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Publication numberUS3883966 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 20, 1975
Filing dateSep 26, 1973
Priority dateSep 26, 1973
Publication numberUS 3883966 A, US 3883966A, US-A-3883966, US3883966 A, US3883966A
InventorsLudwig Vernon A
Original AssigneeValmat Signs & Signals Ltd
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Visual display apparatus
US 3883966 A
Abstract
A visual display apparatus providing a readily changeable message. The apparatus includes a base, a first member fixedly supported on the base, a second member supported on the base for translational movement relative to the first member, and a mechanism for providing such translational movement, the members having thereon various colored stripes and transparent spaces so that in a first relative position no message is clearly displayed, but in a second relative position the desired message is visible. Each member is removably secured to the base by means of a slot and bar arrangement. In one embodiment, a motor and eccentrically rotatable disc provide movement to the second member relative to the first member. In a second embodiment, the movement is provided by means of a relay and switch, and in a third embodiment the movement is provided by an eccentrically mounted disc actuated by turning a key. The required movement is very small so that the sign can be effectively turned "ON" and "OFF" quickly and easily. The message content can be easily changed by removing and replacing at least one of the first and second members.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [1 1 Ludwig 1 VISUAL DISPLAY APPARATUS Vernon A. Ludwig, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada [73] Assignee: Valmat Signs & Signals Ltd.,

Edmonton. Alberta, Canada [22] Filed: Sept. 26, 1973 2| Appl.No.:400,84l

[75 I Inventor:

Primary ExaminerRobert W. Michell Assistant ExuminerJohn F. Pitrelli Attorney. Agent, or Firm-Roylance. Abrams, Berdo & Kaul [451 May 20, 1975 [57] ABSTRACT A visual display apparatus providing a readily changeable message. The apparatus includes a base, a first member fixedly supported on the base, a second member supported on the base for translational movement relative to the first member, and a mechanism for providing such translational movement, the members having thereon various colored stripes and transparent spaces so that in a first relative position no message is clearly displayed, but in a second relative position the desired message is visible. Each member is removably secured to the base by means of a slot and bar arrangement. In one embodiment, a motor and eccentrically rotatable disc provide movement to the second member relative to the first member. In a second embodiment, the movement is provided by means of a relay and switch, and in a third embodiment the movement is provided by an eccentrically mounted disc actuated by turning a key. The required movement is very small so that the sign can be effectively turned ON" and OFF" quickly and easily. The message content can be easily changed by removing and replacing at least one of the first and second members.

4 Claims, 9 Drawing Figures Shin 1 S? FIG. 1

FIG. 2

s immin SHEET 30? 3 wwmw 1 VISUAL DISPLAY APPARATUS This invention relates to visual display apparatus, and more particularly to a display apparatus wherein the content of the message to be displayed is readily changed.

Although there are many prior art devices which are directed towards providing an animated or changeable visual display apparatus for use in advertising or as signs for any other purpose, many of these prior art devices have been very complicated in their construction. This results in an expensive apparatus and one that is difficult to maintain and repair. Additionally. many of these prior art devices have been restricted to only one message and have, therefore, limited versatility.

To the contrary, the present invention provides a dis play apparatus which is simple, efficient, and inexpensive to produce, and which is easily maintained. Moreover, since the design information to be displayed is contained on flat members which have no hardware attached to them, flat members with new design information thereon may be easily shipped to existing installations of the apparatus, whereby the new members containing the new design information may be exchanged for old members containing obsolete or unwanted design information thereon.

It is, therefore, a specific object of the present inven tion to provide a cheap, efficient, attractive and easily maintained visual display apparatus.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a visual display apparatus which can display a message, and wherein the message content can readily be changed and therefore the apparatus can display a variety of messages as desired or required.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a visual display apparatus wherein the message displayed thereon is readily changeable without the necessity of a high degree of skill or elaborate tools.

