US 3321331 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
May 23, 1967 F. D. McNEl-:LY 3,321,331
BOWLING-LANE MAINTENANCE MACHINE AND METHOD Filed Oct. l15, 1962 3 Sheets-Sheet l INVENTOR.
May 23, 1967 F. D. MCNEELY 3,321,331
BOWLING-LANE MAINTENANCE MACHINE AND METHOD Filed Oct. 15, 1962 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 'im 241ml i i HIV 42W INVENTOR irma/afs.
May 23, 1967 Y F. D. McNl-:ELY 3,3233
BOWLING-LANE MAINTENANCE MACHINE AND METHOD Filed OCT.. 15, 1962 5 Sheets-Sheet 13 W65 Y 6? 6i 's 7% I'@'I 32 I' m w. wm im i w of@ wv n f! lo@ Armen/frs.
United States Patent O 3,321,331 BOWLING-LANE MAINTENANCE MACHINE AND METHOD Forest D. McNeely, 2601 NE. 8th St., Pompano Beach, Fla. 33062 Filed Oct. 15, 1962, Ser. No. 230,599 10 Claims. (Cl. 134-6) This invention relates to a bowling-lane maintenance machine, as for periodically cleaning the lane surface, applying a dressing compound, and buing the lane; and to a method of treating a bowling lane.
It is the principal object of the invention to provide a machine and method which, by daily or other periodic use, will maintain 4bowling lanes in top condition and prolong their useful life. It is an object of the invention to provide a machine which will clean the surface of the bowling lane of surface dirt, will treat the lane with a lane dressing compound to lubricate and protect the lane Surface and facilitate its cleaning, and will bulf the treated lane. It is a special object of the invention to provide a machine and method for accurately applying to the lane a small amount of lane dressing compound, say of the order of 1/s ounce of liquid compound, and accurately disturbing this small amount in a controlled and desirable pattern over the lane.
It is desirable to have the heaviest coating of lane dressing compound on the central portion of the approach or front end of the lane immediately adjacent the foul line, since this receives the greatest wear; to apply less compound on the edge portions `of such approach end of the lane in order to avoid progressive build-up of compound on those edge portions; and to have less compound at the mid-portion of the lane and even less down toward the pin end of the lane. Thus, in a desirable pattern of lane dressing compound, the thickest film is at the central portion of the approach end of the lane and the lm progressively thins out both laterally toward the edges of the lane and longitudinally toward the rear or pin end of the lane. It is a special object of the present invention to provide a machine and method which will distribute a small quantity of lane dressing compound in this desirable pattern.
It is a further object of the invention to provide a bowling-lane maintenance machine which is of a desirable coniiguration and construction for convenient use both in maintenance operations and in movements from one lane to another, and which will be provided with convenientpcontrols for carrying out the desired operations.
It is a further object of the invention to provide a machine which may be power driven and automatic in its operation.
In accordance with the machine aspects of the invention, the lane-maintenance machine comprises a carriage movable longitudinally along the lane and provided with a cylindrical rotary brush which in operation eX- tends transversely the full width of the lane and which desirably is of open construction with spaced flexible tufts of bristles. The brush is housed in a downwardly open hood which at one side conforms to the circumference of the brush and at the other side forms a mist chamber extending the full Width of the lane, in which rotation of the brush produces a continuous and forceful circulation of air. The lane dressing compound is sprayed into this chamber, desirably at its central portion, for a predetermined period while the machine is moving for- 3,321,331 Patented May 23, 1967 ICC ward down the lane, so that the compound is distributed during its forward movements. The treated surface is then buffed on the rearward return movement.
The machine has a motor which drives the rotary brush and a pump, and the pump is connected to pump the lane dressing compound from a supply tank to one or more valve-controlled spray nozzles in the mist chamber. Desirably, the motor and pump and supply tank are grouped in an assembly at the rear side of the brush, the carriage-supporting rollers are positioned at the front and rear of such assembly, and the brush and its hood and the nozzles are supported in a forwardly overhanging portion with the mist chamber at the front side of the brush. The rollers will then not interfere with the distribution of the dressing compound in the mist chamber and by the brush during the forward movement of the machine, and will not travel over the surface of the lane after it has been buffed by the brush on the return movement of the machine.
