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Publication numberUS3649038 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication date14 Mar 1972
Filing date8 Apr 1970
Priority date8 Apr 1970
Also published asDE2029676A1, DE2029676B2, DE2029676C3
Publication numberUS 3649038 A, US 3649038A, US-A-3649038, US3649038 A, US3649038A
InventorsOtto Huckenbeck
Original AssigneeOtto Huckenbeck
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Steerable roller skate
US 3649038 A
Abstract
A steerable roller skate is described in which a web depends from the baseplate and is attached to an axle housing by an inclined hinge. The web and the axle housing are of unitary integral construction and the hinge consists of a flexible portion of the web. The web is rigid with respect to the baseplate to enable an axle supported by the axle housing to be steered by tilting the baseplate.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Huckenbeck Mar. 14, 1972 [54] STEERABLE ROLLER SKATE [72] lnventor: Otto Huekenbeck, Eberbachstrasse 67a,

7571 l-laueneberstein, Germany [22] Filed: Apr. 8, 1970 211 App1.No.: 26,635

[52] US. Cl ..280/1l.28, 280/11.19, 280/11.26 [51] Int. Cl. ..A63c 17/02, A63c 17/04 [58] Field of Search ..280/1l.28, 11.27, 11.26, 11.19, 280/11.22,11.1

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 321,227 6/1885 Lancaster ..280/11.28 2,676,812 4/1954 Owsen et a1. ..280/11.28 3,389,922 6/1968 Eastin ..280/11.28 X 326,539 9/1885 Baker ..280/11.28

Lutz ..280/11.28 Arn0ld.... ....280/11.28

1,116,840 11/1914 Porter ..280/1L22 1,327,549 6/1920 Gunnarson ..280/1127 X FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 4,196 1875 Great Britain ..280/1 1.28

Primary Examiner-Benjamin Hersh Assistant Examiner-Mi1ton L. Smith Attorney-Fitch, Even, Tabin & Luedeka [57] ABSTRACT A steerable roller skate is described in which a web depends from the baseplate and is attached to an axle housing by an inclined hinge. The web and the axle housing are of unitary integral construction and the hinge consists of a flexible portion of the web. The web is rigid with respect to the baseplate to enable an axle supported by the axle housing to be steered by tilting the baseplate.

13 Claims, 19 Drawing Figures Patented March 14, 1972 3,649,038

3 Sheets-Sheet 1 FIG. I.

I 25 l 2a 43 I I 29 7 27 u l8 I7 33 55 57 49 I4 I5 45 I I97 53 ik J (6I 30 5! IN VENTOR OTTO HUCKENBECK BY HM 4 W CTM ATTORNEYS Patented March 14, 1972 3,649,038

3 Sheets-Sheet Z INVENTOR.

OTTO HUCKENBECK ATTORNEYS Patented March 14, 1972 3,649,038

3 Sheets-Sheet 5 314 FIG. I7

are

4:7 42: 423 0 o o o FIG. I9

$15.54. 211 FIG 5 [IV/[{{I'A 243 I l O! I 2,6" 2,7 I: INVENTOR OTTO HUCKENBECK H h mm 2:3 W Ww-YM Arronusvs STEERABLE ROLLER SKATE This invention relates to roller skates and, more particularly, to an improved roller skate of the so-called steerable type in which turning of pairs of wheels on a skate to steer the skate is effected by tilting the base plate of the skate. In this way, as a skater leans into a turn, he automatically steers the skates through the turn.

Many designs for roller skates of the so-called steerable type have been published and manufactured. Basically, a steerable roller skate is one in which one or more pairs of the roller skate rollers or wheels may be turned about an axis perpendicular to their axis of rotation and to the supporting surface or plane upon which they are rolling in response to a tilting of the skaters feet. Thus, if the skater leans to his left and thus inclines his boot, the wheels of the roller skate will turn to a position in which the skate itself turns to the left. A turn to the right may be accomplished in a corresponding manner.

