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Publication numberUS3734404 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 22, 1973
Filing dateNov 27, 1970
Priority dateNov 27, 1970
Publication numberUS 3734404 A, US 3734404A, US-A-3734404, US3734404 A, US3734404A
InventorsBaynes W, Handler E
Original AssigneeMattel Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Track system for toy vehicle
US 3734404 A
Abstract
A track system including a reversible track section having two different running surfaces to handle different scale toy vehicles and a track section connector for connecting abutting track sections along projections protruding from guide flanges of the track sections.
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

[ 1 May 22,1973

finite States Patent 1 Baynes et al.

[54] TRACK SYSTEM FOR TOY VEHICLE [75] Inventors: William R. Baynes, Palos Verdes Peninsula; Elliot Handler, Los Angeles, both of Calif. I

[73] Assignee: Mattel, Inc., Hawthorne, Calif,

[22] Filed: Nov. 27, 1970 [21] Appl. No.: 92,999

Primary Examiner-Robert G. Sheridan Assistant Examiner-Richard A. Bertsch Attorney-Seymour A. Scholnick [57] ABSTRACT A track system including a reversible track section 52 US. Cl. 238/10 E 51 int. 19/30 .46/43, 26, 29, 31,

[58] Field of having two different running surfaces to handle dif- 238/10 10 10 104/60 ferent scale toy vehicles and a track section connector for connecting abutting track sections along projec- Reterences cued tions protruding from guide flanges of the track sec- UNITED STATES PATENTS tions.

3,480,210 Perrinjaquet .......................238/10 E 13 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures TRACK SYSTEM FOR TOY VEHICLE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The background of the invention will be set forth in two parts.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates generally to a roadway or track system, and more particularly to a track system for a toy vehicle, the track system includes a strengthened track section and a track connector which joins, aligns and stiffens abutting track sections.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART Track or roadway systems for toy vehicles are known in the prior art as exemplified by a US. Pat. to Nash et al, No. 3,487,999 issued Jan. 6, 1970 to the assignee of the present invention and has been marketed extensively under the trademark HOT WHEELS. The track system disclosed in the above mentioned patent has functioned exceedingly well for toy vehicles of relatively small scale and where vehicle velocity was somewhat limited. With the proliferation of toy vehicles of different size scales, some of which are powered by small electric motors, it becomes desirable to have a track system which can provide optimum conditions regardless of the scale and regardless of the velocity characteristic of the vehicle. Additional problems of stiffness and alignment are present and become accentuated with larger track sections which are necessitated by the larger scale vehicles and/or vehicles which travel at a higher velocity.

The manufacturing adaptability of any track system is always of a major concern. A track system of synthetic resin material provides sufficient durability to withstand abuse and sufficient flexibility to allow twisting and curving to enable various track system layouts to be devised. It now appears desirable to design track systems with components which can be fabricated by an extrusion process. Those components which cannot be extruded must be economically moldable.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Accordingly, it is a general aim of the present invention to provide a new and improved track system for a toy vehicle comprising at least one track section of substantially uniform cross section including a vehicle supporting portion having a generally flat surface extending the longitudinal length of the track section; a pair of oppositely disposed and spaced apart guide flanges extending essentially the longitudinal length of the track section and projecting obliquely from the flat surface of the vehicle supporting portion for maintaining the toy vehicle on the flat surface; and first and second projections extending the longitudinal length of the track section, each projection protruding outwardly from one of the guide flanges for cooperating with a track section connector to join, align and stiffen abutting track sections; and two track section connectors, each connector including an elongated element of flexible material having a longitudinally extending opening to receive a projection. The invention also includes the individual track section as well as the individual track section connector.

An object of the present invention is to provide a track section which is reversible for handling toy vehicles of at least two different size scales.

Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a track section connector which improves alignment of abutting track sections and which is easily and economically fabricated.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is an exploded prospective view of a track system illustrating abutting ends of two track sections which are joinable by oppositely disposed track section connectors;

FIG. 2 is an elevational sectional view taken along line 2-2 of FIG. 1 and rotated degrees; and illustrates one of the track section connectors in a connecting position;

FIG. 3 is an elevational sectional view taken along line 3--3 of FIG. 2 and illustrates the two track sections of FIG. 1 in abutment and connected with a track section connector;

FIG. 4 is a prospective view of another embodiment of a track section connector and a portion of two abutting track sections; and

FIG. 5 is an elevational sectional view similar to the view of FIG. 2 illustrating the alternative placements of the track section connector embodiment shown in FIG. 4.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS While the present invention is susceptible of various modifications and alternative constructions illustrative embodiments are shown in the drawing and will hereinbelow be described in detail. It should be understood, however, that it is not the intention to limit the invention to the particular forms disclosed; on the contrary, the intention is to cover all modifications, equivalents and alternative constructions falling within the spirit and scope of the invention as expressed in the appended claims.

In accordance with one of the important aspects of the present invention provision is made for a track section having excellent strength and stiffness characteristics while also being alignable one track section to another. In addition, the track section has the ability to handle more than one scale of toy vehicle and vehicles which move at relatively high velocities. Referring to FIG. 1, this is accomplished by having a track section 10 comprised of a vehicle supporting portion 12 having a first (or upper, as viewed in FIG. 1) generally flat surface 14 and a second or lower flat surface 16 and a first pair of guide flanges 18 and 20 which are oppositely disposed and spaced apart projecting obliquely from the upper flat surface 14. The guide flanges l8 and 30 extend the longitudinal length of the track section. An identical pair of oppositely disposed guide flanges 22 and 24 project obliquely from the flat lower surface 16 and are also spaced apart one from the other; however,

the spacing of the flanges 22 and 24 is less than the extrudable thereby keeping manufacturing costs at a minimum.

It is now apparent that the track sections can be positioned as shown so that the upper surface 14 is the surface over which a toy vehicle moves, or the track section can be rotated 180 degrees so that the lower surface 16 occupies the upper position as shown in FIG. 2, and becomes the surface over which the toy vehicle moves. The determination of which the surface to use as the vehicle running surface depends upon the scale of vehicle to be used; the larger vehicles will run on the upper surface 14 because of the wider spacing of the guide flanges 18 and 20 while the smaller vehicles will be run on the bottom surface 16 because of the narrower spacing between the guide flanges 22 and 24.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, provision is made for enhancing the alignment of the abutting track sections and for additionally increasing the strength and stiffness of the track sections. This is accomplished by providing lateral projections 30 and 32 which protrude outwardly respectively from the upper guide flanges 20 and 18. Each of the lateral projections extend the longitudinal length of the track section and provide a way for abutting track sections to be joined without interfering with the running surface or the pair of guide flanges adjacent the running surface. Thus, with the FIG. 1 embodiment, the track layout can be used alternately for smaller and larger vehicles simply by flipping the layout to have either of the running surfaces 14 and 16 in an upper position. Additionally, the lateral projections provide no added manufacturing expense as the entire track section may be extruded so that the two pairs of guide flanges, the vehicle supporting portion 12 and the lateral projections form an integral unit.

Referring now to FIG. 5, there is shown another embodiment of a track section 40 including a vehicle supporting portion 42 having an upper running surface 44 and a lower running surface 46. Projecting obliquely from the upper running surface is a pair of guide flanges 48 and 50 while projecting obliquely from the lower running surface is a second pair of guide flanges 52 and 54. Each of the guide flanges 48, 50, 52 and 54 extend the longitudinal length of the track section thereby strengthening and stiffening the track section. Strengthening is accomplished by added material while stiffening is accomplished by increasing the tracks bending movement. It is apparent that like the FIG. 1 embodiment one pair of guide flanges is spaced a greater distance apart than the other so that one running surface will accept toy vehicles of a larger scale than the other.

