Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.


  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS2202592 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 28, 1940
Filing dateFeb 25, 1937
Priority dateFeb 25, 1937
Publication numberUS 2202592 A, US 2202592A, US-A-2202592, US2202592 A, US2202592A
InventorsMaxson William L
Original AssigneeMaxson William L
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Building block
US 2202592 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)


2 Sheets-Sheet. 1

Filed Feb. 25. 1937 INVENTOR 4414- BY w I lean ATTORNEYS y 8,1940. w L. MAXSQN 2,202 592 BUILDING BLOCK Filed Feb. 25, 19:57, 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENT OR.


Patented May 28, 1940 UNITED STATES PATENT oFFicr.

6 Claims.

This invention relates to toys, more particularly to a building block or design unit, and especially to cubes or blocks of generally rectangular .shape or other stereometrical forms, adapted for arrangement in a great variety of for example sheet metal, card-board, non-inflammable Celluloid, etc., and also adapted to be formed as a solid and then tinted or otherwise" decorated, in either case exhibiting, according to the invention, certain characteristic elements of surface design emphasized by coloration accord ing to a predetermined plan of surface division.

Another object of the invention is to provide such structural elements or components adapted tobe united to form an integral block, and so designed as to exhibit, on the facets of the com pleted block, an optimum number of various combinative geometric or other figurations, utilizing a minimum number of such members or components, so that with say, two such structural components, each having an all-over characteristic color, tint or design, the six facets formed by uniting the contiguous margins of these components wil exhibit each a color-characteristic, or a figuration characteristic, that distinguishes that facet from other facets of said cube, and de-- sirably from all of the other facets, although this is not essential to certain features of the invention.

The number of combinations'and permutations which it is possible to form out of a set of cubes comprising only sixteen cubes with different facet 1 designs, is ofa high order, following the formula and with the blocks, constituting one of the ordinary commercial sets, in which such blocks are sold, in which sets it is customary to in-- clude nine, sixteen, twelve, twenty-five, thirtyvsix or even one hundred blocks, the possibility of sufiiciently sturdy structure to withstand the wear and tear of daily use in a nursery or kindergarten for a long period.

Another object of the invention is to pro' vide a block of inexpensive structure, so that the initial cost and sales price may be kept within reasonable limits, thus encouraging purchases of sufficiently extensive sets to permit the formation of enough designs simultaneously to keep a child or several children interested, and also to facilitate the keeping in assembled form of any group of such blocks which may exhibit special merit and warrant extended examination.

Another object is to provide an improved method of making and assembling the components of blocks for the above purpose by the steps of moulding or cutting from suitable material blanks of complemental shape adapted to constitute elements of the block and to form when assembled a complete stereometrical unit whether of cubical or other shape, the said blanks embodying the entire stereometrical area of the cube, or other solid shape and the permanence of the block being assured by the step of uniting the contiguous margins of the complemental elements physically, as by an adhesive, or by solder, if they are of metal, or by Welding or otherwise mechanically forming the desired union.

Other objects and advantages will appear as the description of the particular physical embodiment selected to illustrate the invention progresses, and the novel features will be particularly pointed out in theappended claims.

In describing the invention in detail and the particular physical embodiment selected to illustrate the invention, reference will be had to the accompanying drawings and the several views therein, in which like characters vof reference designate corresponding parts throughout the several views, and in which:

Fig. 1 and Fig. '2 are respectively views in perspective of a toy building block in the form of a cube, in the construction of which the invention has been embodied, this unit having six facets of equal area and different design, of which three facets are shown in Fig. 1, and the other three adjoining facets are shown in Fig. 2.

Fig. 3 and Fig. 4 are respectively developed views of two complemental surface portions which together comprise the entire aggregate stereometric area of the six facets of the cube illustrated in Figs. 1 and 2. I

Fig. 5 is a plan view of an illustrative combination of sixteen of the units, identical with each other, in configuration and sm'face design,

* side by side on the facet.

and assembled in contiguous relation with each other to form a design in which five out of the six characteristic facet designs appear one or more times in the fanciful representation of a horse, on a light background.

Figs. 6 to 14 inclusive are detail views in ele vation from different viewpoints showing respectively the two component elements of such a block as that illustrated in Figs. 1 and 2.

