US 2121742 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
June 21, 1938. F] MCLAUGHLIN GAME APPARATUS Filed Oct. 26, 1937 Patented June 21, 1938 l f UNITEDY STATES PATENT OFFICE GAME APPARATUS Thomas F. McLaughlin, Boston, Masts.
Application. October 26, 1937*, Serial No. 171,039
7 Claims. (ci. 273-25) l My present invention relates to game apparaas to present with the latter an exposed horizontus and athletic equipment and aims to provide tal playing surface of the desired shape 'and dimeans for improving the visibility of important mensions. In the form shown this translucent stations or areas in the play of games, especially, means or element I I includes an outer and Verfor example, the home-base area or home-plate tically unobstructed portion having an exposed 5 of a baseball diamond. Y upper face as at I2, and an inner orsecuring por- In the drawing, illustrating by way of exampleA tion or ange I3 adapted for attachment to the one embodiment of the invention; support 9, as by means of screws or the like Ill.
Fig. l represents a device illustrative of the in- Said securing portion I3 may be of less heightr m-vention as installed in association with the homethan the outer or light-transmitting portion, to 10 base region of a baseball playing field ory diaprovide a shoulder for underlying reception of mond; the edge portions of the plate member 1, in the Fig. 2 is an enlarged vertical section on the manner seen in Fig. 2. line 2 2 of Fig. 1;" The translucent means I I as a whole or at least 13.1.' Fig. 3 is a further enlarged detail sectional View the outer and vertically unobstructed portion be- 15 corresponding to a portion of Fig. 2; and low the face I2 thereof is composed of a durable,
Fig. 4 shows a home-plate element or unit comnonbreakable material having the capacity for prised in the apparatus of the invention, for use transmitting light WithOllt glare effects. and beinterchangeably with the corresponding unit ing such that an adjacent light source will aiseen in Figs. l and 2. ford to the material a soft diffused but clearly lo Y Referring first to Fig. 1, a home-plate strucdistinct illumination, with a similar effect as by a ture in accordance with my present invention is heavily frosted glass, so that the material will there shown in its operative or playing position present a luminous or glowing area clearly deas on a baseball eld or diamond, said structure fined by the margins of the material itself. Varas a whole being indicated by the numeral 5. In ious plastic or other substances such as those g; said Fig. 1 portions of the rst base and third base having a cellulosic base, phenol derivatives, and lines of the diamond are represented at A and B others, may be employed for the purpose. Among respectively, and the righthand and lefthand batmaterials which I have found particularly satisters boxes are indicated by the rectangular areas factory in this connection are those known com- R and L. The home-plate is located in the usual mercially as lucite, catalin, and others of a like 30 manner at the home-base station, in the internal nature, The Width or lateral extent of this transangle at the juncture of the base lines. The exlucent means may be variously proportioned withposed or surface portion of my home-plate strucin the defined playing area of the plate element ture preferably and as'illustrated is of regulaas a whole and, particularly if said translucent tion size and shape, having the pentagonal form means is itself of a resilient character, may be as seen in Fig. l. largely or wholly coextensive with said area, so
The plate structure .of the invention as herein long as the transmitted light is diffused and illustrated, and referring rst to the parts as seen without objectionableglare effects, as stated. in Figs. 1 and 2, includes a main plate member 'I By DOH-breakable I imply that the material 40 of a durable resilient material such as rubber or should be capable 0f withstanding the Ordinary .10 a rubber or other composition. This p-late memusage to which a home-plate is subjected in play, ber or element is afforded adequate rigidity as a without undue chipping, cracking or other obwhole, being, in the example shown, provided jectionable deformation. with or secured flatwise on a rigid support or In the illustrated construction, the resilient platform 9. plate l, the translucent means II and the sup- 45 operatively associated, or structurally incorport 9 for said parts comprise a structural unit porated, with the home-plate member or element adapted readily to be placed in or removed from l, in the manner of a frame or border for it in operative position for use in the playl of a game. the illustrated example, and in the same plane This unit may further include depending means with it, I provide translucent means II. Said. such as the foot or post I5 located inwardly of 50` means, as shown for the purposes of illustration, the translucent border II and secured to the platmay be in the form of a continuous annular stripform 9 in any convenient manner. Where a metal like member enclosing the resilient plate member construction is used, the attachment may be by 'I or may comprise a number of sections disposed Welding, as indicated at I6.
