Title:
Method of stuffing toy and toy with electronic pocket
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method of making a stuffed toy and a stuffed toy are disclosed. A method of making a stuffed toy requires forming a fabric skin into a body defining an interior space or cavity and an exterior surface, separated by a surface opening. A fabric sleeve or passageway connects to the surface opening on one end and is provided with a cinchable closure on its other or free end. The cinchable sleeve or passageway facilitates the environmentally-sound filling of the cavity with stuffing. After filling with stuffing, the cinchable end of the sleeve is closed off to form a pocket. The pocket can be used to hold an electronic component or sound chip in an isolated manner from the stuffing. The electronic component and stuffing in the cavity of the toy are sealed from access by a closure mechanism.



Inventors:
Beige, Marc P. (North Hills, NY, US)
Application Number:
09/999491
Publication Date:
04/24/2003
Filing Date:
10/19/2001
Assignee:
BEIGE MARC P.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63H3/00; A63H3/02; (IPC1-7): A63H3/02
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
FRANCIS, FAYE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
STEVEN WALLACH (NEW YORK, NY, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A skin for a to-be-stuffed toy comprising: one or more pieces of fabric formed to define an exterior surface of said stuffed toy and an interior cavity, said skin having a surface opening into said cavity through said exterior surface; a fabric sleeve attached on one end to said surface opening, said sleeve having at its other end a cinchable opening, said sleeve being capable of being moved from a first position extending outside said cavity and into a second position within said cavity, said cinchable opening of said sleeve, when closed, transforming said sleeve into a pocket, and a closing means for said surface opening.

2. A skin as claimed in claim 1, wherein said cinchable opening is provided by a draw-string.

3. A skin as claimed in claim 1, wherein said surface opening is defined by two opposed lip in said exterior surface of said skin.

4. A skin as claimed in claim 1, wherein said closing means for said surface opening comprises mating hook and loop strips.

5. A skin as claimed in claim 1, wherein said stuffed toy comprises a stuffed toy animal.

6. A skin as claimed in claim 1, wherein said sleeve is of sufficient size to conform to the exterior surface of a stuffing tube.

7. A skin as claimed in claim 1 further comprising an electronic component located in said pocket.

8. A toy formed from the skin claimed in claim 1, wherein stuffing is provided within said skin to provide three dimensional shape to said toy.

9. A toy as claimed in claim 8 further comprising an electronic component located in said pocket which is isolated from the stuffing within said toy.

10. A toy as claimed in claim 9 wherein said electronic component comprises a noise making device.

11. A method for making a three-dimensional stuffed toy comprising: a) providing a skin of one or more pieces of fabric, said skin defining an exterior surface and an interior cavity, said cavity being separated from said exterior surface by a surface opening; b) providing a sleeve with two ends, a first end connected to said surface opening and the second end of said sleeve being cinchable; c) providing a means for closing said surface opening; d) inserting stuffing into said cavity by passing a stuffing tube through said free end of said sleeve; e) removing said stuffing tube from said sleeve; and f) closing said cinchable end of said sleeve to transform the same into a pocket.

12. A method as claimed in claim 11 further comprising the step of: g) closing off said surface opening.

13. A method as claimed in claim 12 further comprising the step of placing an electronic component in said pocket before closing said surface opening.

14. A method as claimed in claim 11 wherein said cinchable end of said sleeve is provided with a drawstring.

15. A method as claimed in claim 11 further including the step of providing mating strips of hooks and loops for closing said surface opening.

16. A method as claimed in claim 11 wherein after removing said stuffing tube from said sleeve, said cinchable end of said sleeve is closed by pulling a drawstring and tying the same.

17. A method as claimed in claim 11 wherein after closing said cinchable end of said sleeve to transform the same into a pocket, an electronic component is placed into said pocket, and said surface opening is then closed.

