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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
A FLASHLIGHT
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2004/083714
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention provides a flashlight (10) having at least a body (11), a light source (12) and a switch member (13) mounted on said body, the switch member being movable relative to the body for selectively activating and deactivating the light source, the switch member including: an activation zone (22) configured for a thumb pad (23) to be disposed thereon and to apply force thereto to effect said movement of the switch member; and a display zone (24) having a display surface (25) configured for the inclusion thereon of (indicia26), said switch member being configured so that at least part of said display zone surface is exposed when the activation zone has a thumb pad disposed thereon.

Inventors:
Rugendyke, Timothy (2/21 Waratah Avenue, Woy Woy, New South Wales 2256, AU)
Brown, John Robert (52 Rangers Avenue, Mosman, New South Wales 2088, AU)
Dalton, David Richard (19 Stonecrop Road, Turramurra, New South Wales 2074, AU)
Application Number:
PCT/AU2003/001205
Publication Date:
September 30, 2004
Filing Date:
September 16, 2003
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
EVEREADY BATTERY COMPANY, INC. (533 Maryville University Drive, St Louis, MO, 63164, US)
Rugendyke, Timothy (2/21 Waratah Avenue, Woy Woy, New South Wales 2256, AU)
Brown, John Robert (52 Rangers Avenue, Mosman, New South Wales 2088, AU)
Dalton, David Richard (19 Stonecrop Road, Turramurra, New South Wales 2074, AU)
International Classes:
F21L4/00; F21V23/04; H01H9/18; H01H15/10; (IPC1-7): F21L4/00; H01H15/06
Foreign References:
US20010006460A12001-07-05
Other References:
DATABASE WPI Derwent World Patents Index; Class Q71, AN 2003-524451, XP002903197
DATABASE WPI Derwent World Patents Index; AN (1976-A1654X), XP002903198
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Borg, Keith Joseph (Halford & Co, 1 Market Street Sydney, New South Wales 2000, AU)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims
1. A flashlight having at least a body, a light source and a switch member mounted on said body, the switch member being movable relative to the body for selectively activating and deactivating the light source, the switch member including : an activation zone configured for a thumb pad to be disposed thereon and to apply force thereto to effect said movement of the switch member ; and a display zone having a display surface configured for the inclusion thereon of indicia, said switch member being configured so that at least part of said display zone surface is exposed when the activation zone has a thumb pad disposed thereon.
2. A flashlight according to claim 1 wherein the switch member is mounted to be moveable relative to the body in an activation and a deactivation direction.
3. A flashlight according to claim 1 or claim 2 wherein the activation zone includes a first subzone having a first subzone surface orientated to facilitate movement of the switch member in said activation direction when a thumb pad applies force to said first subzone surface, and a second subzone having a second subzone surface orientated to facilitate movement of the switch member in said deactivation direction when the thumb pad applies force to the second subzone surface.
4. A flashlight according to claim 3 wherein the first subzone surface is angled generally towards the deactivation direction and the second subzone surface is angled generally towards the activation direction.
5. A flashlight according to any one of claims 2 to 4 wherein the activation zone has an activation zone surface with thumb pad engaging formations thereon to facilitate purchase of said thumb pad on said activation zone surface.
6. A flashlight according to claim 5 wherein said thumb pad engaging formations include a plurality of ribs.
7. A flashlight according to any one of claims 2 to 6 wherein said display zone extends from said activation zone in a direction substantially parallel to activation and deactivation directions.
8. A flashlight according to any one of claims 2 to 7 wherein said display surface projects in a direction transverse to said activation and deactivation directions.
9. A flashlight according to claim 8 wherein the direction in which said display surface projects is oblique to said activation and deactivation directions.
10. A flashlight according to any one of claims 2, or 8 when dependent on claim 2 only, wherein said activation directions and said deactivation directions are the same.
11. A flashlight according to any one of the preceding claims, including indicia on said display surface.
12. A flashlight according to claim 11 wherein said indicia include at least one alphanumeric character.
13. A flashlight according to claim 11 or claim 12 wherein said indicia are recessed in said display surface.
14. A flashlight according to claim 11 or claim 12 wherein said indicia are embossed on said display surface.
15. A flashlight according to claim 11 or claim 12 wherein said indicia are applied to said display surface by at least one transfer or label.
16. A switch member for a flashlight according to any one of claims 1 to 15.
17. A method of displaying indicia on a flashlight, the method including the steps of : providing a flashlight housing having a light source connection means for connection to a light source in the housing, and being configured for a switch member to be mounted thereon, such that said switch member, when so mounted, is movable for selectively activating and deactivating said light source connected by said light source connection means; and providing a switch member which has an activation zone configured for a thumb pad to be disposed thereon and for the thumb pad to apply force thereto to effect said movement of said switch member, and a display zone having a display surface configured for the inclusion thereon of indicia, the switch member being configured for at least part of said display surface to be exposed when the activation zone has a thumb pad disposed thereon.
Description:
A Flashlight Field of"chs inysntion This invention relates to a flashlight, to a flashlight switch, and to a method of including indicia on flashlights.

