US20050014440A1 - Toy block assembly - Google Patents

Toy block assembly Download PDF

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Publication number
US20050014440A1
US20050014440A1 US10/444,101 US44410103A US2005014440A1 US 20050014440 A1 US20050014440 A1 US 20050014440A1 US 44410103 A US44410103 A US 44410103A US 2005014440 A1 US2005014440 A1 US 2005014440A1
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US
United States
Prior art keywords
toy block
assembly
gear
block assembly
assemblies
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Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
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US10/444,101
Inventor
David Kunitz
Dwight Stall
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Hasbro Inc
Original Assignee
Hasbro Inc
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Filing date
Publication date
Application filed by Hasbro Inc filed Critical Hasbro Inc
Priority to US10/444,101 priority Critical patent/US20050014440A1/en
Assigned to HASBRO, INC. reassignment HASBRO, INC. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: KUNITZ, DAVID F., STALL, DWIGHT
Publication of US20050014440A1 publication Critical patent/US20050014440A1/en
Abandoned legal-status Critical Current

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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63HTOYS, e.g. TOPS, DOLLS, HOOPS OR BUILDING BLOCKS
    • A63H33/00Other toys
    • A63H33/04Building blocks, strips, or similar building parts
    • A63H33/042Mechanical, electrical, optical, pneumatic or hydraulic arrangements; Motors

Abstract

A toy block assembly includes a housing. The housing includes an upper surface having protrusions, and a lower surface having recesses. Gear assemblies are positioned between the upper and lower surfaces of the housing. Each gear assembly is sized and configured to rotate about an axis of the gear assembly and to mesh with one or more adjacent gear assemblies.

