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Publication numberUS3654728 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 11, 1972
Filing dateDec 5, 1969
Priority dateDec 5, 1969
Also published asDE2049283A1
Publication numberUS 3654728 A, US 3654728A, US-A-3654728, US3654728 A, US3654728A
InventorsBeny Janos, Bosley Denis V, Kennedy Melvin R
Original AssigneeMattel Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Toy means for measuring toy vehicle drag and/or drift
US 3654728 A
Abstract
A garage for toy vehicles including a housing having a lower platform coupled to a track layout for receiving vehicles from the layout, an upper platform coupled to the layout for delivering the vehicles back to the layout, and an elevator for carrying toy vehicles from the lower platform to the upper platform. A drift and drag meter is located on the upper platform, the meter including a motor driven belt on which cars are supported. The drag portion of the meter includes a member for abutting one end of the vehicle as it lies on the moving belt, to indicate the force applied to it by the vehicle. The drift portion of the meter includes a pair of rails on either side of the vehicle, which can be moved to either side if the vehicle tends to drift to one side on the moving belt, and a dial for indicating the force and direction of force applied to the rails.
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United States Patent Beny et al.

[151 3,654,728 [451 Apr. 11, 1972 [54] TOY MEANS FOR MEASURING TOY VEHICLE DRAG AND/OR DRIFT [72] Inventors: Janos Beny, Manhattan Beach; Denis V. Bosley, Palos Verdes Peninsula; Melvin R. Kennedy, Carson, all of Calif.

[73] Assignee: Mattel, Inc., Hawthorne, Calif.

[22] Filed: Dec. 5, 1969 [21] Appl. No.: 882,525

[52] [1.5. CI. ..46/39, 33/203.14, 46/1 K, 46/12, 46/202, 46/243, 73/9, 46/40 [51] Int. Cl. ..A63h 33/30 [58] Field of Search ..46/1 2, 39, 243 M, 40; 273/1 E; 272/69, 73, l6, l7, l8; 33/203.l3, 203.14; 73/9,

FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 364,204 10/1962 Switzerland ..273/1 E Primary Examiner-F. Barry Shay Attorney-Seymour A. Scholnick [57] ABSTRACT A garage for toy vehicles including a housing having a lower platform coupled to a track layout for receiving vehicles from the layout, an upper platform coupled to the layout for delivering the vehicles back to the layout, and an elevator for carrying toy vehicles from the lower platform to the upper platform. A drift and drag meter is located on the upper platform, the meter including a motor driven belt on which cars are supported. The drag portion of the meter includes a member for abutting one end of the vehicle as it lies on the moving belt, to indicate the force applied to it by the vehicle. The drift portion of the meter includes a pair of rails on either side of the vehicle, which can be moved to either side if the vehicle tends to drift to one side on the moving belt, and a dial for indicating the force and direction of force applied to the rails.

4 Claims, 11 Drawing Figures BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates to toy vehicles and, more particularly, to accessories for such vehicles.

2. Description of the Prior Art Unpowered toy vehicles of the type which are accelerated by traveling down an incline or by accelerating devices spaced along a track layout, have become very popular toys. The entertainment derived from these vehicles is attributable partly to their realism, the vehicles generally representing wellknown models of full size cars and trucks. The entertainment is also partly derived from the excitement resulting from their high speed, and is obtained either from watching a rapidly moving vehicle or in racing vehicles against each other. Two major factors in determining vehicle performance, that is, the speed with which a vehicle can move over a given course, are its drag and drift. If devices for measuring these factors could be combined in a realistic appearing and operating accessory, such an accessory would provide great enjoyment in enabling a child to play with a realistic accessory while performing a useful test.

OBJECTS AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION An object of the present invention is to provide an accessory for play with toy vehicles, which is realistic in appearance and operation and which enables a child to perform operations which are useful in measuring the speed performance of a vehicle.

Another object is to provide economical apparatus for enabling the measurment of drag and drift of toy vehicles.

Yet another object of the invention is to provide a toy garage for use with a track layout along which toy vehicles move, which receives and delivers toy vehicles on the track layout in an entertaining manner.

In accordance with one embodiment of the invention, a realistic-appearing toy garage is provided which receives and delivers toy vehicles in an entertaining manner, and which enables tests to be performed for measuring the performance capabilities of the vehicles. The garage includes lower and upper platforms, and an elevator for moving cars received at the lower platform to the upper platform. It also includes a diverter for diverting toy vehicles onto the lower platform, and a discharging device for discharging vehicles from the upper platform back to the track layout so that they move down an incline to accelerate to a substantial speed. The upper platform includes apparatus for simultaneously measuring the drag and drift of a toy vehicle, to indicate its performance capabilities.

