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Publication numberUS3206196 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 14, 1965
Filing dateNov 27, 1962
Priority dateNov 27, 1962
Publication numberUS 3206196 A, US 3206196A, US-A-3206196, US3206196 A, US3206196A
InventorsCarl E Jackson
Original AssigneeCarl E Jackson
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Target device
US 3206196 A
Abstract  available in
Images(3)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Sept. 14, 1965 c. E. JACKSON 3,206,196

TARGET DEVICE Filed Nov. 27, 1962 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 Fig. 2 30 Carl E'. Jackson INVENTOR.

BY MM 25% P 1965 c. E. JACKSON 3,206,196

TARGET DEVICE Filed Nov. 27, 1962 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 Fig. 3

$2 44 Fig. 6

E j 52 30 j 56 Carl E Jackson 28 I 24 INVENTOR.

BY 91... v

(Fwy M np 14, 1965 c. E. JACKSON 3,206,196

' TARGET DEVICE Filed Nov. 27, 1962 5 s t 5 3 /6 [231E369 mu l I! x (I Carl E Jackson INVENTOR.

United States Patent 3,206,196 TARGET DEVICE Carl E. Jackson, 537 Locust St., Perry, Okla. Filed Nov. 27, 1962, Ser. No. 240,252 15 Claims. (Cl. 27326) This invention generally relates to a target device and more specifically to a target device at which baseballs may be thrown and the accuracy of the hit upon the target recorded in a suitable manner.

In brief, the invention comprises a device comprising a strike zone and a ball zone. Upon a ball entering either of these two zones, a visual indication of the quality of the pitch will be given. Further, the invention comprises an elastically supported net disposed in front of and in close proximity to the strike zone and ball zone of the device whereupon a ball striking the same will be returned to the pitcher without any additional effort on his part. The target device further comprises novel means whereby after a visual indication of either three strikes or four balls, another pitch of the quality of a strike or ball respectively, will automatically cancel the visual indication and actuate the target device to begin registering for another series of pitches.

It is accordingly an object of the invention to provide a target device for testing the skill of a baseball pitcher and visually indicating the quality of a thrown pitch.

A still further object resides in features of the target device wherein the thrown pitch is automatically returned to the pitcher.

A still further object is to provide a device of the character indicated wherein automatic means are provided for cancelling the visual indication of the qualities of pitches thrown and reset the device for another series of pitches.

An additional object of the invention is to provide a device of the character set forth which is comparatively simple in construction, relatively inexpensive to manufacture yet effective and efficient in use.

These together with other objects and advantages which will become subsequently apparent reside in the details of construction and operation as more fully hereinafter described and claimed, reference being had to the accompanying drawings forming a part hereof, wherein like numerals refer to like parts throughout, and in which:

FIGURE 1 is a front elevational view of the target device and visual indication system.

FIGURE 2 is a top plan view of the device shown in FIGURE 1.

FIGURE 3 is a sectional view of the target device and visual indication system taken on line 3-3 of FIGURE 1.

FIGURE 4 is a sectional view taken substantially on the line 44 of FIGURE 3 and illustrating the backboard and spring switch arms incorporated in the present invention.

FlGURE 5 is a schematic diagram for the electrical circuit for the visual indication system and further shows means for automatically resetting the device for the next series of pitches.

FIGURE 6 is a diagrammatic schematic diagram simulating the switch arrangement of the target device.

Referring more particularly to the drawings, wherein the same numerals indicate like parts throughout the several views shown, the numeral 10 generally designates the target device which comprises the subject matter of the instant invention. The target device is supported upon suitable legs 12 and 14 which are rigidly attached to a backboard 16. Mounted upon said backboard 16 are two sets of visual indicating means of light banks 18 and 20. There are three lights in the series 18, each one of which indicates a pitch which is the quality of a strike.

3,206,196 Patented Sept. 14, 1965 There are four lights in the series 20 each one of which designates the pitch thrown as a ball. It is readily apparent that this lighting arrangement simulates the greatest number of pitches which may be thrown to any one batter before disposing of him either by a walk or strikeout.

