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Патент USA US3064385

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Nov. 20, 1962
R. s. ELY
Filed June l. 1960
2 Sheets-Sheet 1
Nov. 20, 1962
R. s. ELY
2 Sheets-Sheet 2
Filed June l. 1960
gabe/*Í 5 . El!
United States Patent Oiifice
Patented Nov. 20, 1962
play permits the numerals making up display to be
changed in a relatively short period of time.
One object of my invention is to provide a numerical
indicator which overcomes the defects of numerical in
dicators of the prior art.
Filed June 1, 1960, Ser. No. 33,228
3 Claims. (Cl. 40-32)
merical indicator which accurately positions the member
Robert S. Ely, Cheshire, Conn., assigner to The Electric
Indicator Co., Inc., Stamford, Conn., a corporation of
Another object of my invention is to provide a nu
carrying the indicia to minimize the possibility of an am
biguous or unclear display.
My invention relates to a numerical indicator for dis
A further object of my invention is to provide a nu
playing numerals and more particularly to an improved 10
merical indicator which is simple in construction and in
numerical indicator which is simpler and which is more
satisfactory than are numerical indicators of the prior art.
Still another object of my invention is to provide a nu
There are many instances in which it is desirable to
merical indicator which requires very little maintenance.
display groups of characters such as numerals so as to be
A still further object of my invention is to provide a
visible from a distance. Such displays are useful, for 15
numerical indicator which permits the character being
example, in rail and air terminals to indicate arrival and
displayed to be changed in a relatively short period of
departure times and the like. As is known these times
are subject to change with little notice so that it is de
Other and further objects of my invention will appear
sirable that the display be able to be changed in a rela
20 from the following description.
tively short period of time.
In general my invention contemplates the provision of
There are known in the prior art various systems for
display including an endless belt carrying in
visually displaying numerals. Some systems of the prior
dicia such as numerals adapted to be selectively displayed
art employ rotating cylinders which display the various
through a window or the like. A drive >motor is adapted
respective characters as the cylinder rotates. Systems
to be energized to drive the belt to position the respective
of this type embody the defect that groups of characters
indicia behind the window. I provide my system with
to be displayed by a rotating cylinder cannot be closely
means carried directly by the belt for controlling the
spaced owing to the large size of cylinder required to
drive means to ensure the precise registry of the selected
present a character of a size large enough to permit it
character with the window.
to be viewed at a distance. Moreover, the curved viewing
surface is objectionable since characters presented by
such a surface are distorted.
Another system which has been suggested in the prior
‘In the accompanying drawings which form part of the
instant specification and which are to be read in con
junction therewith and in which like reference numerals
»art is one in which the characters are optically projected
onto a viewing screen. Such a system requires a large
are used to indicate like parts in the various views:
FIGURE 1 is a top plan view of my numerical indi
results in a very high maintenance cost.
In systems of the prior art of the type in which a posi
of one unit of my numerical indicator.
‘FIGURE 5 is a schematic view of one form of elec
trical circuit which can be used with my numerical indi
number of small individual projectors which generate an 35 cator with parts broken away and with parts shown in
excessive amount of heat.
FIGURE 2 is a side elevation of one unit of my nu
Still another type system which has been suggested in
merical indicator taken along the line 2-2 of FIGURE l.
the prior art is one employing a bulb matrix, the bulbs
FIGURE 3 is an end elevation of the unit of my nu
of which are selectively lighted to display various char
indicator shown in FIGURE 1 taken along the
acters. Not only is the display provided by such a sys
line 3-3 of FIGURE l.
tem confusing if a minimum number of bulbs are em
FIGURE 4 is a developed view of the endless belt
ployed but also the relatively frequent burn out of bulbs
tionable member carrying indicia is adapted to be driven
by a motor or the like to positions at which the various
characters are visible, some means must be provided for
controlling the drive means properly to position the mem
ber to permit a particular character to be viewed. In the
prior art in systems of this type there are employed auxil
iary means connected to the drive system for interrupting
the drive at a position which should correspond to that
at which the selected character is able to be viewed.
While such an arrangement is theoretically satisfactory,
in practice it oftens results ina positioning of the position
cator showing the connection between two units of my
numerical indicator.
