US 3895456 A
A composition assembly, comprising constructional elements for forming toys, educational games, articles for window dressing, furnishings and decoration; some of said elements are rigid, some are flexible and cuttable, shaped as sheets or tridimensional bodies, having protruding peg-and-socket members, and/or hollows and/or holes to interengage each other. Said constructional elements are removably or fixedly composable by nesting one or more of said members on an element in corresponding hollows or holes on another element, or on the same element.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [191 Fabre COMPOSITION ASSEMBLY COMPRISING CONSTRUCTIONAL ELEMENTS OF PLASTIC MATERIAL FOR MAKING FREE SCHEME COMPOSITIONS  Inventor: Carlo Fabre, via Pergolesi, 6,
Florence, Italy 22 Filed: Sept. 4, 1973 21 Appl. No.: 393,706
Related US. Application Data  Continuation of Ser. No. 194,337, Nov. 1, 1971,
 Foreign Application Priority Data Nov. 16, 1970 Italy 9378/70 May 25, 1971 Italy 9525/71  US. Cl 46/30; 46/25  Int. Cl A63h 33/06  Field of Search 46/25, 28, 30; 220/23.4;
[451 July 22,1975
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,302,854 2/1967 Midgley et al. 229/43 Primary Examiner-Robert Peshock Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Norman S. Blodgett; Gerry A. Blodgett  ABSTRACT A composition assembly, comprising constructional elements for forming toys, educational games, articles for window dressing, furnishings and decoration; some of said elements are rigid, some are flexible and cuttable, shaped as sheets or tridimensional bodies, having protruding peg-and-socket members, and/or hollows and/or holes to interengage each other. Said constructional elements are removably or fixedly composable by nesting one or more of said members on an element in corresponding hollows or holes on another element, or on the same element.
1 Claim, 11 Drawing Figures PATENTEDJUL 22 ms SHEET K I 'I I A AIIORNEY PATENTEDJUL22 ms SHEET 3 3, 895,455
COMPOSITION ASSEMBLY COMPRISING CONSTRUCTIONAL ELEMENTS OF PLASTIC MATERIAL FOR MAKING FREE SCHEME COMPOSITIONS This is a continuation of application Ser. No. 194,337 filed Nov. 1, 1971, now abandoned.
It is well known that educational toys, which are referred to as constructional toys contemplate the use of rigid tridimensional and differently combined elements, but developing in the three orthogonal directions exclusively. This feature mainly causes a restriction in a players imagination and is an obligation to make exclusively simple models. Also the toys known under the trade Mark MECCANO allow the composition only of models for standard machines and devices, wherein the arrangement and size of the elements are compulsory and predetermined.
Further, also the several teaching aidsin use at present in schools either employ finished models, or have elements at their disposal to be combined according to compulsory and predetermined forms.
The present invention is concerned with a composition assembly comprising constructional elements for forming toys, educational games, articles for .window dressing, furnishings and decoration and the like, characterized in that said elements are provided at at least a surface portion thereof with pins or peg-and-socket members generally projecting in a direction at right angles to the surface, and/or corresponding cavities and- /or holes for accomodating and engaging said member, the resulting elements being therefore composable and- /or conformable according to a free scheme by mutual engagements as accomplished by inserting the members for one element into the cavities or holes of another element or the same element.
In a first embodiment said elements are provided as thin flexible sheets, whereby a free scheme composition in space for tridimensional figures can be carried out. Other embodiments provide rigid or flexible bearing element of a generally flat configuration, or flat surfaces, or mixed and curved surfaces, in any case capable of being interconnected by releasable male and female couplings; and also provide linked joining elements between said elements, such as hinge-like elements.
Finally, the constructional elements according to the invention constitute a low cost product, manufacturable on an industrial scale by simple molding operations and ordinary plastic material processing machines, thus attaining a high output.
