US 3643374 A
A stage for use with a doll that can flex at the waist, to make the doll perform an entertaining dance, including a pair of foot holders for engaging the feet of the doll. One of the foot holders is stationary while the other is vertically oscillated by an electric motor to cause the doll to sway at the waist. A child can operate a manual speed control to increase the oscillation speed past the natural frequency of oscillation of the doll at the waist, to make the doll's swinging change from a large moderately slow movement to a rapid small movement.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Mates ll m Gunther et all.
 AQTHUN STAGE FUR DANCHNG BULL  inventors: (Gregory M. Gunther, Palos Verdes Estates; ll erenc lfieltete, lnglewood; lltonalrl h. Lierlltlie, Redondo Beach; Donald ill.
Stephens, Pomona, all of Calif.  Assignee: Mattel, lliic, Hawthorne, Calif.  Filed: Dec. 3, 11971)  App]. No.: 96,032
 llteterences Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS I 2,641,867 6/1953 McEntyre ..46/144 3,277,602 10/1966 Speers et a] ..46/l61 Primary Examiner-Louis G. Mancene Assistant Examiner-J. Q. Lever, Jr.. Attorney-Seymour A. Scholnick A stage for use with a doll that can flex at the waist, to make the doll perform an entertaining dance, including a pair of foot holders for engaging the feet of the doll. One of the foot holclers is stationary while the other is vertically oscillated by an electric motor to cause the doll to sway at the waist. A child can operate a manual speed control to increase the oscillation speed past the natural frequency of oscillation of the doll at the waist, to make the dolls swinging change from a large moderately slow movement to a rapid small movement 7 Claims, 10 Drawing Figures PAIENTEUFEB22 I972 39 643,374
SHEET 1 0F 3 625 ,02 v M Gw n/52 F'E/ZEAIC Page TE Rom/4L1) LE/DT/(E own 40 STEPHENS INVENTORS BY W w BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates to dolls which are constructed for animation and to accessories for use therewith.
2. Description of the Prior Art Dolls which closely represent teen-agers have proven to be highly popular as playthings for girls. The entertainment value of such dolls is increased by constructing them so they can appear to perform activities of the type that the children perform or hope to be soon performing. One type of doll which can provide such simulation is constructed with a resilient waist portion that allows it to sway at the waist to simulate dancing of the type which is popular with teen-agers. Such a doll is stiff enough to remain upright instead of flopping over, so that it can be played with in the same manner as other dolls in dressing and posing. However, the doll can be shaken to make it sway in a manner simulating dancing. While a child can oscillate the doll to make it sway, greater enjoyment can be obtained if the doll appears to perform on a separate stage and to dance by itself. A mechanism for causing the doll to sway should not merely oscillate the entire lower section of the doll from side to side, inasmuch as such movement is highly artificial. Instead, an oscillating mechanism and stage should provide an oscillation of a type that provides an overall natural dancing motion.
OBJECTS AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION An object of the present invention is to provide a stage apparatus for holding and oscillating a doll to make it perform entertaining dance movements.
Another object is to provide a simple mechanism for engaging the feet of a flexible waisted doll to make it dance.
In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, a stage is provided which has two foot-receiving members. The foot-receiving members are designed to easily receive a flexibly waisted doll which is to perform dancing movements, and to quickly release the doll feet to allow the doll to be played with independently of the stage. A motor driven mechanism oscillates one of the foot-receiving members in small vertical oscillations, while the other foot-receiving member is held stationary. The small vertical oscillations of one foot-receiving member causes the doll to oscillate so that its upper torso swings from side to side in a motion simulating popular dancing movements. A speed adjusting knob on the stage mechanism allows a child to vary the speed at which the doll is oscillated, to a rate which exceeds the natural frequency of oscillation of the doll at its waist. When the speed increases past a predetermined level, the dolls movement changes from a large swaying motion to a small amplitude oscillation that simulates a more intense and different type of dance movement.
The novel features of the invention are set forth with particularity in the appended claims. The invention will be best understood from the following description when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a stage and doll constructed in accordance with the invention;
FIG. 1A is a partial view of the doll of FIG. 1, showing the flexible waist construction thereof;
FIG. 2 is a perspective rear view of the stage of FIG. 1, with the upper housing portion lifted to display the mechanism;
FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken on the line 33 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3A is a sectional view taken on the line PIA-3A of FIG. 3;
FIG. 4 is a partial sectional mechanism ofFIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is a sectional view taken on the line 5--5 of FIG. 4;
FIG. 6 is a sectional side view of the mechanism of FIG. 4, showing the motor mounting thereof;
plan view of the stage FIG. 7 is a sectional view taken on the line 7--7 of FIG. 4; and
FIG. 8 is a partial perspective view showing the doll of FIG. ll turned to provide a different dancing movement.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS FIG. ll illustrates a doll It with a flexible waist portion, and a stage 12 for oscillating the doll. The stage includes a housing 14 and a pair of leg or foot holders 16, 1E extending above the housing and engaging the legs 20, 22 of the doll. The left footholder 18 is stationary, but the right footholder 16 is rapidly oscillated up and down by a motor driven mechanism within the housing 14. The rapid vertical oscillations of the footholder 16 and therefore of the doll foot 20 result in the doll swaying primarily from side to side, in a manner simulating dance movements.