The front of the machine desirably carries a wiping pad, preferably of a type which provides for periodic renewal of the wiping surface.
The machine may be either manually operated or may be power driven and automatic in its operation. The manual machine is manually pushed down the lane from the foul line toward the pin end of the lane and is then pulled back to the foul line, and the spray nozzles may be controlled yby the operator.
In the automatic machine, the same movements are powered. To this end, the motor may be connected to drive rollers through a reversible transmission, and such transmission and the spray nozzles are automatically controlled by a control mechanism to produce the same opera-tions as with the manual machine.
In accordance with the method aspects of the invention, a hood is placed over the lane to define a mist chamber extending transversely across its width; the air in such chamber is circulated in such chamber, generally in a longitudinal vertical pattern relative to the lane surface, and preferably by rot-ation of a lane brush in the chamber; yand the chamber is moved lengthwise of the lane; treating compound is introduced into the circulating air, preferably in a fine spray and in a central portion of the width of the lane, for a selected portion of the length of the lane, the compound being distributed in diminishing amounts to the edge portions of the lane by the air circulation in the chamber; and `continuing the movement of the chamber over additional lengthwise portions of the lane after cut-olf of the compound introduction, to deposit onto said additional portions, in progressively diminishing amount, the compound contained in the chamber at the time of compound cut-off Other features and objects of the invention will appear from the following description of a preferred embodiment of the invention.
The accompanying drawings illustrate the invention. In such drawings:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a machine embodying the invention; p
FIG. 2 is a sectional view of the machine shown in FIG. l, taken in a plane radial to the axis of the brush;
FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the machine shown in FIG. 1 with the top cover and the wiper removed;
FIG. 4 is a bottom plan view of the machine shown in FIG. l, with the wiper device omitted;
FIG. 5 is an electrical diagram;
FIG. 6 is a plan view similar to FIG. 3, but showing a modified machine which is self-propelled and automatic in its operation; and
FIG. 7 is a bottom plan view, similar to FIG. 4, of the modified machine of FIG. 6.
The machine shown in FIGS. 1-5 is enclosed in a downwardly-open housing 10 which has a handle 12 pivotally connected to brackets at its rear edge and normally supported by a brace rod 14 extending between the top of the housing 10 and an adjustable lock 16 on the handle. The machine frame includes a front cross member 20, an intermediate cross member 22, and a rear cross member 24, connected by side rails 26; and is mounted on a pair of rear rollers 30 and a pair of forward rollers 32 underlying the intermediate cross rail 22. The cross members 22 and 24 are interconnected by a oor 34 which supports the motor 36, the pump 38, and the supply tank 40 for the lane dressing compound. The motor 36 has a double ended shaft 42, one end of which is coupled to the pump 38, and the other end of which is connected to a drive shaft 56 for the brush.
The brush 44 comprises a shaft 46 which is journaled in bearings 48 mounted on the side rails 26 of the frame, ahead of the intermediate cross member 22. A pulley 50 on the brush shaft 46lis driven by a belt 52 from a pulley 54 on the motor-driven shaft 56.
The brush 44 is of sufficient length to extend the entire width across a standard bowling lane, -and is therefore approximately 43 inches long. It comprises a central core 58 in which are mounted spaced and staggered rows of tufts 60 of bristles. Desirably, the brush is of open construction, with fairly long and exible bristles. In a preferred embodiment I have used a 4-inch diameter core fitted with 16 rows of bristle tufts mounted in 5/lg-inch holes and projecting 2% inches from the core. The tufts are spaced on l-inch centers along each row, and the rows are staggered and circumferentially spaced on 3A-inch centers. Desirably, the rollers 30 and 32 position the brush to make sweeping contact with the floor, for example, to give an interference relation between the bristles and the floor plane of the order of from 3/s inch to M: inch. In these circumstances, the brush is driven at a speed of the order of 450 r.p.m., clockwise as seen in FIG. 2, to give brushing surface speed of the order of 1000- 1200 feet per minute.
