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Publication numberUS536790 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 2, 1895
Publication numberUS 536790 A, US 536790A, US-A-536790, US536790 A, US536790A
InventorsGeorge T. Shiras
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Flash-light apparatus
US 536790 A
Abstract  available in
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

(No Model.)


No. 536,790. Patehted Apr. 2, 1895.

ma Nomus nuns co. mom-mow. WASHINGTON, u c



513EGIRICATION forming part of Letters Patent No. 536,790, dated April 2, 1895.

Serial No. 499,320- (No model.)

To all whom it may concern:

Be it known that I, GEORGE T. SHIRAS, a citizen of the United States, residing at Allegheny, in the county of Allegheny and State of Pennsylvania, have invented or discovered new and useful Flash-Light Apparatus, of which the following is a specification.

In the accompanying drawings,which make part of this specification, Figure 1, is a perspective of my apparatus with lid raised, and a portion of the side and end broken away, showing trigger in position to fire. Fig. 2, is a central longitudinal section of Fig. 1, showing hammer driven forward and explosion about to take place. Fig. 3, is an enlarged section of the flash light powder box and support for same. Fig. 4, is a like section with Fig. 3, but showing the ordinary magnesium powder box with fuse connection to explosive; Fig. 5, an under plan of the box with supporting pins broken off, and Fig. 6, is a detail of trigger and push pins.

In daylight photographic art the detective or instantaneous cameras have made possible results that could not be obtained by the cumbersome tripod instruments which required time to adjust, and with which no secrecy was possible. The use of these detective cameras at night has been embarassed by the want'of a portable quick firing flash light apparatus.

Prior to my invention the usual method in actual use among photographers of producing artificial illumination for photographic purposes was to throw magnesium powder, ordi. narily by air pressure, into the flame of an alcohol lamp. The lighting of an alcohol lamp and the injecting of the powder into the flame involved delay and publicity, besides requiring virtually two sets of apparatus, and one fed by liquid material not always accessible nor easy to carry. Another and more primitive way of producing a flash light was by igniting a box of flash light powder by means of a fuse or tuft of guncotton running through or under the magnesium powder. The magnesium powder here was contained in a box like the ordinary pill box and this box in firin g rested loosely on a piece of abroken plate or other equally crude support. This latter method also produced slow firing, afforded no security of position for the powder box and there was danger of the discharge flashing in the face of the operator.

movement of this button.

The present contrivance is intended to give to cameras designed for instantaneous use, the same desirable features for night use,

- which they already possess for daylight photography. Furthermore, I provide a safe and convenient receptacle for carrying and burning flash light powders, Whether the ignition be produced while the apparatus is held in the hand, or by securing the apparatus to some stationary object and firing at a distance by means of a cord or equivalent device connected with the trigger. I also preferably but not essentially combine with the same a lid which acts both as a reflector for the flash and a shield for the operator, when fired in the hand.

In the accompanying drawings which make part of this specification, 1, is the box proper containing the operative parts. I prefer to make this of japanned tin. The inside may be enameled or painted white to add to the reflection as well as the lid and wings. The lid 2, I prefer to make with folding wings 3, 3, which increase the size of the reflector and shield. The lid has a suitable snap 4 to engage with catch 5 on box. 24, is aspring to hold lid vertical when up. Upon the bottom of the box I secure by screws a bed plate 6 which carries a sleeve 7, in which moves a firing pin 8, actuated by spring 9.

10, is a button bywhich firing pin is drawn back. The sleeve is slotted to permit of the The firing pin is notched at its rear end at 11, to engage with the catch of a spring trigger 12.

13, is. a push pin extending through the side of the box and loosely connected with trigger.

14 is a safety catch to prevent premature explosion.

15, is a stud or forward end of spring trigger to which may be attached cord 16, when distance firing is desirable. At the forward end of bed plate ti and in line with firing pin 8, is the support 17 for flash light powder box. This support is recessed to receive an explosive cap 18. Y

20 is the flash light powder box having opening in bottom to receive flash from explosive. I prefer to put gun cotton 21 in bottom of box to. make the ignition quicker and more uniform. I also prefer to use a metal box for the flash light powder and when the opening is made in the bottom the flaps of metal are inclosing box may be used.

turned back as ears a, a, seen in Figs. 3 and 5. The support 17, has horizontal pins, 22, 22, which slip under these ears a, a, and hold the box in position.

