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Publication numberUS3421254 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 14, 1969
Filing dateApr 22, 1966
Priority dateApr 22, 1966
Also published asDE1603460A1, DE1953938U
Publication numberUS 3421254 A, US 3421254A, US-A-3421254, US3421254 A, US3421254A
InventorsMay Richard L, Ryan John W
Original AssigneeMattel Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Animating means for a figure toy
US 3421254 A
Abstract  available in
Images(3)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

J. w. RYAN ET AL ANIMATING MEANS FOR A FIGURE TOY Jan. 14, 1969 I z m a VMJ 4 w s n. nn

Filed April 22, 1966 Jan. 14, 1969 J. w. RYAN ET AL ANIMATING MEANS FOR A FIGURE TOY Sheet Filed April 22, 1966 3104 7 MaaM Jan. 14, 1969 J. w. RYAN ET AL ANIMATING MEANS FOR A FIGURE TOY Sheet 3 of 3 Filed April 22, 1966 a 5.1 aaw up I 19% /%%%M flrra/Pprrs United States Patent -AN1MATING MEANS FOR A FIGURE TOY John W. Ryan, Bel Air, and Richard L. May, Manhattan Beach, Calif., assignors to Mattel, Inc., Hawthorne,

CaliL, a corporation of California Filed Apr. 22, 1966, Ser. No. 544,441

U.S. Cl. 46-118 1 Int. Cl. A63h 3/36, 5/00 OClaims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE The present invention relates to a new and useful animating means for a figure toy and more particularly to an improved animating means of the type disclosed in copending application Ser. No. 505,782, now Patent No. 3,298,l30, which was filed Nov. 1, 1965 and which is a division of application Ser. No. 257,123, filed Feb. 8, 1963, now Patent No. 3,230,665. a

The figure toy disclosed in said copending application includes facial animating means which is actuated by a sound producing means simultaneously with the production of sounds. The facial animating means includes lip animating means having levers engaging the upper and 'lower lips of the figure toy to impart movement to the lips. The levers are supported intermediate their ends by a bowed metal plate which, in turn, is supported behind the lips in a simulated mouth cavity by a tlexibleseptum. This septum has one end attached to the figure toy above its upper lip and the other end connected to the figure toy below its lower lip.

The sound producing means for actuating the lip levers is mounted in the torso of the figure toy on bosses provided therein for engaging suitable pin means provided on the soundproducing means. The sound producing means includes power-take-oii means which furnishes the power for actuating the lip levers through the medium of a Bowden wire having one end of its sheath secured to a tab extending from the torso of the figure toy.

While generally satisfactory, the figure toy disclosed in said copending application and said patent does have certain disadvantages.

One disadvantage resides in the fact that a fairly rigid torso must be provided for supporting the sound producing means. In addition, there is some expense involved in providing the hollow cylindrical bosses in the torso and the pins on the sound producing means, together with the tab for supporting the end of the sheath.

Another disadvantage resides in the fact that the only movement which is imparted to the upper lip is that imparted to the upper lip lever through flexing of the septum during pivoting of the lower lip lever.

Yet another disadvantage resides in the fact that attachment of the septum to the facial portion of the toy somewhat restricts the change of expression as the lips move.

In view of the foregoing factors and conditions characteristic of animating means for figure toys of the type disclosed in said copending application and said Patent 3,421,254 Patented Jan. 14, 1969 ice No. 3,230,665, it is a primaryobiect of the present invention to provide a new and useful animating means for a figure toy not subject to the disadvantages enumerated above and having sound producing means and an animator especially designed as a single unit facilitating use in a number of different types and configurations of figure toys etficiently, safely and expeditiously.

Another object of the present invention is to provide new and useful lip animator for a figure toy.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a new and useful adaptor unit for connecting a sound producing unit to a lip animating unit in a flexible doll head in such a manner that the sound producing unit is supported entirely by the adaptor without requiring support from the torso portion of the figure toy.

According to the present invention, a figure toy having a flexible head made from a soft plastic material such as plastisol is provided with a lip animator and a sound producing means which are incorporated into a single unit.

