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Title:
LANTERN WITH IGNITOR AND VALVE REGULATOR
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2007/112080
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
A lantern includes a burner, a valve unit connected to the burner and configured to control a fuel flow toward the burner, an ignition unit configured to ignite the burner, and a housing. The valve unit includes a valve regulator and a control knob, and the ignition unit includes an ignition switch. The housing holds the control knob and the ignition switch at an offset angle.

Inventors:
PROFFITT, Mark, T. (7820 Baileyton Road, Greenville, TN, 37745, US)
Application Number:
US2007/007403
Publication Date:
October 04, 2007
Filing Date:
March 26, 2007
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
MECO CORPORATION (1500 Industrial Road, Greeneville, TN, 37745, US)
PROFFITT, Mark, T. (7820 Baileyton Road, Greenville, TN, 37745, US)
International Classes:
F23Q7/12; F23D14/28
Foreign References:
US6488495B1
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HILTEN, John, S. (McGuirewoods LLP, 1750 Tysons Boulevard Suite 180, Mclean VA, 22102-4215, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:

WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:

1. A lantern comprising: a burner; a valve unit connected to said burner and configured to control a fuel flow toward the burner, said valve unit comprising a valve regulator and a control knob; an ignition unit configured to ignite said burner and comprising an ignition switch; and a housing configured to hold said control knob and said ignition switch at an offset angle.

2. The lantern of claim 1, the housing comprising: a first housing element configured to hold said ignition unit structurally separated from said valve unit; and a second housing element assembled together with said first housing to hold said valve regulator therebetween.

3. The lantern according to claim 1 wherein said lantern further comprises: an extension that connects said valve regulator to said burner; a globe that substantially surrounds said burner; and a shield that substantially surrounds said globe.

4. The lantern according to claim 4 wherein said valve regulator thread ingly connects to said burner through said extension.

5. The lantern according to claim 1 wherein said control knob is configured to rotate about a first axis, said ignition switch is configured to operate along a second axis, and the first and second axes form an acute angle.

6. The lantern according to claim 1 wherein said acute angle is between about 5 degrees to about 30 degrees.

7. The lantern according to claim 1 wherein said valve unit further comprises a stop that limits a rotational movement of said control knob.

8. The lantern according to claim 1 wherein said valve unit further comprises a valve that is actuated by movement of a diaphragm.

9. The lantern according to claim 8 wherein said diaphragm does not have a fluid channel.

10. The lantern according to claim 8 wherein said valve unit further comprises an input and output.

11. The lantern according to claim 10 wherein said valve unit further comprises a plurality of springs.

12. The lantern according to claim 8 wherein said valve unit comprises an actuating needle and a valve opening.

13. The lantern according to claim 12 wherein the movement of said diaphragm moves said actuating needle to create a valve opening in said valve unit.

14. A lantern comprising: means for burning fuel; means for controlling a fuel flow toward said burning means; means for igniting said burning means; and means for holding said controlling means and said igniting means at an offset angle.

15. The lantern of claim 14, wherein said controlling means comprises means for rotating about a first axis.

16. The lantern of claim 15, wherein said igniting means comprises means for moving along a second axis.

17. The lantern of claim 16, wherein said first and second axes form an acute angle.

18. The lantern of claim 17, wherein said acute angle is between about 5 degrees to 30 degrees.

19. The lantern of claim 16, wherein said holding means structurally separates said controlling means and said igniting means.

20. The lantern of claim 14, further comprising means for covering said burning means.

Description:

LANTERN WITH IGNITOR AND VALVE REGULATOR

CROSS REFERENCE TO PRIOR APPLICATION

[0001] This application claims priority to and the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/785,274 filed on March 24, 2006, which is hereby incorporated by reference for all purposes as if fully set forth herein.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The invention is directed to a lantern, particular to a lantern having a simpler structure for easier assembly and maintenance.

2. Related Art

[0003] Lanterns that use compressed-gas fuel have been available for several decades. To operate this type of lantern, a user connects the lantern to a source of compressed gas, such as a tank containing liquid propane (LP), butane, natural gas or the like, or mixtures of flammable gases. The user then opens a valve using a control knob, which allows the fuel to flow through a burner assembly and lights the gas with a match or the like. Nowadays, many of these lanterns are lit by electronic ignitors, such piezoelectric ignitors, which may be actuated by turning the control knob. Lanterns equipped with electronic ignitors are significantly more convenient than match-lit lanterns. However, implementation of electric ignitors requires the lantern structure to be more complicated and hence assembly, maintenance and repair become much more difficult. Accordingly, there is a need for a gas powered lantern that has an improved structural arrangement for easier assembly, maintenance and repair.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0004] The invention meets the foregoing needs and allows for an improved ignitor and valve regulator structure, which results in easier assembly, maintenance and repair, reduced manufacturing time and costs and other advantages apparent from the discussion herein.

