BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention * The present invention relates generally to illuminated
balloons, and more specifically, to an illuminated bal-
loon having a translucent design on at least a portion of
the balloon wherein light directed into the interior of 1Q
the balloon from an externally attached electric lamp
effectively illuminates the design.
2. Description of the Related Art
Balloons have always been a source of visual pleasure
and entertainment especially for children. Often, bal- 55
loons are filled with helium and may include a design or
advertisement printed on an outer surface making the
balloon an effective means for display. Most recently,
Mylar® balloons have become quite popular being
formed of a non-latex material and usually having a 20
chrome finish with a design or a message on the outer
surface. Many of these Mylar (ft) balloons have popular
animated characters printed on their outer surface and
some are even formed into the shape of various charac-
ters or animals having extremities such as arms and legs 25
While most balloons, including the Mylar ®-type
balloons, are considerably attractive in daylight or in a
bright, well-lit atmosphere, their attractiveness cannot
be appreciated at night or in dark places such as the 30
circus, evening sporting events, or simply outdoors
during the evening hours. These are the circumstances
during which balloons are often sold and enjoyed by the
consumer and surrounding public.
There have been attempts in the past to illuminate 35 balloons by inserting a light bulb into the interior of the balloon so as to achieve a glowing or illuminated effect. One such attempt is illustrated in the U.S. Patent to Marietta, U.S. Pat. No. 4,452,445, wherein an elongated housing having a light bulb attached to an upper end is inserted through the neck of a balloon so as to position the light bulb within an interior portion of the balloon. The elongated housing extends downwardly out through the neck of the balloon and includes a switch 45 attached at the bottom end.
Another related device is disclosed in the patent Neumeier, U.S. Pat. No. 4,794,498, directed to an accessory device for an inflatable gas balloon wherein a cupshaped housing having a rim portion and light bulb 50 attached thereto is fitted within the balloon neck so as to position the light bulb in a lower portion of the balloon interior.
While the above patents may be useful for their intended purpose, they are considerably complex requir- 55 ing means to allow gas to escape from the balloon as heat is generated by the light bulb within the balloon interior.
Accordingly, there still exists a need in the present balloon art for an illuminated balloon apparatus adapted 60 to direct light through the interior of a balloon so as to at least partially illuminate a design printed on the balloon. •
It is, therefore, an object of the present invention to provide an illuminated balloon assembly, wherein a low 65 voltage light bulb is affixed to an outer surface of the balloon so as to effectively direct light through an interior portion thereof in such a manner so as to at least
partially illuminate the balloon and a design printed thereon.
It is another object of the present invention to provide an illuminated balloon having a translucent design printed on at least a portion of the surface thereof wherein light directed from an electric lamp attached to an outer surface of the balloon effectively directs light through the balloon interior thereby illuminating the translucent design.
It is still a further object of the present invention to provide a Mylar ® balloon having a 3.5 volt flashing electric lamp attached to an outer surface thereof, wherein light emitted from the bulb effectively illuminates a translucent design printed on the balloon.
It is still a further object of the present invention to provide an illuminated balloon assembly which is relatively simple and inexpensive to manufacture making it marketable to a large percentage of the population.
These and other objects and advantages of the present invention will be more readily apparent from the description which follows.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention is directed to an illuminated balloon having a front face and a rear face and a light assembly including an electric lamp attached to an outer surface of the balloon so that light emitted from the electric lamp effectively illuminates a design printed on at least one of the faces of the balloon.
In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the balloon is made of a non-latex material such as avoh and includes a front face and a rear face sealed together about a peripheral edge so as to enclose an interior gas chamber. The interior gas chamber can be filled with any conventionally known gas ordinarily used to fill balloons including helium or air.
The front face of the balloon can be either transparent or opaque with a substantially translucent design printed thereon. The rear face is preferably either transparent or may have a chrome finish on both its inner and outer surface.
The light assembly of the present invention comprises a small 3.5 volt flashing bulb electrically interconnected to a battery pack by a thin gauge electrical conductor. In the preferred embodiment, the conductor consists of a pair of positive and negative thin gauge wires intertwined with one another so as to define a cord extending between and electrically connected to the battery pack and a socket which houses the flashing bulb. The flashing bulb is attached to the outer surface of either the front face or the rear face of the balloon using opaque tape. The opaque tape is adhered to the outer surface of the balloon in covering relation to the flashing bulb so as to maintain the bulb in a fixed, mounted position against the outer surface of the balloon. Preferably, the tape includes a highly reflective inner surface which is adapted to reflect light emitted from the bulb into the balloon interior.
In one embodiment of the present invention, the front face is opaque and includes a substantially translucent design printed thereon. The rear face can be either clear or have a chrome finish. The flashing bulb is attached to a transparent on the rear face thereon so that light emitted from the bulb is directed through the interior of the balloon and onto an inner surface of the front face with at least a portion of the light passing through the translucent design so as to effectively illuminate the design.