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Publication numberUS3680777 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 1, 1972
Filing dateFeb 12, 1970
Priority dateFeb 13, 1969
Publication numberUS 3680777 A, US 3680777A, US-A-3680777, US3680777 A, US3680777A
InventorsToshikatsu Arai
Original AssigneeTomy Kogyo Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Variable track for a toy vehicle
US 3680777 A
Abstract
A track for a toy vehicle which comprises a plurality of pliable bed sections and a pair of pliable rails. The rails are removably attached to the bed sections in parallel spaced-apart relationship to form the course of travel for the toy vehicle. The course can be formed into any desired shape according to the present invention.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

151 3,680,777 1 51 Aug. 1, 1972 United States Patent Arai 1541 VARIABLE TRACK FOR A TOY VEHICLE v [72] Inventor: Toshikatsu Arai, Tokyo, Japan [73] Assignee: Tomy Kogyo Co., Ltd., Tokyo,

Japan 22 Filed:

Feb. 12, 1970 1,255,104 1/1961 France........................238/l0E [21] App1.No.: 10,869

3 Foreign Application Priority Dam Primary Examiner-Arthur L. La Point Feb. 13,1969

Assistant Examiner-Richard A. Bertsch Attorney-McGlew and Toren I [52] us. c1.

I v .238/10 E, 246/415 A ABSTRACT [51] Int. track for a y vehicle which comprises a plurality of pliable bed sections and a pair of pliable rails. The

[58] Field of Search rails are removably attached to the bed sections in parallel spaced-apartrelationship to form the course 56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS of travel for the toy vehicle. The course can be formed into any desired shape according to the present invention.

2,405,533 8/1946 Varney........................238/10 E 2,703,204 3/1955 Miller 238/10 E 3 Claims, 9 Drawing Figures PATENTEUAUB 1 I972 SHEET 1 BF 4 L .ISL

INVENTOR ATTORNEY PATENTE'DAuc 1 m2 SHEET 2 BF 4 v mm'su mm 16%? M ATTORNEY PATENTEDMI: 1 I972 sum 3 or 4 INVENTOR Tosm MaTsu RR R! BY If flm ATTORNEY PATENTEDAUB 1 I972 SHEET Q (If 4 INVENTOR TOSEH K nTsu ATTORNEY VARIABLE TRACK FOR A TOY VEHICLE SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION etc., each being fixedly mounted on ties or sleepers, are used.

In these conventional track assemblies, in order to change shape of the course of travel for such toy vehicles, it is necessary to interchange all or some of those different track sections in a predetermined manner. In other words, it is impossible to freely form a track assembly having a desired shape or configuration. This is due to the fact that, in the first place, each of those track sections is of a solid structure and cannot be freely bent, and in the second place, the kinds or shapes of such track sections are limited to such as straight sections, curved sections, inclined sections, etc. Further, in general, each such conventional track section or rail section is complicated in structure and is expensive. Furthermore, most of such track sections are bulky as well as incapable of being folded and require a relatively large space for storage.

The present invention has been made to eliminate such drawbacks or disadvantages and contemplates to provide a new and useful variable track assembly for a toy vehicle, especially for use in combination with a toy locomotive, a toy train or the like.

In accordance with the present invention, there is provided a variable track for a toy vehicle comprising pliable bed means, said bed means comprising a plurality of pliable bed sections each having a pair of transversely spaced retention means, and a pair of transversely spaced pliable rails on which said toy vehicle travels, said rails being removably attached by said retention means to said bed means.

One of the most important features of the present invention consists in that by manual regulation of such pliable members during the assembling operation a desired shape of the course of travel for the toy vehicle can be freely formed.

