Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS3418750 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 31, 1968
Filing dateMay 9, 1966
Priority dateMay 9, 1966
Publication numberUS 3418750 A, US 3418750A, US-A-3418750, US3418750 A, US3418750A
InventorsMeggs Daniel H, Ryan John W
Original AssigneeMattel Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Gate crossing apparatus
US 3418750 A
Abstract  available in
Images(3)
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Dec. 31, 1968 w, RYAN ET AL 3,418,750

GATE CROS S ING APPARATUS Filed May 9, 1966 Dec. 31, 1968 J w, RYAN ET AL 3,418,750

GATE CROSSING APPARATUS Filed May 9, 1966 Sheet 2 of 3 J 52; J2 0 36 41 M lvvewrmqs A frag Dec. 31, 1968 w, R ET AL GATE CROSSING APPARATUS Sheet 3 of 5 Filed May 9. 1966 s 8 mm M. Z W I M Z M J $5 a a w United States Patent 3,418,750 GATE CROSSING APPARATUS John W. Ryan, Bel Air, and Daniel H. Meggs, Redondo Beach, Calif., assignors to Mattel, Inc., a corporation of California Filed May 9, 1966, Ser. No. 548,555 Claims. (Cl. 46216) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A support pivoted on a horizontal axis and gravity held in a lower position where a crossing gate thereon extends horizontally over a track. The gate is pivoted for horizontal swinging on the support but is gravity urged to straight-ahead position. An actuator is moved forwardly and downwardly along the track, by a vehicle, to swing a pivoted frame which lifts the gate and latches it open until the latch is released by a vehicle engaging a latch release member near the track. Sounding means are actuated during gate lifting and lowering movement.

The present invention relates to apparatus for operating a movable crossing gate and, more particularly, to apparatus which is automatically operable by a moving toy vehicle for elevating a crossing gate in response to he approaching of the crossing by the vehicle.

It is an object of the present invention to provide new and improved apparatus for controlling the position of a crossing gate in response to actuating movement of a toy vehicle approaching and leaving the gate crossing.

Another object is the provision of new and improved apparatus for operating a movable crossing gate, which is automatically operable to open the gate by a moving toy vehicle approaching the crossing.

A further object is to provide new and improved apparatus for operating a movable crossing gate, which is automatically operable to effect the closing of the gate as a moving vehicle passes the gate.

Still another object is the provision of new and improved apparatus for automatically operating a crossing gate in response to travel of a moving vehicle toward the crossing, which apparatus comprises a simple mechanical assembly for actuation by the moving vehicle and for the moving of the gate.

A still further object is to provide gate crossing apparatus that is operable in response to movement of a vehicle, and which is so constructed and arranged that the gate is freely swingable about substantially horizontal and vertical axes, and is normally maintained by the force of gravity in a closed position wherein it extends substantially transversely across the path of the vehicle.

An additional object is the provision of apparatus f r automatically operating a movable crossing gate in response to movement of a vehicle toward the gate, the apparatus being so constructed as to produce an audible warning or indicating sound during both the elevation and descent of the gate.

Another object is to provide new and improved ap paratus for operating a crossing gate in response to movement of a vehicle approaching the gate, without adversely affecting or substantially retarding the travel of the vehicle or away from the gate crossing.

Yet another object is to provide new and improved apparatus for operating a crossing gate in response to movement of a vehicle approaching and leaving the gate, which apparatus is simple in construction, economical to manufacture, comprises of a minimum of moving parts, and is reliable in operation.

According to the present invention, the gate crossing apparatus generally comprises a base panel having toy ve- "ice hicle guiding or track means thereon, and an upwardly extending actuating abutment that is movably mounted on the base panel and is disposed adjacent the vehicle guiding means and in the path of a vehicle approaching the crossing. The abutment is connected to a lever member which is part of an actuating frame that is pivotally mounted for swinging movement on the underside of the base panel. When the abutment is engaged by a vehicle approaching the crossing, the lever and frame are pivotally moved to bring a finger member thereon into engagement with a crossing gate to elevate it. The crossing gate is pivotally mounted on the base panel and is normally maintained in a closed or down position under the force of gravity, wherein it extends substantially transversely across the path of the vehicle.

