US 2687304 A
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A 24, 1954 'J. K. NORTHROP ETAL RACING GAME APPARATUS Filed Sept. 13, 1949 3 Sheets-Sheet l llllllufldlll z.
INVENTORJ' NK. NOQTHIZOP JOHN 0 #02 p y 400 121. 546,
drroazvar 1954 J. K. NORTHROP ETAL 2,537,304
meme GAME APPARATUS Filed Sept. 13, 1949 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 6' ,7 }r0 4/0704 7' T e z f G7 70 .0 10
I 68 1 t d] 8- 24, 1954 J. K. NORTHROP ETAL 2,687,304
RACING GAME APPARATUS Filed Sept. 13, 1949 3 Sheets-Sheet 3 al i I lfifl/ld TING .1166 V6 402 INVENTORJ JOHN A. NOR TMQOP BYv HIGH/16L N146) Patented Aug. 24, 1954 UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE RACING GAME APPARATUS John K. Northrop and John H. Northrop, Los
Angeles, and Michael Nagy, Inglewood, Califi; said John H. Northrop and said Michael Nagy assignors to said John K. Northrop Application September 13, 1949, Serial No. 115,462
2 Claims. 1
The present invention relates to games and, more particularly, to a game wherein miniature vehicles can be raced under individual remote manual control over adjacent endless paths that are substantially identical in length.
One of the main obstacles in providing a satisfactory game in which vehicles are raced under remote control over adjacent endless paths is that when the paths are relatively short in length and positioned, for example, so that the vehicle paths are adjacently concentric, the paths are of very unequal length and each path has different radii of curvature.
It is an object of the present invention to provide a game in which a plurality of vehicles can be raced under separate remote manual control, and wherein a plurality of closely adjacent endless vehicle paths are provided with each path of exactly the same length and in which each vehicle, in the course of its travel once around a path, will experience curves of the same radii as each of the other vehicles.
It is another object of the present invention to provide a game in which a plurality of vehicles are raced over adjacent paths under remote manual control, and wherein the paths are of the same length and difiiculty of negotiation by the vehicle, to the end that the winning of the race by manual control of a vehicle over one of the identical paths is almost entirely a matter of superior skill on the part of the operator controlling the winning vehicle.
It is a still further object of the invention to provide a game having a plurality of identical endless and adjacent paths, together with means for maintaining an electrically driven vehicle on each of said paths, with or without the possibility of vehicles interfering during travel over their respective paths.
It is still another object of the present invention to provide a game in which a plurality of adjacent endless vehicle paths are provided of substantially; identical extent and curvature, together with means for restraining a vehicle on each path in such a manner that an operator can control the speed of a vehicle and can also control the relative position of a vehicle to the extent that the controlled vehicle can, by the use of the operators skill, be placed in a position to interfere with a vehicle on an adjacent path.
In brief, the present invention comprises a foundation member having a plurality of adjacent and endless paths thereon. In order that each path may be of substantially identical length and have substantially identical curvatures over its extent, each path crosses from one side of the path plurality to the other side also preferably adapted to conduct electrical current to the plurality of electrically driven vehicles adapted to be driven over the paths. Means are provided for individual speed control of the vehicles by operators who are in a position to watch the progress of the vehicles over the paths. The vehicle restraining means may be proportioned to have greater or less effect on maintaining the vehicles on the paths, so that too high speed may result in departure of the vehicles from their paths on turns, for example. In other aspects of the invention the restraining means may be so designed as to permit skidding of the vehicles on turns so that part of the vehicle can be placed over an adjacent path to provide deliberate interference with a vehicle on that adjacent path, when desired.
The end result of the game of the present invention is a game in which the skill of the vehicle operators, coordinating vehicle speed with path curvatures and in certain instances with vehicle aspect with respect to adjacent paths, is substantially the sole criterion for winning by driving a vehicle over one or more laps aroundv the paths in the shortest time. The hazards ofiered greatly resemble those involved in the direct driving of automobiles around a racing track and, in a like sense, the winning of the race depends upon the skill of the vehicle operator to drive the vehicle around the path at the highest speed without overturn of or accidentto the vehicle.
The present invention will be more fully understood by reference to the following description of the appended drawings, in which:
Figure 1 is a schematic perspective view of one embodiment of the present invention showing a foundation member with four paths thereon, vehicles for the paths, and remote vehicle controllers.
