US 3392480 A
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July 16, 1968 A. STUBBMANN CHILDS CONSTRUCTION GAME Filed June 10, 1965 F/GI/ INVENTOR AZBERT STl/BBMANN BY I (144; mm
' ATTORNEYS United States Patent 3,392,480 CHILDS CONSTRUCTION GAME Albert Stubbmann, Flushing, N.Y., assignor t0 Koliner lxi ros Inc., New York, N.Y., a corporation of New ork Filed June 10, 1965, Ser. No. 462,855 1 Claim. (CI. 46-25) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A childs construction game composed of several figurines, each having arms and legs that terminate in snap coupling members. The figurines are of elastomeric plastic and the coupling members are -U-shaped. Each coupling member has the arms of the U terminate in cylindrical terminals The terminals and coupling members are so shaped that when the coupling members of different figurines are interengaged the terminal of each coupling member is received in the groove of the other coupling member Where it is frictionally nested to form an array of figurines. The coupling members are separated by snapping them apart. The game also includes straight and curved rods which can be received in the grooves of the coupling members.
This invention relates to a childs construction game, and, more specifically, to a construction game figure adapted to be detachably interengaged with other like figures of the same game or with play'thing accouterments of the game.
It is the principal object of my invention to provide a construction game with a figure of the character described which may be quickly and easily repeatedly interlocked with and detached from other figures of the same game, or with and from accouterments of said game, by a child of tender years, so that such a child can spend many hours of happy play with the figures.
It is another object of my invention to provide a childs construction game with a figure which is one of a set of similar figures constructed so that the limbs of each figure can be detachably joined to the limbs of one or more other figures in a variety of interesting and amusing positional relationships.
It is a further object of my invention to provide a game composed of a set of childs construction figures, the limbs of which can be meshed with the limbs of other figures so that one figure can act as a base, another figure can be erected upon and above the base figure, and additional figures can be erected upon the first two figures whereby the child can construct an assemblage of figures which simulates the stance of acrobats during a performance in a circus.
It is still a further object of my invention to provide a childs game composed of figures which can be joined not only to other figures but also to poles, hoops and the like, all of which are accouterments of the game.
It is another object of my invention to provide a childs game composed of construction figures of the character described, each having four limbs, the extremities of which terminate in a new and unique coupling which can be quickly fixed to and subsequently separated from a like coupling on the extremity of the limb of another figure or which can frictionally grasp and subsequently be disengaged from a portion of an accouterment of the game.
Itis yet another object of my invention to provide a childs construction game made up of figures and accouterments of the type described, which can be manufactured by mass production techniques and thus marketed at a relatively low cost, which are strong and dura- 3,392,486 Patented July 16, 1968 ble in play, which are formed into the shape of amusing characters, and which will delight and entice young children for many periods of play.
In general, and in accordance with the teaching of my invention, I provide a childs construction game composed in part of a set of like elastomeric synthetic plastic miniature figures. The figures desirably are brightly and variously colored and, as shown, portray in an amusing manner Stone Age men and animals. Also included in the construction game are numerous accouterments such as a platform and various hoops and poles.
Each toy figure has four unitary limbs and the extremity of each limb is unitarily formed into one member of a snap-action coupling. By appropriate easily learned manipulation, a child can interconnect the limbs of two or more figures. For example, he may engage the arm of one figure to the arm of a second figure and can engage the other arm of the first figure to the foot of a third figure. The various coupling members on the figures may be differently oriented so that the figures may be interconnected one atop the other or one alongside the other.
Still further adding to the variety and interest of my childs construction game, the coupling member which constitutes the unitary extremity of each limb of each four-limbed figure can also :be locked to an appropriate portion of an accouterment of the game which portion is of uniform circular cross-section. In this manner, one figure can be attached to a large circular hoop and another figure can be fixed to the other side of this circular hoop. As for another example, one figure may engage an elongated pole of uniform circular cross-section to which pole other figures can be similarly afiixed.
It will be evident from the foregoing that I have provided a childs construction game including a set of figu-res and various accouterments, which game is, when the pieces are interengaged, simul-ative of a troupe of circus acrobats and which figures may be arranged by a child so that they hold one another by foot-to-foot or hand-to-foot grips, some of which figures grasp hoops or poles and others of which hang from such hoops and poles.
To enable my construction game figures to be properly erected in a stable arrangement, I further provide a platform having as a component thereof a horizontal bar.
To this bar a base figure can be first attached and thereby held erect, and thereafter other figures and accouterments may be built upon this base figure extending horizontally, vertically and even diagonally in any manner desired. The coupling between any two figures or between a figure and a circular cross-section portion of an accouterment may, of course, be quickly detached. Thus, a child can build, pull apart and rebuild an erect array of figures and accouterments as often as desired and in a great variety of fashions.
