US 3337985 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
.Aug 29, 1967 J. w. RYAN ETAL 3,337,985
TOY VEHICLE HAVING VARIABLE DRIVE MEANS AND PLIABLE TRACK Filed July v, 1965 2 sheets-sheen 1 ff r rw? nfl/5 Aug. 29, 1967 1. w. RYAN ETAL 3,337,985 TOY VEHICLE HAVING VARIABLE DRIVE MEANS AND PLIABLE TRACK Filed July 7, 1965 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 ,4 Tra/vifs United States Patent O TOY VEHICLE HAVING VARIABLE DRIVE MEANS AND PLIABLE TRACK John W. Ryan, Bel Air, and Robert A. MacMeekin, Huntington Beach, Calif., assignors to Mattel, Inc., Hawthorne, Calif., a corporation of California Filed July 7, 1965, Ser. No. 470,148
9 Claims. (Cl. 46-243) ABSTRACT F 'I'HE DISCLOSURE A motor driven toy vehicle -and track means guiding it along a selected path, the driven wheels normally resting on a supporting surface for traction. The driven wheels are provided with gear portions, smaller than the wheels, and which engage a different supporting means along the path and greater tractive elort is transmitted to `the gearengaged means While the peripheries of the drive wheels are elevated above the supporting surface.
The present invention relates to a new and useful toy and more particularly to new -and useful means in combination with a toy vehicle for optimizing the load on the vehicles power plant on grades and on level surfaces and for also serving as a power take-off.
A number of prior art toy vehicles of the tracking type are driven by engaging the front portion of the rear wheel with the output shaft of an electric motor. Since the rear axle of the vehicle does not include differential gearing, resistance through the electric motor is greatly increased when the toy vehicle negotiates curves due to the Wedging action between the vehicle wheel and the output shaft. In addition, most prior art toy vehicles are run on closed courses including both level surfaces and grades. The electric motor in a vehicle used on such courses is usually designed to operate the vehicle at less'than the optimum r.p.m. of the motor on a level surface so that sutiicient torque is available for climbing the grades. This decreases the life of batteries used in the vehicle.
In View of the foregoing factors 4and conditions characteristic of prior art toy vehicles, it is the primary object of the present invention to provide a new and useful toy not subject to the disadvantages enumerated above and having a new and useful drive system for propelling the vehicle on both level surfaces and grades eiciently safely and expeditiously.
Yet another object of the presen-t invention is to provide a new and useful power take-olir means for a toy vehicle which may be used to operate accessories of the present invention which may be associated with a track system upon which the vehicle is adapted to operate.
A still further object of the present invention is to provide a track system having a bridge incorporated therein which includes rack means engageable `by gears provided on the driving wheels of a toy vehicle.
According -to the present invention, a toy vehicle is adapted to operate on ya closed track which, for purposes of illustration, but not of limitation, comprises a single, flexible track which is followed by a single castered wheel provided on the vehicle. The vehicle is equipped with a new and useful electric motor of the present invention having an output shaft extending from each end of the motor. The motor is mounted in the vehicle with an output shaft 'above each rear wheel of the vehicle. The rear wheels are rotatably mounted on a rear axle which, in turn, is rotatably and reciprocally mounted in a vertical slot provided in a bracket on each side of the vehicular frame.
The electric motor is provided with a new `and useful switch means including an electrical lead from the motor which terminates on the outer housing of the motor. A
dry cell for supplying power to the motor is placed in direct contact with the motor housing and a leaf spring has one end attached to the lead on the housing and another end which may be pressed into engagement with the motor housing to energize the motor.
The electric motor delivers optimum r.p.m. on both level sections of the track system land sections thereof having a grade because each rear wheel is provided with two surface contacting portions. The irst surface-contacting portion comprises the outer periphery of the wheel. This portion has a iirst predetermined diameter for optimum operation of the vehicle on level portions of the surface. The second surface-contacting portion of each wheel comprises a small gear which is aixed -to the hub of the wheel so that it has a smaller diameter than the wheel. The gear is adapted to contact a rack provided on cessories of the present invention which may be positioned in the path of -travel of the vehicle and which include ring gear means. The ring gear means may be brought into driving engagement with the gears provided on the rear wheels. Then the rear wheels may be elevated so that the gears engagement with the ring gears cause power to be supplied to an output shaft having a pulley and belt attached thereto for supplying power to belt-driven accessones.
The features of the present invention which are believed to be novel are set forth with particularity in the appended claims. The present invention, both as to its organization and manner of operation, together with further `objects and advantages thereof, may best be understood by reference to the following description, taken in connection with vthe accompaning drawings in which like refernce characters refer to like elements in the several views.
In the drawings:
FIGURE l is a plan view of a track system, a toy vehicle and certain track accessories of the present invention;
FIGURE 2 is an enlarged, partial cross-sectional View taken along line 2-2 of FIGURE 1;
FIGURE 3 is an enlarged crosssectional View taken along line 3 3 of FIGURE 1;
FIGURE 4 is an enlarged cross-sectional view taken along line 4 4 of FIGURE 1;
FIGURE 5 is an enlarged, longitudinal cross-sectional view of the vehicle of FIGURE 1;
FIGURE 6 is an enlarged, partial cross-sectional view 3 showing a detail of construction of one of the accessories shown in FIGURE 1;
FIGURE 7 is an enlarged, partial cross-sectional View taken along line 7-7 of FIGURE l; and
FIGURE 8 is an enlarged cross-sectional view of a portion of the device shown in FIGURE 7 showing an operative position of certain portions thereof.
Referring again to the drawings, a combination constituting a presently preferred embodiment of the invention, generally designated 10, includes a toy vehicle 12, a bridge 14 and a power-supply jack 16 all of which form a portion of a track system 18. Although the principles of the present invention may be applied to diierent types of track systems such, for example, as model railroad track systems, it will be shown and described herein for purposes of illustration, but not of limitation, as comprising a single, exible track system. The system 18 includes a pliable tubular member 20 which may be placed on a suitable supporting surface 22 and contoured by hand to define a closed course. The pliable member guides the vehicle 12 about this course on surface 22 in -a manner to be hereinafter described.
The bridge 14 includes a base portion 24 to which parallel spaced-apart side rails 26, 28 are aixed to simulate a hill to be climbed by the vehicle 12. The bridge 14 also includes counterbores 30 and 32 in its ends 34 and 36, respectively, which receive the ends 38 and 40, respectively, of the pliable member 20. The rails 26, 28 each include extensions 41 which extend beyond associated ends 34, 36 of bridge 14 parallel to the ends 38, 40 of tubular member 20 to assure that the Vehicle 12 is directed onto the bridge 14 as the vehicle leaves the guiding influence of tubular member 20.
The vehicle 12 includes a substantially rectangular frame 42 having parallel side rails 44 and 46 and end rails 48 and 50.
The front portion 52 of the frame 42 carries a platform 54 in the approximate center of which a bushing 56 is mounted. The bushing 56 rotatably and reciprocally receives a spindle 58 provided on a castered front wheel assembly 60 for engaging the tubular member 20 to guide Vthe vehicle 12 about the course defined by the track system 18. The upper end 62 of the spindle 58 carries a pin 64 which coacts with a camming surface 66 on the upper end 68a of bushing 56 to center the wheel assembly 60 when it is elevated while passing across bridge 14, as shown in FIGURE 3. This assures one that the wheel assembly 60 will properly re-engage the tubular member 20 when the vehicle 12 leaves bridge 14. The other end of the spindle 58 carries a U-shaped member 68 between which a grooved wheel 70 is rotatably mounted on an axle 72, for straddling engagement with tubular member 20.
A pair of brackets 74 and 76 depend from the front portion of the frame 42 and each bracket is provided with an elongated vertically-extending slot 78. A front axle 80 is rotatably and reciprocaly mounted in the elongated slots 78 and carries a rotatably mounted front wheel 82 on each end thereof. Each front wheel 82 includes a hub portion 84 which supports the front of the vehicle 12 on bridge 14, as shown in FIGURE 3. However, when the vehicle 12 is being guided along tubular member 20 by wheel assembly 60, the front wheels 82 are inoperative. The rear portion 86 of frame 42 also carries a pair of depending brackets 88 and 90 each of which has a vertical slot 92 provided therein. A rear axle 93 is rotatably and reciprocally mounted in the slots 92 and a rear wheel 94 is rotatably mounted on each end of the axle 92. The hub portion 96 of each wheel 94 has a gear 98 shrunk lit thereon for rotation with its associated wheel.
Power for driving the vehicle 12 is supplied to the rear wheels 94 by an electric motor 100 having an output shaft 102 extending from each of its ends in xed position above an associated rear wheel. It is an important feature of the invention that the output shafts 102 be mounted directly above the rear wheels 94, that the rear wheels be rotatably mounted on the rear axle 93 and that the axle be mounted in the slots 92 for reciprocation so that the drag which is imparted to the electric motor on curves is minimized.
The motor is mounted transversely across the rear portion 86 of frame 42 in a pair of brackets 104 and 106 and is prevented from rotating therein by a non-circular boss 108 which engages a similarly shaped aperture 109 provided in the bracket 104. The bracket 106 is provided with a slot 110 which receives a cylindrical bushing 112 to which a switch lever 114 is affixed. The switch lever 114 includes a shoe portion 116 which extends below the electric motor 100 into engagement with a leaf spring 117. When the lever 114 is swung in the direction of arrow 118 (FIGURE 5), the spring 117 is pressed against the motor housing 120 to complete a circuit through the housing 120, an electrical lead 122, a Contact 124 and a dry cell 126. This circuit arrangement is an importantfeature of the invention because it eliminates a contact which ordinarily would be necessary where the battery does not contact the motor housing directly. It also eliminates leads from the omitted contact to a switch and another lead from the switch to the motor. The dry cell 126 is retained in the frame 42 by a suitable battery carrier having sidewalls 128 and 130 and a bottom wall 132.
Under normal operating conditions, the weight of the vehicle 12 causes the rear laxle 93 to move up in the elongated slots 92 until the outer periphery 134 of each rear wheel 94 engages its associated output shaft 102. In this operating mode, the outer periphery 134 of each wheel constitutes a rst surface-engaging portion for propelling the vehicle 12 about the course defined by the tubular member 20. The output shafts 102 may be rotated at an optimum r.p.m. for propelling the vehicle 12 on a level surface because, when it is necessary to negotiate a grade the gears 98 constitute a second surface-engaging portion and are engageable with racks 136 provided on the sidewalls of bridge 14. With this arrangement, the output from the shafts 102 is transmitted through the outerperiphery 134 of each rear wheel and its associated gear 98, thereby changing the gear ratio of the vehicle 12 to suit the grade found on the bridge. As the vehicle 12 crosses the bridge 14, the hubs of the front wheels also engage the side rails so that the entire vehicle is elevated with the castered wheel assemy 60 out of contact with the bottom wall of the bridge Referring now in particular to FIGURES 1, 7 and 8, a new and useful track accessory of the present invention, generally designated 140, includes a top Wall 142 which constitutes a portion of the surface 22. A flange 144 depends from the top wall 142 for swingably supporting a lever 146 having a dog-leg 148 at one end. The lever 146 is normally maintained in a horizontal position by a spring 150 having one end 152 connected to flange 144 by a pin 154 and its other end connected to lever 146 above its pivot pin 156 by a xed pin 158. The lever 146 may be manually moved to the vertical position shown in FIGURE 7 and ymaintained in this position by engaging it with the front bumper of vehicle 12. This vertical position of lever 146 brings dog-leg 148 into contact with a slidable plate 162 which is normally maintained in the position shown in FIG- URE 7 by a spring 164 having one end 166 connected to plate 162 by a pin 168 and its other end 169 connected to flange 144 by a pin 170. The plate 162 carries a pair of pillow blocks, such as the one shown at 172 in FIGURES 7 and 8, each of which is resiliently supported on plate 162 by a coil spring 174. A jackshaft 176 is rotatably supported by the pillow blocks 172, has an output pulley 178 attached to one end for rotation thereby and has a pair of gears 180 keyed thereto in spaced relation having a distance between them corresponding to the distance between the gears 98. When vehicle 12 is pushed against lever 146 to swing it counter-clockwise, as viewed in FIGURE 7, from the solid line position to the nearly vertical, broken line position Vtherein shown, the gears 98 become vertically Aaligned with the gears 180 and the dog-leg 14S slides the plate 162 to the right, as viewed in FIGURE 7. This sliding of the plate 162 releases a reset button 182 from locking engagement with the pillow block 172 permitting the force of coil spring 174 to raise the gears 180 into engagement with an -associated gear 98 and to elevate the rear portion of the vehicle 12 until the rear wheels 94 leave the surface 22. Then when rotation is imparted to the wheels 94 by shafts 102, the gears 98 drive gears 180 which, in turn, rotate jack-shaft 176 and pulley 178. A belt 184 is trained about the pulley 178 and may be connected to any suitable fixed device adapted to be driven by the accessory 140. The accessory 140 may also be, for example, a simulated ferry boat, automobile transporter truck, or other vehicle each of which would be propelled by appropriate engagement of the gears 98 with a power train on the ferry boat, or other vehicle when the vehicle 12 is driven thereupon.
The devices of the present invention, as heretofore stated, may be used in combination with any suitable track system.
While the particular toy herein shown and described in detail is fully capable of attaining the objects and providing the advantages hereinbefore stated, it is to be understood that it is merely illustrative of the presently preferred embodiment of the invention and that no limitations are intended to the details of construction or design herein shown other than as defined in the appended claims.
