US 3588099 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent  Inventor John M. Todd 4422 Sepulveda Blvd., Sherman Oaks, Calif. 91403  Appl. No. 841,261  Filed July 14, 1969  Patented June 28,1971
 CARTESIAN DIVING TOY 20 Claims, 6 Drawing Figs.
 11.8. C1 272/8, 46/91, 273/1  Int. Cl. A6311 23/08  Field ofSearch 273/1 (R), 1(M);272/8;46/91,92,94; 35/19 (R) [56) References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,107,481 8/1914 Boggs 1. 272/8(N) 1,675,522 7/1928 Weidinger et alm 272/8(N) 1,991,626 2/1935 Rowdon A. 273/](M) 2,779,131 1/1957 Scheithauer U 272/8(R)X 3,071,375 1/1963 Moore 272/8(R) 3,229,419 1/1966 Fry 46/92 Primary ExaminerRichard C. Pinkham Assistant Examiner-Paul E. Shapiro ArtorneyFulwider, Patton, Rieber, Lee and Utecht ABSTRACT: A diving toy having a flexible-walled container filled with water, and including a pressure-responsive diving assembly comprising an inverted, cup-shaped housing with a cup-shaped float therein, the housing having a pair of depending grappling claws pivoted thereon and linked to the float to be opened and closed in response to vertical movement of the float, which is surrounded by a clearance gap and guided by longitudinal ribs in one form, and has a chamfered lower end in another form. A layer of oil forms a vapor barrier around the float CARTESIAN DIVING TOY BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates generally to so-called Cartesian diving devices of the type having a sealed, liquid-filled chamber with a diving assembly normally floating in the liquid in the chamber but responsive to an increase in the pressure of the liquid to descend within the chamber. When the pressure is reduced, the assembly ascends within the liquid and returns to its floating position at the top of the chamber.
In general, Cartesian diving devices have been designed as toys for amusement purposes, with the diving assemblies in the form of simulated marine objects ranging from submarines and fish to deep sea divers and swimmers, and the chambers in which the diving assemblies are disposed have ranged from relatively complex tanks equipped with pressure pumps, to simple flexible tubes capped at both ends. From a commercial standpoint, however, this type of toy has not met with any significant degree of success, perhaps for two interrelated reasons. First, a simple, up-and-down-moving assembly is a curiosity that offers nothing in the nature of a challenge or test of skill, and rapidly loses its ability to hold the attention. If, on the other hand, special amusement features have been added to the basic Cartesian device, the cost has been increased to a level so high that the toy must be priced above the general market for such toys, and in some instances the special features have proven to be unreliable in use and so complex as to require rather complicated maintenance.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention resides primarily in a Cartesian diving toy which has special entertainment qualities as a result of a working device incorporated in the diving assembly and operated in a novel manner as an incident to the increase and decrease in liquid pressure to initiate descent and ascent, and which, at the same time, is relatively inexpensive in construction, easy to operate, and simple to maintain. In short, the objective of the invention is to provide a practical and entertaining Cartesian toy that can be sold at a profit in the mass market.
More specifically, an important feature in the present invention is the construction of the diving assembly as an outer, relatively rigid housing with a closed upper end, and with a similarly rigid float slidably mounted within the housing and cooperating therewith to define a variable volume chamber for a bubble of gas, typically air, the relative motion between the housing and the float being applied through an appropriate linkage to the working device which, preferably is in the form of an openable and closable gripping device. Moreover, the diving assembly is of extremely simple and dependable construction, the float being a separate part removably mounted in the housing and arranged to minimize the tendency to lose air from the airchamber and to permit simple removal of liquid after prolonged periods of use. Most of the liquid that leaks into the chamber in use can be shaken out, and the float is readily removable, if desired.
In its preferred form, the working device has a pair of depending grappling claws pivotally mounted on the housing beneath the float for swinging movement toward and away from each other, and each claw is linked to the underside of the float for lateral movement of the claw in response to up and down float movement relative to the housing. The claws are centrally mounted to center a load on the assembly and thus to avoid any significant tilting problem, and are simply constructed and mounted for highly effective operation.
