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Publication numberUS3108810 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 29, 1963
Filing dateJul 19, 1962
Priority dateJul 19, 1962
Publication numberUS 3108810 A, US 3108810A, US-A-3108810, US3108810 A, US3108810A
InventorsJr Lee M Wiley
Original AssigneeJr Lee M Wiley
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Ball-race game apparatus
US 3108810 A
Abstract  available in
Images(1)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Oct. 29, 1963 w Y, JR 3,108,810

BALL-RACE GAME APPARATUS Filed July. 19, 1962 Fig. 2. x LEE M.W)LEY,JR.

XMZUMQ W United States Patent 3,108,810 BALL-RACE GAME APPARATUS Lee M. Wiley, In, 615 Whites Ave., Marion, Ind. Filed July 19, 1962, Ser. No. 210,943 4 Claims. (Cl. 273120) This invention relates generally to game apparatus and in particular to a game apparatus using a helically or spirally shaped track for balls which may be selectively removed from or deposited on the track by manually operated elements of the apparatus.

The apparatus of the present invention comprises a grooved track or race which is circular and declines in height along its length and is, therefore, of generally helical configuration. The lowest area and highest area of the track are joined by a motor-operated belt-type elevator which transports balls traveling the track from the low end of the track to the high end so that the game balls may travel repeatedly around the track. The traverse of the balls around the track may be selectively interru-pted by manual operation of a portion of the apparatus, this manually operated portion also providing for reinsertion into the race of game balls previously removed therefrom. There are several manually operated portions of the apparatus spaced at intervals about the track and each represents a player position. In general, the thesis of the game from a players standpoint is to capture (by removal from the track) certain of the game balls while avoiding accidental capture of others.

The primary object of the present invention is to provide a game apparatus which lends itself to the playing of games requiring a modicum of skill, alertness and visual acuity by the players.

This and other objects will become apparent as the description proceeds with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a game apparatus embodying the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a sectional view of one of the support members taken generally along the line 22 of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a sectional view of one of the support members taken generally along the line 3-3 of FIG. 1.

Referring to the drawings, the game apparatus comprises a generally helically shaped track, referred to generally at 10, which is trough or channel shaped in crosssectional configuration. The track is disposed so that the helical axis is vertical and the track itself is discontinuous, the high area of the track being indicated at 11 and the lower area of the track being indicated at 12. The channel shaped con-figuration of the track is such as to retain thereon game balls 13 which may progress along the track by gravity from the high to the lowest area of the track.

Any conventional means may be provided for continuously lifting the game balls from the lowest area to the high area of the track and as here disclosed this means comprises an externally ribbed conveyor belt 14 which is moved by drive sheave 16 and extends around an idler sheave 18. The drive sheave 16 is powered by a small electric motor 19, the vertically extending plates 21 providing bearing support for the idler sheave 18. As indicated in FIG. 1, as the balls arrive at the low area 12 of the track the ribbed belt serves to convey them to the high area 11 from whence the balls again traverse the track under the influence of gravity.

The downwardly spiralling track is supported'by a plurality of support members indicated generally at 22, 23 and 24. The support members 22, 23 and 24 are identical except that their height varies so as to maintain the helical configuration of the track. Referring to FIGS. 2 and 3, it will be evident that each of the support members includes a base 24, an upright element 26 and an upper member 27. The upper face of the member 27 is configurated so as to accommodate the primary track portion 10a. Adjacent the support member the primary track is elongated laterally to provide a track segment 28, a ridge 29 providing a barrier normally preventing game balls from moving sidewardly from the track area 10a into the track segment 28. It will be understood that while FIG. 2 shows the track segment 28 as being integral with the primary track, this track segment might take the form of a separate tube or channel joined t the margin of the primary'track.

A ball removal element is carried by each of the support members and includes a lever 31 pivotally mounted at 32 on the end face of the upright member 26. At its lower end the lever is urged in clockwise direction about its pivot by means of a compression spring 33 and the limit of such clockwise movement is defined by a screw head 34 which acts as a stop, the screw extending freely through an aperture in the lever 31 and being threaded into the base 24. The upper end of the lever 31 extends through an aperture 36 in the member 27, the aperture being sized so as to permit substantial pivotal movement of the lever. The tip of the lever 31 is flanged transversely as indicated at 37 so as to extend freely through an aperture 30 in the track portion 10a.

Referring to FIG. 3, it will be evident that an end portion of the track segment 28 is extended as indicated at 280: so as to overlie both the track segment 28 and the primary track portion 10a. Attached to the adjacent portion of the member 27 is a resilient blade 38 which has an intermediate portion 38a extending freely through a slot 39 in the track segment portion 28a. When, as illustrated in FIG. 3 the tip of the blade 38 is distorted and then released the portion 33a of the blade enters the adjacent track segment and provides an impulse which sidewardly displaces a game ball from the track segment back into the primary track portion. Both the ball return element described with reference to FIG. 3 and the ball removal element described with reference to FIG. 2 are manually operated by players whose position is established by the location of the support members 22, 23 and 24.

In operation, a series of distinctively marked balls may be introduced onto the track either by hand or by feeding from :a container in which the balls are randomly mixed. The balls then consecutively traverse the track 10 under the influence of gravity and certain balls may be captured selectively by manipulation of the lever 31 as illustrated in FIG. 2. The game balls may be returned to the track by manipulation of the blade 38 (FIG. 3) and the removal or capture and subsequent return of selected balls, according to the game rules (which themselves form no part of the present invention) requires manual dexterity and visual acuity which provide an entertaining challenge.

