Title:
Toy train track
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A section of a toy train track includes a wooden board having grooves that represent rails of the toy train track and are for guiding wheels of a toy vehicle. Burned portions of the wooden board represent crossties.



Inventors:
Han, Cheng Hua (Taichung, TW)
Application Number:
10/349144
Publication Date:
07/24/2003
Filing Date:
01/21/2003
Assignee:
Mentari Massen International CO., Ltd.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
238/10F
International Classes:
A63H18/02; A63H19/30; (IPC1-7): E01B27/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
JULES, FRANTZ F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ALSTON & BIRD LLP (CHARLOTTE, NC, US)
Claims:

That which is claimed:



1. A section of a toy train track that is for guiding wheels of a toy vehicle, the section comprising: a wooden board including grooves that represent rails of the toy train track and are for guiding the wheels of the toy vehicle, wherein burned portions of the wooden board, which are formed by the application of heated stamps, represent crossties of the toy train track.

2. A section according to claim 1, wherein the board has opposite ends and includes a tapered tenon at one of the ends and a tapered mortise at the other of the ends, and wherein the tenon and the mortise are for connecting the section to other sections of the toy train track.

3. A section of a toy train track that is for guiding wheels of a toy vehicle, the section comprising: a wooden board having grooves that represent rails of the toy train track and are for guiding the wheels of the toy vehicle, wherein the grooves are elongate and extend in a longitudinal direction, burned portions of the wooden board represent crossties of the toy train track, the burned portions are spaced apart from one another in the longitudinal direction and arranged in a longitudinally extending series, and each of the burned portions extends transverse to the longitudinal direction.

4. A section according to claim 3, wherein the board has opposite ends and includes a tapered tenon at one of the ends and a tapered mortise at the other of the ends, and wherein the tenon and the mortise are for connecting the section to other sections of the toy train track.

5. A method of forming a section of a toy train track that is for guiding wheels of a toy vehicle, the method comprising: forming grooves in a wooden board so that the grooves represent rails of the toy train track and are for guiding the wheels of the toy vehicle; and burning portions of the wooden board to form optical markings that represent crossties of the toy train track.

6. A method according to claim 5, wherein burning portions of the wooden board comprises applying heated stamps to the wooden board.

7. A method according to claim 6, further comprising mounting the heated stamps to a holder to provide predetermined spacing between the burned portions and predetermined orientation of the burned portions.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to a section of a toy train track, with the section being a wooden board having grooves that represent rails and are for guiding wheels of a toy vehicle, and the board further including optical markings that represent crossties.

[0002] By their configuration and coloration, train track sections of this type give the impression of a real railway track bed. In this connection, problems are incurred with the crossties, since they are intended to be distinct from the coloration of the largely uncolored railway track bed. Painted-on markings, which are intended to represent the crossties, are rapidly wiped off and worn by use, thereby making the train track sections unsightly.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0003] One aspect of the present invention is the provision of an improved section of a toy train track, with the section including a wooden board having grooves that represent rails and are for guiding wheels of a toy vehicle, and the board further including optical markings that are burned portions of the board and represent crossties.

[0004] Each of the markings is applied by an elongate stamp, whose stamp surface (embossing surface) corresponds to the surface of the crosstie that is to be represented. For example, the embossing surface of the stamp may also include markings, grooves, projections, and the like, which indicate the wood grain of the crossties.

[0005] The stamp is advantageously heated by an electric resistance heater or an electric induction heater. By adapting the temperature, the action time, and operative pressure of the stamps, it is possible to create any desired shade in the brown-gray range.

[0006] Coloring of the remainder of the train track section, with varnish or the like, may occur before or after marking the crossties. The applied paint may possibly also contribute to the shade of the marking of the crossties. However, the wood may also be left in its natural state.

[0007] In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, a plurality of heated stamps are mounted to a holder to ensure that the markings of the crossties always have the same orientation and spacing, once they are preselected. This considerably simplifies the manufacturing. It requires three different holders, i.e. one holder for the straight rails and other two holders for the curved rails.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0008] In the following, embodiments of the invention are described with reference to the drawings, in which:

[0009] FIGS. 1A and 1B illustrate closed tracks formed by assembling train track sections of the present invention;

[0010] FIG. 2A shows a straight train track section;

[0011] FIG. 2B shows a train track section curved to the left;

[0012] FIG. 2C shows a train track section curved to the right; and

[0013] FIG. 3 is a sectional view of a (straight or curved) train track section.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0014] The present inventions now will be described more fully hereinafter with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which some, but not all embodiments of the inventions are shown. Indeed, these inventions may be embodied in many different forms and should not be construed as limited to the embodiments set forth herein; rather, these embodiments are provided so that this disclosure will satisfy applicable legal requirements. Like numbers refer to like elements throughout.

[0015] Each train track section is a board 1, which is straight or circularly curved depending on the desired shape. Each train track section contains two grooves 2 with a spacing of rails. These grooves are used for guiding the wheels of the toy vehicles.

[0016] Each train track section comprises at its one end a connection pin 3 (e.g., a tapered tenon), which has a head 4 at its free end. Each train track section includes at its opposite end face a recess 5 (e.g., a tapered mortise), which is congruent with the connection pin 3. In the longitudinal direction, the train track sections are tightly joined to one another by respectively inserting the connection pins into the recesses of other train track sections. It is possible to join the train track sections to form open or closed tracks. Connection pins and recesses of a configuration other than that shown may be used, provided they have a corresponding dovetail-type function.

[0017] With these straight and bent train track sections that curve to the left or right in the direction of the connection pins, it is possible to assemble the closed tracks of FIG. 1A or FIG. 1B in the form of a circle, an oval, or a figure eight.

[0018] All train track sections of one type have identical markings 6, which indicate the crossties. Each marking is applied by a heated stamp. The stamps are heated, for example, by an induction or a resistance heater (soldering iron). By applying the stamps and adjusting the temperature, the contact pressure, and the action time of the stamps, the surface of the wood board or its color receives a burn or scorch, which has the desired shade, length, orientation, and shape of the crossties.

[0019] Each type of rail (straight or curved) is associated to a holder with a plurality of stamps. The stamps have the spacing of the crossties and their orientation (which is largely parallel or directed to the center of the circle of the curved rails).

[0020] The markings among themselves need not be identical. Although one holder with a plurality of stamps is used for applying the markings, these stamps may however have different embossing surfaces. It is advantageous to use a holder that is adapted to the desired shape of the train track section and comprises several stamps because it is possible to produce the crosstie markings with the desired spacing and the desired (largely radial) orientation of the markings in one step, which requires only one holder for the left-hand curved and right-hand curved train track sections.

[0021] Many modifications and other embodiments of the inventions set forth herein will come to mind to one skilled in the art to which these inventions pertain having the benefit of the teachings presented in the foregoing descriptions and the associated drawings. Therefore, it is to be understood that the inventions are not to be limited to the specific embodiments disclosed and that modifications and other embodiments are intended to be included within the scope of the appended claims. Although specific terms are employed herein, they are used in a generic and descriptive sense only and not for purposes of limitation.