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Publication numberUS3248008 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 26, 1966
Filing dateSep 3, 1964
Priority dateSep 3, 1964
Publication numberUS 3248008 A, US 3248008A, US-A-3248008, US3248008 A, US3248008A
InventorsErnest Meierjohan
Original AssigneeErnest Meierjohan
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Golf ball dispenser or the like
US 3248008 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

April 26, 1966 E. MEIERJOHAN 3,248,003

GOLF BALL DISPENSER OR THE LIKE Filed Sept. 5, 1964 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 n H". Ullm. I 144 WI 10* I" I}! t 44 I2" L 76 I 32 i so I 7 ml 36 W44 48 44 26 64 52 FIG. 2

INVENTOR ERNEST MEIERJOHAN ATTORNEY April 26, 1966 E. MEIERJOHAN 3,

GULF BALL DISPENSER OR THE LIKE Filed Sept. 5, 1964 2 Sheets-Sheqt 2 INVENTOR.

, ERNEST MEIERJOHAN ATTORNEY GOLF BALLDISPENSER OR THE LIKE Ernest Meierjohan, 3342'Hanna, Cincinnati, Ohio Filed Sept. 3, 1964, Ser. No. 394,185 12 Claims. (Cl. 221205) example, the dispenser may serve as a reservoir into which golf balls may be dumped at random, vibrated to assure an even flow, and fed promptly to a supply conduit or station at which the balls may be presented in uninterrupted succession, for use as driving practice balls at a driving range or the like;

In connection with any device of the character stated, profitable operation requires that the balls be supplied to the user or player without waste of time, and certainly without the annoyance of failure of the ball feed mechanism. In the past, efiorts to mechanically feed golf balls from a hopper to the hands of a player, or to a T, encountered various difficulties which, as I have discovered, resulted from a peculiar tendency of the balls to cling to one another and resist rearrangement when in contact with one another within a hopper. Thus, in the absence of an eifective form of agitation within the hopper, the balls contained therein would not readily rearrange themselves to induce dependable flow of balls from the hopper to a delivery chute or conduit leading to the players station. In fact, it was common for the balls to form one or more arches within the hopper, as indicated at X upon FIG. 1, to block gravitation of the balls toward the hopper discharge port, and thereby defeat the objective of constantly and dependably maintaining a supply of balls accessible to the player or user. a

An object of the present invention is to provide a dispenser of balls or spherical objects, which will feed balls from a hopper or reservoir to a delivery port, with unfailing dependability and despatch.

Another object is to provide apparatus for the purpose stated, which is simple and foolproof, and which requires no attention in the course of operation, to maintain an adequate supply of balls at its delivery station,

A further object of the invention is to provide an improved ball dispenser which may be quickly and easily charged with balls at any time during its operating period, and which will arrange and feed the balls fashion without damaging the balls.

The foregoing and other objects are attained by the means described herein and illustrated upon the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a vertical cross-sectional view of the improved ball dispenser, showing a quantity of balls supported within the hopper portion thereof, the balls having been poured into the hopper portion from a bucket or other container.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the ball dispenser, part of a sidewall being broken away to expose interior construction.

FIG. 3 is a fragmentary enlarged cross-section taken on line 3-3 of FIG. 1.

FIGS. 4, 5 and 6, are enlarged detail views of a ball feed wheel and associated agitator, these being illustrated in various phases of operation in the several views.

With particular reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, the numeral denotes a housing having side, end, and bottom walls 12, 14 and 16 respectively. Walls 12 preferably are in orderly United States Patent 0 spaced apart a distance slightly in excess of the diameter of a ball B, FIG. 3. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the upper portion of housing 10 is flared outwardly to provide an enlarged funnel-like throat 20 3,248,008 Patented Apr. 26, 1966 facilitating pouring of balls into the housing from a bucket or other container. A lid or door 22 suitably hinged upon the housing at 24, may control access to the interior of the housing.

At a lower corner of housing 10, a ball delivery port 26 may direct balls from the housing to a delivery conduit or tube 28, which leads to a remote players station or possibly to a T that sets up a ball for play. Balls fed into the delivery conduit or tube 28 may accumulate therein, one behind another, so that a continuous succession of balls is presented at the players station, preferably by gravity advancement. Means are provided for adequately feeding balls to tube 28 as balls are removed therefrom at the players station.