Figs. 15 and 16 are Views similar to Figs. 1 and 2, illustrating in perspective a cubical unit of modified design.

The reference character is used generally throughout the drawings, except in Figs. 15 and 16, to designate each complete cubical block or unit, and the numerals l to 6 inclusive designate each a different facet of the cube, each facet ex hibiting its own characteristic design, by which term as herein employed, it is intended to include an all-over coloring or tint, of any surface area, as well as any distinctive figuration of a lineal or other character.

For example, each facet designated l is characterized distinctively by an all-over light color or tint, and each facet 2 has an all-over darker color or contrasting tint, while each facet 3 exhibits a characteristic half-and-half arrangement of the same light and darker, or contrasting, tints in rectangular, oblong fields 3 and 3 Each of the facets 4 exhibits as its characteristic a rhomboidal design eifect 4 in the darker tint, extending diagonally across the facet and including two of the corners, while the other two corners, 4 and 4, disposed at opposite ends of an imaginary crossdiagonal line, are in the lighter tint. Each facet 5 exhibits one triangular corner area 5 in the darker tint while the preponderant remainder of the area 5' of the facet is in the lighter tint. The facet 6 exhibits a characteristic which is the reciprocal of the above described characteristic of the facet 5, viz., the facet 6 has one light triangular corner area 6 in the light tint, while the remainder 6 of the facet 6 is of the darker tint, this being the preponderant feature of the characteristic of this facet.

In the horse design of Fig. 5, the all-over light tinted facets l of the units are numerous, there being four of these, which furnish the greater part of the background of this design; one all-over darker tinted facet 2 furnishes the bulk of the desired body effect, in conjunction with the adjacent darker halves 3 of two of the facets 3, while the lighter halves 3 of the two last-mentioned facets merge with the light background facets I.

Similarly, the light background is augmented by thedominant light parts 5 of facets 5 above and below the body, but in the six facets 4 which are used respectively to represent the head, neck, tail and legs, the darker tint of the rhomboids l dominates the lighter tint, 4 although it will be observed that the light tint can still be arranged to merge with the general light background at all contiguous regions.

This capability is provided for in considerable measure by that feature of the invention which resides in a disposal of the contrasting dark and light areas such that each color area extends either along the entire edge of a facet or along one-half or a regular predetermined moiety of an edge, there being no deviation from this rule in the instance selected for illustration, as is shown most clearly in Fig. 5, for example, along the top margin of the assembly, Where each of the facets 4 is of the rhomboidal variety, presenting a half-light and half-dark upper edge, while the entire edge of facet .i is of the light tint.

This feature not only exercises a certain desirable infiuence upon the continuity, and to an extent the regularity, of the design sought to be produced, but it also makes possible the fabrication of the cubical block or unit by the use of only two complemental components, as already described, for each cube, and which components are formed with irregular meeting edges, defined by the joint-line 8 to which reference has already been made, when as in the instance selected for illustration, showing a now-preferred type of structure, the cube is made in two elementsor sections, designated generally A and A2, the sections having been moulded or otherwise formed of a synthetic resin, thermoplastic, thermosetting or analogous material, such as cellulose acetate, non-inflammable Celluloid, pyroxylin, etc.

It is not intended, however, to exclude the use of more than two components in the application of a selected set of designs to the facets of a unit, whether the stereometric solid be of cubical or other polygonal, spheroidal or other contour. For example, in Figs. 15 and 16, there is shown a cube, having three color characteristics, viz., red, white and blue, the areas of each tint being so designated, and it is tobe observed that the areas of each tint are all related to each other, and adjoin either along an entire edge or surface line or along a moiety of predetermined extent so that this modification falls within the rule previously stated.

Reverting now to the figures illustrated the first described cubical unit, the section or element A is shown in Fig. 7, and the section or element A2 is shown in Fig. 6, the points of view in the two figures being such that if the observer should grasp the section of Fig. 6 with his left hand, and the section of Fig. 7 with his right hand, he could fit the sections together by simply turning them bodily so that the hollow sides presented in the figures are in opposition to each other, and then approaching them. toeach other.

