Title:
Jigsaw puzzle with drawing surface
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
There is provided an improved jigsaw puzzle which comprises polyfoam based puzzle pieces each having a drawing surface such as high quality drawing paper surface, a casing with a cover lid pivoted at one end of the casing for opening and closing a space within the casing, said space behind wide enough to hold the puzzle pieces whether assembled or disassembled, a puzzle frame unit for holding the puzzle pieces assembled therein. The resilient spacer is interposed between the puzzle pieces and the casing.



Inventors:
Morioka, Koji (New York, NY, US)
Application Number:
10/393726
Publication Date:
09/25/2003
Filing Date:
03/21/2003
Assignee:
MORIOKA KOJI
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/10; (IPC1-7): A63F9/10
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
WONG, STEVEN B
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DAY PITNEY LLP (Stamford, CT, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A jigsaw puzzle comprising: a number of puzzle pieces of polyfoam sheet material with a writing surface, the polyfoam sheet material with the writing surface being cut into the puzzle pieces with no or less grooves between the individual puzzle pieces due to its rebound property after cutting, and a drawing.

2. A jigsaw puzzle comprising: a number of puzzle pieces of polyfoam sheet material each having a drawing surface, and a puzzle frame unit of polyfoam material for holding the puzzle pieces assembled therein.

3. A jigsaw puzzle as defined in claim 1 wherein each of said puzzle pieces is made of single polyfoam sheet material having a blank drawing paper surface.

4. A jigsaw puzzle as defined in claim 1 wherein the drawing surface of each of said puzzle pieces is covered with select high-quality drawing paper.

5. A jigsaw puzzle as defined in claim 1 wherein the drawing surface of each of said puzzle pieces includes comprises high-quality drawing paper including water-color paper, cotton bristol drawing paper, charcoal papers, rice paper, canvas-textured paper, or various other kinds of papers suitable for various drawing tools.

6. A jigsaw puzzle as defined in claim 1 further comprising: a casing of a plastic rectangular shape with four side walls and a bottom wall.

7. A jigsaw puzzle as defined in claim 1 further comprising: a resilient spacer made of sponge for compressing the puzzle pieces whether assembled or disassembled.

Description:

RELATION WITH EARLIER APPLICATION

[0001] This is a continuation-in-part of Ser. No. 09/975,345 filed Oct. 10, 2001, now abandoned.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] This invention relates to a jigsaw puzzle and more particularly to a jigsaw puzzle with a blank drawing surface where the purchaser may draw pictures, characters, messages and abstract images and, puzzle pieces using a polyfoam sheet as the base.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] There are several different types of jigsaw puzzles on the market. One of the most popular types of jigsaw puzzles includes a large number of small irregularly cut pieces that are to be fitted together to form a picture. The whole picture is printed on individual ones of the pieces with the conventional printing technique. For the purchaser of the jigsaw puzzle, it is fun assembling the jumbled jigsaw pieces into a complete picture. Other types of the jigsaw puzzles are printed with a monotonous pattern, a single color, or a graded color to make the puzzles more difficult to put together. Those types of puzzles are produced in large quantity on the commercial basis and are not therefore individualized for the needs of particular persons. There is also the custom jigsaw puzzle using the customer's photo.

[0004] One of personalized jigsaw puzzles is suggested in U.S. Pat. No. 4,612,220 “JIGSAW MESSAGE PADS.” This prior patent shows a blank puzzle surface of plain white or other color paper, or a paper bearing unobtrusive decorative elements, for writing a message like a greeting card. However, the prior jigsaw puzzle has only a simple writing surface for writing messages, so that the purchaser may not draw a picture or a combined message and picture or a complicated picture. These prior art popular jigsaw puzzles mostly use chipboards as a base.

