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Патент USA US2106413

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Jan. 25, 1938.
A, J_ PQTE
2,106,413
LAMP SWITCHING MECHANI SM
_Filed June 11, 1928
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INVENTOR.
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BY
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A TTORNEY.
Patented Jan. 25, 1938
2,106,413"?
UNITED sTAr-Es
PATENT OFFICE‘
2.11mi:
LAMB SWITCHING MECHANISM
Alfred J. Poté, Chelsea, Mass., assignor, by mcsne
assignments,
Baythcon Manufacturing
Company, Newton. ‘Mm,’ a corporation of
>
Delaware
Application-June 11. 1928, serial No. 284,498
13 Claims. (01. 176-124)
My invention relates to lamp switching mecha
tween the electrodes will not occur. If, however,
nism and has particular reference to the switch
has been used quite extensively forLilluminating
the path of the electrons is so lengthened be
tween the opposing electrodes that the electrons
have several ionizing collisions with the gas par~
_ticles, conduction between the electrodes will be
and advertising purposes. For the latter purpose
it lends itself readily to the formation of letters
There are various ways of lengthening the
ing on and oil‘ of electric glow-lamps. The elec
tric glow-lamp consisting of spaced electrodes in
an atmosphere of a rare or other kind of gas
or ?gures in. which a continuous band of illumi- -
nation or glow is desired.
In the case of signs having incandescent bulbs
therein composing the letters, it has been cus
tomary to ?ash or obtain various combinations
of lights or groups of lights to either successively
delineate a letter, word, or ?gure, or to illuminate
continuously varying portions of a sign. In the
case of glow-lamps this‘ has been practically im
possible. The glow-lamps used for signs as a‘
rule, require an extremely high potential to ini
tiate the discharge, the potential being as high as
twenty thousand volts. Thereafter, it has been
customary to have resistances or automatic
switching arrangements whereby a lower running
potential was impressed on the glow-lamp. Even
this running potential, however, is as a rule very
initiated.
-
-
paths of the electrons without changing the phys
i'cal spacing of the electrodes as disclosed in the
above entitled patents. One way in particular
is by impressing a magnetic ?eld.in such a way
as to cause the electrons to be de?ected from
directly following the potential gradient and thus
take a longer path. I apply this principle to the
flashing of glow-lamps or the like in a. sign.
By making each glo -.lamp unit with two elec
trodes at one end located within an insulatingly
short distance from each other and surrounding
that end with a solenoid, the other end of the
lamp having the usual electrode, it is possible to
high, amounting to' thousands of volts. To
number of glow-lamps to be switched on and
switch glow-lamps on and off for various inter
The single ?gure of the drawing is a diagram
matic embodiment of my invention.
The drawing shows the two letters “U” and
vals with voltages as high as are in use, presents
very serious switching problems and may require
expensive and complicated apparatus.
By my invention it is possible to ?ash the
luminous portions of the glow-lamp on and oil’
as often and as quickly as may be found desir
able. I accomplish this with simple apparatus,
and in such a way that no contacts are. made or
broken in the high potential circuit.
In the patents to Charles G. Smith, Nos.
1,617,172, 1,617,173 and others issued to him on
February 8, 1927, a tube is disclosed wherein two
spaced electrodes are surrounded by a rare?ed
atmosphere, preferably of one of the rare gases.
The spacing between the electrodes and the pres
sure of the gas are so co-related thatthe gap
between the electrodes is insulating under nor
mal conditions.
I
This depends upon the so-called short path
principle, which is fully explained in the patents
referred to above, as well as other patents of
Smith. Brie?y this principle is that if two sur
faces are so close together that their distance
is of the order of the mean free path of the sur
rounding gas, any free electronscoming from
the cathode will not be able to travel a great
enough distance to cause any substantial amount
of ionization by impact. Hence, conduction be
0
switch the current from the two opposite elec
trodes to the two electrodes at one end by ar
ranging a suitable commutating or switching
mechanism. Thus it isv possible to cause any
off in any desired sequence.
“S”, as‘ an example‘of a sign which it is desired
to ?ash. As is well known, the intermediate or
visible portions of the glow-lamp comprising the
letters “U” and “S” here do not include the elec
trodes. As shown here, the electrode portions of
the letter “U” have been placed in the same plane
as the intermediate “U” portion of the tube, but 35
ordinarily this is not so. The ordinary practice
is to have these end portions-sunk in behind the
letter portion itself and usually behind the metal
lic covers of the sign. Furthermore the electrode
or end portions of the, glow-lamps usually be
come blackened with the sputtered metal from.
the electrodes and in a short time become opaque. ‘
Hence, it is immaterial where the electrode-pore
tions of the glow-lamp are placed.
