US3237341A - Base and stackable elements having cooperating electrical contact means - Google Patents

Base and stackable elements having cooperating electrical contact means Download PDF

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US3237341A
US3237341A US24591562A US3237341A US 3237341 A US3237341 A US 3237341A US 24591562 A US24591562 A US 24591562A US 3237341 A US3237341 A US 3237341A
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strips
block
electrically
figure
base
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John L Janning
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ROGER S DYBVIG
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ROGER S DYBVIG
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    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F21LIGHTING
    • F21SNON-PORTABLE LIGHTING DEVICES; SYSTEMS THEREOF; VEHICLE LIGHTING DEVICES SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR VEHICLE EXTERIORS
    • F21S9/00Lighting devices with a built-in power supply; Systems employing lighting devices with a built-in power supply
    • F21S9/02Lighting devices with a built-in power supply; Systems employing lighting devices with a built-in power supply the power supply being a battery or accumulator
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F21LIGHTING
    • F21VFUNCTIONAL FEATURES OR DETAILS OF LIGHTING DEVICES OR SYSTEMS THEREOF; STRUCTURAL COMBINATIONS OF LIGHTING DEVICES WITH OTHER ARTICLES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • F21V23/00Arrangement of electric circuit elements in or on lighting devices
    • F21V23/06Arrangement of electric circuit elements in or on lighting devices the elements being coupling devices, e.g. connectors
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F21LIGHTING
    • F21WINDEXING SCHEME ASSOCIATED WITH SUBCLASSES F21K, F21L, F21S and F21V, RELATING TO USES OR APPLICATIONS OF LIGHTING DEVICES OR SYSTEMS
    • F21W2111/00Use or application of lighting devices or systems for signalling, marking or indicating, not provided for in codes F21W2102/00 – F21W2107/00

Description

March 1, 1966 JANNING 3,237,341

BASE AND STAGKABLE ELEMENTS HAVING COOPERATING ELECTRICAL CONTACT MEANS Filed Dec. 19, 1962 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTOR JOHN L. JANNING 52 BY g HIS ATTORNEYS March 1, 1966 J, JANNING 3,237,341

BASE AND STACKABLE ELEMENTS HAVING COOPERATING ELECTRICAL CONTACT MEANS Filed Dec. 19. 1962 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 FIG-7 INVENTOR. JOHN L. JANNING BY 5 Z V 3 HIS ATTORNEYS March 1, 1966 J. L. JANNING BASE AND STAGKABLE ELEMENTSHAVING COOPERATING ELECTRICAL CONTACT MEANS 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 Filed Dec. 19, 1962 INVENTOR. JOHN L. JANNING BY Q wji /afl HIS AT TORN EYS United States Patent EASE AND STACKABLE ELEMENTS HAVING C0- OPERATING ELECTRICAL CONTACT MEANS John L. Tanning, Beavercreek Township, Greene County,

Ohio, assignor of fifty percent to Roger S. Dybvig,

Dayton, Ohio Filed Dec. 19, 1962, Ser. No. 245,915 31 Claims. (Cl. 4616) This invention relates to display or toy apparatus which may be used for a variety of purposes.

An object of this invention is the provision of a new article of manufacture usable as a toy or as a display device for games, advertising or indicating purposes and the like.

A more specific object of this invention is the provision of a new article of manufacture employing a plurality of separate and stackable members, at least some of which are adapted to provide a signal such as a flashing light.

Other objects and advantages reside in the construction of parts, the combination thereof, the method of manufacture and the mode of operation, as will become more apparent from the following description.

Referring to the drawings:

FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of a presently preferred embodiment of this invention, showing a plurality of stackable members mounted on a base member. Some of the stackable members include signal devices adapted to be energized in a manner to be described below.

FIGURE 2 is an exploded perspective view, with portions broken away, of one of the stackable members of FIGURE 1, disclosing it to be in the form of an ordinary hollow play building block.

FIGURE 3 is a perspective view, with portions broken away, of another stackable member of FIGURE 1.

FIGURE 4 is a perspective view, with portions broken away, of the base member of FIGURE 1 showing a lid portion thereof in a different position.

FIGURE 5 is a schematic wiring diagram of a circuit usable in the assembly of FIGURE 1.

FIGURE 6 is a schematic wiring diagram of a modified circuit usable in the assembly of FIGURE 1.

FIGURE 7 is a cross-sectional view of the base member of FIGURE 1, taken along line 7--7 thereof.

FIGURE 8 is a perspective view of apparatus made in accordance with this invention showing an alternative construction of the base member.

FIGURE 9 is a schematic wiring diagram of an elec trical circuit usable with the assembly of FIGURE 8.

FIGURE 10 is a perspective view of apparatus made in accordance with this invention showing still another modification of the base member and schematically illustrating yet another electrical circuit in accordance with this invention.

FIGURE 11 is a side elevational View, with portions shown in cross-section, of another modification of a stackable member made in accordance with this invention.

FIGURE 12 is a perspective View, with portions broken away, of still another form of stackable member.

FIGURE 13 is a perspective view of still another modified form of a stackable member made in accordance with this invention.

FIGURE 14 is a perspective view of yet a further modified form of stackable member made in accordance with this invention.

FIGURE 15 is a schematic plan view showing a stackable member of the type shown in FIGURE 14 mounted on a base member.

Referring to FIGURES 1 through 4 and 7, apparatus made in accordance with this invention includes a base "ice member, generally designated 20, shown as comprising a hollow box having a generally rectangular base 22 and a pair of opposed, parallel and vertical side walls 24 and opposed, vertical and parallel end walls 26. The base member also includes a lid member 28 connected along one edge thereof to one of the side walls 24 as by a hinge 30. The lid 28 normally occupies the generally horizontal position shown in FIGURES 1 and 7 and is held in such position as by a friction clasp which may include a spring clip 32 connected to the side edge of the lid member 28 opposite the hinge and a bead 34 mounted on the adjacent side wall 24.

