Title:
MOVING TARGET AND WATER GUN WITH INDICATING MECHANISM
United States Patent 3572712


Abstract:
An oscillating water-gun target enclosing a mercury switch which, when struck by a stream of water from a water gun, completes a circuit to a drive motor for moving an animated indicator along a vertical track with the circuit being interrupted upon failure of the water stream to strike the switch means and including a cutoff switch actuated by the indicator when it reaches the top of the track.



Inventors:
VICK ANCE M
Application Number:
04/746927
Publication Date:
03/30/1971
Filing Date:
07/23/1968
Assignee:
ANCE M. VICK
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
273/349, 273/375, 463/68
International Classes:
F41J5/04; F41J5/18; (IPC1-7): F41J9/00
Field of Search:
273/102
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3336030Gun and target with inflatable indicator1967-08-15Martell et al.
2526215Ball-actuated racing game device1950-10-17Florimont
2280000Racing game1942-04-14Millar et al.
2135176Amusement device1938-11-01Fleak
1454968Amusement apparatus1923-05-15Higuchi



Foreign References:
CA487027A
GB680713A
Primary Examiner:
Oechsle, Anton O.
Assistant Examiner:
Siskind, Marvin
Claims:
I claim

1. A water gun amusement system for use by a player directing a stream of water from a water gun, said system comprising: a water gun for providing a stream of water, an oscillating support means comprising a horizontally extending elongated shaft mounted on bearing means for oscillation about a horizontal axis, drive means for oscillating said elongated shaft about said horizontal axis, a plurality of target switch actuators mounted on said oscillatible elongated shaft for oscillating movement in a vertical direction for causing a circuit through a target switch to be completed when said actuator is struck by said stream of water, movable indicator means associated with each target switch mounted for movement along a substantially vertical path, individual motor means for driving each of said indicator means along said substantially vertical path, and respective circuit means connecting each of said motors to a source of power in response to closure of said target switch means so that said motor is operated when said target switch is closed by said stream's striking said target switch actuator.

2. The invention of claim 1 wherein each of said movable indicators is supported for movement from a lower position to an upper position on a separate vertical track means and each of said motor means drives its respective indicator upwardly when its respective target switch is closed.

3. The invention of claim 2 wherein each of a said respective circuit means includes an upward movement enabling relay which is activated by closure of its respective target switch with the contacts of said upward movement enabling relay being connected to said motor for completing a circuit to said motor to cause said motor to move said indicator means upwardly.

4. The invention of claim 3 wherein each of said respective circuits additionally includes an upward drive movement terminating relay having a pair of normally closed contacts connected in series with said upward movement enabling relay, and an upper switch mounted adjacent the upper end of said track and engageable by said indicator means when said indicator means is moved to the upper end of said track to close said upper switch with said upper switch means being connected in series with said upward drive movement terminating relay to consequently activate said upward drive movement terminating relay in response to the opening of said upper switch to open said normally closed contacts to deactivate said upward movement enabling relay.

5. The invention of claim 4 additionally including master switch means which when positioned in a first position connects one terminal of said upward movement enabling relay to one terminal of a dual-terminal power supply so that said target switch can enable completion of a circuit to the other terminal of the power supply and wherein said master switch when positioned in a second position connects said motor to said first terminal to provide a circuit through a lower switch adjacent the lower end of said track for driving said motor in a direction to cause said motor to lower said indicator means until said indicator means moves to the lower end of said track at which point said indicator means engages said lower switch to deactivate said motor.

6. The invention of claim 1 wherein each of said switches is a mercury switch pivotally supported on said elongated shaft and each of said switch actuators comprises a flat plate connected to said mercury switch and supported by a lever means which pivots said mercury switch with respect to said elongated shaft to complete a circuit through said switch when said plate is struck by said stream of water.

7. The invention of claim 6 wherein each of said movable indicators is supported for movement from a lower position to an upper position on vertical track means and said motor means drives said indicator upwardly when said target switch is closed.

8. The invention of claim 7 wherein each of said circuits include an upward movement enabling relay which is activated by closure of said target switch with the contacts of said upward movement enabling relay being connected to said motor for completing a circuit to said motor to cause said motor to move said indicator means upwardly.

