Railroad Locomotive Simulation Patents (Class 446/467)
  • Patent number: 8944880
    Abstract: An apparatus for distributing scale ballast over a model railroad track includes a hopper configured to funnel scale ballast to a spreader assembly, the spreader assembly including a spreader aperture formed between a compactor brush and a spreader plate, a chassis and a pair of contour skirts configured to contour scale ballast along the sides of the model railroad track.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 13, 2011
    Date of Patent: February 3, 2015
    Inventor: Anthony LaSalle
  • Patent number: 8905809
    Abstract: A system and method is provided for directing smoke in a model train. In one embodiment of the present invention, the model train includes a smoke chamber physically connected to a smoke unit. The smoke unit functions to produce smoke, which is then provided to at least one smoke chamber. Each smoke chamber includes at least one exhaust opening and a valve for selectively moving smoke out of the exhaust opening(s). For example, the smoke chamber may include an intake opening, at least two exhaust openings, a piston core and a piston driven by a drive rod. By moving the drive rod, the piston can be moved through the piston core, resulting in the movement of smoke out of the exhaust openings. By positioning the exhaust openings near the wheels of the model train, the smoke system can be used to simulate steam escaping from valves or cylinders.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 14, 2011
    Date of Patent: December 9, 2014
    Assignee: Lionel LLC
    Inventors: Richard James Mosher, James M. Rohde
  • Patent number: 8419500
    Abstract: A toy vehicle includes a main body assembly supported for movement on wheels and having opposing right and left lateral sides, opposing front and rear ends, and opposing top and bottom sides extending between the lateral sides and the ends. The combined opposing right and left lateral sides and opposing top and bottom sides of the main body assembly define a slot that extends through the toy vehicle. An arm is provided for lifting at least one track segment from a level below the main body assembly up and into the slot while one or more other propulsion elements are provided in or around the slot to engage and move the one track segment from the one end of the vehicle entirely through the main body assembly along the slot and out the opposing end of the vehicle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 31, 2009
    Date of Patent: April 16, 2013
    Assignee: Mattel, Inc.
    Inventors: Barry Zellie Morgan, Matthew A. Lauderbach
  • Patent number: 8109805
    Abstract: A wheel device for a toy vehicle, in which one of a pair of wheels rolling on a pair of metal rails attracts with a magnet to reduce resistance caused by magnetic force and suppress load on a motor. The wheel device 1 includes a first axle 2, and a first wheel 10 and a second wheel 20 provided on opposite sides of the first axle 2. The first wheel 10 includes a first wheel main body 11 rolling on one of the rails 261 and a first flange 12 guided by the one rail. The second wheel 20 includes a second wheel main body 21 rolling on the other of the rails 261 and a second flange 22 guided by the other rail. The second wheel main body 21 is formed of a magnet.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 4, 2007
    Date of Patent: February 7, 2012
    Assignee: Eishindo Co., Ltd.
    Inventor: Hirotsugu Hirai
  • Publication number: 20100323578
    Abstract: A system and method is provided for selectively directing smoke in a model train or other model vehicle. In one embodiment, a directional fan is used to guide smoke to one of at least two output ports. When the fan is rotated in a first direction, air is drawn in through a first port and smoke is directed out of a second port. When the fan is reversed, the flow of air is reversed to draw air in through the second port and to direct smoke out through the first port. In another embodiment, multiple blower units are connected to a common smoke generating unit and can be selectively operated to direct smoke to plural locations within a model vehicle. The volume an speed of smoke can be variably controlled, and audio effects can be synchronized with smoke visual effects for added realism.
    Type: Application
    Filed: June 19, 2009
    Publication date: December 23, 2010
    Inventors: BRUCE R. KOBALL, Richard James Mosher, John T. Ricks, Tyler R. Brooks
  • Publication number: 20100279583
    Abstract: Described is a track set with a tiltable surface for use with a toy vehicle. The track set includes a handle that allows a user to tilt the surface while resting the track set on a base and tilting the surface at a pivot point. Further, the surface includes a first side and a second side. The track set is formed to allow a user to switch the position of the pivot point and base and thereby selectively use either the first side or second side.
