Ornamental device having lines for gravity descent of liquid droplets
United States Patent 3912166
An ornamental device employs parallel monofilament lines extending between the peripheries of vertically spaced plates. The peripheries of the plates are notched to receive an endless filament which extends back and forth between the plates to form the parallel lines. Liquid in a pressurized chamber above the upper plate is carried through a plurality of tubular projections which extend down through the plate to discharge liquid laterally against each of the lines to form liquid droplets which descend along the lines by gravity. The droplets are collected in a pool adjacent the lower plate and are recirculated to the upper liquid chamber under pressure. In one form of the invention, a transparent flexible tube extends axially at a central position between the plates to carry liquid from the pump to the upper chamber. In this form of the invention, the overall length of the device may be shortened for shipment. In other forms of the invention, the return tube for liquid may be rigid to prevent relative motion between the upper and lower plates, or may take the form of several support tubes spaced around the periphery of the device. This invention relates to an ornamental device using liquid droplets and concerns improvements over the devices shown in my prior U.S. Pat. No. 3,174,688 granted Mar. 23, 1965. The present invention employs vertically spaced plates having peripheral notches which receive an endless filament passing back and forth between the plates to form one or more series of parallel vertical lines. Liquid is distributed to each line at a location below the upper notched plate, forming droplets which descend by gravity along the lines. The droplets act like tiny lenses to catch the light and form a pleasing raindrop effect. Since the individual lines are formed from a continuous filament applied laterally to notches in vertically spaced plates, the stringing of the lines does not require that the end of the filament pass through a hole in either plate. The result is that a material savings in time of string-up at assembly is accomplished. A pump and motor secured to the lower plate serve to recirculate liquid up through a central transparent flexible tube to a pressure chamber adjacent the upper plate. Decorative electric lamps are provided within the transparent tube. Very even distribution of liquid to each of the lines is achieved by pressurizing the liquid in the upper chamber, and a further advantage is obtained in that a smaller quantity of liquid is required, as compared to devices relying only on gravity feed for the liquid to the individual lines. Other and more detailed objects and advantages will appear hereinafter.
B05B17/08; F21S10/00; (IPC1-7): B05B17/08
Field of Search:
Wood Jr., Henson M.
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Lyon & Lyon
1. In an ornamental device of the class described, the combination of: a pair of vertically spaced plates each having lateral notches, a series of lines received by the notches and extending between the plates, means for delivering liquid laterally to each of the lines at a location below the upper plate to form liquid droplets which descend by gravity along the lines.
2. The device of claim 1 in which said means includes a plurality of tubular elements extending through the upper plate and each having a discharge end adjacent one of the lines, respectively.
3. In an ornamental device of the type described, the combination of: a pair of vertically spaced plates each having lateral notches, a continuous filament received by said lateral notches and extending between the plates to form a series of lines, a liquid chamber, means for delivering liquid from said chamber to each of said lines at a location below said upper plate whereby the liquid may descend by gravity in droplets along the lines.
4. The device of claim 3 in which the notches are formed on a boundary surface of each of the plates.
5. The device of claim 3 in which the notches are formed on the outer periphery of each of said plates.
6. The device of claim 3 in which a liquid collector is secured to the lower plate, and means for returning liquid from the lower collector to said liquid chamber.
7. The device of claim 6 in which the latter said means includes a pump and motor on the liquid collector, the weight of the pump and motor serving to tension the lines.
8. In an ornamental device of the type described, the combination of: a pair of vertically spaced plates each having notches in its periphery, the notches in the upper plate terminating in enlarged openings extending through the plate, a continuous filament laterally received by said notches and extending between the plates to form a series of lines, the continuous filament passing through said openings, a liquid chamber, means for delivering liquid from said chamber to each of said lines at a location below said upper plate whereby the liquid may descend by gravity in droplets along the lines, said means including a plurality of tubular elements extending through said openings and each having a discharge end adjacent one of the lines, respectively.
9. The device of claim 8 in which a liquid collector is secured to the lower plate, and means including a central tube for returning liquid from the lower collector to said liquid chamber.
10. The device of claim 9 in which the latter said means includes a pump and motor on the liquid collector, the weight of the pump and motor serving to tension the lines.
11. In an ornamental device of the type described, the combination of: a pair of vertically spaced plates, a continuous filament extending between the plates to form a series of lines, a liquid chamber, means for delivering liquid from said chamber to each of said lines at a location below said upper plate whereby the liquid may descend by gravity in droplets along the lines, a liquid collector secured to the lower plate, a central flexible tube for returning liquid from the lower collector to said liquid chamber, and a pump and motor on the liquid collector for pumping liquid through said flexible tube, the weight of the pump and motor serving to tension the lines.
