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Publication numberUS2859040 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 4, 1958
Filing dateSep 10, 1952
Priority dateSep 10, 1952
Publication numberUS 2859040 A, US 2859040A, US-A-2859040, US2859040 A, US2859040A
InventorsGow Arthur R, Madsen Paul S
Original AssigneeSeamless Rubber Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Football having a securely grippable laceless surface
US 2859040 A
Abstract  available in
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

No 4, 1958 A. R. GOW ET AL 2,859,040

FOOTBALL HAVING A SECURELY GRIPPABLE LACELESS SURFACE Filed Sept. 10, 1.952 2 Sheets-Sheet l 1mm; QQ L IIZZ/ ATTORNEYS United States Patent FOOTBALL HAVING A SECURELY GRIPPABLE LACELESS SURFACE Arthur R. Gow, Hamden, and Paul S. Madsen, Bethany, Conn., assignors to The Seamless Rubber Company, New Haven, Conn., a corporation of Connecticut Application September 10, 1952, denial No. 308,818

Claims. (Cl. 273--65) This invention relates to athletic balls and more particularly to inflatable balls such as footballs of ellipsoidal or generally oval shape.

The invention also relates more particularly to ellipsoidal footballs which are of the so-called carcass type, the wall of the ball being a composite structure including an inflatable valve-equipped bladder and an outer cover of rubber or a plastic having the necessary elasticity.

The invention deals especially with the means employed for the purpose of enabling the ball to be gripped by the hand of the player.

In our application Serial No. 273,886, filed February 28, 1952 and since abandoned, we have described a number of forms of ellipsoidal footballs in which the lacing customarily used on the ball is omitted and which have effective provisions for securing a good grip on the ball. The outer surface formation of the ball is characterized by a multiplicity of generally parallel ribs which, in the aggregate, extend over most if not all of the ball surface. In several forms of footballs described in that application, ribbing on the ball surface is made up of closely grouped fine ribs arranged transversely to the major axis of the ball, and by providing an ellipsoidal ball with such a surface, the ball can be much more effectively gripped by the player than heretofore.

One of the objects of the present invention is to provide a further form of ellipsoidal football which provides a very effective grip upon the ball as it is handled, thrown and caught.

Another object of the invention is to make the gripping of the ball by the player more effective than heretofore so as to reduce fumbling to the minimum.

Another aim of the invention is to provide an ellipsoidal football with a surface conformation of such character that the ball can be gripped very securely and effectively in the portion near the center of the major axis as well as in the portions adjacent the ends or tips of the ball.

In the accompanying drawings:

Fig. l is a somewhat diagrammatic side elevation of an ellipsoidal football embodying our improvements;

Fig. 2 is an end view of the ball, this view also being somewhat diagrammatic;

Fig. 3 is a fragmentary greatly enlarged view showing the outer surface of the ball;

Fig. 4 is a greatly enlarged section on line 44 of Fig. 1 showing the longitudinal ribs in profile;

Fig. 5 is a greatly enlarged sectional View on line 5-5 of Fig. 1;

Fig. 6 is a sectional view taken on line 6-6 of Fig. 3; and

Fig. 7 is a greatly enlarged fragmentary section transversely of the ball carcass showing ribs of a different form.

In the form of Figs. 1 to 6 inclusive we have shown an ellipsoidal rubber-covered molded football at 10, the same being provided in this case at the center of the major axis with an inflating'valve 11. This valve has a stern located in an aperture in the ball cover preferably so as to be substantially flush with the ball surface. The valve is carried by an inflatable bladder 12, said valve being of the kind described in the De Laney and Madsen Patent No. 2,065,121, dated December 22, 1936. The rubber cover of the ball is indicated at 13 (Fig. 4). Between the cover 13 and the bladder 12 an intermediate layer 14 may be interposed, the intermediate layer including a winding of thread or cord (not shown). However, for purposes of this disclosure the character of the composite wall which includes the inflatable elastic bladder and the outer elastic cover may be varied considerably.

