US 3733743 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 Kossofi et al.
 DOLL HAVING GRASPING HAND AND ELECTRICAL MEANS ACTUATED THEREBY  Inventors: Joseph Kossoif, Hawthorne; Ronald R. Liedtlre; Joe W. Young, both of Redondo Beach, all of Calif.
 U.S. Cl. ..46/228, 46/163, 46/170  Int. Cl. ..A63h 33/26  Field of Search ..46/228, 163, 170
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 9/ 1925 Reese ..46/ l 63 UX 2/1907 Borchardt 4/1960 Patane Primary Examiner-F. Barry Shay Attorney-Seymour A. Scholnick 1 May 22, 1973  ABSTRACT A doll with a hand that can be forced to close or open by directly bending the doll fingers, and which thereafter remains closed or open. The hand includes a resilient flesh-colored shell, a frame extending within the palm region of the shell, and a lever pivotally mounted on the frame at the front of the palm region and extending into the finger region. An over-center spring arrangement maintains the lever extending straight ahead to keep the hand open, or bent to keep the hand closed. In one doll whose eyes are illuminated when the hand is operated, an electrical contact coupled to the lever in the hand touches another electrical contact only when the lever is intermediate the extreme positions to which it is urged by the spring arrangement. This assures that the batteries, which energize a lamp that lights up the eyes, are not depleted if a child aCcidentally leaves the hand completely open or closed. In anotherdoll, an electrical contact located in the hand can be closed by squeezing the hand, which a child can do as holds the hand to open or close it or at other times.
9 Claims, 14 Drawing Figures 66 58 2b 34 4 4o 44 Q6 3&
PATENTEW 221975 3.733.743
SHEEI 1 OF 3 DOLL HAVING GRASPING HAND AND ELECTRICAL MEANS ACTUATED THEREBY BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the invention This invention relates to animated dolls.
2. Description of the prior art The entertainment value of dolls can be greatly enhanced by constructing them to be animated in a realistic manner. Dolls representing babies have been designed with hands that can close over objects to hold them, when a child presses on the forearm or some other part of the doll. The objects are automatically released when the child releases pressure on the forearm or other activating area. While such hand action provides entertainment, it departs significantly from the natural hand movement of a baby. This is because a baby can grasp and hold objects indefinitely when they are placed in its hand, without the need for continual pressure, and particularly without the need for applying forces to any part other than the hand. A doll hand which simulated the actions of a baby in grasping and continually holding objects that were merely placed in its hand, would add considerable realism to a doll.
OBJECTS AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION An object of the present invention is to provide a doll hand which can grasp'and maintain a hold on objects in a highly realistic manner.
Another object is to provide a battery-operated doll animation that can turn on when a child manipulates the doll hand to make it grasp and release an object, but which resists battery depletion.
In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, a doll is provided with a hand that can grasp and release objects in a highly realistic manner. The hand includes a resilient hand-shaped shell, a frame extending into the shell to a position even with the knuckles, and a lever pivotally mounted on the frame and extending into the finger region of the shell. The lever can pivot to a position that maintains the fingers pointing almost straight out to represent an open hand, or it can be pivoted about 90 therefrom to bend the fingers to a closed position. An over-center spring arrangement maintains the lever in either of these two extreme positions. Thus, when the hand is closed, it tends to remain closed and can hold an object which it has closed over. A child can change the hand between its open and closed configurations by merely applying forces to the finger regions to make them open or close.
The doll includes an electrical switch within the hand that can connect a battery to a lamp that lights up the dolls eyes. The switch includes a contact coupled to the lever in the hand, to slide as the lever pivots. The contact is arranged to touch another contact only when the lever is in a position intermediate its two extreme positions. Thus, the battery energizes the lamp only as the hand is closing or opening, but not when the hand is fully open or closed. This prevents excessive battery depletion, because a child cannot easily leave the hand in a partially closed position due to the over-center action of the spring.
In another doll which employs an over-center spring mechanism to keep the doll hand open or closed, a switch is provided for controlling eye lighting, that can be electrically closed by squeezing the dolls hands. A
child can squeeze a doll hand while opening or closing it or at other times when he is playing with the hands. When a child releases the doll hands, the switch is electrically opened, thereby preventing excessive battery depletion.
The novel features of the invention are set forth with particularlity in the appended claims. The invention will be best understood from the following description when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawmgs.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a front view ofa doll constructed in accordance with the invention;
FIG. 2 is a sectional side view of the doll of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a side view of one hand of the doll of FIG. 1, shown in an open configuration;
FIG. 4 is a view similar to FIG. 3, but with the doll hand in a closed configuration;
FIG. 5 is a front view of the doll hand of FIG. 3;
FIG. 6 is a plan view of the doll hand of FIG. 3;
FIG. 7 is a sectional side view of the hand operating mechanism of the doll hand of FIG. 3 in an open configuration;
FIG. 8 is a side view of the mechanism of FIG. 7 in a closed configuration;
FIG. 9 is a sectional top view of the mechanism of FIG. 7 in an open configuration; 7
FIG. 10 is an exploded perspective view of the hand operating mechanism of FIG. 7.
