US3696548A - Educational building toy modules with interior lights and mechanical connections acting as circuit closers - Google Patents

Educational building toy modules with interior lights and mechanical connections acting as circuit closers Download PDF

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Publication number
US3696548A
US3696548A US3696548DA US3696548A US 3696548 A US3696548 A US 3696548A US 3696548D A US3696548D A US 3696548DA US 3696548 A US3696548 A US 3696548A
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modules
lamp
module
electrical connectors
battery
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Expired - Lifetime
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Alvin N Teller
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Kinetic Technologies Inc
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Kinetic Technologies Inc
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63HTOYS, e.g. TOPS, DOLLS, HOOPS, BUILDING BLOCKS
    • A63H33/00Other toys
    • A63H33/04Building blocks, strips, or similar building parts
    • A63H33/042Mechanical, electrical, optical, pneumatic or hydraulic arrangements; Motors

Abstract

An educational toy comprising a plurality of interiorly illuminable modules, each of which is electrically interengageable with another module to form a stacked arrangement of modules. Each module contains a lamp therewithin which is energized when the module is connected to another module.

Description

United States Patent Teller [451 Oct. 10, 1972 [54] EDUCATIONAL BUILDING TOY 3,576,936 5/1971 Fischer ..35/ 19 A MODULES WITH INTERIOR LIGHTS 3,237,341 3/ 1966 Janning ..46/ 16 AND MECHANICAL CONNECTIONS 3,225,460 12/1965 Randell et al ..46/226 X ACTING As CIRCUIT CLOSERS 3,484,984 12/1969 Fischer ..46/226 X [72] Inventor: Alvin N. Teller, Chicago, 111. Primary Barry Shay [73] Assignee: Kinetic Technologies, Inc. Attorney-Lettvin & Gerstman [22] Filed: Jan. 18, 1971 [57] ABSTRACT [21] Appl' l07l91 An educational toy comprising a plurality of interiorly illuminable modules, each of which is electrically in- [52] US. Cl. ..46/25, 46/16, 46/228 terengageable with another module to form a stacked [51] Int. Cl. ..A63h 33/08 arrangement of modules. Each module contains a [58] Field of Search ..46/ 16, 226, 228; 35/ 19 A lamp therewithin which is energized when the module is connected to another module. [56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3 Claims, 9 Drawing Figures Fischer ..46/25 PAIENTEMBI 10 m2 3 e96; 548

SHEET 2 0F 2 INVENTOR ALV/A/ N. TEL/.5 f 1 w ATTORNEYS EDUCATIONAL BUILDING TOY MODULES WITH INTERIOR LIGHTS AND MECHANICAL CONNECTIONS ACTING AS CIRCUIT CLOSERS FIELD OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to an amusement device which may also be used for educational purposes.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION For many years children have enjoyed playing with blocks of various forms and building structures with such blocks. Such building is generally amusing to the child and serves many useful training functions. For example, the child is given a sense of accomplishment while he performs an artistic endeavor, and the child learns basic mechanics of construction during his attempts to build a structure. Building blocks have been found very useful for children between the ages of one and four, and typically after the age of four a childs interest in building with simple blocks appears to dwindle. .I have invented a device which has all of the favorable characteristics of building blocks yet includes many novel additional features which draw the attention of children of many ages and which device includes modules which may be connected to form a large number of attractive forms.

One of the attractions of the present invention is its ability to provide a new effect with each connection that is made. That is, each time a moduleis connected with another module, an interior lamp within one of the modules is energized to illuminate the connected module.

Accordingly, it is a principal object of the present invention to provide an educational toy which provides amusement for a child while teaching him artistic concepts, mechanical concepts and providing him with a sense of accomplishment.

A further object of the present invention is to provide an educational toy which comprises a number of interiorly illuminable modules, each of which is electrically interengageable with another module to form a stacked arrangement of modules.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION In accordance with the present invention, a plurality of modules are provided each of which contains a lamp therewithin and'has electrical connectors fastened to the modules housing for complementary connection with electrical connectors on another modules housing. In this manner, engagement of one module with another will place the lamp of one module in circuit for energization. Means are provided for electrically energizing the lamps of the connected modules.

