US 3463487 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Aug. 26, 1969 s. TEPPER 3,463,487
DEVICE FOR PLAYING A WORD GAME Filed July 14, 1966 5 Sheets-Sheet l INVENTOR Ea/v57 727mm? ORNEYS Aug. 26, 1969 s. TEPPER 3,453,487
DEVICE FOR PLAYING A WORD GAME Filed July 14, 1966 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR: Jw/vn 72-m n A ORNEYS Aug. 26, 1969 s. TEPPER DEVICE FOR PLAYING A WORD GAME 5 Sheets-Sheet 3 Filed July 14, 1966 INVENTOR: (JV/0N5) 757 5? A ORNEY8 Aug. 26, 1969 s. TEPPER 3,463,487
DEVICE FOR PLAYING A WORD GAME 5 Sheets-Sheet 4 Filed July 14, 1966 Aug. 26, 1969 s. TEP P'ER DEVICE FOR PLAYING A WORD GAME 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 Filed July 14, 1966 g oRNay's United States Patent 3,463,487 DEVICE FOR PLAYING A WORD GAME Sidney Tepper, Millburn, N.J., assignor, by mesne assignments, to Topper Corporation, Elizabeth, NJ., a corporation of Delaware Filed July 14, 1966, Ser. No. 565,158
Int. Cl. A63f 9/18 U.S. Cl. 2731 16 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE Device includes letter scrambler, and a timer which begins operation upon actuation of the scrambler. Scrambler includes plurality of letter-bearing wheels carried by a rod, and toggle mechanism for jarring rod to arbitrarily reposition wheels. Rod-jarring mechanism actuates pawl to permit movement of timer pointer upon completion of letter scrambling.
This invention relates to a device for playing a game, such as a word game, wherein a group of symbols, such as letters of the alphebet, are randomly arranged, the players being required to select symbols from the random arrangement and form a recognized composite, such as a word, therefrom.
The invention will be described in terms of a word game, but it is to be understood that games in which composites other than words may be played with the present invention.
In word games of the type to which this invention relates, each player must form a recognized word of a predetermined minimum number of letters, from the various letters made available to him by a letter scrambler. One of the most effective manners to score such a game is to determine the number of words formed in a given time interval. Another efiective means of scoring is to note the amount of time required to form a given number of words. Other forms of scoring are available, but it will be appreciated that the element of time will be an essential factor in almost any method of scoring the word game.
It is, therefore, a general object of the invention to provide a device for playing a word game in which a timer operates along with the mechanism for randomly arranging, or scrambling, the letters.
It is a more specific object of the invention to provide a word game apparatus in which the mechanism which scrambles the letters also serves to initiate the operation of the timer.
It is also an object of this invention to provide a word game which includes a self-contained timing mechanism.
To achieve these objects, the invention provides a letter-scrambling mechanism, and an independent timer, such as a spring driven clock mechanism. Means cooperable with the letter-scrambling mechanism are provided for initiating the operation of the timer at the moment a newly scrambled set of letters appears before the players.
A feature of the invention is the letter-scrambling mechanism itself. This mechanism includes a plurality of wheels rotatably mounted on an axle or rod. Each wheel bears a series of letters or other symbols on its outer periphery, and the rod upon which the wheels are mounted is pivotable about an axis spaced from the rod. A handle is operatively connected to the rod by means of a toggle spring, so that when the handle is moved to an advanced position, the snap action of the toggle spring rapidly pivots the rod, causing the latter to strike against a stationary stop member. The impact force of the rod against the stop member jars the letter wheels, causing them to rotate about the rod in a haphazard fashion. When the pressure on the handle is released, a return spring moves the handle back to its released position, and the toggle spring now causes the rod to snap back to its original position, where it once again strikes a stationary stop member. The impact of this sec ond striking causes the letter wheels to rotate again whereupon the letters become further rearranged and scrambled. Although the present invention provides for two impacts of the wheel-carrying rod for each operation of the handle to insure thorough scrambling of the letters, it is contemplated that a single impact might under some circumstances sufiice.
