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Патент USA US2137127

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Nov. 15, 1938.
2,137,127 _
Filed Dec. 10, 1937
2 Sheets-Sheet l
Nov. 15, 1938.
_._ G‘, BEST
Filed Dec. 10, 1937
Fz'y. 4
F157‘. 5'
6d’ '
37 \
‘2 Sheets-Sheet 2
' 3mm
‘>334, _'
Patented Nov. 15, 1938
or orEuA'r
John Gordon' Best, Toronto, Ontario, Canada,
assignor to General Animated Signs, Limited,
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, a company of ‘On
tario, Canada '
Application December 10, 1937, Serial No. 179,196
In Canada February 12, 1937'
4 9 Olaims. (01. 40-130)
The present invention relates toanimated signs means. for creating an illusion'of animation at r
the animating portions of the indicia. In one em
bodiment of my invention the non-animating
portions appear stationary and serve as message
indicia only. In another embodiment of
vention is further concerned withgmethods of‘ my invention the non-animating indicia are of
and is more particularly concerned with illumi
nated animated signs of the character in ‘which
an illusion of animation is brought about by vary
,such former of such a nature as toproduce a
animating such signs to produce special effects.
psychological effect of natural vmotion in .‘the
The illusion of animation produced according
indicia which ‘supplements and - ampli?es the
to my invention is due wholly to the physiological .
basic animation produced by color changes‘ in v10
and psychological e?ects vcaused by my special
' lighting, color and background arrangements.
Further objects of my invention will'become
The basic or primary animationis physiologi
cal and is based upon ‘well known optical color
laws such as color reflection and absorption, etc.;
frequency of cyclic color changes; color and back
ground combination in the sign and color com;
apparent, asthe speci?cation proceeds in con
nection-With the annexed drawings, and'from the
appended claims.v
bination in the illuminating'means for the sign; - .. Figure 1 is a perspective view illustrating an
arrangement by which my indicia bearing sign
gmay be illuminated to produce animation ef
The basic animation is presented when the fects according to the invention.
Figure 2 is a modi?ed form of the sign surface
cyclic color change of the sign illuminating means‘
and physiological e?ects and phenomena such as
chromatic aberration, irradiation, etc.-
and indicia’of Figure 1.
is ‘ between certain limits of ‘frequency. With
Figure 3 is a still further modi?ed form of the
proper conditions the illusion of M animation is .
sign surface and indicia of Figure l.
produced in the range between one and twenty
' cyclic color changes per second. However, in
certain cases, as where an illusion of natural di
, Figure 4 is a front View of a sign forming part 25
of my invention and. illustrates a manner of
rectional motion is desired to accompany the‘ :creating an illusion, of natural movement of an
object. Here, speci?cally, a circlemay‘be made
basic animation,- the range is preferably between
one and‘one-half and four cyclic color changes
to appear to rotate in a speci?c direction, '
Figure ,5 illustrates another sign embodying
my invention and illustrates a manner ‘of. creat
novel animated'signs’and methods of operating '- ing an illusion of natural movement of a bird.
the same wherein the illusion of animation is Here ‘the animated parts are integral with the I
‘ It is a major objecf or my invention to provide
obtained by illuminating ,the‘sign with lights of object which appears to move.
different colors.‘v
,Figure' 6 shows another sign according to my 35
invention illustrating how an illusion of natural
, A further object of my invention is to provide
a novel'animated sign in which the illusion of
movement of?ames from 'a ?re may be produced
animation is physiologicallyproduced.
, Figurej'l shows a further sign embodying my
A further object of my invention is to ‘provide invention in which an illusion of motion of ‘a
a novel animated sign in which, an illusion of vehicle is produced. Here] the animating parts
natural movement‘ is psychologically produced. are separate from the object which appears
Anotherobject of my invention‘is to provide a
. sign which will have normal advertising, value
to move.
, Figure v8 is a partially diagrammatic view of a‘
in the daytime when not being illuminated.
