US 3143826 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Aug. 11, 1964 R. ELLIS FIGURINE AND MEANS FOR ANIMATING SAME 3 Smeets-Sheet 1v Filed Oct. l5 1962 Aug- 11, 1964 R. ELLIS 3,143,826
FIGURINE AND MEANS FOR ANIMATING SAME Filed oct. 15, 1962 3 sheets-sheet 2 Aug. 11, 1964 R. ELLIS FIGURINE AND MEANS FOR ANIMATING SAME 3 Sheets-Sheet 3 Filed Oct. 15 1962 INVENTOR.
United States Patent O 3,143,826 FIGUREN@ AND MEANS FOR ANEIVIATING SAME Robert Ellis, 350 E. Plaza, Solana Beach, Caiif. Fiied Oct. 15, 1962, Ser. No. 230,579 7 Qiaims. (Cl. 46 240) This invention relates to figurines and means for animating same and the principal object of the invention is to improve on my previous Patent #2,942,378 issued June 28, 1960 in that, no slots are herein required on the walking surface for the figurines the necessary alternating forward movements of the legs of the figurines being secured through magnetic traction through the thin nonmagnetic walking surface.
Another object of the invention is the provision of means for imparting alternate forward motion to the legs of a figurine from two belts running over pulleys closely underneath the walking surface, permanent magnets being attached t the belts.
Another object of the invention is the provision of means for accellerating the walking figurines into running figurines by increasing the length of the step thereof by merely turning a small lever.
Another object of the invention is the provision of means for automatically speeding up the forward motion of the figurines to co-incide with the increased length of step thereof so as to exactly simulate a running creature.
And still another object of the invention is the provision of means preventing the speeding up of the forward motion of the figurines irrespective of the increased length of step thereof.
And yet another object of the invention is the provision of means for causing the figurines to traverse an endless variety of pathways over the walking surface even while the device is in operation.
And still another object of the invention is the provision of means for causing the figurines to bend at the knee of the forwardly stepping leg and simultaneously lift the forwardly stepping leg slightly to exactly simulate the act of walking.
Other and further objects will appear in the specification and be specifically pointed out in the appended claims, reference being had to the accompanying drawings eXemplifying the invention and in which:
FIG. l is a top view of the device with the non-magnetic at unbroken floor broken away in part.
FIG. 2 is a section of FIG. 1 on the line 2 2 thereof.
FIG. 3 is a diagrammatic view of the gear train used in translating continuous rotary motion into the required step by step alternating forward motion without un-natural jerking action.
FIG. 4 is a top view of the wiudlass used to alter the traverse of the figurines over the oor.
FIG. 5 is a section on line 5 5 of FIG. 4.
FIG. 6 is an isometric drawing illustrating how the length of the step of the figurine is increased.
FIG. 7 is an enlarged view of the attachment between the permanent magnets and the belts.
FIG. 8 is a section on the line 8 8 of FIG. 9.
FIG. 9 is a section on the line 9 9 of FIG. 8.
FIG. l0 is an enlarged top view of the cam which operates the knee joint.
FIG. 11 is a side view of FIG. 10.
Referring to the drawings in which like characters and numerals of reference refer to similar parts throughout the several views, the numeral 15 denotes a substantially square box to the upper edges of which is secured by screws 16 the thin non-magnetic cover 17, preferably of sheet aluminum or plastic. Within the box 15 and underneath cover 17 are mounted the two similar pulleys 18 and 19 with pulley 18 attached to shaft 20 and superimposed over pulley 19 attached to hollow shaft 21.
3,143,826 Patented Aug. 1l, 1964 ICC Shaft 20 projects through and rotates within hollow shaft 21, the latter being attached to gear 22 which meshes with gear 23 and which together produce an intermittent forward motion to hollow shaft 21. Similarly, the gears 24 and 25 respectively produce an exactly similar uniform intermittent motion to shaft 28 but the dwells occurring when part 45 of gear 23 slides over part 26 of gear 22, for instance, are exactly opposite in time interval when the dwell part 45A of gear 25 slides over part 26A of gear 24, thus providing alternate uniform intermittent motion to the legs of a figurine as will hereinafter be more fully described. See FIGS. 2 and 5 of my previous Patent #2,942,378. Gears 23, 25 and worm gear 38 all are press fitted to shaft 29, the Worm gear 38 being driven in the direction of arrow 30 by worm 31 attached to shaft 32, by electric motor 33 connected to wires 34 and 35. The vertically disposed shaft 29 is rotatable within ybearing 34 attached to bottom of box 15. Thus, when the motor 33 causes the worm gear 38 to rotate, in the direction of arrow 30, the shafts 29 and 21 together with pulleys 18 and 19 respectively will also rotate in the same direction but intermittently and alternately in equal time limits, as one pulley, say 19 dwells, due to parts 45 and 26 being in dwell position, pulley 18 will rotate, due to teeth 27 and 28 of gears 24 and 25 being in mesh at the same time, etc.
