Title:
Toy balloon
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A non-latex toy balloon is described and includes a body and a base in communication with the body. The body and base cooperate to orient the toy balloon in a floating state, such that the toy balloon floats downwardly in a substantially vertical fashion.


Inventors:
Smith, Kirk (Hopkins, MN, US)
Trofka, Steven James (Maple Grove, MN, US)
Application Number:
10/986617
Publication Date:
05/18/2006
Filing Date:
11/12/2004
Assignee:
Anagram International, Inc. (Minneapolis, MN, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63H3/06
View Patent Images:
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Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MCDONNELL BOEHNEN HULBERT & BERGHOFF LLP (300 S. WACKER DRIVE, 32ND FLOOR, CHICAGO, IL, 60606, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A non-latex toy balloon, having a floating state, comprising, in combination: an inflatable body having a first end, a second end, and a longitudinal axis extending through said first and second ends; and an inflatable base attached to and extending outwardly from said second end of said first inflatable body; said inflatable body and said first inflatable base cooperating to define bias means for biasing said longitudinal axis to a substantially vertical orientation in said floating state.

2. A non-latex balloon as claimed in claim 1 wherein said inflatable body is substantially elliptical.

3. A non-latex balloon as claimed in claim 2 wherein said inflatable base communicates with said inflatable body.

4. A non-latex balloon as claimed in claim 3 wherein said inflatable base includes three base sections extending outwardly from said second end away from said first end and substantially equally displaced about said longitudinal axis in said floating state.

5. A non-latex toy balloon, having a floating state, comprising, in combination: a first sheet; and a second sheet secured to said first sheet to provide a body section and three base sections in communication with said body section, said body section having a first end, a second end, and a longitudinal axis extending through said first and second ends; said three base sections extending outwardly from said second end away from said first end and substantially equally displaced about said longitudinal axis in said floating state; said body section and said three base sections cooperating to define bias means for biasing said longitudinal axis to a substantially vertical orientation in said floating state.

6. A non-latex balloon as claimed in claim 5 wherein said body section is substantially elliptical.

7. A non-latex balloon as claimed in claim 6 further comprising a stem, extending from one of said three base sections, and a self-sealing valve secured within said stem.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally a novelty device and, more particularly, to a non-latex toy balloon.

The market for non-latex balloons has grown significantly from the early 1980's. Early development in this industry has focused upon better, less permeable films and more effective sealing between balloon sheets and at the balloon stem. U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,077,588 and 4,917,646 are illustrative, and the teachings thereof are incorporated herein by reference.

Research today has focused upon new and distinct balloon configurations as one mechanism to expand the marketplace. U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,290,763 and 5,338,243 are exemplary, and the teachings thereof are incorporated herein by reference.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In a principal aspect, the present invention is a new toy balloon, having an inflatable body and base. The toy balloon has a “floating state” when filled with a lighter-than-air gas, such as helium. When filled, the balloon verges on buoyancy and slowly floats downwardly.

The inflatable body has a first end, an opposed second end, and a longitudinal axis extending through the two ends. The inflatable base extends outwardly from the second end in the floating state.

The bodies cooperate to define a biasing mechanism. In the floating state, this bias orients the longitudinal axis towards the vertical, such that the toy balloon floats downwardly in a substantially vertical fashion.

It is thus an object of the present invention to provide a unique non-latex balloon design. Another object is to provide a non-latex toy balloon that floats in a vertical orientation. Still another object is a toy balloon in the form of a rocket ship. It is yet another object of the present invention to provide a rocket ship toy balloon capable of “landing” in an upright position.

These and other features, objects and advantages of the present invention are described or apparent in the following detailed description.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

A preferred embodiment of the present invention is described herein with reference to the drawing wherein:

FIG. 1 is a top view of a preferred embodiment in a non-inflated state; and

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the preferred embodiment of FIG. 1, shown in a floating state.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

A preferred embodiment of the present invention is shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 as a non-latex toy balloon, generally designated 10. With appropriate printing, the balloon 10 has the appearance of a rocket ship. Preferably the balloon 10 is made in accordance with the now-expired teachings of U.S. Pat. No. 4,290,763, such that balloon 10 can be made from first, second and third sheets 12, 14, 16, respectively. The third sheet 16 is shown in phantom in FIG. 1.

The sheets 12, 14, 16 are conventionally joined to provide an inflatable body 18 and an inflatable base, generally designated 20. The body 18 is substantially elliptical, having a first end 22 and an opposite second end 24. The body 18 defines a longitudinal axis 26, extending through the first and second ends 22, 24.

The base 20 is attached to and extends outwardly from the body 18, substantially adjacent the second end 24 thereof. Preferably the base 20 communicates with the body 18, such that the balloon 10 can be filled through a single stem 28. The balloon 10 is sealed by a self-sealing valve 30 (shown in phantom in FIG. 1), mounted in the stem 28.

In this preferred embodiment, the base 20 includes three generally triangular sections 32, 34, 36, respectively, extending outwardly from the body 18 and away from the first end 22. The base sections 32, 34, 36 extend beyond the second end 24. As best shown in FIG. 2, the base sections 32, 34, 36 are substantially equally displaced about the longitudinal axis 26 of the body 18 in the floating state, i.e., when the balloon 10 is filled with helium.

More particularly, the base sections 32, 34, 36 are displaced by approximately 120 degrees from one another in the floating state. The extreme ends of the base sections 32, 34, 36 are substantially coplanar in the floating state, so as to form a landing tripod, generally designated 38. In this preferred embodiment, the stem 28 extends from the base section 32.

When filled with helium and released or thrown, the toy balloon 10 floats slowly downwardly as it verges on a buoyant structure. That is, the weight of the balloon 10 is slightly greater than the buoyancy created by the inflation gas, namely helium.

As shown, the balloon 10 includes three heat seals 40, 42, 44, partially interposing the body 18 and each of the base sections 32, 34, 36, respectively. These seals 40, 42, 44 generally correspond to an extension of the heat seals forming the body 18. The base sections 32, 34, 36 communicate with the body 18 around these partial heat seals 40, 42, 44. The position and length of the heat seals 40, 42, 44 may be varied to adjust the respective volumes of the body 18 and base 20.

The body 18 and base 20 cooperate to define bias means, generally designated 46. In the floating state, the bias means 46 biases the longitudinal axis 26 of the body 18 to a substantially vertical orientation, with the second end 24 below the first end 22. When the filled balloon 10 is released, this bias substantially vertically orients the longitudinal axis 26, and the toy balloon 10 ultimately “lands” on the tripod 38, provided by the base sections 32, 34, 36.

While a preferred embodiment has been described herein, it is to be understood that modifications and changes can be made without departing from the true scope and spirit of the present invention, as defined by the following claims, which are to be interpreted in view of the foregoing detailed description.