Title:
Toy animal with wettable tongue
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A toy animal, including a body having a head with an openable mouth, a fluid reservoir arranged in the body, a pump mechanism arranged in the body, and a tongue arranged in the mouth. The tongue, the fluid reservoir and the pump mechanism are in fluid communication with one another.



Inventors:
Negrin, Lon (Eatons Neck, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/205684
Publication Date:
02/22/2007
Filing Date:
08/17/2005
Assignee:
Ninety-One Sales, LLC
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63H33/40
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, KIEN T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
OSTROLENK FABER LLP (NEW YORK, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A toy animal, comprising: a body having a head with an openable mouth; a fluid reservoir arranged in the body; a pump mechanism arranged in the body; and a tongue arranged in the mouth, the tongue, the fluid reservoir and the pump mechanism being in fluid communication with one another.

2. The toy animal according to claim 1, and further comprising a diffuser arranged between the tongue and the pump mechanism so as to limit a flow of liquid to the tongue.

3. The toy animal according to claim 1, wherein the body includes a leg and the fluid reservoir is arranged in the leg.

4. The toy animal according to claim 3, wherein an end of the leg has a paw and a bottom of the paw has an opening which permits access to the reservoir.

5. The toy animal according to claim 4, wherein the opening is closable.

6. The toy animal according to claim 1, wherein the tongue has an inner sponge member and an outer cover.

7. The toy animal according to claim 6, wherein the outer cover is polyester.

8. The toy animal according to claim 6, wherein the outer cover is pink.

9. The toy animal according to claim 1, wherein the pump mechanism includes a first starter pump and a second main pump, the first pump being arranged at the reservoir and the second pump being arranged in a region of the head.

10. The toy animal according to claim 9, wherein the pumps are configured to be manually actuable by squeezing.

11. The toy animal according to claim 9, wherein the second pump is arranged in a neck region of the body.

12. The toy animal according to claim 9, and further comprising tubes attached between the tongue, the pumps and the reservoir for placing the tongue, the pumps and the reservoir in fluid communication.

13. The toy animal according to claim 11, and further comprising a surface indicia on an outer surface of the body in the neck region indicating where the second pump should be squeezed.

14. The toy animal according to claim 9, wherein the fluid reservoir is releaseably attached to the first pump.

15. The toy animal according to claim 1, wherein the body is configured to represent a dog.

16. The toy animal according to claim 1, wherein the body is filled with a stuffing material.

17. The toy animal according to claim 1, wherein the body has an outer surface made of a pliable, plush material.

18. The toy animal according to claim 1, wherein the body has an opening via which the fluid reservoir is accessible.

19. The toy animal according to claim 1, and further comprising a beating heart member arranged internally in the body.

20. The toy animal according to claim 1, wherein the tongue is configured so as to project from the mouth.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a toy animal having a tongue that is wet so as to simulate the tongue of a real animal.

Numerous toy animals are known in the art which have a tongue that protrudes from the animal's mouth and often can move in some fashion, i.e., into and out of the mouth or wagging when out of the mouth. Examples of some of these prior art devices can be found in U.S. Pat. No. 5,876,263 which discloses a toy animal with a moving tongue, as do U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,391,106 and 5,181,877.

All these patents, as well as numerous other toys on the market, attempt to give the toy in question a novelty aspect intended to make the toy more entertaining and possibly also more realistic by providing a tongue that moves. Although a number of the prior art devices have been successfully accepted by in the marketplace, none provide a realistic simulation of an animal's tongue since all the tongues in the prior art devices are made of a dry material.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a toy animal with a tongue that is wettable so as to more accurately simulate the tongue of a real animal.

Pursuant to this object, and others which will become apparent hereafter, one aspect of the present invention resides in a toy animal having a head with an openable mouth. In the mouth is mounted a tongue having a spongy, water absorbent internal member with a fabric cover colored to resemble an actual tongue of the real-life version of the animal. The tongue is dimensioned so as to protrude from the mouth at one end. The other end of the tongue is attached to the inside of the mouth.

A small tube is connected to the back end of the tongue and leads to a water reservoir. A pump is attached along the tube. The pump is selectively actuable to cause liquid from the reservoir to be pumped to the back end of the tongue where it saturates the spongy member so as to simulate a wet tongue.

The reservoir is preferably located in a leg of the animal but can just as easily be arranged anywhere in the body of the animal so long as adequate access is provided to allow refilling of the reservoir. The reservoir can be detachable from the tube so that the reservoir can be refilled outside the body of the toy animal. Alternatively, one end of the reservoir can be near an opening in the body of the toy animal, for example, at the foot or paw of the animal. This end of the reservoir can have a resealable opening which allows the reservoir to be refilled without removal from the body of the toy animal.

The outer skin of the toy animal is preferably of a plush fabric as is well known in the production of stuffed animals. However, the outer skin can be any suitable material which will allow the body of the animal to give when squeezed. The body can be filled with a polyester stuffing or any other suitable filling material.

