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Publication numberUS3590181 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 29, 1971
Filing dateFeb 4, 1970
Priority dateFeb 4, 1970
Publication numberUS 3590181 A, US 3590181A, US-A-3590181, US3590181 A, US3590181A
InventorsBaran Joseph G
Original AssigneeBaran Joseph G
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Lane switch for swimming timers
US 3590181 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States atent inventor Joseph G. Baran 3737 Oak Ave, Northbrook, 111. 60062 Appl. No. 8,451 Filed Feb. 4, 1970 Patented June 29, 1971 LANE SWITCH FOR SWIMMING TIMERS 5 Claims, 10 Drawing Figs.

US. Cl 200/52, ZOO/61.7, 200/86 Int. Cl Hillh 35 00, HOlh 3/16, HOlh 3/02 Field of Search 200/52, 86,

[ 56] Referencs Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,525,824 10/1950 Nagel 200/86 (R) X 2,922,003 1/1960 Roscoe 200/86 (R) 3,462,885 8/1969 Miller ZOO/61.43 X

Primary Examiner-J. R. Scott Att0rneyDarbo, Robertson & Vandenburgh ABSTRACT: A frame mounted on the side of a swimming pool has horizontal supports extending across one end of a swimming lane. Mounted on these supports for limited horizontal movement in line with the lane are a plurality of spaced, vertical panels positioned side-by-side across the end of the lane. These panels are biased outwardly and the supports carry an electrical switch for each panel so that when the panel is pushed inwardly by a swimmer arriving at the end of the lane, the switch will be actuated to supply an electrical indication to a timing apparatus.


SHEET 2 OF 3 (116/ 1111/: fosy .Za ran/ v 05% al /lbw 11/ I III]! 11 A LANE SWITCH FOR SWIMMING TIMERS BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION semiautomatic timing devices for swimming races utilizing a touch pad at one end of each swimming lane to actuate the timing device are known. See, for example, U.S. Pat. No. 3,230,325. Various types of touch pads have been employed. All of them that are known to me, suffer from a common defeet, namely that when the race covers more than two lengths of the pool, the touch pad must be moved out of the way until after the start of the final lap. At that time, the touch pads for each of the lanes then must be put into operative position for use by the swimmers to signal their reaching the end of their swimming distance. This requirement is occasioned by the very construction of the touch pads that have been employed. The construction being such that the touch pads would interfere with the ability of the swimmer toproperly make his turn 1 at the end of the pool if the touch pad has not been moved out of place.

Another defect that is common to a number of the touch pads is that they are constructed as resilient bags" containing a fluid, e.g. oil, so that when they are pressed the internal fluid pressure will be created which can serve as the actuating signal. The difficulty is that the oil tends to leak out or spill under the conditions of use. This, of course, is an undesirable contaminating factor in a swimming pool.

The present invention overcomes the difficulties with the prior art devices, particularly those difficulties noted above. The touch pads remain continuously in place during a race. There is no necessity for someone rushing about at each of the lanes to properly position the touch pads at each lane after the swimmer in the respective lane has started his final lap. Experience has proven that in the excitement of a race, the getting of all of the touch pads into proper place at the proper time is a difficult procedure, and one that is likely not to be done properly.

An additional advantage of embodiments of the present invention are that they extend a substantial distance above the water level and may be actuated by a portion of the swimmers body contacting them other than at immediately adjacent the water level. For example, a swimmer coming in on a backstroke may be swinging his arms high and strike the touch pads with his hand while the hand is still relatively high above the water level. There is no fumbling around to find the touch pad, such as might occur under similar swimming conditions when the hand struck the side of the pool above the touch pad because ofthe particular positional relationship that the swimmer achieved in reaching the end of the pool while still 1 looking in the other direction.

Another advantage of the embodiments of the present in-;". vention is thatthey can extend ntirely across "the end of the' lane being used by the swimmer. Thus, should the swimmer stray from the center of the lane tofone edge thereof, he can still find the touch pad in front of him so that he does not have to hunt around to locate it after reaching the end of the pool. I

At the same time, the construction is such that the wave motion created by the swimmer will not produce 'sufificient force to unintentionally actuate the touch pad before the swimmer reaches it. Obviously, actuation by anything other than" the swimmer's body during a race cannot be tolerated. Iarticularly with some swimming styles, quite a substantial water wave motion is created in the pool. The touch pad must be such as to not be actuated by any such water forces.

Additional objects and advantages will be apparent from the,

following description of the invention. I t

The invention relates to a touch pad for timing in swimming pools. I

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the invention in place in a swimming pool; 1

FIG. 2 is a transverse section of the embodiment of FIG. 1;

devices used tacts have been closed.

