Title:
ARTIFICIAL TREE WITH AN ELECTRICAL ILLUMINATING SYSTEM
United States Patent 3617732


Abstract:
An artificial tree having a support base, a trunk member removably connected to the base with connection means for supporting the trunk outwardly away from the base's support surface, a limb member connected to the trunk member, an electric light secured to the limb member and electrically connected to power supply means regulated with voltage reduction means connected to the tree's base. The electric light can be directly connected to the trunk member and the tree's base can include means for rotating the trunk member.



Inventors:
FISHER ROYAL P
Application Number:
04/878138
Publication Date:
11/02/1971
Filing Date:
11/19/1969
Assignee:
ROYAL P. FISHER
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
362/123, 428/18, 428/19, 428/23
International Classes:
A47G33/06; A47G33/12; F21S4/00; F21S8/00; F21W121/04; (IPC1-7): A47G33/16
Field of Search:
161/22,23,27 240
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3465139INTERNALLY ILLUMINATED ARTIFICIAL TREE1969-09-02Siegal
2558747Electric lighting system1951-07-03Greenlea
2279182Ornamental tree1942-04-07Snyder
2188529Artificial tree1940-01-30Corina
1637046Decorative lighting outfit1927-07-26Montsinger



Primary Examiner:
Dier, Philip
Claims:
I claim

1. An artificial tree which comprises base means for supporting said tree on a support surface; an elongated trunk member connected to said base means to extend outwardly away from said support surface; at least one limb member attached to said trunk member; at least one electric light attached to said limb member; first electrical conductor means electrically connected to said electric light and extending along said limb member to second electrical conductor means extending along said trunk member to said base means for transmitting electrical energy to said light; voltage reduction means attached to said base means and electrically connected to said second electrical conductor means for maintaining the electrical potential applied to said light at 1 to 12 volts; and connector means electrically connected to said voltage reduction means for connecting said reduction means to an electrical power supply.

2. The artificial tree of claim 1 wherein said electrical power supply is a household power source.

3. The artificial tree of claim 1 wherein said voltage reduction means is attached to the side of said base means opposite the side to which said elongated trunk member is connected.

4. The artificial tree of claim 1 wherein said trunk member is rotatably mounted to said support base and to drive means for rotating said trunk with respect to said base.

5. The artificial tree of claim 1 wherein said voltage reduction means is a transformer.

6. The artificial tree of claim 1 wherein said first electrical conductor means passes along the interior of said limb member and said second electrical conductor means passes along the interior of said trunk member.

7. The artificial tree of claim 6 wherein said limb member plugs into a connector attached to said trunk member for electrically connecting said light attached to said limb to said second conductor means.

8. The artificial tree of claim 1 wherein said connector is a plug-in connector sized and adapted to receive and activate an electric light.

Description:
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In recent years the use of artificial trees, and especially Christmas trees, has become very popular since, in addition to being durable they can be made in a great variety of styles. Also, such trees can be constructed from fire retardant materials which means they can be safely used and also stored for long periods of time without causing a fire hazard. One problem that, however, has been encountered in connection with artificial trees is in lighting the limbs of the trees with electrical lights because the limb structure of such trees is generally not sufficiently profuse to hide the required electrical wiring. In addition, when such trees are used as Christmas trees they are often only used for one holiday season and then discarded because they cannot be disassembled for storage. For these reasons a great need has arisen for an artificial tree that can be easily and completely dissassembled for storage purposes and that can also be electrically lighted without requiring electrical lines to be strung around the tree.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In its broadest form the invention comprises an artificial tree having a support base, an elongated trunk member connected to the support base with connection means for supporting the trunk outwardly away from the base's supporting surface, at least one limb member, and connector means secured to the trunk for removably connecting one end of the limb to the trunk.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention an electric light is attached to the limb member and the light is electrically connected to a first electrical connector secured to the limb member which coacts with a second electrical connector affixed to the trunk and electrically connected to a power source.

In another embodiment of the invention, voltage reduction means are electrically interposed between the second electrical connector and the power source for controlling the current used to activate the light.

In still another embodiment of the invention the voltage reduction means is secured to the tree base, power supply conductors are connected to the voltage reduction means for electrically connecting it to an electrical supply outlet, and the second connector is electrically connected to the voltage reduction means passed through the interior of the tree's trunk.

In yet another embodiment of the invention, the trunk member is mounted to the base with rotating means for rotating the trunk with respect to the base.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

So that the invention may be more readily understood and carried into effect, reference is made to the accompanying drawings which are offered by way of example only and are not to be taken as limiting the invention, the scope of which is defined by the appended claims which are intended to embrace equivalent structures.

FIG. 1 is a vertical section of an artificial tree constructed according to this invention wherein the section is taken in a plane passed through the proximate center of the tree's trunk.

FIG. 2 is a sectional view of the artificial tree of this invention taken in a plane proximate the plane of line 2--2 of FIG. 1 looking in the direction of the arrows.

FIG. 3 is a partial sectional view of one type of structure for connecting the tree's trunk to its base and also showing one type of electrical trunk connector suited for attaching limbs to the trunk.

FIG. 4 is a schematic wiring diagram for activating the tree lights of this invention and one type of voltage reduction means for controlling the electrical current used to activate lights.

