US 2087575 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Jul 20, 1937. N. LITTELL ET AL GAME DEVI CE Filed Jan. 11, 1934 7 Sheets-Sheet l July 20, 1937. N. LITTELL ET AL GAME DEVI CE 7 Sheets$heet 2 Filed Jan. 11, 1934 'wli \lillllll NVENTORS July 20, 1937. N. LITTELL ET AL GAME DEVICE Filed Jan. 11, 1934 7 Sheets-Sheet 5 INVENTORS .Nellson Lifts-ll.
Jul 20, 1937. NfLlTTELL ET AL GAME DEVICE Filed Jan. 11, 1954 '7 Sheets-Sheet 4 ZzZZeZZ JVeZgop July 20, 1937. N. LITTELL ET AL 2,087,575
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M/VEA/TORS JVeZs 022 ZIZZeZZ Wil/z'am I 14 612 A GAME DEVICE Filed Jan. 11, 1954 7 Sheets-Sheet 6 July 20, 1937.
' GAME DEVICE N. LITTELL ET AL 2,087,575
Filed Jan. 11, 1934 7 Sheets-Sheet 7 H [I W u/M ison Zz'ffell Patented July 20, 1 931 GAME DEVICE Nelson Littell, New Canaan,
com, and William Wenecek, New York, N. Y.; said Wenecek assignor to said Littell Application January 11; 1934, SerialNor706,184
' 16 Claims (01. 213-29) This invention relates to a new and useful improvement in a game of skill or amusement device for the solo playing of ping-pong, tennis and the like games requiring a ball to be bounced on a suitable table or court before being returned by the player. a
One of the principal objects of the invention is to provide a game of skill consisting of a suitable ball projecting apparatus mounted with respect to a playing court such playing surface to serve a succession of balls in sufficiently rapid order and at such different positions in the playing court that a player, by himing the game as though opposite a skilled player.
Another object of the invention is to provide a game of skill for amusement parks or for the home-which includes a ball projecting device having a hopper for a'plurality of balls which will 20 project them at variable rates of speed and at variable positions onto a court or table, from which they will bounce to the player who in returning them to the return court may determine his score or relative skill by suitable scoring mechanism of a type to give the score according to the form of scoring of the particular game. 7
An incidental object of the invention is to arrange the courts and scoring device so that when the projected ball is returned in a proper manner equivalent to a score, it may be replaced. in the ball projecting device hopper for replay, whereas a ball which has not been properly returned will be temporarily out of the playing 35 circuit.
Another object of the invention is to provide a novel ball projecting device operable on light weight balls such as table tennis or tennis balls, which will receive the balls, one at a time from a suitable hopper, and will discharge the balls, the rate of delivery and the speed of delivery and the point of delivery being irregularly variable so that it will be difiicult to exactly determine the delivery point of the next ball.
Prior games and amusement devices of this general nature have been known in which baseballs are mechanically projected toward a batsman in the cage with the expectation that the batsman will strike the ball while it is in the air in much the manner in a baseball game. These prior baseball batting devices are not satisfactory for the large part of. the public as women and children cannot successfully use the bat for the return of a ball projected'in this manner and the danger as a table or other" self, can obtain the experience and thrill of play-,
in which the ball is struck of being struck by one of these swiftly projected (solid) balls flying through the air is very substantial, especially for a'timid person in the batsmans cage. These devices are also entirely unsatisfactory for other games requiring a delivery to variable locations or using a light ball such as ping-pong or tennis ball etc., and have never proven popular.
Our invention is to be distinguished from these prior baseball practice devices in that according to this invention the ball which is projected from the projecting machine first strikes upon the court or upon a table or target and is returned by the player on its bound or bounce.
' Although the player will use a racquet, or other striking medium or'even hishand, the ball is of light weight and of the bouncing type and as it is always bounced prior to being struck the speed of the ball is retarded and the game is made safer and of a more universal appeal to men, women and children, who are accustomed to playing table tennis, tennis, badminton and similar games. a
It will be understood that the invention may take various forms but in general it is the ob- .ject of the invention to provide a game or amusement device in which a'bouncing ball is projected so as to bounce in front of the player and is then returned by the player into a given field of play at the opposite side of the court or table which may or may not have an intervening net. If the ball is properly returned, it may be reconveyed to the projecting device for subsequent projection toward the player again or it may operate a scoring device which may take various forms and if it is not properly returned, it is lost for that particular period of play.
