US 3768835 A
A children's riding toy having a spring driven mechanical driving means which a child can wind to propel the toy. The children's riding toy is designed so that a child can move the toy manually independently of the driving means and means is provided for preventing said spring driving means from being overwound.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 Lee 1 Oct. 30, 1973 CHILDREN'S RIDING TOY HAVING MECHANICAL DRIVING MEANS  Inventor:
 Assignee: Carolina Enterprises, Inc., Tarboro,
 Filed: Oct. 15, 1971  Appl. No.: 189,648
Norman C. Lee, Rocky Mount, NC.
 U.S. Cl 280/215, 46/208, 185/43, Y 280/282  Int. Cl B62m l/04  Field of Search 280/212, 217, 210, 280/214, 215, 282; 185/28, 39, 43, DIG. 1; 46/206, 208
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,572,051 2/1926 Siillivan 280/215 3/1931 Clements 280/215 7/1968 Lohr et a1. 185/37 Primary ExaminerGera1d M. Forlenza Assistant ExaminerGeorge F. Abraham Attorney-Morris Kirschstein et a1.
 ABSTRACT A childrens riding toy having a spring driven mechanical driving means which a child can wind to propel the toy. The childrens riding toy is designed so that a child can move the toy manually independently of the driving means and means is provided for preventing said spring driving means from being overwound.
8 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures Patented Oct. 30, 1973 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTOR. NORMAN C. LEE
ATTORNEYS Patented Oct. 30, 1973 3,768,835
2 SheetsSheet 2 INVENTOR. NORMAN C. LEE
ATTORNEYS CHILDREN'S RIDING TOY HAVING MECHANICAL DRIVING MEANS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention Childrens riding toy 2. Description of the Prior Art There have been a great number of children's riding toys in the prior art which included a body and at least three wheels, e.g., two rear wheels and a front wheel. Originally, the child straddled the toy with each foot on the ground and by movement of his feet in a walking fashion moved the toy. These toys were generally designed for pre-school age children and configured to represent a horse, motorcycle, etc. Most children enjoyed using these toys and such use was beneficial to the child in that it assisted in developing his physical coordination.
Some toy manufacturers have placed childrens riding toys on the market that had a mechanical driving means. Many of these prior art driving means included a motor that the child energized and which in turn propelled the childrens riding toy. However, many of the childrens riding toys that included motors had the serious drawback of malfunctioning after a relatively short period of time thus making them of limited value. One of the reasons for this malfunctioning was that the motor and drive train were so weakly constructed that they could not withstand the rigorous use given to them by a child.
A further reason why many of these prior art childrens riding toys having motors often malfunctioned was that said motor was a spring motor and very frequently the child overwound the spring causing it to improperly operate or break down completely.
In childrens riding toys having a mechanical driving means it is, of course, necessary that the child be able to manually move the toy when the driving means is inoperative. Thus, the child should have the option of moving the toy manually or energizing the driving means so that said means can move the toy.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is, therefore, an object of the present invention to provide an improved durable childrens riding toy having a motor which can be manually energized by the child to propel the toy.
It is another object of the present invention to provide an improved durable childrens riding toy having mechanical driving means wherein the means is simple for a child to use.
Still a further object of the present invention is to provide an improved childrens riding toy having a motor which can be energized by the child to enable the toy to be self-propelled with their being means for allowing the child to manually move the toy independently of the motor.
A further object of the present invention is to provide an improved childrens riding toy having mechanical driving means which does not present any safety hazards to a child.
A further object of the present invention is to provide a childrens riding toy having a spring motor which can be energized by a child for propelling the toy with means being provided for preventing the motor from being overwound.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a motor in which energy can be stored by repeated 'rocking movements by a child, e.g. foot pumping,
until the motor is wound until the limit of its capacity.