The lip animator includes an upper lip lever and a lower lip lever which are pivotally connected together. The levers are connected to associated lips by wire clips which may be embedded in the lips in accordance with the method disclosed in application Ser. No. 558,305, filed June 17, 1966. These wire clips furnish the sole means for supporting the levers within the head of the toy. The free end of the upper lip lever is prevented from swinging vertically by the sheath of a Bowden wire having one end connected to the free end of the upper lip lever and its other end connected to sound producing means. Movement is imparted to the upper lip by moving the fulcrum of the upper lip lever up and down during swinging of the lower lip lever. Anchoring the other end of the sheath to the sound producing means eliminates the tab disclosed in said application for anchoring the sheath to the torso of the figure toy.

The lip animator is protected from damage when the flexible face portion of the figure toy is subjected to rough treatment by a child user of the toy by a housing member which extends up into the head of the toy behind the lip animator. The housing includes an open front through which the lip animator is free to move should the face of the figure toy be pressed inwardly. The housing preferably forms an integral part of a cylindrical, neck member having an annular channel provided thereon for facilitating the connection of the neck portion of the head and the neck portion of the torso of the figure toy together by anchoring them in the annular channel.

A transition member is formed integrally with, and depends from, the cylindrical neck member so that a sound producing means may be connected thereto forming a single unit with the lip animator. The sound producing unit is shown for purposes of illustration, but not of limitation, as comprising a voice unit of the type disclosed in Patent No. 3,017,187 which is provided with a power takeoff of the type disclosed in said copending application and includes a somewhat pear-shaped housing.

The transition unit includes a cavity conforming in shape to the small end of the housing so that the transition unit may be slipped over the small end of the housing and adhesively or mechanically secured thereto providing the sole means of support for the-sound producing means within the figure toy.

While the figure toy is shown herein for purposes of illustration, but-not of limitation, as comprising a dolls head and a torso in the form of a cloth cape, it is to be understood that the figure toy may have a head simulating the head of an animal, a robot or the like and that the torso may be in any suitable form, such as the torso of a doll, an animal or a robot.

The lip animator is so constructed and arranged that swinging movements imparted to the lower lip lever move the fulcrum or point of pivotal connection between the upper and lower levers, thereby imparting corresponding movement to the upper lip.

The features of the present invention which are believed to be novel are set forth with particularity in the appended claims. 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 sev eral views.

In the drawings:

FIGURE 1 is a cross-sectional view, with parts shown in elevation, of an animating means of the present invention in combination with a figure toy;

FIGURE 2 is an enlarged, perspective view of the toy and combination of FIGURE 1, with parts broken away to show internal construction;

FIGURE 3 is an enlarged, partial cross-sectional view taken along line 33 of FIGURE 1;

FIGURE 4 is an enlarged, partial cross-sectional view of the lip animating portion of the animating means of FIGURE 1 in a first position;

FIGURE 5 is an enlarged, partial cross-sectional view similar to FIGURE 4 showing the lip animator in a second operating position; and

FIGURE 6 is a reduced, partial cross-sectional view taken along line 66 of FIGURE 5.

Referring again to the drawings, an animating means constituting a presently preferred embodiment of the invention, generally designated 10, is adapted to animate a figure toy 12 which is shown herein for purposes of illustration, but not of limitation, as taking the form of a doll having a body 14.

The body 14 includes a head 16 and a torso 18. Although the torso 18 is shown herein for purposes of illustration, but not of limitation, as comprising a cloth cape adapting the toy 12 to be used as a simulated hand puppet, it is to be understood that the torso 18 may be in the form of a doll having legs and arms, an animal, a robot or the like. A portion of the body 14 is preferably made from a soft, flexible, elastomeric material, such as plastisol, and, in the embodiment herein shown and described, the entire head 16 is made from such material. If desired, the head 16 may be made by employing the slush molding techniques disclosed in application Ser. No. 558,305, filed June 17, 1966. The head 16 includes a skull 20, a neck portion 22, a chin 24, a mouth 26, a nose 28 and a pair of cheeks 29.