Also mounted on the backboard 16, are a series of bolts 22 arranged in a rectangular pattern upon the backboard. Said bolts 22 are threaded as indicated at 24 and cooperate with threaded apertures in the backboard to vary the longitudinal extent of the bolts on the front side of the backboard. Mounted at the front end of the bolts 22 is a frame 26 formed of tubular material, and substantially rectangular in shape. Suspended from spaced portions of said frame 26 are a plurality of elastic bands 28. Attached to the elastic bands 28 is a nylon or cord netting generally designated as 30, suitably tensioned so that upon being struck by a baseball, the net will be forced backward initially, but will rebound to its original position under the urging of the elastic bands 28 thereby returning the baseball from where it came. It should be noted that the net may be longitudinally adjusted with respect to the backboard by means of the threaded portions of the supporting bolts 22 cooperating with the backboard.

Interdisposed between the netting and the backboard is a ball zone plate 32 having a centrally disposed square aperture 34 cut therein. Said ball zone plate 32 is sus pended from the backboard 16 by means of bolts 36 and is slidably disposed thereon. The ball zone plate 32 is substantially rectangular in shape and overlies a series of vertically and horizontally spaced resilient spring switch arms 38. Said switch arms 38 are attached to the backboard 16 by means of a bolt 40 mounting the switch arms 38 on the backboard 16. Interdisposed between the backboard and switch arms 38 is an insulating block 42 which is also retained against the backboard by means of the bolts 40. Said bolts 40 also serve as contact elements of a circuit and there are two such elements on each insulator block 42 for the purpose hereinafter described. The ball zone plate 32 is adapted to be displaced longitudinally with respect to the backboard 16 upon being struck by a baseball. Mounted and encircling each of the supporting bolts 36 of the ball zone plate 32 are coil springs 44, whereupon the ball zone plate being displaced longitudinally towards the backplate 16, the coil springs 44 return the ball zone plate to its initial position. Upon its backward movement, due to being struck by a baseball, the plate 32 will urge the resilient spring arm 38 which is adjacent the area of baseball contact with the ball zone plate, backwards, simultaneously closing a circuit by bridging normally open contacts or bolts 40 which form a part of said circuit. This circuit, as will hereinafter be described, actuates the visual indication means of the ball series to indicate a pitch of that quality. It should be noted that the ball after making contact with the ball zone plate 32 which in turn compresses the spring arm 38 to bridge the contacts 40, will be returned to the pitcher due to the elasticity of the net 38.

Disposed rearwardly of the rectangular aperture 34 in the ball zone plate 32, but spaced in front of the backboard 16 is a strike zone plate 46. Said strike Zone plate 46 is mounted upon the backboard for relative movement in respect thereto by means of threaded bolts 48 which also receive encircling coil springs 50 so that upon the longitudinal displacement of the strike zone plate 46 relative to the backboard 16 by means of sliding said plate upon the bolts 48, the'coil springs 50 will return the same to its normal position. Upon being urged rearwardly by a baseball entering the strike zone, the plate 46 urges a resilient spring arm 52 rearwardly to bridge contacts 54 mounting said spring arm on the backboard. Said contacts or bolts 54 are separated from the resilient spring arm except at the point of contact by means of an insulating block 56, upon which the spring arm is mounted. Upon the spring arm 52 bridging contacts 54 a suitable electrical circuit is closed to indicate a pitch of the strike quality upon the visual indicating means 18. It should be noted that the net 30 is suitably tensioned so that a baseball striking the net may also strike the strike zone plate 46 and move the same rearwardly and then due to the elastic force of the net 30 the baseball may be returned to the pitcher.

