US 3690660 A
A game structure with a flat playing surface and rigid, pivotal type catapults mounted at each end for launching game pieces toward a stake at the opposite end of the playing surface. Control cords are attached to each catapult for remote manual actuation of each catapult from both ends of the playing surface.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Olkowski HORSESHOE CATAPULTING APPARATUS HAVING A REMOTE CONTROL FEATURE  Inventor: William Olkowski, Rt. 5, Box 107,
Traverse City, Mich. 49684 221 Filed: Feb. 28, 1968 211 Appl.No.: 709,031
 US. Cl. ..273/l0l, 124/4, 124/34, 273/100, 273/DlG. 26  Int. Cl. ..A63b 71/04  Field of Search....273/100, 101, 126, 119, 85 C, 273/85 D; 124/4, 34
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,428,054 9/1922 Parker ..273/l0l 1,546,810 7/1925 Streit ..273/l0l X 1 51 Sept. 12, 1972 1,997,238 4/1935 Sharp .273/100 x 2,007,885 7/1935 Spriggs .273/100 x 2,147,705 2/1939 Hunter .273/101 x 2,432,824 12/1947 Shetler .273/101 2,514,994 7/1950 Falk .273/100 x 2,793,861 5/1957 Konopka .273/101 x 2,912,246 11/1959 Hayward .273/101 Primary Examiner-Richard C. Pinkham Assistant Examiner-Marvin Siskind Attorney-Miller, Morriss, Pappas & McLeod 57 ABSTRACT A game structure with a flat playing surface and rigid, pivotal type catapults mounted at each end for launching game pieces toward a stake at the opposite end of the playing surface. Control cords are attached to each catapult for remote manual actuation of each catapult from both ends of the playing surface.
7 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures Patented Sept. 12, 1972 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Patented Sept. 12, 1972 2 Sheets-Sheet B ATTORNEYS HORSESHOE CATAPULTING APPARATUS HAVING A REMOTE CONTROL FEATURE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to a novel game apparatus and moreparticularly to a catapult type horseshoe game which provides a small scale simulation of the ancient game of horseshoes.
The game of horseshoes is well known and for a long time has enjoyed immense popularity. Many players of the outdoor horseshoe game would greatly enjoy a small analogue thereof which would be played conveniently indoors in order to avoid inclement weather, and to avoid undue physical exertion. However, previously known games, although embodying some features analogous to the well known outdoor game of horseshoes, do not simulate it with sufficient completeness to provide an interest or enjoyment comparable to that afforded by the original game. The game of the present invention closely parallels the central features of the I well known game of outdoor horseshoes, while adding mechanisms. These games utilize, in various forms, the
repeated spring loading of some resilient or elastic element of the mechanism, thereby storing energy which is subsequently released to impel the game piece. For example, in the games of the prior art the deflected member may be the catapult itself as in the disclosure of U.S. Pat. 1,573,711; or it may be a coil spring as in the disclosure of U.S. Pat. 2,793,861. The repeated deflection of these elastic members impairs their elasticity and consequently reduces the vaulting force delivered by the member. The repeated deflection may also lead to failure of the deflected member. Also in games of the type just described, the player has no control over the force of the impulse delivered, once the stored energy is released. For example, once a spring is released a player exercises no further control over it or the trajectory of the piece launched. After the launching motion of the vaulting mechanism has commenced, nomanual dexterity can be used by the player to influence the path taken by the game piece.
A collateral problem in prior games, due to the use of these springing type catapults, was the loss of elasticity in the springing member because of fatigue under repeated deflections. Thus the launching element would eventually require a greater deflection, and
"trip latch to release the spring, both of which are subject to jamming or breakage. The present invention utilizes rigid pivoting type catapults which have two significant advantages over the prior resilient types. First, the player retains a positive manual control of the catapult through its complete range of displacement during launching of a game piece. Second, the catapult is not deflected during launching and thus is not subject to change of elastic characteristics or failure, from fatigue under repeated deformations.
