US 3626633 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
' Dec. 14, I971 YE 3,626,633
MAGNETIC TOY Filed July 1, 1970 2 Sheets-She0t 1 INVENTUR. 1.00/5 MEYER Dec. 14, 1971 MEYER 3,626,633
MAGNETIC TOY Filed July 1, 1970 r 2 Sheets-$111391; 2
INVIiN'I'OR A 01/0 M676? United States Patent 3,626,633 MAGNETIC TOY Louis Meyer, Allie Magellan, Chpisy-le-Roi, France Filed July 1, 1970, Ser. No. 51,527 Claims priority, application France, July 28, 1970, 6925688 Int. Cl. A63h 33/26 US. Cl. 46-236 5 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE The invention relates to a magnetic toy provided with an annular or circular support having inner and outer guide paths for a metal ball to pass therealong. The outer guide path is magnetized, and the inner and outer paths are connected by a passageway or opening so the ball can pass therebetween and move along the paths when the toy is manipulated by hand.
The invention relates to a magnetic toy and is particularly concerned with a hand-manipulated toy having magnetic properties to direct a ball along defined paths.
In the prior art, toys of this nature directing a ball along a defined path required sizable horizontal and vertical surfaces for support and movement since substantial operating mechanism was utilized. Such operating mechanism could be a clockwork mechanism or a. winding string to provide rotation to the toy. However, this was disadvantageous as the clockwork mechanism could malfunction and it was a tedious procedure to wind the string each time to operate the toy.
Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to avoid the disadvantages of the prior art by providing a simple toy manipulated by hand.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a magnetic toy with inside and outside paths located on a hand held support to direct a ball therealong.
A further object of the present invention is to provide a magnetic toy that is easy to manufacture and easy to operate by hand.
The toy involved in the present invention provides a support that is non-magnetic and includes an inside path or race for a ball and at least one magnetic outside path for the ball with an opening connecting the paths, and the ball having magnetic properties so as to be attracted to magnetic material on the outside path. The non-magnetic support can be made of any material such as wood, rubber or plastic, and it preferably should be annular or circular to provide for movement of the ball.
Other objects and purposes of the invention will be apparent from the following description when read in connection with the drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a view in cross-section taken along line 2-2 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a view in cross-section taken along line 33 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 4a is a view partly in section of a ball used in the present invention;
FIG. 4b is a view partly in section of another embodiment of a ball used in the present invention;
FIG. 5 is a plan view of another embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 6 is a view of one of the rings comprising the embodiment shown in FIG. 5;
FIG. 7 is an elevational view of the embodiment of the invention shown in FIG. 5 with transverse rings not being shown and part of the support shown in section;
FIG. 8 is a further embodiment of the invention utilized in a sphere support;
Patented Dec. 14, 1971 I and outer path construction of the embodiment of FIGS.
8a and 8b.
Referring to FIGS. 1, 2 and 3 the magnetic toy is seen to comprise an annular support 10 -which can be made either by machining or molding from non-magnetic ma terial such as wood, rubber or plastic. On the outside periphery of the support 10 an outer guide path is formed by a magnetic steel strip 12. This is a fiat steel strip conforming to the outside shape of support 10 as clearly seen in FIGS. 2 and 3. The inside periphery of support 10 is hollowed out to form a channel or concave portion 14, as most clearly shown in FIG. 3. The concave ortion 14 has a semi-circular shape that conforms to the shape of a ball 16 which is shown in FIGS. 4a, 4b and 8b.
Preferably ball 16 is formed of magnetic metal as shown in FIG. 4a as steel. In the embodiment of FIG. 4b the ball 16 is formed of plastic with a plurality of steel plugs 20 inserted therein.
The annular support 10 has an opening 22 passing therethrough to connect inner guide path 14 with outer guide path 12. The size of opening 22 is such as to let ball 16 pass therethrough easily and without binding. That part of support 10 surrounding opening 22 is bulged out on the sides at 24 to provide reinforcement for the opening and improve construction.
Magnetic strip 12 is attached to the outer periphery of support 10 by forming its ends 26 bent over as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 to clamp onto the inside of opening 22.
