US 3456943 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
July 22, 1969 J. M. BROWN 3,456,943
AMUSEMENT RIDE APPARATUS AND METHOD Filed July 27, 1966 9 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTOR.
JOSEPH M. BROWN BY Maw I ATTORNEY July 22, 1969 .1. M. BROWN 3,456,943
' AMUSEMENT RIDE APPARATUS AND METHOD Filed July 27, 1966 9 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVLZNTOR.
JOSEPH M. BROWN BY WcM ATTORNEY y 1969 J. M. BROWN 3,456,943
AMUSEMENT RIDE APPARATUS AND METHOD Filed July 27, 1966 9 Sheets-Sheet 5 F/G a 22g 286 INVENTOR.
JOSEPH M. BROWN WKMJZ ATTORNEY July 22, 1969 J. M. BROWN AMUSEMENT RIDE APPARATUS AND METHOD Filed July 27. 1966 9 Sheets-Sheet 4 INVENTOR.
JOSEPH M. BROWN ATTORNEY July 22, 1969 J. M. BROWN 3,456,943
AMUSEMENT RIDE APPARATUS AND METHOD Filed July 27. 1966 9 Sheets-Sheet 6 INVENTOR.
JOSEPH M. BROWN Maw ATTORNEY July 22, 1969 J. M. sRowN 3,456,943
AMUSEMENT RIDE APPARATUSAND METHOD Filed July 27, 1966 9 Sheets-Sheet 7 INVENTOR. JOSEPH M. BROWN FIG. I8 554 BY WZW ATTORNEY v July 22, 1969 J. M. BROWN AMUSEMENT RIDE APPARATUS AND METHOD 9 Sheets-Sheet 8 Filed July 27, 1966 FIG. [9
JOSEPH M. BROWN BY Maw ATTORNEY July 22, 1969- J. M. BROWN 3,456,943
AMUSEMENT RIDE APPARATUS AND METHOD Filed July 27, 1966 9 Sheets-Sheet 9 IN VEN TOR. JOSEPH M. BROWN BY ab/[W ATTORNEY United States Patent US. Cl. 27229 23 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A horizontal axis roundabout including a pair of vehicle mounted, vertically extensible linkworks supporting the opposite ends of the hub structure of the roundabout giant wheel. The lower end of each of the linkworks is in the form of downwardly divergent, pivotally connected legs, and power means is provided for effecting synchronized closing movements of the lower end portions of both of the linkworks. The roundabout hub has pivotally connected arms radiating therefrom that can selectively be secured in operative spoke-like positions to define the giant wheel configuration, or which can be positioned in collapsed relationship for transport on the vehicle when the hub is lowered to its traveling position by the linkworks. The invention has to do with procedures for erecting the linkworks and the giant wheel from a collapsed or traveling condition on a vehicle and vice versa. The roundabout is provided with carriages pivotally mounted in detachable fashion on the giant wheel. The carriages are provided with access means which include safety features to preclude accidental discharge of the occupants. The carriages are also provided with means for enabling the occupant to exercise control over pivotal movement of the carriage relative to the giant wheel.
The present invention relates to new and useful improvements in amusement ride apparatus as well as new and useful improvements in methods of assembling and disassembling such apparatus, and more particularly the present invention pertains to an amusement ride of the Ferris wheel type, that is, a ride which includes a giant passenger carriage supporting wheel that is mounted to rotate about an elevated horizontal axis, with the present invention involving improved apparatus for raising and lowering the horizontal axis and in structure relating to the mounting of, control of and safety features of passenger carriages upon the giant wheel.
Extant and proposed amusement rides of the giant wheel type in Which the giant wheel rotates about a horizontal axis present great difiiculties insofar as successively operating the ride at first one site and then another. Such successive operation of the equipment at first one site and another is of course occasioned when the amusement ride is to be used in conjunction with an itinerary that includes various fairs, expositions, and the like. The problems encountered in pursuing such an itinerary are many and varied, and the most serious of such problems, at least from the economic point of view, is the time inter val that occurs following ceasing operations at one site and being able to resume operations at a remote site. Such interval of time involves disassembly and storage of the apparatus at the site where operations are discontinued, the time required for transport of the dismantled or disassembled and stored apparatus to the remote site at which operations are to be resumed, and the removing from storage and reassembly of the apparatus at the site where operations are to be resumed. With extant and proposed amusement rides of the character discussed above, such time interval or down time is very protract- 'ice ed, and in fact, the duration of such down time is so great in relation to the period during which a particular fair, carnival, or exposition lasts as to make the inclusion of such short term public affairs in an itinerary unfeasible entirely or to hold at best very little cause for optimism as for a profitable operation considering the prices customarily charged for rides. In short, the situation is such that short term fairs, carnivals, expositions, and the like can only be served by relatively small giant wheel type amusement rides as compared to the size of rides which can be operated at longer term or permanent amusement sites or parks, it being obvious that the down time is relatively short for relatively small rides.
Another problem entailed by extent and proposed amusement rides of the character herein involved resides in the fact that the assembly and disassembly of the giant wheel must be performed while the axis of the wheel is at the full height that the same is disposed in during operation of the apparatus, and this necessarily entails greater risks to workmen as well as greater skill on the part of the workmen as they must in large measure work at considerable height above ground. Such work at considerable height above the ground tends to slow workmen down as they must devote a greater proportion of attention to their safety, and of course additional time is lost in the necessity for elevating portions of the wheel to their positions of assembly.
Still another difficulty encountered with extant or proposed giant wheel apparatus resides in the fact that the very substantial supports disposed on opposite sides of the wheel must either be assembled and disassembled in their vertical positions, or massive structure must be provided for rotating such supports from a horizontal to a vertical position, it being evident that the vertical height of such supports necessitates their disassembly or being lain in a horizontal position in order for them to be transported.
Another common problem to at least most extant and proposed apparatus resides in the fact that even when the apparatus has been disassembled, the stowage thereof on and in transport vehicles entails the expenditure of very substantial amounts of time and effort.
With a view to the difficulties mentioned above as inherent in extant and proposed apparatus of the giant wheel type, the primary object of this invention is to provide apparatus that will minimize down time between successive uses of the apparatus at remote locations of use.
An object of the invention in accordance with the above object is to provide apparatus wherein the giant wheel can be largely assembled with the horizontal axis at a position substantially lower than that occupied by the same when the apparatus is in use. I
Another object in accordance with the preceding objects is to provide apparatus of the described character such that the supports for the giant wheel need neither to be disassembled or tilted over to a horizontal position for transport.
Another object in accordance with the preceding object is to provide supports which are vertically extensible and which supports will raise the horizontal axis of hub structure along a purely vertical path.
Another object of the present invention in accordance with the preceding objects is to provide vertically extensible supports which can be disposed at all times upon a wheeled vehicle frame, and which vertically extensible.
supports will have a stationary center of gravity during all stages of erection and retraction thereof, and which will when in their retracted positions be in traveling condi-' tion on the wheeled vehicle for movement in accordance with law over highway.
Still another object of the invention in accordance with the preceding objects is to provide in conjunction with vertically extensible supports of the character described above a giant wheel structure which includes a hub structure rotatably connected to and extending between the upper portions of the supports, such hub structure having pivoted thereto a plurality of arms which in the assembled wheel are radially extending and equiangularly spaced, such pivotally connected arms being releasable from their assembled relationship and pivotable to collapsed or portable condition that they can occupy when the supports are fully retracted, said arms being arranged in substantial horizontal parallelism to each other and with approximate halves extending in opposite directions, whereby the fore and aft position of not only the vertically extensible supports but also that of the hub structure and its pivotally connected arms remain fixed.
Another object of the invention is to provide a releasable connection between rotatably mounted carriages and the wheels which may be readily established and taken apart and which will be very durable and reliable in use.
Still another object of the invention is to provide means for stabilizing a pivotally mounted carriage against rotation during passengers boarding or leaving the carriage.
Yet another object of the invention is to provide means of the character specified in the preceding paragraph such that a single procedure or working effort on the part of the attendant in charge of the ride sufiicing to operate such means while at the same time making it possible for passengers to board or leave the carriage.
Yet another object of the invention is to provide methods for assembling and disassembling the giant wheel such that the height of the axis of the wheel is maintained at a minimum height and such that the raising and lowering of the support facilities the angular separation and angular closure of some of the hub structure arms during movement of the latter to their operative and collapsed or inoperative positions, respectively.
