US 3379138 A
Abstract available in
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
l 1968 o. F. LINDSTROM 3,379,138
GUIDE RAIL FOR ELECTRICALLY OPERATED TOY VEHICLE Filed Sept. 7, 1966 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 w INVENTOR. Osc RANOIS Lmosmam .AT T ORNEYS April 23, W68 0. F. LINDSTROM GUIDE RAIL FOR ELECTRICALLY OPERATED TOY VEHICLE Filed Sept. 7, 1966 2 Sheets-Sheet "III/11111110011111! INVENTOR- A N015 L IN 5 TR QM m M m T A United States Patent 3,379,138 GUIDE RAIL FOR ELECTRICALLY OPERATED TOY VEHICLE ()scar Francis Lindstrom, Great Falls, Mont, assignor of one-half to David J. McKay, Great Falls, Mont. Filed Sept. 7, 1966, Ser. No. 577,629 4 Claims. (Cl. 104-148) My invention relates generally to power operated toy vehicles and more specifically to a monorail track for supplying power to and guiding same along a predetermined path of travel.
Prior art devices of the above character usually are constructed of relatively heavy weight materials in order to be self-sustaining, or alternately, often as not, depend upon external brackets for support. Such devices, due to this construction, do not readily lend themselves to packaging and/or storage, and as a result must be packaged in relatively large containers or alternately constructed in sections to permit disassembly for such packaging. These sections and/or parts which may be utilized to assemble same, may often be lost, rendering the toy inoperable and requiring expensive replacement. Further, such devices are often laborous to set up and disassemble, thus reducing their attractiveness to a child operating same.
With this in mind, I have provided a monorail guide track for use with toy vehicles such as is disclosed in my prior application, Ser. No. 313,690, entitled Electrically Operated Toy Auto and Guide Rail, and which has matured into United States Patent No. 3,263,364. Such track is constructed of a pair of elongated flexible resilient electrically conductive track elements each having a crosssectionally arcuate shape. Each thereof is formed into a closed loop by joining of the opposite ends. One of the loops has a slightly smaller diameter, and when placed within the confines of the other loop, has tight nesting relationship with the arcuate or concave side thereof to maintain both in a common plane. An insulating material is bonded to one of the loops on the inner or side adjacent the other loop, While the outer sides of each loop act as conducting surfaces for supplying electrical energy to a toy vehicle guided therealong. The two loops cooperate to form a monorail guide track for power operated toy vehicles which is self-sustaining by virtue of the cross-sectionally arcuate shape and ties in a closed planar curve. Such track elements being formed of a relatively light gauge metal are easily separated and formed into a readily packagable condition by twisting each into a pair or more of generally concentric loops, and thence forming same into an elongated condition for placement of both within a container. The resiliency thereof permitting return of same to a normal operating condition upon removal from the container.
It is therefore a primary object of my invention to provide a monorail guide track for power operated toy vehicles which is constructed of extremely light weight materials and which is self-sustaining during operation.
It is another object of my invention to provide a device of the character above described which may be stored or packaged with but a minimum of time and effort and in a minimum of space.
It is a further object of my invention to provide a device of the character above described which is durable in use and extremely inexpensive to manufacture.
These and other highly important objects will become apparent upon consideration of the following specification, attached drawings, and appended claims.
Referring to the drawings wherein like characters indicate like parts throughout the several views:
FIG. 1 is a view in perspective of a monorail guide track constructed in accordance with my invention and showing a toy vehicle operably mounted thereon.
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary view in perspective of a portion of the track of FIG. 1 showing the joined ends of each of the track elements,
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary sectional view of a portion of the toy vehicle of FIG. 1 and the underlying guide track on an enlarged scale,
FIG. 4 is a transverse section taken on line 4-4 of FIG. 1 on a greatly enlarged scale,
FIG. 5 is an enlarged fragmentary perspective of the method of attaching the guide track to a source of electrical energy,
FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken on the line 6-6 of FIG. 5,
FIG. 7 is greatly enlarged transverse section as seen from the line 7--7 of FIGS. 5, and
FIG. 8 is a plan view of a single track element in a folded storage or packaged portion.
Referring with greater particularity to the drawings, and initially to FIG. 1, there is shown a monorail guide track indicated in its entirety by the numeral 10. Track 10 is adapted to supply power to and guide a toy vehicle A, such as is described in my previously referred to United States Patent No. 3,263,364; on a predetermined path therealong. An electrical connection, to be described in greater detail hereafter, for connection of the track 10 to a source of electrical energy is indicated generally by numeral 11.
As seen particularly in FIGS. 1, 2, 4, 5, and 7, track 10 is formed of a pair of elongated, flexible, resilient track elements 13, 14 formed into a pair of closed loops by soldering or spot welding the opposite ends 14', 15 of each thereof together in an overlapping fashion as shown particularly in FIG. 2. Each of the track elements 14, 13 is cross-sectionally arcuate and defines a concave side 16, 17, and a convex side 18, 19, respectively, FIG. 7. The inner loop 14 of track 10 is formed on a slightly reduced diameter with respect to outer track element 13, and When placed within the confines of loop 13, convex side 18 of track element 14 is tightly, nestingly received within the concave side 17 of track element 13. The concave side 17 of track element 13 and convex side 18 of track element 14 now being inner or adjacent surfaces, and the convex side 19 of loop 13 and the concave side 16 of track element 14 now being outer conducting surfaces, each thereof hereinafter being referred to as such. With the placing of track element 14 within the confines of track element 13, a self-sustaining monorail guide track is formed. It will be noted, for reasons which will become apparent hereinafter, that each of the guide track elements is formed of an extremely light gauge resilient electrically conductive metallic material.