The base member 20 may serve as a housing for a plurality of batteries 36 mounted within a battery holder 38 and connected by lead wires 40 and 42 to the hinge 30 and bead 34, respectively. As apparent from an inspection of FIGURE 4, the bead 34 is electrically connected in series relation to the hinge 30 with the four batteries 36 illustrated therein connected in series therebetween. The spring clip 32 is in turn electrically connected to a conductive strip or bus bar extending longitudinally along the top of the adjacent edge of the lid member 28. The hinge 30 is similarly connected to, or provides, a conductive strip or bus bar 52 which extends longitudinally along the opposed top edge of the lid member 28. As shown best in FIGURE 1, a plurality of alternate, parallel contact strips 54 and 56 extend transversely across substantially the entire width of the lid member 28, the transverse contact strips 54 being connected in mutually parallel relation to the bus bar 50 and the strips 56 being similarly connected to the bus bar 52.

The electrical circuit described immediately above is schematically illustrated in FIGURE 5. It will be noted that the circuit ordinarily is an open circuit, there being no electrical connection between the alternate strips 54 and the strips 56. When the switch 32, 34 is closed, each of the strips 54 is of a positive polarity while the strips 56 are of negative polarity. Of course, the polarity of the strips 54 and 56 could be reversed without affecting the operation of the apparatus described herein. The array of contact strips 54 and 56 is designed to provide a plurality of electrically parallel circuits between the two lead wires 40 and 42 and to support a plurality of electrical load devices made in accordance with this invention, which will now be described in detail.

Referring to FIGURES 1, 2 and 3, the electrical load devices are disclosed herein as comprising separate, stackable conductor carrying members, generally designated 60 and 62. Referring especially to FIGURE 3, a conductor carrying member 60 may comprise a hollow cubical play building block or the like, having a pair of parallel spaced conductive strips 64 affixed thereto along opposed edges of the periphery thereof. Each member 60 is, for convenience, designated a carrier block herein and, if desired, may have a suitable non-electrical indicator enclosed therein, such as a bell 66. For reasons to be described below, the conductive strips 64 on each of the carrier blocks 60 are separated by a spacing substantially equal to the spacing between a pair of adjacent strips 54 and 56.

The conductor carrying members 62 are similar to the carrier blocks 60 and are termed signal blocks herein since they carry a suitable electrical signal device. The presently preferred signal device comprises an intermittently flashing or blinking incandescent lamp. However, it will be apparent that other signal devices, such as electrically energized bells or buzzers, could be adapted to serve as signals. The signal blocks 62 again have parallel pairs of spaced conductive strips, designated 68, affixed thereto along the edges of its periphery. As

shown in FIGURE 2, an incandescent lamp or light bulb 70 may be affixed to one side of the signal block 62 and electrically connected, as by conductive paint lines 72, to conductive strips 68a wrapped around the edges of said one side of the block 62. This side of the block 62 is termed a base and designated 62:: herein. When the block 62 shown in FIGURE 2 is assembled, the exposed portions of the strips 68a serve as part of the strips 68. To insure contact between the exposed portions of the strips 68a and the remaining portions of the strips 68 extending around the block 62, the latter strip portions are turned upwardly, as indicated at 68b, into the interior of the block 62. The lamp 713 may be partially supported by a support member 74 so that, when energized, no bright spot is visible from the base of the block. Desirably, the lamp 70 is cemented to the base 62a, as indicated at 76, so that the assembled block 62 may safely be oriented with any of its faces projecting upwardly.

Referring to FIGURE 1, the carrier blocks 60 and signal blocks 62 are shown stacked upon the base with the strips 64 and 68 of the lowermost blocks 60 and 62 aligned with adjacent strips 54 and 56. The lamp 70 and conductive lines 72 in a block 62, when placed upon the strips 54 and 56, complete a circuit therebetween, causing the lamp '70 to be energized. The carrier blocks 60 ordinarily do not complete a circuit between adjacent strips 54 and 56 because the conductive strips 64 thereon are not electrically connected to one another. However, the conductive strips 64 of the carrier blocks 60 can be used to complete a circuit if a signal block 62 is placed thereon. Thus, as shown in FIGURE 1, the conductive strips, designated 64a, of the lowermost carrier block 60 are aligned with a pair of contact strips 54 and 56. The conductive strips, designated 64b and 64c of the two carrier blocks 60 stacked upon the lowermost level of blocks 60 and 62 are aligned in contact with the strips 64a. The uppermost signal block 62 shown in FIGURE 1 is mounted upon the two upper carrier blocks 60 with its strips 68 aligned with the strips 64b and 64c. Accordingly, a circuit is completed between the strips 68 in the uppermost signal block 62, which circuit includes one of the strips 54, one of the strips 64a, the strip 64c, and one of the strips 68, the lamp (not shown) enclosed in the uppermost signal block 62, the other strips 68, the strip 64b and the other of the strips 64a and finally the contact strip 56. Thus, when the uppermost signal block 62 shown in FIGURE 1 is positioned as shown, the lamp therein is energized. Of course, the blocks 60 and 62 could be stacked in a variety of patterns upon the base member 20. Since the signal blocks 62 carry flashing lamps, the effect resulting from an array of blocks stacked upon the base member 21 is unusually attractive and diverting.

