US 3711988 A
A toy phonograph in the form of a wheel, which continually plays as the wheel is rolled along the ground, including a record with a spiral groove inside the wheel housing and a playing assembly mounted on a handle which is pushed to roll the wheel on the ground. The playing assembly includes a bracket fixed to the handle, a head rotatably mounted on the bracket at an axis eccentric to the axis of rotation of the wheel on the handle, and several styluses mounted on the head. The stylus which is engaged with the record slowly turns the head while tracking the spiral groove, so that when the stylus reaches the end of the groove a next stylus is positioned to enter the leadin portion of the groove.
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1191 Summerfield et a1.
WHEELED TALKTING TOY Inventors: William F Summerfield, Huntington Beach; Fleet E. Nuttall, Los Angeles, both of Calif.
Assignee: Mattel, Inc., Hawthorne, Calif.
Filed: April 26, 1972 Appl. No.: 247,559
Related U.S. Application Data  Division of Ser. No. 77,158, Oct. 1, 1970, Pat. No.
 U.S. Cl. ..46/ll4, 46/175 AR, 274/9 R  Int. Cl. ..A63h 5/00  Field of Search ..274/9 R, 15 R, 39 R; 46/1 14, 46/175 AR  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,076,741 10/1913 Bliss ..274/9 1,130,173 3/1915 Kellogg ..274/l5 [4 1 Jan. 23, 1973 1,473,071 11/1923 Andrews et al ....274/15 1,484,965 2/1924 Ritter ..46/114 Primary ExaminerLouis G. Mancene Assistant Examiner-Robert F. Cutting Attorney-Seymour A. Scholnick  ABSTRACT A toy phonograph in the form of a wheel, which continually plays as the wheel is rolled along the ground, including a record with a spiral groove inside the wheel housing'and a playing assembly mounted on a handle which is pushed to roll the wheel on the ground. The playing assembly includes a bracket fixed to the handle, a head rotatably mounted on the bracket at an axis eccentric to the axis of rotation of the wheel on the handle, and several styluses mounted on the head. The stylus which is engaged with the record slowly turns the head while tracking the spiral groove, so that when the stylus reaches the end of the groove a next stylus is positioned to enter the leadin portion of the groove.
5 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures WHEELED TALKING TOY CROSS REFERENCE TO OTHER APPLICATION This is a division of patent application Ser. No. 77,158 filed Oct. 1, 1970 now US. Pat. No. 3,667,723.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates to phonograph toys.
2. Description of the Prior Art The use of phonographs in toys has been found to greatly increase the entertainment value of the toys. A typical toy phonograph has included a strip or disc record with a groove that is played by a needle or stylus. In order to produce sounds of substantial volume, the stylus is held by a tone arm which is coupled through a spring-biased armature to the center of an acoustical speaker cone. While such a mechanism is not especially complex, even its moderate complexity adds a substantial additional cost to toys which utilize a phonograph. Thus, further simplification of toy phonographs would enable their increased use in toys.
Disc-type records are among the most compact and sturdy types which have been used in toy phonographs. Generally, the groove is formed in a spiral about the center of the disc so that a saying of appreciable length can be defined in a small disc which rotates rapidly. The stylus generally enters the radially outer portion of the spiral groove, follows along the groove to the radially inner portion, and must be lifted and returned to the periphery of the disc to re-enter the groove. In toy phonographs which are driven by a spring motor, a cord that is pulled to wind the spring can be used to return the stylus to its starting point. However, in phonographs that are not driven by a pull cord, a relatively complex mechanism may have to be resorted to in order to return the stylus to the starting point of the groove.
OBJECTS AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION An object of the present invention is to provide a toy phonograph of extreme simplicity.
Another object is to provide a toy phonograph with stylus means which can repeatedly play a spiral record groove without the necessity for complex mechanism to return the stylus to a starting position.
Still another object of the invention is to provide an entertaining toy which can be rolled by a child to produce sayings.
In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, a simple phonograph is provided which includes an acoustical speaker diaphragm with a groove formed in its center portion. The groove is modulated in depth to define a saying or other sound, and a stylus that moves along the groove vibrates the center portion of the speaker to produce sounds of appreciable volume.
The groove is formed in a spiral on a record portion at the center of the speaker diaphragm so that a long saying can be included. In order to simplify the phonograph, it is constructed so the groove can be played repeatedly by merely rotating the stylus relative to the record portion continuously in one direction. This is accomplished by the use of several styluses located along a circle on a rotatably mounted head. As a first stylus follows along the spiral groove, it causes the head to slowly rotate, and as the first stylus leaves the inner end of the spiral groove the next stylus on the head enters the outer end of the spiral groove. Accordingly, the styluses enter the groove in succession to repeatedly play the saying.
