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Publication numberUS3703040 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 21, 1972
Filing dateJul 6, 1970
Priority dateJul 6, 1970
Publication numberUS 3703040 A, US 3703040A, US-A-3703040, US3703040 A, US3703040A
InventorsHill Raymond Roger
Original AssigneeHill Raymond Roger
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Keyboard teaching aid
US 3703040 A
A group of hand actuated keys are pivotally mounted on a rod supported by a frame. Means are provided to prevent adjacent keys from interracting with each other while allowing a key to be placed at any angle of rotation in order to provide teaching functions.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

1451 Nov.21, 1972 United States Patent Hill 54] KEYBOARD TEACHING AID 1,087,797 2/1914 Lowe.............................40/68 [72] Inventor: Raymond Roger Hm, H white 3,154,281 10/1964 Frank....................46/22l UX tage Angwin Calif 94508 3,372,512 3/1968 Cremer........................46/221 2,629,951 3/1953 Kittridge.................40/77.4 x

22 Filed: July 6,1970 2,461,926 2/1949 Russell .......................40/77.4

1211 pp 52,510 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 1,192,161 5/1970 GreatBritain.................35/32 [52] US. 35/31 [51] Int. 13/02 ..35/56, 30-33, 35/70, 8, 31; 85/50; 40/7777.8, 68; 84/423,

Primary ExaminerR0bert W. Michell Assistant ExaminerJ. H. Wolff [58] Field of Search.......................

Limbach, Limbach & Sutton Attorney 7] ABSTRACT A group of hand actuated keys are pivotally mounted on a rod supported by a frame. Means are provided to [56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS prevent adjacent keys from interracting with each .35/ other while allowing a key to be placed at any angle f rotation in order to provide teaching fun ti 35/50 2,987,827 6/1961 Carnegie, 196,499 10/1877 Tabony...................... 2,672,725 3/1954 2,566,249 8/1951 Rainey et al....


ATTOR N EYS PATENTEDnnv 21 m2 3 7 03. 040 sum 3 or 4 F|G 9 RAYMOND ROGER HILL 43 ,f oam 41am I N VE NTOR.


SHEET 1; 0F 4 INVENTOR. RAYMOND ROGER H ILL AJLA WQM ATTORN EYS KEYBOARD TEACHING AID BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The invention relates generally to teaching aids and more particularly to apparatus for teaching arithmetic concepts through the use of a keyboard. The invention is directed to the structure of the apparatus and not to the techniques of use, which are admittedly old.

One type of prior art educational device is described in US. Pat. No. 383,389 to J. Dushane. A rectangular frame with a row of pivoted levers or keys is mounted on a longitudinal rod in the frame. Upward movement of the keys is limited by a horizontal board extending over the keys. Dushane intended his device to be used for teaching in a manner similar to that contemplated for the present invention; by raising groups of keys principles of addition or subtraction may be more easily grasped by the student. Dushanes structure, however, does not assure that the movement of a key will not affect an adjacent key, nor can a key be left in more than two positions: down against the bottom of the structure base or up against the horizontal board.

Another keyboard type teaching device is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 2,987,827 to A. Carnegie, Sr. Carnegie provides a row of keys mounted on a horizontal support rod; each is actuated by a plunger that engages one end of each key. Washers are fixed along the rod and separate each key. Although Carnegie s washers are intended to functionally engage each key so as to hold each key yieldably in any position, it is apparent that with usage over a period of time that a loosening of the fit will occur and the keys will tend to move from positions in which they are placed.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is an object of the present invention to provide a keyboard type teaching device wherein each key may be operated independently without affecting the position of other keys. It is a further object to provide such a device in which each key may be held in any position by means that will not tend to wear through usage.

In order to achieve these and other objects, a teaching apparatus is provided having a row of manually actuated keys mounted on a horizontal rod held by a support member. In one preferred embodiment, the keys are separated by washers that are movable horizontally but not rotatably thereby preventing interraction between keys. Longitudinal compression against the keys and washers along the axis of the support shaft provides friction to hold each key in place. In an alternative embodiment, spring clips engage each key and grasp the shaft to provide a frictional engagement to hold each key in any position. In a further alternative embodiment a hairpin snap engages the key and frictionally grasps the shaft. If desired, the washer may be eliminated by notching the shaft at each hairpin. In yet another alternative embodiment the bottom portion of each key is tongued to accept an upward pushing spring that both provides a friction point and prevents sideways movement of each key thereby eliminating the need for washers.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the keyboard teaching aid according to the present invention.

FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view showing a portion of the apparatus of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional side elevation view of the apparatus of FIG. 1 showing keys in three possible positions.

FIG. 4 is a partially cut-away, partially blown-up plan view of the apparatus of FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is a plan view of a portion of the apparatus of FIG. 1 showing an alternative compression structure.

FIG. 6 is an exploded perspective view showing an alternative spacer configuration.

FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional side elevation view of a key and spacer according to the alternative configuration of FIG. 7.

FIG. 8 is an exploded perspective view showing an alternative frictional key holding arrangement.

