US 3794830 A
A combination locking spring and hinge for securing a light-transmitting cover to the housing of a light fixture. A spring band strap serves both as a pivotal hinge for manually opening and closing the cover, and as a locking spring urging a web on the cover into locking engagement with a tab on the housing.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1191 11 3,794,830 Hitzler Feb. 26, 1974 [5 LOCKING SPRING AND HINGE FOR 3,539,802 11 1970 Garnett et a1 240/147 x COVER OF LIGHTING FIXTURE 3,210,538 10/1965 Picla et a1. 240/147 3,218,450 11/1965 Husby I 240/147 X InventorI Rolpert Hnller, Arlmgton 3,697,743 10/1972 Cargle 240/51.11 R x Heights, Ill. 3,549,879 12/1970 Meyer 240/51.11 R X  Assignee: Alkco Manufacturing Co., Chicago,
111 Primary Examiner-Joseph F. Peters, Jr. d p 23 1973 Attorney, Agent, or FirmKegan, Kegan & Berkman 21 LN 3 3 1 App 5 57 ABSTRACT 52 us. Cl. 240/147 240/5111 R A locking Spring and hinge Securing a 51 1111. c1. F2lv 17/00 gm-transmitting the housing of  Field of Search 240/147 51.11 R A Spring band Strap Serves both as a Pivotal hinge for manually opening and closing the cover, and  References Cited as a locking spring urging a web on the cover into UMTED STATES PATENTS locking engagement with a tab on the housing. 3,700,887 10/1972 Marx 240/147 3 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures LOCKING SPRING AND HINGE FOR COVER OF LIGHTING FIXTURE The present invention relates to locking mechanisms and hinges for ceiling light fixtures used as housings for fluorescent lamps in homes, stores, factories and offices. Many such locks and hinges are known in the prior art, but none of these has proven completely suitable for its intended purpose. For example, most prior art fixtures have complicated lock mechanisms comprising several parts, and they are costly both to manufacture and to maintain in operation. On other fixtures tools are required for releasing, closing and adjusting locks, thus lengthening the time required for cleaning and for replacement of bulbs.
It is a principal object of the present invention to provide a simple, unitary device which serves as both a hinge and a cover locking spring for light fixtures. Because of its simplicity of design, this device is inexpensive to manufacture and easy to replace and to repair, should this prove necessary.
It is a related object to provide a device for manually opening and closing light fixture covers, without tools.
It is a further object to provide a combination hinge and locking spring which is suitable for use in downwardly opening light fixtures affixed to ceilings.
These and other objects and advantages will become apparent upon reading of the following specification and by inspection of the accompanying drawing in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a light fixture of the type in which the locking spring and hinge of the invention is used;
FIG. 2 is a transverse cross-sectional view of the light fixture, showing its plastic diffuser cover in closed position;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged, fragmentary, longitudinal cross-sectional view taken substantially on the line 3-3 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is a transverse cross-sectional view of the light fixture, showing its plastic diffuser cover in open position;
FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment of the combination locking spring and hinge of the invention;
FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a second embodiment of the combination locking spring and hinge of the invention; and
FIG. 7 is a perspective view of yet another embodiment of thecombination locking spring and hinge of the invention.
Referring now more particularly to FIGS. 1 and 2, there is shown a light fixture 11 enclosed in a generally rectangular housing 12 which includes a pair of cap end walls 13, a front wall 14, a rear wall 15, a top wall 16, and a bottom wall 17. The front wall 14 covers only a portion of the expanse between the top wall 16 and the lowermost extremity of the housing, and the bottom wall 17 likewise only partially covers the zone between the rear wall and the frontmost extremity of the housing. The resulting gap between front and bottom walls is bridged by a diffuser cover 20 made from translucent plastic or other light-transmitting material. The cover 20 is generally L-shaped in transverse cross section and it includes a principal panel 21 generally paralleling the top wall 16, a front panel 22 extending normally to the principal panel 21, and opposed side panels 23. p
The front panel 22 of the cover 20 is complementary to and mates with the diminutive: front wall 14 of the housing 12. The front wall 14 terminates at its lower extremity in an upwardly and rearwardly directed hook-shaped tab 24. An upper portion of the front panel 22 includes a tab-engaging cover lock 25 which is generally C-shaped in transverse cross-section and includes a horizontal web 26 directed forwardly of the front panel 22. The web 26 and tab 24 are adapted to overlie one another in overlapping engagement to form cover locking means for maintaining the cover 20 closed.
