Title:
Snowman decorative accessory
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A snowman accessory includes at least one anchor member and feature member selectively attachable to the anchor member. The anchor member includes outwardly extending threads and an end tab such that the anchor member may be screwed into a mass of snow, e.g. a snowman. The feature member, which may be an eye, nose, mouth, etc., may be selectively and removably attached to an anchor member such that feature members may be inserted and removed without removing the anchor member from the snow. A connector provides for connection between an anchor and feature member, the connector including a protruding member that is biased to lock a feature member into an anchor member but that releases the feature member upon user depression. The anchor, feature, and connector members may be included in a kit. The snowman accessory may include a speaker with motion detection activator.



Inventors:
Tellinghuisen, Gordy (Oakdale, MN, US)
Application Number:
11/300038
Publication Date:
06/14/2007
Filing Date:
12/14/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
446/85, 446/100, 446/268, 446/491
International Classes:
A63H33/00; A63H3/00; A63H3/16; A63H33/04
View Patent Images:
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20090291616Body quick releaseNovember, 2009Homby
20080045117Inflatable Toy And Its Manufacturing ProcessFebruary, 2008Marin Hernandez
20010034184Stuffed animalOctober, 2001Arturo Jr.
20100041303ILLUMINATED BALLOONFebruary, 2010Koonce Jr. et al.



Primary Examiner:
CEGIELNIK, URSZULA M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Ream Law Firm, L.L.C. (OTTAWA, KS, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is as follows:

1. A snowman decorative accessory for use with a mass of snow, comprising: an anchor member; and a feature member selectively attachable to said anchor member.

2. The snowman decorative accessory as in claim 1, wherein said anchor member has outer threads for securing said anchor member to the mass of snow.

3. The snowman decorative accessory as in claim 2, wherein: said anchor member includes opposed first and second ends; said first end defines a point; and said anchor member includes a pair of opposed tabs adjacent said second end to allow a user to screw said anchor member into the mass of snow.

4. The snowman decorative accessory as in claim 2, wherein: said anchor member includes opposed first and second ends; said first end defines a point; and said anchor member includes a tab adjacent said second end to allow a user to screw said anchor member into the mass of snow.

5. The snowman decorative accessory as in claim 4, wherein said feature member represents an item selected from the group consisting of an eye, a nose, a mouth, an ear, a hat, an arm, an article of clothing, a button, a pipe, a lump of coal, and a vegetable.

6. The snowman decorative accessory as in claim 4, wherein: said feature member includes a speaker having access to audio data; and said feature member includes an activator in communication with said speaker for selectively actuating said speaker, said activator including a motion sensor.

7. The snowman decorative accessory as in claim 4, wherein: said anchor member defines a cavity extending from said anchor member second end toward said anchor member first end; said anchor member defines a recess in communication with and extending transversely from said cavity; said feature member includes a display section and an attachment section extending from said display section, said attachment section having a configuration complimentary to a configuration of said cavity whereby said attachment section may be selectively received in said cavity; said feature member attachment section includes an outer wall defining an opening and defining a hollow interior space; and said snowman decorative accessory includes a connector having a configuration complementary to a configuration of said feature member interior space, said connector having an outwardly-biased protruding member for selectively passing through said feature member outer wall opening and engaging said anchor member recess, said protruding member being selectively constrictable.

8. The snowman decorative accessory as in claim 7, further comprising a spring positioned in said feature member hollow interior space distant from said display section and adjacent an attachment section end wall to bias said connector away from said attachment section end wall when said connector is positioned in said feature member hollow interior space.

9. The snowman decorative accessory as in claim 8, wherein said protruding member defines a wedge shape to allow said protruding member to be easily constricted when moving toward said attachment section end wall and to selectively engage said anchor member recess, whereby removably attaching said feature member to said anchor member.

10. The snowman decorative accessory as in claim 8, wherein: said feature member hollow interior space extends through said display section; and said connector includes a rigid member in communication with said protruding member, said rigid member being dimensioned to extend beyond a front surface of said feature member when said protruding member is engaged with said anchor member recess.

