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Publication numberUS3779558 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 18, 1973
Filing dateJan 12, 1972
Priority dateJan 12, 1972
Publication numberUS 3779558 A, US 3779558A, US-A-3779558, US3779558 A, US3779558A
InventorsMoreau C
Original AssigneeMoreau C
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Alternative puzzle system
US 3779558 A
Abstract
A puzzle comprising a plurality of pieces which can be assembled in more than one configuration, either as a three dimensional, recognizable shape or as a two dimensional surface which presents a graphic representation.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [191 Moreau 1 1 Dec. 18, 1973 1 ALTERNATIVE PUZZLE SYSTEM [76] Inventor: Claude R. M. Moreau, 85-06,

' Sixtieth Ave., Elmhurst, NY. 1 1373 [22] Filed:' Jan. 12, 1972 [21] App1.No.: 217,135

[52] US. Cl 273/157 R [51] Int. Cl. .Q A631 9/12 [58] Field of Search 273/157 R, 160

[56] References Cited I UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,493,697 1/1950 Raczkowski 273/157 R X 2,694,265 11/1954 Way 273/160 UX Matthews 273/157 R UX 1,229,580 6/1917 Brown 273/157 R 1,417,828 5/1922 Hirsch 273/157 R UX 1,964,007 6/1934 Parks 273/157 R 3,630,527 12/1971 Breslow 273/157 R Primary Examiner-Anton O. Oechsle Attorney-Jacobs & Jacobs [57] ABSTRACT A puzzle comprising a plurality of pieces which can be assembled in more than one configuration, either as a three dimensional, recognizable shape or as a two dimensional surface which presents a graphic representation.

4 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures PATENTEDDEE I8 1915 3, 779 558 sum 2 or 2 ALTERNATIVE PUZZLE SYSTEM DETAILED DESCRIPTION The present invention pertains to a puzzle system which finds use as a toy or object of entertainment, an educational tool, a commercial novelty, and a psychological testing device.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a puzzle composed of a plurality of uniquely shaped objects which are complementary in two alternative puzzle systems of different and distinct configurations.

A further object of the present invention is to provide such an alternative puzzle system in which one of the puzzle configurations is a three dimensional, recognizable shape while the other is a two dimensional surface upon which a picture, map, writing or similar graphics may be printed.

Still a further object of the present invention in association with the foregoing objects is to provide an alternative puzzle system of a plurality of uniquely shaped pieces, each of which has at least'one substantially planar surface and at least one edge surface, with a portion of the edge surface of each piece complementing a portion of the edge surface of a second piece when the pieces are assembled coplanarly through their edge surfaces, and at least a portion of the planar surface of each piece complementing at least a portion of the planar surface of a second piece so that when assembled in their proper order through their planar surfaces, the exposed portion of the edge surfaces defines a surface of a three dimensional, recognizable figure.

These and other objects of the present invention will become more apparent from the following specification and from the drawings in which:

FIG. I is a perspective view ofthe puzzle system in its three dimensional configuration, the exposed outer surfaces defining the shape of an animal;

FIGS. II and III are plan view details of two pieces, a and b, respectively, shown in FIG. I;

FIG. IV is a front elevation detail of the piece shown in FIG. II;

FIG. V is a plan of a portion of the puzzle in the two dimensional configuration showing a portion of a typical graphic composite which results upon proper assembly of the individual pieces through their complementary edge surfaces; and

FIG. VI is an exploded view in perspective of the assembled puzzle system in its three dimensional configuration showing the arrangement and disposition of the various pieces.

Returning now to FIGS. I, II, III and IV, the puzzle system is composed of a plurality of pieces. For convenience, these can be coded, in this case identified by numbers relative to the order of assembly in the three dimensional configuration. In the particular shape shown in FIG. I, which shape is of course solely for purposes of exemplification, piece a corresponds to the initial or base piece and has been identified as piece No. 1, shown in detail in FIGS. II and IV. This piece and all others, have at least one substantially planar surface c and an edge surface d. Most pieces will have two planar surfaces; the last piece need only have one. The piece depicted in FIGS. [1 and IV constituted one entire layer in the assembly of the three dimensionalconfiguration of the puzzle As is apparent from FIG. III however, and in particular FIG. VI, more than one piece can be employed in constructing a given layer of the three dimensional configuration. Hence the piece depicted in FIG. III is but one of two constituting the fifteenth layer in the three dimensional configuration and has thus been identified as piece No. 15A.

