US 3674271 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent De Gelder et al.
 REVERSIBLE SURFACE TRAY ASSEMBLY FOR A TOY TOP  Inventors: Jacob De Gelder; Albert R. Baginski;
Anthony D. Miller, all of Torrance, Calif.
 Assignee: Mattel, lnc., Hawthorne, Calif.
 Filed: March 9, 1970  Appl. No.: 17,546
52 us. c1. .273 115, 273/128 R, 46/65, 46/67, 46/73, 46/50 511 Int. Cl. ..A63b 67/14 58 Field ofSearch ...273/108, 109, 1 10, 1 12; 46/67  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,215,033 2/1917 King .273/110 2,750,192 6/1956 Haslett ..273/872 [451 July 4,1972
FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 752,110 7/1956 England "273/109 Primary Examiner-Richard C. Pinkham Assistant ExaminerTheatrice Brown Attorney-Albert M. Herzig, Eugene O. Heberer, Max E. Shirk, Frederic P. Smith, Gerald L. Price, Leo A. Rosetta and Franklin D. Jankosky [5 7] ABSTRACT A peripherally walled two-sided tray with accessory holding portions and an extending handle, is adapted to hold replaceable accessory inserts with different surface configurations requiring different degrees and types of skill and for amusement with spinning toy tops. The inserts may include a maze, a ramp-jump configuration, a magic slate arrangement, a plurality of spinning discs and others.
9 Claims, 16 Drawing Figures REVERSIBLE SURFACE TRAY ASSENIBLY FOR A TOY TOP BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The background of the invention will be set forth in two parts.
1. Field of the Invention The present invention pertains generally to the field of toy tops and more particularly to accessories requiring skill and also for sheer amusement in use with spinning toy tops.
2. Description of the Prior Art The use for scientific and amusement purposes of the gyrr scopic effect of spinning bodies has long been known. Generally, in the amusement or toy field, these devices are known as tops or spinning tops. Such tops may take many different forms, some being very simple in construction comprising only a disc transversely mounted along a shaft which is rotated merely by twisting between a users fingers. Others are more elaborate requiring that a cord be wound about a shaft and pulled briskly by its user to impart on the top the desired rotation. More recently, sophisticated top configurations have been developed which utilize some of the techniques used with complicated gyros used for navigation purposes as providing vanes on the rotating member whereby it is caused to rotate by an air stream.
The art has also tended to develop gyroscopic toys having less classical appearances. For example, toy tops are now provided with housing which conceal and protect the rotating annular rim of a hub supported member so that it will not accidentally come into contact with obstructions or the users hand and cause it to lose momentum.
Still another development of the present invention is the use of top launchers and platforms which initially impart a rotation force to the toy and then allow the user to manipulate the top about the associated platform. Although at first this scheme may seem to be advantageous, it has been found that the launching mechanisms are cumbersome and prone to malfunction which obviates the usefulness, although possibly incorporating skill requiring contours, are permanent and do not allow for variations and thereby a change of scenery. This generally leads to a stagnant situation; one in which its user may soon tire of and become bored.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In view of the foregoing factors and conditions characteristic of prior art spinning toy tops, it is a primary object of the present invention to provide a new toy top accessory not subject to the disadvantages enumerated above and having a peripheral wall surrounded tray which allows different accessory inserts to be held for utilization with spinning tops.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a simple to fabricate toy top accessory which allows the utilization of different accessory inserts each requiring a different degree and type of skill by its user.
Still another object of this invention is to provide an easily handled and manipulated spinning top accessory holding tray with different features on opposite sides of the tray.
According to the present invention, a toy top accessory is provided for use with spinning tops including a tray with accessory insert holding portions and including a plurality of removable accessory inserts disposable in the insert holding portions of the tray, each of the inserts having different surface configurations requiring different degrees and types of skill with spinning toy tops.
The tray may include a handle member and a peripheral wall, the handle member extending outwardly from and in the plane of the tray.
The inserts may be in the form of a maze with an endless top traveling path or in the form of a ramp terminating in a concave dish wherein a spinning top may be, with a considerable degree of skill, captured in an aperture in the dish surface.
