US 3485494 A
Abstract available in
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
J. LIEBERMAN Dec. 23, 1969 PLAY MAZE Filed Feb. 8, 1957 INVENTOR. JE/?R Y L EBERMA N NNN ATTORNEYS United States? Patent bflice 3,485,494 Patented Dec. 23, 1969 3,485,494 PLAY MAZE Jerry Lieberman, 115 E. 89th St., New York, N.Y. 10028 Filed Feb. 8, 1967, Ser. No. 614,660 It. 'Cl. A63b 71/02; A63g 31/00 U.S. CI. 272--60 2 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A three-dimensional multi-level play maze for use by children wherein hollow geometric modules or enclosures are interconnected to form a cluster, at least one module of the cluster being supported for accessibility at ground level and at least one other module being supported above ground level. At least one of the ground level modules is provided with entrance means located in a wall thereof, the module in turn communicating through an opening with an elevated module, whereby to provide a multi-level passageway extending through the module cluster.
This invention relates to play structures, such as a play maze and, in particular, to a three-dimensional multilevel play maze comprising a cluster of interconnecting hollow geometric modules.
Children, because of their imagination and euriosity, are generally attracted to commonplace items randomly found in normal environments, such as large packing boxes, cylindrical containers, discarded industrial shapes and, in particular, items in the form of enclosures conducive for hiding or creative play through physical contact. Enclosures provide an imaginary world without the restraint and influence of adults. For some children it may represent a playhouse; for others a fort, a castle, or whatever a child wishes it to be.
I 'have found that I can enhance a child's natural curiosity for or attraction to such commonplace items by the provision of such items in the form of predetermined clusters having means for enabling a child to enter or climb into, or around, the units making up the cluster.
It is thus the object of my invention to provide a play maze formed of a cluster of interconnecting hollow geornetric modules.
Another object is to provide a play maze in the form of intercommunicating modules of various shapes characterized by a maze-like arrangement of interconnecting multi-level passageways extending through the connected modules.
These and other objects will more clearly appear when taken in conjunction with the following disclosure, wherein:
FIGS. 1 and 2 are illustrative of several embodiments of the invention showing in elevation several modules partially broken away to show the interior; and
FIG. 3 depicts in three-dimensions a cluster of hollow geometric modules arranged in accordance with the invention.
In its broad aspects, the cluster may comprise at least a first hollow geometric module, whatever its shape, supported at its bottom at ground level, and at least a second hollow module, whatever its shape, connected to the ground level or first module, but supported above ground level, whereby to provide a multi-level passageway within the interconnected modules, the first module having entrance means in the wall thereof and communicating through an opening with the second module. Preferably, though not necessarily, at least one of the modules may have manual gripping means associated with at least one wall thereof. By manual gripping means is meant means that can be gripped by the hands or adapted for cooperation with a child's feet so as to enable a child to clirnb up or down within, along or outside one or more modules.
As stated above, the hollow modules can be any shape; for example, they may be rectangular, cylindrical, hexagonal or any desirable geometric configuration. I prefer to cluster together a variety of shapes and provide a variety of enclosure levels to enhance the child`s imaginary journey into and through the multi-level passageway defined by the interconnected modules.
FIG. 1 is represeutative of one embodiment of my invention which shows three 'hollow rec'tangular modules comprising a first module 10` at ground level connected to a second module 11 elevated above ground level, said elevated module being in turn connected 'to a third module 12 supported at ground level. Module 10` may be an open but inverted container so as to provide a closed top 10a as shown fragmentarily in FIG. 1; however, as shown in FIG. 3, the container may be open at the top. Module 10 is connected to module 11 by rivets 13 or other suitable fastening means, module 11 being similar-ly connected by means 14 to ground level module 12.
An entrance or exit 15 accessible at ground level is provided in module 10 through which a. child may crawl and once having entered the module he may then lift himself into module 11 through opening 16 to the upper level and from there through opening 17 into the lower level of module 12 and thence out through exit or entrance 18. A plurality of rectangular openings 19' are provided in wall 20 to let in a pattern of light to create an attractive effect within the module. The modules may generally be open at the top, although some of them may be closed, and have wall openings of various designs to create desired environmental moods or efiects by the play of light passing through the openings.
The modules may be made of any desirable material, such as commercally available plastic, e.g. Du Pont alathon polyethylene or fiber glass and similar materials. Plastics are desirable in that they are available in a variety of colors and generally are attractive to children.