    Type: Application
    Filed: December 29, 2009
    Publication date: November 4, 2010
    Inventors: Dominic Laurienzo, Michael Bernstein, Gabriel Carlson, Dion Fields
  • Patent number: 7749040
    Abstract: A smoke production system for a model locomotive capable of accurately simulating the exhaust characteristics of an actual locomotive. The present invention accomplishes this by monitoring the rotation to the flywheel of the electric motor used to drive the drive wheels of the model locomotive. Various devices may be used to monitor the rotation of the flywheel. For example, a magnet is employed on the flywheel and a magnetically-reactive element such as a reed switch or Hall effect sensor is positioned adjacent to the flywheel. Alternatively, an opticoupler or cam may be used to track the rotations of the flywheel. A controller counts the rotations of the flywheel and actuates a smoke production device to emit smoke four discrete times for every rotation of the model locomotive's drive wheel.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 15, 2008
    Date of Patent: July 6, 2010
    Inventor: Robert A. Grubba
  • Publication number: 20100015880
    Abstract: A smoke production system for a model locomotive capable of accurately simulating the exhaust characteristics of an actual locomotive. The present invention accomplishes this by monitoring the rotation to the flywheel of the electric motor used to drive the drive wheels of the model locomotive. Various devices may be used to monitor the rotation of the flywheel. For example, a magnet is employed on the flywheel and a magnetically-reactive element such as a reed switch or Hall effect sensor is positioned adjacent to the flywheel. Alternatively, an opticoupler or cam may be used to track the rotations of the flywheel. A controller counts the rotations of the flywheel and actuates a smoke production device to emit smoke four discrete times for every rotation of the model locomotive's drive wheel.
    Type: Application
    Filed: July 15, 2008
    Publication date: January 21, 2010
    Inventor: Robert A. Grubba
  • Patent number: 7297045
    Abstract: A smoke generating device for a model train that includes a smoke generating element supported by a support member. The smoke generating element can be wound around the support member is a generally helical pattern. The number of turns and the distance between turns can be varied to enhance the smoke generating properties of the device. The support member can be braided fiberglass. A length and cross-section of the support member can be varied to support smoke generating elements of different lengths. The length of the smoke generating element can be varied to produce smoke generating devices having different resistive values.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 5, 2002
    Date of Patent: November 20, 2007
    Assignee: Lionel L.L.C.
    Inventors: Martin D. Pierson, James M. Rohde
  • Patent number: 7298103
    Abstract: A control and motor arrangement in accordance with the present invention includes a motor configured to generate a locomotive force for propelling the model train. The control and motor arragement further includes a command control interface configured to receive commands from a command control unit wherein the commands correspond to a desired speed. The control and motor arrangement still further includes a plurality of detectors configured to detect speed information of the motor, and a process control arrangement configured to receive the speed information from the sensors. The process control arrangement is further configured and arranged to generate a plurality of motor control signals based on the speed information for controlling the speed of said motor. The control and motor arrangement yet still further includes a motor control arrangement configured to cause power to be applied to the motor at different times in response to the motor control signals.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 8, 2006
    Date of Patent: November 20, 2007
    Assignee: Lionel L.L.C.
