US 2859556 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Nov. 11, 1958 W. R. SMITH ET AL REVERSING FORWARD TRAVEL IN VIBRATION OPERATED TOY Filed July 20, 1956 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 3 a .27 J0 n 22 Z6 9 26 2 :1, a 4/ 24 I I o g; 0 U o o 40 O b J2 n 3 ..Fl 1 49 J0 39 J/ I 2 48 47 II]; 36 0 a o n I 45 T h 4.3 & L I 46 8 INVENTORS wwuam 5i, Smith 1% samfimnm 5, BY '1 I! ATTORNEY Nov. 11, 1958 -w. R. SMITH ET AL 9,
REVERSING FORWARD TRAVEL IN VIBRATION OPERATED TOY Filed July 20, 1956 2 Sheets- Sheet 2 "M 5 A; 'I-" l I/ I 'III II- L20 j $h BY ATTORNEY William R. Smith, Hamden, and Gabriel R. Monaco, New Haven, Conn., assignors to The A. C. Gilbert Company, New Haven, Conn., a corporation of Maryland Application July 20, 1956, Serial No. 627,525-
12 Claims. (Cl. 46-245) This invention relates to a toy railway car equipped with an animated figure representing a brakeman pacing back and forth along the catwalk atop the box car of a toy freight train. In broader aspect and by equivalent mechanical means the figure can be animated to parade back and forth over the fioor surface of other action toys such as the platform of the shipping station of a toy railroad while appearing to push or pull a toy truck or other conveyance along the platform. The invention also resides in a method of reversing the direction of forward travel of a vibration motivated toy figure so that the figure will automatically about-face before reversing its direction of travel.
One object of the invention is to so motivate a figurette resembling, say, a workman fashioned in walking posture that he appears to travel back and forth lengthwise of his beat without visible means of animation.
A further object is to cause the figurette to turn and face about automatically at each end of his beat so as always to face in the direction he is advancing.
A still further object is to house and conceal a prime mover beneath the floor or platform on which the figure walks for motivating the figurette. body of the box car of a toy train is ideal for enclosing and concealing therein all of the parts which transmit motion from the prime mover to the figurette.
These and other objects of the invention will become apparent in fuller detail from the following'desc'ription of a preferred embodiment of the improvements, said description having reference to the appended drawings wherein:
Fig. 1 is a perspective view of the exterior of the box car of a toy freight train equipped with the animated figure of a walking brakeman according to the invention.
Fig. 2 is a plan view of the box car with the roof of the body housing partly broken away to reveal the source of the animating motion imparted to the figurette.
Fig. 3 is a view taken partially in section on the plane 3-3 in Fig. 2 looking in the direction of the arrows.
Fig. 4 is a perspective exploded view of the car shown in Fig.1 with the body housing separated from the chassis.
Fig. 5 is a fragmentary elevation of the power source within the car drawn on an enlarged scale.
Figs. 6 and 7 are views taken in section on the planes 66 and 77, respectively in Fig. 5 looking in the direction of the arrows. I .1
Fig. 8 is a fragmentary view of a portion of Fig. 6 showing base of figurette when traveling in opposite direction.
Fig. 9 is a fragmentary plan view explanative of the turn-about action of the figurette at the end of its beat.
The roof 12 of the body housing 13 of a box car con-- tains a central slot 14 extending throughout a major portion of the length of the car. Through slot 14 there extends a horizontally traveling vertical post 15 fixed in a traveling base block 28 and supporting the figurette 16 as the post rides freely along slot 14. Post 15 and its Thus the hollow' States p 2.858 556 Patented Nov. 111, 1058 base block are free to turn about the vertical axis of the post and are caused and permitted so to do in the limit positions of the travel of the post along the slot 14 as is hereinafter explained.
