US 3894689 A
An automatic sequentially activated water display fountain system is disclosed. The fountain system includes an automatic distribution valve which sequentially distributes water through multiple outlets to a plurality of distribution pipes communicating with the valve. Sensors in the form of pressure-sensitive switches monitor the fluid pressure present in each of the distribution pipes. When water is directed to a distribution pipe via the water distribution valve, the associated pressure switch, in turn, energizes an illumination circuit associated with the pressurized distribution pipe creating a pleasing aesthetic effect. In the preferred embodiment, the pressure switch is actuated by a piston. The illumination circuit may include incandescent, fluorescent, or gas lighting fixtures.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
[451 July 15,1975
United States Patent [1 1 Billingsley ILLUMINATED FOUNTAIN Primary Examiner-Robert S. Ward, Jr.
Inventor: Marvin A. Billingsley, 502 E. Pebble Attorney Agent or Firm-Gregory Nelson Beach Dr. Tempe, Ariz. 85281 July 25, 1974  ABSTRACT An automatic sequentially activated water dis fountain system is disclosed. The fountain s cludes an automatic distribution valve whic tially distributes water throu  Filed:
Appl. No.: 491,639
ystem inh sequengh multiple outlets to a plurality of distribution pipes communicating with the S r o s n e S e W. a V 00 O 9 4 W 3 2 3 08 no.2. 9 H 3m 27m nmwm l 2H W H 3 .H 2 mm Wmh c .r na p. S l l d S .l .mu UIF H N 555 in the form of pressure-sensitive the fluid pressure present in each of 7| switches monitor the distribution pipes When water is directed to a distribution pipe via the water distribution valve, the as sociated pressure switch [5 6] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS in turn, energizes an illumination circuit associated with the pressurized distribution pipe creating a pleasing aesthetic effect. In the preferred embodiment by a piston. The illumi candescent, fluorescent the pressure switch is actuated nation circuit may include inor gas lighting fixtures.
6 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures ILLUMINATED FOUNTAIN The present invention relates to illuminated fountains and, more particularly, to illuminated fountains which are controlled by pressure-activated switches to provide complementary, sequential lighting in combination with the water spray.
Various forms of illuminated sprinkling and fountain devices can be found in the prior art. Water spray patterns emanating from fountains of various construction are particularly attractive. Fountains have great appeal and are extensively used to enhance the appearance of parks, malls and the like. The wide aesthetic appeal of the spray patterns generated by fountains can be made even more attractive and fascinating at night by complementary use of lighting directed to illuminate and enhance the spray patterns.
Illuminated sprinklers of various construction and design can be found in the prior art. For example, it is known to disperse a spray pattern from nozzles arranged about a centrally disposed light source. A revolving disk equipped with a plurality of variously colored lenses may be associated with the light source to produce varied lighting effects on the spray pattern emitted by the nozzles.
It is also known in the prior art to mount the sprinklers or spray nozzles on a rotatable casing about a central source of illumination. The spray nozzles are arranged so that the discharge from the nozzle drives the casing so that ornamental illumination of the spray or stream discharged from the sprinkler results.
While the above sprinkler or fountain structures do create a pleasing ornamental effect, they have limited application. Generally, devices of the type described above are not suitable for use in connection with large diameter fountains and are used primarily for sprinkler installations. Further, devices of the type described do not produce sequentially ascending and descending revolving spray patterns which are particularly pleasing and have wide aesthetic appeal.
Accordingly, the present invention provides an illuminated fountain which, in operation, produces a sequential spray pattern. The fountain includes a central water distribution valve suitably located within a fountain basin. A plurality of water distribution pipes radiate outwardly from the distribution valve, having appropriately located spray nozzles spaced and arranged in the pipe. A source of illumination is associated with each of the water distribution pipes generally arranged to illuminate the spray from the pipes. A pressureactuated switch is associated with each distribution pipe and controls the operation of the associated lighting. When the distribution valve delivers water to one of the distribution pipes, the pressure-sensitive valve responds, energizing the associated lighting. The pressure switch may be operated by a piston and plunger within the distribution pipe or may be a self-contained pressure switch or a mercury switch. The lighting may take the form of incandescent or fluorescent electric lighting or may be in the form of gas lighting.