[0005] Accordingly, in one aspect of the invention, a lantern includes a burner, a valve unit connected to the burner and configured to control a fuel flow toward the burner, wherein the valve unit including a valve regulator and a control knob, an ignition unit configured to ignite the burner and include an ignition switch, and a housing configured to hold said control knob and said ignition switch at an offset angle.

[0006] The housing may include a first housing element configured to hold the ignition unit structurally separated from the valve unit; and a second housing element assembled together with the first housing to hold said valve regulator therebetween. [0007] According to another aspect of the invention, a lantern includes means for burning fuel, means for controlling a fuel flow toward the burning means, means for igniting the burning means and means for holding the controlling means and the igniting means at an offset angle.

[0008] The controlling means may include means for rotating about a first axis, and the igniting means may include means for moving along a second axis. The first and second axes may form an acute angle.

[0009] Additional features, advantages, and embodiments of the invention may be set forth or apparent from consideration of the following detailed description, drawings, and claims. Moreover, it is to be understood that both the foregoing

summary of the invention and the following detailed description are exemplary and intended to provide further explanation without limiting the scope of the invention as claimed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0010] The accompanying drawings, which are included to provide a further understanding of the invention, are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification, illustrate embodiments of the invention and together with the detailed description serve to explain the principles of the invention. No attempt is made to show structural details of the invention in more detail than may be necessary for a fundamental understanding of the invention and the various ways in which it may be practiced. In the drawings:

[0011] Figure 1 shows an exemplarily lantern constructed according to the principles of the invention;

[0012] Figure 2 shows an exploded view of the lantern of Figure 1 constructed according to the principles of the invention and showing further exemplary details of the construction therein;

[0013] Figures 3, 4 and 5 show exploded views of the lantern of Figure 1 with specific detail of a valve regulator and left and right housings; [0014] Figure 6 shows an exemplary construction of the valve regulator of Figures 3, 4 and 5 constructed according to the principles of the invention; [0015] Figure 7 shows a break-away view of the valve regulator of Figure 6 constructed to the principles of the invention; and [0016] Figures 8 and 9 show exploded views of the valve regulator of Figure 7.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION [0017] The embodiments of the invention and the various features and advantageous details thereof are explained more fully with reference to the non- limiting embodiments and examples that are described and/or illustrated in the accompanying drawings and detailed in the following description. It should be noted that the features illustrated in the drawings are not necessarily drawn to scale, and features of one embodiment may be employed with other embodiments as the skilled artisan would recognize, even if not explicitly stated herein. Descriptions of well- known components and processing techniques may be omitted so as to not unnecessarily obscure the embodiments of the invention. The examples used herein are intended merely to facilitate an understanding of ways in which the invention may be practiced and to further enable those of skill in the art to practice the embodiments of the invention. Accordingly, the examples and embodiments herein should not be construed as limiting the scope of the invention, which is defined solely by the appended claims and applicable law. Moreover, it is noted that like reference numerals represent similar parts throughout the several views of the drawings. [0018] Figure 1 shows an exemplary lantern 100 constructed according to the principles of the invention. As shown therein, the lantern 100 may include a housing 101, control knob 106, ignitor button 108, ignitor 110, shield 112, top shield 114, globe 210 and other internal and external components. The housing 101 may be configured to contain and protect the internal components. Also, the housing 101 may form a base supporting the upper structure (i.e., shield 112, top shield 114, globe 210 and the like) of the lantern 100. In an embodiment, the housing 101 may be an assembly of two or more housing components. For example, Figure 1 shows a left housing 102 and right housing 104 assembled together to form the housing