Optionally disposed on one planar surface are one or more pins e or similar protuberance which can mate with correspondingly placed holes in the next piece so to provide locking or guiding action Generally, each piece will be of substantially the same thickness, some variation on the edge surface being permitted in order to define the curve surface of the three dimensional figure. As seen in FIG. V however, the edge surfaces will still complement each other, as at f, so that the exposed surface in the two dimensional configuration is substantially continuous.

As can be seen from FIG. V, the individual pieces are assembled through their complementary edge surfaces, the composite of their planar surfaces presenting a two dimensional surface upon which may be depicted a drawing, painting, writing, quotation, photograph or any similar graphic representation. This representation can be related in theme to the three dimensional figure so as to tell a story. In its two dimensional configuration, the alternative puzzle system of the present invention is somewhat analogous to a jigsaw puzzle, although the fitting is generally not as tight and the complementary edge surfaces are not necessarily perpendicular to the exposed planar surface. Some of the pieces, such as pieces Nos. 3A, 14A, 28 and 15A will have one or more portions of their edge surface corresponding to the composite perimeter of the two dimensional configuration. In the embodiment shown in FIG. IV, the composite edge of the two dimensional configuration defines a rectangle and thus some of the pieces, such'as pieces Nos. 3A and 2B will have a flat portion within their edge surface while other pieces such as piece 14A will have two fiat portions at right angles, so as to correspond to the corner of the rectangle. Other shapes such as circles, triangles, hexagons and the like can also be employed for the perimeter of the composite two dimensional configuration.

The remaining pieces will have edge surfaces with at least a portion of each complementing at least a portion of the edge surface of a second piece. Generally the shape of each piece in a given puzzle system'will be unique so that they can be assembled in only one way in either configuration.

It will be observed from FIG. VI that when the pieces are properly assembled in their three dimensional configuration, the composite of the exposed edge surfaces I will define a recognizable three dimensional figure. The portions of the edge surface of each piece which are hidden when the pieces are assembled in their three dimensional configuration may complement each other. In practice however these hidden portions will not completely mate with one another since they are cut so as to complement pieces in the two dimensional configuration and serve no purpose, since they are hidden, in the three dimensional configuration.

As noted above, the individual pieces may optionally be identified with appropriate indicia to assist the construction of either or both of the two configurations. In the embodiment shown in FIG. VI, the various pieces are marked with a numerical designation corresponding to the layer to which they belong. Hence in FIG. VI, layer 13 is composed of pieces Nos. 13A, 13B, 13C and 13D. Since these designations are provided simply to facilitate assembly of the puzzle, one may construct a more difficult puzzle by omitting them, thereby increasing the challenge presented in the assembly of either or both of the two configurations. Generally when such indicia or designations are employed, they are placed on the planar side of each piece opposite the side presenting the drawing, painting or printing which is exposed when these pieces are assembled in the two dimensional configuration. Thus piece No. A shown in FIG. I" is provided with pins e and indicia g on one planar surface and a portion of the two dimensional graphic representation on the other, as shown at i in FIG. V, together with hole h.

When assembled in the two dimensional configuration, the individual pieces may be merely placed against one another in their appropriate position. Alternatively or in addition, the pieces may be cut in such a fashion to provide an interlocking action between the various edge surfaces. When assembled in the three dimensional configuration, it is generally desirable, although not absolutely necessary, to provide some sort of locking or guiding means-so as to facilitate vertical alignment and maintain stability. Such locking or guide means may be pins e in FIGS. 11, III and IV which complement hole h in the next piece resting above any given piece; i.e., pins e in piece 15A, shown in FIG. III,

complement a hole in one of the pieces number 16, not shown, analogous to hole It in piece 15A. Any of the numerous alternative locking means known to the art may of course be employed. Thus for example the various pieces may be magnetized, or contain a magnet, so that upon proper placement of one piece upon another, the alignment of those two pieces is thereafter maintained.

When pins or protuberances are employed as locking or guide means, the two dimensional configuration should be assembled on a tray or board having holes appropriately placed in it to receive the pins. Hence since the pins are on the side opposite the graphic representation, the pieces are inverted in proceeding from the three dimensional configuration to the two dimensional configuration and thus the pins extend from the bottom. Such a tray or board may be provided with an outline frame, such as] in FIG. V, into which the various pieces fit.

