US 3870313 A
A finger-turnable amusement device comprising a plurality of relatively heavy cylindrical disks, or drums, mounted on ball bearings and positioned on a fixed vertical shaft to rotate in horizontal planes on a vertical axis within a housing. The disks protrude slightly into a vertical, slotted, window opening in the housing to facilitate a manual spinning action by the thumb or fingers of the hand, the aesthetic satisfaction of which is enhanced by such tactile contact with the outer periphery of the disks.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
States Patent 1 [111 3,870,313
Rowman Mar. 11, 1975  MAGNETICALLY INDEXED ROTATING 751,476 6/1933 France 273/143 D DISKS CHANCE DEVICE 644,818 10/1950 Great Britain 273/143 R  Inventor: Philip J. Rowman, Hillsboro Pk.,
Derry Rd., Hudson, NH. 03051  Filed: July 27, 1972  Appl. N0.: 275,688
 US. Cl. 273/143 C, 273/93 R  Int. Cl. A63f 5/04  Field of Search 273/142 JB, 143, 93 R; 35/77; 40/77.4
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,672,355 6/1928 Ullman 273/143 R UX 2,588,038 3/1952 Pagenhardt 273/143 C 3,281,149 10/1966 Miller 3,704,890 12/1972 Zucker et al 273/143 R FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 353,167 7/1931 Great Britain 273/143 E Primary ExaminerAnton O. Oechsle Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Pearson & Pearson  ABSTRACT A finger-turnable amusement device comprising a plurality of relatively heavy cylindrical disks, or drums, mounted on ball bearings and positioned on a fixed vertical shaft to rotate in horizontal planes on a vertical axis within a housing. The disks protrude slightly into a vertical, slotted, window opening in the housing to facilitate a manual spinning action by the thumb or fingers of the hand, the aesthetic satisfaction of which is enhanced by such tactile contact with the outer periphery of the disks.
6 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures 1 MAGNETICALLY INDEXED ROTATING DISKS CHANCE DEVICE 7 BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to game drum apparatus suitable for educational and amusement purposes.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART Apparatus has been suggested in the past wherein rotatable disks, or drums, with characters marked thereon are spun by a handle on a shaft and, upon coming to rest, indicate a particular result usually by making visible a particular combination of characters on the face of the disks which have been rotated. A large number of structures have been suggested over the years, but most such structures have rather complex mechanisms and are difficult to maintain easily.
One particular fault of the prior art devices is the difficulty with which new rotating members can be inserted therein. This feature has effectively limited the prior art device to use for a single built-in purpose. This is especially so for devices of the type having several rotatable members on a common shaft.
Another fault of prior art devices has been the mounting of the disks on a horizontal shaft, since it has proved difficult to avoid the disks always stopping at a particular position due to imbalance and gravity.
Devices of the horizontal, rotatable shaft type are typified by US. Pat. No. 1,970,731 to Bogess wherein magnetic retardation means is mounted under the drum axis.
Another problem associated with prior art apparatus is the fact that they are most often operated by use of a knob, a lever or some other shaft turning mechanical device. It has been observed that use of such shaft turning devices generally detracts from a game because the player is suspicious that there may be trickery associated with the actuation mechanism and it gives the player only a relatively remote feeling of participation, or skill, of the type that he obtains by direct particupation of, say, the type obtained by a dice thrower playing the game known as Parchesi.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Therefore it is an object of the present invention to provide an improved amusement device of the type having several members rotatable in horizontal planes on a fixed vertical axis and wherein the rotatable members thereof are readily turned by intimate contact of the fingers of the hand.
Another object of the invention is to provide apparatus wherein the rotatable members can be changed rapidly without the use of special tools to permit members carrying different indicia to be used.
A further object of the invention is to provide apparatus which inherently tends to'yield a suspenseful situation by reason of predetermined, built-in, means to cause the several rotatable elements to stop at different times.
Other objects of the invention will be obvious to those skilled in the art on reading the instant invention.
The above objects have been substantially achieved by construction of an amusement apparatus comprising a plurality of relatively heavy disks removably positioned in a vertical shaft to rotate in horizontal planes within a massive appearing housing. The disks are separated from one another by separating sleeves which slip over the shaft. In order to achieve arelatively lowfriction rotation action the disks are provided with axiallymounted ball bearings through which the positioning shaft is inserted. Moreover, the rotatably-mounted disks are of heavy mass, for example cast aluminum and include evenly spaced insert weights, proximate to the outer periphery thereof, and preferably of steel which contribute sufficient mass, and resistance to spinning of the disks by hand, that the amount of momentum which a player imparts to the disk during the playing action is greatly enhanced. This momentum not only results in a longer period of roatation, but increases the aesthetic feel of the spinning action which will normally be done manually.
The peripheral, circumferential faces of the disks are provided with characters and, in order to have these characters register precisely at a window in the housing when the disks stop spinning, the aforesaid weights are preferably of magnetizable material such as the steel above mentioned and thereby susceptible to attraction by a vertically extending permanent magnet which is conveniently positioned in the housing. These weights are then mounted in such relative position to a character on the disk face that, when the disk stops spinning, the attraction of a weight by the magnet assures a character will stop in the desired position, i.e., in the window of the housing.