FIG. 2 shows another cluster arrangement in which rectangular units or modules are combined with other module shapes to provide composite structures, which composite structures are interconnectedl to form a play maze. In the embodiment illustrated by FIG. 2, module 20 of rectangular shape is shown supported at ground level with an opening 21a near the bottom which may serve either as an entrance or exit. It will be noted from the breakaway view that module 21 is connected to another module 22 by fastening means 23, module 22 being a composite structure so that one portion of the module is elevated relative to 21 by having an extension 24 in the form of a downwardly projecting hollow cylinder, the cylinder serving as a supporting base at ground level for module 22. Openings 25 and 26 are provided in the walls of modules 21 and 22, respectively. The design of module 22 enables multi-levels within the same module. Additionally, module 22 is coupled to a third module 27 elevated still higher relative to it, these two modules being similarly connected by fastening means 28. Like module 22, module 27 forms a composite structure With cylinder 29 which serves to support module 27, while at the same time provide an additional enclosure with a ground level exit or entrance 30 which communicates via the hollow cylinder with opening 31 in the floor of module 27. It will be noted that grippng means 32 are provided to allow a child to lift himself up or let himself down through the cylinder by using both his hands and his feet to negotiate the passageway through the cylinder. It will be further noted that modules 21, 22 and 27 intercommunicate with each other via openings 33 and 34, whereby to proide a continuous multi-level passageway having three levels to be negotiated by a child, that is, up or down, depending through which opening a child enters the cluster.
FIGURE 3 depicts an embodiment of a rather large play maze cluster very similar to an actual model which has met with great success with children. Here up to nine rectangular modules are depicted intercommunicating with each other at various passage levels. A first module 35 is shown at floor level having a kind of tunnel entrance 36 made, for example, of plastic or fiber glass sealed to a corresponding opening on the wall 37 of the module. The module communicates via a connecting tunnel 38 to another module 39, the floor of which is supported above ground level by means of cylindrical module portion 40. Module 39 has triangular openings on the face of wall 41 for purposes of design and to enable a child to peek out into the surrounding environment. Module 39 communicates with the next succeeding module 42 via opening 43 common to walls 44 and 45 of the two modules.
Module 42 like t-he previous module is elevated via a connecting support 46. This module in turn communicates with module 47 via opening 48, modules 42 and 47 being wall-to-wall connected similarly as shown in FIG. 1, module 47 communicating via wall opening 49 with module 50 which is evelated from the floor by means of a hollow cylindrical substructure 51. These two modules are likewise connected wall-to-wall. A cylindrical tunnel 52 is provided projecting from wall 53 of module St) to and communicating with wall 54 module of 55 through opening 56, module 55 being smilarly elevated from ground level by a cylindrical substructure 57, an opening or doorway 59 being provided in wall 58 from which a child may jump or through which a child may clmb, should he so choose.
Similarly, module 55 is connected via a bridging tunnel 60 to module 61 supported at ground level, which module communicates with two other modules 62 and 63, respectively, via a wall-to-wall opening 64 with module 62 and a short tunnel connection 65 with module 63. Module 62 forms a composite structure with a cylindrical substructure 66 while module 63 is supported at floor level and has an exit or entrance tunnel 67 formed from a cylinder coupled to a wall opening of the module. Openngs are provided in walls 68, 69 of module 62 and in walls 70, 71 of module 63 which may or may not be used as gripping means. If desired, additional modules may be placed between modules 63 and 35 to provide a close but continuous multi-level passageway.
It is apparent from the play maze cluster shown that a multi-level passageway is provided which physically challenges a child and which at the same time helps to create a world of fantasy as the child embarks on his fanciful journey through the maze. Generally speaking, the modules or enclosures employed will have a floor and side walls, the floors being strong enough to support more than one child. Some may be provided with a roof.
As is evident from the foregoing disclosure, the elevated module in the play maze provided by the invention may be supported above ground level by connection to adjacent modules. On the other hand, the module may be a composite in which the module proper has an elevated position by means of a cylindrical support such as shown in FIG. 2. At least two modules may be wallto-wall connected and have a common opening through the walls or at least two spaced modules may communicate with each other by means of a bridging tunnel. In any event, whatever the method of ntercommunication, the invention provides a multi-level interconnecting passageway conducive towards exploration by children attracted to the novel cluster.
Although the present invention has been described in conjuncton with preferred embodirnents, it is to be understood that modifications ;and variations may be resorted to without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as those skilled in the art will readily understand. Such modifications and variations are considered to be within the purview and scope of the invention and the appended claims.
What is claimed s:
1. A play structure in the form of a three-dimensional, multi-level, play maze comprising a cluster of hollow geometric modules supported at substantially different heights while interconnected substantially in a horizontal direction, at least one of said modules being supported for accessibility at ground level, a plurality of other modules being supported above ground level in said horizontal direction so arranged as to provide multilevel passageways through said plurality of interconnecting modules, at least one of said modules communicating with an adjacent module via wall-to-wall connection, and at least one other module communicating with an adjacently spaced module via a bridging tunnel, at least one of said plurality being supported by a pedestal, said pedestal being hollow and having entrance means theren, said entrance means located in a wall of said ground level accessible module, said ground level module communicating through a wall opening with at least one of said plurality of modules, whereby a child is enabled to enter said cluster through said entrance means and pass through a maze-like arrangement of said interconnected multi-level passageways extending in said horizontal direction through said cluster.
2. The play maze of claim 1, wherein a wall of at least one module is provided with manual gripping means.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 11/1955 Rees 272-57 4/ 1959 Royston 272- RICHARD C. PINKHAM, Primary Examiner R. W. 'DIAZ, Assistant Examiner