.-. along the edge portions of the plate member] son `For receiving and supporting this unit I have herein provided a base, casing orrshell adapted to be set or built into the ground G at the homebase location, substantially flush with or slightly below the adjacent playing surface. 'Ihis casing or base 2li may be formed of any suitable material such as metal, cement, wood or composition and may be constructed on the site or otherwise, the material in any case preferably being treated or being of an inherent character to resist moisture and other outdoor and underground conditions. The casing 20 provides within it a chamber or compartment 2| having means for removably receiving Land positioning the plate unit above referred to. In the form shown the post l5 is adapted to be firmly held in fixed position as by means of a sleeve or the like receiving formation 22 integrally or otherwise connected to the casing 20, for example, at the bottom of the latter, as indicated at 23.
To assist in accurately locating the plate unit the under face of the outer portion of the translucent element I may be beveled as indicated at 24, see particularly Fig. 3, and the upper edge of the side walls of the casing 20 may be similarly beveled as at 25. In this manner the base or casing has an additional centering effect with respect to the plate unit including the translucent means. The extreme outer edge or outer corner portion of the latter desirably is rounded olf, as best seen at in Fig, 3. As also best seen in said detail Fig. 3, which is on approximately twice actual. scale for my preferred home-plate installation, the exposed face I2 of the translucent means may have a roughened or grid-like formation, comprising a multiplicity of shallow depressions between crossing ribs 2| cast or otherwise formed on the translucent element In the illustrated example, the plate unit, comprising the parts 1,-9, and and their supporting foot l5 forms in effect a cover or top closure for the casing 2li. Within the compartment 2| of the casing I provide one or more light sources 3i? illustrated in this instance as of the incandescent bulb form. Three bulbs are here shown, disposed below the front and rear corner portions of the plate unit, in such manner as to transmit light to the translucent element in substantially equally distributed intensity throughout the entire extent of the latter. The number of units and character of the light source may be varied to suit the particular circumstances, and the light or lights may be of other forms than that shown, such as the tubular form, either of the filament or gas-filled type, suitably mounted in the casing 2li. The latter is equipped with electric power outlets or connections such as the sockets 3| for the light or lights. ductors such as indicated at 32, of a waterproof cable, conduit or other type suitable for underground installation, connect the light or lights with a convenient power supply, not shown, it being understood that all parts in circuit are adequately insulated and protected from moisture and the elements.
The lighting circuit may be arranged to afford remote control for the home-plate illumination, from any convenient station such as represented diagrammatically at S in Fig. l. `Such station may be in or near one ofthe dugouts, in an ofcials box in the stands, at some point conveniently accessible to the umpire, or elsewhere as selected. The circuit desirably includes a switch and rheostat or the like as indicated diation of the home-plate may be switched on or off Concealed coni as desired, or the degree' of illumination afforded may be controlled to suit various playing conditions.
It will be understood that the plate unit with itssupport l5 may readily be lifted bodily from its installed or operative position, as in Fig. 2, and as quickly reinstalled. At such times when illumination for the home-plate is not desired, the unit accordingly may simply be removed and may be replaced interchangeably by the unit such as illustrated in Fig. 4.
Said latter unit, which may be supplied with and forms a part of my home-plate apparatus as a whole, comprises a similar supporting post |5a depending from and connected to a platform Sa. 'Ihe plate member proper la, of resilient material similar to that of plate 'l as previously described, is of a shape and dimension corresponding to those of said plate 'l and the translucent element together. Thus when placed in operative position with respect toy the casing 20 this interchangeable plate la. will occupy the same space as said two elements of the other unit, thereby presenting a home-plate area of regulation size and shape.
