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Патент USA US2119944

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June 7, 1938.
R, R MATTERÑ
MERCURY SWITCH
Filed Feb. 21, 195e'
2,119,944
2,119,944
Patented June 7, 1938
UNITED STATES >PATENT OFFICE
2,119,944
MERCURY SWITCH
Raymond P. Mattern, Minneapolis, Minn., as
~ signor to Minneapolis-‘Honeywell Regulator
Company, Minneapolis, Minn., a corporation of
Delaware
Application February 21, 1936, Serial No. 65,095
13 Claims. (Cl. 20o-33)
This invention relates to mercury switches and
more particularly to that type of switch wherein
. there is a delayed action in the opening or clos
ing of a circuit through the switch.
One object of this invention is the provision
of an improved switching mechanism wherein
there is an appreciable predetermined interval
between movement of the switch to closed circuit
¿position and the closing of the circuit thereby.
10
Another object is the provision in a mercury
switch of improved means to insure an eiiicient
making and breaking of the circuit therethrough
and the substantial preclusion of arcing.
f» ‘ A further object is the provision of improved
15 mechanism associated with a switch whereby the
time interval may be varied in individual switches
-by the inclusion of a single element in the as
sembly, the conflguration of which element may
be suitably varied to provide a differential in the
20 time lag.
A further object is the provision of improved
means to permit the ñow of mercury in one di
rection substantially instantaneously and retard
the flow thereof in another direction for anY ap
25 preciableinterval.
,
A further object is the provision of a mecha
nism which will be unusually reliable and depend
able in operation and of suilicient durability and
strength to withstand all normal shocks incident
30 to usage, installation and transportation thereof.
Other objects will in part be obvious and in
part pointed out hereinafter.
‘
The invention, accordingly, consistsof the ar
rangements of parts, combinations of elements
35 and features of construction all as will be more
fully described hereinafter and disclosed in the
accompanying drawing, and the scope of the ap
plication of which will be indicated in the append
ed claims.
40
‘
Referring now to the drawing:Figure 1 is a side sectional elevation showing
the mechanism of the improved switch tilted to
one of its positions of adjustment;
Figure 2 is a sectional view taken. along the»
45 line 2-2 of Figure 1 as viewed from the right;
`
Figure 3 is an isometric view of certain portions
of the mechanism of the switch, and
Figures 4, 5, and 6 aire isometric views 'of vari
ous forms of one of the elements comprising a
50 part of the instant invention, certain features
"
thereof being shown in dotted lines;
y
. Similar reference characters refer to similar
parts throughoutthe several views of the draw
ing.'
55
Referring now to Figure 1, there is generally
indicated at I0 an envelope or tube which is pref
crablycf glass and may beof a suitable hard
glass, such as G-'l02EJ, containing a body of mer
cury, generally indicated at II. Contained with
60 in tube Ill and suitably secured thereto in any de
sired manner, as by fusing or cementing, is a
septum or partition I2 which has a passageway I3
extending therethrough. Passage I3 may be en
larged adjacent one face of septum I2 to provide a
space I4, in order to reduce the volume of the ma
terial utilized. As better shown in Figure 3, a
second passageway I5 extends completely through
septum I2 adjacent the upper extremity thereof.
Suitable apertures I6 having enlarged lower ex 10
tremities I1 are preformed in septum I2 in order
to accommodate a suitable gate member I8, rotat
able about apivot I9 and having an inclined edge
surface 20 adapted to abut, when in closed posi
tion, the interior periphery of tube I0.
15
Septum I2 may be constructed of any suitable
arc-resisting material although that ceramic sub
stance known in the art as lava is preferably uti
lized. Gate I8 may be constructed oi.’ any suit
able heat resisting material although in the pre
ferred embodiment a. suitable metal,> such as
chromium steel, has been found preferable.
These materials are used in order that, should it
be desirable to fuse septum I2 to tube I0, the
pivotal operation of gate I8 whichl is assembled
prior to sealing of tube Ill by the passing of pivot 25
I9 through enlarged portion I1 and the body of
gate I8 through apertures I6 in such manner
that gate I8 is in substantial alignment with pas
sage I5 and free for rotation about pivot I9 there
in, is not impaired. Extending rearwardly from 30
passage I5 is a sloping surfacel 2I which has posi
tioned adjacent a lower extremity thereof a rear
wardly extending portion 22 which has mounted
thereon, as by means of a suitable cement 23, a'
cup 24. Cup 24 is constructed of an arc-resisting 35
material, such as porcelain, and has an inclined
upper surface or rim 25 for a purpose to be more
fully described hereinafter.'
