US 3803756 A
A toy vehicle and launching device therefor, that includes a platform on which the toy vehicle is received and a motor interconnected to a flywheel of the toy vehicle to a clutch member, wherein the motor rotates the flywheel while the toy vehicle is in a stationary position to store rotating inertial energy therein, the motor being disconnected from the flywheel drive, and the flywheel being simultaneously moved into engagement with the platform, wherein the rotating inertial energy stored in the flywheel causes the vehicle to be propelled forwardly from the platform at an accelerated speed.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [191 Strongin 4 1 Apr. 16, 1974  Inventor: Ned S. Strongin, Baldwin, NY.
 Assignee: Hasbro Industries, Inc., Pawtucket,
[22 Filed: Feb. 8, 1973  Appl. No.: 330,730
l/1960 Germany 46/209 Primary ExamineF-Antohio F. Guida Assistant ExaminerRobert F. Cutting Attorney, Agent, or FirmSalter & Michaelson 5 7] ABSTRACT A toy vehicle and launching device therefor, that includes a platform on which the toy vehicle is received and a motor interconnected to a flywheel of the toy vehicle to a clutch member, wherein the motor rotates the flywheel while the toy vehicle is in'a stationary position to store rotating inertial energy therein, the motor being disconnected from the flywheel drive, and the flywheel being simultaneously moved into engagement with the platform, wherein the rotating iner tial energy stored in the flywheel causes the vehicle to be propelled forwardly from the platform at an accelerated speed.
9 Claims, 8 Drawing Figures PATENTEBAPR 161974 I sum 1 or 3 llllllllllllllilllllllllllllllllIllllllllllllllllllII"lllllllllllllllllllllll! TOY VEHICLE AND LAUNCHING DEVICE THEREFOR BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to toy vehicles and particularly to a device for use with the vehicle, for launching the vehicle from a rest position.
The toy vehicle as embodied in the present invention includes a flywheel drive, wherein rotating inertial energy is stored therein and it is utilized to rapidly propel the toy vehicle from the rest position thereof. Prior to the instant invention, there have been numerous toy wheel vehicles that have been propelled by some form of a drive mechanism. The most common form of the inertia type of drive for toy vehicles were of the type where the toy was held in the hand of the user and pushed along the floor or ground at a very rapid rate, andthen lifted from the floor to generate sufficient rotational speed of the drive wheels of the toy vehicle, whereafter the toy vehicle was placed on the floor for rapid acceleration thereof. Such prior known toy vehicles had various kinds of inertial drive mechanisms therefor, but they all operated on substantially the same principal, wherein the toy vehicle had to be pushed along the floor by hand in order to store the rotating inertial energy in the flywheel of the drive mechanism.
It has been known heretofore to employ a pinion gear for use with a flywheel in a toy device and to engage the pinion gear with a rack that was actuated at arate to store rotational energy in the flywheel of the vehicle. However, such prior known toys also required that the rack be actuated by hand in order to store the rotational energy in the flywheel of the toy.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The toy vehicle and launching device therefor as embodied in the present invention includes a rear wheel drive having a flywheel rotatably mounted thereon. The toy vehicle in use is placed on a platform wherein the flywheel of the vehicle is automatically elevated from engagement with the platform while in the rest position. A unique clutch construction is interconnected to the flywheel while the toy vehicle is located on the platform; and upon energizing of a small electric motor that is interconnected to the clutch device, the flywheel is rotated at a speed sufficient to store rotating inertial energy therein, while the toy vehicle remains on the platform. The device for energizing the motor also includes a mechanism that provides for simultaneously releasing the flywheel from engagement with the clutch element and engaging the flywheel with the surface of the platform, wherein the rotating inertial energy stored in the flywheel causes it to propel the vehicle forwardly from the platform at an accelerated speed.
Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a toy vehicle and launching device therefor, wherein the toy vehicle is mounted on a platform for engagement with a drive mechanism for the flywheel thereof and is selectively launched from the platform after sufficient rotating inertial energy is stored in the flywheel.