    Inventors: Dennis J. Denen, Neil P. Young, Gary L. Moreau, Martin Pierson, Robert Grubba
  • Patent number: 7221113
    Abstract: A model vehicle control apparatus. A button controls an aspect of the model vehicle system, or multiple aspects, such as both sound and control. The button is configured to provide more than two outputs depending upon the manner of activation by a user based on pressure or position (more than ON/OFF). Signals corresponding to those outputs are then transmitted to a model vehicle, accessory, or other apparatus in the system. In one embodiment, the button is a pressure-sensitive button. Variations in the pressure select among multiple different possible outputs. For example, a number of sounds can be stored in a memory, with varying pressures selecting different sounds to be played. These sounds can vary non-linearly, not just getting louder, but also changing in type, pitch, etc. Thus, by a variation in pressure, a user can play the sound like a musical instrument. A second embodiment would allow for control of speed and direction of model vehicle, engines and accessories.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 10, 2004
    Date of Patent: May 22, 2007
    Assignee: The Creative Train Company, LLC
    Inventors: Neil Young, Louis G. Kovach, II
  • Patent number: 7183943
    Abstract: A model railway traffic light apparatus, including: at least one signal light; a sensor to detect a timing when a toy train which travels along a rail passes through a predetermined position; and a control section to switch sequentially a series of light turning-on patterns of the signal light and count a period from a first passing of the toy train which is detected by the sensor and until a second passing of the toy train which is just after the first passing and which is detected by the sensor, and to set a switching timing of switching the light turning-on patterns to be variable corresponding to the period.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 2, 2004
    Date of Patent: February 27, 2007
    Assignee: Tomy Company, Ltd.
    Inventor: Hiroki Amemiya
  • Patent number: 7125309
    Abstract: A smoke generating unit for a model train that varies the rate of smoke produce in response to changes in the load on the model train. The smoke generating unit includes a housing, a smoke element and a motor driven fan. The housing can be formed of two sub-housings. The first sub-housing can contain the smoke generating element and the second housing can contain the fan. The smoke element can be a nickel chromium wire. An insulating gasket can be positioned between the sub-housings to thermally insulate the motorized fan from the heat generating element. The motorized fan is controlled by a microprocessor that can monitor the load on the train and control rotation of the fan to correspond to the load on the engine. The load on the train can be the voltage across the engine of the train or the speed at which the train is moving.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 29, 2003
    Date of Patent: October 24, 2006
    Assignee: Lionel L.L.C.
    Inventors: Martin D. Pierson, James M. Rohde
  • Patent number: 6990907
    Abstract: A system and method for weighting a model railcar which uses a plurality of thin machined led alloy weights disposed in recesses of a model rail car frame.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 22, 2004
    Date of Patent: January 31, 2006
    Inventor: Howard Samarin
  • Patent number: 6780078
    Abstract: A toy assembly that includes a remotely controlled vehicle is disclosed. In one embodiment, the toy assembly includes a remote control that can be used to control a toy vehicle. In one embodiment, the remote control includes a chip with pre-recorded content stored thereon. In one embodiment, the remote control can be coupled to an audio amplifier that can generate audible outputs. In another embodiment, the remote control can be used in a hand-held configuration.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 1, 2002
    Date of Patent: August 24, 2004
    Assignee: Mattel, Inc.
    Inventors: Robert Hageman, Robert W. Jourdian
  • Patent number: 6747579
    Abstract: New techniques are presented for providing proportional activation of model railroad functions with control keys. This permits for example a compact throttle device connected to a digital layout control system to provide for a “playable” or variable-pitch whistle sound effect where prior art was severely limited in providing this effect realistically. This invention allows multiple proportional keys in a cost-effective manner that is compatible with existing keyboard designs.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 7, 2001
    Date of Patent: June 8, 2004
    Assignee: Digitrax Inc.
    Inventor: Anthony J. Ireland
  • Patent number: 6722941
    Abstract: A magnetic coupler for joining a first toy vehicle to a second toy vehicle is claimed. The magnetic coupler comprises a pair of spaced connectors. The connectors extend from an end wall of the first vehicle. A disk-shaped magnet is fixedly attached within a space formed between the pair of connectors. The disk-shaped magnet is mounted so that it is substantially perpendicular to the end wall of first toy vehicle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 21, 2001
    Date of Patent: April 20, 2004
    Assignee: Learning Curve International Inc.
