US 3556522 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent John A. Gale  Inventor 978 E. Shady Lane, Wayzata, Minn. 55391  Field of Search 272/565; 104/56, 69, 70; 34/5(6.4E)
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 803,119 10/1905 Logan .1 272/565 916,100 3/1909 Brown..... 272/56.5X 1,192,445 7/1916 Medan... 272/565 1,347,968 7/1920 ODoie 1. 272/565 2,315,627 4/1943 Lamb. 3,362,755 l/1968 Macks 272/56.5X
Primary Examiner-Anton O. Oechsle Assistant Examiner-Arnold W. Kramer Attorney-James R. Cwayna ABSTRACT: This invention relates to a slide concept which incorporates a basic slide module which individual module encompasses a certain angular displacement from one end to the other with a certain degree of rise from one end to the other to provide a portion of a smoothly ascending spiral. The slide may exist as a single module element or may incorporate a plurality of such modules which modules include not only a body slide portion but which also include a stepped, climbing portion such that when a plurality of such modules are utilized and mounted on a frame structure, a complete integral climbing and slide device is provided. The individual modules are provided with connective devices at the respective ends thereof for interlocking modules together to provide a continual spiral slope and spiral climbing portion. A frame device is provided when such a plurality of modules are utilized and the individual modules are provided with frame engaging portions on the lower sides thereof to positively connect to the frame.
Applicant's concept of providing a modular spiral sector having a relatively smooth surface on one portion thereof to provide a slide element and a second portion providing a plurality of climbing steps thereon for ascending the unit to subsequently use the slide is a concept far remote from standard slide mechanisms now in existence. The device as provided by applicant includes a plurality of identical modules designed and constructed to permit joining thereof to form a slide of any length. The individual modules provideQthrough their unique design, the necessary structural integrity to properly support the users whether the users are climbing upon the step portion or sliding upon the slide portion. Integral with this unique construction and design is the concept of moulding and forming into the modules at proper location necessary configurations to provide attachment between modules and to provide means of supporting the joined or individual modules on a frame.
Each of the individual modules through its unique utilization of an outer substantially continuous surface to provide necessary strength permits the entire slide device to be comprised solely of a supporting frame structure and the individual modules. It is not necessary to provide any complicated hold down or positioning devices for the modules on the frame as the frame is particularly designed and constructed to aid in supporting the modules by directing the forces which act upon the modules in a direction which will serve to hold the modules together rather than in a direction tending to separate the modules. The individual modules members gain their structural integrity through the utilization of moulding processes which permit the moulding of a properly shaped shell configuration wherein all of the portions of the slide, including the steps and the slide elements and the connector aspects thereof for individual modules are formed therein.
It is therefore an object of applicants invention to provide a module which includes a spiral segment, relatively smooth slide portion with means on the ends thereof for connecting modules in end to end relationship to provide a slide of any desirable length.
It is a further object of applicants invention to provide a slide construction providing a plurality of connectable modules, each module provided with a relatively smooth spirally adapted slide portion and a climbing portion formed integrally with the slide portion.
It is a further object of applicants invention to provide a slide construction utilizing a modular concept wherein a continuous surface is formed and constructed to provide a slide portion and a climbing portion associated therewith whereby the modular member is self-supporting over the length thereof due to the configuration of the structurally formed surface.
It is a further object of applicant's invention to provide a slide structure comprised of individual module members having means on the end thereof for connecting a plurality of such modules in continuing relation to one another which includes releasable interference connectors on the respective ends of the module for positively locating and connecting modules It is a further object of applicant's invention to provide a modular slide structure which includes a plurality of module v members supported on a frame structure which modules are designed to receive portions of the frame into selected areas thereof and to positively locate the same on said frame device.
