US 3526400 A
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P 1970 J. D. CARPENTER. ETAL POWER-OPERATED SWING 3 Sheets-Sheet l Filed June 7. 1967 I N VENTURfi Jflfffi/ 0. awn/m2 BY mem/ 5077.154
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Sept. 1, 1 970 POWER-OPERATED SWING 3 Sheets-Sheet 5 Filed June '7. 196'? NM? fi 5m M E I M 02am w JM United States Patent O 3,526,400 POWER-OPERATED SWING Joseph D. Carpenter, Los Angeles, and Martin Bottjer,
Panorama City, Calif., assignors to Aeon Industries,
Inc., doing business as Pride Products Company, Glendale, Calif.
Filed June 7, 1967, Ser. No. 644,201 Int. Cl. A63g 9/16 U.S. Cl. 27286 9 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A power-operated swing having a frame, a shaft connected to the frame and a coil spring disposed around the shaft, one end of the spring being connected to the shaft and the other end to a ratchet wheel such that the spring can be wound to store energy by rotating the shaft. A pivotally mounted arm suspends a childrens seat and is pivoted by the ratchet wheel and a ratchet arrangement whereby the swing is energized into an oscillating motion.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to swings and more particularly to power-operated swings utilizing a spring for storing energy.
Power-operated swings have been known in the past and so have power-operated swings that were energized by spring means. Such a swing is, for example, shown in US. Pat. 2,807,309, issued Sept. 24, 1957 to Saint et al. These swings, and especially the motor energizing the swing, were complicated, cumbersome to manufacture and operate, and, in addition, tended to malfunction after a relatively short time because the complicated mechanism could not be economically produced to withstand extended use. Also, these swings were relatively heavy due to the large number of parts required for their construction, which made them ditficult to handle and carry to set them up at different locations.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION A swing constructed according to this invention includes a frame, a shaft mounted on the frame, and a coil spring disposed around the shaft, one end of the coil spring being connected with a ratchet wheel and the other end with the shaft. The shaft is rotatable in one direction only such that the spring can be wound by turning the shaft, and at the same time the spring is incapable of rotating the shaft in the opposite direction. A childs seat is suspended from an arm which is pivoted by the ratchet wheel and a ratchet arrangement such that the spring causes the seat to oscillate.
By energizing the arms directly instead of through intermediary parts, the swing and, more particularly, the motor constructed according to this invention comprises a minimum of parts which results in a substantially simpler, lighter, and more economically manufactured swing. In addition, a sizable reduction in the weight of the swing can be obtained to facilitate the ease with which the swing may be carried around for setting it up at difierent places or for storing it. A further important advantage of a swing constructed according to this invention is its safety and, more particularly, the arrangement which positively prevents the shaft and any handle attached thereto from being rotated by the energy-storing spring. This safety feature is highly desirable and substantially eliminates the possibility of injury from a fully rotating handle, as was possible in the past.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Initially referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, the swing is seen to be supported by a frame or support 8 comprising a pair of substantially U-shaped and preferably tubular members 10. The end of the tubular members can be provided with caps 12 that are constructed of a relatively soft material, such as rubber or plastic, to prevent damage to the surface upon which the U-shaped members rest and to prevent the swing from sliding on such a surface. The U-shaped members are secured to each other by a hinge 14 adjacent a cross bar 15 joining the free legs of the U-shaped member to permit them to be pivoted into a substantially parallel position relative to each other to reduce the swings space requirements when not in use or stored. To brace the tubular members in an A-shaped relation while the swing is in use, collapsible holding arms 16 are disposed between the U-shaped members 10 to limit the pivotal movement of the members.
As best seen in FIG 2, a transverse shield 18 is secured to one of the U-shaped members 10 adjacent the hinges 14. End plates 20 and 21 are secured to the transverse shield such that the end plates extend from the shield toward the second U-shaped member. The edge of the end plates, furthest removed from the transverse shield is provided with a lug 22 extending transversely to the end plates and parallel to shield 18. A tie bar 24 is secured to the lugs of the end plates by suitable fasteners (not shown) to steady the end plates.
