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Publication numberUS3030895 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 24, 1962
Filing dateNov 21, 1960
Priority dateJul 16, 1956
Publication numberUS 3030895 A, US 3030895A, US-A-3030895, US3030895 A, US3030895A
InventorsHamel Jacob S
Original AssigneeWalt Disney Prod
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Boat guiding apparatus
US 3030895 A
Abstract  available in
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

April 24, 1962 J. s. HAMEL BOA'L1 GUIDING APPARATUS original Filed July 1e, 195eV IN V EN TOR.

rmwsyf United States Claims. (Cl. 104--71) This is a division of my patent application Serial No. 598,148, tiled July 16, 1956 for Boat Guiding Apparatus.

The present invention relates generally to amusement apparatus and more particularly to an amusement ride incorporating a boat movable along a predetermined course in a waterway for the entertainment of its passengers.

Amusement rides wherein a passenger-carrying boat is moved along a predetermined path in a waterway have been heretofore proposed. The boats are generally caused to follow the predetermined path by guide mechanisms interposed between the boat and a fixed point of reference. Usually these heretofore-proposed boats are coupled to a motion-transmitting medium, such as a moving chain or cable, whereby they are urged forwardly along the waterway. With such arragements, the passengers are not afforded a 4feeling of realism. Moreover, the previously suggested guide mechanisms usually cause the boat to turn far more sharply and roughly than would be the case where the boat was equipped with a conventional rudder. Additionally, where the boat is coupled to a moving chain or cable, the transmission of forward movement to the boat is generally rough and jerky as opposed to the smooth transmission of forward movement which occurs with a self-powered boat.

lt is a major object of the present invention to provide new and novel apparatus for guiding a self-powered boat along a predetermined course in a waterway.

It is another object of the invention to provide boatguiding apparatus of the aforedescribed nature which turns the boat with a motion similar to that obtained with a conventional rudder.

A further object of the invention is to provide boat guiding apparatus which is light in weight and economical to construct and maintain.

Yet another object is to provide boat guiding apparatus of the aforedescribed nature which is simple in design and rugged of construction whereby it may afford a long and useful service life.

It is a more particular object of the invention to provide boat guiding apparatus of the aforedescribed nature incorporating a submerged guide rail, a plurality of rollers engaging this guide rail, a housing for supporting the rollers and mounting means interposed between the housing and boat permitting relative vertical movement to take place between the rollers and the boat.

Another object of the invention is to provide boat guiding apparatus of the aforedescribed nature which may be employed with boats of varying size.

These and other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following detailed description, when taken in conjunction with the appended drawings, wherein:

FIGURE 1 is a side elevational view, taken partly in vertical section, showing a form of boat guiding apparatus embodying the present invention;

FIGURE 2 is a front view of said apparatus; and

FlGURE 3 is a horizontal sectional View taken on line 3 3 of FIGURE 1.

Referring to the drawings there is shown a boat guiding apparatus embodying the present invention. This boat guiding apparatus is especially adapted for use in guiding boats of larger draft and it includes a pair of arent rine guide units (only one of which is shown in the drawings) interposed between a guide rail R' and the boat B. Preferably, one of these guide units will be disposedfat the front portion of the boat and the other will be disposed at the rear portion thereof. The two Aguide units are identical and, as shown in FIGURES 1, 2 and 3, include a housing or caisson H which is vertically slidably carried within a waterproof trunk T formed in the lower portion of the boat. As particularly rindicated in FGURE 2, the guide rail R' in this second form of apparatus is H-shaped in vertical cross-section. The lower legs of the guide rail R are rigidly afxed as by welding to a plurality of longitudinally spaced at plates 80. Each of these plates is in turn affixed to the upper end of one of a plurality of concrete piles 82 (only one of which is shown) which extend upwardly from the bottom of the waterway wherein the boat B is movable.

The housing H will preferably be of steel construction and it includes a front wall S4, a rear wall 36 and a top wall 87. The lower portion of the front and rear walls 84 and 36 are formed with vertically aligned apertures 88 for accommodating the guide rail R'. A pair of horizontally extending vertically spaced roller-supporting walls 89 and 90 interposed between the lower portions of the front and rear walls support a pair of vertically extending shafts 91. These shafts rotatably support a pair of side rollers 92 and 94. These side rollers are in rolling engagement with the side surfaces 95 orr the guide rail R. The front and rear walls S4 and 86 are rigidily interconnected at a point spaced above the side rollers 92 and 94 by a horizontal wall 98. This horizontal wall 98 serves to support a top roller 100 having its periphery in rolling engagement with the upper surface of the web 102 of the guide rail R. This top roller 100 is rotatably supported by a castering unit 104 affixed to the wall 93 whereby it may gister freely about a vertical axis relative to the housing A second horizontal wall 106 interconnects the front and rear walls 92 and 94 at a point intermediate their upper and lower ends. Yet another horizontal reinforcing wall 108 may be interposed between this intermediate wall 106 and the roller-supporting wall 98. Preferably, the space between the roller-supporting wall 98 and the intermediate wall 106 will be sealed so as to provide a watertight compartment 110 for a purpose to be set forth hereinafter. A vent pipe 112 extends from the lower portion of this watertight compartment 110 to the upper end of the housing H for use in removing water accumulating in the compartment as by condensation.

