Title:
Tacky novelty item
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A novelty device and the associated method of forming the novelty device. The device is a tacky toy that can be thrown against a smooth surface. Once thrown against the smooth surface, the tacky toy will adhere to the surface and slowly roll down the surface toward the floor. The device is made of a plurality of individual elongated pieces arranged in a randomly tangled mass. Each of the elongated pieces is extruded from an elastomeric material that provides each elongated piece with a tacky exterior. The tackiness of the material enables the individual pieces to stay within the tangled mass. The tacky material also enables the tangled mass to adhesively cling to a smooth surface. Secondary objects can also be included within the tangled mass. The secondary objects remain entangled within the tangled mass by tacky adhesion.



Inventors:
Chernick, Mark (Woodinville, WA, US)
Nelson, Webb T. (Woodinville, WA, US)
Application Number:
10/976200
Publication Date:
05/25/2006
Filing Date:
10/28/2004
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
472/51, 446/486
International Classes:
A63H37/00; A63H33/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
JOHNSON, CHRISTINA ANN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LAMORTE & ASSOCIATES P.C. (YARDLEY, PA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A novelty device comprising: a plurality of individual elongated pieces arranged in a randomly tangled mass, wherein each of said elongated pieces is extruded from a tacky elastomeric material and has a tacky exterior that enables said tangled mass to adhesively cling to a smooth surface when thrown against said smooth surface.

2. The novelty device according to claim 1, wherein said elongated pieces are configured to appear as pasta, so that said tangled mass appears as a serving of pasta.

3. The novelty device according to claim 1, further including secondary objects mixed into said tangled mass.

4. The novelty device according to claim 3, wherein said secondary objects are made from said tacky material and adhere to said elongated pieces in said tangled mass.

5. The novelty device according to claim 1, wherein said tacky material is a triblock copolymer mixed with a plasticizing oil.

6. The novelty device according to claim 1, wherein said secondary objects are spherically shaped.

7. The novelty device according to claim 1, wherein said secondary objects have the appearance of eyeballs.

8. A method of forming a tacky toy that adheres to smooth surfaces when thrown, said method comprising the steps of: producing a plurality of elongated pieces made from a tacky elastomeric material; and tangling said plurality of elongated pieces together into a single tangled mass.

9. The method according to claim 8, further including the step of adding a plurality of secondary objects into said tangled mass.

10. The method according to claim 9, wherein said secondary objects are made from tacky elastomeric material and adhere to said elongated pieces within said tangled mass.

11. The method according to claim 8, wherein said step of producing a plurality of elongated pieces includes extruding said elongated pieces and cutting said elongated pieces to predetermined lengths.

12. The method according to claim 8, wherein said step of producing a plurality of elongated pieces includes providing elongated pieces that have the shape and color of pasta.

13. A wall crawling toy device that adheres to a smooth surface and slowly moves down along that smooth surface after being thrown against the smooth surface, said device including: a plurality of elongated tacky pieces interconnected into a common mass by tacky adhesion between abutting surfaces; and a plurality of tacky secondary objects held within said common mass by tacky adhesion.

14. The device according to claim 13, wherein said elongated tacky pieces are configured to appear as pasta, so that said common mass appears as a serving of pasta.

15. The device according to claim 13, wherein said elongated tacky pieces are made from a triblock copolymer mixed with a plasticizing oil.

16. The device according to claim 13, wherein said secondary objects are spherically shaped.

17. The device according to claim 13, wherein said secondary objects have the appearance of eyeballs.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field Of The Invention

In general, the present invention relates to novelty items made from tacky elastomeric material so that the novelty item sticks to secondary objects. More specifically, the present invention relates to the form and composition of tacky novelty items.

2. Background Art

It has long been known in the manufacture of toys that a tacky elastomeric material can be made by mixing certain polymers with a small amount of plasticizing oil. The tacky elastomeric material can then be molded into various shapes. The tacky material is often used in the “wall crawler” line of toys, wherein a toy is designed to stick to a wall when thrown against the wall. Due to the tacky material, the toy continues to adhere to the wall as it slowly falls, therein giving the toy the appearance that the toy is crawling down the wall.