Holes 26 and 27 are provided in each end plate (FIG. 3), the holes lying on a horizontal axis parallel to the transverse shield 18. A shaft 28 is disposed between the end plates and journals in the holes. One end of the shaft preferably includes a generally Z-shaped handle 30 pro vided with a rotating knob 32 to enable a person to rotate the shaft by grasping and rotating the knob.
Referring now to FIGS. 3 and 5, hole 27 in end plate 21 is larger than the diameter of shaft 28 such that a coil spring 34 wrapped around the end of shaft 28 can be extended through the hole 27. One end of the coil spring has an arm 36 extending transverse to shaft 28, the arm being secured to end plate 21 by a suitable fastener such as a machine screw 38. The other end of the coil spring remains free and is located adjacent the shaft. By wrapping a coil spring around the shaft in the manner as just described, the shaft can only be rotated in one direction, namely in the direction opposite to the direction of the winding of the coil spring. Any attempt to rotate the shaft in the opposite direction as by actuating the handle 30 or by other means, is prevented by the coil spring.
A coupling 40 is secured to shaft 28 adjacent end plate 21. Preferably, the coupling is U-shaped and provided with a bore 42 and transverse slots 44 that receive transverse protrusions 46 in shaft 28. The coupling can thus be slipped over the shaft and onto the protrusions on the Patented Sept. 1, 1970 shaft. To restrain the coupling from moving in an axial direction, it is preferably provided with a pair of transverse flanges 47 adjacent end plate 21. Protrusions 46 are stepped-up and increased in Width in a direction from end plate 21 toward end plate 20 such that the coupling cannot move beyond the confines of the second step of the protrusion on one hand and end plate 21 on the other hand.
Adjacent end plate 20 is a ratchet wheel 48 provided with teeth 50, as shown in FIG. 4. The ratchet wheel fits loosely over shaft 28 such that it can rotate on the shaft and is, in addition, secured to a coupling 52 that is of a shape similar to that of coupling 40. Coupling 52, however, is free to rotate on shaft 28. A bushing 54 (FIG. 3) is disposed intermediate the ratchet wheel and end plate 20 to space the wheel from the end plate. Disposed between the flanges 47 of coupling 40 and the ratchet wheel is an annular sleeve 56. The sleeve fits over portion 58 of coupling 40 which is parallel to the axis of shaft 28 and asimilar portion 60 of coupling 52 such that the sleeve is substantially centered relative to the shaft. A coil spring 62 is disposed about sleeve 56 and has C-shaped ends 61 that engage the couplings 40 and 52, respectively. See FIGS. 4 and 5.
In its relaxed position, the coil spring is of a substantially larger diameter than the diameter of sleeve 56 such that the spring fits loosely over the sleeve and its diameter can be reduced by winding its ends relative to each other. In addition, the pitch of the coil spring is such that the coils do not rest against each other when the spring is relaxed. Cup-shaped bearings 64 are disposed about the annular sleeve 56 at each end thereof. The bearings prevent spring 62 from binding on and locking with the ends of the annular sleeve when the spring is being wound. If such locking between the sleeve and the spring were permitted, the spring could not be completely wound.
The ratchet mechanism shown in FIG. 4 comprises an arm 66 that is pivotally mounted on shaft 28 by slipping it over the bushing 54 (disposed intermediate the ratchet wheel and end plate 21) (see FIG. 3); an L-shaped pawl 68 pivotally secured to arm 66 the pawl having a body portion 69 and a transverse leg, said legs being adapted to engage teeth 50; and similar L-shaped ratchet 70 pivotally secured to end plate 20. The end plate includes a transverse flange 72 which secures a spring 74. The spring is preferably a coil spring with arms 76 and 78 extending tangentially away from the circumference of the coils of the spring. Arm 76 is suitably secured to the transverse flange 72 and arm 78, which is included with respect to arm 76 and which is biased in a clockwise direction as shown in FIG. 4, extends through a hole in a transverse leg 82 of ratchet 70. The ratchet is thereby biased in an upward and ratchet tooth engaging direction.
