Title:
Lighter, door assembly therefor, and method for providing a protected flame
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A lighter includes a casing and a door panel assembly with two abutting door panels being operative to move the door panels away from each other to expose a burner head by retracting outwardly and downwardly into an ignition cover.



Inventors:
Fontaine, Walter G. (Narragansett, RI, US)
Application Number:
10/935499
Publication Date:
03/09/2006
Filing Date:
09/07/2004
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
431/344, 431/255
International Classes:
F23Q7/12; F23Q2/08
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
BASICHAS, ALFRED
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SALTER & MICHAELSON (ATTLEBORO, MA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A lighter, comprising: a casing; a burner head extending from said casing; a flame nozzle disposed in said burner head; a manually operable ignition switch mounted on said casing; an ignition cover extending from said casing and disposed around said burner head, said ignition cover defining an enclosure in which said burner head is disposed, and defining an opening generally in alignment with said flame nozzle; and a door panel assembly operative to move from a first disposition closing the ignition cover opening to a second disposition exposing the ignition cover opening and said flame nozzle upon manual manipulation of said ignition switch by a user, and operative to move from the second disposition to the first disposition upon release of said ignition switch by the user.

2. The lighter of claim 1, wherein said door panel assembly comprises opposed first and second doors movable away from each other from the first disposition to the second disposition exposing the ignition cover opening.

3. The lighter of claim 1, comprising a second flame nozzle disposed in said burner head.

4. The lighter of claim 1, wherein said ignition switch is slidably movable on said casing.

5. The lighter of claim 1, wherein said ignition cover comprises an end wall and an endless side wall, said end wall defining the opening.

6. The lighter of claim 1, wherein a linkage is disposed in said casing and interconnects said ignition switch and said door panel assembly, such that the linkage is adapted to activate a flame at said flame nozzle and to activate movement of said door panel assembly towards the door panel assembly second disposition.

7. A lighter, comprising: a casing for housing a flammable fuel reservoir, a fuel conduit extending from the fuel reservoir, a fuel valve for controlling flow of fuel from the fuel reservoir, and an ignition initiator; a burner head extending from said casing; a flame nozzle disposed in said burner head; a manually operable ignition switch mounted on said casing; an ignition cover extending from said casing and disposed around said burner head, said ignition cover defining an enclosure in which said burner head is disposed, and defining an opening generally in alignment with said flame nozzle; a door panel assembly operative to close the opening in said ignition cover and further operative to expose the opening and thereby expose said flame nozzle; said ignition switch being operative, upon the manual manipulation thereof by a user, to activate the flow of fuel to said flame nozzle and to activate the ignition initiator; and said ignition switch being further operative upon the manipulation thereof by the user, to simultaneously activate movement of said door panel assembly to expose said flame nozzle and a flame supported by said flame nozzle.

8. The lighter of claim 7, wherein said door panel assembly comprises opposed first and second doors movable away from each other from the closed disposition to the disposition exposing the ignition cover opening.

9. The lighter of claim 7, comprising a second flame nozzle disposed in said burner head.

10. The lighter of claim 7, wherein said ignition switch is slidably movable on said casing.

11. The lighter of claim 7, wherein said ignition cover comprises an end wall and an endless side wall, said end wall defining the opening.

12. The lighter of claim 7, wherein a linkage is disposed in said casing and interconnects said ignition switch and said door panel assembly, such that the linkage is adapted to activate a flame at said flame nozzle and to activate movement of said door panel assembly towards the disposition exposing the ignition cover opening.

13. A lighter, comprising: a casing; a burner head extending from said casing; a flame nozzle disposed in said burner head; a manually operable ignition switch mounted on said casing; an ignition cover extending from said casing and disposed around said burner head, said ignition cover defining an enclosure in which said burner head is disposed, and defining an opening generally in alignment with said flame nozzle; and a door panel assembly comprising opposing retractable and abutting door panels; wherein upon manual manipulation of said ignition switch by a user, the door panel assembly is operative to retract the door panels away from each other to expose the burner head and to ignite a flame in said burner head, and upon release of said ignition switch by a user, is operative to extinguish the flame and to return the door panels to an abutting position.

