US 3392986 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
July 16, 1968 w, RYAN ET AL 3,392,986
SELF -FROPELL I NG ROLLER SKATE Filed April 11. 1966 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTOR5 ,JZI/r uJ. [Fm/v 155 7'5! 7." ST
July 16, 1968 J. w. RYAN ET AL 3,392,986
SELF PROPELL ING ROLLER SKATE Filed April 11, 1966 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 3/6 xisriz T 571 United States Part 3,392,986 SELF-PROPELLING ROLLER SKATE John W. Ryan, Bel Air, and Lester T. Stormon, Manhattan Beach, Calif., assignors to Mattel, Inc., a corporation'of California Filed Apr. 11, 1966, Ser. No. 541,831 5 Claims. (Cl. 28011.11)
ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLQSURE A walking doll having means for moving its legs in simulated walking motion, and roller skates attachable to the dolls feet so that it will actually skate along a supporting surface. The skates comprise wheel and axle assemblies movable vertically and tiltable laterally relative to a base portion and with a rack on the base engageable with a gear on the axle so that downward movement of the base relative to the wheels drives the wheels in rotation. Spring means are provided to regulate the speed of rotation of the wheels and, in one form, one-way clutches prevent the skates from rolling backward.
The present invention relates generally to a roller skate construction and more particularly to a roller skate that is self-propelling as it is alternately moved into and out of engagement with a support surface.
It is an object of the present invention to produce a new and improved self-propelling, wheeled article.
Another object is the provision of a new and improved roller skate which is so constructed as to be selfpropelling.
A further object is to provide a roller skate which is so constructed as to enable the wheels thereof to be driven in response to the downward movement of the skate into engagement with a supporting surface.
An additional object is the provision of such a selfpropelling roller skate wherein the wheels of the roller skate are driven as they are initially moved into engagement with a supporting surface and, thereafter, the wheels are able to rotate substantially freely in the direction of travel as they are maintained in engagement with the surface to thereby enable the skate to coast along the surface.
A still further object is to provide such a self-propelling roller skate which is especially adapted for use with a toy figure of the type that is capable of walking by alternately engaging supporting members thereof, such as feet or shoes, with a support surface, such as a floor.
Still another object is to provide a self-propelling roller skate which is especially adapted for use with a walkingtype doll or figure toy and which is so constructed as to increase both the rate of propulsion and the stability of such a walking toy.
An additional object is the provision of a self-propelling roller skate for a walking-type doll or figure, which is so constructed as to enable the doll or figure to be propelled up slightly inclined surfaces without rolling or slipping backwardly.
Yet another object is to provide a self-propelling roller skate which is simple and lightweight in construction, economical to manufacture, easily removably securable to a shoe or other article on which the skate is to be mounted, and which is capable of being maintained in substantially uniform engagement with various support surfaces that are not completely uniform.
According to the present invention, a wheeled article such as a roller skate is provided with a body portion comprising an elongated, relatively flat support base which is adapted to support and be removably secured to a 3,392,986 Patented July 16, 1968 .lce
shoe or foot, for example, of a toy figure or human being on which the skate is to be mounted. The base of the skate is provided with a pair of depending, substantially parallel, supporting or bearing members at both the front end and at the rear end thereof. The supporting members of each pair are provided with laterally aligned and generally vertically extending slots or apertures therein, in which the axles for the front and rear wheels of the skate are mounted for rotatable and lineal movement relative to the base. Each of the axles is provided with a gear portion at the center thereof which is engageable with the teeth of a rack member that is secured to and extends downwardly from the base in a position between each pair of supporting members.
When the skate is lifted so that its wheels are out of engagement with a support surface, such as a floor, each axle rests under the force of gravity on the adjacent pair of support members in the lower portion of the slots therein, and the gear portion of each axle is disposed in meshing engagement with the teeth on the adjacent rack member. As the skate is moved downwardly and the Wheels thereof are moved into engagement with the supporting surface, the axles are moved upwardly in the support member slots and are rotatably driven through the engagement of their gear portions with the teeth on the rack members, to thus propel the skate forwardly. When the axles have reached the upper portion of the slots in the support members, the gear portions are disposed out of engagement with the rack members, thereby enabling each axle and the wheels mounted thereon to be substantially freely rotatable in the direction of travel so that the skate can coast on the support surface after it has been propelled forwardly.
