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Publication numberUS3549148 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 22, 1970
Filing dateMar 18, 1968
Priority dateMar 18, 1968
Publication numberUS 3549148 A, US 3549148A, US-A-3549148, US3549148 A, US3549148A
InventorsAlden I Schloss
Original AssigneeAlden I Schloss
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Automatic ball receiving and tossing device
US 3549148 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent I [111 3,5

[72] Inventor Alden I. Schloss 2,267,162 12/1941 Moser 124/17 4806 lndianoll y La Canada. if- 2,267,163 12/ 1 941 124/ 1 7 91011 2,646,785 7/1953 124/21 [21] Appl. No. 713,703 2,657,058 10/1953 273/103 [22] Filed M 1968 3,194,556 7/1965 vVinson 273/103X 1,495,308 8/1967 France 124/17 [54] AUTOMATIC BALL RECEIVING AND TOSSING 632,976 7/1936 Germany 124/17 DEVICE Primary Examiner-Anton O. Oechsle 1 Claim, 11 Drawing Figs. Assistant Examiner-Marvin Siskind 521 US. Cl. 213/103, Mmekumld 9' 124/21 [51] Int. Cl. A6311 65/12 ABSTRACT: An automatic ball receiving and tossing device [50] Field 01' Search 273/103, having a nonrigid ball receiver typically made Of canvas,

26(A), 26(D), 127(C), 129; 124/17, 35, 2 l mechanism including stretchable elastic bands for tossing the ball from the machine, switch means operated by the ball to [56] Rehm cm start a motor windup means for stretching the elastic bands to UNITED STATES PATENTS store energy therein, and trigger means for releasing the 1,223,386 4/1917 Handelan 273/103X stretched bands to toss the ball from the device with sufficient 1,970,068 8/1934 Walton 273/103X force to travel a relatively long distance of 30 to 40 feet from 2,059,365 11/1936 King 273/26(A) the device.


' BY M070 A TTORNE Y7 PATENHEU m2 2197c.



Fig. 7

This invention relates to a ballcatching and-throwing device, and more particularly to a device for catching and automatically throwing a ball a relatively long distance, 30 to 40 feet from the device.

Various prior art devices have attempted to solve the problems which exist. Most of these machines are not automatic since some piece of apparatus must be operated by the original thrower-catcher in order for the ball to be returned.

Some of the devices do attempt to return the ball automatically. One of the main difficulties of this type of machine has been the excessive mass required by the impeller. In order to efi'rciently propel a ball the impeller must have the least possible mass.,I-Iowever, simply reducing the mass is no solution to the problem since the impeller is subjected to high impact forces. Therefore, the design must be one which provides a high strength to weight ratio.

Such a device is desirable and useful. Normally two or more persons are required to play catch with a ball. A small child may not, for various reasons, have someone to play catch with at the time he wants to play. Using this invention, the child can play catch by himself with the device.

A would be" ball player can practice catching, pitching, batting.

The device could even be used to keep a dog occupied and happy. A dog can easily be trained to drop a ball in the ballcatching device. The device will then automatically toss the ball for the dog to chase, recover and return to the machine for another throw. I

One of the objects of this invention is to provide a device whereby one person may play catch without the aid of a second person. v

Another object of this invention is to provide a device wherein the mass of the impeller is sufficiently low to efficiently throw the ball.

A further object of the invention is to provide a device which is efficient and yet relatively inexpensive.

A still further object of this invention is to provide a device which will throw a ball for a dog to chase.

The foregoing and other objects are realized in the present invention by a device having a ball-catching means. Switching means are provided to actuate motor means to drive a chain around sprockets. The chain is provided with a hook to engage a loop attached to an impeller. The linear movement of the hook stretches elastic bands storing energy to throw the ball ahead of the impeller when the hook is disengaged by the trigger means. A better understanding will be had from the following detailed description, and the accompanying drawings in which the preferred embodiment is disclosed.

FIG. 1 is a front view of the device.

FIG. 2 is a side view of the device.

FIG. 3 is a side view of the trough portion.

FIG. 4 is a top view of the trough portion.

FIG. 5 is a view taken at section 5-5 of FIG. 4.

FIG. 6 is a view taken at section 6-6 of FIG. 4.

FIG. 7 is a view taken at section 7-7 of FIG. 3.

FIG. 8 is a view taken at section 8-8 of FIG. 3.

FIG. 9 is a view taken at section 9-9 of FIG. 6.

FIG. 10 is a top view of the hook.

FIG. 11 is a side view of the hook.

