US 3575418 A
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United States Patent  inventor Alex D. Palmer, 507 Cambridge Circle Deerfield, 111. 60015 [21 I Appl. No. 818,253
 Filed Apr. 22, 1969  Patented Apr. 20, 1971  PUZZLE ASSEMBLY WITH INNER PERIPHERY DEFINING AN lDENTiFllAlBLE SHAPE OTHER REFERENCES lnstruments & Control Systems, Dec. 1959, page 1781 Q184.l59 copy in Gp. 334, 273-157 Primary Examiner-Anton O. Oechsle Attorney-Dawson, Tilton, Fallon & Lungmus ABSTRACT: A puzzle game comprising a plurality of generally planar pieces, each of which is provided with a projection and a recess. The projection of eachpiece is capable of being interlocked with the recess of every other piece, but not necessarily in the correct sequence which would reveal a recognizable answer shape surrounded by the assembled pieces. To form the correct preselected shape in the center, each piece must be in its proper place between two correct neighboring pieces. When all of the pieces are properly interlocked, each piece being interlocked with properly chosen pieces of the set at each end, a generally ringshaped structure is formed, and the inner periphery of the ring-shaped structure defines the outline of a preselected identifiable object.
Patentgd April 20, 1971 3,575,418
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PUZZLE ASSEMBLY WITH INNER PERIPHERY llltiElFllNlNG AN IDENTIFIABLE SHAPE BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY Games which test a player's ingenuity and ability to plan ahead are becoming increasingly popular. Such games not only prove to be a challenge to both young and old, but they have valuable educational benefits for children and adolescents.
The inventive game satisfies these objectives of stimulating ingenuity and the ability to plan ahead while at the same time teaching the value of patience. Each of the individual pieces of the game can be fitted or interlocked with any two other pieces, but while it may be possible that there is more than one way that the pieces can be interlocked so that the pieces form a continuous ringlike structure in which every piece is interlocked with two other pieces, there is only one sequence of arrangement that will give the correct solution. As an aid and an incentive in assembling the pieces, the inner periphery of the correct ringlike structure defines the contour of an identifiable object, and as the pieces are progressively interlocked in the proper way this contour gradually takes shape.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION The invention is explained in conjunction with an illustrative embodiment shown in the accompanying drawing, in which:
' FIG. l is a top plan view of a particular set of pieces which are interlocked in the proper way;
FIG. 2 is a top plan view of some of the pieces shown in FIG. I which are interlocked in a different way that fails to yield any part of an identifiable contour;
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of one of the pieces illustrated in FIG. ll; and
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary sectional view taken along the line 4-4 of FIG. ll.
Referring now to the drawing, the puzzle game comprises a plurality of individual puzzle pieces It), Ill, 12, 13, I4, etc. Each of the individual pieces is seen to be interlocked with two other pieces to form a generally ring-shaped structure designated generally by the letter A which encloses the space designated B. The contour of the space B formed by the inner periphery of the ringlike structure resembles an identifiable object which, in the particular embodiment illustrated, is a shark.
As can be seen best in FIGS. 3 and 4, each of the pieces is relatively flat or planar and includes a major or body portion, a generally T-shaped projection, and a generally T-shaped recess. For example, piece 19 illustrated in FIG. 3 includes a body portion 11% and a projection 39b, and is provided with a recess 19C. Each of the other pieces similarly includes a body portion and a projection and is provided with a recess extending into the body portion. For example, referring to FIGS. I and 2, piece l6 includes a body portion 160 and a projection 11611 and is provided with a recess Mic. The body portion of each of the pieces is shaped somewhat differently, but the shape of each of the projections 19b, 16b, etc. is substantially the same, as are the contours of the recesses 19c, Mic, etc., so that the projection of each piece can be received by the recess of every other piece.
Referring again to FIG. 3, the projection 19b is formed integrally with the body portion 19a and includes a relatively wide head portion W4 and a relatively narrow or restricted neck portion 11% between the head portion and the remainder of the piece. The recess We is similarly shaped, having a relatively narrow mouth portion I9] and a relatively wide interior portion 19g, and the generally T-shaped configurations of the projections and recesses permit each piece to be interlocked with two other pieces.
The piece 19 also includes a pair of shoulder portions 19h and Wt which extend in generally opposite directions from the neck We and generally transverse to the direction in which the projection 19b extends, and a pair of base or foot portions l9j and 119k which extend in generally opposite directions from the mouth of the recess 19c and generally transverse to the direction in which the recess extends into the body portion. The length of each of the shoulder portions is substantially the same as the length of the foot portions. The sides 19! and 19m of the body portion which extend between the shoulder portion 19h and foot portion l9j and between the shoulder portion 19: and foot portion 19k, respectively, are somewhat irregularly shaped, and the contour of the sides appear to have no particular significance when each piece is viewed separately.
The other pieces similarly include a generally T-shaped projection, shoulder portions extendingaway from the neck portion of the projection, generally T-shaped recess, and base or foot portions extending away from the recess. The dimensions of these parts on each of the pieces are substantially the same so that the projection of each piece may be received by the recess of every other piece, and when two pieces are so interlocked, the sides of the pieces between their respective shoulders and bases form a substantially continuous contour. For example, referring to FIG. I, the projection 16b and recess of piece B6 are seen to be interlocked with, respectively, the recess 17c of piece i7 and the projection 15b of piece I5, and each side of each piece merges with the side of the adjacent piece to form a substantially continuous contour. When all of the pieces are joined in a particular manner to form the generally ringlike structure shown in FIG. l, the inner periphery of this structure formed by the sides of the individual pieces defines a readily identifiable object which, in the particular embodiment illustrated, is a shark.