In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a side elevation showing a preferred embodiment of this invention.
FIG. 2 is a sectional elevation taken substantially on the lines 2--2 as shown in FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a sectional plan view taken substantially on the lines 3--3 as shown in FIG. 2.
FIG. 4 is a sectional plan view taken substantially on the lines 4--4 as shown in FIG. 2.
FIG. 5 is a sectional detail taken substantially on the lines 5--5 as shown in FIG. 3.
FIG. 6 is a sectional detail taken substantially on the lines 6--6 as shown in FIG. 4.
FIG. 7 is a fragmentary perspective view of a portion of the apparatus shown in FIGS. 1-5.
FIG. 8 is an enlarged detail of a portion of FIG. 2.
FIG. 9 is a wiring diagram.
FIG. 10 is a side elevation showing a modification.
FIG. 11 is a sectional elevation taken substantially on the lines 11--11 as shown in FIG. 10.
FIG. 12 is a side elevation showing a second modification.
FIG. 13 is a sectional elevation taken substantially on the lines 13--13 as shown in FIG. 12.
Referring to the drawings, the ornamental device generally designated 10 uses a plurality of monofilament lines 11 and 11a extending between vertically spaced disks 13 and 14. Liquid droplets 12 descend along the lines 11 simultaneously by gravity, and these droplets act as tiny lenses which catch the light to form a pleasing raindrop effect.
In accordance with this invention, the lines 11 and 11a are formed from a single length of filament which passes back and forth between the upper plate 13 and the lower plate 14. As shown in FIG. 6, the ends of the continuous filament are crimped at 15 and 16 with respect to the lower plate 14. The filament passes upward through the radial notch 22 in the plate 14 and then through an opening 17 at the end of a radial notch 21 in the periphery of the upper plate 13. A portion 19 of the filament is received within a groove 20 formed in the upper surface of the upper plate 13, and the filament then passes downward through the opening 17 at the end of the adjacent radial notch 21. The groove 20 may be interrupted at 20a to produce an upward offset 19a in the line portion 19. The filament then passes downward and into the next notch 22 in the series in the lower plate 14. The notches in the periphery of the plates 13 and 14 permit the continuous filament to be installed laterally and thus avoid the requirement that the end of the filament be passed axially through holes in the spaced plates 13 and 14. The inner series of lines 11a are strung into the deep notches 21 and 22 until the entire inner circumferential series is completed, then passes through the shallow peripheral notches 24 in the upper plate 13 and similar shallow notches 25 in the lower plate 14, to complete the outer circumferential series. The continuous filament passes through the openings 26 at the inner ends of the shallow notches 24. Grooves 28 in the upper surface of the plate 13 connect adjacent pairs of openings 26 and receive a portion of the continuous filament. The grooves 28 may also have interrupted portions 28a.
From the foregoing description it will be understood that the lines 11 and 11a are strung between the notched plates 13 and 14 by inserting the continuous filament laterally through the notches rather than moving an end of the filament axially through openings in the plates. In this way the time required for stringing the lines at assembly is greatly reduced.
The lines 11 in the outer series may be strung with a helix lead in one direction while the lines 11a in the inner series may be strung with a helix lead in the other direction. This produces a pleasing "hourglass" shape.
The upper plate 13 is supported by means of a chain 30, terminal fitting 31, cap 32, and cover 33. Fastenings 34 connect the cap 32 to the cover 33 and fastenings 35 clamp the distributor 36 between the upper plate 13 and the cover 33. This clamps the local offsets in the lines caused by the groove interruptions 20a and 28a.
The lower plate 14 is suspended from the upper plate 13 by means of the lines 11 and 11a and the lower plate 14 is fixed to the liquid collector 38 by means of threaded fastenings 39 (FIG. 4). The collector 38 has an upstanding peripheral rim 41 which forms the outer boundary of a liquid pool into which the droplets descend along the lines.
A central fitting 43 is fixed to the liquid collector 38 and has a projecting portion 44 extending upward through the collector 38 and through the split filter disk 45 and foraminous grating 46. A pump 48 secured to the central fitting 43 by means of the inlet connection 49 is driven by an electric motor 50. An enclosing shell 47 encircles the pump 48 and motor 50 and associated parts. Discharge of the pump 48 through outlet 51 carries liquid through the variable restrictor 52, flexible tube 53 into the lateral passage 54 and connecting axial passage 55 in the portion 44. A flexible transparent tube 56 carried pumped liquid from the fitting 43 to the central element 57 which is fixed to the distributor 36. Lateral ports 58 in the element 57 deliver the pumped fluid to the pressure chamber 59 formed between the cover 33 and the distributor 36.