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 the accompanying drawings in which like reference characters refer to like elements in the several views.
In the drawings:
FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of a self-propelling roller skate constructed in accordance with the principles of the instant invention;
FIGURE 2 is a side elevational view, partly in section, of the roller skate of the instant invention, showing the skate as it is being moved downwardly toward a support surface and as the wheels thereof first engage the support surface;
FIGURE 3 is a view similar to FIGURE 2, showing the skate after it has moved downwardly to its fullest extent relative to the support surface;
FIGURE 4 is an elevational view, partly in section, of the front portion of the skate, showing the wheels thereof in engagement with an inclined or uneven support surface;
FIGURE 5 is a schematic view showing in broken and solid lines the walking motion of a leg of a walking doll or toy of the type with which the skate of the instant invention could be utilized;
FIGURE 6 is a view similar to FIGURE 5, showing a modified form of the instant roller skate, which is so constructed that the skate can travel only in a forward direction;
FIGURE 7 is a fragmentary, exploded view showing the one-way clutch arrangement for the modified skate of FIGURE 6; and
FIGURE 8 is a side elevational view, partly in section, of a second modified form of the instant roller skate.
As a preferred or exemplary embodiment of the instant invention, FIGURES 1 through 4 illustrate a roller skate 10 generally comprising a body or base 12 which is shaped in the form or a shoe or foot. The base 12 may be of one-piece construction and have a predetermined size, or may be formed of a pair of slidable sections (not shown) to enable it to be adjustable for fitting various sizes of shoes or feet. The base 12 is rovided with a front, rearwardly opening receptacle portion 14 for receiving the toe portion of a shoe or foot S, and a curved, upwardly extending rear flange portion 16 which is adapted to engage the heel portion of a shoe or foot S (see the broken lines in FIGURES 2 and 3).
It is noted that the base 12 of the instant roller skate may have any suitable construction, or may be formed in any suitable manner, without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. As an illustrative example, the base 12 is formed or molded from a suitable plastic material, such as polyethylene, and is integrally formed with the front receptacle portion 14 and the rear flange portion 16. Any suitable means, such as a flexible strap 18, may be provided for retaining a shoe or foot on the base 12 and in engagement with the front and rear portions 14 and 16 thereof. The strap 18 is secured at one end to the base 12 in any suitable manner (not shown), and, at the other end, is removably attachable to an adjacent portion of the base by frictional engagement with a pin 20 thereon (see FIGURE 1).
Extending downwardly from the front portion of the base 12 is a first pair of laterally spaced, substantially parallel supporting or bearing members 22 having laterally aligned, upwardly elongated slots or apertures 24 therein. Each of the slots 24 is defined at its rear side by a substantially straight, inclined wall 26. Extending through and movably disposed within the laterally aligned slots 24 is a front axle 28 which is secured at its ends to a pair of front wheels 30 in any suitable manner. The axle 28 is provided at the center thereof, between the front supporting members 22, with a gear portion 32 comprising a plurality of circumferentially spaced, axially extending teeth or knurls on the periphery thereof (see FIGURE 4).
Extending downwardly from the front portion of the base 12 and disposed between the front supporting members 22, is a rack member 34 having on its rear face a plurality of teeth 36 which preferably are disposed in an inclined plane that is substantially parallel to the plane defined by the rear walls 26 of the slots 24 in the supporting members 22. The rear face of the rack member 34 is provided with a recessed portion 38 disposed above the teeth 36 and adjacent the upper portion of the slots 24 in the supporting members 22, for a purpose to be described hereinafter. It is noted that the spacing between the inclined planes in which the rack member teeth 36 and the rear walls 26 are disposed, is substantially the same as the outer diameter of the gear portion 32 on the front axle 28, so that the gear portion is normally disposed in meshing engagement with the teeth 36 of the rack member 34 (see FIGURE 2).