It is, therefore, one object of the present invention to provide a pliable track or track members for wheeled and powered toy vehicles which are free of the above mentioned drawbacks and which can be freely formed into any desired shape of the course traveled by such toy vehicles. I

It is another object of the present invention to provide a pliable track or track sections for toy vehicles, especially for use in combination with a toy locomotive, a toy train or the like, which can be produced at a relatively small expense with plastics material.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a track system which comprises a pliable track composed of a plurality of pliable track members, a wheeled and powered toy vehicle travelling along the track, a crossing device, a points or switching device, bridge means and other accessory members.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide flexible or pliable bed sections and rail members which are detachably connected together to form any desired shape of track assembly.

Other objects and advantages of this invention will be apparent from the following detailed description thereof made in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a plan view of a bed section according to the present invention, illustrating the state in which a rail is attached thereto;

FIG. 2 is a vertical cross-sectional view taken along the line X X of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the bed section shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a plan view of the bed section shown in FIG. 1, illustrating the state in which it is curved;

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary side view of a track assembly according to the present invention, illustrating the state in which it is assembled so as to have an arcuate grade;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view illustrating one example of how to join two adjoining bed sections;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of one of the many possible layouts of the track assembly according to the present invention;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a crossing device according to the present invention, illustrating the manner in which it is incorporated with track sections; and

FIG. 9 is a plan view of a points or switching device according to the present invention.

In the drawings same portions or parts are designated with like numerals.

Referring to the drawings, A indicates a flexible or pliable bed section which comprises a center beam 1 and a plurality of ties or sleepers 2 arranged at regular intervals and at right angles with the center beam 1 and integrally fonned therewith.

B indicates a flexible or pliable rail having suitable length and having in its both side faces longitudinally extending grooves Ba which symmetrically divide the rail into an upper portion Bb and a lower portion Be. The upper and lower portions Bb, Bc have longitudinal bores Bb, Bc passing therethrough, respectively. The provision of such bores makes it possible to reduce the weight of the rail B and to save material to manufacture the same.

The bed section A and the rail B are both molded from relatively soft and pliable plastics material.

Each of the sleepers 2 is provided with a pair of transversely spaced retention means 3 each of which is formed of a pair of parallel spaced-apart upstanding projections 3 provided on each side of the sleeper and e forming a groove 5 therebetween. The bed section has certain elasticity and is kept straight longitudinally, when not in use.

The width and the depth of each groove 5 are designed so that the rail B can be snugly received by the groove. As previously mentioned, the rail B has laterally protruding symmetrical upper and lower portions Bb, Be and, if desired, the bottom surface of the lower portion He can be used as a rail surface. In this case, the user has only to insert the upper portion Bb in the grooves 5 after turning the upside down.

It will be seen from this that either of the upper portion Rb and the lower portion Be is adapted to serve as mounting portion of the rail B and that both of the upper surface and the bottom surface of the rail B can be used as rail surfaces on which a toy vehicle travels, respectively.

It is to be noted that instead of such projections 4 a pair of mounting grooves may be formed in each sleeper 2 at both sides thereof so that the rail B can be removably attached to the sleepers by inserting it in the grooves. It should be noted further that the projections 4 may be formed into any shape other than those illustrated in the drawings. In other words, the retention means 3 for removably holding the rail B may be properly designed and is not limited to those illustrated in the drawings.

Reference numeral 6 indicates a connecting member which is adapted to be inserted in a connecting hole 7 to connect two bed sections A as shown in FIG. 6. However, it is to be noted that such connecting member 6 and the corresponding hole 7 are not always necessary for connecting two bed sections A, because the pliable rail member B functions or serves as means for connecting such bed sections, that is, when a pair of rail members B is mounted on adjoining bed sections A by retention means 3, after such adjoining bed sections have been suitably arranged, the bed sections are connected together by the engagement of the rail members with said retention means 3.

Indicated by numeral 8 are stoppers which are designed to prevent the bed sections from being curved excessively so that the toy vehicle running along the track can freely negotiate with the curves of the track, assembled. However, such stoppers 8 are not always required, because, for example, the distance between each two sleepers 2, designated Y can be made narrower than such interval as illustrated in the drawings so that adjoining sleepers 2 may be brought into contact with each other directly, when curved.

