Patented December 22, 1891

To all whom it may concern:

Be it known that I, WILLIAM H. WHITE of Topeka Shawnee county, Kansas, have invented certain new and useful Improvements in Annunciators for the Supposed Dead, of which the following is a full, clear, description, reference being had to the accompanying drawings, forming a part hereof.

My invention relates to an improvement in grave-annunciators; and it consists in the peculiar combination and arrangement of devices, as will be fully hereinafter specified, and particularly pointed out in the claims.

The object of my invention is to provide a means whereby the supposed cadaver (buried before life is extinct) on regaining animation may sound an alarm through the annunciator located at the superintendent's office or other suitable place, by which a signal of life may be imparted and also immediate rescue rendered to the recuperating body by means of fresh air until the said body is disinterred and medical aid summoned.

This is designed especially as an improvement of the patent applied for by me May 22, 1890, Serial No. 352,813; and it consists in the construction, arrangement, and combination of the parts of which it is composed, as will be hereinafter more fully pointed out and claimed.

Referring to the drawings, which illustrate this invention, Figure 1 is a vertical sectional view of my invention, showing the connection with the casket containing the supposed cadaver. Fig. 2 is a plan view of my invention with the cap removed. Fig. 3 is a vertical sectional view on a line y y of Fig. 2, showing in dotted lines the operation of the valve and circuit-completing connections. Fig. 4 is a vertical sectional view of the lower end of the shaft D and casting B, secured to the upper surface of the casket. Figure 5 is a side elevation, of the closing-plug.

Similar letters refer to similar parts.

A represents an annular plug fitting within an orifice in a coffin-lid. The opening is of proper size and at a proper place, which is provided with an ornamental plate, which plate is removed at internment. Secured to the upper surface of this plug A by means of screw-bolts is a flange B, which has the hollow cylindrical portion C extending upward for a short distance and provided on its outer surface with screw threads c', which are adapted to engaged by screw-threads on the interior side of the lower end of the hollow shaft D, arranged vertically above the casting C. Extending a suitable distance above the ground the shaft D is provided at its upper end with the exterior screw-threads, engaged by the interior screw-threads of the annular enlargement E at the lower end of the short cylindrical casting F. Said casting is provided at its opposite end with a similar enlargement provided with the interior screw-threads, which are engaged by the threads of the lower end of the cap G, which thus closes the upper end of the said shaft. Cap G is provided a suitable distance above the coupling with the casting F, a series of perforations H extending in an inclined direction from the outer surface of said cap. Said perforation is such that inclement weather, rain, and snow, &c., cannot enter the cap G. The annular shoulder g, formed near the upper end of casting F, is provided at its upper surface at diametrically-opposite points with the notches or semicircular recesses g', in which pivotally rest the trunnions K of a circular valve-disk J, of rubber or other suitable material, which, when closed, prevents the entrance of air into the casting P. The lower end of cap G, when secured in place, rests upon the shoulder g and prevents the trunnions from being displaced from their engagement with notches or recesses g', as will be readily understood. A short distance below said valve is a casting or bracket L, secured rigidly to tho inner wall of casting F and provided at its upper and lower ends with the inwardly-extending horizontal arms M, provided with vertically-aligned perforations, through which is adapted to operate the rod N. The lower end of this rod N is provided with teeth or notches P, adapted to be engaged in the lower end of a spring-catch P', which is rigidly secured to the inner wall of shaft F. To the lower end of the rod N is also connected by means of a wire rod Q to a ring or device R on a finger of one or both hands of the supposed cadaver. Secured round the rod N and bearing in its normal position against the underside of the upper arm M of casting L is conductor S, connected by means of wire T and staple or other means to the under surface and near the outer edge of the circular valve J. Coiled round the rod N and bearing against the upper surface of the lower arm M of the casting L and the under surface of the conductor L is a spring U, which normally holds the rod N in its elevated position. Erected vertically upon the surface of the lower arm M of the casting L by suitable means is a non-conductor V, to which is secured by screw-bolts X the conducting leafspring W. Secured to the screw X and in contact with the conducting-spring W is the one end of the wire Y, which passes by the shortest or most direct route through the nonconductor Z, (the wire being insulated from X to Z, as shown,) and thence passing and supported by suitable non-conductors--such as the posts, &c.--to the superintendent's office or other suitable point, is connected with an annunciator, passes to the electric battery, and is conveyed to the ground, thus forming a ground-current of electricity, which connects with the shaft D.

