US 2814159 A
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Nov. 26, 1957 J. GREEN 2,814,159
I BUILDING UNIT AND ASSEMBLY FOR TOYS AND THE LIKE Filed April 11, 1955 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 IN VEN TOR.
Joseph Green BY l kmw 9M M ATTORNEYS Nov. 26, 1957 J. GREEN 2,814,159
BUILDING UNIT AND ASSEMBLY FOR TOYS AND THE LIKE Filed April 11, 1955 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 9 39 I F l G .8 2 LL.
J ose ph G re e n BY WWW, QM M M ATTORNEYS United fitates Patent BUILDING UNIT AND ASSEMBLY FOR TOYS AND THE LIKE Joseph Green, Long Island City, N. Y., assignor to Spectoyculars Incorporated, Long Island City, N. Y., a corporation of New York Application April 11, 1955, Serial No. 500,589
3 Claims. (Cl. 4623) The present invention relates to a novel building unit or element and to assemblies composed of a plurality of such elements. More particularly, it relates to a novel building element capable of being separably coupled and secured to similar elements to thereby form assemblies of attractive appearance suitable for toys, displays and decorative articles, such as Christmas tree ornaments.
it is an object of the present invention to provide a building element which may be locked or interengaged securely with similar elements to produce an assembly which is of rugged constitution and resistant to accidental disassembly, but which can be easily taken apart without destruction or damage to the elements.
A further object of the present invention is to provide a building element with projections which permit it to be readily joined to and separated from similar elements provided with complementary projections.
Still another object of the invention is to provide elements which may be interengaged to form three-dimensional structures occupying considerable space, whereas the individual elements occupy but little space and may be nested or superposed in storage.
Yet another object of the invention is to provide inexpensive building elements which may be combined to produce attractive assemblies suitable for decorative displays, such as Christmas tree ornaments, and the like.
Another object of the invention is to provide building elements which, though themselves readily yielding,- may be joined to form assemblies which are relatively rigid and strong.
A further object is to provide building elements which may be interengaged to form assemblies having selfcontained means for suspension thereof from Christmas trees, and the like.
A further object is to provide colored building elements which can be combined into multicolored assemblies so as to produce variegated, attractive color efiects.
In accordance with the present invention there is provided a building element having an edge adapted to be joined to the edge of a similar element. From the edge of each element there extend spaced, resiliently flexible projections which are wider at a location remote from the edge than at the root or connection with said edge. The maximum width of a given projection of each element is greater than the minimum distance between a given pair ofadjacent projections of the complementary element. Thus the two elements may be joined by resiliently deforming the projection of the one element and extending it beyond a pair of projections of the other element with which is thus becomes interlocked.
The edges of the elements along which the joinder is made may have any desired configuration and may be continuous as with a hemisphere or may be even a straight line. The elements themselves may have any desired shape or form and may represent portions of a ballshaped Christmas tree ornament, a portion of a threedimensional reproduction of a star, a person or an animal, or even a substantially flat surface.
2,814,159 Patented Nov. 26, 1957 lot:
The elements may be formed with the projections integrally attached by vacuum, dies or mold forming equipment. For this purpose plastic materials and especially thermoplastic materials are preferred. Particular plastics which may be employed include polystyrene, polyethylene and cellulose esters although any material which is resiliently deformable and has certain rigidity may be employed. The elements may be transparent or translucent and may be colored superficially or by coloring the material of which they are composed.
The invention will now be described more fully with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein:
Fig. 1 is a perspective view of a ball-shaped Christmas tree ornament or ball made up of two interengaged elements;
Fig. 2 is a plan view of one of the two elements of which the assembly of Fig. 1 is formed;
Fig. 3 is a sectional view taken along line III-III of Fig. 2;
Fig. 4 is an exploded perspective view of an assembly including the ornament of Fig. lwith two more elements to be added thereto for varying the ultimate ornamental effect;
Fig. 5 is a perspective view of two modified building elements joined along continuous abutting edges, respectively, to form a closed rectangular parallelepiped;
Fig. 6 is a lateral elevation of a broken away portion of Fig. 5 on an enlarged scale showing the manner of joinder between the individual elements;
Fig. 7 is a sectional view taken along line VIIVII of Fig. 6;
Fig. 8 is a lateral elevation of a different assembly made of two modified complementary elements;
Fig. 9 is a sectional view taken along line IX-IX of Fig. 8; and
Fig. 10 is a perspective View of still another assembly made by joining four similar elements of modified construction.