The device consists of a ball-catching means, automatic means, energy-storing means, energy-releasing means, and ball-deflecting means.

BALL-CATCHING MEANS The ball-catching means 10 is comprised of a rectangular main frame 11 to which a ball receiver or catcher 12 is secured. Catcher 12 is typically made of a flexible material such as canvas. Frame 11 consists of a base 13, uprights l4 and 15, traverse member 16 parallel to and spaced apart from the base 13, two diagonal pieces 17 and 18 which extend from the rear of the base 13 upwardly to traverse member 16.

The flexible material such as canvas is affixed to frame 11 in the following manner. The V-shaped back portion 19 which is disposed traverse the longitudinal axis of the trough 20 is attachedto diagonal members 17 and I8 and to the transverse member 16. Forwardly projecting wings 21 and 22 are afi'rxed to diagonals 17 and 18 and to uprights l4 and 15. Bottom 23 is loosely inclined toward the front and is provided with an opening 24 at the lowest point through which a ball may drop into trough 20.

AUTOMATIC MEANS The automatic means consists of a switch 30 and a second switch 31. Switch 30 is operated by a bellcrank lever 32. Bellcrank lever is preloaded so as to press on switch button 33 keeping it depressed when the bellcrank lever is at rest. The bellcrank lever is positioned so that one end inclines into trough 20 and is adapted to be depressed by theweight of a ball 34. When the bellcrank lever 32 is depressed by the weight of ball 34, switch button 33 is allowed to resume its extended position. Switch 30 is normally closed. When switch button 33 is depressed the switch is open, when extended the switch is closed.

As ball 34 rolls down the trough and off bellcrank lever 32 the preload on lever 32 returns bellcrank to depress switch button 33 and open switch 30.

Second switch 31 is also normally closed. Arm 35 projects upwardly across switch button 36 and extends beyond the body of the switch. The upper portion of the arm is positioned so that impeller 52 may contact the arm and bend it back when the impeller is at rest against stops 59. The bending action depresses switch button 36 and opens switch 31. As impeller 52 is pulled away from stops 59 the arm resumes its normal position and closes switch 31.

Switch 30 and second switch 31 are connected in parallel to motor 39. When either switch is closed motor 39 will run.

As ball 34 drops on trough 20 switch 30 is closed by bellcrank lever 32. Bellcrank lever 32 is depressed by the weight of ball 34. Motor 39 starts to run. Impeller 52 is pulled away from stops 59 and switch 31 is closed. Ball 34 follows impeller 52 and rolls off bellcrank lever 32 allowing switch 30 to open. Since switch 31 remains closed, motor 39 continues to operate.

ENERGY-STORING MEANS The energy-storing means includes a motor 39 which is affixed to the trough 20 and operatively connected to a gearbox 40. Gearbox 40 drives a sprocket 41. A second sprocket 42 is mounted on trough 20 in a spaced relationship with sprocket 41. A chain 43 is positioned about the sprockets 41 and 42 so as to form an endless belt.

Hook 44 is carried by the chain 43. Hook 44 is shaped like the letter J having a relatively long leg 45 and a relatively short leg 46 joined by a constant radius curve 47. I-Iook 44 is attached to chain 43 by a bracket 48. Book 44 is rotatably mounted in bracket 48 and is normally positioned so that the long leg 45 lays along the chain by spring 49. One or more hooks like hook 44 may be carried by chain 43 to decrease the time the operator must wait for the ball to be thrown. In its normal position, hook 44 is adapted to engage loop 50. Loop 50 is afiixed to one end of rod 51. The other end of rod 51 is attached to impeller 52.

Impeller 52 is triangular in shape with rod 51 attached at the apex of the triangle. Impeller 52 is constructed of a structural member 53, such as a channel or l-beam, of a lightweight material such as aluminum. A flat sheet of aluminum is wrapped around the structural member to form the triangle. The base of the triangle 54 has a bracket 55 upon which is rotatably mounted a roller 56. The roller is positioned so that the axis of the roller 56 is approximately on the centerline of a ball resting in the trough 20. One end of elastic bands 57 and 58 are fastened at either end of base. The other end of the elastic bands 57 and 58 are affixed to trough 20.