Referring now to FIGURES l to 3 of the drawings,
one unit, indicated generally by the reference character
10, of my numerical indicator includes a frame made
up by a pair of spaced sides 12 and 14 held in spaced
relationship by any suitable means such, for example,
as a plurality of spacing rods 16 secured to the sides 12
and 14 by any suitable means such, for example, as by
screws 18. I employ any appropriate means known
to the art such, for example, as rivets 20 or the like for
securing a frame 22 to flanges 25 and 26 formed at
which of two adjacent characters is intended to be dis
one end of the respective sides 12 and 14. The frame
played or at a location at which the character intended
22 forms a window 28 through which the characters
to be displayed is not clearly visible. That is, these posi
tioning means of the prior art are not certain in operation 60 such as numerals are adapted to be displayed in a man
ner to be described hereinafter.
in that they do not account for possible slippage in the
able member at a location at which it is uncertain as to
I provide my numerical display with a belt driving
roller 30 rotatably `supported in the sides l2 and 14.
Since the supports which mount the roller 30 in the
I have invented a numerical display which overcomes
the defects of numerical displays of the type known in 65 respective sides are substantially identical, I will describe
only that support in the side 14. An end plate 32 is
the prior art. My numerical display accurately positions
system between the positionable member and its drive
or a malfunction of the drive control.
a selected character such as a numeral at a location at
carried by a shaft 34 for rotation therewith. Shaft 34
extends into a bushing 36 in the side 14. A bearing 38
which the numeral is clearly visible at a distance. My
is disposed between the end plate 30 and the bushing
system embodies a positioning means which is much more
accurate than are positioning means of the prior art. My 70 36. I support the other end of shaft 34 in side 12 in a
manner similar to that described in connection with
system requires little maintenance and is relatively simple
end of shaft 34 supported in side 14.
in its construction and its operation. My numerical dis
The unit 10 includes a guide roller 40 rotatably sup
ported in the respective sides 12 and 14. As shown in
FIGURE 1, the lower end of the shaft 42 carrying roller
40 for movement therewith is disposed in a bushing 44
carried by the side 14. I support the upper end of the
shaft 42 in the side 12 in a similar manner. A shaft 46
carries for movement therewith a belt tensioning roller
rality of units `10, two of which are shown schematically
in the ligure and are indicated generally by the respec
tive reference characters 10A and 10B.
For purposes
of clarity in explaining the electrical circuit, I have shown
only the conductive roller 66, the contact fingers 76a
to 76]I and 76x as well as the drive motor 84 of each
unit. I connect the respective contact lingers 76a to 76j
of each unit to a plurality of respective conductors 100a
upper end of shaft 46 as viewed in the figure in a
to 100]' and I connect one terminal of the motor 74 of
bushing 49 carried by an arm 50. In a similar manner 10 a unit to the contact finger 76x of that unit. Respective
I support the lower end of shaft 46 as viewed in FIG
conductors 102 and 104 connect the contact fingers
URE l in a second arm 52. A rod or shaft 54 ex
76x of the respective units 10A and 10B to contacts 106
tending between the sides 12 and 14 pivotally carries
and 108 of a rotary selector switch, indicated generally
the arms 50 and 52. Any suitable means such, for ex»
by the reference character 110 having a contactor 112
ample, as snap rings 56 and washers S8 may be employed
adapted to be selectively engaged with the respective
to retain the arms 50 and 52 in position on the shaft
of the switch. It will be seen that the particular
54. Respective springs 60 and 62 extending between the
switch 110 shown in the ligure is adapted to permit the
ends of arms 50 and 52 remote from the shaft 46 and
use of eight units 10. I connect the other terminals of
a switch supporting bracket 64 normally urge the arms
50 and 52 and the roller 48 supported by the arms to 20 the motor 84 of all the units to a common conductor 114
48. As is shown in FIGURE l, I rotatably mount »the
move in a counterclockwise direction as viewed in FIG
URE 2.
The unit 10 has a roller 66 formed from conductive
material and insulated from the unit for a reason which
which is connected to one terminal 118 of a source of
energy having a second terminal 120'. I connect the con
ductors 100a to 100i to manually operable contact arms
122a to 122i adapted to be moved into engagement with
will be described in detail hereinafter. I rotatably mount 25 contacts 124a to 124]', all of which are connected by a
common conductor 126 and by an unlatching relay wind
the lower end of a shaft 68 carrying roller 66 in a bush
ing 116 to the upper terminal 118. The switching mecha
ing 70 carried by the side 14. In a similar manner I
nism including contact arms 122 and contacts 124 is of
rotatably support the other end of the shaft 68 in the
a suitable type known in the art in which operation of
side l2.