FIG. 11 is a partially sectional side view of a hand operating mechanism constructed in accordance with another embodiment of the invention, with an electrical switch that can be operated independently of opening and closing hand action, with the switch in an electrically open condition;
FIG. 12 is a view similar to FIG. 11, but with the switch closed;
FIG.'13 is a view taken on the line 13-13 of FIG. 12; and
FIG. 14 is an exploded perspective view of the mechanism of FIG. 11.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS FIGS. 1 and 2 illustrate a doll l0, constructed in accordance with the invention, which has a pair of hands 12, 14 that can grasp and release objects. The doll also has a pair of eyes 16, 18 that are illuminated bya lamp 20 within the head as either hand closes or opens. A battery compartment 20 holds a pair of batteries 22 that are connected in series with the lamp 20 and are connected to switches in the hands 12, 14. The two switches in the hands are connected in parallel, so that if either of the switches closes, the lamp 20 is illuminated.
FIGS. 3-10 illustrate the right hand 12 of the doll, which is substantially identical to the left hand (except that the left hand is a mirror image of the right). The hand 12 can be moved between the open position shown in FIGS. 3 and 5 and the closed position shown in FIG. 4, and it tends to remain in either of these two configurations. As shown in FIG. 7, the hand includes a resilient shell 24 shaped like the hand of a child, including a wrist region 26, a palm region 28 forward of the wrist, a multiple-finger region 30 forward'of the palm, and a thumb region 32 extending from one side of the palm. The multiple-finger region 30 defines the little finger, ring finger, middle finger, and index finger on its outer surface, but they form a continuous hollow within the shell. A plug 34 is mounted within the wrist region 26 of the shell. A frame 36 is provided which has an inner end 38 mounted on the plug 34 and an outer portion 39 that extends forwardly within the shell. The
. outer frame portion 39 extends to a position approximately even with the knuckles of the hand, where the palm region 28 of the shell meets the multiple finger region 30. A lever 40 is provided, which has an inner end pivotally mounted by an axle 42 on the outer end of the frame 36. The lever 40 extends into the multiple-finger region 30 of the shell. The lever can pivot between the open position shown in FIG. 7 and the closed position shown in FIG. 8 to move the doll hand between an open and closed configuration. The lever 40 bears against an interior portion of the hand, that is, against the inner surface of the shell 24, so that the presence of the frame and lever is not obvious to a child who can force the hand to different positions by applying forces to the exterior portion of the hand, that is, to the outer surface of the shell 24.
As best shown in FIGS. 7 and 10, the frame 36 has a leaf spring portion 44 that bears substantially against a rearward or detent surface 46 of the lever. The detent surface 46 of the lever lies rearward of the axle 42 when the mechanism is in the open configuration of FIG. 7. However, the detent portion lies forward of the axle 42 when the mechanism is in a closed configuration as shown in FIG. 8. The force of the leaf spring portion 44 against the detent surface 46, tends to maintain the lever in its open or closed configurations and to resiliently resist movement to the other configuration. Thus, when the lever is in the open configuration of FIG. 7, pivoting of it towards the closed configuration would require upward deflection of the leaf spring 44, and the lever tends to remain in the open position. Similarly, when the lever is in the closed configuration of FIG. 8, pivoting towards the open configuration would require upward deflection of the leaf spring 44 and the lever tends to remain in the open position. The leaf spring 44 attains its greatest deflection and therefore its greatest potential energy when the detent surface 46 of the lever lies directly over the axle 42, which occurs when the lever 40 is pivoted about 30 away from its open position.
As previously mentioned, the hand includes an electrical switch that allows the batteries to energize the lamp and make the dolls eyes light up. The switch is formed by a stationary contact 48 mounted on the plug 34, and a moveable contact 50 that is designed to slide forward and rearwardly as the lever pivots towards its closed and open positions. The fixed contact 48 is held in a slot 52 of the plug, and has a contact region 54 projecting from the walls of the slot. The moveable contact 50 has a curved contact region 56 that can touch the fixed contact region 54 to close the switch.