These and other objects and advantages of my invention will more fully appear from the following description made in connection with the accompanying drawings, wherein like reference characters refer to the same or similar parts throughout the several views, and in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a completed slide consisting of four slide modules embodying the concepts of applicant's invention;
FIG. 2 is a side view of the slide shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the slide of FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a perspective view ofa pair of module members illustrating the inter fitting of the connective portions thereof;
FIG. 5 is a top plan view of one of the modules;
FIG. 6 is a transverse section taken substantially along line 6-6 of FIG. 5;
FIG. 7 is a transverse section taken substantially along line 7-7 of FIG. 5;
FIG. 8 is a transverse section taken along line 8-8 'of FIG. 5;
FIG. 9 is a transverse section taken substantially along line 9-9 of FIG. 5;
FIG. 10 is a portion taken along line 10-10 of FIG. 2 of two modules illustrating the type of connector utilized for joining the same and being drawn to a scale enlarged from the remainder of the drawings; and
FIG. 11 is an arcuate section taken substantially along line 1111 of FIG 2 illustrating the slide surface.
In accordance with the accompanying drawings the slide embodying the concepts of applicants invention is illustrated in its fully assembled form in FIG. 1 and is generally designated 11. The slide 11 is illustrated in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3 in cludes a frame structure generally designated 12 and a slide and climbing portion which includes a plurality of modules each of which are identical and which therefore are provided with the same identifying numbers for the individual portions thereof and which are each generally designated 13. As illustrated in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3 four module members 13 are provided on the frame structure '12. These modules are formed from a plastic material which lends itself to molding techniques required to produce the shapes of the modules. It should be obvious and will beob'vious as this description continues that this number is not set and may vary for individual applications. The utilization of four such modules in this particular description is to illustrate the effect and design of the modules to provide asparticularly illustrated in FIG. 3, a 360 spiral device which basically is evolved from a cylindrical member.
The individual modules 13 are formed as a continuous surface and provide a front lamina 14, and a rear lamina 15 which lamina are joined though side "elements 16-17. The entire lamina construction affords a cavity 18 therewithin which cavity is substantially enclosed. The strength and structural integrity of the device is gained from this continuous surface structure and all of the functional aspects and members of the slide device and climbing device incorporated into the module are formed within the respective surfaces of the member.
The front surface 14 of the respective modules includes a first substantially concave portion generally designated 19 which has downwardly depending sides 20a20b terminating at a relatively flat bottom portion 21 which extends across a substantial lateral width of the modules. The side members 200-20 are generally upstanding and are of varying degrees of depth'as particularly illustrated in FIGS. 7, 8 and 9 which, as suggested by these drawings, give the slide module a varying degree of slope along the downwardly arranged spiral portion thereof. The radial outer edgeof this concave portion 19 defines a side upstanding guide member which is formed by the radially outwardly spaced side element 20!: and the exterior side member 17 which terminate in a substantially planar and radially extending segment 22. This segment 22 serves as a hand rail or guard rail completely surrounding the exterior of the spiral slide device.
The slide surface of the modules 13 is best illustrated in FIG. 11 which shows that for the generation of identical upper and lower surfaces the slide surface provides a smooth undulatory effect. This undulation is also pointed out in the variations of depths of the slide surface 21 in FIG. 718 and 9. This arrangement provides a smooth traversal through the line of joinder of modules 13 and likewise permits a relatively smooth exit at the lower end 51 of the slide as the same rests on the ground.
Spaced radially inward from the concave portion 19 are a plurality of step members forming a stair area designated generally 25. The step members in the form shown include a substantially horizontally arranged tread section 26 and a riser section 27 extending generally vertically upwardly therefrom to the next succeeding tread 26. Stair area 25 is further bounded by an upstanding side member 28 arranged on the radially inner side of the stair section 25 and a generally upstanding side element 29 arranged on the radially outwardly spaced portion of the risers and treads. This particular configuration is also illustrated in FIGS. 7, 8 and 9 and the coaction of the stairs to the slide is further illustrated in FIG. 5. The radially outward upstanding side 29 of the stair section 25 communicates and is combined with the radially inward upstanding slide portion a at the juncture point generally designated 30 which juncture is again generally flat and in planar relationship along the spiral portion of the slide. This juncture point, again being upstanding provides an inward guide or guard rail about the concave slide section 19 and likewise serves to support the tread and riser portions of the stair area 25.