11. The snowman decorative accessory as in claim 1, wherein: said feature member includes a speaker having access to audio data; and said feature member includes an activator in communication with said speaker for selectively actuating said speaker.

12. The snowman decorative accessory as in claim 11, wherein said activator includes a motion sensor.

13. The snowman decorative accessory as in claim 1, wherein: said anchor member includes opposed first and second ends; said anchor member defines a cavity extending from said anchor member second end toward said anchor member first end; and said feature member includes a display section and an attachment section extending from said display section, said attachment section having a configuration complimentary to a configuration of said cavity whereby said attachment section may be selectively received in said cavity.

14. The snowman decorative accessory as in claim 13, wherein: said anchor member defines a recess in communication with and extending transversely from said cavity; said feature member attachment section includes an outer wall defining an opening and defining a hollow interior space; and further comprising a connector having a configuration complementary to a configuration of said feature member hollow interior space and having an outwardly-biased protruding member for selective engagement with said anchor member recess, said protruding member being selectively constrictable.

15. The snowman decorative accessory as in claim 14, further comprising a spring positioned in said feature member hollow interior space distant from said display section and adjacent an attachment section end wall to bias said connector away from said attachment section end wall when said connector is positioned in said feature member hollow interior space.

16. The snowman decorative accessory as in claim 15, wherein said protruding member includes a wedge shape to allow said protruding member to be easily constricted when moving toward said attachment section end wall and to selectively engage said anchor member recess, whereby removably attaching said feature member to said anchor member.

17. The snowman decorative accessory as in claim 15, wherein: said feature member hollow interior space extends through said display section; and said connector includes a rigid member in communication with said protruding member, said rigid member presenting dimensions that extend beyond a front surface of said feature member when said protruding member is engaged with said anchor member recess.

18. The snowman decorative accessory as in claim 1, wherein at least one of said anchor member and said feature member is constructed of a biodegradable material.

19. A snowman decoration kit, comprising: a plurality of anchor members; a plurality of interchangeable feature members; and a plurality of connectors for selectively attaching respective feature members to respective anchor members.

20. The kit as in claim 19, wherein: at least one said anchor member: includes outer threads for securing said anchor member to a mass of snow; includes opposed first and second ends; defines a cavity extending from said anchor member second end toward said anchor member first end; defines a respective recess in communication with and extending transversely from said cavity; at least one said feature member includes a display section and an attachment section extending from said display section, said attachment section having a configuration complimentary to a configuration of said cavity whereby said attachment section may be selectively received in said cavity; said feature member attachment section includes an outer wall defining an opening and defining a hollow interior space; and at least one said connector includes a configuration complementary to a configuration of said feature member hollow interior space, said connector having an outwardly-biased protruding member for selectively passing through said feature member outer wall opening and engaging said anchor member recess, said protruding member being selectively constrictable.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to snowman accessories and, more particularly, to snowman accessories that include anchors that may be easily and securely attached to a snowman and which include feature members that may be quickly interchanged with the anchors.

Children and adults enjoy crafting the perfect snowman during the winter season. It is common for sticks and walnuts or even household items to be used on the snowman to make it look lifelike. However, to the dismay of the amateur sculptors, these items easily fall off or do not look sufficiently realistic.

Various devices and kits have been proposed in the art for providing more realistic snowman accessories or at least more professionally manufactured or prepared accessories. Although assumably effective for their intended purposes, the existing devices and proposals do not provide efficiently and securely mounted accessories and do not provide for various accessories to be interchanged without destroying the snowman itself.

Therefore, it would desirable to have a snowman accessory having separable anchors and feature members such that various features may be interchanged without removing the anchors. Further, it would be desirable to have a snowman accessory in which the anchor members may be easily and quickly inserted into the snowman and be securely mounted.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A snowman accessory according to the present invention includes a plurality of anchor members and a plurality of feature members. A plurality of connectors is also included for releasably connecting selected anchor and feature members. All of these components may be grouped or sold together as a kit.

