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Publication numberUS3902270 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 2, 1975
Filing dateJul 1, 1974
Priority dateJul 1, 1974
Publication numberUS 3902270 A, US 3902270A, US-A-3902270, US3902270 A, US3902270A
InventorsMolenaar Lester V
Original AssigneeMolenaar Lester V
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
First and second toy modules, each mateable with similar modules and with each other
US 3902270 A
Abstract
A toy building module for interconnection with similar toy building modules to erect imaginative and creative structures. Each toy building module has a base having a curvilinear surface and defining on one side a diametric plane. A plurality of legs extend through the base generally perpendicular to the diametric plane. Means on the legs permit interconnection of the legs with the legs of other similar building modules.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 1191 Molenaar Sept. 2, 1975 FIRST AND SECOND TOY MODULES, 3,604,130 9/1971 Forsstrum .v 46/25 X EACH MATEABLE WITH SIMILAR 3,611,621 10/1971 FOISOn 46/25 MODULES AND WITH EACH OTHER FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS [76] Inventor: Lester V. Molenaar, Box 777, West 50,221 10/1966 Gennany 46/25 Hwy. 40, w n Minn 5 20 600,112 3/1948 United Kingdom 1. 206/511 205,390 9/1959 Austria 1 1. 46/25 [22] Filed: July 1, 1974 1,004,530 3/1957 Germany 46/25 21 Appl. No.: 484,752

Primary ExammerF. Barry Shay 52 US. c1. 46/23; 46/25; 206/504; 57 ABSTRACT 206/51l;2l1/l26 1 i 51 int. Cl? A6311 33/08 A toy buldmg module for mterconnectlon 58 Field of Search 46/23 17 25 16- tOY building modules to erect imaginative and creative I 2O6/5] 1 512, b 5 2 structures. Each toy building module has a base having a curvilinear surface and defining on one side a di- [56] References Cited ametric plane. A plurality of legs extend through the UNITED STATES PATENTS base generally perpendicular to the diametric plane. Means on the legs permit interconnection of the legs 2: et

with the legs of other similar building modules. 0 ae er 3,553,882 1/197l Meates 46/16 8 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures PATENTED SEP 2 I975 FIRST AND SECOND TOY MODULES, EACH MATEABLE WITH SIMILAR MODULES AND WITH EACH OTHER BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Building toys have long offered hours of recreation to children. Lately building toys have been recognized as valuable in educating the child and stimulating creativity. The curious child is keenly interested in the workings of physical phenomena about him. Manipulative experiences with building toys give the child a measure of satisfaction to these curiosities. Building toys allow the child to experiment in and see differences in size, shape and color, all of which help him to understand spatial relationships and achieve technical mastery. Limited only by imagaination, children take apart and put together building modules in an endless array of configurations, each in the nature of a new discovery or invention, resulting in the type of imaginative play called creativity.

Further, toy building modules assist in instilling confidence in the child. As he builds up a structure from the modules, then takes it down to build yet another, he feels he has acquired a degree of control over his immediate environment. As the child grasps physical concepts, he is able to grasp mental concepts and thus gains confidence to tackle even more formidable problems.

A number of building modules have been developed which allow a child to indulge in these creative learning experiences. For example, see US. Pat. No. D208,789 to Kuhn.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The invention relates to toy building modules primarily for children, for the erection of structures of varying sizes and shapes according to the imagaination of the child, allowing experimentation and creativity on the part of the child. The building module has a base having a curvilinear surface such as a conical or generally hemispherically shaped shell which defines on one side a diametric plane. Equally spaced about the periphery of the shell are a plurality of legs. The legs are preferably orientated perpendicular to the diametric plane and pass through a portion of the base or shell. One end of each leg terminates in proximity to the diametric plane and the opposite end of each leg extends outwardly from the shell. The legs of one toy building module are interconnectable with the legs of another toy building module. Means are provided whereby the toy building modules may be connected with the concave portions of the base of each module in facing relationship to each other to define a closed structure, or with the concave portions of the base of each building module sue cessively aligned and facing the same direction. The modules may be stacked with the legs in alignment or, alternatively, they may be staggered, thus enabling the child to construct a wide variety of structures of differing shapes and sizes.

An object ofthe invention is to provide a toy building module interconnectable with other building modules to form a structure. A second object is to provide such a building module interconnectable in a variety of different ways to thus provide a wide choice of structures which may be erected. A third object of the invention is to provide such a building module having a base with a generally curvilinear surface interconnectable with other such building modules and having the curvilinear surface selectively opposed to or in alignment with the curvilinear surface defined by other toy building modules. Further objects of the invention will become apparent upon the following description.

