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Publication numberUS3395483 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 6, 1968
Filing dateJul 28, 1965
Priority dateJul 28, 1965
Publication numberUS 3395483 A, US 3395483A, US-A-3395483, US3395483 A, US3395483A
InventorsMullins Thomas R
Original AssigneeThomas R. Mullins
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Crawling toy
US 3395483 A
Abstract  available in
Images(2)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

T. R. MULLINS Aug. 6, 1968 CRAWLING TOY 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed July 28, 1965 ATTORNEYS T. R. MULLINS Aug. 6, 1968 CRAWLING TOY 2 Sheets-Sheet 3 Filed July 28, 1965 FIG.7

I N V E N TOR Thomas R. Mullins ATTORNEYS United States Patent 3,395,483 CRAWLING TOY Thomas R. Mullins, 4510 Arlen, Apt. 101, El Paso, Tex. 79904 Filed July 28, 1965, Ser. No. 475,330 Claims. (Cl. 46-104) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A crawling toy including an axially elongated body having forward, middle and rear sections. The forward and rear sections carry surface engaging rollers, movable only in a forward direction, while the middle section carries actuating means connected with the rollers. The actuating means is operable to alternately displace the forward and rear sections to one side of the body axis, then to the other side thereof, to thus advance the toy in a serpentine manner along a supporting surface.

This invention relates to an amusement device in the form of a crawling toy, and more particularly it relates to such an amusement device which is capable of crawling forwardly along a supporting surface in a serpentine manner, thereby simulating the motion of a snake, worm or other similar elongated crawling animal.

It is, of course, well known that movable toys and amusement devices hold a high degree of fascination for children, and as a result thereof, such items are commercially successful. However, in any movable type of toy or amusement device, the cost of such item is necessarily related to the expense of the mechanism which accomplishes the movement. It would therefore seen beneficial to provide a movement mechanism which accomplishes the desired movement, yet which is relatively simple and inexpensive.

With particular reference to crawling toys such as toy snakes, worms, eels, and other forms of serpents, it has been diflicult to create a toy which simulates the move ment of the real reptile or the like which the toy represents. The reason for this difficulty is that snakes and other reptiles do not move in a linear path but instead, crawl along in an undulating or serpentine fashion, which, if actually plotted, would form a sinusoidal plot along a linear axis.

With the foregoing factors in mind, it is, therefore, an object of the present invention to provide a crawling toy or amusement device of the aforementioned type, which accomplishes the desired movement.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a crawling toy which, in operation, will advance forwardly along a supporting surface in an undulating or serpentine manner.

Another object of the present invention is to provide mechanism for operating a crawling toy, which mechanism is simple and inexpensive to produce, yet is durable and highly efficient in operation, and which accomplishes the desired form of movement.

Other objects, advantages and salient features of the present invention will be apparent from the following detailed description, which, taken in conjunction with the annexed drawings discloses a preferred embodiment thereof.

Referring to the drawings:

FIGURE 1 is a top plan view of the mechanism of the present invention, shown in contracted position, with the body of the toy being illustrated in phantom lines;

FIGURE 2 is a top plan view of the mechanism of FIGURE 1 in extended position;

FIGURE 3 is a side elevational view of the mechanism, as shown in its extended position of FIGURE 2;

FIGURE 4 is an enlarged fragmentary perspective view of a roller means at the end of the mechanism; and

FIGURES 5 through 9 are progressive schematic top plan views, showing the manner of movement of the toy of the present invention, as the mechanism thereof operates through one complete cycle.

In accordance with the principles of the present invention, there is provided a crawling toy generally designated 10 including an elongated body generally designated 12 and operating mechanism generally designated 14 disposed within the body. The operating mechanism 14 basically includes surface engaging means or roller means generally designated 16 disposed at opposite ends of the body 12, and an actuating means generally designated 18 interconnected between the opposite roller means 16.

The body 12 can be fabricated of any suitable flexible material, such as cloth, plastic, rubber, or any suitable form of fabric. The particular material out of which the body 12 is fabricated does not comprise a part of the present invention, but it will be understood that such material must have a suflicient degree of flexibility to enable the toy 10 to move through its: desired serpentine motion. In manufacture, the body 12 will be formed to simulate the appearance of a snake, worm, eel, sea serpent, or other similar type of animal or reptile which the toy is to simulate. The body has a forward or head end 20 and a rearward or tail end 22, as shown in FIGURES l and 5.

Within the body 12, a roller means 16 is provided at the head end 20 and at the tail end 22. Each roller means 16 includes a frame portion 24 having a pair of legs 26 which diverge outwardly from a point 28 and which terminate in a pair of upstanding legs 30. The legs 30 are joined together at their upper ends by a transverse bar 32, and another transverse bar 34 extends between the legs 26 at a location between the point 28 and the upstanding legs 30. As best shown in FIGURES 3 and 4, the lower ends of the legs 30 are enlarged and are provided with opposed apertures 36.