14. The lighter of claim 13, wherein the door panels retract downwardly into the ignition cover.

15. A door panel assembly for a lighter, the assembly comprising: an ignition cover disposed at one end of the lighter and having an opening in an end wall thereof, side walls of said ignition cover surrounding a burner head portion of the lighter having a flame nozzle therein; a door panel for disposition in the ignition cover opening and movable to a position removed from the opening and within said ignition cover; an ignition switch mounted on the lighter and operative, when manipulated by a user, to initiate a flame which extends from the nozzle in the burner head in said ignition cover; and a linkage assembly in the lighter operative, upon the manipulation by the user to initiate the flame, to substantially simultaneously move said door panel from the disposition in the ignition cover opening to the position removed from the opening and within said ignition cover.

16. The door panel assembly of claim 15, wherein said ignition switch is slidably mounted on a wall of the lighter and is spring biased in a first direction, said ignition switch having a projection extending through a slot in the lighter side wall, and said linkage assembly comprising a pivotally mounted lever engageable by the projection and pivotally movable thereby, said door panel being mounted on a first leg of a pivotally mounted angle piece and said lever being adapted to move a second leg of said angle piece, such that said angle piece is caused to pivot and the first leg of the angle piece is caused to move said door panel to uncover the opening.

17. The door panel assembly of claim 14, wherein said door panel comprises a first door panel and the panel assembly further comprises a second door panel opposed to said first door panel, and said second door panel is mounted on a first leg of a second pivotally mounted angle piece and said lever is adapted to move a second leg of said second angle piece, such that said second angle piece is caused to pivot and the first leg of the second angle piece is caused to move said second door panel in a direction away from said first door panel to uncover the opening.

18. The door panel assembly of claim 15, wherein said pivotally mounted lever is engageable with the pivotally mounted angle pieces and operable to move the angle pieces and thereby the first and second door panels simultaneously.

19. The door panel assembly of claim 16, wherein said ignition switch is spring biased in a first direction and the manipulation by the user to initiate a flame and to cause said first and second door panels to move away from each other to expose the flame is directed in a second direction, said spring bias being operative upon release of said ignition switch, to reverse the movements of said linkage assembly to cause said first and second door panels to move toward each other and close the opening in the ignition cover end wall.

20. A method for providing a protected flame, the method comprising the steps of: providing a lighter having a casing, a burner head extending from the casing, a flame nozzle disposed in the burner head, an ignition cover defining an enclosure in which the burner is disposed and defining an opening generally in alignment with the flame nozzle, a door panel assembly operative to move between a first disposition closing the opening and a second disposition exposing the opening, and an ignition switch mounted on the casing and operable to activate and deactivate a flame supported by the flame nozzle, and to initiate movement of the door panel assembly; manually operating the ignition switch to activate a flame at the flame nozzle and, simultaneously, to cause the door panel assembly to move to the second disposition, such that the flame is exposed and accessible through the opening but is shielded by the ignition cover; and releasing the ignition switch, to deactivate the flame, and simultaneously, to cause the door panel assembly to move to the first disposition, such that the opening defined by the ignition cover is closed.

21. The method in accordance with claim 20 wherein the ignition switch is slidably mounted on the casing and is spring biased in a first direction, and operating the ignition switch to activate a flame comprises the step of manually pushing the slidable switch in a second direction against the spring bias.

22. The method in accordance with claim 21 wherein the step of releasing the ignition switch to cause the door panel assembly to close the opening comprises the step of releasing the slidable switch to permit the spring bias to move the switch in the first direction.

Description:

BACKGROUND

1. Technical Field

The disclosure is directed to an apparatus and method for providing a flame, and is directed more particularly to a lighter, such as is commonly used for lighting cigarettes, with a door panel assembly which enables the provision of the accessible but protected flame, and is still further directed to a method for providing an accessible and protected flame.