FIG. 3 is an enlarged partial rear view of the embodiment of FIG. 1;

FIG. t is a section taken horizontally switch and actuation structure therefor;

FIG. 5 is a partial view as seen at line 5-5 of FIG. 4;

FIGS. 6 and 7 are components of the switch actuation structure; FIG. 8 is a schematic diagram showing the manner in which the electrical switches are connected to the timing apparatus;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment; and

FIG. I0 is a vertical section through the embodiment of FIG. 9 showing the structure thereof.

showing the electrical DESCRIPTION OF SPECIFIC EMBODIMENTS The following disclosure is offered for public dissemination in return for the grant of a patent. Although it is detailed to ensure adequacy and aid understanding, this is not intended to prejudice that purpose of a patent which is to cover each new inventive concept therein no matter how others may later disguise it by variations in form or additions or further improvements. The claims at the end hereof are intended as the chief aid toward this purpose, as it is these that meet the requirement of pointing out the parts, improvements, or combinations in which the inventive concepts are found.

Referring to FIGS. 1-7, the illustrated embodiment comprises a frame, generally 11, which includes end posts 12 and 13 connected by two horizontal members 14 and 15. The frame also includes a plurality of brackets 16 (FIG. 2) which hook into the gutter 17 of the pool so that the'frame is supported in immediate juxtaposition to the pool wall 18.

The lower horizontal bar 14 provides a carrying means for a plurality of individual panels 21. Each of the panels has a toe 22 which projects loosely into a slot in carrying member 14 to provide whatrnay be termed ahinge mounting for the panel. Each panel has an actuator device, generally 23, for producing a signal as the individual panel 21 is moved toward the side 18 of the pool. These actuator devices are housed in horizontal member 15, which forms a carrying means therefor.

As best seen in FIG. 4, the actuator device. includes an electrical switch 24 enclosed in a housing 25. The neck 26 of the housing is threaded into a support bracket 27, riveted into the inside of horizontal member 15. At the point of mounting, the

horizontal member l5 has an opening closed by a removable cover plate 28 to provide access to the switch terminals; The switch has an actuator button 29. It is so designedtliat some overtravel of the actuator is I A cylinder 32 is mounted for axial movement in a bracket 30, secured to horizontalmember 15. Cylinder 32 has a circumferential slot 34 by means of which the cylinder is engaged by a br'a cket 35 secured to panel 21. Bracket-35 has a large 1 opening 3 6 (FIG. 6) joinedb yia smaller opening 37. Opening 1 13.6,is of a size to receive the full diameter of cylinder 32, while opening 37; is of a size to receive only the diameter of cylinderv 32 at slot 34. Thus, the cylinder 32may be slipped into opening 36 and when the bracket :is aligned with slot 34, the

cylinder may be'moved sidewise so that the bracket 35 engages the slot 34I An adjustable actuator pin 39 is threaded into the interior of cylinder 32 so that it may be moved longitudinally of the cylinder. Pin-39 has a nose 40 in juxtaposition to actuator button 29. A springi 4l encircles cylinder 32- and abuts against brackets 27 and 35. This spring thus urges the .panel 21 away from the side of thejpool.

As illustrated schematically in FIG. 8, thevarious switches 24 are all connected; in j parallel tb a timing apparatus, generally 43. In series with xall of the switches is a. manually operable switch 44. The exact form of the timing apparatus 43 does not form a part of the present invention. It could, for example, be of a type such as that illustrated and described in connection with U.S. Pat. No. 3,230,325, provided adequate permitted after the switchlconprovision were made so that the water in the swimming pool could not becomecharged with electricity if the wires connecting switches 24 were in contact with the water.

It is important to note that the touch pad apparatus, illustrated and described, is used only in conjunction with a single lane of a swimming pool, i.e., the lane beingthat area occupied by only one swimmer at a time. Similar touch pads will be used in conjunction with the remaining lanes, all being connected toa common timing apparatus in the usual instance. A starting block 45 is aligned with the center of the lane. Normally, several of the panels 21 positioned at the center of the lane also would have a contrasting color so as to aid a swimmer in keeping track of the center of his lane.

Assuming that a race is to cover a number of lengths of the pool, the apparatus is used by the swimmer as a bearing area against which to make his turns. Thus, the apparatus is in place during all of the race and any force applied thereto is resisted by the apparatus bearing against the wall 13 of the pool. For this purpose the panels 21 are provided with a nonskid or nonslippery surface so that the swimmer has no difficulty in making his turns. Each time a swimmer makes a turn he will, of course, depress one or two of the panels within their limited range of movement, but this has no effect on the timing apparatus 43 since the switch 44 is maintained open until after the final lap has started. After the final lap has started, switch 44 is closed so that now the closing of any one of switches 24a through 24p will actuate the timing apparatus.

The panels 21 are relatively narrow as measured across the width of the swimming lane, and a plurality of them are used, set a spaced distanceapart. Each panel requires a predetermined amount of force to he applied thereto before the switch 24 associated therewith will be closed. In an actual embodiment this pressure was about 1% pounds. However, because of the use of a plurality of panels and the provision of spaces the'rebetween, the water splashing about in the pool will not become sufficient to actuate the switch of any one panel.

