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Publication numberUS3256019 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 14, 1966
Filing dateDec 11, 1962
Priority dateDec 11, 1962
Publication numberUS 3256019 A, US 3256019A, US-A-3256019, US3256019 A, US3256019A
InventorsMyron M Barton
Original AssigneeVoit Rubber Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Ball with cushioning means between cover and core
US 3256019 A
Images(4)
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

June 14, 1966 M. M. BARTON 3,256,019

BALL WITH CUSHIONING MEANS BETWEEN COVER AND CORE Filed Dec. 11, 1962 4 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTOR.

June 14, 1966 M. M. BARTON 3,256,019

BALL WITH CUSHIONING MEANS BETWEEN COVER AND CORE Filed Dec. 11, 1962 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 500 OTZ INVENTOR.

Z 41%;! JVV/mA JZ 1549mm June 14, 1966 M. M. BARTON 3,256,019

BALL WITH CUSHIONING MEANS BETWEEN COVER AND CORE Filed Dec. 11, 1962 4 Sheets-Sheet 5 INVENTOR. fix zo/vflbswmn/ firrae/ws y June 14, 1966 M. M. BARTON BALL WITH CUSHIONING MEANS BETWEEN COVER AND CORE 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 Filed Dec DWQ United States Patent 3,256,019 'BALL WITH CUSHIONING MEANS BETWEEN COVER AND CORE Myron M. Barton, Balboa, Calif., assignor to W. J. Voit Rubber Corp., a corporation of California Filed Dec. 11, 1962, Ser. No. 243,779

Claims. (Cl. 273-65) This invention relates to athletic and play balls, and more particularly to the construction of such balls by making their walls more resilient.

The balls of the above type may be either air-inflated balls or solid core balls such as softballs. More particularly, the improvement resides in the wall construction and the method of constructing the ball so as to make the walls of such balls softer and more resilient, thus improving the handling properties or the playing characteristics of such balls. Solid core balls, such as softballs, and air-inflated balls such as volleyballs and hasketballs, are apt to produce the so-called hand sting which arises when a ball with relatively hard external wall construction, and having no proper cushioning, and lacking a porous structure of the external cover, normally provided by a leather cover, is caught by a bare hand while it is moving at a relatively high speed or is struck by hand, which happens in playing volleyball.

In order to reduce such hand sting, the walls of such.

In addition to the hand sting, another problem is encountered with the'basketballs having a hard wall and the external surface has a low coefiicient of friction. It then becomes difiicult to grip and handle the ball of relatively large diameter with the finger tips. Therefore, insofar as the basketballs are concerned, it is also necessary to have a wall construction which is resilient and soft to the touch, and the external surface of such ball should have a reasonably high coefiicient of friction so that the ball could be gripped and handled readily by the finger tips of the player.

The proper softness of the wall structure, according to this invention, is obtained by introducing soft rubber spacers between the cover and the carcass when the ball is an air-inflated ball or the core of'the ball when the ball has a solid core. According to one version of the invention, an intermediate member is introduced between the carcass or the core and the outer cover. This intermediate member is made of soft rubber and is provided with a layer of uniform thickness with the spacers projecting beyond this layer. The spacers may assume a variety of shapes, such as small projecting cylinders, rectangles, squares, triangles, etc., or any other suitable shape or form, which are spaced from each other and thus .provide room between the spacers for trapping air within the wall structure. The outer cover then is cemented to the spacers, and, therefore, is supported by the spacers. The spacers are spaced from each other in a checkerboard pattern or any other suitable pattern, with the result that a considerable amount of air is trapped between the spacers. This layer of trapped air as well as the spacers, made of soft elastomer, furnish the desired cushioning layer which softens the touch of the outer cover and makes it more resilient because of the yielding 3,256,019 Patented June 14, 1966 properties of the intermediate layer, the trapped air between .the cover and the intermediate layer and the soft spacers, which separate the intermediate layer from'the cover. It is to be noted that in the above construction the carcass takes practically the entire stress imparted to it by the air pressure whenever such wall construction is used on air-inflated balls. On ballswith solid cores, there is no air pressure to distend them, and, therefore, the intermediate layer and the cover are not subjected to any internal pressure.

It is possible to deposit theintermediate layer on the carcass with the spacers projecting outwardly or inwardly from the intermediate layer. The two possible constructions constitute merely the reversal of the position of the intermediate layer. In one instance the spacers project outwardly from the intermediate layer, and in the other instance inwardly from the same layer. In all cases, it will be seen that thecentral supporting member considered as a whole is distinctly less yieldable to inwardly directed deforming forces than is the composite cover structure combined with the projections. Thus, the major deformation resulting from such forces as the pressure applied by a players fingers in gripping the ball will be effective to deform a plurality of the projections, in anyv of the embodiments. It will also be seen that an additional resilient layer can be added which can deform with the projections, but that this does not change the fundamental concept.