Within the box car there is supported from the chassis or floor wall 17 of the car an elevated sheet metal platform 20 containing a cutout 21 in each of its lateral edges midway its length. The entire area of this elevated platform including its cutouts 21 is overlain by a thin vibratory mat 22 which rests flat on the top horizontal surface of the platform. Mat 22 is made of some substance that is Stifi enough to resist crumpling such as a thin, light-weight sheet of stifi. paper, cardboard, plastic, or the 1ike, having a top surface that is made somewhat rough in texture by any suitable means such as a partially embedded gritty or hairy content.
To permit mat 22 to be vibrated edgewise relatively to the platform 20 and lengthwise of the car it is provided with elongate slots 25 through which upstand from the platform 20 four stationary supporting legs 26 carrying laterally spaced apart stationary guide rails 27. In practice, and for ease of assemblage, the legs 26 may be integral with rails 27 respectively, and may be attached to platform 20by depending prongs 24 extending through the latter and bent over in a mannerv that is conventional in sheet metal toy construction. Rails 27 are thus stationed in positions sufficiently elevated above the top surface of platform 20 freely to permit edgewise vibratory sliding movement of mat 22 therebeneath caused by electromagnetically vibrated impelling buttons 23 aflixed to the under surface thereof as hereinafter described.
Traveling response of figurette 16 to the edgewise vibration of sheet 22 results from the nature of the bottom surface of a base block 28 from which the post 15 rigidly upstands. The post is not central of the length of the base block but may be displaced from center say 3/16" thus producing a trailing extent of the block behind the post 15 that is longer than the leading end of the block ahead of the post. The base block has permanently attached or cemented thereto throughout the area of its under surface a swatch 29 of fabric having on its bottom face depending relatively long springy pile such as plush. This fabric is placed on the base block 28 so that the downward pointing flexible resilient pile slants both transversely and backward with respect to the direction in which the figurette faces. This gives the figurette a tendency to advance in the direction it is facing and also a tendency to drift sidewise toward the right in Fig. 2 whenever the sheet 22 on which the figurette base block 23 rests is vibrated lengthwise of the freight car. The figurette will be maintained in forward facing position because the sides of base block 28 make sliding contact with the guide rails 27. Advancing motion of a figurette caused by vibration of its support surface is explained in fuller detail in our copending application Serial No. 309,490 now U. S. Patent No. 2,794,297 and in United States Patent No. 2,660,001. The means by which mat 22 is vibrated edgewise comprises, as in said copending patent application, a reciprocative prime mover here shown in the form of the clapper type armature 32 of a solenoid 33 whose spool core 34 is supported on a holding bracket 35.
In the present invention a new use is made of this method of imparting progressive advancing travel to a the figurette supporting post or pintle 15 at either end of its continued advancing travel.
the slot 14 where the post alone encounters resistance of At this time the figurette occupies the full line position in Fig. 9 and the post is arrested by the end of slot 14 but remains free to swivel in the slot. Because there is a preponderance of the longitudinal extent of the pilou s surface of base block 28 in trailing relation to post 15 and further be: cause of the diagonal alignment of the downward pointing pile in said trailing extent, said trailing portion of the base tends always to rotate the figurette counter clockwise in Fig. 9. By the time post 15 thus encounters the end of slot 14 the entire base block 28 has pro: gressed to a point where it is free of lateral constraint by the flaring end portions 30 of the guide rails 27. It
then yields to this turning tendency and rotates the figurette a half circle. After making such half turn the figurette faces in the reverse direction or toward the right-in Fig. 9 and the base block automatically begins a return travel in said reverse direction. This is because the oblique angle of the pile on the base block is such that the post finds it easier to return along the slot 14 than to keep turning upon its own axis. This brings the base block 28 back into sliding constraint by the guide rails 27, stray turning drift of the block being first'accommodated and then checked by the flared terminals 30 of the guide rails as the returning block reenters therebetween. The figurette continues to face and advance toward the right along the slot 14 in return direction until post 15 encounters the opposite or right end of the slot in Fig. 2 whereupon the automatic turnabout and reverse travel of the figurette toward the left or in the original direction are repeated.
