US 3636650 A
Abstract available in
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Honig [451 Jan. 25, 1972  AMUSEMENT DEVICE David Honig, 207-27 27th Ave., Bayside, NY. 11360  Filed: Mar. 2, 1970  Appl.No.: 15,724
 US. Cl. ..46/l R, 46/202, 273/110 51 Int. Cl. ..A63h 33/00  Field of Search ..273/86 C, 1 10; 46/202, 1
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,384,374 l/1970 Boothe ..273/1l0 3,428,310 1/1969 Leath ..273/1 10 2,517,324 1/1950 Kurose ..273/1 10 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 24,619 9/1923 France ..273/l10 451,220 7/1936 Great Britain... .....273/l10 349,912 4/1958 Switzerland ..273/1 10 492,176 4/1953 Canada .273/1 10 Primary Examiner Louis G. Mancene Assistant Examiner-A. Heinz Attorney-Kelman and Berman 5 7 1 ABSTRACT An amusement device having a plate centrally mounted on :1 universal joint and controls for tilting the plate on the joint has an upright control lever pivoted to the stationary support of the device. The upper end of the lever carries a wheel above and to one side of the upwardly directed exposed face of the plate. The wheel is turned and the lever is pivoted for tilting the plate in two intersecting planes.
7 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures PATENTEDJMBM 3536.650
SHEEI 1 BF 2 INVENTUR DAVID HONIG AGENTS PATENTEB M25 I972 SHEET 2 0F 2 FIGS AGENTS AMUSEMENT DEVICE This invention relates to amusement devices, and particularly to devices in which a rolling toy is supported on a plate member and caused to roll about an exposed face of the plate member by a manually operated mechanism which causes the plate to tilt.
Known amusement devices of the general type referred to above require relatively great skill for successful operation. Once that skill is mastered, the device does not provide further challenge. In one known device, the tilting plate is mounted on gimbals and manipulated by means of two knobs which are turned about rectangularly intersecting axes. The skill required for rolling a ball or the like on the plate in a desired path is not usually possessed by young children nor by many adults, particularly among the middle-aged and elderly.
The Boothe US. Pat. No. 3,384,374 discloses a game device in which a plate is tilted in a gimbal mounting by means of a single handle that can be pivoted in two planes perpendicular to each other. This arrangement also has been found to require more than average skill on the part of the player, and to lose its challenge when this skill is mastered.
An object of the invention is the provision of an amusement device of the general type discussed above which is capable of being used by persons of relatively little dexterity and muscle coordination such as the young and the elderly.
Another object is the provision of such a device which can be adjusted to match the dexterity of the user.
With these and other objects in view, the invention, in its more specific aspects, provides a plate member mounted on a normally stationary support by means of a universal joint. In the normal operating position of the device, an exposed face of the plate member is directed upwardly and adapted to carry a rolling toy. One of the movably engaged elements of the universal joint is attached near the center of the plate member so that the latter can tilt on the universal joint toward and away from a position in which the aforementioned exposed face is horizontal.
The operating mechanism for causing the tilting movement includes a first control member mounted on the support for pivoting movement about a first axis. A second control member is mounted on the first one for rotary movement about a second axis spaced from the first axis. A motion transmitting train is interposed between the plate member and the control members in such a manner that the plate member is pivoted on the universal joint in a first plane in response to pivoting movement of the first control member. During rotary movement of the second control member, the plate member is pivoted on the universal joint in a second plane intersecting the first plane.
Other features, additional objects and many of the attendant advantages of this invention will readily become apparent from the following detailed description of a preferred embodiment when considered in connection with the appended drawing in which:
FIG. I shows an amusement device of the invention in a perspective view;
FIG. 2 shows a rolling toy for the device of FIG. 1 in side elevation on a larger scale;
FIG. 3 illustrates the device of FIG. 1 without the rolling toy in side elevation;
FIG. 4 is an enlarged bottom plan view of the apparatus of FIG. 3 in section on the line IVIV; and
FIG. 5 shows the apparatus of FIG. 3 in enlarged, fragmentary front elevation.
