FIELD OF INVENTION
This invention is considered to be in the golf cart classification. The object of the invention is to provide a device attaching the golfer to a manually pulled golf cart to facilitate the transport of a golfer's clubs and bag during the playing of a round of golf. As this is a towing device, the usual term in the golf equipment industry is golfpull cart.
Another feature developed in this invention is the ability to divide the towing shafts/handles and provide this flow/constraint device to each shaft/handle. Such an application would benefit the towing of many more devices such as a “rickshaw”, a garden cart, and possibly a traditional wheel barrow. As much of the world does use single and double shaft/handle vehicles for towing, this invention can benefit many applications.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
An increase in the benefits of health and exercise can be realized by manually towing a golfpull cart around a golf course. More golf players would be attracted to these benefits if the risks and fatigue of pulling the golf cart could be reduced. Energy directed to swing performance and to the game could be conserved with a device that would tow the golf cart safely and comfortably for the player.
Lacking in the prior art has been a device to attach the golfpull cart to the player conveniently to facilitate the pulling of the cart over lengthy terrain, up and down the hills and slopes, along the fairways for the 18 holes of play without fatigue and undue discomfort. Over 18 holes which typically cover over four miles of walking and with several strokes being taken taken during play of each hole the activity of pulling a golf cart can be quite tiring on the player's arms, hands, shoulders, and back. After several hours on the course, this fatigue can affect the golfer's level of play so that their arms, shoulders and back are not unduly tired by the extraneous activity of towing a golfpull cart.
To relieve these detrimental effects, the prior art has examples of hands-free, cart pulling devices which recognize this issue of fatigue. An example of a similar device that is attached directly to the belt, but would be hard to walk an even gait with, is seen in the patent of Virgil M. Johnson, U.S. Pat. No. 3,328,043 of Jun. 27, 1967, and in an earlier example with D. G. Frantz's U.S. Pat. No. 3,311,385 of Mar. 28, 1967 which shows a direct attachment to the belt. A later citation showing just a belt with a loop attachment that will hold a golf cart with a sideways handle is seen in Robert Evans U.S. Pat. No. 5,622,294 of Apr. 22, 1997. In this direct attachment to the belt each step accelerates the cart, then steadies in mid-stride, and slows as the step changes which results in an awkward and uncomtable device in itself fatiguing to use and pull. Another cumbersome and awkward device designed for flat terrain courses is seen in a 3 wheel cart directly attached to a belt in the patent of Kenneth Reichard, U.S. Pat. No. 3,926,448 of Dec. 16, 1975.
Current players' interests in towing a golf cart around a course has given rise to other methods of accomplishing this feat such as seen in the patent of Jerry Kotulla, U.S. Pat. No. 5,244,217 of Sep. 14, 1993 which embodies a sling strap over the golfer's shoulder and which in turn loosely drags along the golf cart. There is no effort made in this invention of Kotulla to control the motions of the golf cart such as offered in this invention. Another strap type golf cart is seen in a tricycle type configuration in the patent of Lucien Flagg, U.S. Pat. No. 3,305,244 of Feb. 21, 1967 which is pulled along by hand.
The walking golfer towing a golfpull cart is faced with coupling and uncoupling his golf cart more than one hundred times over the 18 holes of play in addition to dealing with various types of terrain on many courses. The typical belt fastener is slow and tedious and has been inadequately dealt with in the prior art until this invention. Convenience and comfort are paramount issues to the success of this towing device and both over the activity in towing a cart over the golf course and with the ease of coupling and uncoupling the towing belt at each round of play.
Adaptive and similar devices are seen in the pulling and transporting objects and people in other prior art, and while many perform a similar task, none have this flow/constraint device to smooth out and ameliorate the uneven forces developed with a human performing the towing and pulling. A useful device entitled “Body Trailer” is seen in A. L. Capraro's U.S. Pat. No. 5,215,318 of Jun. 1, 1993 but which again connects directly to a wearer's belt. “A Hands Free Dumping Wagon” of Joe Klumpjan, U.S. Pat. No. 5,215,355 of Jun. 1, 1993 utilizes the same direct means to attach a type of gardening cart.