A further object of my invention is to provide
a sign having distinctively colored indicia mark
ings upon a neutral backgroundand which is
illuminated alternately by light which ‘has the
a suitable form of illuminating means for giving‘ 45
alternate ?ashes of different .colored light and
which maybe used with any ‘of the signs of the
Before proceeding with a detailed description
same predominant hue as part of the colored in
dicia and by light of a different color whereby an
illusion of animation is produced.
ofthe invention it, will belhelpful to de?ne the ' 50
Another object of my invention‘ is to provide:
an animated sign having certain portions of the
of the sign.
indicia animating and certain portions a. non—
55 animating and ‘ ‘having suitable illuminating
various terms used‘in the specification and claims.
B-y-“indicia” I mean markings at the surface
The indicia may be animating or
non-animating and maybe pictorial or non-pic
The ‘indicia may, combine to de?ne an 55
object, or may be entirely separate from each
other, or may be superposedat least in part.
By “background” I mean the portions ofthe
sign contacting the Whole or a major portion of
the periphery of the indicia andextending out
Wardly therefrom an indedeterminate distance.
Thus the background may be merely an outline
or border around the indicia, or may be the
whole or a large portion of the ?eld upon which
10 the indicia are displayed. For‘ instance, the in
dicia may assume the form of ?gures or letters
and may have a contrastingly colored border of
neutral or non-neutral color and in such case
the borders can be regarded as the background.
By “illumination” I mean the casting of col
ored lights upon the sign in accordance with this
By “neutral color” I mean a color that has no
distinguishing or dominant hue. Examples of
20 such are white, black, grey or brown.
.By “dominant hue” or “distinguishing hue” I
mean a color which has a predominant wave band
which makes the light appear to an observer to
be of particular color. For example, a light
25 whichan observer might call “red” may contain
some yellow or blue light which is not apparent
due to the overwhelming preponderancy of wave
bandsin the red portion of the visible spectrum.
Thus, whenever I state that a light has a “dom
3.0 inant hue” or is of a certain “color” I means to
include not only substantially monochromatic
light but also impure colors which generally have
the same appearance as the monochromatic light.
A speci?c example of this is that when I say “red”
3.5, I mean'to include among others, impure colors
generally known as magenta and scarlet but
which have predominant red wave bands.
By. “cyclic color change” I mean the exposure
of the sign to light of one color for its full time
40 interval and to the other color through its full
time interval and until the beginning of the next
exposure of the sign to light of the ?rst color.
By “non-animating” I mean that the part or
parts referred to are colored in colors, including
45 neutral colors, which are not animated when sub
jected to light which animates'other portions of
In ampli?cation of the nature of non-animat
ing colors, the properties of a color which render
it non-animating are:
(a) * Its ability to re?ect back both of the col
ors alternately cast upon the sign. Such colors
may be white, grey, brown, yellow, etc.
(b) Its ability to absorb both colors cast upon
55 the sign. Such colors maybe black, dark blue,
By “basic or “primary animation” I mean the
illusion of animation produced physiologically
by the alternate lighting arrangement of my in
60 vention. This is'to be distinguished from the
illusion of natural-movement or directional mo
tion which is psychologically produced. This
psychological illusion ampli?es and gives direc~
tion to the physiologically created basic anima
By “discrete” I mean‘ separate and individual
images are observed as distinguished from im
ages which, due to the persistency of vision, op
tically blend and appear continuously visible.
With reference to Figure 1 a sign I! having a
as a non-neutral color, or a color complementary
to that of part I 3.
Animating part l3 which may be composed of
one or several different co-operating or non-coop
erating representations, iscolored in a color which
has a distinguishing or dominant hue. Since
colors having high energy value are preferred in
signs, the animating color is preferably red al
though any color may be selected as desired.
Non-animating part M, which may or may not 10
be composed of one or several different co—oper
ating or non-co-operating representations, is col
ored in a color which may have a dominant hue
or may be neutral, but which is selected to be
[constantly visible no matter what color is being 15
projected on the sign.
The sign is preferably illuminated by a pro
jector which casts differently colored lights al
ternately upon the same.
