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Publication numberUS2549627 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 17, 1951
Filing dateJul 9, 1948
Priority dateJul 9, 1948
Publication numberUS 2549627 A, US 2549627A, US-A-2549627, US2549627 A, US2549627A
InventorsRussell S Katz, William F Musch
Original AssigneeMusch
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Football down marker and indicator
US 2549627 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

April 17, 1951 W. F. MUSCH ET AL FOOTBALL DOWN MARKER AND INDICATOR Filed July 9, 1948 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 .INVENTOR Loo-v4 M A M4 M I ATTUR EYj.

April 17, 1951 WFMUSCH ETAL 2,549,627


Patented Apr. 17, 1951 FOOTBALL DOWN MARKER ANDINDICATOR William F. Musch and Russell S. Katz, Hamilton, Ohio; said Katz assignor to said Musch Application July 9, 1948, Serial No. 37,736

The football rules provide that one of the assistant linesmen follows the progress of the ball,

as it is advanced by the opposing teams, by carrying a marker along the side line to indicate the position of the ball. This marker is retained in position during play so that the ballmay be returned to its former location in the event that an illegal play occurs or a forward pass is attempted and not completed. After each play, the marker is moved along the side line to a position corresponding to the new location of the ball. By comparing the position of the marker with respect to a ten-yard marker also located. on the side lines, the officials and players can determine the yardage which must be gained duringthe remaining downs in the series. The

marker is also designed to function as a down marker and carries means for indicating the correct down to the players.

Customarily, the type of marker used has been a metal staif, having a pointed portion at its lower end, which can be imbedded in the earth. The top of the stafi is provided with a rectangular block having four vertical faces. Each face carries a number which indicates a separate down, and the official arranges the block after each play so that the face bearing the number corresponding to the correct down is exposed toward the field; thereby enabling the players and ofiicials to determine the number of downs remaining in the series.

This type of down indicator has not proved to be satisfactory in the past, primarily because only the players and officials on the field can see the numerals. Many playing fields do not have score boards and the spectators have no way of determining the number of downs that have beenplayed except by reference to the down marker. Most spectators cannot see the down numeral at all since it is clearly visible only from certain parts of the stadium.

It is an object of this invention to provide a down marker embodying a plurality of elevated colored signal lights, which maybe selectively energized to indicate the correct down, and which I is capable of being seen from any part of the stadium during rainy or foggy weather and under the most adverse conditions of visibility.

An'additional aim is to provide a down marker employing means to eifectively disperse light emaequipment,

3 Claims. (01. 177-329) nating from electrical signal lights contained therein through a v36C! dispersion. v j

.11; is a further object of this invention to provide a football down marker of rugged construction, yet capable of being partially disassembled, thereby enabling the compact storage of its several parts while it is being transported.

In accordance with these objectives, the present invention contemplates an elongated vertical bodymember, having a series of colored signal lights arranged in vertically spaced relationship in the upper portion of the body, a simple electrical circuit including a source of electrical energy disposed within the body, and switch means for energizingsaid lights. Each of the lights represents a difierent down of the series, and the ofiicial actuates' the switches after each play, so that the correct light or number of lights is turned on, thus indicating to the players and spectators the correct down. A lens system directs the rays reflected from the electric lights through openings in the body member, and cooperates with a system of mirrors to disperse the rays through a 360? horizontal dispersion. The lens and rnirror system,

along with the light bulbs, are enclosed completely within a tubular body member, the construction thus affording maximum protection for the lights and the attendant light-dispersal system, in the event the marker is thrown violently to the ground as the play moves toward switch panel. V

Figure 3 is a vertical sectional view taken along line 3-3 of Figure 2. s Figure 4 is a horizontal sectional view taken on line 44 of Figure 2.

Figure 5 is a horizontal sectional view taken through the switch panel along line 5-5 of Figure 2. I r

Figure 6 is a vertical fragmentary view, par tially in section, of the lower portion of the im-. proved down marker showing part of the upper member in operative association therewith.

Figure 7 is a vertical sectional view taken on line 1-1 of Figure 2 through the central portion of the down marker showing the electrical connections between the batteries, the switch panel and the upper member.

Referring to the drawings, the assembled down "with the barrel.

from the barrel.

screws 3 l.

lens and bulb structure.

marker is shown in Figure l and comprises a lower staff ill, having a spiked end portion H which is pointed to permit easy insertion into hard or frozen ground, an upper barrel portion l2 carrying four signal lights I3, l4, I5 and 5B, and an exposed switch panel I! carrying four toggle switches i8 through 2|. Each switch controls a separate light and all are connected in common to'a number of drycell batteries carried in the staff it. Near the base of the staff, a circular ground plate 22 is fixed to serve as a stabilizing base. and holds the marker erect when unattended.