101. The housing 101 may have a portion extended outwardly to accommodate the control knob 106. Figure 1 particularly shows the control knob 106 centrally located between the left and right housings 102 and 104. The control knob 106 may be provided to control a fuel flow from a fuel source (not shown) to the lantern 100. For example, the fuel flow may be increased by rotating the control knob 106 in the clockwise direction A. As mentioned before, the fuel source may be a tank containing LP, butane, natural gas or the like, or mixtures of flammable gases. [0019] According to an embodiment, the ignitor button 108 may be separated from the control knob 106. For example, Figure 1 shows the ignitor button 108 arranged at the left housing 102 to be off-set from the axis of rotation of the control knob 106. This "off-set" arrangement may simplify the assembly, maintenance and repair of the lantern 100 by avoiding having too many components centrally located. Also, the "off-set" arrangement may allow the left housing structure 102 to better accommodate the ignitor button 108 and its associated structure. The ignitor button 108 when operated may cause a piezoelectric material to be mechanically manipulated to generate electricity. In particular, the electricity generated from the piezoelectric material by operation of the ignitor button 108 may cause a spark to be produced at the end of the ignitor 110 in proximity of a burner discussed below. [0020] The lantern 100 also may include a shield 112 made up of, for example, a metallic material to protect the user from the heat generated from the lantern 100 operation. The shield 112 may be formed with any number of materials, but a metallic material may be more suitable for the elevated temperatures that accompany the use of the lantern 100. Additionally, a top shield 114 may be arranged above and on top of the shield 112 to protect the user from the heat and/or flames generated from the operation of the lantern 100.

[0021] Figure 2 shows an exploded view of the lantern 100 shown in Figure 1 constructed according to the principles of the invention with further exemplary details of the construction therein. In particular, Figure 2 shows the arrangement of a valve regulator 202 that may be held between the left and right housings 102 and 104 to be fixedly located inside the housing 101. Extending from a top of the valve regulator 202 is an extension 204 that may threadingly engage with the valve regulator 202. At the top of the extension 204 may be arranged a burner 206. The burner 206 may include a plurality of orifices that allow fuel, such as the LP to be emitted therefrom. The LP may then be mixed with air and/or oxygen and when ignited to burn on or about the burner 206 to produce light. Further shown in Figure 2 is a globe clip 208. The globe clip 208 may hold a globe 210 and may form an elastic and/or resilient connection between the globe 210 and the rest of the lantern 100. In particular the globe clip 208 may be arranged on or about the burner 206 or the extension 204. Additionally a spark production portion 212 may be arranged at the very end of the ignitor 110.

[0022] Figures 3, 4, and 5 show exploded views of the lantern 100 shown in Figure 1 with specific detail of the valve regulator 202 and left and right housings 102 and 104. An ignitor holding structure 302 may be arranged in one of the left or right housings 102 and 104, such as the left housing 102 shown in Figure 3. As can be shown in Figure 3 the ignitor button structure 108 and the ignitor holding structure 302 may be structurally separated from the control knob 106 and the valve regulator 202. Since the ignition components and value control components are structurally separated, the assembly, maintenance and repair of the lantern 100 become much easier. Further shown in Figure 3, the valve regulator 202 rotates about an axis B while the ignitor button 108 operates along an axis C. The axes B and C may not be

parallel and may form an acute angle (e.g., about 5 degree to about 30 degree) in one or two dimensions. This arrangement may provide a structural configuration that is easier to grip, actuate and operate the lantern 100 with both hands. Moreover, it may also provide a more compact structural arrangement. [0023] Additionally as shown in Figures 3 and 4, a knob connection 304 may be coupled between the control knob 106 and the valve regulator 202 for transmitting rotation of the knob 106 to the internal structure of the valve regulator 202 and to control the valve regulating action. The valve regulator 202 may include a stop 306. The stop 306 may be an extension portion extending from the valve regulator 202 that limits or stops the rotational movement of the control knob 106. For example, when the user rotates the control knob 106 in the clockwise direction A, the stop 306 may engage with a portion on the control knob 106 thus ceasing the rotational movement of the control knob 106 with respect to the valve regulator 202. This stop 306 may prevent the valve regulator 202 from having any sort of damage caused by over-rotation.