The ball feed may comprise a motor-driven feed wheel 30, and a cooperating vibratory shelf or inclined support 32 which carries the weight of most of the balls in housing 10. Shelf 32 may consist of an elongate strip of metal or other suitable material, having a rear end 34 mounted upon an end wall 14 of the housing, and a forward terminal end 36 projecting toward and terminating short of the opposite end wall of the housing. The end 34 may be resilient at the location 38, or may be otherwise adapted,-to hinge the shelf for movement of terminal end 36 in a vertical plane. Preferably, the shelf is yieldingly biased rather strongly toward a stop 40 with a forceful snap action and thereby re-arrange the balls above it to break any cohesion or arching tendency such as is indicated at X, FIG. 1.

Shelf 32 may carry .a depending reinforcing rib 42 to stiffen the shelf between hinge portion 38 and its terminal end 36. The width of the shelf is less than the distance between the side walls 12 of the housing, so that the shelf may move freely between the side walls. Spacers as indicated at 44 may be employed to maintain a fixed spacing of the housing side walls from one another. In the example illustrated, the numerals 46 denote rivets or equivalent fasteners for mounting the shelf upon housing wall 14.

The terminal end 36 of shelf 32 approaches, but does not reach,-that end wall of the housing which includes the port 26. Intermediate said end wall and the terminal end of the shelf, the housing supports a transverse rotary shaft 48 disposed at an elevation lower than the shelf end 36, and upon said shaft is fixed the feed wheel 30. A motor 50 disposed exteriorly of the housing, drives shaft 48 and wheel 30 constantly at slow speed, in the direction indicated by arrow'52.

Feed wheel 30 may be considered a star wheel in the sense that it includes a plurality of peripheral lobes 54 separated from one another by valleys, recesses or depressions 56. The valleys, recesses or depression-s 56 may be formed on an arc corresponding substantially with the arcuacy of a portion of ball B (see FIG. 4); As the feed wheel rotates, the lobes thereof agitate the balls in an upward direction so as to preclude jamming of the balls against the end wall of housing 10. The halls, however, are free to gravitate past the feed wheel and into delivery port 26; since the lobes of the feed wheel are spaced from the adjacent end wall 14 of the housing a distance greater than the diameter of a ball.

Means are provided for imparting to shelf 32 a succession of forceful snap actions in a downward direction, to break any cohesion or arching tendency of the balls within the hopper capable of interrupting a steady flow of balls past the feed wheel and into the delivery port. Such means may be activated by the feed wheel or its drive shaft, and may comprise a plurality of shelf lifters each in the form of a lever 60 pivoted upon the feed wheel radially outwardly from shaft 48. Each lever has an inner end portion 61 pivoted at 62 upon the feed wheel, and the outer end of each lever may carry an anti-friction roller 64 adapted to contact and lift an arcuate cam follower 66 connected to the shelf 32 near its terminal end 36 by means of an extension finger 32a secured at one end to the shelf 32 and extending forwardly therefrom and having the cam follower fixed to its other end.

In FIG. 6, none of the lifters 60 are in contact with cam follower 66, wherefore shelf 32 is disposed in the fully lowered or home position against stop 40. It may be noted that lifter 60 at the left of shaft 48 in FIG. 6, extends radially and rests upon a stop 68 fixed upon wheel 30. Clockwise rotation of wheel 30 will bring the roller cam-ming 64 to the FIG. 4 position, at which roller 64 strikes the leading edge 70 of cam follower 66, thereby to elevate the shelf 32 relative to stop 40 and cause the shelf to lift many of the balls within housing 10.

Continued rotation of feed wheel 30 places the lifter roller 64 at the FIG. 5 position, where the roller is about to leave the trailing end 72 of cam follower 66. As the roller passes off the cam follower end 72, it will suddenly drop about pivot 62 to the broken line position 74, permitting shelf 32 to snap down to home position as shown by broken lines in FIG. 5, the snap action being augmented by the spring section 38 of the shelf mounting. The displaced lifter, having dropped to the inoperative position 74, is stopped against the abutment 68. Rotation of the lifter about its pivot 62 may be limited to about 90 degfees, by the stop or abutment 68.