Description

    TECHNICAL FIELD
  • This description relates to toy block assemblies.
  • BACKGROUND
  • Interlocking toy blocks nurture a child's creativity by allowing the child to build objects and structures that interest the child. By simply snapping the toy blocks together, a child can create both simple and complex structures. To make playing with the toy blocks more interesting and enjoyable, various types of moveable components often are provided for use with the toy blocks.
  • SUMMARY
  • In one general aspect, a toy block assembly includes a housing. The housing includes an upper surface having protrusions, and a lower surface having recesses. Gear assemblies are positioned between the upper and lower surfaces of the housing. Each gear assembly is sized and configured to rotate about an axis of the gear assembly and to mesh with one or more adjacent gear assemblies.
  • Implementations may include one or more of the following features. For example, the protrusions of the upper surface may be configured to releasably engage the recesses of an adjacent toy block assembly, and the recesses of the lower surface may be configured to releasably engage the protrusions of an adjacent toy block assembly.
  • The housing may include a first end portion and a second end portion. At least one of the end portions may include a passage for allowing one of the gear assemblies to mesh with a gear assembly of an adjacent toy block assembly. The housing also may include a front portion and a rear portion extending between the end portions. At least one of the front and rear portions may include a passage for allowing one of the gear assemblies to mesh with a gear assembly of an adjacent toy block assembly. The housing may include a passage for allowing one of the gear assemblies to interconnect with a gear assembly of an adjacent toy block assembly.
  • In one implementation, the toy block assembly includes five linearly-configured gear assemblies. The first and second end portions of the housing may include passages through which a different one of two gear assemblies is accessible. Further, the rear portion of the housing may include a passage through which a middle gear assembly is accessible. Additionally, the housing may include passages through which alternating gear assemblies are accessible.
  • Upper surfaces of three of the gear assemblies may include one or more protrusions for releasably coupling to recesses on lower surfaces of gear assemblies of adjacent toy block assemblies. The one or more gear assembly protrusions are accessible through passages in the housing.
  • Lower surfaces of three of the gear assemblies also may include one or more recesses for releasably coupling to protrusions on upper surfaces of gear assemblies of adjacent toy block assemblies. The one or more gear assembly recesses are accessible through passages in the housing.
  • In another general aspect, a toy block system includes a first toy block assembly and a second toy block assembly. Each of the toy block assemblies includes a top surface having one or more protrusions, a bottom surface having one or more recesses, a left surface, a right surface, a front surface, and a rear surface. Two or more gear assemblies are positioned between the top, bottom, front, and rear surfaces of each toy block assembly, such that each gear assembly is sized and configured to rotate about an axis of the gear assembly and to mesh with one or more adjacent gear assemblies.
  • Implementations may include one or more of the following features. For example, the protrusions of the top surface of the first toy block assembly may be configured to releasably engage the recesses of the bottom surface of the second toy block assembly, and the recesses of the bottom surface of the first toy block assembly may be configured to releasably engage the protrusions of the top surface of the second toy block assembly.
  • The right surface of the first toy block assembly may include a first passage, and the left surface of the second toy block assembly may include a second passage, such that the combination of the first and second passages allow one or more gear assemblies of the first toy block assembly to mesh with one or more gear assemblies of the second toy block assembly.
  • One of the right and left surfaces of the first toy block assembly may include a first passage, and one of the front and rear surfaces of the second toy block assembly may include a second passage, such that the combination of the first and second passages allow one or more gear assemblies of the first toy block assembly to mesh with one or more gear assemblies of the second toy block assembly.
  • The bottom surface of the first toy block assembly may include a first passage, and the top surface of the second toy block assembly may include a second passage, such that the combination of the first and second passages allow one or more gear assemblies of the first toy block assembly to mesh with one or more gear assemblies of the second toy block assembly.
  • An upper surface of the gear assemblies of the first toy block assembly includes one or more protrusions for releasably coupling one or more recesses on a lower surface of the gear assemblies of the second toy block assembly.