In this embodiment, the lights each represent different downs in ascending order. Thus, when the first down is to be played, the lowest light [3 is energized by operation of the toggle switch I8. When the second down is to be played, the switch i9 is thrown, illuminating the light 14 etc. It will be noted that the spectators and players can readily determine the correct down by simply counting the number of lights, even though they are at too far a distance to ascertain whether the lowest light or one of the intermediate lights is turned on. The lights are also arranged with a substantial spacebetween them so that each light is clearly defined and can be readily diswhile the upperlight is red to warn the players that the fourth down is ensuing. Obviously, different colored lights may be used if desired.

Detailed construction of the upper member 12 is best seen in Figures 2'and 3. This member is "comprised of a tubular barrel I2 having a detachably-connected end cap 23 which, in the embodiment shown, is in screw-threaded engagement It will be seen that since the end cap is hollow, it cooperates with an end closure plate 24 to provide a convenient storage chamber for'spare light bulbs and batteries. The

barrel is provided with four groups of windows 25 formed at vertically spaced intervals in its sidewalls, and arranged adjacent the several lights to permit the light to emanate in all directions To prevent the connecting posts 26, which subside between the windows and maintain the barrel in integral connection, from creating blind spots by interfering with the passage of the light, the interior of each post is equipped with metal mirrors 2! arranged in angular relationship. Each post preferably has two of these mirrors, which are so disposed as to cooperate with the mirrors on the other posts to reflect the light into zones which otherwise would be shielded by the posts from receiving light.

The lights comprise bulbs 26 mounted in sockets 29-which, in turn, are mounted in transverse support plates 35) affixed to the barrel by means of Mounted on the plates 38, coaxially of the barrel, are cylindrical housings 32, which contain basin-type reflectors 33. The wall of each housing is flattened along an upper rim to seat the base of the lamp lenses 34, which are secured to the housings by means of caps 35, fitting over annular flanges 35 formed on the base portions of the lenses, and in screw-threaded engagement with the outer walls of the housings 32. It will be observed that the preferred embodiment is of particularly rugged construction and affords maximum protection to the frangible The light bulbs and lens reside within and are protected by'the barrel member and are not-prone to being broken easily in the event the member is thrown violently to the ground.

A particularly noteworthy feature of this invention resides in the lens structure 34. The lens is of generally conical outline and is not hollow, as are conventional lenses, but solid throughout, being preferably formed of any suitable lighttransmitting plastic. A typical lens material of this type is the commercial plastic Lucite. A plurality of annular .V-grooves are formed on the external surface of the lens. In the preferred embodiment, the sides of these grooves are disposed substantially at a angle to the vertical axis of the conical lens in such a manner that they intercept the parallel light beams coming from the reflector 33, bend them through an angle of approximately 90 and disperse them radially through 360. However, the angular disposition of the groove faces must naturally be varied in accordance with the type of lens material employed, to achieve maximum refractive efliciency. Thus the light beams which would normally ascend vertically are refracted horizontally in all directions and provide a maximum effective use of the light source. The diminishing diameter of the cone operates to ofiset each groove in respect to the adjacent grooves, thereby assuring the presentation of an angled groove for refracting substantially all of the light beams coming from the reflector.

As best seen in Figure 7, the lower portion of the barrel member [2 is connected to the staff 10 through the panel I! by means of screws 38 which are fastened to a flange 39 provided on the switch panel ii. The lower portion of this panel is formed into a hollow tubular member 4| proportionedfor telescoping engagement with the upper member by loosening the thumb screws and disengaging the tubular member 4! from the hollow stafi memberlil when it is desired to disassemble the down marker for storage or shipment or to replacethe batteries.

The switches are mounted on the panel I1, and are surrounded by a rectangular wall 44 which serves to protect the switches in the event the marker is thrown to the ground or dropped in transit. The switches themselves may be of standard manufacture and comprise contact boxes 45 integrally mounting screw-threaded studs 15 which extend through suitable holes 4,! in the panel and exposethe toggles [8 through 2| on the open side of the panel carrier. Each switch assembly is secured to the panel by a fiat nut 38 seated on the panel and in screw-threaded engagement with the stud 46. At the rear'of the panel carrier, a cover plate 49 is detachably fastened bymeans of screws 50 to ribs 5| formed in the carrier. When itis necessary to repair or adjust: the switches or their attendant wiring, the

- back may be removed by loosening the screws thus permitting access to the contact boxes. If necessary, the entire switch may then be removed by loosening the switch nut. Theextreme bottom portion of the panel carrier is provided with a button contact 52 which is electrically insulated from the carrier by means of an insulating member 53. This button is in electrical contact with a number of dry cell batteries 54 arranged in series connection within the hollow staff. The batteries are maintainedin electrical communilated mirrors (see Figure 4).

cation with each other and with the button 52 by means of a coil spring 55 under compression between the batteries and a metal plate 55a joined to the staff walls.

