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Publication numberUS3018474 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 23, 1962
Filing dateFeb 26, 1960
Priority dateFeb 26, 1960
Publication numberUS 3018474 A, US 3018474A, US-A-3018474, US3018474 A, US3018474A
InventorsCluck Howard O, Harris Tommy G
Original AssigneeCluck Howard O, Harris Tommy G
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Tow line handle and signal assembly for water skiers
US 3018474 A
Abstract  available in
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Jan. 23, 1962 H. o. cLucK ETAL TOW LINE HANDLE AND SIGNAL ASSEMBLY FOR WATER SKIERS 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Feb. 26. 1960 INVENTORS' flan/420 0. 64 use,

/4y G. HAEE/S,

Jan. 23, 1962 H. o. cLucK ETAL 3,01

TOW LINE HANDLE AND SIGNAL ASSEMBLY FOR WATER SKIERS Filed Feb. 26, 1960 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTORS Han/420 o. C; ace

TOM/WV G. #42915;

ATTOE/VE Y5.

United States Patent 3,018,474 TIJW LINE HANDLE ANI) SIGNAL ASSEMBLY FOR WATER SKIERS Howard 0.. Clock, 3709 E. Catherine St., Lakewood, Calif., and Tommy G. Harris, 11812 S. Louise Ave, Compton. Calif.

Filed Feb. 26, 1960, Ser. No. 11,322 11 Claims. (Cl. 340-366) This invention relates to a novel electrical safety towline handle assembly signal assembly for use by water skiers for signalling wanted changes in direction to the operator of a tow boat.

The primary object of the invention is to provide an efiicient and easily used assembly of the kind indicated which involves an insulated tow line which is adapted to be secured to a tow boat to tow a water skier, the tow line being wired to an electrical signal device, to be mounted within sight of the operator of the boat, so as to be seen and understood by the operator, even when distracted, as by water trafiic or conversation with companions, whereby the skier can direct changes of direction of the boat, in the interest of safety or preference of direction, the assembly having separate handles which contain separate switches for selectively operating leftand right-hand signals in the signal device.

Another object of the invention is the provision of a reliable and rugged assembly of the character indicated above, wherein the handle switches are normally open gravity operated switches, such as mercury switches, so as to be closable by turning the handles out of normal vertical positions, to horizontal positions, and so that should a skier fall into the water and lose the tow line,

the bouncing of the released handles in the water willv intermittently operate both of the signals, so as to immediately and insistently notify the operator of the boat of the situation, and enable immediate skier recovery maneuvering of the boat, to the end that the skier can be easily picked up by the boat and saved from being struck by other boats in the vicinity and/or from over-exposure or drowning in the water.

Other important objects and advantageous features of the invention will be apparent from the following description and the accompanying drawings, wherein, for purposes of illustration only, a specific form of the invention is set forth in detail.

In the drawings:

FIGURE 1 is a fragmentary edge elevation of a tow line switch handle and a tow line section attached thereto;

FIGURE 2 is a plan view of FIGURE 1;

FIGURE 3 is a transverse section taken on the line 3-3 of FIGURE 1;

FIGURE 4 is a longitudinal section taken on the line 4-4 of FIGURE 1;

FIGURE Sis a contracted and schematic side elevation, showing an assembly of the invention installed on a ski tow boat;

FIGURE 6 is a front elevation of a form of signal device, involving a single handle switch and a single warning light;

FIGURE 7 is a wiring diagram of the signal device of FIGURE 6; and

FIGURE 8 is a schematic, partly in elevation, showing a two-light signal device and the electrical connection thereto.

Referring in detail to the drawings, wherein like and related numerals designate like and related parts throughout the several views, the numeral 10 generally designates a power tow boat having an instrument panel 12 and a stern 14. Upon the instrument panel 12 is suitably mounted an electrical signal device 16 to which is secured and connected a rearwardly extending insulated ICC cable 18 which is fixedly secured in an extends through a bracket 20 which is fixedly mounted, as upon the boat stern 14. The cable 18 has extending rearwardly from the bracket 2d a relatively low flexible portion, which ends of the legs and 32. Forwardly extending thread ed bosses 36 are fixed on the bight portions 28 at'the centers of the forward sides thereof and have bores 38 extending therethrough which communicate, at their rear ends, with bores which extend through one side of the'bight portions and through the upper leg 30." The bores 38 and 40 form conduits for electrical wires, hereinafter described, which extend through the tow line sections 24,,the tow line 22, and the cable 18, to the signal device. The rear ends of the sections 24 have thereon rigid reinforcing sleeves 42 which have enlarged and flared heads 44 on their rear ends which abut the bosses 36, and are secured thereto, as by means of tapered cap nuts 46 threaded onto the bosses 36, with compression balls 48 surrounding the wires, and wedged between the boss bores 36 and seats Ell in the heads 44, as shown in FIGURE 4.