Useful and similar towing means for carts can be found in the related art field utilizing a side mounting or hip mounting attachment for both single and dual shafts/handles. A early example in towing a golfpull cart is seen in R. H. McBride's U.S. Pat. No. 2,559,981 of Jul. 10, 1951 which has basically a side pocket on a belt attachment with a spring wire device and holder to tow the cart. Another early example is seen in C. E. Giovannoni's U.S. Pat. No. 2,613,953 of Oct. 14, 1952 which shows a device attaching to each side of a belt for support and at the rear for constraint in the operation of a “Monowheel Vehicle Harness” intended to carry supplies and wild game in assumably the back country. A later version is seen in the “Hip Cart” of J. A. Lemmon, U.S. Pat. No. 4,236,723 of Dec. 2, 1980 which shows the means to transport a “pack” but with two wheels for stability and support. An even later patent of Paul M. Straub, U.S. Pat. No. 4,848,780 of Jul. 18, 1989 which shows a device as a “Carriage Assembly for a Jogger” with a side or hip direct mount to tow the cart/carriage.
In the prior art another approach is seen that I improve upon in the United Kingdom patent of John Marshall, U.K. No. 2,227,987, Aug. 15, 1990, wherein the belt is worn as normal with a connector attached at the rear that clips the golfpull cart handle to an ordinary unpadded belt.
There has been no device in the prior art that deals with the motions and forces of the person walking and towing a golfpull cart up or down slopes, and across rough terrain such as in this invention. There is no prior art in this field with any device to modify and control the pressures of walking and towing weighty carts with such a means of connection such as this flow/constraint elastic device which evens out, absorbs and diffuses these forces. The push and pull of an uneven stride of a person or an animal is ameliorated and smoothed by this device as it stretches out on the forward stride and slows to absorb the force/thrust to meet with the next stride to alleviate the unevenness of the gaited stride.
SUMMARY OF THIS INVENTION
This invention is novel in its flow/constraint elastic activated device and is a continuation of my earliest USPTO Disclosure filed Aug. 16, 1996, No. 403,774, and the subsequent filings that detail the many developments and improvements in the ways to use this invention. Many vexing issues have been resolved prior to the filing of this application which represents the highest level of development and most novel presentation of this invention. From the earliest prototypes attaching to a single shaft/handle of a golfpull cart, I have developed the proper means of towing a golfpull cart or other type of vehicle without having it push you down a hill or pull you off balance or quite literally become more of a hazard than a benefit when attached to your belt. In these embodiments one sees the proper means of constraint which slows the force or thrust of a cart when in your stride, when going down a hill, or when stopping as the cart can hit you fiercely and hurtfully as it were, below the belt, mindful that the attaching location is in the rear.
New features are incorporated from the experience with the prototypes and from the new materials and techniques that have become available over time. The primary development has been in these features: the control by an elastic flow of acceleration from a gaited stride, and the constraint by covering means of deceleration during this same stride. This control of acceleration when initiating a stride can be achieved by the means of elastic cords, or springs, or a combination of these means. The constraint of deceleration when ending the same stride is achieved by two features: one, when individually covering the elastic cords, springs, or such combinations; and two, when externally covering the entire elastic means with a heavy-duty plastic or cloth cover. This external cover serves to further dampen the constraint/flow means as it adjusts and adapts for the human or animal stride evident in the towing activity.
The means to manage these two forces—acceleration and deceleration—is an essential and pivotal feature of this invention. Smoothing out these forces into a comfortable and safe activity is the novel and key element seen here. As the person or animal pulls a cart or vehicle in their stride walking and towing heavy weights, possibly over uneven terrain, the uniqueness of this invention will show itself in its comfort and safety. A strong and novel feature is the means of attachment using in a single shaft/handle the rearward widely spaced stanchions that project the elastic means sufficiently outward away from the wearer's belt bracket to minimize adversarial roll-over or splaying forces from the vehicle being towed. When attaching double shafts/handles the same effect is provided by their wide and separated spacing on the towing belt typically at the side of the hip.