These foregoing objects are attained by providing an apparatus which includes a base; a first member having stripes thereon, the stripes being alternately of a design color and a background color; a second member having thereon spaced stripes of the background color and transparent spaces between the spaced background stripes, the second member further bearing design information comprising a plurality of spaced design colored stripes located in some of the transparent spaces, and a plurality of spaced transparent portions located in some of said background stripes; means, coupled to the base, for supporting the first and second members adjacent each other for relative movement; and means for moving the members relative to each other between a first position wherein the design colored stripes of the first member are aligned with the design colored stripes on the second member and a second position wherein the design colored stripes of the first member are between the design colored opaque stripes of the second member, whereby, in the first position, the design is visible and in the second it is not.

Other objects, advantages and salient features of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description which, taken in conjunction with the annexed drawings, discloses preferred embodiments of the present invention.

Referring now to the drawings which form a this original disclosure:

part of FIG. 1 is a front elevational view of the apparatus forming the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the apparatus of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a front elevational view of the apparatus shown in FIG. 1 with the second member and other parts removed therefrom;

FIG. 4 is a side elevational view of the apparatus shown in FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a front elevational view of the second member;

FIG. 6 is a front elevational view similar to FIG. 3 but having both members supported on the apparatus in a position wherein the message is undiscernible;

FIG. 7 is a front elevational view similar to FIG. 6 but showing the desired message clearly in view;

FIG. 8 is a partial front elevation view of the mechanism of a second embodiment of the present invention; and FIG. 9 is a partial side elevational view of the mechanism of a third embodiment of the present invention.

Referring now to the drawings in further detail, the apparatus shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 is generally designated l0 and includes a base 12, a movable message assembly l4 and a static message assembly 16.

The movable message assembly 14 includes a first member 18, a second member 20 and a support assembly 22 for supporting the first and second members adjacent each other on the base 12 and for moving these members relative to each other.

As best seen in FIGS. 3 and 4, the base 12 is comprised of a rectangular, planar plate 24 rigidly connected on its lower rear surface to a hollow block 26. Preferably, the block 26 is connected to the plate 24 at a position above the bottom edge of the plate. Thus, when the block and plate are supported on a generally flat surface, indicated by 27, the plate 24 is not perpendicular to the flat surface but has an angle between its rear surface and the surface 27 of less than Mounted to the front surface and parallel to the bottom edge of the plate 24 is a first elongated bar 28. This bar is rigidly secured to the plate approximately in the middle thereof by means of screws 30 passing through the bar and secured in the plate. Mounted to the plate 24 a small distance above the center of the first bar 28 and along the vertical centerline of the plate is a pin 32 which extends perpendicularly from the plate a distance substantially equal to the width of the bar 28 as seen in FIG. 4.

Mounted below the first bar for translational movement across the surface of the plate 24 is a second elongated bar 24 having a thickness equal to about twice the thickness of the first bar 28. This bar 34 has depending therefrom rectangular extensions 36 and 38, one at each end with a distance, designated X, therebetween. Each of these extensions has a slot 40 defined therein along the connection of the extension with the second bar. Received in each of these slots is a mounting screw 42 which is received in a suitable threaded bore in the plate 24 and which has an enlarged washer 44 at its distal end. As seen in FIG. 4, the washer 44 lies adjacent to the outside surfaces of the extensions and the bar 34. The thickness of the slots 40 in the vertical direction is slightly greater than the diameter of the mounting screws so that the bar 34 can be moved relative to the mounting screws.

Mounted below the second bar 34 and between the two facing ends of extensions 36 and 38 is a disc or camming member 46. This disc is rotatably and eccentrically mounted at a point spaced from the center of the disc by means ofa shaft 48. This shaft is fixed to the disc and passed through a suitably provided bore in the plate 24 and is connected to a motor 50 supported in the block 26. The longer distance between the center of the disc's rotational axis along a diameter to the periphery of the disc is designated Y, The motor 50 is an electrical motor and has a connection by line 51 to a suitable power source (not shown). Preferably, the rotational speed of the motor is 36 rpm, however, any desired speed may be used. The shaft 48 is preferably mounted along the vertical centerline of the plate 24.

