US 2113899 A
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April 12, 1938. VJ ORAM 2,113,899
' INDICATOR Filed July 28, 1933 Patented Apr. 12, 1938 UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE mmca'ron John Oram, Dallas, Tex. Application July 28, 1933, Serial No. 682.540
This invention relates to new and useful improvements in indicators.
One object of the invention is to provide improved means in a game of baseball for accurately indicating whether or not a baseball thrown by the pitcher is a strike"; that is, whether or not it has passed over the home plate between the batters shoulders and knees.
Another object of the invention is to so coordinate a multiplicity of beams of electric-magnetic radiation as to indicate the passage of an object thru the prescribed zone occupied by said beams.
A further object of the invention is to provide means in a game of baseball for accurately indicating when a thrown baseball is a strike, which includes the projection of a multiplicity of light beams onto a photo-electric cell which, in turn, is electrically connected to and controls the operation of a suitable indicating device, whereby the passage of the thrown ball thru the beam will interrupt said beam to cause the photoelectric cell to operate the indicating device.
An importantobject of the invention is to provide means for accurately indicating when a thrown baseball is a strike which includes the projection of two light'beams, one vertical which indicates the lateral position of the ball as it passes over the home plate, and the second horizontal which indicates the vertical position of the thrown ball as it passes over the plate, the horizontal beam being readily raised or lowered so as to always cover the space between the batters shoulders and knees regardless of the size of said batter.
A construction designed to carry out the invention will be hereinafter described together with other features of the invention.
The invention will be more readily understood ders and knees and the width of which is deterother suitable means, so as to be immovable.
from a reading of the following specification and Y by reference to the accompanying drawing. in
which an example of the invention is shown, and wherein:
Figure 1 is a view partly in elevation and part y in section of an electrical baseball strike indicator constructed in accordance with the invention.
Figure 2 is a plan view of the same, the vertical projecting light being omitted.
Figure 3 is an isometric view of the horizontal beam reflecting mirrors.
Figure 4 is a detail'of one of the mirrors; and
Figure 5 is a detail of the mounting of the vertical beam reflecting mirrors.
In the drawing, the numeral 10 designates the usual home plate or base, of a baseball diamond. The baseball thrown by the pitcher must pass over this plate and must also be in a vertical zone between the'batters knees and shoulders before it is a strike. Of course, if a tall man is batting, the vertical zone is larger. Similarly, a small man batting decreases this space. However, tho the vertical zone thru which the ball must pass varies with each batter, the lateral zone always remains the same, the width of the plate being the boundaries of the lateral zone. Thus each ball, to be a strike must pass thru an imaginary zone, the height of which is determined by the space between the batters shoull5 mined by the width of the home plate. Any thrown ball passing outside of the imaginary zone is a ball".
In carrying out the invention, a suitable electricprojector lamp II is positioned-above the home plate Ill. The lamp is sufilciently high above the ground so as not to interfere with the play of the game, and it is pointed out that said lamp is rigidly supported by guy wires l2, or any The beam of light from the lamp II is projected downwardly thru a slot IS in the ground onto a. plurality of inclined mirrors H. The length of the slot is substantially the width of the home plate III and is positioned in front of the plate, in alinement therewith. The slot is positioned sufiiciently far from the plate so as not to interfere with the batter, but is close enough so that the thrown baseball will not change its flight to any great extent from the time it passes over the slot until its passes over the home plate In. Thus, it is obvious that any ball passing over the slot will pass over the plate. The slot I3 may have a screen l5, or other suitable transparent cover thereover.