18. A method as claimed in claim 11 further including the step of cinching said sleeve around a stuffing tube prior to said step of inserting stuffing into said cavity.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to a method of filling the body or “skin” of a stuffed toy. The present invention also relates to a stuffed toy that is provided with a pocket for holding an electronic device, such as a voice chip, to allow sound to be transmitted from the stuffed toy. The device and method for providing stuffing into the toy (at the manufacturing facility or even a retail establishment; hereinafter often collectively referred to as “the manufacturing facility”) also provides a pocket for holding an electronic device. The method and device ensures that the electronics are isolated from the stuffing material and, further, ensures that the stuffing material, during the stuffing process, does not become air-borne in the manufacturing facility. The pocket for the electronic device also serves as a passageway through which a stuffing tube is inserted into the interior space of the body or “skin” of the to-be-stuffed toy. The passageway is provided with a closure mechanism which allows the stuffing machine operator to cinch it tightly around the stuffing tube so that all stuffing material passing through the tube is delivered into the skin of the toy. This ensures that the air of the manufacturing facility remains substantially stuffing-free. Then, after stuffing is complete, the stuffing tube is removed, the passageway for the stuffing tube is tied off and the now-formed pocket inserted into the now-stuffed skin or body of the toy. The isolating pocket or pouch is useful for holding an electronic device.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Stuffed toys are typically formed in bulk manufacturing facilities by filling a sewn fabric “skin,” comprised of two seamed layers of fabric or material, with filler or stuffing material to create a three-dimensional soft representation of an animal, person, character or other form (hereinafter collectively referred to as “stuffed toys”). Stuffed toys have been conventionally made by sewing i.e, seaming the skin together in an inside-out fashion from pieces of fabric, leaving a small opening through which filler material may be inserted. After seaming together the two pieces of material, the skin is turned right-side out. A stuffing or filling tube is then inserted through the hole. Stuffing is then passed from a storage container of stuffing through the filling tube (through the hole) until the inside cavity of the toy expands by the stuffing material such that it resembles the desired three-dimensional shape. The tube is then removed and the opening closed off by a final sewing step. Alternatively, of course, the toy may be hand stuffed.

[0003] In current vogue is the stuffing of a toy skin at a retail establishment by a child who has just selected a stuffed toy skin. The injection tube is inserted through the opening in the toy's skin and the stuffing material is then injected, propelled or pumped through the tube into the interior space of the body. Whether the stuffing is done by bulk manufacturers or by storekeepers, traditionally, after stuffing and removal of the stuffing or injection tube, the opening in the seam is sewn closed from the outside of the skin using a sewing machine, which creates a ridge apparent on the skin of the finished stuffed toy. Often, this is unsightly. Recently, an attempt to avoid the ridge has been achieved by the use of pre-sewing of the opening with untensioned thread. Then, after stuffing, the tube is removed and the thread pulled tight thereby closing the lips of the opening in a more attractive manner.

[0004] During the stuffing process of the prior art, the high-powered blowing or injection of the stuffing material may allow stuffing material to become air-borne. This can occur even though the injection tube is directed into the skin of the toy. There is, therefore, a need in the art to provide a quick and simple mechanism which will minimize the health risks associated with air-borne stuffing material. The present invention provides a passageway for the stuffing which is cinchable around the injection tube such that air-borne stuffing is minimized.

[0005] Stuffed toys provided with sound chips are known in the prior art. However, there is a need to provide a convenient, inexpensive and easy manner for providing electronics (like a sound chip) in a stuffed toy. Furthermore, there is a need to provide a mechanism in stuffed toys which protects electronic components from becoming fouled with stuffing. The present invention provides a pocket for the electronic component(s) which serves to isolate the same from the stuffing. As will be more fully explained, the present invention provides a sleeve or passageway cinchable around the stuffing tube, which minimizes air-borne stuffing, which sleeve, after stuffing of the toy, is then capable of being closed off, formed into a pocket, and inserted or pushed into the toy, to thereby serve as an isolating pocket for the electronic components. Then, after the components, if any, are inserted into the now-formed pocket, the skin can be closed off, either in the conventional manner of sewing the seam closed, by a hook and loop closing mechanism, or by a zipper or one or more buttons.