Another feature is that the panels extend a substantial distance above the water level 46. The tops of the panels are protected by rubber pads 17. Thus, for example, a swimmer coming in to the finish line swimming the backstroke, will be looking the other direction. He will be flailing his arms over his head, and one of his arms may reach the finish line while it is well in the air. In that event, with the disclosed embodiment, the arm would strike an upper portion of one of the panels 21 causing the panel to move and actuate its associated switch 24. Thus, the swimmer's arm would not have to descent to approximately the water level before it could contact the touch pad and signal the fact that he had reached the finish line.

FIGS. 9 and illustrate an embodiment in which the panels extend only above the waterline. Thus, the area below the waterline would be free for the swimmer to make his turns in the usual manner. in this embodiment there are a pair of end posts 50 between which are three crossmembers 51, 52 and 53. Crossmember 52 corresponds to the structure illustrated and described in connection with horizontal member 11$, and includes a plurality of actuator devices 23, as previoualy described. At the upper and lower end of each panel are brackets 55 which carry pivot pins 56. Pins 56 extend through slots 57 in supports 58 attached to horizontal members 51 and 53 respectively. Springs 59 encircle pins tit) on the panel 61. The other end of the springs 59 are received in sockets 62 in horizontal members 51 and 53.

Thus, springs $9 urge the panels 61 away from the frame to an extent permitted by the movement of pins 56 in slots 57. The panel 61 may be pushed in at the top, middle or bottom or any place in between. For example, when it is pushed in at the bottom, it pivots on the pin 56 at the top of the panel. Any of these movements will result in an operation of the actuator 23.

At the bottom of the frame a U-shaped bracket 65 clips over the rim of the gutter 17. The frame also includes a rearwardly extending leg 66 to support the upper end of the apparatus.


I. An apparatus for use in connection with one lane of a multilane swimming pool, havingsides, for indicating the instant at which a swimmer reaches an end of said one lane, said apparatus including:

a frame having carrying means extending approximately the width of said lane, said frame including support means for mounting the frame on a side of the pool adjacent said end;

a plurality of touch pads positioned side by side across approximately the width of said lane at said end with spaces between adjacent pads, at least a portion of each pad extending upwardly from the waterline and being approximately vertical, each pad being mounted on said carrying means for limited horizontal movement and being biased to a normal position away from said side of the pool; and

a separate actuator device for each of said pads respectively, each device being mounted on said carrying means adjacent its respective pad for operation of the device as the respective pad is displaced from said normal position.

2. An apparatusas set forth in claim 1, wherein said carrying means comprises two horizontal members spaced vertically from each other, said parts being movably supported on one of said members, said devices being mounted on the other of said members.

3. An apparatus as set forth in claim 2, wherein said frame has two vertical sides extending down into the water, said one of said members connecting said frame sides adjacent the bottom of the pool, the other member connecting said frame sides above the water, said supporting means comprising hooks attached to said other member, extending over the pool edge and into the pool gutter.

4. An apparatus as set forth in claim 3, wherein said devices each include an electric switch, said switches being connected in parallel.

5. An apparatus as set forth in claim 2, wherein the sides of said pads facing the pool have a nonslip surface coating thereon.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2525824 *Sep 12, 1947Oct 17, 1950Eastern Ind IncTraffic counting apparatus
US2922003 *Jun 13, 1958Jan 19, 1960Roscoe John PRoadway switch for traffic counting systems
US3462885 *Oct 17, 1967Aug 26, 1969Miller BrosSafety edge for a door
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3745275 *Jun 25, 1971Jul 10, 1973Omega Brandt & Freres Sa LouisTouch pad for swimming competitions
US3944763 *Nov 1, 1974Mar 16, 1976Beierwaltes Richard RSwimming pool touch pad
US4117283 *Oct 14, 1976Sep 26, 1978Societe Suisse Pour L'industrie Horlogere Management Services, S.A.Swimming pool touch pad construction
US4292696 *Aug 30, 1979Oct 6, 1981Annesberg Associates N.V.Swimmer arrival signal panels incorporated in a swimming pool bulkhead
US4475016 *Sep 21, 1982Oct 2, 1984Annesberg Associates N.V.Swimmer arrival signal panel
US5349569 *Feb 25, 1993Sep 20, 1994Seiko Instruments Inc.Timing system for swimming race
US7358456 *Feb 7, 2005Apr 15, 2008Industrial Service Technology, Inc.Swimming pool touchpad
US20090185455 *Jan 23, 2008Jul 23, 2009Colorado Time Systems, LlcAquatic Event Timer Apparatus and Methods
DE2746056A1 *Oct 13, 1977Apr 20, 1978Suisse HorlogerieAnschlagvorrichtung fuer schwimmbecken
EP2001035A2 *Aug 9, 2007Dec 10, 2008Norman Victor WheatEconomical force sensitive switch
EP2001035A3 *Aug 9, 2007Aug 26, 2009Norman Victor WheatEconomical force sensitive switch
U.S. Classification200/52.00R, 200/61.7, 200/86.00R
International ClassificationH01H35/00
Cooperative ClassificationH01H35/00
European ClassificationH01H35/00