Title:
Plush toy having a coil spring backbone
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A plush toy includes a head section, a hind section opposite the head section, and a mid section. The mid section has opposite first and second ends, where the first end is mounted to the head section and the second end is mounted to the hind section. The mid section incorporates an elongate helical-coiled backbone spring extending longitudinally the length of the mid section from the first end to the second end. A plush body is mounted around the backbone spring. The plush body includes a soft, flexible coiled member formed as a coil coiled around the background spring so as to not restrict bending or rotational deformation of the backbone spring. The bending or rotational deformation of the backbone spring lends to the apparently acrobatic ability of the plush toy to twist and bend its body.



Inventors:
Kazakoff, Polly (Vernon, CA)
Application Number:
11/806921
Publication Date:
12/11/2008
Filing Date:
06/05/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
446/369, 446/390
International Classes:
A63H3/02; A63H3/36
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 plush toy comprising: a head section, a hind section opposite said head section, a mid section having opposite first and second ends, said first end mounted to said head section and said second end mounted to said hind section, an elongate helical-coiled backbone spring extending longitudinally the length of said mid section from said first end to said second end, a plush body mounted around said backbone spring, wherein said plush body includes a soft, flexible coiled member formed as a coil coiled around said background spring so as to not restrict bending or rotational deformation of said backbone spring, a substantially non-elastic flexible member extending longitudinally said length of said mid section and mounted at opposite ends thereof to said head section and said hind section to inhibit resilient elongation of said backbone spring without inhibiting said bending or rotational deformation of said backbone spring.

2. The toy of claim 1 wherein said plush toy includes hind legs mounted to said hind section and fore legs mounted to said head section, and wherein said mid-section is a body section, and wherein said coil has a core through which said backbone spring is journalled and a fur-like exterior formed around said core to provide said plush body.

3. The toy of claim 2 wherein said core is of greater density than said exterior surface.

4. The toy of claim 3 wherein said coil is formed as a radially spaced apart array of flexible plush members extending radially outwardly from said core.

5. The toy of claim 4 wherein said flexible plush members are loops.

6. The toy of claim 5 wherein said coil is formed of fur-like material.

7. The toy of claim 6 wherein said coil is formed from a sheet of said fur-like material wherein a first edge of said sheet is folded over the opposite second edge, and the folded portion segmented to form said loops and the overlapping first and second edges of said sheet are un-segmented and coiled into a helix around said spring to form said core.

8. The toy of claim 7 wherein said material is fun-fur and wherein said sheet is folded to overlap said first and second edges a fur-side of said sheet is exposed outwardly so that said fur-side is exposed outwardly of said loops.

9. The toy of claim 2 wherein said backbone spring is adapted to provide for at least one hundred eighty degree rotation of said hind section relative to said head section about a longitudinal axis of said spring, to simultaneously provide for bending of said spring so as to deform said longitudinal axis into a curve whereby said hind section is brought into contact with said head section, and wherein said spring resiliently urges said head section and said hind section into a non-deformed position wherein said hind section is substantially aligned behind said head section.

10. The toy of claim 9 wherein said spring is adapted to support said mid section and said head section substantially vertically over said hind section when said hind section is placed into a sitting position with said hind legs extending forwardly.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to plush toys and in particular to a plush toy having a coil spring backbone and a wrapped-on plush cord coiled mid section to provide for fully articulatable movement of the toy along its length.

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 present invention may be characterized in one aspect as a plush toy which includes a head section, a hind section opposite the head section, and a mid section. The mid section has opposite first and second ends, where the first end is mounted to the head section and the second end is mounted to the hind section. The mid section incorporates an elongate helical-coiled backbone spring extending longitudinally the length of the mid section from the first end to the second end. A plush body is mounted around the backbone spring. The plush body includes a soft, flexible coiled member formed as a coil coiled around the background spring so as to not restrict bending or rotational deformation of the backbone spring. A substantially non-elastic flexible member extends longitudinally the length of the mid section and is mounted at opposite ends thereof to the head section and the hind section. This flexible member inhibits resilient elongation of the backbone spring without inhibiting the bending or rotational deformation of the backbone spring which lends to the apparently almost acrobatic ability of the plush toy to twist and bend its body.

The plush toy may include hind legs mounted to the hind section and fore legs mounted to the head section. The mid-section may thus be a body section extending between the fore and hind legs.