The actuating abutment is slidably mounted in an armate slot in the base panel, the slot being sloped in a manner such that an approaching vehicle engages the abutment when it is at one end of the slot, and clears the abutment when it has been moved to the other end of the slot into a gate-elevating position, so that forward travel of the vehicle will not be impeded by the abutment. When the abutment is in its lower, gate-elevating position, the lever member to which it is attached is restrained from returning to its initial position, to which it is biased by a spring member, by engagement of a tab on the actuating frame with a latching member that is pivotally mounted on the underside of the base panel. The latching member is tiltable to release the frame tab by the depression of one of its ends which extends upwardly from the upper portion of the base panel, the end being engageable by a vehicle as it travels past the gate. Upon release of the frame tab, the spring member returns the lever and frame to their initial position, to move the finger out of engagement with the crossing gate, and to thereby enable the latter to move by gravity to its down or closed position.

As an additional feature, a bell or other type of sound-producing member is mounted on the underside of the base panel and is engageable by one end of a pivotally mounted dog member. The other end of the dog member comprises a pair of laterially spaced teeth which are engageable with complementary teeth on a toothed portion formed on a portion of the actuating frame. Engagement of the toothed portion with the teeth on the dog member causes the latter to be oscillated or rocked about its pivot to successively engage the bell to produce an audible sound during gate-elevating or gate-descending movement of the abutment, lever and actuating frame.

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 gate crossing apparatus constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention;

FIGURE 2 is an enlarged sectional view taken substantially along line 22 of FIGURE 1;

FIGURE 3 is a plan view of the underside of the instant gate crossing apparatus, showing the apparatus in a position wherein the gate is closed;

FIGURE 4 is a view similar to FIGURE 3, taken sub stantially along line 4-4 of FIGURE 2, showing the instant apparatus in a position wherein the gate is fully open or elevated;

FIGURE 5 is an enlarged sectional view taken substantially along line 5-5 of FIGURE 4;

FIGURE 6 is an enlarged sectional view taken substantially along lines 6-6 of FIGURE 4;

FIGURE 7 is a view similar to FIGURE 1, showing the upsetting of a vehicle when it approaches the instant gate crossing apparatus in a direction opposite to that shown in FIGURE 1;

FIGURE 8 is an enlarged sectional view taken substantially along line 88 of FIGURE 7; and

FIGURE 9 is a fragmentary perspective view similar to FIGURE 1, showing a modified form of the instant apparatus, wherein the gear ratio between the vehicle power source and its driving wheels is changed to increase the actuating force of the vehicle as it approaches the crossing gate.

As a preferred or exemplary embodiment of the present invention, FIGURE 1 illustrates a gate crossing apparatus 10 comprising a base panel 12, preferably unitarily formed or molded from a suitable plastic material, and having a single track 14 formed thereon. Preferably, the track 14 is hollow so as to frictionally receive flexible and hollow track members 16 and 18 at the ends thereof. The flexible track members 16 and 18 may form part of a single, flexible track system such as that disclosed in United States patent application, Ser. No. 465,558, filed June 21,1965.

At one end of the base panel 12, a second track section 20 is formed integrally thereon and is disposed in substantially perpendicular relation to the track section 14 to define a track crossing 21 on the panel. The transverse track section 20 preferably is of hollow configuration so as to frictionally receive the ends of hollow and flexible track members 22 and 24, Which may form part of the same single flexible track system as the flexible tubes 16 and 18.