Additional pulleys 39 and 40, similar to pulleys 18 and 19, and in horizontal line therewith, are loosely mounted on vertical shaft 41 attached to oor 42. Two endless belts 43 and 44 pass over pulleys 18 and 39 and 19 and 40 respectively, these belts 43 and 44 being composed of elastic material capable of stretching such as soft rubber, woven spring wire, etc., the reason for same being hereinafter described. Two idler pulleys 46 and 47, attached to short shafts 48 and 49 respectively, and which shafts bear in square bearing blocks 50 and 51 respectively. These bearing blocks are slidably confined within longitudinal troughs 52 and 53 respectively and, attached t0 each block is a cable 54 and 55 respectively. Each of the troughs terminate near an upper corner of the box 15 as illustrated, the cables 54 and 55 each being adapted to be wound upon a Windlass 60, see FIGS. 4 and 5. This windlass is composed of a spool 61 securely attached to square shaft 62, the top of which shaft protrudes through the cover 17 and into crank handle 63 to the end of which is knob 64, while the lower end of shaft 62 is rotatable in floor material 42. Also serving as a bearing for the upper end of shaft 62 is the disc 65 which may be secured to the cover 17 by screws 66. Upstanding on the upper face of disc 65 are circularly disposed ratchet teeth 67 as illustrated.
The operation of this device is now as follows; in the position illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2 the electric motor 33 is energized by inserting the customary attachment plug into the receptacle 68, the circuit being completed through wires 34 and 35, the pulleys 18 and 19 thus alternately rotating a small part of a revolution, just suicient to cause one usual length walking step by the gurines 71 which are thus caused to walk over the unbroken cover 17, there being a thin soft iron armature attached to the bottom of each shoe or hoof of the figurine and which armatures are magnetically attracted to the permanent magnets 73, the magnets sliding along the undersurface while the armatures slide over lthe upper surface of the non-magnetic cover 17. Each magnet 73 is attached to the top of flat spring 74, the other end of each spring arm being looped so as to clamp the rubber belt 43 as better illustrated in FIG. 7. The gurine 71 will thus walk over cover 17 in a loop defined by the belt 43. As will be readily understood, four-legged creatures may also be used so that the child may have an interesting menagerie all in animated display before him. Any figurine may easily be lifted off cover 17 and replaced by another without stopping the device or the other animated creatures or apparatus so that an unlimited number of cornbinations may result. But even this interesting procedure may eventually bore an active child so I provide means for causing the figurines to walk faster and finally run in natural imitations by stretching belts 43 and 44 simultaneously by gradually rotating either one or both crank handles 63 of the windlass 60, this causing cable 54 to wind upon spool 61 bringing bearing block 50 together with idler pulley 46 to position illustrated by dotted lines 50A and 46A which simultaneously stretches the belt 43 and 4.4 to position 43A. As the elastic belts stretch, it will be apparent that the distance between magnets 73 also increase in direct proportion to that of the entire belt, thus causing the stride of the legs of the figurine to increase correspondingly to any distance between a slow walking step to a running stride depending on the extent of stretching of the belts, this depending on the distance the idler' pulleys 46 and 47 are pulled towards the opposite corners of the box 15. Idler pulley 47 may also be pulled towards its corner in the same manner, stretching the belts still further and simultaneously defining adiferent path for the figurines to traverse, in fact, it will be apparent that an unlimited number of pathways may be easily attainedY merely by manipulating the crank handle 63, which handles are automatically secured in its last forward turning position bythe edgepof handle 63 contacting the upturned edge of a respective tooth 67, the tension of the rubber belts holding the position taut. To release the idler pulley 50A towards its normal position, the at spring crank handleV is merely lifted slightly, as illustrated by dotted lines 63A in FIG. 5, so that it will pass over the protruding edges of teeth 67 and turned opposite -in direction to arrow 75.
The figurines thus not only take a longer stride simulating running but the speed of the belts and thereby the figurines are automatically increased to a running speed by means of idler pulleys 76 and 77 which are loosely mounted in superimposed position on shaft 78, attached to lever arm 79 swingable around pivot 80 and held taut against belts 43 and 44 by helical spring 81. In the walking position, as illustrated by the full lines in FIG. 1, the electric circuit has resistance wires 82 interposed within the circuit in series, thus causing the motor 33 to rotate at reduced speed but when the idler pulleys 46 and/or 47 are pulled towards the opposite corners of box 15, the increased tension on belts 43 and 44 will force the idler pulleys 76 and 77 against tension of spring 81 into position shown by dotted lines 83 together with the lever arm 79, upon which electrical contact (not illustrated) is mounted, thus cutting out the resistance 82 from motor circuit in proportion to the degree of stretching of belts 43 and 44 and permitting the motor to speed up. The increased length of stride of the figurines is thus automatically adjusted to the increased speed of natural running position. Protruding knob 84 may be manipulated to prevent the motor speeding up as above described by retaining lever arm 79 in original or intermediate position by screwing it in or out and allow the figurines to walk in any number of varied pathways by manipulating the idler pulleys 46 and 47 regardless, as will be readily understood.
