US 3645530 A
A random-event structure is disclosed for use with a ball which passes through the structure and exits randomly from one of a plurality of ports. A truncated conical housing encloses a rotary interference and distribution structure for randomly altering the path of a ball through the housing to exit from one of the ports which are spaced apart about the base of the housing.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
O United States Patent [151 3,
Hernandez et a1. 1 Feb. 29, 1972  RANDOMLY EXITXNG BALL AND 2,607,592 8/1952 Finnerty ..273/120 R GAME APPARATUS 1,066,107 7/1913 Halliday.... ..273/l20 R 1,103,558 7/1914 Berger ..273/120 R  Inventors: Edward A. Hernandez, 1500 Elevado Street, Los Angeles, Calif. 90026; James Primary EXaminer-Ant0n O. OeChSle v Leeuwen, 4226 McFarland Assistant Examiner-Marvin Siskind Avenue Burbank, n 91505 Att0rneyNilsson, Robbins, Wills & Berliner  Filed: Mar. 12, 1970 57 ABSTRACT PP 18,334 A random-event structure is disclosed for use with a ball which passes through the structure and exits randomly from one of a plurality of ports. A truncated conical housing en-  US. Cl. ..273/l38 R closes a rotary interference and distribution Structure for mm  Int. Cl. ..A63b 71/00 domly altering the path of a n through. the housing w cxil Field of Search-m 138 R, 120 144 R from one of the ports which are spaced apart about the base of the housing.  References Cited 1 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures UNITED STATES PATENTS 474,310 5/1892 n sterick n ..2 7/120 R 5 T 3 L l /7 4 L I /9 i 52 Patented Feb. 29, 1972 3,645,530
Lib/11553. VOA ZEEL/WEN fl jfmw MM 2 uyw RANDOMLY EXITING BALL AND GAME APPARATUS BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Over the years, a vast variety of games and game structure have evolved. In general, a game ideally provides fascination and education. That is, a game should be sufficiently fascinating or intriguing to hold the interest of the participants and at the same time it is desirable for the game to provide some form of training or education.
The elements involved in providing fascination are many and varied; however, among those elements are the presence of moving mechanical apparatus and the suspense of truly random events. For example, the traditional classic-event game of tossing a coin probably dates back to the first minting of coins; however, increased flexibility is provided by a game structure which has several possible random events. That is, while tossing a coin provides only two possible events, e.g., heads or tails, a game structure for defining several events in a random sequence offers considerably increased flexibility of use.
A game structure for providing a sequence of random events should also include some active participation by the players (to stimulate interest). That is, the structure should be substantially free of recurring patterns which would tend to influence the play, yet the players should be involved with some physical activity and considerable thought.
One of the training or educational objectives which has been commonly embodied in gamesinvolves arithmetic training. That is, games which improve the dexterity of the players in adding numbers or performing other arithmetic operations have generally performed a very useful function. This consideration is particularly true when the game is sufficiently engaging to stimulate prolonged play.
In general, the present invention comprises a game apparatus incorporating player-actuated moving parts to establish a sequence of random events which in the disclosed embodiment, indicate numerical values that are summed by the players as their score. Thus, as described in detail below, the apparatus affords a fascinating game which effectively improves the dexterity of the participants in arithmetically manipulating numbers.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the drawings, which constitute a part of this specification, an exemplary embodiment demonstrating various objectives and features hereof is set forth as follows:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a game apparatus con structed in accordance with the present invention.
FIG. 2 is a vertical sectional view taken centrally through the structure of FIG. ll;
FIG. 3 is a horizontal sectional view taken along line 3-3 of FIG. 2; and
FIG. 4 is a horizontal sectional view taken along line 4-4 of FIG. 2.
DESCRIPTION OF THE ILLUSTRATIVE EMBODIMENT As required, a detailed illustrative embodiment of the invention is disclosed herein. However, it is to be understood that the embodiment merely exemplifies the invention which may take many different forms that are radically different from a specific illustrative embodiment disclosed herein. Therefore, specific structural and functional details disclosed herein are not to be interpreted as limiting but merely as a basis for the claims defining the scope and content of the invention.
