US 3827177 A
A set of toy construction elements consisting of flat triangular and rectangular plates and circular connectors. Multiple radial slots in the somewhat resilient connectors are dimensioned to receive and retain reduced web sections in the edges of the plates so that doll houses and other structures can quickly be assembled.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
[1 1 [111 3,827,177 [451 Aug. 6, 1974 CONSTRUCTION GAME 3, 86,268 12/1969 Fischer 46/25 x 3,570,169 3/1971 1' b 46/3! X  Inventor: Gunter wenge" Altbach Germany 3,577,660 5/l97l K cfrihey 46/31 x  Assignee: Memory-Plastic Gunter Wengel,
Altbach Germany Primary Examiner-Hugh R. Chamblee  Filed: Jan. 22, 1973 Assistant Examiner-D. L. Weinhold pp NO 325 827 Attorne Agent, or Firm-Hans Berman  Foreign Application Priority Data  ABSTRACT Jan. 24, 1972 Germany 2203152 A Set of y Construction elements consisting of flat triangular and rectangular plates and circular connec [2%] 8i. tors Multiple radial Slots in the Somewhat resilient d 31 25 26 connectors are dimensioned to receive and retain re- 1 0 can duced web sections in the edges of the plates So that 56] References Cited tciltllljhouses and other structures can quickly be assem- UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,177,61 l 4/1965 Beck 46/25 7 Claims, 9 Drawing Figures CONSTRUCTION GAME This invention relates to a construction game, and particularly to a set of toy construction elements from which various structures may be assembled quickly and without the use of tools.
Sets of variously shaped wooden or plastic bricks held together by gravity only, and sets of structural toy elements assembled by connectors or by interengaging parts are staple articles of commerce. The range of structures that can be assembled from bricks is limited, and the construction games relying on interengaged elements or connectors require more skill, patience, and sometimes even force than a child of nursery age or younger can muster.
The object of the invention is the provision of a set of toy construction elements from which even a very young child can assemble a variety of relatively large structures, such as toy houses or play houses, in a short time.
With this object and others in view, the invention, in its more specific aspects, provides a set of toy construction elements including a plurality of flat plates and a plurality of disc-shaped connectors. Each plate has a plurality of angularly offset, elongated edges and two spaced guide faces which transversely intersect each edge and therebetween bound a web section of the plate.
Each connector has an axis and a circumferential portion extending about the axis. Slots in the circumferential portion in respective, angularly offset, axial planes separate radially elongated, resiliently deformable tongue parts of the circumferential disc portion. Each slot is dimensioned to receive therein one of the afore-mentioned web sections under the resilient pressure of the adjacent tongue parts while the plate which includes the received web section extends substantially in the axial plane of the slot, and at least one of the guide faces engages an associated tongue part.
Other features, additional objects, and many of the attendant advantages of this invention will readily become apparent as the same becomes better understood by reference to the following detailed description of preferred embodiments when considered in connection with the drawing wherein:
FIGS. la, 1b, llc, Id, and le show respective plate members of a toy construction set of the invention in perspective view;
FIG. 2 shows a web section and associated features common to the several plate members of FIGS. 1a to le in a fragmentary, perspective view on a greatly enlarged scale; v
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a connector;
FIG. 4 shows a fragment of the connector of FIG. 3 on a much larger scale; and
FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a play house or doll house assembled from plate members and connectors of the invention.
The several flat plates shown in FIGS. 1a to 1e are merely illustrative of the variety of sizes and shapes that are preferably included in a set of construction elements of the invention, but other shapes will readily suggest themselves.
The plate la is square and its thickness is but a small fractionof the length of its four narrow edges. The center of each edge is reduced in thickness to a thin web section ll,,and bores extend through the plate 1a at the geometrical center of its two parallel, major surfaces and near the four corners of the plate.
The thickness of the plates 1b, 10, Id, 1e in the respective equally numbered Figures is the same as that of the plate la, and the web sections 11 have the same dimensions and configuration as will presently be described with reference to FIG. 2. i
The plate lb is rectangular, as wide as the plate la and twice as long. It has two spaced web sections 11 in the two long edges and one in each of the short edges. The plate 1c is also rectangular, but shorter than the plate lb, and provided with only one web section 11 in each of its four straight edges. The plate Id is square, twice the length and width of the plate la, and provided with two spaced, reduced web sections 11 in each edge. The plate 1e has the shape of a right triangle whose hypothenuse edge has the same length as the longer edge of the plate lb or one side of the plate 1d, and is provided with two web sections whose spacing is equal to that of the web sections in the longer edge of the plate lb or in any edge of the plate 1d. The cathete edges of the plate 1e each have one centered web section 11.