The alternative puzzle system of the present invention can be constructed out of any material of substantial rigidity, as for example wood, plastic, cardboard, metal and the like. Although various alternative means may be employed, one method of constructing the invention comprises building a solid three dimensional figure, cutting the solid figure into an appropriate number of layers, cutting one or more of the layers into individual pieces in such a way that they complement each other and form a substantially solid two dimensional figure and imprinting an appropriate drawing, painting, writing or the like on the two dimensional surface. As noted above, in the cutting of the individual layers of the three dimensional figure into pieces which will form the two dimensional configuration, the trimming and adjustments are made on those edge surfaces which are hidden in the three dimensional configuration. Once the shapes of the pieces for any given puzzle utilizing this alternative puzzle system are determined, additional puzzles of the same type may be readily prepared, as for example by molding corresponding pieces of the same shape.

While the system shown in the figures produces only one three dimensional shape, it is apparent that the same system can be employed using two or more three dimensional configurations, the pieces of which are employed in the construction of one, two or more two dimensional configurations. The system can thus be employed by a single individual or by several individuals as a game. For example, two three dimensional figures corresponding to two cartoon characters can provide the pieces for forming a single graphic representation in the two dimensional configuration. The graphic representation can be related in theme to the two characters. At a given signal, each of two individuals or teams attempt to locate the proper pieces for his respective three dimensional figures from among the pieces forming the two dimensional representation and to then properly assemble the pieces in his three dimensional figure before the other. Other games or contests can similarly be played using the basic system of the present invention.

Alternatively or in addition, the two dimensional configuration can be divided into several individual units. These can be separate and distinct planar graphic representations, which may or may not be related in theme, or can be interconnected, as for example, the several surfaces of a cube or other polyhedron. In the latter configuration, there can be provided a three dimensional frame adapted to receive the pieces for assembly through their edge surfaces with exposure of their planar surfaces. The frame can, for example, correspond to the edges of a cube with openings provided on one or more surfaces of the cube. When the pieces of the puzzle are properly inserted within the frame through complementation of their edge surfaces within the cube, one or more (but not necessarily all) planar surfaces of the pieces are exposed through the openings of the frame and define the surfaces of the cube. In such an embodiment, the two dimensional'configuration is divided among several surfaces which can provide a plurality of graphic representations; e.g., five pictures, writings or the like, one on each of the five surfaces of the cube which are visible when the cube is resting on a surface.

The planar surfaces of the pieces may be defined by cutting the recognizable three dimensional figure or figures either horizontally, relative to the base, vertically, or both.

The number and dimensions of the individual pieces are a matter of choice. In the particular embodiment shown in the figures, the three dimensional, recognizable shape is composed of 50 pieces which when assembled in the two dimensional configuration provides an 8 inches X 10 inches graphic representation.

In addition to the use of this alternative puzzle system as a toy or means of entertainment, the system can also be employed as an educational tool. Thus the three dimensional configuration can depict, for example, the head or bust of a famous individual with the two dimensional configuration depicting a famous scene from 'that individuals life or a quotation or speech of that individual. The device can also be employed in psychological testing, as for example in analyzing the spatial and conceptual capabilities of an individual.

It is to be appreciated that the foregoing description and the drawings merely correspond to one embodiment of the invention and that modifications apparent to those skilled in the art may be made without departing from the spirit of the invention.

What is claimed is: v

1. A puzzle having at least two independent configurations of solution and a plurality of uniquely shaped pieces, each piece having at least one substantially planar surface and at least one edge surface, at least a portion of an edge surface of each piece complementing at least a portion of an edge surface of another piece upon assembly in at least one unit of a first configuration of all the pieces through their edge surfaces, and at least a portion of the planar surface of each piece complementing at least a portion of the planar surface of another piece, upon assembly in at least one unit of a second configuration of all the pieces through their planar surfaces, the composite of the portions of the edge surfaces exposed in each unit of said second configuration upon assembly of the pieces through their planar surfaces defining at least one recognizable, three dimensional figure, and the relationship of the pieces to one another in said second configuration being independent of and different from the relationship'of the pieces in said first configuration.

2. A puzzle according to claim 1 wherein the composite of the exposed planar surfaces of the pieces upon assembly through their edge surfaces in the first configuration presents at least one two-dimensional graphic representation.