A toy vehicle V of any suitable type, partially shown in FIGURE 1, may be mounted and driven on the flexible track system comprising the hollow tubes 16, 18, 22 and 24, and on the track sections 14 and 20 of the base panel 12. Preferably, the vehicle V is of the self-propelling type disclosed in United States patent application. Ser. No. 470,148, filed July 7, 1965, now Patent No. 3,337,985 and comprises supporting wheels 25 and a pulley-type wheel 26 which is engageable with and is adapted to follow the hollow tubes and track sections 14 through 24. It is noted, however, that the vehicle may be of any other suitable type of construction, and that any other suitable type of vehicle guiding means may be provided, other than the single track sections and members 14 through 24, without departing from the scope of the instant invention.

The vehicle V preferably is also provided with a depending actuating arm 28 which is adapted to engage an abutment 30 that extends upwardly from and is slidably mounted within an arcuate slot 32 in the upper surface of the base panel 12, when the vehicle is disposed on the track section 14 of the base panel 12 and is moving in a direction toward the crossing gate 34, as shown in FIG- URE 1.

Referring now to FIGURES 2 and 3, the abutment 30 is formed integral with or otherwise rigidly attached to a generally horizontally extending lever or arm 36 which is pivotally mounted on a pin 38 on the underside of the base panel 12. The arm 36 is provided with an upstanding bead 40 adjacent the outer end thereof which is in frictional slidable engagement with a depending, arcuate, inclined cam track 42 that is formed integral with the base panel 12. The cam track 42 is disposed inwardly of and is substantially parallel with the arcuate recess 32 in the base panel 12. A second cam track 44 is formed in the upper surface of the base panel 12 adjacent the outer side of the arcuate slot 32, and is substantially parallel to and inclined similarly to the inner cam track 42. The second cam track 44 is disposed beneath a portion of the abutment 30, and the undersurface of this abutment portion is in slidable engagement with the cam track 44. It will be readily seen, therefore, that the engagement of the abutment 30 and arm 36 with the cam tracks 44 and 42, respectively, rves to support the abutment 30 in an ppe position, wherein it is engageable by the actuating arm 28 on the vehicle V, when the abutment 30 is disposed adjacent to the end of the slot 32 nearest the approaching vehicle, as shown in FIGURE 1. Also, when the abutment 30 has been moved to the opposite end of the slot 32, as shown in FIGURE 5, the cam track 42 serves to move the abutment to a lower position wherein it is no longer engageable by the vehicle actuating arm 28, thereby enabling the vehicle V to travel past the abutment 30 after it has been moved to the opposite end of the slot 32.

As shown in FIGURE 3, the arm 36 is integrally connected to a second arm 46 which extends generally radially outwardly from the pivot pin 38 at an angle to the arm 36. A third arm 48, disposed adjacent to and extending substantially parallel to the arm 36, is integrally formed with the second arm 46 at its inner end, and is connected to the second arm 46 at its outer end by an arcuate arm 50. It will be noted, therefore, that the arms 36, 46, 48 and 50 are all integrally formed to define an actuating frame F which is pivotally mounted on the pin 38, and preferably is formed or molded from a suitable flexible and resilient plastic material. The base panel 12 is provided with a depending retaining lug 52 which extends beneath and is in slidable engagement with the arcuate arm 50 for the purpose of retaining the arms 46, 48 and 50 of the actuating frame F in a position closely adjacent to the undersurface of the base panel 12.

A torsion spring 53 surrounds the pivot pin 38 and has one end that is secured to the undersurface of the base panel 12 at 54, and an opposite end that is in engagement with an extension 56 on the undersurface of the arm 46 (see FIGURES 3 and 4). The torsion spring 53 serves to normally urge the integrally formed arms 36, 46, 48 and 50 of the actuating frame F in a clockwise direction about the pivot pin 38 (as seen in FIGURES 3 and 4). It will be understood that the spring 53 also serves to urge the abutment 30, secured to the outer end of the arm 36, to the position shown in FIGURE 1 and in broken lines in FIGURE 5, wherein the abutment 30 is in its upper position on the cam track 44 for engagement by the actuating arm 28 on the vehicle V.

