US 3816958 A
A toy vehicle designed to travel over a solid surface and comprising a drive means in the form of a disc or wheel which has at least a portion of its periphery arranged in surface engaging position while the vehicle is not in its upright position relative to that surface. A propelling means including a weighted flywheel is in surface engaging position when the vehicle is in upright relation to that surface and is movably connected to the drive means by a interconnecting gear arranged in intermeshing relation to the drive wheel or disc.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 91 [111 3,816,958 Winston June 18, 1974 WHEEL DRIVE TOY  Inventor: Emanuel A. Winston, 87] Marion Ave., Highland Park, 111. 60035  Filed: Dec. 20, 1972  Appl. No.: 317,101
 US. Cl. 46/202, 46/211  Int. Cl A63h 11/10  Field of Search 46/202, 206, 209
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 738,4l2 9/1903 Clark 46/209 793,637 7/1905 Clark 46/209 837,040 ll/l906 Clark 46/209 3,064,389 ll/l962 Lemelson 46/209 Primary ExaminerAntonio F. Guida Assistant Examiner-J. Q. Lever Attorney, Agent, or Firm--Stein, Orman & Fisher  ABSTRACT A toy vehicle designed to travel over a solid surface and comprising a drive means in the form of a disc or wheel which has at least a portion of its periphery arranged in surface engaging position while the vehicle is not in its upright position relative to that surface. A propelling means including a weighted flywheel is in surface engaging position when the vehicle is in upright relation to that surface and is movably connected to the drive means by a interconnecting gear arranged in intermeshing relation to the drive wheel or disc.
6 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures BACKGROUND OF THE INVENITON 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates to a toy vehicle designed to travel over a solid surface wherein the drive assembly of the vehicle includes a single drive wheel interconnected by gear means to an energy storing flywheel which also serves as the propelling means wherein movement of the vehicle due to the propelling means engaging the surface over which the vehicle travels is caused by manual, prior rotation of the drive wheels.
2. Description of the Prior Art A large number of vehicle type toys such as airplanes, helicopters, motorcycles, automobiles, boats and the like, exist in the prior art, and are commercially available. In designing such a vehicle, whether it is intended to move over a solid surface, through the air or in water, it is highly desirable to provide a sturdy, relatively uncomplicated structure. This is particularly true when designing and structuring a drive assembly capable of providing the vehicle with the desired motion. The sturdiness and unsophisticated structural nature of these toys is partially important since they will be subjected to rather severe treatment when in the hands of small children. While simplicity of structure is obviously desirable from an economic standpoint it is also necessary that such toys be capable of high performance in order to be popular with children and therefore be commercially more attractive. It is an obvious and well recognized problem in the toy manufacturing and designing industry that any toy structure must be inexpensive, durable and of relatively simple structure yet be capable of performing efficiently under abusive conditions.
In an attempt to make such toys more popular from a marketing standpoint, a number of prior art designs have accentuated the performance features of the toy. However, the majority of the prior art mobile toys which feature increased performance characteristics have resorted to relatively complex drive assemblies which have the effect of raising the cost while making such a toy less durable. In many cases it has become apparent that the more complicated drive assemblies are unsatisfactory since they readily break down, thereby necessitating repair or rendering the toy inoperative and useless.
One of the more popular drive assemblies include the very simple arrangement wherein the running gear or wheels in contact with the surface over which the vehicle travels are interconnected to each other or to some energy storing means by a plurality of intermeshing and cooperating gears. The surface wheels are brought up to rotation by the user merely running the vehicle along the surface successively a number of times until the desired rate of rotation of the wheels is reached. The user then places the vehicle on the surface and releases it. The energy stored in the driving gear assembly is transferred to the wheels and the vehicle moves in a desired direction.
As with other prior art devices this type of toy vehicle and its associated drive assembly is unnecessarily complicated due to the complex nature of the plurality of gears and energy storing means associated directly with the surface running wheels on the vehicle.
