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Publication numberUS3599365 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 17, 1971
Filing dateNov 28, 1969
Priority dateNov 28, 1969
Publication numberUS 3599365 A, US 3599365A, US-A-3599365, US3599365 A, US3599365A
InventorsCarver Richard N, Hubiak Walter
Original AssigneeMarx & Co Louis
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Toy vehicle propulsion unit
US 3599365 A
Abstract  available in
Images(2)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Inventors Richard N. Carver Erie; I Walter Hublak, Lawrence Park, both of, Pa.

Appl. No 880,319

Filed Nov. 28, 1969 Patented Aug. 17, 1971 Assignee Louis Marx & (30.. Inc.

TOY VEHICLE PROPULSION UNIT 7Clalms,6DrawlugFigs.

46/202, 46/1K Int.Cl. A63]! FieldofSearch 46/l,202, 201,221,223

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,209,491 10/1965 Roeper .1 46/202 X Primary Examiner- Louis G. Mancene Assislan! Examiner-D. L. Weinhold AttorneyBlum, Moscovitz, Friedman & Kaplan ABSTRACT: A propulsion unit forming a propulsion station located along a closed-circuit trackway so that, when the propulsion unit has been cocked by the operator, a force will be applied to the toy vehicle to further propel it along the trackway as the toy vehicle traveling along the trackway passes through the propulsion station.

" lll PATENTEU AUG] 7 I9?! SHEET 1 [IF 2 FIG./

58 48 42 WEN/wi s RICHARD N. CARVER WALTER HUBIAK PATENTEnAusmsn 3. 599.365

INVEVIUHS RICHARD N. CARVER WALTER HUBIAK BY TOY VEHICLE PROPULSION UNIT BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates generally to a toy vehicle propulsion unit for mechanically propelling or driving a toy vehicle along a trackway and is especially adapted for use with toy vehicles which are devoid of motive means.

Since time immemorial, toy vehicles have been manufactured without motive means or with various types of self-contained motive means. Selfcontained motive means have taken the form of inertia motors, windup spring motors and batteryoperated motors. In more recent years, slot racing developed as a popular sport with slot cars having electric motors to which power is supplied through contacts in the trackway along which the cars travel. A more recent development in toy vehicles, especially toy vehicles of small size, is the frictionless axle and wheel construction which results in a vehicle which will travel a substantial distance along a surface or trackway after the vehicle has been physically propelled by the child. Such frictionless vehicles are devoid of self-contained drive means. 1

While the frictionless vehicles have substantial play value, their lack of motive means has hampered the interest generated in play with such vehicles.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Generally speaking, in accordance with the invention,a propulsion unit is provided which is especially suitable for use with the frictionless type of toy vehicle. One or more closedcircuit trackways can be provided for the toy vehicles with a propulsion station along eachtrackway. When the toy vehicle passes the propulsion station, an external driving force is imparted thereto and, due to the low or frictionless qualities of the vehicle axle and wheel assembly, the vehicle will coast along the trackway until it again comes to the propulsion station at which a driving force will again be applied thereto. The driving force at the propulsion station is mechanically generated as a result of a cocking of the propulsion unit for each complete circuit travelled by the toy vehicle.

Accordingly, it is an object of this invention to provide an improved toy vehicle propulsion unit for imparting an external driving force to a toy vehicle passing through a propulsion station defined by the propulsion unit.

Another object of the invention is to provide an improved toy vehicle propulsion unit which can apply an external driving force to a toy vehicle after the propulsion unit has been precocked prior to approach of the toy vehicle to the propulsion unit.

A further object of the invention is to provide an improved toy vehicle propulsion unit which does not require an external power supply.

Still another object of the invention is to provide an improved toy vehicle propulsion unit which can be precocked by the operator and which is automatically operated by the vehicle as it enters the propulsion unit. 7

A still further object of the invention is to provide an improved toy vehicle propulsion unit which can count the number of laps or circuits travelled by the toy vehicle in direct relation to the number of times the propulsion unit is operated.

Still other objects and advantages of the invention will in part be obvious and will in part be apparent from the specification.

