Title:
RIBBON PERFORMANCE DEVICE OR TOY
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A streamer toy or a performance device, including a handle attached to a cord whose length can be varied and which can be extended or retracted. A weight, such as a ball, may be connected to the cord. The cord may have one or more ribbons or streamers attached to it. A user can perform various movements with the toy or performance device which cause the ribbons or streamers to make various configurations in the air, such as serpents, spiral, throws and catches, boomerangs, and flips. The invention may also include whistles, bells, and/or lights to further enhance the performance.



Inventors:
Baltazar, Lawrence L. (Downers Grove, IL, US)
Application Number:
12/117884
Publication Date:
11/12/2009
Filing Date:
05/09/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63H33/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BALDORI, JOSEPH B
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MICHAEL P. MAZZA, LLC (GLEN ELYN, IL, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A performance device, comprising: a first manually graspable handle attached to a cord; reeling means for retracting or extending the cord; at least one weight attached to the cord; and at least one ribbon assembly attached to the cord or to the weight.

2. The performance device of claim 1, wherein the means for retracting or extending the cord is located within the first manually graspable handle.

3. The performance device of claim 2, wherein the means for retracting or extending the cord comprises: an anchor; and spring means for retracting the cord when the spring force acting on the cord in a radially inward direction exceeds any centrifugal force acting on the cord in a radially outward direction and generated by the at least one weight and ribbon assembly.

4. The performance device of claim 2, wherein the spring means is coupled to a second manually graspable rotatable winding handle.

5. The performance device of claim 4, wherein the second manually graspable rotatable handle is foldable against the first manually graspable handle.

6. The performance device of claim 5, wherein the second manually graspable handle is at least partially retractable within the first handle.

7. The performance device of claim 1, wherein the cord comprises nylon.

8. The performance device of claim 1, wherein the cord comprises rubber.

9. The performance device of claim 1, wherein the cord includes at least one light attached to it.

10. The performance device of claim 1, wherein the ribbon assembly comprises: at least one streamer; or at least one ribbon.

11. The performance device of claim 10, wherein the at least one ribbon has at least one light attached thereon.

12. The performance device of claim 10, wherein the at least one streamer or ribbon glows in the dark.

13. A performance device, comprising: a first manually graspable handle attached to a cord; at least one weight attached to the cord; and at least one ribbon or streamer attached to the cord.

14. The performance device of claim 13, wherein the handle includes reeling means for retracting or extending the cord.

15. The performance device of claim 13, wherein the weight comprises a ball.

16. A method for providing a performance device, comprising the steps of: providing a manually graspable handle attached to a cord, the handle carrying means for retracting or extending the cord; attaching a free end of the cord to a weight; and attaching at least one ribbon or streamer to the cord or to the weight.

17. The method of claim 16, wherein the weight comprises a ball.

18. The method of claim 16, wherein the cord or ribbon or streamer has at least one light attached thereto.

19. The method of claim 16, further comprising means for stopping the extension of the cord.

20. The method of claim 19, wherein the stopping means comprises a button or lever which, when depressed, exerts a clamping force on the cord.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to toys or performance devices. More specifically, the invention is directed to toys or performance devices that allow a user to create by manipulative movements, various configurations of the device such as those used in rhythmic gymnastics.

Various toys or performance devices that use cords and/or ribbons exist, such as U.S. Pat. No. 6,688,941 to Hooten and U.S. Pat. No. 5,890,946 to Bloomfield. Streamers, a common apparatus used in rhythmic gymnastic performances, are also known. However, it is not believed that the prior art provides the streamer, cord, or ribbon with a retraction and/or expansion feature. It would be advantageous to provide such a feature that permits the user to vary the length of the streamer or cord without stopping the movement of the performance. Such a feature would also be advantageous for storing the device as it would limit the amount of cord or streamer that could entangle itself.