The distance X between the two facing ends of the extensions 36 and 38 is less than twice distance Y so that on rotation of the disc the bar 34 connected to the extensions has provided thereto translational movement to the right and to the left as shown in FIG. 3. In this regard, the longitudinal length of the slots 40 need be only long enough to provide for such longitudinal movement. Additionally, the diameter D of the disc is chosen so that on rotation thereof the extensions 36 and 38 will be alternately moved a specified distance Z. This specified distance is coordinated with the distance the two members must be moved relative to each other to change from a first position to a second position. Thus, the specified distance Z is equal to 2 times Y minus X.

Rigidly mounted perpendicularly to the top of the center of the second bar 34 is an arm 52 as best seen in FIGS. 3 and 4.

Turning now to FIG. 5, the second member is shown in an elevational view. Member 20 is a thin, rectangular plate having a slot 58 extending upwardly and inwardly from the midpoint of its bottom edge. Preferably, the depth of this slot is equal to the distance between the top of the arm 52 and the top of the second bar 34. The thickness of the second member is prefera bly equal to one-half the thickness of the second bar, and it is formed from transparent material such as clear plastic or glass and has painted or otherwise affixed to its back surface a border 60 of a background color and a series of spaced background colored stripes 62 lo cated within the border 60. The spaces defined between these background stripes are transparent spaces 64. As seen in FIG. 5, certain of the transparent spaces 64 have contained therein stripes 66 of a design color. Additionally, located in some of the background stripes 62 are transparent portions 68. These last mentioned stripes and portions form the design information. Although the two words ASK FOR are shown in FIG. 5, this is only by way of example and any word or series of words having any desired juxtaposition can be used. The background color can be any color as desired as long as it contrasts with the design color; however, by way of example, as shown in the attached drawings, the background color is white and the design color is blue. As used herein, stripes are defined to include lines both straight and curved as long as adjacent edges are parallel. The distance between edges of adjacent stripes of the same color is the specified distance Z.

As shown in FIG. 3, the first member 18 is a thin, rectangular plate having affixed on the front surface thereof a series of parallel stripes which alternate between background colored stripes 62 and design colored stripes 66. The distance between stripes of the same color is the specified distance Z. In the center of the bottom edge of the first member 18 is a slot 70 for the reception of the pin 32. The height of this slot should preferably be equal to the distance between the top of the pin 32 and the top of the first bar 28. Preferably, the first member has a thickness equal to the thickness of the first bar.

In operation of the apparatus, the first member 18 is placed on top of the top surface of the bar 28 so that the pin 32 is received in the slot 70 as shown in FIG. 3 and the second member 20 is placed on top of the second bar 34 so that the arm 52 is received in the slot 58. This is shown in FIG. 6 wherein the design colored stripes of the first member are aligned with the design colored stripes on the second member. In this first position, no message is clearly displayed by the combination of the first and second member. However, on actuation of the motor 50, the disc 46 rotates from the position shown in FIG. 6 to that shown in FIG. 7. Because the distance X between the facing sides of the two extensions 36 and 38 which surround the disc on two sides is less than the 2 times distance Y by a specified distance Z, the rotation of the disc causes a translational movement of the second bar from the right to the left the specified distance Z as viewed in FIGS. 6 and 7. Because the second member is fixedly connected to the second bar by means of slot 58 and arm 52, the movement of the bar to the left causes the second member to move to the left the specified distance so that the design colored stripes of the first member are interlaced between the design colored stripes of the second member. In this second position, the message formed by the first and second members is clearly discernible. If the motor 50 is continuously connected to a power source, the disc 46 continues to rotate and causes an alternation between the first and second positions described above. Therefore, the message is alternately discernible and undiscernible. When the message is undiscernible. merely a series of stripes are visible.

