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Publication numberUS20070249469 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/410,613
Publication dateOct 25, 2007
Filing dateApr 25, 2006
Priority dateApr 25, 2006
Publication number11410613, 410613, US 2007/0249469 A1, US 2007/249469 A1, US 20070249469 A1, US 20070249469A1, US 2007249469 A1, US 2007249469A1, US-A1-20070249469, US-A1-2007249469, US2007/0249469A1, US2007/249469A1, US20070249469 A1, US20070249469A1, US2007249469 A1, US2007249469A1
InventorsMark Chernick, Webb Nelson
Original AssigneeChernick Mark J, Nelson Webb T
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Multiple layer novelty item and method of manufacture
US 20070249469 A1
Abstract
A squeeze ball novelty device having an outer elastomeric casing is provided that is filled with a fluid fill composition. A smaller inner elastic casing is provided within the interior of the outer elastic casing. The inner casing is filled with a plurality of secondary objects. The outer elastic casing and the inner elastic casing are separated by a layer of the fluid fill composition. The fluid fill composition is optically opaque. When the squeeze ball is squeezed, the secondary objects in the inner elastic casing cause the inner elastic casing to bulge. As the inner elastic casing bulges, it thins and becomes more transparent. Furthermore, as the inner elastic casing bulges it displaces the opaque fluid fill composition from between the inner and outer elastic casings. The outer casing thins and enables a person to clearly view the secondary objects within the squeeze ball.
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Claims(16)
1. A novelty device comprising:
a plurality of secondary objects molded from an elastic material;
an inner elastomeric casing surrounding said plurality of secondary objects;
an outer elastomeric casing surrounding said inner elastic casing, said outer elastomeric casing being larger than said inner elastomeric casing, therein creating a gap space between said outer elastomeric casing and said inner elastomeric casing;
a first volume of fill material disposed within said gap space in between said inner elastomeric casing and said outer elastomeric casing.
2. The device according to claim 1, wherein said plurality of secondary objects are dispersed within a second volume of fill material.
3. The device according to claim 1, wherein said first volume of fill material is optically opaque.
4. The device according to claim 1, wherein said inner elastomeric casing and said outer elastomeric casing are both spherical in shape.
5. The device according to claim 1, wherein each of said secondary objects has a configuration selected from a group consisting of insects, body parts and vermin.
6. The device according to claim 1, wherein said outer elastomeric casing has a decorated exterior surface.
7. A method of manufacturing a novelty device, comprising the steps of:
providing a first elastomeric casing;
providing a plurality of elastomeric objects;
filling said first elastomeric casing with said plurality of elastomeric objects;
providing a second elastomeric casing;
inserting said first elastomeric casing into said second elastomeric casing, wherein said second elastomeric casing envelops said first elastomeric casing creating a gap space around said first elastomeric casing in between said first elastomeric casing and said second elastomeric casing;
filling said gap space with a liquid fill material.
8. The method according to claim 7, wherein said liquid fill material is optically opaque.
9. The method according to claim 7, further including the step of mixing a liquid with said plurality of elastomeric objects within said first elastomeric casing.
10. A squeeze ball assembly, comprising:
a plurality of ball casings of differing sizes, wherein all of said plurality of ball casings are concentric, therein creating gap spaces between adjacent ball casings; and
fill material filling said gap spaces between said adjacent ball casings.
11. The assembly according to claim 10, further including a core chamber within a smallest of said plurality of ball casings.
12. The assembly according to claim 11, wherein said ball casings are elastic.
13. The assembly according to claim 11, further including a plurality of three-dimensional elastic objects contained within said core chamber.
14. The assembly according to claim 10, wherein said fill material is opaque.
15. The assembly according to claim 10, wherein each of said ball casings increases in transparency when stretched.
16. The assembly according to claim 13, wherein each of said elastic objects has a configuration selected from a group consisting of insects, body parts and vermin.
Description
    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0001]
    1. Field of the Invention
  • [0002]
    In general, the present invention relates to novelty items that have an elastic casing filled with gel or liquid. Such products are commonly referred to as “squeeze balls” in the novelty industry. More particularly, the present invention refers to squeeze balls with secondary features.
