United States Patent 3749903

The disclosure describes a reflecting device wherein a multi-colored diaphragm or disc is positioned in relation to a transparent hemispherical dome so as to transmit light from either an internal or external source against the inside surface of the dome to form a peripheral reflected pattern which is visible primarily in the areas or plane between the diaphragm and the apex of the dome as a psychesthetic colored light pattern and unusual illumination effect. The disc and dome are rotated in relation to one another or both may rotate in relation to the light source.

Application Number:
Publication Date:
Filing Date:
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
40/564, 40/571, 40/581, 362/811
International Classes:
A47G35/00; F21S4/00; G09F13/00; G09F19/12; (IPC1-7): A47G33/16
Field of Search:
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3531637TOUCH OPERATED ELECTRIC LIGHT1970-09-29Nathanson
3431410ORNAMENTAL DISPLAY1969-03-04Dolan et al.
3242330Apparatus for producing moving and color-changing decorative lighting effects1966-03-22Schoffer
2608779Ornamental display device1952-09-02Joy

Primary Examiner:
Moses, Richard L.
What is claimed is

1. A psychedelic lighting device comprising:

2. A psychedelic lighting device in accordance with claim 1 in which:

3. A psychedelic lighting device in accordance with claim 2 in which:

4. A psychedelic lighting device in accordance with claim 1 in which:

5. A psychedelic lighting device comprising:

6. A psychedelic lighting device in accordance with claim 5 in which:

7. A psychedelic lighting device in accordance with claim 5 wherein:

8. A psychedelic device in accordance with claim 5 in which:

9. A psychedelic device in accordance with claim 8 in which:

10. A psychedelic device in accordance with claim 8 in which:


Devices for the production of unusual and psychedelic lighting effects for amusement or advertising effects are well known. Rotating, transparent multi-colored discs placed before a lamp are used to light show-rooms, door fronts and Christmas trees. Ever changing patterns of light are reflected from various shapes of moving water streams for purposes of beautification and public amusement when combined with music. Such lighting effects generally employ the direct transmission of various colored light to the eye of the viewer or passage of reflected light through a translucent member whereby the image bears a direct relation to the multi-colored light produced by the reflecting surface, i.e., it is a real image. The instant invention is directed to the provision of a simple, inexpensive, attention-getting device which produces an image bearing no relation to the transmitting source, the design of which depends upon the angle of view and the same image is not seen by two different viewers at the same time.


This invention concerns a psychesthetic device adapted to produce slowly moving variously-colored light patterns that seemingly hang in space as an imaginary image within a reflecting transparent dome receiving light, reflected or transmitted, from a disc placed diametrically at the base of the dome. In one embodiment, both the dome and disc are slowly rotated in relation to an internal light source. In another embodiment the disc is rotated in relation to the dome with either an internal or external light source. The visual effect produced is a varigated bloblike image appearing to be at time within the dome and at times somewhere in space beyond the dome.


The several embodiments of this invention are shown in the drawings wherein like reference numbers are used to designate the like parts throughout the several views and wherein:

FIG. 1 is a isometric view of one form of the device in the form of a decorative lamp or a stand;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the device shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view taken along the lines 3--3 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a plan view of one form of colored disc used in the several embodiments of the invention;

FIG. 5 is a plan view of another form of colored disc used in the several embodiments of the invention;

FIG. 6 is a fragmentary isometric view of the adjacent edges of two decorative panels with interlocking tabs used in the assmebly;

FIG. 7 is a fragmentary isometric view of the edges shown in FIG. 6 in the locked position;

FIG. 8 is a fragmentary view of the interlocking tab junctures of a decorative panel and the base of the reflecting dome;

FIG. 9 is a fragmentary isometric view of the motor drive and light source mounting;

FIG. 10 is a side plan view of a modified form of the device;

FIG. 11 is a cross-section view taken along the line 11--11 of FIG. 10;

FIG. 12 is a cross-sectional view of another form of the device;

FIG. 13 is a cross-sectional view of still another form of the device; and

FIG. 14 is a fragmentary plan view of the surface of one form of reflecting disc having a random-placed square multi-colored fluorescent checkboard configuration.


Referring to the drawings the psychedelic device 10 is shown in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3 in the form of a lamp to include the round base support member 12 from which extends the tubular upright elongated support 14, which in accordance with FIG. 3 terminates with the end 16 providing the tubular opening 17 adapted to receive in press-fit relationship the U-shaped bracket 18, the base cross member 20 of which is transverse within the opening 17. The base 12 and the tube 14 are formed of any suitable material such as pressed cardboard, or fibre board or aluminum and can be fabricated from sheet metal or stainless steel.

