Title:
Toy Water Gun with External Reservoir Having a Gauge
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An auxiliary reservoir for use with a water toy includes an auxiliary reservoir housed separately from the water toy and arranged to hold an auxiliary supply of water, a gauge conduit in flow communication with the auxiliary reservoir, a float disposed in the gauge conduit and visible through at least a portion of the gauge conduit, the float arranged to shift within the gauge conduit in response to changes in the auxiliary supply of water in the auxiliary reservoir, and a supply conduit in flow communication with the auxiliary reservoir and arranged for flow communication with the water toy.



Inventors:
Gajda Jr., William G. (Cranston, RI, US)
Application Number:
10/905127
Publication Date:
06/22/2006
Filing Date:
12/16/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63H3/18
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CARTAGENA, MELVIN A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MARSHALL, GERSTEIN & BORUN LLP (CHICAGO, IL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed as new and desired to be protected by Letters Patent of the United States is:

1. A toy water gun system comprising: a water gun having a primary reservoir, an outlet nozzle in flow communication with the primary reservoir, and an actuating trigger, the primary toy water gun adapted to discharge an output stream of water through the outlet nozzle in response to actuation of the trigger; an auxiliary reservoir separate from the water gun and arranged to hold an auxiliary supply of water; a gauge conduit in flow communication with the auxiliary reservoir; a float disposed in the gauge conduit and visible through at least a portion of the gauge conduit, the float arranged to shift within the gauge conduit in response to changes in the auxiliary supply of water in the auxiliary reservoir; and a supply conduit operatively coupling the auxiliary reservoir and the primary reservoir.

2. The toy water gun system of claim 1, wherein the auxiliary reservoir includes an upper portion and a lower portion, and wherein the gauge conduit is in flow communication with the upper portion and the lower portion.

3. The toy water gun system of claim 1, wherein the gauge conduit includes at least one screen, the screen positioned in the gauge conduit to maintain the float within the gauge conduit.

4. The toy water gun system of claim 1, wherein the portion of the gauge conduit is translucent.

5. The toy water gun system of claim 1, wherein the portion of the gauge conduit is transparent.

6. The toy water gun system of claim 1, wherein the auxiliary reservoir is carried by a backpack.

7. The toy water gun system of claim 6, wherein the auxiliary reservoir comprises a flexible bladder disposed within a pouch in the backpack.

8. The toy water gun system of claim 1, wherein the float comprises a ball sized for insertion in the gauge conduit.

9. The toy water gun system of claim 1, wherein the gauge conduit is in flow communication with an upper portion and a lower portion of the auxiliary reservoir, and including an upper screen and a lower screen, each of the screens arranged to prevent the float from passing into the auxiliary reservoir.

10. An auxiliary reservoir for use with a water toy, the auxiliary reservoir comprising: an auxiliary reservoir housed separately from the water toy and arranged to hold an auxiliary supply of water; a gauge conduit in flow communication with the auxiliary reservoir; a float disposed in the gauge conduit and visible through at least a portion of the gauge conduit, the float arranged to shift within the gauge conduit in response to changes in the auxiliary supply of water in the auxiliary reservoir; and a supply conduit in flow communication with the auxiliary reservoir and arranged for flow communication with the water toy.

11. The auxiliary reservoir of claim 10, wherein the auxiliary reservoir includes an upper portion and a lower portion, and wherein the gauge conduit is in flow communication with the upper portion and the lower portion.

12. The auxiliary reservoir of claim 10, wherein the gauge conduit includes at least one screen, the screen positioned in the gauge conduit to maintain the float within the gauge conduit.

13. The auxiliary reservoir of claim 10, wherein the portion of the gauge conduit is at least one of translucent and transparent.

14. The auxiliary reservoir of claim 10, wherein the auxiliary reservoir is carried by a backpack.

15. The auxiliary reservoir of claim 14, wherein the auxiliary reservoir comprises a flexible bladder disposed within a pouch in the backpack.