IN THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is an end plan view of a toy building module of a first embodiment according to the present invention having a hemispherical base or shell and viewing into the concave side of the surface defined by the hemispherical shell;

FIG. 2 is a sectional view of the toy building module of FIG. I taken along the line 22 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged sectional view ofa leg of the toy building module of FIG. 2 taken along the line 3-3 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is an end planview of a second embodiment of a toy building module according to the present invention viewing into the concave side of the surface of the hemispherical shell thereof;

FIG. 5 is a sectional view ofa toy building module of FIG. 4 taken along the line 55 of FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is an enlarged sectional view of a leg of the toy building module of FIG. 5 taken along the line 66 of FIG. 5; and I FIG. 7 illustrates an example of a structure erected from a plurality of toy building modules of the present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring to the drawings, there is shown in FIGS. I through 3 a first embodiment of a toy building module, indicated generally at 10, according to the present invention. Building module 10 has a base 11 having a curvilinear surface shown to be generally hemispherical in shape, although it is understood that the base could be conically shaped or some other decorative shape such as pyramidal. The generally hemispherical base of shell 11 of building module 10 is upwardly open as shown in FIG. 2, and has an outer or upper peripheral edge 12 defining a diametric plane 14. Shell 11 has a convex outer side extending from the diametric plane uniformly decreasing in diameter away from said diametric plane about an axis and converging at a point on said axis. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, hemispherical shell 11 is hollow whereby diametric plane 14 is imagi nary, and is the plane usually defined by planar intersection ofa sphere. Shell 11 could optionally be formed more or less of a hemisphere but preferably is constituted as a hemisphere which permits assembly of two modules into a complete sphere.

Shell 11 has a plurality of tubular legs 15 secured thereto each having a portion extending outward from the convex side of shell I1 and a portion extending inward through the concave portion thereof. Legs 15 include four legs equally spaced about the shell 11 having inward ends 16 attached to the outer peripheral edge 12 of shell 11. Legs 15 are orientated generally in perpendicular relationship to diametric plane 14 and each has an end 17 extending through the shell 11 and outwardly therefrom, terminating approximately in coplanar relationship with the outermost portion of the convex side of shell 11.

Legs 15 of toy building module 10 are equipped with means for interconnection with the legs of similar toy building modules, enabling the erection of diversified structures. Referring to FIG. 3, the upper end 16 of leg 15, or the end located proximate the diametric plane 14, is open. as at 19, thus to provide a recess to snugly receive an outwardly projected member extended from one end of a leg located on another toy building module. The lower portion 17 of leg 15, or that portion extending away from the convex face of shell 11, has a longitudinally extended finger or projection 20. The projection 20 is of a transverse dimension or diameter reduced sufficiently to be snugly and removably insertable in a recess of the size of recess 19, at the opposite end of leg 15, located on a leg of another toy building module.

Illustrated in FIGS. 4 through 6 is a second toy building module, indicated generally at 22, according to the present invention. Toy building module 22 is the same in all respects as the first embodiment of the toy building module except that the interconnecting means on the legs are disposed in reverse relationship to the hemispherical shell as compared to those on toy building module 10 of the first embodiment. Toy building module 22, as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, has a generally hemispherical shell 23. The circular. upper peripheral edge 24 of shell 23 defines a diametric plane 26 facing the concave face of hemispherical shell 23. Four parallel, equal length, legs 27 are equally spaced around the periphery of shell 23. Each leg 27 has a portion 28 extending through the concave face of shell 23 and terminating proximate to the diametric plane 26. Each leg 27 also has a portion 29 extending outward from shell 23 from the convex face thereof andterminating in approximately coplanar relationship with the outermost segment of the convex face of shell 23.

Legs 27 of toy building module 22 are equipped with means for interconnection with legs of similar toy building modules thus to enable erection of diversified structures. Referring to FIG. 6, the upper portion 28 of leg,27, or that portion extending through the concave face of shell 23 and terminating proximate the diametric plane 26, has a longitudinally extended finger or projection 31. Projection 31 is of a transverse dimension or diameter reduced sufficiently to be snugly insertable in a recess of the size of the recess 19 of leg of the toy building module 10 of the first embodiment. At the opposite end of leg 27, or that end extending from the convex face of shell 23, is an opening or recess 32 having a diameter of sufficient size to snugly receive a projection or finger of the size of the projection 31 located on a leg of another toy building module. It is thus apparent that the only difference between the toy building module 22 of the second embodiment and the toy building module 10 of the first embodiment is the orientation of the interconnecting means on the legs.

