US 3387778 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
June 11, 1968 E. c. ALTHAUS ROLLING HOOP TOY Filed Oct. 21, 1965 INVENTOR Edgar 6. fl/fhmxs BY j 5 7f 2 A Z ATTORNEY5 United States Patent 3,387,778 ROLLING H001 TOY Edgar C. Althaus, Kansas City, Mo. (2809 Pennsylvania NE, Albuquerque, N. Mex. 87110) Filed Get. 21, 1965, Ser. No. 502,778 12 (Zlairns. (Cl. 2.3595) ABSTRACT BF THE DISCLOSURE A rolling hoop toy has a counting register which will automatically and accurately count and register the number of revolutions (and fractions of a revolution) of the hoop and/ or the distance travelled. The register is mounted in a frame which spans the central opening of the hoop and has a gravity-oriented pendulum associated therewith which serves to advance the register in a continuous manner as the hoop rolls along. A locking means is associated with the register to disable same when the plane of the hoop departs from the vertical by more than a predetermined amount.
A feature of the invention resides in providing a rolling hoop toy with a counting register that is directly coupled to a gravity-oriented pendulum which serves to advance the register continuously during normal rotation of the hoop.
Another object is to provide, in a toy of the character indicated, means for preventing the effect of inertia on the pendulum from continuing the advance of the counting register when the rolling hoop slows to a stop.
More particularly, it is an object of the invention to provide means for halting the advance of the register in the event that the rolling hoop leans more than a predetermined amount from vertical, as normally occurs when the hoop loses forward momentum and begins to fall over on its side. To this end, a feature resides in providing lmechanism sensitive to a departure of the hoop from upright or balanced" condition and controlling the operation of the counter in accordance therewith.
A further object is to provide a gravity-controlled, pendulum-operated counter for registering hoop revolutions when the hoop turns in one direction, but preventing such registration when the hoop turns in the opposite direction.
Additional objects of the invention, together with the features of novelty whereby the objects are achieved, will appear in the course of the following description.
In the drawings, which form a part of the specification and are to be read in conjunction therewith, and in which like reference numerals refer to like parts of the various views:
FIGURE 1 is a side-elevational view of the rolling hoop toy embodying my invention;
FIGURE 2 is an enlarged sectional elevation taken approximately along the line 2-2 of FIGURE 1 in the direction of the arrows, a portion of the top of the counter housing being broken away for purposes of illustration;
FIGURE 3 is a cross-sectional view taken along the line 3--3 of FIGURE 2 in the direction of the arrows;
FIGURE 4 is a fragmentary cross-sectional view taken along the line 4-4 of FIGURE 3 in the direction of the arrows;
FIGURE 5 is a detail view of the pawl and ratchet mechanism, taken along the line 5-5 of FIGURE 3 in the direction of the arrows;
FIGURE 6 is a plan view of a second embodiment of my invention, employing a swivel-type pendulum, part of the counter housing being broken away for purposes of illustration; and
FIGURE 7 is a fragmentary view of the pendulum taken along the line 7-7 of FIGURE 6.
Referring more particularly to the embodiment shown in FIGURES l to 5, inclusive, the hoop 10 is circular and may, for example, be a relatively rigid solid rubber tire. A housing or frame 12 spans the hoop diametrically, and is approximately square in transverse cross section. The opposite sides 14 extend beyond the ends of the housing to straddle the tire, and these are secured thereto by suitable anchor pins 16 or the like.
On the opposite sides of the housing 12 are rigid guards 18, each firmly fastened to the exterior of the housing by a pair of screws 20. Guards 18 are bowed to extend away from the sides of the housing as shown in FIG- URE 2, defining a restricted area in which a gravity-controlled pendulum can rotate, yet be protected in case the hoop should fall to either side or brush against an obstacle All four sides of the housing 12 are constructed of a light, tough material such as aluminum or plastic, with one side (15) containing a transparent window 22 arranged to display a portion of the counter generally shown at 24.