Another object of the invention is to provide a launching device for a toy vehicle that includes a drive for rotating a flywheel of the vehicle while the vehicle remains in a stationary position atthe launching device and thereafter disconnects the drive mechanism from the toy vehicle so that the toy vehicle may be propelled forwardly from the platform at an accelerated speed.
Still another object is to provide a combination drive and connecting mechanism for the flywheel of a toy vehicle as located on a platform of a launching device, wherein the toy vehicle is released for propulsion from the launching device after the drive means has imparted sufficient rotating inertial energy in the flywheel of the toy vehicle.
Still another object is to provide a unique drive mechanism for an inertia type drive of a toy vehicle wherein the vehicle may be propelled from a platform by the actuation of an operating lever by the child using 5 the device.
Other objects, features and advantages of the invention shall become apparent as the description thereof proceeds when considered in connection with the accompanying illustrative drawings.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the drawings which illustrate the best mode presently contemplated for carrying out the present invention:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the launching device for a toy vehicle as embodied in the present invention and showing the position of a toy vehicle on the platform thereof;
FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the launching device illustrated in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken along line 3-3 in FIG. 2 and showing the position of the toy vehicle on the platform with the flywheel thereof interconnected to the drive mechanism therefor;
FIG. 4 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 3 and showing the disconnection of the drive means for the toy vehicle flywheel;
FIG. 5 is a bottom plan view of the launching device with the bottom cover removed and showing the operating mechanism for connecting and disconnecting the drive for the flywheel of the toy vehicle;
FIG. 6 is a sectional view of a portion of the launching device further showing the operating lever for actuating the operating mechanism of the flywheel drive;
FIG. 7 is a sectional view of a toy vehicle as embodied in' the present invention and showing the position of the vehicle on the platform prior to the launching thereof;
FIG. 8 is a view similar to FIG. 7 and illustrating the position of the toy vehicle just after release of the drive mechanism for the flywheel and prior to launching from the platform.
DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION Referring now to the drawings and particularly to FIGS. 1 and 2, a launching device generally indicated at 10 is illustrated and includes a platform generally indicated at 12 on which a toy vehicle generally indicated at 14 is located prior to the launching thereof from the platform 12. The toy vehicle as illustrated in FIGS. 7 and 8 is of any conventional design and includes a body 16 that is mounted on a frame 18, a pair of front wheels 20 being rotatably mounted on the frame 18. Rear wheels 22 are fixed to the frame 18 but are not rotatably relative thereto. As illustrated in FIGS..,3 and 4, a shaft 24 is mounted on the rear portion of the frame 18 for rotation with respect thereto and carries a flywheel 26 centrally thereof and for'rotation therewith. Fixed toan end of the shaft 24 is a clutch element 28 that upon rotation, as will be described, rotates the shaft 24 and the flywheel 26 mounted thereon. The flywheel 26 is of any conventional construction and is appropriately weighted so that upon rapid rotation thereof rotating inertial energy is stored therein, and upon engagement of the flywheel 26 with a surface, the flywheel 26 will cause the toy vehicle 14 to be rapidly propelled forwardly. As further illustrated in FIGS. 7 and 8, a weight 3.0 is mounted on the rear of the frame 18 of the vehicle; and as will be described, the weight 30 cooperates with the flywheel 26 during the launching of the toy vehicle 14 from the platform 12 to cause the toy vehicle to pop-a-wheelie or to lift on the rear end thereof as illustrated in FIG. 8 prior to being propelled from the platform 12. This simulates the actual starting of the wheelie type vehicles that due to rapid acceleration at the start thereof are caused to momentarily assume the position as illustrated in FIG. 8 of the drawings.
