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Publication numberUS3867621 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 18, 1975
Filing dateJan 29, 1973
Priority dateJan 29, 1973
Publication numberUS 3867621 A, US 3867621A, US-A-3867621, US3867621 A, US3867621A
InventorsHarry R Gewfrtz, Kenneth K Kellems
Original AssigneeAcme General Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Illuminated header
US 3867621 A
A header particularly useful along the top of a closet door frame is provided for illuminating the interior of the closet. The header is outside the closet door and illumination is actuated by the closet door position. The illuminator has an elongated channel with three insulated conductors along its length. Lamp sockets with tips or points for perforating the insulation and contacting the conductors may be inserted at any arbitrary position along the length of the channel and are retained in position by elastic detents. Switches are connected to the conductors and strip in a similar manner so as to be actuated by the closet doors. The switches are locked in place by a clip for minimizing safety hazards. A decorative fascia conceals the switches and lamps.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

[ Feb. 18, 1975 3,479,498 11/1969 Lasseigne........................... 240/2 R 3,527,933 9/1970 Thummel.......................i 240/2 R X Primary ExaminerFred L. Braun Attorney, Agent, or FirmChristie, Parker & Hale [57] ABSTRACT A header particularly useful along the top of a closet door frame is provided for illuminating the interior of the closet. The header is outside the closet door and illumination is actuated byv the closet door position. The illuminator has an elongated channel with three Fzlv 33/00 insulated'conductors along its length. Lamp sockets with tips or points for perforating the insulation and contacting the conductors may be inserted at any arbitrary position along the length of the channel and are retained in position by elastic detents. Switches are connected to the conductors and strip in a similar manner so as to be actuated by the closet doors. The

e .mm .H

M f m PM u m w .W a F f w w e I. .w w t mm m m0 D P 7 .m e d m M. m C .m C 58 11d 3 em r n aua S. S. m m mwm i waw SSS XXWXX L LR 09/92 4101/ 2141 9 92 3 3 3 3 Inventors: Harry RfCewfrtz, Whittier;

Kenneth K. Kellems, Costa Mesa,

both of Calif.

Acme General Corporation, Pasadena, Calif Jan. 29, 1973 [21] Appl. No: 327,729

U.S. 240/2 R, 339/97 L 240/2 R, 2 BV, 2 W, 2.13,

240/6, 10 R, 52.1, 73 OD; 339/59 L, 74 L, 61 L, 97 L, 99 L, 1 l9L References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS United States Patent Gewfrtz et a1.


[22] Filed:

[58] Field of Search McGinty et al. Corin et cm m w m f B G. shvhuhaie hmg gau vvs t 9 567 35555 99999 11111 27562 1 1 46 73 30 25 175] 29897 00504 .5 .7 22222 ILLUMINATED HEADER BACKGROUND The interior of a closet is one of the most poorly illuminated places in a house. One reason for this is the presence in most building codes of inhibitions on the presence of lights within the closet. Typically such lights must be located at least 18 inches from the nearest shelf. This is true even when the light is actuated by the closet door so that it is normally turned off when the closet is closed. It is, therefore, desirable to provide a closet illumination that can be used in small closets where it is infeasible to place a light 18 inches from the shelf. It is desirable that such avcloset illuminator be actuated in response to opening the closet door. It is desirable that the, illuminator provide multiple uses such as decorative lighting, night lights and the like. It is desirable that the illuminator be adaptable to other locations, such as over window openings or the like.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION There is, therefore,provided in practice of this inven- DRAWINGS These and other features and advantages of the pres ent invention will be appreciated as the same becomes better understood by reference to the following detailed description of presently preferred embodiments when'considered in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 illustrates in fragmentary'perspective ,an illuminated header constructed according to principles of this invention;

. FIG. 2 illustrates in exploded perspective many of the details of the illuminated header;

FIG. 3 is a transverse cross-section through the header of FIG. 1;-

FIG. 4 is an enlarged detail of a connector channel in the header; v 1

FIG. 5 is a bottom view of the header and a typical lamp socket;

FIG. 6 is an electrical schematiefor the header for a closet with'two doors; and

FIG. 7 is a transverse cross section of a modified header suitable for folding rather than sliding closet doors.

