US744923A - Means for controlling illuminated announcement and display signals. - Google Patents

Means for controlling illuminated announcement and display signals. Download PDF


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US744923A US1902119745A US744923A US 744923 A US744923 A US 744923A US 1902119745 A US1902119745 A US 1902119745A US 744923 A US744923 A US 744923A
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Robert E Lippincott
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Robert E Lippincott
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    • G06F3/00Input arrangements for transferring data to be processed into a form capable of being handled by the computer; Output arrangements for transferring data from processing unit to output unit, e.g. interface arrangements
    • G06F3/14Digital output to display device; Cooperation and interconnection of the display device with other functional units
    • G06F3/147Digital output to display device; Cooperation and interconnection of the display device with other functional units using display panels
    • G09G3/00Control arrangements or circuits, of interest only in connection with visual indicators other than cathode-ray tubes
    • G09G3/04Control arrangements or circuits, of interest only in connection with visual indicators other than cathode-ray tubes for presentation of a single character by selection from a plurality of characters, or by composing the character by combination of individual elements, e.g. segments using a combination of such display devices for composing words, rows or the like, in a frame with fixed character positions


PATENTED NOV.- 24. 1903.






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PATENTED NOV. 24, 1908.




UNITED STATES Patented November 24, 1903.



SPEGIFIGATION forming part of Letters Patent No. 744,923, dated November 24, 1903.

Application filed August 15, 1902. Serial No. 119,745. (No model.)

To all whom it may concern.-

Be it known that 1, ROBERT E. LIPPINCOTT, a citizen of the United States, residing at \Vorcester, in the county of \Vorcester and State of Massachusetts, have invented a new and useful Means for Controlling Illuminated Announcement and Display Signals, of which the following, together with the accompanying drawings, is a specification sufficiently full, clear, and exact to enable persons skilled in the art to which this invention appertains to make and use the same.

The prime object of my present invention is to provide a mechanism that can be operated by fingering keys or manually for controlling the display of electric lights in a changeable illuminated sign, advertising plant, announcement board, or bulletin, thereby rendering said mechanism unlimited in its capacity of expression and capable of being operated to immediately produce in the display of lights any words, letters, or characters as desired.

Another object is to provide an illuminated sign or display mechanism whereby an operator by manual manipulation can announce any desired series of Words or characters on the sign and having means for the obliteration of the displayed Words or characters at any instant desired.

Another object is to provide in an illuminated sign or display mechanism a keyboard or fingering-manual and means for controlling a system of lights whereby letters or characters can be written or' displayed in light by a manipulation similar to that of a type-writer and any desired wording immediately expressed on the sign or display-tablet without preparatory arrangement of the expressions in mechanism.

Another object is to provide an illuminated sign or display mechanism having facilities for primarily putting up or developing an expression or any desired series of characters unilluminated and then simultaneously flashing the entire display at once.

Another object is to provide an illuminated or flash sign apparatus that is operable without requiring a 'power motor in connection with the controlling mechanism, thus rendering such apparatus economical in agreat degree in the amount of electric current employed.

Minor objects and features are set forth in the following detailed description.

Iattain these objects by the mechanism illustrated in the accompanying drawings, wherein- Figure 1 represents a top plan view of a controlling-machineembodyingmyinvention. Fig. 2 is a transverse vertical section near the central part of the machine. Fig. 3 represents the front of one of the display-sections. Fig. 3 represents the back of a display-section, showing the lamp connecting wires. Fig. 4 is a vertical section of the display-section. Fig. 5 represents a front view of the mechanism with some of its parts re moved and others shown in section for facility of illustration. Fig. 6 is a vertical sectional view showing in detail a preferred construction of the contact devices or plugs, their supports or switch-gates, and an actuating presser or drop bar; and Fig. 7 represents a front detail view of the carriage-feed escapement.

