US 3467383 A
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P 1969 G. J. M. MIERMANS 3,467,383
AERIAL PROJECTILE TARGET GAME WITH SPIN-IMPARTING PROJECTOR Filed Feb. 17. 1966 4 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTOR GUY J. M. maszmms B! (MEN/G114, 21114434 4 wi ATTQRNEYS Sept. 16, 1969 G. J. M. MIERMANS AERIAL PROJECTILE TARGET GAME WITH SPIN-IMPARTING PROJECTOR Filed Feb. 17, 1966 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 mveN'roR GUY J. m. Meemms (Allan/ C414, Mall,
P 16, 1969 G. J. M. MIERMANS 3,467,383
AERIAL PROJECTILE TARGET GAME WITH SPIN-IMPARTING PROJECTOR Filed Feb. 17. 1966 4 Sheets-Sheet 5 \NVEN'TQR GUY J m. mmzmms Sept. 16, 1969 G. J. M. MIERMANS Filed Feb. 17. 1966 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 l4 l3 l5 l6 l8 I7 PAIR IMPAIR Fla. 7.
mvEN-roR GUY J m, mueizmnfls United States Patent 3,467,383 AERIAL PROJECTILE TARGET GAME WITH SPIN-IMPARTING PROJECTOR Guy Jean Martin Miermans, Estancia Itati, Mercedes, Argentina Filed Feb. 17, 1966, Ser, No. 528,178 Claims priority, application Great Britain, Feb. 19, 1965, 7,274/ 65 Int. Cl. A63b 65/12, 63/00 U.S. Cl. 273-401 4 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE An aerial projectile game employing a ball projector which imparts spin to the projected ball and a target table with a yieldable surface having a high coefficient of friction.
This invention relates to apparatus for playing games.
The apparatus according to the invention comprises an aimable projector for throwing a playing piece, and a target table having a yielding surface of high coefiicient of friction.
The games which can be played with the apparatus rely essentially upon the skill of the player in the manipulation of the projector so as to throw the playing piece as near as possible to a desired position on the target table, the nature of the surface of the target table restricting and directing the bounce and run of the playing piece, thereby increasing the precision with which the player can determine the position at which the playing piece comes to rest, as compared with what would be possible with a target table with a hard smooth surface.
A suitable form of surface for the target table is sheeting of foam rubber or of a foamed plastics material.
Preferably, the playing piece is a ball, such as a billiards or snooker ball, in which case the projector may have means to impart to the ball a spin that is adjustable in direction. By adjusting the direction of spin, the player can control the extent of run of the ball after it lands on the target table, and can make the ball break to left or right or roll forwards or backwards, at will.
The target table may be provided with holes, pockets or other means to receive the playing pieces, or may be marked into areas, the holes, pockets or areas being numbered or otherwise identified for scoring or imposing penalties upon the player. Alternatively, or in addition, the game may be played by causing the thrown playing pieces to score, or impose a penalty, upon touching or moving other playing pieces on the table, for example by making cannons as in billiards.
The target table may have boundary walls or cushions to enable the playing pieces to rebound on to the target table.
For certain games the table may be provided with obstacles, traps or other hazards, and/or electrically operated illuminated scoring devices.
Preferably the projector is such that the playing piece is thrown by a release of energy imparted by the player, as by loading a spring or operating an air compressing device. Thus, the projector may be in the form of a gun-like catapult, having an aimable barrel along the interior of which the playing piece is propelled by a spring-operated or other propelling element.
Where the playing piece is a ball, a spin may be imparted thereto by engagement of the ball, as it is pro pelled, with at least one guide of friction material extending longitudinally along the projector, namely along the interior of the barrel when the projector is of gunlike form. Preferably the ball is supported in the projector at three points only, i.e. a single propelling element "ice and two guides, or a double propelling element and a single guide, the propelling element or elements being of a material of low coefficient of friction so that the surface of the ball can slide easily against the propelling element as it is propelled along the guide or guides, the braking effect of the latter imparting a rotation or spin to the ball, which becomes effective only when the ball lands on the target table owing to the yielding nature of the surface of the table. The propelling element should touch the ball at a point that does not coincide with that axis of the ball which lies along, or is parallel to, the longitudinal axis of the projector. For example, the propelling element may have a surface inclined to the longitudinal axis of the projector to press the ball against the guides while propelling it.