The mouth 26 is molded with a normally open, pleasant expression and includes an upper lip 30 and a lower lip 32 which are joined together by an inwardly-extending member 34. A pair of simulated eyes, such as the one shown at 36, in FIGURE 2, may be formed in the face 38 of the head 16 during the molding operation.

The torso 18 includes a cylindrical neck portion 40 and a downwardly, outwardly flaring portion 42 and is connected to the head 16 by telescoping the neck 40 over the neck 22 and securing them together by a fastening means 44 having sufficient tightness to draw the necks 22 and 40 into an annular recess 46 provided in a cylindrical connector means 48 forming an integral part of the animating means 10.

The animating means includes a sound producing means 50 which is shown herein for purposes of illustration, but not of limitation, as comprising a random-record voice unit of the type disclosed in Ryan Patent No. 3,017,- 187. The sound producing means 50 includes a pearshaped housing 52 having a large end 54 and a small end 56 formed by a front housing half 58 and a rear housing half 60.

The sound producing means 50 also includes a pho- 7 '4 nograph device 62 which is mounted in the housing 52 and which includes a turntable 64 having peripheral flanges 66, 68 and a plurality of peripheral teeth 70. The phonograph device 62 also includes a toothed belt 72 which is trained about a toothed pulley 74 and the turntable 64 for driving a governor 75. The turntable 64 includes a spindle 76 which is seated in a bearing 78 carried by a cylindrical member 80 supported from the front housing half 58 by a gusset plate 82; A spool 84 is mounted on the spindle 76 and may be rotated by pulling a drawstring 86. A motor 88 of the clock-spring type is mounted in the phonograph device 62 between the spool 84 and the turntable 64 and is wound by pulling the drawstring 86, as more fully described in said Patent No. 3,017,187.

The turntable 64 carries a phonograph record 90 having interleaved spiral grooves, not shown, each having a distinctive group of words or sounds recorded thereon. These grooves may be engaged by a phonograph needle 92 carried by a tone arm 94 which is positioned at the beginning of a particular groove by the drawstring 86 when it is drawn to wind the spring motor 88. The tone arm 94 is connected to a speaker cone 96 which is mounted in an opening 98 provided in the front housing half 58 and which is covered by a speaker grill 100.

The animating means 10 also includes a power-take-olf means 102 for supplying actuating power to an animator 104 adapted to animate at least a portion of the body 14. The power-take-off means 102 may be of any suitable type, such as the type shown in said copending application Ser. No. 257,123, and includes a plate 106 which is reciprocably mounted in the rear housing half 60 for reciprocation by the turntable 64. This reciprocation may be imparted to the plate 106 by a rotatable roller 108 which is rotatably mounted on the plate 106 forming a cam follower adapted to follow a cam in the form of a groove 110 provided in the turntable 64, all as more fully disclosed in said copending application Ser. No. 257,123. The plate 106 is connected to the animator 104 by a Bowden wire 112 having a plastic or nylon wire 114 reciprocably mounted in a flexible, plastic sheath 116.

The wire 114 includes an end 118 which is connected to the plate 106 by a connector 120 and a second end 122 which is connected to the animator 104 by a second connector 124. The sheath 116 has a first end 126 having a flared portion 128 seated in a notch 130 provided in a rear wall 132 forming part of the rear housing half 60. An elongated slot 134 is provided in the rear wall 132 and extends from the notch 130 to a stepped portion 136 on the end 56 for receiving the Bowden wire 112. The wire 112 is retained in the slot 134 by a cover 138. The sheath 116 also includes a second end 140 which carries a flange 142 which, in turn, is connected to the animator 104 in a manner and for a purpose to be hereinafter described.

The animator 104 is adapted to animate the soft material portion of the body 12 and is shown herein for purposes of illustration, but not of limitation, as animating the lips 30 and 32. For this purpose the animator 104 includes an upper lip lever 144 and a lower lip lever 146 which may be conveniently made from a suitable metal or rigid plastic and which are pivotally connected together intermediate their ends by a fulcrum 148 depending from the upper lip lever 144 into operative engagement with the lower lip lever 146. The fulcrum 148 includs a pair of spaced, parallel arms 150 and 152 having hooked ends 154 and 156, respectively, engaged in apertures 158 and 160, respectively, provided in the lower lip lever 146.