The molded cover 13 may be made of natural rubber or synthetic rubber, or a combination of the two, or of a plastic having the necessary elasticity.

The ball selected for illustration has an outer surface that is provided in the respective end portions of the ball with transverse ribbing comprising a multiplicity of closely grouped parallel fine transverse ribs, and between the end portions of the ball there is provided a relatively wide band or belt extending around the ball in which the surface roughening is created by a multiplicity of fine parallel ribs extending lengthwise of the ball, that is, substantially coinciding with the major axis of the ball.

In the drawings, the portions provided with the transverse ribbing are indicated at 15 and the belt or band in which the ribbing is longitudinal, is indicated at 16. In the particular case shown the end sections 15, which are of the same dimension in an axial direction, have an axial dimension somewhat smaller than that of the band 16, but variation may be made in this respect as well as in others.

The transverse ribs in the sections or portions 15 are indicated at 17 in Figs. 3, 5 and 6, and these ribs are spaced apart so as to provide between them grooves 18. These ribs and grooves are annular and at right angles to the major axis of the ball. A suitable profile for the purpose is shown in the views just referred to, each rib being a symmetrical toothlike rib with upwardly sloped sides and a generally flat but slightly round top or summit. In this particular case the groove between two adjacent ribs has substantially the same profile as the rib.

. As far as dimensions are concerned, adjacent ribs in the particular embodiment are spaced apart at a distance of I A of an inch, there being sixteen ribs to the inch. The

width of the rib is V of an inch at the base and the depth is A,, of an inch. These dimensions, however, are given by way of example only. In this particular case each sloping side of the rib has an angle of approximately 231 to a plane that is normal to the outer surface of the ba 1.

In this particular case the band portion 16 which extends around the middle of the ball has longitudinal ribs 19 separated from each other by grooving or valleys 20, as shown in Fig. 4. These ribs and grooves in the band portion, in this particular case, have the same profile and the same dimensions and spacing as the ribs 17 and grooves 18 previously described.

It will be noted from Figs. 3 and 6 that the longitudinal ribs 19 are integrally joined to the transverse ribs which are nearest to them. The transverse ribs which are nearest to the longitudinal ribs are indicated in Figs. 3 and 6 at 17 and these ribs, similarly to the other transverse ribs, are sloped at both sides, and the longitudinal ribs are integrally joined to the ribs 17 adjacent these sloping sides. The result is that the longitudinal ribs in conjunction with the ribs 17* create elongated rectangular recesses provided with beveled ends and beveled sides, as shown more particularly in Fig. 3. These recesses provide pockets into which portions of the players hand enter when the ball is gripped at the middle part, thus 3 permitting the player to obtain a more secure grip upon this portion of the ball.

In Fig. 7 there is shown a rib 21 of modified form which may be used in place ofthe'rib form previously described, in providing transverse and longitudinal ribsupon the ball surface in the relative locations shown in Fig. 1. Between these ribs 21 are grooves 22. In this particular case the spaces between the bases of the ribs 21 are considerably greater than the width of the rib bases. Each rib 21 is more pointed than the rib 17 previously described so as to be more flexible. Where the hand presses against the sharply formed ribs 21 there is greater depression or flattening of these ribs at their summits and this effect is of assistance in preventing relative lengthwise or turning movement of the ball and the hand when the ball is grasped by the player. In depressing the ribs at their summits, each rib as a whole assumes a wavy shape in plan where contacted by the fingers and this is of help in inhibiting relative movement of the hand and the ball.

The football should be of the form and dimensions which are official. The curve of the ball side in the longitudinal direction, for the greater part of the ball length, has a radius which is relatively large and at the tip or pointed end of the ball this curve merges into one drawn on a smaller radius. In the ball herein described, the change of radius occurs within the sections or portions where the ribbing is transverse. In these sections the ribbing is shown as extending to the extremities of the ball, but variation may be made in this respect. In any event, the ribbing, as disclosed, preferably extends throughout the greater part of the ball length and it is of such character as to increase the effectiveness of the grip upon the ball without regard to the region grasped or gripped or contacted by the hand.