The projection device is preferably provided with a magazine of balls so that the player will not have to await the return of any particular ball, but once the game is started, he will be continuously supplied with balls served to different points in front of him until the period of play is ended or the original supply of balls has been exhausted through loss of the balls due to poor returns. Although the game may be played without reference to a charge and the apparatus as to delivery is the same whether controlled by a coin or operator, it isto be understood that the game apparatus is adapted for :in-.
stallation in amusement parks and to be so controlled that the player will pay a nominal fee for his period of use.
To more realistically approach playing condi-; tions the serve is preferably by avariable speed:
device and the speed of delivery as well as the angle of delivery may thus be controlled for the conditions of play. The device is thus adaptable to desired playing conditions making it possible to vary the speed for women as well as men to play.
Other objects and advantages or the invention will appear from the following description of preferredforms of embodiment thereof taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which:
Figure 1 is a side elevation of a tennis court with the projecting machine in position, the return channel with parts in section, being shown also,
Figure 2 is a plan view of a tennis court type of arrangement of our amusement device with one form of ball projection device in place,
Figure 3 is a reduced scale vertical section taken substantially on the line 3-3 of Figure 2 showing the channels for gravity return of the balls to the projection device,
Figure 4 is a larger scale side elevation with parts broken away of the projection device and mounting shown in Figures 1 and 2,
Figure 5 is a larger scale vertical section through the top only of one embodiment of projection device and taken along the line 55 of Figure 4, looking toward the rear,
Figure 6 is a substantially central, vertical section through the projecting mechanism of Figures 4 and 5,
Figures '7 and 8 are respectively top plan and side elevation detail views of the star wheel clutch mechanism in the projecting device of Figure 4,
Figures 9 and 10 are respectively end elevation and side elevations of the spring arm retarder in the projecting device of Figure 4,
Figures Hand 12 are side elevation and plan views of a further embodiment of the invention in which the ball is bounced onto a table and is returned to the return court having a form of counting platform which automatically computes the score, 3
Figure 13 is an end elevation with parts in section of the projecting device and one type of score board which may be used in the embodiment of the invention shown in Figures 11 and 12,
Figure 14 is an enlarged perspective view, partly in section of the counting platform shown in Figure 12,
Figure 15 is a vertical section and Figure 16 is a vertical section taken substantially at right angles thereto on the line l6--l6 of Figure 15, showing the counting members and actuating mechanism,
Figure 17 is a plan view of a modified court and table for playing table tennis or similar games illustrating the use of a different type of scoring mechanism,
Figures 18 and 19 are vertical sections and front elevational views of the pocket type of scoring mechanism,
Figure 20 is a diagrammatic view of a relay for the counting mechanism shown in Figure 18,
Figure 21 is a vertical section through a modifled form of projecting device and elevator mechanism and,
Figure 22is a top plan view, partly broken away, taken substantially on the line 2222 of Figure-21,
While the game or amusement device of our invention may be embodied in various forms it consists generally of a court, table or playing surface indicated at III which may be marked out in suitable boundary lines I2 to resemble a tennis court for example, a projecting device or gun ll adapted to project balls into the playing court as desired, and a scoring or return area l6 which may be behind a net or dividing element 18 which divides the players zone H from the return zone IS.
The court In is also preferably provided with a slope to return the balls to a collection point and may be provided with channels liia as shown in Figure 3, so that the balls 8 will roll by gravity to a sump or receptacle lob from which they may be automatically returned by the elevator [5 to the feed hopper Ila of the projecting device.
The projecting device M which will be hereinafter described is adapted to discharge balls 8, such as table tennis or tennis balls at a suitable angle downward as represented by the dotted line I! to the players zone I I from which it will bounce to the player holding a racquet or return device 19 who will return the ball to the scoring zone l6. By suitable means as hereinafter described, the score of the shot and the accuracy of the player may be registered. The balls may be discharged at any desired rate, preferably as rapidly as the skill of the average player will permit him to handle the same, and may be discharged with regulated speed to deliver a fast or slow ball as desired. The game may also be kept up as long as the operator desires, although a limited number of balls may be placed in the hopper for use in amusement parks, etc., the supply being replenished on payment of the desired fee. Automatic means may serve to return the balls to a suitable overhead hopper from which a group of say twenty-five or fifty balls may be released into the machine hopper by a coin control mechanism on payment of the established fee.