One known type of roller skate design in which the skate may be steered in the manner above described incorporates a mechanical hinge between the portion of the skate which supports the wheel axle, and a base plate of the skate adapted to be secured to a shoe or boot. The hinge has an axis which is inclined with respect to the base plate. Assuming the base plate is initially in a parallel relation with the floor or supporting plane of the wheels, and assuming that the axis of the hinge is inclined with respect to the base plate of the roller skate and hence with respect to the supporting floor or plane, an inclination or deviation in the plane of the base plate with respect to the axle and therefore with respect to the floor or support plane produces displacement of the axle about an axis which is perpendicular to the supporting plane and extending through the axis of rotation of the axle.

Known designs incorporating the aforementioned hinge principle have included as many as 20 or more parts which are riveted, screwed together, or welded to fabricate the skate assembly. This tends to render production of roller skates having this design extremely expensive, since the cost of fabricating a large number of parts and the cost of subsequent assembly of such parts is substantial. Moreover, the large number of parts typically associated with prior art designs adds considerable weight to the roller skate, which is often undesirable. Finally, a large number of individual parts which must be assembled presents considerable problems in achieving proper manufacturing tolerances, resulting in a high scrap or rejection rate of individual parts and a corresponding increase in cost.

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide an improved roller skate of the so-called steerable type.

Another object of the invention is to provide a roller skate of the steerable type which is readily manufactured at low' cost.

A further object of the invention is to provide a roller skate of the so-called steerable type which is manufactured of a minimum number ofparts.

It is another object of the invention to provide a roller skate of the steerable type which is of simple lightweight constructron.

Another object of the invention is to provide a roller skate which provides more convenient steering to the skater.

Another object of the invention is to provide a roller skate which has a more even distribution of the load onto all two rows of the wheels.

Other objects of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is a side view, partially in section, of a roller skate FIG. 5 is a front view of the roller skate of the invention, showing in full outline the optionally added element shown in phantom in FIG. 1;

FIG. 6 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 2 showing a modification of the embodiment of FIGS. 1-5;

FIG. 7 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 2 showing a further embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 8 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 7 but showing a portion of the skate in a displaced condition;

FIG. 9 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 7 illustrating a modification of the embodiment of FIG. 7;

FIG. 10 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 7 illustrating another modification of the embodiment of FIG. 7;

FIG. 11 is a side view, partially in section, of a further embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 12 is a sectional view taken along the line 12-12 of FIG. 1 1;

FIG. 13 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 12 but showing a portion of the skate in a displaced condition;

FIG. 14 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 12 illustrating a modification of the embodiment of FIGS. 11 through 13;

FIG. 15 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 12 showing a further modification of the embodiment of FIGS. 11 through 13;

FIG. 16 is a side view of a still further embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 17 is a top plan view illustrating an alternate position of the wheels in the embodiment of FIG. 16;

FIG. 18 is a side elevational view of a further embodiment of the invention; and FIG. 19 is a plan view illustrating an alternative position of the wheels of the embodiment of FIG. 18.

Very generally, one form of the roller skate of the invention comprises a base plate 11 adapted to be secured to a boot or shoe 12. At least one pair of wheels 13 are supported on an axle 14. An axle housing 15 is provided for the axle and a support structure 16 connects the axle housing to the base plate. The support structure includes at least one web 27 formed integral with the axle housing. The material of the web and axle housing is flexible at the thickness of the web and forms a flexible hinge 18 between the axle housing and the web. The support structure rigidly secures the web to the base plate such that the hinge has an axis inclined with respect to the base plate. Deviation in the plane of the base plate with respect to the axle with the wheels on a supporting plane 19 produces displacement of the axle about an axis 20 perpendicular to the supporting plane.