A broad aspect of the invention involves a vertically extensible support comprising a first pair of crossed legs pivotally connected at their crossing and each of such crossed legs having upper and lower end portions disposed respectively above and below the crossing, a second pair of legs each having upper and lower end portions, with the upper end portions of the second pair of legs being pivotally connected, and with the lower end portions of the second pair of legs being pivotally connected to the upper end portions of the first pair of legs, all of said legs being disposed effectively in a common vertical plane with all of said pivotal connections being about axes normal to such common plane, the arrangement being such that relative horizontal movement of the lower end portions of the first pair of legs toward and away from each other results in upward and downward movement of the upper end portions of the second pair of legs, respectively, said upper end portions being provided with means for supporting a structure, whereby such a structure may be raised and lowered along a path, and means for relative horizontal movement of the lower ends of the first pair of legs and also for fixing the path to be substantially purely vertical, said means comprising guide means for guidingly supporting each of the lower end portions for horizontal movement towards and away from a fixed position disposed equidistantly intermediate the lower end portions of the first pair of legs, and means for forcing guided movement of the lower end portions of the first pair of legs at equal rates of movement in opposite directions.
Yet another object of the invention involves, for use in an amusement ride of the type including a pair of spaced, upstanding supports, and hub structure adapted to constitute the central portion of a rider supporting wheel, such hub structure being disposed between upper end portions of such supports and carried by such upper end .4 portions of the supports for rotation in a plane intermediate the supports and about a horizontal axis; the improvement comprising each of said supports being comprised of a pantograph-type linkwork, said linkwork being vertically extensible and disposed in parallelism to the plane of rotation of the hub structure and including an uppermost pair of pivotally connected legs and a lowermost pair of pivotally connected legs, said upper end portion of the support being defined by the uppermost pair of legs, said lowermost pair of legs being outwardly and downwardly divergent from their pivotal connection to terminate in spaced lower end portions, the linkworks of the supports being so constructed and arranged that concurrent relative closing movement of the lower end portions of each of the linkworks results in upward extension of the supports and upward movement of the hub structure supported thereby, and means for concurrently efiecting with respect to both linkworks relative closing movement of the lower end portions thereof.
Still another aspect of the invention involves, in an amusement ride of the type including a plurality of passenger carriages individually pivotally mounted on a carriage supporting wheel, and wherein each carriage is provided with a hingedly connected passenger protecting member swingable intermediate operative and inoperative positions thereof, and wherein means is provided for releasably securing the number in its operative passenger protecting position; the combination therewith of means for preventing rotation of the carriage about the axis of its pivotal connection to the wheel when the passenger protecting member is swung into its inoperative position, said last means comprising cooperating latch elements fixed to said passenger protecting member and to said wheel, respectively, and which elements are engageable when the member is in its inoperative position.
Still another aspect of the invention has to do with an improved means for releasably joining first and second structures, said means comprising the first structure being provided with a mounting member having a noncircular socket therein, and the second structure being provided with a projecting noncircular post that projects into and is nonrotatably received in said socket, said mounting memher having aligned first and second openings therein extending in opposite directions from said socket, said first opening having a greater diameter than the second opening, said post having an opening therethrough of the same diameter and in alignment with the second opening, a shouldered pin extending through the openings in the mounting member and the post, with the shoulder of the pin abutting the post to limit movement of the pin towards the second opening from the first opening, and means for releasably preventing withdrawal of the pin from the opening's comprising said mounting member having a pair of ears on opposite sides of the first opening, said ears having a pair of aligned openings therethrough and a cotter pin extending through the aligned openings in the ears, whereby the nonrotatable relationship relieves the shouldered pin of shearing stresses and whereby the cotter pin is not caused to be worn against the mounting member on any rotation of the shouldered pin.
A very important aspect of the invention involves, in a method of assembling a giant wheel of an amusement ride of the type that is rotatably mounted about a horizontal axis and which includes a central hub structure rotatable about such axis, with the hub structure having pivotally attached thereto a plurality of arms that are swingable between radially extended operative positions occupied thereby when the wheel is assembled and collapsed positions n which approximate halves of the arms extend horizontally in opposite directions; the improvement comprising the arms initially being in their collapsed positions and the axis being at a height less than the radial extent of an arm when the latter is in its operative position, then successively swinging and securing approximately one half of the arms in their operative positions while maintaining the axis at its initial height, then uppermost whereby approximately one half of the then uppermost portion of the assembled wheel constituted by the arms is assembled, and thereafter raising the axis in height by increments, with successive pairs of oppositely extending arms being secured in their operative positions intermediate each incremental increase in height of the axis, with each incremental increase in height being at least sufficient to accommodate the radially outer ends of the next successive pair of arms to be secured, with such steps being continued until all the arms have been secured in their operative positions. A related aspect involves essentially reversing the steps of this method so as to disassemble the giant wheel.
A very important feature of the invention resides in the provision of vertically extensible supports in the form of pantograph-like linkworks comprised of pivotally connected legs in an arrangement such that the lower end portions of the lowermost pair of legs can be forcibly urged toward each other so as to effect a raising of the upper end of the linkwork or support.
Another very important feature of the invention resides in the lower ends of the linkworks being supported upon parallel guide structures extending longitudinally adjacent the opposite sides of the elongated frame of a wheeled vehicle, which vehicle can be in the nature of a conventional tandem axle trailer adapted to be releasably secured to a tractor for movement, the lower end portions of the lowermost pair of legs in each of the supports being movable so as to be disposed at all times at positions symmetrical along a horizontal line with respect to a fixed position that is disposed about midway along the longitudinal extent of the frame of the wheeled vehicle.
Still another feature of the invention resides in a provision of four brace members having lower ends adapted to be releasably secured to the four corners of the frame of the towing vehicle, such frame being generally of rectangular configuration, and each of the upper ends of the four brace members being pivotally connected to the linkworks (two braces to each linkwork), whereby the braces are raised into approximately their operative positions prior to attachment of their lower ends to the corners of the vehicle frame.
Another feature of the invention resides in the generally rectangular vehicular frame being provided with a laterally extensible frame structure at the opposite sides thereof, together with the provision of lateral braces having upper ends pivotally connected to the linkworksso as to be raised into approximately their operative positlons during erection of the linkworks, and the lower ends of such lateral braces being detachably connected to the lateral extremities of the laterally extensible frame structures. Such bracing structure is associated with jack means for supporting the vehicular frame above the ground, with jacks being positioned beneath the points of attachment of the lower ends of the lateral braces to the laterally extensible frame structures.
Still another important feature of the invention resides in the provision of a giant wheel which includes as the central portion thereof a hub structure extending between and mounted for rotatable support from the upper ends of the linkworks, such hub structure including a plurality of pivotally connected arms which are swingable between the operative positions they occupy when the giant wheel is assembled and inoperative, collapsed or traveling positions thereof in which they are generally all horizontally disposed with halves extending in opposite directions, namely, forwardly and rearwardly with respect to the wheeled vehicle. An associated feature is the provision of removable support frames carried by the vehicular frame such as to support the oppositely extending arms when they are in their collapsed condition and when the linkworks are in their lowered positions.
Another feature of the invention is the provision of means, which can be either of hydraulic or mechanical character, for forcibly moving the lower ends of the linkworks in unison so that the linkworks will be erected in unison and support the hub structure between the upper ends of the linkworks.
Still another feature of the invention resides in the provision of means for driving the assembled giant wheel in rotation which includes a segmental annular drive rim detachably secured to the wheel and motor driven friction wheels carried by legs of the linkworks, such motors being positioned for frictional driving engagement with the rim when the linkworks are erected, and said motor driven friction wheels being pivotally secured to the legs for swinging movement into inoperative positions clear of any interference with relatively movable portions of the linkworks and the wheel when the apparatus is being assembled and disassembled.
Another feature of the invention resides in the provision of detachable passenger carriages which are of generally L-shaped configuration so that pairs thereof can be compactly stored for transport by placing such carriages of each pair with one of them being nested against the other in an inverted and reversed position with respect to the other.
Another feature of the invention resides in the provision of means for detachably establishing a pivotal connection between each carriage and the frame which involves a post journaled in the carriage, and such post being detachably secured to a mounting member constituting a portion of the wheel. The post is pinned to the mounting member and a pivot pin is fixed in the mounting member in such a manner as to prevent inadvertent removal of the securing pin.
Another feature of the invention resides in the provision of means whereby a passenger in the carriage can affect pivotal movement of the carriage about the axis of the pivotal connection of the carriage to the wheel, such means comprising the post mentioned in the preceding paragraph being provided with a central gear, the arrangement being such that the central gear is stationary with respect to the giant wheel, and a steering wheel shaft is mounted for rotation in the carriage, such shaft having a gear connection to the central gear. The arrangement is such that a passenger may by the use of the steering Wheel shaft impart a turning torque to the carriage with respect to the giant wheel by way of the central gear.
A final important feature to be specifically enumerated herein resides in the provision of a hinged cover for an access opening in the carriage, such hinged cover being swingable from a passenger protecting position in Which it may be releasably latched to an inoperative position which enables passengers to board or leave the carriage through the access opening, and the provision of means for stabilizing the carriage or preventing rotation of the carriage about the axis of its pivotal connection to the giant wheel from a predetermined angular relationship, such means for stabilizing comprising cooperating latch elements carried by the giant wheel and the hinged cover,
and the provision of guides for camming the carriage into the predetermined angular relationship as the latch elements are brought into latching engagement.