The diverting device on the garage is an arm that can be pivoted between a first position in the path of vehicles for turning them onto the lower platform, and to a second position out of the way of vehicles moving on the track. The

discharging device is a pivotal section of track which is normally in a horizontal position. When a vehicle is placed on a receiving end of the track section opposite the pivot, and the track section is raised, the vehicle falls down along the track section and onto an inclined portion of track that leads to the track layout. A holding shelf is included near the receiving end of the track section, so that the vehicle does not start moving down until the track section has been raised to a very steep angle, to provide extra vehicle acceleration.

The drag and drift measuring device includes a motordriven belt on which the vehicle can be placed. A drag lever at one end of the belt abuts the vehicle to receive forces thereon which depend upon vehicle drag. Forces on the drag lever move an indicator on a drag scale to indicate the amount of vehicle drag. The vehicle drift is measured by a pair of rails on either side of the belt which prevent a car from drifting off the belt. The sideward force on either of the rails by the vehicle as its wheels roll on the belt, indicates the drift of the vehicle. The rails are coupled to a second pointer which moves on a drift scale in an amount dependent upon the sideward force on the rails, to indicate vehicle drift.

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 toy garage constructed in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 2 is a view taken on the line 2-2 of FIG. 1, showing a toy vehicle in front of the elevator gate;

FIG. 3 is a view taken on the line 3-3 of FIG. 1, showing the discharging track section in a partially raised configuration during the discharging of a vehicle;

FIG. 4 is a view taken on the line 44 of FIG. 1, showing the elevator and belt driving mechanism;

FIG. 4A is a partially schematic diagram of the mechanism as shown in FIG. 4;

FIG. 5 is a view taken on the line 5-5 of FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a view taken on the line 66 of FIG. 4;

FIG. 7 is a partial elevation view showing the switch apparatus of the operating mechanism of FIG. 4;

FIG. 8 is a view taken on the line 88 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 9 is a partial perspective view of the drag measuring apparatus shown in FIG. 8; and

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of the drift measuring apparatus shown in FIG. 8.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS FIG. 1 illustrates a toy garage for use with unpowered toy vehicles of the type which are designed for rapid motion along a track layout 10. The garage includes a frame 12 with a lower platform 14, middle platform 16 and upper platform 18 held together by four corner columns 20. The lower platform 14 has a track section 22 with a pair of connectors 24, 26 for connection in series with the track layout 10. A diverter arm 28 can be swung to a position across the track to divert vehicles moving along the track layout in the direction of arrow 30 onto the lower platform. A discharging track member 32 mounted on the upper platform 18 can be coupled to an inclined portion 34 of the track layout to discharge vehicles back into the track layout. Typically, the inclined track portion 34 leads to a merging accessory that merges with the track portion that is in series with the track section 22 of the lower platform.

The toy garage has an elevator 36 which can move vehicles from the lower platform to the upper platform. The elevator includes an elevator car 38 which moves vertically along a guide 40. A gate lever 42 prevents toy vehicles from moving into the elevator shaft when the elevator car is not at the lower platform, but it automatically raises when the elevator car is at the lower level. When a toy vehicle has been moved onto the elevator car and raised to the upper level, it can be rolled onto the belt 44 of a drag-drift meter 46 which indicates the drag and drift of the toy vehicle. Both the elevator 36 and drag-drift meter 46 are powered by a single electric motor in a drive housing 54. An elevator switch 48 controls up-down motion of the elevator car, and a meter control switch 50 controls operation of the drag-drift meter.

The elevator 36 includes a belt 52 that is driven by a motor in the drive housing 54 at the top of the garage. As shown in FIG. 6, the elevator car has a mounting bracket 55 with an upper end that is riveted to the belt by a rivet 56, so that the elevator car moves up and down with the belt. The belt extends over an upper drive pulley 58 at the upper end of the garage and an idler pulley (not shown) at the lower end of the garage. A spring 59 in series with the belt helps to maintain belt tension. The drive pulley 58 has a gear 60 thereon which is driven by a worm gear 62 that is on the same shaft 64 as an elevator driving gear 66. The elevator driving gear 66 is driven by an intermediate or second gear 68 which is coupled to an electric motor in a manner to be described below.