One form of gun or projecting device I4 is illustrated in Figures 4 to 10 inclusive, although it will be understood that other forms may be used. Such a device includes a hopper Ma which preferably opens into a reduced neck portion 14b which is of the size of a single ball 8 so that the balls will pass into the machine one at a time. Within the machine is a discharging arm of catapult, centrifugal or compressed air type and in the particular type shown, consisting of a cup or ball receiving pocket 20 carried on the end of an arm 2| which moves about a central shaft 22, the control spring 23 also being wound on a housing 23!; mounted on the shaft 22. Preferably the ball discharging arm 2| is a continuation of the spring 23, the other end of the spring being secured in the adjustable member 24 as shown in Figure 6, whereby the device may be adjusted to deliver a slow or fast ball.
The shaft 22 is driven through suitable gearing 26 from a continuously rotating motor 21 and keyed to the shaft is the discharge arm tensioning member 28 including the collar 28a and the star wheel 30. The construction of this head is more particularly shown in Figure 7, and consists of a multi-toothed member centrally pivoted at 3| to the member 28 through the flange 32. The arm tensioning member 28 also carries a spring pressed during the rotation of the gearing by the operation of .le motor 21, the arm engaging head rotates contacting with the discharge arm 2| to carry the catapult cup 20 into its rearward position as shown in dotted lines of position A in Figure 6.
During this travel, however, the releasing pin 36 comes into contact with a releasing cam 38 fixedly mounted onthe casing of the discharging device so that the releasing pin is forced against tension of the spring 39 to withdraw the detent 33 from the star wheel 30 and permit its free rotation. This free rotation releases the discharge arm 2| and the catapult cup 20 moves suddenly forward due to the tension built up in the spring 23 to hurl the ball deposited in the cup 20 from the projection device.
The lever 28 continues to rotate due to the drive of the motor and the wheel 30 will normally tend to move to a new position after which the spring detent 33 will move into a new aperture 34 to hold the head fixed. Suitable deflecting springs 40 may be used, with which the wheel comes in contact in its continuous rotation, which springs will positively move the head a sufiicient amount to such a position that the detent 33 will lock it so that one of the teeth 31 will on the next rotation engage the projection arm 2| to again carry the arm rearward to the dotted line position A. of Figure 6, where it is again released to project another ball from the device, and so on for each rotation.
The anchor 24 to which the fixed end of the spring is secured is mounted in a suitable adjusting slot in the casing and held by a wing nut 42 in any desired position. By relatively adjusting this end of the spring thus moving it in an are about the shaft 22 the relative tension of the spring 23 may be increased or decreased when wound. The tension of the spring determines the velocity of the ball and in some cases may effect its direction in view of the rapidity with which the trigger or actuating head releases.
It has been found that the catapult arm' 2| near the end of its forward stroke is moving very fast and if brought to too quick a stop would become bent and out of position. A speed retarder device is therefore applied to the operating spring housing 31. It preferably consists of an arm 45 of curved shape, having a flange 46 projecting into the path of the catapult arm 2| but near the ball discharge end of its stroke. The arm 45 is more clearly shown in Figure 9 and includes a slotted portion 48 for the operating movement of the spring arm 2|, and an aperture 49 in the end receives one end of the retarder spring 50, the other end of which is fixedly secured in a collar 5| non-rotatably secured to the housing 41, surrounding the spring 23. The spring 50 is so wound that the flange 46 on the arm 45 is in tensioned position when engaged'by the catapult arm 2| and yet will move forward slightly during the slowing down of the catapult arm; The housing 41 is held against rotation by the fixed end of the spring 23 which projects through the housing 41 and by the counterspring 52 which is fixed to the anchor 24 held by the frame; This tends to hold the flange 46 sufliciently far forward to prevent premature cutting off of the discharge stroke. The spring 50, tends to quickly reduce the forward movement of the catapult arm and prevents damage to the catapult arm as well as to quickly discharge the ball carried by it.