'
-
45
The glow-lamp “U”. has electrode portions I g
and 2. These portions comprise the usual glass
Dress with the lead-in wires sealed therein and
supporting the electrode. Portion I comprises a
cylindrical electrode 3 with which and in con
centric relation thereto is another open ended
cylindrical electrode 4. The entire lamp is ex
hausted and ?lled with some gas as usual. Elec
trodes 3 and 4 are connected by means of con
ductors 5 and 6 to the opposite sides of trans 55
2,100,413
2
metal, it is desirable that there be one or more
holes so that free access. to electrode 4 may be
former ‘I, which supplies the necessary potential
and current to operate, each letter of the sign.
At the other end of the letter is electrode 8 simi
lar to electrode 4 and connected to electrode 4
had by the gas particles in the tube.
While I have shown my invention applied to two
by means of a conductor 8, Between the second
ary of transformer 1 and electrodes 4 and 3 is
a resistance It which is used to dissipate a por
tion of the voltage after the discharge through
the tube has been initiated. Around portion |
10' is placed solenoid or coil II which is connected
by conductors l2 and I3 to a battery l4 and
switch 18.
>
letters, it is obvious that it can be applied to any
number of letters or in fact to any number of
glow-lamps arranged in any con?guration what
ever. Instead of letters, the tubing may be bent
into shapes delineating ?gures or designs and
any desired portion or portions thereof may be 10
switched on and off in any and every possible
‘
The letter “8" is similar in all respects to the
letter “U” with regard to the structure and com
15 prises the' two electrode portion 2| and the one
electrode portion 22. Portion 2| has concentric
electrodes similar to the electrodes of the letter
“U". Conductor 28 connects the inner electrode
way.
I claim:
1. A glow-lamp comprising a transparent en
velope, an electrode at each end, a gas ?lling
therein, said electrodes adapted to permit a dis
charge through the gas and render the inter
mediate portions of the tube luminescent, an
additional electrode spaced a normally insulating
ly short distance away from one of the electrodes 20
through a resistance 3|! to transformer ‘I. Elec
20 trode portion 22 is connected to conductor 28 by _ and means for connecting said additional elec
conductor 28. Conductor 25 connects the outer
electrode of portion 2| of the letter "S” to" the
other end of the secondary of transformer 'l as
shown. Portion 2| of the letter "S” has amagnet
25 coil 3| around it and connected to conductor l2
and switch l5 by means of conductors 35 and 38
respectively.
.
30 tance between the surfaces is normally insulating
under the conditions of gas pressure and kind
'
When transformer ‘I is energized, the open cir
cuit potential of the secondary will be impressed
35 across electrodes 3 and 4 and electrodes 3 and 8.
Due to the insulating nature of the gap between
electrodes 3 and 4, a discharge will be initiated
between electrodes 3 and 8 only. As soon as the
discharge is initiated and current ?ows, the drop
40 across resistance Ill will reduce the potential
across electrodes 3 and 8 to the desired running
potential. By switching battery |4 into the coil
circuit of this tube, the gap between electrodes
3 and 4 will be rendered conducting by the mag
45 netic ?eld because of the longer electronic paths.
The result will be that the entire discharge will be
transferred from between electrodes 3 and 8 to
electrodes 3 and 4, and the intermediate or “U”
portion of the tube will therefore no longer be
luminescent. The same applies to the letter “S”.
50 ‘By suitably actuating switch l5, it is possible to
thus ?ash the letter “U” and “S” successively.
It is of course, very easy to arrange the ‘coil cir
cuits so that the letters are ?ashed on“ and of!
55
simultaneously.
velope, an electrode at each end thereof, a gas 25
?lling therein, said electrodes adapted to permit
a. discharge through said gas ?lling and render
the intermediate portions of the tube luminescent,
Electrodes 3 and 4 in portion | areboth cylin
drical and so related to each other that the dis
of gas used in the letter "13”.
trode directly through a low impedance path to
the other electrode.
2. A glow-lamp comprising a transparent en
-
an additional electrode disposed a normally in
sulatingly short distance from one electrode, 30
means for connecting said additional electrode to
the other electrode, and means for destroying the '
normally insulating properties of the gap between
said closely spaced electrodes, whereby an addi
tional path is provided for the original current 35
between the two end electrodes.
'
3. A glow-lamp comprising a transparent en
velope, an electrode at each end thereof, a gas
?lling therein, said electrodes being adapted to
permit a discharge through the gas and render 40
the intermediate portions of the envelope lu
minescent, at least one of said electrodes being
a_ hollow cylinder, an additional electrode in co
axial relationship with said cylindrical electrode
and spaced a normally‘ insulatingly short distance 45
from said cylindrical electrode, and meansfor
connecting said additional electrode directly
through a low impedance path to the other elec
trode so as tobe at substantially the same poten
tial as the other electrode.
4. A glow-lamp comprising a transparent en
velope, a hollow cylindrical electrode at each end
thereof, a gas filling therein, said electrodes be
50
ing adapted to support a discharge through the
gas and render the intermediate portions of the 55
Although each glow-lamp as shownhere is envelope luminescent, and an additional hollow
rendered alternately or successively dark and lu . cylindrical electrode having a common axis with
minescent, the discharge itself never dies out._ one of said first mentioned electrodes and spaced
However, for practical purposes and as far as the a normally insulatingly short distance therefrom
parts
of the lamp which are exposed to the public and means for connecting said additional elec
'60
are concerned, the tube may be said to be switched trode directly through a low impedance path to
on and off. When the letter or intermediate ;.the other of said ‘first mentioned electrodes so as
portion of the tube is dark, the discharge between - to .be at substantially the same potential as the
the two electrodes at one end is occurring. Since other electrode.