In a ball of ellipsoidalshape where the ends are relatively pointed or acute it is important to provide a good grip when the ball is gripped wholly in the end region or mostly in the end region, for the reason that the wedgelike shape or formation of this region makes it exceptionally diflicult to hold it securely by the grasp of onev hand. The act of gripping tends to expel the ball from the grasp. In the present ball, this tendency is counteracted or inhibited for the reason that the fine ribs or ridges transverse to the major axis, by being engaged with the grasping surfaces of the hand, exert a very effective interlocking or holding effect even where the contacting surfaces of hand and ball are moist or greasy or otherwise in what might be called a lubricated condition.

In executing a pass, instead of relying upon the usual laces to increase the grip upon the ball, the ball may be grasped nearer the end than would otherwise be the case, having the thumb at one side of the ball and the fingers at the opposite side. Under such conditions the ribs on the ball surface in the portion 15 extend at an angle to the grasping hand and to the fingers and thumb and the action is such as to inhibit the dislodgement of the ball with respect to the hand by a longitudinal movement or a turning movement, this being due to the nature of the engagement between the hand surface and the ball surface. It is desired by many players to execute passes by holding the small-diametered portion of the ball and this condition is met admirably when the ball structure is of the kind described. In making shorter passes and pitchouts, moreover, it is possible to manipulate the ball from a position substantially at the ball end, in other words, in a position closer to the ball end than the position of the hand when executing long passes. In executing short passes the ribbing in the portion 15 will in most cases take care of all or most of the necessary gripping effect between ball and hand. In executing longer passes the hand at least in some cases will partly engage longitudinal ribs of the middle band, and as these are disposed at an angle to the other ribs mentioned, the gripping effect is 4 enhanced. In other words, the contact of the hand, being with ribs of two series or groups, and the ribs of the respective series or groups being disposed at angles to each other, the gripping effect in executing a long pass will be enhanced.

It is obvious that in holding the ball in both hands with the hands against opposite side portions of the ball, a large ribbed area of the ball adjacent the middle band or zone will be contacted and under such conditions the ball can be very securely gripped and locked so that it cannot be dislodged easily. It will also be apparent that in kicking the ball and in catching or receiving the ball on a kick or pass, the holding effect where two hands are used is considerably increased in comparison to prior balls. Here the grip of the hands is mainly upon the middle band having the longitudinal ribs and these ribs very effectively inhibit turning movement of the ball in the grasp of the player holding the ball with two hands. Moreover, in a large number of instances where the ball is held in two hands, portions of the hands lie against some of the transverse ribs as well as some of the longitudinal ribs and as these two series of ribs are at angles to each other the grip is enhanced.

The foregoing description applies to the two forms shown, thus including a ball having transverse and longitudinal ribbing of the kind shown in Fig. 7 where the ribs are narrow and flexible so as to be depressible when the ball is grasped by one or both hands.

In the form of the football shown in Figs. 1 to 6 inclusive and also with the kind of ribbing shown in Fig. 7 it is preferred to provide the ball surface with four or more ribs per inch of ball surface.

The type of football herein described is obviously of advantage in kicking in comparison to the ball having lacing on the side, because it is not necessary to orient the ball as is common practice in kicking footballs of the type previously used. Moreover, in the case of the usual lace-equipped football, there are many occasions where, in handling the ball, the lacing acts as an obstruction, but no such condition is encountered where the ball is of the kind herein described. Moreover, in the usual rubber-covered footballs provided with longitudinal grooving the thickness of the rubber cover is reduced where the grooves occur (these grooves being in imitation of leather covered balls), and this produces a region of weakness where the ball is likely to fail, which disadvantage is eliminated in a ball of the kind herein described.

