US 3578381 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Inventor James V. Young Clayton, Mo. 800,920
Feb. 20, 1969 May 11, 1971 Monsanto Company St. Louis, Mo.
Appl. No. Filed Patented Assignee CONTROLLED MOTION AMUSEMENT DEVICE 344, 347, 274, 300, (bellows dig, pneurn. dig.); 248/400, 401, 402, 403, 375, 387, 388, 160, 398, 399; 5/353; 272/52, 55, 58
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 321,157 6/1885 Tate 248/388 472,351 4/1892 l-ligham 297/274 2,241,465 5/1941 Krempler 248/388 2,350,711 6/ 1944 Amos 297/ Pu. Dig. 2,434,641 1/1948 Burns 297/Pn. Dig. 2,814,053 11/1957 Seveik 297/Pn. Dig. 2,878,012 3/ 1959 Crites 248/400 3,144,270 8/1964 Bilancia 297/344 3,261,037 7/1966 Cermak et a1. 297/3. Dig. 3,263,247 8/ 1966 Knittel et a1. 5/353. 3,343,775 9/1967 Stephenson 248/400 Primary Examiner-Francis K. Zugel Attorneys-Thomas B. Leslie and John D. Upham ABSTRACT: A pneumatic amusement device consisting of a resilient bellows and offering controlled but varied motion responses to the rider.
PATENTED um 1 I9?! 3578. 381
' INVENTOR JAMES V. YOUNG ATTORNEY CONTROLLED MOTION AMUSEMENT DEVICE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The invention relates to a controlled motion pneumatic amusement device.
2. Background of the Invention 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 the 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 afforded 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 has utilized the pneumatic principle of a bellows system for multiple and interesting controlled motions.
The present invention utilizes the pneumatic principle of a bellows system in a novel manner to afford a safe and controlled motion action device providing varying and interesting motion responses to riders of various size and age.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Basically the controlled motion pneumatic amusement device of this invention consists of a resilient bellows provided with a base and a top surface stiffened to support a rider. Preferably, and particularly for very small children, the top surface is provided with a chairlike seat and restraining straps for safety. Likewise, for'use by small children it is preferred to provide a constricted orifice to afford arelease of air pressure in the bellows and whereby the inherent resilience of the bellows structure affords the recovery from imposed force. The reciprocal motion induced as a result of jumping or shifting of weight is not only along a vertical path but also, 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 structure. The speed and degree of motion in response to an imposed force is chiefly controlled by the volume and diameter of the bellows, the thickness of the bellows wall and by the depth of the convolutions of the bellows. The speed is also controlled to some extent by the size of the constricted orifice when one is present.
The principal object of the present invention is a provision of a controlled motion pneumatic amusement device simple in construction and economical to produce. An additional object is the provision of such a device which affords a response to imposed force in a family of paths in and away from vertical. A further object is the provision of such a device which is safe for use by very small children. A still further object is the provision of such a controlled motion pneumatic amusement device which is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is a side elevation view of one form of the device. FIG. 2 is a perspective view of another form of the device which includes a chairlike seat structure.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS For accommodating relatively small and light children the bellows is desirably provided with a constricted orifice for the emission and admission of air from and to the interior of the bellows. This orifice preferably is fitted with an adjustable valve by which the speed and degree of response of the bellows can be varied in accordance with the weight of a rider. A convenient location for such orifice and, if desired, valve is in the base portion, although it can be located elsewhere in the structure if desired.
Also of advantage for very small children the top surface may support a chairlike or back-supporting seat which can, if desired, be provided with restraining straps, e.g. across the open front of the'chairlike seat, for safety. In this alternative form the device comprises an infant jiggler or infant jumper for amusement and exercise of very small children.
The invention may be more fully comprehended by reference to the drawing in connection with the description below.
With reference to FIG. I, which is a side elevation of one preferred embodiment of the invention, the device comprises a resilient bellows I, having sidewalls 2, a top portion 3, a top surface 4, a base 5, and a base surface 6. The motions and response to a downward force imposed on the top surface 4 will not only be vertical but along any of a family of paths away from vertical depending on the location on the top surface of the center of the imposed force and the direction of such force. The speed and degree of motions induced are controlled chiefly by the thickness of the bellows sidewall 2, the depth of the convolutions 8 of the bellows sidewall, and the height and diameter of the bellows.
The top portion 3 and the base 5 are of heavier or reinforced construction to provide stability to the device'and the rider. The lower surface 6 of the base 5 is preferably provided with ribsor other means of increasing friction to constitute a nonslip surface. Similarly the top surface 4 can likewise be provided with a nonslip surface for standing or sitting by a rider. The base 5 is preferably of larger diameter than the top portion 3 to afford additional stability to the device.
Another form of the device especially adapted for use as a jiggler or jumper by very small children is illustrated in FIG. 2. In this form the top portion of the bellows carries a chairlike seat 9. The seat is preferably formed with rounded contours to afford both comfort and safety. The seat may be a separate piece fixedly attached to the top portion of the bellows, but preferably is a unitary molded seat integral with such top portion. If desired, the chairlike seat 9 can be fitted with restraining straps 10 across the front opening for safety. Also in this form of the device it is. preferred to include a constricted orifice 7 for emission and admission of air from and to the bellows l. A light rider such as a very small child 11 creates a downward force of such low magnitude that the inherent resilience of the bellows sidewalls 2 will itself tend to recover and balance this weight with a minor deflection in the height of the bellows, and-were the bellows a fully closed system the deflection resulting would not be great. Thus, the orifice 7, in releasing air from the bellows upon compression and admitting air again upon 4 recovery by the resilient bellows sidewalls 2, provides for greater deflection induced by a small rider and added play value to the device. Also, a slower speed of recovery is provided by such constricted orifice which adds to the safety of the device for use by small children.