The upper lip lever 144 is of rectangular shape, as

' shown in FIGURE 2, and includes a first end 162 which is provided with an upstanding flange 164 supporting a wire, lip clip 166 having a bight portion 168 and a pair of parallel, spaced apart arms 170. The bight portion 168 and its junction with the arms 170 may be embedded in the upper lip 30 by heating the clip 166 by resistance heating methods and then pressing the heated bight portion 168 into the lip 30, all as more fully described in said application Ser. No. 558,305, fi1ed June 17, 1966. When the clip 166 cools, the plastic material of lip 30 will adhere to the bight portion 168 and the embedded portions of arms 170. The arms 170 extend from the bight portion 168 rearwardly through associated apertures 172a provided in the flange 164 and are locked into engagement with an upwardly struck plate 172 provided on the upper lip lever 144 adjacent the end 162. The arms 170 each include an inwardly-bent portion 174 engageable under the plate 172 for facilitating this locking operation. The upper lip lever 144 also includes an end 176 which is provided with an aperture 178 through which the Bowden wire 112 extends. The flange 142 on sheath 116 is secured to the end 176 by bending the end 176 downwardly and forwardly into clamped engagement with the flange 142. The upper lip lever 144 extends rearwardly from the flange 164 substantially normal thereto to a position identified by the numeral 176a which lies slightly forward of the fulcrum 148. The lever 144 extends rearwardly from the fulcrum 148 and slightly downwardly to a position identified by the numeral 178 from which the lever 144 extends rearwardly and slightly upwardly to the end 176. The portion 180 of the lever 144 which extends from the point 176a to the point 178 is provided with a rectangular aperture 182 through which an end 184 of the lower lip lever 146 extends.

The lower lip lever 146 includes a'U-shaped portion 186 which extends from the end 184 to a flange 188 from which a portion 190 of lever 146 extends substantially normal thereto. The portion 190 is provided with the apertures 158 and 160 which are engaged by the fulcrum 148 and extends forwardly to a portion 192 of level 146 which extends downwardly substantially normal to the portion 190. A portion 194 of the lever 146 extends forwardly from the portion 192 substantially normal thereto to the other end 196 of the lever 146 which carries a depending flange 198 and which is positioned adjacent the lower lip 32. The end 196 of lever 146 is connected to the lower lip 32 by a wire clip 200 having a bight portion 202 embedded in the lower lip 32 and a pair of parallel, spacedapart arms 204 and 206 extending rearwardly from the bight portion 202, through apertures 206 provided in the flange 198 and into locked engagement with a downwardly struck plate 208 provided in the portion 194. The lower lip clip 204 may be identical to the upper lip 172 including the inwardly bent portions 174 which lock the clip 204 into engagement with the plate 208. The end 122 of the Bowden wire 114 extends through an aperture 210 provided in the U-shaped portion 186 and is connected thereto by clamping the portion 186 into firm engagement therewith.

It is to be noted that although the sheath 116 fixes the end 176 of upper lip lever 144 against substantial up and down motion, the animator 104 is otherwise supported and restrained from moving only by the lips 30 and 32 which, as previously described, are of a soft, flexible, nature, as is the remaining portion of the face 38. Such freedom of movement of the animator 104 combined with the flexible nature of the face 38 results in a less mechanical and more natural animation of the face 38 when the animator 104 is actuated.

Since the complete head 16 is made of the same flexible material, the animator 104 could become damaged by rough treatment of the head 16. For example, a child user of the toy 12 might push the face 38 inwardly into the head 16 sufficiently to damage the animator 104 by engaging it with some hard object. The likelihood of damaging the animator 104 should this happen, however, is minimized .by mounting a housing 212 in the head 16 behind the animator 104. The housing 212 may be formed integrally with the connector means 48 and includes a closed top wall 214, a rear wall 216, a pair of side walls 218, an open front 220 and an open bottom 222. The open front 220 provides access for the animator 104 so that it may be caged within the housing 212 when the face 38 is deformed sufliciently to drive the animator 6 104 rearwardly within the head 16. The open bottom 222 provides communication with the connector means 48 so that the Bowden wire 112 is free to flex within the housing 212 and connector means 48 during such deformation of the face 38.

