US 3336469 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Aug. 15, 1967 A. B. BARNES, SR ET AL LIGHTED WALKING CANE Filed April 15, 1965 INVENTORS ATTORNEYJ United States Patent C) 3,336,469 LIGHTED WALKING CANE Allan B. Barnes, Sr., and James P. Barnes, both of 1309 Clark St., Bastrop, La. 71220 Filed Apr. 15, 1965, Ser. No. 448,516 3 Claims. (Cl. 240-642) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE the cane user to see where he is going. The batteries 7 are located at the bottom of the cane for easy access and for balancing the cane.
This invention relates to a walking cane and more particularly to a lighted walking cane.
Lighted walking canes enable motorists or bicyclists to see blind people at dusk 'or at night. Furthermore, a lighted walking cane provides the same protection for those who are not blind while enabling them to have light means for seeing where they are walking.
It is an object of this invention to have a lamp associated with a walking cane in such a manner that the lamp will not have any tendency to blind a motorist or bicyclist upon approaching the pedestrian using the cane. Furthermore, the light means or lamp is housed in such a manner that it provides a beam of light directed conveniently ahead of the cane user so that he can see where he is going and at the same time he is shielded from being temporarily blinded by the light.
It'is also an object of this invention to provide a cane which is hollow and, consequently, of light weight so that it can be used by all types of cane users.
It is also an object of this invention to provide a lighted walking cane which is simple in construction and easy to manufacture with all working parts being easily replaceable by the used of the cane. Likewise, it is an object of this invention to provide a switch located adjacent the upper end of the cane near the handle so that the switch can be conveniently turned on and off.
It is also an object of this invention to provide means for affecting the balance of the cane. Accordingly, if desirable, the cane can have almost perfect balance as measured by balancing the cane on one finger in the center of the shaft or the cane could be weighted toward one end or the other.
It is also an object of this invention to provide a casing means for housing the batteries which prevents moisture which might form on the inside of the hollow cane from reaching and shorting out the batteries. The casing also provides a certain amount of weight at the bottom of the cane and provides a housing for batteries of exact diameter so that the batteries will'not rattle. Furthermore, the casing enables the cane to assume a size, i.e., diameter, which is not dependent upon the batteries size.
Broadly, therefore, it is an object of this invention to provide a walking cane comprising a tubular shaft having a first opening cut into the tubular shaft adjacent the upper end thereof; handle meanssecured to the upper end of the tubular shaft; a lanip socket carried by the tubular shaft adjacent the first Opening; lamp means carried by the lamp socket and extending through the first opening beyond the shaft; battery means carried within the tubular shaft; wiring means connecting the lamp means and the battery means; switch means incorporating the wiring 3,336,469 Patented Aug. 15, 1967 means and carried by the tubular shaft, the switch means being movable between positions connecting and breaking the electrical circuit between the lamp means and the battery means.
These and other objects of this invention are more clearly depicted in the following detailed description having specific reference to the attached drawings in which the embodiments of the invention are shown, not to limit the scope of the invention in any respect but so that the principles thereof might be more clearly demonstrated. 7
In the drawings:
FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of the lighted walking cane;
FIGURE 2 is a fragmentary vertical sectional view of the cane;
FIGURE 3 is a sectional view taken substantially along the lines 33 of FIG. 1;
FIGURE 4 is a diagram of the electrical circuit for the lighting means; and
FIGURE 5 is a fragmentary vertical sectional view of the lower portion of the cane showing a modified construction of the tubular shaft.
Referring to FIGURE 1 the walking cane 10 is shown in perspective having a tubular shaft 12, preferably metallic, and a handle means 14 secured at the upper end 16 of the shaft.
As seen more specifically in FIGURES 2 and 3, the shaft 12 preferably has an annular cross-sectional configuration and has an opening 18 extending axially therethrough. While the handle means 14 is distinguished from the shaft 12, it is seen that the handle is preferably integrally formed with the shaft and comprises the shaft being extended and bent into a desired configuration. As illustrated, the handle is bent into a curve although it will be appreciated that the hande could assume any configuration suitable for gripping and could in fact comprise a knob. The handle means 14 is shown provided with a cover 20 made of rubber, plastic or some other suitable material. The shaft preferably has a covering 22 at its lower end or tip 24 made of rubber, plastic or some other suitable material, so as to present an at tractive tip and so as to afford means to prevent the cane from slipping at its point of contact with the ground.
The shaft is shown having a first opening 26 and a second opening 28 cut through the wall 30 of the shaft into the interior thereof. Furthermore, the wall 30 of the shaft is defined by a radially inner peripheral surface 32 and a radially outer peripheral surface 34.