In FIG. 7 there is shown an elementary structure 35 illustrating several of the many ways in which toy building modules of the embodiments described may be interconnected. The toy building modules are interconnectable with the convex face of the shell facing either down or up and with one or more of the legs of a given toy building module in alignment with and interconnected with one or more of the legs of another toy building module. A pair of spaced apart toy building modules 36, 37 form the base of structure 35, each being of the type having projections 38 on legs 39 extending away from the concave face of the toy building modules 36, 37. Each toy building module 36, 37 is orientated with the convex face of the hemispherical shell directed downward.

Assembled to the toy building module 36 is a third toy building module 41 of the same embodiment, having the recessed portion of its legs 42 on that portion of the legs 42 extending outward from the convex face of the hemispherical shell and engaging the projections 38 of the legs 39 on toy building module 36.

A fourth toy building module 44 is assembled to the other base module 37. The toy building module 44 is the type having recesses 45 of the legs 46 located in the portion of the leg 46 proximate to the diametric plane of the hemispherical shell of the toy building module 44. In the assembled relationship shown, the projections 38 of the leg 39 on base module 37 engage the recesses 45 of the legs 46 on the module 44. On the module 44, the convex face of the hemispherical shell is facing upward, thus forming a complete sphere in assembled relationship to the toy building module 37, as shown in FIG. 7.

A fifth toy building module 49 is assembled to the closest adjacent legs of the toy building modules 41 and 44. Module 49 is of the type having legs 50 with recesses 51 on the portion of the legs 50 located proximate to the diametric plane of the hemisphere of the module 49. The upwardly extended projections 53 on the legs 42, 46 of the modules 41, 44 engage the recesses 51 of the legs 50 on the building module 49, two of the legs of each module 41, 44 engaging two of the legs of the upper module 49. It is apparent that many additional modules could be assembled to the structure 35 in a great diversity of fashions to form more extensive structures. The endless variety of structures which thus may be erected are limited only by the imagination of the child.

The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:

l. A geometric structure comprised of a plurality of toy building modules including:

a first toy building module with a shell having a generally hemispherical side and a side defining a diametric plane, a plurality of parallel legs extending from said shell, said legs being equally spaced about the periphery of said shell perpendicular to said diametric plane, each leg having one end located proximate to said diametric plane at the perimeter thereof secured to the inner edge of said shell, each leg extending through said shell and having an opposite end extending outward from said hemispherical side of said shell, interconnection means on said legs including a recess located on the end of each leg proximate the diametric plane, and an outwardly projected member located on the end of each leg extending outward of said hemispherical shell, said projected members and recesses being mateable with those of a similar first toy building module;

a second toy building module with a shell having a generally hemispherical side and a side defining a diametric plane, a plurality of parallel legs extending from said shell, said legs being equally spaced about the periphery of said shell perpendicular to said diametric plane, each leg having one end located proximate to said diametric plane at the perimeter thereof secured to the inner edge of said shell, each leg extending through said shell and having an opposite end extending outward from said hemispherical side of said shell, interconnection means on said legs including an outwardly projected member located on the end of each leg proximate the diametric plane. and a recess located on the end of each leg extending outward of said hemispherical shell, said projected members and recesses being mateable with those of a similar second toy building module; said first and second toy building modules being interconnectable by having a said outwardly projected member on at least one leg of one toy building module in engagement with a said recess on a leg of the other toy building module. 2. The geometric structure of claim 1 wherein: one of said toy building modules has four legs.

3. The geometric structure of claim 2 wherein: the other of said building modules has four legs.

4. The geometric structure of claim 1 wherein: each of said legs on one of said toy building modules has a length approximately equal the radius of the hemispherical shell of said one toy building module.

5. The geometric structure of claim 4 wherein: each of said legs of the other of said toy building modules has a length approximately equal the radius of the hemispherical shell of said other toy building module.

6. The geometric structure of claim 1 wherein: the diameter of the hemispherical shell of the first toy building module and the diameter of the hemispherical shell of the second toy building module are equal.