The running surfaces 44 and 46 are generally flat except immediately adjacent the guide flanges where the running surface tends to be slightly beveled. The oblique setting of the guide flanges and the beveling of the running surface reduce contact with the toy vehicle to a minimum thereby keeping to a minimum the frictional drag on the vehicle. When the track sections are set up in parallel for racing purposes, as is frequently done, this factor becomes extremely important as it allows the racing toy vehicles to maintain maximum velocity.

Each of the guide flanges have outwardly protruding projections intermediate the ends of the guide flange and extend the longitudinal length of the track section. For example, the projection 56 is integral with the guide flange 48 and intermediate the extended end 58 of the guide flange and the end portion 60 which is integral with the vehicie supporting portion 42. In an identical fashion, the projection 62 is integral with the guide flange 50, the projection 64 is integral with the guide flange 52, and the projection 66 is integral with the guide flange 54. Each of the projections cooperate with a track section connector as will be described in more detail hereinbelow to join, align and stiffen abutting track sections.

In accordance with still another important aspect of the present invention, track section connectors of inexpensive manufacture are provided to cooperate with the track sections to improve alignment as well as stiffen the track system when track sections are joined. Referring to FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, a pair of track section connectors 70 and 72 are illustrated and include an elongated element of flexible material having a generally U-shaped cross section comprised of a base portion 74, an upper leg portion 76 and a lower leg portion 78. Each of the connectors includes an opening such as the opening 80 FIG. 1 of the connector 70 to receive a projection from abutting track sections such as the projection 30 of the track section 10 and projection 30a of the track section 11. It is understood that the abutting track section 11 is identically constructed to the track section 10 so that the connector 70 engages the projection 30a of the track section 11 in an identical manner to the engagement of the projection 30 of the track section 10.

In describing the connector 70 in more detail with the understanding that the connector 72 is identical, the leg portions 76 and 78 are each of an arcuate shape having small protuberances such as protuberance 81 of the leg 76 and the protuberance 82 of the leg 78 extend from the internal surface of each leg, such as the surface 84 of the leg 76 and the surface 86 of the leg 78, to engage the projection 30. The leg portions 76 and 78 are integral with the base portion 74 and are manufactured so that the opening 80 is smaller than the width of the projection 30. Since the connector is made of a flexible synthetic resin having a memory any separa tion of the leg portions 76 and 78 creates a biasing force tending to return the leg portions to their original positions. Thus, when the projection 30 is passed through the opening into the interior portion of the connector the leg portions 76 and 78 are spaced apart and the biasing force is created. In this manner, the frictional engagement between the connector and the projection is enhanced. By using protuberances such as the protuberances 81 and 82, there is an even greater separation of the leg portions 76 and 78 causing an even greater biasing force to be exerted upon the projection 30. Further, the protuberance allows the biasing force to be localized so that the pressure exerted by the connector on the projection is quite high at the localized regions. It is noted in FIG. 3 that each of the leg portions has four protuberances such as the additional three protuberances 86, 88 and 90 of the upper leg portion 76 and the protuberances 92, 94 and 96 of the lower leg portion 78.

Returning now to FIGS. 4 and 5, another embodiment of a track section connector is illustrated comprising a connector 100 which is an alongated tubular element having a longitudinal opening or slit 102. The tubular connector is of a flexible material such as a synthetic resin having a memory like the connector 70 FIG. 2, so that when the connector is positioned about portions of track sections, a biasing force will be created to increase the frictional engagement between the connector and the track sections.

Referring to FIG. 5, there is illustrated the way in which the tubular connector 100 can be used to connect two track sections. As shown in phantom line, the tubular connector receives the entire end 58 of the guide flange 48 so that one end 104 of the connector adjacent the slit abuts the projection 56. An oppositely disposed connector 106 engages the flange 50. When so used, the running surface 46 becomes the upper surface on which the toy vehicles move. On the other hand, it is contemplated that when tubular connectors are used on the guide flanges 52 and 54 such as the connectors 108 and 110, respectively, the running surface 44 becomes the surface on which the toy vehicles move. It is additionally contemplated that all four connectors may be used to make a connection between two abutting sections if the track section is large enough to require the added support and stiffening, and the improved alignment. Further, if desired, the connectors may engage the guide flanges which are adjacent the running surface on which the toy vehicles move since the connectors are not large enough to interfere to any great extent with the progress of the vehicles.