A suitable well 26 is formed in the wall of
tube I0 below and adjacent cup 25. An elec 40
trode 21 extends through the wall of Well 26 and
is suitably sealed therein. A second electrode
28 extends downwardly through the upper wall
of tube I0, to which it is sealed, im@ cup 24 to
a position adjacent the bottom thereof. A lat 45
erally extending contact member 29 is positioned
adjacent the lower extremity of electrode 28
and suitably secured thereto, as by welding, to
insure a reliable contact.
A glass sleeve 30 of .
any suitable hard glass, such ‘as G-'l02EJ or 50
G~-702P is positioned-_ about andv vcircumferen
tial with electrode 28 and extends below the
lowermost inclination of inclined rim 25 of cup
24. Electrode 28 may be pinched, as at 3|, to
hold sleeve 30 in its desired position, or, if 55
desired, sleeve 30 may be fused directly to elec
trode 28. Positioned in passageway I3 and fric
tionally held in engagement with the walls there
of, is an insertable member 32 having a restricted
passageway 33 through its v'longitudinal bore.
2, 1 19,944
Member 32 may also be of any desired arc-resist
ing material but in the preferred embodiment
of the invention unñred lava has been found
desirable, as this material permits a relatively
free flow of mercury.
As better shown in Figure 3, an indentation
34 is provided in the front wall 35 of sep-tum l2
adjacent gate I8 in order to provide access of
mercury il to the lower portion of gate i8 when
10 in its open position. -Tube Ill may be suitably
sealed as at 36.
As better shown in Figure 1, when the switch
is tilted to a circuit closing position, the weight
of the body of mercury Il engages, through in
dentation 34, the lower portion of gate I8, which
is of a density to ñoat on mercury, and rotates
the same about pivot I9 to a closed position to
preclude the flow of mercury through passage
I5. Gate I8 being closed, mercury iiows through
20 passages i3 and 33 into well 26 and gradually
ñlls that end of tube Iß adjacent well 26 until
it reaches the rim 25 of cup 24 which it over
flows to establish electrical contact between elec
trodes 21 and 28.
25
It may here be noted that a gas is preferably
contained in the tube and may comprise a volume
of hydrogen or other suitable gas at approxi
_mately atmospheric pressure. As the mercury
ñows through passages I3 and 33, the gas in that
30 end of tube lll is compressed until its pressure
is suilicient to open gate I 8 a very slight amount
against the pressure of mercury Ii, at which
time a quantity of gas passes into the other end
of the tube and the weight of the mercury again
35 becomes sufficient to close gate itl. This cycle is
repeated intermittently until the mercury has
ceased to flow and the gas pressure at opposite
ends of the tube has equalized. If desired, how
ever, a clearance may be provided between the
40 walls of passage I5 and gate i8 sufficient to per
mit passage of gas but insuflicient to allow flow
of mercury.
It should also be noted that a small volume
of mercury is contained at all times in cup 24 and
45 well 26 in order that the circuit break may be
occasioned by the separation of the »two bodies
of mercury, rather than of mercury and a solid
electrode, which serves to allow for higher cur
passage possibly be retarded by the restricted
60 space between sleeve 30 and the rear wall of cup
24 to permit a vacillating or otherwise uncertain
iii Figure l, and iiows rapidly through the large
cpening so provided into the opposite end of the
tube. The amount of mercury above rim 25 of
cup 24 is normally relatively small and will ñow
substantially instantaneously through passage iii
20
mined and these elements manufactured in a va
riety of sizes, each size adapted to provide a cer
tain period of time lag at a given inclination and
inserted in various otherwise identical switches,
as desired in accordance with the peculiar re
quirements of the individual installation.
From the foregoing it will be seen that there is
herein provided an improved mercury Switch
which accomplishes the objects of the invention
in an improved manner including many practi
cal advantages.