A lamp socket 36 is shown secured to the inner peripheral surface 32 of the wall 30 of the shaft 12 by means of a bracket 38. The socket is positioned substantially within the casing and is angularly inclined with respect to the shaft and with respect to a perpendicular to the shaft so that the open end 40 of the lamp socket 36 will face outwardly through the first opening 26 and downwardly towards the ground when the lower end 24 of the shaft is positioned on the ground and the shaft held substantially vertically. A lamp means 42 is carried by the socket and accordingly is aligned substantially along the same axis as the socket. The lamp means extends through the first opening 26 beyond the radially outer peripheral surface 34 of the wall 30. The cane 10 also comprises prefocusing means operatively associated with the lamp means 42 for directing the light in a predetermined direction which, in this case, is outwardly and downwardly towards the ground as measured when the lower end of the cane is resting on the ground and the cane is held substantially vertically. The pre-focusing means preferably comprises a pre-focused bulb 46 used in the lamp means 42, although it will be appreciated that a reflector means could be constructed around the lamp means so as to pre-focus the light in a predetermined direction.
The cane additionally comprises a switch 48 preferably attached for ease of manufacturing to the outer peripheral surface 34 of the wall 30 by securing means 50 extending through the flange 52 of the switch and being secured in the wall 30 of the cane. While the switch is shown secured to the outer peripheral surface of the wall, it will be appreciated that the switch could be secured to the inner peripheral surface of the wall. The switch 48 extends through the second opening 28 into the interior of the shaft so that it can be seen that the switch is positioned partially within the shaft and partially without the shaft. The switch is shown as being of the type that requires the switch actuator 54 to be pushed or pulled between two operative positions turning the light on and off. Within the scope of the invention, however, any type of switch means could be used. Preferably, however, the switch is adjacent the upper end 16 of the shaft and the handle so that it can be easily operated.
The first and second openings, 26 and 28, are cut through the wall on the side of the wall opposite from the extended direction of the handle inasmuch as this side represents the side which is facing forwards when the cane user is walking forward with the cane. Furthermore, the first and second opening are shown axially and alignedly disposed from each other although it will be appreciated that it is only necessary for the opening for the lamp means to be on the front or forward side of the shaft. In fact, the opening for the switch might be more conveniently located at some other position more closely adjacent to the fingers of the cane user. While the location of the second opening 28 and the switch is somewhat optional, it is necessary to have the lamp means located at the upper end of the shaft so that the beam of light can be directed far enough in advance of the cane user for him to be able to see where he is going while at the same time the beam must be directed downwardly so as not to blind on-coming motorists and bicyclists. In one operative model of the cane, the first opening and hence the lamp means was located within 8 inches of the uppermost part of a 34.5 inch cane, i.e., the handle.
It is also desirable to provide a cover member or plate 56 for attractively housing the switch and lamp means. The cover member 56 is secured to the outer peripheral surface 34 of the tubular shaft and has an opening 58 through which part of the switch extends, i.e., the switch actuator 54. The cover member also contains a recess 60 internally thereof and adjacent the opening 58 for receiving the flange 52 and the securing means 50. This recess enables the cover member to fit flushly against the outer peripheral surface 34 of the shaft. The cover member additionally has an integral outwardly and downwardly projecting, preferably annular, lamp housing 62 terminating in a lamp opening 64. The lamp housing extends beyond the end 66 of the lamp means 42 so as to prevent the cane user from seeing the lamp and being temporarily blinded thereby. The axis of the lamp opening substantially corresponds with the axis of the lamp socket and the lamp means.
In order to provide a certain amount of weight at the lower end 24 of the shaft 12, it is desirable to place the batteries 68 adjacent the lower end 24 of the shaft. In the same operative model of the 34.5 inch cane mentioned above, the lower end of the bottom battery was within 2 inches of the ground-engaging tip of the cane. A battery casing 70 is secured within the annular opening 18 of the shaft 12 and houses the batteries. It will be seen that the casing prevents the batteries from rattling while at the same time allowing the shaft to assume a diameter which is not necessarily dependent upon the size of the batteries. Furthermore, the battery casing protects the batteries from any moisture which might form on the inner peripheral surface 32 of the wall 30 of the shaft 12. The battery casing comprises at least an annular side wall 72 and a top member 74. The top member 74 has a contact point 76 secured therein which engages the upper terminal 78 of one of the batteries 68. The top member of the battery casing may or may not be connected integrally with the side wall 72 of the casing. While the casing is used in the preferable embodiment of the invention, it will be appreciated that the casing could be eliminated. However, it is necessary to have the top member 74 secured across the opening 18 of the shaft so as to have some member to which the contact point 76 may be attached.