As will be appreciated by those skilled in the art, a signal block 62 mounted upon one pair of adjacent strips 54- and 56 will be connected electrically in parallel to a signal block 62 mounted upon an adjacent pair of strips 54 and 56. As the number of signal blocks 62 so stacked upon the base 20 is increased, the current demand from the batteries 36 is increased, thereby limiting their useful life. Similarly, a heavy current drain on the batteries 36 would be created if one of the blocks 60 or 62 would be mounted upon the base 20 such that the conductive strips carried thereby extend transversely of the strips 54 and 56, causing a short circuit. To avoid draining the batteries under such circumstances, a current limiting alarm device may be incorporated within the circuit. Such a device is shown in the schematic circuit represented in FIGURE 6, which is identical to that shown in FIGURE 5, except that an electrically energized hell or buzzer 78 is included in the circuit in series relation between the positive terminal of the batteries 36 and the switch 32, 34. The bell 78 is not energized until a sufficiently high current passes therethrough, such as would happen under the high current conditions described above. Thus, the bell 78 serves as an alarm indicative of high current. Bells of this type include interrupter switches so that, when energized, the circuit is intermittently opened. Accordingly, in addition to serving as an alarm, the bell 78 limits the current flow in the circuit.

The invention described herein may take a variety of other forms, some of which are described below in connection with FIGURES 8 through 15 of the drawings. Basically, it is contemplated that a plurality of stackable conductor carrying members be provided, some of which incorporate electrical signal devices, in connection with a suitable base member provided with contact strips connected to an electrical energy source such that the conductor carrying members may be stacked upon the base member to energize the signal devices. It will be appreciated that the conductor carrying members, if in the form of play building blocks, can be stacked in the same variety of patterns and orientations as any ordinary play building blocks. Further, the conductor carrying members may not necessarily be in the form of building blocks, but may take a variety of other shapes and forms. For example, some of the conductor carrying members could be in the form of oblong parallelepipeds rather than cubes. If the conductor carrying members are made in shapes other than parallelepipeds, it may be desirable to have interfitting portions thereon to enable them to be stacked upon one another. The spacing between the contact strips 54 and 56 and the location of the conductive strips on the conductor carrying members, of course, would be determined by the shape and size of the conductor carrying members to be used.

Referring to FIGURES 8 and 9, an alternative base structure is disclosed which is generally designated as 120. The base in FIGURE 8 again is in the form of a box, which is large enough to hold the conductor carrying members and a battery housing, designated 138. In this case, the conductor carrying members are again shown in the form of hollow play building blocks and indicated by the same reference characters 60 and 62. The box 120 includes a lid 128 hinged to one side 124 thereof by a pair of small hinges 130 and 132. The transverse contact strips, designated 154 and 156, are mounted on the underside of the lid 128. The batteries (not shown) enclosed within the housing 138 are electrically connected to the hinges 130 and 132 by wires 140 and 142, respectively. A longitudinal bus bar mounted on the underside of the lid 128 is in contact with a portion of the hinge 132, while a bus bar 152 parallel to the bus bar 150 is electrically connected to the hinge 130. Both bus bars 150 and 152 are mounted on the lid 128 closely adjacent the hinges 130 and 132. Accordingly, both sets of strips 154 and 156, connected respectively to the bus bars 158 and 152, project across substantially the entire width of the lid 128. The strips 154 pass over bus bar 152. To avoid electrical contact therebetween the strips 154 and the bar 152 are separated by small insulating plates 158.

The circuitry associated with the base 1120 in FIGURE 8 is schematically shown in FIGURE 9. Note that it is electrically identical to the circuit shown in FIGURE 5, the only difference being that the strips 154 pass over the bus bars 152. The manner of using the structure of FIGURES 8 and 9 is substantially identical to the manner in which the structure of FIGURES 1 through 5 and 7 is used. Accordingly, no further description is believed necessary. Of course, if desired, a suitable current limiter, such as the bell 78 shown in FIGURE 6, could be incorporated in the circuitry of FIGURE 9.

FIGURE 10 discloses still another construction of a base member, generally designated 220, comprising a sheet of material 228 upon which alternate transverse c0n tact strips, designated 254 and 256, are mounted in the same array as the strips 154 and 156 described in relation to FIGURE 8. The strips 254 and 256 are connected to longitudinally extending b-us bars 250 and 252, respectively, which are connected by wires 240 and 242 to a transformer 245 which, in turn, is connected to a plug 246 adapted to be connected to ordinary house current. The sheet 228 may be made from a suitable, flexible material such as a fabric so that a large number of pairs of contact strips 254 and 256 may be associated therewith. The base member 220 of FIGURE is adapted to receive carrier and signal blocks 60 and 62 of the type described above. The arrangement shown in FIGURE 10 is presently preferred if the assembly is to be used for advertising purposes. Of course, in any of the embodiments described herein, the blocks 60 and 62 may have .a variety of numbers, letters or other designs on their faces. When using house current, a large number of blocks may be mounted upon the base member 220 and merchants or others may so arrange the blocks as to form words used in advertising their goods or services. Since the sheet 228 is flexible, it may be folded for storage.

If flashing or blinking lamps are used as the signal devices to be incorporated within the signal blocks 62, it has been found that three or :four ordinary flashlight batteries will be adequate over long periods of use, since flashing or blinking lamps demand only a relatively small and intermittent current from the batteries. Flashing or blinking lamps are commercially available which have an adequate useful life if the devices described herein are to be used as a toy or game. Accordingly, no provision need be made for removal or replacement of the contents of blocks 62. If devices made in accordance with this invention are to be used for advertising or display purposes, the electrical circuit of FIGURE 10 utilizing house current is preferred. The circuit of FIG- URE 10 can be designed to handle a larger number of signal blocks 62 than could be handled by ordinary batteries, and of course, there is no concern regarding battery life. Also, the signal blocks may be designed to enable easy replacement of the lamps. Such a signal block is shown in FIGURE 11 and is generally designated by reference character .162. The block 162 includes a removable side face or base 162a, having a bulb socket 164 integral therewith for receiving a replaceable lamp or light bulb 165. Mounted upon opposed sides of the base 162a are a pair of spring clips 168 having curved upper end portions adapted to be snap fit over beads 170 formed on opposed, internal side faces of the block 162. The spring clips 168 are electrically connected, as by wires 172, to the socket 164 for engagement with the terminals of the lamp 165. The bases of the spring clips 168 are also connected to electrically conductive strips 166a wrapped around the base 162a, which, in turn, are adapted to engage electrically conductive strips 166 wrapped around opposed side faces and the top of the block 162. In use, the base 162a ordinarily will be snap fastened. to the remainder of the block 162. However, the lamp 165 can easily be replaced by removing the base 162a.