16. The auxiliary reservoir of claim 10, wherein the float comprises a ball sized for insertion in the gauge conduit.

17. The toy water gun system of claim 10, wherein the gauge conduit is in flow communication with an upper portion and a lower portion of the auxiliary reservoir, and including an upper screen and a lower screen, each of the screens arranged to prevent the float from passing into the auxiliary reservoir.

18. An auxiliary reservoir for use with a water toy, the auxiliary reservoir comprising: an auxiliary reservoir housed in a backpack and separated from the water toy, the auxiliary reservoir arranged to hold an auxiliary supply of water; a gauge conduit in flow communication with the auxiliary reservoir and arranged to receive a quantity of water, the gauge conduit arranged such that at least a portion of the quantity of water in the gauge conduit is visible to a user, the gauge conduit further arranged to permit movement of the quantity of water in response to changes in the auxiliary supply of water in the auxiliary reservoir; and a supply conduit arranged to operatively couple the auxiliary reservoir and the water toy.

19. The auxiliary reservoir of claim 18, wherein a portion of the gauge conduit is constructed of clear plastic tubing.

20. The auxiliary reservoir of claim 18, wherein the auxiliary reservoir comprises a flexible bladder disposed within a pouch in the backpack, and including an upper screen and a lower screen, and including a float disposed in the gauge conduit, each of the screens arranged to prevent the float from passing into the auxiliary reservoir.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to a water toy and, more particularly, to a water toy such as a pressurizeable water squirt gun having an external reservoir having a water level gauge.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Pressurized squirt guns that eject water from a pressurized reservoir are generally known in the art. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,074,437 to D'Andrade et al. discloses a toy water gun that operates by releasing water from a water reservoir that is pressurized by air. The reservoir is pressurized using a manually operated air pump. When a trigger is operated, water is released under pressure from the reservoir through an outlet nozzle.

In many applications, the reservoir of the toy water gun has only a limited capacity. Accordingly, the user may have to refill the reservoir a number of times during any given play session. Naturally, the total playtime may be lessened if the user must take time out to refill the toy water gun. Although the size of the reservoir may be increased, nevertheless users typically desire to carry as much water as possible. Auxiliary reservoirs, separate and apart from the toy water gun, are known. For a variety of reasons, users may wish to know approximately how much water is available in the auxiliary reservoir for use at any given point in time.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with an aspect of the invention, a toy water gun system comprises a water gun having a primary reservoir, an outlet nozzle in flow communication with the primary reservoir, and an actuating trigger, with the primary toy water gun adapted to discharge an output stream of water through the outlet nozzle in response to actuation of the trigger. An auxiliary reservoir is provided and is separate from the water gun and arranged to hold an auxiliary supply of water. A gauge conduit is in flow communication with the auxiliary reservoir, and a float is disposed in the gauge conduit and is visible through at least a portion of the gauge conduit. The float is arranged to shift within the gauge conduit in response to changes in the auxiliary supply of water in the auxiliary reservoir. A supply conduit operatively couples the auxiliary reservoir and the primary reservoir.

In accordance with a further aspect of the invention, the reservoir includes an upper portion and a lower portion, and the gauge conduit is in flow communication with the upper portion and the lower portion of the reservoir. Preferably, the gauge conduit includes at least one screen, with the screen being positioned in the gauge conduit to maintain the float within the gauge conduit. Preferably, at least a portion of the gauge conduit is at least one of translucent or clear.

Preferably, the auxiliary reservoir is carried by a backpack, although the auxiliary reservoir may be carried by a shoulder strap, a fanny pack, as a belt, or by other suitable structures. The auxiliary reservoir may comprise a flexible bladder disposed within a pouch in the backpack or other structure.

The float preferably is a ball sized for insertion in the gauge conduit. The gauge conduit preferably is in flow communication with an upper portion and a lower portion of the auxiliary reservoir, and includes an upper screen and a lower screen, with each of the screens arranged to prevent the float from passing into the auxiliary reservoir.