A roller element 38, formed of rubber, plastic, or other suitable material, is provided at its opposite ends with stub shafts 40, and these shafts are journalled within the apertures 36 at the lower ends of the arms 30 to thereby rotatably mount the roller element 38 within the frame portion 24. The peripheral surface of the roller element 38 is corrugated to form an alternating series of teeth 42 having depressions or grooves therebetween. A stop means 44, in the form of a resilient spring finger, projects from the bar 34 toward the roller element 38. The end of the finger 44 engages with the surface of the roller element 38 in such a manner as to permit only unidirectional forward rotation thereof, and to prevent any retrograde rotation. Thus, as shown in FIGURE 3, the spring finger at the forward end of the toy is disposed beneath the rotational axis of the roller element 38, while the spring finger 44 at the rear of the toy is disposed above such rotational axis. In this manner, each of the roller elements can rotate forwardly, as shown by the arrows in FIG- URES 3 and 4, but is prevented from rotating rearwardly.

The actuating means 18, as best shown in FIGURES l-3, includes a circular main gear 50 in the form of a ring gear with upstanding peripheral teeth 52. A spring enclosure 54 is disposed within the gear 50, and within such enclosure, a coil spring 56 is housed. The spring 56 is connected to the :gear 54 in a conventional manner, and is adapted to be coiled or compressed by means of a hand operated key 58, as shown in FIGURE 3. As is the case with conventional spring wound toys, the key 58 can be manually turned to tighten the spring 56 to a compressed condition, and when the key is released, the spring will resiliently uncoil thereby rotating the main gear 50.

A pair of opposed secondary gears 60 and 61, each having peripheral teeth 62, are disposed in substantially perpendicular relationship to the main gear 50, with the secondary gear teeth 62 being in meshing engagement with the main gear teeth 52. The two opposed gears 60 and 61 are interconnected to one another by an axle 64 which is rotatably mounted in an upstanding mount 66 projecting above the spring housing 54. As such, it will be apparent that when the main gear 50 is set into rotation, it in turn produces a rotation of the secondary gears 60 and 61, with the gear 60 being driven in one direction and the gear 61 being driven in the opposite direction.

A pair of elongated rods 68 extend between the roller means and the secondary gears. The end of each of the rods 68 adjacent the roller means is attached by a pivot mounting 70 to the bar 32, as best shown in FIGURE 4, with the pivot mounting 70 being of loose enought fit to enable the rod 68 to raise and lower slightly in a vertical direction as well as to rotate in a horizontal plane. The opposite end of each of the rods 68 projects through an aperture in an ear 72 projecting from the side of each of the secondary gears. As such, the rods 68 are thereby attached to the secondary gears 60 and 61.

An elongated bar or plate 76 is fixedly mounted beneath the main gear 50, and is provided at its ends with a pair of upstanding posts 78. Each of the elongated rods 68 is provided between its ends with an enlarged aperture means 80, through which the upstanding posts 78 project. In this manner, the posts serve as a pivot or axis for the rods 68. Additionally, the aperture means in the rods 68 are somewhat larger in diameter than the posts 78, thereby permitting the rods to be canted angularly with respect to the posts in the manner shown in FIGURE 3.

Although the secondary gears 60 and 61 are independently rotatable upon their axle 64, when the actuating means 18 is initially assembled, it is important to dispose the ears 72 on each of the gears in a diametrically opposed manner. That is, as best shown in FIGURE 3, when the mechanism 14 is arranged in its extended or linear position, the ear 72 on the secondary gear 60 is at its high point, while the ear 72 on the secondary gear 61 is at its low point. This 180 displacement of the ears 72 when the body is in its extended position is important in determining the operation of the mechanism 14 and the movement of the toy 10.