The conductive strips 64 and 68, as well as the conductive strips 166 described above, can comprise electrically conductive paint or, alternatively, ribbons of thin metallic foil, which are cemented to the blocks 60, 62 and 162, as indicated by the glue line 63 in FIGURE 3. At present, there are commercially available electrically conductive adhesive tapes which also could serve as the conductive strips used with the blocks 60, 62 and 162. The contact strips and bus bars described above could similarly be applied to the base members 20, .120 and 220.

As shown in FIGURE 12, the conductive strips associated with one of the conductor carrying members could also comprise relatively thick ribbons of spring metal. In FIGURE 12, a signal block, designated 262,

having a snap fit base 262a, provided with a bulb socket 264 for retaining a lamp or light bulb 266 is illustrated. Four faces of the block 262 are grooved, as shown at 268, to receive spring metal ribbons 270. The ends of the ribbons 270 are bent upwardly as shown at 272 and inserted into slots 274 within the base 262a between spring clips formed by spring plates 276 and 278. The spring plates 278 may be connected by wires 280 to the socket 264 in the usual fashion. As apparent, the ends 272 of the ribbons 270 normally are clamped between the spring plates 276 and 278. However, they may be snapped out of engagement .with the plates 276, 278 if it is desired to replace the lamp 266. Again, a conductor carrying block such as that shown in FIGURE 12 likely would be more useful where a more durable structure is desired.

Another signal block structure is shown in FIGURE 13 and generally designated 362. A lamp 366 is suspended centrally of the block 36-2 by a pair of wire elements 368 and 370 connected to the base of the lamp 366. The free ends of the wires 368 and 370 are provided with enlarged heads 372 and .374, respectively, which are engaged within pads 376 and 37 8, respectively, located in diagonally opposed corners of the block 362. The pads 376 and 373 are electrically connected in any suitable fashion to spaced, parallel strips 380 and 382, respectively, which in this case are illustrated as being formed by electrically conductive paint applied to the exposed surfaces of the block 362. The wires 368 and 370 :are attached to the terminal portions of the base of the lamp 366 to complete the circuit between the strips 380 and 382.

As already mentioned, the conductor carrying members described above will create a short circuit condition if they are so located on a base member as to directly connect adjacent contact strips thereon. Such a short circuit can be prevented, as illustrated in FIGURE 13, by coating portions of the conductive strips 386 and 332 with a suitable insulating material. The insulating coating is designated in FIGURE 13 by reference character 396. If the conluctive strips are primarily aluminum, the insulating coating 390 can be formed by anodizing portions of the strips. Note that opposed corners of each of the strips 386 and 382 are coated on each of the four faces of the block 362 to which the conductive strips 380 and 382 are applied. Accordingly, if the block 362 is so placed upon a suitable base having contact strips, schematically illustrated by dotted lines 354 and 356, such that the conductive strips 380 and 382 thereon extend transversely of the contact strips 354 and 356, there will be no direct electrical connection between the strips 354 and 456 due to the insulating coatings 390. However, the lamp 366 will still be energized due to the conductive path provided by the strips 380' and 38-2.

In FIGURES l4 and 15, a carrier block designated 460 is illustrated as provided with conductive strips 462, 464, 463, 476, 472 and 474 supported in pairs on the faces of the blocks 466 in such a fashion that the block 460 is operative to serve as a circuit carrying member regardless of which of its faces is placed in contact with contact strips, designated 480 and 482 in FIGURE 15, associated with a suitable base. Note that each of the conductive strips 462, 464, 468, 479, 472 and 474 has arm portions extending along two adjacent edges of its support face. Those faces of the block 466 which are not visible in FIGURES 14 and 15 are provided with similar conductive strips positioned identically to the positioning of the conductive strips opposed thereto which are visible in FIGURES l4 and 15. One of the strips on each face of the block 460 is electrically connected by a conductor 4-84 or 486 to one of the conductive strips on each of the other faces of the block 460. Thus, as illustrated in FIGURE 14, the strip 462 is connected to the strip 468 and the strip 472 by the conductor 486. Similarly, the strips 464, 470 and 474 are electrically connected by the conductor 484. Since 7 the strips are located adjacent the corners, the block 460 needs not be aligned with its side faces parallel to the conductive strips 480 and 482 of the base member, but may be placed at a variety of angles thereto, one possible position being illustrated in FIGURE 15. Since each of the conductive strips on the block 460 extends adjacent to only one corner of its support face, there again will be no short circuit problem, it being impossible to create a direct connection between adjacent contact strips 480 and 482 on the base member. Of course, a signal block could be designed as a companion to the carrier block shown in FlGURE 14 by merely inserting a suitable electrical signal, such as a lamp, within the block 460 electrically connected between the conductors 484 and 486.

Thus, it is seen that apparatus made in accordance with this invention may be useful as either a toy for games or display purposes which is unique and attractive. Although several different embodiments of apparatus have been disclosed above, it should be noted that each of the variations may be used with features of other variations described above. For example, the signal blocks 162 of FIGURE 11 and 262 of FIGURE 12 could be used with any of the base members shown in FIGURES l, 8 and 10. Also, the house current circuit illustrated in FIGURE could just as well be used with the base member 20 shown in FIGURE 1. Other variations will be readily apparent.

The signal blocks and carrier blocks described above are described as being in the form of hollow play building blocks. These are presently preferred because a variety of transparent, and translucent, plastic building blocks are commercially available. The flashing lamps enclosed within the blocks have an amusing and striking effect. Of course, the block surfaces are desirably nonconductive to avoid electrical contact between the conductive strips supported thereon.