  • In another general aspect, a toy block assembly includes a housing. The housing includes an upper surface having protrusions, and a lower surface having recesses. A gear assembly is positioned between the upper and lower surfaces of the housing. The gear assembly is sized and configured to rotate about an axis of the gear assembly.
  • Implementations may include one or more of the following features. The housing may include a front portion, a rear portion, a left portion, and a right portion. At least one of the portions may include a passage that allows the gear assembly to mesh with a gear assembly of an adjacent toy block assembly. At least one of the upper surface and the lower surface may include a passage that allows the gear assembly to interconnect with a gear assembly of an adjacent toy block assembly.
  • Other features will be apparent from the following description, including the drawings, and the claims.
  • DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a top view of a toy block assembly.
  • FIG. 2A is a top view of a first housing component of the toy block assembly of FIG. 1.
  • FIG. 2B is a top view of gear assemblies of the toy block assembly of FIG. 1.
  • FIG. 2C is a top view of a second housing component of the toy block assembly of FIG. 1.
  • FIG. 3 is an exploded side view of the toy block assembly of FIG. 1.
  • FIG. 4 is a side view of multiple toy block assemblies arranged in a top-to-bottom configuration.
  • FIG. 5 is a bottom view of the toy block assembly of FIG. 1.
  • FIG. 6 is a top view of multiple toy block assemblies arranged in an end-to-end configuration.
  • FIG. 7 is a top view of multiple toy block assemblies arranged in an end-to-side configuration.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2A-2C, a top-view of toy block assembly 10 includes gear assemblies 12 a-e (FIG. 2B) that are configured to rotate within toy block assembly 10. Toy block assembly 10 includes passages 14 and 16 on each end 18 and 20 of the toy block assembly 10. Additionally, a passage 22 is included on the rear surface 24 of toy block assembly 10. In some implementations, the front surface 26 also may include a passage. Passages 14, 16, and 22 allow access to gear assemblies 12 a, 12 c, and 12 e, respectively.
  • Referring particularly to FIGS. 2A-2C (i.e., top views of the components of toy block assembly 10), toy block assembly 10 includes a first housing component 28 and a second housing component 30. Housing components 28 and 30, which are typically molded of plastic, are designed to be aligned and fastened together (either permanently or temporarily). The alignment of the first and second housings components 28 and 30 may be accomplished through the use of keys, alignment pins, or some other type of alignment device. If temporarily fastened together, an interference fit between the first and second housing components 28 and 30 may be used For permanent fastening, an adhesive or a hot melt process may be used.
  • The upper surface 32 of second housing component 30 includes recesses 34 a-e that receive gear assemblies 12 a-c. Accordingly, once the lower surface 36 (FIG. 3) of first housing component 28 is fastened to the upper surface 32 of second housing component 30, gear assemblies 12 a-e are positioned between the first and second housing components 28 and 30 within recesses 34 a-c.
  • Recesses 34 a-e are sized to accommodate gear assemblies 12 a-e such that, when gear assemblies 12 a-e are positioned within recesses 34 a-e, each gear assembly (e.g., gear assembly 12 c) spins about the axis of the gear assembly (e.g., axis 38) and meshes with adjacent gear assemblies (e.g., gear assemblies 12 b and 12d).
  • Referring also to FIGS. 3, 4, and 5, housing components 28 and 30 include recesses 74 and protrusions 76 that allow the toy block assembly 10 to be temporarily connected with other adjacent toy block assemblies 66. Recesses 74 and protrusions 76 are sized so that an interference fit is created whenever the protrusions 76 of a first toy block assembly are pressed into the recesses 74 of a second toy block assembly.
  • Each recess 74 on a lower surface 75 of housing component 30 is defined as the space between several cylindrical protrusions (e.g., protrusions 77, 79, 81, and 83) located on lower surface 75. In other implementations, the recesses are defined within annular ridges that extend from the lower surface 75, or by circular recesses in that surface. In each case, the cylindrical protrusions, the annular ridges, or the circular recesses are spaced consistently with the spacing of the protrusions 76.
  • First housing component 28 and second housing component 30 each include one or more passages (e.g., passages 42, 44, 46, 48, 50, and 52) that allow for the interconnection of the gear assemblies of the toy block assembly 10 with the gear assemblies of adjacent toy block assemblies.
  • During operation of toy block assembly 10, the rotation of one gear assembly results in the rotation of all other gear assemblies. For example, if gear assembly 12 a is rotated in a clockwise direction, gear assembly 12 b rotates in a counterclockwise direction. This, in turn, rotates gear assembly 12 c in a clockwise direction. As gear assembly 12 c meshes with gear assembly 12 d, gear assembly 12 d rotates in a counterclockwise direction, resulting in gear assembly 12 e rotating in a clockwise direction.