A more complete understanding of the present invention will become apparent during the course of the following description, claims and drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a plan view of a fountain incorporating the illuminated fountain device of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a partial sectional view, upon an enlarged scale, taken along lines 22 in FIG. 1',
FIG. 3 is an enlarged vertical sectional view of the terminal end of a distribution pipe showing the pressure switch in greater detail;
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the terminal end of a pipe partly broken away showing another form of pressure switch; and
FIG. 5 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 3, but showing still another form of the pressure switch and illustrating the use of combustible gas illumination means with the present invention.
Referring now to the drawings, FIG. 1 generally illustrates an illuminated fountain incorporating the system of the present invention denoted by the numeral 10. The fountain system 10 of the present invention is suitably mounted in a reservoir or basin 12. For purposes of illustration, basin 12 is shown as being generally circular but may be of any desired configuration. It will be appreciated that reservoir 12 is shown only for purposes of illustration and forms no part of the present invention. Centrally located within reservoir 12 is automatic water distribution selector valve 14. Valve 14 is connected to a source of water supply at water inlet port 16. Inlet port 16 can be connected to a conventional supply line or could be in communication with water maintained in reservoir 12 across an appropriate pump.
Valve I4 is provided with a plurality of circumferentially spaced outlet ports I8, 20, 22 and 24. Obviously, the number and spacing of outlet ports is a matter of design choice. Distribution valve 14 of a type commercially available and serves to deliver water sequentially to each of the outlet ports. Preferably, the valve includes a metering mechanism so that each outlet port is gradually placed in communication with the supply, resulting in a slowly ascending and descending spray pattern. Selective communication is achieved within valve 14 by a valve disk or plate operated by a suitable gear or ratchet mechanism driven by a fluid powered impeller. A valve of this general type is described in US. Pat. No. 3,779,269. Further detailed description of the construction and operation of the valve is not deemed necessary, as reference may be had to the aforementioned patent.
A series of radially extending distribution pipes 28, 30, 32 and 34 are connected to the respective outlet ports 18, 20, 22 and 24 of distribution valve I4. Each of the pipes is provided with a series of nozzles or orifices 40 which are arranged to provide the desired spray pattern. The type, sizing and location of the spray nozzles 40 can be varied to achieve the desired effect.
Illumination of the spray emanating from the nozzles 40 is achieved by means of floodlight assemblies 42, 44, 46 and 48. Each of the floodlight assemblies are similar in structure, so reference is made to light 44 as shown in FIG. 2. Floodlight 44 includes a housing member 50 enclosing a suitable electric lamp 54. The electric lamp 54 can be incandescent or fluorescent, or any other suitable type of lighting. Housing 50 is covered by lens 52 in close sealing relationship to prevent water from entering into the interior of the housing. Floodlight 50 is adjustably mounted on a pedestal 56, which is secured to distribution pipe 30 near the terminal end of the pipe. Floodlight 44 is oriented to illuminate the spray pattern emanating from nozzles 40 associated with distribution pipe 30. If desired, lens 52 may be provided with variously colored segments and mounted so that it is rotatable relative to housing 50. The rays of light emitted from the lamp will produce a color varigated effect, changing as the lens revolves.
The actuation of floodlight is controlled by a sensor in the form of a pressure switch assembly which is shown in detail in FIG. 3. Switch assembly 60 includes sealed enclosure member 62. Enclosure 62 is generally cylindrical, having opposite end walls 64 and 66 and circular sidewall 68. Peripheral sidewall 68 is provided with male threads 70 which are adapted'for threaded engagement with the threaded interior 71 of the distribution pipe 30. Thus, switch assembly 60 can be easily installed in the terminal end of pipe 28 by screwing the assembly in place as a plug.