Therefore it can be seen that there is a need in the mobile toy industry for a simplified drive assembly which is durable, inexpensive to maintain and manufacture, delivers high performance and yet is easily operated by children of all ages.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION through water or air. More particularly, the vehicle comprises a body on the interior of which is mounted a drive means. This drive means is movably or rotatably mounted about an axle which itself is joumalled or otherwise attached to mounting on the interior of the body casing. This drive means may be in the form of a wheel or disc which is specifically oriented to have at least a portion of its peripheral edge extending out of the body of the vehicle such that this peripheral edge may movably engage a surface or the like over which the vehicle travels. It is particularly important to note that the drive means is intended to be oriented such that its engagement with a surface occurs only when a vehicle is not in its upright or traveling position. This particular structural arrangement will be described in greater detail hereinafter.
Altemately, the drive means may include a partial wheel or a wheel portion having a lever integrally attached thereto. The propelling means may include a complete wheel having a plurality of teeth covering at least a portion of its periphery.
The drive means further includes its peripheral edge being defined by a plurality of gear teeth. These gear teeth are provided to cooperate with the interconnect ing means which serves to operatively connect the propelling means with the drive means.
The propeller means comprises a wheel or disc which may include a weighted flywheel serving as the energy storing means to aid in the propulsion of the vehicle when it is traveling across an intended surface. In order to bring the propulsion means up to its intended speed the interconnecting means is provided in the form of a gear member fixedly attached to the propelling means and operatively engaging the periphery of the drive means. To accomplish the inner working relation between the gear member of the interconnecting means and the drive means, the periphery of the gear member is defined by a plurlaity of gear teeth similarly configured to that of the periphery of the drive means. The gear member and the drive means are both rotatably mounted, relative to one another on the interior of the vehicle such that the peripheries of these two members movably engage one another thereby causing the gear teeth on each member to intermesh. It is obvious, therefore, that the rotation of the drive means will cause rotation of the interconnecting means. As pointed out above due to the fact that the gear members are fixedly attached to the drive means any rotation of the gear member caused by the drive means will serve to rotate the propelling means. The propelling means may be rotated at an increased speed due to the gear ratio between the drive means and the gear member. Ideally, this gear ratio may be in the range of from 1-6 to from l-lO. When the partial wheel and lever embodiment is used, actuation of the lever extending outwardly on the periphery of the car, causes rotation of the partial wheel. The teeth of the partial wheel intermeshes with the teeth of the drive means when the propelling means is activated.
The orientation of the drive means is such as to expose at least a portion of its periphery to the exterior of the vehicle position. In operation, a child or user of the vehicle merely turns it upside down or in any desired orientation such that the disc of the drive means may movably engage the surface over which the vehicle is traveling. When properly oriented, the drive wheel is rapidly moved along the surface continuously until the desired rate of rotation is accomplished. The rapid turning of the drive wheel by virtue of its connection with the interconnecting gear member causes the propelling wheel to run at an even higher speed due to the gear member and the drive wheel. When the drive wheel is turning fast enough, the vehicle is oriented right side up so that the propelling wheels may engage the surface over which the vehicle is traveling. The vehicle is then released in the high speed of the propelling wheel causing the vehicle to run at a relatively high speed across the surface.
Alternately, the toy may be driven by actuation of the lever means of the partial wheel which sets the propulsion means into relatively high speed rotation.
The invention accordingly comprises the features of construction, combination of elements and arrangment of parts which will be exemplified in the construction hereinafter set forth, and the scope of the invention will be indicated in the claims.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS For a fuller understanding of the nature and object of the invention, reference should be had in the following detailed description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a front sectional view showing the interior of the vehicle of the present invention including the drive means arranged in cooperative relation to the propelling means.
FIG. 2 is a side view of the vehicle showing the relative orientation of the drive wheel and propelling wheel when the vehicle is in its upright or traveling position.
