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Publication numberUS3653626 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 4, 1972
Filing dateNov 2, 1970
Priority dateNov 2, 1970
Publication numberUS 3653626 A, US 3653626A, US-A-3653626, US3653626 A, US3653626A
InventorsTucker James I
Original AssigneeMattel Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Adjustable trestle
US 3653626 A
Abstract
An adjustable trestle for a toy track system having movable crossed arms and slideable base elements for varying the vertical height of the trestle and the degree of slope of a connected track section. The trestle comprises an upper support element which is connectable to a track section, two slideable base elements and the two arms each of which pivotally connect at one end to the upper support element and at the opposite end to one of the base elements. Each pivotal connection is achieved with a thin gauge readily flexible region which is inexpensively formed but highly reliable in operation.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Tucker [52] [1.8. CI ..248/371, 238/l0 E, 248/439 [511 Int. Cl. ..Fl6m 11/06 [58] Field oiSearch ..248/l64, I66, 168, I72, 173,

[56] Reierences Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,406,933 10/1968 Wait et al. ..'......248/37l FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 8l6,362 7/1969 Canada .Q ..l6/I28R lll,750 9/1925 Switzerland ..248/439 [451 Apr. 4, 1972 OTHER PUBLICATIONS Enjay Plastics Ad.-in May l, 1961 issue of Automotive Industries; page 58 Primary Examiner-Marion Parsons, Jr. Attorney-Seymour A. Scholnick [57] ABSTRACT An adjustable trestle for a toy track system having movable crossed arms and slideable base elements for varying the vertical height of the trestle and the degree of slope of a connected track section. The trestle comprises an upper support element which is connectable to a track section. two slideable base elements and the two arms each of which pivolally connect at one end to the upper support element and at the opposite end to one of the base elements. Each pivotal connection is achieved with a thin gauge readily flexible region which is inexpensively formed but highly reliable in operation.

10 Claims, 8 Drawing Figures ADJUSTABLE TRESTLE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The background of the invention will be set forth in two parts.

1. Field of the Invention The present invention relates generally to an adjustable trestle and more particularly to an adjustable trestle connectible to a flexible roadway or track system, especially a track system for a toy vehicle.

2. Description of the Prior Art Track systems for miniature toy vehicles are well known in the prior art as exemplified by the patents to Nash et al. U.S. Pat. No. 3,487,999 and to Perrinjaquet U.S. Pat. No. 3,480,2l0.ln order to achieve a more realistic layout for such a track system and in order to provide more flexibility and variety for a childs imaginative mind, accessories havebeen available to alter the height of various sections of the track system. However, these accessories have usually been of a fixed height with additional height being achieved by attaching two or more of the accessories together. Other devices designed to raise the level of a track section have been too difficult to operate, especially by a young child, or could not be fabricated in an economical manner. Still other devices do not have sufficient flexibility to adjust to a variable number of vertical heights while at the same time supporting a track section in a sloped position.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Accordingly, it is a general aim of the present invention to provide a new and improved adjustable trestle comprising an upper support element; two relatively slideable base means for adjusting the vertical height of the upper support element; and two elongated arms each having two ends, one of the ends of each arm pivotally connected to the upper support element, the other end of one of the arms pivotally connected to one of the base means and the other end of the other of the arms pivotally connected to the other of the base means whereby selectively sliding the two base means causes the elongated arms to assume predetermined oblique positions thereby varying the vertical height of the upper support element from a predetermined maximum height to a collapsed position and allowing the upper support element to assume a horizontal or oblique attitude. Not only is the adjustable trestle readily vertically adjustable but the upper support element can easily assume a position so that the roadway or track system to which it is connected can have an oblique or sloped attitude; further, the trestle is relatively inexpensive to fabricate and exceedingly simple to use so as to be ideal for operation by a child.

An object of the present invention is to provide a vertically adjusting trestle.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a vertically adjustable trestle having the ability to support a roadway or track system at an oblique or sloped attitude relative to the base upon which the trestle is situated.

Still another object of the present invention is to provide an adjustable trestle which is simply constructed, inexpensivelyfabricated and reliable in operation.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring now to FIG. 1, the adjustable trestle I0 is comprised of an upper support element 12, two elongated arms 14 and I6 and two relatively slideable base elements 18 and 20. As illustrated, a track connector 22 is attached to the top surface 23 of the upper support element and is designed to be received by a channel portion 24 of a track section 26. As mentioned, the track section may be part of a track system which is provided to support and guide toy or miniature vehicles.