To enable the direction of spin to be adjusted, the barrel may be rotatable by the player about its longitudinal axis.
The propelling element is conveniently mounted on a propelling rod that is slideable in a block of self-lubricating material, such as nylon or polytetrafiuoroethylene, at the inner end of the barrel. This avoids the need for any oil or grease.
There may be a guide bar extending rearwardly from the barrel and carrying a slider to which the propelling rod is connected, the guide bar being provided with a stop member carrying a releaseable detent for holding the slider in a cocked position. By making the position of the stop member adjustable along the guide bar by the player, the player can adjust the stroke of the propelling element and hence the force with which the playing piece is projected.
Conveniently the energy for projecting the playing piece is stored in elastic springs which are stretched when the player draws the slider back to its cocked position and are released by operation of the detent.
If the guide bar is fixed in relation to the barrel, rotation of the guide bar will also rotate the barrel and accordingly the guide bar may have a handle by which the player can rotate it and the barrel.
The barrel may be mounted on a trunnion bracket so that its elevation can be adjusted, to enable the player to alter the trajectory of the playing piece. The trunnion bracket may be rotatable about a vertical axis so that the aim of the projector is adjustable in traverse.
The invention may be performed in various ways, and a specific embodiment, with some possible variations, will now be described by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of one form of the apparatus;
FIGURE 2 is a sectional side elevation of the projector;
FIGURE 3 is a view looking down the barrel of the projector;
FIGURE 4 is a cross-section taken on the line IVIV in FIGURE 2;
FIGURE 5 is a cross-section taken on the line V-V in FIGURE 2;
FIGURE 6 is a diagram showing how spin is imparted to the ball;
FIGURE 7 shows another form of the target table; and
FIGURE 8 is a view similar to FIGURE 3, showing another form of propelling element and slideway.
Referring to FIGURES 1 to 6, the apparatus comprises a table 1 on which are mounted a target table 2 and a projector 3. The target table 2 consists of a sheet of foamed plastics material, for example about (2 cm.) thick. This surface is marked out in numbered rectangles. The target table is surrounded on three sides by a boundary wall 4.
Also mounted on the table 1 at a suitable distance from the open side of the target table 2, is the projector 3 which is supported upon a fixed mounting 5, secured to the table, by means of a trunnion bracket 6 pivoted to the fixed mounting by a pivot pin 7, and which can be locked in any desired position of pivotal adjustment about the vertical axis of the pivot pin 7 means of a clamping nut 8.
Supported about a horizontal pivotal axis in the trunnion bracket 6 is a sleeve 9. Supported in the sleeve 9 is a projector barrel 10 which can be rotated about its own axis, and which is a sufliciently snug fit in the sleeve to remain in any desired position of rotation unless deliberately moved by the player. Alternatively, the sleeve 9 could be a split sleeve provided with a clamping screw (not shown) which, when tightened, squeezes the sleeve 9 tightly around the barrel 10. Fixed to the barrel 10 is a ring 12 which not only serves to locate the barrel longitudinally in relation to the sleeve 9, but can also carry protractor markings which, in conjunction with a fixed mark on the sleeve 9, indicates the angular position of the barrel 10 about its longitudinal axis.
Screwed into the inner end of the barrel 10 is a block 13 made of nylon or other self-lubricating material. This block has a flange which abuts against the sleeve 9 on the opposite side thereof to the ring 12, to provide 1ongitudin-al location of the barrel 10. Fixed into the block 13, so as to be non-rotatable therein, is a guide rod 14 provided with a keyway 15. A handwheel 16 is fixed to the end of the guide rod 14. The player can adjust the angular position of the barrel 10 about its longitudinal axis by turning the handwheel 16.