In accordance with a further aspect of the invention, an auxiliary reservoir for use with a water toy includes an auxiliary reservoir housed separately from the water toy and arranged to hold an auxiliary supply of water, a gauge conduit in flow communication with the auxiliary reservoir, a float disposed in the gauge conduit and visible through at least a portion of the gauge conduit, with the float arranged to shift within the gauge conduit in response to changes in the auxiliary supply of water in the auxiliary reservoir, and a supply conduit in flow communication with the auxiliary reservoir and arranged for flow communication with the water toy.

In accordance with yet another aspect of the invention an auxiliary reservoir for use with a water toy includes an auxiliary reservoir housed in a backpack and separated from the water toy and arranged to hold an auxiliary supply of water, a gauge conduit in flow communication with the auxiliary reservoir and arranged to receive a quantity of water, with the gauge conduit arranged such that at least a portion of the quantity of water in the gauge conduit is visible to a user and permitting movement of the quantity of water in response to changes in the auxiliary supply of water in the auxiliary reservoir, and a supply conduit arranged to operatively couple the auxiliary reservoir and the water toy.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a water toy and an auxiliary reservoir assembled in accordance with the teachings of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is an elevational view, partly in section, of the auxiliary reservoir and water toy of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a rear perspective view of the water toy and the auxiliary reservoir of FIGS. 1 and 2.

FIG. 4 is an enlarged fragmentary cross-sectional view taken at the circumscribed portion of FIG. 2 and illustrating an exemplary screen disposed in the gauge conduit.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Although the following text sets forth a detailed description of an exemplary embodiment of the invention, it should be understood that the legal scope of the invention is defined by the words of the claims set forth at the end of this patent. The detailed description is to be construed as exemplary only and does not describe every possible embodiment of the invention since describing every possible embodiment would be impractical, if not impossible. Numerous alternative embodiments could be implemented, using either current technology or technology developed after the filing date of this patent, which would still fall within the scope of the claims defining the invention.

It should also be understood that, unless a term is expressly defined in this patent using the sentence “As used herein, the term ‘______’ is hereby defined to mean . . . ” or a similar sentence, there is no intent to limit the meaning of that term, either expressly or by implication, beyond its plain or ordinary meaning, and such term should not be interpreted to be limited in scope based on any statement made in any section of this patent (other than the language of the claims). To the extent that any term recited in the claims at the end of this patent is referred to in this patent in a manner consistent with a single meaning, that is done for sake of clarity only so as to not confuse the reader, and it is not intended that such claim term by limited, by implication or otherwise, to that single meaning. Finally, unless a claim element is defined by reciting the word “means” and a function without the recital of any structure, it is not intended that the scope of any claim element be interpreted based on the application of 35 U.S.C. §112, sixth paragraph.

Referring now to FIGS. 1-3 of the drawings, a toy water gun system assembled in accordance with the teachings of the present invention is shown and is generally referred to by the reference numeral 10. The toy water gun system 10 includes a water gun 12 having a primary reservoir 14, an outlet nozzle 16 in flow communication with a primary reservoir 14 via an internal conduit or other suitable connection, and an actuating trigger 18. The toy water gun system 10 also includes an auxiliary reservoir 20 adapted to hold an auxiliary supply of water as will be explained in greater detail below. A gauge conduit 22 includes a pair of ends 24, 26, with each of the ends 24, 26 in flow communication with an upper portion 28 and a lower portion 30, respectively, of the auxiliary reservoir 20. A float 32 is disposed within the gauge conduit 22 and, in accordance with the disclosed example, is arranged to shift within the gauge conduit 22 in response to changes in water levels inside the auxiliary reservoir 20. A supply conduit 34 connects the auxiliary reservoir 20 to the toy water gun 12.