The tray may have insert retaining portions on opposite sides thereof whereby different type of insert structures may be retained and utilized with a spinning toy top.
The features of the present invention which are believed to be novel are set forth with particularity in the appended claims. The present invention, both as to its organization and manner of operation, together with further objects and advantages thereof, may best be understood by reference to the following description, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings in which like reference characters refer to like elements in the several views.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one side of a toy top accessory according to an embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 1a illustrates how a toy top of a type preferred for use with the invention is activated;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the embodiment shown in FIG. 1 wherein a magic slate-type attachment is utilized with a spinning toy top;
FIG. 3 shows perspectively a maze type insert held in the accessory according to the invention;
FIG. 3a is a cross-sectional view of a portion of the maze insert shown in FIG. 3 taken along line 3a--3a;
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of an opposite side of the tray shown in FIG. 1, wherein differently patterned and colored discs are caused to spin by contact with a spinning top;
FIG. 4a is a cross-sectional view of a. portion of the tray and patterned disc as shown in FIG. 4 taken along line 4a4a;
FIG. 4b is a cross-sectional view of a portion of FIG. 4a illustrating a preferred method of providing the disc holding bosses;
FIG. 40 is an enlarged view of the use of a special tip and a spinning disk of the type shown in FIG. 4;
FIG. 5 is a perspective illustration of a jump-ramp insert positioned in the tray as seen in FIG. 4;
FIG. 5a is a cross-sectional view of the ramp-concave dish taken along line 5a-5a of FIG. 5;
FIG. 5b is a cross-sectional view of the ramp transversely to the spinning top path in FIG. 5a taken along line Sb-Sb;
FIG. 6 is an elevational view of still another use of the special tip to support and connect two spinning tops;
FIG. 7 shows perspectively a novel means to support a spinning top in a stand;
FIG. 7a is a partial illustration of another use fora novel tip which allows the spinning top to balance on a cord; and
FIG. 8 illustrates a means of coupling a spinning top of the type shown to a pedestal or stand.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring again to the drawings and more particularly to FIG. 1, there is shown a toy top accessory 11 for use with a spinning top 13 which accessory includes a tray 15 generally comprising a first planar surface 17, a peripheral wall 19 and a handle 21 extending from the tray 15 in the plane of the tray. The tray, wall and handle may be integrally constructed, by any conventional technique such as injection molding using any generally suitable material such as many commonly used plastics such as a high impact styrene, for example.
The handle 21 may have any gripping surface such as the partially grooved configuration shown, and the wall 19 may include a plurality of reinforcing or stiffening integral posts 23. The wall 19 may also be set back from the outer edge 25 of the surface 17 so that a pair of oppositely disposed wall depressions 27 may be incorporated in the structure to register with and hold removable inserts to be described later.
The toy top 13, shown having traveled along an irregular path 29 on the surface 17 as guided by an operator (not shown) holding the handle 21, preferably includes a gyroscopic mechanism (not shown) rotatably held in a closed housing 31. The housing 31 includes a two sectioned spherical portion 33 and a stem portion 35 through which the gyroscopic mechanism 5 shaft 37 protrudes (see FIG. 3a). The housing 33 may be formed by any conventional plastic molding process and a relatively softer plastic or resilient material may be used to form a starting tip 39 having a hemispherical end surface 41 and fixed adjacent a slightly extended shaft tip 43 of the shaft or spindle 37.
FIG. 1a illustrates how the top 13 is activated by an operators hand 40 gripping the housing 13 and moving the top 13 in a generally lateral direction 44 with the surface 41 of the starting tip 39 in contact with any convenient relatively flat surface 45 to cause the starting tip 39 and the spindle 37 to rotate in a direction indicated by arrow 47 with respect to the housing 33. Thus, the top 13 may be held with the starting tip 39 pressed against a floor surface and the tip rolled therealong as the top is swung in a generally half circle around the operator. This action may be repeated until the gyroscopic mechanism within the top 13 has reached a high rotation speed. Once so activated, the top 13 may be positioned with its now rotating metal shaft tip 43 supported on the first planar surface 17, and the accessory 11 rotated slightly about the axis of the handle 21 as indicated by arrows 49 and/or tilted transversely thereto as shown by arrows 51.