2. Related Art

Lighters for lighting cigarettes, cigars, and the like, are well known in the art. Such devices typically include a casing in which is disposed a fuel reservoir, a fuel conduit and valve, and an ignition assembly for activating a flame in one or more nozzles in a burner head portion. To protect the flame against wind and to protect the user and flammable materials from inadvertent contact with the flame, the burner head often is provided with a “windshield,” which typically is a metal wall with holes therein, or a screen-like member.

The lighters are provided with an ignition switch which is operable by a user to activate a flame at the nozzle or nozzles.

Many lighters are provided with a cover pivotally connected to the casing in the area of the burner head and operative in a closed position to enclose the burner head and protect the nozzle from dirt, dust and pocket debris.

In use, the ignition cover is pivoted away from the burner head to expose the nozzle, and the ignition switch is manipulated to activate the flame. The windshield protects the flame from being blown out by wind and serves to guard against unwanted contact between the flame and flammable materials or the user's hands, or the like.

While it is advantageous to provide lighters with ignition covers and windshields, the ignition covers require a first hand movement to move the cover, prior to a second hand movement for initiation of the flame. After the flame has served its purpose, a third hand movement is required to return the ignition cover to its nozzle protecting disposition. The windshield, though effective for its purpose, is not attractive aesthetically and can itself become hot enough to cause at least some discomfort if inadvertently touched by the user.

A need exists for an improved lighter cover assembly.

SUMMARY

One feature of the present disclosure is the provision of a lighter including a casing, a burner head extending from the casing, a flame nozzle disposed in the burner head, a manually operable ignition switch mounted on the casing, and an ignition cover extending from the casing and disposed around the burner head, the ignition cover defining an enclosure in which the burner is disposed, and defining an opening generally in alignment with the flame nozzle. A door panel assembly is operative to move from a first disposition closing the ignition cover opening to a second disposition exposing the ignition cover opening and the flame nozzle upon manual manipulation of the ignition switch by a user, and operative to move from the second disposition to the first disposition upon release of the ignition switch by the user.

In accordance with a further feature of the disclosure, there is provided a lighter including a casing for housing a flammable fuel reservoir, a fuel conduit extending from the fuel reservoir, and a fuel-valve for controlling flow of fuel from the fuel reservoir, and an ignition initiator. The lighter further includes a burner head extending from the casing, a flame nozzle disposed in the burner head, a manually operable ignition switch mounted on the casing, and an ignition cover extending from the casing and disposed around the burner head, the ignition cover defining an enclosure in which the burner head is disposed, and defining an opening generally in alignment with the flame nozzle. A door panel assembly is operative to close the opening in the ignition cover and further operative to expose the opening and thereby expose the flame nozzle, the ignition switch being operative, upon the manual manipulation thereof by a user, to activate the flow of fuel to the flame nozzle and to activate the ignition initiator, and the ignition switch being further operative upon the manipulation thereof by the user, to simultaneously activate movement of the door panel assembly to expose the flame nozzle and a flame supported by the flame nozzle.

In accordance with a further feature of the disclosure, there is provided a door panel assembly for a lighter. The assembly includes an ignition cover disposed at one end of the lighter and having an opening in an end wall thereof, side walls of the ignition cover surrounding a burner head portion of the lighter having a flame nozzle therein, a door panel for disposition in the ignition cover opening and movable to a position removed from the opening and within the ignition cover, and an ignition switch mounted on the lighter and operative, when manipulated by a user, to initiate a flame which extends from the nozzle in the burner head in the ignition cover. A linkage assembly in the lighter is operative, upon the manipulation by the user to initiate the flame, to substantially simultaneously move the door panel from the disposition in the ignition cover opening to the position removed from the opening and within the ignition cover.