Referring now more particularly to the drawings, in Figs. 2 and 3 there is shown a building element 20 in the form of a hemispherical shell. In the diametral plane defining the hemisphere and along its periphery the shell 20 is provided with a narrow continuous flange 21 from the outer edge of which there extend a plurality of projections 22 of identical configuration. These projections which lie in the plane of the continuous flange 21 extend radially of the hemisphere, i. e., they extend perpendicularly to the surface portion of the hemisphere adjacent the peripheral edge of the latter.
The projections 22 are made of thin resiliently flexible material such as polystyrene sheeting. As shown, they are integral with and molded or otherwise formed simultaneously with the shell. Each projection encompasses a portion of a circle in excess of degrees and is provided with an aperture or hole 23 for suspension of the element or of the assembly when formed.
Because each projection covers more than 180 degrees or a semi-circle, the root or throat 24 of each projection 22 at its joint with the flange 21 is narrower in width than the maximum width portion of the projection which is spaced from the continuous edge of the flanged hemisphere, the width of the projections increasing continuously from the root 24 to the maximum width. The maximum width of each projection exceeds the minimum distance between adjacent projections. In addition the width of the root 24 where it is joined to the flange 21 is slightly less than the distance along the outer edgeof flange 21 between adjacent roots.
Fig. 1 illustrates an assembly of the element 20 shown in Figs. 2 and 3 with a second hemispherical building element 25 of identical configuration but of different color. The element 25 has a continuous flange 26 from 'one another with the flanges 21 and 26 in abutting relationship. In assembling the elements, each projection 22 1s deformed or flexed resiliently and passed between two projections 27 of the complementary element so that when all of the projections 22 have been so positioned each projection of both elements is positioned remote from its respective shell.
When so joined as shown in Fig. 1, the root 24 of each projection 22 lies along the edge of flange 26 of the other element in the space between adjacent projections 27. Because the maximum width of each projection 22 exceeds the width of its root and also exceeds the dis tance along flange 26 between the roots of adjacent projections 27, the projections 22 cannot be withdrawn from their engagement with the projections of the complementary building element. The building elements when so joined are surprisingly rigid and may be separated only by again deforming each projection of one or both of the elements. The interengaged elements may be capable of slight relative rotational movement to the extent that the distance between adjacent roots of one element exceeds the widths of the root of the projections of the other element but this will not aflect the certainty of the lock. If it is desired that such movement be eliminated then the width of the root will be made almost equal to the distance between adjacent roots.
At this point it is apparent that the portion of the projections beyond the maximum width thereof are not effective in maintaining the joinder and thus may be omitted so that the projections are truncated. By increasing the projections beyond the maximum width a pleasing appearance is obtained and they are suitably large to be provided with apertures by which the elements may be suspended from a string or cord, as with a Christmas tree ornament. Alternatively, one or more projections may be formed as open gripping claws with resilient fingers to be attached directly to a tree branch or other subject to be ornamented.
It is further apparent that the effective portion of each projection need not be arcuate but may be linear. In addition, the projections of both elements need not be identical since only those of one element need be resiliently deformable, the others remaining stationary and immobile relative to the respective shell. To facilitate manufacture, however, the elements are preferably identical so that any desired color combinations may be made up. Moreover, the width and spacing of the projections of both elements need not be identical so long as the width of a projection of one element exceeds the spacing between adjacent projections of the other ele ment with which said first projection of said one element is to be inter-engaged. These and other modifications will be described more fully to illustrate the scope of the invention.
In Fig. 4 there is shown the assembly of Fig. l with two further modified elements 30 and 31 of generally similar structure but provided with ports 32 and 33, respectively. The modified elements may be frictionally superposed or nested on elements 2!? and 25 or they may be interengaged by use of their projections. In either event it is thus possible to obtain a four-color effect through the ports and with projections although each element is only a single uniform color.
