US 3730520 A
A toy adapted for use on a playground or similar area including a relatively vertical upstanding framework having a spiral ribbon-like band suspended therefrom. A child supporting platform having a groove to interact with the ribbon is threaded upon the ribbon and includes as an integral part thereof an upstanding flexible tube which surrounds the ribbon. The rider of the platform can grasp the tube for stabilization and use it as a braking means by simply squeezing the tube about the ribbon-like band. For playground use a shock absorbing resilient means may be located at the bottom of the ribbon to halt the descent. In one embodiment, the band may be positioned over the corner of a swimming pool. In another embodiment, a ladder is provided so that the child may climb to the top of the framework.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [1 1 Willis [451 May 1, 1973  PLAYGROUND TOY Douglas P. Willis, 1201 East Market Street, Aberdeen, Wash. 98520 22 Filed: May 1, 1972 211 App1.No.: 248,888
 US. Cl ..272/1R, 4/172, 182/193,
272/565, 272/60  Int. Cl. ..A63g 21/00  Field of Search"... ..272/56.5, l R, 60;
4/172, 172.1 1l72.l9; 297/349; l82/189l93, 5-7
[5 6] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,501,976 3/1950 Vitek ..297/348 3,554,540 1/1971 Green ..272/60 Primary Examiner-Richard C. Pinkham Assistant ExaminerHarvey S. lsrael Attorney-Richard W. Seed et al.
[5 7 ABSTRACT A toy adapted for use on a playground or similar area including a relatively vertical upstanding framework having a spiral ribbon-like band suspended therefrom. A child supporting platform having a groove to interact with the ribbon is threaded upon the ribbon and includes as an integral part thereof an upstanding flexible tube which surrounds the ribbon. The rider of the platform can grasp the tube for stabilization and use it as a braking means by simply squeezing the tube about the ribbon-like hand. For playground use a shock absorbing resilient means may be located at the bottom of the ribbon to halt the descent. In one embodiment, the band may be positioned over the corner of a swimming pool. In another embodiment, a ladder is provided so that the child may climb to the top of the framework.
7 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures PATENTEDW H915 FIG. 3
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION It has become generally recognized that playground equipment for use in schools and other areas should not only be fun for the participant but for the complete development of the child should provide exercise such as climbing or the like. The exercise involved develops muscles necessary for later life and also greatly increases muscle coordination.
In order for a toy to be popular with the children as well as providing the stimulus necessary to encourage exercise, the toy must firstly be usable by many children simultaneously or have a short cycle time so that it may be used by several children taking turns without undue wait. Secondly, the toy to get maximum usage, must be stimulating and enjoyable to the children using it.
It is obvious, after observation of children at play, that one of the processes they enjoy is the rapid movement of the body as well as the feel of the wind in their faces. One means which has been used in the past to provide children with some of the above noted enjoyment has been a toy which is adapted to be propelled or moved from an elevated position to a lower position by means of gravity. The toys often include a means for causing the child supporting vehicle to rotate about a central axis point simultaneously with the fall.
One of the problems with the prior art devices which incorporate the principle of gravitational fall combined with horizontal spin has been in the size of the vehicles as well as the fact that they were designed for use by more than one child. The size and relative weight of the instruments eliminates the possibility of individual play on that particular device. Prior art disclosures which incorporate some of the principles noted hereabove are U.S. Pat. No. 1,671,403 granted to Brown in 1928 which is a two-seat roundabout subject to the problems noted hereinabove. A U.S. patent was granted to Coska, Ser. No. 193,116 in Mar. of 1933 upon an amusement device which incorporated essentially the same principles as hereinabove noted but included four seats instead of two. Further modification upon the subject device is taught by U.S. Pat. No. 3,081,083 granted to Gregory on Mar. of 1963 which again suffers from the problem of requiring more than one person and usually normally includes a supervisor.
With the above noted prior art in mind, it is an object of the present invention to provide a toy suitable for playground use utilizing gravitational force to provide movement ofthe toy and its rider.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a toy which is entirely safe, capable of being used by a child without assistance and which uses gravity to cause a whirling downward ride.
Yet another'object of the present invention is to provide a gravity motivated toy which is completely within the control of the rider and which includes a flexible member which serves both as a stabilizing means for the rider and as a brake either halting or retarding the downward movement of the toy.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing the inventive playground toy in use.
FIG. 2 is a perspective view showing the interconnection between the child supporting platform and the braking and stabilizing tube. 7
FIG. 3 is a partial plan view showing the slot in the platform to accommodate the twisted band.
FIG. 4 is a section along lines 4-4 of FIG. 3 further illustrating the slot for interaction with the band.
FIG. 5 is an elevational view showing one means for absorbing the shock when the child contacts the supporting area.
FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the subject device as mounted over the comer of a swimming pool.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS As can be seen in FIG. 1, the playground device is supported by a rigid framework which includes a pair of identical generally parallel U-shaped members 2, 4 which are rigidly spaced from each other by means of cross pieces 6 and 8 at the bottom as well as ladder rungs 10 along one side. The side opposite the ladder rungs 10 would normally only have one brace 12 to prevent children from playing from both sides of the framework which would cause dangerous congestion at the top of the framework. At approximately the mid point of the base of the inverted U-shaped side members 2, 4 there is another joining brace member 14 which is shown as extending upwardly from the side rails 2, 4 in somewhat of an A-shape. The shape of this brace member is not considered essential to the invention and all that is required is that it provide adequate support for the spiral band 16 which is secured thereto. To assure rigid structure there is another brace member 18 extending between the cross braces 6 and 8 thus forming a solid structure which supports the ribbon 16.
Referring now to FIG. 2, the passenger supporting platform 19 can be seen mounted upon the band- 16 in a manner appropriate for use. Located below the platform 18 there is depicted one method of halting downward movement of the child carrying platform which comprises an outwardly extending rod 20 which is secured to the band and extends outwardly therefrom and has a compression spring 22 mounted thereupon for contact with the bottom of the platform 18 stopping the downward descent without undue shock at a position where the riders legs are safe from injury.
Extending upwardly from platform 18 is a flexible tube 24 which need only be flexible over a portion of its total length and which serves both as a supporting means for the passenger and the platform 18 retaining the platform in a relatively horizontal position and further serves as a brake.
A passenger mounting the platform will grasp the tube 24 and compress it against band 16 preventing downward movement. He will then swing out onto the platform and when he desires to descend, will release the pressure upon the band, allowing the platform to descend, controlling the rate of descent by pressure upon the tube until it contacts a stopping means.
To assure a rapid and uniform descent, the groove in the platform is not a rectangular vertical groove, but is a groove which is flared out at the top and the bottom to provide congruent contact between the groove and the ribbon 16. As seen in FIG. 3, the groove, although being generally rectangular when viewed from the top view, has the diagonally opposite long sides of the rectangle 26 and 28 beveled outwardly to form a smooth curved surface 30 and 32 which contact the curvature of the ribbon resulting in a smooth and rapid descent. It is to be understood that although the ribbon and platform shown is the preferred embodiment, any spirally configured exteriorly'profiled upstanding element and complementary child supporting element fall with the scope of this invention.
As seen in FIG. is a second method of halting the downward movement of the platform and as shown here the platform can include a downwardly projecting compression spring 34 which would contact the supporting surface, thus gently terminating the descent.
As seen in FIG. 6, it is well within the contemplation of the present invention that it could be used in conjunction with a swimming pool which is depicted generally at 40 and has at the corner thereof upstanding posts 42 joined at their upper end by braces 44. Braces 44 support outwardly projecting rigid members 46 which in turn support the spiral ribbon 48 in much the same manner as described with respect to FIGS. 1 through 5.
Thus, it can be readily seen that the hereinabove described toy is relatively simple in nature and therefore should be relatively inexpensive and available to most school systems, nurseries and the like. In addition to these obvious advantages of the toy as usable by one person on a playground by himself and extremely safe is the fact that it includes an integral braking and supporting means which is located at the natural position for the users hands during the riding thereof.
The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:
1. An exercise and entertainment device comprising:
a rigid, generally vertical framework having a horizontal portion extending away from the supporting vertical members,
flat, twisted relatively flat ribbon-like means vertically extending from the top of the frame to a position proximate the base of the framework,
slotted platform means mounted upon and movable secured adjacent a swimming pool and the ribbon means extends into the water.
3. A device as in claim I wherein the ribbon means includes a yieldable stop means to prevent the platform from progressing the entire length of the ribbon.
4. A device as in claim 1 wherein the bottom of the platform has secured thereto a shock absorbing means for slowing and stopping the platform at the bottom of the ribbon.
5. A device as in claim 1 wherein the framework includes an integral ladder allowing easy ascent to the top of the frame.
. A device as in claim 1 wherein the slot in the platform has contours complementary to the profile of the l ribbon means.
7. An exercise and entertainment device comprising:
a generally vertical element having an exterior surface having uniform spiral configurations,
means to support the vertical element such that the area immediately surrounding the vertical portion is free from obstruction,
means for supporting an individual having an opening therein which is complementary to the spiral configurations upon the vertical element whereby movement of the supporting means along the vertical element causes the supporting means to rotate about the vertical element, and
braking means extending upwardly fromthe supporting means, said braking means surrounding the vertical element and having at least a portion thereof flexible such that it may be compressed about the vertical element and serve as a brake.