These features of this invention provide walking golfers with an arms free means of towing a golfpull cart comfortably around a golf course. In the use of this device the thrust, side motions, uneven actions and the varying forces of towing a golfpull cart over rough terrain for the 4 miles or more of a golf course are dampened and controlled so as to create a comfortable walk while pulling a weighty cart. Arm, shoulder, hand and hip strain are avoided or ameliorated with this device which thereby will reduce fatigue and leave more energy to direct to the critical values of a properly executed golf swing. The same consideration can be extended to all other adaptive uses of this device towing and pulling other types of vehicles whereby the strain and fatigue would be reduced.
This invention is a cart tow device with the means for a person to tow a golfpull cart comprising a waist attached towing belt, a belt attachment means, an elastic connecting means, an attachment means to the belt, and an attachment means to the golfpull cart.
The cart tow device further comprises a waist attached towing belt with the means of attachment to golfer's waist by buckle clasp and tongue. The buckle clasp and tongue is a standard term for a normal belt buckle assembly, and this means is most common in regular use for attaching a belt.
The cart tow device further comprises a means of attachment with a plain belt buckle through which passes a portion of a belt which is looped back to attach to the waist attached towing belt by means of hook and loop material. This means provides a secure, quick and convenient method of attaching a belt, and equally provides a quick and convenient method of undoing the belt when the wearer wants to step out of the belt and cart to play golf.
The cart tow device further comprises a means of attachment to the waist attached towing belt by hook and loop material only. This means is quick but not as secure as the above method of looping back a portion of a belt. These methods are both convenient in use and allow the person towing a cart to easily attach and detach the cart.
The cart tow device further comprises the waist attached towing belt with attaching means to support one or more elastic attachments. These elastic attachments which connect the person with the cart or vehicle can be the normal golfpull cart with a single handle and a single rearward belt attachment, or they can be side attachments which connect the person or animal with a cart or vehicle such as a rickshaw with two handles or shafts. Elastic attachments are elastic connecting means which join the person or animal with the conveyance using elastic cords, springs, and combinations, even with hydraulic means, to ameliorate the forward force in a gaited stride, and with coverings and covers to dampen the deceleration force at the end of that same stride.
The cart tow device further comprises the waist attached towing belt with stanchion attaching means projecting rearward from the belt for the elastic attachments. The stanchions are supporting attachments usually of metal or of a durable hard material and these stanchions are capable of projecting rearward at least one or more inches to locate the elastic connections away from the wearer's belt. The stanchions are attached to the wearer's belt most typically by the means of a bracket of similar durable hard material to provide the greatest strength in attachment and function. The stanchions can provide vertical attaching means on the end of the stanchions to allow one or more elastic connection locations. The different connection locations are to adjust for the different heights of the person towing the cart and for adjustment for convenience in towing as different persons will have different preferrences in these locations as available on the stanchion.
The cart tow device further comprises the waist attached towing belt with stanchions with vertical attaching means of one or more elastic attaching locations. The vertical attaching means is to provide different locations for the elastic attachments for the convenience and selection of the wearer.
The cart tow device further comprises the waist attached towing belt with stanchions spaced apart with two or more horizontal attaching means for attaching the elastic attachments requisite for towing the golfpull cart. The two or more horizontal attaching means would provide a separated attachment means or stanchion that will tow a heavy cart more efficiently and more safely as it will not twist or splay at an angle as easily as it is towed. The separated spacing is more stable when decending or crossing a hill while attached to a cart, and such convenience and safety will be easily recognized by the person towing a golfpull cart.
The cart tow device further comprises the elastic attachments with attachment means for one or more separate shafts from the towed golfpull cart to the waist attached towing belt. The cart may have two handles that converge to the rear of the wearer's belt just as does a single shaft or handle typical for a golfpull cart. Alternately, the two shafts can split apart to reach each side of the person who is going to tow the cart, and these two shafts can attach to the wearer's belt at the side by attachment means similar to the rearward attachment. The advantage of the two shafts attaching at the side would be the flow/constraint device which will smooth out the gaited stride while towing.