The sound producing means 50 is supported within the body 12 by the connector means 48 and is connected thereto by a transition member 224 which may be formed integrally with the connector means 48 and which depends t-herefrom into the torso 18. The transition member 224 includes a front wall 226 conforming in shape to the front wall 248 of the front housing half 58 in the vicinity of the end 56, a rear wall 228 conforming in shape to the rear wall 230 of the rear housing half 60 below the stepped portion 136, side walls 232 conforming in shape to the side walls 234 of the housing 54 at the end 56, and a curved top wall 236 adapted to engage the end 56. The member 224 also includes a stepped portion 238 adapted to engage the stepped portion 136 on the end 56 and is mounted on the end 56 with a friction fit. When so mounted, a U-shaped notch 240 provided in the front wall 226 engages a protuberance 242 provided on the front housing half 58. The member 224 may be adhesively adhered to the housing 52, if desired.

In use, the animating means 10 may be actuated by pulling the drawstring 86 to energize motor 88 which, in turn, rotates turntable 64. This simultaneously causes the sounds recorded on record 90 to be reproduced by the cone 96 and the mouth 26 to move from its normallyopen, preset molded position shown in FIGURE 1 to the closed position shown in FIGURE 5 by reciprocating the plate 106, through the medium of roller 108 following groove 110, to reciprocate the wire 114. Downward movement of the wire 114 causes the lower lip lever 146 to not only swing about fulcrum 148 in a clockwise direction, as viewed in FIGURE 1, but to also pull the fulcrum 148 downwardly causing the end 162 of upper lip lever 144 to swing downwardly in a clockwise direction about a pivot point established by the fixed end 176 lever 144.

Upward movement of the Wire 112 swings the lower lip lever 146 about fulcrum 148 in a counter clockwise direction, as viewed in FIGURE 1, permitting the lower lip 32 to return to its normally open position and lifting fulcrum 148 so that the upper lip lever 144 swings upwardly about the pivot established by the fixed end 176. This permits the upper lip 30 to return to its normally open position. The movement of mouth 26 follows the playing of record 90 on a cycle determined by the shape of groove 110.

While the particular animating means and figure toy I combination herein shown and described in detail is fully capable of attaining the objects and providing the advantages hereinbefore stated, it is to be understood that it is merely illustrative of the presently preferred embodiment of the invention and that no limitations are intended to the details of construction or design herein shown' other than as defined in the appended claims.

What is claimed is:

1. In combination with a figure toy having a body including a head portion and a torso portion, at least one of said portions including soft, flexible, resilient material, animating means comprising:

a first lever having one end connected to a first portion of said soft material, said first lever including a second end;

a second lever having one end connected to another portion of said soft material adjacent said one end of said first lever, said second lever including a second end, the resiliency of said material normally holding said first and second portions in predetermined spaced relation;

means pivotally connecting said levers together intermediate said ends, said levers being supported by said one ends and said material;

actuating means connected to the second end of one of said levers for pivoting said one lever with respect to said other lever; and

restraining means pivotally connected to the second end of said other lever for forming a further pivot means, whereby said other lever may pivot about its second end when said one lever is pivoted by said actuating means, said restraining means being substantially fixed against movement in the same direction as the movement of said one lever but free to move in a direction normal thereto.

2. A combination as stated in claim 1 including U- shaped clip means connecting said one end of each of said levers to said material, each of said clip means having a bight portion embedded in said material and a pair of parallel, spaced-apart arms extending from said bight portion into fixed engagement with said one end of an associated lever.

3. A combination as stated in claim 1 wherein said actuating means and said restraining means comprise a wire and a sheath, respectively, said wire being reciprocably mounted in said sheath.