The hand grip bars 34, as seen in FIGURE 4, have axial bores 52 extendingtherethrough whose ends are engaged over studs 54 and 56 which extend inwardly from the legs, and over which the bar ends are engaged by flexing the bars 34. Extending through bores 58 in the upper studs 54 are bolts 57 which extend through the bars 34 and are threaded, as indicated at 60, in the lower studs 56, for rigidifying the handles and reinforcing the grip bars 34. The bores 52 of the grip bars 34 have, at one end thereof, recesses 62 in which mercury switches 64 are confined, with their lower ends66 containing mercury 68, out of bridging relation to a pair of contacts 70, in the upper ends of the switches, while the handles are held in normal vertical erect positions by a skier being towed. With this arrangement, the switches 64 are closed whenever either or both of the handles 26 are turned to horizontal positions, so that the signal device is energized. Whenever the handles 26 are released or dropped inadvertently by a skier being towed, they are agitated or bounced by being pulled through the Water, so that the switches are intermittently opened and closed. This operates the signal device intermittently so as to inform the operator of the tow boat Ill that the skier has let go of the tow line and is in the water, waiting to be picked up.

With this arrangement, and without releasing the handles 26, the skier can, by tilting one or the other of the handles 26 to a horizontal position, close the cone sponding switch 64 and thereby operate the signal device, so as to instruct the tow boat operator. In the case of a single light signal device, such tilting of a handle 26 conveys a prearranged signal to the boat operator; and in the case of a two-light signal device, serves to direct the operator to make a leftor a right-hand turn.

The single light signal device 16, shown in FIGURES 6 and 7, can comprise a casing 72, containing low-voltage batteries, such as flashlight cells 74, which are connected by wires 76 and 78 to an electric bulb 80 which is exposed through a wall 82 of the casing, at the center of a' reflector 84, the wires 76 and 78 leading through the cable 18 to a handle 26 and its switch 64. A toggle 3 switch 86, mounted on the wall 82, can be connected in the wire 76.

The two-light signal device, shown in FIGURE 8, and generally designated 90, comprises a suitable casing 92 exhilating two laterally spaced electric bulbs 94 and 96, being a red left-hand turn signalling bulb and a righthand turn signalling bulb, respectively, which are connected in a three-wire circuit leading through the cable 18 to the handles 26, and containing a flashlight cell battery 98. The three-wire circuit comprises wires 100 and 102, leading from opposite sides of the battery 98, and severally connected to a cable wire 104 and to a common wire 106 connected to one side of the bulbs 94 and 96, a switch 108 being connected in the wire 100. The remaining sides of the bulbs 94 and 96 are severally con nected to cable wires 110 and 112.

With this arrangement, a skier can call for a left-hand turn of the tow boat simply by rotating the left-hand handle 26 to a horizontal position, while maintaining the erect position of the right-hand handle, so as to close the related handle switch and energize the left-hand turn bulb 94. A right-hand turn is signalled on the device 90 by a similar manipulation of the right-hand handle 26, while maintaining the left-hand handle in its normal erect position. Whenever the skier drops or loses one or both of the handles 26 in the water, the handles are bounced and agitated by the water as the tow boat moves forwardly, so that the handle switches are intermittently closed and the bulbs 94 and 96 are intermittently energized, so that the boat operator is immediately and urgently notified that the skier has dropped the tow line and is in the water waiting to be picked up.

While there have been shown and described herein preferred forms of the invention, it is to be understood that the invention is not necessarily confined thereto, and that any change or changes in the structures of and in the relative arrangements of components thereof are contemplated as being within the scope of the invention as defined by the claims appended hereto.

What is claimed is:

1. A tow line handle and signal assembly comprising an energized electrical signal device for mounting on a ski tow boat, a tow line having a rear end, handle means secured to said rear end, gravity-operated switch means on said handle means, and conductor means extending along the tow line and connecting said switch means to the signal device, said conductor means being enclosed in the tow line and said switch means being enclosed in the handle means, said switch means being normally open mercury switch means adapted to be closed by turning the handle means from normal vertical position to a horizontal position.