In preferred embodiments of the apparatus the disks are positioned so that an' arcuate portion protrudes slightly from the window which is formed in a flattened, chordal, planar face in the housing. This protrusion assures that the disks can be readily rotated by a movement of the fingers. Advantageous embodiments are sized such that all disks can be spun by a motion of the hand with one or more fingers. It has been found that when a plurality of disks are spun with different fingers, each disk will rotate for a somewhat different period of time, thereby providing a suspenseful period of observation before the final number is determined.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an amusement device as constructed according to the invention.
FIG. 2 is a side elevation in half section of the device shown in FIG. 1,
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary, perspective view showing a rotatable member used in constructing the apparatus of the invention, and
FIG. 4 is a view similar to FIG. 3 of another embodiment of the invention.
DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring to FIG. 1 it is seen that amusement device 10 comprises a housing 12 preferably of cast aluminum, containing a window slot 14 through which a plurality of rotatably-mounted cylinders or disks 16 may be seen. Disks 16 contain legends such as the numerals l5 visible in the drawing. Housing 12 is machined flat proximate the numbers to provide the vertically extending display window 14 centered in a flat, planar, chordal face 18.
Referring to FIGS. 2 and 3, it is seen that disks 16 include weights 20 proximate the outside peripheral, circumferential face 22 thereof. Weights 20 provide sufficient mass proximate the outer periphery 22 of disks 16 so that, when the disks are spun with a convenient motion of the operators fingers dragged across window 14 of flattened face 18, there is sufficient momentum imparted to the disk to keep it in motion for seconds or more. Weights are advantageously formed of steel rods 24 which are susceptible to attraction by a vertically-extending magnet 26 mounted in a groove in the inner wall 27 of housing 12 and seen most clearly in F165. 2 and 3.
By proper choice and positioning of rods of varying magnetic susceptibilities, the tendency of his disk to stop at the strike-out number, say 9, can be enhanced. Therefore the good batsman who tends to get a base hit on appearance of his five character may have a series of results such as set forth below when his disk is spun together with a disk representative of an average pitcher:
NUMBER STOPPED IN WINDOW Referring again to FIGS. 2 and 3, it is seen that ball bearings 28 are inserted into central apertures 30 of disks 16 thereby forming means to rotate the disks in horizontal planes freely around the vertical axis 32, formed of a vertical shaft 34 which is fast in socket 36 in the top wall 37 of the one-piece shell 39 of the hous-- ing 12 and received in socket 38 in bottom cap 40 of the housing respectively. Sleeve-like spacers'such as 41 and 42 fit over shaft 34 and space the rotating disks 16 from the housing and from each other. This arrangement allows the ready removal and substitution of any combination of disks 16 desired without the use of special tools by merely unscrewing the bottom cap and gaining access to the disk assembly 44.
Magnetically-susceptible rods 24 are fixed in the body 45 of disks 16 immediately behind characters such as the numerals 15 shown in FIG. 1. Thus when each disk 16 slows down, vertically extending permanent magnet 26 will cause some one of the rods 24 to stop proximate magnet 26 which is so positioned that. another rod, and thus a numeral 15 will stop in the center of window 14. This avoids problems relating to characters stopping in such a position that it is doubtful which, if any, character 15 is properly positioned in window 14.
If the game being played is one of pure chance, all of rods 24 will be of equal susceptibility to being stopped at the magnet. However, if the game being played is one wherein skill is required, e.g., when two players select disks, the characters on which co-act in producing a result, the various rods 24 on a given disk can be of different susceptibilities to being stopped. This construction is used to increase the probability ofa particular result being achieved.
To illustrate such an embodiment, suppose that the game being played is a baseball game. One disk can be used by Player A to represent the capabilities of a particular batsman. If he is known as a good hitter, the magnetic stopping feature can be balanced to provide a higher probability of the spin stopping at good characters (representative of such achievements as home run or triple than at bad characters (representative of such failures as strike-out or doubleplay.) However, the adjacent disk 16 can represent a pitcher who is known to be a so-called strike-out artist.
It will be readily understood that such biasing of the probability of the disks stopping at particular characters can be varied to represent a large number of parameters such as the illustrated player capabilities relating to various situations whether the situation be a game or a statistical situation which is being illustrated for educational purposes.
While there are other methods of achieving this result (such as, for example, giving various characters a relatively large share of the circumference of the disk) there is believed to be no known method of achieving this result for games played with a series of selected and inter-changeable disks by means which does not allow visual detection by the game players of the relative merits of, say, various baseball players.