Mounted on the guide rod 14 is a stop member 17 which can be clamped in any desired position of adjustment along the guide rod by means of a screw clamp 18. The guide rod 14 may have marks to assist in the positioning of the stop member 17. Pivotably mounted on the stop member 17 is a detent 19 having a hook 20 at one end and a trigger 21 at the other. A spring biases the detent towards the position in which it is shown in FIGURE 2.
Slidably mounted on the guide rod 14 is a disc-like slider 23 provided with a rearwardly extending cylindrical sleeve 11 which accommodates a self-lubricating bushing. The slider is prevented from rotation on the guide rod 14 by means of a key 24 which runs in the keyway 15.
Projecting forwardly from the slider 23 is a propelling rod 25 which is slidably guided in a bore in the block 13 and which is connected at its forward end to a propelling element 26. This element 26 is slidable along the in terior of the barrel 10 on a dovetail slideway 27.
Also attached to the slider 23 are two elastic springs 28 the forward ends of which are fixed to the front end of the barrel 10 and which extend along the interior of the barrel in guide channels 29. When the player draws back the slider from the position shown in full lines in FIGURE 2 to the cocked position shown in chain lines, the elastic springs are stretched. Also fixed to the slider 23 is a catch 30 which, when the slide is drawn back by a finger hook 38, is engaged by the hook 20 of the detent 19 as shown in chain lines in FIGURE 2, to hold the slider in the cocked position.
Also extending along the full length of the interior of the barrel 10 are two strips 31 of rubber which constitute friction guide members for imparting spin to the playing piece which, in this embodiment, is a ball 32.
By altering the position of the stop member 17 on the guide rod 14 the stretch of the elastic springs 28, and hence the velocity with which the ball 32 is projected, can be adjusted by the player.
The propelling element 26 is made of a material of low coefiicient of friction, such as nylon or polytetrafluoroethylene, and has an inclined front surface 33 which makes an angle of 50 with the longitudinal axis of the .4 barrel (see FIGURE 6). When the ball is being projected after release of the hook 20 from the catch 30 by the player pressing the trigger 21, the inclined surface 33 will press the ball 32 into engagement with the rubber guide members 31, as well as propelling the ball forwards. The ball is thus supported at three points only, namely the points of contact A and B with the guide members 31, and the point of contact C with the inclined surface 33. The friction at the points A and B is high while that at the point C is low, so that a spin is imparted to the ball in the direction shown by the arrow 34 in FIGURE 6. Thus, with the barrel in the position shown in FIGURES 2, 3 and 6, a back spin will be imparted to the ball, whereas if the handwheel 16 is rotated through 180 into the position shown in FIGURE 1, the ball will have a forward spin. Turning the handwheel through to the left or right will give the ball a left-hand spin or a righthand spin as the case may be. Intermediate positions provide combinations of forward or back spin and sideways spin, depending upon the angular position selected.
Instead of having two guide members and a single propelling element there could be two propelling elements and a single guide member.
By pivoting the trunnion bracket 6 about the vertical pivot pin 7 the angular position of the barrel 10 in traverse can be adjusted. Protractor markings may be provided if desired, to facilitate adjustment. By tilting the barrel 10 about the horizontal pivotal axis of the sleeve 9 the elevation of the barrel 10 can be adjusted. A pointer 35 which moves with the sleeve 9 and which co-operates with protractor markings on the trunnion bracket 6 facilitates accurate adjustment of the barrel elevation.
The projector may be equipped with a coin-freed or token-freed locking mechanism which, on insertion of a coin or token, sets a time switch (not shown) and energises a solenoid 37 mounted in a casing 41 fixed to the underside of the sleeve 9. The solenoid draws down a spring-biased detent lever 36, withdrawing its tip from a circumferential groove 43 in the slider 23. This permits the slider to be drawn back along the guide rod 14 and frees the projector for shooting balls. After a predetermined time interval, the solenoid is de-energised, thereby permitting the tip of the detent lever 36 to re-enter the groove 43 upon completion of the next shot, so that the projector is automatically locked but can be released again by insertion of another coin.
