US 3578318 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent l-1113 578318  Inventor JamesV.Young 1,916,527 7/1933 Pastir 46/87 Clayton, Mo. 2,128,628 8/1938 worobjofiw 46/44UX  Appl. No. 800,953 2,775,452 12/1956 Libra 272/1  Filed Feb. 20, 1969 2,919,135 12/1959 Marchionda. 46/44X  Patented May 11, 1971 3,346,989 10/1967 Ryan et a1. 46/ 1 19X  Assignce Monsanto company FOREIGN PATENTS St. Louis, Mo.
17,241 4/1913 Denmark 272/46 256,145 2/1913 Germany 272/1  PNEUMATIC AMUSEMENT AND EDUCATIONAL OTHER REFERENCES DEWCE Mattel Toys 1966 Pages 76- 80. Switch n Go" Copy in 17 Claims, 3 Drawing Figs. Unit 333  US. Cl 272/1R p Examiner-Amon ()echsle 1] C| Assistant ExaminerAmold W. Kramer of 87, Attorney -Thomas Leslie and John 88; 272/1, 1 (B), 65, 66, 54, 46; 92/37, 38
 Rdennoes cued ABSTRACT: A pneumatic amusement and educational UNITED STATES PATENTS device consisting of at least two bellows structures and an in- 1,051,004 [I19 1 3 Pfeifier 46/44UX terconnecting hose which affords an action similar to a seesaw 1,567,973 12/1925 Mendelson 46/87X for two or more riders.
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Patented May 11, 1971 JAMES V. YOUNG ATTORNEY PNEUMATIC AMUSEMENT AND EDUCATIONAL DEVICE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION l. Field of the Invention The invention relates to a pneumatic amusement and educational device or a pneumatic seesaw.
2. Background of the Invention A traditional and well-known amusement and learning device for children has long been the seesaw, basically a lever with varying body weights compensated by the position from the fulcrum. This lever structure has remained unchanged except in detail for centuries. Several types of amusement devices have employed pneumatic principles of the reaction of gases to compressive forces, but generally these have been of the bouncing or jumping type toys. Some jumping toys which react in the nature of a pogo stick to produce jumping motions along a surface have used single or multiple toroidal rings of elastic material with or without the presence of coil springs to produce the reaction to jumping by a rider. More recently large inflated balls of elastic material suitable for riding by an individual have afi'orded a very substantial jumping or bouncing action, particularly when adapted with handles as a means for maintaining the vertical position of the ball while being bounced and ridden. However, none of these devices employing the principles of a closed gas holding device have provided for use by more than one rider at a time nor have they in any manner simulated the action of the traditional seesaw.
The present invention utilizes the basic pneumatic principles of the gas law in a novel manner to give a more interesting and challenging action than the lever type seesaw while at the same time providing for the possibility of enjoyment by two or more riders simultaneously. Further, the pneumatic device provides training by an experimental exposure to the physics of gases.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Basically the pneumatic amusement and educational device of this invention consists of two bellows, each provided with an orifice and a hose connecting the two orifices. There is thus provided a closed air system which responds directly to force imposed on either bellows, so a compressive force applied on one bellows results in an expansive upward response in the other. The response is not only in the vertical path but, depending on the location of the rider's weight on the top of the bellows, can be in a family of paths away from vertical in any direction about a full circle as a result of the flexibility of the bellows. The speed and degree of response is controlled chiefly by the volume of the bellows, the size of the orifice in each bellows and the diameter of the hose connecting the ori fices, i.e. the pressure drop in the connecting system.
The basic system of two bellows providing a corresponding response in the nature of the seesaw can be varied in several ways. The degree of response can be multiplied or reduced by providing bellows of different diameters but approximately the same height, thus having different volumes. Provision for multiple riders can be made by providing additional bellows with an interconnected air hose system. The device thus lends itself to a wide variety of play activity and provides increased interest and educational opportunity.
The principal object of the present invention is the provision of a pneumatic amusement and educational device simple in construction and economical to produce. An additional object is the provision of such a device which affords a wide range of response to forces in various paths in and away from vertical. A further object is the provision of such a pneumatic amusement device which is adapted for use by two or, if desired, more than two riders simultaneously. A still further object is the provision of such a pneumatic amusement and educational device which is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use in conditions which are safe for very young children.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one preferred form of the complete device as assembled and in use.
FIG. 2 is a side elevation view of one of the component bellows of the invention.
