|Publication number||US3921348 A|
|Publication date||Nov 25, 1975|
|Filing date||May 13, 1975|
|Priority date||May 13, 1975|
|Publication number||US 3921348 A, US 3921348A, US-A-3921348, US3921348 A, US3921348A|
|Original Assignee||Space A Maze Inc|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (3), Referenced by (15), Classifications (11)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
United States Patent Kurzen DOUBLE-HINGED, MODULAR PANEL SYSTEM ESPECIALLY SUITED FOR PLAYGROUNDS AND PLAYROOMS Nov. 25. 1975  ABSTRACT The invention relates to a structural unit for making layhouses and mazes in play areas. each unit comprising a rigid rectilinear frame which. when positioned on a flat surface in a vertical plane, has a pivoting means at a first end of its lower side and a castor at the other end of the latter so that it can be pivoted about a vertical axis; each side of the frame having a panel attached thereto by a Jacobs-ladder type of double hinge so that each of the two panels may be pivoted to either side of the frame. On the upper side of the frame opposite the pivoting means provision is made for attaching a pole or pipe which can be supported from above to hold the frame in a vertical plane. Preferably three or four such units are combined and the supporting poles or pipes are held in position by a removable roof 5 Claims, 9 Drawing Figures U.S. Patent Nov. 25, 1975 Sheet 1 of3 3,921,348
US. Patent Nov. 25, 1975 Sheet 2 of3 3,921,348
U.S. Patent Nov. 25, 1975 Sheet3of3 3,921,348
DOUBLE-HINGED, MODULAR PANEL SYSTEM ESPECIALLY SUITED FOR PLAYGROUNDS AND PLAYROOMS This invention relates to double-hinged, modular panel devices of the well-known Jacobs-ladder type.
Double-hinged blocks or panels of the Jacobs-ladder type have been made and sold as mystifying novelties. Several varieties of such devices, in the form of a series of blocks are shown in the U.S. Pat. of Rutherford, No. 2,245,875, for example. An advertising device of this type is shown in U.S. Pat. of Manning, No. 1,885,122. The latter patent even suggests that the device may be made on a large scale (see page 2, lines 91-95).
According to the present invention, modular units of such devices are not only made on a relatively large scale, but so constructed that they can, in combination of three or more units, provide a variety of playhouscs. play castles and mazes for childrens play areas.
Among the objects of the invention is to provide modular units, especially suited for childrens play, which have panels that can be moved to a great variety of positions and are thereby adapted to exercise a child's imaginative and artistic talents.
Among other objects of the invention is to provide modular units which are useful as teaching instruments to teach the use, design and sharing of space.
The objects of the invention are attained by providing a unit comprising a rigid rectilinear frame which, for example, is approximately the length in one direction of the approximate height that a child would want a play house to have, a first two panel, double-hinged lacobs-ladder device with panels of a size to cover the open area of the frame attached to one side or the front of the frame and a second similar two-panel, doublehinged Jacobs-ladder device attached to the opposite or back side of the frame. The frames, which eventually will be held in a vertical position. have an extension added or formed on the lower side and at one end thereof which is adapted to permit the frame to pivot a full 360 or more. The other end of the lower side of the frame is fitted with a castor or similar element which maintains the lower side of the frame in horizontal position. That side of the frame extending upwardly from the pivot means contains a bore hole extending downwardly towards the pivot means into which a supporting pole may be inserted. A roof device is provided for connecting the supporting poles of three or more units and thereby making such a system sufficiently stable and rigid for play.
The panels are preferably made of somewhat lighter material than the frames. Such panels may be made of ordinary box board, boxboard which has been coated to make it more resistant to moisture, plastic materials, plywood, etc. A very satisfactory material for the panels is that sold under the trademark FOAM-COR" which has a plastic foam center and a relatively impervious plastic skin. Where formed of boxboard or FORAM-COR, each of the hinges which must be present between the outer panels and the frame are formed by scoring, preferably along two spaced lines. Also, the frame is relatively permanent, whereas the panel, if made of box-board or FOAM-COR." are disposable and replaceable, permitting children to experiment, by cutting holes in or painting the panels, etc.
Additional objects and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following description of a specific example thereof made in connection with the accompanying drawing wherein:
FIG. I is a view ofa four unit combination of the device.
FIG. 2 is an exploded view of a panel unit.
FIG. 3 is a plan view ofa sheet of structural material scored and cut to provide one panel and both hinge portions of a unit device.
FIG. 4 is an exploded top plan view of a unit partly in cross-section.
FIG. 5 is a detail view taken on line 55 of FIG. 3.
FIG. 6 is a detail view on line 6-6 of FIG. 3.
FIG. 7 is a detail view of the corner of a frame when a panel has been rotated 270 from its closed position.
FIG. 8 is a detail view of the roof structure.
FIG. 9 is a detail view of an alternate means for holding the frame in upright position.
The unit comprises a central frame 10 with a doublehinged two-panel Jacobs-ladder device on each side of the frame. The Jacobs-ladder devices comprise panels 20,20, 21,21 the hinge panels 22,22, 23,23, and the hinges 24, 25 and 26, 27 respectively or 24', 25, 26' and 27' respectively, at the ends of each hinge panel 22,22, 23 or 23'.
