US 3739764 A
A toy rocket is disclosed in combination with an angularly adjustable cylindrical launch tube connected through a fast opening, normally closed, spring loaded "firing" valve to a source of compressed air contained in an expansible balloon. A check valve is provided for inflating the balloon by operation of a hand pump, and an indicator is provided to show the pressure of accumulated air in the balloon. All parts are fabricated of inexpensive plastic material, except that the balloon may be of rubber. By practice in selecting the amount of air pressure, angle of elevation and azimuth orientation the rocket may be accurately directed to hit a selected target within a range of 10 to 20 feet.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 Allport i 1 INFLATABLE BALLOON PNEUMATIC PROPULSION DEVICE  Inventor: Walter F. Allport, 404 Wildwood Road, Stamford, Conn. 06903  Filed: Apr. 20, 1970 ] App]. No.: 29,832
 US. Cl 124/11 R, 46/74 B  Int. Cl. F4lf 1/04  Field of Search 46/74 B,776, 44,
46/76 R, 76 A, 87, 89; 124/11, 13 A, 13 R  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,382,859 5/1968 Myers 124/11 3,046,966 7/1962 Buller.... 123/11 2,384,193 9/1945 Platt 46/76 2,409,653 10/1946 Amdur... 124/11 3,345,977 10/1967 Hall 124/11 1,721,704 7/1929 Madaschi 46/74 B UX June 19, 1973 2,643,882 6/1953 Dozier 46/44 UX Primary Examiner-Richard Pinkham Assistant Examiner-R. T. Stouffer Attorney-Robert A. Buckles 57 ABSTRACT A toy rocket is disclosed in combination with an angularly adjustable cylindrical launch tube connected through a fast opening, normally closed, spring loaded firing valve to a source of compressed air contained in an expansible balloon. A check valve is provided for inflating the balloon by operation of a hand pump, and an indicator is provided to show the pressure of accumulated air in the balloon. All parts are fabricated of inexpensive plastic material, except that the balloon may be of rubber. By practice in selecting the amount of air pressure, angle of elevation and azimuth orientation the rocket may be accurately directed to hit a selected target within a range of 10 to 20 feet.
3 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures Patented June 19, 1973 2 Sheets-Sheet l INVENTOR. Bgralel M a. @W
ATTORNEY afiented June 19, 1973 3,739,764
2 Sheets-Sheet 2 INFLATABLE BALLOON PNEUMATIC PROPULSION DEVICE BACKGROUND AND OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION With increasing sophistication of todays children, and the attention given to scientific feats such as rocket launches to outer space, educational toys for the young are now in greater demand than ever before. While children of high school age may actually build and launch miniature rockets fueled with solid or liquid propellants, a safer method of propulsion is needed for younger children who wish to play with rockets. It is also desirable that a safe rocket toy incorporate variable parameters such as fuel load, azimuth and elevation angles, which the child may select of its own volition, and by which selection and observation of results the child may learn to control the operation of the toy to achieve a predicted or desired result.
Accordingly, one object of the present invention is to provide an inexpensive and completely safe educational propulsion toy.
Another object of the invention is to-provide an easily adjustable and controllable low pressure pneumatic system for toy propulsion.
A more particular object of the invention is to provide a toy pneumatic system employing an inflatable balloon as a source of controlled compressed air.
A specific object of the invention is to provide an educational pneumatic toy system wherein a player may select and control a plurality of variable parameters.
Other objects of the invention will in part be obvious and will in part appear hereinafter.
The invention accordingly comprises the features of construction, combinations of elements, and arrangement of parts which will be exemplified in the constructions hereafter set forth, and the scope of the invention will be indicated in the claims.
For a fuller understanding of the nature and objects of the invention, reference should be had to the followingdetailed description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the complete toy rocket launching system showing from left to right an air pump, balloon reservoir, air pressure gauge, air release valve, and adjustable launching stand;
FIG. 2 is a vertical cross-sectional view of a quick release air valve taken along line 2--2 of FIG. 1, suitable for use in the system of the invention;
' FIG. 3 is a longitudinal partial cross-sectional view of the launch tube, taken along the line 33 of FIG. 1, showing in solid lines the breech loading chamber as closed, and by dotted lines as in the open or loading position; and
FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of the loading chamber taken along the line 4-4 of FIG. 3.
DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION 17, the opposite end of which is bent into a 90 elbow to extend upwardly to an enlarged knob end 18 over which is fitted the mouth of an expansible rubber balloon 19. An air pressure gauge 20 is also inserted into the channel of T connector 16 toindicate the pressure of air contained within the balloon 19. This pressure may normally be varied from 14 to 18 p.s.i., or over a range of from 1 to 4 pounds above exterior atmospheric pressure. Fanciful calibrations may be applied to the face of gauge 20, as for example 0-1000, and each division on the calibrated scale may be said to represent 1000 pounds of rocket thrust.