The mirrors l4 onto which the light beam from the lamp II is' projected are permanently secured in an inclined position at the lower end of the slot. In Figure 5, I have shown them mounted in concrete IE, but the invention is not to be so limited as any suitable rigid mounting, which will prevent the mirrors shifting out of position will sufllce. The mirrors I being at an inclination, reflect the light beam thru an underground passage l1 onto a second set of inclined mirrors 50 I8. These mirrors 18 are also rigidly mounted in any suitable way and are so positioned as to reflect the light beam upwardly thru a slot l9, and focus said beam through a condenser lens 20 which is mounted on' a suitable support II 55 above the ground. The condenser lens 23 serves to intensify the beam directly onto a photoelectric cell 22 of the usual type, also mounted on the support 2|. Wires 22* and 22* lead from the photo-electric cell to an amplifier 23. amplifier is directly connected thru wires 23 and 23 with a time delay relay 23. When this relay is energized, the relay switch arm 25 engages a contact 23 which is connected thru' a lead wire'23 to a suitable indicator 21. A battery 21 is connected in to wire 23'.
Thus, it will be seen-that the light beam projected fromthe lamp above home plate is reflected by the mirrors l3 and I8 onto the photoelectric cell 22. When a thrown baseball passes over the slot l3. (and also over home base, since the'slot is the width 01' the base) it will interrupt the. light beam. This interruption will cause the photo-electric cell to energizethe time delay relay and swing the switch arm 23 into engagement with the contact 23. It is pointed out that this action will not operate the indicator 21 since the contact 26 is only connected to one side 01' the indicator circuit, but each time the relay 23 is operated, the thrown ball has passed over the home plate, altho it is not known whether it was in the vertical space between the batters knees and shoulders.
For determining the vertical position of the ball in relation to the batter, a.second electric reflecting lamp 33 mounted on the support 2|, projects a horizontal beam of light across the plate ontoa plurality of mirrors 3| on the opposite side of said plate. For clearance sake, I have shown this beam as being projected slightly be-' hind the beam projected vertically by the'lamp l3 (Fig. 2) but it is preferable that the beams.
intersect. By this arrangement, both beams are sufllciently far from the batter so that he will not 40 interrupt said beams in stance.
his natural batting The mirrors 3| onto which the light beam from the lamp 30 is projected, are mounted in a suitable case 32. Each mirror is mounted on a ball and socket 33 whereby the mirrors are individu ally adjustable. The casing is provided with a vertical opening 33 in its front wall and the light beam from the lamp enters this opening to strike the mirrors. Each mirror 3| is adjusted to reflect and focus the beam onto a condenser 35 which is mounted on the support 2|. The condenser intensifies the beams and directs it onto a second photo-electric cell 33 which has connection thru lead wires 36 and 33 with an amplifier 31. The
amplifier is connected by wires 31* and 31 to a time delay relay 33. The relay 33, when energized, serves to swing a'switch arm 33 into engagement' with a contact 33 which has a lead wire 7 33* connecting it to the opposite side of the indicator 21. The switch arm 39 and the switch arm 25 have electrical connection thru a wire 25 and it is obvious that both arms 23 and 33 must be engaging their respective contacts 26 and 33 to complete the circuit to'the indicator. I
When the thrown baseball passes, thru the beam projected from the lamp 30, which is refiected onto the photo-electric cell 36, said beam is interrupted, whereby the photo-electric cell 36 will energize the time delay relay 33. This will swing the switch arm 39 into engagement with the'contact 33. Thus, it will be seen that the relay 33 is energized only when the horizontal light beam from the lamp 33 is interrupted, and the relay 23 is energized only when the vertical light beam from the lamp II is interrupted. Since Theauaace the switch arms 23 and 33 are electrically con.-
nected it is obvious that it is only when both arms engage their respectivecontacts 23 and 33 that the circuit to the indicator is complete. Therefore, the thrown ball must intercept both the vertical and horizontal beams to energize the relays 23 and 33 simultaneously to operate the indicator and indicate a "strike.
It is pointed out that by providing the time delay relays 23 and 33, the circuit is held closed suillciently long to permit the operation oi. the indicator. If the relays were quick acting relays, depending on the length or time of travel of the ball .thru the light beams, for operation it is obvious that the circuit to the indicator would be closed for only a fraction oi a second. If one relay were a fraction slower in energizing, the circuit would remain open and the indicator would fail to operate. Thus, by using time delay ,relays this disadvantage is overcome and the operation 01' the indicator, each time the ball intercepts both light beams, is assured.