The U-shaped bracket 18 forms a support for light bulbs 22, the base 24 of which are suitably attached in safe insulated relationship as by the spot welded brackets 25 shown in FIG. 9. The U-shaped bracket 18 is preferably fabricated from metal strip material to facilitate the insertion of the bottom diametrically into the opening 17.

At the top of the bracket 18 the ends are bent outwardly to form the opposite facing tabs 26. The drive motor 28 has corresponding tabs 30 extending from its housing which rest upon the tabs 26 and are affixed thereto by suitable bolts or screws 32. The drive shaft 34 of the motor 28 extends in a vertical position with a suitable spacing collor 36 there-on against which the lower washer 38 rests, supporting thereabove the colored disc 40. The shaft 34 is threaded to receive the wing nut 42 and the threaded portion of the shaft extends through a suitable bore hole (94 in FIG. 4) in the center of the colored disc 40, and through the top washer 44. Tightening of the wing nut 42 holds the disc between the washers for rotation with the shaft.

The disc 40 (FIG. 4) is circular and includes several circumferentially spaced air vent passages 46 around and spaced from the center bore to provide ventilation. The electrical wires and cord for connecting the bulbs and motor to a source of 110V AC current have been omitted, for simplicity. The disc 40 serves as a rotating hub and supports the hemispherical plastic dome 50 thereon by means of the interengagements of the circumferential offset or groove 52 in the lower periphery of the dome 50 in a snap-fit relationship with outer rounded edge 54 of the disc. The dome 50 is a single piece of molded plastic of substantially hemispherical shape so that the disc 40 lies in a diametric plane therethrough. A vent hole 55 is provided in the top center of the dome 50. An integral lobed flange 56 extends outwardly from the base portion of the dome 50 and as shown in FIG. 3, this flange has three narrow curved sections 58 and the three wider points 60 thereabout. The narrow sections 58 have the single tabs 62 (FIG. 8) extending radially therefrom and each pointed portion 60 has the pair of circumferentially spaced tabs 64. Each of the tabs 62 and 64 has a bore hole 66 for a purpose to be described.

The curve defined between each wide portion 60 and the next adjacent wide portion of the flange 56 provides a backing against which the planar trim panels 68 are attached by means of the slots 70 (FIG. 8), there being three such slots in each panel, near the top edge, to engage over one of the pairs of tabs 64 at the edges of the panel and the single tab 62 central of the panel. Each of these slots has a depending tongue 72 which, being flexible, snaps into the holes 66 as the parts engage. Three panels 68 are fastened to the flange 56 in this manner to form a lamp shade configuration. The side edges 74 of the panels 68 taper inwardly from the top straight edge 76, which extends above the flange 56 a desired amount, to the bottom edge 78 bearing any desired trim or scallop configuration. Thus, the three panels 68 form a complete side enclosure depending from the support flange 56 and are slightly curved to conform with the lobed shape of this flange.

As illustrated in FIGS. 6 and 7, the opposing edges 74 of the panels have the tabs 80 and 82 with the former having the downward opening slot 84 and the latter with the upward opening slot 86. The tabs are intermediate the edges 76 and 78, are semi-circular in shape, and the slots extend about half way therein from opposite directions. In order that the panels 68 can be fabricated identically where three panels are used, each panel will have a downwardly open slot 84 and tab 80 on one edge and an upwardly open slot 86 and tab 82 on the opposite edge. In this manner, the edges of the panels are brought together so that the tabs interengage as illustrated in FIG. 7, with the slot of one tab into the slot of the other. This forms a joint like FIG. 7 at all six contiguous edges of the panels and rigidifies the structure.

The panels 68 are readily assembled in this manner and can be hung from the tabs 62 either before or after their tabs 80 and 82 are interlocked. The resulting perpendicular tabs protrude outwardly from these junctures so that the trim pieces of plastic or ribbon 90 can be hung thereover by the interengagement of the circular hole 92 at the upper end in the manner shown in FIG. 1. The holes 92 can be smaller than the effective diameter of the protruding pairs of tabs 80 and 82 so that the ribbons are stretched slightly to pass into a support relationship.

The disc 40 can be fabricated of any transparent material, or combination of opaque or translucent plastic material to form any desired color pattern against which the light from the bulbs 22 is directed. FIG. 4 illustrates one form of disc 42 having the central opening 94 to receive the shaft 34, with six vent holes 46 being cut around and spaced from the periphery of the central opening. The shaded areas 96 represent opaque or black portions while the stripes 98 and 100 represent transparent colored portions for the purpose of light transmission. The stripes 98 and 100 can be all the same color or any desired pattern of different colors employed as there are stripes. In this embodiment the stripes 98 and 100 are not quite symmetrically arranged though each extends in a chordal relationship across the disc 42. Six stripes 98 and 100 are shown intersecting each other across the disc 42 in a somewhat random pattern so that no one opaque area 96 is exactly the same shape as another. A truly symmetrical arrangement can also be used.