Attention is directed to FIGURE wherein the novel circuitry for connecting the ball zone plate and strike zone plate to the visual indicating means is depicted. Said circuit comprises strike zone switch 52 and an illustrative ball zone switch 38. The switch 52 is connected in a line 58 which is attached to a solenoid 60. The solenoid 60 has another conductor 62 extending therefrom and connected to conductor 64. The conductor 64 is attached to a battery 66, and another conductor 68 extends from the battery 66 to a manual switch 70. The switch 70 is normally closed and disposed in a line 72 leading to a solenoid 74. The switch 70 also connects line'58, which contains strike zone switch 52 to the battery 66 as well as connecting line 76 which contains ball zone switch 38. The line 76 is connected to another solenoid 78, which has a conductor 80 extending therefrom to the line 64. The solenoids 60 and 78 have armatures 82 and 84 extending therefrom. Pivotally mounted upon armature 82 is a pawl 86, and pivotally mounted upon the armature 84 is a pawl 88. The pawls 86 and 88 are normally engaged with ratchet teeth 90 disposed on gears 92 and 94. The gears 92 and 94 each has a cam member 96 formed integral therewith and cooperating with the cam member 96 on the gear 92 is a movable conductor 98. In contact with the cam member 96 on the gear 94 is a movable conductor 100. The conductor 98 is adapted to make contact upon movement with a series of contact points 102, and the movable conductor 100 is adapted to make contact with a second series of contact points 104. Each one of said contact points 102, except for the last one in this series is connected with an indicating lamp 106 in the visual indicating means 18. Each lamp 106 is also connected to the line 64. Similarly, each one of the contact points 104, except for the last one of the series is connected to lamp indicating means 108 of the visual indicating means 20. Each one of said lamps is also connected to the line 64 therefore putting it in series with the battery 66. The visual indicating means for the individual lamps are actuated as follows: upon a strike being thrown, resilient switch arm 52 will be closed. This will cause current to flow from the battery 66 through line 68, manual switch 70, conductor 58 through solenoid 60, line 64 and thus back to the battery 66. As noted this will actuate the solenoid 60. Upon being actuated, the armature 82 will be retracted, thus raising the pawl 86 vertically and moving the gear 92 one increment by means of the pawl having contact with the ratchet teeth 90 thereon. This will cause cam member 96 to engage movable conductor 98 which will be connected to the first contact point 102 of the strike series. A circuit will thus be established from battery 66 through conductor 68, through closed manual switch 70 through line 52, movable conductor 98, point contact 102 through the first lamp 106 in the strike visualizing means back through conductor 64 to the battery 66. After switch 52 is opened due to the baseball being returned to the pitcher, solenoid 60 will be deactuated moving the pivotal pawl to engage beneath the next ratchet tooth 90 and hold the gear 92 in its incrementally adjusted position. For each subsequent strike thrown, this action will be repeated, and the movable conductor 98 will be advanced another increment causing the first contact point 102 to engage the next succeeding contact 102 closing the circuit to the next strike indicating lamp 106. In a similar manner, on closing of a ball switch arm 38 solenoid 78 will be actuated, thus moving the gear 94 through means of pawl 88 cooperating with ratchet teeth one increment causing movable conductor to make contact with the first point contact in series 104 thus actuating the lamp indicating means 108 in the ball visualization series 20.

An automatic control has been provided, wherein a fourth strike or a fifth ball pitched will automatically clear the visual indication means to make the same responsive to a next series of pitches. This means comprises solenoid 74 which has an armature 110 which is adapted to contact a laterally extending pin 112 on each of the gears 92, 94 when the pins have been sufficiently rotated to a position adjacent the armature 110 due to the incremental movement of the gears. This occurs after three strikes have been indicated or four balls. The last point contact 102 and 104 of each series are connected by a conductor 114. The conductor 114 is also connected to the solenoid 74 by means of a conductor 116. Upon a fourth strike closing switch 52 the gear 92 will be caused to move movable conductor 98 another increment thereby connecting last point contact 102 to the battery 66, whereupon a circuit is completed actuating solenoid 74. This circuit extends from battery 66 to conductor 68, manual switch 70, line 72, through solenoid 74 out through line 116 through point contact 102 to conductor 98 to line 52 to solenoid 60 back through line 64 to the battery. This will cause the armature 110 to be extended striking pins 112, causing them to be rotated in reverse rotation to the above described incremental movement. The force of the armature 110 striking the pins 112 is suflicient to overcome the retainment of the ratchet teeth by pawls 86 and 88 and will pivot the pawls to a non-engaged position. When the armature 110 is withdrawn after a short time delay pawls 86 and 88 engage between the ratchet teeth to therefore condition the circuit for the next series of pitches. Likewise, when a fifth ball is pitched, movable conductor 100 is caused to move to place the last point contact 104 in the series in circuit and also actuate solenoid 74 to extend armature 110. This circuit extends to the battery 66 to conductor 68, manual switch 70, line 72 through solenoid 74, line 116, line 114 to point contact 104, conductor 100, line 76, solenoid 78, line 80 and back to the battery through line 64. It should also be noted, that the pitcher may turn off the visual indication means by simply opening manual switch 70 and thus disconnecting the visual indicating means from the source of electrical energy.

FIGURE 6 indicates generally a schematic diagram simulating the location of the various switches on the backboard 16. For example, each ball switch arm 38 comprises a pair of contacts 122 and strike zone switch arm 52 a pair of contacts 124. All of said switches communicate through an automatic control box 120 which contains circuitry similar to that shown in FIGURE 5, to actuate the various lamp indicating means.