  • [0003]
    2. Description of the Prior Art
  • [0004]
    In the field of novelty items, there are many items in which an elastic casing is filled with a gel or a liquid. Such novelty items are typically referred to as “squeeze balls” in the toy and novelty product industries. With most squeeze ball designs, the casing of the squeeze ball is sized to fit in a person's hand and deforms when the item is squeezed in the hand. The deformation of the squeeze ball, provides both an unusual visual observance and an unusual tactile sensation to the person holding the squeeze ball.
  • [0005]
    In the history of such novelty squeeze balls, many variations have been developed. Many squeeze balls have been produced where objects are placed inside the squeeze balls along with the liquid or gel filler. Such objects become visually predominant when the squeeze ball is squeezed. Such prior art squeeze balls are exemplified by the Oddballz™ line of squeeze balls manufactured by Play Visions Inc. of Woodinville, Wash.
  • [0006]
    In order for an object within the skin of a squeeze ball to become visually predominant when the squeeze ball is squeezed, the skin of the squeeze ball must be fairly translucent. The skin of the squeeze ball becomes thinner as it is stretched. Thus, when the skin of the squeeze ball bulges, the skin in the bulged area is thinned and becomes more translucent than normal. This makes the objects in the squeeze ball more visible in the bulged area.
  • [0007]
    When the squeeze ball is not being squeezed, the skin of the squeeze ball remains fairly translucent. This enables a person to view and recognize the contents of the squeeze ball before the ball is squeezed. This detracts significantly from the novelty of the squeeze ball, especially if the squeeze ball contains unusual items that are supposed to provide a certain shock value when initially viewed.
  • [0008]
    In order to make the contents of a squeeze ball less visible when not squeezed, the squeeze balls are often filled with opaque liquids or suspensions. The opaque fluid prevents the objects in the squeeze ball from being viewed. Once the squeeze ball is squeezed, the objects within the squeeze ball are pressed against the translucent skin and can then be viewed.
  • [0009]
    Although the use of opaque fluids and suspensions is used to obscure the contents of a squeeze ball, it is not always completely effective. If an object in a squeeze ball just happens to press against the skin of the squeeze ball, then no liquid obscures the object and the object can be viewed through the skin of the squeeze ball.
  • [0010]
    The present invention is a novel variation of the traditional squeeze ball. The present invention uses multiple layers within a squeeze ball to obscure objects within the squeeze ball until the squeeze ball is squeezed. In this manner, the contents of the squeeze ball cannot be seen prematurely. The squeeze ball therefore remains novel and interesting to a person observing or playing with the squeeze ball. The details of this improvement are described and claimed below.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0011]
    The present invention is a squeeze ball novelty device. An outer elastomeric casing is provided that is filled with a fluid fill composition. Thus, when the elastomeric casing is squeezed in a person's hand, it will bulge and otherwise deform. A smaller inner elastic casing is provided within the interior of the outer elastic casing. The inner casing is filled with a plurality of secondary objects. The secondary objects are three-dimensional and soft.
  • [0012]
    The outer elastic casing and the inner elastic casing are separated by a layer of the fluid fill composition. The fluid fill composition is optically opaque due to the use of colorant or suspension particles. Accordingly, when the squeeze ball is at rest, the inner elastic casing cannot be seen through the outer elastic casing and the opaque fluid fill composition. However, when the squeeze ball is squeezed, the secondary objects in the inner elastic casing cause the inner elastic casing to bulge. As the inner elastic casing bulges, it thins and becomes more transparent. Furthermore, as the inner elastic casing bulges it contacts the outer elastic casing and displaces the opaque fluid fill composition from between the inner and outer elastic casings. The inner elastic casing finally causes the outer elastic casing to bulge. The outer casing thins and enables a person to clearly view the secondary objects within the squeeze ball.
  • [0013]
    The result is a squeeze ball that presents objects for viewing only when the squeeze ball is being squeezed.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0014]
    For a better understanding of the present invention, reference is made to the following description of an exemplary embodiment thereof, considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:
  • [0015]
    FIG. 1 is partially fragmented view of an exemplary embodiment of the present invention;
  • [0016]
    FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of the embodiment of FIG. 1 shown in an unstressed condition; and
  • [0017]
    FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the embodiment of FIG. 1 shown being deformed by squeezing.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0018]
    Although the present invention novelty item can have any shape, such as a cylinder, square, block, animal shape or the like, it is anticipated that the present invention novelty item will be manufactured predominantly in a spherical shape. Accordingly, the exemplary embodiment of the invention being shown is spherical in order to set forth the best mode contemplated for the invention. However, the shown shape should not be considered a limitation on the invention. It should be understood that the external shape of the present invention novelty item is a matter of design choice and that all shapes are intended to be included in the scope of this specification.