[0006] U.S. Pat. No. 6,109,196 (the '196 patent) to Silber describes a method of making a stuffed toy that requires the initial fastening together of multiple fabric pieces to make the form or skin of the stuffed toy, while maintaining a small opening having two opposed lips. The opening provides access into the interior space or cavity of the stuffed toy. A length of filament is used to stitch through the opposed lips forming multiple spaced apart loops along the length of the opening. Each loop extends from one lip to the other and is not under tension so as to allow the lips to be separated. A stuffing apparatus with an injection tube is provided to propel stuffing material through the tube. The tube is inserted into the opening between adjacent loops of the filament and stuffing material is injected into the interior space of the body. The injection tube is then withdrawn and the filament is then pulled to tension the loops to draw the lips together and the opening is then tied off. The '196 patent does not describe the use of a sound component within the stuffed toy. The '196 patent does not discuss the hazards and risks associated with the possibility that air-borne stuffing may result when the stuffing is propelled into the skin and, yet, the lips of the skin are separated for the stuffing tube. The present invention seeks to reduce the risk and occurrence of air-borne stuffing material. There is a need to provide a convenient, easy to use and inexpensive method for inserting stuffing, to minimize air-borne stuffing material and to allow for the insertion and isolation from the stuffing material of an electronic component into a stuffed toy animal. The present invention accomplishes these goals.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] It is an object of the present invention to provide an improved method for making a stuffed toy with an electronic chip or component, whereby the electronic chip or component is substantially protected from exposure to stuffing. It is, however, an object of the invention to provide the isolation pocket in a convenient manner so that changing of the electronic chip or component(s), e.g., a battery, can be quickly and easily accomplished without the possibility of stuffing being removed from the stuffed toy. It is a further object of the invention to provide an isolating pocket for an electronic component(s) which separates the component from stuffing material such that any sound produced by the component is not immediately muffled by close proximity to the stuffing material. It is a further object of the invention to manufacture a stuffed toy in a simple and inexpensive manner which provides the manufacturer with the capability of selectively enclosing an electronic component.

[0008] It is a further object of the present invention to provide a stuffed toy with an internal pocket for holding an electronic chip or component whereby the internal pocket remains substantially free of stuffing to ensure longevity to the electronic component.

[0009] It is a further object of the present invention to provide a convenient, easy to use and inexpensive method for inserting stuffing into a toy skin made from layers of material, by using a sleeve or passageway for the guiding the stuffing through a tube, and after completing the stuffing of the stuffed toy, forming the sleeve or passageway into a pocket having the capacity to secure, in an isolated manner, an electronic component inside the toy. It should be appreciated that the pocket, with electronic toy therein, and after closing off the same as, by example, by hook and loop fastening, sewing, buttons, zipper, etc. maintains the electronic component out of easy access to a young child.

[0010] It is a further object of the present invention to provide a mechanism for stuffing a toy skin which decreases the risk of air-borne stuffing materials in the manufacturing facility.

[0011] Further objects and/or advantages of the invention will become apparent in conjunction with the disclosure herein.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0012] An understanding of the invention can be gained from the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:

[0013] FIG. 1 is a front plan and partial cut-away view of an embodiment (in the form of a teddy bear) of the stuffed toy of the present invention;

[0014] FIG. 2 is a rear plan view of the embodiment of the stuffed toy shown in FIG. 1;

[0015] FIG. 3 is an enlarged perspective view of a portion of an embodiment of the stuffed toy of the present invention showing the placement of a stuffing tube into the cinchable opening of the sleeve or passageway;

[0016] FIG. 4 is a perspective and partial cut-away view of an embodiment of the partially stuffed toy of the present invention showing a location of a stuffing passageway as stuffing material is initially fed therethrough into the cavity of the stuffed toy (the stuffing tube is not shown for ease of illustration);