In orderV to naturally simulate a person or animal while in motion, it is desirable to bend the knee on the forward step and this is best accomplished, in connection wth magnetically interposed traction, by providing a pivot joint 90 at the front end of the knee as better illustrated in FIGS. 8 and 9Vwherein the operating lazytong mechanism or skeleton 91, preferably made of steel strip, has a rearwardly bent leg part at 92 which, when the leg is straight (on the rearward step) causes the lower covering pants to par-t further laway from the front thereof as at 93 than when the leg is moving forward when the interior of the lower pants part is adjoining the skeleton leg 91 as at 94, thus giving the appearance of bending the knee. The'body 95 and legs of the figurine is preferably composed of thin moulded plastic, there being a vertical trough 96 on each side of the body in which an upper and lower bearing block 97 and 98 respectively are adapted to slide. The lower bearing block 98 receives the horizontal shaft 99 which shaft forms a fulcrum for both skeleton legs 91 while the upper bearing block 97 receives shaft 100 in the same manner. Connecting rods 101 bear loosely over shaft at their upper ends while pins 102 loosely pivot their lower ends with the upper endsrof legs 91, thus providing a lazy-tong mechanism which enables a two-legged creature to stand upright and to be manipulated as in walking by suitable power applied to the feet. The body 95 of the figurine always rests by gravity onto the bearing block 97 while the legs R and L respectively are pivoted to shaft 99 by its lugs 103 and therefore raise and lower slightly as in natural walking as will be readily understood.` The lower pant leg, L, which is shown in the act of taking a forward step, is beginning to bend at the kneepivot 90, by action of the connecting rod or cable 104, the lower end of which is attached to the lug 105 and the upperend thereof to the lug 106 being an integral part of cam 107 which maniplates the rod 104, first upwardly to the middle of the step and thereafter downwardly again to the end of the forward step, the lower pant leg L swinging slightly around the pivot 90 as a center as indicated by dotted lines 108, thus simulating the bending of the knee as in natural walking or running. As the knee is hindered in the extend of bending either by the inside of the pant leg impinging against the skeleton leg 91 at 94 kor by the slight projection 109 striking the outer part of upper leg L and as the cam 107 has even a slightly higher lift, it will be apparent that the entire leg L willV be lifted as in natural walking. The hole in the lug 103 at the upper end of each pant leg is slightly elongated as illustrated at 110, thus permittingV the forwardly moving leg to first bend its knee and then raise its leg slightly before putting its leg and foot down. During the meantime, the skeleton legs 91 remain as usual, the lower ends being pivoted at 111 to armature plate 72. When the elastic belts 43 'and 44.are stretched as previously described, the permanent magnets 73 will automatically increase their spacing as illustrated in FIG. 6, by 73A, causing the armature plates 72 to-follow thus also increasing the length i'f stride of the figurines as indicated by 72A in dotted ines.
The cam 107 operates as follows: the pin 102 to which both connecting bars 101 and upper skeleton legs 91 are pivoted, extend into the curved slot 112 of the cam as better illustrated in FIGS. l0 and l1 and, as this pin is permanently magnetized, it remains seated therein. This pin 102 follows a back and forth movement around the slightly upstanding triangle 113 according to the arrows 114, the dotted circles 115 denoting the limits of the walking position. The pin 102 must travel under the triangle 113 on the forward step and above the triangle on the return or rearward standing still period of the step on account of the slightly raised projections 116, both of which drop as the pin 102 passes, the slot between rising slightly at to compensate. The cam 107 is pivoted to the body at 117 as illustrated and moves up and down at the forward step as the pin 102 passes under the triangle 113, slightly lifting the rod 104 during the first half of the forward step and then lowering the rod 104 during the second half of the forward step and which, being con-V nected to the knee at 105, will lift the lower half of the leg L as previously described. The legs R and L then alternate similarly at each step. The legs of four legged creatures may also be caused to bend the knees and slightly ml y raise the legs on the forward step in a similar manner, the four legs being interconnected as will be readily apparent. The pulleys 18, 19, etc. are all in the same horizontal plane. The cam 107 swings around arc 121 with pivot 117 as a center. As leg R dwells (while leg L is taking a forward step) its respective pin 102 traverses the upper course of slot 112 and neither the cam 107 nor the rod 104 connected to its respective knee, moves relatively. The idler pulleys 46 and 47 may also be placed outside of the belt loop 43 and the pulleys pushed instead of pulled into any desired position. The speed of the belts may be increased by gearing instead of as shown.