    Inventors: Paul Dowd, Mitchell P. Pomerantz, Donald E. Toht
  • Patent number: 6676473
    Abstract: A smoke generating unit for a model train that varies the rate of smoke produce in response to changes in the load on the model train. The smoke generating unit includes a housing, a smoke element and a motor driven fan. The housing can be formed of two sub-housings. The first sub-housing can contain the smoke generating element and the second housing can contain the fan. The smoke element can be a nickel chromium wire. An insulating gasket can be positioned between the sub-housings to thermally insulate the motorized fan from the heat generating element. The motorized fan is controlled by a microprocessor that can monitor the load on the train and control rotation of the fan to correspond to the load on the engine. The load on the train can be the voltage across the engine of the train or the speed at which the train is moving.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 1, 2001
    Date of Patent: January 13, 2004
    Assignee: Lionel LLC
    Inventors: Martin D. Pierson, James M. Rohde
  • Patent number: 6616506
    Abstract: The present invention provides a wheel assembly for a model toy train wherein the wheel assembly includes a wheel and a traction tire. The wheel including an undercut recess and at least one sprue. The traction tire is molding into the undercut recess through the sprue.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 17, 2000
    Date of Patent: September 9, 2003
    Assignee: Lionel L.L.C.
    Inventors: James G. Morrison, Robert A. Grubba
  • Patent number: 6616505
    Abstract: The present invention is a model train sound board interface for making model trains compatible with the LIONEL TRAINMASTER® Command Control system. The model train sound board interface is comprised of circuitry which interprets serial digital data received from the LIONEL TRAINMASTER Command Control transmitter to determine what command the user is sending to the model train engine. Once the command is interpreted the circuitry provides the appropriate output signal to carry out the command. The circuitry of the preferred embodiment includes a microprocessor for interpreting serial data from the LIONEL TRAINMASTER Receiver, negative 5 and approximately negative 9 volt power supplies for providing consistent and filtered power to external sound boards, an H-bridge triac motor driver optically coupled to the microprocessor and DC offset circuitry made up of variable voltage regulators, again optically coupled to the microprocessor.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 3, 1999
    Date of Patent: September 9, 2003
    Inventors: Michael P. Reagan, Louis H. Niederlander
  • Patent number: 6565410
    Abstract: A radio-controlled toy train for allowing a user to easily control forward and reverse movement of a toy train upon a track. The radio-controlled toy train includes a plurality of toy train cars including a prime mover having a train engine-shaped body mounted upon wheels; and includes a track being adapted to rest upon a surface and upon which the plurality of toy train cars move; and further includes a radio transmitter assembly including a handheld housing having walls, and also including a radio transmitter being disposed in the handheld housing; and further includes a radio receiver assembly being disposed in and upon the prime mover for receiving signals from the radio transmitter; and includes a drive assembly being disposed in the prime mover for propelling the prime mover upon the track.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 5, 2002
    Date of Patent: May 20, 2003
    Inventor: Edward R. Allen
  • Patent number: 6554681
    Abstract: A toy train box car includes an electrically operated miniature motor and gear drive which initially actuates a shuttle mechanism to open a sliding door and cause cargo items to be moved from a storage bin for loading onto a hand cart. As the door opens, a cold mist generator is energized to simulate cargo being unloaded from a refrigerated box car. The shuttle mechanism includes a rack and pinion which moves a figure pushing the hand cart out of the fully open door and an ejector arm offloads the cargo items onto an external loading ramp. The operating cycle then returns the hand cart into the car to receive another cargo item when the door is fully closed. The cycle is then completed and the motor inactivated until a new cycle is initiated.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 28, 2002
    Date of Patent: April 29, 2003
    Inventor: Robert F. Tammera
  • Patent number: 6485347
    Abstract: The present invention provides a smoke generator for a model train. The invention allows a toy locomotive to produce smoke as an actual train would, in a puffing pattern. The present achieves its purpose by manipulating the flow of air through a smoke generating housing with a fan and a blocking device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 17, 2000
    Date of Patent: November 26, 2002
    Assignee: Lionel, L.L.C.