‘
65
5. A gaseous discharge device comprising an
65 this end, as well as the other end containing the
single electrode, as stated above, is usually hidden, ' envelope, a pair 'of'electrodes within said en
the short path discharge is invisible. In order to velope, an ionizable atmosphere within said en
70
render the'discharge at portion I thoroughly in
visible, electrode 3 may have its end closed by
.a solid metal disc. The cylindrical portion 3
may be solid metal or may be of gauze. Since the
glass end of portion I usually becomes blackened
from the sputtered metal, the discharge will not
be visible if gauze is used. However,,if the cylin
75 drical portion of electrode 3 is made of .solid
velope, said electrodes adapted to permit an ioniz
ing discharge between them through said ioniz 70
able atmosphere, an additional electrode» dis
posed a normally insulatingly short distance from
one of said electrodes, means for connecting said
additional electrode to the other of said electrodes,
and means for destroying the normally insulat
's
2,106,418
ing properties of the gap between said closely
spaced electrodes.
6. A gaseous discharge device comprising an
envelope, a pair of electrodes within said envelope,
GI an ionizable atmosphere within said envelope,
said electrodes adapted to permit an ionizing
discharge between them through said ionizable
atmosphere, an additional electrode disposed a
normally insulatingly short distance ‘from one of
10 said electrodes, and means for creating a mag
netic ?eld in the space between said closely spaced
electrodes to increase the length of the electron
paths in said space and break down the normally
insulating properties of said space.
7. A gaseous discharge device comprising an
envelope, a pair of electrodes within said envelope,
an ionizable atmosphere within said envelope,
said electrodes adapted to permit an ionizing
discharge between them through said ionizable
atmosphere, an additional electrode disposed from
one of said main electrodes a distance of the
order of the molecular mean free path of said
atmosphere, and means for connecting said addi
tional electrode directly through a low impedance
path to the other of said electrodes.
8. A gaseous discharge device comprising an
envelope, a pair of electrodes within said enve
lope, an ionizable atmosphere within said enve
30
lope, said electrodes adapted to permit an ionizing
discharge between them through said ionizable
atmosphere, an additional electrode disposed
closer to one of said main electrodes than the
distance between said main electrodes, a circuit
connecting a source of potential between said
OD Cl
main electrodes, an auxiliary circuit connecting
a source of potential between the additional elec
trode and the main electrode adjacent to it, an
impedance common to both of said circuits, and
means for controlling the current ?owing be
40 tween said closely spaced electrodes to control
the current ?owing between said main electrodes.
9. A gaseous discharge device comprising an
envelope, a pair of electrodes within said enve
lope, an ionizable atmosphere within said enve
lope, said electrodes adapted to permit an ioniz
ing discharge between them through said ioniz
able atmosphere, an additional electrode disposed
closer to one of said main electrodes than the
3
distance between said main electrodes, a circuit
connecting a source of potential between said
main electrodes, an auxiliary circuit connecting
a, source of potential between the additional elec
trode and the main electrode adjacent to it,
means for controlling the current ?owing be
tween said closely-spaced electrodes, and means
responsive to the said current for controlling the
potential applied between said'main electrodes.
10. A gaseous discharge device comprising an 10
envelope, a pair of electrodes within said enve
lope, an ionizable atmosphere within said en~
'velope, said device being adapted to permit an
ionizing discharge between said electrodes
through said ionizable atmosphere, an additional
electrode disposed closer to one of said main
1,5
electrodes than the other of said main, electrodes,
means for connecting said additional electrode
to the other of said main electrodes, and means
for controlling the current ?owing between said 20
closely-spaced electrodes to control the current
?owing between said main electrodes.
11. A tube comprising a ?rst main electrode,
a second main electrode spaced from said ?rst
main electrode, a control electrode an the side 25
of said second main electrode opposite said ?rst
main electrode, said second main electrode and
said control electrode being spaced close together,
whereby no discharge takes place between them
and a direct connection between said ?rst main 30
electrode and said control electrode.
12. A tube comprising a ?rst electrode, a sec
ond electrode which is perforated and which is
spaced from said ?rst electrode, a third electrode
on the side of said second electrode opposite
said ?rst electrode, said second electrode and
said third electrode being spaced close together,
whereby no discharge takes place between them
and a direct connection between said ?rst elec
trode and said third electrode.
13. A method of operating a ?ashing luminous
gas discharge tube which consists in starting the
tube and intermittently short-circuiting the posi
tive column of the discharge while maintaining
current flow through the dark spaces adjacent
to at least one of the main electrodes of the
tube.
ALFRED J. POTE.
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