My invention consistsin a mechanism comprising a movable carriage orsupport having thereon a series of frames or switch-gates arranged at regular intervals apart and each provided with a row of contact-making jacks or plugs adapted for making and breaking electrical contact with circuit-wires that individually lead to the lamps of the signalboards or display-sections, each gate and its appurtenances corresponding with one of the display-sections. The carriage may be made to contain any desired number of gates, and a similar number of display-sections can be employed. Combined with the carriage and switch-gates I provide a manual or keyboard comprising depressible finger-keys or levers corresponding to letters of the alphabet, numeral figures, and such characters as may be desired to be displayed in the illumination, and such keys are respectively arranged to operate drop-bars or pressers that are brought into conjunction with the rows of circuit-closing devices or plugs when the latter are at a given point of alinement with the finger-keys, which keys also actuate a carriage-feed escapement that affords intermittent advancement of the carriage to bring the switch gates successively into working alinement with the place of drop-bar action as the finger-keys are successively depressed.

The drop-bars or pressers are provided with projections or detents variously arranged on the respective drop-bars and peculiarly corresponding to the several letters, figures, or characters to press upon a predetermined number of the plugs or jacks and close the circuits,with a series of lamps corresponding with the letter or character of the particular finger-key which actuates the specific dropbar in connection with such key. Upon the carriage there is a conductor or metal plate that is in circuit with the main feed-line, preferably by a sliding contact-spring or other suitable electrical connection, that perrnits the shifting of the carriage without breaking the circuit. Each switch-gate is provided with a conductor common to the several plugs carried upon the gate, which conductorisjoined byasuitableelectricalcounection with the conductor on the carriage. A movable grid or means for simultaneously raising or retracting the plugs and breaking the circuits is provided and also means for moving back the carriage to its original position. This mechanism is employed in connection with a sign or announcementboard composed of monogrammic or other display sections, each comprising a number of incandescent electric lamps with individual circuit-wires leading from the respective gates to the lamps grouped in the respective displaysections, the mechanism being arranged and organized so that the operator by merely working the finger-keys writes in light upon the announcement-board any expression he chooses to put forth instead of being confined to the repetition of prepared limited expressions or characters.

Referring to the drawings, A denotes the main frame, which may be of any suitable form for supporting the various working parts.

B indicates a carriage or supporter movable on suitable guideways a and provided with means, as a strap 1) and weight or spring attached thereto, for drawing it forward.

0 indicates an insulated plate or electric conductor extending along the carriage and in sliding contact with a spring or springs O in circuit with the main feed-wire.

D indicates switch frames or gates supported in or upon the carriage at regular spaced intervals and containing the terminals of the lamp circuits or wires to, and each gate is provided with a row of contact-springs and circuit-closing devices or plugs D, adapted to slide up and down in said gates for opening and closing the circuits between the electric conductor mounted upon the carriage and the respective individual lamps, as more fully hereinafter explained.

F indicates a manual or keyboard of finger-keys, which are preferably arranged in the order somewhat similar to the keys of a type-writer and having aspacing key or bar E, that extends across the keyboard in a manner to be operated by each of. the finger-keys, while it can also be operated independently of the finger-keys. In the present instance the finger-keys are fulcrumed at e beneath the carriage B and extend forward, with their ends above and adjacent to the spacing-key bar E. The ends of the finger-keys are provided with suitable buttons or plates, each havingan indicating letter, numeral, or character marked thereon to distinguish its alphabetical relation in the system. Suitable springs are provided, as f, for returning and holding the keys normally at elevated position.

The spacing-key bar E is connected at its respective ends by levers E with a rockershaft E provided at convenient position with an arm G, that actuates an escapement mechanism H, whereby the carriage B is atforded intermittent feed movement for bringing the respective switch-gates into actuative position or alinement with the key-operated devices that push in the circuit-closing plugs, as hereinafter explained.

The switch-gates D are preferably formed as thin frames having their ends fitted to stand in grooves 12 or otherwise supported on the carriage B, which may be made to carry any desired number of said switch-gates. Each gate is provided with a plurality of endwise-movable metal pins or plugs D, oorresponding to the number of lamps to be controlled, and said plugs are furnished with olfset lugs or overhanging heads (1 above the top of the gate-frame. (See detail Fig. (3.) At the center part of the gate there are a series of separate contactsprings D", that respectively press against the plugs and are attached to wires to, that pass out at the end of the gate and connect with the lamps L, while the lower part of the gate-frame carries a comb-plate or series of springs D having connection with the carriage-conductor C, as at D When a plug D is pushed in or depressed, it closes the individual lamp-circuit to which it pertains, and when raised or retracted the circuit is opened. The two positions of the plugs are indicated in Fig. 6.