FIG. 3 is an enlarged section taken along line 3-3 of FIG. 2.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS The pneumatic amusement and educational device of the present invention consists essentially of two bellows each provided with an orifice and a hose connecting the two orifices. This closed air system giving direct response to the forces imposed generally simulates the action of the traditional lever seesaw but provides for much more interesting and varying responses for the riders and hence more interesting play and educational activity. The invention may be more fully comprehended by the description below in reference to the FIGS. of the drawing.
With reference to FIG. I, which is a perspective view of one preferred embodiment of the entire assembled device, the system comprises two bellows l and 2 each provided with an orifice 3 and 4 which are connected by a hose 5. The closed air system provided responds directly to a force imposed on either bellows, so a downward force on bellows 1 will result in a corresponding upward response in bellows 2. The response is not only along a vertical path but, depending on the location of the riders weight on the top of the responding bellows 2, can be in a family of paths away from vertical in any direction about a full circle due to the flexibility of the bellows construction. The speed and degree of response can be controlled not only by the diameter, thickness and stiffness of the bellows sidewalls l0 and 10', but chiefly by the volume of the bellows 1 and 2, the size of the orifices 3 and 4 and the diameter of the connecting hose 5.
Each of the bellows I and 2 are provided with tops 6 and 6' and bases 8 and 8' which are of heavier or reinforced construction to provide stability for the device and the riders. The upper surfaces 7 and 7' and lower surfaces 9 and 9 are preferably provided with ribs or other means for increased friction to constitute a nonslip surface for standing or sitting by a rider 11 and to prevent slippage by the bellows across the surface upon which it is standing.
The basic system of two bellows providing a corresponding response in the nature of the traditional lever seesaw can be varied and multiple riders provided for if additional bellows are provided together with hoses connecting the bellows. The provision for additional bellows may take any of several forms. The additional bellows can be provided with hoses connecting to and leading off the main hose. Likewise, X, Y or other multiple connectors can be provided which serve to join multiple hoses of similar length. Alternatively, each bellows unit can be provided with two orifices so that the connecting hoses can describe a line, a square, or other form with a bellows unit between each two connecting hoses. It is only necessary that the bellows units and hose combination comprise a closed air system so that forces imposed on one or more bellows will result in a response in one or more other bellows.
With any of the above-described arrangements several riders may employ the device at the same time. Timing of a plurality of riders imposing forces on two or more bellows can provide a multiplication of force on one or a plurality of other bellows means. There is thus provided a much greater variation in activity and response than is possible with the traditional two-rider seesaw. The device thus lends itself to a wide variety of play activity and provides increased interest and educational opportunity for children.
The details of construction of the bellows components of the pneumatic device of this invention can be appreciated by reference to FIG. 20f the drawing. From that FIG. it can be seen that the bellows component is preferably constructed with top and base portions 6 and 8 which are of thicker or reinforced construction when compared to the sidewalls 10 of the bellows. Furthermore, the base b can, if desired, be made larger in diameter than the top 6 to afford additional stability to the device..The sidewall of the base 8 is a convenient location for the orifice required for connecting each bellows to one or more similar bellows units. There is also provided a flange or other means of connection adapted for fixedly attaching the connecting hose to the orifice of the bellows unit. This connecting means can conveniently be in the form of a screw connection if desired.
A preferred form of hose connecting means is shown in FIGS. 2 and 3 wherein a solid connecting pipe 12 is snapped into a recessed channel 13 in the base 8. One end of the connecting pipe 12 is provided with a screw connection 14 or other means of connecting the hose 5, while the other end 16 provides an orifice 15 to the interior of the bellows. This orifice is preferably a vertical one so that the interior end 16 of the connecting pipe 12 is in the form of an elbow. Most preferably the vertical end 16 of the connecting pipe 12 is tapered to form an effective air seal with the opening 17 molded or otherwise formed in the base of the bellows. In the alternative form of the device having two orifices two connecting pipes 12 and channels 13 can be provided, but the pipes 12 can be shorter so that both can be connected to the same base 8 without interference. There is thus provided ease of disassembly of the entire device into its constituent units, while preventing accidental detachment of the connecting hoseor hoses. In the case of the bellows units these can be collapsed for shipment, in smaller shipping cartons.
The bellows units of the invention can be constructed from a wide variety of materials, both elastic and relatively in- .polychloroprene or neoprene, and polyisoprene, natural rubber and the like. Also the bellows can be constructed of relatively inelastic composite materials formed as a bellows such as vinyl or rubber coated textile fabrics or like materials. The bellows can be blow-molded or roto-molded from polypropylene, ethylene-propylene polymers or plasticized vinyl chloride elastic copolymers while they can be compression molded from the synthetic rubbers or natural rubber. The thickness of the walls of the bellows units can be varied within a range of approximately one thirty-second to three-eighths inch to afford control of motion. Generally good results for children of average weight are obtained with a wall thickness of one-sixteenth to one-fourth inch.