The invention accordingly comprises the features of construction, combination of elements, and arrangement of parts which will be exemplified in the construction hereinafter set forth, and the scope of the invention will be indicated in the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS For a fuller understanding of the invention, reference is had to the following description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. I is a plan view of a closed-circuit trackway having a propulsion unit as part thereof, said propulsion unit being constructed in accordance with apreferred embodiment of the instant invention;

FIG. 2 is a plan view of the propulsion unit of the instant invention, with the cover removed for the sake of clarity, showing the propulsion unit in cocked position;

FIG. 3 is aview similar to FIG. 2 but showing the propulsion unit immediately subsequent to imparting a propulsion force to a toy vehicle passing therethrough;

FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken along line 4-4 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a partial sectional view taken along line 5-5 of FIG. 3; and I FIG. 6 is a partial bottom plan view of the propulsion unit showing a detail of the lap counter construction.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring to FIG. 1, there is shown a closed-circuit trackway 11 having a roadway 12 and sidewalls 13. A vehicle 14 is adapted to travel along the closed-circuit trackway on the roadway being guided by the sidewalls. The vehicle is devoid of motive means and thus coasts along the roadway being guided as the roadway turns, by the sidewalls.

A toy vehicle propulsion unit 15 to mechanically impart a propulsive force to the toy vehicle and count la'ps completed by the toy vehicle is interposed along the trackway.

Referring now to FIGS. 2 through 6, thepropulsion unit includes a base 16 having a guideway 17 for receiving'trackway 11 whereby the toy vehicle travels along the trackway or the guideway as it passes through the propulsion station defined by the propulsion unit.

A hammer 2! in the form of a bellcrank is pivoted intermediate its ends to the base. by means of a pivot pin 22. A spring 23 acts between hammer 21 and the base to bias the hammer in the counterclockwise direction as viewed in FIGS. 2 and 3. One end of the hammer is provided with a driving head 24 which is adapted to make contact with the toy vehicle and apply a propulsive force to the toy vehicle as the driving head is acted on by spring 23, to rotate the hammer in the counterclockwise direction.

The other end of hammer 21 is provided with a cocking finger 25 and a detent ledge 26. A trigger in the form of an arm 27 is pivoted to base 16 by means of pin 28, said pivot being located intermediate the ends of arm 27. One end of arm 27 projects into guideway ,17 in the path of the oncoming vehicle. The other end of arm 27 is provided with a latching surface 29 for cooperation with detent ledge 26 to hold the hammer in the cocked position as shown in FIG. 2. In the FIG. 2 position, driving head 24 is in the ready position for rapid movement in the counterclockwise direction under the biasing of spring 23, and is held in such position by cooperation between latching surface 29 and detent ledge 26. As the vehicle l4 coasts into the propulsion station in the direction indicated by the arrow in FIG. 2, the vehicle strikes arm or trigger 27 to rotate it in counterclockwise direction thereby moving the arm out of the path of travel of the vehicle and thereby releasing the latching of hammer 2! whereby driving head 24 rapidly moves toward the position of FIG. 3 and strikes the rear end of the vehicle to propel it out of the propulsion station and accelerate it by a sufficient amount so that the vehicle may coast around the closed-circuit trackway until it again arrives at the propulsion station.

A resilient tube 31 is mounted on a pin 32 projecting upwardly from base 16 to act as a resilient stop for hammer 21, after it has completed its rotation under the biasing of spring 23, such position is seen in FIG. 3 wherein the resilient tube 31 is shown as being defonned under the pressure resultant from spring 23.

A handle 33 projects upwardly from hammer 21 for the purpose of cocking the hammer from the FIG. 3 to the FIG. 2 position. After the vehicle has traveled through the propulsion station and the hammer has fired the operator (child playing with the toy) physically grasps handle 33 and rotates the hammer in the counterclockwise direction. As the hammer approaches the latching position, cocking finger 25 contacts arm 27 (see the phantom-line position of hammer 21 in FIG. 3) and continued rotation of hammer 21 in the clockwise direction rotates arm 27 to the position shown in FIG. 2. During cocking, there is slight overtravel in rotation of hammer 21 whereby detent ledge 26 is spaced from latching surface 29 and, when handle 33 is released, the latching surface moves into contact with the detent ledge to make the propulsion unit ready for the next circuit completion of the vehicle. This slight overtravel and return accounts for the space between cocking finger 25 and arm 27 as shown in FIG. 2.

Thus, each time a toy vehicle enters the propulsion station, it strikes arm 27 to fire the hammer and propel the vehicle out of the propulsion station. Immediately thereafter, the operator recocks the'propulsion unit through handle 33.