I indicates the pressers, pushers, or dropbars provided with projections or detents 1', adapted for actuating the plugs or circuitclosing devices D on the switch-gates. These drop-bars are in the present instance carried by swinging bows J, pivoted or fulcrumcd on a frame that extends over the carriage, said bows having arms connected, respectively, with the finger-key levers by link rods J in a manner to cause the bow and drop-bar to swing down upon the top of the switch-gate when the key is depressed, the detents of the drop-baracting against the heads of the plugs to press in such as are in the line of the de- IIO tent, but not disturbing those thatlie between the positions of the detents. The series of bows J are best arranged in two banks, as

' shown, and so proportioned and arranged that each bar will fall at approximately the same position or place of action in relation to and parallel with the switch-gate that occupies the place for contact. The drop-bars are herein shown as separate detented bars riveted to the bows; but if in any instance desired the detents can be formed integral upon the edge of the bar of the bow itself instead of being riveted on.

It will be understood that in practicel employ a presser or drop-bar in connection with each key of the finger-board; but in the aceompanying drawings some of these parts have been omitted to avoid complication in the illustration.

The pressers or drop-bars I are preferably of such length as will extend over the entire row of plugs D on aswitch-gate, the number of which can be more or less, according to the number of lamps to be controlled from a single switch-gate, and the detentst'are variously arranged on the several drop-bars for pushing in a predetermined number of the plugs or in such order as will accord with the particular letter or character of the key by which the drop-bar is operated, the arrangement of the detents being more or less different on the several bars and each set peculiar to its particular key.

K indicates a movable retractor-grid or throw-oft means arranged upon the carriage and comprising a series of bars that extend across the same within the spaces between the switch-gates and beneath the lugs or overhanging heads d of the plugs D. Said grid is provided with guides and means, as the angle-levers K, for effecting elevation thereof. The angle-levers are joined laterally by rocker-shafts and longitudinally by bars K with an actuating-lever K having a knob or handle, by moving which the grid K can be elevated and all of the depressed plugs D on the various switch-gates thereby simultaneously raised or returned to their normal primary positions.

The escapement mechanism as construct ed in the present instance is best shown in Figs. 5 and 7. It comprises a row of projecting studs B fixed on the carriage, and a vertically-moving slide H,supported on the frame and provided with a rigid detent h and a pivoted dog H, adapted for alternate engagement with said studs as the slide is moved down and up. The movement of said slide is efiected by the arm G, actuated by the movement of the spacing-key bar E when the latter is depressed by pressure on any of the finger-keys or on the spacing-key itself. The arm G, which is fixed on the rocker-shaft, is best provided with an overlying spring or yielding member G, that extends into an opening in the slide, so that when the spacing-key bar is depressed said arm and its spring member depress the slide, causing the dog H to release one stud and the escapement-detent h to intercept the next stud in order. Then as the spacing-key rises the slide moves upward, freeing the detent h from the intercepted stud, which is in turn caught by the dog H, the carriage having in the interval advanced one step of its intermittent movement by the influence of the draft-strap b and a weight or spring, which exert-s continual tendency to move the carriage forward as it is released by the escapement devices. The pivoted escapement-dog is pressed up to engaging position by a spring h and is so constructed that the carriage can be moved back to its original position withoutinterference of the escapement-detents, the spring allowing the dog to yield, so that the studs pass over the top thereof. A spring G is provided in suitable connection with the rocker-shaft arm for normally elevating the escapement-slide and spacing-key bar.

The bulletin or announcement board is composed of any desired number of displaysections M, arranged adjacent to each other, each display-section being provided with the required member of electric incandescent lamps L, the sockets Z for which are supported in a board or frame m, and all of the lamps in a section are connected with the main circuit W and each lamp separately connected with one of the switch-gates D by individual circuit 70, that has its contact-terminal and individual switch-plug in said gate. The series of switch-gates D on the carriage B and the display-sections in the announcement-board correspond in number and electric connections.