The rollers 30, 40, 48, and 66 carry an endless belt 30 any one of the contacts 122 causes a linkage 128 to move
a common contact arm 130 into engagement with a con
72 formed of a suitable material such, for example, as
tact 132 connected to the terminal 120. I connect the
a plastic. Preferably the belt 72 is formed from an
selector switch arm 112 to the arm 130. As is also known
opaque material having a plurality of characters such,
in the art, whenever a contact arm 122 and the contact
for example, as the numerals from zero to nine placed
thereon in the form of transparent outlines. As is shown 35 130 are moved into engagement with their associated
contacts 124 and 132, they operate a linkage 134 to cause
in the developed view of the belt 72 in FIGURE 4,
a latching mechanism 136 to hold the arms and the con
these numerals are spaced along the length of the belt.
tacts engaged until the «winding 116 is energized to act
In FIGURE 3 I have shown the numeral "2” in position
through a linkage indicated schematically at 138 to re
behind the window 28 to permit it to be viewed.
The bracket 64, which may be secured to the sides 12 40 lease the latched contacts.
I may position any suitable type of illuminating device
and 14 by any suitable means such as by screws 74, car
such, for example, as a neon bulb 140 within the frame
ries a plurality of spaced resilient contact fingers 76 ex
of the device 10 behind the window 28 to illuminate the
tending from terminals 78 through suitable openings 80
character displayed through the window.
in the bracket 64 to positions at which they may engage
In operation of my numerical display, let us assume,
the supper surface of the conductive roller 66. In the
for example, that it is desired to display the numerals 2
form of my invention in which ten numerals are to be
selectively displayed through the window 28, I provide
and 5 on the respective units 10A and 10B.
each unit 10 with a plurality of fingers 76a to 76j cor
sume further that the units 10A and 10B now display the
responding respectively to the numerals l, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7,
characters 9 and 2, for example. To set the display in
operation, the contact arm 112 is moved into engagement
with the contact 106. It will be remembered that the
linger 76x is aligned with the slots 83 in the belt 72 carry
8, 9, 0 and with a ñnger 76x through which power is sup
plied to the unit in a manner to be described hereinafter.
I provide the endless belt 72 with a plurality of spaced
holes -or apertures 82a to 82j corresponding to the respec
tive numbers to be displayed by the unit. Adjacent holes
82 are spaced along the length of the belt by a distance .
equal to the distance by which `adjacent numerals are
spaced, The holes 82a to 82j corresponding to the re
spective numerals are spaced transversely of the endless
belt by distances corresponding to the distance between
Let us as
mg the indicia so that it is in contact with the conductive
roller 66 at any time at which a contact 76a to 76j makes
contact. With the arm 112 in engagement with contact
106, the arm 122b corresponding to the numeral 2 is
moved into engagement with the contact 124b. This oper
ation causes the latching mechanism 136 to lock this arm
in its closed position. This operation also causes arm
130 to move into engagement with contact 132 to corn
adjacent fingers 76 and they are located so that as the belt 60
plete a circuit for motor 84 from terminal 118 through
moves in a manner to be described in the direction of
conductor 114, through the motor 84, through conductor
the arrow in `FIGURE 4, the holes pass beneath those
contacts to which they correspond. I provide the belt
72 with longitudinally extending slots 83 through which
the Vcontact 76x makes contact with the roller 66.
Each of the units 10 includes a motor 84 carried by
a bracket 86 secured to the side 14, for example, by bolts
102, through contact 116, through arm 112, through con
tact arm 130 in engagement lwith contact 132 to the ter
minal 120.
It will be remembered that upon actuation
of the switch arm 122b both this arm and the arm 130
are latched in their closed positions by the mechanism
88 and spaced from the side by sleeves 89 or the like.
136. When the operations described above have been
When energized, the motor 84 drives its output shaft
performed, motor 84 .is energized to drive the belt 72
90 to drive a gear 92 carried by the shañt for rotation
in the direction of the arrow shown in FIGURE 4 around
therewith. Gear 92 drives an idler gear 94 rotatably sup 70 the tensioning roller 48 and guide roller 40 and over the
ported on a shaft 96 carried by the bracket 86. Gear 94
conductive roller 66. This movement of the belt con
engages a gear 98 carried by one end of the roller 30.
tinues until the hole 82b moves under the contact finger
Referring now to FIGURE 5, I have shown one form
76b to permit this finger to make contact with the roller
of electrical circuit which may be used to control a plu 75 66. At the time that this occurs, the numeral 2 is in
tively operable switches for energizing said drive means,
position behind the window 28. When arm 76b engages
the conductive roller 66, it completes a circuit for the
winding 116 which may be traced from terminal 118
through contact 124b and Contact arm 122b, through
conductor 100b to contact finger 76b, along the conduc
means adapted to be energized to open said common nor
mally open switch, a conductive member, a plurality of
contacts adapted to engage said conductive member,
means mounting said contacts in positions at which said
belt normally prevents engagement between the contacts
and the member, means forming a plurality of spaced
openings being disposed at locations at which they per
tive roller 66 to the contact linger 76x which is in en
gagement with the roller 66, whenever a finger 76 con
tacts `the roller 66 through conductor 102 and Contact
mit said contacts to engage said member as the respective
and contact 132 to the terminal 120. As is explained l0 indicia arrive at said display location and means compris
ing one of said selectively operable switches and one of
hereinabove, when this occurs, winding 116 acts through
said pairs of contacts for energizing said drive disabling
linkage 138 to cause the latching mechanism 136 to re
means when the one of said indicia corresponding to the
lease arms 122b and 130 to interrupt both the drive cir
operated one 0f said selectively operated switches arrives
cuit of the motor 84 and the circuit of winding 116. It
at said display location.