' Referring again to FIGS. 1 and 2, the platform 12 is shown including a vehicle receiving portion defined by As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the platfo'rm 12further includes a housing that is locatedadjacent to the portion for receiving the vehicle 14 thereon, the housing being defined by a top wall 38, a side wall 40, a rear .wall 42, a front'wall 44 and a side wall 46 located ad jacent. to the surface 32 on which the vehicle 14 rests. The side wall 46 cooperates with a shortened wall 48 i and a rear wall 50 located adjacent to the surfaces 32 and 34 for defining the compartment for receiving the toy vehicle 14 therein. 2
In order to launch the toy vehicle 14, a drive mechanism is provided that is interconnectable to the clutch element 28 for imparting a rotating motion to the flywheel 26, and is thereafter withdrawn from engagemerit with the clutch element 28 as the flywheel 26 is moved into contact with the friction strip 36. As more clearly illustrated in FIGS. 3, 4 and 5, the housing cover defined by the walls 38, 40, 42, 44 and 46 is removable to expose a support panel 52 that is formed as an integ'ral'part of the platform 12; Joined to the support panel 52 are aplurality of U-shaped sections 54 that define compartments for receiving batteries that are utilized for operating the mechanism that rotates the flywheel 26. In this connection, a motor housing 56 is mounted on the support platform 52 for movement relative thereto, and for this purpose a forward bracket 57 is joined to the support panel 52, and a rear bracket'( not shown) is also joined to the support panel 52. The bracket 57 cooperates with the other bracket (not shown) to slidably receive the housing 56 therein,
wherein the housing 56 is moved, as will be described, to connect and disconnect a clutch member from the clutch element 28.
Enclosed within the housing 56 is a motor 58 that is electrically interconnected to the batteries housed within the battery mounting elements 54. Extending outwardly of the motor 58 is a shaft 60 that is rotated upon energizing of the motor 58, a clutch member 62 being secured to the shaft 60 and being c'ngageable with the clutch element 28 upon slidable movement of the housing 56 in a direction toward the toy vehicle.
When the clutch member 62 is engageable with the clutch element 28, the motor 58 upon energizing thereof through the battery connections will rotate the shaft 24 and the flywheel 26 mounted thereon. Duringtion thereof, as illustrated in FIGS. 3, by a cam bar 66 that is located beneath the support panel 52 and that is formed such that it includes spaced portions 68 and thatdefine low portions of the cam bar 66. As illustrated in FIG. 3, the cam bar 66 engages the projections 63 and locates them in the upper, position thereof thereby elevating the wheels 22 of the toy vehicle, which also elevates the frame'of the vehicleand the flywheel '26 mounted thereon. In this position, the clutch member 62 is engageable with the clutch element 28 and upon energizing of themotor 58, the flywheel 26 is rotated to store rotating inertial energy therein. l v Inorder to shift the cam bar 66 from the position illustrated in FIG. 3 to that position illustrated in FIG. 4, wherein the projections 63 are aligned with the low portions 68 and 70 of the cam bar, an operating mechanism is provided, which as illustrated in FIG. 5 includes an operating lever 72 that is pivotally connected to the underside of the support panel 52 at 74. A spring 76 that extends around the pivot pin 74 has an end 78 that engages a side wall of the support panel 52 and an end 80 that projects through an opening formed in the cam bar 66. The spring 76 thus acts to normally locate the cam bar 66 in that position illustrated in FIG. 3 and thus acts to retain the projections 63 in the uppermost position for elevating the flywheel 26 upwardly above the surface 32 of the platform. The cam bar 66 also cooperates to shift the housing 56 for the motor58, and for this purpose a pin 82 is joined to an end of the cam bar 66 and projects through an opening 84 formed in the housing 56. It is seen that pivotal movement of the operating lever 72 not only shifts the cam bar 66 but also axially shifts the motor housing 56 and the motor 58 mounted therein. Thus, as the cam bar 66 is shifted to the left as seen in FIG. 4 to allow the flywheel 26 to engage the surface 32 of the platform 12, the motor housing 56 is also shifted to the left to disengage the clutch member 62 from the clutch element 28.
