US 3780470 A
The toy vehicle disclosed comprises a chassis, a driving motor, directable front wheels and operating mechanism to steer the vehicle, as it travels forward, to the left or the right under the control of a flexible member, such as a cord or cable which is wound on a program drum having a multiplicity of pegs projecting from its surface and arranged equispaced laterally in parallel circumferential rows, said cord being led from a storage spool around the program drum and between the pegs by an eye on a lever connected to operate the steering mechanism of the vehicle when traveling in reverse direction, said spool and lever when the vehicle is operated in a forward direction unwinding said cord from the drum and causing the steering lever to operate the steering mechanism in a sequence of movements opposite to those made in operating the vehicle in reverse direction.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [191 Roberts et al.
[ PROGRAMMABLE TOY VEHICLE ] Appl. No.: 241,145
 US. Cl 46/213, 46/244 D, ISO/79.1,
318/5168  Int. Cl A63h 17/36  Field of Search 46/213, 244 D;
56/DlG. 15; 180/791  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,l46,708 2/l939 Barrett 46/213 2,855,723 10/1958 Bashover 3,l3l,508 5/1964 Brown 46/244 D Dec. 25, 1973 Primary Examiner-F. Barry Shay Att0rney-Arthur A. Johnson 5 7 ABSTRACT The toy vehicle disclosed comprises a chassis, a driving motor, directable front wheels and operating mechanism to steer the vehicle, as it travels forward, to the left or the right under the control of a flexible member, such as a cord or cable which is wound on a program drum having a multiplicity of pegs projecting from its surface and arranged equispaced laterally in parallel circumferential rows, said cord being led from a storage spool around the program drum and between the pegs by an eye on a lever connected to operate the steering mechanism of the vehicle when traveling in reverse direction, said spool and lever when the vehicle is operated in a forward direction unwinding said cord from the drum and causing the steering lever to operate the steering mechanism in a sequence of movements opposite to those made in operating the vehicle in reverse direction.
9 Claims, 10 Drawing Figures PAIENIED EBZ 3.780.470
sum 1 or 2 PROGRAMMABLE TOY VEHICLE This invention relates to vehicular toys and more particularly to a toy which is power driven and which is capable of automatically traveling in a predetermined path in response to the operation of a memory device in which the reverse direction of the vehicle was. recorded.
THE PRIOR ART The prior art shows various mechanisms for controlling the direction of travel of toy vehicles by permanently set means, such, for instance, as disks having cam tracks or grooves which are engaged by a follower connected to the dirigible wheels; screw and nut devices; and electric contact means actuated by settable lugs. It is also known to provide an externally accessible control means connected to the steering member to steer the vehicle over a desired course, which course is later produced automatically. It was also known to have a motor-operated cable storage drum with the cable being wound on an axle of a vehicle and a lever engaged by the cable to operate the steering mechanism.
An object of this invention is to provide an improved means for storing the steering information desired to be later reproduced.
A further object is to provide improved information storing means which has a substantially greater capacity than that was heretofore possible.
And a still further object is to substantially increase the range of operation of the steering mechanism per unit of forward travel of the vehicle.
As a result of the above and other features of this invention pointed out below, the range of controlled travel of vehicles is substantially increased, thus increasing the interest developed and pleasure and amusement to be derived from use of a vehicle of the present invention.
In the accompanying drawings:
FIG. 1 is a side elevation of the chassis of the vehicle of the present invention showing one information storage drum and one form of means for driving the storage drum and the cable rewind drum of the present invention.
FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the vehicle chassis shown in FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is like FIG. 1 but showing level-wind means for causing the cable to wind smoothly on the cable rewind drum.
FIG. 4 is a top plan view of the vehicle shown in FIG. 3.
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary elevation showing the program drum and the cable rewind drum in a compact unit located in the rear of the chassis.
FIG. 6 is a top plan view of the parts shown in FIG. 5.
FIG. 7 is a fragmentary side view of the program drum and cable rewind drum with a different drive mechanism than that shown in FIG. 5.
FIG. 8 is a plan view of the parts shown in FIG. 7.
FIG. 9 is a fragmentary view of another form of drive mechanism.
FIG. 10 is a plan view of the mechanism shown in FIG. 9.
In each of the forms of the invention herein described and illustrated, the vehicle of the present invention comprises a chassis 11, having front wheels 12 and wheel bearings 13 mounted on vertical posts 12a. The
bearings 13 are connected by levers 12b to a cross-bar v 14 to move together for steering the vehicle.