In one embodiment the coil has a core through which the backbone spring is journalled and a fur-like exterior is formed around the core to provide the plush body. Advantageously the core is of greater density than the exterior surface. The coil may be formed as a radially spaced apart array of flexible plush members extending radially outwardly from the core. The plush members may be formed as loops.

The coil may be made of fur-like material. For example the coil may be formed from a sheet of the fur-like material wherein a first edge of the sheet is folded over the opposite second edge, and the folded portion segmented to form the loops and the overlapping first and second edges of the sheet are un-segmented and coiled into a helix around the spring to form the core. The fur-like material may be fun-fur and, when the sheet is folded to overlap the first and second edges a fur-side of the sheet is exposed outwardly so that the fur-side is exposed outwardly of the loops.

Advantageously, the backbone spring is adapted to provide for at least a one hundred eighty degree rotation of the hind section relative to the head section about a longitudinal axis of the spring. The spring provides for simultaneous bending of the spring so as to deform the longitudinal axis into a curve whereby the hind section is brought into contact with the head section.

The spring resiliently urges the head section and the hind section into a non-deformed position wherein the hind section is substantially aligned behind the head section. The spring is also adapted, that is sufficiently stiff, to support the mid section and the head section substantially vertically over the hind section when the hind section is placed into a sitting position with the hind legs extending forwardly from the body.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is, in left side elevation view, the toy animal according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is, in partially cut away side elevation view, the toy animal of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is, in front perspective view, the toy animal of FIG. 1 sitting on a horizontal surface.

FIG. 3a is in side perspective view, the toy animal of FIG. 3 illustrating the curvature of the backbone spring.

FIG. 4 is, in plan view, the toy animal of FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is, in bottom view, the toy animal of FIG. 1.

FIG. 6 is, in front perspective view, the toy animal of FIG. I sitting on all fours on a horizontal surface.

FIG. 7 is, in front perspective view, the toy animal of FIG. 6 with the hind section rotated one hundred eighty degrees relative to the head, and with the hind section elevated so as to be above the head.

FIG. 8 is, in side elevation view, the view of FIG. 7.

FIG. 9 is, in partially cut away perspective view, the fun-fir coil coiled around the backbone spring according to one aspect of the present invention.

FIG. 9a is a section of the fun-fir coil of FIG. 9.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

In the toy according to one embodiment of the present invention as depicted in particular in FIGS. 1-9a, wherein like reference numerals denote corresponding parts in each view, toy 10 includes a backbone spring 12 which is elongate and extends between its opposite first and second ends 12a and 12b respectively. A head 14 is mounted to the first end of the elongate spring, and a hind section 16 having a front 16a and rear 16b, are mounted at the second end of the elongate spring. Rear legs depend from the hind section. Front legs 14a depend from the head. Advantageously, the head and hind section replicate the corresponding parts of, for example, an animal such as a bear or dog. The backbone spring 12 may be covered in a close fitting tubular sleeve (not shown), for example, to inhibit a child user from working the child's fingers into the coils of the spring. In one embodiment, the sleeve has hoot-and-loop fasteners (not shown) mounted so as to be oppositely disposed at opposite ends of the sleeve and spring so that the head and hind sections may be removably mounted to the ends of the backbone spring. This allows for different head and hind sections to be modularly and interchangeably releasably mounted onto the body section 18 corresponding to the backbone spring.

Body section 18 is mounted along the backbone spring so as to extend from the hind section to the head. The backbone spring is journalled through the body section so as to be normally covered from view by the body section. A substantially inelastic flexible cord 12c (shown in dotted line in FIG. 2), lace, string or the like is journalled through and along the length of spring 12. The ends of cord 12c and the ends of backbone spring 12 are mounted to the rear of the head and to the front of the hind section respectively. The cord inhibits extension deformation of the spring without inhibiting rotation of the ends of the spring relative to one another or deflection of the spring.

In the embodiment of FIG. 1, the animal represented by the respective hind quarter, body section and head is a bear. The backbone spring is sufficiently stiff so that, with the hind section in a seated position on a rigid horizontal surface 20 such as a table top or floor and with the rear legs 16c tucked under the body so as to extend forwardly from the hind section as seen in FIG. 3, the toy may be made to appear to sit. Although not shown, the backbone spring may be advantageously sufficiently stiff to support the body section and head substantially vertically above the hind section when in the sitting position, but should be sufficiently flexible to allow ease of bending of the spring for example so as to deflect the body and head forwardly as seen in FIGS. 3 and 3a.