As shown in the drawings, the first and second members, when in the second position, display the two words ASK FOR. However, it is apparent that any word or combination of words may be provided by these members. As shown in FIG. I in conjunction with these two words ASK FOR, the static message assembly 16 may be connected to the support plate 24 by means of screws 72 as shown in FIG. 2 so that an advertisers product or product name may be shown on the static assembly with the words ASK FOR being alternately visible about it. In an alternative form, the message on the static assembly may be eliminated so that the full message is provided only by the animated message assembly 14. In this instance, the static assembly acts as a cover for the lower part of plate 24 to protect and cover the mechanism used to provide relative motion between the two members.

Moreover, the message alternately displayed by the relative movement of these two members need not be for a product or for advertising but could provide any message as desired. Thus, this apparatus might be used as a road sign to indicate a hazard further along the road such as ice, fog or snow.

It will be noted that the message content displayed by the apparatus is quite readily changed by merely changing the second member 20. As long as the second member has the proper stripes and spaces and design information which is coordinated with the stripes on the first member, the mere substitution of another second member changes the message to be displayed. Thus, to change the message the second member is removed from its position on the bar 34 and another put in its place.

In a second embodiment of the present invention shown in FIG. 8, it is contemplated that a continuously repetitive movement from the first to the second position of the first and second members might not be necessary nor desirable. Therefore, there is provided a mechanism for controlling the relative movement of the first and second members such that the closing of a switch moves the members from the first position to the second position, as described above, and the opening of the switch allows the members to return to the first position.

More specifically as shown in FIG. 8, the basic apparatus is the same as described above with the exception that the disc 46 is removed and replaced by a relay 74, a spring 76, a switch 78 and a lever arm 80. The center of the lever arm 80 is pivotally mounted to the plate 24 on a rod 82 and is pivotally connected at one end by means of a rod 84 to the second bar 34. The other end of the lever arm 80 is connected to one end of a spring 76 which is rigidly connected by any suitable means to the front of the plate 24. A relay 74 is suitably attached to the front of the plate 24 and has an extension 86 connected to the end of the lever arm 80 such that, upon energization of the relay 74, the lever arm is pivoted in a counter-clockwise direction as viewed in FIG. 8 so as to move the second bar 34 to the left. Thus, this causes the relative movement between the first and second members. The relay 74 is connected via a suitable conductor to a switch 78 which is in turn connected to a power source 88 which is in its turn connected back to the relay 74.

In this manner, the first and second members may be manipulated from the first position to the second position as desired by closing the switch, and may be kept in that position as long as desired. On opening of the switch 78, the spring 76 pulls the lever arm 80 back to its initial position, thereby moving the first and second members from the second position to the first position where no message is displayed.

A third embodiment is contemplated which will allow manual minipulation of the first and second members from their first position to their second position by means of the turning of a key 90 which is connectable to a disc 46 as shown in FIG. 3. Specifically, a lock 92 is fixedly mounted through a front plate 94 suitably secured to the front of the apparatus 10. The apparatus shown in FIG. 3 would be the same except for the addition of an extension 96 rigidly connected to the front of the disc 46 at its rotational axis. This extension 96 has a slot 98 in its outermost surface for the reception of the end of the key 90 which passes through the lock 92.

The operation of this third embodiment is similar to those described above insofar as the first and second members are to be manipulated from a first position where no message is shown to a second position where the message is displayed. The movement of the first and second members from the first position to the second position is accomplished by placing the key 90 into the lock 92 so that the end of the key fills the slot 98 in the extension 96. The rotation of the key causes a concomitant rotation of the disc 46 and movement of the second bar, thereby causing relative movement between the first and second members.

The apparatus of the third embodiment can advantageously be used as signs on doors indicating whether or not entrance is allowable or signs on cabinets or on indoor or outdoor walls.

While three advantageous embodiments of the present invention have been described and shown, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes and modifications can be made therein without departing from the scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims.