1 DESCRIPTION FIG. 1 illustrates in fragmentary perspective a portion of a wall 11 in which there is a doorway 12 to a closet. The doorway is closed by an inner door- 13 and outer door 14 which are suspended in overhead tracks 17 (FIG. 3) by conventional hangers 18. Wheels 19 run along the length of the steel tracks 17 so that the two doors l3 and 14 are each free to slide away from the respective door jamb for opening the closet. Such sliding door closet openings have been conventional for a number of years.

An illuminated header 21 spans the top of the door frame and extends a short distance into the room outside the closet. As better seen in FIGS. 2 and 3, the header comprises a roll formed sheet steel plate 22 having a uniform cross-section along its length. The plate has a plurality of screw holes 23 along its length so that it can be secured to the door'frame 24 along the top.

A stiffening bead 26 is provided along the inner edge of the plate. A J-shaped flange 27 is provided along the outer or exposed edge of the plate for stiffening and for receiving and retaining a decorative fascia 28. It will be apparent that if desired the fascia 28 may be made integral with the plate 22 or that the tracks and header be made integral for further economy in manufacture and installation. In the illustrated arrangement the fascia is made imperforate, however, if desired decorative piercework can be provided in the fascia and translucent sheeting provided behind the perforations.

A pair of opposing generally V-shaped beads 29 extend along the length of the plate forretaining a generally U-shaped plastic channel or connector strip 31 in firm engagement. The base of the channel has lateral protrusions 32 (FIG. 4) which are engaged by the beads29 continuously along the length of the header. If desired in some embodiments the continuous beads 29 can be omitted and intermittent tabs punched and bent from the plate can be usedfor engaging the lateral edges 32 of the channel. If desired the plate and channel can be made integrally in a single plastic extrusion.

The channel 31 which comprises an extrusion having uniform cross-section along its length is illustrated in enlarged cross-section in FIG. 4. The plastic is one having substantial rigidity to provide a secure structural member and also having sufficient ability to elastically deform that it will accommodate electrical conductors and connectors as hereinafter described. The base of the channel (which isat the top when installed) has four raised members 33 and 34 which collectively definethree generally circular secondary channels for accommodating an electrical conductor. The conductor comprises a circular insulating sheath 36 of resiliently deformable plastic and a multiple strand metallic wire 37 within thesheath. The center channel has a pair of grooves 38 which permit the raised members 33 to deform laterally for receiving the center conductor sheath 36 which is preferably pressed in place after the channel has been extruded. Thisis preferred since the mechanical properties ofthe insulating sheath 36 are different from the desired properties of the channel 31. Otherwise the channel 31 .couldbe extruded with electrical conductors imbedded in plastic. The channels for accommodating the two outer sheaths 36 also have relief grooves 39 which permit deflection of the outer raised members 34 for insertion of the respective conductive sheath.

The channel 31 has a pair of depending flanges 41 each of which has a stop 42 on the inside. The stops 42 and the edges of the raised members 22 and 34 serve to limit the extent of insertion of elements into the channel. Each channel includes a detent groove 43 near the outer edge of the flange. Flaring lips 44 beyond the detent grooves 43 help during insertion of electrical elements into the channel.

Referring again to FIGS. 2 and 3 and the parttial bottom view of FIG. 5, the illuminated header is provided 3 witha plurality of lamp sockets 46 which may be inserted into the channel 31 atany desired location. An ordinary 7 /2 watt-incandescent light bulb 47 of the type commonly used in night lights and the like is mounted in each lamp socket. Since the lamp sockets can be inserted at any arbitrary location'along the length of the channel, any desired number and spacing of lamps can be used. Thus, for example in'a 4-foot closet opening, from four to six bulbs evenly spaced may be used for adequately illuminating the closet interion- If a householder desires additional lighting it is only necessary to add additional lamp sockets with additional bulbs. The lamp sockets can be freely rearranged to maintain uniform spacing or any other desired arrangement. The use of a plurality of small lamps gives great adaptability to the header and the small lamps give'a soft lighting that is quite decorative as well as useful.