In a manner and relationship which is substantially identical to that of the supporting members 22, axle 28 and rack member 34 disposed on the front portion of the skate base 12, the rear portion of the base 12 comprises a pair of supporting members 40, an axle 46 and a rack member 52. The pair of depending, spaced and parallel supporting members 40 have laterally aligned slots 42 therein which are defined by straight, inclined rear Walls 44. Rotatably disposed within the slots 42 is the rear axle 46, which is secured to a pair of wheels 47 and has a gear portion 48 at the center thereof that is adapted to engage the teeth 50 on the rear face of the depending rack member 52 extending downwardly between the supporting members 40 from the rear portion of the base 12. A recessed portion 54 is disposed on the rear face of the rear rack member 52 above the teeth 50 thereof and adjacent the upper portions of the slots 42 in the rear supporting members 40. In view of the identical construction of the front and rear supporting members, rack members 4 I and axles, it is apparent that the gear portion 48 of the rear axle 46 will normally be in meshing engagement with the teeth 50 on the rear face of the rear rack member 52, as described above.
The front and rear supporting members 22 and 40 and rack members 34 and 52, respectively, may be secured to the undersurface of the skate base 12 in any suitable manner, and preferably are formed or molded integrally therewith from a suitable plastic material such as polyethylene. The front and rear axles 28 and 46 may also be formed of any suitable material, and preferably are formed of steel with a knurled or coined gear tooth form. As a further illustrative example, the front and rear wheels 30 and 47 preferably are formed of a suitable plastic material, such as soft polyethylene, but may be formed of any other desired material.
The teeth 36 and 50 of the front and rear rack members 34 and 52, respectively, may be of any suitable configuration, and preferably are formed with alternating, substantially horizontal and 'vertical faces as shown in FIGURES 2 and 3. The gear portions 32 and 48 of the front and rear axles 28 and 46, respectively, may also be of any suitable configuration, and preferably their teeth are of a size and configuration which are complementary to that of the rack member teeth 36 and 50, respectively.
In the operation of the instant self-propelling roller skate 10, the front and rear axles 28 and 46 normally rest in the lower portion of the slots 24 and 42 in the front and rear supporting members 22 and 40, when the skate is in a raised position relative to a support surface, such as the pavement or a floor. In this position, the gear portions 32 and 48 of the axles are in meshing engagement with the teeth 36 and 50, respectively, on the rack members, as described above.
Referring now to FIGURE 2, when the skate is moved downwardly toward a support surface 100, so that its front and rear wheels 30 and 47 substantially simultaneously engage the surface, the downward force of the skate, and thus of the rack members 34 and 52 secured thereto, causes the front and rear axles 28 and 46 to be rotatably driven in a counter-clockwise direction (as seen in FIGURE 2), through the engagement of their gear portions 32 and 48 with the rack member teeth 36 and 50, respectively. This counter-clockwise rotation of the axles results in a like rotation of the front and rear wheels 30 and 47 to thereby propel the skate forwardly (or to the left as seen in FIGURE 2) on the support surface 100.
When the axles 28 and 46 have been rotated and moved upwardly in their corresponding slots 24 and 42, respectively, to a position adjacent the upper portions of the slots, as shown in FIGURE 3, the gear portions 32 and 48 of the axles are disposed adjacent the recessed portions 38 and 54 in the front and rear rack members 34 and 52, respectively. The spacing between the recessed portions 38 and 54 and the adjacent defining portions of the slots 24 and 42 preferably is greater than the diameter of the gear portions 32 and 48 of each of the axles. It will be readily seen, therefore, that, when the axles are in the positions shown in FIGURE 3, their gear portions 32 and 48 are disposed out of engagement with the teeth 36 and 50 on the rack members, and thus are substantially freely rotatable. This free rotation of the axles, and thus the wheels mounted thereon, enables the skate to coast on the supporting surface after it has been propelled forwardly by the engagement of the rack member teeth with the gear portions on each of the axles. It is noted that the rearward inclination of the slot-defining walls 26 and 44 serves to aid in maintaining the axle gear portions 32 and 48 out of engagement with the rack members 34 and 52, respectively, when the axles are in the position shown in FIGURE 3.