It is therefore an object of this invention to provide a novel wall structure for athletic and play balls in which the wall of the ball is provided with an intermediate layer having a plurality of spacers and trapped air between the spacers. It is an additional object of this invention to provide the wall structure of the above type in which the spacers rnay take a variety of shapes or forms, such as small cylmders, rectangles, squares, triangles, etc., with the spacers being either solid pieces or having hollow centers for trapping additional amounts of air between and within the spacers themselves.

It is also an object of this invention to provide the novel methods for making balls of the above type.

The invention will be described primarily in connection with basketballs, and then as it applies to the hard core balls.

Referring to the drawings: FIGURE 1 is a radial cross-section through a ball con- .structed according to a first embodiment of the invention;

FIGURES 13 through 21 illustrate the manufacturing steps used in making the .ball shown in FIG. 1;

FIGURES 22-27 illustrate the manufacturing steps used in making the ball shown in FIG. 2.

In order to simplify the-description and the understanding of this invention, the manufacturing steps, FIGS. 15-- 21, used in making the ball of FIG. 1, and shown in FIGS. 152 1, will be described first and the cross-sectional views of its Wall structure, shown in FIG. 1, will follow the description of FIGS. 1521.

Referring to FIG. 15, it illustrates a convention-a1 bladder made either of natural or butyl rubber. The

bladder is partially precured, coated with cement, dried and then three layers of rubber impregnated fabric segments 160, 170, or 180 are manually applied to the airinfiated bladder in the manner illustrated in FIGS. 16, 17 and 18. The fabric is a cotton cloth impregnated with rubber by passing it through two heated rollers, like those illustrated in FIG. 13, with two thin sheets ofrubber calendered on top and bottom and partly through the cloth.

The adjacent edges of segments 1 60 in FIG. 16 slightly overlap each other except in the vicinity of the two poles, the overlap being a tapered overlap, as indicated by the dotted lines. Segments 170 in FIG. 17 abut each other along lines 171, and a circular fabric piece 172 is placed directly over the two poles produced in FIG. 16. The ends of all segments 170 are made to match and make a butt joint with the circular edge of disc 172. Segments 180 in FIG. 18 also abut each other along lines 18 1. Segments 180 are composite segments comprising a rubber impregnated fabric covered with a thin sheet of soft rubber on one surface of the fabric. The fabric side of these segments is applied onto the outer surface of the ball and the soft rubber side becomes the outer surface of the ball at this stage. The ball is then compression molded in a mold having a plurality of grooves which produce artificial seam simulating ridges 191, 192, 193 and 194 on the outer surface of the ball carcass 195.

FIGURES 13 and 14 illustrate diagrammatically the steps used for making the outer cover of the ball and the soft rubber intermediate layer, with spacers, which is bonded to the outer cover.

Referring to FIG. 13, a properly colored, such as an orange color, rubber sheet 130 is calendered by means of heated rollers 131 and 132 to a soft rubber sheet 133 which produces a composite rubber sheet 134. Sheet 134 is then cut into rectangular pieces 140, FIG. 14, which are then used for compression molding the cover segments, such as segments 141-148. Upper mold 150 has a pebbled surface to produce a pebbled outer cover 10, FIG. 1, while the lower mold 15-1 has a plurality of indentations to produce a plurality of spacers such as spacers 1 1, 12 and .13, FIG. 1, in the soft rubber layer 17. The nature of these spacers will be described more in detail later. The lower and the upper molds are also shaped along the edges of the segments to produce tapered portion 14 in the soft intermediate layer 17, and a tapered portion 15 in the outer cover member 18. The same tapered portions 20 and 21 are also present in the outer cover member 22 and the intermediate soft member 24. The tapered portions abut against a ridge member 191 which has a V-shaped surface 25 along its outer circumference. Bladder 28 is vulcanized to the fabric layer 26 during the step illustrated in FIG. 19, at which time the ridge members 191-194 are produced on the carcass.

The dimensions a, b and 0, FIG. 1, may have the following suitable range:

Dimension a: from .010 to .075.

Dimension b: from .002" to .075".

Dimension c: from .002" to .04

FIGURE 1A illustrates the application of the same type of construction to a solid ball having a solid inner core 30, a wound cord layer 32, which may be a nylon, cotton or other synthetic cord, a soft intermediate layer 34 and an outer cover member 36.

