Title:
Fencing and missile shooting toy
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A toy fencing sword that is adapted to also fire its blade tip as a missile. The sword's launchable blade is comprised of a soft yet semi-rigid closed-cell foam material which makes it substantial enough for battering and poking as a sword, yet safe and painless enough to danger during missile-firing. The arrangement of the sword disguises its missile-firing capability from opponents.



Inventors:
Chung Wong, Veronica Pul (Hong Kong, HK)
Application Number:
11/508785
Publication Date:
02/28/2008
Filing Date:
08/24/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63H33/30
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, KIEN T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FRANCIS EDWARD MARINO (MEREDITH, NH, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A fencing and missile-shooting toy having a rearward toy end to be held by a user and a forward toy end to be directed at an opponent and comprising: an elongate rigid housing comprising a tubular inner air chamber and a tubular blade support shaft having an air passageway there-through in communication with said air chamber, said air chamber and said shaft being substantially coaxially aligned, said shaft projecting coaxial with and longitudinally from said housing towards said forward toy end and said shaft having a forward shaft end; a soft elongate blade portion adjacent to said forward toy end and comprising a forward blade tip at said forward toy end and a longitudinal body having a hollow interior rearward portion adapted to fit matingly and removably over said support shaft, said support shaft providing structural support to said blade portion and comprising means for removably fixing said blade portion to said housing such that said blade portion is coaxially aligned with said housing and such that said housing and blade portion form a toy sword for play fencing when said blade portion is so fixed to said shaft; a piston, longitudinally movable within said air chamber to increase the air volume in said air chamber when said piston is moved rearwardly and to decrease the air volume therein when said piston is moved forwardly; said air passage having an air exhaust opening adjacent said forward shaft end for directing air from said air chamber forwardly towards said blade portion such that air displaced by said decreasing air volume of said air chamber during said forward movement of said piston is forced from said air chamber through said exhaust opening and at said blade portion to expel said blade portion forwardly from said blade support shaft and from said sword as a missile from the user towards the opponent.

2. The toy of claim 1 further comprising a hilt adjacent said rearward toy end and coaxially aligned with said blade portion for holding by the user during fencing, said hilt having a hollow interior comprising a rearward portion of said air chamber, and wherein said piston has a rearward piston end comprising a pommel for grasping by the user for causing said movement of said piston, said piston being disposed and movable within said hollow interior of said hilt.

3. The toy of claim 2 further comprising a one-way valve for allowing air to enter said air chamber during said rearward movement of said piston.

4. The toy of claim 3 wherein said one-way valve is disposed in said pommel.

5. The toy of claim 4 wherein said one-way valve comprises a hole and a hole stopper, said hole stopper adapted to uncover said hole and allow the intake of air through said hole into said air chamber during said rearward movement of said piston and to cover said hole and deny the exhaust of air through said hole during said forward movement of said piston.

6. The toy of claim 5 wherein said soft elongate blade portion is comprised of a soft foam material.

7. The toy of claim 6 wherein said soft foam material is selected from the group comprising closed cell polypropylene foam, closed cell ethylene vinyl acetate foam, and neoprene foam.

8. The toy of claim 7 wherein said soft foam is closed cell polypropylene foam.

9. The toy of claim 8 wherein said longitudinal body of said soft elongate blade portion is solid and heavier than said hollow interior rearward portion so that the center of gravity of said blade portion is disposed substantially towards the forward tip of said blade portion for providing balance and stability during missile flight.

10. The toy of claim 9 wherein said forward blade tip is substantially conically shaped.

11. A toy sword adapted for play fencing and comprising a hilt and an elongate blade, said hilt adapted to receive a piston being longitudinally movable relative to said hilt and slidable within an elongate cylindrical air chamber within said hilt, said air chamber being expanded during an expansion stroke by rearward movement of said piston and being compressed during a compression stroke by forward movement of said piston, said air chamber having an air outlet adapted to allow the rapid exhaustion of air from said chamber during said compression stroke, said blade further comprising a removable missile portion disposed longitudinally transverse from said hilt and adjacent to and in communication with said air outlet such that air exiting said chamber through said compression stroke forces said missile portion from said sword as a projectile.