The inward upstanding side section 28 of the stair area extends to meet with the radially inward side section 16 of the module 13 at an area designated 32. Again this area is, as illustrated, generally planar to the aforementioned guide areas 22 and and these members are radiated in planar spirally upward configuration from the center of the cylinder formed by the modules 13.
The entire front surface 14 of the module provides a plurality of steps at a predetermined radial distance from the imaginary center of the module with the slide concave portion 19 arranged radially outwardly therefrom, again spaced a predetermined distance from the imaginary center of the module. This top surface then provides the functional play aspect of the unit in that the stairs are formed to permit climbing to the top of the slide with the slide allowing the descent.
The upper most surface of the module 13 is arranged angularly with respect to the front surface 14 thereof to provide a substantially horizontal area when the modules is utilized. This upper surface 40 includes a substantially triangularly shaped and dished area 41 arranged in radial agreement with the aforementioned treads 26 and risers 27 of the step section 25. Arranged radially outwardly from the dished step area 41 are a plurality of radially spaced and arcuately directed slot members, each generally designated 42 which slot members are formed in the upper surface of the area 40 in which, as illustrated in FIG. 5 are increasing in arcuate dimension as the radial location increases. The cross section of the slots 42 is particularly illustrated in FIG. 6 which shows that they are formed'in the lamina and are of generally smooth configuration throughout.
Also provided on the horizontal surface 40 which, for purposes of uniting modules 13 may be termed a connecting surface are a pair of upstanding members designated respectively 43-44. These members are radially spaced on the surface 40 and the inner member 43 serves as a locating member having a dome-shaped cross section while the outwardly spaced member 44 provides the attachment for succeeding modules 13. This member 44 will be discussed more particularly in connection with FIG. 10.
As particularly shown in FIGS. 4 and 5 the topmost surface 40 provides the termination for the sliding surface 14 and therefore provides a substantially flat curved area therein bounded by the upstanding side elements 22-30. Obviously this curved area 50 must coincide with the curved area 51 at the bottom of the slide area 14 such that a continuous surface will be provided when the modules 13 are joined. As illustrated in FIG. 4 the rail sections 22-30 extend angularly upwardly slightly above the top surface 40 and these angular sec tions are designated respectively 22a30a. The arrangement of these upstanding angular surfaces provide an abutment arrangement for the next succeeding module 13 which will rest on the surface 40. This upstanding angular arrangement also provides a smoother flow of the rails 22-30 from one module to the next module.
The rear surface of the module generally designated 15 extends generally smoothly downwardly from the rearmost area of the top section 40 and is spaced a predetermined distance from the top lamina 14 of the module 13t0 a bottom substantially flat surface 60. This rear surface 15 is provided with at least one radially extending vertically arranged groove portion 61 which is illustrated in FIG. 6 as being arranged in substan tially underlying relationship to the top surface 40. Usage of this particular groove area 61 is designated in FIGS. 1 and 2 which illustrate the same providing a frame engaging section. The particular configuration of the groove 61 is, as illustrated in FIG. 6, generally outwardly and upwardly into the modules 13 such that the frame rails will, likewise being arranged upwardly and outwardly, provide an inwardly directed force for the modules mounted thereon such that any downward force on the individual modules will serve to force the same toward s the center into tighter locking position, rather than providing or permitting an outward force to upset the interlocked modules. This rear surface 15 continues downwardly behind the sliding surface and step surface 14 and terminates in the aforementioned substantially flat area 60. This substantially flat area 60 is a male and female mirror image of the aforediscussed top connected area 40. As illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 9 the bottom area 60 provides a locating passage 62 extending upwardly into the module cavity to receive the aforementioned dome shaped connector device 43 arranged on surface 40 and a second connective passage 63 provided on the radially outwardly spaced portion of surface 60 to receive the aforementioned connector device 44. Again this connector device 44 and passage 63 will be discussed in connection with FIG. 10.