The arrangement and number of lamps in a display-section can be made as in any instance desired, the number of plugs or contact-makers in the respective switch-gates corresponding to the number of lamps so employed. I have, however, as a feature of my invention devised and herein shown a novel construction or arrangement for illuminated display-sections whereby monogrammic effect is attained by a less number of lamps in a section than has been heretofore accomplished. in my improved monogramlnic display-section Iemploy nineteen lamps disposed in the order substantially as shown in Figs. 3 and 3. Each lamp is contained in aseparate pocket L the partitions for the inner pockets converging to a point at the center of the field with eight pockets radiating therefrom,asindicated. Thesidepocketsareseparated at half-height by a cross or X shaped division at n, and the upper and lower partitions terminate with a full point at the central top a and bottom it of the section. The depth of pocket is made to exceed the projection of the lamp by about one-half, more orless, of such project-ion. (See Fig. 4.) The pockets can be individually constructed and then assembled upon and secured to the section-fra1ne or socket-board. The positions of the lamp-sockets and method of circuit-wiring are illustrated by Fig. 3, wherein W indicates the common main-circuit and w the individual-circuit wires, which are extended in a group to the switch-gate or switch-gatecoupler bar P on the controlling-machine, as best shown by Figs. 2 and 3.

On the drawings, Fig. 1, I have numbered the row of plugs D in a switch-gate from 1 to 19, inclusive, and in Fig. 3 the lamps are similarly numbered to indicate the orderor relation in which the circuits are preferably connected. I do not, however, confine my invention to this specific arrangement, since the order in which thelamp and plug connections are relatively disposed maybe varied in some instances.

The switch-gate coupler P is a means devised for readily connecting and disconnecting the controlling-machine and the wiring of the several display-sections. This coupler consists of a pair of removable bars P P, supported in suitable seats or grooves upon the carriage and provided with opposite contact springs or points, those of one bar, P, being united with the ends of wires leading from the switch-gate and those of the other bar, P united with the wires leading to the lamps in the display-section. By removal of the latter bar P from the carriage the entire section is disconnected at one operation, or by replacing said bar connection of an entire section is accomplished, the contacts being all made at once by the pressing together of the springs or points as the bar is inserted in place.

The carriage Bis best provided with an extension-frame B, upon which the coupler devices are detachably supported in corresponding alinement with the respective switchgates, the space beneath said extension being preferably left open so that the cables or groups of lamp-circuit wires can swing without interference as the carriage is moved along the frame. 7

The mechanism can be used without the couplers P when desired, the lamp-circuit wires being carried directly into the switchgates D; but I prefer to use the couplers, as they afford the advantages of ready detachment of the controlling-machine for change or shipment and render it practical for all of the wiring for the switch-gates and for the individual display-sections to be done at the manufactory, and then in setting up of the apparatus at the place of use the connection is simply made by inserting and securing the coupler-bar in position, which unites all of the lamp-wires of a section at once and without liability of confusion of circuits.

Combined with the manually-operated contact devices and carriage I provide a cut-off switch Rbetween the point 0, where the main circuit W enters the machine, and the traveling-carriage conductor 0 and having a handle R projecting from the frames conveniently near the manual keyboard. Said cutoff R is adapted for opening and closing the carriage-circuit and enabling the operator to manually set up the display with the current on or off the switch-gates and aifords facility for either flashing each display-section successively or forsetting up the display in all the sections dark-written and then flashing the entire announcement instantaneously or all together.

In the operation, electric current being on the main feed-line W, the operator depresses one of the finger-keys F, which in turn swings down the bow J, connected therewith, causing the drop-bar I to fall upon the projecting heads of the circuit-closing plugs D, and the detents on said bar, which are disposed peculiar to the letter or character of the particular key-lever, effect the closing of such of the lamp-circuits and the lighting of such lamps in the group as will bring out or develop on the first monogrammic display-section the letter or character corresponding with that of the finger-key depressed. At the same time the depression of the spacing-bar by the keylever works the escapement devices, and the carriage is moved along one step, bringing a second switch-gate into actuative position. The operator by then depressing another finger-key brings its particular presser or drop bar down upon the heads of the circuit-closer plugs of this second switch-gate, and the detented edge peculiar to that key selects and closes the circuits of lamps necessary to bring out the letter or character corresponding to the later-pressed key upon the second monogrammicdisplay-section. In like manner the operation may be continued until the carriage has reached its extent of movement, any letter or character desired being displayed by pressing the key therefor, since any one of the drop-bars will act upon any switch-gate, set, or group of circuit-closing plugs that for the time being occupies the central or working position, and each actuating presser or drop bar having a detented form peculiar to its operating-key the selection and closing of the lamp-circuits follows in the predetermined order corresponding with and responsive to the alphabetical designations of the fingeringkeys. what can be expressed in announcing any events or display-bulletins, and this, too,without any preliminary preparations for any special expression. This is an important and advantageous feature of myinvention. Another advantage is that no motor is required for working the controlling machinery, so that a saving of current is attained.

