US 3774908 A
A toy or game device which includes a balance arm pivotable about a horizontal axis. The support base for the balance arm includes a horizontal shaft to which the balance arm is pivoted. A metal bell is secured to and covers the projecting end of the horizontal shaft. A pair of clappers including weights secured to the free ends of a pair of flexible elongated wire springs are attached to the pivot shaft of the balance arm and are positioned within the metal bell with the weights spaced from the inner surface of the bell. A pair of cam members are attached to the balance arm, one on each side of the pivot point. A second pair of cam members are attached to the support member, one on each side of the pivot point, but spaced inwardly toward the pivot point with respect to the first pair of cam members. The wire springs normally extend between a respective support and balance arm cam member, resting against the upper edge of the balance arm cam member. As one side of the balance arm is rotated downwardly the wire spring rides along the inclined surface of the support member cam and is pushed off the end of the balance arm cam. The bias of the wire spring causes it to snap outwardly and thus drive the weight against the bell causing it to ring. Pivotal movement of the balance arm is caused by placing one or more chips or weights on the ends of the arm. The number of chips placed on the arm is determined by a spinner mechanism.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1: y
Greenberg BALANCE TOY I 5/1936 France 46/191 [541  Inventor: Allen A. Greenberg, Cincinnati,
Ohio  Assignee: General Mills Fun Group, Inc.,
,  Filed: May 6, 1971  Appl. No.: 140,802
I  US. Cl 273/1 R, 46/118, 46/190, 177/46  Int. Cl. A63f 9/00, GOlg l/24, GOlg 23/18  Field of Search 273/1 R, 1 E; 116/155, 156, 60, 74; 177/45, 46, 47; 46/174, 175 R, 118,191,192
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 687,855 12/1901 Roth 177/45 X 1 680,888 8/1901 Roth 177/47 3,559,989 2/1971 Breslow 273/1 R 646,749 4/1900 Mettler 116/156 3,039,424 6/1962 Warn l16/156X FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS Nov. 27, 1973  ABSTRACT A toy or game device which includes a balance arm pivotable about a horizontal axis. The support base for the balance arm includes a horizontal shaft to which the balance arm is pivoted. A metal bell is secured to and covers the projecting end of the horizontal shaft. A pair of clappers including weights secured to the free ends of a pair of flexible elongated wire springs are attached to the pivot shaft of the balance arm and are positioned within the metal bell with the weights spaced from the inner surface of the bell. A pair of cam members are attached to the balance arm, one on each side of the pivot point. A second pair of cam members are attached to the support member, one on each side of the pivot point, but spaced inwardly toward the pivot point with respect to the first pair of cam members. The wire springs normally extend between a respective support and balance arm cam member, resting against the upper edge of the balance arm cam member. As one side of the balance arm is rotated downwardly the wire spring rides along the inclined surface of the support member cam and is pushed off the end of the balance arm cam. The biase of the wire spring causes it to snap outwardly and thus drive the weight against the bell causing it to ring. Pivotal movement of the balance arm is caused by placing one or more chips or weights on the ends of the arm. The number of chips placed on the arm is determined by a spinner mechanism.
6 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures PATENIEDnuvev I913 sum 10F 2 3774.908
4 rrokn/zr y BALANCE TOY I The present invention relates to toys and games, and more particularly'toa-balance-type toy device which can be used as part of a game, especially by young children. The toy device is provided with a system for sounding an alarm when a movable portion of the toy is moved beyond a predetermined point.
Toys and games of numerous typesand varieties have. been devised having amusement, entertainment, educational, and competitive features and characteristics. It is well known that the amusement or entertainment characteristics of a toy or game must be borne in mind when a toy or game is devised, especially, if the user of the item is a young child, for it has been found that the interest span of young children can easily be diverted to something else. It has also been found that if a toy or game can fulfillfunctions other than strictly amusement or entertainment, a childs attention span and interest in the toy or game willfgenerally remain for a greater period of time. Thus, if the item is also education al in nature, or if it kiridles the competitive spirit or instinct in a childjchan'ces are that the childs interest will survive for a greater period of time, and the acceptability of the item will'be enhanced;
Accordingly, one object of thepresent invention is to provide a novel anddifferent toy orgame device.
Another objectis to provide a toy or game which is especially 'well suitedforuse by young children.
A further object is to provide a noveltoy or game, especially adapted foruse by young children, which fulfills-an educational function,as-wellas an amusement or entertainment function.
A still further object is to providea balance device which might be used in combination with other components as part of a game, or by itself as an interesting and entertaining toy. v 7
Other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent from a consideration of the following specification and accompanying drawings. Before proceeding with a detailed description of the invention however, a brief description of it will be presented.
lngeneral, the invention compris'esa vertically ori ented support member, to which an elongated balance arm is pivotally attached so that it is normally in'a substantially horizontal orientation. An alarm mechanism, which includes amet al bell, is secured to the support member in such a manner that when the balancearm is pivoted beyond a prescribed .point, an object is caused to strike the bell and produce a'ringing sound. When used as a part of a game, one or more weighted objects are placed on the'opposite ends of the balance arm by opposing players, in accordance with instructionsv provided by a spinner device. As long as the arm is somewhat balanced, noalarm, i.e., ringing of the bell, occurs; if the arm becomes unbalancedby a prescribed amount however, the bell is caused to ring.