Other objects and advantages will become apparent from the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a Cartesian diving toy embodying the novel features ofthe present invention;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged side elevational view of the toy of FIG. 1, partly broken away and shown in cross section, and shown during the application of external force by the users hand so that the diving assembly has descended from the normal, floating position shown in broken lines;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged vertical cross section through the diving assembly illustrating two conditions of the parts;
FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view taken substantially along the line44ofFIG.3; I
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary perspective view showing the two claw units; and
FIG. 6 is a fragmentary view generally similar to FIG. 3 but showing an alternate form of the invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE FIRST EMBODIMENT As shown in the drawings for purposes of illustration, the invention is embodied in a Cartesian diving toy 10 of the type generally comprising a liquid tight container 11 defining a chamber 12 filled with a body of liquid such as water, with a pressure-responsive diving assembly 13 therein having a variable-volume chamber 14 with at least one movable wall of the chamber exposed to the pressure of the liquid. Accordingly, movement of this wall increases and decreases the volume of the chamber 14, and thus the buoyancy of the assembly 13, automatically in response to increases and decreases in the pressure of the liquid against the movable wall.
Typically, the pressure of the liquid is selectively variable by means of a plunger mechanism (not shown) or, as here, by squeezing the flexible sidewall of outer container 11. Preferably, the container is simply a thin-walled bottle composed of suitable transparent plastic, such as polyvinylchloride, and is formed with an open lower end (not shown) through which the various components are inserted. For optimum convenience in this respect, the bottle preferably is of the wide-mouth type, the mouth being closed in use by a screw-on cap 15 which forms the base of the toy after the bottle is inverted to the position shown in FIGS. 1 and 2.
Although the diving assembly I3 may take various forms, herein it has the shape and appearance of a deep sea diving bell having a simulated door 17, simulated windows 18 and a generally cylindrical'body 19 with a domelike upper end 20 and a flat lower end. Two claws 21 hang down from the underside of the body in the manner of grappling claws that might be used for underwater salvage work with such a diving bell. On the bottom 22 of the liquid chamber 12, herein composed of a granular material such as sand or a simulation thereof, are several miscellaneous articles which might be the objects of the underwater salvage work. A wide variety of objects may be used, including, for example, toy trucks, sea chests, toy boats, and other simulations of likely salvage articles.
In accordance with the primary aspect of the present invention, the diving assembly 13 is of simple and relatively inexpensive construction, and the grappling claws 21 are relatively movable working elements that are moved away from and back toward each other in response to the increase and decrease in pressure applied in the chamber 12 to cause the assembly to descend and ascend. Moreover, the actuation of the claws is accomplished positively, effectively, and in a novel manner, though the cooperation of simple elements of the diving assembly controlling the buoyancy, so that the toy should have wide and lasting appeal, can be constructed for sale at a reasonable price within the popular price range, and is relatively rugged and trouble-free in use.
To these ends, the diving assembly 13 comprises an outer rigid housing having a closed upper end formed by the dome 20 and an open lower end 23 through which the water can enter the housing, and a separate float indicated generally at 24 and disposed within the housing to cooperate therewith in that is trapped within the housing. To actuate the claws 21, the float 24 is connected to an actuating portion 25 of each claw so as to move the claw in appropriate directions as the float moves alternately up and down. Moreover, the float is mounted slidably within the housing to respond readily to pressure changes, and special provision is made for guiding the float while preventing the entry of water into the air chamber 14 by capillation or as vapor.
In the present instance, the housing is simply an inverted, cup-shaped piece of suitably rigid material such as a selected low porosity plastic, the body portion 19 being cylindrical. The float 24, which may be composed of the same rigid plastic, is a cup having an open upper end and a generally cylindrical sidewall 27 (see FIG. 3) sufficiently smaller in diameter than the inside diameter of the body of the housing to move freely up and down within the housing.
As shown most clearly in FIGS. 3 and 4, the cylindrical wall 27 of the float 24 of the first form of the invention is substantially smaller in diameter than the inside of the housing body 19, thereby leaving an annular clearance gap 28 (FIG. 4) around the float. This gaps primary purpose is to reduce capillation of water upwardly along the sides of the float, for which purpose a clearance on the order of 0.025 to 0.030 of an inch is adequate. In addition, the gap permits any air bubbles that might be trapped beneath the float to work their way upwardly into the chamber 14, despite the tendency of surface tension to hold the bubble intact beneath the float. One other possible advantage of a wide gap is the fact that a sudden increase in the liquid pressure tends to force water upwardly around and past the float, and the wider gap is believed to be useful from the standpoint of permitting a slight lag in the reaction time of the float.