While the support element 23, identical with the support elements 22 and 24, is here described as being formed of a base plate 24 and upright 26 and on upper element 27, it will be understood that this assembly could take the form of a metal stamping and might be adjust-able in height so as to permit various placement of the support members around the track and to permit some variation in the slope of the track. While three support members have been shown in FIG. 1, it will be understood that more support members might be utilized particularly with a track of longer and wider extent than that shown.

While the invention has been disclosed and described in some detail in the drawings and foregoing description, they are to be considered as illustrative and not restrictive in character, :as other modifications may readily suggest themselves to persons skilled in this art and within the broad scope of the invention, reference being bad to the appended claims.

The invention claimed is:

l. A game apparatus comprising a generally helically shaped track disposed so that the helical axis is vertical and adapted to retain on the track game b-al-ls progressing by gravity from the high area of the track to its lowest area, means for continuously lifting the game balls from the said lowest area of the track to the said high area to accomplish repeated traverse of the track by the game balls, and support members for the track spaced along the length thereof and each defining a player position, a storage track segment carried by each of said support members in parallel adjacent relationship with said helically shaped track, a ball removal element carried by each of said support members including a portion manually movable into said helically shaped track for transversely displacing a game ball from said track into said track segment, and a ball return element carried by each of said support members including a port-ion manually movable into said track segment for transversely displacing a game ball from said segment to said thelically shaped track, whereby the game balls may be selectively transferred between said track and said segments as they move past said player positions.

2. A game apparatus comprising a generally circularly configurat-ed, discontinuous track having one end area elevated above the other end area and adapted to retain on the track game balls progressing by gravity from the high end area of the track to its low end area, means for continuously lifting the game balls from the said low end area of the track .to the said high end area to accomplish repeated traverse of the track by the game balls, and at least one support member for thetrack disposed along the length thereof and defining a player position, a storage track segment carried by said support member in adjacent relationship with said circular track, a ball removal element carried by said support member including a portion manually movable into said circular track for transversely displacing a game ball from said track into said track segment, and a ball return element carried by said support member including a portion manually movable into said track segment for transversely displacing a game ball from said segment to said circular track, whereby the game balls may be selectively transferred between said track and said segment as they move past said player position.

3. A game apparatus comprising a curved track having a high area and a low area and adapted to retain on the track game balls progressing by gravity from the high area of the track to its low area, and support members for the track spaced along the length thereof and each defining a player position, a storage track segment carried by each of said support members in adjacent relationship with said curved track, a ball removal element carried by each of said support members including a portion manually movable into said curved track for transversely displacing a game ball from said track into said track segment, and a ball return element carried by each of said support members including a portion manually movable into said track segment for transversely displacing a game ball from said segment to said curved track,.

ber for the track disposed along the length thereof and A defining a player position, a storage track segment carried by said support member in adjacent relationship with said curved track, a ball removal element carried by said support member including a portion manually movable into said curved track for transversely displacing a game ball from said track into said track segment, and a ball return element carried by said support member including a portion manually movable into said track segment for transversely displacing a game ball from said segment to said curved track, whereby the game balls may be selectively transferred between said track and said segment as they move past said player position.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,999,689 Litwinczuk a Sept. 12, 196i

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2999689 *Jul 24, 1959Sep 12, 1961Victor W LitwinczukPortable table bowling game
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3185479 *Dec 18, 1962May 25, 1965Ortega Charlotte CRing-type ball throwing and catching toy
US3233363 *Sep 5, 1962Feb 8, 1966Claude GuillemotRacing track apparatus having a raised guiding portion
US3514108 *Feb 26, 1969May 26, 1970Topper CorpRacing toy having manually manipulable vehicle propelling means
US3726476 *Jan 18, 1971Apr 10, 1973Mattel IncHelical track system
US4128949 *Mar 28, 1977Dec 12, 1978Mattel, Inc.Toy clock using marbles
US5120059 *Jan 31, 1991Jun 9, 1992Williams Electronics Games, Inc.Rotary serial play feature
US5322283 *Feb 22, 1993Jun 21, 1994Williams Electronics Games, Inc.Rotary ball receptacle for a pinball game
US5335910 *Jul 13, 1993Aug 9, 1994Premier TechnologyPinball machine having a conveyor belt ball lift
US5800240 *May 31, 1996Sep 1, 1998Jackson; Douglas L.Marble race toy with elevator and supporting infrastructure
US5855501 *Dec 30, 1997Jan 5, 1999Dah Yang Toy Industrial Co., LtdCirculating toy assembly
US6508179 *Feb 8, 2002Jan 21, 2003Mattel, Inc.Unpowered toy vehicle play set
US7946903May 24, 2011Mattel, Inc.Wheeled toy vehicles and playsets for use therewith
US8465339Jun 18, 2013Mattel, Inc.Wheeled toy vehicles and playsets for use therewith
US20080032596 *May 4, 2007Feb 7, 2008David SheltmanWheeled toy vehicles and playsets for use therewith
US20080171491 *May 4, 2007Jul 17, 2008David SheltmanWheeled toy vehicles and playsets for use therewith
US20110223829 *Sep 15, 2011Mattel, Inc.Wheeled toy vehicles and playsets for use therewith
Classifications
U.S. Classification273/120.00R, 273/123.00R, 446/171
International ClassificationA63F7/02, A63H18/08, A63D15/00
Cooperative ClassificationA63F7/3622
European ClassificationA63F7/36D