FIG. 1A illustrates a portion of the doll It), showing the construction which permits it to flex at the waist. The doll includes upper and lower body or torso portions 24, 26 which are joined by an elastomeric coupling member 28. The coupling member 28 has opposite ends fixed to the different torso portions 24, 26 and holds them a slight distance apart to prevent interference while pivoting. If the upper torso portion 24 is pivoted, the coupling member 28 resiliently deflects to permit such pivoting, while tending to restore the coupling member to its original position. The upper torso portion 24 has a natural period of oscillation, which is determined by its weight and the size and hardness of the coupling member 23. If the lower torso portion 26 is oscillated at a frequency less than this primary natural frequency of oscillation of the upper torso portion thereon, then the upper portion 24 will undergo large swaying movements. However, if the oscillation rate is increased to substantially exceed the primary natural frequency of oscillation, the amplitude of oscillations will suddenly decrease, and the doll will go into a first harmonic mode of oscillation. The stage 112 is provided with a speed control knob 30 that can be operated by a child to change the speed at which the right foot-holder 16 oscillates the doll leg, to permit an increase in speed to change from large swaying movements to rapid small movements of the upper doll torso.
FIG. 3 illustrates the right foot-holder 16 and a motor driven mechanism 32 that vertically oscillates it. The oscillating mechanism 32 includes a motor 34 that is mounted on a frame 36. As also shown in FIG. 2, the frame 36 is pivotally mounted by an axle 38 on brackets 40 that are fixed to the stage housing 14. The motor 34 rotates a pinion 42 that drives a first gear assembly 44, which, in turn, drives a second gear 46. The second gear 46 has an off-axis pin 48 that is received in a crescent-shaped slot 50 of a bracket 52 that is mounted on the stage housing. As the second gear 46 rotates and the pin 48 moves in a circle, the frame 36 of the oscillating mechanism moves up and down about the axle 38. The right foot-holder 16 is mounted on an end of the frame 36 opposite the axle 38, so the foot-holder 16 moves up and down as the frame pivots. The movement of the foot-holder 16 is not precisely vertical, as indicated by FIG. 6 which shows the holder 116 in its highest position, but is nearly vertical.
The right foot-holder 16 is designed to enable rapid reception and release of the leg 20 of the doll. As shown in FIGS. 3 and 3A, the foot-holder 16 includes a substantially C-shaped part 54 which can embrace the lower leg portion of the doll to prevent its release. A foot platform 56 which lies beneath the C-shaped portion 54, supports the bottom surface of the doll foot to determine the dolls vertical position. A connecting web portion 58 of the foot-holder 16 joins the portions 54 and 56 and extends downwardly to the inside of the housing 14. A slot 60 formed at the bottom of the foot-holder is designed to receive an end of the frame 36 to firmly attach the foot-holder thereto. The entire foot-holder 16 is constructed of a resilient material, so that the C-shaped portion 54 can expand slightly to receive or release a doll foot, and the walls of the slot 60 can'move apart to receive or release from the frame 36 to facilitate installation during assembly or repair. The doll l0 which is used with the stage, is designed to be played with independently of the stage, and the C-shaped portion 54 is constructed to permit rapid repeated reception and release of the leg. To facilitate such mounting and demounting, the C- shaped portion has outwardly extending tips 62 that bend apart when a leg is being installed. The C-shaped portion is tapered, being of greater width at the top than the bottom.
The left foot-holder 18 is constructed identically to the right foot-holder 16. As shown in FIG. 5, the left foot-holder is mounted on a bracket 64 that is fixed to the stage housing 14. The bracket 64 has the same size and shape as the end of the frame 36, so that mounting of the foot-holder 18 on the bracket 64 can be readily accomplished.
Referring again to FIG. 2, it is seen that the stage includes a battery holder 66 which holds a pair of cells 68 that can energize the motor 34. One terminal of the battery holder is connected to the motor through a conductor 70. A second terminal of the battery holder is connected to the motor through a rheostat 72. The speed control knob 30 operates a wiper of the rheostat 72 to control the amount of current flowing to the motor and therefore the rate at which the mechanism oscillates the doll.