If reference is now made to FIGURES 5 through 9, the operation of the mechanism 14- and the movement of the toy will now be described. It is, of course, understood that the underside of the body 12 is provided with at least three apertures. One of the apertures provides access to the winding key 58, while the other two apertures permit the undersurface of the roller elements 38 to project downwardly and to thereby contact a supporting surface upon which the toy 10 is placed. When the top is in its elongated or linear position shown in FIGURE 5, let it be assumed that the mechanism 14 is in the position shown in FIGURES 2 and 3. As such, the body is axially aligned along a central axis which can be designated 84. Once the main gear 50 is wound and released, let it be assumed that such gear unwinds in a counter-clockwise direction. As the main gear starts to unwind in this manner, it drives the secondary gear 60 in a clockwise direction and the secondary gear 61 is a counter-clockwise direction. Once each of the secondary gears has rotated through an arc of 90, such gears will be in the position shown in FIGURE 1. As such, the ear 72 on each of the gears will be moved out to the same side of the central axis 84, thereby causing the rods 68 to pivot about their pivot points, and to thereby contract the roller means 16 Asto the opposite side of the central axis 84. The toy has then moved to the position shown in FIGURE 6, and in doing so, the tail 22 will have moved forwardly, thereby causing a rotation of the rear roller element 38. As the main gear 50 continues to rotate, the secondary gears move through another are of 90, thereby disposing the ear 72 on the gear 60 in the lower most position and the ear 72 on the gear 61 in its upper most position. As such, and as shown in FIGURE 7, the toy will again be aligned along the central axis 84. However, as this straightening out occurred, the forward roller 38 will have rolled forwardly. Since the rear stop means 44 prevents the rear roller from rotating rearwardly, the rear of the toy will stay at the position at which it was in FIGURE 6, and the toy will thereby have advanced forwardly. A I

As the secondary gears 60 and 61 rotate through a third arc of the ears 72 on such gears again come into alignment on one side of the central axis 84,'thereby moving the head and tail portions of the toy to the opposite side of the axis 84, as shown in FIGURE 8. When such contracting occurs, the rear roller element 38 will again rotate forwardly. I

Finally, when the secondary gears 60 and 61 rotate through their final are of 90, to return to the original position shown in FIGURES 2 and 3, the toy will again straighten out and be aligned along the axis 84, as shown in FIGURE 9. Again, as such straightening 'out occurs, the forward roller element 38 will rotate forwardly, and the rearward roller element 38 will be prevented from rotating rearwardly.

Fom the foregoing, it should be apparent that the overall elfect of operation of the mechanism 14 is to advance the toy 10 forwardly along its supporting surface in an undulating or serpentine manner. Each time the mechanism contacts the toy, as shown in FIGURES 6 and 8, the rear roller element 38 rolls forwardly. Each time the mechanism 14 straightens out the toy, as shown in FIGURES 7 and 9, the forward roller element 38 advances forwardly, and the overall effect of such movement is to gradually and incrementally advance the toy 10 along its supporting surface. As is apparent, the axis of rotation of the main gear 50 is perpendicular to both the body axis 84 and the plane of the supporting surface upon which the rollers 38 abut. Thus, the central section of the toy containing the actuating means 14 is not raised off the supporting surface and is not moved out of alignment with the body axis 84.

After reading the foregoing detailed description, it should be apparent that the objects set forth at the outset of the specification have been successfully achieved by the present invention.

Accordingly what is claimed is: v V

1. A crawling toy with a serpentine movement comprising:

an axially elongated body having a forward and a rearward end;

roller means at each of said ends;

said roller means being rotatable only toward sai forward end;

actuating means within said body between said forward and rearward ends; coupling means coupling said actuating means tosaid roller means;

said actuating means being operative to move said forward and rearward ends to one side of said body axis, thereby causing said rearward roller means to rotate forwardly and thus configuring said body into a serpentine position;

said actuating means being further operative to move said forward and rearward ends back into alignment with said body axis, thereby causing said forward roller means to rotate forwardly and thus configuring said body into a linear position;

said body movement between said serpentine and said linear positions creating a forward crawling motion which advances said toy along a supporting surface,

said actuating means including a ring gear, a pair of opposed secondary gears in meshing relation with said ring gear, and means for causing rotation of said ring gear to provide relative rotation between said ring gear and said secondary gears whereby'one of said secondary gears will be rotated in a clockwise direction and the other of said secondary gears will be rotated in a counter-clockwise direction.

2. A crawling toy as defined in claim 1 wherein each of said roller means includes a rotatable roller element and a stop means in engagement with said roller element to prevent rotation away from said forward end.

3. A crawling toy as defined in claim 2 wherein said roller elements are provided with teeth on at least a portion of their peripheral surfaces and wherein said stop means includes a resilient spring finger means engageable with said teeth to permit only unidirectional forward rotational movement of said roller means.

4. A crawling toy as defined in claim 1 wherein said coupling means includes a pair of elongated rods to couple said actuating means to said roller means, each of said rods having a first end attached to a secondary gear and a second end pivotally attached to a roller means.

5. A crawling toy as defined in claim 4, but further including a pair of upstanding posts disposed on opposite sides of said ring gear in alignment with said body axis and wherein each of said rods is provided with an aperture means between its first and second ends, one of said posts projecting through each of said aperture means to thereby establish a pivot point for each of said rods.