Most preferably the constricted orifice 7 is provided with a valve 12 for ease of adjustment of the orifice size to accommodate riders of varied weights and strengths. A valve readily provides means to fully close the orifice and thus modify the device to a fully closed system, if desired, particularlyfor use by heavier riders. Likewise, in this form of the device, particularly for use by small children, it is preferred that the base 5 be of larger diameter than the chairlike seat 9 to afford stability and safety for such riders.
The bellows units of the invention can be constructed of a wide variety of resilient materials, both elastic and relatively inelastic. These materials preferably are viscoelastic plastic materials such as polyolefins, i.e. polyethylene, polypropylene and polyethylenerpolypropylene copolymers, other vinyl polymeric plastics, such as plasticized vinyl chloride polymers and copolymers, synthetic rubbers such as butadiene and butadienestyrene rubbers, polychloroprene or neoprene, 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 more rigid end portions of the bellows including the base and the top or chairlike seat, can be constructed of the same or different materials than the bellows units, but they are preferably produced from the same group of viscoelastic plastic materials above detailed. Preferably the bellows are molded integrally with the more rigid end portions by blow-molding, roto-molding or compression molding, depending on the selection of bellows materials. ln the case of those portions of a :device of significantly different dimension than the bellows itself, such as the chairlike seat and large diameter baseas illustrated in H0. 2, these can be formed by molding and thereafter assembling to the bellows by airtight sealing joints. The chairlike seat is preferably molded integrally with the top closure portion of the bellows and thereafter joined with the bellows sidewalls to form a unitary structure by a suitable form of sealing joinder, such as heat sealing, adhesive sealing, etc. Likewise the large diameter base can be produced as a separate molded structure and then joined to the. bottom of the bellows sidewalls in a similar manner.
The degree and speed of motion of the device is largely controlled by the' volume and diameter of the bellows, the thickness of the bellows sidewall and the depth of the bellows convolutions. The sidewall thickness can be varied to control the degree of motion and response depending on the choice of materials employed within a range of approximately one thirty-seconds to three-eighths inch in thickness. Generally, good results for children of average weight when employing viscoelastic plastic materials are obtained with a wall thickness of one-sixteenth to one-fourth inch. The design of the bellows can provide for wide variation in the depth of convolutions of the bellows and will vary such that the deeper the convolutions the fewer of such convolutions will be required for a selected height of the bellows.
The resilient bellows of the invention, irrespective of the material of construction is preferably so designed and constructed that very extreme motions or attitudes are avoided. For example, in the design of the resilient bellows the depth of the convolutions and their number should be such, in relation to the overall height of the bellows at rest, that the bellows cannot bend greater than approximately 45 from vertical, and preferably not greater than approximately 35 from vertical. in order that this result will be accomplished the bellows should be designed with the depth of convolutions no greater than approximately 40 percent of the total radius of the bellows to its outside dimension, and preferably not greater than 30 percent of this radius. Likewise, the resilient bellowsis preferably so designed and constructed that the maximum displacement upwardly or downwardly does not exceed a percentage of its at rest height. This is particularly preferable in the form of the device intended for use by very small children and including a chairlike or back-supporting seat. Where a constricted orifice is included in the bellows the resilience of the sidewall is designed such that the resilience is sufficient to counterbalance the downward force exerted by a small child with a total downward deflection of not more than about'60 percent and preferably not more than approximately 50 percent of the at rest height of the bellows. This will avoid any chance of pinching fingers or toes of such small children when using the device. Such maximum displacement can be controlled by the depth of the convolutions and the thickness of the sidewalls adapted in relation to the overall height and diameter of the bellows.
The controlled motion pneumatic amusement device of the present invention affords many advantages over prior play and exercise devices previously known. The device of the instant invention affords controlled motion response through a wide family of paths to forces imposed on the top surface of the device. The device possesses-inherent safety features for use by children of varied size'and age. Thus, there is provided a device whose maximum vertical response is inherently limited by the mode of construction of the bellows to a safe range for all sizes of children. A modified form of the invention is adapted for safe use as a jiggler or jumper for infants or very small children. The device of this invention is quite simple in construction and economical to produce. Further, the device of this invention is suitable for both indoorand 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 device comprising:
a substantially rigid top seat surface and a resilient bellows connecting said top surface to said base 'means whereby said top surface in response to a force thereon is capable of reciprocal motion in a family of paths away from vertical about a full circle,
said base means, bellows, and top surface comprising a single integral molded article, v
and said bellows having a constricted valved orificecommunicating with the atmosphere.
' 2. A device according to claim 1 in which the bellows has convolutions of a depth and number that the family of paths are no greater than approximately 45 from vertical.
3. A device according to claim 2 in which the bellows has convolutions of a depth no greater than approximately 40 per cent of the total of the bellows to its outside dimension.
4. A device according to claim 1 in which the bellows has a sidewall of such resilience that total downward deflection is not more than 60 percent of the at rest height of the bellows.
5. A device according to claim 1 in which the bellows is a molded polyolefin bellows.
6. A device according to claim 1 in which the bellows is a molded vinyl elastomer bellows.
7. A device according to claim 1 in which the bellows is a molded synthetic rubber bellows.
8. A device according to claim 1 in which the bellows is formed of a plastic coated fabric composite.
9. A device according to claim 1 in which the top surface comprises a back-supporting seat.
10. An amusement device according to claim 9 in which the base means, bellows, and back-supporting seat comprise a single integral molded article.