US 3255794 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
June 14, 1966 Filed April 8, 1964 M. A. MORSE COVER 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 June 14, 1966 MORSE 3,255,794
COVER Filed April 8, 1964 2 Sheets-Sheet '2 United States Patent 3,255,794 COVER Milford A. Morse, 15885 Winter St., Spring Lake, Mich.- Filed Apr. 8, 1964, Ser. No. 358,159 2 Claims. (Cl. 150-52) This invention relates to a protective cover for an object having an enlarged head and smaller neck, and more particularly it relates to a slip-on resilient, plastic .pro-
tective cover for objects such as golf clubs and trailer hitch balls.
Protective hood-type covers for golf club heads are ordinarily of a cloth-like material tied in place by a string, or of a film plastic. These involve a nuisance because of tying the covers on after each use. They also are baggy and do not conform to the object configuration.
In the field of trailer ball hitches, about the only protective cover used today is an inverted tin can. Even when the ball is chrome plated to be more attractive, still it is generally greasy and/or dirty, to cause soiling of clothes of passers-by.
Both of these objects, although related to different fields, have similar physical characteristics which causes them to be diflicult to cover with a simple cover having no ties, etc. If the cover is made of a sturdy material capable of actually sheltering the object from the weather, it cannot readily be attached securely and tightly on the object. If it is made of lightweight material capable of being attached readily with ties or other fasteners, it is not normally of sufiicient sturdiness and strength to last for any reasonable length of time.
,The inventor herein, an expert in the field of plastics, was concerned originally with providing a protective cover for golf club heads. The small size of the golf club handle neck compared to the very large head presented a real problem. The inventor conceived of a unique cover for this unusual configuration, and over a period of years, developed a cover to a state of excellent performance.
After the cover was successfully adapted to a golf club head, he found that it could, by employing the same concepts, but in a different configuration, be adapted to a trailer hitch ball.
It is, therefore, an object of this invention to provide a unique sturdy protective cover for objects having a head and a neck, where the protective cover is attachable and removable without any tie elements, and has a long useful life capable of protecting the unit against weather conditions for an extended period of time.
It is another object of this invention to provide a protective cover of heavy synthetic plastic material to envelop the head of the object and the adjacent neck portion in a protective manner while allowing attachment and removal with one push or pull movement, any number of times withoutwearing the unit out. The cover, moreover, is self-retaining on the object, as Well as being readily attachable. It is integral and unitary in structure. The cover is vented to the atmosphere in a unique manner because of its unusual construction, to allow drying of the enclosed object without exposure of the object directly to the weather conditions.
It is another object of this invention to provide a sturdy, self-retaining, easily attachable cover that can be formed inexpensively on mass production basis by conventional dip molding techniques, or blow molding techniques.
These and several other objects of this invention will become apparent upon studying the following specification in conjunction with the drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the first form of the inventive cover for covering golf club heads;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the bottom side of the cover in FIG. 1;
3,255,794 Patented June 14, 1966 FIG. 3 is a side elevational view of the cover in FIGS. 1 and 2;
FIG. 4 isa sectional view through the center of the cover in FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the second form of protective cover for a trailer hitch ball; and
FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the bottom side of the second form of the inventive cover in FIG. 5.
Referring now specifically to the drawings, the cover is basically formed of a resilient moisture-proof, shaperetaining, low friction material capable of formation to the unusual configuration depicted. Preferably, the material is a synthetic plastic of the vinyl family, including the polymers of vinyl chloride, vinyl acetate-vinyl chloride and others. It may be of other resilient, flexible polymeric materials generally equivalent to these if desired. The wall thickness of the vinyl cover is ordinarily approximately about of an inch.
In the present, preferred method of manufacture, the articles are formed by dip molding. This is done in the conventional way of immersing the preheated aluminum or equivalent mold in a liquid vinyl plastisol bath. Alternatively, a granular bed of vinyl material could be employed according to conventional technology.
The first form of the protective cover 10 includes an enlarged hollow bulbous enclosed head 12 configurated to enclose and envelop the head of a golf club by conforming to .its configuration. Communicating with the hollow interior 14 of this head 12 is a neck enclosing passage 16 defined by a' peripheral sheath extending from the portion 12. This integral sheath, around the periphery of passage 16 includes a plurality of spaced, radially extending, expandable pleats 18.
The integral arcuate wall portions 20 between these pleats is specially configurated to enable coaction between the pleats to receive the head and secure the cover in 'place. More specifically, these wall portions cooperate with the pleats in inwardly convergent fashion to form aconstricted throat portion 22 intermediate the ends of the sleeve. The wall portions diverge outwardly from this constricted throat to a wide mouth at the opening ,5 receiving end of the cover, and diverge inwardly to the size of the handle neck to be received.
Each of the pleats extends axially of the sleeve from the open mouth end to the enlarged opening 14 in the bulbous end. Opposite pleats are at least the same width over their length that they are at the outer mouth. The
-individual pleats are normally inherently biased to a closed condition where the walls of the pleat are at a small acute angle to each other. Each is resiliently expandable against this biasing force of the plastic material to an expanded state. This expansion is achieved by the force of the object head pushed axially through passage 16. This action is aided by the inwardly slanted, convergent portions from the receiving mouth to the constri-cted throat, causing the frusto-conical segment of the passage to be forceably expanded radially outwardly, thereby diverging the two folds of each pleat with respect to its connecting outer bight portion.