In order to pivotally move the operating lever 72 for shifting the cam bar 66 and the motor housing 56, a shift lever 86 is provided; and as illustrated in FIG. 6, has a knob 88 mounted on the uppermost end thereof. The shift lever 86 extends through a slot 90 that has a transmission shift configuration, as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, and that simulates the actual shift stick of an automobile. The shift slot 90 has an H configuration, the middle portion of the slot defining the neutral position of the shift lever 86. As illustrated more clearly in FIG. 6, a spring 92 is attached to the shaft 86 and is fixed to a bracket 94 and cooperates to normally locate the stick shift lever 86 in the neutral position thereof. Mounted on a lower portion of the shift lever 86 is a ball portion 96 that is received in a socket 98 located on the underside of the bracket 94. The socket 98 is formed as part of a mounting 100 that is fixed to the support panel 52. The lowermost end of the shift lever 86 extends through the support panel 52 as illustrated in FIG. 6.
Referring again to FIG. 5, contact elements 102 and 104 are shown mounted on the underside of the support portion 100 and are electrically interconnected to leads 106 and 108, respectively. The shift lever 106 is interconnected to electrical leads 110 and 112; and it is seen that upon movement of the shift lever 86 into engagement with either the contacts 102 or 104, a circuit is completed through the batteries contained within the platform for energizing the motor 58. In this connection when the shift lever 86 is movable to a position that defines first or third gears as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the contact 102 is engaged thereby, thereby completing a circuit to the motor-58 and energizing the motor for rotating the flywheel through the clutch member 62 and clutch element 28. When the shift lever 86 is moved to position 2, the contact 104 is engaged, and the motor 58 remains energized for rotating th'e flywheel 26. When the shift lever is in the position that defines first, second or third gears, the operating lever 72 through the spring 76 retains the cam bar 66 in that position illustrated in FIG. 3 and the motor housing 56 also in that position illustrated in FIG. 3 to elevate the flywheel 26 above the surface 32 and to retain the drive from the motor 58 to the flywheel 26 through the clutch member 62 and clutch element 28.
When the shift lever 86 is shifted to the drive or No. 4 position, it engages the adjacent edge of the operating lever 72 and forces the lever to pivot on the pivot point 74 as seen in FIG. 5. Movement of the operating lever 72 in a counterclockwise direction as seen in FIG. 5 shifts the cam bar 66 therewith and further shifts the motor housing 56 therewith to the left as seen in FIG. 4. Shifting the cam bar 66 to the left as seen in FIG. 4
moves the high portions of the cam bar from engagement with the projections 63, and the projections now reach the low portions 68 and 70, respectively, and the flywheel 26 is free to move into engagement with the friction strip 36 of the surface 32. Simultaneously with the movement of the cam bar 66 to the left, the operating lever 72 through the pin 82 shifts the motor housing 56 to the left, thereby disengaging the clutch member 62 from the clutch element 28. With the drive from the motor 58 disengaged from the flywheel 26, the rotating inertial energy stored in the flywheel 26 now causes the flywheel to produce apropelling action for the toy vehicle as the flywheel is brought into engagement with the friction strip 36.
As illustrated in FIGS. 7 and 8, the toy. vehicle 14 is designed so that the weight 30 causes a counterbalancing effect to be created to shift the weight of the toy vehicle to the rear as the flywheel 26 engages the friction strip 36. A pop-a-wheelie effect is created,
ing effect and actually similates the pop-a-wheelie effect produced by racing cars.
When the shift lever 86 is'released, the spring 92 causes it to return to the neutral position, thereby di's continuing the operation of the motor 58 and causing the cam bar 66 to return to the normal position thereof for elevating the projection 63. The motor housing 56 is also shifted to the normal position thereof and is now in that position for receiving another toy vehicle. It is understood that each of the toy vehicles used with the launching device includes the clutch element 28 mounted on a shaft 24 that carries the flywheel 26 therewith. As the toy vehicle is placed in position on the surface 32 between the walls 46 and 48 of the platform 12, the flywheel 26 will be engaged with the drive from the motor 58. Movement of the shift lever 86 as previously described from positions 1 through 4, will first energize the motor 58 to rotate the flywheel 26; and when the shift lever 86 engages the operating lever 72, the clutch element and the clutch member are disengaged while simultaneously the flywheel 26 is moved into contact with the friction strip 36.