Rod or plunger 72 axially projects through inner wall 64 and carries piston 76 at its outer end. Annular sealing members 74 and 7S prevent entry of fluid into the interior of housing 62. Spring 78 extends between wall 64 and the piston 76 concentrically about the rod 72 and biases the piston to the inactive switch position shown in FIG. 3. Stop 80 is carried on the housing wall 64 to limit the leftward movement of the piston, as seen in FIG. 3. Conductor element 82 is mounted on the inner end of the plunger and is adapted to establish a circuit between contacts 86 and 88 when piston 76 through rod 72 causes element 82 to move rightwardly. Contact 86 is connected to electrical supply line 89. Preferably, electrical lines 89 and 91 are housed within waterproof conduit 90. Contact 88 is connected to line 92, which in turn is connected to floodlight assembly 50. Thus, it will be apparent that when fluid pressure acting against the surface of the piston 76 causes the biasing force of spring 78 to be overcome, conductor element 82 is urged rightwardly engaging contacts 86 and 88, a circuit is completed and floodlight assembly 50 will be energized.
A more complete understanding of the present invention will be had from the following description of operation of the form of the invention as shown in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3. With distribution valve 14 connected to a suitable supply of water pressure at inlet 16 and electrical supply lines 89 and 91 connected to a source of electrical energy, the fountain system of the present invention is ready for automatic operation with complemental sequential lighting in combination with the spray. Water under pressure flows across distribution valve 14 and is sequentially delivered to the associated distribution pipes 28, 30, 32 and 34. Preferably, metering occurs so that the valve delivers a gradually increasing rate of flow to the distribution pipe. When the delivery cycle is completed, valve 14 will switch gradually terminating flow at one outlet port and establishing flow to the next port so that a pleasing rising and falling effect is achieved at the spray nozzles. For example, as distribu tion pipe 30 is communicated with the water supply across valve 14, the fluid pressure within distribution pipe 30 gradually increases. Once the fluid pressure within pipe 28 reaches a predetermined value, piston 76 and associated plunger 72 are caused to move rightwardly against the force of spring 78 compressing the spring. The rightward movement of the piston will bring element 82 against contacts 86 and 88 establishing a circuit energizing floodlight 44. Floodlight 44. serves to illuminate the spray pattern emerging from nozzles 40 located along distribution pipe 30. It will be appreciated that the sequence of events described above occur in a short period of time once water is admitted into distribution pipe 28.
After a predetermined time period, valve 14 will cycle and place the next adjacent distribution line 32 in communication with the water supply. The flow of waterto pipe 30 is gradually terminated and the pressure within the pipe accordingly decreases. When the pressure within pipe 30 reaches a predetermined minimum level, the spring bias exerted by spring 78 will move piston 76 leftwardly, causing interruption of the circuit controlling operation of floodlight 44. Concurrently with pressurization of pipe 32, floodlight 46 will be energized in response to the increased pressure within distribution pipe 32 in .the manner described above. This sequence continues so that each of the distribution pipes are all successively pressurized and the associated floodlight energized. The overall effect created is one of a dancing, lighted fountain, with the ascending and descending being complemented by the sequential operation of the floodlights.
FlG. 4 is a detail view illustrating another embodiment of the present invention and is generally designated by the numeral 94. in this embodiment, the sensor is a pressure-sensitive switch 95 in the form of a conventional mercury switch which is mounted on shaft 96 extending into the interior of a pipe coupling 98. Coupling 98 is appropriately threaded so that coupling it can be installed in an intermediate section of the distribution arms 99. Semi-circular actuator flap 100 is carried on shaft 96. Spring 101 is concentrically carried about shaft 96 and extends between switch 95 and coupling 98 and serves to bias the switch to the inactive position shown. Switch 95 is connected to a source of electrical energy by line 102 and is connected in a circuit with line 104 connected to an appropriate floodlight, such as floodlight 44. Switch 95 is closed by the force of fluid flow acting against flap 100 which causes the switch to be rotated to a closed position as is well known. Upon termination of fluid flow, spray 101 will return switch 95 to the inactive position. if desired, line 104 can also be connected to auxiliary circuits controlling a secondary pump for additional spray effect. In other respects the operation of the illuminated fountain is the same as described with respect to FIGS. 1, 2 and 3.