In a writing top embodiment of the invention as seen in FIG. 2, a conventional magic slate configuration comprising a base plate 53 having a generally rectangular shape, and also having a soft carbon paper-like wax surface 57. Attached at one end 59 of the plate 53 is a flexible translucent plastic sheet 61 upon which the shaft tip 43 of the top 13 may be supported to cause the appearance of whatever design 63 an operator may desire as he holds and manipulates the handle 21 of the accessory 11. The design 63 may be erased by merely lifting either free comer 65 of the sheet 61 until it is completely separated from the wax surface 57 of the plate 53.
Still another embodiment of the invention is illustrated in FIG. 3 where a maze insert 71 is positioned and held over the first planar surface 17 and has a generally planar upper surface 73 with a relatively deep trough-like depression 75 extending from a first end 77 to a second end 79 in a very irregular pattern. The maze insert 71 is adapted to be generally inserted within the wall 19 of the tray with its peripheral edge 81 adjacent thereto, and is held in place by its tabs 83 downwardly extending from the two surface extension portions 85 of the upper surface 73. As seen in more detail in FIG. 3a, the trough 75 includes integral side walls 87, parallel spinning top paths 89 and 91 at the bottom of the trough, and a slightly raised divider wall portion 93 between the paths 89 and 91. The divider-wall 93 extends along the entire length of the trough 75 except at the ends 77, 78 and 79. This provides an endless path for top travel in the trough. Thus with the development of a certain degree of skill in the manipulation of the tray 15, an operator may be successful in causing a spinning top to traverse the length of the trough from end to end and back again, first in one general direction 95 on one of the paths and in the opposite direction on the other of the parallel paths upon reaching one of the trough ends 77 or 79.
With reference to FIG. 4, a still further embodiment of the invention is shown utilizing a second planar surface 101 opposite the first planar surface 17 of the accessory 11. The surface 101 is surrounded by a peripheral wall 103 having inwardly extending projections 105, each being perpendicular to the wall 103 and being six in number, two equally dividing each longer dimensioned portions 107 of the wall 103 and one centered in each of the end wall portions 109. The projections 105 on opposite walls are positioned directly opposite each other to effectively divide the second planer surface 101 into six equal areas.
Disposed generally centrally in each of these six imaginary areas is a raised boss member 111 having a bearing aperture 113 in the top 115 thereof. The boss member 111 may be molded as an integral part of the accessory 11 as seen in FIG. 4a. The latter figure also clearly illustrates the positioning of circular swirls 1 17 on top of desired ones of the members 111. The swirls 117 comprise a circular disk 119 of plastic or stiff cardboard and a centrally disposed round aperture 121 in which may be fixed a relatively smaller plastic button 123 having an upper conical aperture 125, a stepped lower outer surface 127 and a button tip portion 129 as best viewed in FIG.
4b. The disk 119 is attached to the button 123 by forcing an annular collar 131 over a raised ring portion 133 on the lower portion of the buttons outer surface 127, as clearly shown by the dotted lines in the figure.
In operation, the swirls 117 are placed so that their button tip portions 129 are in the bearing apertures 113 of desired ones of the raised boss members 111. The swirls are then caused to rotate, as indicated by arrow 135 in FIG. 4, by pressing the end surface 41 of a spinning top s rotating starting tip 41 into conical aperture 125. A swirl so treated will soon acquire the speed of the rotating top due to the frictional coupling, and the top may then be removed leaving the swirl to rotate freely. The operator may use swirls with designs already imprinted on the upper surfaces of the disks 119, or original patterns and designsv may be fashioned on unprinted disks or surfaces of disks by the use of colored pencils, crayon or paints, for example.
The swirls 117, once rotating, may remain captured by the boss members 111 or by using a quick upward movement of the accessory I 11 the spinning swirls will fall to a table or floor surface and continue spinning. Altemately, a swirl may be placed on any flat surface and a spinning top 13 placed with its tip in the conical aperture 125 and either allowed to remain there so that both spin together or the top removed to leave the swirl to spin alone.