It is therefore an object of this invention to provide an indoor horseshoe game which simulates the features of the original outdoor game of horseshoes while providing some additional features to augment the interest and enjoyment provided by the original game.
It is also the object of this invention to provide a novel and entertaining horseshoe game in which the horseshoe vaulting mechanism does not embody resilient elements which detract from the manual control that may be exercised by the player over the trajectory of the horseshoe. t
It is another object of this invention to provide a horseshoe game which eliminates the problem of the weakening of spring elements in the horseshoe launchers, thereby eliminating the consequent variation in the manual skill needed by the player, and thereby also eliminating the likelihood of eventual failure of the repeatedly deflected spring element.
It is also an object of this invention to provide a horseshoe game having catapults with only a single mechanical moving part and having no spring or trigger mechanisms subject to breakage or fouling, and thus being of such simple construction as not to be easily damaged or rendered inoperative.
Another object of this invention is to provide a simple, trouble-free game which may be easily and economically produced.
Other objects of my invention will be apparent from a consideration of the following specification in connection with the appended claims and the accompanying drawings.
In the Drawings FIG. 1 is an end elevation view of a horseshoe game catapult of the present invention showing a catapult pivotally suspended between playing surface support walls.
FIG. 2 is a partially broken away front elevation view of the complete apparatus of the present invention, showing both catapults and the cord rigging for actuating the catapults, one cord being shown pulled taut to rotate the attached catapult to the upper limit of its travel.
FIG. 3 shows a top plan view of the horseshoe game of the present invention with the playing surface removed to show the catapults and attendant cord rigging, from above.
FIG. 4 is a top plan view of a complete horseshoe game apparatus of the present invention showing portions of the catapults as protruding from the enclosure defined by the playing surface, base, and support walls, and showing also the target stakes and score keeping means.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION In general, an elongate, flat game board or game playing surface is provided having at each end a target for intercepting catapulted game pieces. Each target is designed to intercept a game piece projected from a catapult situated at the opposite end of the game board. Interception of the piece is the basis of scoring the game. For example one form of the apparatus is contemplated to consist of a basket receptacle where a score would be counted by launching a spheroidal game piece through the basket, thus simulating the game of basketball. The preferred embodiment shown utilizes stakes as targets at each end of the playing surface. The targets in this case are stakes orposts functioning like those employed in the well known game of horseshoes. The game pieces are horseshoe shaped elements which are launched from one end of the game surface toward the target at the opposite end thereof. If well aimed the horseshoe is snagged and retained by the target stake. It is thus apparent that the preferred embodiment of the present invention simulates the well known outdoor game of horseshoes.
The means for projecting the horseshoe pieces are launchers or catapults positioned at each end of the game surface. These catapults do not rely upon a sudden release of a spring orelastically stored energy and thus have no resilient features. Instead each of these catapults is a rigid, doubly angled lever member actu-' ated to rotate about a fulcrum by the sudden application of a moment force to the lever. In'the preferred embodiment the control means employed to actuate the catapults is a flexible cord attached to a moment arm portion of the catapult, which extends in the inboard direction from the catapult fulcrum. The part of the lever-extending to the outboard direction from the fu'lcrumis hereinafter called the throwing arm portion of the catapult. The throwing arm is a dihedrally formed member the apex of which normally rests on the game base, because the throwing arm portion of the catapult overbalances the counter poised moment arm portion. The throwing arm is provided with a small lip or rack which holds a small game piece, preferably a small horseshoe shaped element. Manually jerking the cord attached to the moment arm applies a sudden mo ment to the catapult causing it to'rotate from the rest position. This rotation is suddenly terminated by the interference of a-bumper stop, but the inertia of the game piece lofts it over the game board toward the stake at the opposite end thereof. The score received for the shot depends upon the terminal position of the horseshoe piece on the playing surface, the best score being received when the horseshoe is arrested by the stake at the other end of the playing surface. To simulate ordinary horseshoes the players would take turns shooting from the same end of the apparatus.