Counter 24 is of the conventional Veeder type having a plurality of register wheels each bearing a series of digits on its margin for sequential display through the viewing window 22; as is well known, the register wheels are operatively interconnected to produce a consecutive display of numbers from 0000.1 to 9999.9 as the tenths wheel is turned in a given direction. Counter 24 is axially mounted within the frame or housing 12, and has an operating spindle 26 journaled in bearings 20. The tenths wheel 28 of the counter is directly connected to the spindle to turn therewith, .and this wheel in turn serves to advance the units wheel 30, the tens wheels 32, the hundreds wheel 34, and the thousands wheel 36 at intervals appropriate for producing the aforementioned consecutive display of numbers at window 22.
The counter is operated by a gravity-controlled inertial pendulum; this can take various diiferent forms but in the embodiment illustrated it comprises a pair of circular weights 40 eccentrically mounted on and secured to a shaft 42. The latter shaft extends transversely through the housing, being journaled in the side walls 14 thereof, and is directly coupled to the counter shaft 26 by a pair of beveled gears 46 and 48 secured to the respective shafts. As shown, the gears are assumed to have a one-to-one ratio. Thus, each revolution of shaft 42 serves to turn the tenths counter wheel 28 one full revolution and to advance the units wheel 30 one digit; tenths of revolutions of the shaft 42 are, of course, registered on the wheel 28. However, if it is desired that counter 24 register the distance traveled by the hoop, say, in feet or yards, the ratio of gears 46, 48 can be varied to accomplish this, the exact ratio depending in any given case on the circumference of the hoop.
As shown in FIGURE 5, shaft 42 has a ratchet 50 secured thereto. This is lightly engaged by the free end of a spring finger or pawl 52 mounted on the inside of the housing at 54. Accordingly shaft 42 can only turn in one direction, this being the direction in which the counter 24 adds rather than subtracts. Thus, referring to FIG- URE 1, if hoop 10 is rolled clockwise as indicated by arrow 38, the weights or pendulums 40 hold shaft 42 against rotation, with the result that as housing 12 revolves around the shaft, the number of revolutions and fractions thereof will be registered on a progressively increasing basis by counter 24.
However, if the hoop is rolled in a counterclockwise direction (FIGURE 1) this turning will be imparted to shaft 42 by the pawl and ratchet 50, 52, and, there being no relative rotation between the shaft and housing, there will be no operation of counter 24 under this condition. Pawl 25 can be omitted, if desired, in which case, counter 24 will subtract, that is to say register on a progressively decreasing basis whenever the hoop is rolled in a direction opposite to that shown by arrow 38 in FIG- URE 1.
Assume that the hoop is rolling freely in the direction indicated by arrow 38 but that, due to loss of forward speed, it begins to lean to one side and travel in a curved path; the path will become a circle or are of progressively decreasing radius as it leans more and more until the hoop finally comes to rest on its side. In the course of doing this, there is often a tendency for the pendulums 40, due to inertia, to begin to swing about their axis 42 in a manner which continues the operation of counter 24- while the hoop is coming to rest and even afterward. A salient feature of my invention resides in providing a brake to halt the operation of the counter when the hoop departs more than a predetermined amount from normal upright condition, thus to prevent erroneous addition to the count already registered, due to inertia-induced coasting action of the pendulums.
For this purpose, a gear 44 is secured to shaft 42 in spaced relation to gear 46, and between the two is the free end 56a of a pawl 56 whose other end is loosely coupled by a universal pivot screw 58 to a suitable mounting lug on the end of the housing. The pawl has a restricted neck 5615 which extends through a generally diamond shaped opening 60a in a transverse guide plate 60 which is suitably secured to the base of the housing.