The vibratile floor sheet impelling buttons 23 herein before mentioned are rubber caps fixed on prongs projecting upward from the top corners of a thin wide electromagnetic armature 32 which constitutes a flexible resilient upstanding arm of the U-shaped solenoid supporting bracket 35. The vibratory movement of button: 23 is accommonated by the cutouts 21. The butterpreferably is mule of soft rubber having a flat top fare carrying a central boss 19 which engages a fitting hole in the floor sheet 22. The flat top face of each button is secured to the bottom surface of sheet 22 by a suitable adhesive so that the floor sheet vibrates edgewise in unison with vibratory motion of the buttons.
Additional features of the construction reside in the method of supporting the solenoid core 34 on bracket 35 so that the gap between the left end of the core and the armature'32 can be varied to change the distance of the vibratory excursion of the floor sheet 22 and hence the.
forcefulness and speed of automatic travel imparted to the figurette. At each of its ends core 34 fixedly carries vertically a rigid flange plate 36. At least one of these plates has a straight horizontal bottom edge which rests slidably on the horizontal span of the U-shaped bracket 35. This affords a rest for the weight of the solenoid which is thus free to be shifted bodily in a horizontal direction in relation to the bracket 35 and thus in relation to the armature 32 by an adjuster crank 37.v The elongate shank of crank 37 extends through and has a rotary bearing in one of the uprights of the platform as shown in Figs. 4 and 5. The crank comprises a bent rod whose handle end 38 lies outside the body housing 13 of the box car to be accessible for manipulation and whose inner hooked end 39 transversely engages the head of a'draw screw 49 having a rotary bearing in bracket 35 Solenoid 33 derives its energizing current from the track'rails 42, 43 through conductive wheels 44, 45 of the .63! trucks 46, .47 respectively. The remaining wheels are of insulative material. Although the trucks are electrically alive with the conductive wheels, at least one of the trucks 46 as shown in Fig. 3 is insulated from the chassis 17 of the car by insulation 48 at and around the pivot pin 49 which however permits the truck to swivel freely relatively to the car. The pivot pins are in electribal connection with solenoid 33 through flexible leads 50, 51 respectively which have enough length to permit limited swiveling of the pivot pins in both directions.
In operation the length of the vibratory excursion of floor sheet 22 and hence the speed of travel imparted to the figurette are dependent on the variable width of gap between actuating armature 32 and the end of solenoid core 34. The speed of figurette travel therefore can be controlled by selective adjustment of crank handle 38 which rotates the draw screw 40. If the crank is turned sufficiently in one or the other direction action of the figurette will cease.
For, the roof 12 of the car there canbe substituted any toy platform floor, such as that of a toy railway station, preferably so elevated as to afford room beneath it for figure animating apparatus incorporating the invention. The figurette may be modeled to represent a station agent wheeling a baggage truck or may take the form of a sentry soldierparading his beat or of any other thing or character commonly associated with back-aud-forth excursions of movement. If the post 15 is made bladeshaped instead of round it can have a sliding fit in slot i4 that will preclude turning movement of base block 23 and the figurette 16 and without dependence on guide rails 27. Hence the latter could be omitted. Freedom for the blade-shaped post toswivel about at the end of the slot could be afforded by enlarging the end of the slot into a keyhole shape.
Since these and various other modifications are apparthe closed end of said slot, a mobile base block having a head end a trailing end and a bottom face equipped with slender downward diagonally slanting flexible resilient supporting elements resting endwise on said vibratory floor surface in a manner to urge said base block to advance headwise in intermittent increments of movement in a forward direction with tendency simultaneously to drift sidewise responsively to vibration of said floor surface, a pivotal post upstanding from said base block at a point in the length thereof nearer said head end than said trailing end and extending upward through said slot in a manner to ride lengthwise thereof and be guided therein whereby said tendency of said base block to drift sidewise produces tendency of the block to turn horizontally about said post as a pivot while the post rides along said slot, means to restrict said turning tendency of said block during initial approach of said post toward said closed end of the slot, said means terminating short of the position of said block at the time said post encounters said closed end of the slot thereby then to free said block to turn about said post, a figurette carried by said post above said deck, and vibratile power means beneath said deck operative to cause said vibration of said floor surface, whereby said figurette is impelled head first along said slot and then caused automatically to face about when said post encounters said closed end of the slot.