JStOps 59. are" positioned so as 'to-limit the travel of the impellet. When-hook44 'engages-itheloop and through red 51 t I starts to pull; the. impelleragainst'f-the. resistance of elastic brids'57 and 58, ho ok-144 is .pulled into a vertical position. The long leg 45 sticks up vertically. :Rod .51. passes through a triangular-shaped opening 60inblo'ck 7 1 which serves asa guideand locates loop 50 so'that it is in the exact position to engagehookM. G uidewires62 serve to hold impeller in posi tio'npn trough 20. V v Q T 7 'As hook moves with chain 43', energy is stored inelastic bands57and58.=

g ENERGXEJELEASINGMEANS The energy-releasihgmeans consists of a rod 70 supported by-blocks 11 and 72m a spaced relationship from trough 20. A-slideable member 7345' mounted 70. The slideable member 73 is rectangular'in$ cross' section and positioned] along rod'70 by setscrew -7 4. 1

As hook 44 movesthe long'leg' 43"contacts inember73 forcing the leg 43 of the hook' to a horizontal position releasing loop 50 from the hook and allowing the; energy to be released.

DEFLECTINGMEANS l ;The ball-deflecting'meansiscomprised of a roller 80 affixed to the trough 20 by a bracketbl which allows the roller to i 57 and 58, thus storing energyhs impeller 52 moves away w fromstops 59the actuatorofthe second switch'3l contacts will cause motor 39 to continue to operate 'even 'afte'r ball 34 rolls down the'incline following impeller 52and off actuator arm 32. The hook continues to travel until it strikes trigger 73 which disengagesloop 50 fromleg 46 of the hook 44. The energy stored in the'stretche'd bandsiwill thendraw the impeller 52' at greatw'elocity. since ball 34 is in-front of impeller 52, ball 34 isdriven at great velocity off the device and thrown rotate; A'plurality of projections 82 eittend from the periphery of the roller atvarying angles fromvertical and at varying lengths. g

As the ball. is projected from the device the roller is positioned so that theballwill contact one of the projectionsand.

be deflected." The force of the ball striking the projection 82 causes the roller'to rotate, thus presenting a different projeic tion. The deflection of the ball is thus'a random deflection. 1

' oPERanoN V operation, a ball thrown toward the device will be caughtby catcher l2 and-will fall towards bottom 23 oh the catcher 12 and then through hole 24 to trough 20. The ball rolls'towar'd ,the impeller andcomes to rest against roller56- andactuating'arm 32. The we ightof the. ball depresses actuating arm 32 closing the circuit to 'the motor. Motor 39 will rotate sprocket 41 and chain 43 will start to, travel toward the rear of the ma? hine and leg 46 of hook 44 will engage loop 50. As the hook eontinuesto'travel this engagement will draw the impeller'52 awayfrom stops; 5?, stretching the elastic bands a substantial; distanceaway. The-impeller :52 .comes to rest against sto'p f59-opening second switch-31, which stops the operation of themotor. g

As the ball'leaves thetrough 20 it strikes one of the projec- V tions82 onroller deflecting the ball 34. Roller 80 is caused to rotate, thus presenting a different projection 82 for. the next 'balLA randomdeflection is thus achieved so that the game is more interesting to-the player; v lclaim;

l. A device for automatically throwinga ball comprisiiig in combination:-

a ball troughinclined with'respect to a horizontal grand support;

- a ball-catching'device mounted over said trough and adapted to direct a ball into said inclined trough; and

means for automatically-sensing a ball in said trough and automatically throwing said sensed ball comprising an energy-storing means a'nd an energy-releasing means; said sensing means comprising a ball-actuated'switch in said trough; said energy-storing means being afiixed to said through and having a ball impeller, a resilient energy-storing member attached to said impeller, and a motor-driven sprocket chain with a hook member that engages said resilientmemberwhereby a' ball receivedin said trough will actuate said switch to start the running of said motordriven sprocket with its hook and thereby stretch said engaged. resilient member tostore energy to throw a'ball; and saidrenergy-relea sing means comprising an elongated rod mounted rearward of said ball impeller-with a hookengaging block adjustably mounted on said rod whereby said hook o'ff'said energy-storing means is triggered to thereby throw said ball.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3776550 *Sep 1, 1972Dec 4, 1973Nabb J McBasketball retrieval and return device
US4676219 *Sep 15, 1986Jun 30, 1987Tony MillerRepeating rubber band pistol
US5067471 *Apr 20, 1990Nov 26, 1991Kim John YPortable catapult device for hurling a succession of balls for batting practice
US5769064 *May 8, 1995Jun 23, 1998Lu; Jian GangElastic band powered ball projecting machine
U.S. Classification273/395, 124/35.1, 124/21
International ClassificationA63B47/02, A63B69/40, A63F7/22
Cooperative ClassificationA63B69/407, A63F7/22, A63B47/025, A63B2208/12
European ClassificationA63F7/22, A63B69/40E, A63B47/02E