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Publication numberUS3860811 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 14, 1975
Filing dateSep 17, 1973
Priority dateSep 17, 1973
Publication numberUS 3860811 A, US 3860811A, US-A-3860811, US3860811 A, US3860811A
InventorsSlauter John W
Original AssigneeSlauter John W
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Variable-beam flashlight device
US 3860811 A
A flashlight device for throwing light beams of different widths, and including a body which supports a light source for emitting light rays therefrom. A lens assembly is supported on the body for directing the light rays to form a light beam. The lens assembly includes a stationary lens disposed in the path of the light rays for directing the light rays in one direction and a movable lens for selective positioning in the path of the light rays to refract the light rays in another direction. More particularly, the lens assembly includes a hollow, sealed compartment having a lens chamber disposed in the path of the light rays for receiving a fluid material to form a lens. A storage chamber is connected in fluid communication with the lens chamber for receiving the fluid from the lens chamber and removing the fluid material from the path of the light rays so that only the stationary lens is exposed to the light rays upon rotation of the body about the directional axis of the light beam.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

L'ZHHMW HUUM is lens m light source for light z dames mixer or, Ohm $4060 iz in form :1 lum.

finances C52" EitCKGROUND Oli Tl-ll lNv'inlTlON The prerent invention is related to flashlights, and more particularly. to flashlights which, are capable of producing it light heen: of vzirizihle intensity and size such thin it may function either as a. lloodlight or a spotlight.

light vhcnever one or the other is required.

SUMMARY OF THE lNVENTlGN The present invention contemplates providing a flashlight device which is capable or" producing a light bezint of variable intensity such that it can function either :is Spotlight or a i'loodlight for providing a high illumination of small area or can illuminate a larger aree wir i necessary. The flashlight device includes i body which a light assembly mounted thereon which h a light source for producing light rays forming a light hearn. A lens assembly is mounted on the 'cody for gathering the light rays and directing them from the light source. The lens assembly includes one lens which is disposed in the path ofthe light rays which directs the light rays in one direction and lanother rnov-` able lens which supported on the body for selective positioning in the path of the light rays for altering the direction el' the light rays so that they will he directed in another direction. Pl`hc lens assembly comprises a hollow. compartment dispoei adjacent the forward end of the hotly. The compartment includes a lens chrirnlt-cr disposed in the path ofthe light rays and a storage ehrnnber offset with respect to the path ol` the light rays. The lens chamber is disposed in stationary rehition with respect to the path ofthe light rays and is defined hy spaced walls adapted to receive a fluid mau teriul therebetween. The storage chiirnoer is connected in fluid communication with the lens chamber to enable the transfer of liquid material .herchctween The welll; o the lens chelnher are formed of a solid trzinsprirent eteriul. in one forni. one of the walls defines n stationery lens, and the liquid ninterinl, when dis posed nihin the lens chamber, defines :i movable or lie. iid lens. The Storage chamber is connected adjacent only one side of the lens; chamber so n.2 to canse filling, by gran-'ity'. ofthe lens chamber when the storage chzimher is pmitioncd above the lens chiinibcr, und emptyinllli gravity, ol' lens chamber when the storage chitniher is positionedhclow the lens chinnhery The Slllilc elntrnhcr hits a volume which is sufficiently lo ertzthic l guid materiel to he emptied from the .n nl' tht` lens chzfxniher which is ilifaposcd in the i nl the light rays. and the volume o." liquid material t in the compartment iz: mitici-en: to till tlm 1- the lens cli'iinl l in the liisht treuren will gi; lhpntl i y light benin or the wide, low-intensity til.)

By the foregoing arrangement, when the hotly ol' the device is positioned in one position, lor crifnnple, with the storage chamber disposed below the lentclizirnher, the light my; will pizzi-s through only the rrtzitinniirjl' lens und will he directed in one direction, On the otlicr htintl, when the body ofthe device is moved, finch iis rotated through iipproximittf-ly one-hal" turn. to ptrtilinn the storage chiirnhcr :there the lens; chttmher, the nid will l'loiv from the storef chamber into the lens t l ber and the light rnys will pass through hoth the litgtiid lens and the stationery lens to alter the direction oi' the light rays from their direction when passing only through the stetionary lens. Such en arranger chics the light rays to he controlled Stich t. 1

produce :i wider, low-intensity light cenni to function as floodlight.

BRlEF DESClllPTlGN Ol:- THE Dlf'lilviNUS lTlG. l is a perspective view ot' the flashlight device of the present invention',

FlG. ,2 is a freiginentary. partially in Section. sli vtition view of the flashlight device shown in lilG. l'.