From the foregoing description, it is apparent that, through the use of a pair of skates constructed in accordance with the structure of the instant skate 10, the alternate engagement of the skates with a support surface results in a substantially continuous forward propulsion of a person or object upon which the skates are mounted. As shown in FIGURE 4, if the support surface 100 should be inclined or uneven, each of the axles 28 or 46 is tiltable about its gear portion 32 or 48 in engagement with the rack member teeth 36 or 50, owing to the generally vertically elongated slots 24 and 42 in the supporting members 22 and 40, respectively. This tilting movement of the axles serves to compensate for the inclined or uneven support surface, and enables the base 12 of each of the skates to be maintained in a substantially horizontal plane, to thereby contribute to the stability of a person or object on which the skates are mounted.
The instant skate construction is especially useful in connection with walking dolls or figure-s such as, for example, the type disclosed in United States patent application, Ser. No. 477,146, filed Aug. 4, 1965 and entitled, Walking Toy, now Patent No. 3,267,608, wherein the doll or figure has a walking movement shown in solid and broken lines in FIGURE 5. In FIGURE 5, there is shown a leg and foot arrangement 200 for a walking toy, which are so constructed that the foot remains substantially parallel to the floor or supporting surface 202 during fore and aft motion of the leg, whereby substantially the entire length of the foot contacts the surface 202 uniformly during the ground-contacting portion of each leg stroke, in accordance with the teachings of the aboveidentified pending application. The use of a pair of selfpropelling skates, constructed in accordance with the instant skate 10, on such a walking toy has proven highly successful and has increased the rate of propulsion of such a toy by approximately 30 percent over a normal walking movement, while also increasing the stability of the walking toy.
Referring now to FIGURES 6 and 7, a modified roller skate 300 is shown, which comprises a one-way clutch arrangement for preventing movement of the skate in other than a forward direction. The one-way clutch arrangement may be provided on either the front or rear wheels of the skate, and comprises a clutch wheel 304 secured in any suitable manner to the inner side of each of the wheels 302. Each clutch wheel 304 comprises a generally circular center portion 306 having a circular opening through :which the axle 308 extends. A plurality of substantially equally circumfcrentially spaced arms 310 extend outwardly from the center portion 306 and terminate in circumfcrentially and inwardly extending resilient tabs 312. Each of the depending skate supporting members 314 has an elongated, upwardly extending stop portion 316 formed integral with or secured to the side thereof disposed adjacent the clutch wheels 304. As shown in FIGURE 7, each stop portion 316 is provided with a front face 318 which extends outwardly from and is substantially perpendicular to the respective supporting memher 314, and a rear, gradually curved cam face 320.
In the operation of the modified roller skate 300, it will be readily seen that the resilient tabs 312 of each of the clutch wheels 304 slide or slip over the gradually curved, rear cam face 320 of the stop portion 216 of the adjacent depending supporting member 314, when the skate is traveling forwardly and the wheels 302 are rotating in a counter-clockwise direction (as seen in FIGURE 7). The wheels, however, are prevented from rotating in a clockwise or rearward direction by the engagement of the ends of the tabs 312 with the perpendicular front face 318 of the stop portion 316, to thereby prevent the skate 300 from moving rearwardly. As shown in FIG- URE 6, the stop portions 316 are sufficiently long to be engaged by the clutch wheels 304 whether the axle is disposed in the upper or lower ends of the slots 322 in the supporting members 314. Aside from the above described one-way clutch arrangement of the modified skate 300, its operation is the same as that of the skate 10 described above.
The one-way clutch arrangement of the modified skate 300 is especially advantageous when the skate is used on a walking toy or doll, for the reason that it prevents back ward rolling of the toy on an inclined surface and enables the toy to be propelled forwardly on such a surface. It is to be understood that any suitable one-way clutch arrangement other than that specifically disclosed in FIG- URES 6 and 7 could be utilized with the modified skate 300, without departing from the scope of the instant invention.
