Title:
Toy
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A toy actuator which includes a handle, wherein one end of the handle is hollow, and an elongate resilient member formed into a loop so that opposite ends of the member are adjacent one another and opposite a vertex of the loop. The opposite ends are mounted into the hollow end of the handle so as to dispose the handle substantially opposite the vertex. An adornment is mounted substantially to the vertex. The elongate resilient member may be a sufficiently rigid spring so that when the handle is held horizontal so as to cantilever the member from the handle, the member remains substantially horizontal also until deformed by a user oscillating or otherwise translating the handle vertically, side-to-side, forward-and-back, or circularly.



Inventors:
Kazakoff, Polly (Vernon, CA)
Application Number:
11/808034
Publication Date:
12/11/2008
Filing Date:
06/06/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63H3/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
DENNIS, MICHAEL DAVID
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Antony C. Edwards (Calgary, AB, CA)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A toy comprising: a toy actuator including a handle, wherein one end of said handle is hollow, an elongate resilient member formed into a loop so that opposite ends of said member are adjacent one another and opposite a vertex of said loop, wherein said opposite ends are mounted into said hollow end of said handle so as to dispose said handle substantially opposite said vertex, and an adornment mounted substantially to said vertex.

2. The toy of claim 1 wherein said elongate resilient member is sufficiently rigid so that when said handle is held horizontal so as to cantilever said member from said handle, said member remains substantially horizontal also until deformed by a user oscillating or otherwise translating said handle vertically, side-to-side, forward-and-back, or circularly.

3. The toy of claim 2 wherein said elongate resilient member is a spring.

4. The toy of claim 3 wherein said opposite ends of said spring are interleaved so as to mesh coils of a first end of said opposite ends between coils of a second end of said opposite ends opposite to said first end, wherein said interleaved opposite ends of said member form a single end of said loop, said single end of said loop having a diameter substantially same as the diameter of either said first or second end of said member, and wherein said hollow end of said handle has a cavity formed to receive snugly therein said single end of said loop, and wherein said handle is a single rigid elongate member.

5. The toy of claim 4 wherein said adornment is chosen from the group comprising: a replica of a human-like form, a replica of an animal-like form, and a replica of an insect-like form.

6. The toy of claim 5 wherein said adornment is mounted to said vertex by said vertex being journalled through at least one aperture formed in said adornment.

7. The toy of claim 6 wherein said adornment is a plush toy.

8. The toy of claim 7 wherein said adornment is mounted to said vertex, said vertex being journalled through substantially a mid portion of said adornment.

9. The toy of claim 1 wherein said adornment is mounted to said vertex by means of a flexible tether.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a toy which includes, in particular, a toy actuator for resiliently agitating movement of a toy object suspended therefrom.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In the prior art applicant is aware of U.S. Pat. No. 6,361,395 which issued Mar. 26, 2002 to Pacza for Coil Features for Toys and Dolls. Pacza disclosed the use of a coil, preferably an expansion spring, for a toy where a coil is covered with a sleeve and a head is affixed to the coil or sleeve forming the toy, and so that the sleeve extends past the other end of the coil forming a soft tail.

Applicant is also aware of United States Published Patent Application, Publication No. US 2001/0010995 published Aug. 2, 2001 in the name of Nelson et al. and entitled Whirling Amusement Device with a Vibrating Drive and its Associated Method of Operation. Nelson et al. teach that the amusement device is used to move a supported display object through an erratic path, the amusement device including a base containing a vibration mechanism, a support spring interconnecting a display object illustrated to be an eyeball, an animal head, or a toy airplane. The support spring is coupled to the vibration mechanism in the base and otherwise extends freely from the base so that as the vibration mechanism vibrates the end of the support spring in the base, the length of support spring extending freely from the base element is also vibrated thereby also vibrating the display object causing the display object to move erratically from point to point.

Applicant is further aware of U.S. Pat. No. 6,168,496 which issued Jan. 2, 2001 to Thomas for a Fabric-Covered Spring Toy and Method for Producing. Thomas discloses the use of a fabric-covered spring having a helical body which is decorated both on its outside and on its confronting helical surfaces, the resulting fabric covered spring body may be sewn to other fabric structures such as simulated animal body parts from cooperation into an animal-like product having a semi-soft, flexible body.