FIG. 2 illustrates details of the gate lever 42 which prevents toy vehicles from falling into the elevator shaft when the elevator car is not in its lowest position. The gate lever is pivotally mounted at 70 on a side of the elevator car guide 40 opposite the elevator car. The lever has a gate end 72 and an operating end 74, the gate end being heavier than the other end so the lever is normally in the position shown in FIG. 2 wherein a blocking portion 76 thereof blocks a toy vehicle, shown at 78. However, when the elevator car 38 approaches its lowest level, it pushes down on the operating end 74 of the lever, to move that end down and cause the gate end 72 to raise to the position shown at 72A, wherein it no longer blocks the entrance of the toy vehicle. Thus, the gate operates automatically between its blocking and unblocking positions.

Referring again to FIG. 1, the drag-drift meter 46 is designed to receive a toy vehicle between a pair of rails 82, 84 that confine the vehicle to a position on the belt 44. When a child operates the metal control switch 50, the belt 44 moves in the direction of arrow 86 wherein its upper surface moves towards a drag force receiving lever 88. The friction between the wheels of the vehicle and the shaft on which they rotate, will cause the vehicle body to apply a force on the drag lever 88. This force causes a drag indicating lever 90 to move relative to a drag scale 92 to indicate the amount of drag of the toy vehicle.

If the wheels of a toy vehicle on the drag-drift meter 42 do not roll parallel to the sides of the vehicle, then the vehicle may tend to drift to one side. This drifting tendency is especially severe if the front wheels are angled to one side so that the vehicle tends to turn instead of rolling straight ahead. Such a turning tendency causes a vehicle to try to leave a straight track, so it constantly rubs against a side wall of the track that prevents it from leaving, resulting in substantial drag. When a vehicle is placed between the side rails 82, 84, the meter can indicate the amount of drift of the vehicle. The vehicle should be backed into the space between the rails so that its front end is near the outer ends 94 of the rails. The drifting tendency of the vehicle will cause it to push against one of the rails 82, 84. The rails are pivotally mounted, and the force on them causes a drift indicator lever 96 to move to the right or left from an initial center position relative to a drift scale 98, to indicate the direction and level of vehicle drift. Thus, the meter simultaneously indicates the levels of drag and drift of a toy vehicle.

The mechanism for coupling the drag force receiving lever 88 and side rails 82, 84 to their respective indicator levers are contained in a meter housing 100. FIGS. 8 and 9 illustrate details of the meter housing, and of the portion of the meter which measures drag. As best shown in FIG. 9, the drag lever 88 is pivotally mounted by trunnions 102 on the meter housing, and it has a vehicle contacting end 104 and an operating end 106 on opposite sides of the trunnions. The vehicle contacting end has a vehicle facing surface 108 with two angled portions that form a ridge 110. The ridge 110 is normally the part that contacts the vehicle. This assures greater accuracy because all portions of the ridge are the same distance from the pivot point at 102 of the lever. The operating end 106 of the drag lever 88 is engaged with the drag indicating lever 90 to pivot it.

The indicating lever 90 has a pair of trunnions 110 pivotally mounted on the meter housing, an indicating end 112, and a weighted end 114. The weighted end 114 has an enlarged lower portion which urges the lever 90 to a neutral or zero position wherein the indicating end 112 points at a zero marking on the drag scale 92. However, the operating end 106 of lever 88 pushes on an extension portion 118 of the indicating lever to pivot it away from its neutral position. Thus, the amount of force applied by a vehicle to the vehicle contacting surface 108 determines the amount of pivoting of the indicating end 112 of the indicating lever over the drag scale.

FIGS. 8 and 10 illustrate details of the drift portion of the meter. As best shown in FIG. 10, the side rails 82, 84 are rigidly fixed to a rail lever 120 which is pivotally mounted at 122 on the meter housing. The drift indicator lever 96 is pivotally mounted at 124 on the meter housing, and it has an indicating end 126, and a lower weighted end 128 that biases the indicating end at a neutral or zero position. The drift indicating lever 96 also has a pin 130 that is received in a slot 132 on the rail lever 120. As the vehicle pushes on one of the rails 82, 84, causing the rail lever 120 to pivot to the left or right, the walls of slot 132 move the pin 130 on the drift indicating lever, causing the drift indicating lever to pivot to the left or right. The drift indicating lever 96 can pivot, but it is constantly urged back toward a neutral position, so that the amount of pivoting depends upon the force applied to the rails by the drifting vehicle. The drift scale 98 generally has markings showing the side to which the vehicle tends to turn, if a vehicle has been backed into the space between the rails. If it is desired to move the vehicle forward into the space between the rails, then the markings on the scale 98, indicating whether the vehicle is drifting to the left or right, should be reversed.