To prevent lateral wobbling of the float 24 as a result of this clearance gap 28, four longitudinal guide ribs 29 (FIGS. 3 and 4) are formed in angularly spaced relation around the float to serve as standoffs for maintaining the float generally centered. The ribs are arranged on a diameter slightly less than the inside diameter of the housing, and are relatively narrow so as to avoid any problem with capillation along the outer sides of the ribs themselves.
One problem that has been encountered heretofore in Cartesian diving devices is the absorption of air from the air chamber 14 into the surrounding liquid, eventually leading to loss of buoyancy because of reduction in the volume of air in the chamber for any given pressure. To overcome, or at least retard, this tendency, a seal 30 (FIG. 3) is provided between the housing and the float, preferably in the form of a vapor barrier comprising a layer of floating, low viscosity liquid such as an oil, which does not interfere with the responsiveness of the float. Various oils may be used, although care should be exercized in the selection so as to avoid any adverse affect on the other parts.
It will be seen in FIG. 3 that the cup forming the float 24 is much shorter than the cylindrical body portion 19 of the housing, and that the lower end portion of the housing extends well beyond the float, even while the latter is lowered as shown in full lines in FIG. 3. The general position of the float when raised is shown in broken lines.
Depending from the bottom wall 31 of the float 24 is a connector 32 which herein is in the form of a plastic plate joined to the bottom wall generally along a diameter thereof and including two depending lugs 33 that are disposed on opposite sides of a pin or shaft 34 extending horizontally across the open lower end of the housing along a diameter thereof, the opposite ends of the shaft extending through aligned holes in the housing as shown in FIG. 4. Telescoped onto this shaft are two claw units 35 (see FIG. each having a tubular hub 37 rockable about the axis 38 of the shaft 34, an elongated depending flnger constituting the claws 21, preferably with the free lower end portion 21 bent toward the other claw, and a laterally extending finger constituting the connection portion 25 for transmitting the float movement to the claw unit. The two connecting fingers extend outwardly, and somewhat downwardly, when the claws are close together, and are loosely received in openings in the depending lugs 33 on the bottom of the float 24 so as to line the claw units to the float.
Although the claw units 35 may be constructed in various ways, including an integral construction in which the wire elements 21 and 25 are joined together by an integral tubular coil forming the hub 37, the preferred embodiment uses a tubular plastic hub 37 with an integral lug 39 on one end, the lugs being radially and axially offset from the respective tubular hubs so that the tubular portions may move into spaced, endto-end relation on the shaft 34 with each of the lugs 39 generally aligned with, or coplanar with, the other lug, as will be seen in FIG. 4.
As shown most clearly in FIG. 3, the upper end portions of the wire elements 21 and 25 are embedded in the lugs 39 and are disposed in a common plane perpendicular to the shaft 34 and centered on the shaft and the diving assembly. The connecting links 25 project in opposite directions from the opposite sides and extend into the holes in the lugs 33 on the float, while the claw elements 21 hang downwardly in generally vertical positions with the inclined free end portions 21 preferably abutting as shown in FIG. 3.
With this arrangement, upward movement of the float 24 from the full-line position in FIG. 3, toward the raised position indicated by the broken lines, raises the lugs 34, and thus the actuating links 25, so as to rock the left claw unit 35 clockwise (FIG. 3) about the shaft 34 while rocking the right claw unit counterclockwise about the shaft. This, of course, spreads the claws 21 to the open position shown in broken lines in FIG. 3 and in full in FIG. 2. As the float moves downwardly within the housing, the reverse action occurs as the lugs 33 move downwardly to lower the links 25 and close the claws 21. Such closure, of course, will result in the gripping of any object that is between the lower end portions 21 of the claws.
Fitted around the pivot shaft 34 along the inside of the housing wall adjacent each end of the shaft is a piece of ballast 40 which preferably is simply a piece of high-density material, such as brass, that is shaped to fit compactly within the housing. The pieces of ballast are positioned to stabilize the diving assembly 13 in the upright position shown, and makes it practical to form the assembly primarily from very light and inexpensive, hollow plastic parts that are simply telescoped together. It will be seen that the shaft 34 serves as a retainer holding the float removably in the housing, and that the pieces of ballast 40 and the plastic portions 37, 39 of the claw units 35 substantially fill the full widths of the housing along the shaft.