A child can make a flexibly waisted doll l perform dancing movements by engaging its legs 20, 22 with the foot holders 16, 18 of the stage. The foot holders 16, 18 may be constructed of clear or flesh colored plastic to conceal their presence. In many cases, the doll may be wearing pants that can be slipped over the foot holders to further conceal them. A child can then turn on the mechanism, by turning the knob 30 of the rheostat, which also includes an on-ofi switch portion. When the motor is first turned on at a low energization level, it oscillates the doll's right foot at a slow rate which is far below the natural frequency of oscillation at the dolls waist. With the doll facing forward, the up and down movement of one leg causes the upper torso portion of the doll to sway from side to side with relatively large amplitude oscillations.
If the child turns the knob 30 to continually increase the speed of doll oscillation, a speed will be reached at which the upper torso of the doll suddenly begins to oscillate at small amplitudes. When the doll begins to oscillate at small amplitudes, the load on the motor is suddenly decreased and it speeds up further. A child can readily notice the difference in manner of doll oscillation when that critical speed is reached, which is believed to be slightly above the primary natural frequency of oscillation of the doll at its waist. A child can turn back'the rheostat knob 30 to a low speed, to change the manner of dancing back to a large swaying movement, if she so desires. The speed at which a doll suddenly changes from large to small amplitude oscillations depends to some extent upon the mass of the upper portion of the doll. The mass can be increased by mounting a guitar 74 or other object on the upper torso portion of the doll, to reduce the critical speed at which it changes from large to small amplitude oscillations. The doll has poseable arms 75 that facilitate the mounting of such objects in a natural appearing manner, that is, the arms can be posed to simulate grasping of the object. Dolls that have been constructed and that have been mounted on a mechanism of the type illustrated, have been found to change to a small movement at oscillation rates between about 100 and 200 cycles per minute.
When the doll is oscillated while facing frontwardly, the upper torso sways mostly from side to side. However, if the doll is turned about 30, as to the position shown in FIG. 8, then the upper torso portion sways with a significant front to back component in addition to a sideward component. This provides a somewhat different effect that simulates different types of dance movements. If the upper torso portion can be posed so that the center of gravity of the upper torso portion is moved forward or rearwardly, then the upper torso portion can be made to oscillate in almost a circle. The change in doll position can be made more easily because the doll is constructed with poseable knee and hip joints. The foot-holders 16, 18 generally provide a loose enough fit to permit different posing positions of the doll legs.
Thus, the invention provides a stage that can oscillate a doll to make it perform entertaining dancing movements. A simple stage mechanism can be provided by utilizing a pair of footholders and oscillating only one of them with substantially vertical movements. The doll can be made to oscillate in a slow but large amplitude manner or rapid but small amplitude manner by providing a speed control device for altering the speed of oscillation.
Although particular embodiments of the invention have been described and illustrated herein, it is recognized that modifications and variations may readily occur to those skilled in the art and, consequently, it is intended that the claims be interpreted to cover such modifications and equivalents.
What is claimed is:
l. A toy comprising:
a first leg-receiving member constructed to releaseably receive and hold a first leg of a doll;
a second leg-receiving member constructed to releaseably receive and hold a second leg of said doll;
means for oscillating said first leg-receiving member; and
a doll having upper and lower body portions that are resiliently joined to permit the doll to resiliently and freely vibrate at a natural period of oscillation at the waist, said doll having legs releasably positioned in said legreceiving members.
2. The apparatus described in claim 1 wherein:
said means for oscillating is constructed to perform oscillations at a rate higher than the natural period of oscillation of said doll at its waist.
3. The apparatus described in claim 1 wherein:
said first leg-receiving member includes a substantially vertically extending elongated portion with a substantially C- shaped cross-sectional part for encompassing the lower portion of a said leg, and a platform portion for supporting the bottom surface of the doll leg.
4. A toy comprising:
first and second foot-holding members for holding the feet of a doll;
means for raising and lowering said first foot-holding member with respect to said second foot-holding member, whereby to cause an upper doll body to pivot from side to side; and
a doll with a resilient waist portion permitting free vibration of the doll body at said waist portion, at approximately a predetermined natural frequency of oscillation of the upper body portion with respect to the lower body portion; and
said means for raising and lowering said first foot-holding member is constructed to raise and lower it at a maximum rate which exceeds said predetermined natural frequency of oscillation.
5. The apparatus described in claim 4 wherein:
said means for raising and lowering said first foot-holding member has a manually adjustable portion for varying its speed.
6. The apparatus described in claim 4 wherein:
said doll has poseable arms for holding objects, whereby to enable a change of frequency of oscillation by mounting objects thereon.
7. The apparatus described in claim 4:
wherein said doll has a resilient waist portion constructed to allow pivoting of its upper body portion back and forth as well as from side to side, and having a leg which can be bent and posed at the knee, whereby to enable a change of manner of dancing.