Concluding now the description of the manufacturing steps, segments 2000-2007, FIG. 20, are cemented to carcass 195 in the manner illustrated in FIGS. 20 and 1, which completes the construction of the ball. In FIG. 1 the cement layer is shown at 27; FIG. 1, therefore, illustrates on an enlarged scale the normal section through a wall made in accordance with the steps shown in FIGS. 15-20 which produce a wall having .the following III-21mbers: bladder 28, a fabric layer 26 with seams or ridges 191, an intermediate layer 17 with spacers 11 projecting inwardly from the smooth, concave spherical surface 29,

4 FIG. 1A, of the undercover member 17, and an outer cover 18 with pebbled surface 10. The space between the spacers 1 1, 12, 13, the outer surface of layer 26 and the concave surface 29 is filled with air at ambient pressure. The composite outer cover members 18 and 17 are cemented by the cement layer 27 to layer 26.

FIGURE 14 illustrates the method of making cover segments 141-148 between two flat mold plates and 151 which produce fiat cover segments 1411-148. Because of the elasticity of the segment, it is possible to conform them to the spherical surface of the ball without too much difiiculty. It is more advantageous, however, to impart the spherical shape to the segments at the time of their original molding, and this method is illustrated in FIG. 21. In this instance the mold plates (not illustrated) have spherical shapes, and, therefore, they produce ab initio spherically shaped segments 2005, 2003, etc., which conform exactly to the spherical shape of the ball when they are cemented onto the spherical surface of the carcass. Accordingly, the method illustrated in FIG. 21 produces a better end product and is, therefore, preferable to that illustrated in FIG. 14.

The transverse section of the ball which is made in accordance with the steps illustrated in FIGS. 22-27, is illustrated on an enlarged scale in FIG. 2. The external surface of the outer cover member 200, which corresponds to one of the segments 270-277 in FIG. 27, is provided with a pebbled surface 201 for enhancing the appearance of the ball and also for providing a better grip on the ball. The cover segments 200 are attached to a soft rubber intermediate member 202 by means of a cement layer 203, which bonds the outer cover 200 to spacers 204-, which, in FIG. 2, project outwardly from intermediate undercover member 202. The next layer 205 corresponds to the reinforcing winding or a plurality of impregnated fabric layers described previously in connection with the description of FIGS. 15-20. The innermost member comprises a bladder 220, which is also illustrated in FIG. 22.

Referring to FIGS. 22-27, FIG. 22 illustrates a conventional bladder 220 used for making a basketball which is compression molded and is provided with an air valve 221 and is identical to bladder 150 in FIG. 15. This bladder is then transferred to a machine for applying a cord reinforcing winding 230 illustrated in FIG. 23. The cord winding generally represents a plurality of layers of a nylon cord. The pattern of the winding is preferably of that type disclosed in the US. Patent No. 2,995,311 to R. G. Holman, issued August 8,1961. The cord winding may be replaced with a plurality of layers of rubberimpregnated fabric described previously in connection with FIGS. 1 and 16 to 19.

A calendered sheet of uncured natural rubber is then used for hubbing or vacuum forming two hemispherical members 240 and 241. The two hemispherical shells 240 and 241 are then pulled over a carcass 230 in the manner shown in FIG. 25 and then molded in a properly shaped mold. The layer formed by the shells 240 and 241 corresponds to member 202, FIG. 2. The mold has two concave hemispheres with their inner surfaces properly grooved and shaped so as to produce the pattern on the outer surface of the ball of the type illustrated in FIG. 26. The mold has four intersecting ring-shaped depressions which produce raised ribs or artificial seams 260-263 projecting above the outer spherical surface 266 of the molded carcass 264, which is produced upon the completion of the molding operation on the two hemispherical members 240 and 241. The two concave hemispherical mold members are also provided with a symmetrical and reiterative pattern of depressions uniformly spaced from each other which produce raised and outwardly projecting spacers 265 on the otherwise smooth spherical surface 266 of carcass 264. The nature of these spacers will be described more in detail later in connection with the description of FIGS. 5-12.

The compression molding step which takes place in FIG. 26 is to shape the intermediate member 264 and mold it to carcass 231 and to cure it completely. Complete curing of the intermediate layer or carcass 264 is possible at this stage and in this method of making the wall because the remaining steps do not require any additional curing of the assembly. The fully cured cover pieces 270-277 are cemented to the carcass 264.