Applicant is also aware of U.S. Pat. No. 5,727,984 which issued Mar. 17, 1998 to Lin for a Rolling Toy. The rolling toy is described as including a ball, an expandable coil, and a connecting device connecting the ball and the expandable coil. It is taught that the connecting device is made of a flexible material and means for mounting the connecting device to the ball are disclosed. It is described that the expandable coil chases the ball while the ball is rolling.

Applicant is also aware of U.S. Pat. No. 4,505,687 which issued Mar. 19, 1985 to Munro for a Form Retaining Stuffed Figurine. The stuffed figurine is taught to include a body portion and a head portion connected with the body portion, the body portion including a tubular outer covering substantially filled with a fill material and a piece of elastic extending along at least a part of the tubular outer covering. The piece of elastic is in a partially tensioned state and secured to at least two points spaced along the length of the tubular covering thereby allowing the body portion to be manually deformed against the bias of the elastic, the elastic thereby returning the body portion to the pre-determined shape when the deforming forces are removed.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In summary, the toy according to the present invention may be characterized in one aspect as including a toy actuator including a handle, wherein one end of the handle is hollow, and an elongate resilient member formed into a loop so that opposite ends of the member are adjacent one another and opposite a vertex of the loop. The opposite ends are mounted into the hollow end of the handle so as to dispose the handle substantially opposite the vertex. An adornment is mounted substantially to the vertex.

The elongate resilient member may be a sufficiently rigid spring so that when the handle is held horizontal so as to cantilever the member from the handle, the member remains substantially horizontal also until deformed by a user oscillating or otherwise translating the handle vertically, side-to-side, forward-and-back, or circularly.

The opposite ends of the spring may be interleaved so as to mesh coils of a first end of the opposite ends between coils of a second end of the opposite ends opposite to the first end. The interleaved opposite ends of the member may thus form a single end of the loop, where the single end of the loop has a diameter substantially same as the diameter of either the first or second end of the member. The hollow end of the handle may have a cavity formed to receive snugly therein the single end of the loop. The handle may be a single rigid elongate member.

The adornment may be a plush toy and may be chosen from the group comprising: a replica of a human-like form, a replica of an animal-like form, and a replica of an insect-like form. The adornment may be mounted to the vertex by means of the vertex being journalled through at least one aperture formed in the adornment, for example through substantially a mid portion of the adornment. The adornment may also be mounted to the vertex by means of a flexible tether.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is, in front elevation [left side elevation] view, a toy actuator according to one embodiment of the present invention suspending a bear stuffed animal.

FIG. 2 is, in left side perspective view, the toy actuator of FIG. 1 suspending a bumble bee stuffed animal.

FIG. 2a is, in front perspective view, the toy actuator and stuffed bumble bee of FIG. 2.

FIG. 3 is, in front elevation view, a toy actuator according to an alternative embodiment suspending a doll.

FIG. 3a is, in rear elevation view, the toy actuator and doll of FIG. 3.

FIG. 4 is, in front elevation view, a toy actuator according to a further alternative embodiment suspending the doll of FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is, in front elevation view, the toy actuator of FIG. 1 suspending an illuminating pendant.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

In the toy according to one embodiment of the present invention as depicted in particular in FIGS. 1-5, wherein like reference numerals denote corresponding parts in each view, toy actuator 10 includes an elongate resilient member such as a helical coil spring 12 which is elongate and extends between its opposite first and second ends 12a and 12b respectively. Spring 12 is resiliently deformed into a loop, which may be tear-drop shaped so that first ends 12a and 12b are merged together. Merged ends 12a and 12b are received in a coupling sleeve or hollow tube so as to form a base section 12c wherein adjacent coils of the spring are interleaved with one another and mounted within a hollow end in handle 14. A play object 18 is removably attached to spring 12 at mid-section 12d, preferably at the vertex of the loop distal from the base section 12c, by any suitable means such as, without intending to be limiting, clip 16. For example, in the embodiment depicted in FIG. 1, object 18 is a stuffed toy resembling a bear. As object 18 is removably attached to spring 12, other play objects 18 may, advantageously, be interchangeably replaced thereby creating a new toy actuator 10 at the user's or operator's discretion.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention as depicted in FIGS. 2 and 2a, any suitable object 18 such as, without intending to be limiting, a stuffed toy object resembling a bumble bee, may be fixably mounted to spring 12 by forming a passageway 22 through object 18 through which the coils of spring 12 may be passed. Object 18 may thus be affixed to spring 12 by, for example, inserting spring end 12a into object 18 through hole 22a and exiting that end from object 18 through hole 22b until midsection 12d is journalled in passageway 22 (shown in dotted outline in FIG. 2a). Spring ends 12a and 12b are then are merged together to form base section 12c and mounted to handle 14.