In accordance with a still further feature of the disclosure, there is provided a method for providing a protected flame, the method includes the steps of providing a lighter having a casing, a burner head extending from the casing, a flame nozzle disposed in the burner head, an ignition cover defining an enclosure in which the burner is disposed and defining an opening generally in alignment with the flame nozzle, a door panel assembly operative to move between a first disposition closing the opening and a second disposition exposing the opening, and an ignition switch mounted on the casing and operable to activate and deactivate a flame supported by the flame nozzle, and to initiate movement of the door panel assembly. The method further includes the steps of manually operating the ignition switch to activate a flame at the flame nozzle and, simultaneously, to cause the door panel assembly to move to the first disposition, such that the flame is exposed and accessible through the opening but is shielded by the ignition cover, and releasing the ignition switch, to deactivate the flame, and simultaneously, to cause the door panel assembly to move to the second disposition, such that the opening defined by the ignition cover is closed.

The above and other features of the disclosure, including various novel details of construction and combinations of parts, and method steps, will now be more particularly described with reference to the accompanying drawings and pointed out in the claims. It will be understood that the particular device and method embodying the disclosure are shown by way of illustration only and not as limitations of the disclosure. The principles and features of this disclosure may be employed in various and numerous embodiments without departing from the scope of the disclosure.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Reference is made to the accompanying drawings in which are shown illustrative embodiments of the disclosure, from which its novel features and advantages will be apparent.

In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one form of lighter illustrative of an embodiment of the disclosure;

FIG. 2 is a front elevational view of the lighter of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the lighter of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a top portion of the lighter of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is an exploded front elevational view of the lighter of FIG. 1, less a casing portion of the lighter;

FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken along line 6-6 of FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is similar to FIG. 6, but showing lighter internal components in different operative positions;

FIG. 8 is similar to FIG. 5, but showing lighter internal components in different operative positions; and

FIG. 9 is similar to FIG. 8, but showing exploded components of FIG. 8 in assembled condition.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present disclosure is directed to a lighter with a cover that has a cover assembly that includes retractable doors, allowing accessibility of a flame for the purpose of lighting a cigarette, or the like, while keeping the flame protected from wind or inadvertent contact with the user or flammable materials. The cover assembly facilitates a quick and easy method for providing an accessible but protected flame and for extinguishing the flame after use and protecting the nozzle from dirt, dust, pocket debris, and the like.

The cover assembly is automatic, that is, it does not require that the user manually move an ignition cover away from the flame supporting nozzle before activating a flame in the nozzle, and also does not require that the user manually move the ignition cover so as to cover the nozzle after use of the lighter. Thus, the lighter further includes an accessible but protected flame with a single movement of a switch and permits total enclosure of the lighter nozzle and deactivation of the flame simply by release of the switch.

Referring to FIGS. 1-4, it will be seen that lighter 10 includes a casing 12 and an ignition cover 14. The ignition cover 14 may be attached to the casing 12 by any appropriate means, such as by tabs 16, shown in FIGS. 5, 8 and 9.

A manually operable ignition switch 18 is slidably mounted on a front portion 20 of the casing 12.

Referring to FIGS. 4-9, it will be seen that a burner head 22 is disposed within the ignition cover 14 and is provided with at least one nozzle 24, two nozzles 24, 24a being illustrated in FIG. 4. A lighter having two nozzles is shown and described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,632,082, issued Oct. 14, 2003, to Andrew D. Smith, and incorporated herein by reference.

The ignition cover 14 includes an endless side wall 26 disposed around the burner head 22 and includes an end wall 28 which defines an opening 30.

A door panel assembly 32 includes at least one door panel 34, two panels 34, 34a being illustrated in the drawings.

As illustrated in FIGS. 5-9, the door panel assembly 32 includes at least one door panel 34 and in a preferred embodiment shown in the drawings, two door panels 34, 34a adapted to abut each other to close the opening 30 (FIG. 5) and to move away from each other to expose the opening (FIG. 9). In the illustrated embodiment, door panels 34, 34a move away from each other to expose the opening by retracting outwardly and downwardly into ignition cover 14 in order to expose burner head 22. In either a closed or open position, the door panels substantially underlie the opening 30 and remain within the ignition cover 14. Depending on the size of the lighter and its components, it will be apparent that the construction of the lighter may include the door panels 34, 34a extending downwardly into the casing 12.