2. A tow line handle and signal assembly comprising an electric signal device for mounting on a ski tow boat, a tow line having a rear end, handle means secured to said rear end, gravity-operated switch means on said handle means, and conductor means extending along the tow line and connecting said switch means to the signal device, said signal device comprising a casing, an electric light bulb exposed on the casing, a battery enclosed in the casing and serially connected to the bulb and to the switch means through said conductor means.

3. A tow line handle and signal assembly comprising an electric signal device for mounting on a ski tow boat, a tow line having a rear end, handle means secured to said rear end, gravity-operated switch means on said handle means, and conductor means extending along the tow" line and connecting said switch means to the signal device, said signal device comprising a casing, an electric light bulb exposed on the casing, a battery enclosed in the casing and serially connected to the bulb and to the switch means through said conductor means, said handle means consisting of a single handle.

4. A tow line handle and signal assembly comprising an energized electrical signal device for mounting on a ski tow boat, a tow line having a rear end, handle means secured to said rear end, gravity-operated switch means on said handle means, and conductor means extending along the tow line and connecting said switch means to the signal device, said handle means comprising a left-hand handle and a right-hand handle, said tow line having divergent sections on its rear end which are severally secured to the handles, said handles having individually gravity-operated switches thereon, said conductor means having portions extending along said sections and connected to the switches.

5. A tow line handle and signal assembly comprising an energized electrical signal device for mounting on a ski tow boat, a tow line having a rear end, handle means secured to said rear end, gravity-operated swtich means on said handle means, and conductor means extending along the tow line and connecting said switch means to the signal device, said handle means comprising a lefthand handle and a right-hand handle, said tow line having divergent sections on its rear end which are severally secured to the handles, said handles having individual gravity-operated switches thereon, said conductor means having portions extending along said sections and connected to the switches, said signal device having distinct leftand right-hand turn dictating electric bulbs, and a battery serially connected to the bulbs and severally connected to the leftand right-hand handle switches, through said conductor means.

6. A tow line handle and signal assembly comprising an energized electrical signal device for mounting on a ski tow boat, a tow line having a rear end, handle means secured to said rear end, gravity-operated switch means on said handle means, and conductor means extending along the tow line and connecting said switch means to the signal device, said handle means comprising a loop handle having a U-shaped form having a bight portion and upper and lower legs extending rearwardly from the bight portion, a hand grip cross bar extending between the legs, means securing the cross bar to the legs, a boss extending forwardly from the bight portion, means connecting the tow line to said boss, said conductor means extending rearwardly through the tow line and through said boss, said upper handle leg having a bore extending therealong through which the conductor means extends, said cross bar having an axial bore communicating with the leg bore, a vertical mercury switch mounted in the cross bar bore having upper and lower ends, contacts in the upper end of the switch to which the conduit means are connected, and a free body of mercury in the lower end of the switch, said mercury body being out of contact with the contacts in the normal erect position of the handle and being in bridging contact with the contacts in a horizontal position of the handle.

7. A tow line handle and signal assembly comprising an energized electrical signal device for mounting on a ski tow boat, a tow line having a rear end, handle means secured to said rear end, gravity-operated switch means on said handle means, and conductor means extending along the tow line and connecting said switch means to the signal device, said handle means comprising a loop handle having a U-shaped form having a bight portion and upper and lower legs extending rearwardly from the bight portion, a hand grip cross bar extending between the legs, means securing the cross bar to the legs, a boss extending forwardly from the bight portion, means connecting the tow line to said boss, said conductor means extending rearwardly through the tow line and through said boss, said upper handle leg having a bore extending therealong through which the conductor means extends, said cross bar having an axial bore communicating with the leg bore, a vertical mercury switch mounted in the cross bar bore having upper and lower ends, contacts in the upper end of the switch to which the conduit means are connected, and a free body of mercury in the lower end of the switch, said mercury body being out of contact with the contacts in the normal erect position of the handle and being in bridging contact with the contacts in a horizontal position of the handle, said upper end lower handle legs having opposed laterally inwardly extending bosses, said cross bar being tubular and flexible with its ends engaged over related bosses, and a bolt extending through one leg boss and the bore of the cross bar and threaded in the other leg boss.