Another feature of the invention resides in the letter wheels being provided with a notched or star-shaped inner periphery to maintain the letter wheels in a stationary position on the rod, when the rod is at rest, and to insure that the wheels each come to rest, after they are rotated, in one of several predetermined positions.
Prior to the letter scrambling operation, the timer is kept inoperative by means of a finger arranged to block the rotation of the pointer which is urged to rotate over the face of the timer by the timer mechanism. The finger is carried by a pivotally mounted lever which is actuated during the return movement of the handle, immediately prior to the snapping of the rod and letter wheels into the position in which the scrambled letters are viewed by the players. In this manner, the timer is automatically set in motion at the moment that a freshly scrambled set of letters is presented to the players. For the purpose of determining which player responds fastest after completion of the scrambling operation, the face of the timer is provided with spaced-apart apertures around its periphery, and each player is provided with an identifying peg which fits into the apertures. By inserting a peg into an aperture which has not yet been passed by the pointer of the timer, the timer will be stopped when the pointer strikes the peg.
The invention is described below with reference to the accompanying drawings illustrating a preferred embodi ment of the invention.
In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the word game device of this invention shown in its assembled condition;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the device of FIG. 1, with the housing cover and timing mechanism removed;
FIG. 3 is a plan view of the device of FIG. 1 with a portion of the timer face broken away;
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary section taken along the line 44 of FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary section taken along the line 5-5 of FIG. 3;
FIG. 6 is a vertical cross-sectional view of the device of FIG. 1, some parts being broken away;
FIG. 7 is a horizontal cross-sectional view taken along line 77 of FIG. 6;
FIG. 8 is a fragmentary cross-sectional view taken along the line 88 of FIG. 6;
FIG. 9 is a vertical cross-sectional view taken along line 9-9 of FIG. 7, illustrating, in the dot-dash lines, the position of some of the parts in their advanced positions and just prior to the snapping of the wheel-carrying rod to its retracted position;
FIG. 10 is similar to the view of FIG. 9 showing the positions of the various parts when the handle is fully depressed to its advanced position, and the rod has snapped over into its retracted position; and
FIG. 11 is a view similar to FIG. 6 showing the position of the parts when the handle is almost returned to its released position.
The embodiment of the word game device chosen to illustrate the features of this invention is shown in its assembly form in FIG. 1. The device generally referred to by reference numeral 10, is formed of three sections, two of which, the housing cover 12, and timing mechanism 14, are shown in FIG. 1. The third, the scrambler apparatus 16, is illustrated in FIG. 2 mounted on the housing base 15.
Housing cover 12 may be formed integrally of plastic, and comprises a forward viewing section 18 in which a rectangular viewing slot 20 is formed in a rearwardly and upwardly sloping wall 22. A vertical slot 24 is formed in a side wall 26 of cover 12, the slot 24 extending to the lower edge of'the side wall.
On the other side of an intermediate section 28 from the wall 22, an upwardly sloping bowl-shaped section 30 (FIG. 3) is provided to accommodate timing mechanism 14. Bowl-shaped section 30 is provided with a downwardly tapering, conical circumferential wall 32 in which a plurality of equally spaced slots 34 are arranged. A wedgeshaped block 36 is formed at the upper end of section 30, and a slot 38 is formed in its upper face slightly to the right of the center of block 36.
Timing mechanism 14 includes a generally circular plate 40, the outer face of which represents the face of the timer, the plate 40 having a central opening 42 (FIG. 6). A plurality of equally spaced holes 44 is formed in a ridge 46 circumferentially disposed about plate 40. A V-shaped notch 48 is formed in plate 40, matching the contour of wedge-shaped block 36. A slender pin 49 projects from ridge 46 adjacent to the hole 44 nearest to the left side of notch 48. A conventional spring driven clock mechanism 50, shown in dotted lines in FIG. 6, is secured to the rear of plate 40. Clock mechanism 50 is of conventional construction, and comprises a conventional group of reduction gears and a coil driving spring. As the specific construction of clock mechanism 50 does not form a part of this invention, it will not be further described. The output shaft 52 (FIG. 6) of the clock mechanism 50 extends through the opening 42 in plate 40, and a pointer 54 is securely attached to shaft 52. Pointer 54 is provided with one attenuated end 56.