For the purpose of utilizing the outer conducting surfaces 19, 16 of the track elements 13, 14 respectively for conducting electrical energy to the toy vehicle A, one of the inner adjacent surfaces 17, 18 has bonded thereto an electrical insulating material 20 which isolates the conducting surface 16 from the conducting surface 19. Preferably, such insulating surface is very thin and flexible and may be provided by painting one or both of the inner adjacent surfaces 17, 18 with a suitable non-conducting paint.
Electrical connector 11 is utilized to connect each of the conducting surfaces 16, 19 to a source of electrical energy, not shown, but which may be assumed to be a storage battery or transformer connected to a source of alternating current, and comprises a pair of electrical conducting elements 21, 22 separated by electrical insulating material 23. Each of the elements 21, 22 is provided at one end with a jaw element 24, 25 respectively, FIGS. 5, 7. Jaw elements 24, 25 cooperate to clampingly receive the lower edge of track with jaw 24 in engagement with conducting surface 19 of track element 13, and jaw 25 in engagement with conducting surface 16 of track element 14. A pair of terminals 26, 27 are provided for elements 21, 22 respectively and serve to connect same to such a source of electrical energy by means of lead wires 28, 29 respectively.
In operation, toy vehicle A is placed in overlying relationship to guide track 10 with the front and rear wheels 30, 31 thereof on opposite sides of the track 10. A pair of opposed collector brushes 32, 33 are carrier by the steerable front wheels and are disposed on either side of track 10 with brush 32 in engagement with conducting surface 16, and brush 33 in engagement with conducting surface 19. A pair of leads 34, 35 connect the brushes 32, 33 to a source of motive power such as an electrically operated motor, not shown, but which is connected to the rear wheels 31 to propel the vehicle A along the track 10. Inasmuch as the vehicle A forms no part of the invention and is adequately disclosed in my United States Patent No. 3,263,364 further description relative to the parts thereof will be omitted in the interest of brevity. It will 'be noted that the concave conducting surface 16 of track element 14 is disposed on the radially inner side of track 10. As such, when the vehicle A proceeds along track 10, centrifugal action tends to prevent the brushes 32, 33 from becoming disengaged from or jumping off the track 10, should the vehicle A be caused to travel over a rough surface.
Referring specifically to FIG. 8, there is shown the method of forming the track 10 for shipment or storage. It will be noted that the track 10 is looped upon itself to form a pair of loops 10 10 It will be appreciated that should the circumference of the track 10 be great enough, more loops may be formed to reduce same to a size suitable for packaging. Upon forming of the loops 10 10 same are then elongated to the position of FIG. 8 and placed within a container indicated by the dotted lines 36. As shown and described, it will be seen that a relatively large track has been now formed in such a manner and with a minimum of ease as to take up but a minimum of space. It is further noted that while it is entirely possible to form the track 10 as above described for storage, it is preferrable to separate the track elements 13, 14 for such storage to prevent damage to the relatively thin insulating material 20. As illustrated by dotted lines in FIG. 1, one merely has to collapse the inner track element 14 radially inwardly to separate same from track element 13. Thus, disassembly is accomplished with but a minimum of time, effort and mechanical skill.
It should be further pointed out that by changing any one of the characteristics of the track elements 13, 14 and/or insulator means 20, a change in the shape of the closed planar curve in which the track 10 will normally lie occurs. By way of example, a slight change or thickening in the thickness of either or both track elements 13, 14 and/or insulator means 20 would result in a more nearly circular normal pattern than shown in FIG. 1. Conversely, reducing such thickness would cause the track 10 .4 to assume an elongated normal shape with relatively small radius curves on opposite ends of relatively straight parallel portions. It will not here be attempted to set forth all characteristic changes and shapes achieved thereby, but only point out that the cross-sectionally arcuate shape of the track elements 13, 14 and insulator means 20 is a primary factor determining this inherent quality.
My invention has been thoroughly tested and found to be completely satisfactory for the accomplishment of the above objects; and while I have disclosed a preferred embodiment thereof, same may well be capable of modification without departure from the scope and spirit of the appended claims.
What is claimed is:
1. A monorail guide track for power operated toy vehicleshaving a pair of opposed power collecting brushes comprising:
(a) a pair of elongated, flexible track elements formed of an electrically conductive material and having a cross-sectionally arcuate shape;
(-b) insulator means interposed between said track elements and conforming generally to the ciosssectionally arcuate shape thereof;
(c) means connecting one end .of each of said track elements and said insulator means to the other of their respective ends with one of said track elements in nesting relationship with the other of said track elements and said insulator means whereby to form a self-sustaining monorail guide track in the shape of a closed generally planar curve;
(d) said track elements defining inner adjacent surfaces and outer conducting surfaces engagable one each by one of the pair of opposed power collecting brushes of the toy vehicle;
(e) one of said track elements and said insulator means being formed of a resilient material; and
(f) means connecting said outer conducting surfaces to a source of electrical energy.
2. The structure defined in claim 1 in which said track elements are formed of said resilient material.
3. The structure defined in claim 1 in which said insulating means is bonded to said inner surface of one of said track elements.
4. The structure defined in claim 1 in which one of said conducting surfaces is concave and the other of said conducting surfaces is convex, and in which said concave conducting surface is disposed on the radially inner side of said closed planar curve.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,836,129 5/1958 Jaeger. 2,920,420 l/ 1960 Kolodziejski 46243 3,263,364 8/1966 Lindstrom.
ARTHUR L. LA POINT, Primary Examiner.
S. T. KRAWCZEWICZ, Assistant Examiner.