Referring now particularly to FIGS. 1 to 3, a preferred embodiment of the invention is illustrated. The roller skate illustrated in FIGS. 1 to 3 includes a front section 21 of which the base plate 11 forms the top thereof. The base plate is narrow and rectangular in the drawing, butother shapes may be used if convenient. The base plate 11 is secured to the sole 23 of the boot 12 by suitable means such as rivets or by the clamps 25 which are illustrated only schematically for clarity. The clamps 25 may be made adjustable by means, not shown, in accordance with known techniques to adapt the skate to boots or shoes of various sizes. The roller skate also includes a rear section 27 having a base plate 29 thereon which is also attached to the boot 12. Where the skate is to be permanently attached to the boot, the base plate 29 may be merely a continuation of the base plate 11 and may be riveted to the boot. In the case of the illustrated embodiment, however, the skate is made adjustable to releasably attach to boots of a variety of sizes. Accordingly, the rear section 27 is separate from the front section 21 and is joined by a rigid stiffener or beam 31 of rectangular cross section. The beam 31 slidably fits in hollow channels 33 and 35 extending longitudinally along the underside of the base plates 11 and 29. The base plate 29 has a heel grip or flange 37 extending upwardly therefrom and a flexible strap 39 passes over the instep of the boot 12 and attaches at its ends to the respective ends of the flange 37. i

'The support structure 16 includes the web 17 which depends downwardly from the lower surface of the channel 33 and is located midway between the sides of the channel. The web 17 terminates at the axle housing 15 and is attached thereto by a tapered section 41. The web is formed integral with the axle housing and is joined thereto midway between the ends of the axle housing. The axle housing 15 supports the axle 14 and the wheels 13 are joined to each end of the axle. The wheels are preferably of internal ball bearing construction as is known in the art to provide a minimum amount of friction which would impede the skater.

In order to maintain the relation of the web 17 and the base plate 1 l fixed, the support structure 16 includes four generally triangular shaped reinforcing ribs 43, each of which provides a region of reinforcement extending transversely of the web and the base plate. This makes the web 17 and base plate 11 a rigid unit. As may be most clearly seen in FIG. 2, the ribs 43 taper into the web 17 just above the tapered region 41 of the axle housing 15. Accordingly, in the region just below the ribs 43, the web 17 is not reinforced. By constructing the web of appropriate material and of a proper thickness in the said region, the web may be made capable of flexing in this region and thus forming the flexible hinge l8. To this end, the web at the hinge 18 may be reduced in cross section, but this may not be necessary as the absence of the ribs may permit sufficient flexure. The hinge 18 thereby enables the base plate to be displaced with respect to the axle housing 15 and hence with respect to the axle 14 to cause deviation in the plane of the base plate with respect to the axle. An example of this is illustrated in FIG. 3. The web 17 is shown in the drawings of uniform thickness, but this need not necessarily be the case. For example, a crease or region of reduced thickness may be provided at the hinge for providing a desired degree of flexibility.

Under normal straight ahead skating, the plane of the base plate 11 is parallel with the supporting surface or floor 19 as is shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. In this condition, the axle 14 is perpendicular with the plane of the web 17 and the plane of the web 17 is perpendicular to the plane of the base plate 11. In order to permit the roller skate to be steered, the integral web is of such a shape that the axis of the flexible hinge 18 is inclined with respect to the base plate 11 and therefore with respect to the surface 19. This is shown in FIGS. 3 and 4. As a result, when the base plate is tilted in response to appropriate movement of the skaters foot and leg, for the purpose of steering the skate, the axle l4 deviates form its perpendicular relation to the web 17. Such deviation includes a component in the form of a rotation about the vertical axis 20, the latter passing through the center of the axle 14 and being perpendicular to the support surface 19. In this manner, the skate may be steered to the right by tilting the right-hand edge of the base plate down with respect to the left-hand edge, and the skate may be steered to the left by tilting the left-hand edge of the base plate down with respect to the right-hand edge.

The rear section 27 of the skate also includes a support structure 45 for connecting an axle 47 to the base plate 29. The axle 47 supports a pair of wheels 49 and is, inturn, supported by an axle housing 51. The support structure 45 is identical with the support structure 16 and includes a web 53, stiffening ribs 55 and a hinge 57. The wheels may be of identical design with that of the wheels 13.

It may be noted from FIG. 1 that the angle of inclination of the axis of the hinge 57 is opposite that of the axis of the hinge 18. The axes of the hinges, when extended, intersect below the base plates and, in the illustrated embodiment of FIG. 1, are normal to each other. Accordingly, when the skate is tilted, the rear axle 47 rotates about an axis therethrough corresponding to the axis 20, but rotates in the opposite direction an equal amount (see FIG. 3). This shortens the turning radius and enhances control over the skate.