An optional variation in the method of play is to have each player at an opposite end of the board. These players are opponents and shoot their pieces in turn, one at a time, attempting to attain the highest score. In this case the horseshoes of one player do not interact with those of the other player. Double control cords are provided which allow a player to operate either catapult from one end of the game surface or court. This imaginative structure permits still another challenging variation in the method of play. For example each player can choose to shoot toward, rather than away from, his own end of the board.
Much excitement and entertainment is generated by this game structure, simulating as it does the popular game of horseshoes. Especially appealing is the rigid catapult mechanism which gives increased player control of the horseshoe trajectory and which is not subject to fatigue failure. The use of double catapults allows simultaneous activity by two or r nore players which intensifies the spirit of the competition, while the double control cords permit a player to operate either catapult from one end of the board.
SPECIFIC DESCRIPTION Referring to FIG. 1 the apparatus will now be described in more detail. Each of the catapults denoted generally 1 l and 1], has two portions, the first being a dihedrally formed throwing arm portion 13, i.e., that part of the catapult which lies outboard the fulcrum .15 thereof. The second or moment arm portion 17 is the other end of the catapult which lies inboard of the fulcrum l5 and depends obliquely downward therefrom to provide an extension for receiving moment forces by which the catapult is rotated. The throwing arm 13. is heavier than the moment arm 17 and therefore the apex of the throwing arm normally rests on the catapult support surface, as seen at the right side of FIG. 2.
The outermost portion of the throwing arm has a cross-member 19 completing and connecting the structure. Immediately below this cross-member is a second transverse member 21 having a right angled cross section which forms a game piece shelf 23. FIG. 2 shows a game piece 25 resting on shelf 23. The dihedral apex of the throwing arm normally rests on the base 27 until the catapult is actuated to launch the game piece 25 from the position shown in phantom line into the trajectory shown by the arrows.
Referring now to FIGS. 2 and 3 the remaining structure of the apparatus is seen. Two support walls 29 hold the game playing surface 31 in parallel spaced apart relation above the game base 27. The apparatus is seen to embody a pair of catapults 11 as already described, which are partially concealed in theenclosure inside the support walls 29, game base 27, and game playing surface 31. In FIG. 2 a catapult 11 is shown actuated through its full travel into contact against the bumper 33. The bumper may be fabricated from hard rubber, polyurethane foam, or any impact absorbing material. For illustrative purposes, the catapult is seen to be pivoted upon two wood screws which are sunk into the parallel wooden support members 29 at fulcrum point 15. It will be appreciated that other pivot devices could be used, for example pivot pins driven into the wood, or axles journaled in holes bored through the wooden structure.
A first control cord 35 extends from the crossmember 36 of catapult 11, past the adjacent end of the game apparatus where it is provided with a knob 37 which may be pulled to actuate the catapult. The other control cord 39 is also attached to the moment arm cross member 17, but extends therefrom upward through the pulley 40 attached to the underside of the adjacent end of the game surface, and from thence proceeds in the reverse direction to the opposite end of the game apparatus terminating thereat in the knob 37. The second catapult 11' is likewise outfitted with two flexible cords 35' and 39 rigged in the exact same manner as the catapult just described, and is operated in the same fashion.
Each end of the upper face of the game surface 31 is provided with a fixed, perpendicular horseshoe target in the form of a vertical stake or post 41. Each target stake is surrounded on three sides by a horseshoe shield 43 in the form of a vertical retaining member which rises vertically from theedges of each end portion of the game surface and extends across the end thereof and thence somewhat inward along the sides thereof. When the trajectory of a catapulted horseshoe carries it past the stake, the shield prevents the horseshoe from going off the game surface. In the present embodiment the shields are constructed of a flexible transparent plastic. They could alternatively be fabricated from a variety of well known inexpensive materials such as sheet metal, cardboard, or the like.