The propulsion unit also includes means for counting the number of circuits completed by the vehicle, such means being coupled with the cocking and firing of the propulsion unit.

The counting unit is indicated generally at 41 and is located below a cover plate 42 fixed to base 16 and having a viewing aperture 43 through which the numerals recording the laps may be observed. A post 44 extends downwardly from cover plate 42 and has the counting mechanism mounted thereon. A first disc 45 is rotatably mounted on post 44 immediately below cover plate 42. Consecutive indicia 46 in the form of numbers ,for recording the number of laps or circuits completed by the vehicle are marked on the top face of disc 45 in a circle so as to be sequentially brought into view through viewing aperture 43. Cooperating ratched teeth 47 are provided on the lower face of cover plate 42 and on the upper face of first disc 45. The cooperating ratched teeth having mating inclined surfaces so that first disc 45 may rotate only in the clockwise direction as viewed in FIG. 3.

Positioned beneath first disc 45 is a second disc 48 also rotatably mounted on post 44. The bottom surface of first disc 45 and the top surface of second disc 48 also have a cooperating set of ratched teeth 49, said teeth also being of the inclined type and disposed so that second disc 48 may rotate only in the counterclockwise direction with respect to first disc 45 as viewed in FIG. 3.

A washer 51 is secured to the lower end of post 44 and a coil spring 52 surrounds the post and acts between washer 51 and the bottom surface of second disc 48 to bias the second disc into engagement with the first disc and the first disc into engagement with the cover plate to thereby maintain'the two sets of ratched teeth into engagement while permitting them to override one another, when the discs are rotated in the proper directions, by movement along the longitudinal axis of post Coil spring 52 has an end 53 secured in a post 54 projecting downwardly from the second disc 48 and has its other end 55 latched under an arm 56 formed as part of the base to bias the second disc in a clockwise direction as viewed in FIG. 3. A stop 57 (FIG. 3) is secured to the base in order to limit rotation of the second disc in the clockwise direction. The stop is contacted by an arm 58 formed as part of and projecting outwardly from second disc 48.

The arm 58 has a cam surface 59 at the outer end thereof adapted for engagement by hammer 21 for cocking the counting mechanism. 7

After the propulsion unit has fired, it attains the position shown in FIG. 3. When the propulsion unit is cocked, by movement from the FIG. 3 to the FIG. 2 position, hammer'21 is rotated in a clockwise direction and, as it approaches the cocked position, the hammer engages cam surface 59 thereby effecting a rotation of the second disc in a counterclockwise direction toward the phantom-line position shown in FIG. 3 and the full-line position shown in FIG. 2. Due to the cooperative engagement of the first set of ratched teeth, first disc 45 remains stationary during the cocking action and the second set of ratched teeth 49 rides over one another to permit relative movement between the first and second discs.

The second disc 48 remains in the full-line position of FIG. 2 until the propulsion unit is fired by the vehicle striking arm or trigger 27. On the firing action, hammer 21 moves out of engagement with arm 58 thereby permitting the second disc to rotate in the clockwise direction under the biasing the coil spring 52. By cooperation between the second set of ratched teeth, the rotation of second disc in the clockwise direction carries with it the first disc to thereby index the first disc so that the next sequential indicia appears through the viewing aperture. During clockwise rotation of the first disc, the first set of ratched teeth ride over one another.

In the foregoing manner, each time the propulsion mechanism is fired another lap will be counted. While 10 numerals are indicated as indicia 46 on the first disc, it is obvi ous that any number of indicia may be provided with the number of teeth on the first and second sets of ratched teeth being correlated with the number of indicia and with the travel of arm 58 also being correlated with the spacing between the indicia so that one lap only will be counted by each firing action.

It will thus be seen that the objects set forth above, among those made apparent from the preceding description, are efficiently attained and, since certain changes may be made in the above construction without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, it is intended that all matter contained in the above description or shown in the accompanying drawings shall be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.

It is also to be understood that the following claims are intended to cover all of the generic and specific features of the invention herein described, and all statements of the scope of the invention which, as a matter of language, might be said to fall therebetween.