As is readily apparent, the animal can be of any desired type, for example, a dog, a cat, a bear, etc.

In another embodiment of the invention, a heart is arranged within the body of the animal that simulates a beating heart.

In still another embodiment, the pump mechanism consists of two pumps which are manually operated by squeezing. The first pump is a starter or priming pump. The starter pump is attached directly to the end of the reservoir and has the end of the tube connected to it. The starter pump is preferably arranged in the leg of the animal so that it is easily grasped by the hand of a user. This pump serves to send a small amount of the fluid in the reservoir to the main pump via the tube. The main pump is located in the neck region of the animal so that hugging or squeezing the neck of the animal causes the water to leave the main pump and pass through the tube to the tongue itself.

Just before reaching the tongue, the water in the tube passes through a diffuser or another type of nozzle which limits the flow of water to the tongue itself to an extent that the tongue is only damp and possibly drips occasionally so as to more accurately simulate a real animal's tongue.

Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following description of the invention that refers to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The single FIGURE is a schematic representation of the invention shown in a toy dog.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

As shown in the drawing, the invention is a toy animal, here shown as a dog, that has a wettable tongue which simulates the dog's real tongue. The animal has a body 1 with a head 2. The head 2 has a mouth 3 that is either permanently open or can open and close. The body of the animal is filled with a stuffing made of, for example, polyester, but can certainly be of another material so long as the end result is a body that is at least slightly squeezable. Without further description those skilled in the art will readily understand what types of materials can be used for filling the body of the animal.

An elongate tongue 4 is attached at one end to the inside of the mouth 3. The tongue 4 has an inner spongy member that holds water and an outer polyester cover that simulates the texture of the dog's tongue. The outer cover can be pink or whatever color is required to simulate the tongue of the appropriate animal.

A water reservoir 5 is arranged in a leg of the dog. The bottom of the paw 6 of the dog has an opening with a seal mechanism, for example, a hook and loop fastener as sold under the trademark VELCRO®, for opening the bottom of the paw to allow the water reservoir 5 to be refilled or removed and replaced.

A starter pump 7 is attached to the inner end of the reservoir 5. A first tube 8 leads from the starter pump 7 to a main pump 9 arranged in the neck area of the animal. A further tube 10 leads from the main pump 9 to a diffuser 11. The diffuser 11 in turn is connected to the back of the tongue 4 either directly or by a further tube 13. The diffuser is configured to allow an amount of water to pass through that is only sufficient to dampen the tongue structure so that at most only occasional drops of water drip from the tongue 4.

The procedure for bringing water from the reservoir 5 to the tongue 4 is described next. To begin with, the starter pump 7 is pumped by squeezing the leg of the dog in the region of the starter pump 7. This causes a small amount of water to leave the reservoir and fill the tube 8 as well as part of the main pump 9. In a way, the starting pump 7 is a priming pump for the main pump 9 so that a quicker supply of water to the tongue 4 is possible. Next, the main pump 9 is actuated by hugging or squeezing the neck of the animal. To help this operation, the body of the animal can have a sign or tag on a collar that says “hug me here.” This squeezing of the main pump 9 causes the water to proceed through the tube 10 to the diffuser 11 which in turn distributes the water in an appropriate manner to the tongue 4. Once the squeezing of the main pump 9 is stopped, the flow of water to the tongue 4 also stops. The tongue 4 will remain wet or damp until the water contained therein evaporates or drips out.

It is understood that the reservoir can be arranged in any suitable position in the body of the animal so long as there is access to the reservoir to either remove it and replace it with a full reservoir or to refill the reservoir while it is still in the body of the animal. The reservoir can be provided with any desired conventional openings which would be readily available to those skilled in the art for opening the reservoir to allow refilling and then once again tightly closing the reservoir. For example, a simple screw cap on a threaded opening is one solution.

Also, the opening in the body which leads to the reservoir can be closed in other ways than by the hook and loop fastener described previously. Those skilled in the art will readily be aware of other types of closing possibilities, for example, zippers, spring closures, snaps, etc.

Although the embodiment described above utilizes manually operated pumps for conducting the water from the reservoir to the tongue, it is envisioned that other types of pumps can also be used, such as battery operated pumps so long as the pumps can fit inside the body of the animal and are easily turned on and off.

In order to further simulate the life-like nature of the toy, a beating heart assembly 12 can be inserted inside the body of the animal. Such devices are very simple in construction and are merely heart-shaped plastic elements, for example, that have an electronic chip that creates a sound and movement to simulate a heartbeat. Those skilled in the art will readily be aware of these types of devices and how they are constructed and as such, no further detail description thereof is believed necessary.

Although the present invention has been described in relation to particular embodiments thereof, many other variations and modifications and other uses will become apparent to those skilled in the art. It is preferred, therefore, that the present invention be limited not by the specific disclosure herein, but only by the appended claims.