From the foregoing description it will be apparent that I have evolved an amusing, interesting, attractive and educational toy which has a great variety of applications and modications such as animated figurines of all kinds walking and running in a natural manner, some chasing others, starting the running or walking action without stopping the device, altering the pathways at the will of the operator also without stopping, picking olf individual ligurines and substituting others again without stopping the device and incidentally causing the knees of the figurines to bend in a natural manner, all operating over an unbroken liat surface without any mechanical connection between the operating mechanism and the acting figurines, proving mystifying and highly interesting to both operator and onlookers.
Various changes may be made in the embodiment of the invention hereinabove specifically described without departing from or sacricing the advantages of the invention as defined in the appended claims.
1. An amusement device for simulating animative walking creatures comprising a thin unbroken non-magnetizable platform, a plurality of pulleys rotatable closely underneath said platform, two endless belts one superimposed over the other and looped around said pulleys, means for rotating said pulleys and belts in one direction alternately and intermittently, a permanent magnet attached to each of said belts, said magnets spaced apart a maximum distance of one ordinary walking step of an associated legged gurine and contacting the underside of said thin unbroken non-magnetizable platform, and a legged figurine adapted to traverse the upper surface of said platform immediately above said permanent magnets, the legs of said gurine being pivoted thereto, said legged figurine having an armature at the bottom of each foot thereof and being adapted to walk in unison with the alternate forward movements of said magnets underneath said platform.
2. An amusement device as in claim 1, the said endless belts being elastic and stretchable, means for stretching said belts with means for retaining said belts in stretched position.
3. An amusement device as in claim 1, the said belts being elastic and stretchable, an idler pulley rotatable within said belt traverse, means for pulling said idler pulley together with a section of said elastic belt in a separate direction angular to said original belt traverse, and means for retaining said idler pulley in any intermediate position between the minimum and maximum distance possible of said idler pulley traverse.
4. An amusement device as in claim l, the said legged figurine having a skeleton lazy-tong mechanism and a hollow body in the shape of the desired creature surrounding said skeleton, the aforesaid armatures being pivoted to the lower ends of said skeleton, a similar vertical slot on the inner sides of said body, means for depending said hollow figurine body to said skeleton within said opposite slots, a cam pivoted to the inside of said body, an elongated bearing at the connection of the upper leg parts to the fulcrum of the legs of said skeleton, both lower leg portions of said body pivoted to the upper leg portions at the knees, and a pin connecting said skeleton parts adapted to operate in said cam, and means for bending said knee and simultaneously slightly lifting the leg of said gurine at each forward step by the action of said pin on said cam.
5. An amusement device for simulating animative walking creatures comprising a thin unbroken non-magnetizable platform, a plurality of pulleys rotatable closely underneath said platform, two endless belts one superimposed over the other and looped around said pulleys, an electric motor, gears between said motor and said pulleys, said gears adapted to translate the rotary motion supplied by the motor to intermittent alternating forward motion to said pulleys and belts, an electric resistance normally connected in electric series in the circuit of said motor, said resistance adapted to rotate said motor at reduced speed, a permanent magnet attached to each of said belts and physically contacting the underside of said platform, the maximum spacing between the magnets on said belts equalling an ordinary walking step of an associated figurine, a legged figurine adapted to traverse the upper surface of said platform immediately above said permanent magnets, the legs of said figurine being pivoted thereto, said legged figurine having an armature at the bottom of each foot thereof, said armatures being magnetically attracted to said magnets and adapted to walk in unison with the alternate forward movements of said magnets underneath said platform, the said endless belts being elastic and stretchable, means for stretching said belts and retaining said belts in any desired stretched position, and means for cutting ou automatically the electric resistance in said motor circuit to speed up the motor as said belt is stretched.
6. An amusement device as in claim 5, the said electric resistance being cut out of the electric motor circuit in direct predetermined proportion to the degree of stretching of said belt.
7. In an amusement device, a figurine having its legs animated to walk in an original traverse over a platform, two permanent magnets attached a walking distance apart to two alternately forward moving belts underneath said platform, said belts being elastic and stretchable, and means for stretching said belts into a different and lengthier traverse and simultaneously increasing the speed of said belts to a running speed of said figurine and also simultaneously increasing the distance between said permanent magnets to a running step to the legs of said figurine.
References Cited in the iile of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,858,020 Linke May l0, 1952 2,645,880 Richter July 2l, 1953 2,942,378 Ellis lune 28, 1960