[0005] These chipboard-based puzzles have individual wide grooves formed at the junctions of the jigsaw pieces. These grooves are formed by the die-cut machine, because the force of the guillotine in the machine compacts every edge of every piece, causing a slope from the level at the center of the piece to the mashed level at the edge. In addition, this production process produces considerable rubbish of paper particles effected by cutting the chipboard.

[0006] Although many users of the usual puzzles may want to display the finished product of their efforts in assembling the puzzles, the appearance of these grooves between the pieces can be quite disturbing to the eye, because they interrupt the continuity of the image on the surface. They look like dark lines on the picture, and these lines are even more emphatic on lighter and brighter images. This spoils the picture.

[0007] In addition, if the user wants to draw a picture or write a message on an assembled blank puzzle surface, these grooves interfere with the action. The drawing instrument can get caught in or interrupted by the groove, ruining the stoke and so diminishing the quality of the image. Accordingly, it would be desirable to provide an improved jigsaw puzzle that addresses the above and other issues.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0008] It is an object of the invention to provide an improved writing jigsaw puzzle using a polyfoam sheet as the base.

[0009] According to the invention, the use of the polyfoam sheet as base eliminates or minimizes the depth of the groove, solving the above problems. The polyfoam sheet has a proper degree of flexibility as material so that, when the polyfoam sheet is cut into a number of small pieces of puzzles by die-cutting, the polyfoam sheet exhibits rebound action upon completion of die-cutting process to minimize or eliminate grooves to be formed between the neighbor ones of the puzzle pieces. The whole assembly of the small puzzle pieces of the polyfoam sheet material looks like a unit with no or less grooves between the individual puzzle pieces (that is, no appearance of dark lines), making it very easy for the purchaser of the jigsaw puzzle to draw a picture, do calligraphy or make an abstract image on a puzzle surface.

[0010] Moreover, using the polyfoam sheet sharply reduces the weight, making it easy to handle and more economical to mail. It also eliminates the rubbish of chipboard crumbs produced by the conventional method of die-cutting chipboard.

[0011] When a print of an image or a blank piece of paper is mounted on a polyfoam sheet and die-cut into small pieces to make a jigsaw puzzle, the assembled puzzle will warp, because a polyfoam sheet is a resilient material. This invention provides a frame unit, fitted around the entire assembled puzzle.

[0012] This fitted polyfoam frame is adhered to a backing sheet, so it constrains the assembled polyfoam jigsaw puzzle surface to lie flat, thus keeping the overall shape of the puzzle secure, and it also eliminates the possibility that the assembled puzzle will warp.

[0013] The above and further objects and novel features of the present invention will more fully appear from the following detailed description when the same is read in connection with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0014] FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view of a jigsaw puzzle according to one preferred embodiment of the present invention;

[0015] FIG. 2 is a cross sectional view of the jigsaw puzzle shown in FIG. 1 when a cover lid is open;

[0016] FIG. 3 is a cross sectional view of the jigsaw puzzle shown in FIG. 1. when the cover lid is half closed;

[0017] FIG. 4 is a cross sectional view of the jigsaw puzzle shown in FIG. 1 when the cover lid is fully closed; and

[0018] FIG. 5 shows samples of drawings on the jigsaw puzzle shown in FIG. 1.

[0019] FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of the state of a polyfoam base and a die-cut blade according to the invention.

[0020] FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view of the state at the moment the die-cut blade cuts up the polyfoam into small puzzle pieces.

[0021] FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view of the state after the polyfoam is die-cut into puzzle pieces, and shows the potential warping of the puzzle.

[0022] FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional view of the state of the shape of cut-out polyfoam puzzle pieces, showing how the frame unit constrains the assembled polyfoam jigsaw surface to lie flat.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0023] Referring to FIG. 1, there is illustrated a jigsaw puzzle according to one preferred embodiment of the present invention. The jigsaw puzzle illustrated in FIG. 1 includes a number of puzzle pieces 11 of polyfoam material, each having a blank drawing paper surface 12 instead of a printed surface. The purchaser of the jigsaw puzzle may enjoy drawing a picture, doing calligraphy or making an abstract image on the blank drawing paper puzzle surface 12, just like painting on a blank paper sheet or canvas. Upon completion of the drawing, the puzzle pieces 12 may be disassembled and then can be played like the conventional jigsaw puzzles.

