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Патент USA US3025642

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March 20, 1962
e. P. BRooKs ETAL
Filed Sept. 14. 1959
United States Patent Office
Patented Mar. 20, 1962
invention as illustrated in the accompanying drawings.
In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is an oblique view of a base or plate member
Grenville P. Brooks, 3341 Ball Road, Anaheim, Calif.,
having a concave upper surface, with a trace-producing
and Oakley H. Ketchnm, 13824 Premiere Ave, Bell
5 spinning top thereon in typical spinning attitude;
?ower, Calif.
FIG. 2 is a plan view of the apparatus depicted in
Filed Sept. 14, 1959, Ser. No. 839,672
FIG. 1, on a reduced scale, showing typical trace-patterns
? illaims. (Cl. 46-65)
of the type produced by the rotating top;
This invention pertains to amusement apparatus, and
FIG. 3 is a detail view of a simple trace-producing
more speci?cally to means including a trace-creating 10 spinning top of the type shown generally in FIG. 1;
spinning top and trace-registering base upon which the
top is operable. By spinning top, is meant a top suscep
tible of being spun or set spinning.
F 16$. 4 and 5 are plan and sectional views, respective
ly, of a modi?ed form of base member having an annular
shaped concave upper surface; and
FIG. 6 is a view of a modi?ed form of trace-producing
Spinning tops are of numerous types and include tops
having trace-creating or “writing” points, each construc 15 spinning top, with the tip thereof displaced and a part
ted to produce a trace of the path of the point of the top
broken away to show details of form.
Referring ?rst to FIG. 1, an exemplary base-member is
as the top spins and/ or nutates on a surface after having
been set spinning. While it has been observed that such
denoted by ordinal 10. The base member preferably but
tops may create traces of approximately oval or cycloidal
not necessarily is circular in plan form, and has a mildly
shape, the general character of the trace is a curved line 20 abrasive concave upper trace-receiving surface 10a and a
merging into a series of small loops, the curved line por
bottom portion 10b which is adapted to rest upon a table
tion of the trace being produced during the pre-nutation
or ?oor or other supporting surface and thereby maintain
period of spinning and the loops being traced out during
the base member in stable attitude. The trace-receiving
the terminal stages of top rotation when nutation occurs.
surface, 10a, is of such texture as to augment or enhance
The present invention provides a distinct improvement 25 production of a trace thereon by a rotating top. For
in the character and variety of traces producible by ap
example, the surface is preferably slightly rough and
paratus of the character mentioned, and thus greatly en
similar in texture to that of a conventional school-room
hances and extends the amusement afforded the operator
blackboard. Thus the surface is adapted to exert What
of the apparatus, and witnesses. The improvement in the
may be termed a frictional effect or force upon the tip of
characteristics of traces produced, and the enhancement 30 a top rotating thereon, and thereby effectively remove
of the amusement furnished by the invention, stem in part
from special shape characteristics of the surface upon
which the top is set spinning, in part from the abrasive
characteristics of the surface, and in part from the nature
of the tip of the spinning top. It has been discovered 35
that if a top is set spinning upon a shallow concave sur
face with which the tip of the top has suf?cient frictional
contact, the top will progress successively along a rela
tively long uniform course, then abruptly change course,
trace-forming material from the tip of the top. This ac~
tion may be likened to that of trace-formation on a black
board by motion of a moving piece of chalk in contact
therewith. Further, the surface Illa may be black or
colored. In other respects the base member may be of
any suitable type and size and con?guration, however, a
circular base about twelve inches in diameter has been
found to be excellent.
The spinning top, 20, is comprised essentially of a body,
and repeat such action many times, with variations ac 40 rotator means in the form of a spindle, and a tip, which
cording to the inclination of the axis of the top relative
tip may in a simple top be the lower end of the spindle.
to a perpendicular to the surface at the point of contact,
In a preferred simple form of top, and as illustrated in
and varying with the speed of rotation of the top, with
FIG. 3, the body 20a is essentially an elastic disc of rubber
the physical characteristics of the tip and the surface, and
the concavity and con?guration of the surface. The al
ternationsin the motion from upward to downward on
or the like, having an axial aperture 20h, through which
45 aperture a spindle Ztlb of blackboard chalk or the like
extends. The top has a trace~producing tip 200, which
in this example is an integral part of the spindle. The
eral accompanied by marked deviations from a return
aperture 20h in body 20a is formed to be of slightly
course. This unexpected and unobvious action furnishes
smaller diameter than that of the spindle, whereby the
the basis for the creation of many eye-pleasing traces
body grips the spindle and secures the two parts together
which are produced upon a suitably textured concave 50 but provides for easy replacement of a worn chalk. The
surface by a spinning top having a suitably constructed
top may be set spinning by application of a sudden turn
tip, and provides a basis for many games of skill.