Referring initially to FIG. I, the game apparatus A hereof is shown positioned upon a scoring mat M bearing various rounded designations of the players scores as indicated by scoring disks D. The apparatus A is physically independent from the scoring mat M upon which it rests. In this regard, the mat M may comprise a soft material as fabric or the like hearing imprinted numerical designations to assist in keeping the score in cooperation with the scoring disks D.
In general, the game is played by dropping a ball B (shown in phantom) or the like into one of a group of entry ports 10 after having imparted a spin to the apparatus A by actuating a spinner knob 12. The ball falls through the apparatus A and emerges from one of several exit ports, e.g., ports I4, I5 or 16, to lie in one of several annular troughs 18.
Each of the ports about the apparatus A (including the ports 14, 15 and 16) are designated by a numerical symbol 20 so that when the ball exits from one of the ports, a numerical value is manifest which the players mustrnentally add to the previous score of the instant player. In general, a player will take several (a predetermined number of) turns at dropping the ball into one of the ports 10 to increase his score as much as possible prior to passing the ball onto the next player in sequence.
After completing the interval of play, a player places disks D on scoring areas 22 of the mat M to indicate his total score less a round-off or remainder number, which is to be remembered by the players. It is to be noted that the disks D are color coded to each of the players so as to enable the effective scoring on the mat M. Note that the combination of tally scoring and mental recall scoring affords a flexible arithmetic training device.
In general, the game will be played until one of the players attains a predetermined total score which may be required to be attained in a particular pattern. Thereupon, that player is the winner of that particular game. Of course, the game structure hereof is capable of a wide number of variations and combinations in use, the play of which provides effective training in arithmetic.
The basic element of the structure hereof is embodied in the apparatus A which will now be considered in greater structural detail. As shown in FIG. 2, the apparatus includes a housing member 24 in the shape of a somewhat truncated cone, the upper end of which is terminated by a closure cap or cover 26 which is integrally formed with the housing member 241. From the cover 26, the housing member Zidefines a symmetrical right-circular conical form extending downward with an everincreasing diameter to terminate at a base 28. The housing member 24 and the cover 26 may be formed of metal. plastic, composition or any of a variety of other generally durable materials.
The bottom of the apparatus A is closed by a floor structure 30 which is generally circular and concentric with the housing member 24. The floor structure 30 defines somewhat of a disk shape, with an external upwardly extending annular flange 32, thereby providing an adjacent annular trough M. The underside of the floor structure is supported by an annular downwardly extending flange 33. From the annular trough 34, the upper surface of the floor structure 30 defines a slight rise, extending inwardly to a centrally located bearing 36 which is defined in a stud 37.
A vertical rotary shaft 38 isjoumalled into the bearing 36 and extends upwardly through a top bearing 40 (centrally defined in the cover 26) to receive the spinning knob I2. The shaft 38 also passes through a rotary central distributor struc' ture 42 which is shown in a plan view in FIG. 3. The structure 42 is annular including an external flange or ridge 44 for mating alignment with the tapered interior of the housing member 24. The distributor structure 42 is somewhat concave at its upper surface, e.g., tapered downward and inwardly, to provide a dish surface which is interrupted by radial risers 46. Spaced between the risers 46 so as to lie somewhat near the center of the distributor structure 42, in wells 47, ports 48 are defined, which pass the ball B.
The central shaft 38 includes radially extending flanges 52v and 54 which afford support to the cap or cover 26 and the distributor structure 42. Additionally, a larger rotary flange or disk 56 is affixed on the shaft 38 between the flanges 52and 54, having a flat upper surface and a somewhat convex lower surface (for added strength). The disk 56 serves to interrupt the free fall of a ball B from an entry port It) to the distributor structure 42.
In view of the above preliminary description, a complete and detailed understanding of the system hereof may now best be presented by considering the operation of the apparatus A during an exemplary sequence of use, while concurrently introducing further structural elements thereof. Accordingly, the initial step in using the apparatus involves manually setting the internal rotary structure in motion by grasping and spinning the knob 12 (FIG. 2). The rotating structure including the striker disk 56 and the distributor structure 42, as interference members, is relatively light and in view of the bearings provided within the apparatus A, it continues to revolve for a prolonged period of time.