FIG. 4 illustrates the operating mechanism for powering the drag-drift meter belt and the elevator. The mechanism is powered by a motor which is energized by either one of two electric batteries 142, 144 by operating either of the switches 48, 50. The elevator switch 48 has an operating handle 146 with a down side 148 and an up side 150. When the downside 148 is depressed, the battery 142 is connected to the motor 140 in a manner that causes the motor to rotate in the reverse direction indicated by arrow 152, to lower the elevator car 38. When the up side 150 of the switch handle is depressed, the other battery 144 is connected to the motor, and in a manner to rotate the motor in a forward direction indicated by the arrow 154.

The meter operating switch 50 has an operating handle 156 which is meant to be depressed only on the side labeled ON. When this side is depressed, the switch connects the battery 144 to the motor in a manner to drive the motor in the forward direction indicated by arrow 154, to drive the belt in the direction of arrow 86. A partially schematic circuit diagram of this apparatus is shown in FIG. 4A, wherein a spring contact 158 is shown having three arms that can be depressed to contact either of two electrical contacts 160, 162 to connect them to the motor 140, by depressing either of the operating handles 146 or 156.

The operating mechanism as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5 is constructed to enable operation of both the drag-drift meter belt 44 and the elevator belt 52 from the same motor 140. Prior to depressing the operating handle of either switch 48, 50, both switches are in a neutral position wherein no power is supplied to the motor, and the gear transmission apparatus is in the configuration shown in FIG. 4. The gear transmission apparatus does not change its configuration when either side of the elevator operating switch 48 is depressed. The transmission includes a first gear 157 fixed to the motor shaft 159, which drives the second gear 68 that is rotatably mounted on a gear frame 164. The second gear 68 drives the elevator gear 66 which is mounted on the shaft 64, the shaft carrying the worm gear 62. The worm gear drives another elevator gear 60 which is fixed to the shaft 172 that is also rotatably mounted on the housing. The shaft 172 carries the roller 58 that drives the elevator belt 52 to move the elevator car 38 up and down. When a child depresses the down or up sides of operating handle 146 of the elevator switch, the motor rotates to drive the elevator car down or up.

The operating handle 156 of the meter switch 50 is fixed to a lever 176 which is pivotally mounted on the housing, and which pivotally supports the operating handle 146 of the meter switch. When the operating handle 156 is depressed on its ON" end, the lever 176 is pivoted, so that it moves the gear frame 164 to the position shown at 164M in FIG. 5. The second gear 68 then engages a crown gear 178 that is mounted on a shaft 180 that is rotatably mounted on the mechanism housing. The shaft 180 carries a roller 182 that drives the belt 44 of the drag-drift meter. The roller 182 is biased towards a pulley 184, and the belt 44 passes between the roller and pulley. When depressing pressure is released on the operating handle 156, a spring 186 returns the gear frame 164 to its original position wherein second gear 68 engages elevator gear 66 to drive the elevator. Thus, when a child depresses the drag-drift meter control switch 50, not only is the motor energized, but the transmission is shifted to drive the drag-drift belt instead of the elevator car. Accordingly, the apparatus enables driving of two separate devices by one motor, and enables a child to operate either of the devices by depressing a single switch handle.

After a toy vehicle has been diverted onto the lower platform, raised on the elevator to the upper platform, and tested on the drag-drift meter, it is ready for delivery back to the track layout. The discharging of the toy vehicle can be accomplished directly from the upper platform in a manner to allow it to accelerate to a relatively high speed, in a novel manner. As shown in FIG. 1, the discharging track member 34 is pivotally mounted at 202 on the garage frame 12. A toy vehicle can be rolled through a gap 204 in a guard rail that extends around the upper platform, and onto an outer end 206 which is opposite the point where the track member is pivotally mounted. Once the vehicle is on the outer end of the track member, the track member can be pivoted upwardly to raise the outer end 206 and the vehicle thereon, until the vehicle moves over a ledge or shelf portion 212 on the track member and rolls down the track member and onto the track portion 34 that leads to the track layout. The shelf portion, which defines an upward slope for vehicles to move over, prevents the vehicle from rolling down until the track member is at approximately a predetermined angle from the horizontal, such as 30.