9. The invention of claim 8 wherein each of said circuits additionally includes an upward drive movement terminating relay having a pair of normally closed contacts connected in series with said upward movement enabling relay, and an upper switch mounted adjacent the upper end of said track and engageable by said indicator means when said indicator means is moved to the upper end of said track to close said upper switch with said upper switch means being connected in series with said upward drive movement terminating relay to consequently activate said upward drive movement terminating relay in response to the opening of said upper switch to open said normally closed contacts to deactivate said upward movement enabling relay.

Description:
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to the field of amusement devices and is specifically directed to a target actuated system in which a jet of water from a hand-held water gun or pistol is fired at a moving target which, when struck by the jet, activates a motor driving a movable indicator indicative of the marksman's skill in striking the target. Moreover, the invention is capable of plural employment so that several persons can simultaneously compete against each other.

It has long been recognized that amusement systems in which a plurality of people participate against each other are of particular enjoyment and interest to the participants. Devices of this sort should clearly illustrate an obtainable objective to be accomplished by the participants and should also continuously provide a clear indication of the success of the various participants in achieving the ultimate objective.

Furthermore, it is desirable that commercial amusement devices of this sort present an attractiveness in the form of a stimulating competitive challenge to participants in order that the players will be induced to participate. Therefore, such devices should require a certain amount of skill on the part of the participants but should not be so difficult as to discourage participation.

Moreover, if such devices are commercially employed, it is highly desirable that they be reliable and trouble free in order to enable maximum usage with no lost time for repairs. For this reason, it is highly desirable that amusement devices of this type be simple to construct and maintain.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The preferred embodiment of the instant invention is directed to a water-gun-type amusement device in which a target in the form of an oscillating monkey's head is provided with a small switch actuator which closes a mercury switch when struck by the jet from a water gun. The switch is mounted in the monkey's mouth and presents a relatively small target which is all the more difficult to hit because of the oscillating movement of the monkey's head. Closure of the mercury switch causes a circuit to be completed to a small electric drive motor connected to a track-mounted indicator in the form of a complete monkey figure mounted for vertical movement. The monkey figure moves upwardly along the track only during those times in which the mercury switch is closed since closure of the switch completes the circuit activating the drive motor. Consequently, the participants's skill in directing the water jet at the target is indicated by the relative quickness with which the monkey can be caused to move to the top of the vertical track. Switch means is provided at the top of the track for deactivating the system when the monkey reaches the top of the track. Usage of the device by a plurality of participants necessitates the use of plural devices in which the winner is determined by the first participant to cause the monkey to reach the top of its respective track. The use of such plural devices is in the nature of a race in which the most skillful operator wins. The device is extremely amusing and enjoyable both for participants and onlookers.

Therefore, it is the primary object of this invention to provide a new and improved amusement device of great reliability, participant attraction and uniquely attractive character.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Fig. 1 is a perspective view of the preferred embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a sectional view taken along lines 2-2 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken along lines 3-3 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken along lines 4-4 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a sectional view taken along lines 5-5 of FIG. 1; and

FIG. 6 is a schematic illustration of the control circuit for the preferred embodiment.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The preferred embodiment of this invention is respectively illustrated in FIG. 1 and comprises one or more units arranged in an aligned manner for use by one or more participants. Each unit is used by a single participant and includes four function-providing portions which cooperate to provide the overall desired result. Specifically, the components are a gun station 20, a target station 22, an indicator station 24 and a control circuit 26 illustrated in FIG. 7.

Gun station 20 merely comprises a water gun 28 of conventional construction connected by a hose 30 to a source of pressurized water in the form of a pump 32 driven by a motor 34 schematically illustrated in FIG. 6.

The target component comprises an oscillating support member 36 having an upwardly extending pipe 37 extending upwardly from a horizontal hollow pivot shaft 38 which supports each target component unit. Pivot shaft 38 is supported in suitable bearing brackets 40 so as to be freely rotatable. Moreover, a radially extending drive arm 42 provides means for oscillating pivot shaft 38. Such oscillation is enabled by the provision of a connecting rod 50 connected on one end to the outer extremity of the radial drive arm 42 and connected on its other end to an eccentric drive member or cam 52 eccentrically attached to the output shaft of a target-oscillating drive motor 56.