Such a projector may comprise a pair of lamps 20
before each of which is disposed alight ?lter of
suitable color with the lamp circuits controlled
by suitable ?asher switches, or may comprise the
rotatable color ?lter assembly of Figure 8, later
to be described.
One of these color screens or ?lters is designed
to pass light which has the same dominant due as
the animating color on the sign. The other color
screen or ?lter is designed to pass light which
is de?cient in the dominant hue of the animating 30
indicia. In practice it has been found Very satis
factory to project complementary colored lights
upon the sign. For example, where red primary
indicia markings are used, red and green lights
are projected on the sign.
The secondary or non
Suitable and preferable animating indicia colors
are red, green and blue. Suitable and preferable
non-animating colors are yellow, orange, green, 40
blue or violet or even a neutral color.
The non-animating indicia may be located upon
the same colored background as the animating
indicia or may have provided for it a background
of a different color.
In operation the ?asher in the circuit of the
vlamps in projector it is operated to alternately
andsuccessively light these lamps thereby cast
ing alternate ?ashes of differently colored light
upon the sign ll. When light of the animating
color falls on the sign the primary animating
portion I3 and the non-animating portion M are
both visible to an observer but, when the non
animating light is being projected, portion I3 is
not visible in its own color because the non
animating light-is de?cient in the dominant hue
of portion l3 vand will therefore not be re?ected
or transmitted thereby.
Hence the observer views a sign background
upon which the primary indicia are alternately 60
visible and the secondary indicia are constantly
visible. When the cyclic color frequency has been
regulated properly the primary part I3 Will be
seen alternately as discrete images and will pre
sent an appearance of animation comprising a 65
pulsating movement due mostly to the effect of
chromatic aberration in the eye and a bodily
movement in space relative to the background.
In some cases there is a stereoscopic effect so
that the indicia appears to stand out from the 70
background I2 is illuminated by light from a
suitable source l9. ' The indicia upon background
The frequency at which the cyclic color change
takes place must be high enough to allow the
I 2 consists-of‘a primary or animating part 13
and a secondary or non-animating part l4.
75 Background l2 may be of any suitable color such
animating indicia markings are of course of such
color as to reflect or absorb both red and green.
observer to gain a sense of animation, but must
not be so high as to optically merge the images 75
or the. primarmnartabecause of. persistence. ‘of
vision; midi-therefore: make them constantly vis
ible; Preferably therange of cyclic color change
should‘ be- in the neighborhood of ‘from one ‘and
one-half to ,four cyclic‘ changes per-second for
best practical ‘results;
' v
- - .This illusion; of . animation - is ,the' primary or '
so as to be continuously visible.
basic animation whichthepresent invention‘ pro
duces: A few examples of speci?c lighting; ‘ar
rangementsare given-‘to show the ?exibility of .
for animating a sign'having red primary indicia
caston the sign.~
is alternately lighted as de- '
scribed above'and at a rate of ,from one, and
' lWhen such a sign
one-half to four- cyclic changes ‘per second, an
illusion of‘ animationiscreated in the animat
ing indicia or: circle .31. This illusion is supple 1..5
'f-(a) Red and green lights may be alternately
animating indicia is separate‘from the pictorial
this-principle.» Some equivalent lightjmethods'
are listed below.‘ '
In. Figure 4 a sign 35 is provided preferably
with a :neutral background 36-upon which is
disposed an annular ‘ring or circle 3‘! colored in
a suitable animating color such as red. A plu
rality of arrows 38_. are associated with circle ‘31
and all point in the same direction of motion.
Arrows 38 are co-lored'in a non-animating-color
“(b) A green light may be kept on continuously ‘ mented and» ampli?ed and given directional char
and a red light alternated on and off ;at suitable acteristics by the presence of arrows 38 so ‘that >
circle 31 appears to'rotate in the directionof the
arrowsor clockwise as shown in Figure 4. This
e (c) ‘A red or green lightmay be kept-uncon
tinuously- and a polychromatic or orthochromatic
light alternated on ‘or oil at suitable frequencies;
(d) Red light-and poly; ,or-jorthoc'hromatic light
illusion of directional movement is produced .29
psychologically. and is suggested by the non-anii
matingindicia and if the arrows pointed inthe
may be alternated on or off at-suitable frequen- I oppositedirection the?circle would appear-to so
In Figure 5 a sign 39 has a neutral background 25
48 1upon which. a bird‘ is pictorially disposed.