As shown particularly in FIGURE l, a forwardly directed bracket 114 extends from the upper central portion of the housing H to the intermediate wall 106. A similar rearwardly directed bracket 116 is formed on the rear central portion of the housing. A pair of vertically aligned front mounting Wheels 120 are rotatably supported upon longitudinally extending shafts 122 interposed between the front bracket 114 and the front wall 84. Likewise a pair of vertically aligned rear mounting wheels 124 are rotatably supported upon longitudinally extending shafts 126 interposed between the rear bracket 116 and the rear wall S6. Outwardly of front mounting wheels 120 are rotatably mounted a vertically aligned pair of smaller mounting wheels 128. A pair of similar vertically aligned mounting wheels 130 are mounted outwardly of the rear wheels 124. These smaller mounting wheels 128 and 130 are rotatably supported between vertically extending plates 134 rigidly interconnected between the front and rear housing walls, the rollers being carried by transversely extending shafts 136. These smaller wheels 128 and y130 extend through slots 138 formed in the front and rear housing walls.

The front mounting Wheels 1Z0 are in rolling engagement with the inwardly facing webs 140l of a pair of vertically extending I-bearns 142 rigidly secured within the front corners of the trunk T. Similarly, the rear mounting wheels 124 are in rolling engagement with the inwardly facing webs 144 of a second pair of vertically extending I-beams 148 rigidly secured within the rear corners of the trunk T, as shown in FIGURE 3. With further reference to this figure, it will be observed that a pair of generally L-shaped elongated bars 15? are rigidly afxed as by welding to the inner rear portions of each of the front Lbeams 142. A similar pair of generally L-shaped bars 152 are rigidly aixed to the inner front portions of the rear Ibeams 148. The smaller mounting wheels 128 supported by the front portion of the housing H' have rolling engagement with the rearwardly facing surfaces 154 of the front bars 156; while the rear mounting wheels 130 have rolling engagement with the forwardly facing surfaces 156 of the rear bars 152. Accordingly, the I-beams and bars serve as vertically extending tracks in cooperation with the mounting wheels to permit the housing H to undergo vertical movement relative to the trunk T and thus the boat B.

As noted hereinabove, a watertight compartment 110 is formed in the housing H. When the housing is submerged the buoyancy of this watertight compartment serves to partially relieve the downwardly directed component of force which is applied to the guide rail R by the weight of the housing. With this arrangement, it is possible to employ a guide rail of lighter construction than would lbe the case where the housing was completely non-buoyant.

In the operation of the aforedescribed apparatus, boat B' will be urged forwardly through waterway under the influence of its propulsion device. During such forward movement the side rollers 92 and 94 will roll along the side surfaces 9S of the guide rail R while the top roller 100 will roll along the upper surface of the guide rails web 102 so as to maintain the boat in alignment with the rail. Preferably, the rollers 92, 94 and 100 will be formed of a non-metallic wear-resistant material such as neoprene in order that the action of the guide mechanism will be silent. Since the top roller 100 is free to caster about a vertical axis, it may follow the curvature of the guide rail R with a minimum amount of wear. The boat B is free to assume various vertical elevations relative to the guide rail R because of the rolling engagement of the mounting wheels 12), 124, 128 and 130 with the vertical tracks mounted in the trunk T. Preferably, in the interest of silence these wheels will be formed of a composition material rather than metal. This arrangement makes it unnecessary to carefully control the height of the water level in the waterway W relative to the guide rail R. Moreover, it will automatically compensate for the various displacements assumed by the boat with different loadings.

From the foregoing description it will be apparent that the boat guiding apparatus embodying the present invention is capable of affording a very realistic amusement boat ride. Boats equipped with this apparatus may traverse a tortuously curved path which could not possibly be negotiated by boats steered with a conventional rudder. Very few unknowing persons, however, can detect that the boat is not being guided by a conventional rudder. The provision of the boat guiding apparatus frees the boat operator from the necessity of steering the boat and accordingly, he may pay more attention to the safety of his passengers as well as their entertainment.

Various modifications and changes may be made with respect to the foregoing description without departing from the spirit of the invention or the scope of the following claims.

I claim:

l. Apparatus for guiding a self-powered boat along a predetermined course in a waterway, comprising: a horizontally extending guide rail submerged in said waterway and defining said predetermined course; a plurality of rollers that roll along said guide rail; a housing supporting said rollers and including buoyant means supporting a portion of the weight of said housing when the latter is submerged; and means securing said housing to said boat, said means permitting relative vertical movement between said boat and said housing.