FIG. 9 in a cross-sectional side elevation view of the arrangement of FIG. 8.

FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional side elevational view of an alternative frictional key holding arrangement.

FIG. 11 is a partially cut-away plan view of the alternative arrangement of FIG. 10 through cross-section 1 l 1 1.

FIG. 12 is a cross-sectional side elevational view of an alternative frictional key holding arrangement.

FIG. 13 is a partially cut-away front elevational view of the arrangement of FIG. 12 through cross-section 12-12.

FIG. 14 is a side elevational view of an alternative key.

FIG. 15 is a side elevational view of an alternative key.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring now to FIGS. 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the drawings, the keyboard teaching aid is shown. A frame 2 provides a flat horizontal base 4 and vertical support portions 6, 8, and 10 spaced at its ends and center, respectively. A cylindrical support rod 12 is held by the frame support portions and has two sets of ten keys 14 and 16 mounted thereon to pivot around the rod and to slide along the longitudinal axis of the rod. Keys 14 and 16 are identical and while their exact shapes are not critical, they have an elongated portion extending from one side of a central opening 17 for pivoting on rod 12 and a short portion or tail extending from the other side of opening 17. The two portions form an angle somewhat smaller than Triangular-likewashers 18 mounted on rod 12 separate each key and are slidable along the rods longitudinal axis, but do not rotate because each washer engages the frame 2. Left and right helical compression springs 20 and 21 surround rod 12 between the left most key and the left hand end support and between the right most key and the right hand end support, respectively. Spring 20 urges the keys 14 and washers against central support portion 8 thus providing a friction surface between every key and washer. In like manner, spring 21 urges keys 6 against the center support. Sound deadening material such as strips of foam tape 19 are provided on the base 4 where the keys make contact with the base.

FIGS. 2 and 3 show keys 16 and washers 18 in greater detail, revealing the engagement of washer 18 and the frame base 4. The exact shape of washer 18 is not critical; however, it must engage the base portion to prevent rotation around the rod and when fit over rod 12, it must be loose enough to move along the rods longitudinal axis. The key is shown in its two extreme positions 16' and 16" and in an intermediate position 16". In position 16 the long portion of the key engages base 4; in position 16", the short portion of the key engages the base 4. Depending on the angle chosen between the long and short key portions, extreme key position 16" may be raised or lowered.

Referring still to FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, to operate the teaching aid and to illustrate subtraction of three from eight, for example, the keys might be positioned as in FIG. 1. First count up to eight by depressing the short ends of the eight right hand keys, placing them in position 16"; then take-away three by pushing down half-way to position 16" the long ends of the three left most of the eight upright keys. Count the remaining five upright keys to indicate the answer, five. By pushing the three keys only half-way down, the complete problem is portrayed. Other variations of this approach to show addition, sets and groups are apparent. In addition, simple equations may be portrayed by using the right and left hand sets of keys 14 and 16. For example, the equation 2 l 1: may be shown by counting up two on one side of the center support 8 and counting up one on the other side, thus a count of one more on the right is needed to make the sides equal. The keys may be actuated either by depressing the short ends as in FIG. 1 by curling the finger over the long ends as in FIG. 3. The latter method will provide greater control.

FIG. 5 depicts the left hand portion of the apparatus, showing a spring washer 19 providing spring compression between the left hand support 6 and washer 18. The spring washer 19 may be used instead of compression spring 20. In like manner, a spring washer may be used in place of spring 21.

Referring now to FIGS. 6-7, an alternative to the shape of washer 18 in FIGS. 1-3 is shown. A circular washer 22 having a tail portion extending radially is provided adjacent keys l6 (and 14). The tail fits into a groove 24 in base 4 that runs beneath rod 12. The washer 22 thus functions in the same manner as triangular washer 18; it is slidable along rod 12, yet is not capable of rotary motion around rod 12.

In FIGS. 8 and 9 an alternative friction arrangement for holding the keys 16 (or 14) in one position is shown. Key 16 has a radial notch in the circumference of the opening 17. A C-shaped spring clip 26 having a 7 short tail fits into the opening 17 and around shaft 12. Clip 26 provides a friction fit to rigid shaft 12 thus permitting the key to be set in any position. A plain thin washer 27 is provided to separate the keys. Since there is not sideways load on the keys, the clip 26 will maintain the keys in a stationary lateral position thus avoiding transmission of torque to adjacent keys. 1

Referring now to FIGS. 10 and 11, wherein a further alternative frictional holding means for a key 16 (or 14) is shown. A spring clip in the form of a snap keeper pin 28 is fitted over shaft 12 and fits in a cut out portion 29 along the side of a key 16 (or 14). Shaft 12 has a reduced diameter or groove 32 for engagement by each pin 28. Pin 28 thus frictionally grips shaft 12 and moves with key 16 (or 14) because it is fit in cut out 29 on the key. The key can thus be left in any position. Regular circular washers 38 are provided between keys to keep each key in engagemen with its pin 28. Alternatively,

the shaft grooves 32 may be omitted and the friction of the spring clip may be relied on to hold the keys in a fixed lateral position.