FIG. 3 is a detailed view of the propelling means.
FIG. 4 is a side sectional view of another embodiment of the drive means of the present invention.
Similar reference characters refer to similar parts throughout the several views of the drawing.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, this invention relates to a mobile toy vehicle generally indicated as and including a body 12 which may take a variety of configurations such as an automobile, motorcycle or any structure primarily designed to travel over a surface. The body 12 may include a number of substantially conventional structural elements such as wheels 14. However, it should be noted that in the particular invention described herein, it is not required that wheels 14 be functional in the sense of movably supporting the vehicle over the surface which it is traveling. The relationship of wheels 14 to the movement of the vehicle will be described in greater detail hereinafter.
The drive assembly of the present invention includes a drive means generally indicated as 16 which comprises a wheel or disc 18 rotatably mounted on the interiior of body 12 about a central axis 20. The axle 20 may be journalled or otherwise attached on the interior of body 12. It is irrelevant for the purposes of the present invention whether or not axle 20 is movable relative to disc 18 or fixedly attached to disc 18 and movable relative to the body 12. It is only important that the drive disc 18 is capable of being rotated relative to the body 12. The periphery of drive disc 18 is defined by a plurality of gear teeth 22 which are specifically configured to mesh with the gear member 24 serving as the interconnecting means between drive disc 18 and propelling wheel 26 which itself serves as propelling means for the vehicle.
Alternately, another embodiment of the drive means includes a partial wheel 17 having a lever means 19 integrally attached thereto and a plurality of gear teeth 21 intermeshing with the teeth of interconnecting means 24.
More particularly, gear member 24 is fixedly attached to the propelling wheel 26 and is co-axially located about central axle 27. The particular location of gear member 24 is such as to align in substantially planar relationship the member 24 with the disc 18 or partial wheel 17. In this aligned manner the peripheries and respective gear teeth defined thereon are positioned to engage one another in an intermeshing relationship. Accordingly, rotation of disc 18 serves to rotate gear member 24 and propelling wheel 26.
With specific reference to FIG. 3, rotation of partial wheel 17 occurs through movement of lever means 19. As shown, gear teeth 21 extend along only a portion of the periphery of wheel 17. The remaining portion of the periphery is removed to allow disengagement between wheel 17 and gear member 24. To accomplish this, the length or portion of the periphery along which gear teeth 21 extend is predimensioned to allow the removed portion of the periphery, defined by the nonexistence of teeth 21, to be positioned adjacent gear 24. Since this portion of the wheel will be positioned in spaced relation to gear 24, there will be no contact therebetween and fly wheel 28 will be allowed to rotate freely.
The propelling means, including propelling wheel 26, of the present invention comprises a weighted flywheel 28 which may be made of a metallic material or material having a density greater than that of the drive disc 18. A cover or cap member 30 is provided and specifically configured to at least partially enclose a portion of the flywheel 28 as shown in FIG. 4. For ease of manufacture, the gear member 24 can be integrally formed to the cap member and both the member 24 and the cap member may be formed of a moldable, plastic material. As configured, the cap member has its outer periphery surface 32 arranged in surface engaging relation to surface 34 when the vehicle is in its upright or traveling position. As shown, the peripherial surface 32 completely overlap the peripheral 34 of the flywheel. Accordingly, the flywheel being movably connected to the drive disc 18 serves as an energy storing device because of its increased weight thereby allowing the vehicle to travel over a relatively extended distance once it is brought up to the desired rotational velocity due to the rotation of drive means 16. It is of course obvious that the cap member can be eliminated and the flywheel be attached directly to the interconnecting member without sufficiently reducing the efficiency of the device.