Instead of operating on a time basis, the coin-freed or token-freed locking mechanism may include a shot-counting device which locks the projector after a pre-determined number of shots.
In the modification shown in FIGURE 8, the dovetail slideway 27 of FIGURES 2 and 3 is replaced by a double flanged rail 47, and the propelling member 44 has side walls which project downwards on each side of the rail 47 and carry pins 42 on which are mounted ball bearings 40 which run along between the flanges of the rail 47.
The game may be played by a single player trying to achieve a maximum or target score by shooting a given number of balls on to the target table, or two or more players or teams may complete with one another. If desired, a scout or jack ball may be placed on the table, the scoring being by cannons, or the final position of the scout or jack ball on the table may afford a suitable adjustment to the score. With skill and practice a player can shoot a ball so that its point of landing on the table, its course after landing and the position in which it comes to rest, can all be accurately controlled.
The apparatus can also be used for gambling games akin to roulette, using a target table marked out similarly to that shown in FIGURE 6, the players betting upon the number or some other characteristic of the area in which the projected ball or a scout ball will come to rest.
Other variations are possible. For example, instead of a ball the playing pieces can be cubes or ellipsoids or discs like ice hockey pucks. Also, the target table can have holes in it, the passage of a playing piece through a hole actuating an automatic scoring mechanism. In such a case there may be a chute or sloping tray down which the balls roll back to the player. If desired there may be a coinfreed trap to hold back the balls after a predetermined number have passed through the holes, or after a predetermined time interval. The boundary wall can have pockets to permit the playing of a game similar to billiards or snooker.
The foam plastics or rubber surface of the table may be removable and replaceable by similar yielding surfaces with diiferent markings, or by a different type of surface so that the same table can be used for a different type of game such as skittles or bowling. Alternatively, the top of the table which supports the removable yielding surface may itself be adapted for such other uses.
What I claim as my invention and desire to secure by Letters Patent is:
1. Apparatus for playing games comprising in combination at least one ball, an aimable projector for throwing said ball with a trajectory and spin controllable by the player, a target table to receive said thrown ball, said projector comprising an elongated longitudinal ball guide track element of friction material to impart spin to said ball, mechanical means to propel said ball along said element track, said propelling means having at least one ball contacting element, there being a total of three ball contacting surfaces in said projector distributed among the track element and the ball contacting element, means to effect rotation of said track element about an axis parallel to the longitudinal axis of said track element whereby the direction of said spin imparted to said ball is adjustable and means supporting said track for pivotal movement about horizontal and vertical transverse axes, said target table having a flat yielding surface of high coefiieient of friction.
2. Apparatus as claimed in claim 1 in which said yielding surface of said target table is provided by sheeting of resilient material selected from the group consisting of foam rubber and foamed synthetic plastics.
3. Apparatus as claimed in claim 1 in which said ballcontacting element of said propelling means is inclined to said longitudinal axis of said ball guide track element and faces toward said ball guide track element to press said ball toward said ball guide track element while pro pelling said ball along said ball guide track element.
4. Apparatus as claimed in claim 1 in which said projector also comprises elastic means associated with said propelling means, means to retract said propelling means and simultaneously tension and said elastic means, detent means to hold said propelling means in an adjustable retracted position with said elastic means tensioned, and trigger means to release said detent means.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 885,358 4/1908 Morris 273l0l 2,526,018 10/1950 Foster et a1 124-11 3,326,556 6/1967 Andersen 273- X 1,353,663 9/1920 Napier. 3,102,526 9/1963 Connor l2421 FOREIGN PATENTS 789,482 8/1935 France.
ANTON O. OECHSLE, Primary Examiner MAX R. PAGE, Assistant Examiner