' A steering lever 15 mounted on a steering post 16 and rotatably mounted on a bearing 16a is connected to the cross-bar 14 by a pin 17 riding in a slot 18. The steering post 16 has a handle 19 by which the vehicle may be steered when it is being moved by hand backwards, i.e., in reverse direction, as will appear below.
The vehicle has rear wheels 20 mounted on an axle 21 mounted in vertical support plates 22 fixed to the chassis 11.
The rear end of the chassis also carries a motor 23 which may be an electric motor powered by a dry cell 24 under the control of a switch 25 having an operating lever 26. The motor 23 is provided with a gear 27 meshing with a gear 28 secured to a smaller gear 29 meshing with a gear 30 secured to the axle 21 to which the rear wheels 20 are secured.
As indicated above, the vehicle contains a program drum 31 mounted on a shaft 32 rotatably mounted in the support plates 22. A drive gear 33 is secured to the shaft 32 of the drum 31.
In the form of the invention shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the gear 33 is driven by an idle gear 34 engaging a second idle gear 35 which meshes with a gear 36 secured to the axle 21. Hence, in this form of the invention the drum 31 will rotate in the opposite direction from that of the rear wheels 20.
In FIGS. 1 and 2, the shaft 32 of the drum 31 is provided with a pulley 37 over which is trained a belt 38 which engages a pulley 39 at the front end of the vehicle. The pulley 39 is mounted on a shaft 40 supported in brackets 41 and is secured'to the cable rewind drum 42 for a cable 43 which is paid off the drum 42 and wound on the drum 31 when the vehicle is traveling rearwardly.
The cable 43 leads from the drum 42 through an eye 44 on the steering lever 15 and through center opening 16b in the steering post 16 to a slot 45 in a rear extension 46 of the steering lever 15 to the program drum 31 in which an end of the cable 43 is fastened.
In order to program the forward, power-driven course of the vehicle, the latter is manually pushed backward, i.e., in reverse direction, while at the same time the steering handle 19 is manipulated to cause the vehicle to follow a course which is the opposite of that in which it is to be power driven.
When this is being done, the cable is paid off the drum 42 by the rotation of the program drum 31. At the same time the vehicle is directed to lie on various laterally spaced areas on the surface of the drum 31 by the swinging movement of the lever extension 46 while it sweeps from side to side as the steering handle 19 is moved from side to side by the operator.
According to the present invention the drum 31 may be provided with a plurality of laterally spaced rows of pegs 47 between which the cable is caught as the cable is wound on the program drum. During this operation the cable is paid off the rewind drum 42.
After the programming has been completed and the desired amount of cable has been wound on the program drum, the motor 23 is started and the rear wheels propel the vehicle forwardly, causing the gears 33, 34 and 35 to rotate, and the drum 31 to rotate clockwise as shown in FIG. 1 and through the belt 38 and pulley 39 to rotate the rewind drum 42 and cause the cable to be pulled off the drum 31. In being pulled off, the slotted end 45 of the lever 46 will move laterally following the course of the cable emerging from the drum 31, swinging from side to side as the drum 31 rotates.
If the program drum had a plain cylindrical surface, the range of lateral angular movement of the lever extension 46 both in the depositing the cable on the drum and the withdrawing the cable from the drum would be very limited due to the lateral slipping of the unimpeded cable on the drum. However, according to the present invention the pegs 47 projecting from the surface of the drum 31 prevent the cable from sliding sidewise and keep it in the lateral position in which it may have been deposited. The steering movements of the vehicle may thus be sharp and follow each other closely.
When the lever 46 shifts from side to side, the steering lever 15 through its pin 17 and slot 18 connection with the cross-bar 14 to the front wheels 12 causes the latter to steer the vehicle in the desired course.
As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the eye 44 and the slot 45 are on a line cutting through the center opening 16b of the steering column 16. Therefore, the cable 43 will be distributed over the surface of the drum 31 in a predetermined manner depending solely on the movements of the lever 46 when making the reverse travel of the vehicle.
In order to distribute the cable 43 evenly over the rewind drum 42 and yet leave the cable free to feed onto the drum 31, a level-winding unit 48, as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, may be employed. The level-winding unit 48 is driven by a gear 49, an idle gear 50 and a gear 51 fixed on the shaft 40 for the rewind drum 42. The levelwind device 48 is of conventional construction having a double spiral track 48a engaging a nut 4812 having an eye through which the cable 43 passes.