With a laceless ellipsoidal football in which the surface conformation on a large part of the ball area is such as to inhibit slipping and enhance the grip of the players hand upon the ball, it is of advantage under various conditions, to provide the ball with a middle band in which the surface roughening is of a different character from that provided in those portions of the ball surface which extends away from the middle band toward the tips of the ball because there is enhancement of grip under these conditions as above described. This is particularly advantageous where the ball, as herein described, has transverse or generally transverse ribbing upon one part of its surface and longitudinal or generally longitudinal ribbing upon another part of its surface. While it is preferred, as herein described, to have the longitudinal ribbing in the middle band and transverse ribbing in the portions extending away from the middle band and toward the ball ends, variation may be made in this respect so far as the broader aspects of the invention are concerned.

While two forms of the improved ball structure are illustrated in the drawings, it is to be understood that the invention is susceptible of many other embodiments and that various modifications and changes in the details may be made without departure from the principles of the invention or the scope of the claims.

What we claim is:

1. An inflatable ellipsoidal laceless football having a non-slip surface conformation comprising substantially parallel gripping ribs disposed over the major portion of the ball surface, there being a wide middle band of ribs which are directed substantially in line with the major axis of the ball, there being also non-slip portions extending beyond said band toward the ends of the ball, said last-named portions having substantially parallel ribs directed substantially transversely to the major axis of the ball, said band and said portions representing in the aggregate substantially more than half of the ball surface.

2. An inflatable ellipsoidal laceless football having a non-slip surface conformation comprising substantially parallel gripping ribs disposed over the major portion of the ball surface, there being a middle band of ribs which are directed substantially in line with the major axis of the ball, there being also non-slip portions extending beyond said band toward the ends of the ball, said last-named portions having substantially parallel ribs directed substantially transversely to the major axis of the ball, said band having an axial dimension somewhat greater than each of the second mentioned portions and said band and said portions representing in the aggregate more than half of the ball surface.

3. An inflatable ellipsoidal football having a laceless cover with longitudinal ribbing and transverse ribbing to enhance the grip of the players hand upon the ball, the longitudinal ribbing being in a middle zone of substantial width and the transverse ribbing being in end zones of substantial width, the end zones of ribbing being continuations of the midle zone.

4. An inflatable ellipsoidal football having a laceless cover with longitudinal ribbing and transverse ribbing to enhance the grip of the players hand upon the ball, the longitudinal ribbing being in a middle zone and the transverse ribbing being in end zones, both the longitudinal ribbing and the transverse ribbing comprising fine closely grouped ribs of tooth-like profile having sharply pointed summits and being elastic and somewhat depressible.

5. An inflatable ellipsoidal football of the carcass type having a composite wall including an inner bladder and an outer rubber cover, said cover being a laceless one having over a large part of its surface integral longitudinal ribbing and transverse ribbing of a profile and spacing to interlock with the surface of a players hand grasping the ball to enhance the grip upon the ball, the longitudinal ribbing being in a middle laceless zone of substantial width extending continuously about the middle of the ball and the transverse ribbing being in zones of substantial width at opposite sides of the middle zone, said zones in the aggregate representing substantially more than half of the ball surface.

6. An inflatable ellipsoidal football of the carcass type having a composite wall including an inner bladder and an outer layer or cover of rubber, said cover having an upstanding integral non-slip surface conformation embodying fine closely grouped longitudinal ribs disposed in a laceless band around the ball at its middle portion and embodying ribbed end portions or sections having fine closely grouped ribs extending circumferentially around the ball, there being four or more longltudinal ribs and four or more circumferential ribs to the inch of ball surface.

7. An inflatable ellipsoidal football of the carcass type having a composite wall including an inner bladder and an outer rubber cover, said cover having an Integral surface conformation for enhancing the grip of the players hand upon the ball, which conformation is divided into a middle band at a middle laceless portion of the ball and into end portions or sections extending from the middle band toward the ends of the ball, said band and said portions or sections representing in the aggregate the major part 'of the ball surface, the band and the end sections or portions each comprising a multiplicity of fine closely grouped substantially parallel upstanding integral ribs on the cover, the ribs of the middle band having a different orientation from the ribs of the end sections.