The assembled device of FIG. 1 comprises four units with frames 10, 10A, 10B and 10C, respectively. The panels 21, 2lA, 21B, 21C and 2], 21'A, 2lB and 2IC are opened at random in this figure. The spacing of the units is determined by the pads 30, 31, 32 (one not shown), and the roof 35 which contains a plurality of sleeves 36, 37, 38, 39, adapted to receive pipes 40. 41 42, 43 held in openings 28 or 29 of the frames 10. The sleeves have an obstruction at the end thereof adapted to prevent the pipes from passing through the same. Preferably, the sleeves 36-39 in roof 35 and the pads 30, 31, 32, etc, are spaced so that each of the units (when the panels are closed) can be swung the full 360 without contacting the other units as shown in FIG. 1. The sleeves 36-36 extend through the roof and are about 6 inches long. Thus. when the roof is placed over the poles 40-43, it is held on by gravity, the depth of the sleeves (6 inches or more) being sufficient to hold the poles firmly in a vertical position. The roof 35, in combination with the pads 30, 31, 32, etc. hold the frames in a vertical position so that the panels 21 or 21' can be swung approximately 270. For a stable structure, at least three units and corresponding pads and a three-holed roof are required. The device is more interesting with four units and can include 5, 6, 7 or even more units with obviously a corresponding roof.
The rigidity of the frame 10 is depended upon to hold the unit in vertical position and consequently the frame is constructed of good quality wood. metal. or plastic, with dimensions large enough to provide space for making the holes 28, 29, therein for positioning and holding poles 40-43. As shown in FIG. 2. the holes 40-43 may be provided with concentric projecting portion of smaller diameter than the pole proper so that the position of the pole in holes 28, etc, is fixed by the shoulder between the concentric portions. To the bottom of frame 10, a projection 41 is formed at one end which may take the form of a hall portion of a ball and socket joint. At the opposite end, a castor device 42 is provided to provide for easy rotation about the projection 41 as an axis. Preferably, the units are assembled without the use of tacks or nails. In the unit illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 4, for example. the front and back surfaces of the frame are provided with a coating of adhesive 49. A convenient form of adhesive is the double sided plastic tape, i.e., tape with adhesive on both sides. Such tape is available commercially and can have at protecting layer of paper covering one or both sides of the adhesive so that the temporarily unattached adhesive surfaces are not exposed to dirt and dust of the atmosphere until they are ready to be used. When double-sided adhesive tape is employed, it is preferred to preattach it to panels, e.g., replacement panels rather than to the frames.
In the form of the invention shown in FIGS. 2-4, the hinge panels 22 and 23 are made integral with panel 23 with scorings to form the hinges 25 and 26. The hinge panels 22 and 23 are not directly attached to the panel 20, instead panel 20 is adhered to the frame 10 and is made with cut-out side portions and 61, which leave part of the frame uncovered. The end portions 62 and 63 of the hinge panels 22 and 23, respectively, are adapted to be adhered directly to adhesive 49 of the frame 10 and said frame 10 has slightly recessed areas 64 and 65 to bring the outer surface of end portions 62 and 63 approximately level with the outer surface of panel 21. As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the movable panels 21 are also provided with projections 66 on the lower edge to facilitate the pivotability thereof.
As illustrated in FIGS. 5, and 6, the hinges 24, 25, 26, 27 formed on the hinge panels 22, 23 are preferably scored to provide for bending along two parallel lines. Thus, the panels are scored on both sides at 66 and 67 and on one side at 68. This permits the panel 21 to be rotated an extra about the hinge 27, as illustrated in FIG. 7.
Instead of being held in upright position by poles and a roof, the frame can be held in upright position by one or more telescoping spring poles 70 (as shown in FIG. 9). comprising an interior pole 71 and having a lower extension 72 of smaller diameter to fit in opening 28, 29, etc., a sleeve pole 73, which is closed at the upper end and is fitted with a pad 74 adapted to press against a ceiling 75, and a spring 76 adapted to urge pole 21 away from sleeve 73.
Practically everyone is familiar with Jacobs-ladder devices. although the operation thereof is still somewhat mystifying. The essential feature of such devices, as illustrated by the end view showing in FIG. 4, is the X-configuration of the strips or panels connecting the hinges. It is easily recognized from this figure that the panel 21 or 21' can be rotated clockwise or counterclockwise as long as all four corners 24-27 are hinged. The hinges 24-27 can be of any type. i.e., they can be mechanical or hardware hinges as long as they are adapted to rotate at least It is also apparent that the hinge connectors or panels 22, 23 can be duplicated, i.c., there can be several connections 22 or 23 and the width (dimension w of FIG. 3) of one or both of such connections can be increased or decreased provided only that the connector or panel 22 does not interfere with connector or panel 23. In this device, connectors which have a width, W, about half the height of the panel 21, are preferred because when decorations are added to the panels 21. matching decorations are more easily provided for the half-panel hinge con nectors 22 and 23, and the appearance of the wall of a room obtained by rotating the panel 21 in one direction can be completely changed by rotating the panel in the opposite direction.