As many possible embodiments may be made
of the instant invention and as many changes
may be made in the embodiment above set forth,
it is intended that ail matter hereinbefore set
-forth or disclosed in the drawing shall be inter
the upper portion thereof and adapted to abut
the inner periphery of the uppermost portion of
said tube whereby to permit the ñow of mercury
in one direction and restrict the flow thereof
from the opposite direction, the arrangement be 55
ing such that said gate is adapted to float upon
said mercury and be closed by the flow thereof in
one direction upon tilting of said tube and adapt
ed to be depressed and opened by said mercury
upon iiow thereof in the opposite direction, and 60
a passageway through the lower portion of said
septum to permit the flow of said mercury in said
horizontal in order that mercury may ñow into
cup 24 from all directions substantially simulta
55 neously to insure a satisfactory and virtually in
stantaneous contact. In the absence of such in
clination, it will be seen that mercury would ñrst
enter cup 24 adjacent the rear thereof and its
Upon tilting of the switch to circuit breaking
quirement with regard to the period of time lag.
Accordingly, members 32 may be made of sub
stantially the same exterior diameter but having
different sizes of passageways 33 therethrough,
as shown in Figures 4.-, 5, and 6. The diameter
of passageways 33 may be mathematically deter
trodes, a septum in said tube in the path of ñow
of said mercury, a pivoted‘gate member posi
tioned in a passageway in said septum adjacent
cuit closing position, rim 25 will be substantially
position, mercury I I flows up incline 2l into pas
sage I5 and by its weight forces gate I8 to ro
tate to open position, as indicated by dotted lines
manufacture an individual switch for each re
l. A switching mechanism, comprising, in com 45
bination, a tube, electrodes sealed in said tube,
mercury in said tube adapted to bridge said elec
The inclination of rim 25 is preferably such
that when the switch is tilted to its normal cir
contact which would be manifestly undesirable.
It may here be pointed out that sleeve 3l! pre
vents contacting of the mercury with electrode
65 28 at its upper extremity or above rim 25 of
cup 24.
in such cases other means for varying the time
lag must be provided in order to accommodate 10
the various requirements. Such an adjustment
may be provided by varying the dimensions of
aperture 33 which passes through member `32,
and it -will be understood that the time lag for a
given angle of inclination may be readily com
puted with respect to any given diameter of aper
ture 33.
In mass production of the device, however, it
would be exceedingly costly and impractical to
preted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.
I claim as my invention:
rent carrying capacities and longer life.
yto
to break the contact between electrodes 21 and 28.
It will readily be seen that the time required
to close the circuit may be varied by the inclina
tion of the switch, the mercury flowing more
rapidly under the increased pressure of the bulk
thereof as the angle of inclination approaches the
vertical. In certain installations, however, it is
undesirable to vary the angle of inclination and
,
one direction.
2. A switching mechanism, comprising, in
combination. a tube. electrodes sealed in said 65
tube, mercury in said tube adapted to bridge said
electrodes, a septum in said tube in the path of
flow of said mercury, a cup carried by said sep
tum, said cup having an inclined peripheral edge,
the axis of inclination thereof being substantially 70
equal touthe axis of inclination of said tube when
tilted to circuit closing position whereby said
edge assumes a substantially horizontal plane
hen said switch is in said circuit- closing posi
tion.
.
3
2,119,944
3. A switching> mechanism, comprising, in
combination, a tube, electrodes sealed in said
tube, mercury in said tube adapted to bridge said
f electrodes, a septum in said tube in the path of
flow of said mercury, a cup carried by said septum,
said cup having an inclined peripheral edge, the
axis of inclination thereof being substantially
equal to the axis of inclination of said tube when
tilted to circuit closing -position whereby said
edge assumes a substantially horizontal plane
bination, a tube, electrodes sealed in said tube,
mercury in said tube adapted to bridge said elec
trodes, an arc-resisting septum positioned in said
tube in the path of ñow of said mercury, a pas
sageway in said septum, pivoted means in said
passageway to permit the flow of mercury in one
direction and preclude the flow thereof in the
other direction, a second passageway through
said septum to permit the flow of said mercury
in said other direction and means to vary the
when said switch is in said circuit closing posi
tion, an extremity of one of said electrodes ex
tending into said cup, means to permit
of mercury in one direction and restrict
thereof in the opposite direction and a
way to permit a relatively slow ñow of
the flow
the now
passage
mercury
in said opposite direction.
4. A switching mechanism, comprising, in com
bination, a tube, electrodes in said tube, mer
20 cury adapted to bridge said electrodes, a ceramic
septum in said tube and fused thereto positioned
in the path of flow of said mercury, a passage
way in said septum, a gate positioned therein,
said gate permitting the now of mercury in one
25 direction and precluding the ñow in the other
direction and a by-pass about said gate to permit
the ñow of said mercury in said other direction.