This next step in the making of the ball is shown in FIG. 27 and consists of cementing the pre-cut, pre-formed and fully cured segments 270-277 onto the surface of the carcass for covering the sectors and spacers 265 in the manner illustrated in FIG. 27 where all the sectors have been covered with the external cover sectors 270-277. The step illustrated in FIG. 27 may also include a compression molding step at a relatively low temperature for curing the cement used for cementing the sectors 27 0-277 and for obtaining a positive adhesion and shaping of the sectorsso that they fit properly into the seats provided for them on the surface of the carcass 264.

Cementing of segments 270-277 and, if so desired, curing of cement, constitutes the last step in making the ball according to this method. It is possible to make the hemispheres 240 and 241 pigmented in the desired color and, therefore, painting of the seams 260-263 becomes unnecessary: they obtain the desired color in the molding step shown in FIG. 26.

It should be noted that layer 206, FIG. 2, when made in accordance with the steps illustrated in FIGS. 22-27, does not exist as such in the finished ball: it is molded into a cord layer 205 at which time it becomesbonded to bladder 220.

It is'also possible to transfer spacers 265 to the outer cover segments, or sector 300, in the manner illustrated in FIG. 3, in which case the outer segment mold is provided with appropriate depressions for making spacers 301 on the inner surface of the cover members 300, The intermediate soft rubber layer 302 is then free of the spacers, and in such case, the two hemispherical members 240 and 241, illustrated in FIGS. 24 and 25, remain smooth after they have been compression molded to blad der 220 and winding 230. A cementing layer 303 is used for cementing sectors 300 onto the surface of interme diate soft rubber layer 302.

In FIG. 3 the bladder 304 and the winding 305 are identical to the corresponding members in FIGS. 1 and 2.

FIG. 4 is another version of wall construction in which sides of the squares may be from to A", and their height may be in the order of from .00 to .075".

In FIG. 7 the spacers have an outline of octagons and of isosceles triangles in FIG. 8.

Itis also possible to make the spacers hollow, as illustrate-d in FIGS. 9, 10 and 11. In FIG. 9 the spacers 900 are isosceles triangles having hollow centers 901. In FIG. 10 they are cylinders 1000 with hollow centers 1001, and in FIG. 11 they are squares 1.100 with hollow centers 1101.

FIG. 12 is a'sectional view of the wall using spacers illustrated in FIG. 11. Suitable dimensions for k,'m, n, in FIG. 12 are as follows:

k-.002 to .075" thickness of the outer cover m% to height of the spacers n-%, to 1" thickness of the solid wall supporting the spacers balls illustrated in FIG. 1A.

The following compositions are suitable for making the intermediate members.

PARTS BY WEIGHT PER 100 PARTS OF BASE MATERIAL Ribbed Smoked Sheets #1 100.00 Block Color Masterbatch 1 5.25 RPA #2, Peptizer .50 Zinc Oxide, Activator 5.00 Stearic Acid, Activator-Processing Aid 1.50 Neozone D, Antioxidant 1.00 Light Process Oil 2.00 Tetra Methyl Thiuram Disulfide] i I .25 Benzothiazyl Disulfide }Cure System .30 Sulfur, Oil Wetted J 1.55

1 Black Color Masterbatch Ribbed Smoked Sheet #1 100.00 RPA #2, Peptizer .50 EPC Black 66.67

Laurex (Mixture of the zinc salt-s of fatty acids in which lauric acid predominates)..- 1.50

the features illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2 are combined to produce FIG. 4: the outer cover member is a composite member including the .outer cover 400 molded to the first spacer member 401. Therefore, cover 400 and member 401 correspond to cover 18 and member 17 in FIG. 1. This composite member is cemented onto the surface of the second spacer member 402 of the type shown at 202 in FIG. 2 which is molded to and also into the winding or impregnated fabric layer. Therefore, spacer member 402 includes the reinforcing means 404 as well as the spacers. This member is molded to a bladder 403 in the manner described previously in connection with the descript-ion of FIGS. 25 and 26 which produces members 403 and 402 in FIG. 4. Members 400 and 401 are produced by means of the steps shown in FIGS. 13 and 14. Sectors 400-401 are then cemented to the ball in the manner shown in FIG. 27.

FIGS. 5-11 illustrate, on an enlarged scale, the patterns that may be imparted to the spacers.

168.67 -RPA 2:33.33% naphthyl-beta-mercaptan,.66.67% inert hydro carbon.

