Vintage Patents and Ads

Filed on 05 July 1955, by Jeremiah D. Kennelly of Oak Park, Ill, for the Mars Signal-Light Company, is for a three bulb rotating light. The bragging rights on this design is an easier design to swap out the bulbs without removing screws. It accomplished this with a spring clamp mechanism. It also was designed to allow more than two bulbs under an enclosed dome of the same size as other 2 bulb lights.

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November 1956 Federal Sign and Signal ad. We can see all of the patents so far. I haven't been able to find one for the Fire-Ball yet.

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This patent by Michael f. Schmitz, Jr. of Lamont, Ill., was filed 07 Feb 1956. Suggested use for railroad trains, boats, airplanes and other wheeled vehicles. This is a spinner.
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Applied 29 Oct 1954, but not patented until 1957 is this one by John S. McRea for The Sireno Co., Inc. Promoted as extremely simple in construction and economical to produce. Eliminates sliding contacts, slip rings and the like.

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Filed 28 May 1958 by Wilbur D. Owens for American Signal Company in Albany, Georgia. The Patrol Car Signal. Stated as a signal which can be changed to issue commands to drivers without having to stop them. Commands such as dimming headlights or reducing speed.

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Donald A. Witt, filed a patent on 15 Oct 1959 for an improved dome light for emergency vehicles. Acknowledging that some law enforcement vehicles need removable lights to be inconspicuous at times, and stating that the magnets in use by those available are insufficient he submitted this patent for a readily attached and detached light. He accomplishes this with a small low profile plate that permanently attaches to the roof of the vehicle that the beacon can easily attach to or be removed at will.

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Arnold Cararelli, David O. Chase, Camilius and Phillip H. Stevens of New York, for R. E. Dietz Company of Syracuse, NY filed a patent on 14 Oct 1960 for a Rotating Signal Light. The benefits of this light are: Can contain 4 sealed beam lights; camp support can be removed without disconnecting wires; lamps can be replaced by simply loosening a screw; high light output; weather tight and durable.

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April 1962 Ad for the Federal 175 "Strat-O-Ray" with it's tilted white beams, interspersed with horizontal red.

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Also we have a 1962 Federal ad for the new Vitalite. Economical for the volunteer at a low price of $25. Comes in several models:
121 with magnetic plug in
121-A with permanent Mount
121-B with Pipe-post Mount

Vitalite 1962 Ad.jpg
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Irving Stanley Meyer of New York applied for a patent on 07 Dec 1962 for a combined high intensity siren and rotating lamp. Interestingly this was not for emergency vehicles, but for vehicles having an emergency. It was suggested to be used to signal for either mechanical difficulty or physical illness.

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1963 is the birth year of Earl W. Gosswiller's Federal Visibar. Here is the original concept. Simply put as "The ornamental design for a combined warning light and siren for emergency vehicles".
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The same year, Jeremiah Daniel Kennelly presents his design for a new oscillating light. The "important object of the invention is to provide a novel warning device characterized by the fact that it presents a unique light pattern to the viewer". It was specifically designed for Fire apparatus in order to proved a unique pattern to differentiate them from other emergency vehicles such as Ambulances and Police. The early version of the Mars Aurora Borealis is launched. Kennelly will soon become one of the chief designers for Mars.

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1965 we see the design of Jeremiah D. Kennelly's Aurora Borealis ! Still no mention of Mars in the application. This was given as a related application to the copending application shown above. It is important to note in this application it is expanded for all emergency vehicles and not just for Fire.

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Filed in January 1967, Earl W. Gosswiller's early design of the Federal Twinsonic. Here we see the first idea to use mirrors to enhance the rotating lights. His parabolic mirrors "being positioned relative to the signal light so as to deflect the light beams generally forwardly while producing a lateral shifting of such light beams as the signal light rotates." He notes that the Visibar was designed so that the lights are "disposed out of phase with one another so as to create the effect of a flash of light on one side, then a light flash on the other side. He points out that in this process when the lights are pointing laterally inwardly the light is wasted. It is blocked by the siren and the other light and when pointing in this direction the light is not being seen. By using the mirror the light is reflected forwardly and backwards while pointing laterally and is not wasted.

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I skipped a 1963 application for a Federal Visibar Sign, an Earl W. Gosswiller design. This is for "The ornamental design for a combined warning light and sign for emergency vehicles, substantially as shown and described."

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The last invention of the 60's that I have is a design by Robert J. Forestal, and the Dura Corporation of Southfield, Michigan. His design of a "platform for carrying emergency signals having a lazy-tong structure". The platform is controlled by an electric motor and is mounted on the roof of an emergency vehicle. Actually quite an ingenious idea, if not a truly practical one. He notes that when emergency vehicles are on scene, the lights are often obstructed by other vehicles, and are hard to see from a level plane from other cars. Also the spotlights and alley lights are of little use for scene lighting at roof height. This platform would allow the lights to be elevated to increase their visibility and to light the scene better. This platform system was used in Air and Light trucks in many fire services vehicles.