The elongated arms 14 and 16 are each pivotally connected to the upper support element and to one of the two slideable base elements. As is readily apparent, the elongated arms are disposed in a crossed fashion so that when the slideable base elements'are moved in a direction parallel to their longitudinal axes the slope or degree of slant of the elongated arms varies and thereby the vertical height, that is the distance between the slideable base elements and the upper support element, varies.

Each of the base elements has two transverse openings, openings 30 and 32 in the base element 18 and openings 34 and 36 in the base element 20. The openings are positioned essentially perpendicular to the direction of the longitudinal axes of the base elements and are alignable so as to receive a pin, such as the pin 38. The pin when, for example, positioned within the aligned openings 32 and 34, functions to brace the trestle. When the openings 32 and 34 are aligned the upper support element is at its maximum height. A lesser height may be assumed when the opening 30 is aligned with the opening 34 and the opening 32 is aligned with the opening 26 as will be explained in more detail hereinbelow. It is to be understood, of course, that one or more openings may be used in either or both of the base elements and that the openings may have any suitable spacing arrangement; the two pairs of openings illustrated is an example only.

In order to achieve the adjustability of vertical height and thereby offer flexibility to a child forming a track system layout, reference is made to FIGS. 3, 5 and 6. The trestle in FIG. 3 is illustrated in its maximum height position with the opening 32 aligned with the opening 34. The pin 38 is positioned within the openings 32 and 34 and thereby braces the trestle in the position as shown.

Referring now to FIG. 5, the trestle is shown in an intermediate height position which has been accomplished by sliding the slideable base elements 18 and 20 into a position where the opening 30 is aligned with the opening 34 and the 3 illustrating the adjustable trestle positioned to support the track section at an oblique attitude;

FIG. 5 is an elevational, partly sectional view illustrating the adjustable trestle extended to a position between the maximum vertical height and a collapsed position;

opening 32 is aligned with the opening 36. Each of the slideable base elements have end portions such as a first end portion 40 and a second end portion 42 ofthe base element 18 and the first end portion 44 and the second end portion 46 of the base element 20. As shown in the position of FIG. 5, the first end portions 40 and 44 are more nearlyaligned than shown in FIG. 3.

Referring now to FIG. 6, the trestle is shown in its collapsed position where the first end portions of each of the slideable base elements are more nearly immediately adjacent as are the second end portions of the slideable base elements. At the same time the openings are misalignedand the elongated arms are nearly in a horizontal position, that is nearly parallel to the position of the base elements. Thus it is readily apparent that the height of the upper support element is easily adjustable even by manipulation of a child by simply sliding the base elements relative to one another so, as to alter the slope or obliqueness of the elongated arms. For example, as shown in FIG. 3, the elongated arms assume an angle of about 45 with the base elements while in FIG. 5 the elongated arms are at an angle of about 25 with the base elements. In the collapsed position, the elongated arms are almost parallel to the slideable base elements.

In order to achieve positioning the upper support element 12 so that the track section 26 is in a sloped attitude, which is particularly desirable when the connected track section is curved, all that need be done is change the slanted positions of the elongated arms. This may be accomplished by simply moving the track section or the upper support element so that there is an increase in the angle between one of the elongated arms and the base elements and a decrease in the angle between the other elongated arm and the base elements. For example, the slideable elements are in their same relative position in FIG. 4 as in FIG. 3. However, the elongated arm 16 has been pivoted to a more upright position changing its angle relative to the base elements from about 45 to about 60 while at the same time the elongated arm 14 has been pivoted toward a more horizontal position, changing its angle relative to the base elements from bout 45 to about 35. Thus, the base of the trestle remains flat or horizontal while the upper support element is slanted or oblique.

To facilitate retention of the trestle in its position when supporting the track section in a sloped attitude, the elongated arms 14 and 16 are of a sufficient width so as to have engaging edge surfaces such as the edge surface 50, FIG. 1 of the elongated arm 16 and the edge surface 52 of the elongated arm 14. The friction caused by the engaging or rubbing of the two edge surfaces acts to retain the elongated arms and thereby the upper support element in whatever position it has been placed. To increase the holding or frictional force of the trestle, the two edged surfaces 50 and 52 have been roughened, such as by scoring. To increase the attitude holding ability of the trestle even further, the edge surfaces 50, 52 may be serrated or have interlocking teeth and grooves formed therein to insure against slipage, during use even when heavy vehicles are being supported. It is apparent now that to achieve an adjustable slope is readily accomplished even by a relatively young child.