The invention will best be understood by reference to the following drawings, wherein;
FIG. 1 is a front elevational view which illustrates the invention when used as a component of a game;
FIG. 2 is a rear elevational view, with parts broken away, which depicts the, back of the device shown in FIG. 1; v
FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken along line 3.-3 of FIG. 2; i i
FIG. 4 is an enlarged, partial perspective view, illustrating part of a sound producing system for use in the toy invention; and
FIG. 5 illustrates the sound producing system in a different operating condition.
FIG. 1' illustrates the invention when used as part of a game which includes a balance device designated generally by numeral 10, a chance device or spinner mechanism 12, and a plurality of chips or weights 14. The balance device includes a vertically oriented support member 16 having front and back surfaces and 22. respectively, and a balance arm 18 which is pivotally the balance arm 18 constitutes the shoulders 30, the
arms 32, and the hands 34. For decorative purposes, openings 38 and 40 are provided in the head portion of the support member for the eyes and mouth respectively. 'Theeye balls and tongue on the other hand, are provided on a portion of the balance arm 18, so that relative movement of the eyes and mouth results when the arm is moved. A cup or dish 42 is secured to each hand 34.It must be understood of course, that a variety of other shapes and configurations could be used as well, and that the particular configuration disclosed is merely forillustrative purposes.
As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the balance arm 18 is provided with an enlarged, somewhat circular portion or member'44, from which the shoulders 30 and arms 32 project. The member 44 is provided with. a circular opening 46, which is surrounded by a collar or sleeve 48. A pair of curved slots 50 and 52, which will be described in greater detail hereinbelow, are formed in the member 44 on opposite sides of the collar. As shown in FIG.,4, the collar 48 isshaped so that a pair of cutaway portions 53 are formed on opposite sides of the opening 46 v(note that only one is shown in FIG. 4). The opening 46 is somewhat offset with respect to the center of the circular portion; moreover, the center of gravity of the balance arm is positioned directly below the opening 46, so that the arm is normally in a state of equilibrium, i.e., balanced condition. The balance arm is substantially symmetrical, as viewed from left to right 'inFIGQ 2, about the opening 46.
The support member 16 is provided with a circular, hollow shaft 54 which projects from the back' surface 22 of the support member. The shaft 54 includes a first portion 56, and a second portion 58 which is slightly smaller thanthe first portion, and connected thereto by a shoulder 60. The diameter of the first portion 56 is slightly smaller than the diameter of the opening 46 in the balance arrn so that the balance arm is movably mounted on the shaft. A spacer 62 is mounted on the second shaft portion 58, and the balance arm 18 is'pivotally connected to the support member 16 by mounting it on the shaft 54, and more particularly, the first portion 56 of the shaft so that it is interposed between the spacer 62 and the member 16.
An alarm mechanism, designated generally by nu-. m eral 64, is provided for producing a sound when the balancearm l8 is tilted beyond a prescribed amount, about the axis of'the shaft 64. The alarm mechanism includes a bowl-shaped metal bell 66, and'structure for striking the bell and causing it to ring. The bell 66 is secured to the support member 16' by means of a rivet 68, so that it surrounds or covers the shaft 54, the spacer 62, and the opening 46 in the balance arm. As shown, the rivet 68 is positioned within the hollow portion 58 of the shaft 54. The depth of the bell 66 is such that its edge or rim 70 is spaced from the balance arm 18 by a small distance.