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a retractable and expandable performance toy or device for use in performances such as rhythmic gymnastics. It is a further object of the present invention to provide a performance toy or device with a weighted assembly attached to the retractable device, providing more speed when using the device and/or to better direct the streamer or cord, allowing more variations of ribbon configurations and/or enhanced flexibility in manipulating the device as compared to prior devices.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The apparatus of this application may be a children's toy or an improvement to a performance device such as the ribbons used in rhythmic gymnastics.

The device provides the user with a handle and cord emanating from the top. At the other end of the cord, a weight and/or ribbon assembly may be attached. A ribbon assembly may include ribbons or streamers radiating from the cord. A variety of items may be used as a weight that provide extra visual effects, such as a rubber ball, a colored disc, etc. A whistle or bells may be located on the weight, cord, ribbon, or streamer to provide an audible effect to the performance device.

In one embodiment, it is preferable to use a ball as a weight. When a ball with attached cord is used, the user can swing the handle and the ball may fly quickly through the air. The user may even choose to strike the ball against a surface which creates extra visual effects with the ribbons and streamers.

The device may have reeling means located within the handle or on its exterior. This reeling means allows the user to increase or decrease the length of the cord, moving the weight and ribbon assembly closer or further from the handle. This changes the visual displays produced by the device. The reeling means may be automatically or manually activated depending on what type of control the user desires.

In one embodiment, the reeling means may be a tape spring located inside the handle. The cord may be anchored to the handle. When the user twirls the device, the cord unravels from within the handle. The user may stop the extension of the cord by depressing the tape spring from the exterior of the handle, clamping onto the cord. The user may also automatically reel in the cord by depressing a button communicating with the tape spring.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one preferred embodiment of the performance device;

FIG. 2 is vertical sectional view taken along reference line 2-2 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is top and side perspective view of a preferred embodiment of the performance device;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the performance device in use;

FIG. 5 is an enlarged sectional view taken along reference line 5-5 of FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a side perspective view showing the two interior sides of the handle of the performance device opened at its vertical axis; and

FIG. 7 is an enlarged perspective of a winding mechanism shown in FIG. 6.

DEFINITION OF CLAIM TERMS

The terms used in the claims of the patent as filed are intended to have their broadest meaning consistent with the requirements of law.

“Ribbon assembly” means a part of a performance device that provides the majority of the visual display, such as at least one ribbon and/or streamer. In addition, it may include anything that may add to a visual display, such as a light, whistle, webbing, decoration, glow-in-the dark material, etc.

“Reeling means” means a part of the performance device that allows a user to extend or contract the cord automatically.

Where alternative meanings are possible, the broadest meaning is intended. All words used in the claims are intended to be used in the normal, customary usage of grammar and the English language.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Set forth below is a description of what are believed to be the preferred embodiments and/or best examples of the invention claimed. Future and present alternatives and modifications to this preferred embodiment are contemplated. Any alternatives or modifications which make insubstantial changes in function, in purpose, in structure, or in result are intended to be covered by the claims of this patent.

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, a preferred embodiment of the present invention, performance device 17, may be manufactured for use as a children's toy, or as an improvement to a performance device, such as may be used in rhythmic gymnastics. Device 17 may have a handle 1 with a first end 2a (FIG. 7) of cord 2 inserted within interior channel 31 of handle 1. In this embodiment, means for varying the length of cord 2 may be located on the exterior of handle 1, such that a user may wrap or unwrap cord 2 around anchor 5, having sides 5a and 5b and narrowed radial portion 5c. A second end 2b (FIGS. 1 and 5) of cord 2 may be attached to at least one weight, such as ball 3, and a ribbon assembly that may include radiating ribbons 4 and/or streamers attached to the top of the ball 3 using rivet 6 (FIG. 5) to provide a radiating effect. A user may manipulate the device 17 by holding handle 1 (see FIG. 4) and twirling it around so that cord 2 floats in the air in a direction proscribed by the movement of ball 3, while the ribbon or streamer assembly 4 creates visual effects in the air.