The width between the pleats from one pleat bight to the opposite pleat bight is substantially equal to and slightly larger than the dimension of the golf club head to be inserted therein. Due to the obtuse angle of the golf club head with respect to its small handle, the uppermost pleat 18 on the cover shown in FIGS. 1 through 4 is preferably slightly divergent inwardly with respect to the opposite pleat, rather than these two having parallel bight portions.
On one side of enlarged portion 12 is a slight protrusion 26 to facilitate removal of the cap by providing a friction gripping surface for the persons fingers when the cover is to be pulled off.
Also, in the nose of the enlarged portion is a pair of small openings 28 to enable a tie element to be inserted through one opening and out the other so that the covers can be tied to each other.
To use the novel cover, it is grasped with the hand around the enlarged bulbous portion, and placed so the mouth is adjacent the end of the club head. The cover is then pushed toward the club head so that the head pushes against the inwardly divergent trapezoidal surfaces 19. This causes them to be forced apart to expand the plurality of pleats against their inherent bias, and place each pleat at a large obtuse angle. The resilient sleeve is thus expanded so that its small throat is enlarged sufliciently to allow the club head to pass.
Immediately upon the passage of the head, the throat is contracted by the inherent bias of the resilient plastic material, causing the throat to grip around the handle of the club beneath the head. The unit is thus in position and remains firmly attached by its own characteristics. It further provides an effective protection against weather conditions. It does allow evaporation of moisture on the club head through the pleats. The unit slides nicely over the head due to the lubricous characteristic of the cover. It has sufiicient sturdiness to allow it to be pushed onto the head without crushing and folding back upon itself.
Referring now to FIGS. 5 and 6, the second form of the invention 100 is a trailer hitch ball cover. The enlarged portion 112 on this form of the inventive cover is essentially spherical in shape, while the sleeve portion integral with this hollow bulbous portion is symmetrical about its axis and is very similar in construction to the sleeve portion of the first form of the invention. Here again, the sleeve has an enlarged mouth at the outer opening leading inwardly in convergent fashion to a constrictive throat portion 122. The shape of the enlarged head is complementary to the ball of the hitch, while the dimensions of the constricted throat are substantially that of the neck of the ball. As in the first form of the invention, a plurality of pleats 118 extend radially from the axis of the cover, and having a resilient bias to the contracted state. These form an integral part of the sleeve and are spaced at intervals around the periphery of the sleeve, preferably opposite. each other. The wall segments intermediate the pleats form trapezoids having their small ends abutted at the throat portion as previously.
To attach this cover, it is placed with the open mouth adjacent the ball, and pressed toward the ball. The ball contacts against the inwardly convergent surfaces 119, causing them to diverge, thereby forcing the walls of the pleats apart against their inherent bias to a wide obtuse angle approaching 180 across the bight. Since the dimensions across the bights of opposite pleats are substantially equal to or slightly larger than the diameter of the ball, the throat is enlarged sufficiently to allow the ball to pass therethrough. As soon as the ball has passed 4 through the throat, the inherent bias of the resilient plastic material causes the pleats to contract, thereby forcing the throat around the neck portion of the ball. This not only achieves a tight retention of the cover on the ball, but also protects the ball against entrance of moisture.
The advantages of the novel cover will be readily appreciated by those in the art upon studying the foregoing forms of the invention. It is conceivable that certain minor modifications can be made in the inventive structure to suit another type of object, providing the object has an enlarged head and a small neck. Accordingly, since the details of this inventive structure could be modified somewhat within the concepts taught, this invention is not to be limited to the particular preferred forms described with respect to the golf club head and the trailer hitch ball, but should be limited only by the scope of the appended claims and the reasonable equivalents thereto.
1. A protective plastic cover for a golf club having a head and a shaft portion extending therefrom at an obtuse angle, said cover comprising: an enlarged hollow envelope having a configuration matching that of a golf club head and a resilient pleated sleeve extending therefrom defining and surrounding an opening for the shaft portion of the golf club; said pleats at all times forming air ventillation channels from the end of said sleeve to said enlarged hollow envelope golf club head receiving portion; at least a portion of the sleeve between said pleats being offset radially inwardly to define a constricted throat intermediate the ends of said sleeve and having an inherent bias urging them to converge; said sleeve being resiliently expandable against said inherent bias to admit the passage of a golf club head therethrough.
2. A protective plastic cover for a golf club having a head and a shaft portion extending therefrom at an obtuse angle, said cover having an enlarged hollow envelope having a configuration matching that of a golf club head and a resilient sleeve extending therefrom defining and surrounding an opening for the shaft portion of the golf club; said cover beingcharacterized in that said sleeve is pleated with said pleats at all times forming air ventilation channels from the end of said sleeve to said enlarged hollow envelope golf club head receiving portion; said sleeve having a generally radially outwardly flared receiving end, and having portions intermediate the ends of said sleeve offset radially inwardly and possessing an inherent bias urging them to converge; said sleeve being resiliently expandable against said inherent bias to admit the passage of a golf club head therethrough.
References Cited by the Examiner FRANKLIN T. GARRETT, Primary Examiner.