    Inventors: Robert A. Grubba, James G. Morrison
  • Patent number: 6441570
    Abstract: The present invention provides a controller for a model toy train set. In a first aspect of the invention, the controller includes a plurality of input connectors for receiving supply power from one or more remote power supplies and providing such power to a plurality of output connectors. In a second aspect of the invention, the controller includes an input device for producing an input signal to limit the amount of output power supplied from the controller to a toy train set when the controller is remotely operated from a remote transmitter. In a third aspect of the invention, the controller includes a programming circuit having a first mode for controlling a plurality of output channels from separate sets of inputs and a second mode for controlling the plurality of output channels from a single set of inputs.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 14, 1999
    Date of Patent: August 27, 2002
    Assignee: Lionel, LLC.
    Inventors: Robert A. Grubba, Neil Young, Charles P. Horan, Martin D. Pierson
  • Patent number: 6379213
    Abstract: A railroad car incorporating a pair of wheel carriages, each wheel carriage holding four wheels, and pivotally connected to a housing 8, the housing having a lower clearance passage provided through its bottom, an upper longitudinally inclined slot, opening to its top, and an aperture therethrough, and through which a fastener may locate, for pivotal securement of the wheel carriage to the underside of a railroad car.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 27, 2001
    Date of Patent: April 30, 2002
    Inventor: Michael W. Whitworth
  • Patent number: 6280278
    Abstract: A smoke generation system for use in model toys. The system includes a reservoir for holding smoke fluid, a heating element for converting the smoke fluid into smoke, a pump unit for delivering smoke fluid from the reservoir to the heating element, and a controller coupled to the pump unit. The controller functions to govern the operation of the pump unit so as to control the delivery of smoke fluid to the heating element, thereby controlling the density, volume and output rate of the smoke generated by the system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 16, 1999
    Date of Patent: August 28, 2001
    Assignee: M.T.H. Electric Trains
    Inventor: Chuck Wells
  • Patent number: 6106356
    Abstract: A toy locomotive is configurable to provide a push toy resembling a locomotive and is alternatively configurable to provide a toy figure launching device. A cylindrical portion of the locomotive is pivotable to an upwardly inclined position above the supporting chassis of the toy locomotive. The cylindrical portion defines a cylindrical bore within which a piston is moveable. A spring loaded plunger and knob cooperated with the piston to facilitate drawing the piston into the cylindrical bore against a spring and thereafter releasing the plunger to transfer energy from the spring to the piston. A toy figure is receivable within the cylinder bore of the cylindrical portion so as to be projected or launched when the piston is released.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 5, 1999
    Date of Patent: August 22, 2000
    Assignee: Mattel, Inc.
    Inventor: Mark Trageser
  • Patent number: 6089952
    Abstract: A battery operated miniature toy locomotive for use in a toy railway system is claimed. The toy railway system comprises a toy railway track configuration made up of a plurality of wooden toy railway track segments. Each wooden track segment has a pair of uniformly spaced depressions extending from a first connecting end to a second connecting end of each wooden track segment. The toy locomotive has a first pair of wheels positioned at a proximal end of the toy locomotive and a second pair of wheels positioned at a distal end of the toy locomotive. The first and second pairs of wheels are adapted for placement within the depressions formed on each wooden track segment. The toy locomotive further comprises a locomotive housing which has an interior surface and an exterior surface, and a motor for providing energy to the first pair of wheels and the second pair of wheels.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 28, 1998
    Date of Patent: July 18, 2000
    Assignee: Learning Curve International, Inc.