2. Ananimated toy as defined inclaim 1, in which the said means to restrict the turning tendency of the said base block comprises at least one guide rail stationed above and in fixed relation to the said platform in position to flank a side of said base block with suflicient proximity to oppose turning thereof while the said pivotal post travels along the said slot.
3. An animated toy as defined in claim 1, in which the said housing structure is fashioned to resemble in miniature the box car of a toy railroad train, and the said figurette is fashioned to resemble in miniature a trainman in walking posture.
4. An animated toy as defined in claim 3, in which the said deck constitutes the roof of the said box car, and the said platform and vibratile power means are contained within the said housing structure and thereby substantially concealed.
5. An animated toy as defined in claim 1, in which the said vibratile power means includes a magnetically vibrated reed type of armature impellingly connected to the said floor surface and flexibly anchored in a fixed location relative to the said platform, and a solenoid in magnetically attracting proximity to said armature, together with means supporting said solenoid in a manner permitting bodily shifting thereof in directions to vary its proximity to said armature.
6. An animated toy as defined in claim 5, together with push-pull means operative to shift the said solenoid bodily with finely regulatable precision, and a crank handle extending from said means through said housing structure thereby to be accessiblefor manipulation at a point external to said housing.
7. An animated toy as defined in claim 1, in which the lengthwise extending guide slot terminates in an operatively closed end at opposite extremities thereof, thereby to cause the said figurette to about-face and reverse its direction of travel in the said path at each of the opposite closed ends of said slot.
8. An animated toy as defined in claim 7, in which there are two guide rails stationed above and in fixed relation to the said platform flanking respectively opposite sides of the said base block with sufficient proximity and for sufficient distance to oppose the said turning tendency of said base block, said guide rails both terminating short of the limit positions reached by the said base block in the said headwise path of travel when the said post encounters each of the said closed ends of the said guide slot.
9. An animated toy as defined in claim 8, in which the said guide rails are flared outward at their said terminals with respect to the said path of travel of the said base block in a manner to accommodate straying drift of the latter when resuming forward advance after the said figurette about-faces.
10. The method of reversing the direction of forward travel of a vibration motivated marching toy figure equipped with a traveling base having a head end forward of its trailing end in the direction of marching advance of said figure and carrying a pintle nearer said head end than said trailing end, which comprises the steps of, advancing said base in a forward direction by rapidly repeated thrusts imparted to the bottom surface thereof partially in forward and partially in lateral directions in such manner that said thrusts act on said base with stronger impelling force in said forward direction than in reverse direction, restricting lateral movement of said pintle whereby to produce a greater force of lateral thrust on said trailing end of said base than on said head end thereby to generate a tendency of said base to turn about said pintle as a pivot as said base advances forwardly, restricting said base from said turning movement while permitting forward movement thereof, freeing said base from restriction of its turning movement at a predetermined point of forward advance, and simultaneously obstructing forward movement of said pintle in a manner to cause saidfreed base to turn about said pintle as a pivot and cause said figure to about-face and continue an excursion of automatic travel.
11. The method defined in claim 10, together with the step of resuming restriction of the said turning movement of the said base as it advances in a return direction.
12. The method defined in claim 10, in which during the said continuation of the said excursion of automatic travel the said base is again freed from restriction against turning movement and the said advance movement of said freed base is again obstructed in a manner to permit and cause said base to again turn upon its said axis, whereby said figure again about-faces and proceeds to again advance in the original said forward direction and repeat its excursion of automatic travel.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,217,145 Brenner Feb. 27, 1917 1,479,753 Stafiord Jan. 1, 1924 2,090,313 Stafiord Aug. 17, 1937 2,266,091 Smith Dec. 16, 1941 2,660,001 Smith et a1 Nov. 24, 1953 2,694,271 Smith et a1. Nov. 16, 1954 FOREIGN PATENTS 489,082 Canada Dec. 23, 1952