FIG. 5 illustrates another form of plastic disc 40' having a pattern therein comprising the opaque areas or plain background and various abstract designs of various transparent colors indicated at 102, 104 and 106 intersected by the clear transparent irregular radial lines or ribbons 108, some of which pass through the colored areas and others of which are wholly with the opaque sections. The ribbons of clear plastic may or may not originate at the vent holes and may or may not extend to the edge 54. The border lines 109 defining the colored areas can be sharp or gradually blend from opaque into the colored areas. Various combinations of colors can be used for the areas 102, 104 and 106 and obviously a number of abstract shapes and different sizes of colored areas can be used.

The operation of the device of this invention is as follows. With electrical power supplied to the bulbs 22 and motor 28 the disc 40 is rotated carrying with it the dome 50 and the side panels 68. The speed of rotation is about 10 to 30 rpm using a synchronous constant speed motor. Light from the bulbs 22 passes through the transparent colored or clear portions of the disc 40 and impinges upon the inner surface 110 (see FIG. 3) of the dome. The incident rays from the light sources are indicated by the shorter broken line arrows 112 and a refracted ray of lesser intensity is shown at arrow 114. A large portion of the light is in the form of the reflected rays indicated by the broken line arrows 116. The reflected rays from one side of the dome pass across to the other side and although a portion thereof becomes the second internal reflected rays indicated by the arrow 118, a larger portion becomes the refracted rays indicated by the continuing arrows 120 to the outside of the dome.

In a sense that portion of the inside surface 110 of the dome 50 against which the incident colored light rays 112 are impinging is a concave mirror, the aperture being cut in half by the disc 40. The axis of this mirror is the radial distance from the center axis 34 to the surface 110 and the real image of light coming from an object located on the one side of the center would be inverted and larger than the object when it is further from the mirror and smaller when nearer the mirror. However, when an object is between a concave mirror and its principal focus (normally a point between the center of curvature and the mirror surface) the image is vertical, erect and always larger than the object. This means that the mirror effect of the curved dome surface produces a number of vertical images within the dome interior which appear to the observer only in a plane that includes the light indicated by the arrows 120. The size and intensity of the image is reduced with the eye at a level of the disc 40 or when the eye level is above the top arrow 120 illustrated in FIG. 3, as an approximation. The configuration of this image is totally unlike the normal appearance of the disc or the appearance through the top vent hole 55. The rays 120 are converging and their focal point or circumferential area of greatest intensity to the viewer is a number of inches outside of the edge 76 and as much as 1 to 2 inches below the level of the disc 40.

This unusual effect allows that small portion of the inside of the dome 50 just above the disc 40 to be used for other indicia as indicated in the embodiment of FIGS. 10 and 11, wherein the modified dome 50' has the circular opaque card 130 bearing the advertising indicia 132. As shown in FIG. 11, the dome 50' does not have the bottom flange 56 but includes the circular groove or embossment 52 which snap-fits over the outwardly directed flange 134 of the modified base trim member 136 made of molded plastic to form a unified structure. This trim member includes the flat portions 137 for advertising indicia around the skirt. In this embodiment the disc 40 has the various images illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5 applied to the upper surface by means of "DAY-GLO" paint and dependence is had on external or room illumination for the psychedelic effect. The tube 14 (shown without a base support) houses the battery case 138 for DC batteries to operate the drive motor 140 that rotates the entire assembly about the support 14. The circular card 130 merely rests upon the disc 40 and rotates therewith. The circular card 130 can be formed of clear plastic with the indicia 132 formed of translucent material.

FIG. 12 illustrates an embodiment and modification of that shown in FIG. 11 wherein the motor drive shaft 34' is provided with a hool end to engage the hook 142 of the elongated wire 144 also having the hook 146 at the top end for suspension from a ceiling or other structure. The disc 40 incorporates a Day-Glo image on the top surface and has its center opening around the shaft 34' and rests or is adhered to a suitable pad 148 also encompassing the shaft and held by the casing of the DC motor 140. Batteries for the motor are contained in the case 138 as before described. The bottom of the modified trim base 136 is provided with an opening 150 so that it can be used with or without the upright tubular support 14.

Still another embodiment is shown in FIG. 13 combining both internal light through the bulbs 22 and the motor drive 28 operating on AC current but employing the modified trim base 136 of FIGS. 11 and 12. In this embodiment the entire unit rotates on the upright support 14.