As the feed wheel 30 continues to rotate, lifter 60 will be picked up by stop 68" for restoring the lifter to radial position (see lifter 60 at the left of shaft 48 in FIGS. 5 and 6), thereby placing the lifter in operative position to again actuate the cam follower 66.

From the foregoing, it is apparent that a snap-action movement is imparted to shelf 32, following each traverse of cam 66 by a lifter 60. The number of lifters may be varied, and coordinated with the speed of rotation of feed wheel 30, as desired. It is important, however, that the lifters leave the cam suddenly at, the trailing end 72 in order to produce a form of agitation capable of breaking.

the inherent arching and cohering tendency of the ball compilation. It is desirable also that the shelf be returned to home position by spring action or other forceful means,

the shelf end 36 and feed Wheel 30 during the. operating period. The bafile slopes from the housing end Wall downwardly toward the shelf, and has a free end 80 which is spaced from the shelf sutficiently to permit passage of several courses of balls to the restricted zone 78. By this means, the feed wheel and the terminal end 36 of shelf 32 are relieved of the strain of agitating and displacing the weight of the many balls within the hopper during rotation of the feed wheel, and the freedom of ball movement provided by zone 78 assures an easy flow of balls past the feed wheel and into delivery port 26. The arrangement definitely eliminates the arching depicted at X in FIG. 1 while the apparatus is in operation.

In FIG. 3, the numeral 80 indicates a bearing carried by one of the housing side walls, to support an end of drive shaft 48. Such hearing may or may not be needed, depending upon the adequacy of the drive motor to support the feed wheel without the assistance of exterior shaft bearings, as will be understood. The shelf stop or bumper 40 may be formed of rubber or other resilient material, if desired.

It is to be understood that various modifications and changes may be made in the structural details of the device,

within the scope of the appended claims, without departing from the spirit of the invention.

What is claimed is:

1. A golf ball dispenser comprising in combination:

a hollow housing to receive and store a supply of balls,

said housing having a pair of end walls, a pair of side walls, and a bottom wall; means for introducing balls into the housing means spacing the side Walls from one another a distance approximating the diameter of a ball with clearance sufiicient for free gravitation of the balls and an opposite terminal end directed at an inclination downwardly toward and terminating short of said one end wall, forming a space for passage of a ball; means flexibily supporting the base end of the shelf upon the housing for movement of the terminal end in parallelism with the housing side walls; a rotary ball feed wheel disposed between the discharge port and the downwardly directed terminal end of the shelf with the major part thereof lying below the plane of said shelf and also lying in its major part beyond and spaced from said terminal end of the shelf whereby the balls roll in a row along the surface of the shelf and onto the top of the periphery of the wheel to pass thereover and downwardly through i said space, means for rotating said wheel; and means for periodically elevating the terminal end of the shelf in parallelism with the housing side walls, to agitate and. break up bridging of the balls thereon between the shelf and said end wall. 7

2.,The combination as set forth in claim 1, wherein the last-mentioned means includes means operative to induce sudden lowering of the terminal end of the shelf following each elevating movement thereof.

3. The device as set forth in claim 1, wherein the. aforesaid means for periodically lifting and suddenly releasing the terminal end of the ball support shelf is in part carried by the feed wheel.

4. A ball dispenser comprising} in combination: a

hollow housing to receive and store a supply of balls,

said housing having a pair of end walls, a pair of side walls, and an upper charging opening, said sidewalls being spaced apart a distance approximating the diameter of a ball with clearance suflicient for free gravitation of 1 the balls between said side walls, said housing having a lower ball discharge port dimensioned to pass balls in succession from the housing; an elongate ball-supporting shelf within the housing and having terminal end movable between the side walls of the housing in parallelism therewith toward and from the ball discharge port; a rotary ball feed wheel having peripheral spaced lobes,

said wheel being disposed between the discharge port and the terminal end of the shelf, with the lobes exposed to contact with the balls; means for rotating the ball feed 1 wheel in a plane substantially parallel to the housing side walls; a cam on the shelf extended toward the feed wheel, the 0am being movable with the terminal end of the shelf, and having a leading end and a trailing end; a

cam lifter in the form of a lever having opposite ends,

and means intermediate said lever ends pivoting the lever,

upon the feed wheel in position for one end of the lever to strike and elevate the cam and the terminal end of the shelf as the feed wheel rotates; means on the feed wheel limiting rotation of the lever between an operative position of extension and an inoperative position of retraction relative to the axis of rotation of the feed wheel, said one end of the lever when in operative position acting to elevate the cam in traversing the cam from the leading end to the trailing end thereof, and to suddenly fall away from the cam upon passing the trailing end thereof; and