Referring now to FIG. 7, there is schematically shown a track system embodying the present invention. The track system comprises a continuous track assembly composed of a plurality of bed sections A and rail members B, a crossing device C for forming crosstracks, two points or switching devices D, a bridge E, a plurality of support means F for supporting the bridge E, and a toy locomotive G adapted to travel along the continuous track.

The crossing device C is a substantially cross which is moulded from relatively solid plastics material. It has a square portion Ca and substantially tongue-like lugs Cb projecting horizontally from the four sides thereof, as clearly shown in FIG. 8. The square portion Ca has in its upper surface crossed paths B in the form of a groove for permitting the passage of the locomotive G. Each of the horizontally projecting lugs Cb is provided on its upper surface with two pairs of parallel spaced apart projections 9, each being arranged in alignment with the adjacent one, for removably receiving an end sleeper 2 therebetween, so that four bed sections A with rails B can be removably attached to the four lugs Cb to form cross-tracks.

The points or switching device D is also moulded from relatively solid plastics material and comprises a bed proper Da, a branch Db diverging therefrom, two pairs of transversely spaced apart parallel rails B which are fixed to said bed proper and its branch, respectively, and a pivotable rail member 10 for switching the paths of travel for the locomotive G.

The pivotable rail member 10 is pivoted to the bed Da at 11 and is adapted to pivot in the direction indicated by the arrow until it assumes the position depicted by the dotted line, as shown in FIGS. 7 and 9. The switching device D is also provided with three pairs of parallel spaced apart projections 9 which perform the same fiinction as those of the projections 9 of the crossing device C previously described.

The vehicle can be any desired wheeled vehicle, such as a toy automobile, desirably a toy locomotive, train or the like. It can be powered by a battery actuated electric motor, spring motor or any other available motor or engine. It should be noted that the track system shown in FIG. 7 is only one of the many possible layouts embodying the present invention. It goes, therefore, without saying that any other desired shape or configuration of track assembly may be assembled according to the present invention.

As may be seen from the foregoing, the track for toy vehicle, according to the present invention, can be formed into any desired shape or configuration at will with such simple procedure as described and illustrated. Further, as the flexible bed sections and rail members, which constitute essential components or elements of the track, and also other track assembly constituting members are molded from plastics material, they can be easily massproduced at a relatively low expense. Furthermore, as the flexible bed sections and rail members are separated from each other, in addition to being flexible, they can be folded into a compact form and do not need a large space for storage. For example, even if the rail member is long, say, five meters long, it can be folded into a compact spiral form and can be easily stored.

What I claim is:

1. A variable track arrangement for a toy vehicle comprising a longitudinally extending track section, said track section comprising a plurality of separate regularly spaced ties extending transversely of the longitudinal dimension of said track section and formed of a soft pliable plastic material, said ties being elongated and having a substantially rectangular cross-section transversely of the longitudinal dimension of said track section, and means for connecting a plurality of said ties together, said connecting means comprising an elongated beam formed of a soft pliable plastic material secured integrally with said ties and interconnecting the midpoints of the longitudinal dimension of said ties, retention means formed on said ties, a pair of rails formed of a soft pliable plastic material removably secured to said ties by said retention means, said retention means for each said rail comprising a pair of laterally spaced parallel projections formed integrally with and extending upwardly from said ties so that each pair of projections snugly receive one said rail therebetween, and said rails having oppositely disposed upper and lower traveling surfaces so that said rails can be inverted in position within said retention means and still provide the requisite traveling surface.

2. A variable track as set forth in claim 1, wherein each of said bed sections comprises means for preventing the bed section from being laterally curved excessively.