When the abutment 30 is moved toward the opposite end of the slot 32 in the base panel 12, the arm 36, and thus the arms 46, 48 and 50 of the actuating frame F are rotated about the pivot pin 38, against the force of the torsion spring 52, in a counter-clockwise direction (as seen in FIGURES 3 and 4). During this movement, a radially extending tab 58, preferably formed integral with the arcuate arm 50, engages an inclined cam surface 60 on the adjacent end of an elongated latching element 62 that is pivotally mounted on bearing members 64 on the undersurface of the base panel 12 for substantially vertical movement (see FIGURE 3). The opposite or upper end of the latching lever 62 extends upwardly through an opening 66 in the base panel 12 and terminates in a generally flat end or abutment portion 68 which is disposed above the adjacent portion of the base panel 12 (see FIGURE 1). The base panel 12 is provided with a generally U-shaped retaining member 70 extending beneath the aperture 66 for the purpose of preventing downward movement of the end or abutment portion 68 of the latching element 62 beyond a predetermined extent.

Adjacent its inner end, the latching lever 62 is provided with a pair of laterally extending, flexible and resilient arms 72 which are engageable at their outer ends with depending ribs 74 on the undersurface of the base panel 12. The flexible and resilient arms 72 serve to normally urge the lower end of the latching element, having the cam surface 60, to a position wherein it is spaced a predetermined distance downwardly from the undersurface of the base panel 12 (see FIGURE 6). When the tab 58 engages the cam surface 60, in response to counter-clockwise movement of the actuating frame F about the pivot pin 38, as described above, the tab 58 moves the inner end of the latching element 62 upwardly toward the under surface of the base panel 12, thereby deforming the resilient arms 72 of the latching element 62. When the tab 58 has moved beyond the inner end of the latching element 62, the tabs 72 will again urge the inner end of the latching element downwardly to its initial spaced position from the undersurface of the base panel 12. In this position, the inner end of the latching element 62 prevents movement of the tab 58 in a return direction, and thus clockwise rotation of the arms 36, 46, 48 and 50 of the actuating frame F under the influence of the spring 53, to thereby lock the abutment in the end of the arcuate slot 32 wherein the abutment is disposed in its lower position and is no longer engaged by the actuating arm 28 of the moving vehicle (see FIGURE 5 If the outer end portion 68 of the latching element 62 is depressed, it will be readily seen that the inner end thereof is pivoted upwardly to deform the resilient arms 72 and to move the inner end out of blocking engagement with the tab 58, thereby enabling the torsion spring 53 to rotate the actuating frame F in a clockwise direction about the pivot pin 38, from the position shown in FIGURE 4 to that shown in FIGURE 3, wherein the abutment 30 is again in the elevated position shown in FIGURE 1.

Referring to FIGURES 1 through 3, the arm 46 comprises an upwardly extending portion 76 which is disposed within an upstanding housing 78 On the base panel 12 that simulates a control housing for a switching mechanism. The arm portion 76 terminates at its upper end in a laterally extending, transverse finger member 80 that extends outwardly of the housing 78 through an elongated slot 82 therein. The laterally extending finger member 80 is engageable with the adjacent portion of a substantially vertically extending plate member 84 which is integrally formed with or secured to one end of an elongated support 86 for the crossing gate 34. The support 86 is pivotally mounted at one end at 88 on the base panel 12 for pivotal movement about a substantially horizontal axis. The opposite or free end of the support 86 is provided with an upstanding, generally cylindrical bearing portion 90 having a central bore or opening 92 extending axially therethrough and terminating in an adjacent portion of the support 86 (see FIGURES 2 and 8). The upstanding bearing portion 90 is provided with a generally fiat, upper face 94 which is inclined downwardly toward the free end of the frame member 86 for a purpose to be hereinafter described.