There are certain inherent disadvantages that accompany toys and novelty devices that are made from tacky elastomeric material. One of those disadvantages is that dirt, dust, hair and other debris quickly adhere to the tacky surfaces of the toy. Thus, the tacky toy quickly becomes dirty. Furthermore, as the tacky toy attracts dirt and grime, the surface of the tacky toy loses its tackiness and the toy no longer sticks to other objects.

Another disadvantage associated with toys made from tacky elastomeric material is the difficulty in manufacture. Tacky elastomeric material is far more difficult to injection mold than are traditional hard plastics. Specialized molds must be created that have gel injection intakes. The elastomeric gel is also far more sensitive to mold temperature variations than are traditional hard plastics. Lastly, great care must be taken in removing the newly molded tacky elastomeric toy from a mold, in that the material is still hot and is easily broken or torn. It therefore takes much more money and time to injection mold tacky elastomeric material than it does to mold traditional hard plastics.

The present invention is a novelty device that eliminates the stated disadvantages of prior art toys that are made from tacky elastomeric material. The present invention novelty device can be made for a very low cost by extrusion molding techniques, thereby eliminating the need for injection molding. The present invention also presents a novelty device with surface area so large and complex, that it is very difficult to completely contaminate the tacky surface of the device with debris. Thus, the novelty device always remains tacky and functional. The details of the present invention novelty device are described and claimed below.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is a novelty device and the associated method of forming the novelty device. The novelty device is a tacky toy that can be thrown against a smooth surface. Once thrown against the smooth surface, the tacky toy will adhere to the surface and slowly roll down the surface toward the floor.

The novelty device is made of a plurality of individual elongated pieces arranged in a randomly tangled mass. Each of said elongated pieces is extruded from an elastomeric material that provides each elongated piece with a tacky exterior. The tackiness of the material enables the individual pieces to stay within the tangled mass. The tacky material also enables the tangled mass to adhesively cling to a smooth surface when thrown against such a surface.

Secondary objects can also be included within the tangled mass. The secondary objects are also made from tacky elastomeric material. As such, the secondary objects remain entangled within the tangled mass by tacky adhesion.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For a better understanding of the present invention, reference is made to the following description of exemplary embodiments thereof, considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of the present invention novelty device;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the embodiment of FIG. 1 being thrown against a wall; and

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the present invention novelty device.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Referring to FIG. 1, an exemplary embodiment of the present invention tacky novelty device 10 is shown. From FIG. 1, it can be seen that a tangled mass 12 is made from a plurality of individual extruded pieces 14 of tacky elastomeric material. The preferred tacky elastic material is a styrene triblock copolymer, such as poly(styrene-ethylene-butylene-styrene), poly(styrene-ethylene-propylene-styrene) or poly(styrene-ethylene-ethylene-propylene-styrene) that is mixed with a plasticizing oil to form an elastomeric gel. Such elastic materials have a high degree of tackiness, yet are highly elastic and tear resistant.

In the illustrated embodiment, the individual extruded pieces 14 are made to be the same color and diameter as cooked spaghetti. The individual extruded pieces 14 are also cut to lengths of between six inches and twelve inches to mimic the typical length of cooked spaghetti. Each of the extruded pieces 14 is made of tacky elastomeric material and has a tacky exterior surface. As a result, when several dozen of the extruded pieces 14 are randomly mixed together, the extruded pieces readily stick to one another. Furthermore, since the extruded pieces 14 are elongated strands, like pieces of spaghetti, the various extruded pieces 14 quickly intertangle and knot together. The result is a large tangled mass 12 that has the same appearance as a serving of spaghetti.