Background of the indention In the manufacture of flashlights the flashlight housings can bear indicia, such as the brand name or trade mark of the manufacturer of the flashlight, or the applicable model name of the flashlight. These indicia are formed integrally with the housing when the housing is moulded, or are applied by known printing means. It is desirable for such brands, model names, or trade marks, to be easily seen so that the make or model of the flashlight can be readily identified by prospective purchasers and users of the flashlight. However, a disadvantage of this known approach is that the costs of including the indicia on the housings can add to the overall cost of producing the flashlight. This disadvantage may be exacerbated by the additional costs that may be involved when changes are made to the indicia of a particular housing, such as when the housing is to be used for a different model of flashlight.

It is an object of the present invention to ameliorate, at least in part, at least one of the above disadvantages.

The applicant does not concede that the prior art discussed in the specification forms part of the common general knowledge in the art at the priority date of this application.

Summary of the invention According to a first aspect of the invention there is provided a flashlight having at least a body, a light source and a switch member mounted on said body, the switch member being movable relative to the body for selectively activating and deactivating the light source, the switch member including: an activation zone configured for a thumb pad to be disposed thereon and to apply force thereto to effect said movement of the switch member ; and a display zone having a display surface configured for the inclusion thereon of indicia, said switch member being configured so that at least part of said display zone surface is exposed when the activation zone has a thumb pad disposed thereon.

Preferably, the switch member is mounted to be moveable relative to the body in an activation and a deactivation directions.

In a preferred embodiment, the activation zone includes a first sub-zone having a first sub-zone surface orientated to facilitate movement of the switch member in said activation direction when a thumb pad applies force to said first sub-zone surface, and a second sub-zone having a second sub-zone surface orientated to facilitate movement of the switch member in said deactivation direction when the thumb pad applies force to the second sub-zone surface.

Preferably, the first sub-zone surface is angled generally towards the deactivation direction and the second sub-zone surface is angled generally towards the activation direction.

Preferably, the activation zone has an activation zone surface with thumb pad engaging formations thereon to facilitate purchase of said thumb pad on said activation zone surface. In this case, said thumb pad engaging formations preferably include a plurality of ribs.

Preferably, said display zone extends from said activation zone in a direction substantially parallel to said activation and deactivation directions.

The display surface preferably projects in a direction transverse to said activation and deactivation directions. Preferably then, the direction in which said display surface projects is oblique to said activation and deactivation directions.

The flashlight preferably includes indicia on said display surface. Preferably, said indicia include at least one alphanumeric character.

In one preferred embodiment, said indicia are recessed in said display surface, while in another preferred embodiment, said indicia are embossed on said display surface, and in yet a further preferred embodiment, said indicia are applied to said display surface by at least one transfer or label.

According to a second aspect of the invention there is provided a switch member for a flashlight according to the first aspect of the invention.

According to a third aspect of the invention there is provided method of displaying indicia on a flashlight, the method including the steps of : providing a flashlight housing having a light source connection means for connection to a light source in the housing, and being configured for a switch member to be mounted thereon, such that said switch member, when so mounted, is movable for selectively activating and deactivating said light source connected by said light source connection means ; and providing a switch member, which has an activation zone configured for a thumb pad to be disposed thereon and for the thumb pad to apply force thereto to effect said movement of said switch member, and a display zone having a display surface configured for the inclusion thereon

of indicia, the switch member being configured for at least part of said display surface to be exposed when the activation zone has a thumb pad disposed thereon.