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Have you wondered what year the Mars 888 debuted? Well the patent was filed on 23 June 1969 and approved on 08 Dec 1970. Designed by Jeremiah D. Kennelly and assinged to Mars Signal Light Company. Described as "An emergency signal light having a pair of trunnion-like ring mountings for a sealed beam lamp. A motor mounting is provided immediately behind the lamp with oppositely extending worms linked to the trunnion rings to develop a "figure 8" light pattern."


1971 was a big year for Oliver J. Burland who becomes a designer for Mars lights. His patent for 28 July 1971 is for "An emergency vehicle warning light having three aligned lamp units with the middle unit having a double lamp, each unit being mounted on a vertical post for oscillation in a horizontal plane, the source of electrical current to the lamps being delivered through the bottom ends of the posts." Tsquale identified this one as the "Spectrasystem minibar". I had never seen one before.

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Oliver J. Burland continued his creativity in 1971 with the Mars Skybolt ! His innovation boasted a plastic base for mounting atop a vehicle, the "globe and base being connected by a unique detent locking arrangement and wherein the transparent globe is equipped with internal rib means for receipt of placards to develop different visual images."
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1972 started with an application by Richard d. Ellis of Minneapolis, Minn. His patent for a "Police Utility Bar" A one stop light bar with twin rotating lights, a radio antenna, front running lights, a siren "in apertures", rear running lights and twin search lights that pivot on the sides. Who could ask for anything more?

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In July 1972, an application by John Smith of Ontario, Canada was filed for an emergency rotating warning light. The uniqueness of this light is it's ability to be adaptable. You can have two or four lights, you can change the angles of the lights to fit your need and it is easily serviceable.

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24 Jan 1973, Oliver J. Burland, without naming Mars as the assignee, applied for a patent for a flashing signal with a pair of vertically spaced lamps mounted on a lamp frame which is pivotable about vertical and horizontal axes. Maybe someone recognizes this device.

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A patent filed in 1974 by Robert D. Kayler of Kettering, Ohio for a magnetic base, solves a mystery I had and several of us discussed on this site late last year. This magnetic base assembly including an "annular metal base plate having a depending circumferentially extending skirt portion. A plurality of flat block-like permanent magnets are cemented to the base plate in a spoke-like radial positions, and each magnet is magnetized across its thickness after it is attached to the base plate. The base plate and the permanent magnets are heated and placed within a fluidized bed of thermoplastic powder to form a thin continuous bed or coating over the plate of magnets." I have this plate on my Federal Model 14, that came from a retired Fire Captain in Kettering, Ohio ! The magnet positions are different than the picture but but are so arranged to allow for mounting holes and the motor cutout.

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A patent was filed on 07 Sept 1976 by Alfred J. Peirish Jr. and Robert E. Knepshield both of California for International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation (which appears to be related to Sireno). This patent was not published until 1980. It is a redesign of the Gosswiller Federal Twinsonic, in particular the parabolic mirrors used in the Twinsonic and Aerotwin. Whereas the Gosswiller design used flat sections on the mirror to redirect the light, this patent uses convex sections so as to "produces a highly scintillating and psychedelic light effect which enhances the warning effectiveness of the apparatus". I think they had the blinky bug too !

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1976 was a big year for patents. Filed on 10 Mar 1976 by Alan Litman of Pittsburgh, Penn., is a design of different kind of light bar. Designing for the Smith & Wesson Chemical Company Inc. of Pittsburg, In this design, the lights remain stable and a pair of mirrors spin to create the rotating appearance. Now that is different. The main advantage promoted with this patent is there are fewer parts to wear out. No brush contacts and no expensive mounts for spinning lights.

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Our next invention of 1976, but Larry K. Dart and Richard L. Stalder of California, was assigned for the International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation. This light is better known today as the Sireno 44660. I just recently acquired one of these lights ! The use of plastic lamp holders, a brush contact on the bottom and a push nut on the top which doubles as the grounding contact and friction for the lamp holders. The configuration can be for two bulbs or for four bulbs with the mating design of the lamp holders.

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We finish up 1976 with a patent by Arthur F. Bleiweiss, Dumitru Cotoara of Toronto and Robert J. Wilkes of Caledon East, Canada. The assignee is Dominion Auto Accessories Limited of Toronto. This very much looks like a Vitalite type 3.

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We start off 1978 with a very interesting design. It appears to be the original Aerotwinsonic idea of Earl W. Gosswiller for Federal Signal Corporation. There is very little except for the concept drawings. It is listed as "The ornamental design for a combined light and siren speaker housing for emergency vehicle'.

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Jan 1978 was the date the patent was filed for Earl W. Gosswiller's, Aerodynic design. Designed as a "modular housing assembly for housing a vehicle warning light system and intended for mounting across the roof of a police car or other vehicle." It boasts "transparent plastic panels of modular construction, there being provided a plurality of front modular panel sections interconnected in side-by-side relation.." The rear described the same.

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The same month Gosswiller filed another Aerodynic design, this one shows a double speaker for the siren, but also discusses the ability to "arranged (rotators) at predetermined angles relative to one another so as to vary the sequence of teh light flashes and thus create an unlimited variety of different flashing effects."

Federal Aerodynic 1978 B.JPG Federal Aerodynic 1978 B-2.JPG Federal Aerodynic 1978 B-3.JPG

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