Title:
Playthings
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A plaything is formed from a single sheet of material having a first pair of parallel interrupted hinge lines (10 and 11) afforded by spaced hinge portions (10A, 10B, and 11A, 11B), and a second pair of parallel interrupted hinge lines (12, 13) afforded by spaced hinge portions (12A, 12B and 13A, 13B), the second pair of parallel interrupted hinge lines (12, 13) being at right angles to the first pair of parallel interrupted hinge lines (10, 11), and the sheet being so cut as to permit folding of the sheet about each of the hinge lines (10, 11, 12 and 13).



Inventors:
Byrnes, Robert Burell (Devon, GB)
Application Number:
10/332075
Publication Date:
05/13/2004
Filing Date:
01/02/2003
Assignee:
BYRNES ROBERT BURELL
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/08; (IPC1-7): A63H33/04
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
SUHOL, DMITRY
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MELVIN I. STOLTZ, ESQ. (MILFORD, CT, US)
Claims:
1. A plaything formed from a single sheet of material having a first pair of parallel interrupted hinge lines afforded by spaced hinge portions, and a second pair of parallel interrupted hinge lines afforded by spaced hinge portions, the second pair of parallel interrupted hinge lines being at right angles to the first pair of parallel interrupted hinge lines, and the sheet being so cut as to permit folding of the sheet about each of the hinge lines.

2. A plaything as claimed in claim 1, which can be inverted and returned to its original condition by folding of the sheet twice about each of the fold lines.

3. A plaything as claimed in claim 1, in which the sheet is so cut as to divide it into eight zones each of which is connected by hinge portions to two other zones.

4. A plaything as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, in which cutting of the sheet is effected by forming incisions in the sheet.

5. A plaything as claimed in claim 4, in which the incisions extend to points of intersection of the hinge portions.

6. A plaything as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 3, in which cutting of the sheet is effected by forming an excision in the sheet.

7. A plaything as claimed in claim 1, in which the hinge portions extend outwardly from the points of intersection of the hinge lines.

8. A plaything as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, in which an image is provided on one side of the sheet and in which portions of a second image are provided on the other side of the sheet such that, during folding of the plaything, a condition can be obtained in which said second image is displayed.

9. A plaything as claimed in claim 8, in which portions of a third image are provided on the other side of the sheet such that, during folding of the plaything, a condition can be obtained in which said third image is displayed.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] This invention relates to playthings, and is particularly concerned with folding playthings.

BACKGROUND TO THE INVENTION

[0002] Picture puzzles and puzzles involving the inversion of geometric forms appeal to many people, often especially to children. They have been found to be an effective advertising medium and are regularly used as promotional items, for example, in packets of food. There is accordingly a constant demand for new and innovative, but simple, playthings, particularly folding playthings.

[0003] Many invertible linkages are available as toys or novelties. Examples are shown in European Patent Specifications Nos. 0 069 188 and 0 787 514. Picture toys which display an inversion motion are shown in British Registered Design No. 2061816 and in British Patent Specification No. 2 333 721. The manufacture of both these toys involve assembling and gluing, and it is an object of the present invention to provide a simple plaything which can be produced from a single sheet of material and the manufacture of which does not involve any gluing operation.

[0004] A fold-through picture puzzle which can be formed from a single sheet of material, appropriately creased and incised, is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,735,520. A characteristic of this puzzle is, however, that it has a very large number of creases with the consequence that the obtaining of a fold-through motion is a complex procedure, i.e. the puzzle is too complex for it to be a popular novelty or promotional item.

[0005] It is accordingly a further objection of the present invention to provide a plaything which can be formed from a single sheet of material in such manner as to provide a simple fold-through motion.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] According to the present invention there is provided a plaything formed from a single sheet of material having a first pair of parallel interrupted hinge lines afforded by spaced hinge portions, and a second pair of parallel interrupted hinge lines afforded by spaced hinge portions, the second pair of parallel interrupted hinge lines being at right angles to the first pair of parallel interrupted hinge lines, and the sheet being so cut as to permit folding of the sheet about each of the hinge lines.

[0007] The plaything can preferably be inverted and returned to its original condition by folding of the sheet twice about each of the fold lines.

[0008] The sheet is preferably so cut as to divide it into eight zones each of which is connected by hinge portions to two other zones.

[0009] Cutting of the sheet may be effected by forming incisions in the sheet. The incisions may extend to points of intersection of the hinge portions.

[0010] Cutting of the sheet may alternatively be effected by forming an excision in the sheet.