Briefly, in accordance with the present invention, the foregoing as well as other objects are achieved by a childrens riding toy having a rear wheel axle, a spring driven motor and a breaking means for said axle. The aesthetic design of the childrens riding toy may be conventional and a winding crank is provided in a location on the toy where it can be conveniently oscillated by a child riding the toy. Movable with the crank is a crank arm which is rockable about a given axis and a sector gear is provided which is rotatable with the crank arm. Biasing means urges the crank arm to an idle position. An idler gear is in mesh at all times with the sector gear. The idler gear is movable between a first position and away from said first position.
A driven gear is provided and includes an outer shell having teeth thereon which are in mesh with the idler gear when the idler gear is in the first position. Ratchet means is provided for allowing the outer shell to be rotated only in a first direction corresponding to a desired direction of movement of the toy, e.g., forward.
Located inside the outer shell and in contact with the inner periphery thereof is a friction pad. Said friction pad is secured to a rotatable inner shell. The spring motor includes a spiral coiled spring the inner end of which is secured to the inner shell and the outer end to an arbor which is rotatable with the rear wheel axle of the childrens riding toy. The arrangement between the spring and arbor is free wheeling, i.e., designed to enable the rear wheel axle to be driven by the spring motor and also to be rotated in a forward direction independently thereof.
In using the childrens riding toy the breaking means is applied and the crank is rocked in a first direction up to a specified angular amount away from the idle position of 'said crank. Rotation of the sector gear in the first direction rotates the idler gear and maintains the idler gear in the first position so that the outer shell of the driven gear is rotated in the first direction. Friction between the outer shell and the friction pad rotates the inner shell in the same direction thus winding the spring about the arbor which is stationary since the breaking means is operative. Return movement of the crank and hence sector gear by the biasing means in a direction counter to the first direction moves the idler gear out of the first position and out of engagement with the driven gear with the ratchet means preventing the outer shell from rotating reversely and friction between the friction pad and outer shell preventing the inner shell from rotating reversely. Rocking of the crank, as by the childs foot pumping, is continued until the spring is fully wound about the arbor whereupon the breaking means is released so that the spring can rotate the arbor, and rear wheel axle and thereby drive the childrens riding toy.
After the spring has been fully wound on the arbor subsequent continued pumping of the crank merely causes the outer shell to slide over the friction pad so that there is no danger of the spring being overwound.
The arbor and spring are arranged so as to permit forwarding free wheeling rotation of the arbor with respect to the spring so that the riding toy can be moved either by its momentum or by being pushed or pulled when the spring is unwound.
Other objects of the invention will be pointed out hereinafter.
The invention accordingly consists in the features of construction, combination of elements and arrangement of parts which will be exemplified in the childrens riding toy hereinafter described and of which the scope of application will be indicated in the appended claims.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a childrens riding toy having drive means according to the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a sectional view partially broken taken substantially along the line 22 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken substantially along the line 3-3 of FIG. 2; and
FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken substantially along the line 44 of FIG. 2.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS In FIG. 1 of the drawings a childrens riding toy according to the present invention is shown and includes a body 12 having opposed sides 12a and 12b with rear wheels 14a and 14b being secured to body 12 in a manner hereinafter described. The wheels include a hollow peripheral tread rim as is conventional. A front wheel 16 is secured to steering mechanism 18 which includes handle bars 20 and 22. Steering mechanism 18 is pivotally attached to the front of body 12 as is conventional for steering toy 10. A seat 24 is secured to the upper rear portion of body 12 and foot rests 26 project outwardly from opposed sides of body 12 with only one foot rest being seen in the drawings. A hand brake lever 28 is movable within slot 30 in body 12 and a knob 32 is located on the uppermost portion thereof. It is to be appreciated that while riding toy 10 has been shown in the drawings to resemble a motorcycle this is for purposes of illustration only and not of limitation as the present invention could be used in a childrens riding toy of any design.