The operation of my invention is as follows: The supposed cadaver, on regaining animation, after interment, with the natural movement of the hand or hands on which the ring or device is placed causes the downward movement through the connecting-wire Q of the rod N, and the conductor S, being rigidly secured thereto, comes in contact with the upper end of the conducting-spring W, completing the circuit, causing the ringing of the annunciator. This slight movement of probably a quarter of an inch allows the sharpened lower end of the spring P' to engage with the lower notch P of the rod N, thus holding said rod depressed and the conductor S in constant contact with the conducting-spring and insures the continual sounding of the alarm until the current is broken at the superintendent's office. The spring P', engaging the notches P of the rod N, prevents any possibility of the current being broken or air being cut off in the shaft. This downward movement of the conductor S causes simultaneously the slight operation of the valve J, allowing fresh air entering through perforations H to pass to the casket, and, if thought advisable, the valve can be left slightly open at interment to admit a small quantity of fresh air. Should the hand or hands containing the ring or device be forcibly moved, the rod N is drawn downward to the position shown in dotted lines, Fig.3. The conductor S at the same time causes the valve J to open to its extreme position and the continued ringing of the alarm in the superintendent's office or other suitable place, as will be readily understood. If suitable time has elapse after interment and the alarm has not sounded, the casting F is unscrewed from its connection with the upper end of shaft D and raised sufficiently to sever or cut the wire (the hand being raised slightly during the uncoupling of the casting F from the shaft D.) The upper end of the wire Q is engaged by a pair of nippers or other suitable means and held in its elevated position until the ping c, frustum-shaped, as shown, is inserted and drops to the lower end of shaft D. The wire Q, being then released, allows the hand connected to its lower end to drop back to or resume its original position. The interior upper wall of cylindrical portion C of casting B is beveled, as shown at b, to assist in guiding the lower end of the plug c to the desired position. The plug, in assuming the position desired, forces the wire Q to the position shown in Fig. 4. A vertical rod or pipe may now be inserted through the shaft D to strike upon the upper surface of the plug c, (which is made of wood of other suitable material,) forcing the same downward tightly and making the joint between said plug and the interior wall of partition C airtight, the wire, as will be readily understood, embedding itself in the plug when said plug is forced home. `The shaft D may now be engaged by a wrench or other suitable means and unscrewed from its connection with the casting B, and the opening in the earth where the shaft D was erected may be filled in, as will be readily understood.

Having thus fully described my invention, what I claim as new, and desire to secure by Letters-Patent, is--

1. An improved grave-annunciator comprising a suitable coffin or receptacle for the body, a circular plug fitted into an aperture in the coffin, a cylindrical tube having a flanged lower end secured to the circular plug, screw-threaded externally at its upper end and inclined outwardly and upwardly at the upper part of its interior, a tube internally screw-threaded at its lower end to embrace, the first named tube, a perforated cap screwed upon the upper end of the second tube, a disk journaled horizontally in the upper portion of the second tube, a bracket secured vertically in one side of the second tube, a sliding rod mounted vertically in the bracket and held upwardly by a surrounding coiled spring and also notched at its lower end, a spring-detent secured to the inner surface of the second tube and engaging the notches of the rod, a rod connecting the disk with the sliding rod, a fixed contact-spring secured to the bracket and connected to the line-wire, a movable contact carried by the sliding rod and operating by engagement with the upper end of the fixed contact spring to close the circuit, and a wire connected to the lower end of the sliding rod and designed to be attached at its lower end to the body within the coffin or receptacle, substantially as set forth.

2. The combination of the casting F having the interior and annular shoulder g, the valve J, provided with the opposite trunnions pivotally engaging diametrically-arranged notches g' in shoulder g, and the cap G, the lower end of which rests upon the upper surface of shoulder g, substantially as and for the purpose set forth.

In testimony whereof I affix my signature in presence of two witnesses.