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Publication numberUS3545123 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 8, 1970
Filing dateMay 24, 1968
Priority dateAug 26, 1963
Also published asDE1484004A1
Publication numberUS 3545123 A, US 3545123A, US-A-3545123, US3545123 A, US3545123A
InventorsMuller Hermann E
Original AssigneeMuller Hermann E
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Cruciform male and female connectors
US 3545123 A
Abstract  available in
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

'Dec .'8, 1970 H. E} MULLER 3,545,123

CRUCIFORM MALE AND FEMALE CONNECTORS Filed May 24, 1968 I IN VENTOR fimM/v 4? 4 4454 ATTORNEYJ,

United States Patent 10, Int. Cl. A63h 33/10 US. C]. 4629 5 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A toy construction set comprising a male connector including three panels of substantially constant thickness extending from a core in three intersecting planes and forming a body with six sides, each of substantially cruciform outline, an elongated female connector of substantially cruciform cross-section including a main body portion and end means defining an internal space adapted to receive complementary portions of said male connector to form a friction joint. Said end means comprise a plurality of end faces inclined rearwardly towards the main body portion at angles of substantially 45 with reference to the longitudinal axis of the female connector, thereby to avoid interference of said end means with an end means of a similar female connector when two such are adjacently joined to said male connector. Plates can be fitted between parallel male connectors and connected thereto by interengageable means on said plates and connectors.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present application is a continuation-in-part of my copending United States application, Ser. No. 391,422, filed Aug. 24, 1964, now abandoned, entitled Joint of Skeleton Constructions and the Like.

The present invention relates to an improved toy construction set, especially capable of being easily used by children to construct a most varied and diversified number of structures, either as products of the imagination or as small scale replicas, for instance.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is an important object of the present invention to provide a very simple, inexpensive, easy-to-handle and highly versatile and simple joint between a male connector and one or more female connectors, and to construct the connectors in such a way that each may be readily separated from the other or others in order to be reassembled in a different way.

Another object of the present invention is to provide an improved construction set toy device which comprises several male and female building elements or connectors constructed and shaped in such a manner that a child may manipulate the connectors without any tools and without detailed instructions.

A further object of the invention is to provide a toy device and to construct the connectors of the joint in such a way that each thereof may be reused as often as desired, that such connectors may simultaneously serve as supports for panels, walls and other types of inserts, and that each male connector may be assembled with one or more female connectors.

An additional object of the instant invention is to Patented Dec. 8, 1970 provide a joint of the above-described features, whose parts may be mass-produced in plastic at low cost.

Still another object of the present invention is to provide a toy construction set which consists of a minimum of different parts, but nevertheless represents a challenge to an interested child because its parts may be assembled to form a practically limitless variety of different assemblies which may be products of pure imagination or miniature replicas of buildings or the like.

A further object of this invention is to provide a self locking connection between the male and female connectors of the improved joint.

Now in order to implement these and still further objects of the invention, which will become more readily apparent as the description proceeds, the inventive toy construction set comprises a male connector including three panels of substantially constant thickness extending from a core in three intersecting planes and together forming a body with six sides, each of which is of substantially cruciform outline. An elongated female connector of substantially cruciform cross-section which includes a main body portion and end means provided thereon and defining an internal space of substantially cruciform outline is adapted to receive and frictionally retain complementary portions of said body, so that the two connectors form a friction joint. The end means include a plurality of end faces inclined rearwardly to- Wards said main body portion at angles of substantially 45 with respect to the longitudinal axis of said female connector, thereby to avoid interference of said end means with an end means of a similar female connector if it is desired to connect such similar female connector to said male connector adjacent said elongated female connector, said end means extending into the region of said core. The invention further contemplates the provision of plate members, each of which can be pushed onto an associated female connector. The latter may be advantageously provided with ribs at its central region behind which engage nose means provided at each associated plate member.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION -OF THE DRAWING The invention will be better understood, and objects other than those set forth above, will become apparent, when consideration is given to the following detailed description thereof. Such description makes reference to the annexed drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a male connector designed according to the teachings of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a female connector with inclined end faces which may be assembled with the male connector of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a front view of a plate member provided for the inventive toy construction set; and

FIG. 4 is a top plan view of male connectors assembled with female connectors.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring now to FIG. 1, there is shown a male connector 1 having six sides 12 of substantially cruciform shape, whereby each such side resembles a complete Greek cross. This male connector 1 comprises three square panels 3, 4 and 5 intersecting each other at right angles at the center or core 6, so that each panel is subdivided into four rectangular sections 7. The extensions of the planes of the six cruciform sides 2 constitute the surfaces of a cube.

