US 3450408 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
June 17, 1969 P GERMAN 3,450,408
ELECTRICAL GAME EQUIPMENT ANDHSWITCH EMPLOYED THEREIN Filed May l, 1967 FIG. 4.
4/ 50 E052 (SQORMGE GREEN 2f PURPLE 54 [F253 PL '122 BLUE 122 YELLOW 5e E 02 104 106 loa no n2 'NVENTOR [nfl L LA L82; L82) (82) ATTORNEY.
United States Patent 3,450,408 ELECTRICAL GAME EQUIPMENT AND SWITCH EMPLOYED THEREIN Paul J. Hagerman, 2137 E. Jackson, Medford, Oreg. 97501 Filed May 1, 1967, Ser. No. 634,996 Int. Cl. A63f 9/04; A63h 33/26; H01h 3/16 U.S. Cl. 273--146 8 Claims ABSTRACT 0F THE DISCLOSURE This invention relates to electrically illuminated game apparatus, and more particularly to self-contained, selfenergized circuits, including color differentiated electric vlights therefor, such that the color of the illumination will depend upon the position or attitude in which thel apparatus comes to rest upon a level surface.
It is an object of thev invention to provide a hollow die having translucent faces, marked respectively, red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple, with a light of the named color mounted behind each face in a closed compartment, the construction and arrangement being such that the placing of a die on a level surface in any attitude will always cause the top face to be illuminated by a light of the color named on the top face.
'Ilo the foregoing end, it is an important feature that a simple, inexpensive, rugged and dependable, composite mercury switch is provided within the die, consisting of a common enclosure in which a single, limited quantity of mercury is contained, the enclosure providing a multiplicity of evenly distributed switch wells or depressions, one for each light, into any one of which wells the mcrcury may ilow, with each well including a pair of switch terminals which are adapted to be connected by the mercury in series with a common source of electrical potential and with a single associated light.
It will be readily evident, of course, that two or more dice of the kind referred to could be used for playing various games, such as Monopoly, Parcheesi, Skunk, etc., that the faces of the dies may be numbered according a a uniform scheme of color and number association, and that any regular polyhedral die form (excepting the tetrahedron) may be used.
The composite mercury switch is regarded per se as an important invention, capable of serving advantageously and effectively for many purposes other than the illumination of game apparatus.
Other objects and advantages will hereinafter appear.
In the drawing forming part of this specification,
FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of a hollow, translucent die shell which is employed in one practical and advantageous illustrative structure embodying features of the invention;
FIGURE 2 is a plan view of an assembly of generally similar wall units or panels, which fits snugly within the shell of FIGURE 1 but in which only the topi panel is seen;
FIGURE 3 is a view in sectional elevation of the assembly of FIGURE 2, the section being taken on the longiice ltudnal central vertical plane of FIGURE 2, looking toward the left;
FIGURE 4 is a horizontal, sectional view taken on the line 4 4 of FIGURE 3, looking in the direction of the arrows;
FIGURE 5 is a fragmentary detail sectional view on a greatly enlarged scale as compared with the other iigures, showing how the removable cover portion of the shell is releasably retained lin closed position; and
FIGURE 6 is an electrical diagram showing the parallel disposition of the several lights and their respective switches, and their series relation to a common battery and an associated master switch.
In FIGURE 1 disclosure is made of a partially open die shell 10, composed of a top removable cover marked RED-1, and a hollow five-sided oubical tray 12, having its sides marked respectively, ORANGE-4, YEL- LOW-3, GREEN-4, BLUE-5, and PURPLE- 6. The numbers appearing on opposite faces of the shell add to seven in every instance, as in an ordinary die. The cover 1 and the tray 12 are lseparately molded, to provide thin, translucent walls. The walls are desirably composed of a strong, resilient, substantially rigid, infrangible plastic material, such as polystyrene. The bottom wall 6 is a complete, unbroken square. The side walls 3, 4 and 5 are of the same area and shape as the wall 6, but are provided along their inner upper margins with undercut grooves 14 for slidingly receiving and retaining the cover 1. The cover is formed with bevelled side and rear upper margins which fit in the side and rear wall grooves, but its front boundary is disposed at right angles to its outer and inner surfaces, to coincide with the outer face of the wall 2 when the cover is closed, as shown in FIGURE 5. The cover 1 latches shut in the fully closed position, but may be conveniently opened for affording access to the interior of the shell. A small shouldered hump 16, provided on the lower face of the cover near the front end of the cover, snaps behind the wall 2 to hold the shell closed. A finger nail recess 18 is provided in the lower face of the cover just over the upper boundary of the wall 2, so that the cover may be deformed sufficiently to cause the hump 16 to clear the wall 2, and a small recess 20 is provided in the upper surface of the cover to assist in sliding the cover open.