The brush 44 is covered rby a downwardly-open hood 62 supported at its front and rear edges on cross members and 22. At the rear, the hood extends upward and forward in conforming spaced relation with the brush 44, thence with a downward slope a substantial distance forward beyond the front side of the brush, and thence downward to the front cross member 20 of the frame. The hood thus has relatively small clearance from the brush at the rear and top, and forms a mist chamber 64 at the front of the brush. Two atomizing nozzles 66 are mounted in the front upper corner of the mist chamber 64, spaced apart -about one-third of the length of the mist chamber and positioned to discharge downward and rearward at an angle of the order of 45 degrees, and inward at an angle of the order of approximately 20 degrees. The nozzles 66 are connected to the delivery side of the pump 38, through individual solenoid valves 68 which are normally closed and may be opened by energization through a control cable 72.
The nozzles preferably supply about 0.5 gallon per hour in a relatively fine mist, and have a cone spray angle of the order of 80 degrees.
A major purpose of this arrangement is to -apply the lane dressing compound to the surface of the lane wholly as a ne 4mist or fog and to avoid wetting that surface with unatomized liquid. Accordingly, the front and rear bottom edges of the hood 62 are desirably provided with felt strips 74 and 76 adapted to catch and hold any condensate which may form on the surfaces of the hood 62 and run down to its lower edges.
The housing 10 of the machine is mounted on the frame and secured thereto. The front wall of the hood carries a pair of brackets 78 for the reception of the angle iron supports 80 -of a wiping device 82. This is conventional, and lcomprises a wiping bar 84 beneath which a wiping cloth 86 is passed from `a supply roller 88 to a takeup roller 90. The takeup roller 90 is provided with a ratchet advancing mechanism having an operating arm 92 which is connected for actuation by a cord 94 running to the handle of the machine.
For transport, the machine has a pair of side rollers 96 positioned outward from, and below the brush 44. When the machine is in use on a lane, these rollers 96 hang free in the lane gutters, while when the machine is on a at floor, such rollers (and the rear rollers 30) support the machine in elevated position with the brush 44 and the wiper clear of the oor.
The electrical supply and control system is desirably as shown in FIGS. l, 3, and 5. In the machine there shown, a switch box 100 is mounted on the handle 12 of the machine and is supplied by a three-wire supply cable 102 containing a supply line 103, a return line 104, and a ground line 105. The switch box 100 is connected by suitable wires passing through the side members of the handle 12 to separable plug connectors 106 and 108 received in suitable receptacles carried by the frame of the machine. The switch box 100 carries a toggle switch 110 for connecting the supply wire 103 to a wire 111 leading to the motor 36, the motor being permanently connected to the return wire 104. The ground wire 105 is connected to the switch box 100 and to the frame of the motor 36.
The switch box 100 also contains a normally open, momentary-contact switch 112. This connects the supply line 103 to a wire 113 leading to the two solenoid valves 68, in parallel, and the valve circuit is completed by a wire 114 leading to the return line 104.
Operation is as follows: The machine is positioned at the approach end -of the bowling lane to be treated, with the brush approximately at the foul line. The machine will be supported on its Arollers 32 and 30, with the brush in contact with the lane surface, and the transport rollers 96 will hang freely in the gutters beside the lane. The wiper 82 is in contact with the lane. The supply cable 102 is connected to a suitable source of electric power, and the toggle switch is closed to energize the motor 36 to drive the brush 44 and the pump 38- continuously. The brush rotates in a direction tending to drive the machine down the lane, but the movement is controlled manually by the handle. Travel down the lane should be at a rate of the order of about 2 feet per second. As the movement begins, the momentary switch 112 is depressed to open the solenoid valves 68 which release supply lane dressing compound under pressure, e.g., 100 p.s.i., from the pump 38 to the nozzles 66. The brush `rotation produces a clockwise circulation of air in the mist chamber 64, into which the nozzles discharge a fine mist or fog of compound. The solenoid valves controlling the nozzles 66 are held open for only a limited time, say about 7 to 10 seconds, during which period the machine moves about 1/3 of the distance from the foul line to the pin end of the lane. The rotation of the brush 44 and the resulting air circulation, and the character, direction, and location of the spray emitted by the nozzles 66, has the result of applying a thin lm of lane dressing compound to that portion of the lane over which the machine travels. This is mainly deposited along the center of the lane and is progressively thinner toward the edges of the lane. When the solenoid valves 68 are closed to shut oif the nozzles 66, the machine is moved on down the lane for the remaining 2/3 of its length. In this movement, the mist of lane dressing compound which remains in the mist chamber 64 is progressively deposited at a diminishing rate onto surface of the lane, to produce a progressively thinner film from the point of nozzle shut olf on down to the pin end of the lane.