Two track systems have been described, the track system of FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, and the track system of FIGS. 4 and 5. It is now readily apparent that modifications and variations can be easily accomplished without departing from the spirit and scope of the appended claims. For example, the tubular connector 100 could be used in place of the connector 70 to engage the lateral projection 30. In similar fashion, the projections of the FIG. 5 embodiment may be further protruded so that the connector 70 can be used to attach abutting track section, or the connector 100 can be moved around to connect to the protruded projection only. It is also readily apparent that the shape of the projections can be altered so as to provide optimum engagement with the connectors, and that the projection need not extend the longitudinal length of its track section but only along portions adjacent the track section ends.

What is claimed is:

l. A track system for a toy vehicle comprising at least one track section including:

a vehicle supporting portion having a generally flat surface extending the longitudinal length of said track section;

a pair of oppositely disposed and spaced apart guide flanges extending essentially the longitudinal length of said track section and projecting obliquely from said flat surface of said vehicle supporting portion for maintaining said toy vehicle on said flat surface;

first and second projections extending longitudinally along said track section, each projection protruding outwardly fromone of said guide flanges for cooperating with a track section connector to join, align and stiffen abutting track sections; and

two track section connectors, each connector including an elongated element of flexible material having a longitudinally extending opening to receive a projection.

2. A track system as claimed in claim 1 wherein said projections extend the longitudinal length of said guide flanges and are positioned intermediate the ends of said guide flanges.

3. A track system as claimed in claim 1 wherein said connectors are each tubular in shape having a longitudinal slit, and comprise extruded material.

4. A track system as claimed in claim 1 wherein said section is comprised of an extruded synthetic resin material and each of said projections is a bead of synthetic resin protruding from an outer surface of a respective guide flange.

5. A track system as claimed in claim 4 wherein said connectors each have a generally U-shaped cross section including a base portion and two leg portions.

6. A track system as claimed in claim 1 wherein said projections are lateral continuations of said vehicle supporting portion; and each of said elongated elements are generally U-shaped including a base portion and two leg portions.

7. A track system as claimed in claim 6 wherein protuberances extend from the interior surface of said leg portions of each of said U-shaped element; and each of said leg portions are of an accurate shape.

8. A track system for a toy vehicle comprising at least one track section including:

a vehicle supporting portion having a generally flat surface extending the longitudinal length of said track section;

a pair of oppositely disposed and spaced apart guide flanges extending essentially the longitudinal length of said track section and proJecting obliquely from said flat surface of said vehicle supporting poRtion for maintaining said toy vehicle on said flat surface;

first and second projection extending longitudinally along said track section, each projection protruding outwardly from one of said guide flanges for cooperating with a track section connector to join, align and stiffen abutting track sections;

two track section connectors, each connector including an elongated element of flexible material having a longitudinally extending opening to receive a projection;

a second generally flat surface on said vehicle supporting portion oppositely disposed from said first mentioned generally flat surface;

a second pair of oppositely disposed and spaced apart guide flanges extending essentially the longitudianl length of said track section and projecting obliquely from said second flat surface for maintaining said toy vehicle on said second flat surface; and

third and fourth projections extending the longitudinal length of said track section, each projection protruding outwardly from one of the second pairs of guide flanges for cooperating with a track section connector to join, align and stiffen abutting track sections.

9. A track system as claimed in claim 8 wherein said connectors are each tubular in shape and comprise extruded material.

10. A track system as claimed in claim 9 wherein each of said track connectors receives the extended end of one of the pair of guide flanges and its respective projection.

11. A track section for a toy vehicle comprising:

a vehicle supporting portion having a generally flat surface extending the longitudinal length of said track section;

a pair of oppositely disposed and spaced apart guide flanges extending essentially the longitudinal length of said track section and projecting obliquely from said flat surface of said vehicle supporting portion for maintaining said toy vehicle on said flat surface;

first and second projections extending longitudinally length of said track section and projecting obliquely from said second flat surface for maintaining said toy vehicle on said second flat surface.