Figure 2 is a cross sectional view taken as indicated by line 2-2 in Figure 1, showing one form of vehicle restraining means.
Figure 3 is a side view of a vehicle suitable for use on the paths shown in Figure 2.
Figures 4 to 10, inclusive, are cross sectional views showing various means for maintaining the vehicles on the paths.
Figure 11 is a top view of the vehicles guided as shown in Figure 10, in skidding aspect.
Figure 12 is a perspective view of a front wheel positioning means.
Figure 13 is a perspective view from the side and bottom of a modified front end suitable for use on a skidding car.
Figure 14 is a diagrammatic view of the front end of Figure 13 in normal use.
Figure 15 is a diagrammatic view of the front end of Figure 13 showing the position with the contact wheel out of the guide groove.
Figure 16 is a schematic plan view of a twopath game.
Figure 17 is a schematic plan view of a six-path game.
Figure 18 is a schematic plan view of a two-path game in which each path makes two laps.
Figure 19 is a schematic plan view of a triangular path game.
Figure 20 is a schematic plan view of a crossover on a curved section of the path.
Figure 21 is a diagram of a switch type low speed hazard.
Figure 22 is a schematic side view of a high speed hazard.
Figure 23 is a schematic plan view of a collision hazard.
Referring first to Figure 1, the game comprises a foundation member I having a plurality of paths 2 thereon, each path being closely adjacent the other paths except for a crossover section 3. There is one crossover section 3 for each path, and this section 3 preferably extends upwardly and over the other paths along straight portions 3 of the game, between curves 5 of the game, the clearance between paths being suificient for vehicles on other paths to pass under the crossover sections 3. In forming the game, the various portions can thus be made with the curves 5 separate, the straight sections 4 with three paths thereon separate, and with the crossover sections 3 separate. These various portions may then be assembled into a complete game as shown in Figure 1, for example by various types of connection members well known in the art.
Means are provided on the foundation member I to restrain vehicles 6 to their respective paths, and such means may take several forms, as shown by way of example, in Figures 4 to 10, inclusive. The vehicle restraining means can also be utilized to energize vehicle motors, which preferably are electrically driven, as shown in Figures 2 and 3.
In this case, the foundation member I is of sheet metal provided with raised ridges II). For the outlining of four paths, five ridges I are used, spaced to contact the sides of front vehicle wheels II which in this case are of metal. The rear wheels I2 of the vehicle are preferably slightly closer together and are, in order to obtain traction, preferably rubber tired.
Between each ridge I0 is positioned a strip of insulation I4 all around each path, and on each insulation strip is positioned a conductor strip I5. Vehicle 6 is provided with a body of some readily moldable material, such as rubber or plastic, and contains an electric motor I6 of-a variable speed type, with an output wire II to the motor I6 connected to front wheels I I. The input to the motor is a spring I8 mounted on vehicle 6 to press a conductive fifth wheel 20 onto conductor I 5. The motor It in this case drives the rear wheels I2 through gearing 2|. Other forms of drive are deemed full equivalents.
Each conductor I is connected outside of the foundation member I through a speed control station 22 to a rectifier and/ or transformer 24 energized by an A. C. connection 25, with the returns from the speed control stations 22 connected to foundation member I in the case of the arrangement shown in Figures 1, 2, and 3.
The vehicles are lined up on the foundation member I in their respective paths with or without handicap, with separate operators at the speed control stations 22. The race can then start and be run for as many laps of the device as may seem desirable.
All of the vehicles 8 are preferably geared to travel faster than a speed at which they can negotiate curves 5 without overturning, with the speed controls full open. Each vehicle will, because of the crossover sections 3, cross from an inside path 38 to an outside path 3i once each lap. Thus, in the game shown in Figure 1, each vehicle passes around all of the four curves of different radii during one lap, and each path is exactly the same length.
Inasmuch as the radius of the inner path on the curves is less than the radius of the outer path on the curves, these paths at the curves will have different critical speeds for vehicle overturn, and a slower, more careful driver may well win the race. Again, the down grade of each crossover section 3 will add speed to a vehicle leading into the following outside curve, which must be compensated for by controller operation. However, the direction of vehicle progression over the crossover sections 3 is a matter of choice.