FIG. 40 illustrates an alternate use of a circular disk 119 using a special tip structure 141 (one of several types usable with the tops 13) which has a disk portion 143 disposed between two similar arm members 145 with shallow tip apertures 146 and outer surfaces 147 having diameters decreasing with distance from the disk portion 143. One of the members 145 may be inserted into an axially disposed aperture 149 at the opposite end of the top 13 from the tops stem portion 35. Alternatively, either of the members 145 may be inserted into an axially disposed aperture 149 if the tip structure 141 is made symmetrical. Although not shown in detail, a slightly sloping walled, inwardly extending tip receptacle member 151 is molded into the upper portion of the housing 33 starting at the aperture 149 and conforming to the shape of and accommodating in a holding relationship one of the tube members 145 of the tip structure 141. The disk 119 is positioned with its hole 121 adjacent the aperture 149 of the top 13 and a member 145 of the tip structure 141 inserted first through the hole 121 and then into the top aperture 149 to hold the disk against the housing 33. In this way the top 13 is provided with a hat which will revolve with the housing 33.
Illustrated in FIG. 5 is yet another embodiment of the invention wherein a jump ramp insert 161 is held to the second planar surface 101 of the accessory 11. The jump ramp 161 includes an inclined ramp 163 having an entrance end 165 adjacent the surface 101 and an exit end 167 at the upper end of the ramp adjacent a concave dish or cup 169. The jump ramp 161 and the cup 169 are integrally molded with and supported by a support structure 171 having six ann portions 173 with boss-gripping cap portions 175 disposed to register with the six raised boss members 111. The cap portions 175 include cavities 177 (see broken away portion) with diameters essentially equal to the outside diameters of the boss members 111 to provide a tight fit to hold the insert 161 in place. To utilize this insert, an operator will place a spinning top 13 in the area adjacent the entrance end 165 of the inclined ramp 163 on the surface 101 and manipulate the accessory by the handle 21 to move the top along a path generally described by dashed line and arrows 179 around the projections 105, up the inclined ramp 163, and into the cup 169 where it may, with additional skill, be captured in a small hole 181 in the surface of the cup 169. FIG. 5a more clearly shows the relative surface relationships between the planar surface 101, the ramp 163 and the cup 169, and FIG. 5b reveals the slight concave surface of the ramp 163.
The special tip structure 141, previously described may also be used to couple two rotating tops together in piggy-back fashion as seen in FIG. 6. This figure is partially broken away to more clearly show the novel coupling technique. Although the lower top 13A has a slightly different outer housing configuration than the upper top 13, it is functionally equivalent thereto. The special tip 141 is simply inserted in the upper aperture 149A of the lower spinning top 13A as shown and the upper spinning top 13 is inverted so that its aperture 149 encloses the upper portion of the tip. The tops are initially started with opposite directions of spindle rotation by pressing each starting tip to a planar surface and moving in opposite directions. It should here also be noted that instead of using the lower spinning top 13A, a pencil or other pointed instrument may be inserted in the lower tip aperture 146 of the special tip structure 141 to support the inverted spinning top 13. A short length of pencil (not shown) may, if desired, be inserted in an inverted spinning top with its point pointed downward to produce scribble designs over the surface on which the top and pencil are supported. An inverted spinning top may also be supported at its housing aperture by a marble or similar spherical object for even different entertaining effects.
Referring now to FIG. 7, a second tip structure 142 is shown being used to support an inverted spinning top 13 on a special pedestal 183. The tip structure 142 is somewhat similar to the first tip structure 141 but has two oppositely extending xframe members 185 extending from a centrally disposed disk member 187. The frame members 185 are adapted to fit into and be frictionally held in the apertures 149 of the tops 13, and relatively small ball-like tips 189 and 191 are disposed at the ends and on the longitudinal axis of the frame members 187, the tip 191 having a slot 193 in the end face thereof. The pedestal 183, on the other hand, includes a circular base 195 and a support post 197 supported thereon perpendicularly to the plane of the base 195. It will be noted that the post 197 has a gradual tapered surface first section 199, a step 201 leading to an abruptly reduced diameter second section 203 with a similar taper and tip receiving socket 205 in an end 207.