To operate the toy it is held by hand and the ball is sent moving along the channel of the inner guide path 14. The game then consists of carefully manipulating the toy to make the ball pass through opening 22 and be picked up by magnetic strip 12. The magnetic attraction between the metal ball and the magnetic strip is predetermined so that ball 16 is held onto strip 12 but allowed to roll along its surface if carefully manipulated by the operator. This degree of attraction between the ball and strip depends on the degree of magnetism in the strip and the weight and amount of magnetic metal in the ball. As mentioned before, this is predetermined to allow the ball to roll along and cling to the surface of the strip.
The operator or player must skillfully manipulate the toy to keep a constant control of the ball movement. The player can thereby cause the ball to move in either direction along the outer path 12, and he can cause the ball to move in either direction through opening 22 to roll along with the inner or the outer guide path. For this movement between the inner and outer path the bent-over magnetized portions 26 are helpful to guide the ball in the direction desired.
FIGS. 5 to 7 illustrate another embodiment of the present invention. In this embodiment the support is an elongated element 30 having flared-out ends 32. As in the embodiment of FIG. I support 39 also can be made either by machining or molding from non-magnetic material such as wood, rubber or plastic. Support 30 is hollow by being provided with a passageway 34 that can be tubular or otherwise shaped as long as the ball 16 can easily pass therethrough. Passageway 34 provides the inner guide path for the ball. and at either end of passageway 34 is an opening 36 that allows the ball to pass to the outer guide path which is seen in FIG. 7 as comprising a pair of oppositely matching semi-circular rings 38 and 40. When semi-circular rings 38 and 40 are positioned on support 30 as shown in FIG.
7, they form an annular outer guide path similar to that shown in FIG. 1. Rings 38 and 40 are formed of magnetized steel strip, and the ends are bent over as shown in FIGS. 6 and 7 to clamp in place on support 30. In FIG. 6 the bent-over portions of ring 38 are specifically shown, it being understood that ring 40 will have the same ends oppositely bent over. Each end is seen to have a double bent over portion 42 with the first bend occurring at a point measured along a line 10 beyond the diametrical center of the ring. The bend is generally at a angle and extends for a short distance where it is bent back to form a reversely projecting part 44 that fits into a corresponding slot at either end of support 30 for the clamping action.
In FIG. 5 a plurality of pairs of rings are shown, and a second pair of semi-circular rings 48 and 50 are provided. Rings 48 and 50 are positioned angularly with respect to rings 38 and 40, and a 90 angle is preferred. Rings 48 and 50 are formed and mounted on support 30 in the same manner as rings 38 and 40 so that two separate outer guide paths are provided. As seen in FIG. 7 the flared-out ends 32 are flared internally at a 15 angle to receive the ends of ring strips 38, 40, 48 and '50, and also to allow the ball to easily pass out of the inner guide path.
In FIG. 5 the inner guide path 34 is illustrated as being square in shape, and the ball in moving from the inner guide path 34 through opening 36 can selectively take either outer guide path 38, 40 or 48, 50. As explained before in connection with the operation of the embodiment of FIG. 1, it is up to the skill of the operator to cause the ball to move on different paths, and the magnetized bent-over clamp portions 42 aid in directing the ball to the various path selected.
FIGS. 8, 8a, 8b and 9 illustrate a further embodiment of the invention wherein the support member is in the shape of a sphere 60 which may have one outer path as shown in FIG. 8 or a plurality of outer paths as shown in FIGS. 8a, 8b and 9. In FIGS. 8a and 9 the assembly of the sphere 60 is illustrated. The sphere support would be formed of the same non-magnetic material as described with respect to the other embodiments. In the case of this spherical embodiment semi-hard polyvinylchloride could be used to form the two hemi-spherical sections 62 and 64 illustrated, and there are joined together in a press-button attachment, the male part 66 and the female part 68 shown in FIG. 9.
In the FIG. 8 embodiment a single groove 70 is formed in the outer surface of sphere 60. In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 8a, 8b and 9 a pair of grooves are provided located 90 to each other. For both embodiments a central passageway 72 passes through the sphere to form the inner guide path. This passageway can be any shape as long as the ball 16 can pass easily therethrough, but for purposes of illustration it is shown as square in FIGS. 8a and 8b. The ends of passageway 72 can be flared-out similar to the manner shown in FIG. 7.