A windup crank 34 intended to be operated by' a childs foot is provided. The crank includes an elongated radial arm 34a with an outwardly extending foot bar 34b integral with the tip of the arm and perpendicular thereto. If desired, an externally serrated friction sleeve 34d may ensheath foot bar 3412. Integral with the remaining end of arm 34a of crank 34 is a drive shaft 34c which extends through sides 12a and 12b of body 12 and is arranged within body 12 as will hereinafter be described. A guard 36 is secured to side 12a, surrounds the opening in side 12a through which the drive shaft extends and includes a cutaway portion to allow the crank arm to oscillate as will hereinafter be described.
A rear wheel axle 38 is journalled by and extends through the opposed sides of body 12 with rear drive wheels 14a and 14b being rotatable therewith.
Side plates 40 and 42 are positioned within body 12 substantially parallel to sides 12a and 12b. Side plates 40 and 42 include registered openings through which axles 38 rotatably extends and spacers 44 and 46 are located on axle 38 between the side plates and sides 12a and 12b to prevent plates 40 and 42 from moving axially along axle 38. Towards the sides of body 12 means for preventing plates 40 and 42 from moving towards each other also are included. In the illustrated embodiment of the present invention said latter means includes a headed bolt 48 the shank of which extends through registered openings in side plates 40 and 42 adjacent drive shaft 34c with a spacer 50 positioned about the shaft of bolt 48 between the side plates and a nut threaded to the leg of bolt 48 outside side plate 40 and maintaining the side plates in contact with the spacer. In a similar fashion a bolt 54 extends through registered openings in plates 40 and 42 adjacent axle 38 with a spacer 56 positioned between the plates about bolt 54. A nut 58 is threaded to bolt 54 outside side plate 40 for maintaining plates 40 and 42 in contact with spacer 56. Since spacers 50 and 56 are of the same width it can readily be seen that plates 40 and 42 are maintained parallel to each other.
A sector gear 60 positioned between plates 40 and 42 is rotatable with drive shaft 34c. Shaft 34c is journalled between the plates. Preferably the gear teeth on said sector gear span approximately 120 which is a comfortable arc of movement for a childs foot. A torsion spring 62 is positioned about drive shaft 346 and has opposed ends one of which abuts against spacer 50. The other end of torsion spring 62 is rotatable with sector gear 60 for a reason that will soon be readily apparent.
Registered slots 64 are located in plates 40 and 42. A shaft 66 has an end received in and extending through each of said slots. Slots 64 are perpendicular to a radius extending from drive shaft 34c. Lock washers 67 outside plates 40 and 42 are secured to the outside ends of shaft 66 for preventing shaft 66 from moving axially relative to plates 40 and 42. Shaft 66 is free to slide lengthwise of the slots. An idler gear 70, positioned between plates 40 and 42, is rotatable about shaft 66. The idler gear has spacing collars 72 which are positioned on and about shaft 66.
Due to the orientation of slots 64 idler gear is always in mesh with sector gear 60 as shaft 66 slides lengthwise in slots 64.-
A rod 74 extends through registered openings in plates 40 and 42 and lock washers 76 and 78 are secured to the ends of rod 74 outside plates 40 and 42 to prevent said rod from moving relative to the plates. A tension spring 80 has one end secured to shaft 66 outside plate 42 and the other end to the portion of rod 74 outside plate 42. Tension spring 80 biases shaft 66 to the position seen in FIG. 2, that is to say to its uppermost position.
Rotatable with and relative to axle 38 between plates 40 and 42 is a gear structure 82 which includes an outer circular shell 84 having gear teeth thereon. Outer shell 84 includes an annular periphery 84b and a side wall 84a is integral therewith. A circular plate 85 is secured to the open side of shell 84. Concentrically positioned within outer shell 84 is a circular inner shell 86 which includes a gap 86a at one portion thereof. Projections 86b extend radially outwardly at spaced points from the outside periphery of shell 86 and friction pads 88 are secured between said projections to inner shell 86. The friction pads 88 are in frictional contact with the inside surface of shell 84 for a reason that will soon be readily apparent. Slots 64 are not perpendicular to a radius extending from the center of shell 84 but are inclined with respect thereto so that idler gear 70 is in mesh with shell 84 only when shaft 66 is in its elevated position in slots 64.
