US 3803757 A
An illuminated toy spinning top having a self-contained sub-assembly which is insertable into a hollow, translucent or transparent, conical casing, the casing being enclosed by a removable cap. The sub-assembly is constituted by an opensided frame, contoured to conform to the interior profile of the casing, the interior configuration of the frame being such as to define a socket for vertically supporting a cylindrical battery in axial alignment with the stem of the top, and another socket for supporting a light bulb upside down and in parallel relation to the battery. Connections are effected by a first contact strip which engages the lower terminal of the battery and extends into the space between the base of the bulb and the battery, and a second contact strip which interconnects the upper terminal of the battery and the center terminal of the bulb. The circuit is completed to energize the bulb when the extension of the first strip is deflected by centrifugal force to engage the base of the bulb, this force being produced only when the top is in spinning motion.
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Sanchez m1 7 3,803,757 [451 Apr. 16, 1974  Inventor: Ronald Sanchez, 2915 Miles Ave.,
Bronx, N.Y. 10465 22 Filed: Feb. 20, 1973 21 Appl. No.: 334,076
3,191,344 6/1965 Yagjian 3,236,002 2/1966 Cunningham et al..... 46/11 3,531,892 10/1970 Pearce 46/228 Primary Examiner-F. Barry Shay [57 ABSTRACT An illuminated toy spinning top having a selfcontained sub-assembly which is insertable into a hollow, translucent or transparent, conical casing, the
casing being enclosed by a removable cap. The subassembly is constituted by an opensided frame, contoured to conform to the interior profile of the casing, the interior configuration of the frame being such as to define a socket for vertically supporting a cylindrical battery in axial alignment with the sternv of the top, and another socket'for supporting a light bulb upside down and in parallel relation to the battery. Connections are effected by a first contact strip which engages the lower terminal of the battery and extends into the space between the base of the bulb and the battery, and a second contact strip which intercom nects the upper terminal of the battery and the center terminal of the bulb. The circuit is completed to 'ener gize the bulb when the extension of the first strip is deflected by centrifugal force to engage the base of the bulb, this force being produced only when the top is in spinning motion.
5 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures ILLUMINATED SPINNING TOP HAVING REMOVABLE SUB-ASSEMBLY FOR MOUNTING BATTERY AND BULB BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates generally to toy spinning tops, and more particularly to a transparent top which includes a battery-operated light source, the top being illuminated only when it is in spinning motion.
The traditional toy top consists of a solid, conicallyshaped body whose apex terminates in a pointed stem provided with a neck for receiving the end of a cord. To operate the top, the cord is spiralled about the body, the other end of the cord being looped about one finger of the players hand. 7
When the top is cast from the players hand, the unwinding of the cord imparts a rotary motion to the top, and when the tip of the stem strikes the ground the top proceeds to gyrate about the tip for a more or less prolonged period, depending on the skill exercised by the player when casting the top.
Attempts have heretofore been made to illuminate tops, thereby enabling the player to enjoy spinning the top in a darkened room as well as outdoors. To this end, tops have been designed to incorporate batteries and lamps, as well as suitable switches.
The difficulty with light systems of the type heretofore proposed for tops is that they involve a relatively large number of connecting elements as well as a distinct switching element to effect a connection between the bulb and the battery. These elements add substantially to the cost of manufacturing and assembling the illuminated top. Moreover, the physical placement of the several components forming known types of illumination systems is such as to unbalance the structure and impair the gyroscopic characteristics of the top.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In view of the foregoing, it is the main object of this invention to provide an illuminated spinning top of sim-' ple and economical design which operates efficiently to produce blinking light effects in the course of gyration, the light otherwise being off. A
More specifically, it is an object of this invention to provide a spinning top in which the illumination means takes the form of a self-contained sub-assembly which is insertable into the hollow casing of the top and is readily removable therefrom for the purpose of replacing the lamp or the battery. 7
A significant advantage of the invention is that the entire circuit for the lamp, the battery, and the switch included in the sub-assembly, is constituted by only two strips of metal. Another feature of the invention is that the sub-assembly may be put together quickly and without difficulty and then inserted into the hollow casing of the top, the position of the sub-assembly and its distribution of weight being such as to maintain the equilibrium of the top.
Briefly stated, an illuminated spinning top in accordance with the invention comprises a hollow, conical casing of translucent material, the apex of the casing terminating in a pointed stem of the casing being enclosed by a removable cap.- Inserted into the casing body is a sub-assembly formed by an open-sided, shieldshaped frame which is contoured to conform to the interior profile of the casing. The interior configuration of the frame is such as to define afirst socket for supporting a cylindrical battery in a vertical position in axial alignment with the stem, and a second socket for supporting a light bulb in a position parallel to the bat tery.
Received in the base of the first socket is the horizontal foot of an L-shaped, flexible contact strip which engages the lower terminal of the battery, the vertical leg of this strip extending into the spacebetween the side of the battery and the base of the bulb, whereby when this leg is deflected outwardly by centrifugal force, it engages the base to effect a switching connection between the base and the lower terminal.
Received in the head of the first socket is the raised, horizontal section of a bridge-shaped contact which engages the upper terminal of the battery, a horizontal depressed extension of this contact engaging the center terminal of the bulb to complete the circuit thereto, whereby when the top is spun, the switching connection is intermittently activated to produce a blinking light effect.
OUTLINE OF THE DRAWING For a better understanding of the invention, as well as other objects and further features thereof, reference is made to the following detailed description to be read in conjunction with the accompanying drawing, wherein:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an illuminated top in accordance with the invention;
FIG. 2 is a longitudinal section taken through the top;
FIG. 3 shows the three main components of the top, namely a casing, a sub-assembly insertable into the casing, and an enclosure for the casing;and
FIG. 4 is an exploded view of the sub-assembly elements.
DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION Referring now to the drawing, an illuminated spinning top in accordance with the invention includes a hollow body formed by a conically-shaped casing 10, and a removable cap 11 therefor, the casing and cap being molded or otherwise fabricated of translucent plastic material.
Cap 11 is provided with a pair of diametricallyopposed, downwardly-extending latching lugs 12 which are adapted to snap into a pair of rectangular apertures 13 formed in the casing. The apex of casing 10 terminates in a stem 14 having a tip 15, above which is formed an annular groove or neck 16. This neck serves to receive one end of a cord 17 which, as shown in FIG. 1, is spiralled about casing 10 by the player, such that when the top is cast, the unwinding of the cord imparts a rotary motion to the top.
Inserted within casing 10 is a self-contained subassembly constituted by, a plastic frame 18 having a shield like shape, a pen-light battery 19, a flashlight lamp 20, and two connecting strips 21 and 22, as shown separately in FIG. 4. Frame 18, which is adapted to be seated in the central plane of casing 10, is contoured to conform to the inner profileof the casing, so as to fit snugly therein.
The interior of frame 18 is'provided with a side ledge 18A to define a socket for receiving bulb 20, the ledge 18A being cupped to conform to the dome-shaped glass envelope D of the bulb. Bulb 20 is provided with a threaded base A and a central contact 208, which constitute the filament terminals of the bulb. Frame 18 is also provided with a vertical wall 18B which cooperates with a ledge 18C at the bottom of the frame and a depending tab 18D at the top of the frame, to define a socket for accommodating battery 19 in a vertical position in axial alignment with'stem 14. Battery 19 is provided with an upper terminal 198 and a lower terminal 19A.
Contact strips 21 and 22 are formed of a. resilient metal, such as bronze, having high electrical conductivity. Strip 2] has an L-shaped formation, the horizontal foot 21A thereof being received in the base of the battery socket so as to electrically-and physically engage the lower battery terminal 19A. The vertical'leg 21B of this strip extends into the space between one side of battery 19 and the bulb 20, whose position is parallel thereto. Because leg 21B is flexible, it tends to deflect outwardly when subjected to centrifugal force to make contact with base 20A of bulb 20, thereby establishing a switching connection between base 20A and upper battery terminal 19A. Thus'contact'strip 21 functions both as a switch and as a connection.
Contact strip 22 is bridge-shaped, the horizontal section 22 of this strip being accommodated in the head of the battery socket and engaging battery terminal 19B. Strip 22 is provided with a depressed, horizontal extension 22 which engages the top center terminal 208 of the bulb, thereby establishing a connection between this terminal and the battery terminal. The two contact strips are held in place only when battery 19 is inserted in the frame, so that when the battery is removed, the strips may be withdrawn.
Hence no soldering operations are involved in putting together the sub-assembly, for all that need be done is to lay in the contact strips and then insert the bulb and battery, after which the sub-assembly is inserted into thetop casing body and the cap snapped in.
Battery 19,.which is in line with the stem of the top, effectively serves as a flywheel with respect to the axis of rotation. The weight of the bulb 20, which is placed to one side of the battery, is effectively counterbalanced by the frame wall 188 and the strut 18E which joins this wall to one side of the frame. Thus the structure of the top is balanced.
While there has been shown and described a preferred embodiment of illuminated spinning top in accordance with the invention, it is to be understood that many changes and modifications may be made therein without, however, departing from the essential spirit of the invention.
1. An illuminated spinning top comprising:
(A) a translucent, comically-shaped hollow casing having a stem terminating in a tip at the lower end of said casing for supporting said top during spinning and having an opening at its upper end;
(B) a removable cap, means for detachably securing said cap over said opening for enclosing the casing;
(C) a self-contained sub-assembly adapted to be removably installed into the casing through said opening, said sub-assembly being constituted by an open-sided frame contouredto conform to the interior profile of the casing, the interior configuration of the frame having means for vertically supporting a cylindrical battery with its long axis in axial alignment with said stem and for supporting a light. bulb upside down and with its long axis in parallel relation with the battery-and spaced radially from the axis of said stern, whereby the center terminal of the bulb is uppermost and the base forms the other terminal of thebulb, said support- .ing means including a first socket for said battery and a second socket for said light bulb, a first contact strip having portions overlying one end surface of each said socket foreffecting a connection between saidcenter terminal and the upper terminal of the battery, a second contact strip having a portion overlying the other end surface of said first socket and being connected to the lower terminal of the battery and having a flexible extension portion disposed in the space between said sockets adjacent the location of the base of the bulb and normally supported in spaced relation to the latter for flexing in a radial direction, whereby said extension is deflectable as a result of centrifugal force from the spinning of saids'ub-assembly withsaid top, to engage said base to energize said bulb.
2. An illuminated top as set forth in ,claim 1 wherein said casing and said cap are'formed of synthetic plastic material and said securing means includes a pair of latching lugs on said cap which are receivable in apertures in said casing.
3. An illuminated top as set forth in claim 1, wherein said sub-assembly is shield-shaped and is fabricated of synthetic plastic material.
4. An illuminated top, as set forth in claim 1, wherein said interior configuration of said frame includes a vertical wall which cooperates with a lower ledge and an upper tab to define said battery socket.
5. An illuminated top as set forth in claim 1, wherein said contact strips are formed of resilient metal of high conductivity. 1