When it is desired to support the spinning top on the pedestal 183 by means of the second tip structure 142, the slotted tip end of the x-frame member 185 is inserted into the aperture 149 and the round ball tip 189 set into the socket 205 of the pedestal. In this way the spinning top will be allowed to pivot about the pedestal socket at any angle in the vertical plane between the vertical and to, and even below, the horizontal. At the same time, the top 13 will rotate about the vertical axis of the pedestal s post 197.
If, however, it is wished to support the spinning top 13 on a cord or wire 211 as illustrated in FIG. 7a, the opposite end of the second tip structure 142 is inserted into the tops aperture and the cord engaged by the slot 193 of the tip 191. Once so positioned, the top 13 will balance on the cord 211 and may be caused to move along the cord by setting or moving the latter off the horizontal, the top moving in the direction of the downward slope so provided.
Alternately, many interesting gyroscopic conditions may be set up by inserting the socket end 207 of the pedestal 183 into the aperture 149 of the top so that the tapered and shape con forming second section 203 is frictionally held in the receptacle member 151 of top 13. It will be found, for example, that in this configuration, the spinning top may be positioned to be supported with one edge of the base 195 on a surface and the longitudinal axis of the top at nearly any vertical angle sufficient to clear the tops housing 33.
It is again to be pointed out that the materials used in fabricating the various parts and elements of the embodiments shown are not critical and any material generally recognized to be suitable for similar applications may be utilized. Likewise, the processes used in such fabrication may be any conventional one known in the art. Preferably, all of the inserts, the accessory 11 and the various tip structures may be molded from a high impact plastic.
It should further be clear from the foregoing that the invention is susceptible to numerous modifications and embodiments within the skill of the routine engineer and without the exercise of the inventive faculty.
What 18 claimed 18 l. A toy top accessory for use with spinning tops, comprismg:
a tray with a handle member and a peripheral wall, said handle member extending outwardly from said tray, said tray having a top side and a bottom side providing, respectively, first and second oppositely disposed portions each including playing surfaces and accessory insert holding portions; and
a plurality of removable accessory inserts disposable in said insert holding portions, each of said inserts having different surface configurations requiring different degrees and types of skill with spinning toy tops.
2. A toy top accessOry according to claim 1, wherein said removable accessory insert is a maze positionable in said first portion of said tray and having a generally planar upper surface with irregular patterned trough therein, said trough in cluding parallel spinning top surfaces and a relatively slightly raised wall portion extending therebetween except at the ends thereof, whereby a spinning top may propagate in said trough along one of said top surfaces to an end thereof and return along the other or said top surfaces to form an endless path.
3. A toy top accessory according to claim 2, wherein said maze insert includes holding means for registering with and gripping said insert registering portions of said wall.
4. A toy top accessory according to claim 1, wherein said playing surface of said second portion of said tray is a generally rectangular planar surface (bounded by said peripheral wall), said second portion (side) also including a plurality of oppositely disposed straight partial partitions each a part of and extending inwardly from positions along said peripheral wall in an orthogonal relationship with respect to said peripheral wall thereat.
5. A toy top accessory according to claim 4, wherein said planar surface has a longer dimension and a shorter dimension, and wherein two of said partial partitions extend inwardly from each of the peripheral wall portions in said longer dimension in a manner to divide the respective wall portions into three equal lengths, and wherein one of said partial partitions extend inwardly from opposite wall portions in said shorter dimension to equally divide the respective wall portions into two equal lengths.
6. A toy top accessory according to claim 5, wherein said partial partitions generally divide said planar surface into six rectangular areas, and wherein a boss member having a circularly cross-sectioned aperture in the top thereof is positioned generally centrally in each of said rectangular areas.
7. A toy top accessory according to claim 6, wherein the boss members have insert holding portions.
8. A toy top accessory according to claim 7, wherein said removable accessory insert is a ramp-jump insert positionable in said second side of said tray and having an inclined ramp and a circular concave dish area, said ramp terminating at one end at said planar surface and at the other end at the periphery of said circular concave dish area, said dish area having a relatively small diameter aperture in the surface thereof, thereby allowing a skillful operator to cause a spinning top to travel upwardly on said ramp and into said dish area and engage said aperture.
9. A toy top accessory according to claim 8, wherein said,
ramp-jump insert includes holding means registering with and gripping said insert holding portions of said boss members.