The moveable contact member 50 has a forward portion 58 disposed between the leaf spring 44 and lever 40. The moveable contact member also has a pair of fingers or hooks 60 at its forward end and another hook 61 spaced behind them, all of which can engage the lever. Two of the hooks 60 are received in slots 62 formed in the lever while the third hook 61 lies against the detent surface 46. When the lever is pivoted from its open configuration towards its closed-hand configuration, the hooks 60 on the moveable contact are pulled forward so that the moveable contact 50 slides forwardly. The curved contact region 56 of the moveable contact then touches the contact region 54 of the fixed contact. As the lever pivots further towards the closed-hand position, the curved contact region 56 of the moveable contact passes to a position forward of the fixed contact region 54 so that the moveable contact no longer touches the fixed contact. Thus, an electrical connection between the two contact members 48, 50 occurs only at an intermediate position of the lever 40, between its fully open and closed positions.
The fixed electrical contact 48 is connected to a wire 64 that extends along the arm of the doll to one terminal of the battery compartment. Electrical connection from the moveable contact 50 to the lamp in the dolls head is made through an auxiliary contact 66 that is always pressed against the frame 56. Current can flow through the frame 36 from the moveable contact to the auxiliary contact 66, inasmuch as the forward portion of the moveable contact 50 is always pressed against the leaf spring portion 44 of the frame. The auxiliary contact 66 is connected to a wire 68 that extends along the arm of the doll to the lamp terminals. Thus, when the hand is in a configuration intermediate its open and closed positions, the electrical switch within the hand is closed and the eyes of the doll are illuminated.
The rearward portion 38 of the frame is held in the plug 34 by the auxiliary contact 66, which extends through a slot 70 in the frame and into another slot in the plug. The frame is bifurcated, having two arms 72, 74 with holes 76 that can receive the axle 42. The lever 40 has a pair of cars 78 at its rearward end that also receive the axle 42, so that the lever pivots securely about the axle. The lever 40 also has a pair of cars 80 extending from the sides and an car 82 extending with a downward component at its front to engage the entire multiple-finger region of the hand shell. The lever 40 is installed by projecting the axle 42 through the holes of the frame and lever and upsetting one end of the axle. The frame can be constructed of a spring steel, while the lever and axle can be constructed of steel which need not be spring-tempered.
The moveable contact 50 is constructed of a resilient conductive material such as spring brass. It is installed by merely slipping it between the leaf spring portion 44 of the frame and the lever 40, with the hooks 60 received in the lever holes 62 (when the lever is in the open position) and the hook 61 behind the detent surface 46 of the lever. The fixed contact 48 is installed by merely pushing it into the slots 52, the fixed contact having several serrations to resist its removal. After the mechanism is assembled on the plug 34, the plug can be inserted into the hand shell 24. If the plug has not been already fastened to the arm of the doll, then the entire hand assembly now can be fastened to the doll arm.
The hand shell 24 can be constructed of a flesh colored elastomeric material such as Plastisol. If the shell has a substantial thickness, it bends in a natural manner, and the fact that there is a lever and frame within the hand is not noticeable. It may be noted that the thumb 32 extends from a wide thumb region 84. When the multiple-finger region 30 of the shell bends, the thumb 32 bends inwardly slightly, in an opposed grasping motion, to provide a more natural appearance and to facilitate the grasping of objects.
The hand 12 can be closed or opened merely by applying forces tending to bend or unbend the multiplefinger region 30 relative to the palm portion 24. A child can merely force the hand to close over an object, and once the multiple-finger portion 30 has pivoted more than about 30, the doll will tightly grasp the object. The hand can be made to release the object by merely forcing the hand open. Thus, the action of the hand in opening and closing is very natural, being similar to the action which one might expect to apply to a babys hand to make it grasp or release an object. In particular, forces do not have to be applied to a remote portion of the doll such as the forearm or to some hidden lever in the body to make the hand operate. Only a moderate force level, which a child can easily apply, is required to open or close the hand, although the force is large enough so that the hand securely grasps objects. The grasping force of the hand is sufficient so that it can hold the finger of the child, and the child can carry around the doll merely by allowing the doll to hang onto his finger. The fact that the entire mechanism, including the over-center spring arrangement is contained within the hand shell means that the hand can be assembled as a unit before being attached to the arm of the doll, where this manner of assembly is desired.
FIGS. 11 through 14 illustrate a doll hand assembly with an over-center mechanism similar to that of FIGS. 7-10, but with a different electrical switch mechanism. The hand assembly of FIGS. 11-14 has a switch that is electrically closed when the hand is squeezed, rather than automatically closed during opening or closing of the hand. The assembly includes a resilient electrical contact 90 that can be deflected to touch a rod 88 mounted on the frame 36A, to close the switch. When a child places her finger on the palm of the doll hand and presses the palm, as shown in FIG. 12, a resilient leaf 92 is deflected up, and it deflects the contact 90 against the rod 88 to close the switch. The rest of the hand assembly is similar to the earlier-described hand, except that the leaf 44A of the frame here bears directly on the rearward edge of the lever 40A. The contact rod 88 is installed in holes 86 formed in arms 72A, 74A of the frame, in a manner similar to the installation of the axle 42A, which passes through ears 78A of the lever and holes 76A in the frame. The contact 90 is connected by a wire 64A that extends to batteries and a lamp, or to some other animation output.