Each of the lamp sockets 46 has a body in the general formof a rectangular parallelepiped. On the bottom face of the socket is a receptacle 48 in which the bulb is threaded for making electrical contact. Each socket has a pair of parallel side faces 49, each of which has a detent ridge 51 extending along its length in a direction parallel to the bottom face of the socket. The two ridges 51 are complementary to the detent grooves 43 (FIG. 4) in the channel 31.-Thus when the socket is inserted into the channel, the detent ridges 51 elastically force the flanges 41 apart until they snap into the detent grooves 43. These cooperating detent moieties serve to retain the socket in place in the channel. Clearly many variations can be made in the detents for inhibiting withdrawal of the sockets from the channel.

The simplest is mere reversal of the detent moieties.

A sufficient force on the socket can be applied for overcoming the detents and removing it from the channel as desired. For this purpose a pair of ears 52 are formed at each end of the socket to permit it to be grasped by the fingers for pulling it from the channel.

On the top face 53 of the socket there is a pair of metal points 54 which are sufficiently long to perforate the plastic sheath 36 and engage the wire 37 in each of the two outer conductors in the channel. The two outer conductors and the points 54 are symmetrically located so that the lamp socket can be inserted into the channel without regard to orientation. Thus, when electricity is applied to the outer conductors contact is made by the perforating tips 54 for illuminating the lamp in the socket. 1

ther or both ends of the channel for use in an illuminated head'er used as a closet illuminator. Although the illustrated switch modules are used at both ends of the header for actuation by the sliding doors, it will be apparent that other switch modules can be used for actuation by folding doors or, if desired, connector modules without switching can be used so that remote switches actuate the lights. v

Each switch module 56 has three metal points 58 on the top face for making electrical contact with the three conductors embedded in the channel in the same manner that the points 54 on the lamp sockets make engagement. Three screw terminals 59 are provided on the end of the switch module for connection to an external electical circuit. Electrical connection is made to the screw terminals 59 in a conventional manner from a terminal box (not shown) in the wall adjacent the closet.

One of the screw terminals 59 is provided for a ground wire if desired. As better seen in the electrical schematic of FIG. 6 one of the screw terminals 59 is connected directly to one of the outer perforating tips 58, and another of the screw terminals is connected to the center perforating point 58 and also to one side of a switch '61. The other side of the switch is connected to the third (outer) perforating point 58. When two outer conductors and the center conductor in the chan- Typically the lamp sockets are factory installed. If it v sockets should not be slid along the channel since the perforating points and conductor sheaths may be damaged. Sliding of the sockets can be inhibited by serrating the inside of the channel and sides of the sockets. This requires forming after extrusion and is preferably avoided. Slight flaring of the ends of the side faces 49 on the sockets also gives resistance to sliding and is easily implemented. I

Electrical power is applied to the conductors by way of one or two switch modules 56. Each switch module has a pair of detent ridges 57'on its side faces for engaging the detent grooves 43 in the channel 31 in the same manner that the detent ridges 51 on the sockets engage the channel. Thus a switch module can be placed at einel are hot at all times. When either of the switches 61 is closed the other outer conductor is connected to the center conductor snd current applied to the lamps 47 which are in electrical contact with only the two outer conductors.

Each switch module also includes a pivot pin 62 on which a forked switching member 63 is mounted. The two arms of the fork straddle a bidirectional switch actuator 64 on the switch 61. An arm 66-is connected to the opposite end of the fork 63 and extends towards the closet so as to fit between the edge-of the door and the doorjamb. The switch 61 is normally ON in its-center position and is OFF when pressed towards either the right or left. This is a momentary OFF position and the switch is spring biased to return to the central ON position.

When the closet doors are closed against the jamb the two arms 66 on the respective switch modules 56 are pressed laterally. This pivots the fork 63 and hence the switch actuator 64 so that both switches 61 are off. If either door is opened the respective switch 61 closes due to the spring bias of the switch, thereby lighting the lights in the header. Typically the switch modules are inserted into the channel in a position where the arm 66 is one-half inch or so from the door jamb. Thus, as soon as either door is opened about one-half inch the respective switch is turnedon and illumination provided. When the door is completely open, illumination is'provided within the closet. If it is desired to employ the illuminated header as a night light, one merely leaves the closet door slightly ajar. It turns out that the illumination provided on the normally closed closet doors from the illuminated header is quite attractive and one of the doors may "be left slightly ajar for the decorative effect. I

Some safety hazard could be encountered if the switch module to which electrical connection is made became dislodged from the illuminated header. This could occur since the three perforating tips 58 to which electricity is applied would be exposed. Means are therefore provided for inhibiting removal ,of the switch module after it is inserted, into the channel. For this purpose a rigid U-shaped clip 67 is slipped over the end of the channel 31 after the switch module has been snapped into place. The arms of the clip straddle the depending flanges 41 of the channel and prevent them from being displaced laterally. This effectively prevents the detent ridges 57 from coming out of engagement with the detent grooves 43 and locks the switch module in place. The clip 67 can serve the additional function of shielding and insulating the ends of the conductors imbedded in the channel. An insulatingtab on the switch module or other arrangement can also be used.