The coupling members which enables the figures and accouterments to be quickly attached and detached in the manner described is of U-shaped configuration and in one piece with a limb as the extremity thereof. Said coupling member includes two coupling arms, each ending in an elongated and enlarged terminal of uniform circular cross-section. The terminals are parallel, of like cross-sectional configuration, and laterally spaced from and registered with one another. The two arms of the coupling member including the terminals thereof define betwen them an elongated cylindrical open-ended groove with a restricted throat. The groove is parallel to the terminals and is of a diameter slightly less than the diameter 'of the terminals. The terminals of the coupling members each have a greater thickness than each arm of the coupling member.
When it is desired to interengage the extremities of any two limbs, the extremities are pressed together so that one terminal of each coupling member is received in the groove of the other coupling member. The arms of each coupling member are sufficiently bendable due to their limited thickness so that they can be forced apart to permit a terminal of the other coupling member to pass through the restricted throat of the groove and into the cavity of the groove. With one terminal of each of two interengaged coupling members nested in the groove of the other coupling member and squeezed between the arms of said other coupling member, a firm though readily separable connection is formed.
A portion of any accouterment, which portion is of uniform circular cross-section, can also be interengaged with any coupling member in a similar manner. That is, said portion is forced through the restricted throat of the groove, this passage being permited by the bendability (yieldability) of the arms of the coupling member. When the portion has been received in the cavity of the groove, the arms swing against it by virtue of their tendency to resume their as-molded configuration, and since the diameter of the portion is slightly in excess of the diameter of the groove, the portion remains frictionally grasped by the coupling member.
The foregoing and various other objects and advantages of my invention will become apparent to the reader in the following description.
My invention consists in the features of construction, combinations of elements and arrangements of parts which will be exemplified in the construction figures and plaything accouterments hereinafter described and of which the scope of application will be indicated in the appended claims.
In the accompanying drawings in which is shown a game constituting one of the various possible embodiments of my invention,
FIG. 1 is 'a front elevational view of several childs construction game figures and accouterments interengaged with one another and standing erect upon a platform, the array of FIG. 1 being exemplicative of the variety of positions in which my game figures and accouterments can be arranged;
FIG. 2 is a greatly enlarged perspective view of two coupling members in positional relationship ready to be interengaged;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged top plan view of two interconnected coupling members, the same being taken substantially along the line 33 of FIG. 1; and
FIG. 4 is an enlarged cross-sectional view of the interengagement of a coupling member and 'a portion of an accouterment of circular cross-section, the same being taken substantially along the line 44 of FIG. 1.
Referring now in detail to the drawings, the reference numeral denotes an array of interlocked balancing figures 12 and accouterments 14. The figures 12 are part of a group including several like figures, and the accouterments are a part of a group including several like accouterments, the groups together constituting a childs construction game which embodies the teaching of my invention.
The figures 12 and accouterments 14 are formed, as by molding, from any conventional durable elastomeric synthetic plastic, polyethylene being well-suited for this purpose. The figures 12 are each miniature representations of animated cartoon characters, figure 12a being representative of a Stone Age man, the figure 12b being representative of a Stone Age child, the figure 12c being representative of a different Stone Age man, the figure 12d being representative of a Stone Age dinosaur, and the figure 12e being representative of another type of Stone Age animal. The accouterment 14a is in the form of an elongated pole of substantially uniform circular cross-section, the deviation from uniformity constituting a roughening of the surface, and the accouterment 14b is in the form of a large hoop, also of substantially uni form circular cross-section. The accouterment is in the form of a shallow platform on which a figure 12 can be erected and which thereby serves as a stabilizing base for the array 10 of interlocked figures.
Each of the figures 12, although representative of a different Stone Age character, is alike in that it includes a head 16, a body 18 and four limbs 19, including two arms 20 and two legs 22, which are in one-piece with the body. The limbs of each figure are spread out, the arms being either horizontally outstretched as in figures 12d and 12a, or vertically outstretched above the head as in figures 12a, 12b and 12c, as are the legs of the figures. Each figure is generally symmetrical about a vertical center line passing through its body so that the arm and leg on one side of the body of a figure are mirror images of the arm and leg on the other side of its body. When the arms are vertically stretched above a head they are transversely registered; the same is true of the legs.
The extremity of each limb of each figure constitutes a coupling member 24 in one-piece therewith, which member takes the place of and, for the purpose of the present game, has the same function as a hand or a foot of the figure. Each coupling member of the entire set of figures is exactly alike so that only one coupling member need be described in detail.
Each coupling member 24 is of U-shaped configuration and has a constant width, dimension W in FIG. 2, greater than the greatest transverse dimension of the limb 19 with which it is associated. The limb 19 is unitarily joined to the coupling member at a location slightly offset from the center of the bight of the member. (See FIGS. 3 and 4.)
