United States Patent 3785335

A horn which may be sounded selectively by blowing through a mouthpiece or by release of compressed gas. Valve means are provided to control the release of compressed gas and valve means are provided to close the mouthpiece. The two valve means may be independent or may be joined. In the preferred embodiment a button, which when manually depressed opens a valve permitting the compressed gas to escape via the diaphragm and sound the horn, is provided with a central hole communicating to the diaphragm and is shaped like a mouthpiece. The horn may be sounded by blowing into the mouthpiece button to provide a stream of air past the diaphragm and through the horn. By manually depressing the button, the hole therein is automatically sealed.

Application Number:
Publication Date:
Filing Date:
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
116/142R, 222/402.1, 222/402.25, 446/204, 446/216
International Classes:
G10K9/04; G10K9/20; (IPC1-7): G08B21/00
Field of Search:
116/112,65,137,142,142FP,139 46
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3590770FIRE ALARM1971-07-06Wagner
3244137Pneumatically actuated fire alarm1966-04-05Garvey
2918895Fluid powered horn1959-12-29Buell
1692942Traffic-signal apparatus1928-11-27Kubli

Foreign References:
Primary Examiner:
Capozi, Louis J.
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Samuel, Stoll Et Al J.
I claim

1. An air horn, comprising:

2. An air horn in accordance with claim 1, wherein:

3. An air horn in accordance with claim 2, wherein:

4. An air horn in accordance with claim 3 wherein:

5. An air horn in accordance with claim 4, wherein:

6. An air horn in accordance with claim 5, wherein:

7. An air horn adapted to be sounded by a source of compressed gas and by blowing by mouth, comprising:

8. An air horn comprising;


Horns powered by compressed gas are well known. See, for example, applicant's own U.S. Pat. No. 3,590,770 which issued July 6, 1971. The pressurized propellant is commonly provided in a container of relatively limited capacity and it is intended that an exhausted container either be replaced or, if provision is made therefor, be recharged. Inconvenience and even danger may occur, however, when no fresh supply of pressurized propellant is available when the contents of the container attached to the horn are exhausted.

An example of the danger which may attend loss of pressurization without opportunity for replenishment is a mariner's fog horn. It is not uncommon for a mariner to completely deplete his stores of pressurized propellant under the heavy use to which his fog horn would be put during periods of low visibility and it is during such periods that it is dangerous to lose the use of a fog horn. Similarly, horns for signaling purposes are not available if the pressurized propellant has been completely used and no replacement or replenishment are available. Accordingly, the present invention provides a unique air horn which incorporates provision for manual sounding in addition to sounding by pressurized propellant.


In conventional pressurized propellant horns, there are valve means manually actuated to control sounding of the horn. Actuation may be a button which when depressed opens a spring-urged valve and which when released permits the valve to close. It is an important feature of the primary embodiment of the present invention that such button be provided with a central bore which communicates with the diaphragm chamber and the horn, permitting use of the button as a mouthpiece for manual sounding of the horn. Complete exhaustion of the pressurized propellant results in a horn which may be manually sounded rather than an unusable implement as is the case with prior devices.

Broadly speaking, the invention is of a horn which may be selectively sounded by compressed gas or by blowing by mouth. In the preferred embodiment the mouthpiece is also the means by which the compressed gas is controlled.


FIG. 1 is a side view of the air horn of the present invention showing the container for the pressurized propellant and the horn coupled in the conventional manner.

FIG. 2 is a front view of the horn and container shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is an enlarged cross-sectional view taken across line 3--3 of FIG. 2 and showing the container partially broken away to disclose its content.

FIG. 4 is a view similar to that of FIG. 3 but showing the actuating button depressed and the container valve open. In this configuration and with pressurized propellant in the container the horn is sounding.

FIG. 5 is an enlarged fragmentary view of the container valve shown in its closed position.

FIG. 6 is a view similar to that of FIG. 5 but showing the valve in its open position and schematically showing gas flow out of the container by means of arrows.


Referring to the drawing, air horn 10 of the present invention comprises a horn 12 including a housing 14, a pressurized container 16 removably coupled to housing 14, and valve means 18 functionally located between horn 12 and container 16.

Horn 12 includes a vibrating diaphragm 20 located in accordance with the standard practice at the input or reduced diameter end of horn 12. Vibration of diaphragm 20 is induced by a high velocity gas flow generated between the diaphragm and the adjacent small open end of the horn by a source of pressure. Diaphragm 20 forms a sealed chamber 22 in conjunction with a portion of housing 14 on the side of diaphragm 20 opposite horn 12. The sealed chamber provides rebounding compression against diaphragm 20 as the diaphragm is forced into the chamber by the high velocity gas flow. The diaphragm is thus provided with a "bounce" which provides diaphragm vibration in conjunction with the gas flow which induces pressure variations in the gas flow out of the horn. With proper tuning, which is provided during manufacture of the horn, the frequency of those pressure variations occur in the audible range and are amplified by the horn.