[0011] The sheet will normally be a relatively thin sheet of, for example, paper or card but may have a definite thickness. For example, the sheet may be of wood, in which case the plaything is also a toy.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0012] FIG. 1a shows a first form of plaything in accordance with the present invention,

[0013] FIG. 1b shows a plaything which includes a curvate excision,

[0014] FIG. 1c shows a plaything which includes a curvate incision,

[0015] FIGS. 2a to 2g show further embodiments of the invention and provide an indication of the variety of shapes which can be adopted,

[0016] FIGS. 3a to 3c show yet further embodiments of the invention, and

[0017] FIGS. 4a to 4h show a full cycle of folding operations of the first form of plaything.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0018] FIG. 1a shows a single sheet of a material which can, through creasing, moulding or any other process, become hinged along predetermined lines. Examples of suitable materials include paper, cardboard, polymers, cloth, laminates and wood.

[0019] The sheet of material shown in FIG. 1a is square and has two vertical interrupted hinge lines 10 and 11, and two horizontal interrupted hinge lines 12 and 13. There are thus two pairs of parallel interrupted hinge lines and the first pair of parallel interrupted hinge lines 10 and 11 are at 90° to the second pair of parallel interrupted hinge lines 12 and 13.

[0020] Each interrupted hinge line 10, 11, 12, 13 includes two spaced coaxial hinge portions 10A and 10B, 11A and 11B, 12A and 12B and 13A and 13B respectively. For convenience, reference numerals 10, 11, 12 and 13 as such are not shown in FIG. 1a though they will be referred to in the following description.

[0021] The sheet of material shown in FIG. 1a is also formed with four incisions 14, 15, 16 and 17. As shown the four incisions 14 to 17 intersect at the centre of the square sheet of material and extend towards the four corners of the sheet of material terminating at points 18 to 21. Point 18 is at the intersection of hinge portions 10A and 12A. Point 19 is at the intersection of hinge portions 11A and 12B. Point 20 is at the intersection between hinge portions 11B and 13B and point 21 is at the intersection between hinge portions 10B and 13A.

[0022] It is to be noted from FIG. 1a that the hinge portions 10A to 13B extend outwardly from the intersection points 18 to 21.

[0023] The square sheet of material can be folded along any one of the hinge lines 10, 11, 12 and 13, with a completed cycle of folding operations (as described below with reference to FIGS. 4a to 4h) serving to effect a fold-through operation and complete inversion of the sheet.

[0024] The presented surface of the sheet can be considered as being divided into eight zones 22 to 29 each of which is connected by two hinge portions to two other zones. For example, zone 22 is connected by hinge portion 10A to zone 23 and is connected by hinge portion 12A to zone 25, while zone 28 is connected by hinge portion 10B to zone 27 and by hinge portion 11B to zone 29.

[0025] When folding is effected about hinge line 10, zones 22, 25 and 27 can be turned through 180° relative to the remaining zones 23, 24, 26, 28 and 29. In addition, after a folding operation has been effected about hinge line 10, a subsequent folding operation can then be carried out about any one of the other hinge lines 11, 12 and 13, in the same direction as folding about hinge line 10 was effected.

[0026] The presented surface of the sheet normally carries an image. The image may extend over all the zones 22 to 29 of the sheet, or the image may be confined to zones 23, 25, 26 and 28. An additional image or images may be provided on the underside of the sheet. For example, the undersides of zones 23 and 28 may together bear an additional image, and the undersides of zones 25 and 26 may together bear another additional image. One of such additional images may include parts which are on the undersides of zones 22, 24, 27 and 29.

[0027] Turning next to FIG. 1b, this shows a plaything which corresponds to that shown in FIG. 1a except that the incisions 14, 15, 16 and 17 have been replaced by a continuous cut 30 which forms an opening 31 in the centre of the sheet. The points 18, 19, 20 and 21 are within the area of the opening 31 and are, therefore, not shown. In modifications of the arrangement shown in FIG. 1b, one, two, three or all four of the points 18 to 21 are located on the line of the continuous cut 30. The sheet of FIG. 1b is again divided into eight zones 22 to 29 by the two pairs of parallel interrupted hinge lines 10A to 13B, and the sheet can again be folded as described above with reference to FIG. 1a.

[0028] FIG. 1c shows a further plaything which is again formed from a single sheet of material formed with two pairs of parallel interrupted fold lines, as with the embodiment of FIG. 1a, but differs from the embodiment of FIG. 1a in that the four incisions 14, 15, 16 and 17 have been replaced by a single somewhat meandering curvate incision 32 which starts at point 20, passes through points 19 and 18, and finishes at point 21. The single sheet of material is again divided into eight zones 22 to 29, each of which is connected by two hinge portions to two other zones.