Each anchor member includes outwardly extending threads for securely holding the anchor member in a snowman. Each anchor further includes a tab at one end that enables a user to easily turn the anchor for threadable insertion into a snowman. Each connector includes an outwardly biased protruding member that may be selectively engaged so as to release a feature member

Therefore, a general object of this invention is to provide a snowman accessory having a plurality of anchor and feature members that may be interchangeably connected and inserted into a snowman for display.

Another object of this invention is to provide a snowman accessory, as aforesaid, having a plurality of connectors for enabling respective anchor and feature members to be quickly interchanged.

Still another object of this invention is to provide a snowman accessory, as aforesaid, in which an anchor member may be securely inserted into a mass of snow.

Yet another object of this invention is to provide a snowman accessory, as aforesaid, in which feature members may be selectively removed and replaced without removing respective anchors from a snowman.

A further object of this invention is to provide a snowman accessory, as aforesaid, having a plurality of spring-biased connectors such that feature members may be quickly and easily released from respective anchor members.

A still further object of this invention is to provide a snowman accessory, as aforesaid, in which the anchor and feature members and connectors may be included in a kit.

Other object and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, wherein is set forth by way of illustration and example, an embodiment of this invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a snowman accessory according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an exploded view of the snowman accessory as in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3a is a side view of the snowman accessory as in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3b is a sectional view taken along line 3b-3b of FIG. 3a;

FIG. 4a is an isolated view on an enlarged scale taken from FIG. 3b showing a protruding member of a connector engaging an anchor member recess;

FIG. 4b is an isolated view as in FIG. 4a showing the protruding member being constricted during insertion of a connector into the anchor member;

FIG. 5a is a perspective view of an anchor member;

FIG. 5b is a perspective view of an anchor member according to another embodiment of the anchor member;

FIG. 6a is a front perspective view of the snowman accessory according to another embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 6b is a rear perspective view of the snowman accessory as in FIG. 6a.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

A snowman decorative accessory according to the present invention will now be described in detail with reference to FIGS. 1 through 6b of the accompanying drawings. More particularly, a snowman decorative accessory 100 according to the current invention includes an anchor member 110 and a feature member 120 selectively attachable to the anchor member 110.

The anchor member 110 has opposed first and second ends 110a, 110b, and the anchor member 110 may have outer threads 112 for securing the anchor member 110 to a mass of snow. The first end 110a preferably defines a point 113, and the anchor member 110 may have a pair of opposed tabs 114 (FIGS. 2, 5a, and 5b) adjacent the second end 110b to allow a user to easily screw the anchor member 110 into the mass of snow. The threads 112 may have various pitches and major diameters, as shown in FIGS. 5a and 5b.

As shown in FIG. 3b, the anchor member 110 may define a cavity 116 extending from the anchor member second end 110b toward the anchor member first end 110a. The anchor member 110 may also define a recess 117 in communication with and extending transversely from the cavity 116.

The feature member 120 has a display section 120a and an attachment section 120b extending from the display section 120a, as shown in FIG. 2. The feature member display section 120a may represent an eye (FIGS. 1 through 3b), a nose, a mouth (FIGS. 6a and 6b), an ear, a hat, an arm, an article of clothing, a button, a pipe, a lump of coal, a vegetable (i.e., a carrot), or any other item desired to be placed on a snowman. The attachment section 120b has a configuration complimentary to a configuration of the cavity 116 so that the attachment section 120b may be selectively received in the cavity 116 (FIGS. 3a and 3b). FIG. 3b shows that the feature member attachment section 120b may have an outer wall 122 defining an opening 123 and defining a hollow interior space 125. An end wall 126 may be located within or adjacent to the hollow interior space 125. As seen in FIGS. 2 and 3b, the feature member hollow interior space 125 may extend through the display section 120a.