2. Apparatus for guiding a self-powered boat along a predetermined course in a waterway, comprising: a horizontally extending guide rail submerged in said waterway and defining said predetermined course; a pair 0f side rollers engaged with the sides of said rail; a top roller engaged with the top of said rail; a housing supporting said guide rollers and formed with a watertight cornpartment supporting a portion of the weight of said housing when the latter is submerged; and means securing said housing to said boat, said means permitting relative vertical movement between said boat and said housing.

3. Apparatus for guiding a self-powered boat along a predetermined course in a waterway, comprising: a horizontally extending guide rail submerged in said waterway and defining said predetermined course; a plurality of guide rollers engaged with said guide rail; a housing supporting said guide rollers and formed with a watertight compartment supporting a portion of the weight of said housing when the latter is submerged; mounting means formed on said housing; and reception means formed on said Iboat and telescopically receiving said mounting means so as to permit relative vertical movement between said housing and said boat.

`4. Apparatus for guiding a self-powered boat along a predetermined course in a waterway, comprising: a horizontally extending guide rail submerged in said waterway and defining said predetermined course; a plurality of guide rollers engaged with said guide rail; a housing supporting said rollers on its lower portion; mounting wheel means secured to the upper portion of said housing; a sealed trunk formed in said boat; and vertically extending track means mounted in said trunk and engaged by said wheel means whereby said boat and said housing may undergo relative vertical movement.

5. Apparatus for guiding a self-powered boat along a predetermined course in a waterway, comprising: a horizontally extending guide rail submerged in said waterway and defining said predetermined course; a plurality of guide rollers engaged with said guide rail; a housing supporting said rollers on its lower portion and formed with a watertight compartment supporting a portion of the weight of said housing when the latter is submerged; mounting wheel means secured to the upper portion of said housing; a sealed trunk formed in said boat; and vertically extending track means mounted in said trunk and engaged by said wheel means whereby said boat and said housing may undergo relative vertical movement.

6. Apparatus for guiding a self-powered boat along a predetermined course in a waterway, comprising: a horizontally extending guide rail submerged in said waterway and defining said predetermined course, said guide rail having a pair of vertically extending side elements interconnected at a point below their upper ends by a horizontal web; a pair of rollers engaged with the outer surfaces of said side elements; a top roller engaged with the upper surface of said web; a housing supporting said guide rollers and formed with a watertight compartment supporting a portion of the weight of said housing when the latter is submerged; and means securing said housing to said boat, said means permitting relative vertical movement between said boat and said housing.

7. Apparatus for guiding a self-powered boat along a predetermined course in a waterway, comprising: a horizontally extending guide rail submerged in said waterway and defining said predetermined course, said guide rail having a pair of vertically extending side elements interconnected at a point below their upper ends by a horizontal web; a pair of rollers engaged with the outer surfaces of said side elements; a top roller engaged with the supper surface of said web; a housing supporting said guide rollers and formed with a watertight compartment supporting a portion of the weight of said housing when the latter is submerged; mounting means formed on said housing; and reception means formed on said boat and telescopically receiving said mounting means so as to permit relative vertical movement between said housing and said boat.

8. Apparatus for guiding a self-powered boat along a predetermined course in a waterway, comprising: a horizontally extending guide rail submerged in said waterway and defining said predetermined course, said guide rail having a pair of vertically extending side elements interconnected at a point below their upper ends by a horizontal web; a pair of rollers engaged with the outer surfaces of said side elements; a top roller engaged with the upper surface of said web; a housing supporting said rollers on its lower portion; mounting wheel means secured to the upper portion of said housing; a sealed trunk formed in said boat; and vertically extending track means mounted in said trunk and engaged by said wheel means whereby said boat and said housing may undergo relative vertical movement.

9. Apparatus for guiding a self-powered boat along a predetermined course in a waterway, comprising: a horizontally extending guide rail submerged in said water- Way and defining said predetermined course, said guide rail having a pair of vertically extending side elements interconnected at a point below their upper ends by a horizontal web; a pair of rollers engaged with the outer surfaces of said side elements; a top roller engaged with the upper surface of said web; a housing supporting said rollers on its lower portion; a watertight compartment formed in said housing supporting a portion of the weight of said housing when the latter is submerged; mounting wheel means secured to the upper portion of said housing; a sealed trunk formed in said boat; and vertically extending track means mounted in said trunk and engaged by said wheel means whereby said boat and said housing may undergo relative vertical movement.

10. Amusement apparatus for use in a waterway comprising: a horzontally extending guide rail submerged in said waterway and defining a predetermined course therein; a passenger-carrying boat; self-contained propulsion means on said boat; a pair of guide units, one being disposed at the front portion of said boat and the other being disposed at the rear portion of said boat, each of said guide units having a housing that includes buoyant means supporting a portion of the weight of said housing when the latter is submerged; roller means on said housing that engage said guide rail; mounting means formed on each of said housings; and reception means formed on said boat and telescopically receiving said mounting means so as to permit relative vertical movement between said housing and said boat,

No references cited.

Non-Patent Citations
Reference
1 *None
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Classifications
U.S. Classification104/71, 104/86
International ClassificationA63G3/00
Cooperative ClassificationA63G3/00
European ClassificationA63G3/00