The cart tow device further comprises attachment means for one or more separate shafts from the towed golfpull cart handle and main frame to attach to the waist attached towing belt. As stated the separate shafts offer stability and smoothness in towing a cart or vehicle like a rickshaw. The attachment at the side would have like the rearward stanchion a projection and connection locations convenient to the one towing and an elastic connection means of the flow/constraint device to the cart being pulled or towed.
The elastic connecting means further comprises external covers for each individual elastic attachment. The elastic means which might consist of elastic cords or springs would have constrictive covers on each to dampen their actions in extending and in return, or as an alternative, a hydraulic means of fluid or air to achieve the same basic function. Covers and coverings would have to be of a heavy-duty material—plastic or cloth—that can give long durable service and can give the constrictive force needed to keep the cart motion smooth when the gait shifts from deceleration to acceleration in the stride. The covers can be external to the entire flow/constraint device and as such would serve to dampen the entire device while keeping any adverse action removed from the person towing. These external overall covers can have pleats and bunching to keep control and constraint active on the flow/constraint device. These covers are useful and necessary as well as decorative as they keep the elastic means contained and concealed while in use.
The elastic connecting means further comprises upon the individual elastic attachment with the external covers a constrictive means against the thrust forces of the golfpull cart. The constrictive means is needed to slow and dampen the return thrust forces that occur at the end of the person's stride, and to smooth and slow the forward thrust when the next stride begins to accelerate. It is purposeful to use both the elastic means in the flow ahead and to use the constrictive means to slow down the actions of a towed vehicle. The flow/constraint device functions best in towing when these elastic and constraint forces are continuous and interactive to even out a person's or animal's stride.
This invention includes a cart tow device with the means to pull a vehicle with a towing connection attachment, an elastic connecting means, an attachment means for pulling and an attachment means for the vehicle. A towing connection attachment would usually constitute a towing belt or similar device worn by the person or a similar attachment such as a harness placed upon an animal to perform the towing. This towing connection attachment would include a means of connecting the person or animal with the vehicle to be towed by such means as stanchions attached to the wearer's belt or animal's harness and these stanchions provide locations for the connecting elastic means. Some adjustment would be provided in the locations available in each stanchion to suit the various users.
The towing connection attachment of the cart tow device comprises a towing belt with connective attachment means. A towing belt could have several convenient ways of attachment such as a buckle clasp and tongue, a loop of belting through a plain buckle to be secured by hook and loop, direct by means of hook and loop, or such other convenient and secure means of attachment.
The towing connection attachment of the cart tow device further comprises a harness means for connective attachment means. A harness is for use with animals when connecting them with a cart or vehicle to be pulled or towed. A harness can have several connective means and the sizes and adjustments required for the animal being placed into the harness.
The towing connection attachment of the cart tow device further comprises the towing belt with an attaching means by supporting stanchion for the elastic attachment means from the towing belt to the vehicle. The device is the towing connection attachment above mentioned and this device provides the elastic attachment means for the flow and constraint of the elastic when connected to the towing belt and to the vehicle being towed. The attaching means can be ring connectors or similar means to join the belt and the stanchion on the belt to the elastic attachment which can be by elastic cords, springs, or hydraulic means. The stanchion is the bracket or similar device that provides locations for the elastic means to be connected to the belt. The stanchion can provide several locations to serve the needs of different persons or animals as an adjustment for ease of use and convenience. The stanchion can project the elastic means away from the belt for the ease of use and convenience of the wearer. The elastic attachment means can provide the connections to the belt and stanchions, as well as to the vehicle being towed. The vehicle can be a cart, a pullcart, a transport cart, a sled, a wagon, a person conveyance such as a rickshaw, or any similar vehicle to be pulled or towed.