Referring now to the drawing in detail, and initially to FIG. I, there is seen a flat plate 1 of rectangular shape with rounded comers whose exposed top face is bounded on all sides by a raised rim 2. The plate 1 carries a toy car 3 which rolls about on the plate 1 when the latter is swiveled about its center in two intersecting upright planes, as indicated by curved double arrows.
The stationary support structure of the device, partly obscured by the plate 1 in FIG. 1, includes a long, horizontal bar 4 equipped with two transverse bars 5,6 of which only one is seen in FIG. 1, and which rest on a tabletop or the like. The end of the bar 4 visible in FIG. I is fixedly fastened to an upright U-shaped bracket 7. The two upright leg portions of the bracket 7 have each a row of aligned bores 8, and a pivot pin 9 may be threadedly secured in each bore, as is better seen in FIGS. 3 and 5. The pins are normally inserted in aligned bores to provide a first pivot for a flat, upright control lever 10.
The lower end of the lever 10 is provided with two flanges 11 having respective rows of bores corresponding to and aligned with the bores 8, but not themselves visible in the drawing. The smooth free ends of the pins 9 engage corresponding bores in the flanges 11, thereby permitting the control lever to pivot in the plane of FIG. 3 on the supporting structure.
A pivot pin 12 in the upper end of the control lever 10 rotatably secures the spokes of a half-wheel 13 for rotation about a horizontal second axis which is located in the plane of pivoting movement of the lever 10. The spoke of the wheel 13 which is upright in the illustrated position of the apparatus has a longitudinal slot 14.
One end of a flat upright, connecting lever 15 is pivoted to the half-wheel 13 by means of a pin 16 adjustably secured in the slot 14 by a wingnut 17. A fulcrum for the lever 15 is provided by a pin 18 on the control lever 10 between the flanges 11. The pins 16 and 18 provide third and fourth pivot axes in the operating or control mechanism for the plate 1, the axes of the pins l2, l6 and 18 being practically parallel in all operative positions of the apparatus.
A fifth pivot whose axis is parallel to the first-mentioned axis of the pins 9 in the illustrated position of the apparatus is defined by a hinge connection 19 between the connecting lever 15 and a link 20 which projects horizontally from under the plate 1. When the connecting lever 15 is angularly moved on the pin 18 from the position shown in fully drawn lines in FIG. 5 to the position indicated in broken lines, the axes of the pins 9 and of the hinge connection 19 no longer are parallel, but they still extend in a common direction during the angular displacement of the connecting lever 15 which is limited by the flanges I l.
A hinge bracket 21 depends from the plate 1 and is fixedly fastened to the underside of the plate near the center of gravity of the latter. Its free lower end is hinged to the link 20. The end of the bar 4 obscured in FIG. 1 is bent upwardly and carries a universal joint 22 whose center is closely adjacent the aforementioned center of gravity. The joint, as best seen in FIG. 4, includes a bracket 23 fixedly fastened to the underside of the plate 1, a metal member 24 rotatably mounted on the bracket 23, and a pivot pin 25 perpendicular to the axis of rotation of the member 24 which connects the member 24 to the bar 4.
The toy car 3, best seen in FIG. 2, has a body 26 molded of light plastic. It rolls on a pair of rear wheels 27 and on a heavy steel bearing ball 28 secured to the body 26 by a cage of four metal tongs 29 between the front wheels 30 which are held off the plate 1 by the ball 28. The center of gravity of the car is near the ball 28.
The aforedescribed apparatus is operated as follows:
When the half-wheel 13 is turned counterclockwise from the fully drawn position shown in FIG. 5 into the position shown in chain-dotted lines, the connecting lever 15 is pivoted on the pin 18 through an angle whose magnitude may be adjusted by shifting the pin 16 in the slot 14. The lever 15, link 20, bracket 21 and plate 1 are connected in such a manner that the plate 1 is tilted on the universal joint 22 in a plane parallel to that of FIG. 5 through an angle equal to the angular displacement of the lever 15. The tilting response of the plate 1 in the last-mentioned plane to the rotation of the half-wheel 13 may thus be adjusted by shifting the pin 16 in the slot l4.