The electrical circuit is of conventional arrangement and is generally similar to the circuit of the commercial flashlight. A lead 56 is taken from the button contact 52 and carried through a hole 51 formed in the panel carrier from whence branch leads 58, 59, 60 and GI proceed to the contact boxes of the respective toggle switches. Each of these branch leads emerges from the other side of the contact box, and all are drawn upwardly through a hole 62 in the upper portion of the switch housing. Lead 58 is connected to the lamp socket of light l3, while the otherleads continue upwardly, extending through holes 53 formed in the bracket 30.

In the preferred construction, these leads 59, 88 and 6! are introduced into the narrow channels formed between the wall posts and the angu- The channels thus formed by the mirrors and side posts serve to conceal, enclose and protect the wires. Thereafter, the branch leads are connected with their respective lamp sockets I4, and IS in much the same manner as described with reference to lamp [3. Each of the lamp brackets 30 is a conductor and communicates with the tubular wall of the upper member I2, thereby grounding the circuit for each lamp through the outside wall, down through the panel carried to the staff 10 and iinally to bracket 56 which seats the spring conductor 55. It will be seen that each lamp is contained in an individual electrical circuit, all of the circuits using a common source of electrical power and a common ground element. Nevertheless, each circuit may be severally and selectively energized independently or concurrently with the other circuits by means of the respective toggle switches.

Having described our invention, we claim:

1. A football down marker and indicator comprising a body member having four vertically spaced groups of radial apertures, four electric lights arranged within said body member, each of said lights being disposed below a group of apertures and having a conically shaped lens of light-transmitting material configurated to present a surface of annular V-shaped grooves adapted to direct vertical light rays emanating from said electric lights horizontally outward through said apertures and means for selectively energizing said electric lights.

2. A portable down marker and indicator comprising a body member having a spiked end portion adapted to be inserted in the earth, said body member having openings spaced vertically from one another along the upper portion thereof, a signal light spaced vertically from each of said openings, said signal lights being disposed in the body member, and a lens of substantially conical configuration positioned in each of said openings, the basesof said lenses being disposed toward the signal lights whereby the light beams will be directed horizontally through the openings.

3. A portable down marker and indicator comprising an elongated body member including a lower staff portion having a spiked end adapted to be removably inserted in the earth and an upper barrel portion, said barrel portion being divided into sections spaced vertically from one another by posts with openings in the body member adjacent the posts, a signal light adjacent each of said openings and mirror means on the inner surfaces'of the posts for reflecting light horizontally through the openings.


REFERENCES CITED The following references are of record in the file of this patent:

UNITED STATES PATENTS Number Name Date 1,552,816 Bledsoe Sept. 8, 1925 1,645,487 Harling Oct. 11, 1927 1,687,276 Winkler Oct. 9, 1928 1,700,950 Pijakowski Feb. 5, 1929 1,780,004 Connelly Oct. 28, 1930 1,843,307 Tillson Feb. 2, 1932 2,208,297 Lipp July 16, 1940 2,228,835 Leppert Jan. 14,1941

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1552816 *Jan 29, 1925Sep 8, 1925Bledsoe HarryTraffic signal
US1645487 *Apr 17, 1925Oct 11, 1927Walter HarlingCombination light
US1687276 *Jun 28, 1927Oct 9, 1928Moses H WinklerIndicator
US1700950 *Sep 19, 1925Feb 5, 1929 pijakowski
US1780004 *Dec 23, 1926Oct 28, 1930Connelly Eugene Le MoyneFlash light
US1843307 *Feb 19, 1927Feb 2, 1932Fed Electric Company IncSwitch for electrically illuminated scoreboards
US2208297 *Sep 18, 1939Jul 16, 1940Lipp Julius JSignal apparatus
US2228835 *Nov 4, 1937Jan 14, 1941Leppert William HTraffic signal
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3728708 *Jun 21, 1971Apr 17, 1973Culbertson FIlluminated marker
US4404543 *Aug 3, 1981Sep 13, 1983Kracl David LDown marker indicator for football competition
US5845984 *Aug 6, 1996Dec 8, 1998Bonilla; LawrenceFeline repellant device
US5957566 *Sep 26, 1997Sep 28, 1999Chiu; Si FuFlashlight
US7455419Jan 3, 2007Nov 25, 2008Helget Gerald EIdentification and/or trail light
US7559164Jul 25, 2006Jul 14, 2009Royce RiehlmanFootball down marker
US20070153525 *Jan 3, 2007Jul 5, 2007Helget Gerald EIdentification and/or trail light
WO2007079430A3 *Jan 3, 2007Sep 13, 2007Robert EvansIdentification and/or trail light
U.S. Classification340/321, 362/102, 340/323.00R, 362/328, 362/185, 362/240
International ClassificationA63B71/06
Cooperative ClassificationA63B71/06, F21V21/0824
European ClassificationF21V21/08S, A63B71/06