A plurality of radially spaced and arcuately increasing protruding flanges 64 are provided on the surface 60 and it should be obvious that these flanges 64 are arranged to and do in utilization of the device slip into the aforementioned slots 42 on the top surface 40. In this manner the slots and flanges provide a male and female connection between succeeding modules for positively preventing either radial or arcuate slip of one with regard to the other.
The positive connective system between modules is illus trated in FIG. 10 where the aforementioned male member 44 of the top surface 40 of one module is received into a female passage 63 formed in the lower surface 60 of a succeeding module. As illustrated the male member 44 is an inverted frustoconical member having its area of greatest dimension 65 spaced upwardly a predetermined dimension from the surface 40. This member is substantially arcuate in shape and the female member 63 provides an inverted frustoconical passage having its area of larger dimension 63a spaced a predetermined distance from the bottom surface 60. Naturally these spaced dimensions are in agreement such that a relatively tight but releasable poppit type or interference connection is afforded when the area of larger dimension 65 of the male portion passes through the area of minimal dimension 63b of the female portion. The poppit connection is available due to the expansibility of the material utilized and the specific construction of the modules in providing the cavity 18 between the laminae forming the modules.
A frame structure having modules mounted thereon is illustrated therearound FIGS. 2 and 3. The frame includes a base portion generally designated 70 which includes in the form shown four right angle members 71. These right angle members as particularly illustrated in FIG. 2 are arranged to slope upwardly from the corner portion 71a thereof to the connector portion 71b thereof such that when weight is placed on this device the base will assume a substantially planar arrangement. The connective portion 71b is provided as'semicircular portions that they may be attached to a vertical strut 72 and encapture the same entirely therearound with a connector device such as a nut and bolt 73 provided for connecting the three elements together. Five such upward struts are provided in the frame and are designated respectively 72, 74, 75 and 76 with a central strut 77 which central strut 77 is designed to rest upon the supporting surface with a cushion 77a or the like being arranged on the lower end thereof.
The structure of the combined modules provides a spiral and as such support areas must be provided for each such joined module utilizing the aforementioned frame retaining groove 61 in the rear surface thereof. To more easily explain the utilization of the frame work and the modules the modules will be designated in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3 as 80 for the lower module and 81, 82 and 83 for the next upwardly succeeding modules. The lower module 80 is designed to have its lower surface 60 rest directly on the supporting plane and extends upwardly therefrom. A radially extending frame member 85 is arranged between the central strut 77 and strut 72 and this strut as illustrated. extends upwardly and outwardly from strut 77 toengage the capturing slot 61 in the first module 80. The second module 81 is provided to rest on the upper surface of the lower module 80 and extends upwardly therefrom to in this case a supporting radially and upwardly arranged frame portion designated 74a which is a bent section extending inwardly from strut 74. Strut 74a is attached to the central strut 77 by providing a generally arcuate collapsed bend portion 74b on the inner end thereof with a nut and bolt 74c to provide attachment to the strut 77. It should be obvious that at this point a sufficiently high slide is provided and the frame work could basically cease at this point. To illustrate a full spiral technique the applicant has illustrated his slide of four members and the frame is designed to support these four modules. Extending upwardly from the second module is the third succeeding module 82. ln this case the strut 75 extends entirely upwardly past the connective groove 61 to provide a guard rail around the upper portion of the slide which guard rail is designated 75a. At the point of the groove 61 another inwardly and downwardly extending frame member 86 is provided for attachment to the central strut 77. The fourth and remaining strut 76 extends entirely upwardly to join the guard rail 7511 at the upper portion of the completed slide and again an inwardly and downwardly arranged frame section 87 is provided which is connected to both the strut 77 and strut 76.