Pawl 68 includes a transverse leg 84 which engages the teeth of the ratchet wheel when biased thereagainst. Arm 78 of spring 74 is disposed such that the transverse leg of the pawl engages it when the arm 66 pivots on shaft 28 in a clockwise direction, as viewed in FIG. 4. This engagement between the pawl and the arm of the spring simultaneously biases the pawl in a tooth-engaging direction and the ratchet in a disengaging direction. Alternatively, when arm 66 pivots in a counterclockwise direction, the transverse leg 84 of the pawl becomes disengaged from the spring arm 78 before the arm reaches its pivotal dead point and reverses its movement, whereby spring 74 is free to bias the ratchet in a tooth-engaging direction and prevent coil spring 62 from rotating ratchet wheel 48 and coupling 52.
In operation coil spring 62 applies a rotating force to the ratchet wheel 48 such that the ratchet wheel tends to rotate in a counterclockwise direction, as viewed in FIG. 4. The coil spring 62 is restrained from rotating the shaft by coil spring 34 which limits rotation of the shaft in one direction only, which direction is opposite to the direction the wound spring can rotate the shaft. When arm 66 commences its counterclockwise movement, pawl 68 engages a tooth 60 of the ratchet wheel, and at the same time transverse leg 84 of the pawl engages and deflects spring arm 78 and ratchet 70 against the spring bias of the spring arm such that the ratchet and the teeth are disengaged. The rotating force of spring 62 is thereby transmitted to arm 66 and urges arm 66 in a counterclockwise direction. As arm 66 rotates, the pawl slides downwardly along spring arm 78. During this motion the deflection of the spring arm 78 from transverse leg 84 becomes progressively less, simultaneously enabling the spring arm to pivot ratchet 70 in a clockwise direction progressively further toward one of the teeth 50. Eventually the transverse leg 84 is disengaged from spring arm 78 and transverse leg 82 of the ratchet is biased into a tooth-engaging position by the spring arm. The instant transverse leg 82 of the ratchet engages the ratchet wheel, the wheel is prevented from any further rotation since the ratchet is secured to end plate 20, and the power transfer between the coil spring, ratchet wheel, pawl, and arm 66 ceases. Due to its inertia, the arm continues to pivot for some time, thereby releasing the pawl from its engagement with the teeth of the ratchet wheel. The weight of the pawl now causes it to pivot downwardly until it engages a protrusion 86 in arm 66. To reduce wear and frictional forces, a sliding bushing 88 is preferably maintained on spring arm 78 such that the pawl engages the bushing when it slides along the spring arm.
Arm 66 reverses its pivotal movement after exhaustion of its inertia at a dead point and commences to pivot in a clockwise direction by its own weight. In the course of its clockwise direction, the pawl engages the sliding bushing and is biased toward the teeth of the ratchet wheel until it fully engages one of such teeth, at which time it depresses the bushing and the spring arm 78 (shown in phantom lines in FIG. 4). A reversal of the pivotal movement now occurs and the ratchet, powered by coil spring 62, again energize the arm.
The ratchet 70, the pawl 68 and the spring arm 78 are preferably configured such that the ratchet engages successive teeth 58 every time arm 66 goes through a complete oscillation. When the arm pivots counterclockwise, the transverse leg 84 permits spring arm 78 to bias the ratchet into a tooth engaging position as soon as the previously engaged tooth rotated past the transverse leg 82 of the ratchet. Each oscillation of the arm 66 thereby causes ratchet wheel 48 to rotate an amount equal to the spacing of adjacent teeth 50. At the same time the pawl is prevented from engaging the same tooth twice whereby no energy could be transmitted to arm 66 and power operation of the swing would cease.
As best seen in FIGS. 1 and 2, a seat 90, shown in greater detail on my copending design patent application entitled Infant Swing Seat, filed June 7, 1967 and hearing Ser. No. D-7388, now US. Design Pat. 213,579, issued Mar. 18, 1969, is secured to the lower end of arm 66. Preferably, the seat comprises a generally U- shaped frame 93 and first and second transverse bars 94 and 96 which space the U-shaped frame and provide means for suspending the seat. Flexible straps, chains, or ropes 98 extending from the transverse shield 18 to the first bar 94 support the front portion of the seat. Arm 66 is secured to the second transverse bar by providing it with a hole (not shown) and bolting it onto the bar. To increase the seats stability, at second arm 102 is pivotally mounted on shaft 28 adjacent end plate 21.