As may be seen in FIG. 2, the base plate 11, the support structure 16, and the axle housing 15 are formed of a unitary integral construction. Preferably, a plastic material is used which is capable of being repeatedly flexed at a relatively thin cross section without failure. Many organic polymeric materials have this property; for example, polyolefins such as polyethylene, polyamid, polyurethane, and polypropylene are particularly suitable. Moreover, many of such materials, when flexed, tend to return to the position in which they are molded. Accordingly, a natural resilience exists which tends to return the axle housing to a position wherein the axis of the axle is perpendicular to the plane of the web 17. This is an advantage to the skater since, when the skate is raised off the floor during a stride, the wheels return to the same position relative to the shoe.

One particular material which is satisfactory for use in the roller skate of the invention is an isotactic polypropylene, produced by polymerization of propylene in the presence of suitable catalysts to provide a uniform steric structure within the polymeric chain molecules. In other words, chain sections exist in the molecule in which the basic elements are periodically recurrent, with tertiary carbon atoms of the monomeric units possessing the same steric configuration. A material of this type is available under the name Hostalan" from Farbwerke HOECHST A.G., of West Germany. Of course, this only an example, and other compounds of like physical properties may also be satisfactory.

The thickness of the web at the hinge depends upon the particular material of which the hinge is constructed and the desired degree of resilience and stiffness in the hinge. The latter factor may depend upon the particular use to which the skater intends to put the skate. For example, varying degrees of stiffness and resilience may be desired depending upon whether the skates are to be used for figure skating, dancing, speed skating, or roller hockey. The weight and strength of the skater may also be a factor entering into the selection of the desired stiffness and resilience of the hinge. The stiffness and resilience of the hinge may depend, for a given material, on the amount of plasticizer used in the material and this varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. Accordingly, selection of the brand of material utilized may depend upon the skaters preference for stiffness and resilience. For most of the suggested materials, hinge thicknesses in the range of two to three millimeters provide satisfactory results. Other thicknesses may, however, be preferred in some circumstances.

Where the resilience of the hinge is to be enhanced, a loop spring 59 may be included on both pairs of wheels. This is shown in FIGS. 1 and 5 for the front wheels only. The loop spring includes a pair of lower loops 61 which resiliently snap over the curved underside of the axle housing 15. A pair of posts 63 are molded integrally with the sides of the channel 33 and the loop spring 59 passes around the posts and a central section 65 of the spring passes beneath the channel 33. The result of the arrangement is that the resilience of the spring 59 tends to return the axle housing 15 from the position shown in FIG. 4 to the position shown in FIG. 2 when the skate is raised off of the support surface 19.

Referring now to FIG. 6, a modification of the embodiment of FIGS. 1 to 5 illustrated. In FIG. 6, the web 17 and the axle housing 15 are made in a unitary integral piece separable from the remainder of the skate section 21. The web 17 is attached to the remainder of the support structure 16 mating in a slot defined by a pair of walls 17a. These walls are molded integral with the channel 33 and base plate 11 and the ribs 43 to provide stiffening of the web 17 within the slot and to maintain the web in a perpendicular relation with the base plate 11. Accordingly, the only region in which the web 17 is capable of flexing is in the region adjacent the tapered portion 41 adjacent the axle housing 15, thereby constituting the hinge 18 having an axis angle and function identical with that previously described. That material of which the axle housing 15 and web 17 are formed may be a metal rather than plastic material if such is convenient. The greater resilience of some metals over many plastics may be advantageous in some skate designs. The metal utilized may be any suitable spring metal of a thickness which varies dependent upon the amount of stiffness and resilience desired. To improve fatigue properties, the outer surface of the metal at the hinge may be given a high quality surface or may be shotpeened. Examples of satisfactory materials are phosphor bronze, beryllium copper, chromium vanadium steel (SAE 6,150), oil tempered cold wound carbon steel, and hard drawn carbon steel.