  • [0019]
    Referring both to FIG. 1, a novelty item 10 is shown. In the center of the novelty item 10 is an inner elastic casing 12. The inner elastic casing 12 defines a core chamber 14. The core chamber 14 of the inner elastic casing 12 contains a first fill composition 16. The first fill composition 16 can be any traditional fill composition used for squeeze balls. Traditional fill compositions typically include a non-toxic liquid that is mixed with colorants and/or particle confetti. However, in the preferred embodiment, the first fill composition 16 is comprised of a plurality of small elastic objects 20. The small elastic objects 20 are three-dimensional and preferably have some shock value when viewed. Thus, the preferred elastic objects 20 are selected from a group consisting of insects, body parts, vermin and the like. It is also preferred that the elastic objects 20 be brightly colored or lightly colored so as to be highly visible. The elastic objects 20 can be coated with lubricant or combined with a small amount of liquid so that the elastic objects 20 easily flow over one another when the inner elastic casing 12 is squeezed.
  • [0020]
    The inner elastic casing 12 is preferably formed from triblock copolymer that is mixed with a plasticizing oil. For instance, a poly(styrene-ethylene-ethylene-propylene-styrene) copolymer can be used that is mixed with, between two percent and twenty percent by weight, a plasticizing oil. The resulting composition is both highly elastic and highly tear resistant. An oxidizing agent can also be added to the elastic composition to reduce the tackiness of the elastic composition. Other triblock copolymers, such as poly(styrene-ethylene-propylene-styrene) and poly(styrene-ethylene-butylene-styrene) can also be used.
  • [0021]
    A plurality of elastic objects 20 are illustrated. Each of the elastic objects 20 is an individually molded elastomeric three-dimensional piece. Preferably, the elastic objects 20 are made from the same class of elastomeric materials as is the inner elastic casings 12 of the novelty item 10. This is preferred, but not necessary. The elastic objects 20 need only be soft so that they present no hard edges that can cut into the inner elastic casing 12. Thus, they can be made of sponge, foam, or the like.
  • [0022]
    The elastic objects 20 are preferably small compared to the size of the core chamber 14. As such, although any plurality of elastic objects 20 can be used, it is preferred that at least ten elastic objects 20 be provided. Each of the elastic objects 20 is separate and is not attached to any of the other elastic objects 20. This enables the secondary objects 20 to flow over and around one another.
  • [0023]
    The inner elastic casing 12 is centrally located in the center of a larger outer elastic casing 22. The outer elastic casing 22 is preferably made from the same triblock copolymer material as is the inner elastic casing 12. Consequently, both the inner elastic casing 12 and the outer elastic casing 22 share the same high degree of elasticity.
  • [0024]
    The outer elastic casing 22 is larger than the inner elastic casing 12 by at least ten percent. Consequently, there is a gap space 24 that exists between the inner elastic casing 12 and the outer elastic casing 22. The gap space 24 is filled with a second fill composition 26. The second fill composition 26 includes a non-toxic liquid that is mixed with colorants and/or particle confetti. The concentration of colorant and/or confetti is such that it makes the second fill composition 26 opaque. The result is that the inner elastic casing 12 cannot be viewed through both the outer elastic casing 22 and the surrounding second fill composition 26.
  • [0025]
    The outer elastic casing 22 and the inner elastic casing 12 are both translucent. However, whenever the inner elastic casing 12 or the outer elastic casing 22 is stretched, the material of these structures thins and these structures become far more translucent. If highly stretched, both the inner elastic casing 12 and the outer elastic casing 22 become nearly transparent.
  • [0026]
    Referring to FIG. 2, it can be seen that when the novelty item 10 is not stressed, the inner elastic casing 12 floats within the confines of the second fill composition 26 in the outer elastic casing 22. The inner elastic casing 12 and the elastic objects 20 it contains preferably have a neutral buoyancy in the selected second fill composition 26.