In FIG. 4, a plurality of different discs 16, 17 are shown, each having a random, and different, numerical sequence 15 and each of non-magnetizable metal such as aluminum. Each disc is cut away in scallopped configuration as at 47 and 48, and each scallop is provided with a thin layer 49 of magnetizable metal, such as steel, to leave only a thin web of material 52 between the steel 49 and the magnets 26. The outer portion, or web 53 of the vertical wall 54 of housing 12 is relatively thick and of non-magnetizable material so that an attempt to affect the magnets 26 from the exterior will be ineffective. In FIG. 1 housing 12 is shown supported on a glass table 55, the intent being to convey complete integrity to the user since no wires can reach the housing and it is obviously self-contained and liftable as a portable unit from the table at will.
Preferably each disc 16 and 17 is separated from the other by a spacer 42 which is fast by a set screw 56 to the vertical shaft 34, thereby permitting each disc to rotate independently but at about the same speed and avoiding the weight of the upper discs affecting speed of rotation of the lower discs.
Preferably the magnets 26 are embedded in the wall 54 in a suitable drilled hole 60, rather than exposed in a groove 25. Thus the inner face 27 of wall 54 is smooth for precise clearance with the discs, and a thin web 61 separates the magnets from the discs 16 and 17 so that they are just outside the circumference of the discs.
As shown in FIG. 1, engraved arrows indicate that the top and bottom discs should be rotated in one direction and the centre disc rotated in the opposite direction. In FIG. 4 the liners 49 in the top and bottom discs extend around one side of the scallop in the centre disc but extend around the other side of the scallops in the other two discs to'assure that the numerals will stop correctly.
The device may be made to less strict tolerances, of plastic or the like, for use as a childs toy, in which case a pressure sensitive tape, carrying animal figures or the like may be adhered around the discs to lend novelty to the toy. However, for adult use, the device is precision made and the cap 40 sealed in place to avoid tampering by screws 62 and a layer of adhesive 63.
What is claimed is: I 1. In an amusement apparatus of the type having a shaft within a housing upon which a plurality of disks are supported, each disk carrying a plurality of different characters spaced thereon the improvement comprising:
said housing being vertical and formed by a one piece hollow cylindrical shell of heavy metal, having a sealed bottom closure of said metal and a vertically extending flat chordal planar face in the side wall thereof with a vertically extending opening therein,
said shaft being vertical and removably, but nonturnably mounted within said housing and extending along the central vertical axis thereof,
said disks being heavy and mounted on said shaft within said housing, for independent rotation in horizontal planes around said vertical axis, each said disk having an arcuate portion protruding into said opening, slightly beyond said flat planar face to permit turning thereof by the fingers of an operator and permanent magnet means of varying magnetic susceptibility operably associated with each said disk so as to cause each said disk to be indexed with a character disposed in said opening, said varying magnetic susceptibility serving to vary the frequency with which said characters will stop in said opening.
2. An apparatus as specified in claim 1 wherein:
said permanent magnet means includes a plurality of magnetizable thin liners mounted proximate the circumference of each said disk and a plurality of vertically extending, permanent magnets fixed within said shell proximate the circumferences of said disks in parallelism with said vertical axis, each embedded in a drilled hole in the wall of said shell.
3. An apparatus as specified in claim 1, plus:
a spacer between each adjacent pair of said disks fixed to said vertical shaft,
whereby each disk may rotate independently of influence by the other and the weight of the upper heavy discs is borne by said spacers rather than by the lower disks.
4. An apparatus as specified in claim 1 wherein:
each said disk is of non-magnetizable material and said different characters are a plurality of different randomly arranged, numerals at spaced distances around the circumferential face thereof to be successively viewed through said opening during rotation thereof;
includes a plurality of evenly spaced cut-aways of scallop configuration, one for each character thereon, and includes a plurality of thin magnetizable liners, each mounted in one of said cut-aways and forming part of said permanent magnet means.
5. An amusement apparatus comprising:
a vertical housing of relatively heavy metal, having a one piece hollow shell including an upstanding relatively thick cylindrical side wall of non-magnetizable material having a vertically extending, flattened, chordal planar face with a vertically extending slotted, side wall opening therein, a bottom opening, and an integral top wall,
a detachable bottom cap closing said bottom opena vertical shaft centrally positioned in said vertical housing and fixed on said bottom cap,
a plurality of discs spaced along said vertical shaft and rotatable in horizontal planes on the vertical axis thereof, said discs having characters spaced around the circumferential faces thereof,
a plurality of magnetizable weights mounted in each said disc proximate the said peripheral face thereof, each immediately behind one of said characters,
spacer sleeves fixed to said shaft between said discs for independently supporting said discs and weights,
an arcuate portion of each said disc protruding into said side wall opening and making the said discs accessible for the manual spinning thereof by the fingers of an operator, and
vertically extending magnets embedded in the inner portion of said thick side wall and spaced therearound at predetermined locations to magnetically attract one of said magnetizable weights for precisely stopping said discs with one of said characters in said side wall opening;
at least some of said magnetizable weights being selected from weights of different magnetic susceptibility thereby achieving a selective bias for one character over another in respect to the frequency with which said character will stop in said window.
6. Apparatus as defined in claim 5 wherein:
each said different disc includes different combinations of said magnetizable weights and characters.