DESCRIPTION OF THE ALTERNATIVE FORM Shown in FIG. 6 is a slightly modified form of the float 24 (corresponding parts being indicated by primed reference numbers) in which the guide ribs 29 have been eliminated, the upper portion 41 of the float cup being made cylindrical and sized to fit very closely within the inside wall of the housing. To avoid capillation of water into the float, however, the lower portion 42 of the cup is tapered conically, or chamfered, to a reduced diameter at the lower end, and the tapered, reduceddiameter portion thus provides a clearance gap 28' of sufficient width to prevent capillation and also to permit air bubbles to work upwardly between the float and the housing. The normal liquid level and the vapor barrier are indicated at 30, across the underside of the cup, but the level will rise almost to the beginning of the taper is normal use.
It will be seen in FIG. 6 that the upper end wall 20 of the housing is conically tapered, with an integral tab 43 projecting upwardly from the center to facilitate gripping of the assembly for removal from the container 11 for servicing after the container has been inverted and the base 15 removed.
SUMMARY OF OPERATION Assuming that the container 11 is held in the hand without suflicient gripping force to increase the liquid pressure appreciably beyond the original pressure of the liquid in the chamber 12, the float 24 will have assumed an equilibrium position within the housing to equalize the existing liquid pressure and the pressure of the air trapped between the float and the top wall 20 of the housing. lnitially, this produces a volume of air within the divingassembly l3 sufficient to insure that the assembly displaces a greater weight of liquid than its own weight and, therefore, floats.
When the container 11 is squeezed as shown in FIG. 2, however, the increased force: on the liquid in the chamber 12 increases the pressure throughout the container and at the open lower end 23 of the housing, urging the float 24 upwardly with a greater force and consequently compressing the trapped air within the air chamber 14 of the diving assembly. Accordingly, the float rises, and this reduces the total liquid displacement of the diving assembly 13. If enough external force is applied to reduce the displacement to a weight less than the weight of the diving assembly, the assembly loses its buoyancy and sinks, or descends, within the chamber.
At the same time, the upward motion of the float 24 raises the links 25 to swing the claws 21 to the fully open position (FIG. 2) so that the descending assembly 13 is in condition to pick up an article on the bottom 22 if the article is in line with the path of descent. By tipping the container 11, the user is able to align an article with the path of descent of the diving assembly.
Then, assuming the claws 21 have straddled an article and the diving assembly is ready to grip the article and ascend, the user simply releases his grip. The resulting reduction in the liquid pressure allows the float 24 to move down within the housing until the pressures again balance, and such downward motion restores the buoyancy of the diving assembly while simultaneously closing the grappling claws 21 around the selected article. The range of displacements and the weights of the articles of salvage are correlated to insure that the diving assembly and each article have sufficient buoyancy to rise when joined together by the claws.
From the foregoing, it will be seen that the present invention provides a novel and relatively simple Cartesian diving toy that is capable of being mass-produced at a cost permitting sales at retail within the permissible range for mass appeal. In addition, the novel construction of the assembly provides for simple and reliable operation of a working assembly with relatively movable parts, for movement of the parts through a relatively wide range, and for easy servicing if needed after a period of use. In short, the invention provides an inexpensive but relatively reliable and entertaining toy.
it also will be evident that, while a particular embodiment has been illustrated and described, modifications in details may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.
1. In a Cartesian diving toy of the type having a sealed, liquid-filled chamber, means for selectively applying a pressure-increasing force to the liquid in said chamber and then releasing the force, and a diving assembly immersed in said liquid and movable up and down within the liquid in response to changes in the pressure of the liquid, the improvement wherein said diving assembly comprises:
a housing having a closed upper side holding a quantity of gas an an open lower side for entry of liquid into the housing beneath the gas;
a float disposed within said housing and guided therein for rising falling movement in response to rising and falling of the liquid level within said housing, said float cooperating with said housing in defining a variable-volume chamber holding said gas;
and a working device supported on the underside of said housing to perform a working operation, said device having two relatively movable elements connected to said float to be actuated thereby and to perform said working operation in response to up and down movement of the float.
