US 2317939 A
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April 27, 1943. J. T. RIDDELL INFLATED BALL AND METHOD OF MAKING SAME Filed May 6, 1940 ham: /@7z1 4 72 meme Apr. 27, 1943 2,317,939 INFLATED BALL AND METHOD or MAKING SAME John T. Rlddell, Evanston, Ill.
Application May 6, 1940, Serial No. 333,625
This invention relates to improvements in methods and means for constructing inflated leather balls particularly basket balls, volley balls, soccer balls and the like, and is an improvement on the ball construction disclosed in my Patent No. 2,091,455 issued August 31, 1937.
Inflatable leather balls of this character very easily become distorted due to the strains caused by improper construction and rough usage. This distortion is due to the uneven stretching of the materials making up the casing. In the game of basket ball, for example, unless the ball is perfectly spherical, the ball will not bounce true and will not preserve its straight line of flight during passing" and in making long shots at the baskets. Perfection of contour of leather balls is therefore an important and highly desirable quality.
Balls of this character were originally made of heavy leather and although various attempts have been made to substitute other materials such as rubberized fabrics and rubber, leather is nevertheless the predominantly preferred outer casing material, because of its strength, durability and feel. Leather is, however, not uniform in strength and stretchability throughout the area of any piece and various expedlents have been used to reinforce it as by lining it with canvas or other fabric. In the manufacture of such reinforced balls it is customary to cut similarly shaped sections of leather and reinforcing sheets, to lay them together in superimposed registry, then to'sew the composite sections together in inside-out relation and with projecting seams,
- and then to invert the casing so that the leather presents a smooth exterior and the seams project inward. Since thestitches pass through the multiple thicknesses of material stiffened by its composite structure the seams of such balls are bulky, there is a tendency to produce grinning seams, and the seams are characterized by distinct grooves in the outer surface of the finished ball.
The present invention differs from such prior constructions and the construction disclosed in my Patent No. 2,091,455 in producing a reinforced leather ball with smooth exterior of more uniformly perfect contour, and less likely to change its contour through usage and abuse. This is accomplished by first completing a reinforcing layer, which is devoid of bulky seams and building it up to accurate contour, and then finally applying the leather by cementing it in place with only suflicient stretch to assure a smooth surface and with flush joints that do not spread or grin and that do not register with the Joints of the inner casing. By this procedure I not only reduce the number of defective balls, but am able to discover and cure the defects or cull out the defective linings before the leather is applied and thereby greatly reduce the manufacturing expense by avoiding the culling of finished balls.
Playing balls of the character having seams, usually inturned, contained in the inner reinforcing layer, have been found to be very unsatisfactory because no matter how carefully the seam is built up to make it flush with the surface, the outline of the seams is projected onto the outer surface of the leather when the ball is in play. The dirt and other debris on the playing floor seems to be embedded into the outer surface of leather more readily at the points adjacent the inner seams and hastens disflguration of the ball.
The main objects of this invention are to provide'improved" methods and means for constructing accurately shaped and more lively structure for inflated leather balls of the basket ball, volley ball, football, and related types; to provide an inflated ball-structure wherein the joints of the leather case are out of registry with those of the inner or reinforcing casing; to provide a ball structure of this character wherein the segments comprising the inner casing abut adjacent segments and are stitched together; and to provide a. ball of this character which is durable, simple in construction, which does not show dirt lines on the leather casing, and which is inexpensive to manufacture, as compared with balls of similar types constructed according to usual methods.
'An illustrative embodiment of this invention is shown in the accompanying drawing, in which:
Figures 1 and 2 are end views of a ball made according to my improved construction, each shown partly broken away.
Fig. 3 is a developmental top plan view of one ofthe sectors of the inner or reinforcing casing.
Fig. 4 is a top plan view of two of the sectors sewn together.
Figures 5 and 6 are enlarged detail sectional views of the complete ball.
Referring in detail to the specific embodiment shown in the drawing, the ball comprises an inflatable bladder I, an inner flush-seamed shell or casing 2 and an outer flush-seamed shell or casing 3.