The game playing surface 31 as here presented is made of a wood layer 45 covered with a sheet of Formica 47 which provides a smooth, durable, slippery surface over which the game pieces easily slide. The Formica layer is bonded to the wood surface, and a metal molding 49 encircles the edge of the game board, concealing the joint between the wood and Formica.
FIGS. 3 and 4 show score-keeping means 51 comprising a plurality of enumerated holes bored into the upper face of the game base, near each end thereof. A peg 53'is provided for each player and denotes his score as the number associated with the hole into which the peg is inserted.
In FIG. 4 is seen the playing surface 47 and the relative positions of the intercepting stakes 41 and game piece shields 43. A rectangular region 53 around each stake is marked off into squares numbered 1-4, to provide an optional scoring method alternative to that of ordinary horseshoes. The marked squares become determinative of the score of each shot. If a shot fails to engage the stake, it receives a score as indicated by the number of the square in which it lands. Other methods of scoring can be devised by the players, if desired.
OPERATION In operation a horseshoe shaped game piece 25 is placed upon the rack or shelf 23 as seen in FIG. 2. A player A, at one end of the apparatus then jerks the cord 35so as to actuate the catapult l1 and cause it to rotate on its fulcrum until a sudden stop is occasioned by the bumper 33. The momentum of the horseshoe 25 lofts it over the game surface 31 toward target stake 41. The game is preferably scored like ordinary outdoor horseshoes. The hope of the player is that the horseshoe 25 will engage the stake 41 and have its trajectory terminated thereby, thus scoring a ringer. This failing, the horseshoe will come to rest in some position of lesser score depending upon the method of scoring. When the game is scored like ordinary horseshoes two scores less than a ringer are possible: a leaner may occur if the horseshoe does not encircle the scoring stake, but instead comes to rest leaning up against the stake. The lowest score is received if neither a ringer nor leaner is scored, but the horseshoe comes to rest with any part thereof lying in a circle whose center is at the stake and whose radius is equal to the distance between the open ends of a horseshoe. For the sake of variety and interest alternative scoring methods may be used. For example scores can be given for landing the horseshoe in the numbered squares 53 which are marked off on the playing surface as seen in FIG. 4 and already described above.
The shield 43 prevents the horseshoe piece from leaving the game surfaceand adds an element of interest to the game because a horseshoe will often rebound from the shield into a scoring position, possibly even forming a ringer." This variation augments the number of skillful maneuvers which a player may execute beyond those inherent in the standard game of outdoor horseshoes.
The outermost portion of the dihedral throwing arm 13 is angled upward so that when it is actuated it describes just the proper arc to hurl the game piece into the general vicinity of the stake at the opposite end of the playing surface. The actuation of the catapult does not involve the release of elastically stored energy as in devices of the prior art, some of which employed coil springs to impel the catapult, and some of which used flexible catapults which were deflected and then released upward to launch the game piece. The catapults 11 and 11' of the present invention are rigidly rotated on the fulcrum points 15 and the player retains manual control of the launching throughout the travel of the throwing arm. This increases the interest and skill of the present game over hitherto knowndevices because in the present invention the player may vary the moment force on the catapult during its arc of travel. For example, by pulling harder on the cords 35, 39, 35' or 39, he may accelerate the throwing arm even after it has commenced its launching motion.
It is also important that the catapults of the present invention are not subject to repeated deflections during use, as are devices of the prior art in which the deflected member was soon fatigued from the. repeated deflections and lost its elasticity. The result was that it no longer delivered a satisfactory impulse to the game piece. The catapults of the present invention do not en counter this problem because their operation does not involve the deflection of any elements. Rather, their operation involves rigid rotation only.
Moreover the repeated stressing of the resilient members in the old devices often'led to actual failure of the deflected member. The present invention avoids the use of resilient members and the possible failure thereof.