Contrary to what is shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 in which the rewind drum 42 and program drum 31 operate clockwise as viewed in FIGS. 1 and 2, in the form of the invention shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, the drums 31 and 42 rotate counterclockwise as so viewed and for this purpose idler gear 34 is omitted and idler gear 35 is connected directly to the gear 33 on the drum 31.
If desired, the program drum 31 and rewind drum 42 may be located at the rear of the chassis as shown in FIGS. to inclusive. As shown in FIG. 5, the cable 43 extends forwardly from the rewind drum 42 to a pulley 52 located on an arm 46b of a steering lever a near the steering post 16 and then back to the program drum 31. In this form of the invention a level-wind drive 48c may guide the cable 43 to the rewind drum 42. A gear 53 on axle 21 drives the level-wind through a gear 54 and also drives the drums 31 and 42 through gears 55, 56, idle gear 57 and gear 58.
In the form of the invention shown in FIGS. 7 and 8, the rewind drum 42 and the program drum 31 are driven by a belt 38a which connects a drive pulley 60 on the axle 21 to pulleys 62 and 64 of the drums 31 and 42. The belt 38a is kept taut by a spring loaded tension pulley 65 which engages the stretch of the belt between the pulleys 62 and 64. The tension pulley 65 drives the level-wind drive 66, the guide arm 67 of which is shown in FIG. 7. The cable 43 extends from the drum 42 through the level-wind arm 67 to a pulley 68 located on an arm 460 of the steering lever and then to the program drum 31.
In the form of the invention shown in FIGS. 9 and 10, the rewind drum 42 and program drum 31 and their gears 69 and 70 respectively are juxtaposed and connected by a gear 71 to rotate together. The gear 69 is connected by a gear 72 to a drive gear 73 on the axle 21. The cable 43 passes from the drum 31 through the end of the steering lever 150 to a roller 74 and up through the arm 75 of the level-wind drive 76 to the re wind drum 42. The level-wind drive is also connected to gear 72.
The modifications of the invention shown in FIGS. 3 through 10 have a similar motor and gear drive as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2.
Variations and modifications may be made within the scope of the claims and portions of the improvements may be used without others.
1. A programmable toy vehicle comprising wheels, including propelling wheels and steerable wheels mounted on said vehicle for supporting the vehicle; steering means mounted on said vehicle including a manually operable lever for positioning said steerable wheels; power-operated means mounted on said vehicle; a long flexible cable; a rewind drum mounted on the vehicle and on which said cable is initially wound; a program drum mounted on the vehicle and on which said cable is wound when the vehicle is propelled backwardly; driving means mounted on the vehicle, driven by said power-operated means and including means for driving at least one of said drums and means connecting said drums for simultaneous rotation; cableengaging means connected to said steering means to guide the cable to laterally spaced areas on the program drum according to the direction in which the vehicle is steered by said steering means when the vehicle is propelled backwardly, said cable operating said cable-engaging means to operate the steering means when the cable is being drawn from the program drum and wound on the rewind drum as the vehicle is propelled forwardly by said power-operated means; and means on the program drum for confining the cable against slipping laterally from said laterally spaced areas when being pulled from the program drum by the rewind drum.
2. A toy vehicle as defined in claim 1 in which there are level-wind means mounted on the vehicle and engaging the cable in advance of the rewind drum.
3. A toy vehicle is defined in claim 1 in which said means on the program drum for confining the cable against slipping laterally comprises a plurality of laterally spaced circular rows of arcuately spaced pegs projecting radially from said drum.
4. A toy vehicle as defined in claim 1 in which said steering means includes a steering post and said cableengaging means includes an arm connected to said steering post to operate and be operated thereby.
5. A toy vehicle as defined in claim 1 in which said rewind drum is located at the front end of the vehicle, said program drum is located at the rear end of the vehicle, and said driving means connecting said rewind drum and said program drum is a belt.
6. A toy vehicle as defined in claim 1 in which said rewind drum, said program drum and said poweroperated means are all mounted on the rear end of the vehicle and said driving means comprises gear means for connecting said drums and said power-operated means.
7. The invention as defined in claim 6 in which said cable-engaging means comprises a lever having one end connected to said steering means and, at the other end, means engaged by said cable, cable-guiding means carried by said lever adjacent the pivot point thereof, the cable extending forwardly from the rewind drum to said guide means and then rearwardly to said program drum, and level-wind means between said guide means and said rewind drum and being adjacent the latter.
8. A toy vehicle as defined in claim 1 in which there are level-wind means mounted on the vehicle engaging said cable in advance of said rewind drum and there are axis of said lever to said rewind drum