These and other objects, aspects, features and advantages of the invention will become quite evident during the course of the following description of a preferred embodiment of the invention, such description to be taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:
FIGURE 1 is a side elevational view of the amusement ride of this invention, the same being shown in assembled and operative condition, with the giant wheel being shown in schematic fashion with omission of details;
FIGURE 2 is a Side elevational view illustrating the structure of FIGURE 1 in collapsed, traveling or in in-' operative condition, with the carriage and outer portions of the giant wheel being removed;
FIGURES 3, 4, and 5 are schematic illustrations of the sequence of positions occupied by the supports or linkworks and the inner portions of the giant wheel during disassembly of the apparatus shown in FIGURE 1, and conversely in inverse order, such figures show the sequence for assembling the apparatus shown in FIG- URE 2 to the condition shown in FIGURE 1;
FIGURE 6 is an enlarged fragmentary elevational view illustrating hub structure of the giant wheel, and illustrating in particular the arrangement of the pivotal connections of the arms to the hub structure, the arms being shown in their collapsed, inoperative or traveling condition;
FIGURE 7 is a schematic illustration illustrating in a fragmentary fashion and in side elevation an upper portion of one of the linkworks, a portion of the hub structure and the arms pivoted thereto, and illustrates particularly a step involved in the assembly of the apparatus;
FIGURE 8 is a fragmentary elevational view illustrating structure employed in securing arms in operative angular relationship to each other in the course of employing the method of this invention to assemble the amusement ride;
FIGURE 9 is an enlarged fragmentary front view of a portion of one of the lateral braces and its attachment to and cross bracing from one of the linkwork supports;
FIGURE 10 is a fragmentary isometric view on a still greater scale illustrating the free end of a laterally extensible portion of the vehicular frame, a jack support for such end of the frame, and shows structure adapted for releasable attachment to the lower end of a lateral brace such as shown in FIGURE 9;
FIGURE 11 is an enlarged transverse vertical sectional view through the guide and support means provided for the support and guidance of the lower ends of a support linkwork, the wheeled lower end of a leg of the linkwork being fragmentarily shown;
FIGURE 12 is a fragmentary longitudinal detail view on a somewhat reduced scale illustrating the operative connection between a hydraulic piston rod to the lower end of one of the linkwork legs, with an alternate position of the linkwork leg relative to such connection being shown in dashed outline;
FIGURE 13 is a simplified schematic diagram of the hydraulic system for actuating the hydraulic cylinders and for controlling the hydraulic motor driven friction wheels that drive the giant wheel in rotation;
FIGURE 14 illustrates schematically a mechanical alternative for the hydraulic system shown in FIGURE 13 for actuating the linkworks for extension and retraction;
FIGURE 15 is a fragmentary enlarged perspective view illustrating one of the hydraulic motor driven friction wheels, the latter being shown in full lines in its operative position relative to a leg of the linkwork, and shown in dashed outline in its alternative and inoperative position affording clearance for relatively movable portions of the apparatus structure during assembly and disassembly of the latter;
FIGURE 16 is an enlarged fragmentary isometric view of the radially outward end of one of the giant wheel arm extensions, and illustrates particularly the mounting member carried thereby for attachment to a carriage, and also illustrating the latch keeper that cooperates with the latch bar carried by the hinged cover of the passenger carriage;
FIGURE 17 is a side elevational view of one of the passenger carriages, such view showing the hinged cover in full lines in its passenger protecting position and in dashed outline in its inoperative or open position in which it is latched to the giant wheel, this view also illustrating in dashed outline the' outer end portions of outer radial arms of the giant wheel between which the passenger carriage is pivotally supported;
FIGURE 18 is an enlarged detail view partially in section and with hidden details illustrated in dashed outline of the structure by means of which the carriage is detachably secured to the giant wheel;
FIGURE 19 is an enlarged fragmentary detail view illustrating the hinged cover in its operative or access opening-closing position and shows the structure for latching the cover in such position and also illustrates the latch bar carried by the hinged cover' that coacts with a latch keeper fixed to the giant wheel;
FIGURE 20 is also an enlarged fragmentary isometric detail view of the structure shown in FIGURE 19, this view showing the hinged cover unlatched and moved from its access opening-closing position; and
FIGURE 21 is a fragmentary isometric skeletal view of the framework of a passenger carriage, and illustrates gearing connection between a steering wheel shaft and a post journaled in the carriage and detachably secured to the giant wheel.
Reference is now made to the accompanying drawings, wherein like numerals designate like parts throughout the various views, and attention is initially directed to FIGURES 1 through 5, inclusive, 7, and 9 through 13, inclusive. The amusement ride apparatus of this invention, which is a giant wheel or Ferris wheel type of ride, is designated generally at 10, and the same is comprised generally of a wheeled vehicle designated generally at 12 by means of which a major proportion of the apparatus 10 may be transported and which includes a frame of an elongated generally rectangular configuration designated at 14.
A pair of identical extensible standards or linkworks are supported in spaced relationship on opposite sides of the frame 14. Only one of such vertically extensible supports or linkworks is fully shown in the drawings, and the same is designated generally at 16. The identical, vertically extensible supports or linkworks 16 support for rotation intermediate their upper ends a giant wheel designated generally at 18, such giant wheel 18 being rotatable about a horizontal axis for movement in a vertical plane disposed intermediate the standards 16.
Since the vertically extensible standards or linkworks 16 are identical a description of one of the same will suflice for both. The linkwork 16 is comprised of a lower pair of legs 20 and 22 which are of equal length and which are crossed and pivotally connected at their point of crossing 24 for pivotal movement about a horizontal axis. Preferably, the crossing point 24 is relatively closer to the upper ends of the legs 20 and 22 than it is to the lower ends thereof. The upper ends of the legs 20 and 22 are pivotally connected at 26 and 28 to the lower ends of a second pair of legs 30 and 32, the legs 30 and 32 being of equal length to each other, and substantially shorter in length than the legs 20 and 22, as shown. The upper ends of the legs 30 and 32 are pivotally connected to each other at 34, the arrangement being such that horizontal movement of the lower ends of the legs 20 and 22 results in the linkwork 16, which is pantograph-like, to be articulated in such a manner that the position of the pivotal connection 34 is elevated or raised, and the converse result is obtained on relative horizontal movement of the lower ends of the legs 20 and 22 such as to increase their separation. It will be noted that the axes of all the pivotal connections 24, 26, 28 and 34 are normal to the plane of rotation of the giant wheel 18, and are therefore parallel to each other and horizontal.
Means is provided for guiding and supporting the lower end portions of the legs 20 and 22 for movements thereof in a horizontal plane, such means being designated generally at 36 (it being understood that a separate means 36 is provided for each of the linkworks or standards 16). Inasmuch as the standards or linkworks 16 are disposed adjacent the opposite sides of the frame 14 of the vehicle 12, the two sets of guiding and supporting means 36 provided for separately guiding and supporting the standard 16 are also disposed adjacent the opposite sides of the vehicular frame 14. Since each of the means 36 is identical to the other, a detailed description of one of such means will sufl'ice for both, and for this purpose attention is directed to FIGURES 11 through 13, wherein it will be seen that the guiding and supporting means 36 is comprised of a pair of elongated, parallel channels 38 and 40 that are disposed in spaced opposed relationship as best shown in FIGURE 11, and it will be appreciated that the channels 38 and 40 are fixedly secured in any suitable manner to the vehicular frame 14.
The lower end portion of each of the legs 20 and 22 is provided with means for coacting with the channels 36 and 38 in the function of the means 36, and since the means provided at the lower end portions of each of the legs 20 and 22 are substantially identical to each other, a detailed description of one of such means should suffice for both, and accordingly, such means provided at the lower end portion of the leg 22 is designated generally at 42, and such means 42 as best shown in FIGURES 11 and 12 is comprised of a support block 44 disposed intermediate the channels 38 and 40, and has oppositely extending axles 46 that extend toward and are received within the channels 38 and 40. At least the lower end portion of the leg 22 is bifurcated so as to straddle the block 44, and the axles 46 are journaled through aligned openings in the bifurcated lower end portion of the leg 22, and wheels 48 are rotatably mounted on the axles 46, such wheels 48 having diameters only slightly less than the spacing of the web portions, the arrangement being such that the wheels 48 can roll upon the lower webs 50 of the channels 38 and 40 so as to carry the weight or load imparted thereto by the leg 22, and yet so that the leg 22 cannot be raised as this is prevented by the upper webs 52 of the channels 38 and 40.