ing effort to the spindle, as by a thumb and ?nger of the
operator. The trace-producing tip should be relatively
Thus, it is a principal object of the invention to pro
vide an improved amusement apparatus. Another object 55 short and thus terminate not far below the lowermost
of the invention is to provide an amusement apparatus
surface of the top body; and should be of material or
comprising essentially a concavely-surfaced base and a
structure offering good frictional engagement with the
trace-producing spinning top operable to produce attrac
surface 100. Tips of white or colored blackboard chalk
have been found to give excellent results when the top
tive traces upon the base incident to being set spinning
thereon. Another object of the invention is to provide 60 was set spinning on a surface 10a produced by painting
a concave base with blackboard “slating paint” such as
amusement apparatus comprising a trace-producing spin
that marketed under the name “Readymix Slating, #5198”
ning top and a cooperating trace-receiving base having
by W. P. Fuller and Company, Los Angeles, California.
novel characteristics. Another object of the invention is
In PEG. 2 there is illustrated, in addition to the solid
to provide an amusement device comprising a concave
trace-receiving surface, and a trace-producing spinning 65 line trace, and in dotted line, another typical form or
pattern of trace produced by the top. Both of the illus
top adapted for cooperation therewith to produce traces
trated traces were copied from actual traces produced by
the apparatus disclosed, and are of types easily substan
Other objects and advantages of the invention will
tially repeated by an operator after a short period of
hereinafter be made evident or become evident from
practice. It is found that the general type or con?gura
consideration of the appended claims and the following
tion of trace which Will be produced is governed to a
description of a preferred physical embodiment of the _ surprising degree by the location on surface 10a at which
the concave surface are relatively abrupt and are in gen
the ‘top is set spinning; that iS, whether at a point near
such as are indicated on the solid-line trace in FIG. 2; and
in other cases makes sharp obtuse-angled turns or changes
of directions, whereby a variety of types of traces are
produced. In general, the same type of change of course
is repeated throughout any one spinning of the top, as
indicated in FIG. 2. A short term of practice suffices to
the center of the base, or at a point near the periphery,
or midway between the two. Also the type of trace pro
duced is governed to ‘some extent by the initial speed of
rotation and direction of slant of the top ‘spindle. A
short period of experimentation ‘suffices for an operator
to learn how torepetitively, or at will, spin the top to
produce a desired type of trace, and games or competitive
activities among players may be based on abilities to
produce traces similar to those of others, etc. However,
considerable amu'seinent is readily derived by operating
the apparatus Without competition.
enable the operator to predict quite accurately the type
of trace the top will produce, the type depending upon
the way the top is released, direction of spin, point of
release, etc. In a multiplicity of successive spinnings of
the top on the base it is only rarely that the top will
leave the concave surface, and then only due to faulty
action of the operator in setting the top into operation.
A modi?ed form of base member, denoted by ordinal
Yet many spinnings may cause the top to traverse across
lit!) and shown in plan in FIG. 4 and in section in FIG. 5,
has at least one generally annular upper surface area of 15 the face of the base more than a dozen times. The curva
ture or concavity of the surface is apparently responsible
very slightly convex (upwardly) curvature, disposed be
for the peculiar and unexpected action of the top in per
tween the central area of the base member and the periph
forming a relatively straight traverse across a relatively
ery thereof. This “reversely-shaped” slightly convex area,
large portion of the surface and then, when near the
100c, shown much exaggerated in both ?gures in the in
terest of clarity, forms an almost imperceptible interrup~ 20 periphery, abruptly changing course, rather than continu
ing on over the rim of the base member. In case it is
tion of the regular concave curvature of the operating
desired, for esthetic or other reasons, that the top be
surface, 100a, and causes marked and unexpected devia
substantially precluded from moving off the rim of the
tions in the courses taken and traced by the top. This
‘base member due to faulty action of the operator in
results in enhancement of some types of “designs” or
?gures traced by the top. However, if the rise or devia 25 setting the top spinning’, a head or other guard means
tion constituted in the annular convex area or portion little
(not shown) may be provided, either integral with or
is made very perceptibly high or abrupt, the top will be
attachable to, the base member. However, this re?ne
restrained thereby and prevented from executing diamet
ment is neither necessary nor part of the invention.