The dome 50 can be fabricated from any suitable transparent material such as glass (preferably tempered), plastic such as acrylics, methyl methylmethacrylate, methylmethacrylate-styrene copolymers, methylmethacrylate-alpha methyl-styrene copolymer, alkyl resins, chlorinated polyethers, certain expoxy resins, fluoroplastics, phenoxy compounds, polyethylene, polystyrene, vinyl polymers and vinyl copolymers. Since one skilled in the art of plastic selection and fabrication will know the various types and compositions of plastics to use for the purpose of forming a rigid transparent dome for purposes of this invention and also how to form the dome itself no further explanation is necessary. The remaining parts such as the side panels 68, the ribbons 90 and the lower trim member 136 can be formed of any moldable plastic material or pressed paper and the like and preferably has low light transmision properties or is opaque. Preferably the dome 50 is formed of a plastic having the ability to transmit about 90 percent or more of light directed perpendicular to its surface. The reflecting and/or refraction properties of the various transparent plastics will vary depending on their type and composition. The surface 110 need not be a perfect hemisphere and some distortion of the colored image will result from imperfections in the plastic surface and differences in the thickness of the curved wall.

The particular disc 40 shown in FIG. 4 and used in the embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 3 with a combination of red, blue and green, or yellow stripes presents an image for the viewer which is like an ever-changing rainbow the bands of which appear to form as a gradually extending curve of one color at one side, grow to a full circle and then gradually diminish on the other side. The size and area of the image varies with the distance between the viewer and the dome and also varies with the angle of view. The largest image in area is seen at a viewing angle which is about in line with the plane of the disc 40 or slightly below this plane. In a darkened room other light effects become apparent and the image seen is intensified.

The image formed by the embodiment shown in FIGS. 11 and 12 where light from an external source is used and the image is formed by reflectance from an object surface on the disc 40' for example painted with fluorescent paint such as the product known as "Day-Glo" paint becomes most apparent in a semi-darkened room with the light source above the dome and preferably on a side opposite that of the viewer. Direct sunlight or sunlight through translucent glass or plastic as a sky light is particularly effective in forming a visible colorful and ever-changing image. Where an internal light source is used there are some viewing angles wherein a bright spot representing the image of the light source is seen which adds to the illusionary effect. The image at any one time is as different as there are viewing points around the dome and no two viewers will see the same image at one time.

The embodiments shown in FIGS. 11 and 12 can also be used with internal light sources and other modifications can be made to change the size, trim, advertising, supports and related structures without departing from the spirit of the invention. Thus the hook 144 can be long or short or made adjustable. The size of the air vents 55 and 150 can be altered or these vents can be eliminated, although some ventilation is preferable for the motors and light bulbs in order to lengthen their usefulness.

One form of disc 40 shown in FIG. 14 that presents an unusual image is an irregular checkerboard pattern formed of squares painted with fluorescent paint.

As each square other than those that are opaque, forms an image of color, it moves in an arc across the surface 110 and becomes distorted into a curved-edge panel. An irregular pattern of clear, blue and red squares has been used for this purpose to form a moving variegated rainbow. An occasional yellow square adds to the illusion and beauty of the image. The height of the stand 14 is such that the dome 50 is about at eye level for the average person. Likewise the embodiment of FIG. 12 is suspended so that the disc 40 is at or above normal eye level.

In this embodiment the squares 154 can be transparent or colored while the squares can be opaque, the squares 156, 158 and 160 are patterned to illustrate possible arrangements of different colors of fluorescent paint or the equivalent.

From this description, it is apparent that the psychedelic device of this invention comprises the hemispherical dome of transparent material with a diametric planar member across the base of the dome which has areas emitting various colored light patterns that are reflected from the inside of the dome and transmitted to a zone of view that surrounds the dome and which can extend from circumferential locations somewhat below the plane of the diametric member to circumferential locations above the plane thereof. The dome can be of any desired size and depend upon its own source of light or embient lighting conditions.

It is also apparent that the circumferential offset or internal groove 52 on the dome 50 can engage upon the outwardly flared flange 134 only and the diametric member 40, see FIG. 11, can be unattached and circumferentially spaced from the groove 52 with the bottom opening 150 providing support for the dome and trim member 136 by any suitable means. Thus, vent holes can be provided in the sides near the base of the trim member and smaller bottom hole provided to sit peripherally upon a supporting flange upon the tubular stand 14. In this latter embodiment the drive motor can be omitted and the diametric disc provided with vaned openings and be centrally balancd on a pointed spindle above the light source so as to be rotated slowly by the current of heated air from the light source. Thus, the dome can be stationary and the diametric disc rotated in relation thereto. No two viewers see the same image or image changes unless of course their points of view are in the same plane relative to the diametric member and the same radial distance from the axis of rotation in which event a similar image may be seen sequentially by different viewers of the device. For all viewers the images seen have a phantom and mysterious effect not unlike a crystal ball and exclusive of any other reflections created elsewhere in the environment of the viewers.