5. The device as set forth in claim 4, wherein the combination includes: a stationary bafile disposed within the housing in spaced overhanging relationship to the feed wheel, the discharge port, and the terminal end of the shelf, said baifie having a free end spaced from the shelf a distance to limit the number of balls which may impose weight upon said shelf end and said feed wheel.

6. A ball dispenser comprising in combination: a hollow housing to receive and store a supply of balls, said housing having a pair of end walls, a pair of side walls, and an upper charging opening, said side walls being spaced apart a distance approximating the diameter of a ball with clearance suflicient for free gravitation of the balls between said side walls, said housing having a lower ball discharge port dimensioned to pass balls in succession from the housing; an elongate ball-supporting shelf inclined downwardly within the housing toward the discharge port, said shelf having a terminal end movable between the side walls in parallelism therewith toward and from the dischagre port; yielding means biasing the shelf end toward said port, and a stop limiting the extent of bias; a rotary ball feed wheel having peripheral spaced lobes, said wheel being disposed within the housing between the disoharge port and the terminal end of the shelf, with the lobes exposed to contact with the. balls; a cam fixed on the shelf and extended toward the feed wheel, said cam having a leading end and a trailing end; a displaceable cam lifter on the feed wheel having an end to contact and lift the cam and the terminal end of the shelf as the feed wheel rotates; and means elfecting sudden displacement of the contact end of the cam lifter as said contact end passes the trailing end of the cam, thereby to produce a sudden lowering of the cam and shelf end onto the stop following each lifting movement of the cam lifter.

7. The device as set forth in claim 6, wherein the combination includes a motor for rotating the feed wheel in a direction such that the lobes thereof tend to lift the balls gravitating toward the discharge port, the lobes being spaced from the adjacent end wall of the housing a distance exceeding the diameter of a ball.

8. A ball dispenser comprising in combination: a hollow housing to receive and store a supply of balls, said housing having a pair of end walls, a pair of side walls, and an upper charging opening, said side walls being spaced apart a distance approximating the diameter of a ball with clearance sufficient for free gravitation of the ball between said side walls, said housing having a lower discharge port adjacent to one end wall and dimensioned to pass balls in succession from the housing; an elongate ball-supporting shelf inclined downwardly within the housing toward the discharge port, said shelf having a terminal end movable between the side walls in parallelism therewith toward and from the discharge port; yielding means biasing the shelf end toward said port, and a stop limiting the extent of bias; a rotary feed wheel having peripheral spaced lobes, said wheel being disposed with the housing between the discharge port and the terminal end of the shelf, with the lobes exposed to contact with the balls and spaced from the adjacent end wall of the housing a distance exceeding the diameter of a ball; a motor for rotating the feed Wheel in a direction such that the lobes tend to lift the balls gravitating' toward the discharge port; a cam fixed on the shelf and extended toward the feed wheel, said cam having a leading end and a trailing end; a displaceable cam lifter on the feed wheel having an end to contact and lift the cam and the terminal end of the shelf as the feed wheel rotates; means effecting sudden displacement of the cam lifter as the contact end thereof passes the trailing end of the cam; and a bafile disposed within the housing in spaced overhanging relationship to the feed wheel, the discharge port, and the terminal end of the shelf, said bafiie being inclined downwardly toward the shelf and having a free end spaced therefrom a distance to limit the number of balls which may accumulate beneath the baflle and upon the feed wheel.