The balls carried in the neck |4b of the hopper drop down to a cup shaped valve 55 controlled by a gate 56 in the path of the catapult cup 20.
As the gate is moved downward by the rearward movement of the cup, the valve 55 releases the ball 8 which drops freely into the cup.
Soon after the ball is deposited in the cup 20 the pin 36 engages the cam 38 to release the detent 33 and free the star wheel 30, which releases the catapult arm 2| and the energy stored in the spring 23 by the reverse movement, catapults the cup 20 forward to throw the ball from the machine. The time of movement of the ball from the valve to the position at which it is picked up by the cup is equivalent to the movement of the cup to the pick-up position and the sudden change of direction of the ball causes it to stay within the cup until it is finally discharged in the discharge position of the catapult. v
The rate that the balls are discharged from the machine depends on the rate of rotation of the shaft 22 which controls the tensioning member 28. The speed of the motor 21 may be varied by any well known means or the gears may be changed for different speed reductions. For effective results, however, a discharge of approximately fifty balls per minute is quite satisfactory and in most cases offers considerable exercise for the player.
As previously stated, the velocity of the balls is varied by the tension of the spring 23 varied by movement of the anchor 24.
The positioning of the balls with respect to the point at which they bounce may be controlled by suitable adjustments 51 and 58 which can con-- trol the elevation of the discharge head l4 as well as control the angle in horizontal plane or azimuth angle. It is found that the normal variatiOn in delivery is such to make the game of considerable interest and to require some skill for returning the balls.
It its also'possible to mechanically oscillate the head I if that is found desirable. One form of apparatus for this purpose includes a belt driven shaft I40 operated by the belt |4| from the driving shaft 59 and to the end of which is a series of gears and eccentric I42. A link I43 is pivoted to the eccentric and in turn is secured to a lever |44 clamped to the head extension I45. As the motor operates the shaft 59, it will be seen that the head will oscillate as desired. Other mechanisms may be substituted for the same purpose.
Although in Figures 4 to 10 the elevating mechanism is not shown, it is to be understood that suitable elevating mechanism may be provided for the continuous filling of the hopper |4a from any-suitable sump or receptacle from which the balls are returned. This elevator mechanism is generally shown at l5 in Figure 1.
While no counting mechanism of a separate nature has been shown with this embodiment, itis of course possible to use any of the hereinafter described forms or any other desired form'. of counting or scoring mechanism. Primarily, however, the layout of Figures 1 to 3 is for tennis, it being understood that the player may observe his returns and score them mentally or merely return the ball for desired training. The discharge device is equally as suitable for other games however, as will hereinafter be described.
' In the present invention, the machine has been mounted in the return court and is carried by a desired standard for rigidity. It will be seen, however, that the machine may be made sufficiently light that it can be mounted on a table and it can also be in the center of the table or court. This may also be found desirable by some for training purposes.
A further modified form of court construction is shown in Figures 11 and 12 in which a table 60 is used and the projecting machine or gun l4 discharges the balls 8 in such a direction that they will bounce on the table before being returned by the player. The player will drive the balls to the scoring portion of the court by which his skill may be tested.
The scoring in this form of the game is done by suitable plates 62 mounted in the court floor l0 and having different values depending on the relative location and amount of skill required to place the return shots on them. This scoring mechanism, which operates the tell-tale 65 at the top of the court, is more clearly shown in Figures 13, 14, 15 and 16.
In one particular form of construction 'the plates 62 may be provided with contacts 63 which operate on a second contact mechanism 64 connected in the electric circuit 66. A magnet 61 in the circuit 66 is energized by the closing of the contacts 63 and 64 when a ball strikes the plate 62, and this will draw the armature 68 down to release one of a series of number plates or flags 69 which carries an appropriate number. The first flag may have a zero reading, the subsequent flags having readings such as 50, 100, 150,
A separate series of indicators (not shown) may be connected into the other plates 64 and similarly operate flags having multiples of 1000 which being separately indicated on the score board 65 will show the total score obtained 'by repeatedly driving balls onto the plates in the particular locations in the court. In such a construction it is possible to not only practice accurate placement of the return shots but it also makes the game interesting in having a score developed during the play. To increase the difficulty of the play the court may have such blank spots as is found desirable, thus limiting the gross score.