The T connector 16, the gauge 20 supported thereon, and the rigid hollow tube 17 are preferably mounted on a flat base 21 as shown. An output port 16c of T connector 16 connects with a flexible plastic air hose 22, the opposite end of which connects with the input port of a normally closed quick-release air valve indicated generally at 24 in FIG. 1. Air valve 24 is operated by a thumb-press button 25 to quickly release air under pressure in line 22 through exit port 26 and into flexible plastic air hose 27. The opposite end of air hose 27 connects to a pivotal breech block 28 on a rocket launch stand indicated generally at 29.
Still referring to FIG. 1 of the drawings, pivotal breech block 28 is mounted in a notch 30 of U shaped base block 31 and pivots about the longitudinal axis of horizontal pin 32. Base block 31 is securely affixed to flat base board 34 which in the preferred embodiment is circular as shown in FIG. 1. Base 34 also supports a pair of inclined upstanding stanchions 35 and 36 which connect at their upper ends to a junction block 37. Block 37 also supports the upper end of a quartercircular arcuate guide member 38 whose arcuate center coincides with the pivotal axis of breech block 28 in the longitudinal axis of pin 32. The lower end of arcuate guide member 38 is secured to baseboard 34 by supporting block 39. The forward edge of mounting block 39 is tapered to form a pointed arrow portion 40 extending beyond the periphery of circular baseboard 34. Beneath baseboard 34, and coaxial therewith, is a circular mat 41 of greater diameter than base 34- and bearing on its outer periphery, extending beyond the periphery of base 34, a plurality of angular scale markings 42.
A hollow rigid launch tube 44 has its lower end mounted in tiltable breech block 28, whereby air under pressure within flexible tube 27 is introduced into launch tube 44. At an intermediate point between the opposite ends of launch tube 44 a supporting block 45 clampingly holds rigid tube 44 in frictional engagement with arcuate guide member 38. By manually sliding clamping block 45 along the arcuate surface of guide member 38 the barrel of launch tube 44 may be raised or lowered in elevation for aiming purposes. A plurality of elevation angle scale indicia 46 are formed on the flat surface of arcuate guide member 38, and by aligning the upper flat surface of sliding block 45 with a selected one of these indicia any desired angle of elevation may be accurately selected. Similarly, by lifting the entire launcher 29 a slight distance above its supporting pad 41 the launcher base 34 may be rotated in a horizontal plane to align its azimuth indicator 40 with any desired angle indicator 42 to achieve accuracy in aiming of a pneumatically propelled toy rocket projectile. While the toy rocket projectiles employed with the invention may be muzzle loaded by the simple expedient of dropping a projectile into the elevated upper open end of a plain hollow launch tube 44, I prefer to provide a slidable breech loading chamber indicated generally at 47 in FIG. 1 so that the launch tube 44 may be easily loaded even at low angles of elevation. The breech loading chamber 47, which will be described in greater detail hereinafter with reference to FIG. 3 and FIG. 4 of the drawings, provides greater sophistication and added realism to the operation of the toy rocket launcher.
Reference will now be had to FIG. 2 of the drawings which shows in greater detail, by a center crosssectional view taken along the line 2-2 of FIG. 1, the internal construction of the quick release firing control air valve indicated generally at 24. The control 24 comprises a first hollow cylindrical tube 48 having joined thereto, and forming a T configured air channel therewith, a second cylindrical tube 26 which serves as an exit port sealingly connected to flexible tube 27. At the lower end of cylinder 48 a hollow cylindrical insert 50 sealingly receives flexible tube 22 which, as shown in FIG. 1, is connected to the source of air under pressure. Midway within the cylinder 48, at a position below the junction of exit port 26, is secured an annular valve seat 51 having an axial bore 52 through which a valve stem 54 extends to connect with and support an annular valve head 55. A resilient valve sealing washer 56, which may be of soft rubber, is affixed to the inner plane surface of valve head 55 and is held in normally closed and sealed engagement with valve seat 51 by the compressive force of spring 57 extending between the inner end of a cylindrical plunger 58 affixed to the valve stem 54, and the upper annular shoulder of valve seat 51. As shown by solid lines in FIG. 2 the valve of control 24 is in its normally closed position. When the sliding plunger 58 is pressed downwardly against the force of compression spring 57, as shown by broken lines in FIG. 2, the valve immediately opens to allow a burst of air under pressure in tube 22 to pass through exit port 26 and into flexible air hose 27, and thence into the breech end of rigid launch tube 44.
Reference will now be had to FIG. 3 of the drawings which is an enlarged cross-sectional view of the launch tube and loading chamber of the invention taken along the line 3-3 of FIG. 1. The loading chamber indicated generally at 47 is formed by a longitudinal sidewall opening 60 cut out of the top surface of rigid launch tube 44 as shown in FIG. 3. As shown by solid lines in FIG. 3 the opening 60 is normally covered and closed by an exterior sliding cylindrical tube member 61 of greater diameter than launch tube 44. An annular sealing ring 62, which may be of foam rubber or felt material, is cemented within the lower end of cylinder 61 to provide a sliding but substantially airtight support of cylinder 61 on the exterior surface of launch tube 44. The upper end 64 of slidable cylinder 61 when in its closed position as shown by solid lines in FIG. 3 is in contact with an annular ring 65 of resilient sealing material cemented to the outer surface of launch tube 44 at a position above and beyond the loading cut out 60. A lateral pin 66 is secured through the upper top wall of cylinder 61 and extends through the cut out opening 60 into sliding engagement with the bottom inner cylindrical wall surface of launch tube 44. A small pad of soft resilient material 67 is cemented to the bottom inner cylindrical surface of outer cylinder 61 directly opposite the inner end of pin 66 to maintain uniform axial spacing between launch tube 44 and outer cylinder 61 as the latter is slid downwardly on tube 44 to the open loading position shown by broken lines in FIG. 3. A horizontal guide pin or wire insert 68 (best seen in FIG. 4) extends laterally through the sidewalls of cylinder 61 in a position to slide along the cut out opening 60 to further guide cylinder 61 when it is slidably moved to its open position, and to prevent rotation of cylinder 61 about the longitudinal axis of launch tube 44.