Rotatable with axle 38 is an arbor 90 having a hooked end 90a with the arbor having collars journalled for rotation in plates 40 and 42 with axle 38 passing through said collars. Gear structure 82 has collars projecting outwardly from plate 85 and wall 84a which loosely surround the arbor collars so said outer shell can rotate independently of the arbor. A spiral torsion spring 92 has one j-shaped end looped over hooked end 90a of arbor 90 and the other j-shaped end secured to one of the edges of inner shell 86 which defines gap 86a.
A collar 94 positioned between plates 40 and 42 is rotatable about a headed bolt 96 which extends between the opposed side plates and through registered openings in said plates with a nut 95 threaded with the end of the bolt outside side plate 40, for preventing the bolt from axially moving relative to the side plates. A ratchet 98 is integral with collar 94 and extends downwardly therefrom so as to abut the flanks of teeth on shell 84. Ratchet 98 is configured and positioned to allow clockwise rotation of shell 84 as viewed in FIG. 3. A biasing strip of springy material 99, preferably plastic, is integral with collar 94 and rests against shaft 74 so as to urge ratchet 98 against the flanks of teeth on shell 84.
Integral with hand brake lever 28 is an elongated rod 28a which extends rearwardly of the toy through beaming sleeves 100 and 102 with the sleeves being integral with upright supports that are secured to the inside surface of side 12a of body 12. Integral with the rear end of rod 28a that is adjacent axle 38 is a braking arm 28b that extends through an opening in wall [2a. A brake knob 104 is secured to the free end of arm 28b and is inside the peripheral rim of wheel 14a.
In using the spring motor to propel the toy a child straddles seat 24 and places his right foot on the friction sleeve 34d surrounding foot bar 34b of crank 34. The brake is applied by moving knob 38 towards side 12b of body 12 which causes rod 28a to rotate so that brake knob 104 assumes the position seen in FIG. 4, that is, in frictional contact with the inner periphery of wheel 142. As a result of this contact wheels 14a and 14b as well as axle 38 are not able to rotate. The child then with his right foot moves crank 34 in a clockwise direction as viewed in FIG. 1 with the clockwise rotation of the crank being limited by the abutment of crank arm 34a with footrest 26. The foot motion is downward and forward, and resembles the pumping foot motion to start a motorcycle engine. As crank 34 is moved in a clockwise direction sector gear 60 is rotated clockwise with torsion spring 62 being rotated against its restoring bias. Rotation of sector gear 60 in a clockwise direction rotates idler 70 in a counter clockwise direction and causes said idler to assume the position of FIG. 2 with shaft 66 in the most elevated position in slots 64. Counter clockwise direction of idler 70 results in clockwise rotation of shell 84 with friction pads 88 moving inner shell 86 in a clockwise direction. The rotation of shell 86 in a clockwise direction causes torsion spring 92 to be wound about arbor 90 which is prevented from rotating since axle 38 is held fixed by having brake knob 104 in contact with the inner periphery of wheel 14a so that the riding toy is immobile.
After crank arm 34a abuts footrest 26 the child removes his foot from the crank and torsion spring 62 returns the crank to the idle position seen in FIG. 1 in which sector gear abuts socket 50. As this is happening sector gear 60 rotates in a counter clockwise direction causing idler to rotate in a clockwise direction. The rotation of idler 70 in a clockwise direction by sector gear 60 results in a force being imparted thereto such that the idler moves downwardly with shaft 66 moving towards the bottom of slots 64 and stretching spring 80. The downward movement of idler 70 brings the idler out of mesh with the teeth on shell 84. Ratchet 98 prevents the shell from rotating in a counter clockwise direction while the friction pads hold shell 86 fixed so that spring 92 does not unwind. The continued oscillating (pumping) of the crank in the manner just described winds spring 92 about arbor 90.