  • As gear assemblies 12 b and 12d are smaller in diameter than gear assemblies 12 a, 12c, and 12e, gear assemblies 12 b and 12d are typically concealed within housing components 28 and 30 and, therefore, inaccessible for the outside of toy block assembly 10.
  • Each of gear assemblies 12 a, 12 c, and 12 e, typically include protrusions 54 located on the top surface 56 of the gear assembly, and recesses 58 located on the bottom surface 60 of the gear assembly. These protrusions 54 and recesses 58 facilitate the interconnection of the gear assemblies of adjacent toy block assemblies.
  • As toy block assemblies may be stacked upon each other, it is desirable for the protrusions 54 to be sized such that they do not protrude from the top surface 62 of the first housing component 28, as the protrusions 54 would contact the bottom surface 64 of an adjacent toy block assembly 66 (shown in phantom) and prevent rotation of gear assemblies 12 a-e. Therefore, a spacer block 68 is typically used to interconnect the gears of an upper toy block assembly and a lower toy block assembly. Spacer block 68 includes protrusions 70 that engage the recesses (e.g., recess 58) of the gear assembly of the upper toy block assembly. Further, spacer block 68 includes recesses 72 that engage the protrusions (e.g., protrusion 54) of the gear assembly of a lower toy block assembly.
  • Whenever spacer block 68 engages the protrusions of a gear assembly of a toy block assembly 10, any rotation of the gear assembly to which the spacer block 68 is attached results in the rotation of spacer block 68. Further, if the protrusions of the spacer block 68 are engaged with the recesses of a gear assembly of adjacent toy block assembly 66, the gear assemblies of both toy block assemblies 10 and 68 will move in unison.
  • Referring to FIG. 6, passages 14 and 16 allow a portion of gear assemblies 12 a and 12 e to protrude from the ends 18 and 20 of toy block assembly 10, thus allowing the gear assemblies of a first toy block assembly 10 to mesh with the gear assemblies of a second toy block assembly 100. As discussed above, toy block assemblies are stackable upon other toy block assemblies. Therefore, when arranging two toy block assemblies 10 and 100 in a end-to-end configuration, a third toy block assembly (not shown) may be stacked on top of or underneath the pair of toy block assemblies, such that the third toy block assembly spans the first and second toy block assemblies 10 and 100, locking them in place and assuring that the gear assemblies of the toy block assemblies properly mesh. The third toy block assembly does not need to include gears.
  • Referring to FIG. 7, passage 22 on either the rear surface 24 or front surface 26 of toy block assembly 10 allows access to gear assembly 12 c. This, in turn, allows the gear assemblies of a first toy block assembly 10 to mesh with the gear assemblies of a second toy block assembly 150. As with the end-to-end configuration discussed above, when arranging two toy block assemblies 10 and 150 in an end-to-side configuration, a third toy block assembly (not shown) may be stacked on top of or underneath the pair of toy block assemblies, such that the third toy block assembly spans the first and second toy block assemblies 10 and 150, locking them in place and assuring that the gear assemblies of each toy block assembly properly mesh. Again, this third toy block assembly does not need to include gears.
  • While lower housing component 30 is shown to accommodate five gear assemblies, this is for illustrative purposes only, as the actual number of gears assemblies used may vary depending on the specific implementation. For example, lower housing 30 may be sized and configured to accommodate a single gear assembly (e.g., gear assembly 12 c). In this particular implementation, toy block assembly 10 may be generally square in shape (when viewed from the top), as opposed to the generally rectangular shape shown in FIG. 1. Gear assembly 12 c would be sized so that one or more of passages 14, 16, and 22 allow access to gear assembly 12 c.
  • While the ends 18 and 20 of toy block assembly 10 are each shown to include a passage, other configurations are possible, such as configurations in which only one end includes a passage.
  • While the front surface or rear surface of the toy block assembly are described above as including a passage, other configurations are possible, such as configurations having a passage on both the front and rear surfaces of the toy block assembly.
  • While the end-to-end and end-to-side configurations discussed above are described as being locked in place using a third toy block assembly, other configurations are possible. For example, a grid plate (i.e., a flat sheet of plastic that include multiple protrusions for attaching toy block assemblies) may be used.
  • While the gear assemblies of the toy block assemblies that are stacked on top of each other are described above as being interconnected with a spacer block, other configurations are possible. For example, the protrusions of the gear assembly may be extended above the top surface of the first housing, thus eliminating the need for a spacer block.
  • A number of implementations have been described Nevertheless, it will be understood that various modifications may be made. Accordingly, other implementations are within the scope of the following claims.