While there is shown and described herein certain specific structure embodying the invention, it will be manifest to those skilled in the art that various modifications and rearrangements of the parts may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the underlying inventive concept and that the same is not limited to the particular forms herein shown and described except insofar as indicated by the scope of the appended claims. i
What is claimed is:
1. A launching device for a toy vehicle, wherein said toy vehicleincludes a frame, a body mounted on said frame, front wheels rotatably mounted on said frame, rear wheels mounted on said frame, a horizontal rear shaft rotatably mounted on said frame adjacent to said rear wheels, and a flywheel mounted on said shaft for rotation therewith, said flywheel having a diameter sufficient to cause the periphery thereof to rotatably engage a surface during normal movementof the toy vehicle; comprising a housing, a platform located adjacent to said housing and on which said toy vehicle is received, means located beneath said platform and projecting thereabove for engaging a fixed portion of said vehicle for elevating said flywheel above said platform for locating said toy vehicle in a raised stationary position, means located in said housing and engageable with said flywheel for rotating said flywheel while the vehicle is in the raised stationary position at a speed sufficient to store rotating inertial energy in said flywheel, and means located in said housing adjacent to said platform and said rotating means for disconnecting said rotating means from said flywheel and simultaneously releasing said flywheel for engagement thereof with said platform, wherein the rotating inertial energy stored in said flywheel causes said'flywheel upon engagement of the periphery thereof with said platform to propel said vehicle forwardly from said platform at an accelerated speed. i
' 2. A launching device as claimed in claim 1, said rotating means including a motor having a drive assembly mounted thereon, clutch means interconnected to said drive assembly for engaging said rear shaft of said toy vehicle, while said toy vehicle is located on said platform, said disconnecting means including an actuating lever interconnected to said drive assembly for shifting said drive assembly and clutch means interconnected thereto out of engagement with said rear shaft.
3. A launching device as claimed in claim 2, said elevating means including at least one support member extending through said platform and engaging said fixed portion of said toy vehicle at the rear thereof for normally supporting said flywheel in elevated position above said platform, said disconnecting means including cam means that engages said support member and that is responsive to shifting movement of said drive assembly by said operating lever for releasing said support member to'permit engagement of said flywheel with said platform.
4. A launching device as claimed in claim 3, said cam means including an elongated cam bar, said actuating lever being pivotally connected to said cam bar and to said platform and a shift lever mounted on said platform for pivotal movement for energizing said motor and thereafter pivotally moving said operating leverfor simultaneously shifting the clutch means out of engage ment with said drive assembly and said cam bar out of engagement with said vehicle support member.
said clutch means, and a shiftlever pivotally mounted on said platform for engaging said actuating lever for pivotallymoving-said actuating lever to shift saidm'otor and drive assembly, wherein said clutch means is disengaged from said clutch elementand saidtoy vehicle is propelled from said platform.
6. A launching device as claimed in claim 1, said elevating means including a support member that projects through said platform and engages said fixed portion of said toy vehicle, a cam bar normally engaging said support member for maintaining the flywheel of'said toy vehicle in the elevated position thereof above said platform, and a shift lever mounted adjacent to said platform and being pivotally movable to longitudinally shift said cam bar for retracting said support member, wherein said flywheel is lowered into'engagement with said platform. I
7. A launching device as claimed in claim 6, an operating lever mounted in pivotal engagement with'said cam bar and being engageable by said shift lever to shift said cam bar, and spring means engaging said operating motor assembly simultaneouslywitli the shifting of said.
cam barby said shift lever, wherein said clutch element is disengaged from said rear shaft to disconnect the motor assembly from said toy -vehicle. f
9. A launching device as set' forth in claim 1', said toy vehicle. having a weight attached to the rea'r'end thereof adjacent to said flywheel, said weight cooperating with the flywheel that propels the toy vehicle from said platform to .mo'mentarilyshift'the c enter of gravity of the I toy vehicle; to cause the front wheels to' lift upwardly from the platform as the toy vehicle is propelled there'-