A plurality of hollow extensions 58 (FIGS. 3 and 4), one being assigned with each hole 44 project rearwardly from plate 40 at points corresponding to the locations of the slots 34 in bowl-shaped section 30 of housing cover 12. In addition, a group of internally threaded hollow bosses 60 (FIGS. 3 and 5) extend from the rear face of plate 40. When timing mechanism 14 is placed in position within bowl-shaped section 30, V-shaped notch 48 is placed over block 36, each extension 58 fits into one of the slots 34, and a set of fastening screws 62 (FIG. 5) extend through holes in ledges 64 (FIGS. 3 and 5) formed in section 30. Screws 62 threadably engage the interior bore of bosses 60 to securely retain timing mechanism 14 within bowl-shaped section 30 of housing cover 12.
The scrambler apparatus 16 is mounted on housing base 15 from which two rearward legs 68 (FIG. 6) depend. The base 15 is also provided with two wedge-shaped feet 69 near its front end. A pair of unstanding hollow posts 70 (FIGS. 2 and 6) project from the front of base 66, and a fastening screw 72 extends through post 70 t0 threadably engaged an internally threaded post 74 formed in housing cover 12 to retain cover 12 to base 66. Similarly, a screw 73 passes through each of two tabs 75 projecting from the rear edge of the base 15 and is threaded into an extension 77 projecting from the housing cover 12.
A U-shaped support bracket 76, secured to base 15 by screws 71, comprises opposed upstanding support members 78 and 79. The front edge of each member 78 and 79 is provided with an upper notch 80 and a lower notch 82 (FIGS. 6 and 9-11). Similarly the rearward edges of support members 78 and 79 are provided with an upper cutout 84 and a lower cutout 86. A vertical slot 88 (FIGS.
2, 10, and 11) extends down from the upper edge of the left support member 78. A bar 90 having a cruciform cross section is pivotally mounted on support member 76, by means of a pair of arms 92 projecting perpendicularly from the bar 90 near its ends. A pin projects outwardly from each arm 92, the pin 94 being rotatably arranged in slot 88, and pin 96 fitted for rotation through an opening in support member 79. The pins, and thus bar 90, are free to rotate with respect to the bracket 76. An operating handle 98 is securely mounted on the free end of the pin 96. Handle 98 is thus pivotable, along with bar 90, about the axis of the pins 94 and 96. A return spring 100 (FIGS. 2, 6, and 811) is connected at one of its ends to a button 101 extending from the lower end of each arm 92. Spring 100 is connected at its other end to an eye 103 formed in the base 102 of support 76.
A second pair of spaced apart arms 104 (FIG. 7) extends from an inner portion of bar 90, each arm 104 lying in the same plane as arms 92. Arms 104 are shorter than arms 92, and have lateral pins 106 at their lower ends extending toward each other. The axis of pins 106 lies along the axis of pins 94 and 96, and thus lies along the axis of rotation of handle 98.
A U-shaped bracket 108 has openings 110 formed along its bend sections. Pins 106 freely extend into openings 110, so that bar 90 and bracket 108 are free to rotate with respect to each other. The free ends of legs 112 of bracket 108 are each provided with notches 114 into which a letter-wheel-carrying rod 116 is inserted. A toggle spring 118, which produces a smaller force than return spring 100, is connected between a reduced diameter section (FIGS. 7 and 8) of rod 116 and a thickened section 122 of bar 90 formed intermediate arms 92 and 104. A rectangular section 124 is formed along rod 90 intermediate the arms 104.
Rod 116 loosely carries a plurality of letter wheels 117. Each wheel 117 bears on its outer surface a series of symbols such as letters 119 of the alphabet, or arbitrary insignias 115. In the present example, the symbols are imprinted on the surfaces of the wheels, and each wheel carries six symbols around its periphery. A spacing ring 121 may be mounted on rod 116 between the outer letter wheels and the legs 112 of bracket 108. Each letter wheel 117 is provided or formed with an insert 123 in the shape of a six pointed star, one point for each letter 119 printed on the letter wheel 117. Insert 123 is secured to the inner mriphery of letter wheels 117. Each of the apices or points of insert 123 fits over rod 116 to prevent rotation of the letter wheels about rod 116 when the rod is at rest, i.e., in its viewing position (FIG. 9).