Wing portions‘ 4| are ‘colored in an animating
The particularlmethod of lighting will depend 'color while the body 42 is colored in a non-ani
. -('e.)\- Green light and polychromatic‘ orviorthoe
chromatic'light may be alternated on or off at
on the nature of the sign and the kind of anir mating color. ' When thissign is subjected to the
lighting arrangements described ‘above wings 4| 3.0.
- in the sign of Figure 1 the animated. primary appearto pulsate or flap1while,‘.since ‘body "is
indicia serves to catch ‘and hold’ the attention pointed in a particular direction, the whole bird
of an observer. The secondary non-animating appears to‘move to the right inFigure 5. This
indicia conveys the advertising message toithe illusion; of motion is produced by the association
in the-observer’s mind of?apping wings with a
..;-In Figure 2 is ‘illustrated ,anembodiment ‘ofsth'e movingbird. Heregboth sets of indicia combine
invention comprising ,a sign 2| having a back; toform the pictorial representation of the object.
‘In Figure 6 is illustrated a sign 49 having a
ground Zllupon- which are‘ disposed animating
indicia 22, which are colored in a'color havinga. neutral background '50 uponwhich: are disposed
pictorially fuel 5| in non-animating color, yellow
40 distinguishing hue corresponding with one of the
colors of thew-lighting» device. Indicia‘markings ?ames 52 and red ?ames-V53. When this sign is‘
23 on that background are-neutral in color. . The cyclically illuminated as above described the red
?ames. appear‘to move,'upward in; a, natural and
backgroundmay- ‘be of any non-animating 0010
except thecolor used for indicia 23.1 ~11
; When illuminatedby thelight arrangement de
visible at all times._ Of course, the-,relative‘c'olors
Figure 7, involvesl-an-arrangement opposite to
that of, Figure 41in that theindicia which appears
ofjindicia 23 and the-background may be. selected to-moveis here colored in non-animating colors.
so»v that either may be substantially non-re?ective, ' Figure. 7, shows a sign -54»having.a.;neutral back
as would. bethe caseif colored-black, whilethe. ground 55 upon‘ which an automobile 56 is por
other is highly re?ective if colored white; grey,
Another embodiment
-> of ' the invention is‘illus
flames- appear ‘relatively stationary.,'1
scribed above in‘Figureglg indicia-22 will appear ‘ f-_The 'vembodimentjof the invention shown in
to animate whilegindiciag1 23» will‘ be constantly
flamelilre‘manner.‘v while, the fuel and .the yellow
tratedinFigure 3 where a sign .29comprisesja
background 3| on "which is'disposedanimating
indicia30 and" 32 coloredlin asuitable animating
color." A portiony33>of the background is. colored
differently from the remainder of the background
60 andv has (disposed thereon :non'fanim‘ati‘ng indicia
34 ‘colored in vsuitablejnonranimating. colors.
Background; 33 is preferably neutral ‘ in color.
