US 3875396 A
An illuminated clipboard has a planar base, a spring clip at one end for holding paper on the base and a light source at the edge of the base for shining light on the paper. A battery housing located beneath the spring clip also serves as a stand for the board.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1191 Webb [451 Apr. 1, 1975 1 ILLUMINATED CLIPBOARD  Inventor: Stephen R. Webb, Linesville, Pa.
 Assignee: Illuminite Corporation, Harrisburg,
 Filed: Nov. 12, 1973  App]. No.1 415,094
 US. Cl 240/6.4 B  Int. Cl. F2lv 33/00  Field of Search 240/2 D, 6.4 R, 6.4 B, 240/l0.66
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 145,244 7/1946 De Jen 240/6.4 B 1,673,595 6/1928 Scoggins 240/6.4 B 2,399,921
5/1946 Golob et a1. 240/10.6 R
2,621,282 12/1952 Novak 240/6.4 B X 2,651,710 9/1953 Clark 240/l0.6 R 3,232,685 2/1966 Wilstein et a1. 240/6.4 R X 3,356,839 12/1967 Mehess et a]. R 3,381,122 4/1968 Boyle 240/10 6 X Primary E.raminerSamue1 S. Matthews Assistant ExaminerAlan Mathews Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Seidel, Gonda & Goldhammer [5 7] ABSTRACT An illuminated clipboard has a planar base, a spring clip at oneend for holding paper on the base and a light source at the edge of the base for shining light on the paper. ,A battery housing located beneath the spring clip also serves as a stand for the board.
4 ,Claims, 8 Drawing Figures ILLUMINATED CUPBOARD This invention relates to an illuminated clipboard and more particularly to an illuminated clipboard having a light source mounted at one side of the board.
Conventional clipboards which are comprised of a flat board with a spring biased clip at one end are widely used as portable writing surfaces. Such devices are used for temporarily holding papers which must be either read or written upon. While the number of uses to which clipboards can be put is immeasurable, typical uses include students and businessmen making notes, policemen filling out reports and taxi cab drivers keeping records of their fares.
Very often when using clipboards it becomes necessary to provide a light source to illuminate the surface of the board so that the user can more readily see that which he is reading or writing. For example, when a student is attempting to take notes while seated in an auditorium, the overhead lights are often dimmed so it becomes difficult for the person to see what he is writing. Similarly, policemen and cab drivers who work at night can have difficulty reading from or writing on their clipboards unless some additional light is provided. A proposal has been made in the past to overcome this problem by providing a clipboard with a small self-contained portable light source. This, however, was not satisfactory.
This prior proposed device utilized a conventional clipboard and a portable light source which was adapted to be secured to the clip of the clipboard so that the light would shine downwardly across the board from the top to the bottom thereof. While this arrangement might have been somewhat useful it would also have rather limited applications. Quite often, clipboards are used to hold several sheets of paper (such as a note pad) which are to be sequentially read or written upon. This is normally accomplished by leaving all of the sheets beneath the clip and folding each sheet up and over the clip to expose the next sheet. Obviously, if the light is mounted on the clip it will be covered by the first sheet as that sheet is folded upwardly over the clip. This first sheet then would prevent the light from shining on subsequent sheets. As a result, the prior proposed illuminated clipboards would be useful only when a single sheet of paper is to he held under the clip.
The present invention overcomes the above problem and provides a clipboard which is capable of effectively illuminating a plurality of sheets of paper one after another even when the sheets are folded over the top of the clipboard. This is accomplished by a novel and unobvious arrangement of the various elements of the clipboard.
More specifically, the novel illuminated clipboard of the present invention comprises a planar base member having a spring clip at the upper end thereof for holding on the base and a light housing located at one edge of the base. In one embodiment of the invention, the light housing is elongated and runs substantially along the entire edge of the base. The side of the elongated housing which faces the center of the base is open so that the incandescent lamps mounted within the housing can illuminate the entire base. Since the spring clip and the light housing are perpendicular to one another, light from the housing effectively illuminates each sheet ofpaper resting on the base even when a previous sheet of paper is folded up over the spring clip.
In a second embodiment of the invention, the spring clip is mounted at the upper end of the base and one end of a lamp support member is mounted on the base between the end of the spring clip and a side edge of the base. The lamp support member extends above the upper surface of the base and carries a lamp housing at its free end. Since the lamp support member is mounted at the edge of the base, light from the housing can similarly illuminate each sheet of paper even when a previous sheet is folded up over the spring clip.
Further details of the novel features of the present invention will become apparent from a consideration of the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings which illustrate presently preferred forms of the invention; it being understood, however, that this invention is not limited to the precise arrangements and instrumentalities shown.