Valve means 18 is a reverse spring-loaded check valve in which a valve 24 is spring-urged by spring 26 into sealing engagement with seat 28. Manual lifting of valve 24 away from its seat 28 provides an opening through which a gas may pass. It should be clearly understood, however, that any suitable valve means may be used. The valve means just described is that which is commonly used in disposable containers of pressurized propellant which are sold in uniform sizes convenient for use and which are intended to be disposed of when exhausted and not refilled.

In the conventional valve means disclosed herein the valve mechanism is connected to container 16 by a collar 30 which incor-porates a retaining member 32 for spring 26. Valve seat 28 is held in position by the closed top of upstanding cylindrical extension 34 of collar 30. The valve 24 is a sealing disk which may be flanged to hold spring 26 in position. The central portion of seat 28 and the adjacent top of cylindrical extension 34 are provided with co-axial holes forming a passageway 36. Valve 24 circumferentially seals passageway 36 when closed against seat 28. A hole is provided in retaining member 32 such that there is communication and an escape path from the interior of the container through hole 38 and out of passageway 36 when valve 24 is open. Cylindrical extension 34 is conventionally provided with external threads and housing 14 is provided with an internally threaded coupling 40 such that container 16 may easily be screwed on and off horn 12. A gasket 43 is provided to prevent the escape of pressurized gas between the container at the top of cylindrical extension 34 and horn 12 at threaded coupling 40.

Communication between the interior of container 16 and horn 10 is through valve means 18, note FIG. 5, a hole 42 provided for the purpose in threaded coupling 40 into a conduit 44 formed by housing 14, and thence, through air opening 45 in partition 45a, into chamber 46 which is exposed to diaphragm 20 and the small end of horn 12. Communication is, of course, controlled by opening and closing of valve means 18.

Actuation of valve means 18 is provided by a button 50 which is slidably secured to housing 14 and which is provided with an extension 52 which extends from button 50 to valve 24 and which is substantially co-axial with movement of valve 24. Manual depressing of button 50 pushes valve 24 away from seat 28 and opens the valve to a flow of gas. Releasing button 50 permits spring 26 to close the valve and in doing so it raises button 50 to the original position. Valve 24 may be cupped to engage the ends of button extension 52 without slippage. In order to extend from button 50 to valve 24, button extension 52 passes through coupling hole 42 and passageway 36.

It is an important feature of the invention that button 50 is provided with a bore 54 which extends from the top of button 50 to chamber 46 by way of port 54a into which button 50 extends. There is accordingly an opening between chamber 46 and the outside of horn 10.

Operation of air horn 10 may now be described. Placing a finger on the top of button 50 and depressing the button opens valve 24 and permits the pressurized propellant in container 16 to generate an air flow into chamber 46 and out of the horn past diaphragm 20. The presence of the finger on the button closes bore 54 and seals chamber 46 thereby preventing unwanted escape of the pressurized propellant through the bore. Should, however, there no longer be any pressure left in container 16, it is the purpose of the invention to permit the generation of pressure in chamber 46 and consequently air flows past diaphragm 20 and out of the horn by simply placing one's mouth around button 50 and forcibly blowing through bore 54 into chamber 46. The horn will now sound as though the pressure emanated from counter 16.

For comfort and convenience of operation, button 50 may have its top formed concavely inwardly to provide a convenient seat for a finger. This promotes correct yet rapid placement of the finger directly over bore 54 to provide adequate sealing of the bore during pressurized container operation of the horn. Button 50 is further shaped to form a convenient and comfortable mouthpiece having a flange 56 with smoothly rounded edges to provide ease of use with full sealing of the lips around the button.

Bore 54 communicates with chamber 46 at all times regardless of whether or not button 50 is depressed. This permits manual use of the horn by blowing into the button without the necessity for depressing the button and consequently releasing of any residual pressure which may inadvertently be left in container 16.

To promote ease of use during the manual blowing operation, it is desirable to provide a diaphragm which is relatively resilient so that adequately loud sounding of the horn may be provided with moderate and reasonable lung pressure.

While the foregoing is illustrative of a preferred embodiment of the invention, it is clear that other embodiments may be had within the teachings hereof. For example, any valve means may be utilized in conjunction with any mouthpiece which communicates with chamber 46 provided that there are means to seal the mouthpiece while the valve is open. In the preferred embodiment as described, there is shown a unique method of combining actuation of the valve with sealing of the mouthpiece but it is understood that the invention is intended to encompass other such combinations. Further, the source of compressed gas may be a bellows, pump or the like.