When the spring is fully wound about the arbor the child on the riding toy releases the brake, permitting wound spring 92 to rotate arbor 90, axle 38 and wheels 14a and 14b in a clockwise direction so that the riding toy is propelled forwardly with ratchet 98 holding outer shell 84 and via friction pads 88 inner shell 86 stationary.
It is to be appreciated that the friction pads 88 prevent torsion spring 92 from being overwound. Specifically, once torsion spring 92 has been completely wound about arbor 90 further rotation of shell 84 as a result of continued oscillation of crank 34 does not result in inner shell 86 rotation. This is because with the torsion spring 92 completely wound about arbor 90 the inner shell cannot rotate anymore and the frictional force between pads 88 and outer shell 84 is not sufficient to rotate the inner shell; specifically, after the torsion spring is completely wound further oscillation of the crank causes the pads to slip on shell 84.
It should be noted that by having a hooked end 90a of arbor 90 in a direction pointing counter clockwise and an end of torsion spring 92 looped thereover, the same constitutes a free wheeling clutch that enables the arbor to rotate clockwise independently of the torsion spring. As a result the toy can be moved in a forward direction by a child who is straddling the toy walking and in so doing moving the toy. Moreover, the toy, if moving forwardly after the spring has unwound will continue to move under its own momentun without reversely winding the spring.
It thus will be seen that there is provided a riding toy which achieves the various objects of the invention and which is well adapted to meet the conditions of practical use.
As various possible embodiments might be made of the above invention, and as various changes might be made in the embodiment above set forth, it is to be understood that all matter herein described or shown in the accompanying drawings is to be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.
Having thus described the invention there is claimed as new and desired to be secured by Letters Patent:
l. A childrens riding toy comprising a body, an axle journalled in said body, at least one wheel rotatable with said axle, said axle and said body being longitudinally movable together, a first gear, said first gear having an axis of rotation, a rotatable output means with said axle rotatable with said rotatable output means, said rotatable output means having an axis of rotation, said axle having an axis of rotation, said axes of said axle and said rotatable output means being coincidental with each other, an idler gear in mesh at all times with said first gear, an element, said idler gear movable longitudinally with said element, said idler gear and said element movable to a first position and movable out of said first position, said idler gear and said element being in the first position when said first gear is transmitting energy to said idler gear to direct the toy, means perpendicular to a radius extending from the center of said first gear in which said element moves, said idler gear transmitting energy to said output means when said idler gear and said element are in their first position and when energy is supplied to said first gear.
2. A childrens riding toy according to claim 1 wherein means is provided for biasing said idler gear to its first position.
3. A childrens riding toy according to claim 1 wherein said output means includes a third gear with said third gear in mesh with said idler gear when said idler gear is in its first position.
4. A childrens riding toy according to claim 3 wherein said output means further includes a force transmitting means, said third gear including an outer shell having gear teeth thereon with said gear teeth in mesh with said idler gear when said idler gear is in its first position, a rotatable inner member inside said outer shell and frictional means for rotating said outer shell and inner member in unison with said force transmitting means secured to said inner member and arranged to rotate said axle.
5. A childrens riding toy according to claim 4 further including an arbor rotatable with said axle, said force transmitting means including a spring having two ends with one end attached to said inner member and the other end arranged to rotate said arbor.
6. A childrens riding toy according to claim 5 wherein said frictional means includes at least one fric' tion pad secured to said inner member with said friction pad in frictional contact with mmber outer shell.
7. A childrens riding toy according to claim 5 wherein said arbor includes a hooked end, the end of said spring which is arranged to rotate said arbor having a loop which can hook over said hooked end of said arbor whereby said arbor can rotate independently of said spring.
8. A childrens riding toy according to claim 3 wherein said idler gear rotates said third gear in a first direction and means for preventing said third gear from rotating in a direction counter to the first direction.