[0017] FIG. 5 is another perspective view of of an embodiment of the stuffed toy of the present invention showing the sleeve or passageway (elongated for ease of understanding) drawn-out from the interior space of the skin or body during the stuffing step of the toy;

[0018] FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a fabric segment of an embodiment of the present invention wherein the surface opening in the stuffed toy skin has been closed by velcro (which could also have been accomplished by a zipper, by buttons, or by sewing) thus hiding from view the now-internal pocket (transformed from the sleeve or passageway, after pulling the drawstring tight and tying off the same) that is contained in the cavity, i.e., below the surface opening;

[0019] FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a segment of an embodiment of the present invention where the component-holding pocket (converted by tying off the end of the passageway) is outside the stuffed toy, i.e., before it is pushed into the cavity through the surface opening of the skin (this Figure shows the tying-off of the cinchable opening of the passageway, after the stuffing tube has been removed as a consequence of the item becoming fully stuffed, but before the now-formed pocket has been pushed into the item);

[0020] FIG. 8 is a perspective view of an exterior segment of an embodiment of the present invention after the cinchable opening of the sleeve or passageway has been tied-off to form a pocket and after the pocket has been pushed inside of the toy (the stapler is in the picture only to maintain a spread of the lips of the surface opening for ease of illustration and forms no part of the present invention);

[0021] FIG. 9 is a perspective view of an interior, fabric segment of an embodiment of the present invention where the sleeve or passageway is shown attached to and extending from the lips of the surface opening and into the interior cavity of a stuffed toy's skin and before the passageway has been pulled outside of the skin to facilitate the stuffing process;

[0022] FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a the exterior of a segment of an embodiment of the present invention showing the spread lips of the surface opening along with the mating hook and loop fastening strips on opposed lips, with a portion of the interior of the pocket also being visible (the human fingers are present to facilitate viewing of the pocket and form no part of the present invention);

[0023] FIG. 11 is a perspective and cross-sectional view of a segment of an embodiment of the present invention showing a portion of the formed pocket with the draw-string pulled closed and tied off and extending into the cavity of the stuffed toy (this is the condition of the pocket after the sleeve has been converted from a passageway for introducing stuffing by a) closing off the end of the passageway by pulling tight and tying the drawstring and b) by pushing thenow-formed pocket and drawstring into the cavity of the stuffed toy;

[0024] FIG. 12A is an enlarged perspective view of a segment of an embodiment of the present invention showing the sleeve or passageway and drawstring, with the free end or cinchable end having the drawstring and the opposite end of the sleeve or passageway attached to the lips of the surface opening of the skin;

[0025] FIG. 12B is a downsized, perspective view of a segment of an embodiment of the present invention showing the formed pocket and opened lips of the surface opening, after the pocket has been pushed into the cavity of the stuffed toy, yet before the surface opening has been sealed shut (as, for example, by use of mating hook and loop fastener strips, a zipper, sewing and/or a button(s) or snaps (this is the condition of the stuffed toy prior to introduction of an electronic component into the pocket; and

[0026] FIG. 13 is a flow chart showing an embodiment of the method of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS AND THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0027] To accomplish the above objects a stuffed toy 10 is described (preferably in the shape of a teddy bear or other stuffed animal, character or device). According to conventional manufacturing techniques (and to appreciate the present invention by comparison) the prior art stuffed toy was usually made from two pieces of patterned and then cut fabric. According to conventional manufacturing techniques, the fabric pieces were patterned and cut from large bolts of material. Thereafter, the two layers of fabric were laid exterior surface against exterior surface (sometimes more than two layers or pieces are cut to form the toy skin) and sewn, about their edges, to form a skin (inside out) for a three-dimensional stuffed toy product. The skin is then turned outside out and stuffed. Thereafter the surface closing is sewn shut thereby closing off access to the interior cavity of the product. More specifically, the stuffed toy skin was filled, as desired, with stuffing, and thereafter the manufacturer would close off the cavity, with the stuffing therein, by a final closure of the lips of the surface opening. The present invention contemplates, as a preferred embodiment, that the closure of the surface opening be accomplished by conventional mating hook and loop strips of material but, of course, it should be appreciated by those of ordinary skill in the art that other closures can be used, too, as, for example, sewing thread, a zipper, buttons, a snap, etc.