The groove 70 in FIG. 8 has a depth which does not exceed one third of the diameter of ball 16, and it comprises side surfaces 74, 76 which slope at approximately 45 and have rounded corners. As in the previously described embodiments, the groove 70 leads to the openings of the inner passageway 72 so that the operation of the toy is the same as previously explained. At the base of groove 70 a curved magnetic ferrite strip or elongated bar 78 is attached such as by glueing for providing the attraction for ball 16 on the outer guide path. It is understood that ferrite bar 78 extends partly into passageway 72 as described for the other embodiments.
In FIGS. 8a, 8b and 9 groove 80 extends around the sphere and is located for the most part in hemi-spherical section 64. Magnetic ferrite bar 82 is mounted in groove 80 and extends therearound as shown in FIG. 9. Groove 84 is located at 90 to groove 80 and includes a magnetic ferrite bar 86 mounted therein. Bar 86 is seen to extend into passageway 72 as shown in FIGS. 8a and 9, and the operation of the toy is the same as described in the other embodiments.
A further embodiment of the invention is possible wherein the outer guide path could include a centrally located groove such that in cross-section a semi-circular shape conforming to the ball is provided. This would provide a groove similar in shape to the concave portion 14 described and illustrated in connection with FIG. 3.
The toy of the present invention is seen to be suitable for players of all ages. It exercises and challenges reflexes and develops the players dexterity. It can provide an amusing pastime or relaxation after a period of tension. A player can use it anywhere, even while walking, without disturbing those around him, since the toy is noiseless and harmless. Competitions of skill can also be organized among several players.
Although several preferred embodiments are illustrated and described herein, the invention is not to be considered to be restricted thereby as the different shapes and elements can be varied or modified within the spirit of the invention. For example, instead of a steel strip, a flexible, magnetized strip of conglomerated ferrite could be used. In such case, a lighter ball would be used possibly comprising more plastic and less steel or merely being less in weight. Accordingly, the embodiments described are to be considered illustrative only. The present invention includes such other modifications or equivalents as may readily occur to those skilled in the art, within the scope of the appended claims.
What I claim is:
1. A magnetic toy comprising a support having an inner guide path and an outer guide path, said outer guide path formed of magnetic material to provide attraction for a ball formed at least in part of a magnetic metal, an opening in said support to allow said ball to pass between said inner and outer guide paths, said support being annular in shape, said inner guide path being concave, said outer guide path being flat, and said outer guide path comprising a magnetic strip conforming to the annular support and having the ends of said magnetic strip bent over for attachment within the opening.
2. A magnetic toy comprising a support having an inner guide path and an outer guide path, said outer guide path formed of magnetic material to provide attraction for a ball formed at least in part of a magnetic metal, an opening in said support to allow said ball to pass between said inner and outer guide paths, said support comprising an elongated element having the inner guide path formed as a hollow passageway therethrough, the outer guide path being formed of at least one pair of oppositely matching semi-circular rings, and a plurality of pairs of semi-circular rings are provided for the outer guide path, said pairs angularly located with respect to each other.
3. A toy according to claim 2, wherein the hollow passageway is tubular, the opening connecting the inner and outer guide paths is formed at each end of said passageway, and the rings are formed of magnetized steel strip with their ends bent over to form attaching means within each opening.
4. A magnetic toy comprising a support having an inner guide path and an outer guide path, said outer guide path formed of a magnetic material to provide attraction for a ball formed at least in part of a magnetic material, an opening in said support to allow said ball to pass between said inner and outer guide paths, and said support comprises a sphere formed of a pair of mated semispherical shells with the inner guide path formed as a passageway centrally located therein, and the outer guide path comprises at least one groove formed in the spherical surface of said support.
5. A toy according to claim 4, wherein the outer guide path comprises a plurality of grooves, each angularly located with respect to the other, a slot is formed in the base of each groove extending throughout the length of said groove, and a magnetized metal strip is located in FOREIGN PATENTS and extends along each slot with one such strip continuing 933,195 9/1955 Germany 46236 into the passageway.
References Cit d LOUIS H. MANOEN'E, Primary Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 5 R. F. CUTTING, Assistant Examiner 1,005,853 10/1911 Lewis 46--239 UX 2,277,057 3/1942 Bach 46-241 3,097,443 7/1963 Prunkard 46241 46 239