In this specification, the term"thumb pad"refers to the part of a person's thumb on the side opposite the thumb nail, extending from the tip of the thumb to the thumb joint closest to the tip.

Brief $e : rip hs oErawings Embodiments of the present invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which : Figure 1 is a perspective view of a flashlight according to an embodiment of the invention, viewed from the rear ; Figure 2 is a perspective view of the flashlight of Figure 1, viewed from the front; Figure 3 is a side elevation of the flashlight of Figure 1 ; Figure 4 is a cross-sectional view through the Flashlight of Figure 1 ; Figure 5 is a schematic side elevation of part of another flashlight embodiment, showing a different switch member to that of Figure 1; and Figure 6 is a schematic side elevation, partly cut away, of a further flashlight embodiment, showing a another switch member.

Detailed description of the embodiment or embodiments Referring to the drawings, there is shown a flashlight 10 having a housing 11, a light source 12 (see Figure 4) in the housing, and a switch member 13. As best seen in Figure 4, the flashlight 10 contains a pair of batteries 14 for powering the light source 12, electrical contacts 15 in contact with the batteries 14 and with the light source 12, and electrical conductors (not shown) interconnecting the contacts 15 with further contacts (also not shown) which are adapted to be acted on by the switch member 13. The batteries 14, the electrical contacts 15, the light source 12, and the electrical conductors and further contacts referred to above, all form part of a circuit.

The housing 11 has a slot 16 and the switch member 13 has a formation 17 projecting through the slot 16. Thus the switch member 13 is slidably movable on the housing 11. The front end 18 and rear end 19 of the slot 16 limit the forward and rearward movement, respectively, of the switch member 13 when the formation 17 comes into contact with them.

Sliding the switch member 13 in the forward direction, represented by the arrow 20, in Figure 4 results in the bringing together of the two further contacts referred to above (not illustrated) to close the above-mentioned electrical circuit, against a bias separating the contacts (not illustrated), so that the batteries 14 provide current to the light source 12 to illuminate it.

Similarly, sliding the switch member 13 in the reverse direction represented by the arrow 21 in Figure 4, allows the bias to separate the further contacts, thereby breaking the circuit, to turn off the light source 12. Accordingly, the forward direction 20 of sliding of the switch member 13 is considered as an activation direction for activating the light source 12, and the rearward direction 21 is considered as a deactivation direction for deactivating the light source 12. These directions 20 and 21, are referred to as such below.

As best shown in Figure 3 the switch member 13 has an activation zone, generally designated 22, and configured for a thumb pad 23 to be disposed thereon (as indicated in broken lines in Figure 4), and for the thumb pad 23 to apply force thereto to effect the sliding of the switch member 13. The switch member 13 also has a display zone, designated 24, with a display surface 25. The display surface 25 is provided for having indicia, such as such as the indicia 26, thereon, as will be described below.

The activation zone 22 includes a first sub-zone 27 having a first sub-zone surface 28, and also includes a second sub-zone 25 having a second sub-zone surface 30. The first sub-zone surface 28 is angled generally towards the deactivation direction 21 as indicated by the arrow 31, and the second sub-zone surface 30 is angled generally towards the activation direction 20 as indicated by the arrow 32. Furthermore, each of the first and second sub-zone surfaces 28 and 30 have thumb pad engaging formations, in the form of ribs 33.

It will be noted, as best seen in Figure 3, that the display zone 24 extends from the activation zone 22 in a direction which is substantially parallel to the activation and deactivation directions 20 and 21, and the display surface 25 projects in a direction transverse to the activation and deactivation directions 20 and 21, as indicated by the arrow 34. More particularly, the direction in which the display surface 25 projects is oblique to the activation and deactivation directions 20 and 21.

As shown, the indicia 26 are included on the display surface 25. Although the indicia 26 shown are letters, other indicia may be provided in other embodiments, such as alphanumeric characters, or symbols.

The indicia 26 shown are embossed or otherwise formed to stand proud of the display surface 25, but in other embodiments (not shown), the indicia 26 are recessed in the display surface 25, or applied to the display surface 25 by transfers or labels.