To install an illuminated header as hereinabove described, the plate 22 is fastened to the door frame 24 by a number of screws 68. A switch module 56 is pressed into the channel 31 at each end so that the arm 66 extends into the door opening for actuation by the doors. The U-shaped clip 67 is installed at each end to prevent spreading of the channel flanges 41. Electrical connection is then made to the screw terminals on one of the switch modules. The desired number of lamp sockets 46 are snapped into place in the channel 31 at the desired spacing. The decorative fascia 28 is then snapped into engagement with the flange 27 to conceal the switches and bulbs from the room without inhibiting illumination of the door fronts or the interior of the closet. A decorative end cap 69 is snapped on at either end to complete the illuminated header. The sockets and switch modules may be factory installed if desired since most closet openings are of standard size.

The illuminated header hereinabove described and illustrated is particularly adapted for use with sliding.

doors. Many closets are provided with double hung folding doors, a portion of which swings out into the room when the doors are opened. The above-described header must be modified for such installation so that the doors do not strike .the switches, bulbs or decorative fascia. This can be accomplished by a specially formed plate that connects to the door frame which displaces the entire channel in which the sockets are placed up the wall outside the door frame. If desired connection can be made to the wall rather than the inside of the door frame. Another technique is illustrated in FIG. 7 wherein the channel is aligned so as to open horizontally instead of vertically.

As illustrated in this arrangement a conventional track 71 is connected along the top of the door frame for hanging and guiding a folding door 73 in'a conventional manner. The hangers and guides between the door and track are conventional and have been omitted from FIG. 7. A generally L-shaped roll formed plate 74 is fastened to the door frame 72 by screws 76. The sheet 74 is formed so that it tightly grips a conductor channel 77 identical to that illustrated in FIG. 4. Lamp sockets 78 with bulbs 79 are snapped into the channel in the same manner hereinabove described. Similarly vone or two switch modules (not shown) can be inserted .in the channel so that actuation is provided by the closetdoors. A decorative fascia 81 can be snapped over the plate 74 to complete the illuminated header. Clearly, if desired, the decorative fascia can be omitted and made integral with the sheet that supports the channel 77. Considerable variation can be provided in the mounting arrangements so long as the entire ensemble is high enough that thedoor clears it when it is open. Thus, for example, instead of having the channel orthogonal to the wall it can be tilted upwardly so that the outer end is higher and the bulbs point partially downwardly.

In folding and swinging door installations and the like, only a single switch may be used instead of one at each end of the header. In such an arrangement three conductors are not needed and two conductors are suf ficient. Preferably these two conductors are spaced similarly to the three wire embodiment so that only one type of lamp socket is made. In the three wire arrangement a right hand and a left hand switch module are used. In a two wire arrangement the switch can be made for use at any location on the header.

Many modifications and variations in the present embodiments will be apparent to one skilled in the art. Thus, for example, the illuminated header can be combined with the hardware for drapes, venetian blinds, jalousies and the like. This provides an opportunity for illuminating a window'opening and dramatic decorative effects can be obtained. Since electricity is provided in the illuminated header additional functions may be accommodated such as, for example, motorized operation of drapes, blinds, and the like. It will also be wardly for very subdued indirect lighting. Many other modifications and variations will be apparent to one skilled in-the art and it is therefore to be understood that within 'the'scope of the appended claims, the invention may be practiced otherwise than'as specifically described.

What is claimed is: 1. A closet illuminator for mounting along the top of a door frame having a movable door comprising:

an elongated strip having a substantially uniform transverse cross section and a sufficient length for spanning a closet doorway; three insulated electrical conductors extending the length of the strip; means for connecting the strip along the top of a door frame on the exterior of a closet; detent means extending the length of the strip for receiving and retaining a lamp socket having complementary detent means in a position to make electrical contact with the conductors; means for continually applying electricity to two of the conductors; and means for selectively switching electricity to the third conductor comprising: a switch module at each end of the strip; means on the switch module for actuating the switch inv response to movement of the door from a first position to a second position; and detent means complementary to the detent means on the strip for retaining the switch in position.