Although the presently preferred embodiment of the device has been described, it will be understood that within the purview of this invention various changes may be made in the form, details, proportion and arrangement of parts, the combination thereof and mode of operation, which generally stated consist in a device capable of carrying out the objects set forth, as disclosed and defined in the appended claims.

Having thus described my invention, I claim:

1. In combination, a base member, a plurality of spaced parallel mutually insulated contact strips carried by said base member, first circuit means electrically connecting alternate strips to one another, second circuit means electrically connecting the remaining strips to one another, a

source of electrical energy electrically connected between said first and second circuit means, a plurality of conductor carrying members, each having a pair of mutually insulated electrical conductors, each of said conductors having an exposed contact portion, the exposed contact portion of the conductors of each conductor carrying member being separated by a spacing substantially equal to the spacing of said contact strips, and electrical signal means carried by at least some of said conductor carrying members and electrically connected to the conductors carried thereby, said conductor carrying members being adapted to be placed upon said conductive strips with said exposed contact portions engaged with a pair of said conductive strips.

2. The structure of claim 1 wherein said electrical signal means comprises an electrically energizable illuminating device.

3. The structure of claim 1 wherein said electrical signal means comprises an intermittently operable lamp.

4. The structure of claim 1 wherein an electrical alarm device is electrically connected in series relation between said conductive strips and to said source in series relation thereto.

5. The structure of claim 4 wherein said electrical alarm device comprises an electrically energizable bell.

6. A display device usable as a toy or for advertising or indicating purposes and the like comprising a plurality of separate stackable members, each having a pair of mutually insulated electrical conductors with exposed spaced contact portions, a plurality of elec-tnical signal devices, there being one signal device electrically connected between the pair of conductors of each of at least some of said stackable members, an electrical energy source, a base member having a plurality of spaced, mutually insulated contact elements electrically connected to said source, pairs of said Contact elements being of opposite polarity and having contact portions separated by a spacing equal to the spacing of the exposed contact portions of the conductors carried. by at least some of said stackable members including some of those having conductors to which said signal devices are connected, whereby said stackable members may be arranged on said base member causing some of said signal devices to be energized.

7. The structure of claim 6 wherein a pair of parallel, mutually insulated bus bars are mounted on said base member, one of each of said pairs of contact elements being electrically connected to one of said bus bars and the remainder of said contact elements being electrically connected to the other of said bus bars.

8. The structure of claim 7 wherein said contact elements comprise contact strips extending transversely of said bus bars, said contact strips being arranged in equally spaced parallel relation with alternate contact strips being electrically connected to one of said bus bars and the remaining contact strips electrically connected to the other of said bus bars.

9. The structure of claim 8 wherein said base member comprise a box having a lid portion upon which said contact strips and bus bars are mounted.

It). The structure of claim 8 wherein said base member includes an elongate flexible sheet supporting said contact strips.

11. A display device comprising a plurality of signal blocks and a plurality of carrier blocks, each of said blocks having a pair of spaced, mutually insulated conductors carried thereby, each of said signal blocks having an electrical signal device carried thereby and electrically connected between said conductors, a base member having a plurality of spaced, mutually insulated contact elements thereon electrically connected to an electrical energy source, said carrier blocks and said signal blocks constituting means stackable upon said base member and upon one another with portions of the conductors of some of said blocks contacting some of said contact elements and portions of the conductors of other blocks contacting portions of the conductors of other blocks to cause at least some of said electrical signal devices to be energized.

12. The structure of claim Ill wherein said blocks comprise hollow at least partially transparent cubical building blocks and said electrical signal devices comprise lamps enclosed within said signal blocks of the type which intermittently flash when operating.

13. The structure of claim 12 wherein the conductors carried by each of said blocks comprise a pair of electrically conductive strips extending around the periphery thereof in parallel relation one to the other.

14. The structure of claim 11 wherein said contact elements comprise electrically conductive contact strips arranged in parallel, equally spaced relation on said base member, alternate contact strips having a polarity opposite to the polarity of the remaining contact strips,

15. The structure of claim 14 wherein th conductors carried by each of said blocks comprise a parallel pair of electrically conductive strips extending around the outer periphery thereof and separated by a spacing equal to the spacing between adjacent contact strips.

16. For use in a toy or display device or the like, a conductor carrying member comprising a hollow block having a plurality of faces, a pair of spaced, mutually insu lated, electrically conductive strips extending around the external periphery of said block adjacent opposed side edges thereof, and electrical conductors electrically connected to said strips projecting internally of said block.

17. The structure of claim 16 wherein said conductive strips are painted on said blocks.

18. The structure of claim 16 wherein portions of each of the conductive strips on each of the faces of said block are covered by an insulating coating.

19. The structure of claim 16 wherein an electrically energizable signal device is enclosed within said block and electrically connected between said conductive strips by said conductors,

20. The structure of claim 19 wherein said signal device comprises an electrically energizable illuminating device.

21. The structure of claim 20 wherein said illuminating device is adhered to one internal face of the block.

22. The structure of claim 20 wherein said illuminating device is suspended centrally of said block.

23. The structure of claim 20 wherein said illuminating device comprises a light bulb and a bulb socket connected to one face of said block.

24. The structure of claim 23 wherein said one face of said block is snap fastened to other faces of said block.

25. For use in a toy or display device or the like, a conductor carrying member comprising a hollow block having a plurality of external faces, a plurality of electrically conductive elements, there being one pair of mutually insulated electrically conductive elements supported by at least some of the external faces of said block, each one of said elements on one external face being electrically connected by means internal of said block to one of said elements supported by at least one other of said external faces, and electrical conductors electrically connected to said elements projecting intern-ally of said block.

26. The structure of claim 25 in which one of said elements on one face of said block is electrically connected to an element on each of the other faces of said block, the other element on said one face being electrically connected to the other element on each of the other faces of said block.