Since each piece can be interlocked with any two other pieces to form an elongated chainlike structure, the pieces may be joined to form different contours. For example, in FIG. 2, piece 16 is joined to pieces 10 and 12 rather than to pieces 15 and 117 as illustrated in FIG. 1, and piece 10 is joined to pieces 13 and 16 rather than to pieces 11 and 20, and the resulting contour formed by the sides of these pieces is different than the contour formed in FIG. 1. However, in order for the pieces to form the continuous ringlike structure the inner periphery of which defines the shark, each piece must be interlocked with two particular pieces. For example, the projection of piece 116 must be received by the recess of piece 17, and the recess of piece 16 must receive the projection of piece 15. Similarly, the projection of piece 17 must be received by the recess of piece Id, and the projection of piece Id must be received by recess of piece 19.
The game is played by joining several pieces, which fit together much like the familiar jigsaw puzzles, and then determining whether any identifiable shape is being formed. For example, in FIG. 2, pieces I2, l6, I0, 13 and 15 are joined, and since the dimensions of the shoulder portions of each of the pieces correspond to the dimensions of the foot portions of the other pieces, the sides of the joined pieces will form substantially continuous contours. However, after several of these pieces have been interlocked, it will be apparent that no readily identifiable contour is being formed. The number of pieces which must be assembled before the player recognizes either of these alternatives is dependent upon the player's ability to imagine a whole figure when he believes he has recognized a portion of its contour. Once this recognition is made, the arrangement of the pieces is altered and new combinations are tried until the pieces are ultimately assembled in the proper manner.
If desired, the game may also include a complete or partial centerpiece which is shaped to conform to the space B defined by the inner periphery of the pieces when they are joined in the proper fashion, and this centerpiece may be sealed in an envelope or the like so that its shape will not be apparent to the player and will constitute either confinnation of the solution or proof that the puzzle was workable. When the player despairs of ever arranging the pieces in the proper manner, he may remove the centerpiece or partial centerpiece from the envelope and use it as a guide in assembling the pieces. In this way, he can satisfy his curiosity as to how the pieces should be arranged. Alternatively, the puzzle may be packaged without the centerpiece, and this piece can ,be supplied by the manufacturer upon the request of the player.
l have found that even after the centerpiece is seen, studied, and memorized as a guide in assembling the pieces, there is still considerable challenge in assembling the pieces in the proper manner after the centerpiece has been removed from sight.
Although the particular shape defined by the correctly assembled pieces illustrated in HO. 1 is a shark, it is to be understood that the sides of the pieces could be shaped so that other contours would be formed and that the game may include more or less pieces. However, regardless of the number of pieces and regardless of the particular shape which the pieces fonn when they are joined in the proper way, the pieces can be joined in only one way to form that particular shape.
Further, although I have described both of the shoulder portions and both of the foot portions as being of substantially same length, the sides of the interlocked pieces could still form continuous contours if one shoulder portion of each piece differed in length from the other shoulder portion on each side of the piece were of substantially the same length. Referring to FIG. 3, the shoulder 1% on the left side of the projection could be longer than the shoulder l9i on the right side, and the lengths of the lefi and right foot portions 19] and 19k would correspond with the lengths of the shoulders l9lr and 19:, respectively. The lengths of the left shoulder and foot portion of every other piece would correspond to that of shoulder 19):, and the lengths of the right shoulder and foot portion of the other pieces would correspond to that of shoulder 19:.
While in the foregoing specification, a detailed description of may invention was set forth for the purpose of illustration, it is to be understood that many of the details hereingiven may be varied considerably by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of my invention.
l. A game comprising a plurality of generally planar pieces, each of said pieces including a body portion and a single generally T-shaped projection, the body portion being provided with a single generally T-shaped recess, each piece including a pair of shoulders extending in generally opposite directions substantially transversely from the projection thereof and a pair of foot portions extending in generally opposite directions substantially transversely of the recess therein, a first side extending from one of the shoulder portions to one of the foot portions, and a second side extending from the other of the shoulder portions to the other foot portion, the length of said one shoulder portion and said one foot portion of each piece being substantially the same and the length of said other shoulder portion and said other foot portion of each piece being substantially the same, the contour of the projection of each piece being substantially the same as the contour of the recess of each piece so that the projection of each piece can be received by and interlocked with the recess of every other piece and the first and second sides of each piece will form a substantially continuous contour with the first and second sides, respectively, of any being piece, the projection and recess of each piece being arranged relative to each other so that every piece can be interlocked with two other pieces to form a continuous generally ring-shaped structure having continuously curved inner and outer peripheries, the inner periphery defining an identifiable object only when the projection of each piece is interlocked with the recess of a particular other piece.
2 An assembly game comprising a generally ring-shaped structure of generally planar material, the inner periphery of the ring being a continuous curve and defining an identifiable shape and the outer periphery of the ring being a continuous curve and having no identifiable shape said ring having a plurality of joints at irregularly spaced intervals to form a plurality of individual pieces, each joint extending transversely inwardly from the inner and outer peripheries and having the same transverse dimension and having the same shape whereby any assembly of the individual pieces will always have a pair of continuously curved peripheries.
UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION Patent No. 3,575,418 Dated April 20, 1971 Inventor(s) Alex D. Palmer It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:
In claim 1, line 23, "being", first occurrence, should be interlocking-.
Signed and sealed this 10th day of August 1971.
EDWARD M.FLETCHER,JR. WILLIAM E. SCHUYLER, JR. Attesting Officer Commissioner of Patents