The crossing gate 34 may be of any suitable construction and preferably comprises a depending, generally cylindrical pivot member 96 having a depending pivot pin 98 extending downwardly therefrom and being slidably and rotatably receivable in the bore 92 of the bearing portion 90 on the support 86 (see FIGURE 2). The pivot member 96 of the crossing gate 34 has a substantially flat bottom face 100 which is engageable with the upper face 94 of the bearing member 90 when the pin 98 on the pivot member 96 is inserted into the bore 92 of the bearing portion 90. The lower face 100 of the pivot member 96 is inclined in a manner substantially the same as that of the upper face 94 of the bearing member 90, to thereby normally maintain the crossing gate 34 in a position wherein it extends substantially transversely to the track section 14 on the base panel 12, as shown in FIGURES 1 and 2.

It will be appreciated, therefore, that the crossing gate 34 is freely pivotally mounted about a substantially vertical axis on the support 86, and is normally maintained by gravity in the position shown in FIGURE 1. If the gate 34 is moved out of this position, the inclined faces 94 and 100 of the bearing portion 90 and the pivot member 96, respectively, serve to cooperate in a cam-like manner to return the gate 34 to its normal position of FIG- URE 1 under the force of gravity.

As illustrated in FIGURES 3 and 4, the inner edge portion of the arcuate arm 50 of the actuating frame F comother sound producing member 101 disposed within the housing 78 on the base panel 12. It will be understood that pivotal movement of the actuating frame F in a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction about the pivot pin 38, results in alternate engagement of the dog member teeth 93 by the teeth 91 on the arcuate arm 50, with a consequent oscillatory movement of the dog member 95 about its pivot 97 to successively engage the hammer element 99 with the bell member 101.

In the operation of the instant gate crossing apparatus, when the abutment 30 and actuating frame F are in the positions shown in FIGURES 1 and 3, the actuating arm 28 of a vehicle V travelling along the 'base panel 12 and following the track section 14 in the direction shown in FIGURE 1, engages the abutment 30 in its elevated position and moves it toward the opposite end of the arcuate slot 32 in the base panel 12. This movement of the abutment 30 results in a counter-clockwise rotation (as seen in FIGURE 3) of the arm 36, formed integral with the abutment 30, and the arms 46, 48 and 50 of the actuating frame F, about the pivot pin 38 and against the force of the torsion spring 53. The finger member 80 extending outwardly from the housing slot 82, being integrally formed with the portion 76 on the arm 46, is pivoted in the same direction as the latter to engage the upper portion of the plate member 84 secured to the support 86 for the crossing gate 34. The support 86 and gate 34, therefore, are pivoted about the pivotal pin 88 on the base panel 12 in a counterclockwise direction (as seen in FIGURE 2) to thus elevate the gate 34 in response to the approaching movement of the vehicle V.

During the counter-clockwise rotation of the arcuate arm 50 of the actuating frame F, induced 'by movement of the abutment 30 by the vehicle actuating arm 28, the tab 58 on the arm 50 engages the inclined cam surface 60 on the adjacent end of the latch element 62 to press the lower latch element end upwardly toward the undersurface of the base panel 12, against the resilient force of the arms 72, as hereinbefore described. When the tab 58 is moved beyond the adjacent end of the latch element 62 to the position shown in FIGURE 4, the resilient arms 72 urge the lower latch element end downwardly away from the undersurface of the base panel 12 to block return movement of the tab 58, and to prevent movement of the actuating frame F under the force of the torsion spring '53. It will be readily seen, therefore, that the gate 34 is maintained in the elevated position shown in FIGURE 2.

As the actuating frame F is moved in a gate-elevating direction, from the position shown in FIGURE 3 to that shown in FIGURE 4, the teeth 91 on the inner side of the arcuate arm 50 engage the complementary teeth 93 on the pivotal dog member 95 to cause the oscillation of the dog member 95 about its pivot 97 on the undersurface of the base panel 12. The oscillation of the dog member 95 results in the successive engagement of the hammer element 99 'on its free end with the inner surface of the bell member 101, to thereby produce an audible sound during the elevation of the gate 34.