27. The structure of claim 26 in which each of said 40 elements has a pair of arm portions extending along adjacent edges of its support face, the pair of elements on each face being located adjacent opposed corners thereof.

28. For use in a toy or display device or the like, a conductor carrying member comprising a hollow block having a plurality of faces, and a pair of spaced, mutually insulated electrically conductive strips extending around the external periphery of said block adjacent opposed side edges thereof, portions of each pair of said conductive strips on each of the faces of said block being covered by an electrically insulating coating and other portions of each pair of said conductive strips on each of the faces of said block being exposed.

29. For use in a toy or display device or the like, a conductor carrying member comprising a hollow block having a plurality of faces, a pair of spaced, mutually insulated electrically conductive strips extending around the exterior periphery of said block adjacent opposed side edges thereof, and an electrically energizable signal device enclosed Within said block and electrically connected to said conductive strips.

30. For use in a toy or display device or the like, a conductor carrying member comprising a closed hollow body, a pair of spaced, mutually insulated electrically conductive strips extending around the external periphery of said body, and electrical conductors electrically connected to said strips projecting internally of said body.

31. The structure of claim 30 wherein an electrically energizable signal device is enclosed within said body and connected between said conductive strips by said conductors.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,236,234 8/1917 Troje.

2,013,958 9/1935 Hughes 273130 2,032,845 3/1936 Humphner 11768.5

FOREIGN PATENTS 613,379 5/1935 Germany.

RICHARD C. PINKHAM, Primary Examiner,

Claims (2)

1. IN COMBINATION, A BASE MEMBER, A PLURALITY OF SPACED PARALLEL MUTUALLY INSULATED CONTACT STRIPS CARRIED BY SAID BASE MEMBER, FIRST CIRCUIT MEANS ELECTRICALLY CONNECTING ALTERNATE STRIPS TO ONE ANOTHER, SECOND CIRCUIT MEANS ELECTRICALLY CONNECTING THE REMAINING STRIPS TO ONE ANOTHER, A SOURCE OF ELECTRICAL ENERGY ELECTRICALLY CONNECTED BETWEEN SAID FIRST AND SECOND CIRCUIT MEANS, A PLURALITY OF CONDUCTOR CARRYING MEMBERS, EACH HAVING A PAIR OF MUTUALLY INSULATED ELECTRICAL CONDUCTORS, EACH OF SAID CONDUCTORS HAVING AN EXPOSED CONTACT PORTION, THE EXPOSED CONTACT PORTION OF THE CONDUCTORS OF EACH CONDUCTOR CARRYING MEMBER BEING SEPARATED BY A SPACING SUBSTANTAILLY EQUAL TO THE SPACING OF SAID CONTACT STRIPS, AND ELECTRICAL SIGNAL MEANS CARRIED BY AT LEAST SOME OF SAID CONDUCTOR CARRYING MEMBERS AND ELECTRICALLY CONNECTED TO THE CONDUCTORS
30. FOR USE IN A TOY OR DISPLAY DEVICE OR THE LIKE, A CONDUCTOR CARRYING MEMBER COMPRISING A CLOSED HOLLOW BODY, A PAIR OF SPACED, MUTUALLY INSULATED ELECTRICALLY CONDUCTIVE STRIPS EXTENDING AROUND THE EXTERNAL PERIPHERY OF SAID BODY, AND ELECTRICAL CONDUCTORS ELECTRICALLY CONNECTED TO SAID STRIPS PROJECTING INTERNALLY OF SAID BODY.
US3237341A 1962-12-19 1962-12-19 Base and stackable elements having cooperating electrical contact means Expired - Lifetime US3237341A (en)