F15. 3 is n side elevation view of the same porion of thc flashlight device shown in il, when rcmted onchzill turn;

F164 isn fragmentary, partially in section, sifr: vntion view or :inothc embodiment ol the prt vention;

llG. S is a view ol the sante portion of llie l'lcrlilinht device shown in FlG. il when rotntcd one-hiilt` torn;

HG. 6 is n fragmentary, partially in section. .vide clevzition view olstill another enihodirnent of' the ilnsh light device of the present invention;

FIG. is a View of the same portion of the il? "li device as shown in HG. 6 when rotetcd onchnt! tern;

l'flG. 8 is a fr; monthly, partially in Section, site: el ration view of n further cnlht'idiincnt of the present inventioii; and

FlG. is a View ol the saine portion ol the llafthlig it device shown in ll when rotated onc-hiilf tnrn.


DESCRlllTlON OF Tirilli Plllliillll) EMliODllvlEl lTS The flashlight device ofthe present invention is illustratcd, generally at El, in FlGS. to 3. and "s shown. chicles :1 body l having :i heed portion (i it one such the frontend, and :t grip portion 3 in the opp site or rear end. As shown. particularly in lflG. Ii. thc liiilitnSscmhly lll is mounted in the hcztd portion n :intl includes n light source, such ze: e. lig; d to produce light rays. :is nl l, which forni t. l lli. A rclector :tirremhlv lll ist mounted withii portion la und snrronndr. the hnlh l2 being, until wnrtllv und l'orvl'nrtlly therefrom, Stich that the light rays lil irc directed generi-.ily i'ortvurdly only troni thc. device.

.f'xlthongh the hotly Ll muy lie nl :my gcnernl enna ration. the grip portion ll is ol n generally conventional construction heini: provided in the forni nl' n hollow,

elongated cvlinihr "for nii cle l ,nl in chille :i chdir contact 'il zitting and dc-energizing the bulb l2 in n manner welllznn'wn to the nrt.

A sclerkely positionnble lens assembly 25, is supported :rtljnccnt the front end ot' the portion 6 which is positionable for altering. or changing the dircction of the light rays, rind thus. the size und intensity et' the iight benin lll. More particularly, the lens assembly Ziitcludes a movable lens, such as at 28, which is positionzible in one position in tbc partir of the light rays i4 when the body is disposed in one position, such as illustrated in llG. 2, and is positions le ont ol' the perth of the light rays lli when the body rotated one-half turn or ISG". ily this arrangement. the lens Ztl :iets on the light rays to produc-e` in one instance. zt wide-lov.:- intensity beern or floodlight and in another instance, a narrow, higndntensity benin or spotlight.

Referring new particularly to FIG. Z5 tl'e lens assembly 2i comprises a hollow settled compartment 2%, :31nd the movable lens 28 comprises a fluid material, such as a liquid or the like, which is disposed within the compartrnent 26. ln the form shown in FIG. 2, the reflector assembly lll is positioned behind the compartment 26 and includes a reflector member i9. The reflector i9 vmay be of any suitable configuration. but in the form shown is of a generally psraboloid-sliape having the bttlb l?. located at the focus thereol` for forming the iight rays li in to the beam 16 which passes through the cnnipartnient d. The compartment 26 includes one chamber or lens chamber 3@ which is disposed in the path of the light rays, and :mother chamber or storage charnrier 32 which is offset from the path of the light rays is and which is connected in fluid communication, as at 33, with the lens chamber 3G to enable the liquid to be transferred between the lens chamber 3G and the ster-ngc chamber 32 when the body fi is rotated, tts aforesaid. ln FIGS. 2 and 3, the compartment 26 is made oa solid, transparent material, such as plastic or the like, and is defined in cross section adjacent the lens chamber 3l) by laterally' extending, spaced front and rear walls 35 and 36, respectively. Although this compartment 26 may be formed in innny suitable coniigitrstions, in the forni shown in FlGS. 2 and the rcnr nell 36 is foreshortened with respect to the front well 35. such that the upper end ot the front well defines :a 4i

