US 3666268 A
A skill and amusement device for manipulating a rolling ball in which a pair of rails are connected to a handle at one end and extend at a diverging angle toward an open end opposite the handle. A transverse spacer member is located near the longitudinal center of the guide rails. The spacer may be adjustable to vary the angle of divergence of the rails. The body member is held by the handle with the rails inclined downwardly to permit a ball to roll along the tops of the rails toward the open end. Near the open end the rails are spaced apart sufficiently to permit the ball to pass between the rails. At the instant the ball starts to pass downwardly between the rails, the body member is quickly rotated 180 DEG so that the bottom surfaces of the rails now become the top surfaces and the angle of inclination of the rails is reversed to permit the ball to return toward the handle along the top of the rails. This manipulation can be repeated over and over until the player drops the ball. Other variations are included in the invention such as spiral tracks, wavey tracks, obstacles in the tracks and deflectors at the open end of the tracks.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
O Unlted States Patent [151 3,666,268 Candusso May 30, 1972  SKILL AND AMUSEMENT DEVICE 819,666 10/1937 France ..273/1 18 D  inventor: Amerigo E. Candusso, 748 Alameda mary Examzner-Anton O. Oechsle Avenue Cuyahoga Fans Ohm 44221 Assistant Examiner-Richard J. Apley  Filed: Feb. 25, 1970 AtmrneyPaul E. Milliken  Appl. No.: 14,016 ABSTRACT A skill and amusement device for manipulating a rolling ball in [if] ..273/109, which a p of rails are connccted to a handle at one end and g i 09 H 8 extend at a diverging angle toward an open end opposite the handle. A transverse spacer member is located near the ion- 4 273/120 67 73 73 46/43 33/154 15 G gitudinal center of the guide rails. The spacer may be adjustable to vary the angle of divergence of the rails. The body C t  References I ed member is held by the handle with the rails inclined UNITED STATES PATENTS downwardly to permit a ball to roll along the tops of the rails toward the open end. Near the open end the rails are spaced 1,075,041 10/1913 K rkness ..273/67 R x apart sufi-lciemly to permit the ban to pass between the ram 1,644,514 10/1927 Dletrlchs At the instam the ban Starts to pass downwardly between the 2,198,075 4/1940 Borelt "273/109 mus, the body member is quickly rotated so that the 3304090 2 Q torn surfaces of the rails now become the top surfaces and the 136258] I l 965 o mson angle of inclination of the rails is reversed to permit the ball to 3 15 return toward the handle along the top of the rails. This ;;g 9/1934 manipulation can be repeated over and over until the player 52 1 441941 8 hwarzenzer 273/109 drops the ball. Other variations are included in the invention c such as spiral tracks, wavey tracks, obstacles in the tracks and FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS deflectors at the open end of the tracks.
591,257 8/1947 Great Britain ..273/96 R 8 Claims, 14 Drawing Figures PATENTEDHAY 30 I972 3,666 268 sum 1 or 2 INVENTOR.
AME R/GO E. CANDUSSO ATTORNEY SKILL AND AMUSEMENT DEVICE PRIOR ART In the past, several prior art devices of this general type have been proposed. The closest prior art known to applicant is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 1,972,587, issued to W. Fairchild; U.S. Pat. No. 2,237,748, issued to A. Schwarzenzer; U.S. Pat. No. 3,304,090, issued to L. Morris; and U.S. Pat. No. 3,218,074, issued to K. J. Miller. All these prior art patents disclose the manipulation of a rolling ball or similar object on a pair of guide rails or edges and show the concept of turning over the guide rails at the instant the ball drops between the rails. Applicants invention differs from the prior art, however, since none of the prior art devices shows the use of open ended rails. The open ended rail concept provides a more spectacular visual effect when the device is manipulated since it gives the illusion that the ball is actually rolling around the ends of the open rails. Furthermore, when the end is open there is a greater psychological pressure upon the manipulator since without an end piece there is an increased sensation that the ball is going to roll off the ends of the track. This, therefore, requires that the manipulator of the device acquire a greater skill in operating the device and provides more of a challenge than is present in devices having a closed end piece.
OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION An object of this invention is to provide a skill and amusement device which will require skill in timing and muscular coordination when operating the device.
Another object of the invention is to provide a device which is simple in construction and which can be easily manufactured at low cost.
A still further object of this invention is to provide a manipulative toy which will require greater skill in coordination than previous devices.
These and other objects of the invention will become more apparent as the description proceeds in the following specification and attached drawings.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 2 is a plan view of a modification of the invention shown in FIG. 1 having an adjustable transverse spacer;
FIG. 3 is a side elevational view of the embodiment shown in FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view taken on line 4-4 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view similar to FIG. 4 but showing a different type of transverse adjustable spacer;
FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view showing still another type of adjustable spacer;
FIG. 7 is a perspective view showing a longitudinally slidable spacer;
FIG. 8 is a fragmentary plan view showing the spacer of FIG. 7 slidably mounted on a pair of guide rails;
FIG. 9 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the invention having spiral guide rails;
FIG. 10 is a perspective view showing another embodiment of the invention having wavey guide rails;
FIG. 11 is an enlarged fragmentary perspective view showing the open end of a pair of rails with a ball deflector attached to the end of each rail.