2. The improvement defined in claim 1 in which said float is a cup-shaped part having a sidewall in spaced relation with the inside of said housing to move relative thereto as said liquid level changes.
3. The improvement defined in claim 2 in which said float has a plurality of spaced, longitudinal ribs thereon fitted closely inside said housing to guide the float within the housing, said ribs spacing said float from said housing to form a clearance gap between the housing and the float for reducing the tendency of said liquid to rise into the float by capillary action.
4. The improvement defined in claim 2 in which said float has a sidewall sized to fit closely within said housing, the lower end portion of said sidewall being of reduced diameter so as to leave a substantial clearance gap between said housing and said float at the lower end of the latter.
5. The improvement defined in claim 4 in which said lower end portion has a conical chamfer.
6. The improvement defined in claim 1 in which said working device comprises a pair of claw units that are mounted on said housing and having depending gripping elements movable toward and away from each other to grip and release objects in said chamber, said claw units having actuating portions that are connected to said float to be moved thereby as the float rises and falls relative to said housing.-
7. The improvement defined in claim 6 in which said claw units are pivoted on a shaft carried by said housing beneath said float, and include pivots turnable about said shaft with said gripping elements depending from said pivots and said actuating portions projecting laterally in opposite directions therefrom, and said float having connectors on its underside receiving said actuating portions to rock the latter about said shaft and thereby move said gripping elements.
8. The improvement defined in claim 7 in which said shaft removably retains said float in said housing, and further including ballast pieces mounted on the opposite end portions of said shaft.
9. The improvement defined in claim 6 in which said claw units are in the form of bell cranks pivoted on said housing adjacent the underside of said float, one leg of each crank depending from the housing, and the other leg projecting laterally into engagement with a portion of said float to rock up and down as the float rises and falls, thereby swinging said depending legs toward and away from each other.
10. The improvement defined in claim 9 in which each of said units has a tubular hub telescoped on said shaft, and a radially and axially offset lug on said hub, said legs and said actuating portions being fastened to said lugs.
11. The improvement defined in claim 10 in which said lugs are aligned with each other and centered on said shaft.
12. The improvement defined in claim 1 in which said housing is an inverted cup-shaped part having a generally cylindrical body, and said float is a cup-shaped part having an open upper end, said float being telescoped slidably inside said housing with a clearance gap at least adjacent the lower end thereof to avoid capillation of liquid into the float.
13. The improvement defined in claim 12 further including a layer of a second, floating liquid of low volatility on the firstmentioned liquid within said housing and around said float, thereby to form a vapor carrier protecting said variable volume chamber.
14. The improvement defined in claim 1 further including a shaft mounted on said housing beneath said float, said working device comprising a pair of claw units including hubs pivoted on said shaft, elongated elements depending from said hubs to form claws swingable toward and away from each other, and actuating elements projecting laterally, and oppositely, from said hubs, said float having means thereon connected to said actuating elements to raise and lower and the latter thereby to rock said claws away from and back toward each other.
15. The improvement defined in claim 14 in which said connected means comprise lugs depending from the underside of said float and loosely receiving said actuating elements.
. 16. The improvement defined in claim 14 further including a pair of ballast weights fitted onto the opposite end portions of said shaft within said housing.
17. A Cartesian diving toy having, in combination:
a transparent, flexible-walled container having an open end closed by a base and defining a sealed, liquid-tight chamber;
and a diving assembly disposed in said chamber and includ' ing a rigid, inverted cup-shaped housing, and a rigid cupshaped member having an open upper end and telescoped into said housing in sliding relation therewith to cooperate with the housing in defining a variable volume chamber in said assembly, said member being responsive to changes in the pressure of liquid in said chamber to change the volume of said variable volume chamber and thereby to change the liquid displacement of the assembly.
18. The improvement defined in claim 17 in which said member is a float having an outside diameter smaller than the inside diameter of said housing by a preselected amount to form a clearance gap between the float and the housing, and has angularly spaced longitudinal guide ribs for holding the float against tilting.
19. The improvement defined in claim 17 in which said member is a float having an upper portion fitting closely within said-housing, and a reduced-diameter lower portion forming a clearance gap between the float and said housing.
20. The improvement defined in claim 19 in which said reduced-diameter portion is a downwardly tapering conical chamfer.