Referring to FIG. 1, the primary reservoir 14 of the water gun 12 may be a pressurized toy water squirt gun having a self-contained pressurizing mechanism of the type commonly employed in the art for pressurized the primary reservoir 14 with air, thereby creating a pressure differential between the primary reservoir 14 and the ambient atmosphere so that water contained in the primary reservoir 14 may be propelled from the water gun 12 through the outlet nozzle 16 when the user pulls the trigger 18. In many applications, the pressurizing mechanism includes a reciprocating pump handle 46 and a system of one way valves (not shown), and may also include an over pressure valve (not shown). As would be known, operational pressure is supplied to the primary reservoir 14 in response to operation of the pressurizing mechanism using the handle 46. One example of a toy water gun having a pressurizing mechanism for propelling water from a pressurizeable reservoir is illustrated and described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,305,919, entitled “Pinch Trigger Hand Pump Water Gun with Non-Detachable Tank,” which issued on Apr. 26, 1994, and which is hereby expressly incorporated by reference herein in its entirety. Of course, other configurations of toy water guns having pressurizing mechanisms for propelling water may be used, with such other toy water guns being well known and understood by those skilled in the art.

Referring now to FIGS. 1 and 2 of the drawings, the auxiliary reservoir 20 is shown being worn by a user of the toy water gun system 10, with the user holding the water gun 12 and wearing the auxiliary reservoir 20 on his/her back. In the disclosed example, the auxiliary reservoir 20 preferably includes a pair of shoulder straps 36, 38. However, the auxiliary reservoir 20 may be carried or worn by the user in any suitable fashion, and thus may be provided with a handle, a belt, a single shoulder strap, or any other suitable mechanism for carrying and or wearing the auxiliary reservoir 20.

The gauge conduit 22 is, in the disclosed example, incorporated into, attached to, attached adjacent to, or otherwise carried by one of the shoulder straps 36, 38. The gauge conduit 22 may also be separate and distinct from either one of the shoulder straps 36, 38. In accordance with the disclosed example, the gauge conduit 22 is shown attached to the front of the shoulder strap 38. The gauge conduit 22 preferably is formed of a clear or translucent plastic tubing. Such clear or translucent plastic tubing may take the form of surgical tubing or other similar flexible tubing, which is commonly available and may be obtained from a variety of commercial sources. As an alternative, the gauge conduit 22 may be rigid or may include one or more rigid sections.

In accordance with the disclosed example, all or at least a substantial portion of the gauge conduit 22 is clear or translucent. As an alternative, only a portion of the gauge conduit 22 need be clear or translucent, and the remaining portions may be opaque. In the event the entire gauge conduit 22 is clear or translucent, it will be appreciated that the float 32 will be visible regardless of the position of the float 32 within the gauge conduit 22. Otherwise, if portions of the gauge conduit 22 are opaque, then the float 32 will be visible as long as the float 32 is disposed in a clear or translucent portion 23 of the gauge conduit 22.

As can be seen in FIGS. 1 and 2, the supply conduit 34 includes an end 40 in flow communication with the primary reservoir 14 (visible in FIG. 1 with portions of the water gun 12 cut away), with the primary reservoir 14 in flow communication with the outlet nozzle 16 as would be known. The water gun 12 preferably includes a suitable interior conduit or system of conduits such that water from the supply conduit 34 can flow from an input 44 to the auxiliary reservoir 14. The supply conduit 34 includes another end 42 (visible in FIGS. 2 and 3) in flow communication with the auxiliary reservoir 20. Accordingly, water disposed within the interior of the auxiliary reservoir 20 may be supplied to the primary reservoir 14 of the water gun 12 via the supply conduit 34.