These and other features of the invention will-become more apparent from the following description with reference to the appended drawings, schematically showing some preferred embodiments of the invention, but given only by way of not limiting example.
In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a plan view showing a portion of one type of constructional element;
FIG. 2 is a sectional view taken on line 2-2 in FIG.
FIG. 3 is a vertical sectional view showing a member having a spherical cap;
FIG. 4 is a top view for a portion of a constructional element as in FIG. 1, bent as a hexagonal base solid;
FIG. 5 is a plan view showing three partially overlying portions of a constructional element and having therein one or more nested members.
FIG. 6 shows an exemplary composition for three portions of constructional elements, such portions being coupled to one another and one of the portions being suitably bent;
FIG. 7 is anaxonometrical view showing a part of another type of costructional element;
FIG. 8 is a sectional view according to 8-8 of the element in FIG. 7;
FIG. 9 is a plan view showing another type of element having mixed (or flat and curved) surface sides;
FIG. 10 is a side view of the element in FIG. 9; and
FIG. 11 is a sectional view along a hinge element.
In its essential structure, the assembly or game according to the invention comprises a number of elements equal to or different'from one another, these elements carrying pins or peg-and-socket members 2, and- /or hollows 3, and/or holes 11, so as to be nested together by fixedly or removably inserting the members 2 into the hollows 3 or holes 11.
The element 10, as shown in FIG. 1 and 2, comprises a sheet or flat base 1 which is sometimes partially rigid, but preferably flexible, having a large amount of equal protrusions or members 2, arranged on the same side of sheet 1 and juxtaposed according to a plurality of parallel equispaced rows in the two orthogonal directions. Said members 2 are hollow, preferably of a right circular frusto-conical shape; the minor base can be closed by a flat or curved wall 2', whereas the major base lying on the plane of said sheet 1 is open.
These members cuncurrently accomplish the function of male joint element as far as the outer surface thereof is concerned, and the function ofa female joint element as to the inner surface thereof. The external side surface of each frusto-conical member 2 may also have a small toric molding or hollow annular rib 5 defining at the inner member surface a corresponding annular groove 5 for snap engaging a rib 5 of any member 2 coupled with the preceding member, this allowing to conveniently increase the contact surface and grip and thus the resistance agains joint unthreading.
The approach as carried out by the constructional element in. FIGS. 1 and 2 is applicable also to member shapes other than the frusto-conical shape, such as, for example, that shown in FIG. 3, wherein the member surface is substantially as a spherical cap 13, at the base of which an annular step or shoulder 4 is formed facing the interior in order to provide a retaining effect. This step 4 is slightly more raised with respect to the surface of sheet 1 of the constructional element that the thickness of said sheet 1.
From the particular configuration for the type of constructional element as above described and nature of the material being used, also further side advantages will result. There should be mentioned among these the possibility of piling up many constructional elements having the same shape and size so as to obtain a very small oversize packing.
Moreover, because of the reduced thickness of the constructional element described in FIGS. 1 and 2, it will be extremely light-weight even for large dimensions whatever its configuration is. At the same time, the particular configuration of its cross-section and whatever is the geometrical shape selected for the members, will give the constructional element a high mechanical resistance or strength so as to enable to provide structures of any desired shape and dimensions, but always extremely sturdy and light-weight.
To this purpose, FIGS. 4, and 6 show several forms of combinations for flexible elements for example, the configuration in FIG. 4 is provided by cutting out a strip from an element 10 and then wrapping it on itself, the configuration in FIG. 5 is provided by overlying and interconnecting a plurality of flat elements, and the configuration on FIG. 6 is provided by interconnecting and bending a plurality of elements.
Other elements are provided, such as element in FIGS. 7 and 8 to be employed in association with or independently of said elements 10.
