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Publication numberUS3304651 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 21, 1967
Filing dateApr 23, 1964
Priority dateApr 23, 1964
Publication numberUS 3304651 A, US 3304651A, US-A-3304651, US3304651 A, US3304651A
InventorsHerman F Deyerl
Original AssigneeR J Reynolds Mfg Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Intermittently and selectively illuminated ball
US 3304651 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

H. F. DEYERL Feb. 21, 1967 INTERMITTENTLY AND SELECTIVELY ILLUMINATED BALL Filed April 23, 1964 R O T N E V W AZZQMAN f. DEYEEL BY gawwuww ATTO/QA/EYE' 3,304,651 Patented Feb. 21, 1967 3,304,651 INTERMITTENTLY AND SELECTIVELY ILLUMINATED BALL Herman F. Deyerl, Ann Arbor, Mich., assignor to R. J. Reynolds Manufacturing Co., Ann Arbor, Mich, a corporation of Michigan Filed Apr. 23, 1964, Ser. No. 362,009

' Claims. (Cl. 46-228) The present invention relates to electrical devices adapted to be energized intermittently in response to movement thereof, and which has for one of its applications an intermittently illuminating toy ball.

It has been known previously to manufacture toy balls, and the like, which are adapted to be intermittently illuminating by virtue of their movements. However, such products have not proved to be entirely satisfactory for various reasons, among which are their susceptibility to breakage because of excessive parts, lack of strength relative to the rough treatment they are apt to receive from children, excessive cost from the standpoint of materials required in their production and of labor costs, and the like. The present invention has been developed to overcome these shortcomings, not only in the field of illuminating toys, but also in connection with other electrical devices which may have electrical elements therein adapted to be energized selectively because of movement of such electrical devices.

It is an object of the present invention to provide an electrical device which has a plurality of electrically responsive elements and a switch means which is responsive to movement for causing such elements to be energized selectively in response to movement of said switch means.

It is another object of the present invention to provide an improved illuminating toy which is adapted to be intermittently illuminated by virtue of a switch means therein which is responsive to movement of the toy.

It is still another object of the present invention to provide an improved toy of the foregoing character which is constructed and arranged so that it has a minimum of moving components.

' It is still another object of the present invention to provide an improved toy of the foregoing character which contains its own source of electrical energy and which is constructed and arranged so that the switch will automatically open the electrical circuits to all illuminating elements when .the toy is in its normal rest position.

It is still another object of the present invention to provide a toy of the foregoing character which has additional manually actuated means for disconnecting manually the source of electrical energy from the illuminating elements of the toy.

It is still another object of the present invention to provide a toy of the foregoing character which is constructed and arranged to have a plurality of sections on its surface which are adapted to be illuminated in response to movement of the toy, and which sections have various attractive configurations and color patterns.

It is still another object of the present invention to provide a toy ball of the foregoing character which has internal structural arrangements which facilitate constructing the ball in an economical manner, and which ball when so constructed is relatively sturdy and unlikely to be damaged by rough treatment of children.

Other objects of this invention will appear in the following description and appended claims, reference being had to the accompanying drawings forming a part of this specification wherein like reference characters designate corresponding parts in the several views.

. In the drawings:

FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of a toy ball embodying one form of the present invention;

FIGURE 2 is an enlarged top plan view of the ball with the upper half of the outer housing removed and with certain electrical conductors omitted for reasons of clarity;

FIGURE 3 is a vertical section of the ball taken on the line 33 of FIGURE 2; and

FIGURE 4 is a fragmentary schematic wiring diagram of the electric circuits in the ball.

Before explaining the present invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and arrangement of parts illustrated in the accompanying drawings, since the invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced or carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology or terminology employed herein is for the purpose of description and not of limitation.

Referring now to the drawing, a more detailed description of the invention will be made. The intermittently illuminating device or toy ball 10 has a hollow housing 12 which is formed from two plastic hemispheric shells l4 and 16 which are suitably joined or sealed at their abutting edges 18 and 20. Attached to the inner surface of the housing and forming a part thereof is the masking member or material 22 which has cut out portions or omissions therein leaving a plurality of sections 24 therein through which light can be transmitted. Mounted on the inner surface around the peripheries of the sections 24 are partitions 26 which in conjunction with the sections 24 provide a plurality of enclosures 28 at selected portions of the inner surface of housing 12 through which light can pass.

As will be readily understood by those skilled in the art, the shape or configuration of the sections 24 can be varied without departing from the scope of the present invention. It is alsocontemplated that light transmitting panels 30 will be mounted in the enclosures 28 to provide attractive configurations and colors to be seen through the sections 24. Suitably mounted behind the panels 30 and within the enclosures 28 are a plurality of electric lamps 32, which are adapted to be intermittently illuminated, as will be described.

Extending coaxially into the lower hemispherical shell 16 and in perpendicular relation to the plane containing the edges 18, 20 is a tubular compartment 34 which is suitably afiixed to shell 16. The tubular compartment 34 is constructed to contain a source of electrical energy such as the battery 36, and to support on its exterior periphery the annular printed electrical circuit board 38 and on its axially inner end the mercury switch device 40.