A yoke assembly 126 (FIGS. 2, 6,7, and 11) is mounted on the base 15 to the rear of support bracket 76, and a pivot pin 128 is carried by the legs 130 of yoke assembly 126. Pin 128 extends through an opening in a lever 132, a portion of which lies in the space between legs 130 of yoke 126. Lever 132 is thus free to pivot about pin 128. At the end of lever 132 farthest from bracket 76, the lever is formed with an integral finger 134. An opening 136 is formed at the other end of lever 132, and an arm 138 (FIGS. 2, 6, 7 and 9-11) from which a pin 140 projects, is pivotally secured to lever 132 by placing pin 140 through opening 136. Pin 140 is swaged at its free end to prevent it from sliding out of opening 136.
Arm 138 is provided with a tapered finger 142 (FIG. 6) at one of its ends and an apertured tab 144 (FIG. 2) projects from its other end. An arcuate slot 145 is formed in arm 138, and a pin 147, laterally projecting from lever 132, extends through slot 145. In the position of arm 138 and lever 132 shown in FIG. 6 pin 147 lies against the top wall of slot 145. A lever spring 146 is connected at one of its ends to tab 144, and at its other end to a bridge 148 formed at the lower end of a hollow cylinder 150 depending from base 15. Spring 146 tends to maintain lever 132 in the normal position shown in FIG. 6 wherein lever 132 rests upon an upstanding stop 152 (FIGS. 6 and 11) projecting from base 15.
To assemble the device 10, the timing mechanism 14 is first secured to the housing cover 12 in the manner described above. This combined assembly is then positioned over the scrambler 16, and screws 72 and 73 are inserted into posts 74 and extensions 77, respectively. In the completed assembly of FIG. 1, the shank of handle 98 is fitted within slot 24 (FIG. 1), and finger 134 extends through slot 38.
The device is shown in FIG. 1 prior tothe beginning of play. A series of letters 119 of the letter wheels 117 are directly beneath viewing slot 20 where they can be readily seen by all the players. The spring of clock mechanism 50 has been wound by rotating the pointer 54 in a counterclockwise direction in FIG. 1, but pointer 54 is prevented from rotating in a clockwise direction by the abutment of its end 56 against finger 134. Handle 98 is in its released position (FIGS. 1, 2, 6, and 7) and rod 116, carrying letter wheels 117, is in its viewing position wherein the ends of rod 116 are maintained within upper notches 80 of bracket support members 78 and 79 by the force exerted by toggle spring 118. The force exerted by spring 118 also maintains the ends of bar 90 securely within upper cutouts 84.
To initiate the operation of the device, downward pressure is applied to handle 98 to rotate handle 98 in a clockwise direction to its advanced position, i.e. the lower of the two dot positions shown in FIG. 9. Bar 90, which is secured to handle 98, pivots in the same direction along with handle 98, causing toggle spring 118 to stretch. During the pivoting of bar 90, the orientation of the center line of spring 118 is moved downwards from its nearly horizontal initial position (FIG. 9). As the handle 98 is rotated to its advanced position, the center line of spring 118 passes through the plane containing the rod 116 and pins 106. Further downward motion of handle 98 to its fully depressed or advanced position causes the center line of toggle spring 118 to pass below pins 106. In this position the direction in which the force of toggle spring 118 tends to rotate rod 116 is suddenly reversed, causing rod 116 and bracket 108 to rapidly pivot around pins 106 downwardly in the direction of the arrow in FIG. 10. The extent of the pivoting of rod 116 from its viewing position (FIGS. 6 and 9), to its retracted position (shown in solid lines in FIG. 10) is limited by rod 116 striking against lower notches 82 in support members 78 and 79. The rotation of bar 90 is limited by coming to rest within lower cutouts 86. At the completion of its downward pivoting, the rod 116 slams against support members 78 and 79 of bracket 76, thus jarring the letter wheels 117 and causing them to rotate haphazardly about the rod.