will be seen that the motor is under the control of the
2. An indicator for selectively displaying a plurality of
means forming the hole 82b which is directly on the belt
indicia including in combination an endless belt carry
72 which carries the characters being displayed.
ing said indicia, means mounting said belt for movement
To change the indication of the unit 10B from 2 to 5,
to various positions at which the respective indica are
arm 112 is moved into engagement with contact 124e to
positioned at a display location, means adapted to be
106 to arm 112 and from the arm 112 through arm 130
cause this contact arm and the contact arm 130 to be
latched in their closed positions, As a »result of this ac
tion the motor 84 of the unit 10B drives the belt 72 of
this unit in the direction of the arrow in FIGURE 4
until the hole 82e moves under the finger 76e to complete
the circuit of the winding 116 at the same time as the nu
energized to drive said belt, means for energizing said
drive means to move said belt in a particular direction
toward a position at which a selected one of said indicia
is at said display location, a conductive roller on which
25 said belt is adapted to ride, a plurality of electrical con
tact fingers, means mounting said fingers in positions ad
meral 5 is behind the window 28 of the unit 10B. When
jacent said conductive roller with said belt disposed be
winding 116 is energized, it interrupts its own circuit and
tween the fingers and the roller, a plurality of spaced
the circuit of the motor 84 of the unit 10B accurately
openings in said belt, and means responsive to the engage
to position the numeral 5 behind the window 28 of the
30 ment of one of said fingers with said conductive roller
unit 10B.
through said belt to interrupt said drive means when a
It will be seen that I have accomplished the objects of
selected one of said indicia arrives at the display loca
my invention. I have provided a numerical indicator
which selectively displays characters such as numerals in
3. An indicator for selectively displaying a plurality of
positions to be viewed from a distance. The arrangement
indicia including in combination an endless belt carrying
of my numerical indicator is such that the positioning of
character being displayed is under the control of that
member which carries the characters. My unit is simple
in construction and operation and requires very little
maintenance. The indication provided by my numerical
said indicia in spaced relationship along its length, means
mounting said belt for movement to various positions
at which the respective indicia are positioned at a display
location, means adapted to be energized to drive said belt,
indicator may be changed as desired in a rapid and ex
peditious manner.
It will be understood that certain features and subcom
fingers and a common contact linger, means mounting
a conductive roller on which said belt is adapted to ride,
a plurality of contact fingers comprising indicia contact
said fingers in spaced relationship across the width of said
belt adjacent the location of said conductive roller, a
binations are of utility and may be employed without
reference to other features and subcombinations. This is l
plurality of openings in said belt, said openings being
contemplated by and is within the scope of my claims. It
is further obvious that various changes may be made in
details within the scope of my claims without departing
from the spirit of my invention. For example, I may
disposed in staggered relationship across the width of said
belt at spaced locations along the length of said belt, said
belt being formed to permit said common finger to engage
said belt at all positions of said openings, said belt nor
use an elongated belt which will wind on one roller and ,
mally being disposed between said indicia contacts and
said roller to prevent engagement therebetween, and
unwind from another roller in conjunction with a reversi
ble motor. I may display not only single characters such
means responsive to the engagement of an indicia contact
as numerals or letters, but I may also display words or
with said roller through one of said openings for inter
rupting said drive.
phrases. It is, therefore, to be understood that my inven
tion is not to be limited to the specific details shown and
Having thus described my invention, what I claim is:
References Cited in the file of this patent
l. An indicator for selectively displaying a plurality
of indicia including in combination an endless belt carry
ing said indicia in spaced relationship along its length,
means mounting said belt for movement to various posi
tions at which the respective indicia are positioned at a
display location, means adapted to be energized to drive
said belt, means comprising a plurality of selectively op
erable normally open switches and a common normally
open switch responsive to operation of one of said selec
Clark ______________ __ Oct. 3l,
Mann ______________ -_ Nov. 21,
Grasett ______________ __ Jan. 2,
Green ______________ __ June 3,
Sanderson ____________ __ Feb. 1’2,
Italy ________________ __ Nov. 5, 1951
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