FIG. 12 shows a fragmentary diagramatic view of a rail having an obstacle in the path of travel of the ball.
FIG. 13 is a fragmentary view of a rail portion having a hump on the top surface of the rail; and
FIG. 14 is a fragmentary perspective view showing a modification of the open ends of the rails.
DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring now to FIG. I of the drawing, the body member of the device indicated generally by the numeral 1 has a pair of guide rails 2 and 3 attached at one end to a handle 4 and has a transverse spacer 5 located approximately near the longitudinal center of rails 2 and 3. The spacer 5 positions the rails 2 and 3 at a progressively diverging angle from the handle end so that the space between the rails 2 and 3 increases to a width sufiicient to permit a ball 6 to pass between the rails 2 and 3 at the open end of the rails. The ball 6 may be a conventional ping pong ball or another type of ball, depending upon the size and weight desired.
In operation the body member 1 is held in the users hand by the handle 4 with the top surface of the rails 2 and 3 lying in a substantially horizontal plane. The ball 6 is then placed on top of the rails 2 and 3 near the handle end and the rails are tilted downwardly so that the open end is lower than the handle end, thereby causing the ball to roll towards the open end. At the instant the ball 6 reaches the position on the open end where the spacing between the rails 2 and 3 is wide enough to permit the ball 6 to drop between the rails, the body member 1 is rotated so that the bottom surface of the rails now becomes the top surface. If the manipulation is executed with the proper timing, the ball will be caught on the top of the rails and by reversing the tilt of the rails will roll back toward the handle. The open end of the rails should be elevated just prior to the time the body member 1 is rotated 180. This manipulation can be repeated over and over until the player drops the ball.
The embodiments shown in FIGS. 2 and 3 are substantially identical to FIG. 1 with the exception of the transverse spacer member, and for simplicity all the parts of FIGS. 2 and 3 which are similar to those of FIG. 1 will bear identical numerals. The transverse spacer 5 of FIG. 1 is replaced in FIGS. 2 and 3 by an adjustable spacer 7 which is comprised of a bolt 8, a pair of inner-lock nuts 9, and an outer nut 10 on the outside of the rail 3. Once the spacer 7 is positioned through transverse holes in each of the rails 2 and 3, the bolt 8 is fastened to the rail 2 by tightening one of the nuts 9 to clamp the rail between the nut and the head of the bolt 8. The other inner nut may then be rotated on the bolt 8 to change the relative distance of the rails 2 and 3. Once the rail 3 is set at the desired spacing from rail 2, then the nuts 9 and 10 on each side of the rail 3 are tightened against the rail. The normal spacing of the rails 2 and 3 will be such that the ball 6 will not pass between the rails until after it has rolled past the transverse spacer 7.
One of the preferred spacings of the rails 2 and 3 permits the ball 6 to pass between the rails just as part of the ball extends a short distance beyond the ends of the rails as shown in ball position 6c in FIGS. 2 and 3. It may be seen from FIG. 3 that when the ball is in position 6a it is riding higher on the rails due to the closer spacing of the rails. As the ball reaches position 6b after passing over spacer 7, it is riding lower on the rails. When the ball reaches position 60, the spacing between the rails 2 and 3 is slightly wider than the diameter of the ball. In this position the ball contacts each rail at one point indicated by the numeral 1 1. As the ball passes between the rails it is rotating about the points 11. Since the ball extends beyond the ends of the rails as it spins about the points 1 1, it creates the illusion that the ball is rolling around the ends of the rails. This illusion does not occur when an end spacer is used between the rails.
As shown in FIG. 4, the rails 2 and 3 must be of suflicient heigth to provide clearance on both the top and bottom of the rails for the ball to pass over the spacer 7 without hitting any portion of the spacer.
Another type of adjustable spacer shown in FIG. 5 is comprised of a bolt 12 carrying a wing nut 13 and having an outwardly biased spring bearing against the rails 2 and 3 to urge the rails outwardly against the head of bolt 12 and the wing nut 13. When the wing nut is tightened the spring 14 will compress to permit lateral inward movement of the rails. When the wing nut 13 is loosened the spring 14 forces the rails 2 and 3 apart.
FIG. 6 shows another type of adjustable spacer having a double threaded bolt 15 with a knurled collar 16 in the axial center thereof for turning the bolt and having left-handed threads 17 engaging the rail 2 and right-handed threads 18 engaging the rail 3. Thus it may be seen that when the knurled collar 16 is rotated in one direction or the other, the spacing of rails 2 and 3 will be increased or decreased, depending upon which way the bolt 15 is turned.