During the forward movement of the machine, the wiper cloth 86 of the Wiper 82 wipes surface dirt from the surface of the lane, and the brush not only aids in the mist distribution, but also brushes the lane surface to clean it.
Forward movement of the machine is stopped at the pin end of the lane, desirably before the machine enters the pin area itself. The wiper advance mechanism 92 is then desir-ably actuated by means of the cord 94, to advance a clean portion of the wiper cloth 86 into contact with the iloor.
The return movement is then begun, to move the machine back to the foul line. During this return movement, the brush 44 continues to rotate, at the same speed and in the same direction, and produces a buihng `action which further aids in the desired distribution of the dressing compound and which further cleans and polishes the surface of the lane.
When the machine iinishes its return movement and reaches the foul line end of the lane, the switch 110 is opened to stop the motor 36 and brush 44. The machine is then drawn to `a position in which its transport rollers 92 engage the lloor and raise the brush for movement from one lane to another.
The whole operation of cleaning and treating a bowling lane with the machine described above takes only about a minute, and is highly effective to clean and lubricate and polish the surface of the lane for subsequent use. It evenly distributes the lane dressing compound in the desired pattern, and avoids building up an excessive film of such compound on any portion of the lane. It thus helps to keep the lane clean and in good condition and to prolong the life of its surface.
The machine shown in FIGS. 6 and 7 is a self-propelled automatic machine, and is similar to the machine -of FIGS. 1 to 5 except for certain modifications. The handle of the FIG. l machine may be omitted as unnecessary. The motor 36 is connected by a shaft 142 to the pulley 54 which drives the brush as described above. Such shaft 142 also carries a pulley 144 which is connected by a belt to the input pulley 146 of a reversible variable speed transmission 148. This has an output shaft 149 which carries a propulsion sprocket 150 and a control sprocket 152. The latter is connected by a chain to the input sprocket 154 of a control mechanism 156. This is connected to .a three-wire supply line 158 and is provided with a starting switch 160 for initiating its control cycle. It is also connected to the motor 36 to supply electric power to that motor, and is connected to the variable transmission by a control linkage 164. lt is also connected by supply wires 166 to the two solenoid valves 68 controlling the nozzles 66.
In order to provide suitable self-propelling traction, the idler rollers 32 of the manual machine of FIG. 1 are replaced by a pair of drive rollers 132 mounted on a shaft in suitable bearings beneath the side rails 26 of the frame, and such shaft 134 is driven by a sprocket 136 connected by a chain to the propulsion sprocket 150 of the transmission 148.
The wiper `82 may be provided with a motor device 83 for actuating the wiper advance lever 92, and such motor 83 may be connected to the control 156 by a cable 93.
The reversible variable speed transmission 148 and the control 156 may be of any conventional type. The arrangement is such that they automatically carry out the operation described above in the manual operation. 'Ihat is, when the machine is positioned at the foul-line end of a bowling lane, the starting switch 160 may be actuated to initiate an automatic cycle. The motor 36 drives the brush 44 and pump 38 continuously throughout the entire operation. When the motor starts, the control engages the forward drive of the variable speed transmission 148,
which will then drive the output sprocket to drive the roller shaft 134, and this will move the machine down the lane. Concurrently, the control 156 will energize the solenoid valves 68 to deliver lane dressing compound under pressure to the nozzles to be sprayed into the mist chamber 64. After a predetermined travel distance, say 1/3 the length of the lane, the control will de-energize and close the solenoid valves 68 but will continue the movement of the machine down the lane to the pin end of the lane. The control 156 may then operate the wiper motor 83 to advance the wiper cloth 86, and then reverse the drive and return the machine to the foul line. During the return movement, the brush will continue its rotation in the same direction, and will buff the lane as described above. At the foul line the control 156 ends the cycle and shuts oif the motor 36.