Details of a web section 11 and of associated identical features of an edge 1 in any one of the illustrated plates are shown on a larger scale in FIG. 2. The web section 11, two elongated guide faces 12 of the illustrated plate, and an abutment face 13 of the plate bound a recess 16 in one of the major surfaces of the plate, and an identical recess 17, only partly visible in FIG. 2, is formed in the other major surface. The recesses 16, 17 are aligned in the direction of plate thickness and are mirror images of each other relative to a plane of symmetry parallel to and equidistant from the two major surfaces in which the web section ll is located.
The faces l2, 13 are each elongated and connect the associated major surface with the web section 111. The guide faces 12 intersect the edge 1 at right angles while the face 13 is spacedly parallel to the edge I. The faces 12 are spaced from each other and bound the web section ll in the direction of edge elongation. The recess es 16, 17 extending inward from the edge I and from the respective major surfaces, and the latter are bounded by the several elongated edges 1 of which only one is shown in FIG. 2 The face of web section 11 which forms the bottom of the recess 16 has a shallow, cylindrically arcuate groove 14 parallel to and spacedly adjacent the abutment face 13, and a corresponding groove in the web section 1 1 open toward the recess 17 is not visible in the drawing.
The plate members of the toy construction set may be assembled by means of identical connectors 2 of which one is shown in FIG. 3, and partly in greater detail in FIG. 4. Each connector 2 is a circular, cylindrical disc whose axial dimension is approximately one third of its diameter. Eight slots 21, in respective axial planes offset 45 about the connector axis, divide the circumferential portion of the connector 2 into eight radially elongated tongues 22.
The preferred material of all toy construction elements of the invention is a somewhat resilient synthetic resin composition such as nylon which is readily injection molded in the illustrated shapes. The slots 21 have parallel, approximately radial walls, and the tongues 22, thererfore, taper in a radially inward direction and are resiliently deformable, particularly by bending their radially innermost roots.
Each slot 21 is dimensioned to receive therein one of the web sections 11 under the resilient pressure of the two tongues 22 which bound the slot, and which hold the plate member associated with the received web section substantially in the axial plane of the receiving slot, as will presently be described with reference to FIG. 5.
The axial height of the connector 2 is equal to or only slightly smaller than the spacing of two guide faces 12 so that at least one of the two guide faces touches a radial face of one or both tongues 22 separated by the slot 21 in which the associated web section 11 is received.
An axial rib 23 of cylindrically arcuate contour projects from each tongue 22 into each of the two adjacent recesses 21. The rib is spacedly adjacent the outer circumferential face of the connector 2 for engagement with acorresponding groove 14 in an inserted web section 11 when the outer circumferential face of the connector 2 engages the abutment face 13. The engaged ribs 23 and grooves 14 in corresponding engagement faces of the connector and the associated web section radially secure the connector on the plate, and the same result may be achieved in an obvious manner, not shown, by providing grooves in the radial slot faces of the connector, and ribs on the exposed major faces of the web section 11. A single rib 23 in each slot may be sufficient with a plastic connector material stiffer than that presently preferred for molding the connectors 2.
A bore 24 passes axially through the center of each connector 2 and is of the same diameter as the several bores which pass through each of the plate members 1a le in patterns chosen to permit the use of several cylindrical plastic rods or wooden dowel pins (not shown) for simultaneously connecting parallel plates as structural reinforcement or as shafts for rotating elements, the connectors 2, for example, providing wheels for toy vehicles assembled from a set of structural elements of the invention.
The manner in which several plates of the set may be assembled by means of the connectors 2 is illustrated, by way of example, in FIG. 5, but the number of structures capable of being built by means of the set is limited only by the number of elements in a set and a childs imagination.
