US 2508461 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
May 23, 1950 G. LEMON 2,5(98A61 APPARATUS FOR PRACTICING PING-PONG AND THE LIKE Filed Nov. 5, 1946 [N VEN TOR. GEORGE LEMON Patented May 23, 1950 APPARATUS FOR- PRACTICING PING-PONG AND THE LIKE George Lemon, Youngstown, Ohio Application November 5, 1946, Serial N 0. 707,782
2 Claims. (Cl. 273--30) This invention relates to exercising and amusement devices and more particularly to improved apparatus for automatically aiding in the playing of table tennis or ping-pong games and the like. The primary object of the invention is the provision of a simple and inexpensive assembly which may be employed as a silent or robot partner in the playing of table tennis and the like or which may be utilized as a practicing device to enable a single individual to improve his playing of table tennis and analogous games.
A further object of the invention is the provision of improved and simplified apparatus of the general character above specified which is readily portablein nature so that it may be quickly and easily associated with or disassociated from the conventional table tennis equipment as desired. For this purpose the apparatus is constructed of light-weight materials, is of minimum dimension, and has its own inherent supporting features so that it may be independently supported whether associated with or disassociated from the conventional table surface.
A still further object of the invention is the provision of improved apparatus for the purpose stated and having the characteristics above enumerated which utilizes for its motive or driving power a conventional piece of household equipment as a tank-type vacuum cleaner, for example. In this manner the apparatus while entirely automatic in its operation and quick in its response may yet be produced in a most economical manner.
The above and other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent upon consideration of the following detailed specification and the accompanying drawing wherein there is disclosed a preferred embodiment of the invention.
In the drawing:
Figure l is a perspective view of an assembled device constructed in accordance with the prin ciples of the invention;
Figure 2 is a fragmentary transverse section of the apparatus of Figure l; and
Figure 3 is a fragmentary longitudinal section through the apparatus of Figure 1.
In Figure 1 there is shown, in dotted outline, a conventional table for playing table tennis and as such this table has an extended flat surface l across which is stretched the vertically disposed net Il. As is well understood this equipment is normally employed by two or four players, one or two of whom position themselves adjacent each end of the table. The apparatus of this invention is adapted to be positioned closely adjacent one end of the table and is operative to return back onto the table and in a direction toward the opposite end thereof balls which have been previously served by a player standing at said opposite end of the table.
For accomplishing the above object I provide a back stop or screen [2 having a width substantially equal to the width of the table top 10, of a height operative to intercept the greater portion of the balls served on the contiguous half of the table top ID from the opposite end of the table. and being of a pliant nature so that the intercepted balls will not tend to re-bound back onto the table but, rather, will tend to fall vertically down the front face of the screen. As shown, the screen 12 is stretched between two vertical parallel frame members [3 and I4 and a cross bar l5 interconnects the upper ends of the frame members l3 and 14.
Frame members 13 and M are of a length to position the lower edge of the screen l2 substantially in horizontal alignment with the table top H). Positioned immediately below the screen I2 and partially received between the members l3 and i4 is an open-topped box structure having a rear wall 16, a front wall ll, end walls 53, and a bottom wall i9 which slopes downwardly toward the center portion of the box structure. The bottom wall 19 is provided with a depending sump 20 through which projects a tube 2! having an opening 22 in the upper portion of its surface. As shown, tube 2| projects outwardly of either side of the box structure and the opening 22 is slightly larger in diameter than the diameter of the table tennis or ping-pong balls which will be used with the assembly. Likewise, the diameter of the tube 2| is only slightly larger than the diameter of these balls.
Secured to the forward edge of the end walls 18 of the box structure above described and depending downwardly therefrom is a pair of leg members 23 which together with the lower portions of the frame members [3 and 14 provide a four-legged stand or support for the apparatus of the invention and it should be readily understood that the apparatus will stand on the floor independent of the table It] when positioned either adjacent to or away from the table.
Coupled with the rear or discharge end of the tube 2! is a conduit 24 which curves upwardly and rearwardly to bring its discharge end into alignment with the front portion of the table top it. Conduit 24 is preferably a length of flexible hose in order that its position may be readily varied and to supportthe upper or discharge end portion of a conduit 24 I may attach to the conduit a sling 25 which is entrained over the bar 15; and I may further provide a pair of diverging guide wires or strings 26 which have their upper ends attached to a discharge end portion of the conduit 24 while their lower ends are detachably coupled with the table Ill. Of course, various other expedients may be employed toretain and guide thedfscharge end portion of the conduit 24 in adjusted position and therefore the illustrated embodiment should be considered as exemplary only. The internal diameter of the. con-.- duit 24 isalso only slightly larger than the diam:- eter of the balls which will be used'with the apparatus.
In the apparatus above described airpressure applied to the inlet end of tube 2| is utilized to propel the successive playing balls upthrough through andtout-oiitheconduit 24- uponits rolling down into the opening 22. Any suitable guiding means as, for example, the illustrated downward- 1y inclined portions of thetube 21, may be employed to facilitate the quickdroppingof the ball or balls into the tube2 l through the opening 22.
It should now be apparent that I have ,provid ecl improved a siparatus in 'themature of an exercisingr and. amusement device which accomplishes the objects initially set out. The apparatus may be most economically constructed by making the screen [2 of soft inexpensive cloth, the frame members l3 M; 1.5 and 23 of wood while the box structure above described. may conveniently be fabricated of thinv wood; or paper product sheets as will be understood. The apparatus is readily portable and as such may readily be associated with. any particular tennis table; or removed therefrom. as desired.
The above specifically described embodiment horizontal bar spanning the-upper ends of said 'frame members, a pliant screen spanning said .7 frame members below said bar, an open-topped box positioned immediately in front of but below said screen and having a sloping bottom wall, a
' conduit passing through the lowermostportion oi said box and curving upwardly and rearwardly and having its upper or discharge end portion contiguous to said bar and directed toward a position in front of said screen, said conduit having an: opening in its" side wall in said box to receive by gravity balls-.ii'nt succession from said box, and means adjustablysupporting the dischargefend portion of said conduit on sa'id bar, the opposite or inlet end of said-conduit being adapted to be connected with an air pressure supplying conduit.
'2'. Apparatus according to claim 1 further characterized in that said box is partially received iii and: is attached to said frame: members intermediate their top'an'd bott'om ends, and downwardly extending supporting. means attached' to the forward. edge, portion of said box and being of a; length substantially equal to the lengthsof the portions of saidframe members extending below said box whereby said apparatus may be independently supported on a fioor and the like.
REFERENCES: CITED The following references are of record in the file of, this patent? UNITED STATES PATENTS Perrymand- Apr. 30, 1940