The toy phonograph is incorporated in a simple push toy with a wheel-shaped housing and a long handle rotatably mounted on the housing to be held by a child for rolling the wheel on the ground. The speaker diaphragm and stylus head are both located within the wheel housing, the diaphragm being fixed to the housing which rolls on the ground while the stylus head is mounted on a member fixed to the handle. Thus, as a child rolls the wheel housing along the ground, the diaphragm and record portion thereon rapidly rotate while the styluses remain almost stationary (they slowly rotate on the head).
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 push toy constructed in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a sectional view taken on the line 2-2 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a view taken on the line 33 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is a view taken on the line 4-4 of FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is an enlarged view of the region 55 of FIG. 2; and
FIG. 6 is a sectional view of a simplified talking toy constructed in accordance with another embodiment of the invention.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS FIG. 1 illustrates a push toy which includes a wheelshaped housing 10 with a tire portion 12 that can roll along the ground, and a handle 14 for grasping by a child to push the wheel housing, the handle being rotatably coupled to the hub 16 of the housing. The housing has a phonograph mechanism therewithin which produces sounds that emanate through holes 18 in the housing when a child rolls the housing along the ground. The sounds produce a saying when the housing is rolled in a forward direction indicated by arrow 20, and also produce noise representing the record playing backwards when the housing is rolled in the reverse direction. While forward record playing is usually intended, backward playing is often considered highly amusing to children if they have previously heard the record played in the forward direction.
As shown in FIG. 2, the phonograph mechanism includes a speaker diaphragm 22 which includes a center annular portion 24 and a resilient corrugated peripheral or outer portion 26 which is mounted on the wheel housing 10. The center annular portion 24 is fonned with a record groove 28 in one face to define a saying. The record groove 28 can be played by any one of several needles or styluses 30.
The record groove 28 is modulated in depth, that is, in a "hill and dale fashion, to define a saying or other sound. If the stylus 30 is held against vibrations towards and away from the record portion, then the diaphragm vibrates instead of the stylus. The large area of the center annular portion 24 of the diaphragm allows it to drive a considerable region of air for good coupling to the surrounding atmosphere, to thereby create a loud sound. The fact that the record vibrates rather than the stylus eliminates the need for multi-component coupling devices for carrying stylus vibrations to a speaker cone. The fact that the record is fixed to the speaker diaphragm, or in this case is integral with it, enables them to be manufactured and set in place in an extremely simple manner.
In order for the recording to be played, a stylus 30 must move along the record groove 28. This is accomplished by holding the stylus almost stationary, while rotating the record and the speaker diaphragm to which it is attached. This is accomplished by mounting the peripheral portion 32 of the diaphragm on the wheel housing and coupling the stylus 30 to the handle 14 so that it does not rotate directly with the wheel housing.
If a single, very short saying is sufficient, then one circular groove can be formed in the record portion, to be repeated every time the wheel makes one revolution. However, a longer saying is generally desirable. As shown in FIG. 3, the record groove 28 is formed as a spiral, so that it can have a much longer length than a simple circular groove (the spiral can have many more turns than the few illustrated in the figure). A stylus 30a which enters a beginning portion 34 of the spiral groove, which is at its most radially outward location, passes along the groove until it reaches the end 36, which is located at the radially innermost part of the groove. The stylus 30a is mounted on a head 38 which can rotate about an axis 40. As shown in FIG. 2, the head 38 is fixed to a shaft 42 that rotates in bearings 44, 46 that are fixed on a bracket 48. The bracket 48 receives the ends 50, 52 of the handle 14. The ends 50,
52 of the handle pass through slots 54, 56 in the bracket to prevent its rotation. The bracket 48 also carries a spring 58 that bears against an end of the shaft 42 to bias the head towards the record portion 24.
While a single stylus 30 could be mounted on the head 38,and it could enter the spiral groove and pass along it to the end thereof, provisions would have to be made to bring the stylus back to the starting portion 34 of the groove in order to play the record again. In order to facilitate replaying, a plurality of additional styluses are mounted on the head 38 along a circle that is concentric with the axis of rotation 40 of the head. Adjacent styluses are spaced from each other (along a chord of the circle that joins the styluses) by a distance approximately equal to the radial distance between the beginning portion 34 and ending portion 36 of the groove. Thus, as one stylus 30a is leaving the end of the groove, the next successive stylus 30b has just entered at the beginning 34 of the groove. Thus, the styluses successively enter the groove so that continuous rotation of the record portion results in the spiral groove being played over and over again. It may be noted that the record can be constructed with two or more parallel spiral grooves with beginning portions spaced about the periphery of the record. In such a case, the angular position of beginnings and endings of the grooves should be spaced from each other so that as one stylus is leaving the end of one record groove, the next stylus is entering the beginning of a different record groove.