The upper frame configuration is completed by providing the central strut 77 to extend upwardly and partially around the upper portion of the slide 83 which upper portion of the slide 83 which upper portion of the slide is provided by the top surface 40 of one of the modules. As illustrated in FIG. 1 strut 72 is arranged to extend inwardly to connect to the central strut 77 through a bent portion 72a thereof which serves to stabilize the central strut 77 A single hold down member is illustrated in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3 is provided to abut against the upper surface 40 of the upper module 83. This hold down device is, in the form shown, a relatively simple bracket member 90 attached to an upper portion of strut 77 through a pin connector 91 or the like and this bracket member is arranged to engage the aforementioned upstanding connective device 43 on the inner radial portion of the surface 40.
Obviously this frame structure could be varied through simple modifications without departing from the primary purpose of applicant's device which is to provide a supporting frame which requires no additional support elements for the individual sections and to provide a guard rail about the uppermost surface thereof. This frame unit may be modified in many forms and applicant does not expect to be limited by the particular configuration illustrated herein.
The combined unit including the various slide modules and the frame structure provides positive hold down and retaining devices interacting between the units with a sole hold down member incorporated at the top most portion thereof. It shouldbe obvious that this configuration could stop at any individual slide module or it could be extended into a longer slide by adding modules and frame sections to the unit.
Applicant's concept then provides an individual sliding module incorporating both a climbing area and a sliding area thereon with means for connecting succeeding modules on either end thereof to provide a longer climbing area and a longer slide area for the user. The modularity of the unit provides its strength through the properly spaced and properly designed laminae and the joining effect is provided through positive non slide permitting connections between the individual members.
It should be obvious that applicant has provided a new and unique slide mechanism which is a substantial departure from the normally envisioned slide devices now in use and which is simple to erect and stable when erected.
l. A slide device consisting of at least one slide module, said module including:
a. a front lamina;
b. a rear lamina spaced from said front lamina;
c. means for joining said front and rear laminae to provide a substantially enclosed cavity therein;
d. a generally concave slide surface formed in said front lamina and generating a generally upwardly extending spiral surface; and said joining means providing a substantially planar top and bottom surface at the respective ends of said module, each said top and bottom surface arranged and constructed to permit joining of subsequent modules whereby an extended spiral slide surface may be provided.
2. The structure set forth in claim 1 and connecting means respectively on said top and bottom surface including interference fit elements providing positive connection between modules.
3. The structure set forth'in claim 2 and said connecting means including at least one male member on one said surface and a corresponding female member on the other said surface.
4. The structure set forth in claim 1 and at least one arcuately extending flange portion and at least one corresponding slot portion respectively arranged'on said top and bottom surface providing slide preventing positioning when mated between modules 5. The structure set forth in claim 4 wherein a plurality of said flange portions and slot portions are respectively provided on said top-and bottom surface 6. The structure set forth in claim 5 wherein said flange and slot portions are arranged in generally radial spaced relation on said surfaces.
7. The structure set forth in claim 6 wherein said flange and slot portions increase in arcuate length as their radial displacement from the center of the generated spiral increases.
8. The structure set forth in claim 1 and said front lamina providing with said concave slide portion rails on the respective sides of said slide portion.
9. The structure set forth in claim 1 and step means provided integral with said front lamina said step means adjacent said slide portion.
10. The structure set forth in claim 1 and at least one capturing groove formed in said'rear lamina formed integrally therewith whereby said module may be mounted onto a support frame.
11. The structure set fdrth inclaim 10 wherein said groove is arranged generally transversely across said rear lamina directed generally radially from the center of the generated spiral.
12. The structure set forth in claim 11 wherein said groove extends generally upwardly from the inner side of said module to the outer side thereof.
13. The structure set forth in claim 10 and a frame unit arranged to support the slide module. said frame including:
a. at least one vertical support unit; and
b. at least one radially extending module support arm ar ranged and constructed to be received into said capturing groove.
14. The structure set forth in claim 13 and said support arm extending generally upwardly from said support unit.
15. The structure set forth in claim 13 wherein said frame provides a module support arm respectively for each module supported thereby.
16. The structure set forth in claim 13 and a hold down element at the upper portion of said vertical support arranged to