Referring to FIGS. 3, 4, 6, and 7, preferred embodiments of the present invention, cord 2 may include automatic reeling means. Unused cord 2 may be located within handle 1 by running through channel 31 and wrapping around anchor 34 within interior space 32 of handle 1.

Referring to FIG. 4, in one preferred embodiment, a user may control the length of cord 2 by depressing button 11 located over a spring loaded handle. When button 11 is pushed it clamps cord 2 and prevents its release. If the user releases button 11, the pressure on cord 2 is released, and upon twirling cord 2 can further release from coil spring 15 and increase in length. This embodiment may but need not utilize spring-loaded means located in the handle (such as used in a tape measure, for example) for automatically retracting the cord, and for releasing it under force, as will be understood by those of ordinary skill in the art. For example, if the user pushes button 11 without twirling (i.e., without providing an opposing force directed in a radially outward direction along the cord), cord 2, driven by a spring (not shown), will contract back into handle 1 automatically and wind around anchor (FIG. 7).

Referring now to FIGS. 6 and 7, a user may control the length of cord 2 by depressing clamping mechanism 33a located over a spring-loaded handle. When a user simultaneously twirls device 17, this causes cord 2 to be released from interior space 32 as the momentum of ball 3 and ribbons 4 pull on cord 2 as centrifugal force is generated by the swinging. The user may exert a clamping force on ribs 33 with his/her thumb to stop the release of cord 2 using a spring mechanism as discussed above. When the cord is free of clamping, the cord may be permitted to automatically wind back into handle 1 and around anchor 34 using spring means, not shown. Clamping means 33a (e.g., a linear piece of plastic or metal) carrying ribs 33 may be anchored to the handle by tab 36 to prevent clamping means 33a from moving relative to cord 2.

Referring to FIG. 3, in another embodiment, cord 2 may be affixed to an anchor (not shown) within handle 1. Foldable handle 35 may be attached to the exterior of handle 1. The user may wind foldable handle 35 to contract cord 2 back within handle 1. Foldable handle 35 may lock into place on handle 1 by folding it in the direction shown by arrow Y so that handle projection 35a fits within recess 48 on the handle.

Referring again to FIG. 1, it is desirable to use a cord 2 that will not break with repeated use. A material like nylon may be used. In an alternative embodiment, the cord may be a rubber-band-like material. Such a composition would create a completely different visual effect when the device is moved by the user. Also, a user may desire extra visual effects. In another preferred embodiment (FIG. 1), cord 2 may have lights 16 (e.g. LEDs) attached, and/or may be made of or sprayed with glow in the dark attributes, which may add to the visual effects when the device is in use.

Referring to FIGS. 4 and 5, in a preferred embodiment the weight of the performance device may be provided by a variety of objects, such as ball 3. With a weight, such as ball 3 attached to cord 2 and the streamers 4 attached to the cord or weight, the ribbon assembly can achieve speed that is difficult to achieve without the weight, enabling additional configurations to be used within the air. When using the device, the user may swing the ball 3 on the cord 2 by the handle 1, striking and bouncing the ball against a surface. This adds an extra visual and performance feature. In another preferred embodiment, the ball may have a light within it (not shown).

Referring again to FIG. 6, in another preferred embodiment, a whistle 13 may be attached to cord 2. In yet another embodiment (not shown), whistle 13 may be the only weight attached to cord 2. And in yet another embodiment not shown, bells may be coupled to cord 2 or ribbons 4. When the device is whirled around in these embodiments, the whistle 13 or bells (not shown) may add pleasant (or piercing) sound to the visual display provided by the performance device.

Referring again to FIGS. 4 and 5, the ribbons or streamers 4 may be attached to each other by a rivet 6. Rivet 6 may hold multiple ribbons or streamers 4 to each other. Alternatively, they may be secured to the device by a knot (not shown) in cord 2.

Other changes and modifications constituting insubstantial differences from the present invention, such as those expressed here or others left unexpressed but apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art, can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention and without diminishing its attendant advantages. It is, therefore, intended that such changes and modifications be covered by the following claims.





 
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