[0029] The embodiments shown in FIG. 2a to FIG. 2g are examples providing an indication of the versatility of the present invention and demonstrating just some of the many visual transformable images which may be provided. Thus, FIG. 2a shows a circular sheet formed with incisions arranged at right angles to one another. FIG. 2b shows a rectangular sheet formed with four intersecting incisions which are not at right angles to one another. FIG. 2c shows a plaything which bears a representation of a cat, while FIG. 2d shows a sheet with a curvate outline and curvate incisions. FIG. 2e shows a square sheet formed with three straight incisions at angles of 45° to the sides of the square. FIG. 2f shows a plaything which resembles a kite, and FIG. 2g shows a square sheet with a central excision bounded by four curves.

[0030] FIG. 3a shows a plaything which has a more complex configuration than the playthings which are shown in FIGS. 2a to 2g. It can be folded through a cycle of folding steps provided that the first fold is effected about hinge line 12 or hinge line 13.

[0031] FIG. 3b shows a plaything which has a single incision 32, as with the embodiment of FIG. 1c, and excisions 33, 34, 35 and 36 such that zone 28 of the plaything of FIG. 3b simulates a “smiling” face.

[0032] FIG. 3c shows another plaything which has a configuration which is slightly more complex than the playthings which are shown in FIGS. 2a to 2g. It can be folded through a specific cycle of folding steps whereas many different cycles are possible. For inversion of the plaything of FIG. 3c, folding can be effected about the following hinge lines in sequence:—

[0033] a) hinge line 12,

[0034] b) hinge line 11,

[0035] c) hinge line 13,

[0036] d) hinge line 10,

[0037] e) hinge line 12,

[0038] f) hinge line 11,

[0039] g) hinge line 13, and

[0040] h) hinge line 10.

[0041] In each of the embodiments of FIGS. 2a to 2g and FIGS. 3a to 3c, a plaything has two pairs of parallel interrupted fold lines and is constituted by a single sheet of material divided into eight zones 22 to 29, each of which is connected by two hinge portions to two other zones. The single sheet of material is normally a thin sheet of, for example, card, but may be a sheet having a significant thickness, for example, a sheet of wood.

[0042] Turning next to FIGS. 4a to 4h, these show a folding cycle for the plaything of FIG. 1a. FIG. 4a shows the initial unfolded condition of the sheet in which the various zones of the sheet can be considered as facing upwardly and are shown unshaded. In the other figures, one or more of the zones face downwardly and are shown shaded.

[0043] The first folding step consists of a fold about hinge line 12 such that the top edge of the sheet is moved downwardly through 180° about the axis of hinge line 12 into contact with the rear of the sheet. This folding step involves inversion of zones 22, 23 and 24 so that part of the rear of zone 23 is visible from above and is indicated as 23R in FIG. 4b.

[0044] The second folding step starts with the plaything as shown in FIG. 4b and consists of a fold about hinge line 13 such that the bottom edge of the sheet is moved downwardly through 180° about the axis of hinge line 13 into contact with the rear of the sheet. This folding step involves inversion of zones 27, 28 and 29 so that part of the rear of zone 28 is visible from above and is indicated as 28R in FIG. 4c.

[0045] The third folding step starts with the plaything as shown in FIG. 4c and involves folding of zone 26 about hinge line 11 so as to obtain the condition shown in FIG. 4d.

[0046] The fourth folding step starts from the condition shown in FIG. 4d and involves folding of zone 25 about hinge line 10 to obtain the condition shown in FIG. 4e. The arrangement may be such that an identifiable image is shown in this condition of the plaything.

[0047] The fifth folding step starts from the condition shown in FIG. 4e and involves a second folding about hinge line 12 to obtain the condition shown in FIG. 4f.

[0048] The sixth folding step starts from the condition shown in FIG. 4f and involves a second folding about hinge line 13 to obtain the condition shown in FIG. 4g. The arrangement may be such that another identifiable image is shown in this condition of the plaything.

[0049] The seventh folding step starts from the condition shown in FIG. 4g and involves a second folding about hinge line 11 to obtain the condition shown in FIG. 4h, in which the original image starts to reappear.

[0050] The eighth and final step starts from the condition shown in FIG. 4h and involves a second folding about hinge line 10 to obtain the condition shown in FIG. 4a.

[0051] It is to be noted that all eight of the folding steps are effected in the same direction and that two folding operations are effected about each hinge line 10, 11, 12, 13. The plaything is thus simple to operate such that a child (or adult) can gain significant pleasure from watching the changes in the displayed image.

[0052] Although detailed reference has been made above to a folding cycle in which the first step involves folding about hinge line 12, it is to be appreciated that the first folding step in the cycle may be about any one of the fold lines. Such freedom of use is afforded with each of the embodiments described above apart from the embodiments of FIGS. 3a and 3c. It is also to be noted that, although specific reference has been made to a cycle of eight steps, the user may carry out cycles of more than eight steps in many different orders.