The male connector 1 advantageously formed as a solid body may be assembled with a female connector 8, hereinafter conveniently referred to as a rail member or rail, which is best shown in FIG. 2. This rail 8 is of substantially cruciform cross section, possessing an internal space 9 which may accommodate portions of four adjoining sections 7. In the exemplary embodiment, the rail 8 is hollow from one end to the other. Both end faces or end means 10 of the rail 8 are identical and inclined rearwardly towards the main body portion 12, thus enabling the male connector 1 to be simultaneously assembled with as many as six rails 8, whereby interference of the end face is avoided. Furthermore, this rail 8 is preferably of constant wall thickness and the cross-sectional area of its internal space 27 is so chosen that the rail 8 must be forced on to the male connector 1 and is then retained with some friction to provide a more or less permanent connection between the parts. This is particularly desirable if the material of the rail is slightly elastic; for example, the two parts may be manufactured of polyvinylchloride or another suitable synthetic plastic material. The male connector 1 may be assembled with as many as six straight rails, whereby each rail makes an angle of 90 or 180 with any one of the other rail or rails.

The toy construction set will be furnished with a number of male connectors and rails so that the user will be in a position to assemble a variety of constructions in imitation of buildings, cars, furniture, geometrical bodies and others. In the embodiment shown, the angle which the rearwardly inclined end faces 10 of the rail 8 enclose with the longitudinal axis of this rail is 45 degrees. Thus, when two or more such rails 8 are attached to the male connector 1, the adjoining rails form what is known as a miter joint. Each of the end faces 10 is flat and lies in a plane. The inclined end faces 10 serve to insure that adjoining rails 8 cannot interfere with each other when two or more rails 8 are attached to a common male connector 1. In the assembled position the inclined end faces 10 of adjoining rails 8 are touching one another along a line or have only a small gap therebetween.

Referring now to FIG. 4 there is shown a male connector 21 which constitutes a modification of the connector 1 of FIG. 1. The sections 7 are provided with rectangular cutouts 23 so that the remainder of the respective sections form shoulders 24. The wall part 25 (FIG. 2) in the assembled position is supported by the adjacent shoulder 24, so that the pointed ends 26 are not destroyed or deformed.

Such a construction set for children, offers a child a practically unlimited possibility to assemble any desired skeleton construction in imitation of full-sized constructions or to assemble buildings, frames, walls figures and other bodies which are products of his or her own imagination. The construction set may be stored in a small box, bag or a like receptacle, and a large number of different constructions may be assembled with a comparatively small number of male and female connectors. As a rule, the construction set can be furnished with rails of different length.

It is not necessary to use rails which are hollow from one end to the other. Hence, it is oftentimes sufiicient if only the end portions of the rails are provided with internal spaces deep enough to accommodate sections of complementary male connectors. However, it is normally preferred to use rails which are hollow from end to end because such rails may easily be mass-produced by an extrusion process and because their weight is but a fraction of a solid rail. Thus, in addition to offering savings in Weight, a hollow rail 8 will enable the producer to resort to presently known machines and to achieve substantial savings in material.

In a toy device, the thickness of a section 7 may be preferably 3 millimeters. The height of a panel 3, 4 or is then preferably 16 millimeters.

Additionally, as best recognized by referring to FIG. 3,

a plate member 28 can be pushed onto the rails 8, which have ribs 30 in their middle part. The noses 31 provided at such plate member 28 can snap behind the ribs 30 and are thereby retained. The four sides of the plate member 28 each have the same length. The border means or skirt 32 of the plate member 28 is constructed to be resilient or elastic, so that it is slightly deformed before the nose 31 arrives behind the ribs 30. Plate member 28, border means 32 and noses 31 are preferably formed as a single piece of plastic material. Such plate members 28 can be pushed in the direction of arrow A and/or in the direction of arrow B on the assembled set.

It should be apparent from the foregoing detailed description that the objects set forth at the outset to the specification have been successfully achieved. Accordingly, what is claimed is:

1. A toy construction set comprising a male connector consisting of a first flat panel, a second fiat panel secured to and extending in opposite directions at right angles from a midportion of said first panel, and a third flat panel secured to and extending in opposite directions at right angles from a midportion of said second panel and also secured at right angles to said first panel, said panels being of constant thickness and together forming a body with six sides corresponding to the six faces of a cube each side being of cruciform outline; an elongated female connector of cruciform cross-section having a main body portion and end means provided thereon and defining an internal space of cruciform outline adapted to receive and frictionally retain complementary portions of said body so that the two connectors form a friction joint, said end means comprising a p urality of end faces inclined rearwardly towards said main body portion at angles of substantially 45 with reference to the longitudinal axis of said female connector, thereby permitting substantial abutment, but avoiding interference of said end means with an end means of a similar female connector if it is desired to connect such similar female connector to said male connector adjacent said elongated female connector, said end means each extending into the region of the center of said male connector, said panels together forming a plurality of sections which define said six sides of the body of said male connector, each of said sections being provided with a free corner portion, each said corner portion having abutment means formed by a cutout area bounded by abutment shoulders, each said shoulder being adapted to abut a portion of a respective one of said end faces provided on the end means of said female connector upon introduction of the respective section of the male connector into such end means of said female connector.