The operation of the target device may be briefly summarized as follows: a

A ball is pitched and strikes the netting 30 adjacent a ball zone or the strike zone. The netting is deflected and the ball continues its rearward flight striking either ball zone plate 34 or strike zone plate 36. This causes the depression of a resilient spring switch arm which in turn closes a circuit which will give a visual indication of the quality of the pitch. The pitched ball, due to the elasticity of the netting will be returned to the pitcher. Upon the recordation of three pitched strikes or four pitched balls another pitched strike or ball respectively will automatically clear the visual indication means and condiii01I11 the circuit thereof for a next series of pitched baseba s.

The foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described, and accordingly all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention as claimed.

What is claimed as new is as follows:

1. A target device for simulating a baseball strike and ball zone comprising a backboard, a ball zone plate reciprocally mounted on the backboard and including a centrally located rectangular aperture formed therein, a strike zone plate reciprocally mounted on the backboard and disposed between said ball zone plate and backboard and in alignment with the aperture in the ball zone plate whereby pitched baseballs having the quality of a strike will pass through the rectangular aperture in the ball zone plate and contact the strike zone plate or otherwise a pitched ball will contact the ball zone plate thereby causing one of the plates to reciprocate, means for returning the baseball to the pitcher mounted on the backboard in alignment and at least conterminous with the outer periphery of said ball zone plate whereby the pitched ball will contact said means for returning the ball prior to contacting either of said plates, visual indication means for indicating the quality of the pitch as a strike or ball and means responsive to the reciprocation of the ball zone plate and strike zone plate for evaluating the quality of the pitch and actuating the visual indication means.

2. The structure of claim 1 wherein said evaluating means further includes means for automatically cancelling the visual indication after the registering of three strikes or four balls.

3. The structure of claim 1 wherein said means for returning the baseball to the pitcher includes a net disposed in front of the ball zone plate and strike zone plate and elastic means mounting the net upon the backboard Whereby the net will move rearwardly upon being struck by a baseball and revert to its initial position throwing the baseball back to the pitcher.

4. The structure of claim 3 wherein the net is adjustable to vary the distance between it and the ball zone and strike zone plates.

5. The structure of claim 1 wherein said visual indication means comprises two banks of lights, the first bank including three lights simulating three strikes and the second bank including four lights simulating four balls.

6. The structure of claim 1 wherein said evaluating means comprises a plurality of normally open ball zone and strike zone switches adapted to be closed upon reciprocal movement of said ball zone plate or strike zone plate and electrical circuit means responsive to the closing of said switches to actuate the visual indication means.

7. The structure of claim 6 wherein said electrical circuit means further includes two series of point contacts, each of the point contacts except the last in each series being electrically connected to the visual indication means, a source of electrical energy electrically connected to a movable conductor associated with each series of point contacts and means for engaging said point contacts with its associated movable conductor thereby actuating the visual indication means, said means being activated by the closing of the ball zone or strike zone switches.

8. The structure of claim 7 wherein said last named means comprises a pair of rotatable ratchet gears each having a cam portion adapted upon rotation of said gears to move said movable conductors into engagement with said series of point contacts, pawls cooperating with the ratchet teeth on said gears and adapted to rotate said gear a small increment and electrical means for moving said pawls thereby rotating said gears, said means being activated upon the closing of the ball zone or strike zone switches.

9. The structure of claim 6 wherein said electrical circuit means further includes a manually operated switch to deactivate the visual indication means.

10. The structure of claim 1 wherein the ball zone plate and strike zone plate are reciprocally mounted upon the backboard by means of compression springs.

11. A target device for simulating a baseball strike and ball zone comprising a backboard; a ball zone plate reciprocally mounted on the backboard and including a centrally located rectangular aperture formed therein; a strike zone plate reciprocally mounted on the backboard and disposed between said ball zone plate and backboard and in alignment with the aperture in the ball zone plate whereby pitched baseballs having the quality of a strike will pass through the rectangular aperture in the ball zone plate and contact the strike zone plate or otherwise a pitched ball will contact the ball zone plate thereby causing one of the plates to reciprocate; means mounted on the backboard for returning the baseball to the pitcher, visual indication means for indicating the quality of the pitch as a strike or ball; means for evaluating the quality of the pitch and actuating the visual indication means including a plurality of normally open ball zone and strike zone switches adapted to be closed upon reciprocal movement of said ball zone plate or strike zone plate, two series of point contacts having each contact except the last in each series electrically connected with said visual indication means, a movable conductor connected with a source of electrical energy and associated with each series of point contacts, a pair of rotatable ratchet gears each having a cam portion thereon adapted upon rotation of said gears to move said movable contacts into engagement with their associated series of point contacts, pawls cooperable with the ratchet gears to rotate said gears in increments, electrical means activated by the closing of the ball zone or strike zone switches for moving said pawls and thereby rotate said gears; and, means for automatically cancelling the visual indication after the registering of three strikes or four balls, said means including a pin rigidly attached to each said ratchet gear, electrically activated means adapted to engage said pins to rotate said gears in a direction opposite to their previous incremental rotation thereby moving said cam portion out of engagement with said movable conductor whereby said point contacts are released and the established electrical circuit is broken.