The interior of the housing 12 is provided with a generally L-shaped light reflector 30 which includes a horizontal reflecting panel 31 attached to the top wall 16, and a vertical rear reflecting panel 32 secured to the bottom wall 17. Two conventional fluorescent bulbs 33 constitute illuminating means by which the fixture 11 generates light. Lateral ends of the bulbs 33 are plugged into sockets 34 which also comprise means securing the bulbs 33 within the housing 12. Details of the connection between the bulbs 33 and their respective sockets 34 are not shown. Electrical wiring, an electrical switch, and a starter (not shown) are included to make the illuminating means operable, all as well known in the art, and requiring no further desciption.
The manner in which a light fixture constructed according to the teachings of the present invention is opened and closed is illustrated in FIGS. 2-4. The cover 20 is suspended from the housing 12 by hinge means including a pin means or pin 40 attached to the cover 20, and a'spring band strap 41 secured at its upper end 42 to the top reflecting panel 31.
Any preferred technique such as welding or riveting may be used to secure the pin 40 in place. The strap 41 is fabricated from sheet metal in the preferred embodiment shown, although plastics and other resilient materials are also suitable. The strap 41 depends downwardly from the top reflecting panel 31, terminating at its lower end 43 in a reversely looped band constituting a flange means or flange 44 adapted to receive the pin 40 and thereby to support the cover 20 to which the pin 40 is attached. Each pin 40 is affixed to a lateral panel 23 of the cover 20 and extends longitudinally into the interior of the housing 12. The spring band strap 41 is positioned sufficiently forwardly on the top panel 31 to bias the cover 20 into a closed, locked position as shown in FIG. 2. When it is desired to open the cover 20 to change bulbs or to clean the interior of the housing 12, the cover 20 is manually shifted rearwardly to overcome the bias of the strap 41. The web 26 on the cover 20 is thereby disengaged from the tab 24 on the front wall 14, and the cover 20 is pivoted downwardly about the pin 40 to an open position illustrated in FIG. 3. These operations are reversed to effect closure.
Two alternative forms for the spring band strap 41 of the invention are illustrated in FIGS. 6 and 7. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 6, the spring band strap 41 terminates at its lower end 43 in a pair of forwardly directed wing tabs 50.. Each tab 50 is formed with an aperture 51 adapted to receive a pin 40 therethrough. The embodiment illustrated in FIG. 7 also includes a pair of forwardly directed wing tabs 50, the upper edges 52 of which are formed with grooves 53 adapted to receive the pin 40 and thereby to support the cover 20.
The present invention may assume other forms without departing from the spirit and scope of the claims. For example, the spring band strap may be biased rearwardly rather than forwardly and the relative positions of the web and tab of the cover locking means may be reversed to provide an apparatus which operates in essentially the same manner as the preferred embodiment described above. The present disclosure is intended to be illustrative rather than restrictive and it is intended to comprehend all changes coming within the spirit and scope of the claims.
What is claimed is:
1. In a light fixture comprising a generally rectangular housing including a top wall and a front wall depending from a forward edge of said top wall,
illuminating means, and means securing said illumi nating means within said housing,
a light-transmitting cover including a principal panel generally paralleling the top wall of said housing and a front panel extending normally to said principal panel and toward said top wall of said housing, said front panel being complementary to the front wall of said housing to form an extension thereof,
hinge means pivotally securing said cover to said housing, whereby said cover is selectably shiftable between a first, locked position in which said cover is horizontally disposed to bridge and close said housing and a second position in which said cover is suspended to hang vertically from said housing to expose the interior of said housing and to permit access thereto, and
cover locking means for maintaining said cover in a position to close said housing and to cover said illuminating means,
said locking means comprising a horizontal web connected to and directed forwardly of said front panel, and a cooperating rearwardly directed tab extending from said front wall, said web and said tab being adapted to overlie one another in overlapping engagement;
the improvement wherein said hinge means includes:
pin means above said principal panel of said cover and attached thereto, said pin means extending longitudinally of said fixture,
a spring band strap secured at its upper end to said housing and depending therefrom, said strap terminating at its lower end in pin-securing flange means adapted supportingly to carry said pin means,
and wherein said spring band strap is biased forwardly resiliently to urge said web of said cover into locking engagement with said tab of said housing, said cover being shiftable rearwardly to overcome the bias of said strap to effect disengagement of said web from said tab, thereby to permit said cover to pivot downwardly to an open position to provide access to the interior of said housing.
2. .The improvement as set forth in claim 1 wherein said flange means of said spring band strap comprises a pair of wing tabs connected to and directed forwardly of said strap, said wing tabs each being formed with an aperture adapted supportingly to receive said pin means therethrough.
3. The improvement as set forth in claim 1, wherein said flange means of said spring band strap comprises a pair of wing tabs connected to and extending forwardly of said strap, said wing tabs each including an upper edge portion formed with a groove adapted supportingly to receive said pin means therein.