As the abutment 30 is being moved along the slot 32 in the base panel 12 by the actuating arm 28 of the moving vehicle, the abutment 30 also is moved downwardly relative to the slot 32 to the position shown in solid lines in FIGURE 5, owing to the cam tracks 42 and 44 disposed on opposite sides of and parallel to the arcuate slot 32, as hereinbefore described. The abutment 30 is moved downwardly to a position wherein the actuating arm 28 passes freely over it so that the vehicle continues to move along the track section 14 on the base panel 12 in a direction toward the track crossing 21 on the panel.

In accordance with one embodiment of the instant invention, the flat upper end or abutment 68 of the latching element 62 is positioned to be engageable by the wheels or other portion of a vehicle (not shown) travelling along the transverse track section 21 in a direction perpendicular to the direction of travel of the vehicle V. The positioning of the abutment 68 is such that it is not engageable by any portion of the vehicle V on the track section 14, with the result that after the gate 34 has been elevated in response to approaching movement of the vehicle V, it will remain in an elevated position after the vehicle V has passed under it. Thereafter, when a vehicle passes over the transverse track section at the crossing 21, it will engage and depress the abutment 68 in the base panel opening 66, to thereby pivot the lower end of the latching element 62 upwardly toward the undersurface of the base panel 12 and against the biasing force of the resilient arms 72. This upward movement of the inner end of the latching element 62 moves it out of locking relation to the tab 58 on the arcuate arm 50' of the actuating frame F and enables the torsion spring 53 to rotate the frame F about the pivot pin 38 in a clockwise direction from the position shown in FIGURE 4 to that shown in FIGURE 3.

The return movement of the actuating frame F returns the abutment to its original elevated position shown in FIGURE 1, and enables the crossing gate 34 and support 86 therefor to be returned to their closed or lower positions under the force of gravity. During this return movement, the teeth 91 on the arcuate arm again engage the teeth 93 on the dog member 95 to effect the successive engagement of the hammer element 99 with the bell member 101, thereby again producing an audible sound as the crossing gate 34 is descending to its closed position.

As a second embodiment of this invention, it will be understood that the abutment 68 may be positioned for engagement by the vehicle V as it is travelling along the track section 14, so that the gate 34 will be automatically opened in response to approaching movement of the vehicle V and automatically closed as the vehicle V passes under it.

From the foregoing description, it will be readily understood that the instant gate crossing apparatus functions to automatically elevate the crossing gate 34 as a vehicle is approaching the crossing, and also may automatically effect the closing of the gate 34, after the same vehicle has passed under it or in response to subsequent movement of the same or a different vehicle in a perpendicular direction. Further, as the abutment 30 is being moved in the base panel slot 32 by the actuating arm 28 of the vehicle V, it is also moved downwardly to a point wherein the actuating arm 28 of the vehicle can pass freely over it, thereby not impeding the forward movement of the vehicle and enabling it to continue to follow the track section 14 and thereafter the flexible tube 18 of the track system in a smooth and relatively continuous manner.

Referring now to FIGURE 7, the vehicle V may be provided with an upsetting mechanism comprising an arm 102 pivotally mounted on a substantially horizontal axis on a portion of its frame 104, and normally biased in a downward direction by a torsion spring 106. A

- tab 108 is provided on the frame portion 104 for normally maintaining the lever'102 in an elevated position (not shown) against the force of the spring 106. If the vehicle is travelling in the direction shown in FIGURE 7, which is opposite to that shown in FIGURE 1, and the crossing gate 34 is in a down position, it engages the gate and pivots it on the support 86 to the position shown in FIGURE 7. When the vehicle pases the gate 34, the depending arm 102 thereon engages the abutment 30 and is moved away from the retaining tab 108, thereby enabling the torsion spring 106 to pivot the lever 102 downwardly into engagement with the base panel 12 with a force sufiicient to upset the vehicle, as shown in FIG- URE 7.