    Inventors: Paul Dowd, Will Isaksson, Donald Toht, Jeff Katz
  • Patent number: 5980358
    Abstract: A vehicle for electric toy and model trains with a freight car body, which is suspended in a free-floating fashion over overrunning inclinations at superstructures of the carriages passing through its bottom in such a manner, that the pivoting angle is positively controlled proportionally by the rotation of the carriages when passing through curves, in the case of a carriage, the superstructures and the freight car body being provided with curve grooves or suspension pins, which engage the curve grooves and are disposed horizontally and transversely to the longitudinal axis, and that the other carriage is not guided and is hooked in a self-aligning fashion to the freight car body.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 22, 1994
    Date of Patent: November 9, 1999
    Assignee: Gebr. Fleischmann
    Inventor: Hans Diller, deceased
  • Patent number: 5947794
    Abstract: An adapter for a model railroad flat car enables the carrying of axled model vehicles on model railroad flat cars. The adapter is a thin rectangular block with a transverse groove at each end for engaging the axle, axle housing or axle encasement of a model vehicle being carried on the flat car and facing in either direction. The adapter is secured to the flat car by any suitable means and has minimum visibility when the model vehicle is being carried.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 24, 1998
    Date of Patent: September 7, 1999
    Inventor: Joseph D. McGrath
  • Patent number: 5873727
    Abstract: An apparatus for moving game pieces during a game playing period includes a movement device having a support which supports a number of game pieces, wherein the movement device moves the number of game pieces relative to the support during the game playing period. The apparatus also includes a towing apparatus for transporting the movement device from a first location to a second location during the game playing period. The towing apparatus is movable in a predetermined path of movement. A method of playing a game with a number of players is also disclosed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 9, 1997
    Date of Patent: February 23, 1999
    Assignee: Fundex Games, Ltd.
    Inventor: Gordon Barlow
  • Patent number: 5080627
    Abstract: A motorized toy system having current collectors, movable up and down via an elastic member incorporated into a body of the motorized toy. The current collectors protrude on right and left sides of the body and slidably and uniformly contact pole plates disposed on upper end surfaces of side walls formed on both sides of a track. Permanent magnets are disposed at constant intervals on the track so as to alternate their polarities, and the permanent magnets are secured to a first yoke. Electromagnets are mounted in the body, and are secured to a second yoke.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 25, 1990
    Date of Patent: January 14, 1992
    Assignee: Kabushiki-Kaisha Toy Box
    Inventors: Sousuke Oriya, Hajime Matsumoto
  • Patent number: 4799431
    Abstract: An improved truck mounting mechanism for a model railroad locomotive includes a gimbal body fixed to a wheel-bearing truck frame. A gimbal mount is provided for receiving the gimbal body. The gimbal mount is flexibly secured to the locomotive chassis and the gimbal mount and gimbal body are constructed and arranged to provide three-axis movement of the truck frame relative to the chassis.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 26, 1987
    Date of Patent: January 24, 1989
    Assignee: Kadee Metal Products Co.
    Inventors: Clarence K. Edwards, Lawrence D. Edwards
  • Patent number: 4799916
    Abstract: A motorless toy vehicle and propelling track. The toy vehicle includes a gear housing having a drive system, the drive system including a drive gear and a ratchet means for controlling the direction of rotation of the drive gear. The track is adapted to receive and laterally direct the toy vehicle as it passes there along and includes a rack coextensive with the track having upwardly disposed teeth there along which operably engage with the drive gear. A rack drive reciprocates the rack back and forth in the track interacting with the ratcheted drive gear to propel the toy vehicle in the direction determined by the position of the ratchet means. Hill and switch tracks are also provided.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 13, 1988
    Date of Patent: January 24, 1989
    Inventors: Robert S. McKay, Dennis R. Dahm
  • Patent number: 4583955
    Abstract: A cupcake holder comprising a planar main body portion having a circular opening for supporting a cupcake, a pair of supporting legs for maintaining the main body portion and cupcake spaced from a supporting surface and coupling elements on the main body portion for enabling the cupcake holder to be coupled to an identical cupcake holder so that a plurality of cupcake holders can be connected in series for baking and for dispensing of cupcakes after baking. The holder may be combined with a toy, such as a figure or wheeled vehicle, to which a series of connected holders may be coupled. The holder legs may have supporting feet or wheels thereon.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 2, 1984
    Date of Patent: April 22, 1986
    Inventor: Christine D. Toloczko