FIGS. 4 and illustrate the structure for causing the bell 66 to ring, in greater detail, and these figures shouldbe considered in conjunction with FIG. 2. When assembled, the spacer 62 abuts against the collar 48 so that the cut-away portions 53 form slits between the spacer and the collar. A pair of clappers are'p'rovided for striking the bell; The clappers include flexible, elongated wire springs 72 and 74 which are attached at one end to the shaft 54, so that each wire projects through one of the slits 53. Weights 76 and 78 are attached to the free ends of the wires 72 and 74 respectively. As shown in FIG. 2, each wire is curved or bent in such a manner that the weights 72 and 74 are normally spaced from the innersurface of the bell 66 by a small distance. g a t A pair of triangularly shaped cam members 80 and 82 are secured to the circular portion 44, so that they are positioned on opposite sides ofthe collar 48, proximate the curved slots 50 and 52 respectively. A second pair of triangularly shaped cam members 84 and 86 are secured to the back surface 22 of the support member. 16 so thatthey project through the curved slots 50 and 52 respectively. Cylindrical members 88 and 90 form an integral part of the cam members 84 and 86 respectively. i
,As depicted in FIG. 2, when the balance arm 18 is in a state of equilibrium, the flexible wire spring '72 extends from'the shaft 54 toward and between, the cam members ,80 and 84, and then upwardly toward the upper portion-of the bell 66. In a like manner, the spring 74 extends between the cam surfaces 82 and 86, and toward the upper portion'of the bell. As the balance arm 18 iscaused to pivot, eg in a counterclockwise direction, the flat edge 92 of the cam 80 engages the flexible wire 72 and causes it to-slide along the slanted edge 94 of cam 84; simultaneously, the wire is caused to slide along the edge 92 of the cam 80 until it by-passes the corner. 96 of the cam 80. As this action occurs, the weight 76 is first deflected toward the axis of the shaft 54, and when the flexible wire 72 passes the corner 96, it snaps back, so that'the weight 76 strikes the inner surface of the bell 66, thus'causing it to ring. FIG. 5 illustrates the flexible wire after it has by-passed the corner 96. When the balance arm 18 returns to its normal position, the wire spring 72 once again becomes positioned between the cam members 80 and 84. If the balance arm 18, pivots in a clockwise direction, the same type of action occurs betweenthe flexible wire 74 and the cam surfaces 82 and 86, v
The chance device or spinner mechanism 12 is a generally conventional type device, which includes a circular disc or plate 100 and a spinner 102 rotatably mounted thereon. The disc is divided into a number of sectors 104; each'sector 104 having from 0 to 5, indicia of the cups 42. After a player has been selected to play first, herotates the spinner 102. He then follows the instructions on the sector where the spinner points, and places the designated number of chips 14 in hisvcup; this of course, causes the balance arm 18 to pivot about shaft 54. After completing his turn, the other player rotates the spinner 102 and likewise follows the instructions on the sector where the spinner points. As the chips 14 are placed in the cups 42, by opposing players, the balancearm 18 oscillates or pivots about the axis of the shaft 54. Eventually, one of the players will cause the balance arm to pivot far enough so'that one of the wires slips past the cam members and one of the weights strikes the bell 66. At this point, the player either wins or loses the game, depending upon the rules decided upon before the game begins.
It must be realized that other games utilizing the balance device might be played as well. Moreover, the balance device can be used by a single player, as an educational device for example, to teach a child the principles of balance, or simply to teach him how to count in response to instructions on the spinner mechanism 12.
The .above described invention results in a unique and different balance toy, which creates asense of anticipation and excitement when used as part of a game. As the balance arm pivots about the axis of its support shaft, in response to weight being applied to the ends of the arm, a contest develops between the opposing players as to which one will eventually cause the alarm to be sounded. Under certain circumstances, the arm might oscillate'or pivot for quite some time before the alarm is sounded, while under other conditions, the game may end quite rapidly. The results of the game are totally unpredictable in advance, and since the amount of weight to be added by each player depends upon the spinner mechanism, no particular skill'is required to play the game; thus', the game is particularly well suited for very young children.
In the above description and attached drawings, a disclosure of the principlesof this invention is presented together with some of the embodiments by which the invention may be carried out.
Now, therefore, I claim:
1. A balance device comprising a support member, an elongated balance arm having first and second ends, means for connecting said arm to the support member so that it is pivotable about a horizontal axis and the weight on each side of the pivot point is substantially the same, the center of gravity of said arm being positioned below the pivot axis,'said support member being vertically oriented, having a front and a back surface, and being provided with a horizontal shaft which projects away from one of said surfaces, means for pivotally securing the balance arm to said shaft, an alarm mechanism, means for securing said alarm mechanism to the balance device, means forming a part of said alarm mechanism for causing said mechanism to produce a sound in response to pivotal movement of said balance arm, said alarm mechanism including a metal bell, means for operatively connecting said bellto the sup- 7 port member, means operatively connected to the balance arm for causing an object to strike the bell when said arm is caused to pivot beyond a predetermined point, and means for securing the bell to the balance device so that it covers the projecting end of said horizontal shaft.
2. The combination of claim 1 wherein the bell is substantially bowl-shaped, and it is secured to the support member in such a manner that the balance arm is interposed between the bell and the support member, the rim of said bell being spaced from the surface of the balance arm by a prescribed distance.
3. The combination of claim 1 wherein the means for causing the bell to ring includes at least one clapper positioned within the bell, said clapper including an elongated spring having one of its ends secured to the shaft and a weight secured to its other end, and cam means are provided for flexing said spring and causing the weight to strike the bell in response to pivotal movement of the balance arm.
4. The combination of claim 3 wherein the cam means includes a first cam member secured to the balance arm, and a second cam member secured to the support member, said second cam member projecting through a curved slot in the balance arm so that it is proximate said first cam member.
5. The combination of claim 1 wherein the device is a toy, the balance arm is supported solely by said connection to the support member, said balance device has the configuration of a human being, the support member comprises the head, torso and foot portions, and the balance arm comprises the shoulder, arm, and hand portions, the ends of said arms being provided with means for holding objects placed thereon.
6. The combination of claim 1 wherein the balance device is suitable for use as part of a game, and chance means are provided for instructing players of the game in what manner the game is to be played, said chance means including a spinner mechanism rotatably mounted on a flat surface having a plurality of indicia thereon.