In use, the switch member 13 can be moved by sliding it relative to the housing 11 as described above. More specifically, it can be moved in the activation direction 20 to illuminate the light source 12 when it is desired to use the flashlight 10, and in the deactivation direction 21 to turn off the light source 12. The switch member 13 is configured for a user to operate it by placing the user's thumb pad 23 on the first sub-zone 27 to move the switch member 13 in the activation direction 20, and by placing the thumb pad 23 on the second sub-zone 29 to move the switch member 13 in the deactivation direction 21.

The orientation of the first sub-zone 27 towards the deactivation direction 21 as indicated by the arrow 3 results in the first sub-zone 27 having a projected area (not shown) which faces in the deactivation direction 21. This allows the user to apply force with the thumb pad 23 to the first sub-zone 27 to move the switch member 13 in the activation direction 20. Thus the orientation of the first sub-zone 27 facilitates movement of the switch member 13 in the activation direction 20 when thumb pad force is applied. Similarly, the orientation of the second sub-zone 29 as indicated by the arrow 32 facilitates movement of the switch member 13 in the deactivation direction 21 when thumb pad force is applied.

The ribs 33 serve to increase purchase of the thumb pad 23 on the relevant surfaces 28 and 30, in overcoming the friction which is present during movement of the switch member 13.

From Figure 4, it will be seen that when the user's thumb pad 23 is disposed on the first sub-zone 27, for moving the switch member 13 in the activation direction 20 for illuminating the light source 12, part of the display zone surface 25 is exposed. When the user's thumb pad 23 is disposed on the second sub-zone 29, for moving the switch member 13 in the deactivation direction 21 to turn off the light source 12, the thumb pad 23 is positioned even further from the display zone surface 25, so that even a greater part of this surface, or the whole surface, is exposed. Accordingly, the position and orientation of the first sub-zone 27 and second sub-zone 29, the position of the display zone 24 beyond the activation zone 22, and the orientation of the display surface 25, provide conveniently for the display of indicia 26, such as a brand name of the flashlight 10, from a position adjacent the flashlight 10, substantially at all times even when the user's thumb is placed over the switch member 13 in a position ready for use.

The ribs 33, which enhance the purchase of the user's thumb pad 23 on the switch member 13, assist in obviating the need for the thumb pad 23 to be at any position other than the first sub-zone 27 and second sub-zone 29 when operating the switch member 13, so that there is unlikely to be any need for the user to significantly obscure the indicia 26 on the display surface 25 when operating the switch member 13.

The switch member 13 is a small component relative to the size of the housing 11, and may be used, not just with the type of housing 11 illustrated, but with other housing designs (not shown) as well. Thus, the design of the switch member 13 may be common to a variety of flashlight models and types. The inclusion of the indicia 26 on the switch member 13 in accordance with the present invention as described above may provide a convenient manner of including these indicia 26 on the flashlight 10, which is effective with regard to the clear display of the indicia 26. It is also advantageous from the point of view of minimising costs, as the indicia are included on a component that is smaller than the housing 11 and therefore more manageable and easier to mould. The cost minimisation aspect is particularly significant where the same switch design is used for a number of different housings with different designs and shapes.

In figures 5 and 6 are other embodiments of the present invention, and like parts have been like numbered with previous figures.

In Figure 5 is another embodiment where the switch member 13, instead of being slidable relative to the housing 11, is mounted to the housing 11 by a rotational connection 200. In this embodiment, moving the switch member 13 in the activation (forward) direction 26 and deactivation (rearward) direction 21 also causes the switch member 13 to rotate about the rotational connection.

In Figure 6 is a further embodiment where the switch member 13 is a membrane overlying a push button of a single pole single throw switch 300.

The switch member 13 can be captured in the switch mechanism. Alternatively the switch member 13 can be made to contact, and or be adjacent to the switch mechanism to activate or deactivate same, such as that illustrated in figure 6.

In the embodiments described above the activation and deactivation directions can be reversed to that described above.

It will be understood that the invention disclosed and defined herein extends to all alternative combinations of two or more of the individual features mentioned or evident from the text. All of these different combinations constitute various alternative aspects of the invention.

The foregoing describes embodiments of the present invention and modifications, obvious to those skilled in the art can be made thereto, without departing from the scope of the present invention.