FIG. 5 is a bottom view of one type of trunk base suitable for rotating the trunk of the tree of this invention with respect to the tree's base while maintaining the tree's lights activated.

FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken in the plane of line 6--6 of FIG. 5 looking in the direction of the arrows.

FIG. 7 is a bottom view of the base's rotating plate.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring now more particularly to the drawings, in FIG. 1 there is shown a cross-sectional view of the Christmas tree of this invention which includes a support base 10 having a bottom supporting edge 12 preferably shaped to securely rest on a substantially flat support surface 14. An elongated trunk member 16 such as a tapered tube is connected to base 10 so that it is held outwardly away from the support surface 14. Preferably, the trunk is removably connected to base 10 for storage purposes. This can be accomplished with conventional attaching means such as threaded flange 18 which is secured to the top surface of the base 10 to coact with threads 20 formed in trunk 16 proximate its bottom end. A plurality of outwardly extending limb members 22 are connected to the trunk 16 according to the fashion hereinafter described to complete the tree structure. When the artificial tree is to be used as a Christmas tree the limb members 22 proximate the bottom end of trunk 16 are naturally longer than those proximate the tree's top end so that the completed tree takes a conical configuration.

In the preferred embodiment of the invention an electrical light 24 is connected to at least one of the limb members 22 and/or the trunk 16. The light is electrically connected with power supply and return lines which extend along the limb member to trunk 16 and from thence along the trunk to its proximate bottom end to a power source. Preferably the power lines pass through the interior of trunk 16 to base 10 where they are electrically connected to voltage reduction means 26 such as a power transformer for maintaining the current used to activate lights 24 at a safe level, preferably about 1 to 12 volts. The power transformer is in turn preferably connected to a power supply line 28 fitted with an electrical plug for electrically connecting it to a conventional female electrical outlet of the type found in most homes. FIG. 4 illustrates a preferred wiring diagram for the tree lighting circuit wherein the potential of a 110 volt power supply is reduced to 3 volts for tree lighting purposes.

Limb members 22 can also be removably connected to the tree's trunk member for storage purposes. FIG. 3 illustrates one type of quick-connect structure that can be used for this purpose and for also electrically connecting the limb members to power supply lines 30 and 32 positioned in the interior of trunk 16. As shown, the trunk connector comprises a female fitting 34 pressed into a port 36 in trunk 16. The female connector is electrically connected in a conventional fashion with lines 38 and 40 to power supply lines 30 and 32 respectively. A male electrical connector 42 sized to be snugly received within female connector 34 is attached to limb member 22 proximate one end. Electrical supply and return lines 44 and 46 extend along limb member 22 from male connector 42 to light 24 wherein the light is electrically connected with lines 38 and 40 when coacting connectors 34 and 42 are urged together. It is to be noted that it is also within the scope of this invention to plug a light 24 directly into female connector 34 as illustrated in FIG. 3 to light the trunk member 16 only and to provide female connectors 34 in base 10 for lighting the base.

Power supply and return lines 30 and 32 can extend outwardly through the bottom end 48 of trunk 16 where they are preferably connected to an electrical plug 50 adapted to be received in electrical outlet receptacle 52 connected to the voltage reduction means 26 so that the electrical supply lines can be readily connected and disconnected from the voltage reduction means. When a plurality of electric lights 24 are used, they are preferably electrically connected in parallel with lines 30 and 32 so that the operation of any one light will not be affected by the operation of another.

FIGS. 5, 6 and 7 illustrate one type of rotating base 10 that can be used to rotate trunk 16. As shown, the rotating base includes a bottom stand member 54 with a support plate 56 rotatably mounted to its top face with bolt 58. Threaded flange 18 is secured to the top face of plate 56 to receive trunk 16 as heretofore described. Bearings 60 can be positioned in bearing races between plate 56 and stand 54 so that the plate freely rotates on the stand even when supporting a substantial load. The plate 56 can be rotated at a predetermined rate with a pinion gear 62 driven in a conventional fashion with motor 64. Gear 62 in turn coacts with circular rack means 66 such as spaced teeth formed about plate 56.

Spaced electrical conductors 68 and 70 are secured to the bottom face of plate 56 to coact with pickup contacts 72 and 74 respectively which are in turn affixed to stand 54, when the plate rotates on said stand. For safety purposes conductors 68 and 70 are, of course, electrically insulated with respect to plate 56. Contacts 72 and 74 are in turn connected with electrical conductors 76 and 78 respectively to voltage reduction means 26. Also, for safety reasons, motor 64 is preferably powered with electric current regulated by the voltage reduction means and then passed along said electrical conductors 76 and 78 and lines 80 and 82 to said motor. Conductors 68 and 70 can be electrically connected with lines 84 and 86 to female plug 88 which in turn coacts with male plug 50 connected to electrical lines 30 and 32. By using a construction of this type the tree's trunk can be easily removed from the rotating base for storage purposes as herein described.

It is to be noted that while the artificial tree of this invention is particularly suited for use as a lighted Christmas tree it can be used as a decorator tree by attaching a predetermined foliage, flower, or fruit to the tree's trunk and limb members.