[0028] The present invention provides, for the purpose of facilitating an environmentally-sound stuffing of the cavity of the toy and for use as an electronic holding pocket, a tubular piece of fabric, a sleeve or passageway, sewn to the lips of the surface opening. The tubular fabric or sleeve, after use as a passageway for facilitating the stuffing of the cavity of the toy, converts into a pocket for an electronic device or component. The pocket is formed by closing off a cinchable opening or end of the sleeve and then pushed into the cavity of the toy. Thus, the pocket is fully contained within the toy. After the pocket is pushed inside the toy and an electronic component inserted into the pocket (if desired) the lips of the surface opening of the skin of the stuffed toy are sealed.

[0029] The sleeve or passageway 20, formed into a tube preferably from a single piece of fabric, is secured to the lips of the surface opening of the toy. The free end or cinchable end of the sleeve or passageway 20 is provided with a drawstring. The drawstring is held in a fabric-formed channel at the free end of the sleeve (in a conventional manner). In the preferred embodiment, the length of the sleeve or passageway 20, from lips of the surface opening to the cinchable end with drawstring is but a few inches (dependent upon the size of the toy and the electronics sought to be held in the to-be-formed pocket) but certainly is long enough to allow for the sleeve or passageway 20 to be located outside of the skin, during stuffing, and yet, pushed inside of the cavity, after stuffing, for the selective receipt of an electrical component, as, for example, a sound chip and battery. The cinchable or free end of the sleeve or passageway 20, then, defines an opening which can vary in diameter, at least when the drawstring is not pulled tightly and knotted. When the drawstring is pulled tight and knotted (three times) the sleeve or passageway 20 transforms into a pocket for the electronic component, after it is pushed inside the cavity of the skin.

[0030] For stuffing of the skin, the fabric is turned right-side out. The sleeve or passageway is pulled outside of the cavity. The stuffing tube of the stuffing machine is placed through the cinchable or free end of the sleeve. Then, the drawstring is pulled around the tube. During stuffing, the stuffing will pass into the cavity of the skin and will not become air-borne. This is enviornmentally and health friendly. After stuffing is completed, the tube is withdrawn and the sleeve or passageway closed off by the tying of the drawstring (after cinching it closed). This forms the pocket which is then pushed inside of the cavity of the toy.

[0031] After using the fabric sleeve or passageway 20 for inserting stuffing into the cavity of the toy, the draw-string 40 may be pulled tightly and tied off, thus closing the cinchable opening or free end 28 and forming a pocket. The draw-string 40 may be knotted to securely maintain the free end or cinchable opening 28 in a closed position. Indeed, in the preferred embodiment, the draw-string 40 is knotted three times to prevent untying of the knots. Then, the draw-string 40 and now-formed pocket 23 are pushed into the interior cavity 140 of the body 14 of the toy. Alternatively, instead of using a draw-string 40, other means may be used to close the inner opening 28 of the passageway to form the pocket 23.

[0032] After stuffing, the surface opening 100, defined by the opposed lips, may then be closed by mating hook and loop strips of material or other closure means. As shown in FIGS. 3 and 12A, a hook strip may be sewn along a first lip 17 and a mating strip of loops sewn along second lip 18, of the surface opening. As shown in FIG. 9, preferably, the hook and loop mating strips are attached to the first lip 17 and second lip 18 on the interior surface 15 of the fabric pieces to obscure from view the closing mechanism when the stuffed toy is completed. Alternatively, other suitable closure means may be used to open and close the surface opening 100. After stuffing of the stuffed toy, and before closing the surface opening 100 of the stuffed toy 10, an electronic chip or component 50 may be placed in the pocket 23. In this way, the pocket 23 provides a holding container or cavity, physically separating and isolating the stuffing from the components. The pocket 23, much like the pocket of a pair of pants, holds the electronic chip or component 50 free from substantial contact with the stuffing in the cavity of the toy. Here, however, in contrast to an ordinary pant's pocket, the pocket with its contents, if any, is closed on one side (the free end or cinchable opening by a drawstring) and closed on the surface opening end by a sealing or closure mechanism (preferably, hook and loop strips).