The mercury switch device 40 includes a closed casing 42 which has a smooth, uninterrupted inner surface through which project a plurality of pairs of spaced contacts 44, and freely movable within said casing 42 is a globule of mercury 46. The latter is adapted to move within the casing 42, and by virtue of such movement to bridge indescriminately the space between one or the other of the spaced contacts 44 thereby closing an electric circuit across such contacts. As will be explained, the various pairs of spaced contacts 44 are in circuits respectively with different ones of the lamps 32 so that bridging one of the pairs of spaced contacts 44 will have the effect of closing a circuit to the lamp 32 associated with such one pair of spaced contacts 44. For this purpose pairs of conductors i8 and are electrically connected to the spaced contacts 44 and to the circuit board 38.

The battery 36 is also electrically connected to the circuit board 36. As shown in FIGURE 3, the mercury switch device 40 is supported on the end of the tubular compartment 34 by an electrically conductive screw 52 which projects into compartment 34 and is adapted to be engaged by the terminal 54 of battery 36. The screw 52 is also electrically connected by nut 56 and conductor 58 to circuit board 38. In like manner the base or other terminal 60 of battery is connected to circuit board 38 via screw 62, spring 64 and conductor 66.

As can also be seen in FIGURE 3, the lamps 32 are also connected to circuit board 38 by pairs of conductors 68 and 70.

Attention is now particularly directed to FIGURES 2 V and 4, for a description of the remainder of the circuitry of the illustrated embodiment of the invention. As there shown, the circuit board 38, has two concentric conductors 72 and 74. Battery 36 is connected to conductor 72 by conductor 66 and to conductor 74 by conductor 53. Conductor 50 from each of spaced contacts 44 of mercury switch 46 is connected to concentric conductor 72, while the other conductor 48 from each of spaced contacts 44 is connected to the conductor 70 which leads to the lamp 32 associated with such pairs of spaced contacts 44. The other conductor 68 from each lamp 32 is connected to the other concentric conductor 74.

Thus, when the mercury globule 46 is caused to move to bridge one of the pairs of spaced contacts 44, an electric circuit will be closed across such cont-acts 44, through conductors 48 and 70, associated lamp 32, conductors 68, 74 and 66, battery 36, and conductors 58, 72 and 50, thus lighting associated lamp 32.

From the foregoing description it can be understood that when toy ball is rolled or moved, the movement will cause the mercury globule 46 to successively bridge different ones of the spaced contacts 44, thereby successively illuminating different ones of the lamps 32.

I In order not to unnecessarily discharge battery 36- when the toy ball 10 is not in use, the center of gravity of the toy ball 10 has been located away from the geometric center of the ball 10 so that the latter will normally gravitate to a rest position such as that shown in FIG- URE 3, and in this position the mercury globule 46 is out of bridging relationship with respect to all of the spaced contacts 44, thus assuring that none of the lamps,

32 will be energized when in this position The toy ball 16 may also be manually rendered inoperative merely by partially unscrewing the screw 62 to an extent such that battery 36 is out of contact with one or the other of screws 52 or 62. When the screw 62 is so loosened, the toy ball 10 can be left in a position wherein the mercury globule 46 bridges any of spaced contacts 44 without a closed circuit existing through the battery 36. Merely screwing the screw 62 back into a snug position against battery 36 so that the latter is in engagement with elements or screws 52 and 62 will again render the electric circuit operative for intermittently illuminating the toy ball 10 on movement of the latter.

From the foregoing description, it can be understood that the only internally movable part in the toy ball 10 is the single globule of mercury 46, thus assuring maximum resistance to breakage due to rough treatment or the like by young children. Also, the toy device 10 has a normal position wherein its electrical circuitry will be deenergized and additional means are provided to manually render the circuitry operative or inoperative.

It will also be understood that the mercury switch device 40 can be used in other toys or devices in which it is desired to energize electrically various elements in response to certain movements of the switch device 40.

Having thus described my invention, I claim:

1. An intermittently illuminating device com-prising a hollow housing having sections with light transmitting properties in its outer surface, partitions within said housing separately enclosing each of said sections and defining with said sections a plurality of separate enclosures, electric lamps positioned in each of said enclosures, a source of electrical energy carried within said housing, a mercury switch device supported within said housing, and electrical circuit means separately interconnecting said source with each of said lamps respectively through separate pairs of spaced contacts in said switch device, said switch device including a closed casing in which a globule of mercaury can move freely, said pairs of spaced electrical contacts extending into said casing and being adapted to be bridged selectively by said globule of mercury for selectively energizing the lamp associated with the bridged pair of contacts.