When the control lever 10 is pivoted on the pins 9, its motion is transmitted to the plate 1 by the link 20 longitudinally shifted in the plane of FIG. 4 by the connecting lever 15 which moves with the control lever 10 and constitutes the sole movable connection between the two control members 10,13 and the plate 1. The angle of plate movement in the plane of FIG. 3 for a given angle of control lever movement is determined by the position of the pins 9 in the bores 8.
In practice, a person operating the amusement device will hold the half-wheel with one hand or both, and will cause the rotary motion of the wheel and the pivoting motion of the lever 10 simultaneously as may be called for by the desired movements of the car 3 on the plate 1. It is much easier to coordinate the rotary and pivoting movements of the wheel 13 than two pivoting movements of a single control lever operated by one hand, or of two knobs turned about respective, angularly offset axes by two hands.
The skill required for causing the car 3 to move on the plate 1 in a desired path depends greatly on the transmission ratios in the motion transmitting train between the control wheel 13 and the control lever 10 at one end, and the plate 1 at the other end. This ratio is changed by shifting the pins 9 and/or 16 without, however, changing the relative positions of the control elements and of the plate 1. It is easier to control the car if only a small tilting movement of the plate 1 is caused by relatively great movements of the control members 10,13.
Because of the position of its center of gravity and of the frictional drag of the rear wheels 27, the car 3 automatically heads downwardly so that its direction of movement is readily controlled by manipulating the control elements 10,13. It will be appreciated that the car 3 is merely an example of a rolling toy which may be used on the exposed face of the plate 1. A simple ball may offer as much amusement, and the game may be varied by providing holes or pockets in the plate 1 for receiving the ball, a maze on the exposed surface through which the ball has to be steered by means of the wheel 13 and the lever 10, and similar devices known in themselves.
It should be understood therefore that the foregoing disclosure relates only to a preferred embodiment of the invention, and that it is intended to cover all changes and modifications of the example of the invention herein chosen for the purpose of the disclosure which do not constitute departures from the spirit and scope of the invention set forth in the appended claims.
What is claimed is:
1. An amusement device comprising, in combination:
a. a support;
b. a plate member having an exposed face and adapted to carry a rolling toy in the operating position of the device;
c. a universal joint securing said plate member to said support for tilting movement of said plate member toward and away from a position thereof in which said face is horizontal and upwardly directed when said device is in 2. a second control member mounted on said first control.
member constrained to rotary movement about a second axis spaced from and transverse to said first axis, and 3. motion transmitting means interposed between said plate member and said first and second control members for pivoting said plate member on said universal joint in respective intersecting planes in response to said pivoting movement of the first control member I and said rotary movement of the second control members, said motion transmitting means including i. a hinge member fixedly fastened to said plate member adjacent said universal joint, and ii. a connecting member having two end portions; one of said end portions being movably fastened to said second control member and the opposite end portion hingedly fastened to said hinge member and pivotally fastened to said first control member for rotation about a third axis transverse to said first axis. 2. A device as set forth in claim 1, wherein said first control member moves in a plane when pivoting about said first axis, said second axis being located in said plane.
3. A device as set forth in claim 1, wherein said first control member is elongated, one longitudinal end portion of said first control member being pivotally secured to said support, said second control member being rotatably mounted on the other end portion of said first control member.
4. A device as set forth in claim 3, wherein said universal joint and a major portion of said support are downwardly offset from said exposed face in said operating position, and said second axis is upwardly offset from said exposed face in said operating position.
5. A device as set forth in claim 1, wherein said motion transmitting means include adjusting means for varying the pivoting of said plate member in response to said movement of each of said control members.
6. A device as set forth in claim 5, said adjusting means comprising means for shifting said first axis relative to said third axis, and for shifting said fourth axis relative to said second axis.
7. A device as set forth in claim 1, wherein said universal joint has movable engaged elements respectively fastened in fixed spatial relationship to said support and to said plate member closely adjacent the center of gravity of the same.