12. The toy sword of claim 11 wherein said missile portion is comprised of a soft foam material.

13. The toy sword of claim 12 wherein said soft foam material is a closed-cell foam.

14. The toy sword of claim 13 wherein said closed-cell foam is selected from the group including polyethylene foam, polypropylene foam, ethylene vinyl acetate foam, or neoprene foam.

15. The toy of claim 14 wherein said missile portion has a bullet-shaped tip.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is a fencing and missile shooting apparatus for use at play. More specifically, it is a toy sword having a soft foam-covered blade for use in play fencing and having a tubular air piston within the sword's housing for alternative use in firing the blade's soft foam tubular cover as a projectile. The materials and arrangement of the sword make it particularly well-adapted for safe and painless play.

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION

Sword components are defined according to well-known terminology, which will be used though-out this description. Typically, swords such as that of the present invention comprise a handle and a blade separated by a guard.

The blade is the elongate portion used to poke or batter an opponent during battle, and generally has a sharp tip at the sword's forward end.

The handle is the end of the sword grasped by the user during battle, and comprises a hilt portion for grasping by the user's hand and generally includes a bulbous pommel at the rearmost tip of the handle to prevent the hand from slipping off the handle.

The guard separates the handle from the blade, prevents the hand from sliding forward onto the blade, prevents the blade from extending too far into a sheath during storage, and is often made ornate to improve the appearance of the sword.

Toy swords and other fencing toys are well known in many forms in the prior art. Numerous varieties of toys swords and other bladed battering toys, having soft blades or tips for safety are made and have been made over the years for use predominantly by children while play fencing or pretend battling.

Additionally, the prior art is filled with missile-shooting toys, such as toy guns, which use compressed air or the movement of a piston to eject and propel a soft foam missile. The use of a soft foam material eliminates the pain and hazard of being struck by such a missile, while the density and formability of components made of soft foam allows for the manufacture of missiles that have sufficient flight and trajectory characteristics for play without danger.

It is the primary object of the present invention to provide an improved play-fencing sword that may also be used as a missile shooting toy, combining the benefits of play battering and missile-shooting in a non-obvious arrangement that disguises the intended next move of the combatants.

It is another object of the invention to provide a missile-firing toy sword which is inexpensive to manufacture and has a simple yet effective arrangement of components to minimize the expense and effort of manufacture and increase reliability.

Further objects and advantages of the invention will be apparent upon a review of the following description and drawings of the invention, including the preferred embodiment thereof.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention comprises a toy fencing sword that is adapted to also fire a portion of its blade as a missile. The launchable portion of the blade is made of a soft foam material which is safe and painless during play, yet which is dense enough so that, when formed in such an aerodynamic shape as a sword blade, it is able to maintain a stable trajectory and fly a sufficient distance for acceptable play. The launchable portion of the blade is made preferably of polyethylene (PE) closed cell foam. This closed cell material is soft yet sufficiently rigid, so that the blade will not cause harm or pain during use, yet will maintain its shape during flight.

In the preferred embodiment, the sword is comprised of a rigid housing having an inner chamber comprised of a hollow cylindrical tube and a piston which slides within the tube to increase or decrease the air volume within the chamber. Movement of the piston is controlled at the handle end of the sword by grasping the sword's pommel for convenient actuation by the user during battle. The above-mentioned portion of the sword's blade is a soft foam launchable outer surface.

Controlled movement of the piston relative to the housing and the resulting change of the volume of the inner chamber cause the pulling of air into and forcing air out of the chamber in a controlled fashion.

During a rearward expansion stroke of the piston, air is inhaled into the chamber through a one-way intake valve in the pommel.

During a forward compression stroke of the piston that inhaled air is exhausted from the chamber through a hole in the housing which directs the exhausting air towards the soft launchable blade portion to fire it as a missile from the housing.