This element 20 comprises a rigid or flexible flat base 1', from which several members 2 project on both faces of base I; the members 2 are hollow, that is they have a hollow 3 for accomodating corresponding members of further elements. Here again the members 2 are arranged on equispaced parallel rows, and the members on a same row are alternately arranged one member on one side, and one member on the other side of the base 1 thereof. However, it is to be understood that any arrangement, even an irregular arrangement, is possible; for example, only one portion of a surface of base 1' is provided with members; and further, the members on a same row may be arranged so that two members will project from one side and a third member from the other side, or in a still different manner.
The members 2 have been shown a-s being cylindrical with a round base, but it is to be understood that the members, cavities and/or holes for accomodating the same may have any suitable shape, for example as in FIG. 3, or may be slightly tapered with a base section of polygonal or mixtilinear shape.
Complementary constructional elements are also provided for the purpose of supporting and/or connecting one or more of said constructional elements; these complementary elements are firstly comprised of plates having one or more flat, curved or mixed faces; that is to say that they are in a shape of flat or tridimensional, hollow or partially hollow configuration, on the faces of which equal, circular through holes are provided, each of which being designed to accomodate by a slight resilient forcing a member of one or more constructional elements.
More particularly and by way of example, an element 30 is shown in FIGS. 9 and 10, this element being formed as an internally hollow, right circular cylinder, on the single base 8 of which and on the outer surface 9 of which a plurality of equal through holes 11 are provided, the diameter of which holes has been conveniently preselected to allow for the introduction and steady, but releasable coupling of a corresponding member pertaining to a constructional element, whatever are the shape and size thereof and also however is positioned relative to the element 30 and also whatever its spatial orientation is. It is evident that said complementary elements operative as a base and/or connection will be in a convenient number and form a series of a plurality of pieces having different shape and dimensions, in order to allow for providing a wide variety of combinations. Particularly, there are advantageously provided: firstly, flat plates according to the most common flat geometrical figures (such as a circle, triangle, square and other regular polygons); secondly, plates having two or more equal or unequal flat faces, oriented according to some or all the faces of the most common flat face solid geometrical figures (such as'a cube, prism, parallelepiped); finally, mixed surface plates (that is partly flat and partly curved surface plates) according to the most common mixed surface solid geometrical figures (such as a cylinder with one or two bases, a frustrum of cone with one or two bases).
There are still provided complementary elements as cylindrical and spherical hinges designed to re-n der a part of the constructed object movable relative to another part. A cylindrical hinge 40 is shown in FIG. 11 comprising two pieces 6 and 7, each of which having'a hollow or a hole of shape and size corresponding to those for the members 2, and designed to accomodate and anchor a member for any structure portion. These two pieces 6 and 7 are mutually movably connectable and capable of moving about the axis aa by a toric projection 7a of element 7 penetrating into an annular groove of element 6; I
-Obviously, the dimensions of each of said elements may vary as desired, within wide ranges, depending on a higher or lower number of engaging parts it is desired to have, the condition being unaltered that the pitch or spacing between two consecutive holes on the same row, either on a flat or a curved face, should be the same as that selected for the members 2 of the constructional elements.
As to the material being used, such a material should be a plastic material, transparent or opaque, colourless or however coloured; the material will be of a thin thickness for those elements to be flexible, bendable and cutable as desired, and of an increased thickness or more rigid material for those elements to have some rigidity as desired.
Substantially, the constructive details may vary as to shape, dimensions, arrangement of the elements and nature of the materials being used, without departing for this from the protective scope of the invention.
What is claimed is: i
l. A toy kit for use in forming various objects, comprising a plurality of elements of varied sizes and shapes, each element being formed integrally of a thin, elastomer sheet, a first element formed of a thin, elastomer sheet having a plurality of truncated conical depressions in the sheet, each depression forming a concavity on one side of the sheet and a convexity of the other side, each depression having a very small cone angle and having a depth that is at least one-third of the diameter of the depression, and a second element having depressions of identical shape to those of the first element, the depressions being so shaped that each is capable of forming a shape-conforming locking relationship with any other depression and doing so at separate times.