For practical purposes the non-animating 001m,
here may be yellow, orange, pale'rblue} pale
65 green, pale‘violet'or even neutral; It: maybe
vtrayedira non-animatingcolor. , A series of lines
.57] inanimating color'suchivas red are‘disposed
behind'the automobile-r; >When .thissign' is cycli
cally illuminated" theiredilinesirappear to animate
and impartvto theautomobilean illusion of nat
ural and directionahmovement,UHerethe ani
mating-indicia are‘separate markings’which im
part anwillusion oi natural'm‘otionto/a separate
rorirerimatmg indicia->6
1 ;
j _:A nrthenfQrmpi tcwolor changing mechanism
w chrnay be usedisshown at Figure 8 in which
v whitealight‘ from; agsuitable source
‘ ‘ ‘5.8g ipassesrv-through a¢condenserp59 ‘and then
through“ a, rotating .colonwheel ‘or shutter 60 65
' here pointed: out that:anyicolorheavily. shaded ' driven Ij byjgai suitable constant 301!" variable‘ speed
with‘ ‘black . such as :dark blue; dark ‘violet; dark motor (not shown-hand whichihlasitwo di?erent
green, etc. maybe considered the‘ full “equivalent Vcolori'segments..orlr?lters ‘6i andf62t Beam .63
isprojectedllponj any ofwthecolor signs above
of black for ‘purposes: of theinve'ntions"
described; Kilt :will; belobvious that beam ,63 is 70
in'Figures 4lgil'are mainly concerned with creating alternatelyiof different colors in practicingthe
illusions: of‘na'tural directional motion or move
Although the above disclosed‘ embodiments of.
ment and involve'the addition of motion indicat
ing indicia tosupplement the‘ animation produc-~ my invention speci?cally illustrate signs in which
. fthmc‘clorg-ieilects are ,~ attained. through reflected
75 ing.effectsabovedescribed.. :
light from suitably
it will be apparent
well applicable to
transparent color
colored portions of the sign,
that the invention'is equally
signs having.‘ translucent or
portions for producing ‘the
same effects. Where such light permeable signs
are used, the" source of-light such as the pro
jector of Figure 8 is located. behind the sign and
the modi?ed light is transmitted to the eye of
the observer. Furthermore translucent'signs may
10 be used to produce the same lighting effects.
For carrying out my invention where an illu
sion of natural or directional movement is de
sired, the object to be given the appearance of
motion should be studied and analyzed.
15 best arrangement of animating'and non-animat
ing lines should be selected‘ifo'r the sign. For
example, it-may be best‘to locate the animation
producing lines entirely separate from the ob
ject to be animated and which ‘appears to move
as in Figure 7.
Selection 'of the frequency of cyclic color
change depends upon the character of the object
portrayed. For example, the frequency when
showing a gull ‘in ?ight would be lower than that
25 employed to show liquid flow from a bottle or a
speeding auto-mobile. In most cases, while the
primary or basic animation may be small the
secondary or psychological effect is usually am
pli?ed and quite natural.
The invention may be embodied in other spe
ci?c forms ‘without departing from the spirit or
essential characteristics thereof. The present
embodiment is therefore to be considered in all
respects as illustrative and not restrictive, the
35 scope of the invention being indicated by the
appended claims rather than by the foregoing
description, and all changes which~come within
the meaning and range of equivalency-of the
claims are therefore intended to‘ be'embraced
What is claimed and desired'to be secured by
United-States Letters Patent isrl
1. In an animated signfa background of neu
tral' color, indicia upon said background, said in
di?erent‘colors, oneof' said lights being of sub
stantially the same‘ color as said primary part
and the‘ other of said lights being de?cient in the
distinguishing'hue of said ‘primary color, where
by‘. an- illusionof animation is conveyed to the
eyes of an observer, said primary'part of said
indiciav smoothly animating in sharp contrast to
said background, the absence of animating color
in the‘latter vavoiding fatigue‘ of the human eye
and-‘causing the single colored primary part of 10
said indicia to stand out in predominating re
lations'hip‘on said background.
4. In an animated sign having a two part
background, indicia upon‘ said background, said
indicia comprising a primary part colored in an 15
animating color and located on one part of the
backgroundand a secondary" part of non-ani
mating color located on the other part of said
background ‘and means for illuminating said
sign‘ alternately with lights of di?erent color, said 20
background parts being di?erently colored with
one-10f said background parts being neutral in
color‘.v and the other of said background parts be
ing non-neutral in color.
@5.’ In an animated sign of the'type described
in claim 4, said. primary part being predomi
nantly red and located upon a background of sub
stantially ‘complementary color.
