constructions differing from the types described above.

While the invention has been illustrated and described as embodied in a thermally actuated mobile, it is not intended to be limited to the details shown, since various modifications and structural changes may be made without departing in any way from the spirit of the present invention.

Without further analysis, the foregoing will so fully reveal the gist of the present invention that others can by applying current knowledge readily adapt it for 'various applications without omitting features that, from the standpoint of prior art fairly constitute essential characteristics of the generic or specific aspects of this invention and, therefore, such adaptations should and are intended to be comprehended within the meaning and range of equivalence of the following claims.

What is claimed as new and desired to be protected by Letters Patent is set forth in the appended claims:

1. A thermally actuated mobile, comprising a holder for a heat source; a plurality of flexible arms which flex when heated and are arranged circumferentially about said holder; mounting means engaging first ends of the respective arms and connecting the latter, said mounting means surrounding said holder; weight means on the respective second ends of said arms remote from said holder; and adjusting means for raising and lowering said mounting means relative to said holder and for arresting it in respective selected positions.

2. A mobile as defined in claim 1, wherein said arms are bimetallic strips.

3. A mobile as defined in claim 1, said holder being an upright tube having an upper open end and arranged to accommodate the heat source; and further comprising biassing means for urging a heat source in said holder upwardly towards said upper open end.

4. A mobile as defined in claim 3, said mounting means comprising a sleeve slidably surrounding said upright tube, and said arms being bimetallic strips mounted on said sleeve and closely surrounding said tube with freedom of swinging movement radially of the latter.

5. A mobile as defined in claim 4, said mounting means further comprising a slotted ring having said first ends secured thereto and being received under pretension in said sleeve. 7

6. A mobile as defined in claim 4, wherein said arms are springly supported with reference to the inner circumference of said sleeve.

7. A mobile as defined in claim 4; further comprising a damping element of elastomeric material interposed between said arms and the inner side of said sleeve in the region of the upper end of the latter.

8. A mobile as defined in claim 3, said tube having an upper end portion which is convexly curved in direction towards said upper open end.

9. A mobile as defined in claim 3, one of said sleeve and tube being movable longitudinally of the other to a plurality of positions in which said arms can move to greater or lesser extents as determined by abutment of the swinging arms with the upper end portion of said tube.

10. A mobile as defined in claim 9, said adjusting means comprising screw thread means associated with at least one of said tube and sleeve for permitting movement of the same relative to the other in response to requisite turning.

11. A mobile as defined in claim 10, said holder having a base; and said adjusting means comprising helical ribs provided on said base and a tube portion supporting said sleeve and having inner helical threads engaging with said ribs.

12. A mobile as defined in claim 4; further comprising References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 8/1954 Ingersoll 40-106.41 9/1956 Garver 16l-12 OTHER REFERENCES Giftwares, July 6, 1953, p. 66.

WILLIAM E. SCHULTZ, Primary Examiner US. Cl. X.R.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3978608 *Aug 20, 1975Sep 7, 1976Thomas KovachevichMethod of effecting a continuous movement of a fibrous material
US3998005 *Apr 17, 1975Dec 21, 1976Way Lee VDevice with movable parts made from material and sensitive to moist gas
US5860725 *Apr 23, 1997Jan 19, 1999Zer; EliezerHeat operated rotatable device
US6196895 *Mar 20, 1998Mar 6, 2001Larry ElkinsHeat-activated toy
US7842359Nov 30, 2010Peter MarlowAnimated artificial flower
US7861444 *Jun 16, 2008Jan 4, 2011Peter MarlowAnimated artificial flower
US20030232299 *Jun 14, 2002Dec 18, 2003Paul ChangCandle or light holder with rotary ornament
US20070143903 *Nov 17, 2006Jun 21, 2007Peter MarlowAnimated artificial flower
US20080311315 *Jun 13, 2008Dec 18, 2008Peter MarlowAnimated artificial flower
US20080311316 *Jun 16, 2008Dec 18, 2008Peter MarlowAnimated artificial flower
U.S. Classification40/411, D11/141, 40/421, 446/210
International ClassificationF21S13/12, F21S10/00, F21S13/00
Cooperative ClassificationF21S13/12, F21S10/00
European ClassificationF21S13/12, F21S10/00