[0033] As shown in FIG. 1, a stuffed toy 10, such as a stuffed bear may be manufactured according to the method of the present invention. As shown in FIG. 4, the stuffed toy 10 comprises a skin or body 14. The body 14 may be formed from a single piece of fabric 11 or other suitable material. The pattern pieces which are sewn together to form the body are designed and conform to the shape of the toy. One, two or more fabric pieces can be cut and pieced together, sewn by thread or otherwise connected together to form a toy skin for a stuffed toy. The inside cavity is intended to befilled with stuffing material through a surface opening in the skin, deliberately left there by the manufacturer until after the stuffing inflates the skin to its desired three-dimensional shape. In this manner, the stuffing can be supplied after the skin is first shipped to the purchaser, whether a wholesaler in the US or to a retail store. Shipping costs are thus saved and, in addition, as mentioned, it is currently in vogue to have the skin purchased by the consumer and the consumer participate in the stuffing operation. The body 14 thus defines and encloses an interior space or cavity 104. As shown in FIG. 9, the fabric 11 has an inside surface 15 and, as shown in FIG. 6, an exterior surface 16. Conventionally, the inside surface is smooth and unfinished and the exterior surface is textured and finished although, of course, both surfaces may be identical. As shown in FIG. 2, the edges of the surface opening 100 (into the cavity of the skin) may have a first lip 17 and second opposed lip 18. A first hook-provided strip may be located along the length of the first lip 17 and a mating and opposed loop-provided strip is located along the length of the second lip 18, such that the first strip is matingly engageable and removable to and from the second strip, thereby closing and selectively opening the surface opening 100. As shown in FIG. 6, preferably when the strips are secured to one another, i.e., the surface opening 100 is closed, a substantially hidden “seam” 8 results that is not generally visible to a person viewing the stuffed toy. Alternatively, a zipper or other suitable closure means may be used to close the surface opening 100.

[0034] In FIG. 5 there is shown a sleeve or passageway 20, which has been pulled out from the interior space or cavity 104 of the stuffed toy 10. The sleeve or passageway 20 is shown with the drawstring on the outside of the cavity 104. The sleeve 20 is held to the inside of the toy by having it sewn or otherwise secured around the lips of the surface opening. The sleeve with drawstring on its free end (acting as a cinchable opening) facilitates an environmentally-sound stuffing of the toy. In this orientation of the sleeve or passageway 20, a stuffing tube will be inserted into the sleeve or passageway 20. The drawstring is then drawn around the stuffing tube to secure, in a relatively tight manner, the sleeve or passageway around the stuffing tube. If desired a knot can be made in the drawstring to ensure that the sleeve or passageway is held on the stuffing tube. Then, the stuffing is propelled or otherwise blown into the toy. The stuffing material passes from a storage bin or container (not shown) through the filler tube and into the cavity 104 of the toy. The sleeve or passageway, held about the exterior of the filler tube by the drawstring, serves to substantially prevent the escape of the stuffing material into the environment. After stuffing is completed, the thrusting force (if a machine is used) is turned off and the sleeve or passageway is removed from the filler tube by untying the drawstring (if it was tied) and removal of the passageway from the exterior of the filler tube. Of course, some space in the interior or cavity of the toy should be left unfilled with stuffing so that the pocket (to be formed) can be inserted into the cavity with or without the electronic component.