What is claimed is:

l. A visual display apparatus comprising:

a substantially planar, upstanding base;

a first member having stripes thereon, said stripes being alternately of a design color and a background color;

a second member having thereon spaced stripes of the background color and transparent spaces between said spaced background stripes;

said second member further having thereon design information comprising a plurality of spaced design colored stripes located in some of said transparent spaces, and

a plurality of spaced transparent portions located in some of said background stripes;

means, coupled to said base, for supporting said first and second members at a lower portion of said base and adjacent each other in overlying, upstanding arrangement for relative movement; and

means for moving said members relative to each other between a first position wherein the design colored stripes of the first member are aligned with the design colored stripes on the second member and a second position wherein the design colored stripes of the first member are between the design colored stripes of the second member so that in the first position no message is displayed but in the second position a message is clearly displayed,

said means for supporting said first and second mem bers including a first bar rigidly connected in substantially horizontal position to said base and upon which the bottom edge of said first member rests,

a second bar connected in substantially horizontal position to said base for translational movement and upon which the bottom edge of said second member rests, the lower of said bars proiecting forwardly of said base a distance greater than the upper one of said bars,

a pin extending outwardly from said base at a position above said first bar, said first member having a slot extending inward from the bottom edge thereof for the reception of said pin, and

an arm rigidly connected to said second bar and extending upwardly therefrom, said second member having a slot extending inward from the bottom edge thereof for the reception of said arm.

2. A visual display apparatus according to claim I, wherein said means for moving includes a camming member mounted for rotation on said base, said camming member having a distance Y between the center of its rotation to the outer periphery of said camming member; and

tance X.

4. A visual display apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said means for moving includes a lever pivotally mounted to said base at the center thereof, said lever being pivotally mounted to said means for supporting at one end and coupled to a relay at its other end.

i F i i

Patent Citations
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US3683525 *Jul 14, 1970Aug 15, 1972Keiji FukuiAutomatic image shifting device
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4246713 *Jun 8, 1979Jan 27, 1981Thomas A. Schutz Co., Inc.Illuminated advertising display device with changing visual effects
US5440214 *Nov 15, 1993Aug 8, 1995Admotion CorporationQuiet drive control and interface apparatus
US5459954 *Aug 31, 1993Oct 24, 1995Admotion CorporationAdvertising display method and apparatus
US5513458 *Nov 15, 1993May 7, 1996Admotion CorporationAdvertising display apparatus with precise rotary drive
US5657565 *Dec 20, 1995Aug 19, 1997Admotion CorporationCompact display apparatus
US5767650 *Feb 16, 1996Jun 16, 1998Admotion CorporationDisplay apparatus with DC gear motor drive control
US5783919 *Feb 16, 1996Jul 21, 1998Admotion CorporationDisplay apparatus with AC gear motor drive control
US5815968 *Jul 22, 1996Oct 6, 1998Admotion CorporationDisplay apparatus having thermal compensation
US6191700 *May 21, 1999Feb 20, 2001Visual Masters S.A.Luminous signs with sequential variation of images
US6286239Mar 18, 1998Sep 11, 2001Errol James Stewart GreenleesDisplay systems
US6405463 *Dec 18, 1998Jun 18, 2002Norman Stephen RoddyIlluminated display device
US20070113436 *Jun 30, 2006May 24, 2007Codice Exterior Gestión de SoportesAdvertising display panel with image updating and improvements for said display panel
EP1154400A1 *Sep 8, 2000Nov 14, 2001Toshiro HiguchiDisplay device
WO1980000889A1 *Oct 12, 1979May 1, 1980Naessils Ljusskyltar AbVariable display board
WO1998041967A1 *Mar 18, 1998Sep 24, 1998Greenlees Errol James StewartDisplay systems
WO2007080208A1 *Jan 12, 2007Jul 19, 2007Codice Exterior Gestion De SopMeans for actuating the movable portion of an advertising display, with image updating
Classifications
U.S. Classification40/476, 40/437
International ClassificationG09F11/00, G09F13/08
Cooperative ClassificationG09F13/08, G09F11/00
European ClassificationG09F13/08, G09F11/00