The ignition switch 18 is provided with an inwardly extending prong 36 (FIG. 6) engaged at its distal end 38 with a lever 40 which is pivotally mounted on a pivot pin 48 held between stationary posts 50 (FIG. 5). The lever 40 is configured to have abutment portion 42 which abuts a spring-biased crossbar 44 (FIG. 6) supporting upstanding arms 52, 54 (FIG. 5). Topmost free ends 56, 58 of the arms 52, 54 are provided respectively, with projections 60, 62 extending inwardly from the arm free ends 56, 58.

The door panel 34 is fixed to a first leg 64 of an angle piece 66 including a second leg 68 extending generally normal to the first leg 64, and a third leg 70 extending at an angle to the second leg 68, such that the second and third legs 68, 70 form a generally V-shaped notch 72 therebetween.

Similarly, the door panel 34a is fixed to a first leg 64a of an angle piece 66a including a second leg 68a extending generally normal to the first leg 64a, and a third leg 70a extending at an angle to the second leg 68a, such that the second and third legs 68a, 70a form a generally V-shaped notch 72a therebetween.

The projections 60, 62 are respectively disposed in the notches 72, 72a. The angle pieces 66, 66a are pivotally mounted on pivot pins 80, 80a, respectively. The crossbar 44 is spring-biased in a direction toward the ignition cover 14.

The crossbar 44 carries a post 74 which, at the distal end thereof, is in contact with a fuel valve 76 disposed in a fuel line 78.

The lighter at rest exhibits the ignition cover opening 30 closed by the door panels 34, 34a and the ignition switch 18 is in an uppermost position, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 6. As illustrated in FIG. 6, the upwardly spring-biased crossbar 44 urges the lever 40 upwardly which, in turn, maintains the ignition switch 18 in its upward-most position.

To initiate a flame, a user typically holds the lighter 10 in one hand and with the thumb of that hand presses against a surface 82 of the ignition switch 18 to urge the switch downwardly, as viewed in FIGS. 6 and 7, such that the prong 36 urges the crossbar 44 downwardly against the spring bias.

As the crossbar 44 moves downwardly, the angle pieces 66, 66a are pivoted about their respective pivot pins 80, 80a, as shown in FIG. 8, to cause the door panels 34, 34a to move away from each other to expose burner head 22 through opening 30, by retracting outwardly and downwardly into ignition cover 14.

Simultaneously, the post 74 depending from the crossbar 44 operates the fuel valve 76 to permit fuel to pass into the fuel line 78 and thence to the nozzles 24, 24a in the burner head 22. The movement of the crossbar also activates an ignition initiator, not shown but well known in the art, to initiate a flame in each of the flame nozzles 24, 24a. An appropriate ignition initiator is shown and described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,308,240, issued May 3, 1994 in the name of Hans Lowenthal, and incorporated herein by reference.

Thus, with a single hand movement, the lighter provides a flame or combination of flames in the burner head 22, disposed within the ignition cover 14, and extending through the ignition cover opening 30, and which is protected from wind and inadvertent contact with the user or flammable materials.

After use, to extinguish the flame, the user merely releases the ignition switch 18, which thereupon snaps back, under spring pressure, into the raised position, to stop flow of fuel to the burner head 22 and to close doors 34, 34a in order to protect the burner head 22, allowing the lighter to be immediately returned to a clothing pocket with the nozzle protected from pocket debris.

There is thus provided a lighter in which the flame is accessible but protected, and in which a single hand movement serves to activate the flame and render the flame accessible, and a simple release movement serves to deactivate the flame and close the lighter to dirt and debris. There is further provided a door panel assembly which facilitates such advantages, and a method for providing a flame, the method utilizing the aforementioned advantages and features.

It will be understood that many additional changes in the details, materials, method steps and arrangement of parts, which have been herein described and illustrated in order to explain the nature of the disclosure, may be made by those skilled in the art within the principles and scope of the disclosure as expressed in the appended claims.