3. A puzzle according to claim 2 wherein the two dimensional representation and the three dimensional figure are related in theme.

4. A puzzle according to claim 1 wherein at least one planar surface of each piece is provided with means operable to guide and lock that piece with at least one other piece upon assembly of the pieces through their planar surface in a three dimensional figure.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1071358 *Jan 23, 1913Aug 26, 1913Stephen C MatthewsEducational device.
US1229580 *Nov 24, 1915Jun 12, 1917Sidney Charles HarperPuzzle.
US1417828 *Feb 19, 1920May 30, 1922Herman HirschEducational device
US1964007 *Apr 20, 1933Jun 26, 1934Parks Walther AMultiple jigsaw puzzle
US2493697 *Aug 19, 1946Jan 3, 1950Raczkowski EdwardProfile building puzzle
US2694265 *Mar 2, 1950Nov 16, 1954Way Elwood JEducational toy and puzzle
US3630527 *Feb 9, 1970Dec 28, 1971Marvin Glass & AssociatesPuzzle comprising discs with interengaging pins and apertures
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3981506 *Jun 23, 1975Sep 21, 1976VestaThree dimensional relief puzzle
US4874176 *Mar 31, 1987Oct 17, 1989Seymour AuerbachThree-dimensional puzzle
US4943063 *Mar 29, 1989Jul 24, 1990Moreau Claude R MConvertible comestible
US5062637 *Jan 22, 1990Nov 5, 1991Bianchi William JMethod of playing a jigsaw puzzle board game
US5149098 *Jul 3, 1991Sep 22, 1992Bianchi William JJigsaw puzzle game board having corresponding indicia
US5356151 *Apr 20, 1993Oct 18, 1994Max AbecassisGameboard and scale model game
US5683086 *Jul 8, 1996Nov 4, 1997Druckman; GilSculpture puzzle
US5735521 *Oct 18, 1996Apr 7, 1998Meyer/Glass Design, Ltd.Puzzle with textured surface
US5806853 *Jun 16, 1997Sep 15, 1998Druckman; GilSculpture puzzle
US5895044 *Apr 24, 1996Apr 20, 1999Bahramian; Mohammad HosseinThree-dimensional puzzle with magnetic and mechanical attachment, particularly for use by people with impaired vision
US6203013Feb 4, 1999Mar 20, 2001Mass Market Ideas LlcPuzzle toy
US6276684 *Jul 28, 2000Aug 21, 2001Character Games LimitedPuzzle
US6655685 *Mar 7, 2002Dec 2, 2003Tsai Ching-HungThree-dimensional jigsaw puzzle
US6752679 *Nov 19, 2003Jun 22, 2004Hoe King LuiDouble doll figurine
US7789392Sep 7, 2010All In 1 Products LimitedPuzzle
US20030168804 *Mar 7, 2002Sep 11, 2003Tsai Ching-HungThree-dimensional jigsaw puzzle
US20050127603 *Dec 15, 2003Jun 16, 2005Shih-Hung ChuangLaminated 3D jigsaw puzzle
US20050159073 *Jun 17, 2004Jul 21, 2005Nelson Webb T.Segmented figure with magnetic couplings
US20050167913 *Jan 30, 2004Aug 4, 2005Arthur MucciJigsaw puzzle organized by colors and numbers
US20070194525 *Feb 22, 2006Aug 23, 2007Su-Lian ChuangThree dimensional jigsaw puzzle
US20090127785 *Oct 31, 2008May 21, 2009Daniel Chaim KishonPuzzle
WO1990011110A1 *Mar 27, 1990Oct 4, 1990Moreau Claude RConvertible comestible
WO1996033785A1 *Apr 24, 1996Oct 31, 1996Mohammad Hossein BahramianThree-dimensional puzzle with magnetic and mechanical attachment, particularly for use by people with impaired vision
WO1997027920A1 *Jan 29, 1997Aug 7, 1997The Really Useful Games Company LimitedA puzzle
WO2006079831A1 *Jan 27, 2006Aug 3, 2006All In 1 Products LimitedA puzzle
WO2009056852A1 *Oct 31, 2008May 7, 2009All In 1 Products LimitedA puzzle
Classifications
U.S. Classification273/157.00R
International ClassificationA63F9/06, A63F9/10, A63F9/12
Cooperative ClassificationA63F2009/1292, A63F9/12, A63F9/10
European ClassificationA63F9/10, A63F9/12