A hollow Istructure composed of six generally similar lmolded panels 22, 24, 26, 28, 30 and 32 is adapted to be assembled and fitted within the shell 10, the top panel 22 `being put into place in the shell last, after an interior composite mercury switch 34 has been secured in place yand all wiring has been completed.
The panels 26, 28, 30 and 32 are identical, while the panels .22 and 24 differ in `minor details. The panel 28, for example, Ihas relatively narrow top and lbottom marginal portions 35 and 36 and a recessed reflector portion 38 which protrudes inward beyond the inner boundary of the marginal portions. The marginal portions of the panels 'are 'at and are disposed in coplanar relation, being adapted to bear continuously against marginal areas of the associated lface or wall of the shell. Each of the panels 26, 28, 30 and 32 has one wide vertical `margin 40 and one narrow vertical margin 42. In each instance the sum of the width of `the narrow margin 42 and the standard thickness of a margin is equal to the width of a wide margin 40, as is clearly evident fro-m anv inspection of FIGURE 4.
It will be noted that each reflector recess is `shown as arcuate in cross-section but square in plan. This kind of surface can be best explained by explaining the structure of a mold surface rsuitable for producing it. Such a mold surface Iwould be produced `by cutting horizontally through a solid, horizontally disposed cylinder at right angles to 3 the axis thereof, using la circular saw of the same diameter as the cylinder. The reflector recess is complementary to a segment of the resulting surface. The described and illustrated form of reflector recess is only one of many -forms which would be suitable.
The reflector surface is desirably highly -rellective in character, but is designed to include a multiplicity of minute irregularities so that there will be diffuse reliection throughout. At the center of each reflector recess a light socket `44 is mounted. A light bulb 46 of appropriate color is mounted in each socket.
It will be noted that each light bulb is contained in a discrete compartment yof substantial depth, formed `jointly by a shell wall and lan associated panel.
The panels 22 and '24 have wide marginal portions on all four sides. The four marginal portions of the panel 24 are solid, however, while the panel 22 is formed with a recess 48 `of substantial length, width `and depth in the upper surface of its re-ar marginal portion.
Two dry batteries 50 and 52 and a small `on-oir1 master switch `54 o-f any suitably compact character are lodged in the recess 48. The batteries are desirably placed bottom to bottom with a conductive spring interposed between them and connected to a conductor 56. The positive center terminals of the batteries are connected through wires 58 and 60, respectively, to the input `side of master switch 54. The two batteries are connected in parallel relation in order to avoid frequent renewal of the batteries, but the precise battery arrangement is just `a detail which may be varied as desired. The slidable cover section 1 is provided -for access to the master switch 54, and for convenient replacement of the batteries-also for access to the interior of the panel-formed enclosure when required.
IBefore the panel enclosure is completed within the shell by the putting in place of the top panel 22, the composite mercury switch 34, which forms a very signilicant feature of the invention, is installed and connected in circuit with the lights .and the batteries. The composite switch 34 in the illustrative form comprises a rigid hollow sphere 61 of non-conductive, plastic material, having six protruding mercury switch wells 62, 64, 66, `68, 70 and 72. These wells are symmetrically and evenly spaced, e-ach being separated by ninety degrees from each of Ithe four nearest wells, and ldiairxetrically opposite `the remaining well. The sphere 61 includes four external mounting bosses 74 quadrangularly spaced Ifrom one another in the horizontal great circle plane. Each boss 74 is recessed to receive snugly the inner end of a supporting rod 76, and each supporting rod, in turn, is carried by a corner post 78. (See FIGURE 4.) Each rod 76 is screwed deeply into the associated corner post 78 for insertion into the panel-bounded enclosure, but atter insertion the rod is manually unscrewed partway from the post for inser-tion into the associated boss 74. When the sphere 61 has been Isnugly secured in place by the four rods 76, with the center of the sphere in substantial or exact coincidence with the geometrical center `of the die, lock nuts 80, threaded on the respective rods, are secrewed into tirm engagement with the respective, associated corner posts 78.
As installed, each of the wel-ls 62, 64, 66, 68, 70 and 72 has two insulated wires lconnected to it with bared ends of the wires extending into the well for engagement with the mercury on occasion, but with the two wires definitely out `of contact with one another. (See FIGURE 4 carried by the panels `22, 24, 26, 28, 30 and 32. rIhe red, purple, green, yellow, orange and blue lights are connected through individual white conductors 122 to the common white conductor 56, and through the latter to the negative terminals of the battery.
In order to avoid confusion, `only stubs of the various wires connected to the lights and to the mercury switch wells are shown in FIGURES 3 and 4, and only the colored wires which run from the switch wells to the lights are identiiied by reference characters. The complete wiring arrangement is shown, however, in FIGURE 6. It will be noted that each mercury switch well controls the illumination of the opposite side of the die -from that at which the well is located; that is to say, the well switch which happens to be at the bottom, will cause energization of the light for the die tace which happens simultaneously to be at the top. This requires only that the colored wires which Aform built-in parts of the mercury switch assembly be color-matched with the lights installed in the various panels.