Referring now to FIG. 7, a further embodiment of the invention is shown. Parts of the roller skate corresponding in function to those parts illustrated in FIGS. 1 to 5 have been given identical numbers preceded by a 1. Thus, the wheels 113 are supported by the axle 114 which is in turn supported by the axle housing 115. The support structure 116 joins the axle housing to the base plate 111. The support structure includes a channel 133 from which depends a web 117 formed integral with the channel and with the axle housing 115. The portion of the web 117 adjacent the axle housing forms a hinge 118 which functions in a manner identical with the hinge in the previously described embodiment.

The embodiment of FIG. 7 may be utilized where greater stiffness than that provided by the web 117 alone is desired. Thus, in addition to the web 117, a pair of auxiliary webs 167 are provided molded integrally with the remaining elements and extending from the lower ends of the side walls of the channel 133 to the axle housing 115. The auxiliary webs 167 are generally parallel with the web 117. At their lower ends, the auxiliary webs are provided with an internally offset region or crease 169, each crease paralleling the hinge 118. The crease enables the auxiliary web 167 to expand and to contract along the dimension extending from the channel 133 to the axle housing 1 15. An illustration of this action may be seen in FIG. 8. Thus the arrangement-allows turning of the wheels as was the case in the previously described embodiment, but the added auxiliary webs provide additional stiffness to the flexing action without impeding it.

In FIG. 9, the embodiment of FIGS. 7 and 8 is shown modified so that the auxiliary webs 167 themselves constitute a web of two portions. In between the two web portions 167, a flat metal spring 171 is positioned in parallel relation. The flat spring is anchored at one end in the lower wall of the channel 133 and at the other end in the axle housing 115. By providing the flat spring 171, resilience is added to the construction.

In FIG. 10, a further modification of the embodiment of FIGS. 7 and 8 is illustrated. The modification of FIG. 10 is similar to that of FIG. 9 in that the auxiliary webs 167 themselves constitute a web of two portions. Each web portion 167 is provided with an offset region or crease 169 and is made integral with the axle housing in a unitary pieceseparable from the remainder of the skate section 121. The web portions 167 are attached to the remainder of the support structure 116 by mating in slots defined by pairs of walls 117a and 117b, respectively. These walls are molded integral with the channel 133 to provide stiffening of the web portions 167 within the slots and to maintain the web portions in a perpendicular relation with the base plate 111. Accordingly, the only region in which the web portions 167 are capable of flexing is in the region of the creases 169, resulting in a hinge, the axis of which lies midway between the creases. In this manner, stiffening ribs may be unnecessary, although they may be provided if desired.

Referring now to FIGS. 11 and 12, another embodiment of the invention is illustrated. In the embodiment of FIGS. 11 and 12, parts having functions similar to that of corresponding parts in the embodiment of FIGS. 1 to 5 have been given identical reference numbers preceded by a 2. Thus, a base plate 211 is connected to an axle housing 215 by a support structure 216. The axle housing supports an axle 214 which, in turn, supports a pair of wheels 213.

The roller skate of the embodiment of FIGS. 11 and 12 includes a front section 221 in which the base plate 211 issupported on the top of a channel 233. A rear section 227 is also provided in which a base plate 229 is supported on the top of a channel 235. The channels are joined by a beam 231 for expansion and contraction and the front section includes a toe clamp 225 and the rear section includes a heel grip or flange 237.

The rear section includes a pair of wheels 249 mounted on an axle 247 which is, in turn, supported in an axle housing 251. A support structure 245 connects the axle housing 251 to the base plate 229. The support structure includes a web 253 and strengthening ribs 255.

The support structure 216 includes a web 217 joining the channel 233 to the axle housing 215. The significant difference in the embodiment of FIGS. 11 and 12 from that of previously described embodiments is in the location of the integral flexible hinge 218 between the axle housing and the web. As may be seen from FIG. 12, the axle housing is provided with a deep V-shaped notch 272 in the center thereof. The notch 272 is continued by a pair of tapered walls 270 and is closed at the bottom thereof by a short generally rectangular base 273. The web 217 is joined to the axle housing 215 along the upper surface of the base 273. As may be seen in FIG. 11, most of the hinge thereby lies below the level of the axle 214 and forwardly of the axle 214. An opening 275 is provided in the web for maintaining clearance between the web and the axle passing through the opening 275. One of the displaced conditions of the skate is illustrated in FIG. 13 and it may be seen that the opening 275 is of sufficient size to permit clearance between the web 217 and the axle 214 for all displaced positions of the support structure 216 with respect to the axle housing 215.