[0024] The polyfoam sheet material of the jigsaw puzzle is covered with select high-quality drawing paper, which is produced by a paper mill specifically for expressing images, such as water-color paper, cotton bristol drawing paper, charcoal papers, rice paper, canvas textured paper, or various other kinds of papers suitable for various drawing tools. The purchaser of the jigsaw puzzle may use their favorite drawing tools, such as colored pencils, crayons, pastel, felt makers, pen and ink, airbrush, watercolor and brushes, airbrush, oil and acrylic paint, and so on.

[0025] The high-quality drawing paper surface 12 gives a wider range of use for the purchaser of the jigsaw puzzle to create his or her own unique picture puzzle rather than merely writing a message on it like a simple greeting card. Other appropriate surfaces specifically suited to various particular drawing instruments may also be used for the jigsaw puzzle of the present invention.

[0026] The jigsaw puzzle of small sizes (like the size of CD plastic casings) according to the present invention can be given as a gift, used as a novelty or promotional piece for an individual or a company, or other possible applications. It can be used by anyone who has an idea or image to be communicated, or just for the fun of it. In addition, because of its small size and relatively fewer pieces, it can be appropriate for children, as educational material as well as to encourage their artistic sense while they have fun making and exchanging picture jigsaw puzzles that they created.

[0027] On the other hand, the jigsaw puzzle of large sizes with larger numbers of puzzle pieces can be used by professional artists or amateurs. These could be for fun or for more serious expressions of their images. This benefit could serve as a new art medium for them.

[0028] Returning to FIG. 1, there is also illustrated a clear plastic casing 13 of a rectangular shape with four side walls 14 and a bottom wall 15. The casing 13 includes a clear plastic lid 16 that is hinged on one side and has a simple safety lock (not shown) similar to the conventional CD casing.

[0029] This clear plastic casing 13 solves problems with the prior art jigsaw puzzle with the open sleeve as shown in U.S. Pat. No. 4,612,220. The jigsaw puzzle of the present invention is not similar to the existing jigsaw puzzles, which are packaged as a group of jumbled pieces in a cardboard box, or the jigsaw puzzle as shown in U.S. Pat. No. 4,612,220 which uses a cardboard folder with an open sleeve.

[0030] The jigsaw puzzle of the present invention is presented as a whole, with the assembled puzzle pieces exactly fitted into a matching polyfoam frame 17. The polyfoam frame 17 is adhered to a backing sheet 18. The unit of the polyfoam frame 17 and the backing sheet 18 provides support to the assembled puzzle pieces 11. The entire item is packaged in the clear plastic casing 13, similar to the conventional CD casings. On opening the lid 16, the drawing or painting can be applied immediately to the puzzle surface without disturbing the overall arrangement of the puzzle pieces 11 and the frame 17. When the lid 16 is closed, the arrangement is maintained, even in the middle of preparing the drawing . Since the lid 16 is clear and transparent, the current state of the drawing can be seen and further development of it can be considered without even opening it. The casing 13 is easy to store, easy to assemble, easy to carry and easy to send.

[0031] On completion of the drawing, the puzzle pieces 11 can be disassembled, jumbled and placed back in the plastic casing 13. Positioned underneath the polyfoam frame 17 and the backing sheet 18 is a layer of resilient material 19, for example, soft sponge material, which makes the puzzle fill the box when it is assembled, but compresses to provide extra space when the puzzle pieces 11 are disassembled, jumbled and inserted in the plastic casing 13. Thus the casing can be closed in the middle of solving the puzzle and can be stored safely whether the puzzle is complete or incomplete.