The plates 64 may be replaced by a fine wire mesh slightly raised above suitable contact points or any other electrical device may be used to in dicate'the contact of the ball returned to the appropriate spot. The tennis ball or even the pingpong ball may be used in such a game as the return force is quite substantial.
This type of scoring depends on contact and is one of the satisfactory ways of determining a score. It may be used with the previous court construction although in amusement parks the tables may be found desirable to give a suitable angle of play and to permit the players to try their skill without moving onto a special court.
In certain games such as table tennis, a longer and narrower table may be found desirable with a modification of the target due to the lightness of the ball. In Figures 17, 18, 19 and 20, we have therefore shown a modified layout of court and target in which the court I0 is provided with a table 10 resembling a table tennis table and having a suitable net 12. The projecting device or gun 13 is located in the rear of the court and may be braced by suitable braces 14 to the end of the table. The target and scoring device 15 is preferably mounted near the end of the table and as shown in Figure 18 at a level with the table.
The target may preferably consist of a series of indicators 16 behind which are a plurality of lights 11 which are energized by certainelectrical circuits placed in operation by gates 18 behind the ball receiving pockets 19. These pockets line the scoring device immediately above the table and may have deflecting wire screens 86 which will cause the ball entering one of the pockets 19 to drop onto the gate 18 and complete an electrical circuit with the contacts 82 as shown in Figure 20. The circuit may include the relay 83 which in turn controls the appropriate lights 11 to illuminate the figures 16. The relay may be reset by any desired means. 7
The pockets are relatively small in size and their different locations will have different values as desired. The arrangement of such an indi cator is such that the balls striking near the end of the table and with little bounce enter pockets of the highest value and balls bounced near the net 12 will either not enter a pocket at all or will enter a higher pocket with a lower value. This may be arranged to closely simulate the skill in placement of returns in ping-pong or any other desired game.
After the balls pass the switch mechanism, they may pass through the channel 85 to be counted by any desired mechanism and returned to the hopper of the machine. Such counting will also tend to evaluate the skill of the player.
A modified form of projecting device is shown in Figures 21 and 22. This form uses a racquet rather than a catapult and may be arranged to give a slight twist or curve to the ball. It is adapted to be mounted in a court as in the previous constructions and will bounce the ball in the playing court. The present construction is more particularly arranged for a game such as tennis.
In detail, the ball discharging device includes a hopper to which the balls 8 are automatically fed by the elevator mechanism 9| including the endless chain 92 having the pockets 93 engaging the balls in the return channel 94 and delivering them down the inclined bottom 95 of the hopper to the restricted throat 96 through which the balls must pass one at a time. This hopper is also provided with a cover 91 through which additional balls may be placed or removed. The elevator mechanism may be driven by any desired means such as through the shaft 128 connected to the motor H2.
In the bottom of the restricted throat is a slide 98 having a shelf 99 so spaced from the slide that as the slide 98 is moved to uncover the opening I00 to allow a ball to drop out, the shelf 99 contacts with the next ball to prevent it from dropping; thus but one ball is dropped at a time from the hopper and only when the slide 98 is moved in timed relation with the racquet H5. The spring l0! prevents accidental movement of the slide.
The projecting device proper includes a stanchion I I0 mounted on a suitable base I I l and including a motor H2 which may operate through a clutch mechanism H3 and spring H4 to rotate the racquet H5 after the spring has been appropriately wound and .the. trigger H8 is released. This gives the bat an impulse type of drive so that it will move only after the spring has accumulated sufiicient energy to give a swift blow tothe balls which drop into its path.
The trigger H8 is released by the lever H9 which is positioned in the path of the collar H3. During the rotation of the motor shaft H1 the racquet is restrained from rotating by the pin H8 which causes the spring I M to wind, thus drawing the collar upward and at the proper moment, the lever H9 is forced upward to draw the restraining pin H8 out of position. The
racquet is then free to rotate. This construction is well known in the art and permits any desired tensioning on the spring before the racquet is released.