Within the limits allowed by opening 66a, pawl 56 is free to move in any direction on its pivot 58. When the hoop is rolling in a balanced or upright condition, the pawl normally occupies a central position between gears 44 and 46 as illustrated in FIGURES 2 and 3. When in the course of steering the hoop, it is made to lean moderately to one side or the other, shifting of pawl 55 away from its central position is inhibited and minimized due to the inclined surfaces of opening 66a which form a rest or seat for the pawl (FIGURE 3). In the event that that tilting of the hoop exceeds a predetermined amount, however, the wedge-shaped tip 56a of the pawl will shift laterally and engage the teeth of gear 44 or gear 4-6, depending on the direction of displacement, thus locking the counter 24 against further operation.
An alternate embodiment of my invention is shown in FIGURES 6 and 7. This has, diametrically spanning the hoop 10, a frame or housing 12 which is generally like that already described. However, in this instance the counter 24 is mounted crosswise of the housing so that its operating shaft or spindle 26' extends through the side wall 14 at a point which coincides with the center of the hoop. It will be understood that the tenths wheel 28 is secured to this shaft to turn therewith, and that the remaining digit register wheels of the counter are advanced at intervals under control of wheel 28 in the customary fashion.
At the outer end of the counters spindle 26", there is a pendulum 64 having a weight 64a at one end. During normal rolling of the hoop in a balanced or upright condition, this pendulum remains substantially in the position shown in FIGURE 7 and thus serves to hold spindle 26' against rotation; accordingly, as housing 12 revolves around the nonrotating spindle, the revolutions are registered progressively and continuously by the counter 24'.
However, if the hoop leans from vertical more than a predetermined amount, the pendulum will halt the operation of the counter for the reasons previously explained. More particularly, it will be noted that the spindle 26 is received in an opening 64b in the shaft of the pendulum, the pendulum shaft being hingedly mounted on this spindle by means of a pivot pin 66, so that it can tilt or rock about said pin as an axis. Equidistant from spindle 26', the pendulum has a pair of pawls 64c which projects toward wall 14 of the housing, while the exterior of this Wall has a series of circumferentially spaced studs or stops 68 arranged in a circle opposite the path of the pawls.
So long as the hoop rolls in upright condition, the studs 68 will clear pawls 64c so that the pendulum will function as previously described in holding the spindle against rotation and causing the revolutions of the hoop to be counted or registered by the counter 24'. Upon leaning of the hoop from vertical, however, the pendulum 64 will tend to remain plumb by swiveling on its pivot 66, which is to say that the weighted end will move toward or away from wall 14' depending on the direction that the hoop is tilted. Thus, when the tilt exceeds a predetermined amount, one of the pawls 640 will engage with the studs 68, causing the pendulum to turn with the housing 12 and consequently halting further operation of the counter.
In this embodiment of my invention, rolling of the hoop in one direction serves to operate the counter in an additive sense, while rolling in the opposite direction will operate the counter in a subtractive sense. Whichever the direction, the counting will of course be halted by tilting of the hoop as described above. If it is desired that the counter only operate in an additive direction, its shaft 26 can be provided with a pawl and ratchet similar to those shown at St} and 52in FIGURE 5.
From the foregoing it will be seen that my invention is one well adapted to attain all of the ends and objects hereinbefore set forth, together with other advantages which are obvious and which are inherent to the apparatus.
It will be understood that certain features and subcombinations are of utility and may be employed without reference to other features and subcombinations. This is contemplated by and is within the scope of the appended claims.
Inasmuch as various possible embodiments of the in vention may be made without departing from the scope thereof, it is to be understood that all matter herein set forth or shown in the accompanying drawings is to be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.
Having thus described my invention, I claim:
1. In a rolling hoop toy having a central opening, said opening containing a frame secured to the hoop to turn therewith, the improvement which comprises:
a shaft rotatably mounted on said frame with its axis normal to the plane of said hoop,
a pendulous weight secured to said shaft to normally stabilize the shaft against rotation with said hoop, a counter having an indicating means thereon, said counter carried by said frame and operatively associated with said shaft to cause said indicating means to register continuously and cumulatively the amount of the relative rotation between said frame and shaft when said hoop is rolled in a given direction, and
means for disabling said indicating means in response to the plane of said hoop departing from vertical by more than a predetermined amount.