In FIGURE 3 a small body of mercury 134 is shown contained in the bottom well 62 for illuminating the red llight lcarried by the top panel 22. As the die is rolled `or turned from side to side, this same small body of mercury, coniined within the sphere 61, runs from well to well, closing the other circuits selectively. Since mercury has a density of 13.6 and presently costs in the neighborhood of six ldollars per pound, the use `of a sinlge small quantity to function in any one of -a multiplicity of switch wells effects an important economy.
The educational toy illustrated and described is attractive to Very young children, and may be used for familiarizing them with the primary and secondary colors, for teaching them the names of those colors, for teaching them to read the names, for teaching them the thirteen letters of the alphabet included in those names and the numbers from one to six, inclusive, and for teaching them the order of occurrence of the colors in the solar spectrum or rainbow.
In an older age (group, extending up into the teens and even into adulthood, a pair of dice of the kind disclosed 3.) In each instance one of these two wires is a black K or hot wire 82. Each wire 82 connects one of the wells electrically with a black main conductor wire 94. The wire 94 is connected through master switch 54 with the batteries 5 0 and 52.
The other wires connected into the wells 62, 64, 66, 68, and 72, designated 102, 104, 106, 108, 110 and 112, respectively, may desirably be red, purple, green, yellow, orange and blue, respectively, and are connected to the correspondingly colored electric lights which are herein can be very useful and attractive for playing various games. Association of the colors with the numbers is soon memorized so that the color helps to identify the number for Iall contestants [and tends, therefore to` eliminate disputes. The colors can be noted and dilerentiated from angles `and at distances which might make the numbers indistinct or unreadable.
As an alternative to the employment of colored light bulbs the 4inner Iface of each shell wall may be lined with a light shield of the distinct color characteristic 0f that face. In all other respects the structure could remain as described above.
I have described what I believe to be the best embodiments of my invention. I Ido not wish, however, to be conlined to the embodiments shown, but what I ldesire to cover by letters` Patent is set forth in the appended claims.
1. Game equipment consisting of (a) a hollow die substantially in the form of a regular polyhedron having more than four faces, so that any rgiven hace has a parallel face directly opposed to it which will be on top when the given face rests on a level surface, each face being marked in a distinctive manner,
(b) means cooperative with the taces to provide substantially closed, discrete compartments, one immediately behind each face,
(c) an electr-ic light bulb in each compartment,
(d) a battery within the die,
(e) a composite mercury switch within the die consisting of (el) a completely closed hollow body having a mercury collecting well opposite each face of the die and otherwise free from mercury collecting irregularities;
(e2) a pair of conductive switch contacts disposed in spaced relation Within each well,
(e3) a single body of mercury Within the hollow body, adapted to ow from Well to well and sucient in quantity, at least, to wet the contacts in whichever Well is lowerrnost when the die is at rest on a level surface, and
(f) conductive means constructed and arranged selectively and individually to connect each light, when uppermost, in series With the switch closing mercury in the opposite or lowermost well and with the battery, so that any uppermost face of the die will alone be lighted when the die stands at rest on a level surface. i
2. Game equipment as set forth in claim 1 in which each face `of the die when lighted has a characteristic color distinct from that of any of its immediate neighbors, and in which `at least six distinctive face colors are provided.
3. Game equipment as set forth in claim 2 in which the `distinctive color of each die face is provi-'ded by making the associated light bulb of that color.
4. Game equipment as set forth in yclaim 3 in Which the distinctive marking on each face includes at least the name of its color.
5. Game equipment as set Iforth in claim 1 in which a battery protective master switch is provided in series with the battery for rendering the composite mercury switch active arid inactive at will.
6. Game equipment as set forth in claim 5 in which the die is in the form of a cube.
7. Game equipment as set forth in claim 6 in which the die includes `a 'hollow shell of tnanslucent material which forms the several die faces with `one face or Wall of the shell removalbly held in place, so that access can be had through removal or partial removal of said wall to the battery and to the master switch.
8. Garne equipment las set forth in claim 7 in which the means cooperative with the die faces to form discrete compartments consists in the case of each compartment of a panel having co-planar, flat marginal areas continuously engageable with margins of the associated shell wall, and an external concave area of substantial depth.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,903,820 9/1959 Bordell 273-58 X 3,161,738 12/1964 Hall 20G-61.52 3,225,460 12/1965 Randell et al. 273-1 X 3,259,900 7/1966 Lord 20o-61.47 X 3,304,651 2/1967 Deyerl 273-58 X ANTON 0. OECHSLE, Primary Examiner. ARNOLD W. KRAMER, Assistant Examiner.
U.S. Cl. X.R.
-69; 46-228; ZOO-61.1, 152