Means is provided for forcing closing movement of the lower end portions of the legs 20 and 22 of the supports or linkworks 16, and such means will be best appreciated upon reference to FIGURES 12 and 13 wherein it will be seen that the two sets of guide and support means 36 are disposed in spaced parallelism, the lowermost guide means 36 as viewed in FIGURE 3 having associated therewith the previously described wheel supported block 44, which in turn supports the lower end portion of the leg 22, and the corresponding wheel supported block 54 that supports the lower end portion of the leg 20 in a similar manner. The reference numerals 56 and 58 designate wheel supported blocks associated with the other means 36 (seen uppermost in FIGURE 13), and it will be understood that such wheel supported blocks 56 and 58 are similar to the wheel supported blocks 44 and 54, respectively, and that such wheel supported blocks 56 and 58 support the standard 16 that is hidden from view but which is identical to the standard 16 exposed to view in FIGURE 1. The means for effecting closing movement of the lower ends of the legs 20 and 22 comprise a pair of hydraulic cylinders 60 and 62 disposed within the space between the channels 38 and 40 of the support and guide means 36, and the adjacent ends of the hydraulic cylinders 60 and 62 have their adjacent ends disposedvmidway of the longitudinal extent of the means 36 and such adjacent ends of the cylinders 60 and 62 are secured fixedly to the means 36 by structure not shown. The hydraulic cylinders are provided with oppositely extending piston rods 64 and 66, respectively, which have their outer ends projecting through suitable openings 68 that extend through the wheeled support blocks 44 and '58, means being provided to secure the piston rods 44 and 66 against endwise movement through the openings 68. The last mentioned means are not shown in detail, but may take the form of stop collars 70 fixed at spaced positions to the piston rod and disposed on opposite sides of the wheeled block, as shown in FIGURES l1 and 12 in relation to the piston rod 66 and the block 44. For a reason to become apparent subsequently, the openings 68 can be internally threaded for use with an alternative mechanical actuating system.
Although the hydraulic cylinder and piston rod struc-,
it will suflice if such structures are single acting inasmuch as the weight of the linkworks and structure supported thereby will tend to cause opening or separating movement of the lower end portions of the linkworks, or the wheeled blocks 44 and 54 (and also of the wheeled blocks 56 and 58). Since single acting hydraulic cylinders will suifice to erect the linkworks on suitable application of hydraulic fluid under pressure to such cylinders, and can also be operated so as to allow the linkworks 16 to be retracted simply upon removal or reduction of the pressure of the hydraulic fluid in such single acting hydraulic cylinders, FIGURE 13 illustrates the simplified system wherein the hydraulic cylinders are single acting and wherein a control system is provided whereby hydraulic fluid can be applied thereto under pressure and such hydraulic fluid can be relieved or reduced in pressure under the control of the operator. The hydraulic system comprises a reservoir for hydraulic fluid 72 which is connected by a line 74 to the inlet of a hydraulic fluid pump 76, the high pressure output side of the hydraulic pump 76 being connected to a control valve 78 by a line 80. A prime mover is provided for actuating the pump 76 and such prime mover can comprise an electric motor 82 drivingly connected by means of conventional character indicated by a dashed line 84 to the pump 76. The electric motor can if desired be a reversible electric motor whereby the pump 76 can be driven in the direction opposite the direction of the arrow appearing in the schematic illustration of the pump 76.
The valve 78 can be of a manually operable type such as to variably control the extent of fluid communication established therethrough between the line and a line 86 also connected to the valve 78. The line 86 has communication with the inlet ports 88 and 90 of the hydraulic cylinders 60 and 62 by way of a line 92 and lines 94 and 96. It will be evident upon inspection of FIGURE 13 that the introduction of hydraulic fluid under suflicient pressure into the line 86 under the control of the valve 78 will result in such hydraulic fluid acting upon the pistons, not shown, of the hydraulic cylinders 60 and 62 in such a manner that the piston rods 64 and 66 are forced to retract into their respective cylinders, with the result of the wheeled blocks 54 and 44 (and the lower ends of the legs 20 and 22 carried thereby) being moved toward each other so as to cause the linkwork 16 to be extended upwardly. With the use of single acting hydraulic cylinders such as described in connection with the simplified hydraulic system shown in FIGURE 13, it will be understood that the adjacent ends of the hydraulic cylinders 60 and 62 can be vented by means not shown, whereby only ambient atmospheric pressure will oppose the pressurized hydraulic fluid causing the described movement of the piston rods 64 and 66.
It will also be apparent that whenever the hydraulic fluid pressure in the line 86 is relieved or reduced by an operation subsequently to be described, the weight of the linkwork 16 and the structure carried thereby bears downwardly upon the wheeled blocks 54 and 44 in such a manner as to cause or result in a force tending to cause such wheeled blocks 54 and 44 to move apart, and such force tending to cause the blocks 54 and 44 to move apart acts through the piston rods 64 and 66 so as to urge extension of the rods from their respective hydraulic cylinders 60 and 62. Such extension of the rods 64 and 66 is of course opposed by such hydraulic fluid pressure as may exist in the line 86, and when the pressure in the line 86 is sufficiently reduced, such extension of the rods occurs with hydraulic fluid being discharged from the hydraulic cylinders and the ports 88 and 90 thereof back into the lines 94 and 96 that communicate with the line 86.
In the light of the foregoing description, it will be appreciated that upon appropriate operation of the motor 82 and the pump 76 so as to discharge hydraulic fluid under high pressure to the line 80 from the reservoir 72 and thence to the line 86 at a rate dependent upon the manual control established by the valve 78, the linkwork 16 can be caused to be extended upwardly from the collapsed or retracted positions shown thereof in FIGURE 2 towards the extended or erected position shown thereof in FIGURE 1. Clearly, the valve 78 can be manipulated in such a manner as to control the rate of such extension, and the operator may at any particular intermediate degree of extension of the linkwork 16 close the valve 78 and thus interrupt the process of extension and fix the position of the linkwork 16. Although not shown in the drawings, inasmuch as such provisions are elementary and well known in the prior art, FIGURE 13 does not illustrate the provision of any pressure relief means for the line 80 for bypassing fluid on the occurrence of excessively high pressure due to actuation of the valve 78 (such as may occur on closure of the valve 78 when the pump 76 is of the positive displacement type), and it is to be understood that the provision of such means is deemed to be nothing more than a well known expedient well within the skill of the art, and therefore need not be illustrated or described for a full and complete understanding of the present invention, this being particularly true inasmuch as illustration and description thereof could only serve to obscure the pres ent invention.
An identical hydraulic system responsive to the pressure prevailing in the line 86 is provided for erecting and allowing retraction of the linkwork 16 that is supported upon the wheeled blocks 56 and 58, and such provision is parallel to the system thus far described for controlling the extension and retraction of the linkwork 16 resting upon and supported by the wheeled blocks 54 and 44. Such provision of a parallel hydraulic system comprises hydraulic cylinders 100 and 102 that are identical to the hydraulic cylinders 60 and 62, and the adjacent ends of the hydraulic cylinders 100 and 102 are secured against movement at a position at the midpoint of the longitudinal extent of the means 36 provided for the wheeled blocks 56 and 58, and such cylinders 100 and 102 have oppositely extending piston rods 104 and .106 that are fixed adjacent their opposite extremities to the wheeled blocks 56 and 58 in a manner entirely analogous to the previously described parallel hydraulic system. In other words retraction of the piston rods 104 and 106 effects closing movement of the wheeled blocks 56 and 58, and conversely, extension of the piston rods 104 and 106 results in opening movement of the wheeled blocks 56 and 58. It will be manifest that closing movement of the blocks 56 and 58 (movement towards each other) will effect vertical extension or raising movement of the linkwork 16 disposed directly above the means 36 appearing uppermost in FIGURE 13, and opening movement (movement of the blocks 56 and 58 apart) of the blocks 56 and 58 will result in retraction or downward movement of the linkwork 16 disposed thereabove. So that the two linkworks 16 are actuated in unison with respect to their extension, retraction and being held in fixed positions, the hydraulic cylinders 100 and 102 have the ports .110 and 112 thereof connected to the line 86 by lines 114 and 116.
It will be readily understood that the arrangement described above will result in the two linkworks 16 being actuated in identical fashions under the control of pressure prevailing within the line 86.