Claims (28)

1. A toy block assembly comprising:
a housing including an upper surface having one or more protrusions, and a lower surface having one or more recesses; and
two or more gear assemblies positioned between the upper and lower surfaces of the housing, wherein each gear assembly is sized and configured to rotate about an axis of the gear assembly and to mesh with one or more adjacent gear assemblies.
2. The toy block assembly of claim 1 wherein the protrusions of the upper surface are configured to releasably engage recesses of an adjacent toy block assembly.
3. The toy block assembly of claim 1 wherein the recesses of the lower surface are configured to releasably engage protrusions of an adjacent toy block assembly.
4. The toy block assembly of claim 1 wherein:
the housing includes a first end portion and a second end portion, and
at least one of the end portions includes a passage for allowing one of the gear assemblies to mesh with a gear assembly of an adjacent toy block assembly.
5. The toy block assembly of claim 4 wherein:
the housing includes a front portion and a rear portion extending between the end portions, and;
at least one of the front and rear portions includes a passage for allowing one of the gear assemblies to mesh with a gear assembly of an adjacent toy block assembly.
6. The toy block assembly of claim 1 wherein the housing includes a passage for allowing one of the gear assemblies to interconnect with a gear assembly of an adjacent toy block assembly.
7. The toy block assembly of claim 1 wherein the one or more gear assemblies includes five linearly-configured gear assemblies.
8. The toy block assembly of claim 7 wherein a first and second end portion of the housing each include a passage through which a different one of two gear assemblies is accessible.
9. The toy block assembly of claim 7 wherein a rear portion of the housing includes a passage through which a middle gear assembly is accessible.
10. The toy block assembly of claim 7 wherein the housing includes passages through which alternating gear assemblies are accessible.
11. The toy block assembly of claim 10 wherein upper surfaces of three of the gear assemblies include one or more protrusions for releasably coupling to recesses on lower surfaces of gear assemblies of adjacent toy block assemblies, wherein the one or more protrusions are accessible through the passages in the housing.
12. The toy block assembly of claim 10 wherein lower surfaces of three of the gear assemblies includes one or more recesses for releasably coupling to protrusions on upper surfaces of gear assemblies of adjacent toy block assemblies, wherein the one or more protrusions are accessible through the passages in the housing.
13. A toy block assembly comprising:
a housing including an upper surface having one or more protrusions, and a lower surface having one or more recesses; and
a first, second, third, fourth, and fifth gear assembly, each positioned between the upper and lower surfaces of the housing, wherein each gear assembly is sized and configured to rotate about an axis of the gear assembly and to mesh with one or more adjacent gear assemblies.
14. The toy block assembly of claim 13 wherein at least one of a first and second end portion of the housing includes a passage through which one of the gear assemblies is accessible.
15. The toy block assembly of claim 14 wherein at least one of a front and rear portion of the housing, each of which extends between the end portions, includes a passage through which a gear assembly is accessible.
16. The toy block assembly of claim 13 wherein the housing includes one passage through which a gear assembly is accessible.
17. The toy block assembly of claim 16 wherein upper surfaces of three of the gear assemblies include one or more protrusions for releasably coupling to recesses on lower surfaces of gear assemblies of adjacent toy block assemblies, wherein the one or more protrusions are accessible through the passages in the housing.
18. The toy block assembly of claim 16 wherein lower surfaces of three of the gear assemblies includes one or more recesses for releasably coupling protrusions on upper surfaces of gear assemblies of adjacent toy block assemblies, wherein the one or more protrusions are accessible through the passages in the housing.
19. A toy block system comprising:
a first toy block assembly including:
a top surface having one or more protrusions, a bottom surface having one or more recesses, a left surface; a right surface, a front surface, and a rear surface, and
two or more gear assemblies positioned between the top, bottom, front, and rear surfaces of the first toy block assembly, wherein each gear assembly is sized and configured to rotate about an axis of the gear assembly and to mesh with one or more adjacent gear assemblies;
a second toy block assembly including:
a top surface having one or more protrusions, a bottom surface having one or more recesses, a left surface, a right surface, a front surface, and a rear surface, and
two or more gear assemblies positioned between the top, bottom, front, and back surfaces of the second toy block assembly, wherein each gear assembly is sized and configured to rotate about an axis of the gear assembly and to mesh with one or more adjacent gear assemblies.
20. The toy block system of claim 19 wherein the protrusions of the top surface of the first toy block assembly are configured to releasable engage the recesses of the bottom surface of the second toy block assembly.
21. The toy block system of claim 19 wherein the recesses of the bottom surface of the first toy block assembly are configured to releasably engage the protrusions of the top surface of the second toy block assembly.
22. The toy block system of claim 19 wherein the right surface of the first toy block assembly includes a first passage, the left surface of the second toy block assembly includes a second passage, and the combination of the first and second passages allow one or more gear assemblies of the first toy block assembly to mesh with one or more gear assemblies of the second toy block assembly.
23. The toy block system of claim 19 wherein one of the right and left surfaces of the first toy block assembly includes a first passage, one of the front and rear surfaces of the second toy block assembly includes a second passage, and the combination of the first and second passages allow one or more gear assemblies of the first toy block assembly to mesh with one or more gear assemblies of the second toy block assembly.
24. The toy block system of claim 19 wherein the bottom surface of the first toy block assembly includes a first passage, the top surface of the second toy block assembly includes a second passage, and the combination of the first and second passages allow one or more gear assemblies of the first toy block assembly to mesh with one or more gear assemblies of the second toy block assembly.
25. The toy block system of claim 24 wherein an upper surface of one or more of the gear assemblies of the first toy block assembly includes one or more protrusions for releasably engaging one or more recesses on a lower surface of one or more of the gear assemblies of the second toy block assembly.
26. A toy block assembly comprising:
a housing including an upper surface having one or more protrusions, and a lower surface having one or more recesses; and
a gear assembly positioned between the upper and lower surfaces of the housing, wherein the gear assembly is sized and configured to rotate about an axis of the gear assembly.
27. The toy block assembly of claim 26 wherein:
the housing includes a front portion, a rear portion, a left portion, and a right portion, and;
at least one of the portions includes a passage for allowing the gear assembly to mesh with a gear assembly of an adjacent toy block assembly.
28. The toy block assembly of claim 26 wherein at least one of the upper surface and the lower surface includes a passage for allowing the gear assembly to interconnect with a gear assembly of an adjacent toy block assembly.
US10/444,101 2003-05-22 2003-05-22 Toy block assembly Abandoned US20050014440A1 (en)

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Cited By (3)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
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US20160210597A1 (en) * 2015-01-19 2016-07-21 Alibaba Group Holding Limited System for efficient processing of transaction requests related to an account in a database
US10286332B2 (en) 2015-10-23 2019-05-14 Kma Concepts Limited Toy construction set with articulating linkable elements
USD851707S1 (en) * 2017-06-07 2019-06-18 Weiwei Ren Fidget spinner

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US20160210597A1 (en) * 2015-01-19 2016-07-21 Alibaba Group Holding Limited System for efficient processing of transaction requests related to an account in a database
US10286332B2 (en) 2015-10-23 2019-05-14 Kma Concepts Limited Toy construction set with articulating linkable elements
USD851707S1 (en) * 2017-06-07 2019-06-18 Weiwei Ren Fidget spinner

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