Thus in a preferred embodiment the backbone spring is sufficiently flexible so that, when the toy is picked up for play, the body section may be de-formed by the bending of the spring by a child playing with the toy, and so that the backbone spring resiliently urges the body section into its un-deformed state of FIG. 1 upon release of the body by the child playing with the toy.

Unrestricted deflective movement of the body section so as to deflect the head relative to the hind section by the bending of the backbone spring is assisted by the structure of the body section plush covering. In particular, the body section is itself a loose helical coiled winding of a thick fluffy soft-to-the-touch pseudo-fur rope or thick cord wrapped around the backbone spring in a helix forming a pseudo fur coil 22 extending from the hind section to the head. Deflection by bending of the backbone spring imparts a compression to the pseudo-fur coil on the inside of the curvature of the deflection and a tension on the opposite side of the coils of the pseudo-fur coil 22, that is, on the outside of the curvature of the deflection of the spring.

As seen in FIGS. 9 and 9a, the pseudo-fur coil 22 may be made by folding in half a long rectangular strip of so-called fun-fir, and stitching the free edges of the folded over piece together and providing a further stitch line 22a along the long stitched edge to thereby form a tubular sleeve 22b. The portion of the folded over rectangle of fun-fir, once stitched to form tubular sleeve 22b, may then be sliced at regular small intervals along the length of the piece so as to form individual fun-fir loops 22c. Although not illustrated, it is understood that the rectangular piece of fun-fir, when folded over, is folded over so as to expose the furry, plush surface of the fun-fir outwardly. Thus, once tubular sleeve 22b and fun-fir loops 22c are formed, the fun-fir loops 22c form outwardly furry plush loops extending from tubular sleeve 22b. A drawstring 22d may advantageously be provided and journalled through sleeve 22b. Coil 22 is formed then by the wrapping of the tubular sleeve 22b and fun-fir loops around spring 12 so as to extend continuously from hind section 16 to head 14 and tightening the drawstring. Spring 12 is itself encased in a close fitting sleeve or cloth material may be adhered to spring 12 by adhesive in order to avoid inadvertent exposing of spring 12 to a child bending the backbone spring. It is understood that the coil is wrapped sufficiently tight so that spring 12 is not easily exposed upon deflection of the body section 18, the fun-fir loops are oriented to extend outwardly in a helically coiled radially spaced array around the long axis A of spring 12 with the tubular sleeve 22b wrapped most closely around spring 12 to form the inner core of the body section and coil 22. Thus, because the pseudo-fur coil has an inner more dense core formed by the tubular sleeve 22b, and an outer much lower density plush or furry casing formed by the radial array of faux-fur loops 22c, the deflection of the body section by the bending of the backbone spring such as seen in FIGS. 3a and 8 will compress the pseudo-fur coil 22 on the inside of the springs curvature shown by the curvature of axis A, and expand the pseudo-fur coil on the outside of the curvature without exposing the backbone spring to a child user. The use of drawstring 22d tends to enhance a puffy exterior appearance to the pseudo-fur when the drawstring is tightened.

Rotational deflection in direction B by a twisting deformation of the backbone spring so as to rotate the bind section rotationally about axis A rotationally deforms the spring backbone and the body section by, depending on the direction of rotation, tightening the coils of the spring or pseudo-fur coil or slightly loosening the respective coils thereof. Coil 22 and spring 12 may be coiled helically in the same direction or in opposite coiled directions. In any event, the pseudo-fur coil of the body section accommodates the degrees of freedom afforded by the resilient de-formation of the spring and therefore does not interfere with the full freedom of motion of the spring while still maintaining a plush padded and well rounded body section hiding the backbone spring therein.

Thus as seen in FIGS. 7 and 8, it may be seen that the longitudinal axis A of spring 12 -has been bent so as to curve the back of the animal to bring the hind section 16 upwardly over head 14, and further, that hind section 16 has been rotated one hundred eighty degrees about axis A in direction B relative to head 14. Thus, the animal appears to be acrobatic to the child in that the rear-most end 16b of the animal may be rotated right around so as to be facing forwardly in the same direction as head 14. This apparently acrobatic ability of the toy animal is accomplished by the slight tightening or loosening of coil 22, notably without substantially exposes the inner backbone spring 12 to the user child.

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.





 
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