Doll Construction

by Henry Ketcham


This invention relates to the arm of a doll and more particularly to its hand portion by which the doll is capable of grasping objects while suspending them in various realistic positions. The idea of forming a doll's hand so as to permit it to grasp objects is not broadly new but prior devices have been prohibitively complex or entirely inadequate for the intended purpose. However, the desirability of such a doll has been recognized for a considerable period of time with no apparent successful solution.

With the foregoing in mind, I have devised a doll's hand which is formed of a resilient plastic material which, at the finger and thumb portions of the hand, is thickened so as to provide sturdiness and enhanced grasping ability. The thumb is bent inwardly toward the other fingers in such a way so that a space of almost complete circularity is defined by the thumb and fingers. A great many objects which are conventionally grasped in the hand, i.e., hammers, spears, pencils, pens, etc., are substantially round in cross-section. Accordingly, the circular space can be made to firmly grasp such an object without requiring any supplementary mechanical contrivance.

In combination with the foregoing, I form the arm in a bent position, i.e., with the elbow bent for the purpose of achieving a high degree of realism. In other words, the doll may appear to be using a hammer (or a spear, tomahawk, etc.) in a realistic manner since the use of such objects generally involve a bent elbow. It is understood that while this is a seemingly minor detail, such details often make the difference between a acceptable and an unacceptable article to a child's discerning mind.

The invention will be further understood from the following description and drawings in which:

Figure 1 is an elevational view of a doll constructed according to this invention:

Figure 2 is a fragmentary, longitudinal, cross-sectional view of the arm and shoulder portion of the doll;

Figure 3 is a fragmentary, partly broken away cross-sectional view of the doll's leg;

Figure 4 is a fragmentary, cross-sectional view of the neck portion of the doll; and

Figure 5 is a fragmentary view of the arm illustrating the grasping function of the doll's fingers.

The doll body is fabricated of a resilient plastic material such as one of the yielding or resilient vinyl copolymers. However, it may also be fabricated of resilient rubber. The essential feature of this invention is best illustrated in Figures 2 and 5. Thus, the arm 10 has a finger formation comprising the four integrated fingers 11 and an opposing thumb 12. Arm 10 is hollow for greater softness but the extreme ends 11a of the fingers are relatively solid and thickened so as to impart increased sturdiness and consequent holding strength to such fingers. Extreme end 12a of thumb 12 is similarly solidified. Although the illustrated arm 10 is that of a baby, it nevertheless has an elbow formation 13 which is in a bent position.

The relationship of the fingers to the thumb is of primary significance. For example, referring to Figure 5 it will be observed that the fingers 11 and thumb 12 are curled inwardly inwardly toward each other so as to define a space 14 between them which is substantially completely circular. Its circularity is, however, interrupted by a slight spacing or discontinuity between the extreme ends of the fingers and thumb respectively. The full lines 15 of Figure 5 illustrate that this discontinuity 16 of the circle is of the order of approximately 20 degrees so that the circular space 14 is accordingly about 340 degrees. This is the normal or rest position of the fingers. This discontinuity or spacing 16 serves as an opening and permits the insertion of any one of a variety of objects, for example, hammer 17, into the circular space 14 whereupon the fingers and thumb will separate from the normal rest position thereof to an expanded position such as is illustrated by the dotted lines of Figure 5. Spacing 14 still remains substantially round accommodating almost exactly the round nature of the object disposed within it. The thickened ends 11a and 12a of the fingers and thumb respectively are of utility in enhancing the grip since a hammer or a spear can be quite heavy.

The use of the doll as above stated may be quite simple. One simply pushes the object through the opening 16 and it is immediately grasped and retained by the sturdy cooperating fingers and thumb which spread and encircle the object.

It will be observed that arm 10 is provided with an integral hollow circular end bottom 18 which offers good articulation in the opening of shoulder 19. This method of articulation is not claimed per se in this invention, it being shown herein to illustrate the utility of the arm formation. In other words, the arm should be capable of being lifted and pivoted in the shoulder socket in a manner such as is conventional in the use of the objects above mentioned. For the same reason , Figure 3 discloses the use of a hollow button 20 which articulates the leg 21 in the hip 22. As an example, should the doll be arranged to simulate flinging a spear, it would be desirable to show it with an uplifted leg, a position of this type being extremely realistic. Figure 4 shows that the neck 23 may be provided with the hollow button formation 24 so that the head may be cocked in various positions. This further increased realism since differently cocked positions of the head are found to enhance the realism associated with throwing a spear or employing a hammer, etc.

While I have shown and described what I believe to be the best embodiments of my invention, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that many changes and modifications may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as shown in the appended claims.

What is claimed is:

1. In a doll, an arm formed wholly of resilient material and comprising a finger formation and an opposing thumb, said finger formation and thumb being curled inwardly toward each other in a normal rest position thereof so as to define a substantially circular space between them, the extreme ends of the finger formation and thumb being separated form each other to provided an opening communicating with said circular space whereby an object may be inserted through said opening into said circular space so as to be grasped by said finger formation and thumb as they spread from said normal rest position, said arm being hollow and the extreme ends of said finger formation and said thumb being solid and thickened relative to the walls of the remainder of said arm.

2. An article according to claim 1 and wherein the normal separation of the extreme ends of the finger formation and thumb is substantially 20 degrees of a circle whereby said circular space is substantially 340 degrees.

References Cited in the file of this patent

United States Patents

849,588 West Apr. 9, 1907

1,880,109 Saunders Sept. 27, 1932