As a result of the placement of the hinge 218 substantially below the center of the axle 214, the center of the region of load bearing pressure is moved closer to the mid point between the wheels 213. This may be seen in FIG. 13 wherein a vector drawn downwardly through the web 217 intersects the surface 219 at a point P whereas the vertical axis of turning of the axle 214 midway between the wheels 213 intersects the support surface 219 at the point M. Since the distance between the hinge and the surface 219 is less in the embodiment of FIGS. 11 to 13 than it is in the previously described embodiments, the distance between the points P and M is relatively small in comparison with the distance between equivalent points in the previously described embodiments. (See FIG. 4). This results in a more even distribution of load onto all four of the wheels 213. Furthermore it improves the tendency for the wheels to return to the condition wherein the axle is normal to the web 217 while at the same time facilitating the adaptability of the wheels to the intended direction depending upon the tilting of the base plate by the skater. Also, the fact that most of the hinge 218 lies forwardly of the center of the axle 214 enhances the steerability of the skate.

FIG. 14 illustrates a modification of the embodiment of FIGS. 11 through 13 in which a pair of coil springs 277 and 279 are placed between the sides of the V notch 272 and the web 217. This adds stiffness to the apparatus through the additional resiliency of the springs and, where the springs are properly balanced, aids in returning the apparatus to a position wherein the axle is normal to the plane of the web.

In FIG. 15, a further modification is illustrated of the embodiment of FIGS. 1 1 through 13. In FIG. 15, the construction of the axle housing 215 is analogous to the construction of the axle housing 15 in FIG. 6 in that the web 217 is formed integral with the axle housing but is separate from the remainder of the support structure 216. The web then fits into a slot formed between two parallel walls 217a depending from the channel 233. The stiffening ribs 243 extend downwardly and terminate at a position just above the hinge 218, thus providing rigidity to the support section except for the region of the hinge.

If cost permits, three or more axles and pairs of wheels may be utilized rather than only two as thus far described. By doing so, the surface pressure per square inch exerted by the wheels on the supporting surface is proportionally reduced, allowing a softer wheel surface to be used. A softer wheel surface may thereby reduce the noise produced as wheels roll over the surface without lowering the total lateral frictional force between the skate and the supporting surface, necessary for proper control and use of the skate. To provide optimum cooperation between turning of the various sets of wheels and to reduce drag, the axes of the various angles, when extended, intersect at a common point for all rotational positions of the axles.

In FIGS. 16 and 17, a three-axle skate is shown. The skate includes a base plate 31 1 which is shown in simplified form for clarity and is provided with a front wheel assembly 312 similar to that shown in FIG. 1. Accordingly, the front wheel assembly will not be described in detail. A rear wheel assembly 313 is also employed similar to the rear wheel assembly shown in FIG. 1. Accordingly, the rear wheel assembly will not be described in detail. The pair of center wheels 314 are supported on an axle 314 which is supported by an axle housing 316. A support structure 318 connects the axle housing 316 to the base plate 311, the base plate having a channel 319 extending along the underside thereof. The support structure includes a central web 321 and a plurality of vertical ribs 323 to provide stiffening of the web and to maintain a perpendicular relation to the base plate 311. The web is attached to the axle housing 316 at a region just below the lower terminus of the ribs 323 by a tapered section 324 to form a hinge 325. The axis of the hinge 325 is not inclined with respect to the base plate 311 but rather is parallel thereto. Accordingly, the axle 315 will pivot with respect to the base plate 311 to permit both wheels 314 to remain on the supporting surface 327. However, such action does not result in a turning of the axle 315 about a vertical axis. The angle of inclination of the front and rear hinges is equal and opposite, however, as was the case in 1 FIG. 1. With the axle 315 being located midway between the axles of the front and rear wheel assemblies 312 and 313, the axes of each of the three axles will intersect at a common point for all positions of the wheels, as the top plan view of FIG. 17 shows.