The electrical switch of the doll of FIGS. 11-14 allows a child to control illumination of the eyes during play with the doll hands, without the need for an artificial movement by the child such as the pressing of some switch that is far from the hands. Yet, the switch resists excessive battery depletion since it automatically turns off when the child no longer presses on the palm.
Although particular embodiments of the invention 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:
1. In a doll which includes at least one arm, the improvement comprising: i
a hand for mounting on said arm, said hand having relatively movable parts arranged to move between closed and open external configurations, to respectively grasp and release objects;
electrically activatable means mounted on'said doll;
an electrical switch mechanically coupled to said hand to operate between electrically closed and open states in response to relative movement of said hand parts to and from a predetermined configuration intermediate said open and closed configurations; and
means for supplying current, said current supplying means being electrically coupled to said switch and said electrically activatable means.
2. The improvement described in claim 1 including:
latching means coupled to the interior portion of said hand for resiliently urging its retention in either of said open and closed configurations to which it has been moved, to permit movement to the other configuration upon the application of forces directly to the exterior portion of said hand urging it towards the other configuration.
3. The improvement described in claim 2 wherein:
said hand includes a hollow shell of flexible material,
defining finger and palm regions; and
said latching means includes a frame within said hollow shell of said hand, a lever pivotally mounted on said frame and extending into said finger region for pivoting between first and second positions to move said hand between said closed and open configurations, and a spring coupled to said lever, said spring mounted to lie in a position of greatest potential energy when said lever is in a position intermediate said first and second positions.
4. The improvement described in claim 3 wherein:
said lever is pivotably mounted at a location within said hollow shell near the intersection of said finger and palm regions; and
said spring is a leaf spring with a rearward end fixed to said frame and a forward end exerting spring pressure against a portion of said lever.
5. The improvement described in claim 1 wherein said hand comprises:
a hollow shell formed to resemble a hand, with palm and finger portions;
a frame with a portion within said palm;
a lever pivotally mounted on said frame, said lever coupled to at least some of said finger portions to move them between open and closed positions relative to said palm portion; and v a spring coupled to said lever, said spring mounted to urge said lever to pivot further towards an open or closed position when it is closer to an open or closed position, respectively. I
6. The improvement described in claim 5 wherein:
said hollow shell is formed of a resilient material, said finger portions include a thumb extending from one side of said palm portion and four finger portions connected along their length so they bend together as a unit but substantially independent of said thumb, said four finger portions defining a multiple-finger hollow region; and
said lever extends into said multiple-finger hollow region to bend said four finger portions.
7. The improvement described in claim 1, including:
means for urging said hand to and yieldably retaining said hand in either of said open and closed configurations; and wherein said electrical switch closes only at a hand configuration intermediate said open and closed configurations, said switch remaining electrically open when said hand is in said open open configuration and when said hand is in said closed configuration, whereby to prevent undue depletion of batteries.
8. The improvement described in claim 7 wherein said means for retaining said hand comprises:
over-center spring means for resiliently retaining said hand in said open and closed configurations after said hand has been moved past said intermediate configuration toward said open and closed configurations, respectively.
9. In combination with a doll including an electrically activatable means, a voltage source and electrical circuitry connecting said electrically activatable means to said voltage source a doll hand assembly comprising:
a resilient shell defining a rearward region, a hollow palm region forward of said rearward region, a thumb region extending with a forward directional component from one side of said palm region, and a hollow multiple-finger region extending substantially forwardly from said palm region;
a frame having a rearward end secured to said rearward region of said shell and a forward end located within said shell near the intersection of said palm and multiple-finger regions;
a lever having a rearward end portion pivotally mounted on said forward end of said frame and a forward lever end portion extending into said hollow multiple-finger region;
a leaf spring having a rearward end substantially fixed to said frame and a forward end extending past the axis where said lever is mounted on said frame and biased against said lever;
a first electrically conductive member mounted to slide forwardly and rearwardly relative to said frame, said conductive member having a forward portion coupled to said lever to be slid by said lever as it pivots, and said first conductive member also having a rearward portion;
a second electrically conductive member mounted along the path of said rearward portion of said first conductive member to be contacted by it at only predetermined positions of said lever; and electric leads connecting said conductive members to said electrical circuitry.