Having disclosed a preferred form of apparatus accord
rical traverses across the base and will instead trace ?gures
in the outer annular concave portion 100d. It is found 30 ing to the invention, it is apparent that modi?cations of
structure and con?gurations will occur to others in the
that in cases where the spinning top is thus retained in an
light of the disclosure, and it is therefore not desired to
outer annular area of the base, rather attractive multi
be limited to the exact structures and con?gurations shown
angular ?gures such as that made by trace Tb in FIG. 4,
and described, but what we claim is:
or multiple sharply-reversing loop ?gures, are traced, gen;
1. Amusement apparatus comprising, in combination:
crally with sharp angular deviations terminating each of
a base member having a generally concave upper trace
generally uniform traces. For execution of diametrical
receiving face constructed and arranged with a frictional
traverses across a base of twelve inches diameter, a con
abrasive surface adapted for frictional engagement with
vex ‘rise of about 0.03 inch above what would otherwise
be the uninterrupted concave surface 100a, in an annular 40 a trace-producing tip; and a spinning top adapted for rota
tive spinning on said abrasive surface, said top including
area 1000 about one inch wide, has been found to give
a trace-producing tip of material adapted to be frictionally
good results. , A somewhat higher or more abrupt convex
removed by said surface incident to rotation thereon and
area 1000 will permit easy production of traces such as
to thereby induce multiple traversing movements of the
that at Tb.
top across said surface whereby to produce patterned
Base members 10 and 100 may be of any suitable ma
terial, but preferably are of a shock-resistant material, 45 traces thereon.
2. Apparatus according to claim 1, said top consisting
such as that used in better grades of rigid synthetic resin
essentially of an elastic apertured disc and a length of
trace-producing material extending through the apertured
There is shown in FIG. 6 a modi?ed form of trace
producing top, 120, the tip 120c thereof being shown dis
disc and forming the spindle and tip of the top.
3. Apparatus according to claim 1, said trace-receiving
placed and a portion of the body 120a broken away to 50
surface being formed by slating paint.
show details of a tip-retaining socket or recess 120r. In
4. Apparatus according to claim 1, said trace-produc
this form of top the expendable tip 1200 of chalk or the
ing tip being blackboard chalk.
like is readily replaceable by removal of a worn tip and
54. Apparatus according to claim 1, said trace-receiving
insertion of a new tip with a slight twist and push on the
tip as it enters recess 120r. The recess is dimensioned to 55 surface being formed of slating paint, and said trace-pro
provide a close press ?t for tips 1200. Body 120a may be
of elastic material, or of synthetic resin or the like, or
of metal. Spindle 1201) may be formed integrally with
body 120a, or separately formed and secured to the body
in any of several obvious and well-known modes.
Operation of both forms of tops is substantially the
same; and with either type the trace-producing tip may
be given an offset point, or a slightly wedge-shaped point,
to vary the nature of the traces produced.
ducing tip being blackboard chalk.
6. Apparatus according to claim 1, said base member
including an annular surface forming portion providing
a slightly convex annular area disrupting the generally
60 concave upper trace-receiving surface.
7. Apparatus according to claim 1, said top comprising
a body and a replaceable trace-producing tip frictionally
secured in said body and readily removable therefrom.
8. Apparatus according to claim 7, said body having
,Upon being properly set spinning upon the concave 65 a recess, and said tip being frictionally held in said recess.
friction-exerting surface of the base member or plate, the
top nearly always performs to produce in succession a
‘9'. Amusement apparatus comprising, in combination:
a base member having a generally shallow concave mildly
plurality of connected traces each of which includes a
abrasive upper surface of relatively large minimum di
relatively long relatively straight or slightly curved trace 70 mension and having a texture comparable to that of a
portion across a portion of the base and terminating in a
schoolroom blackboard; and a spinning top adapted for
relatively short abruptly curved or reversed trace portion
rotative spinning on said surface, said top having a
near the periphery of the base. The top, in performing
maximum dimension small relative to the said large min
the abrupt changes of course near the periphery of the
imum dimension and having a tip of frictional trace~pro~
base, in some cases produces short loop trace portions, 75 ducing chalky material adapted to be relatively rapidly
frlctlonally removed and retained by said surface incident
to rotatlve traversal of the tip on the surface and effective
when properly set spinning on said surface to produce
on the surface multiple successive interconnected traces
each of which includes a relatively long trace having a
small degree of curvature and a relatively short trace
having a large degree of curvature.
References ?ied in the ?le of this patent
Pepin _______________ __ Nov. 25, 1952
Germany _____________ __ Nov. 22, 1927
Germany ______________ __ Nov. 5, 1929
Switzerland ___________ -_ Aug. 2, 1937
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