In one embodiment of the invention, each module contains its own battery power source connected in series with the lamp. The series circuit is normally opencircuited across the electrical connectors. Each module carries a pair of complementary shorted electrical connectors for engagement with the open-circuited electrical connectors of another module, to complete the series circuit when two modules are interconnected.

In another embodiment of the present invention, a base in provided having complementary electrical connectors for engagement with the electrical connectors of one of the modules. Means are provided for connecting the bases electrical connectors to a supply of household current.

In the illustrative embodiment of the invention, the modules have a housing that is formed of a material that is substantially opaque when viewed from the outside when the lamp therein is unlit, but is light transmissive with respect to an energized lamp located therein. The material has an opacity that obscures the outline of the lamp and its filament when the lamp is energized.

A more detailed explanation of the invention is provided in the following description and claims, and is illustrated in the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 2 is a perspective view, partially exploded, of an educational building toy in accordance with the principles of the present inventions;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view, partially broken in order to view the interior, of one of the modules from the toy of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a fragmentary cross-sectional elevation of the removable end of one of the modules;

FIG. 4 is similar to the view of FIG. 3, except that the removable end has been removed;

FIG. 5 is an enlarged view of the electrical connectors used in the FIG. 1 embodiment, taken along the line s-5 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 6 is a schematic circuit diagram of a modules electrical circuit;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a modified form of educational building toy in accordance with the principles of the second embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view, partially broken in order to view the interior, of one of the modules from the toy of FIG. 7; and

FIG. 9 is a schematic circuit diagram of the electrical circuit of the FIGS. 7 and 8 embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE ILLUSTRATIVE EMBODIMENTS FIGS. 1 and 2 Embodiment Referring to the drawings, the educational building toy 10 of FIG. 1 includes a plurality of modules 12 which can be interconnected with each other to form various configurations of a building unit. While each module may take many different shapes, the modules illustrated in FIG. 1 comprise cubes and a pyramid.

Each of the modules 12 is formed of a plastic housing 16 within which is fastened a pair of battery clips 18, 20 between which is positioned a conventional battery or suitable source of electrical energy 22. Also located within housing 16 is a lamp socket 24 having a low voltage lamp 26 positioned therein. An electrically conductive wire 28 connects the positive terminal of battery 22 to the base 30 of lamp socket 24 and the side of the lamp socket is connected by electrical conductor 32 to an electrical connector 34. The negative terminal of battery 22 is connected via electrically conductive wire 36 to another electrical connector 38. A schematic diagram of the circuitry is shown in FIG. 6.

Module 12 also has another pair of electrical connectors 40, 42 suitably fastened to housing 16. Connectors 40, 42 are electrically shorted by means of electrically conductive wire 44. It can be readily seen that when connectors 34, 38 of one module are in electrical engagement with connectors 40, 42, the series circuit containing battery 22 and lamp 26 is closed to energize lamp 26.

Many different types of electrical connectors could be used. For example, instead of using a separate connector for each pole, a single bipolar connector, similar to a telephone jack, could be utilized. Additionally, the connectors need not be male and female, but could be planar surface contact connectors.

The connectors of the FIGS. 1 and 2 embodiment are shown in detail in FIG. 5, where it can be seen that connector 34 comprises an externally threaded sleeve 48 to which a prong 50 is fastened, which sleeve is positioned within an aperture 52 defined by housing 16. A nut 54, which is in threaded engagement with sleeve 48, is utilized to fasten sleeve 48 to housing 16. Wire 32 issoldered at 56 to the electrically conductive sleeve 48.

Conductor 40 comprises a female receptacle having an insulative annular rim 60 and an electrically conductive fitting 62 which receives prong 50 in frictional engagement therewith. An externally threaded sleeve 64 is fastened to housing 16 and is separated from electrically conductive fitting 62 by an extension 65 of rim 60. Wire 44 is soldered at 66 to an electrically conductive extension of fitting 62.

One side 70 of module 12 is removable to obtain access to the interior of the module. Referring to FIGS. 1, 3 and 4, it can be seen that side 70 comprises an inwardly extending continuous flange 72, the outer surface 74 of which snugly engages the inner surfaces 76 of the module. The inside surfaces of side 70 outside of flange 72 are bevelled to form a bevelled connection 80 with the bevelled cooperating ends 78 of the sides of module 12 to which end 70 connects. As shown in FIG. 4, a notch 82 is provided to enable side 70 to be pried with a screwdriver out of engagement with the other sides of module 12.