ront wall for the storage chamber The storage chamber 32 is further defined in cross section by at bottom wall 3'? which is integrally formed with the upper end of the rear wall 36 and extends rearwardly there from. An upper rear wall 355 is formed integra ly with the rear end of the bottoni wall 3? :ind extends upwardly the cirorn in litterrilly-spriccd relation with respect to iper end of the iront wall 5S providing the storey nnniber with a greater transverse dimension from iront to rear than the lens chamber 3l?. /t top well si@ and peripheral side well #il are integrally joined to the peripheral edges of thc front wall 35, the rear walls 3o and Btl and the lbottom will! 37 to complete thc sealing ot`l` of the compartment 2li. As shown in FlG. l, the chamber 32 is connected to the chamber 30 ridi-.ieent ortl;` one side thereof, :nich that when the chamber 3f. is dis ed above the inhiber liti, the liquid will drain. by rnifity into the chdinher .im .t'licrcss, when the hotly minted i, :ilt' tutti or illl" nlnnat the di ira-Jin, :nid the Cimitile-r is i il i; .is nl thc l disposed liclow the chamber 3d), the licinitl 2S will drriiix. by rnviryt intu the chamber 32.

l5 take when passing through only th front welll 35 whe r 35 to form a wide` lovinlensity beam l j of the rcztr wall 36. The transverse dirnensi ns oi the iront wall 35 and rrr-.r wall 36 greater in all dirci:- tions than the corresponding dimensions of the front edge 39 ol the reflector I9, so that :ill of the light rays if: will be directed through the liquid lens 2li whe. 0 such is disposed in the chamber By this arrange' ment, the liquid lens 225 acts in conjunction with the front wall 3S to titer the direction of the light rnys they pass tlieretiirotigh, that is, alter the direction or" the light rays from the direction they would normally e r the liquid is not disposed in their path.

i ln the form shown in FIGS. I'. and 3, the portion ot'tlie iront wall 35 adinet-rit the chamber fili is in :i series nl superposerl, concave-convex domes The domes ld are convert adjacent the front surface fifi and concave adjacent the rear surface 46 se to forrn a reifrncting lens in conjunction with the liquid 2li such that light rays l will be diffused to fo n a wide, low

intensity beam ld. .fis shown in FlG. 3x$ when the chant ber .ifi is empty, the light rays l will in n sti-:iight line through the chamber 3l? and the front wnll to form a narrow, higirintensity benin ln another embodiment of the prese invention, ns

shown in FIGS. l a front iii-:ill 5d is provided @which has generally llrrt front En end teer ina vlaces. ln this form, the chamber Elli is preferably filled with n translucent lintiid, such is an nqiicbus'sinzpcn- 'on of sten-ch or the like, so that the liquid rays lll will be diffused by virtue of the translucency of the licpiid 6c ns seen in llG. 'lo the contrary, when the liquid is emptied from the chairnber Si), ns shown in FIG. 5,'tbe light rnys lili lwill pass in a straight line through the chamber Il@ :ind the iront wall to forni d narrow, high-intensiiy lo i bertni ldd.

y In the embodiment of the invention shown in iflt'lll. 6 and '7, ri t'ront wnil 3S!) adjacent the clinrnber Fill hns Ia prisnizitic interior surface formed by n plurality ol' dig-ht dispersing lenses, such :is transversely extending prisms 5t). In this form, thc material of the front witll i; and the4 liquid lill have i refractive index which is generally identical `such that when the chamber Sill is empty, as in lTlG. (i, the light rays lo will be dill'nsed by the prisms Sil to ferm a wide, low-intensity benin On thc other hund, when the liqtiir Sill is disposed in the chamber Eil)` the combined refractive characteristics el the liquid It@ und the prisms fit) are :nich :is to cause the light riiys 'l-i to pziss in :t straight line to form n nitrrnw, high-intensity benin idf, :is in FG. 7.

'llicrc illustrated in lTlGS. ll :intl :mother emhndi ment ot" the present invention. ln this forni, n lens risscinbly (r9 is provided which includes ii settled compnrttient (il having1 a lens chamber fnl sind :i storage Veliminn() ber tiri. 'l'lic lciis chamber tfi--ll and storage chnnilicr ed :irc connected iii litiiil communication with one :inother by apertures. es rit titl. to enable liolnid 'tl to piiss therebetween.