Turning now to FIG. 2, it is noted that the support member 36 is in the form of a horizontal tube 60 having an open end 61 facing the gun station 20 as shown in FIG. 1. Moreover, the generally horizontal tube 60 is provided on its upper surface with first and second generally vertical switch support members 62 which provides a pivotal bearing support for a mercury switch 64. A lever 66 extends downwardly from mercury switch 64 through an opening 68 in the top of the horizontal tube 60. A target plate member 70 is connected to the lower end of lever 66 on the interior of the horizontal tube 60 as shown in FIG. 3. Mercury switch 64 is provided with a pair of contacts 80 and 82 which complete a circuit through the switch when the switch is pivoted in a clockwise direction as shown in FIG. 2. Such pivoting movement is caused by the impingement or striking of the jet 50 on plate 70. However, the mercury switch 64 is supported so that the weight of the switch will pivot the switch in a counterclockwise direction to disconnect or terminate the connection between contacts 80 and 82 at all times unless plate 70 is being struck by the water stream. This result is accomplished by supporting the switch at a point sufficiently close to contacts 80 and 82 so that the switch is counterbalanced to rotate in a counterclockwise direction at all times.

An animated animal head on the form of a monkey head 84 is formed of plastic, rubber or other suitable material encloses the upper end of oscillating support member 36 and horizontal tube 60 in an obvious manner as shown in FIG. 2 so as to provide a psychologically attractive target. Quite obviously, other forms of animation could be employed for covering the mechanical components such as the mercury switch etc. of the target assembly if desired.

The oscillation of shaft 38 causes the animated monkey head 84 to move in a "yes" nodding manner so as to present a moving target to the participant firing the water gun. However, it should be understood that the oscillating movement of shaft 38 does not affect the mercury switch 64 wince the mercury switch is pivotally supported and counter balanced to remain in an open position unless plate 70 is being struck by the water jet.

It should also be noted that the shaft 38 etc. is mounted over a drainage through trough 85 so that liquid accumulating adjacent the target is easily drained for return to a reservoir from which pump 32 recirculates the water.

Indicator station 24 comprises a vertically oriented channel frame means 100 having inwardly extending first and second vertical tracks 102 and 104 each of which is received in a slot in the end of a slide block 106. An animated monkey FIG. 108 is connected to slide block 106 by a forwardly extending support rod 110 which extends from slide block 106 through a slot formed in making plate 111 which shields the track and slide block from the view of the participant. The vertical position of FIG. 108 is indicative of the success of the participant in striking the target with the water jet.

Slide block 106 is connected to a loop of flexible chain 116 which is drivingly engaged with a sprocket 118 of an indicator or drive motor 120 and is maintained in position by a lower idler sprocket 121. The indicator drive motor 120 is a reversible AC motor which is driven in a first direction to cause the slide block 106 and its associated FIG. 107 to move upwardly when current is supplied through a first line 122. However, the supply of current through a second line 124 causes the block 106 and associated FIG. 108 to move downwardly. In both instances the circuit is completed through a common line 126. Therefore, it will be obvious that the animated FIG. 108 can be made to move upwardly or downwardly in accordance with the manner in which current is supplied to motor 120.

The control circuitry for controlling the indicator drive motor 120 and the pump motor 132 is illustrated in FIG. 6. The circuit receives power from first and second line terminals 140 and 142. A three-way master switch 144 is provided for operation by the operator of the amusement system for enabling either upward or downward movement of the animated FIG. 108. Master switch 144 has a movable switch element 146 connected by line 148 to power line terminal 140 and pivotally movable from the illustrated center or "off" position to the left to engage and complete a circuit to an "up" terminal 150 and to the right to engage a "down" terminal 152. Line 160 from terminal 150 is connected to one terminal of the coil of an upward movement enabling relay 162. The other terminal of the coil of relay 162 is connected by a line 164 through a pair of normally closed relay contacts 166 of an upward drive movement terminating relay 168 to contact 80 of mercury switch 64. The other contact 82 of the mercury switch is connected by a line 170 to power terminal 142. One terminal of upward movement terminating relay 168 is connected through an indicator lamp 172 to the main power terminal 142 and the other terminal of relay 168 is connected to one side of a normally open upward drive movement terminating microswitch 174, the other terminal of which is connected by a line 176 to power terminal 140.

Microswitch 174 is physically mounted adjacent the upper end of the vertical path of movement of the animated FIG. 108 as shown in FIG. 4. When the animated FIG. 108 reaches the dashed-line position illustrated in FIG. 4, slide block 106 engages the actuator 178 of microswitch 174 to close the contacts of the microswitch. Also, a roller drive movement terminating microswitch 180 is located adjacent the lower end of the path of movement of FIG. 108 and has contacts that are normally closed. However, when the animated FIG. 108 reaches its lowermost position slide block 106 engages actuator 182 of switch 180 to open the normally closed contacts of this switch.