4. A combination as stated in claim 1 including:

hollow connecting means connecting said head portion to said torso portion, said connector means including a hollow transition member having a predetermined shape; and

sound producing means mounted in said body, said sound producing means having a portion which is shaped to correspond to said predetermined shape of said transition member, whereby said sound producing means may be supported by said connector means by inserting said shaped portion of said sound producing means into said hollow transition member and securing said sound producing means thereto, said sound producing means including power-take-ofi means connected to said means for operating said actuating means during operation of said sound producing means.

5. A combination as stated in claim 4 including housing means extending from said connector means to a position adjacent said free ends of said levers, said housing means being provided with an opening in alignment with said levers for admitting said levers into said housing means when said material and said restraining means are flexed toward said housing means whereby said housing means protects said levers from damage by the force flexing said material.

6. A combination as stated in claim 4 including U- shaped clip means connecting said one end of each of said levers to said material, each of said clip means having a bight portion embedded in said material and a pair of parallel, spaced-apart arms extending from said bight portion into fixed engagement with said one end of an associated lever.

7. A combination as stated in claim 4 wherein said actuating means and said restraining means are positioned within said hollow connecting means and comprise a wire and a sheath, respectively, said wire being reciprocably mounted in said sheath, said wire having one end extending from one end of said sheath for forming said connection with said one lever and another end extending from the other end of said sheath for forming said connection with said power-take-off means, said one end of said sheath forming said connection with said second end of said other lever, said other end of said sheath being fixed to said sound producing means.

8. A combination as stated in claim 7 wherein said soft material forms the mouth portion of a doll, said mouth portion having an upper lip and a lower lip, said one end of said one lever being connected to said lower lip, said one end of said other lever being connected to said upper lip.

9. A combination as stated in claim 8 including U- shaped clip means connecting said one end of each of said levers to said material, each of said clip means having a bight portion embedded in said material and a pair of parallel, spaced-apart arms extending from said bight portion into fixed engagement with said one end of an associated lever.

10. A combination as stated in claim 9 including housing means extending from said connector means to a position adjacent said second ends of said levers, said housing means being provided with an opening in alignment with said levers for admitting said levers into said housing means when said material and said restraining means are flexed toward said housing means, whereby said housing means protects said levers from damage by the force flexing said material.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,653,412 9/1953 Wolfe 46--117 2,661,572 12/1953 Baggott 46-135 XR 2,700,846 2/1955 Coe 46-135 XR 3,093,928 6/1963 Ostrander 461 17 3,153,881 10/1964 Cogan 46135 XR 3,195,269 7/ 1965 Weih 46135 3,230,665 1/1966 Ryan 46-118 FOREIGN PATENTS 1,113,440 3/1956 France.

13,824 12/ 1908 Great Britain.

LOUIS G. MANCENE, Primary Examiner.

SETH NATTER, Assistant Examiner.

US. Cl. X.R. 46-164, 171

Patent Citations
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4294033 *Feb 9, 1979Oct 13, 1981Marvin Glass & AssociatesAnimated talking doll
US4805328 *Sep 29, 1986Feb 21, 1989Marantz CompanyTalking doll
US5413516 *Dec 20, 1993May 9, 1995Fung Seng Industrial Co., Ltd.Talking toy doll
US5823847 *Feb 18, 1997Oct 20, 1998Pragmatic Designs, Inc.Moving mouth mechanism for animated characters
US5855502 *Feb 18, 1997Jan 5, 1999Pragmatic Designs Inc.Animated characters utilizing face unit mechanism and control system
US6106358 *Feb 8, 1999Aug 22, 2000Mckenzie; Leila L.Biblical scripture doll
US6991511Jan 30, 2001Jan 31, 2006Mattel Inc.Expression-varying device
US20110301751 *Jun 3, 2010Dec 8, 2011Li Creative TechnologiesLow noise humanoid robotic head system
Classifications
U.S. Classification446/299, 446/301, 446/302
International ClassificationA63H13/00, A63H31/10, A63H3/48, A63H3/00, A63H3/28, A63H31/00
Cooperative ClassificationA63H3/48, A63H13/005, A63H31/10, A63H3/28
European ClassificationA63H13/00B, A63H31/10, A63H3/28, A63H3/48