The cart tow device further comprises stanchions with alternative elastic attaching means. The stanchions provide different locations for elastic connection attachment means and provide for different types of elastic connecting means. Stanchions can project the connections away from the towing belt or harness for the wearer's ease of use and convenience. Stanchions can themselves be provided a bracket to be attached to, or other durable and solid connection to the towing belt or harness.
The towing belt with an attaching means by supporting stanchion of the cart tow device further comprises the stanchions for two or more horizontal elastic attaching means spaced apart for pulling the vehicle. Horizontal spacing of the elastic attaching means gives more stability and smoothness to the vehicle being towed. In any situation wherein the cart may be on a side slope, hill, or at an angle the two stanchions spaced apart tend to keep the vehicle properly upright, ameliorate splaying or tipping, and in general, adds the stability necessary for a cart tow device.
The elastic connecting means of the cart tow device further comprises external covers for each elastic attachment. Covers of heavy-duty material, cloth or plastic, give the dampening or constraint needed to slow the towed vehicle smoothly as the next forward stride begins. Without the constraining covers the action is jerky and uneven, and the vehicle surges with the forces of acceleration and deceleration continuously and uncomfortably. The covers being placed on each elastic accelerating item gives a constraining control when they return with the deceleration at the end of a gaited stride.
The elastic connecting means of the cart tow device further comprises upon the individual elastic attachment with the external covers, a constraining external cover means upon the entire elastic device. As each individual elastic attachment has a cover to slow and dampen the return force at the end of a gaited stride, then an external cover is put over the entire elastic device to constrain its activity. This outside external cover serves several functions in that pinching and thrusting of the individual elastic attachments is avoided against the one towing the vehicle, and a constraining means is provided upon each individual elastic attachment by containing these items within one external cover. Not only does the external cover over the entire elastic device serve these purposes but by containing the individual elastic attachment items, the actions of the individual items is kept aligned and controlled so that they provide the maximum dampening and the best management of forces when extending upon acceleration.
The claimed features of the flow/constraint device have been presented and explained with some detail as to the best working mode of each feature. The flow/constraint device as outlined herein offers a comfortable and steady means of pulling or towing a cart or vehicle by evening out the surges and forces of the gaited stride. These features would serve universally the towing of carts and vehicles, and as applied within these descriptions, safety and comfort become evident to anyone involved with such activities.
THE DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
The flow/constraint device is improved over prior art in several important ways as herein outlined. Improvements in the device worn by the person towing the golfpull cart, a passenger vehicle, or a utility cart are detailed clearly in the drawings provided.
The all-weather flexible and durable cover 10 as viewed in FIGS. 2, 9, and 14 is designed to provide aesthetics as well as the dampening and control of the flow/constraint elastic means. An important feature in this preferred embodiment as viewed in FIG. 14 are the elastic ribbed channels 24 along the top of the cover that aid the elastic flow/constraint. Another is the crimp point 29 located along the sides of the covers to provide provide pleats and a configuration that aids the control provided by the elastic means of the flow/constraint device. The cover in the preferred embodiment should be of a heavy grade of a vinyl fabric or cloth material designed with a pocket effect which improves the operation of the flow/constraint device.
In the preferred embodiment as viewed in FIG. 14 the section closest to the wearer's belt has a flap 25 which is designed to wrap around the belt and belt bracket and is attached with a hook and loop fastener 26, 27 which closes the cover. In this embodiment this this cover 10 should fit tight and close over the flow/constraint device. The shaping of the cover is an important element and is preferred as wedge-shaped which better aids the flow/constraint action and tapers to better fit the elastic means. The area closest to the golfpull cart handle will provide attachment by tabs containing hook and loop fasteners 26, 27 and will provide a firm closure over the handle of the golfpull cart. In the preferred embodiment as described herein the vinyl or cloth fabric serves to cover the flow/constraint device and keeps all individual elastic means within the cover.
Attaching and unattaching the towing belt 12 as viewed in FIGS. 5, 6 would constitute a preferred embodiment for its simplicity and ease as the connection is direct to the hook and loop 16, 17 each time. As the towing belt is attached and unattached numerous times in the 4 miles of traversing a standard 18 hole golf course, this simplicity and ease is a paramount issue.