FIGS. 7 and 8 Embodiment In the FIGS. 7 and 8 embodiment of the invention, there is provided an electrically connected base 100, to which one or more modules 102 is connected. As with modules 12 of the FIG. 1 embodiment, modules 102 can have various configurations and can be interconnected to form various constructions. Also, the housings forming the modules consist of a plastic material similar to the plastic material used in the modules of FIG. 1.

The electrical connections within the FIGS. 7 and 8 modules are such that the lamp 104 positioned in each of the modules is simply connected in parallel to each pair of electrical connectors. In other words, referring to FIG. 8, the base of the lamp socket is directly electrically connected via lines 105 and 107 to male connector 108 and female connector 106 and the side of the lamp socket is directly electrically connected via line 109 to male connector 112 and via line 111 to female connector 110. Although electrical connectors 106, 108, 110, and 112 could take various forms, in the FIGS. 7 and 8 embodiment they are illustrated as male connectors 108 and 112 being identical to connectors 34 and 38 of the FIGS. 1 and 2 embodiment, and female connectors 106 and 110 being identical to connectors 40 and 42 of the FIGS. 1 and 2 embodiment.

Female connectors 106 and 110 are also fastened to base and are connected to a suitable source of household current so that these female connectors will be electrically energized to provide energization to connected modules 102.

Referring to FIG. 9, it is seen that the electrical circuit of base 100 comprises a pair of leads 120 and 122 which are connected to a conventional male plug 124 for connection to a household current supply. Leads 120 and 122 are connected through a step-down transformer 126, the secondary 128 of which is connected across receptacle connectors 106 and as shown in FIG. 8. It is preferred that the lamps 104 located within the housings of modules 12 are 6-volt lamps and for that reason step-down transformer 126 is utilized. By using low-voltage lamps, the low voltages in the module circuits provide a safety factor.

It can be seen that the male connectors 108, 112 of any module 102 can be placed in engagement with receptacle connectors 106, 110 for electrical energization of the lamp 104 within the module. Upon connection of a first module 102 with any connectors 106,1 10 of base 100, the lamp 104 of the first connected module 102 will be energized. Subsequent connection of any module to the first-connected module or to succeeding connecting modules will place the lamp of each connected module in parallel for energization.

As with the FIGS. 1 and 2 embodiment, one end of modules 102 is removable in the same manner that end 70 of modules 12 (in the FIGS. 1 and 2 embodiment) is removable. This can be seen by reference to the second module from the top module of FIG. 7. In this manner, an operative lamp can be substituted for an inoperative one.

In order to make the embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 2 and the embodiment of FIGS. 7 and 8 most attractive to children, it is preferred that the modules be very colorful, with each side of each module being a different color from the other sides. It is further preferred that the modules be formed of a plastic material that is substantially opaque when viewed from the outside of the module while the lamp is not energized, but is somewhat light transmissive with respect to an energized lamp located therein. However, the plastic material preferably has an opacity that obscures the outline of the lamp and its filament when the lamp is energized, so that, when a lamp is energized, the housing of the module will appear to be illuminated from the interior thereof, without showing an outline of the lamp filament.

It is to be understood that various modifications and substitutions may be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the novel spirit and scope of the present invention. For example, the modules could be formed of various different materials, that take various different configurations and shapes, and the modules may vary in light transmissivity. Further, the electrical connectors may take various different forms and the base of the FIG. 7 embodiment to which modules are connected could take various configurations. As an additional attraction to children, numerals and/or letters and/or symbols may be placed on various sides of the modules and certain color combinations may be utilized to aid the children in learning words, numbers, arithmetic, and colors, or other subjects which may be learned through the use of block connections.

What is claimed is:

1. An educational toy comprising a plurality of interiorly illuminated modules each of which is interengageable with another module to form a stackable arrangement of modules, each module having one side that is disconnectable to provide simple access to its interior; a lamp socket and battery contact means located in each module to provide receptacles for a lamp bulb and a battery, respectively, first electrical connectors fastened to each modules housing, means electrically connecting said socket and said battery contacts to said first electrical connectors whereby said lamp bulb and battery will be in series with the series circuit being normally open-circuited across said first electrical connectors; each modules housing carrying second electrical connectors which are electrically shorted and are complementary with said first electrical connectors, to complete said series circuit when two modules are interconnected.