Another embodiment of the present invention is shown in FIG. 5 and is generally designated by the numeral 120. Embodiment includes pressure switch 122 which may be of the type described above or the self-contained type operated by a diaphragm. Switch 122 is suitably mounted in fitting 124 which is inserted inthe radial distribution pipe 126.
, Illumination of the water spray is achieved by igniting a combustible gas, rather than by the use of floodlights as disclosed with reference to previous embodiments. Switch 122 is operatively connected in the circuit controlling solenoid operator 128 of gas valve 130. Gas valve 130 controls a flow of gas through gas line 132 which discharge to atmosphere at nozzle 134. Located adjacent discharge nozzle 134 is igniter plug 138. Cy-
lindrical housing 131 secured to fitting 124 by retainer 129 contains the gas valve, igniter and nozzle. Opening ,133 at the top of housing 131 is provided for flame discharge.
Upon delivery of water to distribution line 126 by the distribution valve, the increase in pressure will be sensed by pressure switch 122. Switch 122 will close,
-, causing the solenoid 128 and ignition plug 138 to be connected to power line and 129. Energization of solenoid 128 will cause valve 130 to open, allowing combustible gas to be discharged at nozzle 134. Simultaneous with the energization of solenoid 128, or after a predetermined timed delay to allow gas flow to be established, igniter plug 138 is energized. causing the gas emitted at nozzle 134 to be ignited and discharged from housing 131. The ignition of the gas will illuminate the spray of water from distribution line 126. The illumination device will remain in operation for the length of time that water is delivered to arm 126. Upon the termination of flow to arm 126, and an attendant pressure drop, pressure switch 122 will open, thereby deactivating the igniter 138 and solenoid 128.
Thus, it will be seen that the foregoing provides a new and novel fountain system in which complementary sequential lighting in combination with spray is provided. Various types of lighting or illumination are disclosed, it being within the scope of the invention to use electrical, gas or other forms of artificial lighting. The pressure sensing switch may also take various forms, as described in the various embodiments shown herein. The foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles and concepts of the invention. Various modifications, alterations and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, and it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described. To the extent that such modifications, alterations and changes do not vary from the scope and spirit of the appended claims, they are intended to be encompassed therein.
1. An illuminated fountain system comprising:
at least one fluid distribution pipe provided with sprinkler means for discharging fluid therefrom in a predetermined spray pattern; valve means for selectively controlling fluid flow to said distribution pipe and sprinkler means;
illumination means associated with said sprinkler means adapted to illuminate the spray pattern emitted by said sprinkler means; and
control means operably connected to said illuminating means including sensor means associated with said distribution pipe responsive to the presence of fluid in said pipe and adapted to actuate said illumination means upon predetermined fluid flow conditions whereby said spray is illuminated for a predetermined period of time in response to fluid flow in said pipe.
2. The system of claim 1 further including multiple fluid distribution pipes arranged in a predetermined pattern and connected to said valve means whereby said pipes are sequentially pressurized and whereby said control means are operable to sequentially illuminate the spray patterns.
3. The system of claim 2 wherein said illumination means comprises an electric lamp and wherein said sensor means comprises a pressure-sensitive switch associated with said pipe adapted to energize said lamp within a predetermined pressure range.
4. The system of claim 3 wherein said switch includes contacts connectable to a source of power and plunger means in said pipe displaceable by fluid pressure to close said contacts.
5. The system of claim 3 wherein said switch is a mercury switch having flap means depending into said pipe and adapted to actuate said switch.
6. The system of claim 2 wherein said illuminator means comprises a combustible gas discharge means, a gas control valve, and gas ignition means, said valve and ignition means being operatively connected to said control means.