3 Ne'ozone D=Phenyl-beta-naphthylamine.

What I claim as new is:

1. A cushioned playing ball comprising, in combination,

supporting structure having a shape substantially corresponding to the shape of the outer surface of the ball;

a flexible cover structure enclosing said supportingform distance outwardly from the outer surface of said supporting structure, there being a substantial totalspace between said supporting structure and said cover structure which is not occupied by said projections, said substantial space being filled with air; said supporting structure being distinctly less yieldable to inwardly directed deforming forces than is said cover structure whereby any inwardly directed deforming forces as exerted by a players fingers gripping the ball cover are effective to deform a plurality of said projections.

2. A ball according to claim 1, wherein said projections project from .002 to .075 inch.

3. A ball according to claim 1, wherein said cover structure is in a single layer having said projections molded into the inner surface thereof.

4. A ball according to claim 1, wherein said cover structure is a laminated structure comprising a relatively harder outer layer and a more resilient inner layer, said projections being molded into said inner layer.

5. A ball according to claim 1, wherein said supporting structure comprises an outer bonded layer having said projections molded therein to project outwardly toward said cover structure.

6. A cushioned playing ball comprising, in combination,

a supporting member having a shape substantially corresponding to the shape of the outer surface of the ball; and

a flexible cover enclosing said supporting member and having its outer surface exposed to constitute the outer surface of the ball,

said cover having a multiplicity of inwardly extending resiliently deformable, closely spaced projections uniformly distributed over the inner surface thereof, said projections occupying a substantial proportion of the inner surface of said cover,

the inner ends of said projections being bonded to said supporting member, and said projections serving normally to position said cover at a significant distance outwardly from the outer surface of said supporting member,

there being a substantial total space between said supporting member and said cover which is not occupied by said projections, said substantial space-being filled with air;

said supporting member being distinctly less yieldable to inwardly directed deforming forces than is said cover, whereby any inwardly directed deforming forces as exerted by a players fingers gripping the ball are effective to deform a plurality of said projections.

7. A ball according to claim 6, wherein said cover comprises two bonded layers, and said projections are formed on the inner layer.

8. A ball according to claim 6 wherein said supporting member includes an inflated bladder, a Winding on said bladder, and an elastomeric layer impregnating said windmg.

9. A ball according to claim 8, wherein said supporting member further comprises an intermediate elastomeric layer between the first-mentioned layer and said outer cover structure.

10. A ball according to claim 6, wherein the spacing effected by said projections is within the range of .002 to .075 inch.

11. A ball according to claim 6, wherein said cover comprises a single layer having said projections molded in the inner side thereof.

-12. A ball comprising a bladder;

a cord-winding surrounding said bladder;

an elastomeric layer impregnating said winding and being bonded to said bladder,

said elastomeric layer having a plurality of ribs formed on the outer surface thereof and subdividing the ball into a plurality of sectors;

a plurality of exposed sector-shaped cover members, each bonded to a sector of the outer surface of said elastomeric layer between two said ribs,

each of said sector-shaped members including a plurality of individually defined radially inwardly extending projections uniformly distributed over the inner surface thereof and bonded to said elastomeric layer.

13. A ball in accordance with claim 6 and further comprising a second member including a reinforcing winding, said second member being bonded to, and forming the outer surface of, said supporting member.

14. A ball in accordance with claim 6 wherein said supporting member comprises a bladder, and

a plurality of fiber sectors impregnated with an elastomer and surrounding said bladder.

15'. A cushioned ball comprising a central supporting member and an exposed composite outer cover, said outer cover having a uniform pattern of slightly projecting and closely spaced projections distributed over its inner surface and slightly spacing same from said central supporting member, said central supporting member being united with said cover by bonding to said projections, whereby entrapped air spaces and passages are defined which are permanently isolated from the atmosphere outside the ball, said central supporting member further including raised ribs molded therein to simulate seams, and said cover further comprising panels applied to said supporting member Within the areas defined by said ribs.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,531,317 3/1925 Stubbs 27358 2,217,434 10/1940 Dorn 27358 2,242,455 5/1941 De Beer 156170 2,244,503 6/1941 Riddell 273 2,300,441 11/ 1942 Voit et a1.

2,689,357 9/1954 Hornback 27358 2,730,159 1/1956 Semegen 156170 2,815,211 12/ 1957 Grandinette 27358 FOREIGN PATENTS 390,690 4/1933 Great Britain.

DELBERT B. LOWE, Primary Examiner.

GEORGE J. MARLO, Assistant Examiner.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification473/597, 156/170
International ClassificationA63B39/00, A63B41/00
Cooperative ClassificationA63B39/00, A63B37/0097, A63B41/00
European ClassificationA63B37/00G12D38, A63B41/00, A63B39/00