The sword's user causes such expansion by simply grasping the pommel and retracting the piston from the housing. That air then exits in a blast though the opposite end during the opposite compression stroke to pneumatically force the blade from the sword as a missile.

The shape and arrangement of the sword's components provide the ability to actuate the firing of the missile quickly from the normal holding position used during fencing, without fore-warning, which further enhances the surprise capability of the missile firing function. The shape and configuration of the toy sword of the present invention disguises its missile-shooting capability from opponents who are not themselves familiar with the sword. The arrangement of the missile-shooting mechanism enables the user to shoot the missile without substantially repositioning his/her hands from the fencing position to catch opponents by surprise. The sword's launchable blade is made of a soft foam material, and serves as the missile which may be instantly fired from the sword.

A more complete understanding of the invention will be realized upon review of the following description of the preferred embodiment of the invention and the appended drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side view of a toy fencing sword according to the preferred embodiment of the invention,

FIG. 2 is an exploded view of the sword of FIG. 1 showing the firing if the blade as a missile,

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional exploded view through the sword of FIG. 1 showing the firing if the blade as a missile,

FIG. 4 is a partial cross-sectional view through the handle portion of the sword of FIG. 1,

FIG. 5 is a partial cross-sectional view of the air-intake valve of the handle portion of FIG. 4, showing the intake of air during the expansion stroke of the handle portion,

FIG. 6 is a partial cross-sectional view of the air-intake valve of the handle portion of FIG. 4, showing the blocking of air outflow there-through during the compression stroke of the handle portion, and

FIG. 7 is an end view of the handle portion and intake valve of FIG. 4.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The preferred embodiment of the invention is shown in FIGS. 1 though 7, where there is depicted a toy sword 100 for fencing or missile-shooting.

The sword of the present invention comprises a rigid housing 102 which includes the guard 104, a rigid blade base 106, and the hilt 108. Specifically, the elongate housing comprises the sword's hilt and the base of the blade together with the guard, in a rigid and unitary arrangement, with the hilt 108 and blade base 106 coaxially aligned.

A cylindrical hollow inner chamber 112 is disposed within the housing, extending from the forward end 114 of the base of the blade, back and through the rearmost end 116 of the hilt. The rear end of the chamber 116, and thus of the hilt, is open, and is adapted to receive piston 120, which freely fits within the open end 116 of the hilt and slides longitudinally within the inner chamber 112 to increase or decrease the volume of the chamber. The air volume within chamber is thusly increased as the piston is pulled rearwardly away from the housing during an expansion stroke and is decreased as the inner housing is pushed back forwardly into the housing during a compression stroke.

The expansion stroke is limited by extension tether 122, which connects the piston to the housing in a manner that allows free longitudinal relative movement between the piston and housing, but which retains the piston from pulling completely free from the housing. Tether 122 is comprised of a non-stretchable string, to abruptly deny rearward motion of the piston as it nears the point where continued motion would cause its removal from the housing. Alternatively, tether could be made of an elastic string and could assist to pull the piston back into the housing when it has been left accidentally extended.

The compression stroke is limited by contact between the rear most end 116 of the hilt and the forward edge 124 of pommel 126 at the rearmost end of the piston, which is too large in diameter to fit into the chamber.

With the piston inserted into chamber 112, the chamber is closed except of an air exhaust hole 130, at the forward end 114 of the chamber and an air inlet valve 132 at the rearward pommel end of the piston. The air inlet valve 132 comprises a plurality of holes 134 through the rearward end 136 of the pommel 126 which allow pneumatic communication between chamber 112 and the outer environment, and rubber stopper 140 disposed within the pommel which is adapted to move forward and rearward on longitudinal post 142 and is biased by the flow of air against or away from the plurality of holes 134. Incoming air during the expansion stroke forces the stopper 140 from the holes to allow air intake though the holes, as shown in FIG. 5, but the stopper is forced back against the holes by the pressure of air attempting to escape from the chamber to block such communication and any air exhaust passage through the holes during the compression stroke, as shown in FIG. 6.