In Fig. 5 two rectangular parallelepipeds 34, 35 are joined to each other along continuous edges 36 and 37, respectively. As can be seen more clearly in Fig. 6, the projections 38, 39 lie in the same plane as the surface portion from which they extend so that in assembled state the projections lie substantially flat and are not particularly noticeable except when differently colored. Projections 38, 39 have respective roots 40 and 41 which rather are mirror images of each other.
are narrower than the spacing between adjacent roots and also narrower than the maximum width of each projection. Once again, the projections increase continuously in width from the root to the maximum although in the instant embodiment the sides of the projections are substantially straight lines and the projections are truncated along the lines of maximum width.
The method of joinder is the same as previously described and can readily be appreciated from the sectional view of Fig. 7 wherein the overlap is clearly depicted.
Figs. 8 and 9 show how the projections may be employed to form other shapes such as animal figures. Complementary elements 42 and 43 are not identical but The elements are respectively provided with projections 44 and 45 along their continuous edges. Upon assembling the elements a three-dimensional reproduction of a fish is realized. In this embodiment the projections are disposed at different angles relative to the respective surface portions from which they extend so that all of the projections lie in the plane of the continuous edge and so that the projections of both assembled elements will lie in substantially the same plane. This embodiment shows that the projections may serve to represent an actual portion of the object reproduced and may for example represent the tail or the fins of the fish.
Fig. 10 shows the invention applied to substantially flat surfaces to form a lamp shade upon assembly of four elements. Each of the elements 46a, 46b, 46c, 460! is provided with fan-shaped projections 47, 43 at its left and right lateral edges, respectively, the projections at each edge lying in a common plane making an angle of degrees with the plane of the particular element 46. Upon joining four elements as shown, the resulting assembly is sturdy and rigid and has the decorative effect produced by the projections at each edge. Specifically, the projections 47b, 48a, interlocked at the abutting edges of elements 46a, 46b, lie in substantially the same plane.
It is apparent that if less than four elements were employed to make up the lamp shade of Fig. 10, then the projections at each edge would not necessarily lie in the same plane. This could be compensated for by changing the angle at which the projections extend to the angle of their respective element or may be intentionally left so that a different decorative effect is realized. From the foregoing, it is apparent that should one of the four elements making up the lamp shade of Fig. 10 'be damaged, it may be removed and a shade of the three remaining elements may be assembled.
The individual elements may be assembled readily manually or by the provision of a jig for deforming all of the projections of one element simultaneously. In similar manner, the assembled elements may be disassembled and stored by nesting so that when not needed they will occupy but little room. This space-saving advantage is equally meritorious with respect to packaging and shipping and is thus especially useful to the manufacturer, retailer and ultimate purchaser as with Christmas tree ornaments which are employed seasonally.
What I claim is:
1. An assembly of two separable convex elements securely interconnected against unintentional separation along opposite continuous coextensive abutting edges, each of. said elements including a flanged portion extending outwardly at an angle relative to the adjacent surface portion of said element, each flanged portion having extending from and regularly distributed along its edge abutting against the opposite edge of the other element several resiliently flexible integral projections, said projections each comprising a portion of a circle in excess of degrees and provided with an aperture, the diameter of said circle being greater than the distance between adjacent projections, the projections extending from the edge of each element being oflset with respect to and interengaged with the projections extending from the opposite edge of the other element.
2. An assembly according to claim 1, wherein each of said elements comprises a hemispherical shell provided with a flange and said flanges extend outwardly substantially radially from their respective shells, said projections extending in the planes of their respective flanges, whereby in assembled state said projections of both of said elements lie in substantially the same plane.
3. An ornamental building element comprising a member having an edge adapted to be joined to the edge of a similar element and including a flanged portion extending at an angle relative to the adjacent major surface portion of said element, and several thin, resiliently flexible projections extending from and regularly distributed along the outer edge of said flange, said projections lying in the plane of said flange and being wider at a. location remote 5 from said flange edge than at their roots.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS