US 3343793 A
Abstract available in
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Sept. 26, 1967 R. WASER 3,343,793
TRACK STRUCTURE FOR TOY VEHICLES Filed Nov. 16, 1964 4 Sheets-Sheet 1 FIG. 7
RUDOLF NASER INVENTOR.
BY "K0 6- AGENT.
Sept. 26, 1967 wASER 3,343,793
TRACK STRUCTURE FOR Toy VEHICLES Filed Nov. 16, 1964 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 RUDOLF W485i? INVENTOR.
BY p AGENT Sept. 26, 1967 R. WASER TRACK STRUCTURE FOR TOY VEHICLES 4 Sheets-Sheet 5 Filed Nov. 16, 1964 RUDOLF WASER INVENTOR.
AGENT Sept. 26, 1967 R. wAsER 3,343,793
TRACK STRUCTURE FOR TOY VEHICLES Filed Nov. 16, 1964 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 INVENTOR.
BY Wag? AGENT euaou' msm United States Patent 3,343,793 TRACK STRUCTURE FOR TOY VEHICLES Rudolf Waser, Im Dreispitz 28, Regensdorf, Zurich, Switzerland Filed Nov. 16, 1964, Ser. No. 411,451 Claims priority, application Switzerland, Sept. 29, 1960, 10,941/ 60 6 Claims. (Cl. 23810) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE Track structure for toy vehicles wherein a track is formed from upwardly open shell segments with arcuate transverse cross-sections, means being provided to enable relative rotation of adjoining shell segments about a common longitudinal axis coinciding with the centers of curvature of their arcuate cross-sections whereby the track may be banked in its curves by relative angular adjustment of some of these shell segments.
This application is a continuation-in-part of my copending application Ser. No. 141,767, filed Sept. 29, 1961.
My present invention relates to an inclined track structure for motorless toy vehicles and has for its object the provision of a structure of this type which can be readily assembled, even by a child, from simple components with a virtually infinite number of variations in the length, shape and inclination of the track.
A more particular object of this invention is to pro vide means in such a track structure for positively guiding gravity-accelerated toy vehicles around curves whereby, if desired, the track may be laid out in a steeply winding path with sharp turns.
Another object of the invention is the provision of adjustable track-supporting means whereby the elevation of the structure at one or more points, and thus the pitch of certain track sections, may be varied at will.
The foregoing objects are realized, in accordance with my invention, by the provision of a multiplicity of troughshaped shell segments, all circularly curved in a transverse plane with a radius which is substantially constant throughout each segment and the same for .-all segments whereby the latter can be fitted together end to end to constitute a continuous track, the transverse curvature of each segment extending over an are less than 180 so that a simple ball or more elaborate vehicle may be readily deposited on its concave upper surface. The adjoining end faces of consecutive shell segments are provided with adjustable coupling means enabling the joining of these sections in different relative angular positions centered on the longitudinal track axis. Thus, for a straight track section the user may interconnect the several shell segments in exact alignment whereas for a curved section he will relatively offset these segments so as to provide proper banking in the turn. This relative offsetting also determines the pitch of the track beyond the curve although, particularly with long tracks made from shell segments of somewhat flexible material, the inclination of the track will also depend on the location and elevation of its support. In general the supports may be pieces of furniture or other readily available household objects, yet a more specific feature of my invention provides an extensible brace (such as a pair of telescoped legs) pivotally secured to a shell segment as an adjustable support therefor.
According to another feature of my invention, the shell segments (or at least some of them) are also provided with fastening means for removably attaching complementary shell segments to their longitudinal edges, e.g. for the purpose of increasing the bank of a curve or forming a tunnel. Thus, several complementary segments may be "ice interconnected to form a complete or nearly complete tube whereby the vehicle may be guided, if desired, in a looped path within a vertical plane through a conduit composed of a series of segmented tubes.
In order to facilitate the building of curves and loops, some of the shell segments are also curved longitudinally so that their shape will be generally toroidal, instead of cylindrical as with straight segments. With the end faces of all shell segments cut perpendicularly to their respective axes, cylindrical and toroidal shell segments can be interchangeable interconnected along the track.
Advantageously, the track-forming shell segments are made of a light-weight resinous (e.g. thermoplastic) material having a certain resiliency, such as polyvinylchloride.
The invention will be described in greater detail With reference to the accompanying drawing in which:
FIG. 1 is an overall perspective view of a track structure embodying my invention;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view, drawn to a larger scale, of a cylindrical shell segment adapted to be used in the structure of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a view, similar to FIG. 2, of a toroidal shell segment adapted to be used in the structure of FIG. 1;
FIGS. 4-7 are views similar to FIG. 2, showing modified types of cylindrical shell segments usable in the structure of FIG. 1;
FIG. 8 is a fragmentary perspective view of a modified shell segment along with special support means therefor; and
FIG. 9 is a perspective view of another embodiment including a different form of track composed of cylindrical and toroidal shell segments.
In FIG. 1 I have shown a'generally S-shaped track structure comprising a number of straight shell segments 11 of cylindrical shape and curved shell segments 12 of toroidal shape interconnected in endwise abutting relationship, by means not shown in this figure but described in detail hereinafter, to form a trough-shaped roadway 10 for a toy vehicle 16, the roadway 10 resting on staggered supports 13, 14, 15 so as to have suflicient pitch to let the vehicle 16 ride down under its own weight. Two supplemental shell segments 11a (cylindrical) and 12a (toroidal) are respectively attached, by means likewise described hereinafter, to one of the straight track members 11 and one of the curved track members 12 in the region of the first bend of the raodway to enlarge its bank. It will be understood that similar attachments could also be provided at the second bend where, however, the shell segments 12', 12 have merely been shown somewhat offset with reference to adjoining segments to provide a similar effect.
In FIG. 2 I have shown a cylindrical shell segment 211 which is representative of any of the track members 11 of FIG. 1 and which has its transverse end faces formed with a tenon 20 and a complementary mortise 21, respectively, representing the aforementioned coupling means. The lateral edges of member 211 also have a mortise 24 and a tenon 25, respectively, which serve as a detachable fastening means for selectively interconnecting several such members, as shown in dot-dash lines at 211a, 211b, 2110, whereby a cylinder segment of increased arc length or even a complete cylinder may be formed. Thus, the transverse curvature of each segment in FIG. 2 is shown to extend over an angle of so that the four segments 211, 211a, 211b, 2110 will constitute a complete tube. The resiliency of the preferably plastic material permits a close frictional fit between the complementary tenons and mortises.
In FIG. 3 I have shown at 312 a toroidal shell segment representative of any of the members 12, 12, 12" of FIG. 1. Again, as with the cylindrical members of FIG. 2, several complementary shell segments 312, 312a, 312b,
3120, may be assembled into a partial or complete toroid. The end faces of segment 312 lying in planes which are transverse to the toroid axis 36 and which may include an angle of about 30 with each other, are again formed with a tenon 30 and a mortise 31 for connection to an adjoining toroidal or cylindrical segment, e.g. the segment 211 of FIG. 2. The lateral fastening means, represented by the formations 24 and 25 in FIG. 2, are here shown as a pair of bores 37 and complementary pins 38 on opposite longitudinal edges of the shell segment.
In FIG. 4 I have shown another type of cylindrical shell segment 411 provided with a reinforcing rib 43 extending longitudinally along its outer surface. The end faces of segment 411 are again provided with a mortise 41 and a tenon 40, the latter fitting into a complementary mortise 41 of an identical adjoining segment 411. The lateral fasteners are here shown, as in FIG. 3, to consist of bores 44 and pins 45.
In FIG. I have shown two identical cylindrical shell segments 511, 511' each generally similar to the segments 211, 411 previously described. The end faces of segment 511 are, however, provided with integral arcuate flanges 52, 53 projecting outwardly therefrom, these flanges progressively increasing in width in an outward direction for effective engagement by an arcuate clamping member 54; the latter is illustrated in the process of coupling the flange 52 of member 511 to the adjoining flange 53' of element 511. In will be understood that a similar type of frictional coupling may be provided on the toroidal shell segments and that both kinds of shell segments may be interconnected thereby in mutually aligned or angularly offset relationship.
In FIG. 6 I have shown two modified shell segments 611, 611 each having a male end flange 63 and a complementary female flange end 62, 62' adapted to co-operate therewith, as shown. This figure also illustrates how the two interconnected shell segments may be relatively offset by an adjustable angle centered on their common cylinder axis; such adjustable offsetting is, of course, also possible with any of the coupling means described in conjunction with the foregoing figures.