12. A target device for simulating a baseball strike zone comprising a backboard, a strike zone plate reciprocally mounted on the backboard, means mounted on the backboard for returning a thrown baseball to the pitcher in alignment and at least conterminous with said strike zone plate whereby the pitched ball contacts said means for returning the ball prior to contacting said plate, visual indication means for indicating the quality of the pitch as a strike and means responsive to the reciprocation of the strike zone plate for evaluating the quality of the pitch and actuating the visual indication means, said last mentioned means including means for automatically cancelling the visual indication after the registration of three strikes.

13. The target device of claim 12 wherein said means for returning the baseball to the pitcher includes a net disposed in front of said strike zone plate and a frame peripherally supporting said net mounted on said backboard and adjustable relative thereto, whereby said net can be moved toward or away from said strike zone plate.

14. The target device of claim 15 wherein said means for automatically cancelling said visual indication includes a point contact in said series of point contacts and means electrically connected with said point contact for moving said movable contact out of engagement with said series of point contacts upon closing of said point contact whereupon said lights are de-energized.

15. The target device of claim 12 wherein said visual indication means includes three lights; a series of point contacts having each point contact electrically connected with a respective light; a movable conductor associated with said series of point contacts and electrically connected with a source of electrical energy; switch means operable in response to reciprocating movement of said 7 8 strike zone plate; and, means for moving said movable a References Cited by the Examiner conductor into engagement with said point contacts in V UNITED STATES PATENTS response to actuation of said switch means, whereby each vof said lights is lighted sequentially in response to a 1O18409 2/12 Culp 273-403 X 2,251,305 8/41 Tarbox 273-1022 pltched baseball striking said strike zone plate and re- 5 3 104 874 9/63 Slimovitz mains lighted until de-energized by said means for autoy matically cancelling the visual indication. RICHARD C PINKHAM, Primary Examiner

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3672672 *Jan 20, 1971Jun 27, 1972New York Toy CorpBall rebound device
US3706451 *Dec 3, 1970Dec 19, 1972Jack R DixonTarget type scoring device
US3764143 *Sep 7, 1971Oct 9, 1973E TakahashiTarget apparatus including a plurality of mesh layers and sensors on each layer
US3972531 *Nov 29, 1974Aug 3, 1976Knapp Jimmie LIndicating target for projectiles
US4148555 *Jul 25, 1977Apr 10, 1979Martin Yale Industries, Inc.Target with score indicator
US4199141 *Mar 27, 1978Apr 22, 1980Garcia Abril IBaseball pitching scoring apparatus
US4216968 *Oct 11, 1978Aug 12, 1980David YeedaSelf-scoring multiple function dart game
US4258924 *Jul 30, 1979Mar 31, 1981Ketchum John LSoccer training apparatus
US4390181 *Apr 8, 1980Jun 28, 1983Parish Max MPractice pitching apparatus
US4553751 *Nov 2, 1984Nov 19, 1985Ketchum John LRebound apparatus
US5046729 *Sep 12, 1990Sep 10, 1991Yancey William EBaseball pitchers practice target
US5222731 *Jun 28, 1991Jun 29, 1993Toshimitsu HanabusaDevice for catching a ball
US5820496 *Jun 6, 1997Oct 13, 1998Sportronics Holdings, Inc.Backstop system for measuring position, velocity, or trajectory
US7399241Jul 21, 2006Jul 15, 2008Thomas Sr Robert LPitch training system
US20030064837 *Oct 1, 2001Apr 3, 2003Chih-Hao YiuDevice for detecting speed and position of balls
USD764617 *Apr 2, 2015Aug 23, 2016Dead On Sports LLCGolf training aid
Classifications
U.S. Classification473/435
International ClassificationA63B63/00
Cooperative ClassificationA63B2024/004, A63B63/00
European ClassificationA63B63/00