A preferred embodiment is developed and viewed in FIGS. 7, 8, and 9 wherein two stanchions 20, two elastic attachment means by springs 22, and two attachments to a golfpull cart handle 11 are shown. In FIG. 7 the basic elastic attachment means is shown; in FIG. 8 this elastic means by springs is shown covered with tubes or covers 23; and in FIG. 9 the entire assembly is shown covered. As in FIG. 8 the tubes or covers 23 over the elastic means by springs provide the needed flexibility to accommodate the extension and contraction of the springs when in motion. In FIG. 7 an improved bracket attachment for two stanchions 20 is shown with a greater distance apart, and with the stanchions 20 extending away from the wearer's belt. These stanchions function as a stabilizer dampening vertical surges and sways of the cart handle and preventing the cart handle from contacting the golfer's lower back. These improvements have given a new performance and ease-of-use to my prior art and have given higher and better useage for this invention.
The flow/constraint device provides walking golfers with an arms free method of towing the golfpull cart comfortably around the golf course as viewed in FIGS. 1 and 3. In the use of this device the thrust, side motions, uneven actions, and varying pull of walking around the 4 miles or more of a golf course are dampened and controlled so as to create a comfortable walk while towing a weighty golf cart. The golfer can maintain a smooth arm rhythm and steady gait unimpaired by the need to use one's hand and arm to pull a cart. Arm, shoulder, hand and hip strain are thereby avoided with this device which will reduce fatigue and leave more energy to direct into the critical values of a properly executed golf swing.
In this flow/constraint device the golfpull cart handle attachs to the waist towing belt in a unique manner that when the golfer accelerates his stride the elastic means by springs will stretch to smooth this force, and yet when slowing the stride or turning, the elastic means by springs control the force without contacting the golfer's back. These elastic means by springs are designed to be covered for safety and control with each wrapped and covered, and both under a cover that is flexible and durable to give long service, and this added feature gives dampening to the elastic actions of the device.
An important item in this invention concerns coupling and uncoupling the waist belt that tows the cart as this belt often can utilized 100 times or more in each play of golf. In order to maintain a durable, satisfactory and continuous use throughout a season of golf play, this waist belt will depend upon a tough but easy to use connector at the front of the belt. Another requirement is that this belt be able to withstand the pressure of towing a weighty golf cart throughout many seasons of golf without failing or pulling free under the load. In one embodiment the towing belt is attached one end over the other using only hook and loop fasteners. A better and more durable embodiment of this invention one end of a fabric belt being longer than typical is inserted through a metal loop built into the opposite belt end and doubled back onto the belt to be attached to a hook and loop base. This procedure permits the maximum adjustment for comfort, most secure attachment for towing pressures, and ease of use. When a golfer reaches his destination, the towing belt is removed and the cart is balanced just as the golfer would in a normal stationary position were the device not attached, and the golfer unclasps the belt to step free to play golf.
Another two embodiments show the flow/constraint devices in the FIGS. 15 and 16 which show a dual shaft/handle operating from stanchions at the side of the belt or hip sides of the person towing the cart. The uses of a flow/constraint system in these situations would greatly benefit the operator or wearer of the belt in that the forces would be smoother and comfortable in use.
The transport of larger loads and greater distances can benefit from my device which would ease the unevenness of forces involved and leave the operator less fatigued. Dampening the springing means at the wearer's belt will alleviate and reduce these tiring and destabilizing forces on the human body. This flow/constraint device is designed to even out the uneven human gait and pulling force when transporting or towing objects. By stabilizing these forces that the human routinely encounters, safety is achieved on eneven slopes, curbs and gutters, traversing debris or fallen tree limbs and with the towing force in a comfortable state of operation, more attention can be directed to each encounter or situation and in a safe manner.
This flow/constraint device therefore is adaptable and effective in the many situations that a user provides in the movement of goods and people. The safety and the comfort achieved when using this device will impress anyone, and a true believer will be made with its use.