When the racquet commences its rotation it will engage a trigger I20 in the path which operates through a clutch IZI to rotate the shaft I22 on which is mounted an arm I23 operating in turn a link I24 operatively connected to the slide 98. As the racquet rotates, therefore, the slide '98 is pulled into the releasing position and a ball will drop through the throat into the path of the bat.
' The clutch release lever I26 may be operated by a suitable cord I2I to release the clutch I2I so that the racquet may continuously rotate without moving the slide 98 so that the motor may be left running without discharge of further balls.
While we have described various forms of embodiment of our invention, it will be understood that other forms of embodiment may be used and modifications made in the forms herein described without departing from.the spirit of our invention or the scope of our claims which are intended to cover the arrangement of a projecting device adapted to bounce a ball toward the player and a scoring indicating means to indicate the player's score no matter what form these devices are embodied in.
The racquet H is mounted in the post I30 at the top of the drive shaft III by a suitable adjusting nut I3I so that the racquet may be partially rotated for adjustability and for slightly different directional aim of the balls out of the discharge throat I32. This will permit the discharge of the balls to different positions on the court and will add to the complexity of the game. Furthermore, the racquet may be constructed of different well known materials which in striking the ball, will give the twist or curve to the ball which is characteristic of good players,
While we have shown a preferred form of embodiment of our invention, we are aware that other modifications may be made thereto and we therefore desire a broad interpretation of our invention within the scope and spirit of the disclosure herein and of the claims appended hereinafter.
We claim 1. An apparatus for projecting balls in an amusement device which comprises -a hopper, means to release one ball at a time from said hopper, and a catapult including a spring arm, means to energize said arm and a ball receiving cup, said ball releasing means being releasable during the catapult spring energizing movement to drop a ball into the cup, and trigger means to release the catapult after a ball has been dropped to the cup whereby balls are thrown from the apparatus in predeterminable paths.
2. A ball projecting device for projecting balls in connection with an amusement apparatus which comprises a ball supply chamber, a discharging element, a valve to drop balls one at a time from said chamber to said discharging element, means actuated by contact of the discharging element to operate said valve, means to energize the discharging element, means to release the discharging element when energized, means to regulate the extent of energization of the discharging element and means to again energize the discharging element after discharge, said energizing means being variable to control the velocity and the rate of discharge of the balls.
3. In an apparatus of the class described the combination of a game court having ball return channels thereon, an indicating means, and a ball projecting device cooperating with said court, said court being divided into a playing zone and a return zone, said ball projecting device including means to project balls into the playing zone of said court and to bounce balls adjacent the player, and said indicating means including means to record the return position of the balls when returned by the player to a point at the return zone of the court and a plurality of electrical devices operated by the returned balls, and means to replenish the ball discharging device from the ball return channels.
4. In combination with a' game court, a ball projecting device for solo playing of table tennis, tennis and the like, in which the ball is bounced upon the court before return by a player, a scoring mechanism including a plurality of switch members adjacent respective points in the return court and responsive to contact by returned balls, and a plurality of indicators controlled by respective switch mechanisms, said indicators having different values whereby proper returns of balls by the player will energize difierent value indicators simulating desired playing conditions for the respective games.
5. An apparatus for solo playing of. games such as table tennis, tennis and the like, which comprises a playing platform for the particular game, a ball projecting device mounted adjacent one end of the platform, simulating one player, a net dividing the platform into a playing zone and a return zone, scoring mechanism within the return zone, said scoring mechanism indicating with variable value the return ofthe balls into the return zone by the actual player and means to feed the return balls automatically to the projecting device including an elevator mechanism and ball return channels leading. to said elevator mechanism.
6. An amusement apparatus which comprises in combination a court simulating a' table tennis court, a dividing net, a ball projecting device, a table, means to discharge the ball from said device to bounce said balls on said table at a rate and with a speedto be handled by a player, and a score indicating mechanism in the court opposite the player responsive to contact by balls properly returned to said court bythe player to indicate a score for such returns.
7. An amusement device which comprises in combination, a table tennis court and a ball discharging device for discharging balls-onto the court for bouncing action, said ball discharging device including means to throw table tennis balls successively in controlled directions directly onto said court, means for driving said throwing means, and means actuated by said driving means to vary the position of said throwing means, whereby successive balls are discharged to difierent points on the court, and the playing conditions of a table tennis game are simulated.