12. A track section as claimed in claim 11 wherein the first mentioned pair of guide flanges are spaced apart a different distance than are said second pair of guide flanges whereby said first mentioned flat surface can support a toy vehicle of a size scale different than the size scale toy vehicle of a size scale different than the size scale toy vehicle supported by said second flat surface.

13. A track section as claimed in claim 12 including third and fourth projections extending the longitudinal length of said track section, each projection protruding outwardly from one of the second pairs of guide flanges for cooperating with a track section connector to join,

align and stiffen abutting track sections.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1575089 *Oct 27, 1925Mar 2, 1926American Flyer Mfg CompanyClip for toy tracks
US1983777 *May 19, 1933Dec 11, 1934Rosenthal Leon WRail connecter for toy railways
US2952411 *Jul 12, 1955Sep 13, 1960Hand William MMine track assembly
US3480210 *Dec 13, 1968Nov 25, 1969Roger Paul PerrinjaquetRace track
US3487999 *Nov 29, 1968Jan 6, 1970Mattel IncRoadway toy
US3554382 *Jun 24, 1968Jan 12, 1971Grinbergs Karlis EConstruction product with slotted panels and annular connectors
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4146991 *Jan 28, 1977Apr 3, 1979Tomy Kogyo Co., Inc.Toy trackway
US4223834 *Jan 15, 1979Sep 23, 1980Gebr. Fleischmann K.G.Rail connection for electrical toy model railroads
US5232154 *Jun 12, 1992Aug 3, 1993Patricia M. JenkinsChildren's ride-on track
US5392987 *Oct 28, 1993Feb 28, 1995Ropers; Jan W.Modular model railroad track support system with snap-fit connections
US5657695 *Jan 22, 1996Aug 19, 1997The Ritvik Group Inc.Reversible race track system
US5779145 *Nov 6, 1996Jul 14, 1998Zelle; David A.Device for securing railroad tracks for train sets
US6093079 *Jul 27, 1999Jul 25, 2000House; William P.Toy vehicle track
US6601774Jun 11, 2002Aug 5, 2003Mark P. KasimoffToy track system
US7770811 *Aug 10, 2006Aug 10, 2010Randy BeldingToy vehicle track
US8382005 *Apr 26, 2011Feb 26, 2013Brandon A. FletcherRideable toy
US8597069 *Aug 11, 2011Dec 3, 2013K'nex Limited Partnership GroupToy race track system
US8608527Aug 29, 2011Dec 17, 2013Mattel, Inc.Wall mounted toy track set
US8944882Dec 16, 2013Feb 3, 2015Mattel, Inc.Wall mounted toy track set
US8986064Sep 26, 2012Mar 24, 2015Hasbro, Inc.Modular track for model vehicles
US20050199738 *Mar 11, 2004Sep 15, 2005Paul EliaToy train track adapter
US20080035748 *Aug 10, 2006Feb 14, 2008Randy BeldingToy vehicle track
US20120088430 *Apr 12, 2012Glickman Joel IToy race track system
US20140206256 *Mar 7, 2013Jul 24, 2014Hasbro, Inc.Connector for Modular Model Vehicle Tracks
CN1323741C *Oct 20, 2004Jul 4, 2007玩具堡有限公司Toy-vehicle track section
EP0258537A2 *May 20, 1987Mar 9, 1988Kurt HesseProcedure for manufacturing highway sections for toy vehicle highways
WO1993003808A1 *Apr 13, 1992Mar 4, 1993Mattel IncMultiple segment track and junction clip for toy vehicles
WO1998019762A1 *Jun 5, 1997May 14, 1998David A ZelleDevice for securing railroad tracks for train sets
Classifications
U.S. Classification238/10.00E
International ClassificationA63H18/00, A63H18/02
Cooperative ClassificationA63H18/02
European ClassificationA63H18/02