What we claim is:

l. A toy vehicle propulsion unit comprising a base member, a roadway-defining means cooperating with said base member for supporting and guiding a toy vehicle on a roadway during its travel through said propulsion unit, a propulsion element movably mounted on said base member and movable between a first position out of said roadway and a second position in said roadway, movement of said propulsion member from said first to said second position having a component in the same direction as the direction of movement of toy vehicle along the roadway, said propulsion element being movable from said second to said first position to define a cocked position, a trigger element movably mounted on said base member and having a first portion movable between a'first position in said roadway and a second position out of said roadway, said trigger element also having a detent portion for cooperation with said propulsion element to retain said propulsion element in said cocked position when said trigger element is in said first position, and spring means acting between said propulsion element and said base member for biasing said propulsion element toward said second position, said first portion of said trigger element being movable to said second position by a toy vehicle traveling along said roadway to release said propulsion element from said cocked position.

2. A toy vehicle propulsion unit as claimed in claim 1 and including means defining a counting unit carried by said base member for counting the number of passes of a toy vehicle through said propulsion unit, said means defining said counting unit being operatively acted on by said propulsion element.

3. A toy vehicle propulsion unit as claimed in claim 1 wherein said propulsion element includes a hammer member, said hammer member constituting the portion of said propulsion element movable between said first and second positions,

said hammer element adapted to engage the rear end of a toy vehicle traveling through said propulsion unit to impart a driving force to said toy vehicle in the direction of travel thereof.

4. A toy vehicle propulsion unit as claimed in claim 3 wherein said propulsion element includes a cocking finger proximate said trigger element for moving said first portion of said trigger element from said second to said first position thereof as said propulsion element is moved from said second to said first position thereof.

5. A toy vehicle propulsion unit as claimed in claim 2 wherein said means defining said counting unit includes a pair of operating elements rotatably mounted on said base member, one of said operating elements having indicia thereon and including first ratched means cooperating with said base member for limiting rotation of said one operating element to a single direction, said other operating element having second ratched means cooperating with said one operating element whereby to permit relative rotation between said operating elements in one direction and to prevent relative rotation between said operating elements in the other direction.

6. A toy vehicle propulsion unit as claimed in claim 5 wherein said other operating element includes an arm extending into the path of movement of said propulsion element and movable by said propulsion element as said propulsion element is moved from said second to said first position.

7. A toy vehicle propulsion unit as claimed in claim 6 and including spring means acting between said base member and said arm for biasing said arm toward said propulsion element.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3209491 *Apr 15, 1963Oct 5, 1965Leo RoeperCylindrical runway toy
Referenced by
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US3908303 *Jul 15, 1974Sep 30, 1975Marvin Glass & AssociatesShift console including means for feeding and launching vehicles
US3998460 *Feb 3, 1976Dec 21, 1976Mattel, Inc.Vehicle racing game apparatus
US4094089 *Jan 4, 1977Jun 13, 1978Tomy Kogyo Co., Inc.Jumping rail
US4174587 *Sep 12, 1977Nov 20, 1979Mattel, Inc.Air turbine operated vehicle accelerator toy
US4475303 *Dec 2, 1982Oct 9, 1984Majorette S.A.Pad for launching toy vehicles onto a track
US4504242 *Jun 4, 1982Mar 12, 1985Mattel, Inc.Modular unit with toy vehicle propulsion device
US4661080 *Jun 18, 1985Apr 28, 1987Mattel, Inc.Toy racing set with exploding raceway
US6695675Jun 5, 2003Feb 24, 2004Maisto International, Inc.Accelerator for toy vehicles having multiple engageable levels
US6951497Jun 5, 2003Oct 4, 2005Maisto International, Inc.Toy vehicle intersection with elevational adjustment
US7628674Dec 8, 2009Mattel, Inc.Folding track assemblies
US7794301Nov 6, 2006Sep 14, 2010Mattel, Inc.Toy vehicle trackset
US7892068Feb 22, 2011Mattel, Inc.Foldable vehicle playsets with moving components
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US8382553Feb 26, 2013Mattel, Inc.Toy track set and relay segments
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US8690632Apr 23, 2010Apr 8, 2014Mattel, Inc.Toy track set and relay segments
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US20100159800 *Mar 4, 2010Jun 24, 2010O'connor Stacy LynnToy track set and relay segments
US20100273394 *Apr 23, 2010Oct 28, 2010O'connor Stacy LToy track set and relay segments
US20100291833 *Nov 18, 2010O'connor Stacy LToy track set and relay segments
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Classifications
U.S. Classification446/430
International ClassificationA63H18/00, A63H18/14
Cooperative ClassificationA63H18/14
European ClassificationA63H18/14