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Cited By (45)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3484983A (en) * 1966-05-20 1969-12-23 Artur Fischer Power unit for toy building kit
US3484984A (en) * 1966-01-11 1969-12-23 Artur Fischer Toy assembly kit with electrical components
US3526054A (en) * 1966-11-01 1970-09-01 Kizhanatham R Raman Prefabricated wall construction with electrical power supply and appliance installations
US3576936A (en) * 1968-01-24 1971-05-04 Artur Fischer Assembly kit
US3589056A (en) * 1969-03-20 1971-06-29 Marvin Glass & Associates Illuminated construction toy
US3643135A (en) * 1970-06-29 1972-02-15 Ibm Triaxially expandable circuit arrays
US3696548A (en) * 1971-01-18 1972-10-10 Kinetic Technologies Inc Educational building toy modules with interior lights and mechanical connections acting as circuit closers
US3712622A (en) * 1969-10-14 1973-01-23 M Odier Game with polyhedral playing pieces
US3866920A (en) * 1974-02-19 1975-02-18 Adolph E Goldfarb Playpiece and base member selectively interengageable to actuate effect means
US4300770A (en) * 1980-02-08 1981-11-17 Mattel, Inc. Electronic board game
US4402151A (en) * 1981-10-05 1983-09-06 Medow Robert S Visual display arrangement
US4408814A (en) * 1980-08-22 1983-10-11 Shin-Etsu Polymer Co., Ltd. Electric connector of press-contact holding type
US4552541A (en) * 1983-02-14 1985-11-12 Interlego Ag Toy building block with electrical contacting portions
US4556393A (en) * 1983-02-14 1985-12-03 Interlego Ag Toy building block with electrical contacts
US4602448A (en) * 1984-03-09 1986-07-29 Grove Harry R Lighted display panel system
US4743202A (en) * 1984-08-03 1988-05-10 Interlego A.G. Current-carrying building element
US4883440A (en) * 1986-02-05 1989-11-28 Interlego A.G. Electrified toy building block with zig-zag current carrying structure
US4891030A (en) * 1988-04-28 1990-01-02 Superior Toy & Manufacturing Company, Inc. Toy with lighted playpieces
US4894040A (en) * 1986-01-22 1990-01-16 Interlego Ag. Toy building element with elements for providing positional information
DE4136797A1 (en) * 1991-11-08 1993-05-13 Jens Hagen Neudecker Toy with movable cubes within frame - holding yet allowing movement in three dimensions to achieve specific combination or required lighting pattern
US5248276A (en) * 1992-09-24 1993-09-28 Herbert Deleon Toy airport landing field
US5455749A (en) * 1993-05-28 1995-10-03 Ferber; Andrew R. Light, audio and current related assemblies, attachments and devices with conductive compositions
US6062937A (en) * 1997-11-04 2000-05-16 System Watt Co., Ltd. Assembly block for teaching material, plaything, etc
US6458002B1 (en) * 2000-12-28 2002-10-01 Valeo Electrical Systems, Inc. Rear wiper hatch cassette using interlocking parts
US20030148700A1 (en) * 2002-02-06 2003-08-07 David Arlinsky Set of playing blocks
US6679751B1 (en) * 2001-11-13 2004-01-20 Mattel, Inc. Stackable articles toy for children
US20060084357A1 (en) * 2004-10-15 2006-04-20 Rosen Lawrence I Illuminated toy construction kit
US20070184722A1 (en) * 2006-02-07 2007-08-09 Dynatech Action, Inc. Powered modular building block toy
US20090047863A1 (en) * 2007-08-15 2009-02-19 Jon Capriola Illuminated Toy Building Structures
US20100003651A1 (en) * 2008-07-02 2010-01-07 Med Et Al, Inc. Communication blocks and associated method of conveying information based on their arrangement
US20100001923A1 (en) * 2008-07-02 2010-01-07 Med Et Al, Inc. Communication blocks having multiple-planes of detection components and associated method of conveying information based on their arrangement
US20100197148A1 (en) * 2009-02-02 2010-08-05 Apex Technologies, Inc. Flexible magnetic interconnects
US7846002B1 (en) 2005-05-06 2010-12-07 Mikesell Daniel G Lighted toy construction blocks
US20110217898A1 (en) * 2010-03-08 2011-09-08 Jason Barber Lighted Toy Brick
US20110263177A1 (en) * 2010-04-26 2011-10-27 Marc Lemchen Apparatus and Method for Bonding Three Dimensional Construction Toys when Assembled
US8371894B1 (en) 2011-12-23 2013-02-12 LaRose Industries, LLC Illuminated toy construction kit
US20130109268A1 (en) * 2011-11-02 2013-05-02 Chia-Yen Lin Light-emitting Building Block Having Electricity Connection Unit
US20140170928A1 (en) * 2012-08-03 2014-06-19 Jonathan P. Capriola Lamp adapter apparatus for use with powered toy building blocks
US8864546B1 (en) * 2007-08-15 2014-10-21 Jon P. Capriola Illuminated toy building system and methods
US20140349544A1 (en) * 2013-05-27 2014-11-27 Ta-Yi Chien Illuminable Building block
US9400569B2 (en) 2011-11-23 2016-07-26 At&T Intellectual Property I, L.P. Three dimensional building blocks
US20160220919A1 (en) * 2013-09-08 2016-08-04 Brixo Smart Toys Ltd. Selectively conductive toy building elements
US20160254623A1 (en) * 2013-10-04 2016-09-01 Philips Lighting Holding B.V. Lighting device connector comprising a heat sink
US9559519B2 (en) 2009-07-15 2017-01-31 Yehuda Binder Sequentially operated modules
USD814414S1 (en) 2013-03-15 2018-04-03 Capriola Corporation Mobile power supply

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US1236234A (en) * 1917-03-30 1917-08-07 Oscar R Troje Toy building-block.
DE613379C (en) * 1928-08-24 1935-05-18 Karl Merk Dr can with the help of illuminated signs, are composed of individual Leuchtkoerpertraegern eg neon letters link means
US2013958A (en) * 1934-12-31 1935-09-10 John F Rosgen Game apparatus
US2032845A (en) * 1931-12-07 1936-03-03 Mid States Gummed Paper Compan Adhesive tape

Patent Citations (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US1236234A (en) * 1917-03-30 1917-08-07 Oscar R Troje Toy building-block.
DE613379C (en) * 1928-08-24 1935-05-18 Karl Merk Dr can with the help of illuminated signs, are composed of individual Leuchtkoerpertraegern eg neon letters link means
US2032845A (en) * 1931-12-07 1936-03-03 Mid States Gummed Paper Compan Adhesive tape
US2013958A (en) * 1934-12-31 1935-09-10 John F Rosgen Game apparatus

