|Publication number||US3466037 A|
|Publication date||Sep 9, 1969|
|Filing date||Jan 3, 1967|
|Priority date||Jan 3, 1967|
|Publication number||US 3466037 A, US 3466037A, US-A-3466037, US3466037 A, US3466037A|
|Inventors||Raphael W Miller|
|Original Assignee||Raphael W Miller|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (4), Referenced by (5), Classifications (4)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
Sept. 9, 1969 R. w. MILLER 3,466,037
BALL SEPARATING AND ALIGNING DEVICE Filed Jan. 5, 1967 EDI-G6 RAPHAEL w. MILLER ATTORNEYS United States Patent 3,466,037 BALL SEPARATING AND ALIGNING DEVICE Raphael W. Miller, 1406 W. Franklin St., Jackson, Mich. 49203 Filed Jan. 3, 1967, Ser. No. 606,925 Int. Cl. A63d /00 US. Cl. 273--11 2 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE Separation apparatus separating a smaller diameter cue ball from larger diameter playing balls for use with coin-operated pocket billiard tables, the separation apparatus including preliminary ball-receiving means for vertically aligning the balls with the gauging apparatus prior to gauging.
Pocket billiard tables of the coin-operated type employ ball return means associated with the six pockets of the table whereby as the playing balls are pocketed, the balls are returned to a rack or compartment. At the end of a game all of the playing balls will be located within the playing ball rack and, upon the insertion of a coin, the playing balls are made accessible to the players whereby the balls may again be placed upon the playing surface of the table for the next game. As the playing ball rack renders the balls inaccessible, eX- cept when a coin is inserted in the actuating apparatus, accidental scratching or pocketing of the cue ball during playing of the game would cause a problem if means were not provided for separating the cue ball from the playing balls.
With coin-operated pocket billiard apparatus, it has been the practice to make the cue ball slightly larger in diameter than the playing balls. Separation means are located within the ball return guideway, or rack, which separates the smaller playing balls from the larger cue ball. Thus, when the cue ball is scratched, the size of the cue ball permits it to successfully pass through the playing ball and cue ball separator and be conveyed to a receptacle which is always accessible to the players. One difiiculty with this type of cue ball separator lies in the enlarged dimension required of the cue ball. For optimum rebound characteristics of the playing balls from the rails of the pocket billiard table, the rails are located a vertical distance above the playing surface of the table which permits the balls to strike the rails at a vertical height substantially corresponding to the vertical distance of the playing balls center of gravity above the supporting table surface. As the cue ball is of a larger diameter than the playing balls, the rails will strike the cue ball at a point vertically below the center of gravity of the cue ball and, thus, often cause the cue ball to hop as it rebounds from the billiard rail. Such hopping of the cue ball is especially noticeable and objectionable when the cue ball rebounds from the rails at high velocities.
In order to prevent the aforementioned problems arising from the enlarged cue ball, it is the object of the invention to provide a cue ball separator for coin-operated pocket billiard tables wherein the cue ball is of a smaller diameter than the diameter of the playing balls. By making the cue ball a smaller diameter than the playing balls, the cue ball will engage the table rails at a point slightly above the center of gravity of the cue ball and, thus, the rebound effect of the cue ball tends to maintain the cue ball on the table surface, rather than lifting the cue ball, as in the case of the oversized cue ball.
In the practice of the invention, the cue ball separator takes the form of a pair of spaced gauge elements located ice within the ball return guideway of the table apparatus. The spaced gauge elements are separated by a distance greater than the diameter of the cue ball and less than the diameter of the playing balls. Thus, a cue ball being received upon the cue ball separator gauge elements will fall between the gauge elements into a passageway, or receptacle, which is always available to the players. The playing balls will be supported upon the gauge elements and willnot fall therethrough, as is the case with the cue ball. Thus, the playing balls will roll along the gauge elements and be transported to a ball guideway, or rack, which is accessible to the players only upon the insertion of a coin.
A further object of the invention is to provide a cue ball separator for pocket billiard apparatus consisting of a pair of parallel, spaced elements having opposed edges spaced apart a distance slightly greater than the diameter of the cue ball and less than the diameter of the playing balls, whereby the playing balls may be supported by the gauge element edges and roll therealong. Preliminary ball-supporting means are associated with the separator whereby the preliminary ball-supporting portion vertically relates the playing balls to the element edges to provide a smooth, nonabrupt transition from the preliminary supporting portion to the gauge edges and prevent wedging, or sticking, of the playing balls between the gauge elements.
A further object of the invention is to provide a cue ball separator for pocket billiard apparatus wherein the separator consists of an economical gauge member which may be readily interposed within the ball return passage or guideway.
These and other objects of the invention arising from the details and relationships of components of an embodiment thereof will be apparent from the following description and accompanying drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 is a plan, partially sectioned view of pocket billiard apparatus incorporating the concept of the invention,
FIG. 2 is an enlarged, elevational view of the cue ball separator in accord with the invention as taken along section IIII of FIG. 1,
FIG. 3 is a front, elevational, perspective view of the gauge element and ball separator as taken along section III-III of FIG. 1,
FIG. 4 is an elevational, sectional view as taken along section IV--IV of FIG. 2 illustrating the position of a playing ball in full lines as received upon the preliminary supporting surface and showing the position of the playing ball in the dotted lines when supported by the gauge element edges,
FIG. 5 is an elevational, sectional view similar to FIG. 4, illustrating a cue ball as received upon the preliminary gauge supporting surface, and
FIG. 6 is a view similar to FIG. 5, illustrating the position of a cue ball in the process of passing between the gauge elements.