The lower face of the distributor 36 is provided with downward extending tubular projections 61 forming an inner series and a similar set of tubular projections 62 forming an outer series. These tubular projections 61 and 62 are formed integrally with the distributor 36 and each has a passage 63 communicating at its upper end with the chamber 59 and extending to the discharge end 64 of the tubular peojection. The tubular projections 61 extend through the openings 17 and the tubular projections 62 extend through the openings 26. As best shown in FIG. 5, the tubular projections 61 lie adjacent the lines 11a so that liquid carried by the passages 63 emerges from the ends of the projections 61 as droplets 12 which transfer to the lines 11a by reasons of surface tension. All of the droplets 12 travel by gravity along the lines and none falls free. The outer series of projections 62 lie adjacent the outer series of lines 11 in the same way, and function in the same manner.
While it is possible to employ water as the liquid which forms the droplets on the lines, I prefer to use ethylene glycol because of its resistance to evaporation, and its low electrical conductivity. This latter characteristic is needed because small electrical incondescent lamps 66 are connected in series and are positioned within the transparent tube 56. The wires 67 connecting the lamps 66 need not be insulated because the liquid is such a poor conductor of electricity.
Also positioned within the transparent tube 56 is a double conduit insulated conductor 68 which supplies electrical energy to the motor 50. This conductor 68 is carried by the support chain 30 and extends through a sealing device 69 in the element 57 and through another sealing device 70 in the member 43. A transformer 72 supplies power to the conductor 68. This transformer is energized from a conventional electrical wall plug 73.
When the plug 73 is connected to a source of electrical energy, the motor 50 is energized and operates the pump 48. The decorative lamps 66 are illuminated at the same time. Liquid in the collector 38 passes through the screen 46 and through the filter 45 into the pump inlet 49. Liquid under pressure is then pumped through the variable restrictor 52 and up through the transparent flexible tube 56 into the liquid chamber 59. Liquid from the chamber 59 then passes through the tubular projections 61 and 62 to form droplets which descend by gravity along the lines 11a and 11. The droplets collect in the pool within the collector 38 and are recirculated by the pump 48. Since the chamber 59 is pressurized, substantially the same rate of flow is achieved through each of the tubular projections 61 and 62 with the result that the flow of liquid is distributed for uniform flow on all of the lines 11 and 11a.
It has been found that a smaller total volume of liquid is required with the pressure system described above, as compared to gravity feed devices such as those shown in my prior U.S. Pat. No. 3,174,688 granted Mar. 23, 1965. This in turn reduces the cost. Another cost saving feature is the construction which permits axial shortening of the entire device for shipment. The liquid is first emptied from the device and then relative turning movement is applied to the upper and lower ends while the axial distance between them has materially shortened. The lines 11 and 11a as well as the tube 56, conductor 68 and wires 67 are sufficiently flexible to permit this axial collapse for shipping purposes. The device automatically returns to its normal overall length when it is suspended by means of the chain 30.
The filter disk 45 is provided with a radial slit line 45a (FIG. 4) so that it may be disassembled from the portion 44 of the member 43 when desired, and removed and replaced through spaces between the droplet-carrying lines. The removable screen 46 is provided so that buildup of liquid under the filter disk 45 when the motor 50 is shut off limits the extent of upward bulging of the filter disks 45 which might otherwise serve to dislodge it from position.
In the modified form of the invention shown in FIGS. 10 and 11, the apparatus is suspended by means of a chain 30a as before, and the droplet-carrying lines 11b engage the upper and lower plates and are provided with liquid, as described above. However, the central tube 56a is rigid, rather than flexible. One or more electric lights 81 are mounted in openings 82 provided in the distributor 36a. The pump 48a, motor 50a, filter disk 45a, and screen 46a are positioned in line but are off center with respect to the axis of the central tube 56a. In all other material respects, the device is similar to that described above.
In the modified form of the invention shown in FIGS. 12 and 13, the device rests on a base 86 and is not suspended. A plurality of rigid pipes 87 support the upper assembly 88 from the lower assembly 89. One of these pipes serves as a conduit for liquid delivered from the pump 48b to the liquid chamber 59b. An electric light bulb 81b may be positioned in an opening 82b in the upper assembly 88, and the light bulb is supplied by power through the conduit 90 passing through another of the pipes 87. In all other material respects, the device is similar in construction and operation to that first described above.
Having fully described my invention, it is to be understood that I am not to be limited to the details herein set forth but that my invention is of the full scope of the appended claims.