Each coupling member includes two like coupling arms 26, 28 which are of the same thickness, dimension T in FIG. 2, and which merge smoothly into one another at the bight of the member. The coupling arms together follow a semicircular path and the limb 19 is united to the coupling member 24 next to the juncture of the proximate ends of the two coupling arms. Each coupling arm 26, 28 has at its end distant from the point at which it meets the limb 19, an enlarged terminal, the coupling arm 26 ending in the terminal 30 and the coupling arm 28 ending in the terminal 32. By the term enlarged, it is meant that the thickness of each terminal is greater than the thickness of each of the arms. However, the width of each terminal is the same as the width of each arm. The terminals are alike and each is centered on its respective arm in a position so that a like portion of the terminal extends on either side of (overhangs) said arm. Each terminal is somewhat elongated, of uniform circular cross-section along its length, and the long axes of said terminals are parallel. The terminals 30, 32 are laterally spaced from and registered with one another.
The coupling arms 26, 28 define therebetween the cavity of an open-ended elongated constant diameter cylindical groove 34. The groove is parallel to the terminals 30, 32. The terminals define therebetween a restricted throat 36 for said groove. That is, the distance between the facing sides of the terminals 30, 32 is less than e.g., about three quarters of, the diameter of the groove 34. The distance between the facing sides of the terminals is consequently less than the diameter of the terminals. Further, the diameter of the groove 34 is slightly less than the diameter of a terminal 30 or 32.
When a child desires to interlock the extremities of two limbs, two coupling members are forced together. As the two coupling members 24 are approached, see FIGS. 2 and 3, one terminal of each member is oriented so that it attempts to pass between the terminals, i.e. through the restricted throat 36 of the other coupling member. Since the opening of the throat 36 of the groove 34 is smaller than the diameter of any terminal, under mild pressure, the pressure exerted by the hand of a child being suflicient for this purpose, the terminal causes the arms to bend away from one another and to permit the terminal to pass through the throat and into the groove between the arms. The arms are of a limited thickness and the plastic is sufficiently flexible so that they may open from one another without rupture. In the interengagement of two coupling members, each groove receives one terminal of the other coupling member, so that, in toto, the two terminals are nested, each between the arms and terminals of the other coupling member. Since the diameter of a terminal is slightly greater than the diameter of the groove, the arms do not return to their initial repose condition, but rather remain biased towards one another and squeeze a terminal of the other coupling member between them.
During their interengagement, the coupling members are brought together by what may be described as a snapaction. That is one terminal of each coupling member begins to enter the throat of the other coupling member, a definite amount of hand-engendered force pushing the members towards one another is needed to spread the arms apart to permit entry of said terminal. When, however, the terminals have passed slightly beyond the narrowest dimension of the passage and begin to seat in their respective grooves, the coupling members quickly and easily move to their final position, or, so to speak, snap into place. This rapid final movement is due to the biasing force of the arms urging the terminals into their respective grooves.
To disengage one limb extremity from another, the coupling members are simply pulled apart whereby each terminal again passes through the restricted throat of the other coupling member, and, in so doing, bends the coupling arms of the other coupling member apart to permit this movement.
The coupling members also may be engaged and disengaged by relative longitudinal movement of the termina s.
Each figure 12 of my construction game has two of its coupling members 24 laterally spaced with the grooves 34 in these coupling members, coaxial and aligned. These coupling members are preferably on two associated limbs. For example, the dinosaur figure 12d has the coupling members 24 on its legs 22 spaced and in alignment. Some figures have the grooves of the coupling members of both sets of limbs in alignment. For example, in the Stone Age man 12a, the grooves of the coupling members of the arms are aligned and the grooves of the coupling members of the legs are also aligned. This arrangement is conducive to vertical stacking, as seen from the positional relationship of the Stone Age child 12b and the Stone Age man 12a. Other figures have the grooves of one set of coupling members in alignment and the grooves of the other set of coupling members not aligned. By way of example, the coupling members of the arms of the Stone Age dinosaur 12d are not aligned but rather parallel and vertically oriented, the same being conducive to horizontal interlocking of figures. The positional relationship between figures 12c and 12d is illustrative thereof.
With a like coupling on each limb of each figure, the figures may be interlocked in a great variety of positional relationships, i.e. horizontal, vertical and diagonal. Accordingly, a child will be amused for many hours by forming from the figures an array which simulates an acrobatic pyramid stance as seen during the performance of acrobats at a circus. For example, and as as illustrated in FIG. 1, the coupling members on the arms of the Stone Age man, figure 12a, are each interengaged with an associated coupling member on the arms of the Stone Age child, figure 12b. These figures are in vertical hand-to-hand relationship. To this end, the coupling members which are aligned are spaced a like distance apart.