this tls-rin, titi; lens clininlicr faul is tleiine'# nil Fla which inegi i i l illy.l tritati lit the t'r'ni tutti l.;

ticitcritlly ptiiztlitiltiillsltttpictl in contilzrnl'rttniii .tiit 'nit'- roiarttlr; the bulb ifi which is dispose-l :it liu' lliusrri:

i1-Mi The front wall 76 is shown as being', generally K lp-hailed in configuration und aim surrounds the t in t2. More particularly, the renr wall includes a genrr ly, centrally located bore 2, and the front wall 'Ht includes a eylindricul hub lli adjacent ite; apex which is lient-fitted in sealing engagement within the bore (leuning a socket 35 for receiving the Contact und 38 tit'tltc bulb l2. The front wall extends forwardly and #l its forward edge 7S joined in sealing engagement cent the lens chamber Gitio: receiving` n fluid ma ter .l. such es an opaque or trnnslueent liquid 'itl rhetetn, A generally flat or piunnr cover iilat 77 of t Y)tirent material is mounted over the onen end of front wall As further shown in lTlG. il, the storage chamber 66 is defined by a front wail 90 which extends upwardly' frein the front ofthe rear wall 72 and n rent wnll 9.2; which is integrally joined w ith the rear well 'f2 in ltttemily spaced relation from the iront wall 99. An outer Peripheral side wall is integrally joined to the upper two of the front wall andl rear wall 92 of the storage chamber 66 for sealing` the compartment 62. As can be seen, the apertures 6b are dis d between the front and the teer wall 92 such that the liquid itl may tiene bach and forth between the lens chamber and the stotzfge chamber 66 upon rotrttion of the bod); 9 the :ugh one-halt" turn or i8()c :is shown in FlG. 9.

Referring now particularly to lTlG, 9, the rear wail 72 be made of any suitable material such that itvt interier'sidc or Surface gli has reflective characteristics, :ind thus, will act reflector under certain conditions; will be described hereinafter. The front wall 76 is Vade of a transparent material such that the light ttty it? emitted from thelight bulb i7 will pass there through for reflection oft" of the interior side of the rear wall '72 to form a narrow, high-intensity light beum itin. As stated, the front wall '76 surrounds the light bulb l2 and extends angularly, forwardly and upwardly refrorn, being disposed at an angle, such as anproxiely 1li with respect to the directional axis ot" tte t bezint, such as g, such that when the liquid "/l disposed within the lens chamber 6d, the combined eractive characteristics of the liquid 70 land front wail are such that a substantiel portion of the light rays be reflected without penetrating the liquid 7, or be retracted by the liquid. in lens chnntbcr 6d to lter the direction of the light rays lift reflected from rear wall 'f2 to forni a wide. low-intensity bcarn` finch as at lolz.

i claim;

l. A flashlight device for producing a light beam of rnriublc width and intensity comprising,

a: light assembly including a light source mounted on sind body tor directing light rays in generally one direction troni snid light source to produce u light beam.

lens means supported by sind body for selectively nltering the direction of said light rays,

Said lens means comprising n hollow Sealed compartment having, a transparent l'ltiitl therein, sind contpnrtment including :t transparent lens chamber for teccivinf' n. fluid ninterirtl fl `rein. :nul tt lli-uti sion )inni when it ist: not diff l when empty :t solid icm; tot" tft causing said light rnys to form a bezint filone width und one intensity,

sind Fluid storage means being mounted out of the path of said light raya and connected in il tid coinrnnnication with said lens chamber to cnnble selec tive ttantlfer oi Said luid materinl between :ind fluid storage chamber and Said lens chamber, and said flttid materiali defining'. t movable lem when dis potted in said lensl chamber and co-ncting with Suid solid lens to canne said light rays to torni a beam having; another width and another intensity.

a device in accordance with claim l, wit-.trein said lens chamber if: mounted in substantially stationary rclation on sind b ody.

3. A device in accord-ance with claim l, wherein said lens chamber is ct. tneeted at only one to said storage chamber to enable said fluid to lill sind i lens chamber, by gravity, when said storage chztfnber ipositioned above said lens chznnber and to enable seid fluid to be emptied front said lens chamber, by gravity, when Suid Storage chair-.ber is positioned below said lens chamber upon rotation of seid body 180 about the directional axis of said I light benin.

il. A device in accordance with claim l, wherein said storage chamber has n volume sufficiently,l large to enable Suid lens chamber to be complctcly emptied o|" fluid.

I A device in accordance with claim l. wherein said lens chnntbcr is defined by front wall :and teur well spaced from said front wall, and Suid fluid sttirnge is connected in fluid communication with Suid lern; cheniber tot lilling the space between said front :1nd reniP walls. l

6. A device in accordance with claim 5, wherein zi front and rear walls nre disposed radinlly outwardly of Seid iight source, and Suid fluid forms a lens lor rcfleetin?. snid light rays when tlzposcd within said lens chain' ber.