Referring now to FIG. 2, the auxiliary reservoir 20 includes an internal bladder 47 sized to hold a quantity of water 48 or other suitable liquid. The water 48 is shown having a water level 50. Additional water may be supplied through a fill cap 52. Due to the natural properties of water, water pressure within the auxiliary reservoir 20 will cause water to flow into the gauge conduit 22 such that the float 32 disposed within the gauge conduit 22 will be disposed at a position dictated by the water level 50. Accordingly, the float 32, which is visible through the gauge conduit 22, provides a visual indication of the water level 50 within the bladder of the auxiliary reservoir 20. It will be understood that, when enough water has been discharged from the outlet nozzle 16 of the water gun 12, that the water level 50 will drop. Consequently, the position of the float 32 in the gauge conduit 22 will drop as well. Conversely, when water is added to the auxiliary reservoir 20, the position of the float 32 will naturally rise so as to once again provide a visual indicator of additional water within the auxiliary reservoir 20.

It will be understood that the bladder 47 may be similar to flexible bladders commonly employed in backpack drinking systems. Such backpack drinking systems are commercially available under the CAMELBACK® name. Both the gauge conduit 22 and the supply conduit 34 may be constructed to use the same type of tubing as is employed in the CAMELBACK® products and in similar systems. Of the auxiliary reservoir 20 includes an outer shell 54 having a suitable access opening through which the flexible bladder 47 may be inserted. The outer shell 54 may be constructed of a suitable grade of Denier nylon, or other suitable material, and may also include a suitable zipper or other suitable closures for maintaining the bladder 47 in position within the outer shell 54.

Referring now to FIG. 4, an exemplary connection 56 between the gauge conduit 22 and the bladder 47 of the auxiliary reservoir 20 is shown. Although the connection 56 shown connects the end 24 of the gauge conduit 22 to the upper part of the bladder 47, it will be understood that the connection 56 connecting the end 26 of the gauge conduit 22 to the lower part of the bladder 47 may be the same or substantially similar. Accordingly, only one such connection 56 need be described in detail.

The bladder 47 includes an outlet port 58 which, in the disclosed example, is preferably generally cylindrical and includes an outer surfacing forming an abutment 60. The end 24 of the gauge conduit 22 fits over the cylindrical outlet port 58, and is preferably secured to the cylindrical outlet port 58 using a suitable adhesive. Alternatively, the gauge conduit 22 may be connected to the outlet port 58 in other suitable fashions. Preferably, the connection 56 includes a screen 62 disposed within the gauge conduit 22. The screen 62 is preferably a nylon mesh screen, although other screens or other suitable structures may be used. In the disclosed example, the screen 62 is seated against the abutment 60. It will be understood that the screen 62 maintains the float 32 within the gauge conduit 22, by preventing the float 32 from inadvertently flowing out of the gauge conduit 22 through either the end 22 or through the end 24.

In operation, the user fills the bladder 47 of the auxiliary reservoir 20 with a desired amount of water upon removing the fill cap 52. With the fill cap 52 suitably replaced, the user places his/her arms through the shoulder straps 36, 38. The float 32 is now visible to the user as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2. The user is then free to operate the water gun 12 in a conventional manner. For example, using the pressurizing mechanism described above, the appropriate pressure head is applied to water contained within the reservoir 14 by reciprocating the handle 46.

In the event the user wishes to eject water from the outlet nozzle 18 of the water gun 12, the user simply actuates the trigger 18. When the supply of water within the reservoir 14 of the water gun 12 is sufficiently low, additional water from within the auxiliary reservoir 20 may be supplied to the reservoir 14 of the water gun 12 through the supply conduit 34. As such, the user is able to operate the water gun 12 for a longer time as compared to the time period which would be afforded by the supply of water contained solely within the reservoir 14 of the water gun 12. All the while, the user is provided a visual indicator of the amount of water remaining within the auxiliary reservoir 20 by glancing at the position of the float 32 within the gauge conduit 22.

The preceding text sets forth a detailed description of numerous different embodiments of the invention, it should be understood that the legal scope of the invention is defined by the words of the claims set forth at the end of this patent. The detailed description is to be construed as exemplary only and does not describe every possible embodiment of the invention since describing every possible embodiment would be impractical, if not impossible. Numerous alternative embodiments could be implemented, using either current technology or technology developed after the filing date of this patent, which would still fall within the scope of the claims defining the invention.