claim as my invention:
1. A -bowling lane maintenance machine, comprising a frame,
means for supporting the frame for forward and reverse movement lengthwise -of the lane,
a brush of suiiicient length to extend substantially the entire width across a bowling lane and comprising a plurality of circumferentially spaced and staggered rows of longitudinally spaced tufts of bristles, the brush being mounted to be disposed transversely of the bowling lane and to make sweeping contact with the surface -of the bowling lane over substantially the entire transverse width of the lane, and being rotatable in rearward-sweeping direction,
hood-forming means including a rear wall lying in closeclearance relation with the upward-moving periphery of the brush and an upper wall extending over the brush and a substantial distance forwardly of the brush, said means providing relatively small clearance from the brush at the rearward portion of the brush periphery, and defining in front of the brush a mist chamber which has a cross-sectional area normal to the axis of the brush of the same order as that of the brush, which extends transversely substantially the full width of the lane, which is closed at the front and opens downward to the underlying surface of the lane, and to which the brush is openly exposed in air circulating relation,
power means mounted on the machine for rotatably driving the brush in said rearward-sweeping direction,
a plurality of spray nozzles disposed in spaced relation longitudinally of the mist chamber and inward from the ends thereof, said nozzles being limited-capacity, iinely-atomizing nozzles for discharging a limited quantity of finely atomized lane dressing liquid into the mist chamber, and being constructed, positioned and directed to discharge such finely atomized liquid int-o the air circulating in the mist chamber While substantially avoiding direct impingement of the liquid either on to the brush or on to the underlying lane surface, and thereby to form a tine mist of atomized liquid in such air to be deposited therefrom on to the lane surface,
and means to control the period during which such nozzles are elective.
2. A bowling lane maintenance machine as set forth in claim 1 in which said nozzles are constructed and arranged to introduce said atomized mist at a uniform rate which will supply a quantity of the order of one eighth ounce of liquid while the machine travels approximately one-third the length of the lane.
3. A bowling lane maintenance machine as set forth in claim 1 in which said nozzles supply liquid at a rate of the order of one-half gallon per hour.
4. A bowling lane maintenance machine as set forth in claim 1,
in which said spray nozzles are located at the far side of the mist chamber from the brush means and are directed inward and downward to discharge substantially in counter-current relationship with the circulating air and toward the central portion of the underlying lane surface.
o o said propulsion means and brush being operated over a subsequent portion of the travel distance to distribute residual lane dressing from the mist chamber over subsequently traveled portions of the lane.
9. An automatic bowling-lane maintenance machine as set forth in claim 8, in which 5. A bowling lane maintenance machine as set forth in claim 4,
in which said frame supporting means are positioned wholly behind the brush means and said mist chamber lies in front of the brush. 6. A bowling lane maintenance machine, comprising controlled to propel the machine through return movement over said travel distance, said brush means being rotated continuously during a frame and means to support the same for movement lo such return movement to buff the lane surface. lengthwise over the surface of a lane, 10. A bowling lane maintenance machine, comprising a transverse cylindrical brush rotatably carried by the a frame adapted to span the width of a bowling lane, frame in position to make brushing contact with the a rotatable brush mounted on a transverse axis on said lane over a narrow transverse band extending subframe intermediate the length of the machine and stantially at a right angle across substantially the full having longitudinally distributed and openly spaced width of the lane, said brush comprising a core and tufts of bristles in staggered rows to brush the entire a plurality of circumferentially-spaced and staggered width of the lane in a single pass, rows of longitudinally spaced tufts of bristles carried a carriage section behind the brush having front and by said core, and being rotatable in a rearward- 2() rear spaced roller wheels for supporting the machine sweeping direction, by contact with the lane at points disposed wholly means forming a downwardly-open hood over the rearwardly of the brush,