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one embodiment of an illuminated clipboard of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a sectional view of the light housing taken along lines 2--2 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a sectional view of the spring clip and battery housing taken along lines 33 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a sectional view of the same but taken along lines 4-4 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 5 is a sectional view taken along lines 5-5 of FIG. I and showing a switch for operating the lights;
FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a second embodiment of an illuminated clipboard of the present invention;
FIG. 7 is a sectional view of the spring clip, lamp support base and battery housing taken along lines 77 of FIG. 6, and
FIG. 8 is a bottom view of the upper end of the clipboard of FIG. 6 showing the modified battery housing.
Referring now to the drawings in detail, wherein like numerals indicate like elements, there is shown in FIG.
1 one embodiment of an illuminated clipboard constructed according to the principles of the present invention and generally indicated at I0. The clipboard is comprised of a substantially planar rectangular base member 12 having an upper writing surface II and a bottom surface 13. An elongated clip member 14 which is used to hold paper 15 or the like on the clipboard is pivotally mounted at the upper end of the clipboard by way of flanges 16 and 16' and screws I8 and 18. Screws l8 and 18 are secured to the base member 12 through the upper end 42 of the battery housing, as will be more fully described below. A spring member 20 (FIGS. 3 and 4) secured by rivet 22 to the base 12 acts to bias the clip downwardly towards the base so that it can securely hold paper I5. Stop members 17, shown in FIG. I, are used to align the papers on the clipboard and keep them near the center of the board.
To the left of these stop members 17 is mounted an elongated light housing 24. This housing comprises an upper wall 28 and a side wall 26. Mounted within the light housing 24 and securely fastenedthereto are a plurality of miniature lamp sockets 32 which are adapted to support miniature incandescant bulbs 34. It should be noted that while two such bulbs and sockets are illustrated, this is by way of example only. Obviously, the number of lamps or bulbs utilized will depend on the power of each bulb and the amount of light desired. In order to more efficiently utilize the light from each of the bulbs 34, and to more evenly distribute this light across the writing surface I], the inside surface 30 of the light housing 24 is coated with a light reflecting material 31. Electrical power to the bulbs is supplied by wires 36 which are embedded in the base 12 as shown at 38 in FIG. 2. These wires supply power from a plurality ofdry cells mounted in battery housing 40 located beneath spring clip 14 at the upper end of base 12.
Battery housing 40, as best sen in FIG. 3, comprises an upper semi-cylindrical member 42 and a lower separable semi-cylindrical member 44. Upper semicylindrical member 42 has side walls 46, 46' and lower semi-cylindrical member 44 has corresponding side walls 48. 48. These two semi-cylindrical members are held together by screws 50 and 50 which pass through transverse bores in the side walls. The end of each of the screws 50 and 50 is covered with a protective coating of rubber-like material 52 and 52. These rubberlike coatings 52 and 52 serve to protect the surface on which the clipboard may rest from being scratched by the heads of screws 50 and 50. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 3, lower semi-cylindrical member 44 lies entirely below the lower surface 13 of base 12. As a result, lower semi-cylindrical member 44 functions as a stand for the upper part of the clipboard and consequently causes the board to slant slightly downwardly when it is placed on a flat surface. This is highly desireable since it makes writing easier.
Upper semi-cylindrical member 42, however, extends both above and below the base 12. The extension below, aids in the alignment of the two semi-cylindrical members and provides additional height to the lower member for increasing the slant described above. And the extension above the base 12 serves as a means for securing the screws 18 and 18 which pivotally mount the clip 14.
Located within the battery housing 40 are a plurality of dry cells which by way of contacts 54, 56 and wires 36 provide power to bulbs 34.
As can best be seen in Flg. 1, the light housing extends from the bottom edge of the base towards the top edge and terminates at a point slightly spaced from the top edge of the base. This arrangment provides a convenient location for mounting switch 58. Switch 58 (FlG. is mounted in the top end of side wall 26 and is securly fastened thereto by screw nuts 60 and 62. Control knob 64 of switch 58, therefore, extends into the space above the light housing 24 thus making it easily accessible. Switch 58 is used to turn bulbs 34 on and off. Accordingly, in order to perform this function, wires 36 which connect the dry cells to the bulbs 34 are first connected to the terminals on switch 58. These electrical connections per so are, of course, well known in the art and do not form a part of the instant invention.
In accordance with the invention, all wires 36 leading from the battery housing 40 to the switch 58 and from the switch 58 to the bulbs 34 are imbedded in the base member 12 as shown at 38 in FIGS. 2 and 5. This can be accomplished by either providing the appropriate grooves in the board, placing the wires therein and then covering the same with a paste or the wires can be initially molded into the base. In other words the base can be molded around the wires. Having the wires 36 imbedded in the base 12 serves two important functions. Firstly, with fewer wires exposed there is less chance of a malfunction due to a broken wire. Secondly, it will be recalled that the inside surface of the light housing 24 is coated with a reflective covering 31. Since the wires 36 leading to the bulbs 34 are imbedded in base 12 they do not obstruct the reflection of light from the surface 30 towards the paper 15. This makes the light source substantially more efficient.