8. An amusement device which comprises in combination, a court simulating a tennis court or the like and a ball discharging device for discharging balls onto the court for bouncing action, said discharging device including means to hold a plurality of balls, means to throw the balls successively directly onto the courtin controlled directions, and means operative between the discharge of successive balls to vary the position of said throwing means, whereby successive balls are directed to different points on the court and the playing conditions of a tennis game are simulated. 9. An amusement device comprising in combination, a court, a support on one side of said court, a ball discharging device mounted on said support for discharging balls onto the court at various positions in front of a player from which positions the balls bounce to be returned by the player, said device including means to hold a plurality of balls, means to throw the balls successively directly onto the court, means to feed the balls one by one from said holding means to said throwing means, driving means for said feeding and throwing means, and means actuated by said driving means for changing the position of said throwing means whereby successive balls are discharged to diifer'ent points on the court, and the playing conditions of a tennis game are simulated.
10. An amusement device which comprises in combination, a court, a ball discharging device for discharging balls to a position in the court in front of a player from which the balls bounce to be returned by the player, said discharging device including means to hold a plurality of balls, 'variable speed means for propelling balls successively directly to predeterminable positions on the court, means for transferring a ball from said holding means to said propelling means prior to each actuation of the latter, and means operative between successive discharges to change the position of said propelling means whereby continually to vary the points at which the balls bounce on the court.
11. An amusement device which comprises in combination, a court, a ball discharging device for discharging balls to a position on the court 40 in front of a player from which they bounce to be returned by the player, said discharging device including means to hold a plurality of balls, means to release the balls one at a:time, means to engage and propel the released balls directly 45 onto the court, variable energizing means for said engaging and propelling means whereby to discharge the balls at selective velocities, variable speed means to control the speed of operation of the device whereby the frequency of dis- 50 charge may be varied, and means operative between successive discharges to vary the position of said propelling means whereby successive balls are discharged to different points on the court. 12. An amusement device which comprises in 55 combination, a court, a ball discharging device for discharging balls onto the court from which they bounce to be returned by a player, said discharging device including means to hold a plurality of balls, means to throw the balls suc- 60 cessively directly onto the court in controlled directions, means operative between the discharge of successive balls to vary the position of said throwing means whereby successive balls are directed to different points on the court, and a scoring mechanism for indicating the balls returned by the player to a scoring point.
13. In an amusement device for the solo playing of a tennis game or, the like, the combination with a game court having an area for the reception of properly played balls of a ball discharging device for discharging balls successively across a portion of the court directly onto another portion thereof so that they are bounced adjacent a player, said discharging device including means for varying the points at which the balls strike the court, and means in the aforesaid area responsive to contact by a ball when returned into said area by the player to indicate a score for such return, whereby the playing conditions of a tennis game are simulated.
14. The combination of claim 13 wherein the last recited means comprises a plurality of movable plates located in the court and means responsive to movement of said plates under the impacts of returned balls to indicate the scores for such returns.
15. In a game apparatus of the class described, a ball projecting device for discharging balls onto a. court which comprises a hopper for a plurality of balls, a restricted conduit below said hopper, valve means to drop the balls periodically and one at a time from said conduit, and means to receive and project the balls successively from said apparatus comprising a springarm, a ball receiving cup on the outer end thereof, means to move the arm rearwardto store energy in said spring, means actuated by contact of the arm during its rearward movement to actuate said valve means, and means operative after a ball has been dropped into said cup to release said arm to project the ball forward.
16. An amusement apparatus which comprises in combination, a court simulating a tennis court, a dividing net thereon, a ball projecting device, means to discharge balls from said device and bounce the same on said court at one side of said net at a rate and with a speed to be handled by a player, and a. scoring mechanism in the court opposite the player responsive to contact by balls returned into said court to indicate the score of the balls returned by the player to scoring positions, said ball projecting device including an oscillatable arm, a spring connected to said arm, means to tension the spring to control the arm, means to carry a ball on said arm during discharging movement thereof. whereby to direct the ball toward a predeterminable portion of the table, and means to feed a ball to said carrying means prior to each discharging movement.
NELSON III'I'EIL. WILLIAM WENECEK.