2. An illuminated header comprising:

an elongated connector strip;

at least a pair of electrical conductors extending along the length of the strip;

a plurality of lamp sockets in engagement .with the connector strip, each of the lamp sockets comprisa pair of conductive contacts for contacting the rea switch module including detent means for engagspective electrical conductors in the strip, ing the strip and inhibiting withdrawal of the detent means for engaging the strip and inhibiting switch module, and

withdrawal of the socket, and means for locking the switch module in engagemeans for accommodating an incandescent lamp in ment with the strip.

electrical connection with the contacts; 3. An illuminated header as defined in claim 2 detent means extending along the length of the strip wherein the switch module comprises a switch actuator for receiving and retaining the detent means on the having an extending arm therefore which is actuated in lamp sockets; and response to movement of a door adjacent the header means for connecting the conductors to a source of 10 from a first position to a second position.

electricity comprising: g

Patent Citations
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US2182434 *Aug 1, 1936Dec 5, 1939Russell L HohlIlluminating device
US2559706 *Jul 15, 1947Jul 10, 1951On A Lite CorpDecorative lighting fixture
US2708711 *Sep 20, 1950May 17, 1955Thomas Industries IncIlluminated valance
US2749527 *Sep 21, 1953Jun 5, 1956Gast Adolph WElectric light bulb having insulation piercing contacts
US2817753 *Jul 26, 1955Dec 24, 1957Corin IrvingBattery operated closet light
US3479498 *Mar 16, 1967Nov 18, 1969Sears Roebuck & CoAutomatic closet light
US3527933 *Dec 28, 1967Sep 8, 1970Heinrich Benzing FaFlat electrical connecting element
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4148540 *Dec 5, 1977Apr 10, 1979Derek HayesElectrical coupling devices
US4367517 *Aug 24, 1980Jan 4, 1983Balco, Inc.Illuminated handrail arrangement
US4394718 *Mar 22, 1982Jul 19, 1983Balco, Inc.Mounting brackets for handrail system
US4415957 *Feb 13, 1981Nov 15, 1983Square D CompanyPatient light with hanger and hinge arrangement for removal without tools
US4631650 *Oct 24, 1984Dec 23, 1986Ahroni Joseph MSeries-parallel connected miniature light set
US4779177 *Dec 22, 1986Oct 18, 1988Ahroni Joseph MSeries-parallel connected miniature light set
US4899266 *Dec 22, 1988Feb 6, 1990Ahroni Joseph MMiniature light sets and lampholders and method for making them
US6079157 *Feb 12, 1999Jun 27, 2000Hincher, Sr.; William MatthewIlluminated security barrier for passageways
US6691467Jun 25, 2001Feb 17, 2004William M. Hincher, Sr.Illuminated security gate with optional audible alarm
US6736534Sep 23, 2002May 18, 2004Robin L. FiteEntry door with illuminated glass insert
US7318298May 16, 2005Jan 15, 2008Cosco Management, Inc.Illuminated security gate unit
US7411174Oct 11, 2005Aug 12, 2008Eash Brandon ASensor-controlled LED array apparatus and method
US8388214Jan 9, 2012Mar 5, 2013Azek Building Products, Inc.Lighted railing and similar structures
DE102011056037B3 *Dec 5, 2011Aug 1, 2013Martin Staud GmbH & Co. KGSchalter-Vorrichtung für einen Wandschrank und Wandschrank mit einer derartigen Vorrichtung
EP0315813A2 *Oct 21, 1988May 17, 1989WILHELM STALLMANN GMBH & CO. KGLighting-strip for cupboards, especially in bedrooms
WO2009135704A1 *Feb 27, 2009Nov 12, 2009Evonik Röhm GmbhElectric arrangement
U.S. Classification362/394, 439/425, 362/147
International ClassificationF21V21/34, F21V33/00
Cooperative ClassificationF21V33/0016, F21W2131/301, F21V21/002, F21S4/008, F21V23/04
European ClassificationF21V21/34, F21V33/00A3B