Cited By (57)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3484984A (en) * 1966-01-11 1969-12-23 Artur Fischer Toy assembly kit with electrical components
US3484983A (en) * 1966-05-20 1969-12-23 Artur Fischer Power unit for toy building kit
US3526054A (en) * 1966-11-01 1970-09-01 Kizhanatham R Raman Prefabricated wall construction with electrical power supply and appliance installations
US3576936A (en) * 1968-01-24 1971-05-04 Artur Fischer Assembly kit
US3589056A (en) * 1969-03-20 1971-06-29 Marvin Glass & Associates Illuminated construction toy
US3712622A (en) * 1969-10-14 1973-01-23 M Odier Game with polyhedral playing pieces
US3643135A (en) * 1970-06-29 1972-02-15 Ibm Triaxially expandable circuit arrays
US3696548A (en) * 1971-01-18 1972-10-10 Kinetic Technologies Inc Educational building toy modules with interior lights and mechanical connections acting as circuit closers
US3866920A (en) * 1974-02-19 1975-02-18 Adolph E Goldfarb Playpiece and base member selectively interengageable to actuate effect means
US4300770A (en) * 1980-02-08 1981-11-17 Mattel, Inc. Electronic board game
US4408814A (en) * 1980-08-22 1983-10-11 Shin-Etsu Polymer Co., Ltd. Electric connector of press-contact holding type
US4402151A (en) * 1981-10-05 1983-09-06 Medow Robert S Visual display arrangement
US4552541A (en) * 1983-02-14 1985-11-12 Interlego Ag Toy building block with electrical contacting portions
US4556393A (en) * 1983-02-14 1985-12-03 Interlego Ag Toy building block with electrical contacts
US4602448A (en) * 1984-03-09 1986-07-29 Grove Harry R Lighted display panel system
US4743202A (en) * 1984-08-03 1988-05-10 Interlego A.G. Current-carrying building element
US4894040A (en) * 1986-01-22 1990-01-16 Interlego Ag. Toy building element with elements for providing positional information
US4883440A (en) * 1986-02-05 1989-11-28 Interlego A.G. Electrified toy building block with zig-zag current carrying structure
US4891030A (en) * 1988-04-28 1990-01-02 Superior Toy & Manufacturing Company, Inc. Toy with lighted playpieces
DE4136797A1 (en) * 1991-11-08 1993-05-13 Jens Hagen Neudecker Toy with movable cubes within frame - holding yet allowing movement in three dimensions to achieve specific combination or required lighting pattern
US5248276A (en) * 1992-09-24 1993-09-28 Herbert Deleon Toy airport landing field
US5455749A (en) * 1993-05-28 1995-10-03 Ferber; Andrew R. Light, audio and current related assemblies, attachments and devices with conductive compositions
US6062937A (en) * 1997-11-04 2000-05-16 System Watt Co., Ltd. Assembly block for teaching material, plaything, etc
US6458002B1 (en) * 2000-12-28 2002-10-01 Valeo Electrical Systems, Inc. Rear wiper hatch cassette using interlocking parts
US6679751B1 (en) * 2001-11-13 2004-01-20 Mattel, Inc. Stackable articles toy for children
US20030148700A1 (en) * 2002-02-06 2003-08-07 David Arlinsky Set of playing blocks
US20060084357A1 (en) * 2004-10-15 2006-04-20 Rosen Lawrence I Illuminated toy construction kit
US7846002B1 (en) 2005-05-06 2010-12-07 Mikesell Daniel G Lighted toy construction blocks
US20070184722A1 (en) * 2006-02-07 2007-08-09 Dynatech Action, Inc. Powered modular building block toy
US8864546B1 (en) * 2007-08-15 2014-10-21 Jon P. Capriola Illuminated toy building system and methods
US7731558B2 (en) * 2007-08-15 2010-06-08 Jon Capriola Illuminated toy building structures
US20090047863A1 (en) * 2007-08-15 2009-02-19 Jon Capriola Illuminated Toy Building Structures
US9128661B2 (en) 2008-07-02 2015-09-08 Med Et Al, Inc. Communication blocks having multiple-planes of detection components and associated method of conveying information based on their arrangement
US20100001923A1 (en) * 2008-07-02 2010-01-07 Med Et Al, Inc. Communication blocks having multiple-planes of detection components and associated method of conveying information based on their arrangement
US20100003651A1 (en) * 2008-07-02 2010-01-07 Med Et Al, Inc. Communication blocks and associated method of conveying information based on their arrangement
US8491312B2 (en) * 2009-02-02 2013-07-23 Apex Technologies, Inc. Flexible magnetic interconnects
US8187006B2 (en) * 2009-02-02 2012-05-29 Apex Technologies, Inc Flexible magnetic interconnects
US20120208378A1 (en) * 2009-02-02 2012-08-16 Charles Albert Rudisill Flexible magnetic interconnects
US20100197148A1 (en) * 2009-02-02 2010-08-05 Apex Technologies, Inc. Flexible magnetic interconnects
US9673623B2 (en) 2009-07-15 2017-06-06 Yehuda Binder Sequentially operated modules
US9559519B2 (en) 2009-07-15 2017-01-31 Yehuda Binder Sequentially operated modules
US9595828B2 (en) 2009-07-15 2017-03-14 Yehuda Binder Sequentially operated modules
US9590420B2 (en) 2009-07-15 2017-03-07 Yehuda Binder Sequentially operated modules
US9583940B2 (en) 2009-07-15 2017-02-28 Yehuda Binder Sequentially operated modules
US8517789B2 (en) 2010-03-08 2013-08-27 Jason Barber Lighted toy brick
US20110217898A1 (en) * 2010-03-08 2011-09-08 Jason Barber Lighted Toy Brick
US20110263177A1 (en) * 2010-04-26 2011-10-27 Marc Lemchen Apparatus and Method for Bonding Three Dimensional Construction Toys when Assembled
US20130109268A1 (en) * 2011-11-02 2013-05-02 Chia-Yen Lin Light-emitting Building Block Having Electricity Connection Unit
US9400569B2 (en) 2011-11-23 2016-07-26 At&T Intellectual Property I, L.P. Three dimensional building blocks
US8371894B1 (en) 2011-12-23 2013-02-12 LaRose Industries, LLC Illuminated toy construction kit
US9155975B2 (en) * 2012-08-03 2015-10-13 Jonathan P. Capriola Lamp adapter apparatus for use with powered toy building blocks
US20140170928A1 (en) * 2012-08-03 2014-06-19 Jonathan P. Capriola Lamp adapter apparatus for use with powered toy building blocks
USD814414S1 (en) 2013-03-15 2018-04-03 Capriola Corporation Mobile power supply
US20140349544A1 (en) * 2013-05-27 2014-11-27 Ta-Yi Chien Illuminable Building block
US20160220919A1 (en) * 2013-09-08 2016-08-04 Brixo Smart Toys Ltd. Selectively conductive toy building elements
US9914065B2 (en) * 2013-09-08 2018-03-13 Brixo Smart Toys Ltd. Selectively conductive toy building elements
US20160254623A1 (en) * 2013-10-04 2016-09-01 Philips Lighting Holding B.V. Lighting device connector comprising a heat sink

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