It is also apparent that the connecting panels 22, 23 can be flexible as well as rigid, although with only two such panel connectors, it is desirable that they be fairly rigid. In FIG. 4, for example, if there is another connector 22 on the opposite side of panel 23, all of the connectors 22 and 23 could be flexible, of cloth or film. for example, because such connectors would be held under tension in all relative positions of the panel 21 with respect to frame I0.
The unit illustrated in FIG. 2 is adapted to be shipped unassembled and to be assembled by the purchaser. Thus, the frame 10 has its adhesive 49 covered with protective paper, the paper is stripped off the one side thereof, except in indented portions 64 and 65 and the sheet 20 is applied to the frame and sealed thereon by the adhesive. The paper is stripped off areas 64, the hinge end 63 is applied thereto, and hinge end 62 is applied similarly. The panels 20' and 21' are adhered to the opposite side of frame 10 in the same way. Similarly, the adhesive may be provided on the hinge portions of the device, i.e. on areas 62, 63, of the panels.
Thus, the invention provides a play house or maze, when 3 or more units thereof are set up and combined with base pads, roof and supporting pipes, which has a good variety of modifications that can be readily made in accordance with the childs imagination or artistic talents. The combination device is also useful in libraries or offices where it is desirable to provide temporary cubicles for reading or for studying-as well as for display and Exhibition booths.
The panel units can come with pre-printed graphic designs (or such designs can be readily applied in decal type sheets. etc.)
I. As a structural unit for the construction of play houses and mazes in play areas, a rigid rectilinear frame adapted to be supported in upright position, the lower side of said frame comprising a projection at one end thereof adapted to form part of a rotating joint, the other end of the lower side of said frame containing castor means, the upper side of said frame opposite said projection comprising pole supporting means whereby the frame may be supported from above by a pole held in the pole supporting means; a stationary panel attached to cover the opening in the frame, a first pivotable panel of approximately the same size as the staionary panel attached to said first side for pivoting about two vertical axes by a Jacobs-ladder type of double hinge whereby said pivotable panel may be opened in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction with respect to the stationary panel, a second pivotable panel corresponding to said first pivotable panel attached to the second side of said frame for pivoting about two vertical axes by a Jacobs-ladder type of double hinge.
2. The unit as claimed in claim 1 wherein at least one of said second pivotable panels and the Jacobs-ladder type hinges is formed from a single sheet of relatively rigid material. said single sheet of material being cut to form a central panel. which is to be the pivotable panel, a half-panel extending from the upper portion of one side of the central panel, and a half-panel extending from the lower portion of the other side of the central panel, said half-panels being scored adjacent the con ncctions to the central panel to form hinges, and also being scored adjacent the ends thereof to form hinges. said half-panels crossing over the central panel and the ends of the half-panels which extend beyond the hinge score lines being connected to said frame 3. The structural unit as claimed in claim 1 comprising a two-part telescoping pole having a concentric projection of reduced diameter on the exposed end of the part of smaller diameter, the two parts of the pole being urged apart by an internal compression spring, said frame containing an opening adapted to receive said concentric projection of reduced diameter.
4. As a play area device, at least three unit frame devices each comprising a rigid rectilinear frame adapted to be supported in upright position, the lower side of said frame comprising a projection at one end thereof adapted to form part of a rotating joint, the other end of the lower side of said frame containing castor means, the upper side of said frame opposite said projection comprising pole supporting means whereby the frame may be supported from above by a pole held in the pole supporting means, a first side of said frame containing a first stationary panel attached to cover a first side of the opening in the frame, a first pivotable panel of approximately the same size as the stationary panel attached to said first side for pivoting about two vertical axes by a Jacobs-ladder type of double hinge. whereby said pivotable panel may be opened in a clockwise or counter clockwise direction with respect to the station ary panel. a second stationary panel attached to the second side of the opening of said frame, a second pivotable panel corresponding to said first pivotable panel attached to the second side of said frame for pivoting about two vertical axes,
a plurality of floor pads corresponding to the number of frame units each adapted to form a rotatable joint with the projection of the lower side of one of said frame units,
a plurality of poles one positioned in each of the pole holding means which is directly above the projection on the bottom side of each frame,
roof means comprising a rigid sheet with positioning openings therein,
said poles passing through the openings in the roof means and being attached to the roof means, said pads being positioned directly below the holes in the roof means whereby to support each of the poles and the frame units in a vertical position.
5. The play area device as claimed in claim 4, wherein the holes in said roof are fitted with sleeve devices adapted to receive the ends of said poles but having means to prevent the poles from passing therethrough, whereby the roof may be held in position on the poles by gravity.
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|U.S. Classification||52/64, 446/124, 52/262, 446/104, 52/239|
|International Classification||E04H1/12, A63J11/00|
|Cooperative Classification||E04H1/12, A63J11/00|
|European Classification||E04H1/12, A63J11/00|