Referring now to FIGS. 18 and 19, a skate employing four axles is illustrated. The wheel assemblies 412, 413, 414 and 415 may be of any suitable construction but in the illustrated v embodiment are shown generally similar to those of the embodiment of FIG. 1. The hinges 417 and 419 of the front and rear wheel assemblies 412 and 415, respectively, are inclined at an angle which is equal and opposite to the other as was the case in the embodiment of FIGS. 16 and 17. Such is also true of the hinges 421 and 423 of the middle two wheel assemblies 413 and 414, respectively. The hinges 421 and 423, however, are inclined at a lesser angle with respect to the base plate 411. The angles of the hinges of the central wheel assemblies 413 and 414 are selected to have an angle with an inclination smaller than the inclination of the hinges 417, 419. These angles are chosen so that the axes of the respective axles will intersect at a common point for all turning positions of the axles.

It may therefore be seen that the invention provides an improved roller skate of the steerable type in which manufacturing costs are substantially reduced by reducing the number of parts required. In addition, the weight of the skate may be substantially reduced by selecting the proper material for its parts, and due to the reduced number of required parts. One form of the invention provides a significant improvement in the stability and weight distribution of the skate.

Various modifications of the invention in addition to those shown and described herein will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the foregoing description and accompanying drawings. Such modifications are intended to fall within the scope of the appended claims.

What is claimed is:

1. A steerable roller skate comprising at least one base plate adapted to be secured to a shoe, at least two pairs of wheels, a pair of axles supporting said pairs of wheels, respectively, an axle housing for each of said axles, and a pair of support structures connecting said axle housings to said base plate, respectively, each of said support structures including at least one web, said web and said axle housing and said support structure and said base plate comprising a unitary integrally molded configuration of an organic polymeric material which is flexible at a predetermined thickness and which has substantial fatigue strength under repetitious flexure said web being of said predetermined thickness adjacent said axle housing to form a flexible hinge with said axle housing located between said wheels, at least one of said hinges having an axis inclined with respect to said base plate, said axes of said hinges, respectively intersecting, when extended, at a point below said base plate, whereby deviation in the plane of said base plate with respect to said webs with said wheels on a supporting plane produces displacement of at least one of said axles about an axis which is perpendicular to the supporting plane.

2. A roller skate according to claim 1 wherein said web is perpendicular to said base plate.

3. A roller skate according to claim 1 wherein said support structure includes a plurality of reinforcing ribs providing a region of reinforcement extending transversely of said web and said base plate to ensure rigidity between said web and said base plate.

4. A roller skate according to claim 1 wherein said support structure includes at least one resilient member extending between said axle housing and said support structure.

5. A roller skate according to claim 1 wherein said support structure comprises a channel on the underside of said base plate, wherein said web depends from said channel, and wherein a loop spring extends from said axle housing to said channel to provide resilient support between said axle housing and said support structure.

6. A roller skate according to claim 1 wherein said support structure includes a pair of auxiliary webs extending parallel with said web, said auxiliary webs each having a crease therein adjacent said axle housing and extending generally parallel with said hinge, whereby said auxiliary webs can expand and contract when the plane of said base plate is deviated with respect to said axle.

7. A roller skate according to claim 1 wherein said web comprises a pair of generally parallel planar portions, each of said portions having a crease therein adjacent said axle housing to permit expansion and contraction of said portions when said base plate is tilted with respect to said axle housing, whereby the axis of said hinge lies between said creases.

8. A roller skate according to claim 7 wherein a flat resilient spring is disposed between said web portions, said spring being attached at one end to said axle housing and at the other end to said support structure to provide resilience therebetween when said base plate is tilted with respect to said axle housing.

9. A roller skate according to claim 1 wherein at least part of said hinge extends below the level of said axle with respect to a plane supporting said wheels. said axle housing located between said wheels, at least one of said hinges having an axis inclined with respect to said base plate, said axes of said hinges, respectively intersecting, when extended, at a point below said base plate, whereby deviation in the plane of said base plate with respect to said webs with said wheels on a supporting plane produces displacement of at least one of said axles about an axis which is perpendicular to the supporting plane.