8. An inflatable ellipsoidal laceless football having integral with its body fine closely grouped longitudinal ribs disposed in a middle band of considerable width around the circumference of the ball and fine closely grouped ribs extending transversely and circumferentially around the ball in areas contiguous to said band toward the ball ends, the ribbed area in the aggregate representing substantially more than half of the ball surface, there being four or more of such ribs to the inch of ball surface, the longitudinal ribs being integrally connected at their centerward ends to the adjacent transverse ribs.

9. An inflatable ellipsoidal football having integral with its body fine spaced apart but closely grouped longi tudinal ribs disposed in a middle band extending continuously around a laceless area of the ball girth and fine spaced apart closely grouped ribs extending transversely and circumferentially around areas or zones contiguous to said band on opposite sides thereof, the ribbed area in the aggregate representing more than half of the ball surface, there being four or more longitudinal ribs and four or more transverse ribs to the inch of ball surface, said ribs having upwardly sloping sides, the longitudinal ribs being integrally connected at their centerward ends to the adjacent circumferential ribs to provide elongated pockets having sloped or beveled sides and ends.

10. An inflatable ellipsoidal ball of the carcass type with pointed ends or tips and having a composite wall including an inner bladder and an outer rubber cover extending over the entire area of the ball except for the area of an inflation valve, said ball being a laceless football devoid of a lacing-like obstruction to the handling of the ball and which can be kicked without the need of preliminary orientation, said ball being provided with a surface aifording a secure grip in handling and throwing and an expelling inhibiting grasp when the ball is gripped by one hand near a tip thereof, said cover being provided with integral elongated ribs of which there are substantially more than four per inch of ball surface and which ribs are spaced from each other and formed to interlock with a contacting surface of the players hand grasping the ball, certain of said ribs of like orientation being located throughout a wide band extending around the middle region of the ball where lacing has customarily been placed, and other ribs arranged at an angle to those of said band being grouped in end zones of substantial width extending entirely around the ball contiguously to said band, whereby a hand grasping the ball for throwing may engage rib groups of different angles or orientations for enhancing the security of the grip on the ball.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS Gibson Ian. 17, 1950

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2931653 *Aug 2, 1956Apr 5, 1960Seamless Rubber CoFootballs having a securely grippable laceless surface
US3469839 *Sep 20, 1966Sep 30, 1969Pietronuto Joseph ABaseball bat choke device
US4887814 *Sep 22, 1988Dec 19, 1989Winter Design/Manufacturing, Inc.Game ball
US5228687 *Jan 7, 1983Jul 20, 1993Meyer/Glass DesignFootball with gyroscopic ring
US5354053 *Jul 1, 1993Oct 11, 1994KranscoPlay ball
US5427372 *Jun 9, 1994Jun 27, 1995KranscoApplying patches and impressing patterns on ball
US5503699 *Apr 18, 1995Apr 2, 1996KranscoApplying patches from mold cavity surface on ball and impressing patterns
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US7828681Dec 3, 2007Nov 9, 2010Nike, Inc.Game ball
US7998005Aug 23, 2010Aug 16, 2011Nike, Inc.Game ball
US8371971 *Apr 10, 2009Feb 12, 2013Nike, Inc.Football with aerodynamic lace
US8622857 *Aug 26, 2011Jan 7, 2014Jack LoInflatable ball with rib structure
US8845466 *Jan 8, 2013Sep 30, 2014Nike, Inc.Football with aerodynamic lace
US9084918 *May 31, 2012Jul 21, 2015Nike, Inc.Football with segmented cover panels
US20080305900 *Dec 3, 2007Dec 11, 2008Nike, Inc.Game Ball
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US20130053193 *Aug 26, 2011Feb 28, 2013Jack LoInflatable ball with rib structure
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US20130324333 *May 31, 2012Dec 5, 2013Nike, Inc.Football with Segmented Cover Panels
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Classifications
U.S. Classification473/596
International ClassificationA63B41/08, A63B41/00
Cooperative ClassificationA63B41/08
European ClassificationA63B41/08