It is also to be understood that various modifications could be made to the present device while still staying within the spirit and scope of the invention as claimed; for example, instead of having aligned openings and a pin for bracing the trestle, one of the base elements could have a number of laterally extended projections while the other base element could include a number of corresponding recesses so that once a desired height is achieved for the upper support element, the projections and recesses are mated to prevent further relative movement between the two base elements.

In order to achieve a simple construction and to facilitate fabrication, the elongated arms are connected to opposite end portions 60 and 62 of the upper support element 12 by integral hinges, one of which is shown in more detail in FIG. 2 and designated 63. (This type of hinge is also referred to as a flexure hinge or a living hinge.) The hinge comprises an extending end surface 64 of the upper support element until it intersects a tapered portion 65 of a bottom longitudinal surface 66 of the elongated arm 14. An upper longitudinal surface 68 of the elongated arm intersects a bottom surface 70 of the'upper support element in a small radius bend 72. This construction forms a thin-gauge readily flexible region which is designated 74. When the trestle is made of a suitable synthetic resin such as polypropelene, the elongated arm may be pivoted relative to the upper support element a great number of times without inducing a fracture of the region. Additionally, the structure of the hinge is easily formed using present day synthetic resin-forming techniques. Further, an integral hinge eliminates extra parts thereby reducing costs.

Referring to FIG. 7, there is illustrated a pivotal connection made between the elongated arm 16 and the base element 18, which, like the connection of FIG. 2 is simply constructed, inexpensively fabricated and exceedingly reliable. The second end portion 42 of the base element contains an aperture into which a cylindrical end 82 of the elongated arm is received and bonded to a cylindrical aperture wall 84 by any suitable bonding technique. Extending away from the cylindrical end 82 are two generally parallel surfaces and 81. The surface, 80 intersects a lower longitudinal surface 86 of the elongated arm 16 while the surface 81 intersects a tapered portion 87 of an upper longitudinal surface 88 of the elongated arm. Thus, there is formed a thin-gauge, readily flexible region designated 90 which, like the region 74, FIG. 2, provides a simple but reliable pivot.

Referring now to FIG. 8, there is illustrated another embodiment of the pivotal arrangement between the elongated arm and the base element which is identical to the integral hinge of FIG. 2. The integral hinge of FIG. 8 comprises an end surface 102 of the base element 18 extending to intersect a tapered portion 103 of an upper longitudinal surface 104 of the elongated arm 16' while a lower longitudinal surface 106 of the elongated arm intersects an upper surface 108 of the base element along a small radius bend 110 so as to form a relatively thin-gauge, readily flexible region designated 112. Once again, like the region 74 of the FIG. 2 and the region 90 of FIG. 7, the region 112 is a reliable pivot for relative movement of the elongated arm and the base element. It is understood that ,the pivotal connection illustrated in FIG. 7 between the elongated arm 16 and the base element 18 may be also used between the upper support element 12 and the elongated arm 14. Thus, two connectors are shown, the mechanical connector illustrated in FIG. 7 and the integral connector illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 8. Either connector may be used at either pivotal connection region without departing from the invention herein.

What is claimed is:

1. An adjustable trestle comprising:

an upper support element;

two relatively slideable base means for adjusting the vertical height of said upper support element; and

two elongated arms each having two ends, one of said ends of each arm pivotally connected to said upper support element, the other end of one of said arms pivotally connected to one of said base means and the other end of the other of said arms pivotally connected to the other of said base means whereby selectively sliding said two base means causes said elongated arms to assume predetermined oblique positions thereby varying the vertical height of said upper support element from a predetermined maximum height to a collapsed position and allowing said upper support element to assume a horizontal or oblique attitude.

2. An adjustable trestle as claimed in claim 1, including a plurality of openings in a least one of said slideable base means and at least one opening in the other of said slideable base means, said openings of said one base means alignable with the opening of the other of said base means and said aligned openings being adapted to receive a pin whereby said trestle may be braced.

3. An adjustable trestle as claimed in claim 2, including a pin receivable within said aligned openings for bracing said trestle.