Having fully set forth the nature of my invention and described an embodiment of the same in one of its proposed forms, without enumerating any of the modifications that may be made by mere skill in the art and without departing from the principles and scope of the invention, I claim and desire to secure by letters Patent-- l. In a mechanism for controlling displays in an illuminated sign or announcement ap- Hence the machine is unlimited as to paratus, the combination with the circuitclosing devices that govern the individual lamp-circuits, of an alphabetical keyboard of finger-keys, detented bars operatively connected with the finger-keys for actuating the circuit-closing devices, a movable carriage whereon said circuit-closing devices are supported in groups, and carriage-feed mechanism governed by the keyboard action.

2. In mechanism for controllingilluminated display announcements, the combination, of a plurality of display-sections each comprising a system of lamps arranged in monogrammic order, the individual lamp-circuit wires grouped for each display-section, a switchgate for each group containing the ends of the lamp-circuit wires and contact-plates therefor, means upon each switch-plate for receiving current from a main feed or conductor, a series of contact devices carried on the switch-gate, adapted for individuallyclosing and opening the lamp-circuits, a system of pressers having detents variously disposed thereon, for operating predetermined groups of said contact devices to close lamp-circuits, means for operatively actuating said pressers, and means for moving the switch-gates to successively place them in position for receiving the presser action.

3. In combination, for the purpose specified, an illuminated display-section presenting an exhibitive arrangement of electric lamps, an individual circuit for each lamp, the contact-terminals of said circuits grouped upon a support, a shiftable carrier whereon said support is mounted, devices for severally closing the circuits to the respective lamps, a manual or keyboard of alphabetical finger-keys, and a series of actuating members alternately advanceable to a common point of action and respectively operated by said finger-keys, said members severally provided with detents adapted for selecting and actuating the circuit-closing devices in predetermined order in peculiar accord with and varying for each of the respective finger-keys, substantially as set forth.

at. In a mechanism for controlling monogrammic or multilightilluminations, a switch gate or frame having mounted thereon contact-plates connected with individual lampcircuits,contact-plates connected with a mainline conductor, and a row of endwise-movable circuit-closing plugs respectively acting in conjunction with said contact-plates, said plugs having overhanging projecting heads; in combination, with plug-actuating presserbars having projecting detents and recesses along their engaging faces, means for moving the respective presser-bars to and from the projecting heads of said row of plugs, a retracting member disposed beneath the overhanging heads, and means for moving said member, for the purpose set forth.

5. In a mechanism for the purpose described, the combination, of a series of con= tact-plates and circuit-closin g plugs that control lamp-circuits, a varied series of pivoted swinging-bow presser-bars adapted for severallyimpinging at a common center or position of alinement, each bar having projecting detents thereon disposed for putting into contact a predetermined number of said plugs or circuit closing devices without disturbing others, a set of finger-keys having connections for individually swinging said bows and moving the presser-bar detents into conjunction with said circuit-closing plugs for closing the selected circuits, a movable carrying means for bringing the various circuit-clos- 8o ers successively to the place of impingement of said presser-bars, and means for replacing said circuit-closing devicesindependently of the presser-bar action.

6. In apparatusforcontrolling theillumiuation of monogrammic display-sections, a supporting-frame with longitudinal guideways, a movable carriage mounted thereon, a plurality of frames or gates standingin said carriage, each provided with a series of contactmaking spring-plates individually connected by conductor-wires with the lamps of the respective display-sections, circuit-closing devices in conjunction with the contact-plates,

a set of finger-key levers, a series of swinging 5 bows, drop-bars or followers supported above the carriage and connected for respective operation by the finger-key levers, and each drop-bar having means foriactuating a peculiar number of the circuit-closing devices, and

means for advancing said carriage step by step, to bring therespective gates successively into line with said drop-bars.