It has already been described how the pressure of hydraulic fluid supplied in the line 86 can be controlled so as to effect erection or upward extension of the supports 16 in unison, and there yet remains to be described the manner in which the hydraulic fluid pressure prevailing in the line 86 can be relieved or reduced in such a manner as to allow the two linkworks to be retracted or lowered in unison. In the simplified hydraulic system shown in FIGURE 13, this can be readily effected by reversing the electric motor 82 with resulting reversal in the direction of the pumping action of the pump 76, this resulting in hydraulic fluid being caused to flow from the line back through the line 74 to the reservoir 72, and obviously, such action results in the pressure in the line 80 being substantially less than that necessary in the line 86 to simply support the linkworks 16 in a fixed position, and accordingly, the operator can by opening or cracking the valve 78 open etfect a relief or reduction in the hydraulic fluid pressure in the line 86 and thereby enable under the full control of the person manually operating the valve 78 control the rate of descent in unison of the linkworks 16. Indeed, even when the pump 76 may be of the positive displacement type, it may be unnecessary to actually drive the motor 82 in a reverse direction, and the described mode of lowering the linkworks 16 can be effected simply by de-energizing the motor 82 and cracking the valve 78 open to such extent as to result in the desired lowering rate of the linkworks 16, hydraulic fluid passing from the line 86 through the line 80 and thence through the line 76 to the reservoir 72. Clearly, if the pump 76 is not entirely positive, in the sense that hydraulic fluid can be forced reversely therethrough with the motor 82 being stationary, the valve 78 may be opened to permit retraction or downward movement of the linkworks 16. It will be manifest to those familiar with the art that much more sophisticated hydraulic systems can be employed than that which has been illustrated and described, for effecting extension and retraction in perfect unison under the control of an operator. Exemplary of a minor degree of sophistication would involve the hydraulic cylinders 60, 62, and 102 being double acting in an arrangement whereby positive forces in both directions can be exerted against each of all the wheeled blocks 54, 44, 56 and 58.
As suggested previously, mechanical means can be employed for moving the wheeled blocks 54, 44, 56 and 58 in such a manner as to obtain identical movements of the two linkworks 16, and such alternative mechanical means will be appreciated upon reference to FIGURE 14, wherein the previously described parallelly spaced means 36 have extending through each of them between the channels 38 and 40 thereof elongated and rotatably mounted shafts and 122, it being understood that such rotatably mounted shafts 120 and 122 are respectively associated with the two parallel and spaced linkworks 16 disposed along the opposite sides of the vehicular frame 14. The shaft 120 is positively secured against endwise movement in its associated means 36 by having cylindrical portions thereof journaled in pillow bearings or bearings 124 fixed to plates 126 that are fixedly secured in any suitable manner to the opposite ends of the channels 38 and 40 constituting the means 36. Although not shown, the shaft 120 can have a cylindrical portion journaled in a pillow hearing or the like at a position fixed adjacent the midpoint of the longitudinal extent of the means 36. As mentioned earlier the wheeled blocks 44 and 54 may have the openings 68 therethrough internally threaded, and in this mechanical embodiment of a driving system, such openings 68 of the wheeled blocks 44 and 54 are internally threaded, with the internal threading being in opposite directions. The shaft 120 has threaded extents 128 and 130 which are oppositely threaded and threadingly engaged through the internally threaded openings 68 of the wheeled blocks 44 and 54, it being understood that the threaded extent 128 of the rotatably mounted shaft 120 extends only for the portion of the extent of the shaft from about the midpoint thereof toward the end thereof adjacent the lower end of the leg 20, and the oppositely threaded extent 130 is for approximately the half of the length of the shaft 120 adjacent the lower end of the leg 22. As thus far described, it will be evident that rotation of the shaft 120 in one direction will cause, by virtue of the threaded engagement of the 'shaft 120 with the wheeled blocks54 and 44, closing movement of such blocks, and that rotation of the shaft 120 in the opposite direction will cause opening movement of such blocks. Thus, rotation of the shaft 120 in one direction will result in erecting the linkwork or support 16 viewable in FIGURES 1 and 2, while rotation of the shaft 120 in the opposite direction will retract or lower such linkwork 16. The pitch of the threaded engagement is such that when no torque or in any event very little torque is applied to rotate the shaft 120, the wheeled blocks 44 and 54 are effectively fixed in their spacing, and accordingly, the weight of the linkwork 16 and the structure supported thereby will produce insufiicient opening forces to the wheeled blocks 44 and 54 to overcome the friction of such threaded engagement and inherent friction in the mounting of the shaft 120 to cause an opening or spreading movement of the wheeled blocks 44 and 54. In other words, discontinuance of any driving torque to rotate the shaft 120 in either direction effectively locks the linkwork 16 in its vertical adjustment.
An entirely analogous screw means or threaded means is provided for actuating opening or closing movement or fixation of the positions of the wheeled blocks 56 and 58 that support the other linkwork 16, that is, the linkwork 16 hidden from view in FIGURES 1 and 2. Such means comprises the previously mentioned shaft 122 which is journaled by bearings 134 in such a manner as to prevent endwise movement of the same, such shaft 122 including oppositely threaded portions 136 and 138 in threaded engagement and extending through oppositely threaded openings 68 in the wheeled bloc-ks 56 and 58. In an entirely analogous manner to that previously described in connection with the shaft 120, rotation of the shaft 122 effects extension or erection of one of the linkworks 16, and conversely, rotation of the shaft 122 in the opposite direction serves to lower such linkwork 16. Also, on the application of no torque externally to the shaft 122, the weight of such linkwork 16 and structure supported thereby will not cause rotation of the shaft 122 in consequent movement of the wheeled blocks 56 and 58.
Means is provided for driving the shafts 120 and 122 in a manner such that the linkworks 16 associated therewith operate in precise unison, both on raising and lowering the same. Such means comprises a reversible electric motor 140 drivingly connected by pulley and belt means 142 to a gear reduction box 144 having an output shaft 146. As thus far described, the output shaft 146 can be driven in either direction of rotation upon appropriate operation of the reversible electric motor 140. Positive means drivingly connect the shaft 146 to the shaft 122, and while such positive means can be a gear train, not shown, it is preferred that such positive means take the form of a drive chain 148 entrained over sprockets 150 and 152 fixedly secured to the shafts 146 and 122 respectively. In a similar manner, the shaft 146 is drivingly connected by positive means to the shaft 120, and such means preferably takes the form of a drive chain 154 entrained over sprockets 156 and 158 fixedly secured to the shaft 146 and the shaft 120. With the drive arrangement illustrated and described, and with the direction of the threading of shaft portions 128 and 136 being identical, and pitches being identical as well as the drive ratio between the shaft 146 and the shafts 120 and 122, it will be obvious that operation of the motor 140 in one direction will cause forcible movement of the wheeled blocks 54 and 56 at precisely equal rates in precisely the same directions, and reverse movement at precisely equal rates is obtained upon reverse operation of the motor 140. Clearly, in view of the desired operation of the linkworks 16 the pitch of the threaded portions 130 and 138 of the shafts 120 and 122 are identical, and similar actuation of the wheeled blocks 44 and 58 is positively obtained.
The above described operation of the mechanical drive means including screw or thread means results in the wheeled blocks 44 and 54 being at all times disposed equidistantly on opposite sides of a position midway along the longitudinal extent of the means 36, and precisely parallel operation of the wheeled blocks 56 and 58 is also obtained in an arrangement such that the erection and retraction of both the supports or linkworks 16 is kept in perfect step not only in the limiting positions shown thereof in FIGURES 1 and 2, but in all intermediate stages of erection or retraction.
Means is provided for bracing each of the linkworks 16 when they are in their elevated and operative positions shown in FIGURE 1. Inasmuch as such bracing structure is identical for each of the linkworks 16, a detailed description of the bracing structure provided for the linkwork 16 visible in FIGURE 1 will sufiice for both. Such bracing structure provided for the linkwork 16 visible in FIGURE 1 will suffice for both. Such bracing structure provided for the linkwork visible in FIGURE 1 comprises forward and rear braces 160 and 161. The forward brace member 160 is detachably pivotally secured to the linkwork 16 by any suitable means at a position adjacent the pivotal connection 28 between the legs 22 and 32, and the lower end of the brace 160 is detachably secured to the near forward corner of the vehicular frame 14 as indicated at 162. The upper end of the brace 160 is detachably and pivotally secured to the linkwork 16 at the position indicated at 164 when the linkwork is in the collapsed condition shown thereof in FIGURE 2, and it will .be evident that subsequent erection of the linkwork 16 will result in raising the upper end of the brace 160 into the position shown thereof in FIGURE 1, and after the upper end of the brace 160 is in the position shown thereof in FIGURE 1, it is a relatively simple matter to move the lower end of the brace 160 into a position for attachment at 162, to the near forward corner of the generally rectangular vehicular frame 14. The rear brace 161 is generally analogous to the previously described brace 160 in its manner of detachable mounting in the apparatus 10. The upper end of the brace 161 is detachably and pivotally secured by any suitable means to the leg 30 at the position indicated at 166. And the lower end of the brace 161 is detachably secured to the near rear corner of the generally rectangular vehicular frame 14. It is not essential that the braces 160 and 161 be pivotally connected to the legs 32 and 30 adjacent the lower ends of the latter (though this is preferred), it is obvious that with substantially equal benefit the pivotal connections could be adjacent the upper ends of the legs 22 and 20. The manner of assembling the brace 161 into the apparatus 10 as shown in FIGURE 1 is generally parallel to that previously described in connection with the brace 160'. Clearly the provision of the braces 160 and 161 imparts great stability as to the position of the upper pivotal connection 34 of the linkwork 16 in the fore and aft direction, and this is especially true when, as preferred, the installed or assembled positions of the braces 160 and 161 approximate positions of alignment with the legs 32 and 30. As the upper ends of the linkworks are connected by the central portion of the giant wheel 18, and since the corresponding braces provided for the concealed linkwork 16 is secured to the far forward and rear corners of the generally rectangular vehicular frame 14, the braces 160 and 161 and the corresponding set thereof provided for the concealed linkwork provides some degree of stability for the upper ends of the linkworks insofar as lateral stability is concerned; however, such degree of stability is not such as to afford a sufficient safety factor, particularly when wind loads applied laterally to the apparatus 10 are to be encountered, and therefore, lateral bracing structure is provided on opposite sides of the vehicular frame 14 and of course on opposite sides of the two linkworks 16. Inasmuch as the lateral bracing structure is identical for each of the two linkworks 16, a detailed description of such lateral bracing structure provided for the visible linkwork 16 will suffice for both.