As is readily apparent from inspection of the other figures on this sheet, below Figs. 6 and 7,

the figures numbers 8 to 14 inclusive are arranged in two rows vertically, with different facets of the darker tinted element at the right, and different facets of the lighter tinted element shown in the left-hand column. It will be observed further that an arrow l I extends from Fig. 13 upward and leftward toward Fig. 10, and this is intended to indicate that by moving the element of Fig. 13 in the direction pointed out by the arrow, the figuration 6 of Fig. 13 will assume its proper position in the facet structure of Fig. 10, which facet is that designated 6 in Fig. 2: so also, the arrow 12 leading from Fig. 14 toward Fig. 12 indicates that by a similar movement'the rhomboidal element 4 of Fig. 14' may be fitted in between the corners 4b and 4 of Fig 2. thus completing the figuration of facet i.

The sections, as illustrated, are intended to form a cube having a substantial central cavity,

and accordingly the walls are of sensible thickness, so that the mutually contiguous edges 16 and H (see Figs. 6 and 7) are preferably bevelled so as to provide for a snug interfit of sensible breadth along the joint line 3 (see Figs. 1 and 2) each edge affording desirable support to the other when the sections are assembled and suitably united. Such union may be readily effected by the use of a conventional adhesive or by a solvent, when, as in the case of the present material, use is made of a thermosetting or a thermoplastic resinous material; and if metal be used, the desired mechanical or metallic union can be effected by any of the known or suitable means, as forexample by crimping, soldering, brazing, welding, etc.

- The elements A and A2 are merged in the general structure of the cube shown in Figs. 1 and 2, designated as a whole C, and so are notlettered separately. Their joining means is designated by the line 8, appearing at different regions as a heavy line for the sake of convenience in its identification. The section A is formed of a material which has been colored or tinted a bright red shade in the making, while the section A2 isof an ivory, or lighter tint, thus afford- 1 ing a pleasing contrast at all regions where the parts of the elements are in juxtaposition, and by this contrast the distinctive figuration or tint characteristic of each facet is enhanced.

As the parts of the respective elements are clearly designated by the same letters of reference wherever they appear throughout the drawings, it is unnecessary to elaborate their description as already applied to some of the figures. Should it be desired to have a solid cube instead of one with a. large cavity, the walls will be made correspondingly of suitable contour and thickness in the two sections, as will be readily understood by those skilled in the art.

If desired, the intended effect can be secured cheaply by using a solid wooden block, or a hollow pasteboard cube, and then painting or otherwise tinting its facets in either of the designs herein disclosed or any other design embodying the invention; or tinted sheets of paper or other material shaped like the blanks B and B2 shown in Figs. 3 and 4, can be cut or stamped out and then secured adhesively over the facets of a block.

As all the edge lines between adjoining face portions (see broken lines 9 in Figs. 3 and may be straight lines, a very neat finish can be readily secured by the relatively unskilled labor of operatives accustomed to work in the box-covering art, and similarly if metal be used, the joints and bends can be formed along straight lines.

While there is opportunity for Wide variety in the geometrical and stereometrical effects procurable by employment of the invention herein disclosed, the facet design herein illustratively shown has many desirable features, which will now be described:

It has been ascertained by extensive research that the component elements of a complete set of facet figurations can be made desirably of the two complemental color areas B and B2 as shown respectively in Fig. 3 and Fig. 4, and when these are analyzed, certain distinctive features emerge at once which differentiate these from known figurations embodied in units of a similar nature, and these features may be summarized as follows:

(a) One of the components, as B2 (see Fig. 4), has its entire superficies of the lighter tint; the other component, B (see Fig. 3), has its entire superficies of the darker or contrasting tint. Accordingly, whether the facet elements be embodied in sheet material and then bent upon the lines 9 to a generally cubical form, and assembled with their free edges in machine relation, or whether each component be formed as an entity of the complemental forms shown in Figs. 6 and 7, the result will be the same, so far as the relative disposal of the facet figurations is concerned.

(1 Each of the design components illustrated in Figs. 3 and 4 is further characterized by having a body, panel or portion, made up of one complete square, as 2 in Fig. 3, and l in Fig. 4, ready to serve as a facet in the completed article. Each has also an oblong, or half square, 3 or 3 and each includes also one of the larger facet areas, as 5 or 6', lacking only one of the corner triangular areas, 5 or 6 already described. The dark corner 5 thus missing from the facet 5 in Fig. 4 is supplied at 5 in Fig. 3, while the light corner li missing from the dark tinted facet 6 inFig. 3, is supplied at 6 in Fig. 4. The dark rhomboidal facet portion 4 in Fig. 3 finds its two complemental light triangular corner portions at 4 and 4 in Fig. 4, when thecube is completed by assembly 'of the elements.