5. A switch comprising, in combination, a tube,
electrodes in said tube, mercury in said tube for
30 bridging said electrodes, a septum in said tube
positioned in the path of ñow of said mercury,
said septum having an elongated passage, a plu
rality of members each having a restricted open
ing of different size and adapted to be frictionally
held
in said passage.
35
6. A switching mechanism comprising, in com
bination, a tube, electrodes in said tube, mercury
in said tube for bridging said electrodes, a sep
tum in said tube positioned in the path of flow
of said mercury, said septum having an elongated
40
passageway, a plurality of interchangeable mem
bers each one having therethrough a bore of
different diameter and adapted to be mounted
and frictionally retained in said passageway.
'7. A switching mechanism comprising, in com
45
bination, a tube, electrodes in said tube, mercury
in said tube for bridging said electrodes, a ceramic
septum positioned in said tube in the path of
flow of said mercury, an aperture in said septum,
a gate pivoted in said aperture, an ‘elongated
50 passageway through said septum, a member hav
ing a restricted opening therethrough in said pas
sageway.
CH
‘
8. A switching mechanism, comprising, in com
bination,
a tube, electrodes in said tube, mercury
55
in said tube adapted to bridge said electrodes, a
septum positioned in said tube in the path of
flow of said mercury, a cup supported by said
septum, a passageway in said septum above said
cup, a second restricted passageway in said sep
tum below said cup, the arrangement being such
that said mercury passes through said second
restricted passageway to gradually overflow the
lip of said cup upon tilting of said switch in one
65 direction and iiows through said first passage
way upon tilting of said switch in the opposite
direction, and means to close said first mentioned
passageway upon tilting of said tube in one direc
tion and open said passageway upon tilting of
said tube in the opposite direction.
70
9.' A switching mechanism, comprising, in com
diameter of said second passageway whereby the
time required for said mercury to flow there
through may be varied..
l0. A switching mechanism, comprising, in
combination, a tube, electrodes sealed in said
tube, mercury in said tube adapted to bridge said
electrodes, an arc-resisting septum positioned in
said tube in the path of ilow of said mercury, a
passageway in said septum, pivoted means in
said passageway to permit the flow of mercury 20
in one direction and preclude the ñow thereof
in the other direction, a second passageway
through said septum to permit the now of said
mercury in said other direction, means to vary
the diameter of said second passageway `whereby
the time required for said mercury to flow there
through may be varied, a cup carried by said
septum, the arrangement being such that one of
said electrodes extends into said cup and said
mercury flowing through said second passageway 30
overflows the rim thereof to bridge said elec
trodes, said cup having an inclined rim, the axis
of inclination thereof being substantially equal
to the axis of inclination of said switch when
tilted to its open position whereby upon such
tilting said rim is substantially horizontal to per
mit an equally diffused flow of mercury there
over from all directions simultaneously.
11. A switching mechanism, comprising, in
combination, a tube, electrodes in said tube, mer 40
cury in said tube adapted t'o bridge said elec
trodes, a ceramic septum positioned in said tube
in the path of flow of said mercury, an aperture
in said septum, a gate pivoted in said aperture to
permit the ñow of mercury in one direction and 45
preclude its ñow in the other direction, a pas
sageway through said septum and interchange
able means to 'vary the internal diameter of said
passageway, said interchangeable means compris
ing a plurality oi insertable members adapted to 50
be positioned in said passageway, said last men
tioned members having bores of different diam
eter passed axially therethrough.
12. A switch comprising in combination, a
tube, electrodes in said tube, an electrical con 55
ducting fluid in said tube for bridging said elec
trodes, a septum in said tube positioned in the
path of flow of said fluid and having a passage
way therethrough, and a member having a re
stricted opening of predetermined size in said 60
passageway.
13. A switching mechanism comprising, in com
bination, a. tube, electrodes in said tube, mer
cury in said tube for bridging said electrodes, a
ceramic septum in said tube in the path of ñow 65
of said mercury, a passageway through said sep
tum, a member having an orifice’of predeter
mined size mounted in said passageway for con
trolling the flow of mercury through said pas
sageway.
RAYMOND P. MATTERN.
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