It is important to note that while both the drive disc 18 and the propelling wheel 26 are rotatably mounted on the interior of the body 12, both have at least a portion of their peripheral surface exposed to the exterior of the vehicle body in order to engage the surface 24 over which the vehicle is intended to travel. As shown, the peripheral surface of propelling wheel 26 engages the surface 34 when the vehicle is in its upright or traveling position. As shown in FIG. 2, conversely driving disc 18 is positioned such that it may not engage the surface 34 when the vehicle is in its upright position but rather is only engageable with surface 34 when the vehicle is oriented other than in its upright position.
In operation, a child or user of the vehicle merely turns the body 12 upside down and runs drive disc 18 along the surface 34 repeatedly until this wheel is turning at the desired rotational velocity. The rapid turning of disc 18 by virtue of its connection with gear member 24 cuases the propelling wheel 26 to rotate at a higher rotational speed due to the gear ratio between gear member 24 and drive disc 18. When the propelling wheel 26 is turning fast enough the vehicle iw turned to its upright or traveling position as shown in FIG. 2 so that the wheel 26 may engage the surface 34. The vehicle is then released and the high speed of the wheel 26 causes the vehicle to run in the desired direction. The directional arrows 40 and 42 show the direction of rotation of wheels 18 and 26 respectively when the vehicle is repeatedly advanced along the direction of arrow 44 (FIG. 1). Similarly, in FIG. 2, the vehicle will travel in the direction of arrow 46 when the disc 18 and wheel 26 are rotating in the direction indicated by arrows 48 and 50 respectively.
It will thus be seen that the object made apparent from the preceding description, are efficiently attained, and since certain changes may be made in the above article without departing from the scope of the invention, it is intended that all matter contained in the above description or shown in the accompanying drawings shall be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.
it is also to be understood that the following claims are intended to cover all of the generic and specific features of the invention herein described, and all statements of the scope of the invention, which, as a matter of language, might be said to fall therebetween.
Now that the invention has been described, what is claimed is: r
l. A toy vehicle comprising: drive means rotatably mounted on said vehicle, propelling means rotatably mounted on said vehicle and disposed in movable en gagement with the surface over which the vehicle travels, when said vehicle is in an upright position; interconnecting means fixedly attached to said propelling means and positioned in interconnecting relation between said drive means and said propelling means, said interconnecting means comprising a gear member having a plurality of gear teeth defined about its periphery, said drive means comprising at least a portion of its outer periphery configured to cooperatively engage the periphery of said gear member, said drive means further positioned to have at least a portion of its periphery exposed to the exterior of the vehicle out of engagement with the surface on which said vehicle travels when said vehicle is in an upright "position.
2. A toy vehicle as in claim 1 wherein said propelling means comprises flywheel means rotatably mounted on said vehicle in fixed relation to said interconnecting means, said flywheel means being formed from a material having a density greater than that of the material of said drive means.
3. A toy vehicle as in claim 2 wherein said propelling means further comprises surface engaging means fixedly attached to said interconnecting means and rotatably mounted on said vehicle, said surface engaging means substantially disposed on the interior vehicle and having a portion thereof exposed to the exterior of the vehicle and positioned to engage the surface over which said vehicle travels.
4. A toy vehicle as in claim 3 wherein said surface engaging means comprises a cap member mounted to at least partially enclose said flywheel and being integrally connected to said interconnecting means.
5. A toy vehicle as in claim 1 wherein said drive means comprises a single disc member rotatably mounted on said vehicle, the periphery of both said gear member and said disc defined by a plurality of gear teeth, said gear member and said disc positioned relative to one another so as to mesh said respective gear teeth in working relation with one another, said propelling means comprising a weighted flywheel and a cap member arranged to at least partially enclose a flywheel and be arranged in surface engaging position relative to the surface over which said vehicle travels.
6. A toy vehicle as in claim 1 wherein said drive means comprises a partial wheel member, a plurality of gear teeth formed on the periphery of said partial wheel, said partial wheel teeth arranged in intermeshing engagement with said interconnecting means, lever means integrally attached to said partial wheel and positioned to extend outwardly from the interior of said vehicle whereby movement of said lever means causes rotation of said propelling means.