US 3906658 A
A magnetic toy includes a U-shaped magnet situated within a nonmagnetic cover and having spaced pole centers in a common plane, together with a quantity of individual, magnetizable particles located upon the cover. The particles can be sculpted into aesthetically pleasing random designs including bridge formations which are supported by the magnetic field of the magnet. The distance between the magnet pole centers preferably is between about 1 inch and 3 inches. The magnet preferably has a field strength along a centerline one inch above the magnet faces of at least 150 gauss. Typically, if rods each weighing about 0.55 grams are used as the particles, between about 100 and 400 rods provide aesthetically pleasing designs. Other particle configurations also are disclosed.
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
1 1 MAGNETIC TOY HAVING SCULPTURABLE PARTICLES  Inventor: Sam Gross, PO. Box 1323, North Hollywood, Calif. 91604  Filed: Dec. 26, 1973  Appl. No: 428,648
 U.S. Cl. 46/17; 46/236  Int. Cl. A6311 33/26  Field of Search 46/45, 241, 238, 16, 17, 46/236; 63/29 M; 35/19 A, 7 A; 335/285; 273/1 M  References Cited UNITED STATES PATEN lS 1,535,035 4/1925 Philipp 46/16 2,414,653 1/1947 Lookholder 335/285 2,455,506 12/1948 Leslie 335/285 2,457,421 12/1948 Warren 335/285 3,031,799 5/1962 Bradsby 335/285 X 3,077,696 2/1963 Barnett et al..... 46/16 3,714,612 1/1973 Kayle 335/285 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS I 30,395 3/1911 United Kingdom 63/29 M 1 Sept. 23, 1975 Primary ExaminerF. Barry Shay Attorney, Agent, or Firm Howard A. Silber  ABSTRACT A magnetic toy includes a U-shaped magnet situated within a nonmagnetic cover and having spaced pole centers in a common plane, together with a quantity of individual, magnetizable particles located upon the cover. The particles can be sculpted into aesthetically pleasing random designs including bridge formations which are supported by the magnetic field of the magnet. The distance between the magnet pole centers preferably is between about 1 inch and 3 inches. The magnet preferably has a field strength along a centerline one inch above the magnet faces of at least 150 gauss. Typically, if rods each weighing about 0.55 grams are used as the particles, between about 100 and 400 rods provide aesthetically pleasing designs. Other particle configurations also are disclosed.
9 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures US Patent Sept. 23,1975 Sheet 1 of 2 3,906,658
BACKGROUND OF INVENTION The field of this invention relates to toys and more 5 particularly to a toy which inspires'creativity of the individual. The toy uses a magnet and a quantity of magnetizable articles which can be arranged into random, aesthetically pleasing designs and remain fixed in that design by the magnetic field. i
I-Ieretofore, magnets have been employed to pick up and hold various metallic objects such as pins, tacks, hairpins andthe like. The use of the magnet in these devices is to collect together in a given locale small metallic articles which can be misplaced easily and are difficult to pick up when located on a flat surface. Such a magnetic holder will retain the objects in an easily releasable manner so that they can be removed conveniently one by one.
The present invention does not employ the use of a magnet as a holder for small objects, but employs the magnetic field of the magnet to inspire creative designs by using a plurality of small metallic particles.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The primary objective of this invention is to provide a toy having a U-shaped permanent magnet with a pair of spaced pole centers encased in a non-magnetizable cover, together with at least small magnetizable elements within the magnetic field of the magnet. The invention includes means for providing a multi-particle sculpture in which the particles are randomly sculpturable into bridgelike designs that are supported by a magnetic field. The magnetic field must be within a certain intensity range to achieve this end, and also the poles of the magnet must be spaced apart within a certain distance range.
The preferable type of magnet construction comprises block magnets stacked together to form the pair of magnetic poles (two separate blocks for each pole). The magnetic poles are interconnectedby a soft iron bar. The preferable material of construction for the magnets is barium titanate. The preferred distance between the pole centers is at least 1 inch. The field intensity should be such that along the center line one inch above the common plane defined by the magnet pole faces, the field intensity will be above about 1150 gauss. With this preferred pole distance and field intensity, the preferred total particle weight is between about 50 grams and 300 grams. The number of the particles will vary depending upon their individual weight, but generally it is preferable that the number of particles be at least about 100. By employing this arrangement, the particles can be arranged into numerous patterns including connecting chain arrangements above the magnet. The particles will remain in the bridge or other, configuration until manually rearranged.
BRIEFDESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS A detailed description of the invention will be made with reference to the accompanying drawings wherein like numerals designate corresponding parts in the several figures. These drawings, unless described" as dia- 6 grammatic, or unless otherwise indicated, are to scale.