To prevent the scattering of the powder, I prefer to use a loose tray 23 by the backedge of which the powder is kept from scattering rearwardly.

lVhen the ordinary pasteboard box with a fuse is used the box may be pierced by the pins 22, 22, and the fuse brought in contact with the explosive as seen in Fig. 4.

I prefer the apparatus as seen in the drawings, but the following modifications may be made: The wings on the lid, or even the entire lid may be omitted. Catch 13 may be omitted. When used for long distance firing, or even under some other circumstances, the bed plate 6 may be unscrewed from the bot tom of the box and secured to any support and the box entirely dispensed with by using screw holes 25, 25. \Vhen held in the hand the cord 16 and stud 15, may be omitted. Instead of sleeve '7 any depression in the bottom of the box or any guide may be substituted. Tray 23 can be taken away. Numberless equivalent devices for securing the powder box aside from the pins and ears may be used. The form and shape of the powder boxes may be widely varied. For instance, a powder box extending the full width of the Powder boxes may be made of any material and with or without covers. The Scovill d: Adams magnesium cartridges may be used. I prefer however to use a metal box with a lid to avoid spilling when carrying, and then remove the lid when firing. Bed plate 6, can be omitted and firing pin and box support be directly in bottom of box. The position of the explosive relative to the powder box may also be changed, as it would be possible to put it on the sides thereof or even above. The spring trigger may be indefinitely modified and the spring therefor. The firing pin being drawn back cocks itself.

To use the apparatus, all that is necessary is to throw up the box lid, remove the lid of powder box, if of metal, and if the trigger has been previously set, push in pin 13. If the safety catch is used this must be previously raised, or the trigger may not be set until occasion requires.

For distance firing when the apparatus is not held in the hand, the safety catch must be raised if used and the lid of the box proper raised and the lid of the powder box removed if of metal. Either of the above operations will require only a few seconds to perform, and therefore makes the use of the camera well nigh as instantaneous at night as in the daytime.

By the aid of my apparatus, the detective camera may be used at night, or in dimly lighted premises to accomplish results heretofore diflicult of accomplishment and often impossible. Yet, while specially designed for instantaneous work indoors and out, it can be so adjusted as to be conveniently used in ordinary flash light photography, or for any other purposes requiring a flash light.

Briefly then it is claimed that this inven tion serves the following useful purposes: first, the production of a compact and safe receptacle wherein the metal box when closed contains the complete flash light apparatus and powder for use therein, and when opened for use possesses no superfluous parts but all contribute to the different functions shown in the designs or drawings; second, when loaded and primed can be drawn from the pocket and fired in half a second, before the purpose of its use could be divined; third, can be used in streets or alleys at night, for the most difficult and dangerous detective work or equally well in interiors, whether in the cellar or garret or in hallways, doorways, porches, in ware houses or vehicles or anywhere and everywhere that fancy or design suggests; fourth, by setting the extra spring trigger and affixing the apparatus to a support, may be tired at any distance or it may be so set as to be exploded involuntarily by any person passing within a given distance of the apparatus, thus making possible important photographic results without either fatigue or danger of detection to the photographer.

Having described my invention, 1 claim- 1. The combination of a box; a flashlight powder box contained in thesame; an explosive in close proximity with said powderbox; means for firing said explosive and a lid to said first named box, to act as a reflector and shield when thrown up.

2. The combination of a box; a flash light powder box contained in the same; an explosive in close proximity with said powder box; means for firing said explosive and a lid having folding wings, to act as a reflector and shield When elevated.

3. The combination of a box; a support in said box for a flashlight powder box; said powder box having an opening in the bottom and ears on said bottom and pins extending from said support to slip through said ears.

The combination of a box; a removable bed plate in said box having a guide for a spring actuated firingpin; said firing pin; an explosive in the line of movement of said pin and a flash light powder box in proximity to said explosive.

5. The combination of a box; a flash light powder box contained in said box; a fuse extending from said powder box; an explosive in proximity to said fuse, and a spring actuated firing pin to discharge said explosive.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand this 5th day of February, A. D. 1894.




Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3469899 *Nov 21, 1966Sep 30, 1969Eastman Kodak CoCase for a projection screen
US5072350 *Jun 13, 1990Dec 10, 1991Lowel-Light Manufacturing, Inc.Shadow control system
Cooperative ClassificationG03B15/05