In Figures 4, 5, and 6, three restraining means variations are shown, based on the use of a conductive foundation member I, as was used in the embodiment of Figures 1, 2, and 3.
In Figure 4, a single broad ridge 34 is raised from foundation member I with the Wheels of the vehicle fitting outside of ridge 34. The central conductor is in this case a vertical stri 35 pressed into a strip groove 35, with an insulator 3'! therebetween. Fifth wheel 28 of the vehicle then bears against the upper edge of strip 55.
The arrangement of Figure 5 utilizes a flat insulating strip 38 having upturned edges 40 engaging the wheels of the vehicle, with a conductor I5 mounted centrally on insulating strip 39.
In Figure 6, the foundation member is provided with a broad ridge 34 as in Figure 4, with a central broad groove II. The conductor is in this case a flexible strip 42 of metal sprung into the corners of groove II with insulating material 43 at the strip edges only.
Figures '7, 8, and 9 show arrangements in which the foundation member Ia is of insulating material. In this case, no fifth wheel is used, and the front wheels II of the vehicle are insulated from each other as by insulation block 44 in front axle 45 with motor leads 48 taken from each side of block 44. In Figure '7, the vehicle restraining means are a pair of conductive rail strips 50 having upturned wheel engaging edge portions 5i. The two rail strips 56 form the electrical circuit. Preferably, in order that the electrical contact on both sides of the vehicle be held on curves, the front wheels I I are lightly spring pressed outwardly as by spring 52.
In Figure 8, the restraining means are insulating ribs 54 projected upwardly from the foundation member Ia, with the electrical contact with the separately insulated wheels II being made by flat rail strips 55 positioned just at the inside of each rib 54. In this case no spring pressing of wheels II is necessary.
Figure 9 shows a combination of the devices of Figures 7 and 8. In this case, the conductive rail strips are angle sections 56 with one front wheel ii running on the horizontal portion of one angle 56 and with the other front wheel II running on foundation member Ia but hearing against the vertical portion of the other angle 55. Here again, spring pressing of the wheels outwardly is desirable, as shown.
All of the embodiments of the invention so far shown and described forcibly restrain both front and rear wheels to a predetermined path, with no possibility of interfering with adjacent vehicles, except by overturn or by jumping the vehiole out of its proper path.
In Figures and 11, however, a vehicle and restraining means construction is shown which permits the vehicle to skid to place a portion thereof in or over adjacent paths, the amount of skid, as in full sized vehicles, being related to vehicle speed and curvature of path.
In this case, foundation member He conductive, as in the device of Figures 1, 2, and 3. The paths are generally outlined on the foundation member I solely by a single conductive grooved member 60 which may be of extruded metal, set into a mating portion 6! of the foundation member I and separated therefrom by insulation 62. The front wheels of the vehicle may be in this case slightly toes in, and the vehicle is restrained solely by a special fifth wheel 64 which is shaped in this case to fit a guiding groove 55 grooved in member 60.
Fifth wheel Ed is mounted in the fork 66 of a vertical pivot 6i, rotating and sliding in an insulating bearing '88 mounted on vehicle 8 forward of its center of gravity. Aweight ii! is used on top of pivot 5? to keep the fifth wheel securely in groove E55 at all times. As the pivot El is free to turn with respect to bearing 68, the vehicle is free to skid on the turns, and if desired, the grooved members (ill can be so spaced on the foundation members so that it is possible to skid the rear portion of one vehicle into the path of an adjacent vehicle, either to force the operator of the adjacent vehicle to slow down the adjacent vehicle to avoid a collision or to deliberately cause such a collision'as would overturn the adjacent vehicle without overturning the skidding vehicle. Figure 11 shows the vehicle of Figure 10 in skidding position.
However, as can be seen from the plan view of the skidding car in Figure 11, the front Wheels ll of the skidding car are turned withthe vehicle and are not in a natural position for a skid. A simple means for maintaining the front wheels in a position corresponding to the direction of the guiding groove 65 is shown in Figure 12, in perspective.
Here, the guide means on the vehicle comprises two small guide wheels 85 connected by a longitudinal yoke 38 to which, forward of the center between wheels 85, an upright pin 8? is attached. This pin passes through an insulating bearing 88 attached to the vehicle body 5 and is topped by a weight 39. As in the embodiment shown in Figure 10, motor leads I? and I8 are taken from the weight I39 and front axle 45 of the vehicle, respectively.