2. An educational toy as described in claim 1, wherein said modules have a housing that is formed of a material that is substantially opaque when viewed from the outside when the lamp therein is unlit but is light transmissive with respect to an energized lamp located therein.

3. An educational toy as described in claim 2, wherein said material has an opacity that obscures the outline of the lamp and its filament when the lamp is energized.

Claims (3)

1. An educational toy comprising a plurality of interiorly illuminated modules each of which is interengageable with another module to form a stackable arrangement of modules, each module having one side that is disconnectable to provide simple access to its interior; a lamp socket and battery contact means located in each module to provide receptacles for a lamp bulb and a battery, respectively, first electrical connectors fastened to each module''s housing, means electrically connecting said socket and said battery contacts to said first electrical connectors whereby said lamp bulb and battery will be in series with the series circuit being normally open-circuited across said first electrical connectors; each module''s housing carrying second electrical connectors which are electrically shorted and are complementary with said first electrical connectors, to complete said series circuit when two modules are interconnected.
2. An educational toy as described in claim 1, wherein said modules have a housing that is formed of a material that is substantially opaque when viewed from the outside when the lamp therein is unlit but is light transmissive with respect to an energized lamp located therein.
3. An educational toy as described in claim 2, wherein said material has an opacity that obscures the outline of the lamp and its filament when the lamp is energized.
US3696548D 1971-01-18 1971-01-18 Educational building toy modules with interior lights and mechanical connections acting as circuit closers Expired - Lifetime US3696548A (en)

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Cited By (135)

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Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3945139A (en) * 1974-02-15 1976-03-23 Miller Robert A Advertising device
US3881274A (en) * 1974-05-22 1975-05-06 Oku Seisakusho Co Ltd Interlocking units having meshed gears and drive means for a movable toy thereon
US4109398A (en) * 1975-08-16 1978-08-29 Mitsubishi Pencil Co. Ltd. Construction type educational and amusement device
US3999160A (en) * 1975-12-05 1976-12-21 Mcdonnell Richard M Modular traffic signal apparatus
US4249336A (en) * 1980-03-03 1981-02-10 Bernstein Lawrence A Construction toy
US4556393A (en) * 1983-02-14 1985-12-03 Interlego Ag Toy building block with electrical contacts
US4552541A (en) * 1983-02-14 1985-11-12 Interlego Ag Toy building block with electrical contacting portions
US4891030A (en) * 1988-04-28 1990-01-02 Superior Toy & Manufacturing Company, Inc. Toy with lighted playpieces
DE3821433A1 (en) * 1988-06-24 1989-12-28 Altenhofen Hermann Josef Three-dimensional puzzle
US4971592A (en) * 1989-12-29 1990-11-20 Carcia Iii Joseph P Toy ghost detector device
US5445552A (en) * 1992-12-24 1995-08-29 John Hine Limited Electrically and/or mechanically interconnectable miniature base
US5779515A (en) * 1995-06-26 1998-07-14 Ritvik Holdings, Inc. Construction toy support base
US5788553A (en) * 1997-03-20 1998-08-04 Shivers; Dennis Model auto racetrack with interchangeable components
US6062937A (en) * 1997-11-04 2000-05-16 System Watt Co., Ltd. Assembly block for teaching material, plaything, etc
EP0914853A3 (en) * 1997-11-04 2000-08-09 System Watt Co., Ltd. Assembly block for teaching material, Plaything, etc.
US6585553B1 (en) * 1999-01-11 2003-07-01 Interlego Ag Toy building set
US6443796B1 (en) * 2000-06-19 2002-09-03 Judith Ann Shackelford Smart blocks
US6679751B1 (en) * 2001-11-13 2004-01-20 Mattel, Inc. Stackable articles toy for children
US8475225B2 (en) 2002-02-01 2013-07-02 Mega Brands International Construction kit
US20060205316A1 (en) * 2002-02-01 2006-09-14 Michael Kretzschmar Construction kit
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