In FIG. 1 a pocket billiard table is shown in plan view, partly broken away, to appreciate the environment in which the invention is employed. A pocket billiard table 10 includes a playing surface 12, and rails 14 are located above the playing surface in the normal manner to permit the balls to rebound therefrom. Six ball-receiving pockets 16 are located in the normal pattern on the table and are provided with an H-shaped ball return guideway system including guideways 18. The guideways 18 are inclined in such a manner that balls received therein will roll under gravitational forces to the guideways 20 comrnunicating with the central guideway 22. The guideways may be formed of a plastic or similar material, if desired.
The one ball separator takes the form of a gauge member generally indicated at 24 which is disposed parallel to the ball guideway 22 and receives balls therefrom. As will be apparent from FIGS. 2 and 3, the cue ball separator gauge member 24 is located below the end 26 of the ball guideway 22. A pair of ball guideways 28 and 30 are associated with the cue ball separator gauge member 24. The guideway 28 is disposed on a substantially equal, horizontal relationship with the gauge member 24 for receiving the playing balls transported across the gauge member. The guideway 28 communicates with a playing ball receiving rack 32 which is provided with suitable means, not shown, as to be accessible to the players only upon the insertion of a coin of the proper denomination in a coin box.
The ball guideway 30 is disposed below the cue ball separator gauge member 24 to receive cue balls passing through the gauge member. The guideway 30 communicates with the rack 34 which is always accessible to the players.
The cue ball separator gauge member 24 may be formed of sheet material, such as sheet metal, and is of an H configuration, as will be appreciated from FIG. 3. The gauge member includes parallel, spaced elements 36, each lncludlng an opposed edge 38. The elements 36 are interconnected by a preliminary guideway or trough 40 which is of a V-shaped configuration. Preferably, the elements 36 and the trough 40 are formed from an integral sheet material member. The depth of the V shape of the trough 40 is of such dimension as to support a playing ball 42 in the relationship shown in full lines in FIG. 4-, and a cue ball 44 in the relationship as shown in FIG. 5. Also, the trough portion 40 maintains a separation between the element side edges 38 slightly less than the pocket billiard playing balls and slightly greater than the diameter of the cue ball 44. In one embodiment of the invention, it has been found that by making the cue ball .030 inch less in diameter than the playing balls, the playing characteristics of the cue ball are not adversely aifected as the cue ball strikes the rails or the larger playing balls, yet the cue ball separator will function consistently and efficiently.
In operation, the cue ball gauge member 24 is located below the end 26 of the ball guideway 22, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, wherein the trough portion 40 is disposed immediately below the guideway end 26. Thus, as the balls leave the guideway 22, they drop onto the trough 40 and are supported in the manner shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, depending upon whether a playing ball or cue ball is received within the trough portion. As will be appreciated from FIG. 4, reception of the balls 42 on the trough portion 40 positions the playing balls 42 so that only a slight drop of the playing balls occurs as the playing balls leave the trough portion 40 and are supported by the element edges 38. Of course, the linear movement of the balls 42 from the dotted line position shown in FIG. 2 to the element edges 38 is due to the slight inclination of the gauge member 24, as will be appreciated from FIG. 2. As the spacing between the element side edges 38 is slightly less than the diameter of the playing balls, the playing balls will roll along the side edges and be received by the guideway 28 and therein roll to the rack 32. Preferably, the edges 38 are bent slightly downward to form a convex radius which engages the balls 42 to facilitate rolling thereon and prevents marking the ball.
As the trough 40 substantially aligns the playing balls When the cue ball 44 is scratched, i.e., falls into one of the pockets 16, the cue ball will roll down the ball return guideways and be received upon the guide member trough 40, as shown in FIG. 5. The cue ball will roll along the trough 40 and into the space between the element side edges 38. Since the diameter of the cue ball 44 is less than the spacing between the opposed side edges 38, the cue ball will fall through the gauge member, as indicated in FIG. 6. The cue ball is received by the guideway 30 and rolls to the rack 34, where it may be removed by a player and again put into play.
From the previous description, it will be appreciated that the invention is directed to an ineXpensive, yet efficient, cue ball separator which is capable of separating cue balls from playing balls, wherein the cue ball is of a smaller diameter than the playing ball. The smaller diameter of the cue ball permits a true rebound from the pocket billiard table rails to occur without causing the cue ball to hop or leave the table surface.
It is understood that various modifications to the invention may be apparent to those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope thereof and it is intended that the invention be defined only by the scope of the following claims.
1. A separator for pocket billiard balls capable of separating a cue ball from playing balls wherein the cue ball is of a smaller diameter than the playing balls comprising, in combination, a ball guideway defining a path of movement for pocket billiard balls, a gauge member defined in said guideway, said gauge member including a pair of spaced elements having a relative spacing greater than the diameter of a cue ball and less than the diameter of the playing balls wherein said cue ball will pass downwardly through said gauge member and said playing balls will be supported by said gauge member elements, a ball supporting portion defined on said gauge member and located below and adjacent said spaced elements and prior to said elements with respect to the movement of balls in said guideway, said supporting portion receiving balls from said guideway and guiding said balls intermediate said elements, said ball supporting portion supporting said playing balls on said gauge member in substantially the same vertical position relative to said spacer elements as when said playing balls are supported by said elements preventing wedging of said playing balls between said elements, and a second ball guideway vertically aligned with and below the opening between said spaced elements receiving said cue ball. I
2. In a separator for pocket billiard balls, as in claim 1, wherein said ball-supporting portion comprises a trough of a V configuration having an elongated axis centrally located between said spaced elements.
FOREIGN PATENTS 10/1915 Denmark.
5/ 1936 Great Britain.
RICHARD C. PINKHAM, Primary Examiner THOMAS ZACK, Assistant Examiner
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