[0032] Thus, all operations in regard to the jigsaw puzzle of the present invention can be performed without removing the puzzle pieces 11 from the plastic casing 13. On the other hand, if the purchaser wishes to put the assembled picture in a special frame for the wall or desktop, the construction of the polyfoam frame 17 and the backing sheet 18 will allow the whole of the jigsaw puzzle to maintain its shape safely.

[0033] The manufacture of the jigsaw puzzle according to the present invention is as follows: Special fine art drawing paper or other mediums are applied to the surface of the polyfoam sheet. The polyfoam frame 17 is die-cut in one piece with the puzzle pieces 11, and then the polyfoam frame 17 is adhered to the backing sheet 18, while the puzzle pieces 11 are kept separate from and on top of the backing sheet 18 but nevertheless remain a unit within the polyfoam frame 17.

[0034] The assembled puzzle pieces 11 and the polyfoam frame 17 together with the backing sheet 18 is then placed and packaged on top of the resilient sponge layer 19, with the plastic lid 16 parallel with the bottom wall 15 of the clear plastic casing 13. Other materials for the resilient layer 19 may be rubber or plastic rubber.

[0035] FIG. 2 shows a complete set of the jigsaw puzzle according to the present invention when the puzzle pieces 11 are assembled and the cover lid 16 remains open. Under this condition the resilient sheet 19 remains relaxed and uncompressed. FIG. 3 shows the complete jigsaw puzzle when the cover lid 16 is half closed. The resilient sheet 19 remains relaxed and uncompressed. FIG. 4 shows the complete jigsaw puzzle when the cover lid 16 is completed closed, so that all of the disassembled puzzle pieces 11 are accommodated in the internal space in the plastic casing 13. Under this condition all of the disassembled puzzle pieces 11 are pushed upward by the compressed resilient sheet 19, with no risk of the puzzle pieces slipping or sliding out of the casing 13.

[0036] FIG. 5 illustrates a wide variety of pictures or messages that may be created on the surface 12 of the jigsaw puzzle pieces 11.

[0037] The following is an explanation of how to make the puzzle pieces 11 of polyfoam base. The polyfoam base or EVA foam base is commercially available from Hygloss Product, Inc., 45 Hathaway Street, Wallington, N.J. 07057.

[0038] Referring FIG. 6, there is illustrated the die-cut blades 21 and the uncut polyfoam base 25.

[0039] Referring FIG. 7, there is illustrated die-cut blades 21 pressed into a polyfoam base 25 to cut all the way through. A polyfoam base 25 is a very resilient material. The thickness of blades 21 just pushed the polyfoam 25 aside, without crushing or collapsing any cut corner of puzzle pieces 11, and it does not produce any crumbs.

[0040] Referring FIG. 8, there is illustrated the die-cut blade 21 removed from the polyfoam base 25 cut up into small puzzle pieces 11. The surface of the puzzle has only a very small depth of groove 27 formed at the junctions of the jigsaw pieces 11. There is also illustrated the possibility that the entire assembled puzzle will warp.

[0041] Referring FIG. 9, there is illustrated the frame unit—a fitted polyfoam frame 17 adhering to a backing sheet 18—which constrains the assembled polyfoam jigsaw puzzle surface to lie flat.

[0042] Through the use of the polyfoam sheet cut into the puzzle pieces, this invention amazingly reduces the depth of the grooves, thanks to its rebound property, which improves the appearance of the images on the surface of the puzzle, since the lines formed by deep grooves interrupt the images. Eliminating these grooves also makes it much easier to write, draw or paint images on the surface of the assembled blank jigsaw puzzle. A further advantage is the elimination of the rubbish of paper particles generated in ordinary chipboard puzzle production. Moreover, this method reduces the weight of the puzzle.

[0043] Although several embodiments have been described, they are merely exemplary of the present invention and not to be construed as limiting, the present invention being defined solely by the appended claims.