As further seen in FIG. 1, the coupling member on the 6 right leg of the Stone Age child 12b is interlocked with the coupling member on the right leg of the dinosaur 12d. These figures are in diagonal foot-to-foot relationship.
To further add to the interest of my childs construction game, each of the accouterments 14 is constructed so that it can be gripped by a coupling member 24 of a figure 12. Each accouterment has at least a portion thereof of uniform circular cross-section, the diameter of this portion being slightly larger than the diameter of the groove 34 in each coupling member. To engage said portion of an accouterment to a coupling member, said portion is simply forced through a restricted throat 36 of the coupling member, bending the coupling arms 26, 28 apart, and then moving into the groove 34. Since as has been said, the diameter of the portion of the accouterment is slightly in excess of the diameter of the groove, the coupling arms do not return to their initial as-molded position but remain biased towards one another and squeeze the said portion of the accouterment between them. The facing overhang of each terminal keeps said portion of the accouterment firmly seated in the groove of the coupling member.
As illustrative of the use of a plaything accouterment in connection with my construction game figures 12, the Stone Age man 12c shown in FIG. 1 grasping the pole 14a, and to this end, the coupling members 24 on the arms 20 of said man grip the pole at spaced locations. Further, the coupling member 24 on the left arm 20 of the dinosaur figure 12d grips a hoop 1417, an opposed portion of which is grasped by the coupling member on the right arm 20 of the dinosaur figure 122.
As a suitable base and support for the arrangement of interlocked figures and accouterments, there is provided the platform which has the configuration of a shallow topped truncated cone. Located in the plane of the top surface of the platform is a horizontal elongated bar 38 having a width slightly in excess of the diameter of the groove 34 of the coupling member. Slots 40 flank the bar to permit the terminals and arms of coupling members to straddle the bar. The bar 38 is grasped by any two aligned coupling members. A flange 42 depends from the bar 38 to prevent rotation of the members thereon. As illustrated in FIG. 1, the bar 38 can be gripped by the aligned coupling members on the legs 22 of the Stone Age man 12a.
It will be apparent from the foregoing that children of tender years will spend many hours of delightful play in assembling, disassembling, and reassembling the fingers and accouterments of my construction game in an endless variety of acrobatic stances. The coupling member 24 which is an essential part of each figure can be readily interlocked with any other coupling member or with a portion of an accouterment of my game. When so interlocked, the coupling member grips its partner firmly so that the array of figures are supported one atop another in pyramid form without fear of toppling.
It thus will be seen that I have provided a construction game having figures and accouterments which achieve the several objects of my invention and which are well adapted to meet the conditions of practical use.
As various possible embodiments might be made of the above invention, and as various changes might be made in the embodiment set forth, it is to be understod that all matter herein described or shown in the accompanying drawings is to be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.
Having thus described my invention, I claim as new and useful and desire to secure by Letters Patent:
1. A childs construction game constituting an array composed of at least two interengaged elements, each element being formed of elastomeric synthetic plastic, each element having an extremity which supports a snap-action coupling member of U-shaped configuration, each said coupling member consisting of two arms and two elongated parallel laterally spaced and registered like terminals of identical cross-section uniform along the length thereof, each terminal of each coupling member being fixed to the end of a difierent arm of that member, said arms and terminals of each coupling member defining therebetween an elongated generally cylindrical openended groove with a restricted throat, the gnoove of each coupling member being parallel to the terminals of that member and being of a diameter slightly less than the diameter of each of said terminals, the terminals of each coupling member defining the restricted throat of that coupling member, the arms of the coupling member of each element being of a relatively limited thickness so that the arms are locally bendable away from one another so as to permit passage of a terminal of the coupling member of the other element into or out of the groove through the restricted throat thereof under pressure, the thickness of the terminals of the members being greater than the thickness of the arms of the coupling members so that the arms are not locally bendable at the terminals, a terminal of the coupling member of each of the elements being frictionally nested in and engaging the groove of the other member, the arms of each coupling member being biased together around the terminal of the other coupling member engaged thereby, whereby said interengaged coupling members are adapted to be disengaged by snapping out the frictionally nested terminal of each coupling member from the groove of the other coupling member.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,078,709 4/ 1937 Hecht 4625 XR 2,353,858 7/1944 Tedesco 24201 2,767,517 10/1956 Hooper 46--22 2,902,821 9/1959 Kelly 4630 XR 2,959,888 11/1960 Noble 4622 XR 2,789,609 4/ 1957 Post.
FOREIGN PATENTS 1,156,688 10/ 1963 Germany.
669,495 4/1952 Great Britain.
161,046 10/1957 Sweden.
LOUIS G. MANCENE, Primary Examiner.
S. NATTER, Assistant Examiner.