8. A tow line handle and signal assembly comprising an energized electrical signal device for mounting on a ski tow boat, a tow line having a rear end, handle means secured to said rear end, gravity-operated switch means on said handle means, and conductor means extending along the tow line and connecting said switch means to the signal device, said handle means comprising a loop handle having a U-shaped form having a bight portion and upper and lower legs extending rearwardly from the bight portion, a hand grip cross bar extending between the legs, means securing the cross bar to the legs, a boss extending forward- 1y from the bight portion, means connecting the tow line to said boss, said conductor means extending rearwardly through the tow line and through said boss, said upper handle leg having a bore extending therealong through which the conductor means extends, said cross bar having an axial bore communicating with the leg bore, a vertical mercury switch mounted in the cross bar bore having upper and lower ends, contacts in the upper end of the switch to which the conduit means are connected, and a free body of mercury in the lower end of the switch, said mercury body being out of contact with the contacts in the normal erect position of the handle and being in bridging contact with the contacts in a horizontal position of the handle, said tow line having a reinforcing sleeve on its rear end having an enlarged head abutting the related end of the bight boss, and a cap nut surrounding the bight boss and said head and threaded onto the bight boss.

9. In combination, a ski tow boat having a tow line leading rearwardly therefrom and having a rear end, energized electrical signal means on said boat, electrical conductor means connected to said signal means and extending rearwardly along the tow line, a skiers handle secured on the rear end of the tow line, and a gravity operated switch on said handle and connected in circuit with said conductor means.

10. In combination, a ski tow boat having a tow line leading rearwardly therefrom and having a rear end, energized electrical signal means on said boat, electrical conductor means connected to said signal means and extending rearwardly along the tow line, a skiers handle secured on the rear end of the tow line, and a gravity operated switch on said handle and connected in circuit with said conductor means, said conductor means being enclosed within the tow line and said switch being enclosed within said handle.

11. In combination, a ski tow boat having a tow line leading rearwardly therefrom and having a rear end, energized electrical signal means on said boat, electrical conductor means connected to said signal means and extending rearwardly along the tow line, a skiers handle secured on the rear end of the tow line, and a gravity operated switch on said handle and connected incircuit with said conductor means, said conductor means being enclosed within the tow line and said switch being enclosed within said handle, said switch being open in the normal erect position of the handle and being adapted to close in any other position of the handle.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,554,469 Thomson Sept. 22, 1925 2,713,159 Morrison July 12, 1955 2,776,443 Howard Jan. 8, 1957 2,914,018 Schnacher et al. Nov. 24, 1959

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1554469 *Apr 17, 1922Sep 22, 1925Thomson Volney WayneSeat signal
US2713159 *May 8, 1953Jul 12, 1955Lev PinomakiSleep inhibiting device
US2776443 *Jun 15, 1953Jan 8, 1957Howard Lauren AWater skiing apparatus
US2914018 *Oct 14, 1955Nov 24, 1959Helmut StiegerWater-borne motor-powered towing device for control by a waterskier
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3866169 *Mar 9, 1973Feb 11, 1975Haglund Claude RVehicle signalling apparatus
US3942859 *Nov 11, 1974Mar 9, 1976Korodi Miklos BElectrical conductor with light indicating means
US3952155 *Apr 11, 1974Apr 20, 1976Novak Joseph AWater ski tow communication system
US4689611 *May 8, 1985Aug 25, 1987Franklin Samuel HAlarm and communication system for water skiers
US4782784 *Dec 15, 1986Nov 8, 1988Little Cheryl GMotorized boat-mounted signaling device for water skiers
US5041040 *Aug 1, 1990Aug 20, 1991Jones Ronald OMotorboat, without driver, controlled by water skier skiing, or optionally controlled by a driver
US5343189 *Nov 10, 1992Aug 30, 1994Alley Sr Ronald SSignal assembly removably attachable to handle of ski tow rope
US6860774 *Sep 17, 2002Mar 1, 2005Michael Louis LintznerDetachable handle system for water sports and the like
US8968043 *Nov 30, 2012Mar 3, 2015Michael MurphyMethod and apparatus for total control handle
US20050124234 *Nov 23, 2004Jun 9, 2005Robin SellsRemote marine craft system and methods of using same
DE3741803A1 *Dec 10, 1987Jun 22, 1989Kurt SistigGrip tube
Classifications
U.S. Classification340/332, 340/573.1, 441/69, 200/52.00R, 340/689
International ClassificationG08B21/00, H01H29/00, H01H29/20, G08B21/02
Cooperative ClassificationG08B21/02, H01H29/20
European ClassificationH01H29/20, G08B21/02