2. A toy construction set as defined in claim 1, wherein said male and female connectors are formed of synthetic plastic material.

3. A toy construction set as defined in claim 1, wherein said panels are rectangular and of identical size.

4. A toy construction set comprising a male connector consisting of a first fiat panel, a second flat panel secured to and extending in opposite directions at right angles from a midportion of said first panel, and a third flat panel secured to and extending in opposite directions at right angles from a midportion of said second panel and also secured at right angles to said first panel, said panels being of constant thickness and together forming a body with six sides corresponding to the six faces of a cube, each side being of cruciform outline; an elongated female connector of cruciform cross-section having a main body portion and end means provided thereon and defining an internal space of cruciform outline adapted to receive and frictionally retain complementary portions of said body so that the two connectors form a friction joint, said end means comprising a plurality of end faces inclined rearwardly towards said main body portion at angles of substantially 45 with reference to the longitudinal axis of said female connector, thereby permitting substantial abutment, but avoiding interference of said end means with an end means of a similar female connector if it is desired to connect such similar female connector to said male connector adjacent said elongated female connector, said end means each extending into the region of the center of said male connector, said elongated female connector being provided with a plurality of rib means centrally located thereon and of a length substantially shorter than said female connector, adapted to be engaged by a plate member, at least one plate member mounted at said elongated female connector and engaging with said rib means therefor, said plate member being provided with nose means interengageable with said rib means.

5. A toy construction set as defined in claim 4, wherein said plate member includes depending resilient border means which carry said nose means.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,737,266 3/1956 Gross 287189.36X

2,799,118 7/1957 Lullo 4631X FOREIGN PATENTS 1,104,412 4/1961 Germany 4629 321,043 4/1957 Switzerland 287-18936 F. BARRY SHAY, Primary Examiner US Cl. X.R.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2737266 *Feb 16, 1951Mar 6, 1956Rohr Aircraft CorpStructures which require hermetical sealing
US2799118 *May 23, 1955Jul 16, 1957Richard C LindbergToy building structure
CH321043A * Title not available
DE1104412B *Dec 19, 1959Apr 6, 1961Werner ZanderHaftplatte fuer Steckbauspiele
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3854831 *Aug 31, 1970Dec 17, 1974K GutnerCorner connector for tubular members
US3859767 *Oct 31, 1973Jan 14, 1975Jahabow Of Utah IncCorner structure improvement and method
US3973855 *Apr 30, 1975Aug 10, 1976Edwin Florence, LimitedConnecting device for panels and tubes
US4021127 *Feb 10, 1976May 3, 1977Luigi GasparroJointing element for a compoundable unit structure, and a structure using said jointing element
US4334868 *Feb 17, 1981Jun 15, 1982Levinrad Maxim DConstructional kits
US4754712 *May 16, 1986Jul 5, 1988Amco CorporationAdjustable rack of shelves
US4852501 *Mar 22, 1988Aug 1, 1989Amco CorporationAdjustable rack of shelves
US5282767 *Jan 11, 1993Feb 1, 1994Gelardi John AConstruction sets with injection molded and extruded tube beams
US5941527 *Feb 9, 1998Aug 24, 1999Selton; Daniel E.Three dimensional strategy game
US6921314Jan 15, 2002Jul 26, 2005George R. MillerIntercleaving spatially dichotomized polyhedral building blocks and extensions
US6960044Feb 27, 2003Nov 1, 2005C & W Industries, LlcSupport frame kit for canopies, display racks and the like
EP0976433A2 *Apr 16, 1999Feb 2, 2000Bruder Spielwaren GmbH + Co. KGCoupling device for a toy vehicle
WO1999039796A1 *Jan 29, 1999Aug 12, 1999Daniel E SeltonThree dimensional strategy game
WO2003022384A1 *Sep 12, 2001Mar 20, 2003George R MillerA system and set of intercleaving dichotomized polyhedral elements and extensions
Classifications
U.S. Classification446/116, 403/295, 446/124, 403/298, 446/126, 428/3
International ClassificationF16B7/04, E04B1/58, A63H33/06, E04B1/24, F16B12/00, A63H33/04, A63H33/10, F16B12/44
Cooperative ClassificationA63H33/105, E04B2001/2406, A63H33/062, A63H33/046, E04B1/5831, F16B7/044, E04B2001/5856, F16B7/0446, F16B12/44
European ClassificationA63H33/06C, F16B7/04D2, A63H33/10G, E04B1/58C1, A63H33/04M, F16B7/04D, F16B12/44