7. In a mechanism of the character described, an operating means comprising an alphabetic keyboard of finger key levers, a bank, or banks, of swinging-bow levers severally connected with said key-levers and pivoted to drop at a common line of action, presserbars carried upon said bows and having pro- [10 jecting detents and interspaces upon their edges, movable switch-gates carrying rows of contact-plugs or circuit-closers for controlling lamp-circuits, a support for said switchgates, and means for bringing the rows of cirr 15 cuit-closers successively into the common line of action of said presser-bars.

8. In combination, a plurality of monogrammic display-sections, each comprising a system of illuminating-lamps, a correspond- 12o vidually control the currents to the respective r 25 lamps in a display-section, a movable frame or carriage supporting said switch'gates, a manual keyboard of operating-keys, presser mechanisms actuated by said manual keys,

and engaging said circuit-closing devices for closing the lamp-circuits in a predetermined order peculiarly differentiate to the letter or character of the individual operating-keys, means for effecting feed changes to bring the respective switch gates singly into coactive relation with said key-actuated presser mechanism.

9. In a controlling mechanism for illuminated display or announcement boards, a plurality of gates carrying the lamp-circuit terminals, a movable support for said gates, a series of contact or circuit closing devices mounted on each of said gates and individually controlling the lamp-circuits, a manual keyboard, mechanisms operated by said keys for depressing the circuit-closing devices in order peculiar to the respective finger-keys, and means for simultaneously retracting the depressed circuit-closing devices for opening the closed circuits.

10. In mechanism for the purpose set forth, the combination, With the carriage, a plurality of switch gates respectively carrying the lamp-circuit terminals, series of circuit-closing plugs arranged on said switch-gates, and having lugs or offset heads, a movable grid provided with bars that engage the lugs or ofiset heads of said circuit-closing plugs, and means for lifting said grid and thereby retracting the depressed plugs to their normal position for opening the circuits.

11. In a display-controlling mechanism of the character specified, the combination with the manual spacing-key bar, and the movable carriage supporting the switch-gates and circuit-closing devices thereon; of an escapement mechanism comprising a series of pro jecting studs fixed on the carriage, a slide member Working in conjunction With the spacing-key bar and carrying a detent and a reversely-yielding catch-dog adapted for engaging and releasing said studs in accord with the reciprocative action of said slide member, substantially as described.

12. In a mechanism for controlling illuminated displays in a monogrammic or multilight announcement apparatus, the combination,of a plurality of display-sections each presenting an exhibitive arrangement of lamps, groups of devices for severally closing the circuits to the respective lamps, a movable carriage supporting said circuit-closers, a mom able contact-conductor on said carriage in circuit with the main feed-line, means for advancing the carriage in steps corresponding to the display-section groups, finger-key levers and selective pressers operated thereby for actuating said lamp-circuit closers, and a cut-off or circuit-controller between the entering main feed-circuit and said movable contact carriage conductor, whereby the mechanism is adapted. for effecting simultaneous flash of the announcements primarily set or dark-Written in the display-sections.

13. In a mechanism for controlling illuminated display announcements, comprising a plurality of monogram mic groups of lamps or multilighted display-sections; the combination, with the lamp-circuit Wires, the series of circuit-closing devices and means for operating said circuit-closing devices, mounted on the machine; of multiple line-couplers connected with the groups of lamp-circuit wires, and having a series of contact devices, Whereby all of the Wires from a single display-section can be simultaneously connected, or disconnected, with the controller mechanism at one operation.

14:. In combination, with a series of illuminatable display-sections, and electric lamps therefor, a plurality of switch-gates carrying the terminals of the lamp-circuits, and contact-plates and circuit-closing devices thereon, a movable carriage supporting said switchgates, said carriage provided with an extension-frame; and a series of separable couplerbars connected with and uniting the groups oflamp-circuit Wires between the switch-gates and display-section, said coupler-bars being detachably supported on said carriage extension.

Witness my hand this 2d day of August, 1902.




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