[0024] As further shown in Figures 3 and 4, the valve regulator 202 may include a threaded portion 308 thereabove to establish a threaded pipe connection to, for example, the extension 204 shown in Figure 2. Additionally, the threaded portion 308 may include an outlet 310 mounted therein and thereabove. The outlet 310 may be the orifice from which the fuel, such as LP 1 may be output from the valve regulator 202 in conjunction with an operation of the control knob 106 that controls the operation of the knob connection 304 to the. valve regulator 202. [0025] Figure 6 shows an exemplary construction of a valve regulator such as the one shown in Figure 2 to Figure 5. In particular, Figure 6 shows the outlet 310 of the valve regulator 202. Moreover, Figure 6 also shows the knob connector 304 and the

valve regulator stop 306 which operates similarly to the construction described in conjunction with Figure 3 to Figure 5. Additionally, Figure 6 further shows an inlet 602. As noted previously, the outlet 310 is arranged at the very top of valve regulator 202. The outlet 310 allows the fuel to be emitted from the valve regulator 202. The inlet 602, on the other hand, provides an input for the fuel from a higher pressure fuel source to the valve regulator 202. Accordingly, the fuel, such as LP, may be input to the inlet 602 and may be output, after being regulated and controlled, via the outlet 310.

[0026] Figure 7 is a break away view of the valve regulator 202 constructed according to the principles of the invention. In particular, Figure 7 shows the inlet 602 arranged at the very bottom of the valve regulator 202. For example, this may connect to a fuel source that is arranged therebelow. In particular, a fuel source may operate at a higher pressure. The fuel source may be applied to a connection portion 720 which is arranged in the input 602 of the valve regulator 202. The high pressure fuel may then flow up through an orifice 722 arranged in the connection portion 720. Thereafter, the fuel may then fill the valve chamber 702. From there, a valve 706 is arranged in a left most portion of the valve chamber 702 as shown in Figure 7.

[0027] In particular, the valve 706 may include a valve opening 704 that may stop or allow fuel flow post the valve 706. The valve opening 704 may be opened by movement of an actuating needle 708. Accordingly, when the actuating needle 708 moves in the direction shown by arrow D, the valve opening 704 may opens allowing the fuel that is located in valve chamber 702 to flow through the valve 706 and into a diaphragm chamber 714. The actuating needle 708 may be actuated via movement of a diaphragm 712 and an engagement surface 710. Accordingly, when the

diaphragm 712 moves left or right in the direction D based on the pressure in the diaphragm chamber 714, the engagement surface 710 moves with the diaphragm 712 and accordingly so does the actuating needle 708. Movement of those three structures opens and closes the valve opening 704. When the valve opening 704 is open, the fuel in valve chamber 702 may flow through the valve 706 into diaphragm chamber 714 and flows up through output conduits 716 and 718 and out through the outlet 310. Accordingly, the diaphragm 712 of this construction 712 may be able to be constructed such as there is no fluid flow-through in the diaphragm 712. This may create a stronger construction in the valve regulator 202 that also may make the construction of the valve regulator 202 less expensive and further makes manufacturing easier.

[0028] Figures 8 and 9 show exploded views of the valve regulator 202 construction of Figure 7. As previously noted, the operation of the valve regulator 202 may be accomplished through a knob connector 304 which connects to a knob 106 not shown in Figures 8 and 9. Accordingly, knob connector 304 may rotate a valve regulator actuator 810 shown at Figures 8 and 9. The valve regulator actuator 810 may rotate within an actuator holder 802. The construction of the actuator holder 802 and the valve regulator actuator 810 may be such that rotation of the valve regulator actuator 810 with respect to the actuator holder 802 creates a movement in the direction of E shown in Figures 8 and 9. This may be accomplished via raised surfaces on the actuator 810 and actuator holder 802. The movement of the valve regulator actuator 810 in the direction E may tend to compress a first spring 804 and move a separator 806 and also further compress a second spring 808. Accordingly, rotation of the valve knob 106 may rotate the knob connector 304 that rotates the actuator 810 which in conjunction with the actuator holder 802 moves in the direction

E and thus compresses the springs 804 and 808 and includes a movement of a separator 806. Valve diaphragm 712 may provide a greater force to the engagement surface 710 and a greater force against actuating needle 708 when the knob 106 and knob connector 304 are rotated to move the actuator 810. Accordingly, the rotation of the knob 106 controls the flow and regulates the pressure of fuel that is output from outlet 310. Moreover, the structure shown in Figures 8 and 9 allows for a diaphragm 712 that does not allow fluid to flow there through. This makes construction of the diaphragm 712 easier and less expensive providing an improved product to the user thereof.

[0029] While the invention has been described in terms of exemplary embodiments, those skilled in the art will recognize that the invention can be practiced with modifications in the spirit and scope of the appended claims. These examples given above are merely illustrative and are not meant to be an exhaustive list of all possible designs, embodiments, applications or modifications of the invention.