The structure shown in F IG. 5 is a play house or doll house open in a direction away from the viewer. Its pitched roof consists of two identical plates lb linked at an angle of 90 by a connector 2 engaging web sections in the centers of short edges of the two plates. Two connectors 2 link the roof plates to respective cathete edges of a gable plate 1e which has the shape of an isoceles, right triangle. A square plate la depends vertically at an angle of 135 from the lower, horizontal edge of each roof plate lb to form a side wall of the house, and two juxtaposed plates lc depending from the hypothenuse edge of the plate 12' provide the front wall of the house. Two additional plates 1c provide the floor. Connectors are arranged between the roof and gable plates lb, 1e and the dependent wall plates la, 10, and between the latter and the floor'plates 1c, but none are needed, though capable of being provided,
between the wall plates la, 10, nor between the two floor plates 10. The entire toy house thus consists of 9 plates and 13 connectors of which two are obscured in the view of FIG. 5, and is quickly assembled even by a very young child without taxing its attention span.
Straight-edged plates are generally handled with greater ease by a beginner, but plates having arcuate edges may be added to the set when the child becomes more familiar with the game. Connectors having fewer than eight slots and angularly arranged otherwise than as specifically shown also have applications in connection with the plate elements, but the illustrated connectors have been found to be most versatile and adequately to cover the angular relationships between connected plates that are readily understood by the user for whom the set is primarily intended.
The recesses l6, l7 and associated guide faces may be provided in one major face of each plate only at some loss in strength of the assembled structures. It is also possible to avoid recesses in the plate edges and to make the web sections of the same thickness as the remainder of the associated edge, and to have them bounded by guide faces on projecting integral ribs on one or both of the major plate surfaces. The illustrated dimensional relationship of the web sections to other parts of the set is preferred, however. One of its advantages resides in the relatively small dimensions of the connectors required for securely attaching the plates to each other.
It should be understood, therefore, that the foregoing disclosure relates only to preferred embodiments of the invention, and that it is intended to cover all changes and modifications in the examples of the invention herein chosen for the purpose of the disclosure which do not constitute departures from the spirit and scope of the invention set forth in the appended claims.
What is claimed is:
l. A set of toy construction elements comprising:
a. a plurality of flat plate members, each member having 1. a plurality of angularly offset, elongated edges,
2. two spaced quide faces transversely intersecting each of said edges and bounding therebetween a web section of said plate member; and
b. a plurality of disc-shaped connector members,
1. each connector member having an axis and a circumferential portion extending about said axis,
2. said circumferential portion being formed with a plurality of slots in respective, angularly offset, axial planes,
3. each slot separating two radially elongated, resiliently deformable tongue parts of said circumferential portion and being dimensioned to receive therein one of said web sections under the resilient pressure of said two tongue parts while the plate member including said web section extends substantially in the axial plane of said slot, and one of said guide faces engages one of said two tongue parts.
2. A set as set forth in claim 1, wherein each of said plate members has two major surfaces separated by the thickness of the plate member and bounded by said edges, one of said surfaces being formed with a plurality of recesses therein, each recess extending inward from a respective edge and from said one surface in the direction of said thickness, respective web sections of said plate member bounding said recesses in said direction, the guide faces bounding each web section being elongated transversely to the associated edge and connecting said one surface with said web section.
3. A set as set forth in claim 2, wherein the other surface of said plate member is formed with a plurality of recesses aligned with respective recesses in said one surface and being mirror images of the aligned recesses in said one surface relative to a plane of symmetry intermediate said major surfaces and parallel to the same, said web sections being located in said plane of symmetry.
4. A set as set forth in claim 2, wherein the axial dimension of each connector member is substantially equal to the spacing of said two guide faces.
5. A set as set forth in claim 2, wherein each plate member has an abutment face in each of raid recesses thereof, each abutment face being elongated and spacedly parallel to the associated edge.
6. A set as set forth in claim 1, wherein one of the two tongue parts of each conductor member separated by one of said slots has an engagement faceclosely adjacent a corresponding engagement face of a web section when said web section is inserted in said one slot, one ofsaid closely adjacent engagement faces carrying a rib elongated axially of the connector member. and the other engagement face being formed with a groove receiving said rib.
7. A set as set forth in claim 1, wherein the width of each of said slots between the associated tongue parts is substantially smaller than the thickness of each part of said plate member other than said web section.