By observing Figure 1, it is seen that the only zone where the two beams intersect each other and can both be intercepted at the same time by a thrown ball is between the shoulders and knees of the batter vertically, and the width oi the plate horizontally, as designated by dotted lines. When a ball passes thru this zone, both beams are intercepted and the relays 23 and 33 are operated simultaneously and the circuit to the indicator is closed to indicate a "strike. However, if the ball is waist-highbrthe batter but wide of the plate, it intercepts only the horizontal beam,
projected from the lamp 33, and only the relay '33 isenergized. This does not operate the indi-. cator. Similarly, if a ball is thrown directly over the plate but above the batters shoulders only the vertical. beam from the lamp II is intercepted and only the relay 23 is energized, which does not close the circuit to the indicator.
For raising and lowering the light beam projected from the lamp 33 and reflected by the mirrors 3|, in order to adust said beam so as to always be in line with the batters shoulders and knees, regardless of his size, a pair of roller shades 3| are provided at the upper and lower end of the opening 33 in the case 32.
By pulling down the upper shade and lowering the lower shade, the upper mirrors 3| are covered and the lower mirrors are uncovered so that the beam projected onto and reflected from the uncovered mirrors in the case is lowered for a smaller batter. Any suitable means (not shown) may be used for holding the shades in anadjusted 'posltipn. It is obvious that by using the shades ,for' projecting beams of electro-magnetic radiation, not necessarily visible.
Although I have shown the device as used to indicate a strike in a baseball game, it is clear that the arrangement can be usedwhenever it is desired to indicate the passage of, an object thru a particular designated zone.
and modifications may be made within the scope of the appended claims, without departing from the spirit of the invention. I
What I claim and desire to secure by Letters Patent, is:
1. Apparatus for indicating a pitched ball as r a strike in a baseball game, comprising, in comthe same as the distance between the shoulders and knees of the batter, means for varying the vertical dimension of the zone and its elevation above the ground to adjust the'same to the stature of each batter; an indicator, and beam responsive means for operating said indicator only when both the vertical and horizontal beams within the area of said active zone are interrupted by a pitched ball passing through the zone.
2. Apparatus for indicating a pitched'ballas a strike in a baseball game, comprising, incombination with the home plate, means for creating a rectangular active zone of crossed beams in front of the plate and at an elevation above the ground and of a horizontal width substantially the same as the width of the plate and a vertical length substantially the same as the distance between the shoulders and knees of the batter, said means including a projector arranged to project a beam vertically and another projector to project a beam horizontally in a difierentand nonthe horizontal beam, and means for varying the width of the horizontal beam and adjusting the elevation of said beam above the ground to proportion the vertical dimension of said active crossed beam zone, and position the zone according to the stature of each batter.
3, The herein described strike indicator for the pitched ball in a baseball game, comprising, in combination with the home plate and the provision of a transverse underground passageway with a beam-receiving slot at its inner end, said slot being located in front of the home plate and of a length substantially the same as the width of the plate, said passageway having a beamprojecting opening at its outer end, and beamreflecting mirrors in said passageway below its beam-receiving slot and its beam-projecting opening, an electric projector lamp supported above and projecting a vertical beam of substantially the same width of the home plate downwardly into said beam-receiving slot of the underground passageway, another electric projector lamp located laterally of the home plate and projecting a horizontal beam in front of the plate and across said vertical beam in a different and non-interfering vertical plane, an opposed vertical stand of mirrors located laterally from the opposite side of the home plate and reflecting said horizontal beam back across said vertical beam and increasing the width of the horizontal beam, ad-
\ above the ground, separate photo-electric cells one located to receive the reflection of the horizontal beam from the vertical stand of mirrors and the other to receive the reflection of the vertical beam from the underground passageway, condensing lens for concentrating the beam reflections on the respective photo-electric cells, and an electric indicator device having a normally open circuit including two separate switches each provided with a time delayed operating element. an energizer for one of said operating elements controlled by one of said photoelectric cells, and a separate energizer for the other operating element controlled by the other photo-electric cell, whereby the indicator circuit the active crossed beam zone and both beams are thereby interrupted.