9. A ball dispenser comprising in combination: a hollow housing to receive and store a supply of balls, said housing having a forward and a rear end wall, a pair of side Walls, and an upper charging opening, said side walls being spaced apart a distance approximating the diameter of a ball with clearance sutficient for free gravitation of the balls between said side walls, said housing having a lower discharge port adjacent to the forward end Wall, said port dimensioned to pass balls in succession from the housing; an elongate ball-supporting shelf, means hinging an end of said shelf to said rear wall, said shelf being inclined downwardly from the rear end wall toward the discharge port, said shelf having an opposite terminal end movable between the side walls in parallelism therewith toward and from the discharge port; a stop limiting hinging movement of the shelf in the direction of the discharge port; a rotary feed wheel having alternating, spaced, curved peripheral lobes and valleys, said wheel being disposed within the housing between the discharge port and the terminal end of the shelf and substantially entirely below the plane of the shelf, with the lobes exposed to receive the balls thereon from the said terminal end of the shelf, said lobes being spaced from the forward end wall a distance exceeding the diameter of a ball; means for rotating the feed wheel ina direction such that the lobes tend to lift the balls gr-avitating thereonto toward the discharge port and the terminal end of the shelf, said shelf; means actuated by said feed wheel rotating means for effecting hinging movement of the shelf to raise and lower said terminal end thereof relative to the feed wheel; and an inclined ball support means disposed within the housing in vertically spaced relationship to the feed wheel, the discharge port, and the terminal end of the shelf, said inclined ball support means extending from the forward end wall of the housing downwardly toward and terminat ing a substantial distance from and above the shelf, to providean expansion chamber over the feed wheel, the baffle of the said ball support means forming with the shelf a space to limit the number of balls movable alon the shell to the feed wheel.

10. The device as set forth in claim 9, wherein the means 'for elfect-ing hinging movement of the shelf includes means to sharply vibrate the shelf in at least one direction of its hinging movement.

11. A ball dispenser comprising in combination: a hollow housing to receive and store a supply'of balls, said housing having a forward and a rear end wall, a pair of side walls, and an upper charging opening, said side walls being spaced apart a distance approximating the diameter of a ball with clearance sutlicient for free gravitation of the balls between said side walls, said housing having a lower discharge port adjacent to the forward end wall, said port dimensioned to pass balls in succession from the housing; an elongate ball-supporting shelf hinged upon and inclined downwardly from the rear end wall toward the discharge port, said shelf having a terminal end movable between the side walls in parallelism therewith toward and from the discharge port; means for imparting to the shelf a succession of hinging movements while the shelf supports a supply of balls; and a bafile disposed within the housing in spaced overhanging relationship to the discharge port and the terminal end of the shelf, said baflle being inclined from the forward end wall downwardly toward an intermediate portion of the shelf, to provide an expansion chamber above the terminal end of the shelf, the bafile having afree end spaced from the shelf to limit the number of balls movable along the shelf onto the terminal end thereof.

12. The device as set forth in claim 11, wherein the combination includes means intermediate the discharge 7 port and the terminal end of the shelf, for agitating the 2,479,860 7 balls in gravitating toward the discharge port. 2,511,951 2,627,973 References Cited by the Examiner 7 2,634,022 UNITED STATES PATENTS i 5 2,853,046

758,539 4/1904 Kreter 22'l 204 799,996 9/1905 MacCordy 221-201 2,419,242 4/ 1947 Woodberry et a1 221-203 Otis 221-204 Solomon, 221-204- Sines 221-277 Wyatt 221-200 Pollmann 221200' LOUIS J. DEMBO, Primary Examiner.

WALTER SOBIN, Examiner.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3894656 *May 28, 1974Jul 15, 1975Vendo CoInclined shelf vending apparatus having product jostling structure
US3946847 *Nov 4, 1974Mar 30, 1976Bock CorporationGolf ball vendor
US4062108 *Jul 2, 1976Dec 13, 1977Champion International CorporationStick insertion apparatus
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US4552120 *Sep 30, 1982Nov 12, 1985Kent J. NallBatting instruction system
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Classifications
U.S. Classification221/205, 221/277, 221/180
International ClassificationA47F1/00, A47F1/03, A63B47/00, A63B69/40
Cooperative ClassificationA47F1/03, A63B47/002, A63B69/40, A63B2047/004
European ClassificationA63B47/00D, A63B69/40, A47F1/03