2. A toy as in claim 1, wherein the axis of said shaft is located at the geometric center of said hoop.
3. A toy as in claim 1, having means for disabling said counter responsive to the plane of said hoop departing from vertical by more than a predetermined amount.
4. A toy as in claim 3, wherein said disabling means comprises a pair of toothed gears secured to said shaft in axially spaced relation, and an axially shiftable pawl between said gears.
5. A toy as in claim 3, wherein said disabling means comprises a pair of toothed gears secured to said shaft in axially spaced relation, a gravity controlled pawl movably mounted on said frame for lateral shifting movement be: tween said gears, and means for yieldably urging said pawl toward a position intermediate said gears thereby to maintain the pawl clear of both gears when the plane of the hoop is vertical.
6. A toy as in claim 3, wherein said disabling means comprises a pair of toothed gears secured to said shaft in axially spaced relation, an elongate pawl hinged at one end to said frame and having its other end between said gears in a position to engage the teeth of either gear upon lateral movement of said other end, and a guide plate on said frame positioned crosswise of said pawl intermediate the ends thereof, said guide plate having a V- shaped rest for said pawl to maintain said other end thereof substantially midway between said gears and clear of both gears when the plane of the hoop is vertical.
7. In a rolling hoop toy having a central opening, said opening containing a frame secured to the hoop to turn therewith, the improvement which comprises:
a shaft rotatably mounted on said frame with its axis normal to the plane of said hoop,
a pendulous weight secured to said shaft to normally stabilize the shaft against rotation with said hoop,
a counter mounted on said frame and having a rotary drive shaft,
a gear train operatively connecting said two shafts whereby the amount of any relative rotation between said frame and first shaft is registered by said counter, and
means tiitable by gravity to lock said rotary drive shaft to preclude rotation thereof, thereby disabling the counter.
8. A toy as in claim 7 having a pawl movably mounted on said frame to shift between a first position and a second position depending on whether said hoop rolls in an upright condition or an inclined condition, said pawl effective in said second position to engage the teeth of one of said gears thereby to prevent operation of said counter.
9. In a rolling hoop toy having a central opening, said opening containing a frame secured to the hoop to turn therewith, the improvement which comprises:
a shaft rotatably mounted on said frame with its axis normal to the plane of the hoop,
means operative when the shaft is horizontal to stabilize and hold said shaft against rotation with said hoop,
other means operative when the shaft is inclined more than a predetermined amount from horizontal to couple said shaft with the frame to turn therewith, and counting means control-led jointly by said shaft and frame to register the relative rotation between the two when the hoop is rolled in a given direction.
11). In a rolling hoop toy having a central opening, said opening containing a frame secured to the hoop to turn therewith, the improvement which comprises:
a shaft rotatably mounted on said frame with its axis normal to the plane of the hoop,
means normally stabilizing the shaft against rotation with said hoop, said means comprising a pendulous weight pivotally mounted on said shaft to rock about an axis normal to the axis of the shaft,
51 counter mounted on said frame and coupled to said shaft to register continuously and cumulatively the amount of relative rotation between said frame and said shaft when said hoop is rolled in a given direction, and
means for disabling said counter in response to the plane of the hoop departing from vertical by more than a predetermined amount.
11. A toy as in claim 10 having means for disabling said counter responsive to a predetermined rocking movement of said pendulous weight about said axis normal to the axis of the shaft.
12. A toy as in claim 10 having means for at times coupling said shaft to said frame to turn with the hoop, said means comprising at least one coupling element on said frame positioned to engage said pendulous weight when the axis of said shaft is inclined more than a predetermined amount from horizontal.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,058,938 4/1913 Baumgaertner 235- 2,655,314 10/1953 Hutsell 235-95 FOREIGN PATENTS 304,163 1/ 1929 Great Britain.
STEPHEN J. TOMSKY, Primary Examiner.