2. An intermittently illuminating toy ball comprising a hollow spherical housing having sections with light transmiting properties in its outer surface, partitions within said housing separately enclosing each of said sections and defining with said sections a plurality of separate enclosures, electric lamps positioned in each of said enclosures, light transmitting panels with indicia thereon positioned between said lamps and their associated sections, a source of electrical energy carried within said housing, a mercury switch device supported within said housing, and electricalcircuit means separately interconnecting said source with each of said lamps respectively through separate pairs of spaced contacts in said switch device, said device including a closed casing in which a globule of mercury can move freely, said pairs of spaced electrical contacts extending into said casing and being adapted to be bridged selectively by said globule of mercury for selectively energizing the lamp associated with the bridged pair of contacts.

3. An intermittently illuminating toy ball comprising a hollow spherical housing having sections with light transmitting properties in its outer surface, partitions within said housing separately enclosing each of said sections and defining with said sections a plurality of separate enclosures, electric lamps positioned in each of said enclosures, a source of electrical energy carried within said housing, a mercury switch device supported within said housing, and electrical circuit means interconnecting said source with said lamps through pairs of spaced contacts in said switch device, said device including a closed casing in which a globule of mercury can move freely and said pairs of spaced electrical contacts extending into said casing and being adapted to be bridged selectively by said globule of mercury for selectively energizing the lamp associated with the bridged pair of contacts, said toy ball having a center of gravity offset from the geometric center thereof so that said ball will have a normal rest position, said pairs of spaced electrical contacts being oriented so that when said ball is in its normal rest position the globule of mercury will be at rest in said closed casing out of bridging relationship with respect to all said spaced electrical contacts.

4. An intermittently illuminating toy ball comprising a hollow spherical housing having sections with light transmitting properties in its outer sunface, partitions within said housing separately enclosing each of said sections and defining with said sections a plurality of separate enclosures, electric lamps positioned in each of said enclosures, a source of electrical energy carried within said housing, a mercury switch device supported within said housing, and electrical circuit rneans separately interconnecting said source with each of said lamps respectively through separate pairs of spaced contacts in said switch device, said device including a closed casingin which a globule of mercury can move freely, said pairs of spaced electrical contacts extending into said casing and being adapted to be bridged selectively by said globule of mercury for selectively energizing the lamp associated with the bridged pair of contacts, and manually operable means for electrically disconnecting said source of electrical energy from said lamps.

5. An intermittently illuminating toy ballcornprising a hollow spherical housing having sections with light transmitting properties in its outer surface, partitions within said housing separately enclosing each of said sections and defining with said sections a plurality of separate enclosures, electric lamps positioned in each of said enclosures, a tubular compartment extending radially inwardly from the surface of said housing, a battery supported in said compartment in a position otf-center of said ball, a mercury switch device supported within said housing, and electrical circuit means interconnecting said battery with said lamps through pairs of spaced contacts in said switch device, said device including a closed casing in which a globule of mercury can move freely and said pairs of spaced electrical contacts extending into said casing and being adapted to be bridged selectively by said globule of mercury for selectively energizing the lamp associated with the bridged pair of contacts, said pairs of spaced electrical contacts being oriented so that when said 'ball has gravitated under the influence of the oil-center battery to a rest position the globule of mercury will be at rest in said closed casing out of bridging relationship with respect to all of said spaced electrical contacts.

6. An intermittently illuminating toy ball as claimed in claim 5 wherein a manually operable means is provided for electrically disconnecting said battery from said mercury switch device.

7. An intermittently illuminating toy ball as claimed in claim 5 wherein said electrical circuit means comprises an annular printed electrical circuit board which is mounted on the outer periphery of said tubular compartment, and electrical conductors from said lamps, said mercury switch device and said battery are connected thereto.

8. An intermittently illuminating toy ball as claimed in claim 5 wherein said mercury switch device is mounted on the axially inner end of said tubular compartment.

9: An intermittently illuminating toy ball as claimed in claim 5 wherein said hollow spherical housing comprises two hemispherical shells joined at their edges, said joined edges lying in a plane normal to the axis of said tubular compartment.

10. In a device adapted to be intermittently electrically activated in response to movement thereof, a plurality of separate means responsive to electrical energy, a source of electrical energy, and a mercury switch device electrically connected between said source of electrical energy and each of said separate means, said switch device including a closed dielectric spherical casing in which a globule of mercury is freely movable, and pairs of spaced electrical contacts extending into said casing adapted to be bridged selectively by said gl-obule of mercury, each of said pairs of spaced electrical contacts being electrically connected to a different one of said separate means for separately energizing such one separate means when its associated electrically connected pair of spaced electrical contacts are bridged by said globule of mercury.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,599,208 6/1952 Starr 46-228 X 2,903,820 9/1959 Bodell 46-228 3,233,093 2/1966 Gerlat 240l0.64

RICHARD C. PINKHAM, Primary Examiner. DELBERT B. LOWE, Examiner. R. F. CUTTING, Assistant Examiner;

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Referenced by
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Classifications
U.S. Classification446/439, 362/809, 362/802, 200/61.47, 473/570
International ClassificationA63B43/06
Cooperative ClassificationY10S362/809, Y10S362/802, A63B2208/12, A63B43/06
European ClassificationA63B43/06