One terminal of switch 180 is connected to the "down" terminal of switch 144 and the other terminal of switch 180 is connected to the line 124 that causes motor 120 to be driven in a direction so as to move the animated FIG. 108 downwardly. Line 122, which when supplied with current drives motor 120 in the opposite direction causes the animated FIG. 108 to move upwardly, has one terminal connected to one of the contacts 161 of the upper movement enabling relay 162. The other terminal of contacts 161 is connected by a line 184 to another pair of normally closed contacts 186 of the upward drive movement terminating relay 68. The other side of contacts 186 is connected by a line 188 to power terminal 140. Moreover, the upward drive movement terminating relay 168 is provided with a third pair of normally closed contacts 190 one side of which is connected to line 160 and the "up" contact 150 of the main switch 144. The other side of contacts 190 is connected by line 192 to pump motor 34 with the other terminal of the pump motor being connected by a line 194 to power terminal 142 in an obvious manner.

A complete cycle of operation will now be discussed with reference to FIG. 6 with the assumption that the animated figure is at its lowermost extent of travel and it is desired to initiate a cycle of operation. Motor 56 is activated and remains activated continuously. The operator moves a movable switch element 146 to engage the "up" contact 150 of switch 144 to provide line voltage to line 160 through upward movement enabling relay 162, line 164, to terminal 80 of mercury switch 64. Also, voltage is supplied through line 192 through the normally closed contacts 190 of relay 168 to the pump-driving motor 34 with the circuit being completed through line 94 to power terminal 142. Consequently, pump motor 34 immediately begins operation upon movement of the main switch element 146 into engagement with the "up" terminal 150. However, motor 120 remains inoperative, since solenoid 162 is not actuated by switch 64 and contacts 161 remain open. However, when the participant succeeds in causing the water jet to strike the target plate 70 of switch 64, the circuit through the coil of solenoid 162 is immediately completed so as to close contacts 161. Closure of contacts 161 immediately completes a circuit from power terminal 140 through line 176, line 188, contacts 186, contacts 161 and line 122 to motor 120 to immediately cause the motor to being driving the animated FIG. 108 etc. in an upward direction. However, when the stream of water ceases to engage the target plate 70, switch 64 opens to deactivate relay 162 and immediately open contacts 161 to terminate the drive to motor 120 in an obvious manner.

The animated FIG. 108 will eventually reach the upper end of the guide tracks so that slide 106 engages the actuator 178 of the upward movement drive terminating microswitch 174. Consequently, closure of switch 174 completes a circuit to power terminal 140 through line 176 and switch 174 to the upward drive movement terminating relay 168 with the circuit being completed through line 170 and lamp 172 to terminal 142. Activation of relay 168 immediately opens contacts 186, contacts 166 and contacts 190. The opening of contacts 166 immediately terminates and prevents any further activation of relay 162 is an obvious manner. Consequently, contacts 161 cannot be closed and there will be no further activation of motor 120 for urging means 106 in an up direction. Furthermore, the opening of contacts 186 provides an additional insurance against the completion of a circuit through line 122 to motor 120. The activation of lamp 172 provides a visual indication that the participant has succeeded in completing the game. The opening of contacts 190 deactivates the pump-driving motor 34 in an obvious manner.

Upon noting illumination of light 172, the operator of the device then moves the main switch element 146 to engage the "down" terminal 152 of switch 144 to complete a circuit from power terminal 140 through line 148, element 146, switch 180 and line 124 to motor 120 to drive the motor in a down direction to the lower the animated FIG. 108. When the animated figure reaches its lower extent of movement, it opens the contacts of switch 180 to deactivate the motor 120. Since the upper switch 174 will have opened with the initial beginning of the downward movement of slide 106, contacts 166, 186 and 190 will again be in their closed position so that the operator can now move the switch element 146 to engage terminal 150 to begin a new cycle of operation. However, if no new cycle is contemplated, switch element 146 will be moved to its central "off" position.

The circuit described and shown in FIG. 6 is for a single animated unit and it should be understood that similar circuits could be employed for the other units. Moreover, it would be a simple matter to provide a plural unit circuit control in which the first monkey to reach the top of its track would deactivate the remaining units of the other participants. These and other modifications will occur to those skilled in the art and it should be understood that this invention is to be limited and interpreted solely in terms of the appended claims.