In FIGS. 12 and 13 a further alternative frictional holding means for a key 16 (or 14) is shown. A notch or indentation is provided along the bottom portion of each key 16 (or 14). A bow shaped spring 34 having a concave portion that fits into the key notch engages the key and fits into a channel indentation in the base 4 below the key. Spring 34 thus provides a friction fit against the key thereby allowing the key to be set at any position and also permits the keys to be spaced apart with no spacers or washers while preventing longitudinal motion by the key along the rod. In FIG. 13 the right hand key is shown out along section line 13-13.

In FIG. 14 a variation on the key 14 (or 16) is shown. A key 36 has the same general configuration asthe key 14 (or 16) however in lieu of a closed opening 17, an open horseshoe-shaped slot 38 is provided to grasp the shaft 12. If the key is formed from a resilient material such as plastic, it could be snapped onto the shaft during manufacture. Key 36 would be rotatable and could be used in the embodiments of FIGS. 1 7.

In FIG. 15 a variation on the key 36 of FIG. 14 is shown. A slot 42 extending into the short end of the key provides a spring clip action thereby permitting the key to be used in the manner of the embodiments of FIGS.

Other variations not departing from the spirit and scope of the invention may be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art. For example, in FIGS. 1-5, the compression spring means can be located anywhere along the horizontal rod. Also, the apparatus could have only one set of keys instead of two. Or if desired, several sets could be used depending on the teaching concepts to be used. Thus the scope of the invention is to be limited only by the appended claims.

I claim:

1. Apparatus for teaching arithmetic concepts comprising:

A. A frame having spaced apart support portions thereon;

B. A rod mounted on said support portions and extending therebetween;

C. A plurality of keys mounted on said rod for pivotal movement about said rod between a plurality of positions;

D. A spacer on said rod between each pair of adjacent keys with each spacer movably mounted on said rod for movement parallel to the length of said rod with said spacer having locking means for locking it to said frame against rotatable movement around the axis of said rod; and

E. Spring means for compressing said keys and spacers along the length of sad rod.

Patent Citations
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US196499 *Jul 24, 1877Oct 23, 1877F OneImprovement in game-counters
US1087797 *Jan 8, 1913Feb 17, 1914Claude C LoweChecker-board.
US2461926 *Feb 18, 1946Feb 15, 1949Russell Winfield PEducational device
US2566249 *Jul 28, 1949Aug 28, 1951Nat Motor Bearing Co IncMethod for making shims
US2629951 *Apr 5, 1949Mar 3, 1953Kittridge Edward EPrice indicating structure
US2672725 *Oct 13, 1950Mar 23, 1954Eterna A GFixing plate for a watch or clock movement in its case
US2987827 *Sep 6, 1960Jun 13, 1961Carnegie Sr AndrewVisual aid mathematics educational device
US3154281 *Feb 20, 1962Oct 27, 1964Frank CharlesHolder for electronic components
US3372512 *Dec 28, 1965Mar 12, 1968King Seeley Thermos CoPlastic axle bearings for use on toy vehicles
GB1192161A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US6174097Sep 21, 1999Jan 16, 2001Simon Richard DanielCollapsible keyboard
US6331850Nov 12, 1998Dec 18, 2001Think Outside, Inc.Collapsible keyboard
US6413099 *Jun 25, 1997Jul 2, 2002John Desmond RaineyEducational device for teaching simple and complex mathematical concepts
US6563434Nov 12, 1998May 13, 2003Think Outside, Inc.System and method for detecting key actuation in a keyboard
US6734809Mar 31, 2000May 11, 2004Think Outside, Inc.Foldable keyboard
US6781077Dec 14, 2000Aug 24, 2004Think Outside, Inc.Keyswitch and actuator structure
US6839002Nov 30, 2001Jan 4, 2005Think Outside, Inc.Foldable keyboard
US6894626Nov 30, 2001May 17, 2005Think Outside, Inc.Foldable keyboard
US6972699Mar 5, 2004Dec 6, 2005Think Outside, Inc.Foldable keyboard
US7084787Feb 14, 2003Aug 1, 2006Think Outside, Inc.System and method for detecting key actuation in a keyboard
US7782230Aug 24, 2010Robert OlodortDetecting key actuation in a keyboard
US8031087Oct 4, 2011Wakisoni Investments Pa, L.L.C.Detecting key actuation in a keyboard
US20020050934 *Nov 30, 2001May 2, 2002Robert OlodortFoldable keyboard
US20030122691 *Feb 14, 2003Jul 3, 2003Robert OlodortSystem and method for detecting key actuation in a keyboard
US20040169642 *Mar 5, 2004Sep 2, 2004Robert OlodortFoldable keyboard
US20060284742 *Jul 31, 2006Dec 21, 2006Robert OlodortSystem and method for detecting key actuation in a keyboard
US20100271310 *Oct 28, 2010Robert OlodortDetecting key actuation in a keyboard
U.S. Classification434/202
International ClassificationG09B19/02
Cooperative ClassificationG09B19/02
European ClassificationG09B19/02