6. An amusement device capable of crawling forwardly in a serpentine manner, said device comprising:

an axially elongated body having a forward end and a rearward end;

an internal frame portion at said forward end and at said rearward end;

a roller element rotatably mounted in each of said internal frame portions;

a stop means projecting from each said frame portions into engagement with the roller element mounted therein to permit forward rotation of said roller element but to prevent retrograde rotation thereof;

actuating gear means disposed in mounted relation between said body forward and rearward ends;

said actuating gear means including a main gear and a pair of opposed secondary gears in 'meshing engagement with said main gear;

driving means coupled with said actuating gear means to impart a relative rotational movement between said secondary gears and said main gear;

a pair of elongated rod means, one connecting each said secondary gear to a respective internal frame portion;

pivot mounting means for mounting on each rod means disposed between said secondary gear and said internal frame portion;

said rod means being pivotally attached to said internal frame portions;

said driving means being operative to rotate said secondary gears in opposite directions to one another, thereby pivoting said rod means about their pivot mounting means and thus moving said forward and rearward body ends first to one side of said body axis, then to the other side thereof;

said movement of said body ends causing said roller elements to alternatively rotate forwardly, thereby advancing said amusement device forwardly along a supporting surface. 7. An amusement device as defined in claim 6 wherein said pivot mounting means includes a pair of upstanding posts disposed on opposite sides of said ring gear in alignment with said body axis and further includes said rod means having aperture means therein to receive said upstanding posts.

8. An amusement device as defined in claim 6, wherein said secondary gears are disposed substantially perpendicularly to said main gear.

9. A crawling toy capable of moving along a generally planar supporting surface in a serpentine manner, said crawling toy comprising:

an axially elongated body including a forward section,

a middle section and a rear section;

forward and rear surface engaging means mounted respectively within said forward and rear sections to engage said supporting surface when said body is placed thereon;

rotatable actuating means mounted within said middle section; coupling means connecting said actuating means with said forward and rear surface engaging means; and,

means mounting said actuating means for rotation about an axis of rotation disposed perpendicularly to both said body axis and the plane of said supporting surface; said actuating means being operative, upon rotation thereof about its axis of rotation, to displace said forward and rear sections alternately to one side of said body axis, then to the other side thereof, while said middle section remains aligned along said body axis and in contact with said supporting surface;

said actuating means rotational movement thereby advancing said toy along said supporting surface in la serpentine manner.

10. A crawling toy as defined in claim 9 further including means permitting said surface engaging means to move forwardly but preventing said surface engaging means from moving rearwardly.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 725,432 4/1903 Flaherty 46-104 1,049,345 1/1913 Dolman 46-123 2,152,945 4/ 1939 Alvistu-r 46-108 2,232,615 2/ 1941 Kupka 46104 2,514,450 7/1950 Kopf 46--120 2,641,864 6/1953 Villemejane 46120 3,181,270 5/1965 Trevena 46-152 RICHARD C. PINKHAM, Primary Examiner.

T. ZACK, Assistant Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US725432 *Jul 18, 1902Apr 14, 1903John FlahertyMechanical toy.
US1049345 *Jun 24, 1911Jan 7, 1913Walter S DolmanMechanical toy.
US2152945 *Apr 24, 1936Apr 4, 1939Oscar AlvisturToy
US2232615 *Nov 2, 1940Feb 18, 1941Frank Kupka EdwardToy
US2514450 *Mar 8, 1948Jul 11, 1950Philip KopfMechanical toy
US2641864 *Apr 19, 1948Jun 16, 1953Cie Du Celluloid Petiteollin OWalking figure toy
US3181270 *Apr 23, 1963May 4, 1965Dale Trevena CharlesMovable wheeled inch worm toy
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3765693 *Feb 8, 1971Oct 16, 1973Marvin Glass & AssociatesToy vehicle
US4317302 *Jun 27, 1980Mar 2, 1982Minnesota Mining And Manufacturing CompanySign cabinet with box beam support frame and clamp assemblies
US4943256 *Jan 11, 1988Jul 24, 1990Pn International Corp.Amusement device propelled by an eccentric apparatus
US7364489Nov 3, 2003Apr 29, 2008Hasbro, Inc.Electromechanical toy
US7431629Apr 26, 2006Oct 7, 2008Hasbro, Inc.Electromechanical toy
US7507139 *May 4, 2004Mar 24, 2009Hasbro, Inc.Electromechanical toy
US7695341Nov 27, 2002Apr 13, 2010Hasbro, Inc.Electromechanical toy
US8376804Nov 3, 2008Feb 19, 2013Mattel, Inc.Motorized toy creature
US20090137186 *Nov 3, 2008May 28, 2009Mattel, Inc.Motorized toy creature
Classifications
U.S. Classification446/278
International ClassificationA63H11/00, A63H11/12
Cooperative ClassificationA63H11/12
European ClassificationA63H11/12