During the downward motion of handle 98 and bar 90, rectangular section 124 of bar 90 is brought into contact with the tapered finger 142 of arm 138 (see FIG. 9). Further downward pivoting of bar 90 causes arm 138 to pivot about the axis of pin 140 in a counterclockwise direction as viewed in FIGS. 9-11. During the pivoting of arm 138, slot 145 rides along pin 147 on lever 132. When section 124 is disengaged from finger 142, arm 138 is returned to its original position by the force exerted by lever spring 146. It will be appreciated, that lever 132 does not pivot during this pivoting of arm 138. At this point in the operation of the word game device, external pressure is removed from handle 98. The return spring 100, which was stretched during the downward rotation of handle 98, exerts a force on arm 90 and thus handle 98 to return handle 98 to its released position. As a result of the greater force of return spring 100, as compared to that of toggle spring 118, the return spring snaps bar 90 and handle 98 to their rest or released position. Toggle spring 118, which is connected at one end to bar 90, is once again carried above the pins 106, at which point the force exerted by toggle spring rapidly pivots rod 116 back to its viewing position. At the top of its return swing rod 116 slams against notches in support members 78 and 79. This slamming action further rotates the wheels and scrambles the order of the letters 119 which are now viewable through viewing slot 20. The inner surface of the housing wall 22 is covered, adjacent to the opening 20, by felt pads 154 (FIGS. 6 and 9-ll) to prevent the letter wheels 117 from being marred as they are thrown upwardly upon the completion of the return stroke of the bar 116.
When bar pivots upwardly, due to the urging of return spring 100, rectangular section 124 contacts the underside of tapered finger 142, to raise arm 138 in a clockwise direction (FIG. 11). Since pin 147 is already contacting the upper wall of slot 145, arm 138 cannot pivot around pin 140. As a result, arm 138 is raised, against the restraining force of lever spring 146, thereby causing lever 132 to pivot in a clockwise direction about pivot pin 128. Finger 134, which has been restricting the motion of pointer 54, is pivoted downwards, out of the path of rotation of pointer 54, so that the pointer can be rotated by the clock mechanism output shaft 52, and the operation of timing mechanism 14 is thereby initiated.
It will therefore be appreciated that by merely depressing the operating handle 98 and then releasing it, a newly scrambled set of letters 119 is made to appear in the viewing slot 20, and the pointer 54 of the timing mechanism 14 is caused to start rotating over the face plate 40.
One manner in which the word game device 10 may be used involves the division of plate 40 into numbered regions 158 such as those shown in FIGS. 1 and 3. When one of the players has formed one or a predetermined number of words from the letters displayed in slot 20, he places a peg 156 assigned to him. into one of the spaced holes 44 in the path of rotation of pointer 54 (FIGS. 1 and 4) to stop the rotation of pointer 54. Preferably, the pegs 156 and 157 are of different colors so that the position and identifying color of the peg 156 in the hole 44 identifies the player and indicates his score, since each hole 44 is positioned adjacent one of the numbered regions 158 on plate 40. The numbers of the regions 158 should decrease along the clockwise path of rotation of pointer 54 so that the score which a player can achieve decreases with time. When the pegs are not in use, as is the case with pegs 157, they may be stored in storing holes 160 (FIGS. 1 and 4) formed in intermediate section 28.
If none of the players can form the required words during the time allotted for one rotation of pointer 54, the pointer will come to rest against pin 49. The clock mechanism is then rewound by rotating pointer 54 in the reverse, i.e. counterclockwise, direction. Pointer 54 is once again placed to the left of projecting finger 134, and the handle 98 is once again depressed to rescramble the letters to begin a new round of the game.
Alternate manners of using the described word game device will be limited only by the imagination of the players. Modification of the features of the described embodiment may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as described in the appended claims.
What is claimed is:
1. A word game device, comprising:
(a) a plurality of elements each bearing a plurality of symbols which differ from one another,
(b) means for scrambling said elements to produce a random sequence of symbols,
(c) a timer means operative, when initiated, for at least several seconds, and
(d) means automatically responsive to the action of said scrambling means (b) for initiating the action of said timer means (c).
2. A device as defined in claim 1 wherein said elements are in the form of a plurality of rotatable wheels, each of said wheels bearing a series of symbols on its outer periphery, and including a single rod carrying all said wheels.