A device in ztccorcnnce with elnirn 5, wherein Said i'ront and rear wells are disposed forwardly of said light source, and said fluid forms a lens for the pansagc of smid light t'nys therethrough when disnofted within said lens chnrnber. l l 8. A device in accordance with claim 5. wherein sttid front and rear walls nre disposed radially otitwnrdly of said light source, und

said ilttid forms a lens for reflecting sind light rays when disposed within said lens chamber.

9. A device in accordance with clnint :3. wlnrein said lens ineens inclutlett zt reflector surroixndinf.; said light nonrce. and

said reileetor extends outwttrt'lly and lnfvxarliy rn' seid light source for directing; 51nd light rnjtt. torwerdly` :iwny from sind light source.

i0. A device in :tecordttnce with clttint L wherein said teilectot is diz-:pencil cnrwnrdly of sind troni and rear. walls for retleeting said light t`tn1intt't-lly through sttid one citinnbcr.

A device in nccortlnncc with claim El, wherein said {rc-nt wall entends attlttulnrly outwardly und forwardly ,from :mi lijfht sottrc ifi-util totana :t luren lor .tr ttttlnrtitt? mettait said light rays when said space is filled with fluid. i3. Pr device in accordance with claim 5, wherein said from wall comprises a diffusing lens for diffusing said light rays when said space between said walls is not filled with fluid.

M. A flashlight device for producing a light beam of variable width and intensity comprising,

a body,

a iight assembly including a light source mounted on said body for directing light rays in generally one direction from said light source to produce a light beam,

lens means supported by said body for selectively altering t' e direction of said light rays,

lens means comprising` a hollow-sealed compartnient having; a fluid therein,

said compartment including a transparent lens chamber for receiving a fluid material therein, and

a fluid storage chamber for storing said fluid when it is not disposed in said lens cl amber,

'said storage chamber has a volume sufficiently large to enable said lens chamber to he substantially emptied into said storage chamber,

said lens chamber being mounted inthe path of said light rays and defining when empty a. solid lens tot' causingl said light rays to form a beam of one width and one' intensity,

said storage means being'motznted out of the path of said light rays and connected in fluid commtimic' tion at only'one side to said lens chamber to enable said fluid to lill said lens chamber, by gravity, when said storage chamber is positioned ahove said lens chamber and to enable said fluid to be emptied from said lens chamber, by gravity, when-said storage chamber is positioned below said lens cham' er upon rotation of said hody about the directional axis of said light beam, and

saidfluid material defining a movable lens when disposed in said lens` chamber and cot ating; with said solid lens to cause said light rays to form a beam having another width and another itensity.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US235866 *Sep 25, 1880Dec 28, 1880 N-peters
US1964861 *Jan 10, 1934Jul 3, 1934George E SmithNonglare headlight lens
US2307379 *Feb 20, 1942Jan 5, 1943Henry B ArmstrongDimmer for flash lamps
US2438196 *May 11, 1945Mar 23, 1948Lemuel H WashingtonHeadlight and supporting means therefor
US2848601 *Dec 14, 1955Aug 19, 1958Bridgeport Metal Goods Mfg CoDouble lens system for securing either spot or flood effects
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4099879 *Jan 23, 1976Jul 11, 1978Hans Ernst BritzOptical antenna or lens
US4305383 *Oct 30, 1978Dec 15, 1981Bloxsom Dan ESolar energy collector
US4341203 *Jun 8, 1981Jul 27, 1982Bloxsom Dan ESolar energy collector
US4341204 *Jun 8, 1981Jul 27, 1982Bloxsom Dan ESolar energy collector
US5113281 *Mar 22, 1989May 12, 1992State Of Israel-Ministry Of Defence Armament Development AuthorityDual field of view optical system
US5438486 *Jul 20, 1992Aug 1, 1995Mcnair; Edward P.Headlights with variably shaped optical elements
US8408745 *Sep 15, 2010Apr 2, 2013B.E. Meyers & Co. Inc.Illuminating and targeting systems and methods having variable liquid lens
US20120063142 *Sep 15, 2010Mar 15, 2012B.E. Meyers & Co. IncIlluminating and Targeting Systems and Methods Having Variable Liquid Lens
WO2011033414A1Sep 7, 2010Mar 24, 2011Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V.Lighting system with gravity controlled light beam
U.S. Classification362/202, 359/665
International ClassificationF21V14/00, F21Y101/00, F21V14/06, F21V5/00, F21L4/00, F21V13/00, F21V5/04
Cooperative ClassificationF21V5/006
European ClassificationF21V5/00L