3. A variable track arrangement for a toy vehicle comprising a longitudinally extending track section, said track section comprising a plurality of separate regularly spaced ties extending transversely of the longitudinal dimension of said track section and formed of a soft pliable plastic material, said ties being elongated and having a substantially rectangular cross-section transverse of the longitudinal dimension of said track section, and means for connecting a plurality of said ties together, said connecting means comprising an elongated beam formed of a soft pliable plastic material integrally connected with said ties and interconnecting the midpoints of the longitudinal dimension of said ties, said beam having a connecting hole at one end of said track section and a connecting member projecting therefrom on the other end of said track section for interconnecting adjacent said track sections by setting said connecting member into the connecting hole of an adjacent certain track section, retention means formed on said ties, a pair of rails formed of a soft pliable plastic material removably secured to said ties by said retention means, said retention means for each said rail comprising a pair of laterally spaced parallel projections formed integrally with and extending upwardly from said ties so that each pair of said projections snugly receives one said rail therebetween, each said rail having oppositely disposed upper and lower traveling surfaces so that said rails can be inverted in position within said retention means and still provide the requisite traveling surface, said rail having side surfaces extending between said traveling surfaces and each said side surface having a recess intermediate and spaced from said traveling surfaces, each said rail having a pair of longitudinally bores extending therethrough with each bore spaced between one of said traveling surfaces and the recesses in said side surfaces, and said ties having stoppers formed thereon and extending laterally from the sides of said ties which are disposed perpendicularly to the sides from which said rejection means extend and said stoppers being arranged for limiting the extent of curvature of said track section when said beam is curved so that said ties on one side of said beam move toward one another and said ties on the opposite side of said beam move away from one another.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1260151 *Sep 23, 1916Mar 19, 1918William G CoughlinRail-chair.
US1694528 *Jul 18, 1928Dec 11, 1928Clarkson John LFlexible railway track
US2196257 *Jun 14, 1938Apr 9, 1940Dubilier WilliamTrack system for toy trains
US2405533 *Nov 30, 1944Aug 6, 1946Gordon VarneyTrack structure for model railways
US2703204 *Feb 18, 1949Mar 1, 1955Miller Robert LTrack for model railroads
US2862333 *Dec 29, 1954Dec 2, 1958Franco GardiolDeformable toy track
US3464624 *Nov 28, 1966Sep 2, 1969Interlego AgBuilding set combination including toy rails,ties and special track sections
FR1255104A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3762641 *Dec 15, 1971Oct 2, 1973E SchubertRailroad track
US4397419 *Feb 2, 1981Aug 9, 1983Artur FischerGuiding element for toy vehicles
US4544094 *Sep 19, 1983Oct 1, 1985Mattel, Inc.Means for joining toy track sections
US4951872 *Jan 6, 1989Aug 28, 1990Sandpipe Computer & Model Services LimitedTrack jointers
US5440996 *Feb 10, 1994Aug 15, 1995Mattel, Inc.Track set with rotating intersection for toy trains
US5542668 *Jan 27, 1995Aug 6, 1996Empire Of CarolinaGame using slot track raceway
US6299072Dec 28, 1999Oct 9, 2001Learning Curve Toys International, Inc.Toy train track connector
US6953377 *May 5, 2004Oct 11, 2005Alessandro QuercettiSuspended runway
US7051948 *Oct 14, 2003May 30, 2006Battat IncorporatedFlexible track for a toy vehicle
DE2248727A1 *Oct 5, 1972Apr 11, 1974Fleischmann GebBiegbares gleis fuer spiel- und modellbahnen
WO2004062758A2 *Jan 6, 2004Jul 29, 2004Tobe ZaneFlexible vehicle guiding element
WO2005038137A2 *Oct 5, 2004Apr 28, 2005Battat IncFlexible track for a toy vehicle
Classifications
U.S. Classification238/10.00E, 246/415.00A
International ClassificationA63H19/30
Cooperative ClassificationA63H19/30, A63H18/021
European ClassificationA63H18/02B, A63H19/30