Another type of adjustable spacer 19 shown in FIG. 7 is made of a flat piece of metal or other suitable material formed into a substantially H" shaped bracket having a center bridge portion 20 integral with two side portions 21 having a contour similar to the cross-sectional contours of the rails 2 and 3. As may be seen in FIG. 8, the spacer 19 is slid longitudinally onto the rails 2 and 3 and moved along the rails to a position which will give the desired spacing between the rails. When the spacer 19 is moved toward the left or handle end of the rails the rails 2 and 3 will move farther apart. When the spacer 19 is moved toward the right or the open end of the rails, the rails will be drawn closer together. The spacer 19 may be made by bending a flat strip of metal to the desired contour or can be made by a plastic extrusion cut off at desired lengths. The spacer 19 can also, of course, be formed by bending a wire to the same contour as shown in FIG. 7. FIG. 9 shows a modification in which the body member la has rails 20 and 3a which spiral around the longitudinal center axis of the device. The operation of this embodiment is similar to the previously described embodiments having straight rails except that the device must be continuously rotated about its axis as the ball rolls to compensate for the curvature of the tracks 2a and 3a.
In the modification shown in FIG. 10, the body member 1b has wavey or undulating tracks 2b and 3b. In using this embodiment the device is held in a similar manner to the embodiments shown in FIGS. 1 through 3, however, the ball dips and rises as it follows the contour of the rails.
FIG. 11 shows the open ends of the rails 2 and 3 with ball deflectors 22 and 23 on each rail end respectively. The deflectors 22 and 23 may be made from metal, plastic or other suitable materials and may be fastened by nails 24 as shown or by screws for easy removal. They may also be provided with clips which pass around the rails for easy attachment or detachment. The deflectors 22 and 23 perform the functions of the end traps shown in some of the prior art patents, however, all the prior art devices show traps which are non-adjustable in width. The lateral spacing between the two deflectors 22 and 23 depends upon the adjustment of the spacing between the rails 2 and 3. Since the deflectors 22 and 23 extend laterally inwardly beyond the inner surfaces of the rails 2 and 3, it may be seen that when the rails 2 and 3 are spaced to permit the ball to pass between the rails in the area of the deflectors, the spacing between the deflectors will be less than the spacing between rails 2 and 3 and will be less than the diameter of the ball and will catch the ball if the player using the device does not turn it over in time to reverse the direction of travel of the ball. The deflectors 22 and 23 may be used while one is learning to operate the device and after he has become sufficiently skillful at reversing the ball the deflectors may be removed.
To further test the skill of the player, an obstruction 25 may be placed between the rails as shown in FIG. 12 to force the ball to raise of? the rails during its period of travel.
Another version of an obstruction is shown in FIG. 13 in which humps 26 are provided on the rails to cause the ball to bounce as it rolls down the rails.
As shown in FIG. 14, the ends of the rails 2 and 3 may be rounded to further increase the illusion as previously described that the ball is rolling around the ends of the rails rather than merely passing between the rails.
Various other modifications may be made in the adjustment means and other various aspects of the device without departing from the scope of the invention.
I claim 1. A hand held skill and amusement device comprising:
A. an elongated body member having;
1. a pair of guide members in side by side relationship to each other, each guide member having a substantially like predetermined transverse height,
2. one adjacent pair of ends of said guide members being joined together to form a closed end,
3. said guide members progressively diverging from each other substantially throughout their length to form an open unconnected end opposite the closed end, and
4. a transverse spacer member between the guide mem bers positioned a substantial distance from both the open end and the closed end of the elongated body member, said spacer member being positioned approximately intermediate the said transverse height of said guide members, and
B. a ball adapted to roll along the guide members from one end to the other;
C. the relative diameter of said ball being such as to pass freely over said spacer member and further said relative diameter of the ball with respect to the transverse spacing between the guide members being such that the distance between the guide members near the open unconnected end is larger that the diameter of the ball.
2. A device as claimed in claim 1 wherein the transverse spacer is adjustable to increase or decrease the divergence between the guide members.
3. A device as claimed in claim 2 wherein the spacer is a bolt with adjustable lock nuts.
4. A device as claimed in claim 1 wherein the guide members spiral around the longitudinal axis of the body member.
5. A device as claimed in claim 2 wherein the open ends of the guide members are rounded.
6. A hand-held toy comprising:
A. an elongated V-shaped member to be held in the hand of a player, said member having a pair of elongated sides of substantially uniform cross section throughout their length, each of said elongated sides having a substantially like predetermined transverse height the sides being connected in fixed spaced relationship to each other at the closed end of the V-shaped member but being unconnected at the open end of the V-shaped member;
B. a ball to be placed on the sides of the V-shaped member and manipulated thereby;
C. the relative size of the ball and the V-shaped member being such that when the member is held horizontally and the ball is placed on the sides thereof the ball is wider than the V except at the open end and by tilting the V- shaped member, the ball will roll along the sides and will only pass through the V at the open end thereof; and
D. means adjusting the spacing of the V to control the location thereon where the ball will pass through, said adjusting means being positioned approximately intermediate the said transverse height of said elongated sides, and the relative size of said ball being such as to pass freely over said adjusting means.
7. A toy as claimed in claim 6 wherein the V-shaped member has flexible sides and a transverse adjustment member extending between the sides to adjust the spacing therebetween by bending the flexible members.
8. A toy as claimed in claim 6 wherein the spacing between the sides of the V is set so that the ball extends partially beyond the ends of the sides before it reaches a sufiiciently wide space to pass between the sides.