A second modified form of the instant invention is illustrated in FIGURE 8, wherein a skate 400 is provided with a leaf-type spring 402 that is secured to its base portion 404 in any suitable manner, such as by a rivet 406. The spring 402 has a downwardly curved front arm or portion 408 and a downwardly curved rear arm or portion 410, which are in predetermined frictional engagement with the front and rear axles 412 and 414, respectively. The frictional engagement of the spring arms 408, 410 with the axles 412, 414 serves to effect a substantially constant rate of rotation of the axles as they are being rotatably driven by the rack members 416 and 418, respectively, in the manner described above. This relatively constant driving rotation of the axles is important when the skate 400 is to be utilized with a walking-type doll or toy, such as that shown in FIGURE 5 and described in the above-identified application, wherein each foot of the toy is in engagement with the ground for only a short period of time. If the axles are being substantially constantly rotatably driven during the downward movement of each skate on the feet of the walking toy, it is possible for the toy to be propelled forwardly to increase its normal walking velocity during substantially the entire period of time each of its feet is in engagement with the ground. Such a condition can be accomplished by the use of rack members of the proper length, and rack member and axle gear teeth of a predetermined configuration. The use of the instant spring 402 insures that the axles will not be quickly accelerated during the initial engagement of the skate with the ground, with a consequent lack of driving power for the balance of the period the skate is in engagement with the ground. In addition, the substantially constant driving rotation of the axles adds to the stability of the walking doll'or toy on which the skates are mounted.
It is obvious that suitable means other than the leaftype spring 402 could be utilized to effect a substantially constant driving rotation of the front and rear axles, within the scope of the instant invention. For example, other types of springs could be employed to apply a frictional force to the axles, or a fluid-type piston and cylinder device could be utilized to apply a frictional or braking force to the axles.
The forms of self-propelling skates of the instant invention described above are further advantageous when used with walking-type dolls or toys, such as that disclosed in the above-identified application, in that they add to the stability of such toys by providing additional weight on the foot portions of the toys, and also by providing a wider base or stance for the doll or toy as it rocks back and forth from one foot to another during its walking action. It will be readily understood, therefore, that the skates of the instant invention not only increase the rate of propulsion of walking dolls or toys, but also contribute to the stability of such toys.
It is thought that the invention and many of its attendant advantages will be understood from the foregoing description, and it will be apparent that various changes may be made in the form, construction and arrangement of the parts without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention or sacrificing all of its material advantages, the form hereinbefore described being merely a preferred embodiment thereof.
What is claimed is:
1. A self-propelling roller skate, comprising:
a base adapted to receive a shoe or foot,
a pair of supporting members extending downwardly from each end of said base, each pair of said supporting members having laterally aligned, upwardly extending slots therein,
driving means on said base extending downwardly therefrom between each pair of supporting members,
a wheeled axle mounted on each pair of said supporting members and extending through said laterally aligned slots for rotatable and lineal movement relative to said base, said axles being engageable by said driving means as the latter are moved downwardly by movement of said skate toward a support surface and the engagement of the axle wheels therewith, to thereby rotata'bly drive said axles and propel said skate on said supporting surface,
said driving means being positioned relative to said supporting member slots to enable said axles to be laterally tilted about said driving means and in said slots to serve to compensate for inclined or uneven support surfaces over which the skate may travel and to increase the stability of the skate.
2. The roller skate of claim 1 wherein said driving means comprises a rack member disposed between each pair of said supporting members and having a toothed edge portion facing the adjacent axle, and wherein each of said axles comprises a gear portion which is engageable with said toothed edge portion of the adjacent rack member to be rotated thereby when the latter is moved downwardly in response to the engagement of the axle wheels with said support surface.
3. A self-propelling article asdefined in claim 1, in cluding: 1 I
control means on said :base for imparting a substantially constant velocity to said wheel as it is being rotated by said driving means.
4. The article of claim 3 wherein said wheel is mounted on an axle which is rotatably mounted on said base and is engageable with said driving means during movement of said article toward said support surface, and wherein said control means is engageable with said axle.
5. The article of claim-4 wherein said control means comprises a spring in predetermined frictional engagement with said axle.
References Cited I UNITED STATES PATENTS 531,453 4/1897 Boldt 2so 11.11 936,173 10/1909 Schoenberg 2s0 11.11 1,761,807 6/1930 Van Etten 2s0 11.11 1,934,535 11/1933 Hast 28011.26
FOREIGN PATENTS 144,056 12/1935 Austria. 181,088 2/1907 Germany. 193,653 12/1907 Germany.
BENJAMIN HERSH, Primary Examiner.
MILTON L. SMITH, Examiner.