FIG. 1 is a front view of the apparatus of this invention wherein the magnetizable particles comprise cylindrical rods;
FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional top view of the apparatus of this invention taken along line 22 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional viewthrough the apparatus of this invention taken along line 33 of FIG. 2 showing the detail of construction of the magnet;
FIG. 4 is a graph depicting the magnetic field intensity of the barium titanate magnet employed within this invention;
FIG. 5 is an example of a design representation employing small, flat diamond shaped particles;
FIG. 6 is an example of a design representation employing a variety of particles; and
FIG. 7 is an example of a design representation employing paperclips.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT The following detailed description is of the best presently contemplated mode of carrying out the invention. Thisdescription is not to be taken in a limiting sense, but is made merely for the purpose of illustrating the general principles of the invention since the scope of the invention is best defined by the appended claims.
Referring particularly to the drawings, there is shown in FIG. 1 the magnetic toy 10 of this invention being composed basically of a magnet housing 12 and a quantity of magnetized particles 14. In FIG. 1 these are shown to be in the shape of small cylindrical rods. Approximately 150 of such rods may be employed. The magnet housing 12 includes a base 16 and a cover 18. On the bottom of the base 16 are a plurality of resilient pads 20. The pads 20 prevent the housing 12 from marring any surface upon which it rests. 4
Fixed to the upper side of the base 16 is a soft iron bar 22. The bar 22 is selected to be of a particular length, three inches being preferable. A pair of magnets 24 are fixed at each end of the bar 22. The magnets 24 are of a square shape but can assume any other polygonal configuration. A polygonal configuration is preferred as opposed to a circular configuration since it has been found that such magnets provide a strong, concentrated magnetic field intensity pattern which results in attractive, aesthetically pleasing particle 14 displays-A preferred material for the magnets 24 is a ceramic such as barium titanate. Other types of magnets could be employed, such as alnico magnets. However, an alnico magnet is significantly more expensive than one of barium titanate.
Each pole of the magnet is composed of two individual barium titanate magnets stacked one on top of the other. The use of the stacked arrangement of magnets is preferable as the resultant magnetic field is quite strong and produces a concentrated field for optimum arranging of the particles 14.
The cover 18 is attached to the base 16 as by adhesive. The cover 18 completely encases the magnets 24 and the bar 22. The under-surface of the cover 1% coincides substantially with the common plane across the pole faces of the magnets 24.
Referring particularly to FIGS. 2 and 3 of the drawings, the center line 26 is a line perpendicular to the common plane through the pole faces and equidistant from the pole centers. FIG. 4 illustrates a typical magnetic field strength distribution of the present invention. The magnet sizes are shown to be seven-eighths of an inch square with the length of the bar 22 being 3 inches. Shown in FIG. 4 are a plurality of dotted lines 28 which represent lines of magnetiii fbrce which are of the same intensity: Partieulai significance is to be noted that the magnetic field intensity is of quite high level between the poles and a short distance above the poles. Along the mid-line 26, at a distance of one inch space above the common plane 30 interconnecting the poles, there is an intensity of 250 gauss. An inch and a half above plane 30 along line 26 the density is 150 gauss. This is a significant magnet field and it is because of the concentration of the magnetic field that the particles 14 can be arranged and remain fixed in a given position.
If the magnetic field is not of sufficient strength, the particles 14 will just collapse onto the top of the cover 18. Thus if the field intensity along the vertical center line 26 is less than about 150 gauss at a height ofl inch above the plane 30, the particles 14 will not be supported adequately. Hence to form aesthetically pleasing designs, the field intensity should be above this value. Pleasing designs can be made with magnetic field intensities at this location of from about 150 gauss to about 350 gauss. Higher magnetic field intensities also are acceptable, however the cost of magnets to produce such intense fields may be prohibitive for toy use.
The separation between the magnetic poles also is important. Thus in the embodiment of FIG. 4, a desirable separation of 2% inches between the pole centers is shown. When this separation is reduced to below about 1 inch, the designs which can be created with the particles 14 are much less aesthetically pleasing. on the other hand, when the spacing between pole centers is increased above about 3 inches, much stronger magnets 24 are needed to obtain the requisite magnetic field intensity. Therefore, the cost of the unit might exceed that acceptable for a commercially successful articles.
Referring particularly to FIGS. 5 to 7, there are shown different types of particles 14. In FIG. 5 the particles 14 take the form of flat diamond shaped members such as glazers points. In FIG. 6 the particles 14" are of assorted configuration. In FIG. 7 the particles 14 are paperclips.
The weight and number of particles is a matter of choice, but to some degree will depend on the field strength of the magnet employed. The maximum number of particles which can be supported as a cohesive sculpture depends both on the individual particle size and weight and on the field strength along the centerline 26 above the common plane 26. Exemplary values are listed in the following Table I.
TABLE I cially acceptable article may utilize between I and 200 rods of 0.55 gram individual weight with a magnet providing 180 gauss along the centerline at one inch above the pole faces. This number of rods, though less than the number which can be supported by the magnet, still yields aesthetically pleasing designs, at a reasonable cost. Similarly, a commercially acceptable article using the same magnet is obtained with from 700 to 900 glazers points each weighing 0.15 gram.