Bearwardly of pin 8? a vertical lug 9B is erected upwardly from yoke fill, passing through a cross rod 9! of insulating material to connect with angle brackets 92 journalled on axle 55 on which front wheels H are mounted,
In this modification when the body of the vehicle skids, the front wheels are held in alignment with guiding groove 65 at all times, and
provide a more realistic appearance to the vehicle when skidding.
In Figures 13, 14, and 15 a modification of the front end assembly for use on a skidding car is shown.
Referring first to Figure 13, the body of vehicle 6 is of plastic material provided with side slots me through which the front axle 45 extends, the latter being in this case a metal rod. The front wheels II are of metal to contact the foundation member I. A lead It! to the motor is taken off the axle 45. Slots IIlii provide for a slight rocking of axle 45, so that both front Wheels will always contact the foundation memher I.
The central portion of axle 15 is covered with I an insulating sleeve I02 on which rests the forward portion of a metal tongue Hi3, mounted to rotate vertically with respect to the vehicle s on pivots I64. Extending downwardly from tongue I113 is a wheel fork Hi5 mounted to swivel on a fork pin I06 (Figure 14) attached to tongue I83. Wheel fork I05 supports a single contact Wheel I 01 having a periphery shaped to enter the guide groove 65 as in the embodiment shown in Figures 10 and 12. The upper limit of travel of front axle 45 is defined by an axle stop I08 extended downwardly from the top of vehicle 6, and the upper limit of travel of tongue m3 is defined by a tongue stop I99 just forward of axle stop I08. The tongue m3 is provided with an aperture III) through which axle stop I533 passes, The other motor lead Iii is taken from the tongue.
In ordinary use of the vehicle equipped with the front end as shown in Figures 13, 14, and 15, the front wheels II are in contact with the foundation member, I and the contact wheel Iiil is in the groove 85, with the weight of the body resting on the front axle as through axle stop I08. The weight of the tongue E33 keeps contact wheel I0! in groove 65. The vehicle is thus guided around its path as determined by uide groove 65 with the same possibility of skidding as exists in the embodiment shown in Figure 10. However, if and when the vehicle should leave its path, the contact wheel Iill, being out of its groove, will raise tongue I63 until the forward end of this tongue contacts the tongue stop I09. This will lift the front wheels off the foundation member l entirely, and will thus prevent the front wheels from shorting the power supply. This shorting could readily happen if one front wheel it should contact the guide groove lit? with the other front wheel II contacting the foundation member I. Thus the construction of Figures 13, 14, and 15 prevents shorting of the power supply when a vehicle leaves its proper path.
The paths, both in number and configure, tion, when made in accordance with the teachings of the present invention, are subject to many variations. Several such variations are shown in Figures 16 to 24, inclusive.
In Figure 16 a two-path, two-vehicle arrangement is shown, with two cross over sections 8 on the straight portions 3 of the foundation member. As each end curve 5 is a uarter circle, straight track portions may be inserted between these curves, if desired, to increase lap length. Similarly, the straight portions t may be lengthened for the same purpose.
In Figure '17 a six-path, sixcvehicle game is shown, the foundation member I being of hexagonal shape, with the cross over sections 3 between each corner curve.
In Figure 13 a variation is shown where two paths are provided for two vehicles only, but where each path makes two laps with the cross over sections 3 on the straight portions 4 of the foundation member. One path is indicated by dotted line A, the other by solid line B. Here again, if desired, additional length can be given to both paths by bisectin the end curves and inserting straight portions without cross over sections. Many other variations of path configura tion will occur to those skilled in the art following the teachings herein, the main desideratum being only that sufficient cross over sections be used to provide equal lengths for all vehicle paths. Once the paths are delineated, any of the restraining and conducting means described herein, as well as others occurring to those skilled in the art following the teachings set forth herein, can be used to confine the vehicles to these paths to the desired extent as outlined above.
In addition to the various hazards existing inthe game paths so far described, additional hazards can be deliberately added, as shown in Figures 19 to 23, inclusive.
In Figure 19, a triangular track is shown, to provide sharper turn sections 5a with the straight portions 4 and cross overs 3 therebetween. In this case only three paths are provided.