Thus, it will be readily seen that if a vehicle is travelling in the wrong direction on the track 14 of the base panel 12 and crashes into the gate 34, it will be upset by the engagement of the abutment 30 with its lever arm 102 and thrown from the track section 14. An upsetting mechanism for such a self-propelling vehicle is shown and described in detail in United States patent application, Ser. No. 526,411, filed Feb. 10, 1966. After the vehicle has passed the gate 34 and has been upset, the gate will return to the normal position of FIGURE 1, wherein it extends substantially transversely across the track section 14 under the force of gravity, owing to the inclined, mutually engaging faces 94 and of the bearing portion 90-and the gate support pivot member 96, respectively, as hereinbefore described (see FIGURES 2 and 8).

It is noted that if the gate 34 is in an elevated position, a vehicle approaching it in the direction shown in FIG- URE 7 will pass freely under it and will not be upset, owing to the recessed position of the abutment 30 in the base panel slot 32, which enables the lever 102 to pass over it without engagement.

A modified form of the instant gate crossing apparatus is shown in FIGURE 9, wherein a modified base panel 112 is provided with an inclined track section 114 which leads to a pair of elongated, parallel and upwardly extending rack members 116 which extend across the base panel 12 on both sides of the upstanding abutment 130 in the arcuate slot 132 of the base panel. Each of the rack members 116 is provided with teeth 118 on the upper surface thereof which are engageable by complementary teeth on pinions 120 provided on the axle 122 for the vehicle wheels 124. The vehicle wheels 124 may be self-propelled in any suitable manner, such as by a friction Wheel 126 in engagement with the outer periphery of one of the wheels 124, the friction wheel 126 being driven in any suitable manner.

In the operation of the modified vehicle and base panel construction shown in FIGURE 9, the vehicle is supported on its wheels 124 until it approaches the rack members 116 on the base panel 112. As the vehicle reaches the rack members 116, the upwardly inclined track section 114 on the panel 112 elevates the axle 122 to engage the pinions 120 with the teeth 118 on the-track members 116. Thereafter, the driving of the vehicle through the reduced diameter pinions 120 effects a gear reduction which retards the forward travel of the vehicle and enables it to be driven forwardly with a greater force as it engages the gate-operating abutment 130 to open the gate. This gear reduction is advantageous in that it enables the vehicle to travel at a substantially constant speed, without being materially slowed in its forward progress, when it engages the abutment 130 for operating the crossing gate. This general type of vehicle gear reduction mechanism is shown and described in the above-identified United States Patent application, Ser. No. 470,148, now Patent No. 3,337,985.

While the foregoing description has been directed to the operation of a crossing gate in response to movement of a vehicle along a predetermined path, it is noted that any other suitable type of vehicle or track accessory could be operated in the manner described above, without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. It is to be understood, therefore, that the use of the terms gate or crossing gate herein is to be construed as including all other suitable types of similar accessories.

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 forms hereinbefore described being merely preferred embodiments thereof.

What is claimed is:

1. Apparatus for operating a crossing gate in response to movement of a toy vehicle in a predetermined direction, comprising:

movable supporting means for said gate which is so constructed as to normally maintain said gate in a closed position,

first movable abutment means, mounted for movement in the direction of vehicle movement and disposed in the path of said vehicle and being engageable and movable by said vehicle when it is moving in said predetermined direction and approaching said gate, and

gate actuating means connected to said abutment means and being engageable with said supporting means for moving it to a position wherein said gate is disposed in open position when said abutment means is moved by said vehicle in said predetermined direction,

and means for moving said abutment downwardly out of the path of said vehicle in response to its movement in said predetermined direction.

2. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising means for latching said gate in open position and second movable abutment means disposed adjacent said crossing and being engageable by a vehicle passing said crossing, said second abutment means being operatively connected to said latching means to release the same when it is engaged by a vehicle.

3. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a base on which said gate supporting means is pivotally mounted for movement between upper and lower positions, said base having track means for guiding said vehicle thereon.

4. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein said base comprises an elongated slot extending in substantially the same direction as said track means and in which said first abutment means is mounted for movement between a first position adjacent one end of said slot, wherein it is engageable by an approaching vehicle, and a second position adjacent the other end of said slot, wherein it is not engageable by said vehicle, said other end of said slot being disposed nearer said gate than said one end thereof.

5. The apparatus of claim 4 wherein said gate actuating means comprises an actuating frame pivotally mounted on said base and connected to said first abutment means, said actuating frame comprising a member that is engageable with said gate supporting means to elevate said gate when said first abutment means is moved to said second position, and wherein resilient biasing means is provided on said base in engagement with said actuating frame for urging it to a position wherein said member is out of engagement with said gate supporting means and said first abutment means is in said first position.

6. The apparatus of claim 5 wherein locking means is movably mounted on said base for engaging said actuating frame and locking it in a gate elevating position against the force of said resilient means when said first abutment means is moved to said second position by said vehicle.

7. The apparatus of claim 6 wherein second movable abutment means is mounted on said base adjacent said crossing, said second abutment means being connected to said locking means and being engageable by a vehicle passing said crossing to move said locking means out of locking engagement with said actuating frame, thereby enabling said resilient means to return said actuating frame to said position wherein said member is out of engagement with said gate supporting means and the latter is movable to close said gate.

8. Apparatus for operating a movable crossing gate in response to movement of a toy vehicle in a predetermined direction, comprising:

means movable about a first axis for supporting said gate in upper and lower positions relative to the path of said vehicle, said supporting means being normally maintained in a position wherein said gate is in said lower position under the force of gravity,

said gate being movably mounted on a portion of said supporting means for movement about a second axis extending generally vertically when said gate is in .said lower position, said gate and said supporting means portion having cooperable means normally urging said gate to a position wherein it extends across the path of said vehicle under the force of gravity but being horizontally swingable about said second axis, in response to engagement thereof by a vehicle, to a position laterally of the path of movement of said vehicle,

movable abutment means disposed in the path of said vehicle and being engageable by said vehicle when it is moving in said predetermined direction and ap proaching said gate, and

gate actuating means connected to said abutment means and being engageable with said supporting means for moving it about said first axis to elevate said gate when said abutment means is moved by said vehicle travelling in said predetermined direction.

9. The apparatus of claim 8 wherein said supporting means comprises a frame pivotally mounted for movement about said first axis, and wherein said gate is pivotally mounted on said frame for movement about said second axis.

10. The apparatus of claim 9 wherein said gate and said frame have abutting complementary camming surfaces that serve to enable said gate to be pivotally biased about said second axis under the force of gravity to said position on said frame wherein it extends across said vehicle path.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,948,512 2/1934 Daniel 246-293 2,211,756 8/1940 Miskulin 246293 FOREIGN PATENTS 1,102,022 3/1961 Germany.

LOUIS G. MANCENE, Primary Examiner.

C. R. WENTZEL, Assistant Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1948512 *Jan 30, 1933Feb 27, 1934Everett DanielCrossing gate
US2211756 *Feb 15, 1938Aug 20, 1940Jack MiskulinRailway crossing signal
DE1102022B *Sep 4, 1957Mar 9, 1961Tipp & CoKreuzung fuer Spielzeugeisenbahnen
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4091562 *Dec 21, 1976May 30, 1978Okuma Seisakusho Co. Ltd.Toy railway system
US4369943 *Dec 29, 1980Jan 25, 1983Said HusseinModel train crossing gate
Classifications
U.S. Classification246/293
International ClassificationA63H18/00, A63H18/02
Cooperative ClassificationA63H18/026
European ClassificationA63H18/02E