The lower end 24 of the shaft is closed off by a plug 80, preferably metallic, shown secured therein by securing means 82. The rubber covering 22 covers both the plug 80 and the securing means 82. The plug 80 supports a resilient means 84 on the inner end 86 thereof. The resilient means 84 engages the batteries 68 and urges them upwardly so as to bring the upper terminal 78 of one of the batteries into abutment with the contact point 76.
It will be seen, as illustrated in FIGURES 2 and 4, that wiring means 88 connects the batteries 68 to the lamp means 42. As illustrated, the wiring means extends from the contact point 76 to a first terminal 90 associated with the switch means. The wiring then extends from a second terminal 92 of the switch means to the lamp socket 36, the lamp means 42 making electrical contact with the wiring means 88 through the lamp socket 36. The lamp socket is grounded to the shaft 12 through the bracket 38 while the lower terminal 94 of the battery is grounded to the shaft through the metallic resilient means and metallic plug 80. It will be appreciated that the resilient means could be shaped in such a manner that the batteries could be grounded to the shaft through the resilient means, thus allowing the plug to be plastic or even rubber. Furthermore, a washer could be used to effect such grounding contact. Accordingly, it is seen that the switch is movable between positions connecting and breaking the electrical circuit between the lamp means and the battery means.
To remove the batteries, it is necessary to remove the rubber covering on the lower end of the shaft, take out the securing means 82, and then remove the plug 80 so that the batteries will fall out of the shaft. While the removal of the covering 22 and securing means 82 might be somewhat tedious, it is appreciated that this design of the cane might provide the simplest means of construction and hence a cane of minimum cost. However, as shown in FIGURE 5, it may be desirable to have the tubular shaft comprise an upper section or portion 96 and a lower or bottom section or portion 98 threadably connected to each other.
The threads 100 are located internally of the outer peripheral surface 34 of the two sections so that the outer peripheral surface will be smoothly aligned. Furthermore, it is preferable to have the threaded connection aligned with part of the battery casing 70 so that the battery casing will provide protection against moisture which might seep through the threaded connection.
While a preferred form of the invention has been i1- lustrated in the drawings and discussed above, it should be adequately clear that considerable modification may be made thereto without departing from the principles of the invention. Therefore, the foregoing should be considered in an illustrative sense rather than a limiting sense, and accordingly the extent of this invention should be limited only by the spirit and scope of the claims appended hereto.
1. A walking cane comprising:
a tubular shaft having radially inner and radially outer peripheral surfaces and first and second openings cut into the tubular shaft adjacent the upper end thereof;
handle means integrally secured to the upper end of the tubular shaft;
a lamp socket supported by the inner surface of the tubular shaft adjacent the first opening in the tubular shaft in a position angularly inclined with respect to the tubular shaft and a perpendicular to the tubular shaft so that the open end of the socket will point toward the ground when the cane is held Vertically with the lower end resting on the ground;
lamp means carried by the lamp socket and extending through the first opening beyond the shaft, the light from the lamp means being directed toward the ground;
a battery casing adapted to receive a plurality of batteries and secured within the lower end of the tubular shaft for providing a housing of appropriate size for batteries and for protecting batteries, the battery casing having at least an annular side wall and a top member;
a contact point carried by the top member of the battery casing;
a plug positioned within the lower end of the tubular shaft so as to close off the lower end of the shaft completely;
resilient means carried by the plug and adapted to urge the batteries upwardly so as to bring the upper terminal of the upper battery into contact with the contact point;
wiring means connecting the lamp socket and lamp with the contact point;
a switch incorporating the wiring means and carried by the tubular shaft adjacent the second opening and extending at least partially therethrough, the switch means 'being movable between positions adapted to connect and break the electrical circuit between the lamp and the batteries; and
tubular shaft comprises an upper portion and a bottom portion threadably connected to each other, the threaded connection being aligned with a part of the battery casing so as to protect the batteries and the threads being located internally of the outer surface so that the outer surfaces of the upper and lower portions of the tubular shaft will be smoothly aligned.
3. The walking cane defined in claim 1 wherein the lamp means comprises a pro-focused bulb.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,738,619 3/ 1956 Oquist 240-643 XR 2,790,068 4/ 1957 Russitti 240-10.67 XR FOREIGN PATENTS 23,332 3/ 1910 Great Britain. 155,642 9/1932 Switzerland. 268,781 10'/ 1929 Italy.
NORTON ANSHER, Primary Examiner. C. C. LOGAN, Assistant Examiner.