At the forward-most end of the blade's base is disposed hollow blade mounting shaft 150, which receives and positions the removable soft blade portion 152 that forms the battering and fencing portion and launchable portion of the blade.

The missile-shaped soft blade portion 152 is preferably made of closed-cell polyethylene foam to avoid injury and pain during fencing, or when used as a missile which may be launched from the sword. Other materials may be substituted for polyethylene foam, such as ethylene vinyl acetate closed-cell foam, neoprene foam, or numerous similarly soft and sufficiently dense materials. The elongate blade portion 152 comprises a hollow base portion 154 which fittingly mates with the housing's mounting shaft 150, a solid shaft portion 156, and a bullet-shaped tip 158.

During normal fencing play, the fitted attachment of the hollow base portion 154 of soft blade portion 152 onto the mounting shaft 150 is sufficiently snug to hold the blade portion 152 onto the housing 102 without inadvertent removal, and the skeletal support provided to the soft blade portion by the rigid mounting shaft 150 is sufficient to allow the user to poke and batter opponents without having the blade collapse or bend.

The hollow interior 160 of the mounting shaft 150 communicates pneumatically with the air exhaust hole 130 so that air forced from chamber 112 by the decreasing chamber volume during the compression stroke of the piston is directed through exhaust hole 130, through the mounting shaft 150, and is forced out through launching hole 162 at the forward tip 164 of the mounting shaft in a powerful blast.

During play fencing, the user may at anytime decide to launch the soft blade portion as a missile towards an opponent in a surprise attack, as follows;

First, while holding the hilt 108 with one hand, the user grasps the pommel 126 with the other hand and pulls it rearward as far as the tether 122 will allow. Expansion of the chamber 112 caused by the motion of the piston 120 relative to the housing 102, as shown in FIGS. 2, 4 and 5, causes air to be inhaled into the expanding inner chamber 112 through the air inlet valve 132. Less preferably, intake holes could be positioned elsewhere to allow air to enter the expanding chamber during the expansion stroke of piston, such as through housing.

Subsequent rapid compression of piston 120 relative to the housing, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 6, causes that air to be exhaled through exhaust hole 130, mounting shaft 150 and launching hole 162 in a powerful blast. One-way air inlet valve 132 in the pommel, which allowed air to enter the chamber during the expansion stroke, now denies exhaust of the air from passing out of the chamber 112 though holes 134, to thereby force all exhausting air to be directed though the launching hole 162 and thereby maximize the intensity of this powerful blast.

The fit of the missile-shaped launchable blade portion 152 to the mounting shaft 150, which is sufficiently snug for fencing and battering play, is insufficient to retain the blade portion on the shaft against the force of the powerful blast, and the blade portion 152 is rapidly ejected from the post as a missile, as shown in FIG. 2.

Because the rearward portion 154 of soft blade portion 152 is hollow for mating with mounting shaft 150, it is lighter than the solid forward portion of the blade portion and the center-of-mass of the missile is substantially forward of the blade portion 152. The missile is therefore especially well-adapted for missile-like trajectory, with hollow rear portion 154 serving basically as a stabilizing tail during flight.

This positioning of the center of mass and the aerodynamic shape of the elongate foam blade with its bullet-shaped tip 158 make it well adapted for flight and suited for accurate aiming. During propulsion of tip through the air, this arrangement causes the missile to maintain a stabile and straight course, without tumbling, curving, or erratic movement.

One can also readily appreciate that by use of the sword's pommel 126 to actuate the propulsion of the missile and the disguising of the blade portion 152 as an integral part of the sword, it allows the user to surprise opponents who may not be aware of the missile-firing function of sword. In fact, one using the sword in its typical fencing mode and thereby grasping it by the pommel needs only to quickly draw back and forth on the pommel while aiming the sword at the opponent, to fire an unexpected missile. The invention allows the user a surprising option while battling against his/her foes.

It will be appreciated by those skilled in the applicable arts that the foregoing is merely one of many possible embodiments of the invention, and that the invention should therefore only be limited according to the following claims.