3. A device as defined in claim 2, said rod being pivotable about an axis spaced from the rod between a viewing position and a retracted position and including:
a pair of stop means located in the path of pivoting of said rod for defining said viewing and said retracted position,
a handle pivotable between a released and an advanced position, and
a toggle spring connected at one of its ends to said rod, and operatively connected at its other end to said handle, said end connected to said handle being on one side of said axis when said handle is in its released position and on the other side of said axis when said handle is in its advanced position,
whereby the pivoting of said handle from its released position to its advanced position causes said rod to rapidly pivot away from said viewing position stop means and to snap against said retracted position stop means to jar and thus scramble said wheels causing the symbols on said wheels to become rearranged in a random fashion.
4. A device as defined in claim 3 further comprising a return spring for returning said handle to its released position, after said handle has been pivoted to its advanced position, said return spring exerting a greater force on said handle than that exerted by said toggle spring.
5.- A device as defined in claim 4 wherein said timer includes a rotatable pointer and means constantly tending to rotate said pointer, a finger positioned in the path of rotation of said pointer to thereby prevent its rotation, and said means for starting said timer includes means for momentarily moving said finger out of the path of said pointer.
6. A device as defined in claim 5 further comprising a pivotably mounted lever, said finger being carried by one end of said lever, and means secured to said handle and pivotable along with said handle for pivoting said lever, and thereby moving said finger out of the path of rotation of said pointer, during the movement of said handle from its advanced to its released position.
7. A device as defined in claim 6 further comprising a lever spring operatively connected to said lever for causing said finger to return to its normal position within the path of rotation of said pointer once said handle reaches its position.
8. A device as defined in claim 6 further comprising means for preventing said lever-pivoting means from actuating said lever during the movement of said handle from its released to its advanced position.
9. A device as defined in claim 8 wherein said lastmentioned means comprises an arm pivotally mounted on said lever in the path of movement of said lever-pivoting means, said arm having a slot formed therein, and a transverse pin projecting from said lever accommodated within said slot, and said arm being resiliently braced against said pin, whereby during the movement of said handle to its advanced position said arm is pivoted with respect to said lever, but during the movement of said handle to its released position said arm and lever are moved together.
10. A device as defined in claim 9 wherein said leverpivoting means is a bar, and further comprising a U- shaped bracket pivotally mounted on said bar, said rod being carried by the legs of said bracket.
11. A device as defined in claim 10 including a pair of spaced-apart arms projecting laterally from said bar, and a pin extending laterally from each of said arms, said U-shaped bracket having a slot formed in each of its legs for receiving one of said pins, said pins thereby defining the axis of rotation about which said rod is pivoted.
12. A device as defined in claim 11 further comprising two spaced-apart upstanding support members pivotally supporting said bar between them and wherein said rod stop means comprise spaced-apart notches formed along one edge of each of said support members.
13. A device as defined in claim 12 wherein each of said support members is further provided with a set of spaced-apart cutouts along another edge constituting means for limiting the pivoting of said bar and thus said handle, thereby defining the released and advanced positions of said handle.
14. A device as defined in claim 13 wherein said handle is pivotally mounted on one of said support members about an axis extending colinear with the pivoting axis of said rod.
15. A device as defined in claim 2 further comprising means within said wheels for causing them to assume one of several predetermined positions.
16. A device as defined in claim 15 wherein said positioning means comprises a star-shaped member fixed to the inner periphery of said wheel, each of the apices of said star-shaped member being formed to receive said rod.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS Re. 20,223 12/1936 Taylor.
451,956 5/1891 Sanderson.
1,979,459 11/1934 Finn 273-1 XR 2,710,754 6/1955 Varney 273101.1 2,791,432 5/1957 Alvernaz.
2,875,530 3/1959 Sharkey.
2,998,252 8/1961 Martin 273143 OTHER REFERENCES Playthings Magazine, April 1966, pp. 71, 78 and 79.
ANTON O. OECHSLE, Primary Examiner P. E. SHAPIRO, Assistant Examiner U.S. Cl. X.R. 3S; 273--143