US 2888778 A
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June 2, 1959 J. H. CARTER 2,888,778
STEERING MECHANISM FOR TOY VEHICLES Filed July 8, 1955 :Joseph H (Javier United St STEERING MECHANISM FOR TOY VEHICLES Joseph H. Carter, Rockford, ill.
Application July 8, 1955, Serial No. 520,788
4 Claims. (Cl. 46-201) This invention relates to steering mechanism for toy trucks and other toy vehicles.
The principal object of my invention is to provide an extremely simple yet easily adaptable steering mechanism that will enhance the play value of toy vehicles, by enabling the youngster handling the toy to develop interesting steering dexterity patterns and maneuvering skill. The common practice in the manufacture of toy trucks and cars has been to mount the wheels in such a fixed position that if the operator wants to change direction the vehicle has to be picked up and set down in the desired position or else skidded to the position. My invention provides means enabling the wheels to be turned easily from a normal straight ahead position through extreme direction changes, thus providing relatively scuff-free and skid-free maneuverability. For best results and most enjoyment, the desired maneuverability should be obtained with only slight finger tip pressure upon the hood or forepart of the vehicle, in the intended direction. This has been accomplished in the steering mechanism of my invention by the use of the right type and tension of control spring connected with the middle of the tie-rod that is pivotally connected at its opposite ends with the steering arms for the front wheels. The importance of the control spring is apparent, because it tends always to return the front wheels automatically to neutral position while the vehicle is being maneuvered.
The invention is illustrated in the accompanying drawing, in which- Fig. l is an underside view of the front end portion of a four-wheeled toy vehicle showing my improved steering mechanism with the control spring set for straight line travel of the vehicle;
Fig. 2 is a view similar to Fig. 1 but showing the control spring in another position, and
Fig. 3 is a sectional detail on the broken line 3-3 of Fig. 1, looking in the direction of the arrows.
The same reference numerals are applied to corresponding parts in these three views.
Referring to the drawing, the reference numeral 4 designates the bottom portion of the body of a four- Wheeled toy vehicle, and 5 are the front wheels, the spindles 6 of which have carriers 6' pivoted on vertical axes, as indicated at 7, at the opposite ends of the front axle member 8 between the flanges 9 on the end portions of the axle member and the bottom 4 of the vehicle. The proper rearward spacing of the axles or spindles 6 relative to the knuckle pivots 7 contributes toward better steering. A tie-rod 10 is pivotally connected at opposite ends, as indicated at 11, with the rearwardly projecting steering arms 12 provided on the carrier 6 of spindles 6 so that the wheels 5 oscillate together as a steering unit. A coiled tension control spring 13 is pivotally connected at its one end to the middle of the tie rod 10, as indicated at 14, and is stretched slightly and pivotally and detachably connected at its other end to the bottom 4 in either one of three eyelets 15, 16 and 17, that are formed by struck out portions of the bottom 4, the
middle eyelet 16 being on the longitudinal center line ab of the vehicle and the other eyelets 15 and 17 being spaced both Ways from the middle eyelet 16 and the same distance from the pivot point 14 so that the spring 13 will be under approximately the same tension when attached to any one of the three eyelets. The tie-rod 10 is spaced below the bottom 4 appreciably to the extent indicated in Fig. 3 and the spring 13 is anchored to the bottom 4 at 15, 16 or 17 as the case may be, thereby placing all of the moving parts of the steering gear under a tension in a rearward and upward direction so as to take up end-play between the tie-rod 10 and the two steering arms 12 and between the spindle carriers 6 and bottom 4 so that the friction drag on the operation of the steering gear is more nearly uniform and there is accordingly less tendency for jerkiness in the movement of the steering wheels 5.
