Friday, October 21, 2016

Oh, patents! Oh, bubbles!

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Got a toddler? Then, it’s a good idea to stock up on bubbles!
And bubbles galore is what US6200184 titled Bubble maker toy is all about!

This 2001 patent discloses an electric bubble maker comprising a fan and a plurality of inter-connected bubble rings forming the bubble wand in view of simultaneously producing several streams of bubbles!

Considering the prior art of bubble maker toys, various concerns existed. First, the safety of an exposed fan made of hard plastic designed for children use, and secondly, the quality of bubble streams when a plurality of wands were used, which tended to result in the clustering of bubbles together, rather than separate continuous bubble flows.  

This invention thus resolves problems of the prior art by providing both means of directing the flow of air to create separate bubble streams, and a fan made of soft foam, so that its operation is safe for children to use.

The direction of the airflow for the purposes of producing separate bubble flows is achieved via several aspects of the invention. First, the fan blades are curved so that the airflow can be concentrated in the center of the wand. Secondly, the bubble rings are connected to each other to form a circular wand with arcuate connection arms, so that the airflow is further directed to twirl and flow through the bubble rings. This results in separate bubble streams, fanning out, and thus preventing their clustering.

The invention further provides ridges around the bubble rings and on the connection arms which function as small reservoirs for the bubble solution, "of suitable viscosity and surface tension, to cling across the bubble rings forming a film".

The fan and wand with the multiple bubble rings are contained in a housing, and a bubble solution dish is provided separately for dipping the wand.

In sum, when the fan is on, the air is thus directed to flow across the bubble wand, through the bubble rings which are connected in the inventive manner so as to create separate streams of bubbles.  

Below, the abstract for US US6200184 titled Bubble maker toy is included, and one of the patent figure drawings of the invention showing an exploded view of the wand with its plurality of bubble rings, the ridges functioning as reservoirs of bubble solution, and the fan with curved blades, separated from the housing beneath it. 

A bubble maker toy for producing a plurality of bubble streams from a liquid bubble solution.The bubble maker toy comprises a bubble wand and an electric fan. The bubble wand includes a plurality of bubble rings connected together by connection arms.The electric fan is configured for producing an airflow concentrated adjacent to the center of the bubble wand which forces the bubble streams outward from the center of the bubble wand and away from each other. The connection arms are arcuate in shape and connected to each other at approximately the center of the bubble wand causing the air flow produced by the electric fan to swirl in a rotating manner further forcing the bubble streams away from each other thus preventing the bubbles from sticking together or combining to form a cluster of bubbles. [Abstract US6200184]

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