Turns of various sharpnesses and configurations can be made by providing special cross overs 311 at the curved sections 5, as shown in Figure 20.
Special path hazards for both slow and high speeds may also be provided. For example a sidetracking switch H5 can be provided, as shown in Figure 21, to create what may be called a pit stop. When used in conjunction with the raised wheel ridges 10, for example, a spring leaf H6 can be attached to one ridge [0 and held, as bya backing spring H! to deflect the front wheels H of a vehicle 6 into a pair of dead end ridges 10a terminated by spring bumper H8. Spring leaf H6 and backing spring H1 are proportioned to load the switch so that if the vehicle enters the switch with a sufficiently high velocity the spring leaf H5 is straightened out and the vehicle will continue on its proper path. However, if hit at substantially lower velocity, the switch ril will deflect the vehicle into the dead end section Hick-lilo, requiring a loss of time for the vehicle operator to place the vehicle back on the proper path. When the construction of Figures 10, 12, or 13 is used, the leaf H6 is placed in the path of wheels 64, 85, or 107, respectively.-
A high speed hazard can be simply provided by making a series of hollows I20, for example, in foundation member I, as shown in Figure 22, requiring the operator to slow down the vehicle when passing over the bumps thus formed, or the vehicle will leave its proper path.
A collision hazard may also be deliberately introduced by the use of a special section 401 as shown in Figure 23. Here the guide grooves are deliberately made to be so close together that two vehicles cannot pass each other. Thus, to
avoid collision, vehicles on adjacent paths must be controlled to pass through the section do one ahead of the other to avoid a collision.
While in order to comply with the statute the invention has been described in language more Or less specific as to structural features, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to the specific features shown, but that the means and construction herein disclosed comprise the preferred form of several modes of putting the invention into eifect, and the invention is, therefore, claimed in any of its forms or modifications within the legitimate and valid scope of the appended claims.
1. In combination, a vehicle, a foundation member, a guide groove on said foundation member, a plurality of supporting wheels mounted on said vehicle in fixed steering relation thereto and bearing on said foundation member outside of said groove, a substantially vertical pivot rotatably supported by said vehicle forward of the center of gravity thereof, a guide wheel supported on said pivot to rotate in a vertical plane and shaped to enter and fit said groove, the axis of rotation of said guide wheel passing through the axis of said pivot, said guide wheel being free to rotate around both of said axes, means for driving said vehicle, and means on said foundation member in the path of said vehicle forming a hazard to normal progression of said vehicle at other than a predetermined maximum speed past said hazard.
2. A game having a foundation member having a plurality of adjacent vehicle guide grooves therein, the extent of said grooves having a curved portion, a vehicle for each of said grooves, each vehicle comprising a vehicle body, a plurality of vehicle supporting wheels carried by said body in fixed steering relation thereto and hearing on said foundation member outside of a groove, a substantially vertical pivot rotatably supported by said vehicle body forward of the center of gravity thereof, a guide wheel supported on said pivot to rotate in a vertical plane and shaped to enter-and fit a groove, the axis of rotation of said guide wheel passing through the axis of said pivot, said guide Wheel being free to rotate around both of said axes, and means for driving said vehicles, said grooves being spaced in at least a portion of their curved extents suf ficiently close that as said vehicles skid while being driven over said curved extents, they can interfere with a vehicle on an adjacent path, limited portions of adjacent grooves being sufficientiy close to prevent simultaneous passage of adjacent vehicles through said limited portions.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS Number Name Date 1,041,677 Sadtler Oct. 15, 1912 1,350,873 Lombardo Aug. 24, 1920 1,430,903 Hood Oct. 3, 1922 1,657,511 Lorenz et a1. Jan. 31, 1928 1,791,071 Coggon Febv 3, 1931 1,886,484 Kline Nov. 8, 1932 1,914,116 Ford June 13, 1933 1,999,052 Kennedy Apr. 23, 1935 2,036,603 Pallada Apr. 7, 1936 2,039,055 Bonanno- Apr. 28, 1936 2,068,403 Ekstrom Jan. 19, 1937 2,112,072 Cullen Mar. 22, 1938 2,115,108 Horn Apr. 26, 1938 2,401,468 Duffy June 4 1946 FOREIGN PATENTS Number Country Date 512,669 Great Britain Sept. 22, 1939