As also shown in FIG. 3, a lever 208 is provided to facilitate and make more entertaining, the raising of the track section 34. The lever 208 has one end 209 pivotally mounted on the garage frame and an opposite end with a handle 210 for grasping by a child to raise the lever. As the handle 210 is raised, the track section 34 is pivotally upwardly until the vehicle passes over the ledge 212 and speeds down the track.

Thus, the invention provides a garage toy for use with a track layout, which can automatically divert a vehicle moving along the layout into the garage, carry it up an elevator to an upper platform, perform useful tests of the performance capability of the vehicle, and discharge the vehicle back into the track layout, all in a novel and highly entertaining manner. While the various devices are shown as part of one garage toy, they can be utilized separately. For example, the drag-drift meter can be used independently from the rest of the garage, and a meter can even be provided which indicates only drag or only drift. As another example, an entertaining toy is provided by a structure which diverts vehicles from a track layout, raises them up in an elevator, and then discharges them from the increased height to accelerate them into the track layout, without testing them.

Many variations can be made in each of the parts of the garage. For example, a self-propelled vehicle can be tested for drift by using an easily rotated belt which is driven by the wheels of the vehicle, and the drift apparatus described above. In testing an unpowered vehicle, a combined measurement of the effects of drag and drift can be obtained by using a pair of moving belts, instead of the rails 82, 84, and positioning them lower to simulate the rubbing of a vehicle on the side walls of the usual type of track used in the track layout.

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:

1. Apparatus for measuring the drag of a wheeled toy vehicle comprisin a toy vehic e;

a support structure;

means mounted on said structure for supporting the wheels of said vehicle;

means mounted on said structure for driving said means for supporting to cause said wheels to roll;

means movably mounted on said structure for abutting said vehicle to limit movement thereof in the direction in which it is urged by said means for supporting;

means mounted on said structure for urging said abutting means towards said vehicle with a force that increases as said abutting means is moved by said vehicle; and

means connected to said abutting means for indicating the movement of said abutting means.

2. The apparatus described in claim 1 including:

a pair of rail means mounted on said structure, one of said rail means being located on each side of a vehicle when it is positioned on said means for supporting, for limiting sideward movement of said vehicle each of said rail means spaced above said means for supporting the wheels of said vehicle to contact the body of the vehicle rather than the wheels thereof.

3. Apparatus for measuring the drag and drift of a wheeled toy vehicle comprising:

a support structure;

means mounted on said structure for supporting the wheels of said vehicle;

means mounted on said structure for driving said means for supporting to cause said wheels to roll;

means mounted on said structure for abutting said vehicle to limit movement thereof in the direction in which it is urged by said means for supporting;

means connected to said abutting means for indicating the force exerted on said means for abutting said vehicle;

a pair of rail means mounted on said structure, one of said rail means being located on each side of a vehicle when it is positioned on said means for supporting, for limiting sideward movement of said vehicle; and

means connected to said pair of rail means for indicating the level of force on either of said rail means, whereby to indicate the level of vehicle drift in either direction.

4. Apparatus for measuring drag and drift of a toy vehicle comprising:

a support structure;

belt means mounted on said support structure for supporting said vehicle;

means mounted on said support structure for driving said belt means;

means mounted on said support structure for limiting movement of said vehicle in the direction of movement of said belt means;

means connected to said limiting means for indicating the force of said vehicle thereagainst;

means mounted on said support structure for abutting a side portion of said vehicle; and

means connected to said abutting means for indicating the sideward thrust of said vehicle thereon.

Patent Citations
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US1902594 *Sep 13, 1928Mar 21, 1933Bendix Brake CoBrake-lining testing
US1924833 *Oct 12, 1927Aug 29, 1933Packard Motor Car CoBrake testing apparatus
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3908989 *Sep 4, 1974Sep 30, 1975Marvin Glass & AssociatesSkill type game utilizing tracks and vehicles
US4767375 *Feb 11, 1987Aug 30, 1988Arnold FassmanToy auto garage
US5189920 *Mar 21, 1991Mar 2, 1993Electronics & Space Corp.Corner stability testing apparatus
US5397260 *Feb 7, 1992Mar 14, 1995Tyco Investment Corp.Toy crash center play set
US8876572Aug 24, 2012Nov 4, 2014Mattel, Inc.Toy vehicle launching ramp and landing ramp
Classifications
U.S. Classification446/465, 446/423, 33/203.14, 73/9
International ClassificationA63H17/44, A63H17/00
Cooperative ClassificationA63H17/44
European ClassificationA63H17/44