7. The geometric structure of claim 6 wherein: each of said toy building modules has four legs.

8. The geometric structure of claim 7 wherein: each of said legs on said toy building modules has a length approximately equal the radius of one of said hemispherical shells.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1883214 *Sep 10, 1931Oct 18, 1932Design Lab IncOrnamental objects
US2916161 *Jun 15, 1959Dec 8, 1959Republic Molding CorpUtility containers
US3553882 *Dec 13, 1967Jan 12, 1971Meates Kevin FMeans for locking a wheel to a shaft and for securing a handle to the wheel
US3604130 *Jun 27, 1969Sep 14, 1971Incentive AbConstruction series for molecular models
US3611621 *May 15, 1969Oct 12, 1971Mattel IncBuilding unit toy
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4106657 *Jul 19, 1976Aug 15, 1978P. Ferrero & C. S.P.A.Container usable as a toy construction element
US4109789 *Sep 28, 1977Aug 29, 1978Plastic Reel Corporation Of AmericaSelf-contained latch constructions for interlocking containers in stacked relation
US4739897 *Mar 17, 1986Apr 26, 1988Butler Lorraine MHolder for the protection of remote electronic devices
US4895256 *May 30, 1989Jan 23, 1990Johnston James EAir conditioning supply carrier
US5287979 *Jan 12, 1990Feb 22, 1994Alain BourgeoisOvoid container for condiments
US6119426 *Oct 29, 1998Sep 19, 2000Escudero; Gary A.Heather blocks
US6142301 *Sep 3, 1999Nov 7, 2000Inventec CorporationExpandable modular container system
US6966813 *May 14, 2003Nov 22, 2005Joseph DonahueModular construction system and method of constructing toy structures
US7287653 *Apr 19, 2002Oct 30, 2007William Timaru RhodesApparatus for storing bottles
US8016370 *Nov 9, 2006Sep 13, 2011Allan GraingerStorage system
US8986012 *Jul 1, 2010Mar 24, 2015University Of Puerto RicoThree-dimensional 3D visualization kit
US20030205544 *Apr 19, 2002Nov 6, 2003Rhodes William TimaruModule for a structure
US20040253901 *May 14, 2003Dec 16, 2004Joseph DonahueModular construction system and method of constructing toy structures
US20070278918 *Nov 9, 2006Dec 6, 2007Allan GraingerStorage system
US20080210694 *Jan 29, 2008Sep 4, 2008Michel CastonguayDrinking vessel
Classifications
U.S. Classification446/122, 206/504, 206/511, 211/126.12
International ClassificationA63H33/04, A63H33/08
Cooperative ClassificationA63H33/088
European ClassificationA63H33/08T
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jul 28, 1988AS06Security interest
Owner name: CHASE COMMERICAL CORPORATION
Owner name: CHASE MANHATTAN BANK, N.A., THE, 1 CHASE MANHATTAN
Effective date: 19880211
Jul 28, 1988ASAssignment
Owner name: CHASE MANHATTAN BANK, N.A., THE, 1 CHASE MANHATTAN
Free format text: SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:CHASE COMMERICAL CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:004912/0002
Effective date: 19880211
Owner name: CHASE MANHATTAN BANK, N.A., THE,NEW YORK
Free format text: SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:CHASE COMMERICAL CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:4912/2
Jun 11, 1987ASAssignment
Owner name: CHASE COMMERCIAL CORP., 50 FEDERAL STREET, BOSTON,
Free format text: SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:JAMES INDUSTRIES, INC., A PA CORP;REEL/FRAME:004757/0279
Owner name: JAMES INDUSTRIES, INC. A PA CORP
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:CHASE COMMERCIAL CORP. A DE CORP;REEL/FRAME:004757/0270
Effective date: 19870513
Jun 11, 1987AS02Assignment of assignor's interest
Owner name: CHASE COMMERCIAL CORP. A DE CORP
Owner name: JAMES INDUSTRIES, INC. A PA CORP BEAVER STREET EXT
Effective date: 19870513
Jun 11, 1987AS06Security interest
Owner name: CHASE COMMERCIAL CORP., 50 FEDERAL STREET, BOSTON,
Owner name: JAMES INDUSTRIES, INC., A PA CORP
Effective date: 19870513
Aug 28, 1981AS02Assignment of assignor's interest
Owner name: * CHASE MANHATTAN BANK (NATIONAL ASSOCIATION) THE
Effective date: 19810414
Owner name: JAMES INDUSTRIES, INC.
Aug 28, 1981ASAssignment
Owner name: CHASE COMMERCIAL CORPORATION, 50 FEDERAL ST., BOST
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:JAMES INDUSTRIES, INC.;REEL/FRAME:003919/0969
Effective date: 19810409
Owner name: JAMES INDUSTRIES, INC.;
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:CHASE MANHATTAN BANK (NATIONAL ASSOCIATION) THE;REEL/FRAME:003919/0975
Effective date: 19810414