With the rotary internal structure moving, a ball B is dropped through one of the entry ports 10 (of the players choice) to travel over a random path in falling through the housing member 7A. Specifically, the ball will initially strike the upper flat surface of the disk 56 to be deflected outwardly and usually strike the internal surface of the housing member 24 before falling to the rotating distributor structure 42. The ball may dance about on the distributor structure 42, however, in due course will be captured between a pair of the risers 46 to roll inwardly and fall through one-of the ports 48 (FIG. 3).
The ball B then falls to the floor structure 30 (FIG. 4) and again may dance about between tapered radial ridges 31 (FIG. 4). Thereafter, the ball B will fall into one of the spaces between the ridges 31 to exit from the apparatus A through one of the exit ports. Specifically, several of these ports, e.g., ports 14, 15, 16, 17 and 19 are defined between the housing member 24 and the floor structure 30. Upon passing from one of the exit ports, the ball dwells in a defined segment of the trough 34. It is to be noted that the trough is segmented by small spherical abutments 60 (FIG. 4) which rise into the annular trough 34.
Whether a player actually observes the ball exiting from a port or not, the exit port from which the ball exits is clearly indicated by the segment of the trough in which the ball continues to dwell.
Accordingly, the exit of the ball B from a particular port, manifests a numeral to the players. Specifically, for example, if the ball exits from the port 14, in the structure a shown, the numeral 5 is manifest. Similarly, if the ball exits from the port 15, the numeral 7" is indicated while the port 16 indicates the value 9" and so on.
According to one format of play, the players drops the ball through the apparatus A several times during his tum at play and each time mentally sums the indicated number to his current sum or score. At the end of his tum at play, he places disks D on the mat M to tally his prior score along with the increment accumulated during his immediately past turn. Of course, various scoring rules are adaptable to the structure disclosed herein and in that regard, a players total score may be rounded off as for example to multiples of 25 or alternatively the player may commit a remainder number to memory.
In the use of the apparatus A, various significance may be attached to exist between the exit ports and the scoring areas 22. For example, these components may be associated on various numerical and color basis. However, these aspects of the structure are generally considered to be peripheral hereto with the primary significance of the structure relating particularly to the closed housing of a particular shape, in association with an internal striker structure which functions to vary the path through the apparatus from a particular one of the entry ports 10 to a particular one of the identified exit ports.
As indicated above, the housing member 24 may be formed of various materials, using various production techniques and that consideration applies as well to other elements of the structure. Specifically, the floor structure 30 may be formed of metal or plastic by various well-known forming techniques. Somewhat similarly, the components of the internal rotary striker apparatus may also be formed of metal and plastic or a combination thereof using well established production techniques. With re ard to the mat M various fabrics or plastic sheets, e.g., fi m material may be effectively utilized. in
this regard, silk screen or other techniques can be employed to placeindicia upon the mat M in accordance with the particular form of the defined game.
As indicated, the particular format and minor structural variations are almost endless in association with the structure hereof and in that regard the scope hereof is to be interpreted in accordance with the claims as follows:
1. A game structure for use with a ball or the like, for indicating one of a plurality of random events, as for manifesting a number to be added to a sum, comprising:
a housing member having a somewhat truncated-conical shape extending from a circular base upward to a top of lesser diameter than said base;
a cover member for said top of said housing member, said cover member defining at least one entry port to receive said ball;
a floor structure affixed to the base of said housing member defining a plurality of exit ports for said ball with said housing member, said floor structure defining a downwardly sloping surface extending outwardly from a central location thereon and further defining sections identified with a said number;
a rotary means affixed to extend between said central location of said floor structure and said cover member and including a knob affixed to the upper end thereof and positioned outside said housing member, said knob for actuating said rotary structure;
an interference distributor member separating said housing member into upper and lower sections, and defining radially extending ridges and well recesses therebetween with ports therein to pass said ball; and
at least one interference rotary striker member affixed to extend radially from said rotary means in said upper section of said housing, to interrupt the free fall of a ball through said housingmember.