A suggested method of play is for the players to shoot in the sequence of the game of ordinary horseshoes. Thus with two players, both shoot alternatingly from the same end. Other arrangements of play can easily be developed for variety or to suit the preference of the players. For example a second method of play, which is specifically accommodated by the design of the present apparatus, is for the players to shoot from separate ends of the game surface. This changes the nature of the game because in this method of play the horseshoes of each individual player proceed to opposite ends of the board and do not physically interact. Thus one player is unable to knock his opponents horseshoe out of a scoring position. This variation adds variety to the already popular procedure of standard horseshoes. It will be appreciated from FIG. 2 that each catapult may be actuated from either end of the board. Therefore, to add still more variety and interest to the game, each player may wish to shoot toward thy stake at his own end of the board, rather than the stake at the opposite end of the board. In this approach each player may be assisted by his opponent who loads the horseshoe onto the shelf of the catapult. Then player A (see FIG. 2) would select cord 39' which is attached to the catapult 11 at the opposite end of the board near player B. Jerking this cord would actuate the remote catapult 1 l and launch the horseshoe toward, rather than away from player A. The terminus of the horseshoe trajectory is now immediately in front of the player A who can, therefore, view at very close hand the path traveled by the incoming piece as it hurtles into the scoring region. This mode of play adds still further variety and interest to the game because the players viewpoint of the relative positions of the game piece, stake, and playing surface is completely reversed from the usual angle, and consequently an entirely new skill must be developed when playing this variation of the game. In addition the cord 39', by virtue of its greater length and being routed throughthe pulley 40, changes the manual feel experienced by the player.
The game may be played until a predetermined score is reached, as in ordinary horseshoes, or for a fixed period of time with the winner being the person with the highest score at the conclusion of the game. Played in either manner'the game provides a new and challenging game for young and old, with several interesting optional variations, as described. The game also is of unusually enduring interest and challenge due to the dynamic features of the catapults and game pieces, and due also to the marked similarity to the long popular game of ordinary horseshoes. Enjoyment is heightened even further by the effect of the game piece shields and the remote control feature of the double control cords. Another desirable quality of the invention is the rigidity of the catapults which prevents metal fatigue or fracture from repetitious loading.
Having described an operative embodiment of my invention, modifications, adaptations, and improvements thereon will be apparent to those skilled in the art, and such modifications, adaptations, and improvements are intended to be included within the spirit of the above described invention, which should be limited only by the scope of the hereinafter appended claims.
1. In a catapult horseshoe game apparatus, the combination comprising:
a. an elongate flat game board having two opposed ends;
b. a plurality of horseshoe shaped game pieces;
c. a pair of levered catapults pivotally supported on said game board, each of said catapults mounted proximate to opposite ends of said game board, each of said catapults adapted to launch said game pieces toward the opposite end of said game board;
d. a vertical target stake projecting upwardly near each end of said game board for interception of said catapulted horseshoe game pieces; and
e. control means connected to each catapult for remote manual actuation of each catapult from both ends of said game board.
2. The apparatus set forth in claim 1 wherein said control means comprises:
a. a first, shorter control cord attached to each catapult for manual actuation of each catapult at the end of the game board adjacent thereto; and
b. a second, longer control cord attached to each catapult for manual actuation of each catapult from the opposite end of said ame board. 3. The apparatus set forth in c arm 1 with the addrtional structure comprising:
an elongate stabilizing game base; and a pair of elongate, parallel, vertical support walls holding said game board in parallel spaced apart relation above said game base, said catapults being pivotally mounted to the interior surfaces of said support walls.
4. The apparatus set forth in claim 1 with the additional structure comprising:
vertical game-piece shields, one at each end of said game board, each shield being curved to encompass from three sides one of said target stakes and thereby confine errant game pieces to said game board.
5. The game apparatus of claim 4 wherein said gamepiece shields are made of transparent plastic, and scoring means are provided.
6. The game apparatus of claim 5 wherein the scoring means is a set of numbered holes formed in said game base and a colored peg which inserts selectively into said holes thereby denoting the number of the selected hole as a players score.
7. In the game apparatus of claim 1 wherein each of said catapults include a dihedral throwing arm portion, a game piece shelf portion, and a moment arm portion.