The seat may be of any desired type and shape. Preferably it is made of a plastic sheet and is constructed such that it defines a pair of openings 106 separated by a crotch piece 107 through which the legs of a child sitting in the seat can be extended. The crotch piece is secured to the first transverse bar 94 whereby the child is restrained to the seat and prevented from falling out while the swing oscillates.
The rear of the seat is provided with a backrest 110 which is pivotally secured to the second transverse bar 96. The backrest is of sufficient height such that small children and infants can rest and support their head against it. If larger children are placed into the seat, their head extends above the backrest and the backrest can pivot to adjust itself to the shape and position of the childs back and neck.
In order to permit the swing to be used by children of substantially different weight and size, arms 66 and 102 are relatively short, as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, and secured thereto are extension bars 112. Arms 66 and 102 include a plurality of holes 114 to secure the extension bars to the arms by means of machine screws 116 and 118. The machine screws are inserted in one or the other of holes 114 to adjust the seat for use by children of different size or weight such that the center of gravity is located approximately vertically below the transverse shaft 28.
To begin operation of the swing, the handle 20 is rotated to tighten and energize coil spring 62 until the coil spring has been restricted to a point where the coils rest against sleeve 56. A child is then placed into the seat and the seat is given a slight push to commence its oscillating movement. Thereafter, the seat continues to swing since the ratchet wheel transmits a pivoting force every time arm 66 and, with it, seat 90 swings in a clockwise direction, as viewed in FIG. 4. Anoperator from time to time rewinds the spring to store additional energy and to keep it operating. To stop the swing, a person simply grasps the seat and discontinues its swinging movement. Thereafter, it can be actuated again by pushing the seat as described above.
What is claimed is:
1. A power operated swing comprising:
a support structure;
a rotatable shaft horizontally mounted in 'the support structure;
a ratchet wheel rotatably mounted on the shaft;
a coil spring disposed around the shaft, one end of the coil spring being connected with the ratchet wheel and the other end with the shaft;
means for restraining the coil spring from rotating the shaft;
a ratchet engageable with the ratchet wheel pivotally secured to the support structure for restraining the coil spring from rotating the ratchet wheel;
an arm mounted on the shaft adjacent the ratchet wheel including a pawl in engageable relation with the ratchet wheel, said pawl being pivotally secured to said arm;
an object suspended from the arm; and
spring means for alternately biasing the pawl and the ratchet into engagement with the ratchet wheel, said spring being secured to the support structure and operatively engaging the ratchet, said pawl engaging said spring over portions of its movement when the arm pivots in the direction in which the coil spring biases the ratchet wheel and said ratchet engaging the ratchet wheel when the arm pivots in the opposite direction whereby the coil spring intermittently transmits energy to and pivots said arm.
2. A swing according to claim 1 including a bushing slidably secured to the spring biasing the pawl and the ratchet such that the pawl engages the bushing.
3. A swing according to claim 1 wherein the means for restraining the coil spring include a second coil spring disposed around and in engagement with the shaft, one end of the second spring being secured to the support structure such that the shaft is rotatable in one direction only.
4. A swing according to claim 3 wherein the means for rotating the shaft include a crank.
5. A swing according to claim 3 wherein the object is a seat and includes a substantially U-shaped frame, means for restraining a child to the frame in a sitting position, and a backrest secured to the frame.
6. A swing according to' claim 3 including an annular sleeve disposed about the shaft intermediate the shaft and the coil spring.
7. A swing according to claim 6 including means for restraining the spring from binding on the annular sleeve before it is fully wound.
8. A swing according to claim 1 including an elongated bar disposed between and secured to the arm and the object whereby the position of the bar relative to the arm is changeable.
9. A swing according to claim 8 wherein the support structure includes a pair of substantially U-shaped members pivotally secured to each other adjacent a crossbar of each U-shaped member, and means for locking the U-shaped members in a spaced-apart relationship.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,564,547 8/1951 Schrougham 272-86 3,112,814 12/1963 Pasqua -37 ANTON O. OECHSLE, Primary Examiner T. BROWN, Assistant Examiner