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United States Patent m
[li] 4,334,868  Jun. 15, 1982
 CONSTRUCTIONAL KITS
 Inventor: Maxim D. Levinrad, 103 San Vito, George Ave., Fairvale, Johannesburg 2001, Transvaal, South Africa
 Appl. No.: 234,457
 Filed: Feb. 17,1981
Related U.S. Application Data
 Continuation-in-part of Ser. No. 11,629, Feb. 12, 1979, abandoned.
 Int. C1.3 A63H 33/08
 U.S. CI 434/172; 46/16;
 Field of Search 46/16, 17, 19, 20, 31,
 References Cited
U.S. PATENT DOCUMENTS
1,426,087 8/1922 Metcalfe 46/19
2,388,297 11/1945 Slaughter 46/19
3,545,123 12/1970 Muller 46/31 X
3,827,177 8/1974 Wengel 46/31
4,212,130 7/1980 Walker 46/31 X
FOREIGN PATENT DOCUMENTS
58437 3/1913 Austria 46/19
209232 5/1960 Austria 46/16
634909 12/1927 France 46/19
677190 3/1930 France 46/19
913806 9/1946 France 46/16
928157 5/1947 France 46/19
377258 6/1964 Switzerland 46/31
874810 8/1961 United Kingdom 46/19
2040701 9/1980 United Kingdom 46/31
Primary Examiner—Harland S. Skogquist
Attorney, Agent, or Firm—Steele, Gould & Fried
A constructional kit comprising elongated connectors and panels. The elongated connectors can only be joined to panels and the panels can only be joined to connectors. Elongated connectors have no means by which they can be joined to other elongated connectors, and panels have no means by which they can be joined to other panels. The elongated connectors comprise a number of longitudinal grooves into which edges of the panels may be pressibly fitted. Certain panels formed as doors and windows are provided with oppositely extending, axially aligned pins. The elongated connectors further comprise holes formed within each groove for pivotally mounting the pin-bearing panels.
11 Claims, 15 Drawing Figures
U.S. Patent jun. 15,1982 sheet 1 of 2 4,334,868
U.S. Patent jun. 15,1982 sheet 2 of 2 4,334,868
This is a continuation-in-part of co-pending applica- 5 tion Ser. No. 11,629, filed Feb. 12, 1979, now abandoned.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
This invention relates to constructional kits intended principally but not exclusively for building model structures such as houses, doll houses, airplanes, boats, rockets, furniture and many others. The kit may also be used 15 to build educational structures, such as blocks, spelling and number lines and the like.
2. Prior Art
Many different kinds of constructional kits have been available over the years, with which children of all ages 20 can construct model structures. Some require the use of nuts and bolts, some require the stacking of "logs", some utilize plastic bricks with interfitting pins and sockets and still others utilize other arrangements. For the most part, each kind of kit is suitable for construct- 25 ing only one type of model structure, for example, only buildings, only houses, only log cabins and forts, and so on. Some provide the skeletons of structures whereas others provide walls without supporting skeletons. 3Q Very few are suitable to build various kinds of structures as the respective components of the kits are too specialized.
This invention recognizes the need for a constructional kit which can be used to construct the widest 35 possible variety of structures, including but not limited to houses, airplanes, boats, rockets, doll furniture, educational structures and the like. It further recognizes the need to provide such a variety with the smallest possible number of constituent elements, in order to simplify 40 construction and emphasize versatility. It would appear that these two contrary objectives, namely a wide variety of possible structures and the smallest variety of constituent elements would be contradictory, and this has proved to be the case in constructional kits known 45 heretofore. In this invention, there are only two basic units of construction. One unit is an elongated connector and the other is a panel. The panels are provided in three basic shapes, squares, rectangles and triangles. The rectangles are one half the size of the squares and ^ the triangles are equivalent to the squares being cut in half diagonally. Some of the rectangles are provided with pins for pivotal mounting, to simulate doors and windows. Each of the elongated connectors is provided 5J with a number of longitudinal grooves, into which any of the panels may be pressibly fitted. The elongated connectors are also provided with holes into which the pin-bearing panels may be pivotally disposed. Each of the elongated connectors is substantially identical in 60 size and shape, within manufacturing tolerances of course. While three panel shapes are provided, many structures may easily be constructed, for example, with only the square panels. Nevertheless, each of the flat panels is connectable in the same fashion. Despite this 65 very small variety of constituent elements, the widest possible variety of structures can nevertheless be constructed.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
It is an object of this invention to provide a constructional kit having the smallest variety of identically shaped constituent members, which are nevertheless capable of being interconnected to form the largest possible variety of structures.
According to the present invention such a kit includes only two basic structural members. They are elongated connectors, having a number of longitudinally disposed grooves, and panels having edges which can be pressibly fitted into the grooves. The connectors are tapered at their ends so that in mating with one another at right angles, unsightly gaps are avoided. The elongated connectors are all identical, while certain of the panels are formed as doors and windows, and are provided with oppositely extending, aligned pins. For these, the elongated connectors further comprise holes formed within some of the grooves for pivotally mounting the pin-bearing members.
In one preferred form the elongated connector is of substantially circular cross section with radially directed grooves disposed circumferentially around the connector. In another preferred from the elongated connector is of substantially square cross section, having one longitudinal groove in each side face. The connector could also be triangular or any other cross section. The panels are preferably square, rectangular and triangular, at least one dimension of each corresponding to the length of the elongated connectors. In the connectors, adjacent grooves are preferably disposed at right angles or acute angles to one another, in cross section, to enable adjacent panels to be angled accordingly. The grooves may preferably be disposed at 30° and 45° with respect to one another, as multiples of these angles provide right angles, of 90°.
In accordance with the invention, means is provided for locking the panel edges in position within the grooves. Many variations will be possible in this regard, and in one arrangement integrally molded protrusions or dimples project alternately into the grooves from the side walls of the grooves. In another, the means may comprise pins which pass through the connector and transversely through the panel edges.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
For the purpose of illustrating the invention, there are shown in the drawings forms which are presently preferred; it being understood, however, that this invention is not limited to the precise arrangements and instrumentalities shown.
FIG. 1 is a top plan view of an elongated connector according to this invention;
FIG. 2 is a section view taken along the line 2—2 in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a section view taken along the line 3—3 in FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a top plan view of a square panel;
FIG. 5 is a top plan view of a rectangular panel;
FIG. 6 is a top plan view of a triangular panel;
FIG. 7 is a top plan view of elongated connectors and panels joined together;
FIG. 8 is a side elevational view of a panel formed as a pivotally mountable door;
FIG. 9 is a bottom view of the door panel of FIG. 8;
FIG. 10 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the elongated connector;