A connector 130 has a configuration complementary to a configuration of the feature member hollow interior space 125 as shown in FIG. 3b. The connector 130 may have an outwardly-biased protruding member 132 for selectively passing through the feature member outer wall opening 123 and engaging the anchor member recess 117. The protruding member 132 is preferably selectively constrictable, and a rigid member 134 is preferably in communication with the protruding member 132. The rigid member 134 may be dimensioned to extend beyond a front surface 121 of the feature member 120 when the protruding member 132 is engaged with the anchor member recess, as shown in FIGS. 1, 3a, and 3b. The protruding member 132 may have a wedge shape 133 as shown in FIG. 2 and FIGS. 3b through 4b to allow the protruding member 132 to be easily constricted when moving toward the attachment section end wall 126 (FIG. 4b) and to selectively engage the anchor member recess 117 (FIG. 4a). When the protruding member engages the anchor member recess 117, the feature member 120 is removably attached to the anchor member 110 (FIG. 1 and FIGS. 3a through 4a). A spring 138 may be positioned in the feature member hollow interior space 125 distant from the display section 120a and adjacent the attachment section end wall 126 to bias the connector 130 away from the attachment section end wall 126 when the connector 130 is positioned in the feature member hollow interior space 125 (FIGS. 3b through 4b).

In one embodiment, shown in FIGS. 6a and 6b, the feature member 120 may have a speaker 128 with access to audio data and an activator 129 in communication with the speaker 128 for selectively actuating the speaker 128. While the activator 129 preferably includes a motion sensor, other activators 129 may be used, such as a button or timer. Though not shown, the feature member 120 may have a recording device in communication with the speaker 128 for capturing audio data to be played by the speaker 128.

In use, a user may screw the anchor member 110 into a mass of snow (i.e., a snowman) by grasping and turning the tabs 114. The point 113 facilitates entry of the anchor member 110 into the snow, and the threads 112 may secure the anchor member in the snow. The spring 138 may be placed into the feature member hollow interior space 125, and then the connector 130 may be placed into the feature member hollow interior space 125 so that the rigid member 134 extends beyond the feature member front surface 121. The feature member attachment section 120b may be inserted into the anchor member cavity 116, and the connector rigid member 134 may be pushed toward the feature member end wall 126, moving the protruding member 132 to the outer wall opening 123. When the protruding member 132 reaches the outer wall opening 123, the resilient nature of the protruding member 132 may cause the protruding member 132 to pass through the outer wall opening 123 and into the anchor member recess 117, attaching the connector 130 and the feature member 120 to the anchor member 110 (FIGS. 3b and 4a). If the feature member 120 includes a speaker 128 and an activator 129, the user may utilize the activator 129 to cause the speaker 128 to play the audio data.

To separate the feature member 120 from the anchor member 110 (FIG. 2), the connector rigid member 134 (FIG. 3b) may be pressed toward the feature member end wall 126 (FIG. 4b), causing the protruding member 132 to constrict. While holding the rigid member 134 at this position, the feature member display section 120a may be pulled away from the anchor member 110 to freely separate the feature member 120 from the anchor member 110.

The anchor member 110 and/or the feature member 120 may be constructed from a variety of materials, including (nonexclusively) plastic, metal, wood, rubber, and biodegradable material. If a member 110, 120 is constructed of biodegradable material, the member 110, 120 may be left in the snowman indefinitely without harm; when the snowman melts, the member 110, 120 will simply decompose harmlessly in the environment. If a biodegradable material is used, the biodegradable material preferably does not decompose in cold weather (i.e., while still in the snowman).

A snowman decoration kit may be provided that has a plurality of anchor members 110, a plurality of feature members 120, and a plurality of connectors 130. For example, some of the feature members 120 may represent eyes, some of the feature members 120 may represent noses, etc. The feature members 120 are preferably interchangeably attachable to the anchor members 110 so that various feature members 120 may be respectively attached to an anchor member 110 without removing the anchor member 110 from the snowman. In this way, various feature members 120 representing different objects (noses, for example) may be interchanged without harm to the snowman.

It is understood that while certain forms of this invention have been illustrated and described, it is not limited thereto except insofar as such limitations are included in the following claims and allowable functional equivalents thereof.