In another embodiment of the present invention as depicted in FIGS. 3 and 3a, toy actuator 10 includes two resilient or elastic cords 24 and 26 for supporting any suitable object such as, without intending to be limiting, doll 18. One elastic cord 24, which extends between its ends 24a and 24b, loops down to the left of doll head 18a, across doll chest 18b, under arm 18c and across back 18e. Elastic cord ends 22a and 22b are then received in a coupling or hollow handle 14. A second elastic cord 26a, extending between its ends 26a and 26b, loops down to the right of doll head 18a, across chest 18b, under arm 18d and across back 18e. Elastic cord ends 26a and 26b are then received in a coupling or hollow handle 14 together with elastic cord ends 24a and 24b. The ends of elastic cords 24 and 26 may be held in place in coupling or hollow handle 14 by any suitable means such as, without intending to be limiting, adhesive. Elastic cords 24 and 26 are joined together at 28a and 28b by any suitable means of attachment such as, without intending to be limiting, small rings, collars, hoops, grommets, beads, etc.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention as depicted in FIG. 4 toy actuator 10 may include two elongate springs 30 and 32 instead of elastic cords 24 and 26 as depicted in FIGS. 3 and 3a.

In another embodiment of the present invention as depicted in FIG. 5, toy object 18, in this example a pendant, may include one or a plurality of light emitting devices 34. For example, a light device 34 may include light emitting diodes (LEDs). Light emitting device 34 may be motion activated such that when toy actuator 10 is moved, light emitting device 34 illuminates.

Without intending to be limiting, toy actuator 10 as depicted in FIGS. 1, 2 and 5 may be used by grasping handle 14 with one hand and rotating the hand. If, for example, the hand is rotated in a clockwise direction, spring 12 and toy object 18 will also rotate in a clockwise direction. While rotating in a clockwise direction with the rotation of the hand, spring 12 will also bounce thereby transmitting energy to object 18 at the distal end thereby creating lively movement of object 18. Where, for example, object 18 is an object which simulates a flying insect or other creature, such movement may create the impression that object 18 is flying, flitting from one flower to another. If, alternatively, the hand is moved in a forward and backward motion, object 18 may appear to be performing acrobatic feats such as backflips and somersaults. If the hand holding the embodiment of toy actuator 10 as depicted in FIG. 1 is moved in a perpendicular, circular motion, object 18 may, if attachment means 16 is slidably mounted to spring 12, pivot in direction A or, alternatively, in direction B, around spring 12 at axis 20. The pivoting action may be used in play such that a game can be played involving passing object 18 through opening 10a. Advantageously, if toy actuator 18 is equipped with light emitting device 34, it may, with the lively spontaneous action created by the bounce of spring 12, simulate a night-time insect such as, without intending to be limiting, a firefly.

Toy actuator 10 as depicted in FIGS. 3 and 4 may, without intending to be limiting, be operated by the operator holding handle 14 in the operator's hand and moving the hand. The hand may, for example, be moved in a manner such that it appears that object 18 suspended from elastic cords 24 and 26 or springs 30 and 32, as the case may be, appears to be walking or, as depicted in FIG. 3 roller-skating, in a lively and life-like manner. Thus, toy actuator 10 as depicted in FIGS. 1-5 may be used to create lifelike movement in a toy object 18 without independent manual force applied directly to object 18, such as by a hand grasping and moving object 18 directly, thereby enhancing the quality of play.

As will be apparent to those skilled in the art in the light of the foregoing disclosure, many alterations and modifications are possible in the practice of this invention without departing from the spirit or scope thereof. Accordingly, the scope of the invention is to be construed in accordance with the substance defined by the following claims.