[0035] As shown in FIG. 5, in constructing the stuffed toy 10, the sleeve or passageway 20 (which transforms into an electronics-holding pocket by the tightening and tying of the drawstring and pushing the drawstring and pocket 23 into the cavity 104, may be partially sewn along a wall 19 to a segment 22 of the body, such that the surface opening 100 is formed and permits entry into the cavity of the pocket. The pocket 23 may be formed from two rectangular patches of material (or a single piece of fabric) of substantially the same size, although the shape of the pocket is not critical. The two rectangular patches may be sewn together by formation of seams along two opposed edges. The passageway 20 is not sewn along wall 21, preferably opposite wall 19, to form the cinchable opening or free end 28. A seam 42 is provided, yet spaced from the wall 21 to form the cinchable opening or free end 28. The seam 42 thus forms a channel 43. The drawstring 40 is threaded through the channel 43. The two ends of the drawstring 40 extend beyond the channel 43. The drawstring 40 may be pulled at its ends to close the cinchable opening or free end 28 of the sleeve or passageway 20, both for closing the passageway around the stuffing tube during stuffing and, after stuffing and tying to form the pocket. Alternatively, in lieu of the channel and drawstring, a thread extending from edge to edge of the wall 21 can be provided, much like that used to close off the opening of the skin in the aforementioned U.S. Pat. No. 6,109,196. After stuffing, the thread may be tensioned and tied off to close off the sleeve and thereby form a pocket.

[0036] The size of the pocket 23 is not critical, but should be sufficient preferably to hold an electronic component 50 to allow sound to emanate from the stuffed toy 10. Furthermore, the pocket 23 should be sufficiently sized to allow a stuffing tube 200 to be passed through the free end or cinchable opening 28 in the sleeve or passageway 20 and to allow the passageway to be pulled tightly around the stuffing tube.

[0037] A stuffing apparatus or means for stuffing may be provided in the form of a tube 200. As shown in FIG. 3 and FIG. 9, the surface opening 100 is open and the sleeve or passageway has been drawn from the interior space or cavity 104 to the outside (much like pulling one's pockets out of one's pants). Then the tube 200 is inserted through the cinchable opening or free end 28 of the passageway 20. The tube 200 (not a part of the present invention) may or may not extend into the interior space 104 of the body 14. The drawstring 40 is pulled to tighten and hold the passageway around the surface of the stuffing filling tube 200. If desired, the drawstring can be tied with a knot so that the sleeve or passageway does not slip off of the tube 200, during stuffing. Of course, as mentioned, this ensures a more environmentally-sound stuffing. Stuffing or filler material 105 may then be inserted though the tube 200 into the inner space or cavity 104 of the body 14. After the stuffing has been inserted and the right volume achieved for the skin and toy, the tube 200 may be pulled out or removed (with or without the necessity of first untying the drawstring. The drawstring 40 is then pulled tight, the free end or cinchable opening fully closed off, and the drawstring knotted to ensure that the passageway is now a pocket for the electronic component. The drawstring may be knotted three times to make the closure even more secure. Then, the pocket is pushed into the interior of the cavity. If desired, an electronic chip with battery or other components 50 (that provide for the emission of sound, for example) may then be placed inside the pocket 23 through the surface opening 100. Then the surface opening 100 at the outside edge of the pocket may be closed by mating the closure strips along the first lip 17 and the second lip 18 or by securing alternative closing means. In this way, an electronic chip 20 or other components may be secured within the pocket 23. Any such components will be free of contact, i.e., isolated, from the stuffing or filler material 105.

[0038] In use, the stuffed toy may be held by a child or such other person. The electronic component will emit sound (randomly or in response to a switching action) or create a motion, according to the specifications of the particular electronic component inserted in the pocket of the stuffed toy. The electronic component or its battery may be replaced easily and conveniently by merely opening the surface opening and removing the component(s) and substituting the replacement electronic component(s).

[0039] Having described this invention with regard to specific embodiments, it is to be understood that the description is not meant as a limitation since further variations or modifications may be apparent or may suggest themselves to those skilled in the art. It is intended that the present application cover such variations and modifications.





 
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