In operation, the control spring 13 is usually anchored to eyelet 16 for straight ahead travel of the vehicle on longitudinal center line ab but it may be anchored to either of the two laterally spaced eyelets 15 and 17 so that the vehicle will run in a circle to the left or right according to which of the two eyelets 15 and 17 is used. The spring 13 has tension enough to keep the wheels 5 steering steadily on the selected course regardless of unevennesses in the floor or other surface on which the vehicle may be used. The importance of the control spring is apparent at all times, because it tends to return the front wheels automatically to neutral position while the vehicle is being maneuvered. When the spring is set on the center line ab for straight ahead travel, the vehicle will run on a more nearly straight line due to the spring 13 and partly to the caster action obtained by reason of the rearward spacing of the axles 6 relative to the knuckle pivot pins 7, when the vehicle is given a sudden shove in a certain direction, the vehicle wheels tending always to return automatically to neutral position, instead of veering off in one direction or the other and causing the toy to run into furniture, like most other wheeled toys commonly do, and yet the tension of the spring is light enough to yield to permit the child to make the vehicle execute a right or left turn when going forward or to the rear merely by light finger pressure on the top of the vehicle. There is no sliding of the wheels 5; they always roll with this construction in all of the maneuvers. When the spring 13 is attached to either of the eyelets 15 and 17 for running in a circle the same light fiinger pressure on the vehicle will suffice to change its direction of movement momentarily to cause the vehicle to run in a difierent direction to the right or left from its course. The uniform frictional drag resulting from the slight inclination of the spring 13 assures smoother operation of the steering gear by virtue of the takeup of end-play throughout the steering gear.
It is believed the foregoing description conveys a good understanding of the objects and advantages of my invention. The appended claims have been drawn to cover all legitimate modifications and adaptations.
1. A toy comprising, a wheel supported vehicle, a pair of wheels at and below the front end of the vehicle, said wheels each being freely oscillatable about a vertical pivot carried by the vehicle, a tie rod positioned to the rear of the wheel pivots and interconnecting the wheels and by which the wheels can be oscillated in unison, and a single coil spring connected to the tie rod and extending longitudinally of the vehicle and exerting on the tie rod a pull transverse and at a right angle to the rod at a point exactly midway the length of the rod, whereby the wheels are resiliently held against oscillatory movement so that the vehicle will move in a straight line direction.
2. A toy vehicle as set forth in claim 1 wherein, means are provided for selectively positioning an. end of the spring for shifting the right angle transverse pull on the tie rod to a transverse pull at an angle acute to a right angle, whereby the wheels may be selectively oscillated and resiliently held in position to cause the vehicle when propelled to move in a preselected right or left turn circle.
3. A toy comprising a wheel supported vehicle, a pair of wheels at and below the front end of the vehicle, said Wheels each being freely oscillatable about a vertical pivot carried by the vehicle, a tie rod positioned to the rear of the wheel pivots and interconnecting the Wheels and by which the wheels can be oscillated in unison, an elongated coil spring having a front end connected to the tie rod at the mid-point of its length, the spring being extended and placed under tension and having its opposite and rear end connected to the vehicle at a center point in longitudinal alignment with the connection point of the front end of the spring.
4. A toy vehicle as set forth in claim 3 wherein, one end of the spring has quick attachable and detachable connection with its center connection point, two side .4 connection points for said spring end, one of said side connection points being located at the left side and the other being located at the right side of the center spring connection point, said spring end having quick attachable and detachable selective connection with said side connection points, and the spring being under tension when connected to said side connection points, whereby the vehicle Wheels can be selectively oscillated and resiliently held in set position to cause the vehicle to move when propelled in a preselected right or left turn circle.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 925,740 Abrams June 22, 1909 1,025,432 Theerrnan May 7, 1912 1,143,751 Cook June 22, 1915 1,160,888 Havens Nov. 16, 1915 1,182,211 Ross May 9, 1916 1,193,331 Yager Aug. 1, 1916 2,603,913 Ernst July 22, 1952 FOREIGN PATENTS 632,339 Great Britain Nov. 21, 1949 848,169 Germany Sept. 1, 1952