The lateral bracing structure comprises a lateral brace having an upper end detachably and pivotally secured to the upper end of the linkwork 16 adjacent the pivotal connection of the upper legs 30 and 32 at 172, the arrangement being such that during erection of the linkwork 16, the brace 170, which is attached when the linkwork 16 is in the position shown thereof in FIGURE 2 is raised to approximately the position shown thereof in FIGURE 1. A pair of frame members 174 and 176 (see FIGURE and FIGURE 1) are respectively pivoted about vertical axes to the side of the frame 14 at 178 and 180, the arrangement being such that such frame members 174 and 176 can be swung against the side of the frame 14 into an inoperative and overlapping position, and can be swung laterally from along the side of the frame 14 to an operative position and have the free ends thereof swung into an apex defining abutment in which position they can be secured by a pin extending through aligned openings in the free ends of the frame members 174 and 176, not shown, to secure the frame members 174 and 176 in the position shown thereof in FIGURE 10, whereby a laterally extensible frame means is defined. The upper ends of the securing pin, not shown, is provided with a pair of attached mounting brackets 182 that constitute a means for detachably securing the lower end of the brace 170 in a position wherein the same extends downwardly and outwardly from the pivotal connection 172 thereof to the support 16. The attachment of the brace 170 to the mounting brackets 182 is indicated at 184 in FIGURE 1.
Means is provided for supporting the apex 186 of the connected free ends of the frame members 174 and 176 from the ground is provided, such means being a vertically adjustable conventional screw jack such as indicated at 188. Accordingly, lateral loads against the upper end of the linkwork 18 are compressively applied to the apex 186 of the laterally extensible frame means, and thence transferred compressively to the ground through the screw jack 188 as will be readily understood. Again, it is stressed that a corresponding laterally extensible frame means is provided on the side of the vehicular frame 14 concealed from view in FIGURE 1, and a brace and jack corresponding to the brace 170 and the jack 188 transfer lateral loads in the opposite direction to the ground.
Additional detachable screw jacks are provided at various spaced positions about the underside of the vehicular frame 14 for supporting such frame 14 directly upon the ground and for relieving the tandem wheels 190 from any load when the apparatus 10 is assembled as shown. Such additional jacks consist of such adjustable screw jacks as indicated at 192. It will be understood that in ordinary usage of the equipment, at least the forwardly disposed screw jacks 192 are placed in position prior to disengagement of the wheeled vehicle 12 when the same is in the form of a trailer from such support as the same receives from the rear axles of a conventional tractor, not shown. Preferably, though as many adjustable screw jacks 192 can be employed as desired, at least four screw jacks 192 are provided at the near and far forward and rear corners of the vehicular frame 14.
As thus far described, it will be evident as seen in FIG- URE 2 that the lower end portions of the legs 20 and 22 are disposed adjacent the remote ends of the means 36 when the linkworks 16 are in their retracted or down positions, and it will also be evident that the lower end portions of the legs 20 and 22 occupy positions nearer the midpoint of the longitudinal extent of the means 36 ends of the legs 20 and 22 and therefore positively preventing so long as the pins 204 are inserted any inadvertent retraction or lowering of the linkwork 16. Corresponding means such as those just described are employed in conjunction with each of the linkworks 16. Such means for preventing inadvertent retraction of the linkworks 16 can be employed whether hydraulic means such asshown in FIGURE 13 or mechanical means such as shown in FIGURE 14 are employed for raising and lowering the linkworks 16.
A hub structure designated generally at 210 is provided which constitutes the central portion of the giant wheel 18, such hub structure including rotatable plates 212 (such plates being disposed adjacent opposite axial ends of the hub structure 210) and such hub structure 210 is mounted to rotate about a horizontal axis upon the upper ends of the linkworks 16, and if desired a single axle 214 can be provided to extend between the linkworks 16 and constitute the pivotal connections 34 for both the linkworks 16, and the plates or discs 212 being journaled on such axle 214 for rotation thereon adjacent the opposite ends of the axle 214. y
A plurality of frames constituting a plurality of arms are pivotally connected to the axially spaced plates 212, such arms being exemplified by those designated at 220, 222, 224, 226, 228, 230, 232, 234, 236, 238, and 240. each of the frames constituting the arms 220 through 240 have a dimension at their ends nearest the plates 212 substantially the same as the axial spacing of the plates 212, and it is to be understood that each of such arms is pivotally connected at positions parallel to the axle 214 to both the axially spaced plates 212, and the pivotal connections of such frames or arms arrayed about the plates 212 in such a pattern that such arms can be swung to inoperative, collapsed or traveling positions such as shown thereof in FIGURE 6, wherein such arms are substantially parallel to each other and are horizontal with approximately half of such arms extending in a forwardly direction and the remainder extending in a rearwardly direction from the plates 212. The arms 220 through 240 can be swung from the collapsed conditions shown thereof in FIGURE 6 to the operative positions shown thereof in FIGURES 1 and 3, such arms when in their operative or assembled condition extending radially from the axle 214 with equiangular increments between adjacent arms. It is noteworthy to observe the peculiar pattern of the pivotal connections of the arms to the plates 212 shown in greatest detail in FIGURE 6, whereby the arms may be swung intermediate their collapsed and operative positions, the pivotal connections being more or less along a closed curve of ellpitical shape having its major axes in a. vertical position, though such curve is not believed to be precisely an ellipse in the strict sense of analytical geometry. The
7 location of the pivotal connections of the arms to the when the linkworks 16 are in their extended or elevated positions, as seen in FIGURE 1. Positive means are provided for preventing inadvertent lowering of the linkworks 16 when they are in their fully extended positions, and such means may conveniently take the form of brackets 200 and 202 fixedly secured to the means 36 at posiplates 212 is believed amply clear on inspection of FIG- URE 6, but in order to avoid any possible misunderstanding in the regard, it might be stated that the pivotal connections of the arms 220, 228, 234 and 232 are respectively indicated at 242, 244, 246 and 248. For reasons to be explained presently, the pivotal connections of the arms 238 and 240 are not necessarily disposed upon such previously mentioned elliptical type curve, but rather such arms are preferably pivoted at positions 250 and 252 relatively near the axle 214. When the arms 220 through 240 are in their inoperative position such as shown in FIGURES 2 and 5, and when the linkworks 16 are in their retracted positions shown thereof in FIGURE 2, the arms 220 through 240 are supported at positions spaced from the central hub structure 210 adjacentthe forward and rear ends of the vehicular frame 14, the latter being provided (see FIGURE 2) with removable steel frame support structures 260 and 262 that are upstanding and which underlie and support the arms 220. through 240. His not believed necessary for those familiar with vehicular framework structure to describe in the detail the character of the removable framework sections 260 and 262, it being deemed sufficient to state that the lower end portions of the vertical components thereof can be removably received in sockets, not shown, formed in the vehicular frame 14, the arrangement being such that when support for the arms 220 through 240 is not necessary, such removable auxiliary frame structures 260 and 262 can be removed until further need is had for the same. Only one additional point should be mentioned in passing, and that is that horizontal portions 264 and 266 of the auxiliary framework structures 260 and 262 are disposed in substantially spaced relationship above the vehicular frame 14, and therefore the arms 220 through 240 are supported in spaced relation above the vehicular frame 14 so as to afford storage volumes or spaces 268 and 270 that are quite useful for storage for various components of the giant wheel that are disassembled or removed from the latter when the same is placed in a collapsed or traveling condition.