  • [0027]
    Since the inner elastic casing 12 is enveloped in the opaque second fill composition 26 and the outer elastic casing 22, the inner elastic casing 12 cannot be directly observed. Furthermore, since the elastic objects 20 within the inner elastic casing 12 are further shielded by the inner elastic casing 12, those elastic objects 20 cannot be seen by observing the novelty item 10. The elastic objects 20 also cannot be seen as the novelty item 10 is carried and otherwise casually manipulated.
  • [0028]
    From FIG. 3, it can be seen that when the novelty item 10 is squeezed, the elastic objects 20 in the core chamber 14 of the inner elastic casing 12 become displaced and bulge the inner elastic casing 12. The bulging section 28 of the inner elastic casing 12 displaces the second fill material 26 and contacts the outer elastic casing 22. The bulging section of the inner elastic casing 12 therefore creates a corresponding bulging section 28 in the outer elastic casing 22. Since the inner elastic casing 12 and the outer elastic casing 22 are both bulged, the thickness of the inner elastic casing 12 and the outer elastic casing 22 thin significantly in the bulging sections 28. Furthermore, the opaque second fill material 26 is displaced out from between the inner elastic casing 12 and the outer elastic casing 22 within the bulging section 28. Consequently, the only material between an observer and the elastic objects 20 within the core chamber 14 of the novelty item 10 is the two bulging sections 28 of the inner and out elastic casings 12, 22. The inner and outer elastic casings 12, 22 both become thin and nearly transparent as they are stretched. Consequently in the bulging sections 28, the elastic objects 20 from the center of the novelty item 10 can be clearly observed.
  • [0029]
    The elastic objects 20 in the center of the novelty item 10 are preferably formed into gross shapes, such as insects, body parts and the like. In the shown embodiment, the elastic objects 20 are eyeballs. It will therefore be understood that when the novelty item 20 is gently held, it appears to be just another squeeze ball. However, once the novelty item 10 is squeezed, the visually shocking elastic objects 20 suddenly and unexpectedly become visible. As soon as the squeezing forces are removed from the novelty item 10, the novelty item 10 immediately reverts to its original shape and the central elastic objects 20 can no longer be seen.
  • [0030]
    The outer elastic casing 22 can be decorated to be a placid object, such as a globe, baseball or the like. When the novelty item is squeezed, the decoration of the outer elastic casing 22 will give way to the multitude of insects, body parts or other such items that are the elastic objects 20 in the center of the novelty item 10. It will therefore be understood that the novelty item 10 will surprise a person who initially squeezes the novelty item 10 believing it is an ordinary prior art squeeze ball.
  • [0031]
    It will be understood that the embodiment of the present invention novelty item that is illustrated is merely exemplary and that a person skilled in the art can make many variations using alternate configurations and functionally equivalent components. For instance, the shape of the outer casing can be changed. The shape of the elastic objects in the center of the novelty item can be changed. Additionally, the size of the gap in between the outer elastic casing and the inner elastic casing can be varied. All such variations, modifications and alternate embodiments are intended to be included within the scope of the present invention as claimed.
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7785170 *Jul 10, 2007Aug 31, 2010Chernick Mark JNovelty device having elastomeric protrusions with hard plastic terminations and its associated method of construction
US8105212 *Apr 2, 2009Jan 31, 2012Manuel Eduardo TellezInner circle mouse pad
US20090017721 *Jul 10, 2007Jan 15, 2009Chernick Mark JNovelty device having elastomeric protrusions with hard plastic terminations and its associated method of construction
US20090253555 *Apr 2, 2009Oct 8, 2009Manuel Eduardo TellezInner Circle Mouse Pad
US20130237377 *Apr 17, 2012Sep 12, 2013William T. WilkinsonUniversal, multidirectional exerciser for exercising hand, wrist and forearm in multiple planes of motion with adjustable resistance
WO2010121062A1 *Apr 15, 2010Oct 21, 2010Wilkinson William TAn improved universal, multidirectional exerciser for exercising hand, wrist and forearm in multiple planes of motion with adjustable resistance
Classifications
U.S. Classification482/44
International ClassificationA63B23/16, A63B23/14
Cooperative ClassificationA63B21/028, A63B23/16
European ClassificationA63B23/16, A63B21/02F