4. An adjustable trestle as claimed in claim 1, wherein said two relatively slideable base means comprise two elongated base elements disposed in a side by side relationship, so that the longitudinal axes of said base elements are essentially parallel, each of said base elements having first and second end portions whereby said first end portions of said base elements are adjacent each other and said second end portions of said base elements are adjacent each other when said trestle is in a collapsed position;

said upper support element has opposite end portions; and

one of said elongated arms extends between one end portion of said upper support element and the first end portion of one of said base elements, the other of said elongated arms extends between the other end portion of said upper support element and the second end portion of the other of said base elements.

5. An adjustable trestle as claimed in claim 4, wherein said elongated arms include edges along which the arms are in contact whereby saidcontacting edges hold the arms in the position they were last placed. I

6. An adjustable trestle as claimed in claim 1, wherein each of said elongated arms is connected to said upper support element by an integral hinge comprising an end surface of said upper support element depending to intersect a tapered portion of a bottom longitudinal surface of an elongated arm while an upper longitudinal surface of said elongated arm intersects a bottom surface of said upper support element along a small radius bend whereby a relatively thin gauge, readily flexible region is formed between said upper support element and each of said elongated arms.

7. An adjustable trestle as claimed in claim 1, wherein said two relatively slideable base means comprise two elongated base elements disposed in a side by side relationship, so that the longitudinal axes of said base elements are essentially parallel;

each of said base elements having first and second end portions whereby said first end portions of said base elements are adjacent each other and said second end portions of said base elements are adjacent each other when said trestle is in a collapsed-position;

one of said elongated arms extends between one end portion of said upper support element and the first end portion of one of said base elements, and the other of said elongated arms extends between the other end portion of said upper support element and the second end portion of the other of said base elements; and

said elongated arms include edges along which the arms are in contact whereby said contacting edges hold the arms in the position they were last placed.

8. An adjustable trestle as claimed in claim 7, wherein each of said elongated arms is connected to saidupper support element by an integral hinge comprising an end surface of said upper support element depending to intersect a tapered portion of a bottom longitudinal surface of an elongated arm while an upper longitudinal surface of said elongated arm intersects a bottom surface of said upper support element along a small radius bend whereby a relatively thin-gauge, readily flexible region is formed between said upper support element and each of said elongated arms.

9. An adjustable trestle as claimed in claim 8, wherein each of said elongated arms has an end portion comprising a cylindrical end intersected by said bottom longitudinal surface along a line parallel to the longitudinal axis of said cylindrical end, said upper longitudinal surface converges toward said bottom longitudinal surface and intersects said cylindrical end and spaced a short distance from said line of intersection of said cylindrical end and said bottom longitudinal surface whereby a relatively thin gauge, readily flexible region is formed between said cylindrical end and the remainder of said elongated arm;

each of said elongated base elements has an aperture; and

each of said cylindrical ends is received by said aperture and boneded to the aperture wall.

10. An adjustable trestle as claimed in claim 8, wherein each of said elongated arms is connected to one of said base elements by an integral hinge comprising an end surface of a base element extending to intersect a tapered portion of an upper longitudinal surface of an elongated arm while a lower longitudinal surface of said elongated arms intersects an upper surface of said base element along a small radius bend whereby a relatively thin-gauge, readily flexible region is formed between said base element and said elongated arm.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3406933 *Mar 13, 1967Oct 22, 1968George J. La ChanceAdjustable sewer drain hose support
CA816362A *Jul 1, 1969Du Pont CanadaIntegral hinge formed from thermoplastic material
CH111750A * Title not available
Non-Patent Citations
Reference
1 *Enjay Plastics Ad. in May 1, 1961 issue of Automotive Industries; page 58
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US6170754Feb 10, 1998Jan 9, 2001Mattel, Inc.Spiral ramp for toy vehicles
US7614931Sep 20, 2006Nov 10, 2009Mattel, Inc.Toy vehicle track set
US8162716Nov 9, 2009Apr 24, 2012Mattel, Inc.Vehicle track set
US8400721 *Mar 8, 2007Mar 19, 2013Redstone Aerospace CorporationLeaf-cartwheel flexure, and mounting systems and methods utilizing same
Classifications
U.S. Classification248/371, 248/439, 238/10.00E
International ClassificationA63H18/02, A63H18/00
Cooperative ClassificationA63H18/02
European ClassificationA63H18/02