In order for the stylus apparatus to play the record without interfering with it, the axis of rotation 40 of the head should be angled slightly from a normal to the plane of the groove 28. FIG. 4 illustrates the manner of such angling, so that when one stylus 30b is engaged with the record groove, the other styluses are spaced from the record and therefore do not contact it, (except that two styluses generally are in contact with the record at the moment of transition).
In order to facilitate entrance of styluses into the beginning of the record groove, the beginning portion of the groove at 34 should be downwardly beveled. As shown in FIG. 5, the beginning portion at 34 lies beneath the level of the center portion 35 of the groove. This assures that a stylus will gradually enter the inclining groove portion when the previous stylus is proceeding along a declining groove portion, thereby allowing the head to move closer to the record. After entering, the stylus rides up the groove to the level of the center portion 35. The declining end portion 36 of the groove does not have to lie below the center portion 35, in order for the phonograph to operate. However, downwardly beveling the end portion 36 of the groove facilitates operation of the phonograph in reverse, when the stylus enters the end portion 36.
FIG. 6 illustrates another embodiment of the invention wherein a housing is utilized which is fixed to a stand 72 that can rest on a table, or the like, so that the housing does not rotate. A handle 74 is provided whose outer end 76 can be grasped by a child and rotated. The bracket 48 which rotatably supports the stylus head 38 is coupled to the handle 74 so that it rotates with the handle. The speaker diaphragm 22 and head 38 are substantially identical to the speaker diaphragm and head of the earlier described embodiment of the invention. However, instead of the record portion being rapidly rotated while the styluses move only slowly in a small circle, in this embodiment of the invention, the head 38 rotates rapidly about the center of the record while the speaker diaphragm is stationary (the head also slowly turns about the shaft bearings 78).
Thus, the invention provides a toy phonograph of extreme simplicity which can repeatedly play a record. This is accomplished by forming a record portion on a center annulus of a speaker diaphragm and supporting the needle or stylus against rapid vibrations towards and away from the record and diaphragm. Although the record portion may be integral with the rest of the diaphgram, it can be produced as a separate disc which is mounted on a diaphragm member to produce a diaphragm with a groove at its center portion. It may be noted that the head 38 can move towards and away from the diaphragm. However, the head 38 has a much greater mass than the diaphragm 22 so that it resists vibrating. The head 38 is typically constructed of a heavy material such as steel while the diaphragm 22 may be constructed of a light plastic material and may be vary thin. The toy phonograph of the invention also enables a spiral groove to be played repeatedly by the use of a head with several styluses that are arranged to successively engage the groove, one stylus engaging the beginning portion of the groove as the previous stylus is leaving the end of the groove. The mechanism can be mounted in a wheel housing that can be pushed by a child, or may be mounted in stationary housing that is rotated by a handle or by some other movable toy device.
Although particular embodiments 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:
l. A phonograph toy comprising:
a wheel-shaped housing having an encompassing,
ground-engaging tire portion for rolling said housing along the ground, said housing having a plurality of apertures;
a unitary phonograph record and speaker diaphragm mounted in said housing adjacent to said apertures, said record having a depth-modulated groove;
playing means mounted in said housing for tracking said groove and vibrating said diaphragm; and
wheel holding means including a handle rotatably connected to said housing for rolling it along the a supporting surface.
2. The phonograph toy described in claim 1 wherein:
said groove is of spiral form; and
said playing means includes a bracket mounted on said wheel holding means so the bracket remains stationary as the wheel turns, and a head mounted to turn on said bracket about an axis eccentric to the axis of rotation of the record on the wheel holding means, said head having stylus means for engaging said groove.
3. A phonograph toy comprising:
a wheel-shaped housing having a peripheral tire portion for rolling on the ground;
a phonograph record disposed within said housing and fixed to said housing to rotate with it, said record having at least one spiral record groove;
wheel holding means including a handle rotatably connected to said housing for rolling said housing along a supporting surface;
a bracket disposed within said housing and fixed to said wheel holding means so the bracket does not rotate with the housing;
a head rotatably mounted on said bracket about a second axis eccentric to said first axis; and
a plurality of styluses mounted on said head and spaced about the axis of rotation of the head on the bracket, for playing a groove and rotating the head as it tracks the groove to sequentially bring the styluses into position to enter a groove.
4. The phonograph toy described in claim 3 wherein:
said second axis is tilted relative to said first axis,
whereby only the stylus nearest the record can engage the record.
5. The phonograph toy described in claim 3 wherein:
said record is shaped so that the radially inner and outer turns of the groove lie in surface portions diverging away from the stylus head.