Actually the arms 220 through 240' as shown in FIG- URE 2 do not constitute when in their operative position the entire radial extent of the giant wheel 18, and generally speaking such arms 220 through 240 constitute approximately only one half the radial extent of the giant wheel 18, and as will be brought out more fully hereinafter, radially outward extensions of such arms are attached thereto after all the arms 220 through 240 have been swung to and secured in their operative positions such as suggested in the schematic illustration shown in FIGURE 3 The method of assembling the apparatus from the condition shown thereof in FIGURE 2 comprises initially providing and positioning the screw jacks 188 and 192 to support the vehicular frame 14 as well as the laterally extensible portions thereof upon the ground and also to relieve loads upon the traveling ground support wheels 190. Then the upper end portions of the fore and aft braces 160 and 161 are pivotally connected to the linkwork as previously described as is also the upper end of the lateral brace 170. The arm 220 is then swung from its inoperative horizontal position to a vertical position such as shown thereof in FIGURE 7 and cables or other flexible elongated members 280 and 282 are attached to the arm 220 at a position remote from the plates 212 and also to brackets 284 and 286 (greatly exaggerated in appearance of size in FIGURE 7) fixed to the arms 32 and 30, whereby the arm 220 is temporarily held fixed in its vertical position by the tension elements 280 and 282 which are only temporarily employed during the course of erection of the apparatus 10. The arm 220 is then in a position suitable for use as a gin pole, whereby conventional techniques may be employed to pivot and pull up adjacent arms 222 and 224 into their operative positions shown in FIGURE 7. The arms 226 and 228 which are next below the arms 222 and 224 are thereafter and successively swung to their operative positions and suitably secured. Such process of successively elevating and swinging arms into their operative positions, While continuing to use the arm 220 is continued until the arms 238 and 240 or arms in the immediate vicinity thereof are reached. Various means of conventional character can be employed to secure the arms as they are brought into their operative positions, and in the preferred construction and method of assembly, segmental parts 290 and 292 are attached between adjacent arms to serve the dual functions of fixing the proper angular spacing between the arms when they are in their operative positions and also for constituting when all the arcuate segmental members such as those shown at 290 and 292 are assembled will constitute an annular drive rim 294 (see FIGURE 1) that is concentric with the axle 214. In the preferred construction two annular friction drive rims such as that visible in FIGURE 1 and indicated at 294 are provided, such annular drive rims 294 being respectively disposed immediately adjacent the two linkworks 16. Additionally, it is preferred that alternate arms such as those indicated at 296 and 298 be braced by securing a tension member such as indicated at 300 therebetween, and with interdigitated alternate arms such as those indicated at 302 and 304 being connected by tension members such as that indicated at 306. The tension element 306 is preferably provided with a turnbuckle 308 for tensioning the same, and if desired the tension element 300 can also be provided with a turnbuckle, not shown. Further elaboration as to structural details concerning the releasable securance of the arms in their operative positions is deemed unnecessary and Would only tend to obscure the invention insofar as those having a modest degree of familiarity with the art are concerned. Suflice to say that the steps of successively raising and swinging the arms into their operative positions can be and is preferably continued until approximately half the arms have been so swung and secured in their operative positions with the linkworks 16 being maintained in their retracted or lowered positions such as shown in FIGURE 2. Indeed, it is one of the greatest advantages of the present invention that approximately one half the arms can be fixed in their operative position while the axis of rotation of the giant wheel 18 is at a very low position and in fact in such a very low position that even the innermost portions of the arms could not be accommodated when in their operative positions. The importance of this advantage will be all the more appreciated when it is realized that the sequence of steps as thus far described involve the very most difiicult portion of the task, namely, the assembly of the upper part of the giant wheel 18 as viewed from the axle 214.
By the time that approximately one half the arms have been placed in and secured in their operative positions as described above, it will be apparent that approximately an arc of approximately of the entire circumferential extent of the giant wheel 18 will have been defined. Inasmuch as the 'two arms 238 and 240 occupy positions when in their collapsed condition that approximately coincide with their operative positions as a result of their occupying diametrically opposed positions, there is actually seldom any occasion to make any pivotal movement of such arms, and accordingly, the pivotal connections of such arms 250 and 252 to the plates 212 can be disposed radially inwardly of the previously mentioned ellipse, and the arms yet be capable of ample pivotal movement. It is to be noted on inspection of FIGURE 6 that the spacing of the pivotal connections is nearer along the horizontal medial plane than elsewhere, and consequently, positioning the pivotal connections 250 and 252 at radially inwardly spaced positions contributes to the physical integrity of the plates 212. Since little, if any, pivotal movement of the arms 238 and 240 need ever be made, it is of course permissible, if deemed expedient or desirable, to fixedly secure the arms 238 and 240* to the plates 212 rather than to have the same pivotally connected thereto.
After having positioned and secured approximately the upper half of all the arms 220 through 240 and, of course, the arms shown in FIGURE 8 (if it is to be assumed that they are in the upper half of the contingent of arms), it will then become necessary to raise the hub structure 210 in order to accommodate the operative positioning of any additional arms, and accordingly, at this stage of assembly of the apparatus 10, the means for erecting or elevating the supports or linkworks 16 are operated to effect an incremental erection or upward extension of the supports or linkworks 16, such incremental upward movement of the hub structure 210 being preferably made just sufiicient so that the movement of the pair of arms 320 and 322 next below the arms 238 and 240 can be accommodated in swinging them to their operative positions angularly spaced below the arms 238 and 240. After the pair of arms 320 and 322 have been secured in their operative positions, the next lower pair of arms 324 and 326 are moved to and secured in their operative positions after an incremental increase in height of the hub structure 210 has been effected suflicient for this purpose by upward extension of the linkworks 16. Such alternate steps of making intermittent increases in the height of the hub structure 210 and positioning and securing pairs of arms in their operative positions has been carried to its conclu sion so that the arms 230 and 236 are secured, the structure 210 is raised sufliciently to allow the arm 232 to assume a substantially vertical position or more accurately its operative position and such final arm 232 is secured in its operative position. It is to be noted during the process of intermittently making incremental increases in the height of the hub structure 210, all the arms disposed below the arms 238 and 240 are angularly displaced downwardly to extents sufiicient to accommodate the positioning of the pair of arms to be secured. In other words, during the making of each incremental increase in height all the arms not yet disposed in and secured in their operative position swing at least to some extent in the direction of their operative positions, and during such swinging movement of all such arms, they are supported upon and more or less pulled across the upper surface of portions of the supporting structures 260 and 262, as will be appreciated. Finally after all the arms have been secured in their operative positions, and when the assembly of the rim 294 thereon is complete, the auxiliary frame structures 260 and 262 are removed, and the vertical height of the hub structure 210 is still further increased so that the next outermost extensions of the arms may be assembled and secured to the structure of the giant wheel 18 thus far completed. In carrying out such additional assembly procedures, the workmen may perform such operations with the portion of the wheel 18 to which attachment is being made being rotated to be directly or nearly directly below the hub structure 210. In other words, successive portions of the giant wheel 18 to which additional parts are to be attached are successively brought into a position of lowest possible height by rotation of the giant wheel 18. Such rotation may at such stages of completion of the giant wheel be accomplished by attachment of pull ropes to the wheel whereby the same can be manually turned by pulling on such ropes or by pulling on such ropes by attachment to a vehicle, it being understood that such pull ropes as well as the tension elements 280 and 282 are detached from the giant wheel 18 when the assembly of the same is complete. It should be noted at this point that the tension elements 280 and 282 are to be removed prior to commencement of the incremental increases in the height of the hub structure 210, as otherwise it will be necessary to make adjustments in the length thereof for each incremental increase in height of the hub structure 210.
The necessity for providing some expediency for effecting rotation of the giant wheel 18 during assembly of outer portions thereof and prior to the linkworks 16 being fully erected to the positions shown thereof in FIG- URE 1 is for the reason that the power means, subsequently to be described, for effecting controlled rotation of the giant wheel 18 has not reached a position for operative engagement with the annular drive rim 294 until the linkworks 16 are fully extended upwardly. As soon as the linkworks 16 have been fully extended upwardly, the lower ends of the braces 160, 161 and 170 are detachably secured to the frame 14 and its lateral extensions as previously described, and the power means for driving thevgiant wheel 18 in rotation is then brought into operative frictional driving engagement with the annular rims 294 as will be now described, it being noted that it is generally preferable in the conservation of physical labor and time to defer attachment of passenger carriages such as those indicated at 350 and 352 until such time as the giant wheel 18 can be power driven in rotation, it also being noted that radial spacing of the passenger vehicles 350 and 352 from the axle 214 is sufficiently great that the mounting of the passenger carriages can be conveniently accomplished when the hub structure 210 is at its uppermost position shown in FIGURE 1.