brush, said means having a rear wall which lies close a pump and a motor connected to drive the pump and to the upward-moving rear periphery of the brush, rotate the brush in a rearward-sweeping direction, and an upper wall which extends over the brush and said pump and motor being mounted on said carriage a substantial distance forward of the brush, said section behind the brush and in counter-balance relameans providing relatively small clearance from the tion with the brush and front parts of the machine brush at the rearward portion of the brush periphery, to maintain the same in supported relation 0n said and `defining a mist chamber in front of the brush, rearwardly positioned roller wheels, which chamber has a cross sectional area normal to hood-forming means including a rear hood wall at the the axis of the brush of the same order as that of the front of said carriage section which lies in close clearwidth of the lane, is closed at the front and opens ance relationship with the rearward periphery ofthe downward to the underlying surface of the lane, and brush, `an upper hood wall extending over and foris openly exposed rearward to the brush to permit ward of the brush, said hood-forming means debrush rotation to generate air circulation therein, ning a downwardly-open hood chamber containing power means for rotatably driving the brush in said the brush, with the brush lying close to the rear rearward-sweeping direction to cause the periphery thereof and with the front of such hood chamber of the brush to move toward and downward in said forming a mist chamber in front of the brush, said mist chamber, mist chamber being open to the brush in air circua plurality of nozzles disposed in spaced relation longilating relation over substantially the whole length of tudinally of the mist chamber and inward of it ends the brush and over substantially the whole width to discharge a limited quantity of lane dressing liquid of the lane, and being downwardly open to the lane to said mist chamber, said nozzles being limitedsurface over substantially the whole width of the capacity nozzles constructed and arranged to dislane, charge sprays of finely atomized liquid, and being a plurality of finely-atomizing spray nozzles disposed so spaced from, and directed with respect to, the 'at spaced points along the mist Chamber and inbrush and the underlying lane surface that the nozzle wardly of the ends thereof for introducing a limited sprays are discharged substantially into the air circuquantity of lane dressing liquid into the mist chamber, lating in the mist chamber without substantial disaid nozzles being constructed, positioned and directrect impingement of the sprays onto either the brush ed to finely atomize such liquid and discharge nelyor the underlying lane surface, and a limited quantity atomized sprays thereof into the air circulating in of lane dressing liquid is thereby suspended in the free space in said mist chamber, while substantially air to be conveyed by air circulation for application avoiding direct impingement of the liquid either on to to the underlying lane surface, the brush or on to the underlying lane surface, and and means to control the period during which the thereby to form a fine mist of such liquid in such nozzles are operative. air to be carried thereby and deposited therefrom 7. A bowling lane maintenance machine as set forth on to the lane surface, in claim 6, a dressing reservoir on said carriage section yand conwhich includes a lane surface wiper carried transversely nected to supply said pump, and normally-closed of the machine and having a renewable lane wiping valved connections between the pump and said surface extending the full width of the lane in front nozzles and means to open the same for supplying of the mist chamber, to wipe the surface in advance lane-dressing liquid under pressure from said pump of machine operation yon forward movement and to said nozzles during a selected limited portion ofthe subsequent to machine operation on rearward move- Gv travel 0f the machine along a 1ane yand a lane wiper mounted transversely in front of the mist chamber and having wiping means operable to renew the wiping surface while the machine is in operative position at the pin end of the lane,
said machine having a low height, with the carriage ment of the machine along a lane. 8. An automatic bowling lane maintenance machine, comprising a machine as set forth in claim 6 with the addition of propulsion means for automatically propelling the machine a predetermined distance down the lane, i0 section and its motor, pump, and reservoir extendmeans operated concurrently with said propulsion to ing not substantially `above the hood over the brush,
render said nozzles operative for a predetermined and with the mist chamber and wiper rneans dispart of said travel distance and then to terminate posed forwardly of and substantially below the top of their operation, said brush,
said propulsion means is reversible and is automatically 9 10 whereby a small quantity of lane dressing compound 1,975,380 10/1934 Streich et al. 15-320 may be charged into the circulating air in said mist 2,558,590 6/1951 Smith 15-50 X chamber during a portion of forward movement of 3,042,950 7/1962 Ludwig et al 15-50 the machine along a bowling lane, in advance of the brush and behind the wiper, and will be distributed 5 FOREIGN PATENTS onto the lane from the circulating air at a substan- 100,492 12/1940 Sweden.
tially uniform rate during said portion and at a diminishing rate during subsequent movement of the ma- MORRIS O, WOLK, Primary Examiner. chine.
C RLES A. ILLMUTH E References Cited by the Examiner 10 HA W xammer UNTTED STATES PATENTS R. L. BLEUTGE, F. w. BROWN, R. M. REESE,
A 't rE 1,200,732 10/1916 Kapovich 15-50 X ls a" xzmme's