(0) The triangular corner areas are so disposed that those of each of the two tints are integral with, and in the completedcube, are adjacent to, a full central face of the same tint, there being an extension, on each edge, of the central facet of each tint. This provides for the presence of a series of attractively contrasting areas of different contours in all of the resultant designs.

While it has been proposed, in earlier patents, to form a cube of sheet material in two pressedup sections united mechanically, as by adhesive or solder, etc., I believe it to be novel to provide such sections with margins of highly irregular contour, but still adapted to match each other in the completed cube, and to yield as a product, an article of manufacture in the form of a unit with six facets, each exhibiting a characteristic design, figuration or tint which is different from that of each, or at least of several of the other facets.

This novel sectional, and preferably hollow, block, thus may desirably consist of only two parts, colored in contrasting tints relatively to each other, and the respective configurations of the parts being such that each facet of the block can exhibit an ornamental design or characteristic which differs in figuration and/or tint from that on any other facet of the block.

Although I have particularly described one physical embodiment of my invention and explained the principle and operation thereof, nevertheless I desire to have it understood that the form selected is merely illustrative, and does not exhaust the possible physical embodiments of the idea of means underlying my invention.

What I claim as new and desire to secure by Letters Patent of the United States is:

1. A cubical toy building block of the class described, having a plurality of facets each provided with a non-reentrant polygonal figuration having block edge boundaries which run in each instance either to or halfway to an adjacent corner. whereby all design areas formed by two adjacent facets when brought into engagement with each other will have meeting edges whose length is equal to at least one half of the block edge regardless of the particular facets thereof arranged in juxtaposition.

2. A cubical toy building block of the class described, consisting of a pair of complementary components each of a single color or tint contrasting with that of the other, and having irregular interfitting margins, the configurations of said elements being such that when the two components are assembled each facet of the completed block exhibits a different effect from that of any other facet of the block.

3. A cubical block consisting of a pair of cornplernental components as set forth in claim 2, and further characterized by having said cornplementary components constituted each by a structure of a generallystereometric character, and each adapted to form a portion, at least, of at least five faces of the cubical block.

4. A cubical block consisting of a pair of coinplemental components as set forth in claim 2, and further characterized by having said complementary components constituted each by a structure of a generally stereometric character, and each adapted to form a portion, at least, of at least five faces of the cubical block said face portions being all of polygonal forms having exclusively unbroken straight line boundaries.

5. A cubical block consisting of a pair of complemental components as set forth in claim 2, and further characterized by having said complementary components constituted each by a structure of a generally stereometric character,

and each adapted to formla portion, at least,

of at least five faces of the cubical block said that one face is completely of one color, a second face is of the other color, a third face has two differently colored zones, the zones being divided by a line parallel to the edges of the face and in the middle of the face, a fourth face has a central diagonal stripe of one color and the opposing corner areas thereof of the other color, a fifth face has a triangular corner area of one color and the remainder of the face of the other color and the sixth face has a triangular corner of the other color and the remainder of the face being Wholly of the first color.


Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3739730 *Aug 6, 1971Jun 19, 1973F HorowitzCubical block from two axially fitted identically molded sections
US4114877 *Jan 31, 1977Sep 19, 1978Goldfarb Adolph EMemory skill game
US4529228 *Feb 2, 1983Jul 16, 1985Kramer Henry PMethod and apparatus for coding pictorial information for efficient storage, transmission and reproduction
US5692749 *Aug 21, 1996Dec 2, 1997Vogeler; RogerMatching puzzle with multiple solutions
US6116978 *Apr 23, 1999Sep 12, 2000Clemens; Mary HeidiMethod for manufacturing quilts
US20140077454 *Sep 15, 2012Mar 20, 2014Paul LapstunBlock Puzzle with Row and Column Rotations
U.S. Classification446/85, 40/27, D25/113, D21/499, 273/157.00R
International ClassificationA63H33/04
Cooperative ClassificationA63H33/04
European ClassificationA63H33/04