It is preferred that the particles be constructed of a low hysteresis material. In other words the particles will only be magnetized when located in the field of the magnet of this invention; when removed from the field of the magnets 24 there will be no magnetic attraction between the particles. If perchance the particles become disassociated from the magnet housing 12, the housing may be turned over and moved in close proximity to the particle or particles that have become disassociated. The particles thereupon will be attracted back onto the cover 18. The arrangements of the particles shown in FIGS. 1, 5, 6 and 7 are illustrative of a vast number of arrangements which can be created by the user.
The normal method of use of this invention is to begin with a pile of the particles as shown in solid lines in FIG. I. The user then grasps the particles close to the cover 18 and begins to raise a portion of the particles 14. The user then shapes the particles and molds them to create the final design. When the design is completed it will remain in position due to the force of the magnetic field, such a position being shown in phantom in FIG. I, and by the solid lines of FIGS. 5, 6 and 7.
Intending to claim all novel, useful and unobvious features shown or described, I make the following claims:
1. A moldable magnetic sculpture consisting of;
a planar base and a non-magnetic, inverted bowlshaped cover attached to said base, and
means for providing a multi-particle sculpture that is randomly sculpturable into bridgelike designs, and that is supported by a magnetic field, said means consisting of;
a magnet within said cover and having a pair of coplanar pole centers spaced apart between about 1 inch and 3 inches, said cover having a generally planar, horizontal upper surface adjacent to and parallel with the plane of said pole centers, the strength of said magnet being sufficient to produce Field Strength along centerline 26 one inch above Maximum number of particles for cohesive sculpture the common plane 30 Rods[wt=0.55 gram] Pointslwt=0.l5 gram] Maxi- Total Height Maximum Total Height mum Number Weight of bridge Number Weight of Bridge I gauss 300 I65 gm. 6.5" I000 I50 gm. 5" 250 350 192 gm. 8" 1500 225 gm. 6" 350 440 242 gm. 9" I800 270 gm. 6.5"
In general, if the particles are of lesser weight, a greater number can be supported by the same magnet, however the maximum bridge height will be less. Clearly, the stronger the magnetic field, the more particles can be held.
The actual number of particles used may be less than the maximum which can be supported by the magnet. The reason may be economic. For example, a commera magnetic field intensity of between about gauss and about 300 gauss at a distance of 1 inch above said cover upper surface along a centerline between said pole centers,
between about 700 and 900 individual magnetizable particles on said cover and within the magnetic field of said magnet, each particle consisting of a glazers point having a flat, diamond-shaped configuration, said particles having a total weight of between about 50 grams and about 300 grams, said particles being scuplturable into aesthetically pleasing random designs supported by the magnetic field of said magnet, said magnet being generally U-shaped so that said particles can be supported in a bridge connecting said spaced poie centers above said cover, the upper faces of said magnet being horizontal.
2. A magnetic toy comprising:
a substantially planar base adapted to be placed on a horizontal surface and a non-magnetic, inverted cup-shaped cover atop said base and attached thereto,
means for providing a multi-particle sculpture that is randomly sculpturable into bridgelike designs, and that is supported by a magnetic field, said means consisting of;
a magnet mounted within said cover, said magnet having a pair of magnetic pole centers spaced apart in a common plane defined by the faces of said magnet, said magnet face plane being parallel to said planar base, said cover enclosing said magnet and having an upper substantially planar surface adjacent and parallel to said common plane, said upper surface being horizontal when said base is placed on said horizontal surface,
the distance between said magnetic pole centers being in the range of from about 1 inch to about 3 inches, the magnetic field intensity along the centerline between said magnetic pole centers, at a distance of one inch above said common plane, being within the approximate range of from 150 gauss to 450 gauss, and
a quantity of at least individual magnetizable particles located upon said cover and within the magnetic field of said magnet, said quantity of particles having a total weight of between about 50 grams and about 300 grams, there being sufficient particles to form a bridge between said spaced pole centers and supported entirely by said magnetic field, said particles being formable into random designs maintained by said magnetic field.
3. A magnetic toy as defined in claim 2 wherein said magnet is generally U-shaped, each pole of said magnet being constructed of a plurality of stacked, separate magnets.
4. A magnetic toy as defined in claim 2 wherein said magnet comprises a barium titanate ceramic material.
5. A magnetic toy as defined in claim 2 wherein said magnet is generally U-shaped, so that said particles can be supported in a bridge connecting said spaced pole centers above said cover.
6. A magnetic toy as defined in claim 2 wherein the shape of each of said particles is rod-like.
7. A magnetic toy as defined in claim 2 wherein the shape of each of said particles is flat in a diamond configuration, said quantity including between about 700 to 900 of said particles.
8. A magnetic toy as defined in claim 6 wherein each rod-like particle has a weight on the order of about one-half gram, said quantity including at least about 100 of such rod-like particles.
A magnetic toy as defined in claim 2 wherein each of said particles is a glazers point having a flat diamond configuration, said quantity including at least about 700 of such diamond configured particles.