10. A roller skate according to claim 9, wherein a hole is provided in said web through which said axle extends, said hole being sufficiently large as to accommodate said axle with clearance at all positions of said web with respect to said axle housing.

11. A steerable roller skate comprising at least one base plate adapted to be secured to a shoe, at least two pairs of wheels, a pair of axles supporting said pairs of wheels, respectively, an axle housing for each of said axles, and a pair of support structures connecting said axle housings to said base plate, respectively, each of said support structures including at least one web formed integral with said axle housing, said web and said axle housing being comprised of a resilient metal having substantial fatigue strength under repetitious flexure, each of said support structures further including means defining a slot for receiving said web and retaining same in a particular relation with said base plate, the edge of said slot defining a hinge between said web and said axle housing with said axle housing located between said wheels, at least one of said ,said axes of said hinges, respectively, intersecting, when extended, at a point below said base plate, whereby deviation in said base plate with respect to said webs with said wheels on a supporting plane produces displacement of at least one of said axles about an axis which is perpendicular to the supporting plane.

12. A steerable roller skate comprising at least one base plate adapted to be secured to a shoe, at least two pairs of wheels, a pair of axles supporting said pairs of wheels, respectively, an axle housing for each of said axles, and a pair of support structures connecting said axle housings to said base plate, respectively, each of said support structures including at least one web formed integral with said housing and having a pair of portions of generally planar configuration extending parallel with each other from said axle housing, each of said web portions having a crease therein to enable expansion and contraction thereof relative to said axle housing, said web and said axle housing being of a material which is flexible at a predetermined thickness, said web being of said predetermined thickness adjacent said axle housing to form a flexible hinge with said axle housing located between said wheels, each of said support structures further including means rigidly securing said web to said base plate such that at least one of said hinges has an axis inclined with respect to said base plate, said axes of said hinges, respectively, intersecting, when extended, at a point below said base plate, whereby deviation in the plane of said base plate with respect to said webs with said wheels on a supporting plane produces displacement of at least one of said axles about an axis which is perpendicular to the supporting plane.

13. A steerable roller skate comprising at least one base plate adapted to be secured to a shoe, at least three pairs of wheels, a plurality of axles each supporting a respective pair of said wheels, an axle housing for each of said axles, a plurality of support structures connecting said axle housings to said base plate, respectively, said support structures each including at least one web formed integral with said axle housing, said web and said axle housing being of a material which is flexible at a predetermined thickness, said web being of said predetermined thickness adjacent said axle housing to form a flexible hinge with said axle housing located between said wheels, each of said support structures further including means rigidly securing said web to said base plate such that said hinges have an axis inclined with respect to said base plate, said axes of said hinges, respectively, intersecting, when extended, at a point below said base plate, whereby deviation in the plane of said base plate with respect to said webs with said wheels on a supporting plane produces displacement of at least one of said axles about an axis which is perpendicular to the supporting plane, said hinges between said webs and said axle housings being inclined at angles such that the axes of said axles when extended intersect at a common point for all variations in angle of said base plate with respect to the wheel support plane.

UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION Patent No. 3,649,038 Dated March 14.1972

Invent fl 01-1-0 Hurkenhprk It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:

Column 3, line 44 "from" is misspelled.

Column 3, line 56 "inturn" should be "in turn".

Column 4, line 20 before "only" insert -is--.

Column 4, line 54 before "illustrated" insert -is--.

Column 5, line 2 delete the comma before 6 and l, and

close space.

after "wheels." the remainder of the claim should be deleted.

Column 8, Claim 9 Signed and sealed this 25th day of July 1972.

(SEAL) Attest:

EDWARD M.FLETCHER,J'R. ROBERT GOT'I'SCHALK Attesting Officer Commissioner of Patents FORM (10-69) USCOMM-DC 60376-P69 U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE 2 I969 Q--365"334

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Classifications
U.S. Classification280/11.28, 280/11.26, 280/11.19
International ClassificationA63C17/00, A63C17/02
Cooperative ClassificationA63C17/02
European ClassificationA63C17/02