The connecting hose or hoses may be of the same or different materials than the bellows units detailed above. The hose may include a helical wire reinforcing member, if desired, but this is not essential. The internal diameter of the connecting hose is adapted for the size of the orifices employed, which can vary over a broad range of about 1 to 4 inches. An orifice size of 1.5 to 3 inches has been found generally satisfactory for children of average weight, wherein the smaller diameter gives a slower response in both bellows to the imposition of a downward force on one. The ends of the bellows can be-rendered substantially rigid by molding the bellows sides to previously prepared end portions or additional rigidifying sections can be added after molding. Preferably the molding operation is so carried out that thicker portions of the material molded are deposited on the ends of the mold sufficient to render the ends substantially rigid in comparison to the sides of the bellows units.
The bellows units of the present invention, whether con- I structed of elastic or inelastic materials, are preferably constructed in such a manner that the maximum displacement upwardly or downwardly of the bellows does not exceed a percentage of its at rest height which will render the unit safe for children of various ages and sizes. Thus the maximum downward displacement should be no more than 90 percent and, preferably, no more than 80 percent of the height of the bellows sidewall portion of the bellows unit when at rest. This will avoid any. possibility of pinching fingers or toes of the riders, even when they are very small children. Likewise, the maximum displacement upwardly of the bellows should be no greater than the downward displacement maximum, and most preferably no greater than percent of the at rest height of the bellows. This will avoid the top surface rising to such a height as to lead to possible injury of a very small child if he fell off at the apex of the displacement of the bellows. This maximum displacement in either direction can be readily controlled by the depth of the convolutions of the bellows molded or otherwise formed into the bellows when it is produced, the properties of the material or materials used, the volume of the bellows and the size of the orifice or orifices. There is no necessity for internal springs or limiting means of any kind to achieve this safety factor.
The pneumatic amusement and educational device of the present invention affords many advantages over play and exercise devices previously known. The device of the instant invention affords controlled motion response through a wide range of paths to forces imposed on the other bellows member of the device. The device possesses inherent safety features for use by children of varied size and age. In this respect there is no opportunity for fingers or toes to be pinched by the rigid surfaces of the bellows and the maximum vertical response is inherently limited by the mode of construction of the bellows to a safe range for all sizes of children. There are no sharp or hard comers or edges. Furthermore, the device is easily adaptable for two or more riders'simultaneously, serving to increase its play and exercise value to groups. The device of this invention is quite simple in construction and economical to produce. Likewise it is economical for shipment in that all parts are collapsible and can be economically packaged. Still further the device of this invention is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, so that it can be utilized in any weather and throughout the year.
' it is to be understood that changes and variations may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims.
l. A controlled motion amusement riding device comprising a plurality of bellows, each of a size adequate to serve as seat, each bellows comprising a base, a top, and a sidewall connecting said top to said base whereby said top in response to forces thereon is capable of motion in a family of paths away from vertical in any direction about a full circle and each bellows having at least one orifice, and at least one hose connecting the orifices of all the bellows, the assembly constituting a closed air system.
2. The device according to claim 1- wherein the assembly comprises two bellows and a single connecting hose.
3. The device according to claim ll wherein a main hose connecting two bellows has side hoses connecting additional orificed bellows.
4. The device according to claim ll wherein a plurality of hoses each connected to a bellows are joined by multiple connector means.
5. The device according to claim ll wherein the assembly comprises at least three bellows, each bellows has two orifices and each bellows is directly connected to two other bellows by a hose connecting the orifices.
6. The device according to claim 1 wherein an orifice in each bellows is located in the base of the bellows.
7. The device according to claim 1 wherein a separable connecting pipe connects the hose to an orifice in the base of the bellows.
8. The device according to claim 7 wherein the separable connecting pipe comprises an elbow.
9. The device according to claim 8 wherein the separable connecting pipe comprises an elbow with a tapered vertical arm and a threaded horizontal arm.
10. The device according to claim 1 wherein the lower surface of the base and the upper surface of the top of each bellows are ribbed.
15. The device according to claim 1 wherein each bellows is an integral molded vinyl chloride article.
16. The device according to claim I wherein each bellows is an integral molded synthetic rubber article.
17. The device according to claim 1 wherein each bellows is formed of a plastic coated fabric composite.