Referring now to FIG. 4 of the drawings, which is a cross-sectional view of the breech loading chamber and slidable chamber cover taken along the line 4-4 of FIG. 3, the coaxial relationship of the launch tube 44 and the outer cylinder cover 61 may be more clearly seen. The inner end of lateral pin 66 extends through the cut out 60 into close proximity with the inner cylindrical wall of launch tube 44, whereby in cooperation with the resilient spacing pad 67 the coaxial relation is maintained as the cover cylinder 61 is moved to the open breech position. The cross-bar guide 68 adjacent and at right angles to pin 66 slides upon the parallel flat surfaces 69 and 70 of the cut out opening 60 to further guide the sleeve cover 61 and to prevent axial rotation between cover 61 and barrel 44 as the cover is slidably moved into either open position as shown by broken lines in FIG. 3, or into closed position as shown by solid lines in FIG. 3.
A simulated toy rocket projectile 71 (FIG. 3), which may be formed of wood, aluminum, or molded plastic, is provided with flight stabilizing fins 72. When the breech loading cover 61 is moved downwardly to the open breech position as shown by broken lines in FIG. 3 the projectile 71 may be placed into the breech opening 60 with the bottom of its tail fins 72 resting upon cross-bar guide 68. As the breech cover 61 is then slidably moved to its closed position as shown by solid lines in FIG. 3, the projectile 71 slides upwardly within the bore of launch tube 44 into position ready for firing. Because the breech is now completely sealed by closure of the cover cylinder 61, a burst of compressed air introduced into the bottom of launch tube 44 through flexible tubing 27 and pivotal block 28 drives the projectile 71 through the bore and out of the open end of launch tube 44.
SUMMARY Referring once again to FIG. 1 of the drawings, the overall operation of the toy rocket launching system of the invention will be briefly described. A child playing 'with the apparatus will first operate the hand pump 10 by means of handle 11 to blow up the balloon 19 to a selected pressure value as indicated by gauge 20. Next the elevation angle of launch tube 44 will be selected by sliding support block 45 along the arcuate surface of elevation guide 38 and the angle of elevation will be noted. Then a suitable azimuth angle for aiming the projectile will be selected by rotating the base 34 with respect to the launch pad 41, and this angle will be noted. Now the operator may recheck the fuel load" indicated by pressure gauge 20, and make a final adjustment thereof by means of hand pump 10. When all three variables have been set the projectile is launched by depressing the firing" button 25 to open control valve 24. If the projectile does not reach the desired target, the child operator may then readjust one or more of the variables under his control and fire again.
It will thus be seen that the combined apparatus of the invention provides a unique and highly educational toy rocket launching system which is completely safe to use and relatively inexpensive to manufacture.
It will also be seen that the objects set forth above, among those made apparent from the preceding description, are efficiently attained and, since certain changes may be made in the above construction without departing from the scope of the invention, it is intended that all matter contained in the above description or shown in the accompanying drawings shall be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.
It is also to be understood that the following claims are intended to cover all of the generic and specific features of the invention which, as a matter of language, might be said to fall therebetween.
Having described my invention, what I claim as new and desire to secure by Letters Patent is:
1. A toy rocket launcher comprising in combination, a substantially flat base member, an arcuate member extending in a vertical plane from said base member, a rigid elongated hollow cylindrical tube open at one end, horizontally disposed pivot means mounted on said base member and pivotably supporting the opposite end of said hollow tube, means mounted on said tube intermediate the opposite ends thereof and frictionally engaging said arcuate member, a flexible hose pneumatically sealed at one end to the pivotally mounted end of said tube, means including a quick release air valve connecting the opposite end of said flexible hose to an inflatable balloon, and a hand pump and check valve connected to said balloon connecting means, whereby upon operation of said pump said balloon is inflated and upon operation of said release valve compressed air entrapped in said balloon passes through said flexible hose and into the pivotal end of said rigid cylindrical tube to propel said projectile through said tube and out of the open end thereof.
2. The combination of claim 1 and a hatch opening in the sidewall of said rigid cylindrical tube for the insertion of said projectile therein, and an airtight slidable sleeve cover surrounding said cylindrical tube for sealingly closing said hatch opening after a projectile has been inserted therethrough.
3. The combination of claim 1 and an air pressure indicator connected between said balloon connecting means and said quick release valve.