What is claimed is:
1. In combination with a toy vehicle having a power source, means for optimizing the load on said power source when different loads are presented by the surface over which said vehicle is propelled by said power source, comprising:
wheel means operatively connected to said power source for operation thereby to propel said vehicle over said surface, said wheel means including a first surface-contacting portion having a first predetermined diameter for driving said vehicle along first portions of said surface presenting no more than a first load to said power source, said wheel means also including a second surface-contacting portion having a second predetermined diameter for driving said vehicle along second portions of said surface and imposing a second load on said power source exceeding said first load; and
means provided on said second portions of said surface for engagement only by said second surfacecontacting portion and for preventing engagement of said first surface-contacting portion with said surface, whereby the gear ratio between said wheel means and said power source is increased.
2. A combination as stated in claim 1 wherein said power source includes rotatable output shaft means engaging said first surface-contacting portion for rotating said wheel means when said output shaft means is rotated and wherein said first predetermined diameter is larger than said second predetermined diameter.
3. A combination as stated in claim 1 wherein said second surface-contacting portion comprises gear means and said engagement means comprises rack means having higher elevation than said first portions of said surface for preventing said engagement of said first surfacecontacting portion with said surface.
4. A combination as stated in claim 1 including accessory means adapted to be positioned on said surface in the path of travel of said vehicle, said accessory means including a jack shaft, first gear means provided on said jack shaft for imparting rotation thereto and wherein said second surface-contacting portion comprises second gear means engageable with said first gear means for rotating said jack shaft.
5. A toy vehicle as defined in claim 1 wherein said wheel means power source includes an electric motor means, said second surface contacting portions being characterized by gear means provided on at least one of said wheel means for rotation thereby, said gear means being engageable with said second surface portions, accessory means placed in the path of travel of said vehicle and having teeth thereon defining said second surface portion whereby to transmit power from said motor means to said accessory means.
6. In combination, a toy for operation on a suitable surface, comprising:
track means supported on said surface, said track means having first and second ends;
bridge means having first and second ends connected to the first and second ends, respectively, of said track means forming a closed path, said bridge means including rack means extending along said path for changing the grade presented by said surface; and
a toy vehicle having first wheel means for guiding said vehicle along the portion of the path defined by said track means, said vehicle having second vwheel means rotatably mounted thereon, said second wheel means including an outer peripheral portion and first gear means having a smaller diameter than said outer peripheral portion, said vehicle also including motor means having an output shaft engageable With said outer peripheral portion for rotating said second wheel means, said outer peripheral portion contacting said surface to propel said vehicle alongthe portion of the path defined by said track means, said first gear means engaging said rack means to propel said vehicle across said bridge means.
7. A combination as stated in claim 6 including accessory means provided on said surface in the path of travel of said vehicle, said accessory means including a rotatable shaft means and second gear means secured to said shaft means for imparting rotation thereto, said second gear means being engageable with said first gear means for rotation thereby.
8. A combination as stated in claim 6 wherein said motor means comprises an electric motor including:
a leaf spring having 4one end affixed to said housing,
' said one end being connected to the energizing circuit inside said motor;
a dry cell having one end engaging said housing and another end connected to said leaf spring; and
means engageable with the other end of said leaf spring for pressing it into engagement with said housing to complete a circuit through said battery.
9. In combination, a toy for operation on a suitable surface, comprising:
a pliable, tubular member having first and second ends,
said tubular member being supported -by said surface;
a bridge member having first and second apertures engaged by said first and second ends, respectively, of said tubular member for forming a closed path for a toy vehicle to follow, said bridge member including rack means extending along said path above said surface and including predetermined grades for said vehicle to negotiate;
a toy vehicle having castered wheel means engageable with said tubular member for guiding said vehicle on the portion of the closed path defined thereby, said vehicle including a frame having a front portion and a rear portion, an electric motor mounted on said rear portion, said motor having rotatable output shaft means, wheel means rotatably mounted on said rear portion, said wheel means having an outer peripheral portion engageable with said output shaft for rotation of said wheel means thereby, said outer peripheral portion contacting said surface to propel said vehicle means to propel said vehicle across said bridge; and 5 accessory means provided `on said surface in the path of travel 0f said vehicle, said accessory means including a jack shaft and second gear means provided on said jack shaft for imparting rotation thereto,
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 892,586 7/1908 Ferlin 105-29 1,997,512 4/ 1935 Einfelt. 3,016,024 1/ 1963 Silver 46-243 F. BARRY SHAY, Primary Examiner.
ANTON O. OECHSLE, Examiner.
said second gear means being engageable with said lo R. F. CUTTING Assistant Enum-nen rst gear means for rotation thereby.