With attention now being directed to FIGURES l and 15, the power means for driving the wheel 18 in rotation will now be described, hydraulic power units 360 and 362 are mounted respectively on the lowermost legs 20 and 22 in positions along the latter closely adjacent the annular drive rim 294 when the linkworks 16 are fully extended upwardly as shown in FIGURE 1. Since each of the hydraulic power units 360 and 362 are identical, it will only be necessary to describe the unit 360 carried by the leg 20. The hydraulic power unit 360 comprises a reversible hydraulic motor 364 having a friction wheel 366 fixed to its output shaft. The hydraulic motor 364 is mounted upon a support bracket 368 that is in turn pivotally mounted upon the leg 20 as for rotation about the axis of a pin 370 intermediate operative and inoperative positions, the operative position being shown in full line in FIGURE 15 and being such that the friction wheel 366 is in driving engagement with the annular rim 294, and an inoperative position indicated in dashed outline such that the unit 360 including its mounting bracket 368 are disposed in a position that will not interfere with the free movement of relatively movable portions of the linkwork 16 as well as of the arms and other structure secured to the hub structure 210. The bracket 368 is releasably secured in its operative position by means of a pin and cotter pin arrangement indicated at 372, and the unit can if desired he releasably secured in its inoperative position by means of a spring pressed catch carried by the leg 20 and indicated in dashed outline at 374. If desired, the entire unit 360 can be detached from the leg 20 by removal of the cotter pin 376 and withdrawal of the pivot pin 370.
Not only are two units 360 and 362 provided for the visible linkwork 16 shown in FIGURE 1, but additionally two identical units to the unit 360 are provided on the concealed linkwork 16, and such two additional units are indicated in FIGURE 13 wherein they are designated by the reference numerals 378 and 380, as will become apparent on subsequent consideration of FIGURE 13, each of the units 360, 362, 378 and 380 are provided with three flexible hydraulic fluid conduits, and one of such flexible conduits is indicated at 382 in association with the unit 360 shown in FIGURE 15. It Will be appreciated that the flexible hydraulic conduits or lines have lengths such as to be compatible with the pivotal mounting of such units.
Each of such units 360, 362, 378 and 380 are identical and are of such character as to be driven in either a forward or reverse direction.
Before proceeding with the description of the hydraulic circuitry associated with the hydraulic units, it is pointed out that either before or if desired subsequently to positioning the units in their operative positions, and that any time after the lateral brace has been placed in its operative bracing position, a side brace 390 is connected in a horizontal position to extend from the linkwork 16 to an intermediate position along the extent of the lateral brace 170, the provision of the side brace 390 being desirable in view of the substantial length of the brace 170 and the tendency which the same might otherwise have to sag. The side brace 390 is connected to the lateral brace 170 as shown at 392, and is pivotally connected to the linkwork 16 at the position of the crossing of the legs 20 and 22 as indicated at 394. Usually the side brace 390 is connected to the linkwork 16 prior to erection of the latter, whereby it is only necessary after the linkwork 16 has been erected to swing the unsecured end of the brace 390 upwardly into position for attachment at 392 to the lateral brace 170. Usually the installation or attachment of the side brace 390 can be deferred until after the giant wheel 18 has been entirely assembled; however, it is thought to be prudent to attach the same whenever side winds of stronger than usual velocities are encountered as soon as the lateral brace 170 has had its lower end attached as previously described.
Generally speaking, the sequence to be followed in dismantling the apparatus from its operative condition shown in FIGURE 1 is precisely the inverse of that which has been described above for assembling the apparatus 10. The first step in disassembly involves disassembly of the outer portions of the giant wheel 18 with the wheel being appropriately rotated so that such steps of disassembly of outer portions of the wheel can be executed beneath the wheel. After such initial stage of disassembly, during which the power means can be operated to rotate the wheel 18, the wheel is further disassembled to such extent as may be possible (prior to any of the innermost portions of the arms being swung from their operative positions) with accompanying lowering of the linkworks 16. Prior to lowering the linkworks 16, the hydraulic power units for rotating the wheel should be swung to their inoperative units so as to be in noninterfering positions, after which the lower ends of the legs and 22 are released from the brackets 200 and 202 and the giant wheel lowered to the extent necessary, and such expedience adopted as may be at hand to rotate the wheel 18. When the stage of disassembly has reached that in which the arms pivotally connected to the plates 212 must be moved from their operative positions, the wheel 18, or the remaining central portion thereof, is rotated to such a position that the major axis of the ellipse defined by the pivotal connections of the innermost arm portions is vertical as shown in FIGURE 3, and the frame support structures 260 and 262 are positioned upon the vehicular frame 14. Then thearm 232 which will be lowermost is released from being secured in its operative position and swung to the left so as to have its outermost end rest upon the uppermost portion 264 of the supporting framework 260. The arms 236 and 230 are then released from their operative position and inclined respectively to the left and right with the outermost end of the arm 230 being disposed to rest upon the horizontal portion of the supporting framework 262, and the linkworks 16 are then allowed to descend an incremental amount approximating that which will correspond to the arms 236 and 230 being cammed upwardly in effect during such lowering of the linkworks 16 by the engagement of the arms 232 and 230 with the framework structures 264 and 266, such camming being carried to the extent that the arms 236 and 234 are swung virtually into engagement with the adjacent arms next' next thereabove pair of arms upon the framework structures 264 and 266 through the underlying arms that have already been released. This alternate lowering and releasing of arms procedure is' continued until the arms 238 and 240 have been released, FIGURE 4 showing an intermediate stage of such disassembly, the legs 238 and 240 not yet having been reached for release, it being noted that the number of arms which have been released enables the linkworks 16 to have been lowered substantially from the position shown thereof in FIGURE 3. Upon reaching the step of the procedure in which the arms 238 and 240 are released, all the arms below the arms 238 and 240 have progressively been swung upwardly and outwardly relative to the plates 212, and at such stage in the procedure, all of such lower arms are horizontally disposed and resting substantially flat upon the supporting structures 264 and 266, as will be apparent. No further reduction in height of the supports 16 is made through the remaining part of the disassembly of the structure, and the lowermost arms yet remaining in their operative positions are successively released and lowered to the inoperative positions shown thereof in FIGURE 6. During the release and lowering of the arms disposed above the arms 238 and 240, it is desirable to employ the flexible elements 280 and 282 as shown in FIGURE 7 so that the arm 220 may effectively be used to serve as a gin pole. Eventually all the arms including the arm 220 are returned to the positions shown thereof in FIGURE 6, and the change thereby effected corresponds to the condition of the apparatus indicated in FIGURE 5. It will be noted that the linkwork 16 is lower in FIGURE 5 than in FIGURE 4, such additional lowering being effected on releasing arms disposed below the arms 238 and 240.
Clearly the preceding description of the method of this invention for disassembling the giant wheel and for placing the supports as well as the central portion of the giant wheel in a condition for travel mounted upon a wheeled vehicle is obviously highly advantageous, involves a minimum of working effort and a minimum amount of risk to the workers charged with the task. Clearly the procedure of disassembly as just described is virtually an exact reverse of the procedure employed in the erection or assembly of the structure. Such method whether carried out in one order or in inverse order enjoys substantially the same advantages in each case.
Although not so shown, the previously mentioned storage volumes 268 and 270 shown in FIGURE 2 affords space to accommodate nested segmental portions of the annular rims 294 such as those shown at 290 and 292, as well as other bracing structure and outer arm components of the wheel 18. The location of such storage volumes 268 and 270 is especially advantageous because of the proximity thereof to the point of use of the materials stored therein.
The structure thus far employed is such as is conventionally employed in amusement ride devices of the character such as Ferris wheels and other forms of roundabouts, metals, particularly structural steel being a prime material. This not only applies to the linkworks 16, but also to be bracing structure and to the vehicular framework and the auxiliary frame structures used therewith.
The hydraulic control means for controlling the units 360, 362, 378 and 380 has been previously alluded to, and will now be described in connection with FIGURE 13. The inlet port of a pump 400* is connected to the line 74 by a branch thereof 402, such pump 400 being driven by an electric motor 404 having a driving connection thereto indicated by a dashed line 406. The output port of the pump 400 is connected to the inlet of a distributing or three-way valve 408 by a line 410, the valve 408 can selectively establish fluid communication between the line 410 and a selected one of the outlet lines 412, 414 and 416. The line 412 is connected to a distribution line 418 having four lateral branch lines, each designated at 420, such branch lines 420 being connected to the units 360', 362, 378 and 380 through ports such that the friction wheels associated with such units are driven in one directlon.
The line 416 is connected to a distribution line 422 which has four lateral branch lines such as the one indicated at 424, such branch lines 424 being connected to ports of the units 360, 362, 378 and 380 such that the introduction of hydraulic fluid thereinto causes rotation of the friction wheels associated therewith in a direction opposite to that which occurs through introduction from the lines 420. A hydraulic fluid return line 426 is pro vided that is connected by lateral branch lines such as the one indicated at 428 that are connected to the hydraulic motor units 360, 362, 378 and 380 as shown for returning hydraulic fluid fed to such units through either the line 412 or the line 416 to the reservoir 72.
A line 432 connects the lines 412 and 416, such line 432 having oppositely arranged unidirectional check valves 434 and 436 disposed therein, and the line 414 is connected to the line 432. intermediate the check valves 434- and 436 as shown. The arrangement is such that the valve 408 can be manually operated to sequentially connect the line 410 to the line 412, the line 414 and the line 416, and the arrangement is such that a smooth transition from forcibly driving the wheel 18 in one