FIGS. 68 illustrate a modified form of the clipboard shown in FIGS. l5. Many of the elements of this embodiment are, however, similar to like elements of the first embodiment and accordingly like numerals have been used to indicate these elements.
In lieu of the elongated light housing 24 mounted along the edge of the clipboard, the illuminated clipboard of this embodiment has a lamp housing 124 mounted at the free end of a lamp support member 66. The other end of lamp support member 66 is secured by nuts 68 and 70 to the base 112 at the upper lefthand corner thereof. While lamp housing 124 is shown as carrying only a single bulb 134, this is by way of example only and it should be obvious that the shape of lamp housing 124 could be modified to be capable of carrying a plurality of bulbs 134. Similar to the first embodiment, the inside wall of lamp housing 124 is provided with a reflective coating 131. Also mounted in the base 112 adjacent the lamp support member 66 is a switch 158 for turning the bulb 134 on and off. An upstanding wall 74 ridigly secured to the base 112 surrounds the base of the lamp support member 66 and the switch 158. This vertical wall 74 provides some protection for the switch 158 and lamp support member 66. The base 112 is also provided with a cut-out portion 72 which facilitates the carrying of the board. In addition, clips 76 are provided adjacent the edge of the board for holding pens, pencils, or the like.
As shown in FIGS. 7 and 8 the battery housing of this embodiment is similar to the battery housing 40 of the first embodiment. The bottom semi-cylindrical member 144, however, has extensions 144' and 144" at one end thereof. These extensions 144'and 144" provide a housing on the underside of the base 112 for protecting the switch 158, the base of lamp support member 66 and the wires 36.
Although the lamp support member 66 is mounted to the base 112 at the upper lefthand corner thereof, lamp support member 66 is constructed so that lamp housing 124 mounted at its free end can be moved to various positions. In this way, both the location of the lamp housing 124 and the angle at which the light is projected onto the paper 15 can be changed at will. In order to accomplish this, lamp support member 66 is constructed of a material which is sufficiently rigid to support the lamp housing 124 but which is flexible enough to be easily bent into any desired configuration. Lamp support members such as this are well known in the art and are commonly referred to as goosenecks. Alternatively, the lamp support member could include a telescoping member pivotably secured at one end to the base 112 and at the other end to the lamp housing 124. This arrangment, per se, is also well known in the art and is commonly used with high intensity lamps.
The base 12 or 112 and housings 24 and 40 or 140 of the novel clipboard can be manufactured from a wide variety of well known fibrous, plastic or metallic materials. Preferably, the board is molded from a plastic material and the base 12, or 112, light housing 24 and upper semi-cylindrical member 42 of the battery housing are all integrally molded with one another. It should be obvious, however, that the various elements could be separately formed or molded and thereafter secured together using any well known processes and materials.
The present invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit or essential attributes thereof and. accordingly. reference should be made to the appended claims. rather than to the foregoing specification as indicating the scope of the invention.
1. An illuminated clipboard comprising a substantially planar base having an upper and lower surface: a battery housing mounted on said base adjacent one end thereof. said battery housing being comprised of upper and lower substantially semi-cylindrical members having substantially planar side walls and including means for securing said members together, said upper member being integral with said base and said lower member lying below said surface to provide a stand for said base; a spring clip means pivotally mounted to said substantially planar side walls of said battery housing on said upper surface of said battery adjacent said one end thereof for holding paper on said upper surface; an elongated light housing mounted on said upper surface parallel to and adjacent one side edge thereof and opening outwardly toward said upper surface; a light source and reflector means mounted within said housing and being adapted to illuminate the upper surface of said base; means providing electrical connections between said battery housing and said light source and including switch means adapted to selectively make and break said electrical connections; and a plurality of upwardly extending stop means positioned on said upper surface adjacent the opening of said light housing for aligning paper placed on said clipboard and for preventing said paper from entering said light housing.
2. An illuminated clipboard as claimed in claim 1 wherein said base, said light housing and said upper semi-cylindrical member are integrally formed from a moldable plastic.
3. An illuminated clipboard as claimed in claim 1 wherein said light source comprises a plurality of electric light bulbs and wherein said light housing comprises a top wall substantially parallel with said base and a perpendicular side wall, said side wall running substantially the length of said side edge and having a reflective coating on the inside thereof.
4. An illuminated clipboard as claimed in claim 1 wherein said means providing electrical connections comprises wires imbedded within said base.