In FIG. 7, the angle of relative adjustment between two adjoining shell segments 711, 711' is variable only by discrete increments, owing to the provision of coupling means in the form of a row of pins 70 on one end face and a complementary array of bores 71, 71' on the other.
FIG. 8 shows a shell segment 81 which may otherwise have any of the features discussed above and which is additionally provided with a transverse outer flange 81 having a plurality of peripheral slots 82 for the attachment of an extensible brace thereto. This brace is here shown to consist of three legs 85, 85', 85" of a tripod structure, each leg consisting of a cane-shaped inner rod 83 hooked into one of the slots 82 and an outer tube 84 surrounding the rod 83 with frictional fit. The crooks of the rods 83 also are frictionally engaged in their respective slots 82 so as to hold the tripod legs in different positions of adjustment. It will be understood that the support shown in FIG. 8 may be used in place of any of the objects 13-15 shown in FIG. 1.
In FIG. 9 I have illustrated a modified track 90 mainly composed of tubular elements 911 and 912. The straight tubes 911 are assembled from pairs of almost semicylindrical shell segments 9110:, 911b together extending over an angle of not quite 360 so as to leave a gap 91 through which the progress of a vehicle may be viewed. The elements 912 of toroidal configuration are similarly constituted. The loop 90 is held together by one or more clamps 92 and is secured to external support not shown. The last two elements of the track 90 are shown to be individual, upwardly open shell segments 911'.
It is to be noted that the various features described in conjunction with the several embodiments may be interchanged or combined within the limits of compatibility and that other modifications of the specific structure described and illustrated are possible without departing from the spirit and scope of my invention as defined in the appended claims.
1. A track structure for toy vehicles, comprising a multiplicity of shell segments disposed in endwise abutting relationship whereby a continuous roadway is formed, each of said segments being transversely curved along upwardly open arcs with a radius of curvature which is substantially constant throughout the segment and identical for all segments, coupling means releasably interconnecting adjoining segments with freedom of relative angular adjustment about a common longitudinal axis coinciding with the centers of said arcs, and support means maintaining said roadway in an inclined position.
2. A track structure as defined in claim 1 wherein said support means includes at least one extensible brace detachably secured to one of said shell segments.
3. A track structure as defined in claim 1 wherein said shell segments have transverse end faces provided with formations which are part of said coupling means.
4. A track structure as defined in claim 3 wherein said formations are arcuate arrays of complementary projections and recesses on confronting end faces of adjoining shell segments whereby the latter can be interconnected in a relative angular position adjustable by discrete increments.
5. A track structure as defined in claim 3 wherein said formations are outwardly extending arcuate flanges enabling frictional interengagement of adjoining shell segments in a continuously variable relative angular position.
6. A track structure for toy vehicles, comprising a multiplicity of shell segments with transverse end faces disposed in endwise abutting relationship, each of said segments being transversely curved along upwardly open arcs with a radius of curvature which is substantially constant throughout the segment and identical for all segments, at least one of said shell segments being of generally toroidal configuration and the remainder of said shell segments being substantially cylindrical whereby a curving roadway is formed, coupling means releasably interconnecting adjoining shell segments with freedom of relative angular adjustment about a common longitudinal axis coinciding with the centers of said arcs, and support means maintaining said roadway in an inclined position.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 107,103 9/1870 Richardson 138--157 X 222,935 12/ 1879 Moulton 138-158 590,779 9/1897 Traub et a1. 138158 X 1,353,895 9/1920 Czumpft 138158 1,745,241 1/1930 Bartlett 104-69 X 1,985,544 12/ 1934 Muchnic 285-411 2,000,808 5/ 1935 Williams 4643 2,052,228 8/1936 Horn 46206 2,574,067 11/1951 Seidman 238l0 2,720,079 10/1955 Mines 60--39.32 2,917,864 12/1959 Payne 4643 2,999,689 9/ 1961 Litwinczuk 4643 X 3,069,805 12/ 1962 Burrows 46-43 X FOREIGN PATENTS 109,250 12/ 1939 Australia. 445,703 6/ 1927 Germany.
ARTHUR L. LA POINT, Primary Examiner.
I-I. BELTRAN, Assistant Examiner.