‘6. The" ‘method of making animating signs
which comprises analyzing the subject to be ani 30
mated, providing a background of neutralcolor,
pictorially representing upon that background an
inherently animate part of the subject colored
in ‘an inanimate color, pictorially representing
upon the same background another part colored
in a single animatecolor and being of compara
tively small area with respect to the area of the
background‘ and alternatingly illuminating said
sign? with" light rays of animate and inanimate
colori'iwhereby the combined physiological and
psychological-in?uences of said lighting create
anTillusion of animated natural movement of
said" subject, said single animate colored part
smoothly animating in sharp contrast against
45 dicia comprising a primary part which is colored . saidibackground, the absence of animating colors
in a single animating color having a‘ dominant hue
and a secondary part which is colored in a non
animating color and means for illuminating said
sign in such a manner as to‘produce and con
50 vey to the eyes of an observer the illusion of-ani
mation in ‘said sign,‘ and to render said primary
part intermittently distinctly visible in contrast
ing relationship to said‘secondary part, said il
luminating means effecting periodic ‘exposures
of said'sign to light of ‘substantially the same
dominant hue as the animating color and said
said periodic exposures being spacedv by expo
sures of said sign 'to'light whose dominant hue is
different from that of the animating color.
2. In the animated sign de?ned inclaim 1,
said illuminating means being operable to‘ pro
ject said light upon said sign'with a cyclic color
in the latter avoiding fatigue of the human eye
and subordinating said‘ background to said'ani
mate colored part of said sign.v Y
:~7'.~.Apparat_us for'producing- a psychologically
induced-optical illusion of animation in a sign
having indicia of. suitable animating color upon
a-background of ‘neutral color comprising means
for alternately illuminating the sign with lights
of "diiferent colors, one ‘of Which'has the same
predominant hue-as the color of the animating 55
ihcliciaandfthe other of which has a different
predominating hue, said alternations having a
frequency oflgreater than one and one-half and
less vthan four cyclic color changes per second,
said'frequency being su?icient to‘effect smooth 60
animation 'of said-indicia but yet su?iciently low
to avoid fatigue of the human eyedue to rapid
frequency of from one and one half to four color». change.
cycles per second, said frequency being su?icient . E 8. The» method of producing an optical illu
65 to effect smooth animation of said indicia/abut sion ofv animation in a sign having indicia of suit
yet su?iciently low to‘ avoid fatigue of the human ableranimatingcolor upon a background.‘ of neu
eye due to rapid color change.
1 ‘
' r
3. In an animated sign, a neutral color back
ground, indicia on said background, said indicia
70 having a primary part‘ of comparatively small
area with respect to the area of the background
and being colored in a single animating color hav
ing a distinguishing hue‘ and a secondary part
colored‘ in a non-animating color, and 5means for
75. illuminating said sign alternately with lights of
tral color‘ which‘ comprises alternately illuminat
ingl'thea'sign with lights of .diiferent. colors, one
of whichhas the same predominant hue as the
color of the animating indicia andthe other of 70
which has a di?'erent predominant hue, said a1
ternations having a frequency of greater than
one and one-half and less than four cyclic color
changes per second, said frequency being sum
cient to eifect smooth-animation of said indicia 75
but yet su?iciently low to avoid fatigue of the
alternately visible and said secondary part is con-‘
human eye due to rapid color ‘change.
9. In an animated sign, a background of neu
tinuously visible and an illusion of animation of
said primary part is conveyed. to the observer,
tral color, indicia upon said background, said in-'
dicia comprising a pictorial primary part which
is colored in a single animating color and a sec
ondary part which is colored in a non-animating
color, said primary pictorialpart being of com
paratively small area with respect to the area
10 of said background and means for successively
illuminating said sign with‘ lights of di?erent
dominant hues, one of said lights having its
dominant hue substantially the same as that of
the animating color whereby said primary part is
said non-animating secondary part comprising
lettering pictorially distinct‘ from said primary
part but being a component part of the sign,
said pictorial primary part of said indicia
‘smoothly animating in sharpcontrast against
said backgroundthe absence of animating color
inthe latter avoiding fatigue of the human eye 10
and causing said primary part to vividly stand
out Vfrom said background and predominate
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