The resilient plate member 'la of Fig. 4 may be attached to its supporting platform 9a and the post |5a in any suitable manner. For this purpose I have shown said platform as formed with a number of up-set prongs or flange-like projections Bb, while the post |511 is itself extended upwardly and formed with a top flange |52). The plate member 'la accordingly may be cast directly on the supporting parts, with the flanges or projections 9b and |52) imbedded in the plate. In some instances a plate unit such as that of Fig. 4 may have its depending support |5a received in a socket in the ground, omitting the casing Z Where illumination isv not desired. The plate 'l of the luminous unit may be attached to its supporting platform 9 similarly as just described in connection with the unit of Fig. 4.
From the above it will be apparent that my invention provides means of a simple and einvcient character for improving the Visibility of game playing areas, and particularly the homeplate of ball elds, so that for players, spectators and umpiresv alike the traditional difculty of seeing the plate is largely overcome. 'Ihe inconvenience and interruption caused by the heretofore frequent necessity for dusting off the plate is avoided, and games may be played or completed under conditions of greater darkness than heretofore practicable, it being particularly noted that the luminous or illuminated plate unit may be installed or removed at any time, even during the progress of a game, with but little interruption in the play, and that the plate lighting may be switched on or off and may be varied in intensity as appropriate'to the circumstances.
My invention is not limited to the particular embodiment thereof illustrated and described herein, and I set forth its scope in my following claims.
1. A home-plate structure for a baseball diamond, comprising, in combination, a central pentagonal plate-member of resilient material, durable translucent means disposed circumferentially of the plate member along a substantial edge portion thereof and forming with it a structural Vunit presenting an upper or playing face of regulation home-plate size and shape, and a supporting base for said unit including a chamber for a light source to illuminate said translucent means thereby to define the home-plate area.
2. A home-plate structure for a baseball diamond, comprising, in combination, a housing adapted to be set in the ground and providing a compartment beloW the playing level; a plate unit including a resilient plate-forming element, translucent meansbordering said element, and supporting means for said plate-forming element and said translucent means, said plate unit adapted for reception and positioning by the housing and providing a top cover for it; and a light source in the compartment in cooperative relation with said translucent means luminously to dene the home-plate boundaries.
3. Baseball apparatus, comprising, in combination with a playing eld including a diamond; a home-plate element including a main plate member of resilient material, and translucent means outlining said plate member; an underu lying rigid support for said element; a housing set substantially flush in the ground at the homebase location and provided With means for ren movably positioning said plate element and its support; an electric light source in said housing for illuminating said translucent means; and concealed conductor means for controllably connecting the light source with a power supply.
4. A luminously self-denable l1ome-plate structure including a home-plate element having translucent means for at least a substantial border portion thereof and a light source at a level below and operatively associated with said elenient for rendering said translucent means luminous.
5. A home-plate structure comprising a plate element of regulation size and shape and having at least its major central portion of a resilient material, a rigid underlying platform to which said plate element is attached, said platform also supporting translucent means peripherally disposed in the plane of said plate element for luminously dening the home-plate boundaries, and depending means for removably positioning the structure at the home-base location of a baseball diamond. v
6. A playing-base structure for baseball and the like, comprising, in combination, a base element presenting a playing area, durable translucent means along a substantial edge portion of said element and forming a structural unit with it, supporting means below the playing level for removably positioning said unit, and a light source associated with said supporting means for illuminating said translucent means thereby to define the base playing area.
'7. In a playing-base structure for ball games, in combination, a base element presenting a playing area, a translucent edge formation for said playing area, and means positionable at a level below the playing area to illuminate said formation, the latter being of adequate extent to denne luminously the base station.
. THOMAS F. MCLAUGHLIN.