The tangled mass 12 is made from individual extruded pieces 14 of tacky elastomeric material. Thus, the entire tangled mass 12 is tacky. The entire tangled mass 12, therefore, can be thrown against a pane of glass, or another smooth surface, and would stick to that surface. Since the tangled mass 12 is made of many extruded pieces 14, the exposed surface area present on the tangled mass 12 is immense. Furthermore, as the tangled mass 12 is manipulated, the extruded pieces 14 present on the outside of the tangled mass 12 is constantly changing. As a result, even if the tangled mass 12 were dropped into loose dirt, not all the tacky surfaces of the tangled mass 12 would become contaminated with dirt. The extruded pieces 14 that are contaminated with dirt will eventually move within the tangled mass 12 and will be replaced with clean sections of extruded elements 14 on the exterior of the tangled mass 12. The tangled mass 12 will therefore remain highly tacky and will adhere to other surfaces, much better than would prior art designs.

Although the various tacky extruded pieces 14 are placed together in a common tangled mass 12, the various extruded pieces 14 are not directly interconnected. It is therefore possible to pull the tangled mass 12 apart into smaller, separate masses. The loose interconnection of the various extruded pieces 14 in the tangled mass 12 enables the tangled mass 12 to be easily washed. By submersing the tangled mass 12 in water, or holding the tangled mass 12 under running water, any debris retained by the tacky extruded pieces 14 can be quickly washed away. The loose interconnection between the extruded pieces 14 enables the debris to readily leave the tangled mass 12 without becoming entrapped.

A plurality of secondary objects 20 are purposely mixed within the tangled mass 12. In the shown embodiment, the secondary objects 20 are balls, that have the diameter of an average meatball. Although the secondary objects 20 can be made to have the appearance of a meatball, it is preferred that the secondary objects 20 have a horror theme. In the shown embodiment, the secondary objects 20 have the appearance of eyeballs. The secondary objects 20, can alternatively be configured as large bugs, rats, skulls or the like.

The secondary objects 20 are also made from a tacky elastomeric material. Preferably, the secondary objects 20 are made from the same class of tacky elastomeric material as is the extruded elements 14. As a result, the secondary objects 20 stick to the tangled mass 12 and become entangled within the tangled mass 12. The secondary objects 20, therefore, remain attached to the tangled mass 12, even when the tangled mass 12 is thrown against another object.

When casually observed, the tangled mass 12 and secondary objects 20 have the same appearance as would a serving of spaghetti with meatballs. However, when closely and carefully observed, it can be seen that the novelty device 10 is configured as a serving of pasta and eyeballs, of some other similar embodiment with a horror theme.

Referring to FIG. 2, it can be seen that when the novelty device 10 is thrown against a smooth surface 22, the tangled mass 12 and secondary objects 20 stick to that smooth surface 22. After a short period of adhesion, the novelty device 10 will begin to slowly roll down the smooth surface 22. The various extruded pieces 14 will stick to the smooth surface 22 at different times, thereby giving the novelty device 10 a slow crawling motion as it moves with gravity.

In the embodiment of FIG. 1, the extruded pieces 14 in the novelty device 10 were shown shaped as spaghetti. It has been found that other extruded pasta shapes work just as well as does spaghetti. Referring to FIG. 3, it can be seen that a variation of the present invention novelty device 30 is shown where the extruded pieces 32 are shaped as ziti. That is, the extruded pieces 32 are shaped as elongated tubular elements. Although the extruded pieces 32 are shorter than the earlier present spaghetti version, the extruded pieces 32 still intertangle and adhere to each other, even when the tangled mass 34 is thrown as a projectile.

Secondary objects 36 are also included in the tangled mass 34 of ziti. In the shown embodiment, the secondary objects 36 are formed as severed fingers. The secondary objects therefore blend into jumbled appearance of the tangled mass 34. The severed fingers would only be identifiable upon a close examination of the tangled mass 34.

It will be understood that the embodiments of the present invention that are illustrated and described are merely exemplary and that a person skilled in the art can make many modifications to those embodiments. For example, the length, shape and cross-sectional shape of the extruded element can be varied as a matter of design choice. What is required is that the various extruded pieces be elongated enough to tangle and attach to each other without the need for the various extruded pieces having to be interconnect by manufacture. Furthermore, the secondary objects added to the tangle of extruded pieces can have any shape desired. The use of a horror theme is to be understood as just an example. All such modifications, variations and alternate embodiments are intended to be included within the scope of the present invention as set forth by the claims.