The inner casing 2 is formed of a plurality of strips or lunes 4 of suitable flat woven material,
such as canvas or rubberized fabric or canvas impregnated with latex, and each cut to the form of a developed spheroidal surface polygon, as for example that shown in Fig. 3. The edges of the strips 4 are laid together edge-to-edge 'and stitched with a zigzag-like flat seam 5. See
Fig. 4. The stitch shown in Figures 1 and 4 is known in the trade as the 9900" type stitch while the stitch in Figure 2' is known as the "197 type stitch. An opening 8 may be provided for the insertion of'the bladder i. The
opening is then sewed up and the bladder inflated to the normal playing pressure, through the usual valve, not shown.
' The entire outer surface of the casing 2 is' edges of the strips 1 form a slight groove 8.
The leather strips 1 are arranged so that their Joints do not coincide with those of the inner casing 2. This is accomplished either by staggering these Joints with respect to a common axis of both casings as in Fig. 1 or with respect to separate intersecting axes as in Fig. 2.
The leather thus applied securely protects the ball from injury but does not influence its shape and avoids the potential source of change of form that exists in balls wherein the seams are bulky and more subject to stretching at the seams, due to stitching through multiple layers of material when the pieces of the lining and leather casing are combined before being stitched together.
It will be apparent that a ball that is built up as herein described may be tested as to roundness and balance at each stage of its construction and if the inner casing is defective or out of balance this can be cured by reshaping or by application of material to its surface or it can be culled before it becomes a part of a finished hall where such defect might necessitate culling of the entire ball. The outer casing protects the'stitches of the inner casing and thus eliminates another source of weakness that causes ultimate distortion or breakdown from usage. Because the sewn seams are fiat in this construction, the ball is more resilient and lively and therefore superior for use in games like basket ball where much of the play is dependent upon the bouncing of the ball.
Also. the walls of the bladder, when inflated, lie against the relatively smooth inner surface of the fiush-seamedinner casing which does not have the usual bulky stitches to dent the bladder and weaken the rubber which would normally be the case with the construction of the balls now in use. because of the usual periodic inflation of the same.
By constructing a ball in accordance with my disclosure several formerly necessary ball-constructing operations are eliminated. For instance, it is not now necessary to turn the inner casing inside-out after the segments are sewn together. Also, it was formerly necessary to fill the outer surface seams of the inner casing to build up the seams to obtain a smooth outer surface. This operation has also now been eliminated. With no inwardly or outwardly projecting or protruding seams the form of my improved construction is assured of a "true bounce and a "true flight.
when the ball of my construction becomes discolored from normal usage, it will do so uniformly throughout its entire area and over a period of time. The balls customarily in' use today acquire streaks of discoloration, almost immediately after being put in use. These streaks consist of a tracing of the seams of the inner casing on the outer surface of the leather. This is because the seams of the inner casing are bulky and hard and when the ball is bounced on the playing floor the dirt, dust or other debris thereon tend to be more readily embedded in the leather casing at the points where the seams of the inner casing lie against the leather and, therefore, follow the tracings of these seams.
It is to be understood that some of the details set forth may be altered or omitted without departing from the spirit of this invention as defined by the following claims.
1. The method of making a ball which consists in stitching together a plurality of fiat fabric sheets of developed spheroidal polygon form in abutting edge-to-edge relation to one another to form a flush-seamed shell of uniform thickness throughout, inserting and inflating a bladder therein, coating and filling the outer surface of said inner casing with cement,
and then adhesively covering said outer surface with, sheets of leather.
2. The method of making a ball which consists in stitching together a plurality of fiat fabric sheets of developed spheroidal polygon form in abutting edge-to-edge relation to one another to form a flush-seamed shell of uniform thickness throughout, inserting and infiating a bladder therein. coating and filling the outer surface of said inner casing with cement, and then adhesively covering said outer surface with sheets of leather meeting edge-to-edge in Joints substantially flush with the surface of said ball.
3. An inflatable ball of the class described comprising a bladder, an inner casing surrounding said bladder and made of flat fabric sections of developed spheroidal polygon form arranged side-by-side and abutting edge-to-edge with each other and stitched together with fiush seams, and an outer casing consisting of pieces of leather cemented over the outer surface of said inner casing and arranged side-by-side in flush-jointed relation, the thickness of said bladder. inner casing and outer casing being substantially uniform throughout.
" JOHN T. RIDDELL.