US 3711092 A
Apparatus for rebounding balls or similar objects brought into engagement therewith including a generally rectangular frame means having a net supported in tension within said frame means. A nylon cord adjusting means is interlaced within the net and connected to said frame means whereby the tension of said net can be varied by adjusting the length of the nylon cord.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Paten Assigneezwhale Enterprises Inc., Piedmont,
Filed i P651 1971 Appl. No.: 118,064
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 4/1967 Dawson ..273/26 A 2/1963 Lacoste 6/1915 Lawrence ..273/26 A I Hogue 1 1 Jan. 16, 1973 541 BALL REBOUNDING MEANS FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS I  l nt enter: "Char-1E3], riii ie, Pied'f bm, Ala, 880,849 10/1961 England ..272/65 36272 397,260 8/1933 Great Britain ....273/26 A 204,113 6/1923 Great Britain ..273/73 D Primary ExaminerAnton Oechsle Assistant ExaminerTheatrice Brown Attorney-Newton, Hopkins & Ormsby [5 7] ABSTRACT Apparatus for rebounding balls or similar objects brought into engagement therewith including a generally rectangular frame means having a net supported in tension within said frame means. A nylon cord adjusting means is interlaced within the net and connected to said frame means whereby the tension of said net can be varied by adjusting the length of the nylon cord.
5 Claims, 3 Drawing Figures PATENTEDJAH 15 I975 SHEET 1 [IF 2 INVENTOR BALL REBOUNDING MEANS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to a recreational apparatus for rebounding balls or similar objects. More particularly, this invention includes means for supporting a net means in tension whereby a ball or similar object brought into engagement there against will be returned in the general direction from which it arrived.
In order for a thrower, such as a baseball player, to practice throwing, it is generally necessary to provide a catcher who can receive and return the ball. In the past, in some, instances, a thrower would throw the ball against a wall which would serve as a back stop and may possibly return the ball in the general direction from which it was thrown. However, the latter possibility is not always feasible, particularly if the ball is con structed of a nonresilient material such as a baseball. Furthermore, obviously, such walls are not always available for throwing practice. In addition, the throwing of a baseball against a solid wall could result in damage to both the baseball and to the wall if the wall was not specifically designed for having objects thrown there against.
There have been a number of patents issued disclosing a frame means for supporting a net under tension whereby a ball or similar object thrown against the net will be rebounded in the direction from which it is thrown.
The US. Pat. to Dixon, No. 2,944,816, issued July 12, 1960 discloses such an apparatus which includes a support frame for supporting a net under tension to be used for rebounding a baseball or similar object in the direction from which it was thrown. One disadvantage with the apparatus disclosed in the patent to Dixon resides in the fact that after a continued period of use of the net, the tension of the net will become loose, usually to the point that the net will no longer return the ball to the thrower. At still other times, it is desired to vary the tension on the net whereby the net will return the ball a more or less predetermined distance. The only means for adjusting the tension on the Dixon apparatus is by increasing or decreasing the number of elastic attachment elements by which the net is attached to the frame means, and such an adjusting means would be difficult to effect, increasing the cost, and unreliable in the degree of adjustment.
In certain other recreational sports utilizing a ball, a hand controlled racket means is used to rebound a ball in a desired direction. The prior art hand controlled racketrmeans are complex in design and expensive to manufacture.
' SUNIMARY OF THE INVENTION It is therefore a primary object of this invention to provide an apparatus for rebounding balls or similar objects brought into engagement therewith.
A further object of this invention is to provide an apparatus for rebounding balls or similar objects wherein the apparatus includes a net secured under tension with means for varying the tension on the net.
Another object of this invention is to provide an improved, and more accurate rebounding of balls, or similar objects, thrown into engagement there against.
Yet another object of this invention is to provide an improved hand controlled racket for rebounding balls or similar objects in a desired direction.
A still further object of this invention is to provide an apparatus for rebounding balls or similar objects which is readily assembled and disassembled, portable and lightweight in construction.
Still another object of this invention is to provide a means for securing a net under tension to a supporting frame means, with means for adjusting the tension on the net.
An additional object of this invention is to provide an apparatus for rebounding balls or similar objects which is simple in construction, economical to manufacture and reliable in performance.
The above stated objects are obtained and the disadvantages of the prior art are overcome by the present invention which basically includes a tubular frame means formed and connected together to form a substantially rectangular frame support. A net is secured under tension within the frame means for rebounding a ball or similar object brought into engagement there against. A number of attachment elements are secured to the frame means at selectively spaced locations. An important feature of the present invention resides in the utilization of a predetermined length of nylon cord which is interlaced within the net adjacent the border thereof and wherein the nylon cord is secured to the attachment elements to hold the net under tension within the frame means. The predetermined length of nylon cord includes opposite end portions which are selectively secured together in a number of set positions whereby the tension on the net can be varied. One embodiment of the present invention provides a number of leg means attached to the rectangular frame support for maintaining the supported net in a generally upright position. An alternate embodiment of the present invention provides a hand controlled handle means attached to a rectangular frame to allow the supported net to be maneuvered by hand to rebound a ball in a desired direction.
Still other objects and advantages of the details of construction will become apparent upon reading the following description of the illustrative embodiments of the invention with reference to the attached drawings wherein like reference numerals have been used to refer to like parts throughout the several figures of drawing, and wherein:
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the apparatus embodying the present invention with a thrower illustrating the manner in which the apparatus is used;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged fragmentary plan view of the apparatus of the present invention with certain parts broken away and shown in section for purpose of clarity; and' FIG. 3 is plan view of an alternate embodiment of the net support means.
DESCRIPTION OF THE ILLUSTRATIVE EMBODIMENT Referring now to FIGS. 1 and-2, one illustrative e'mbodiment will be described with reference to a supporting frame means 10, a rebounding net 25 and net at-' tachment means 30.
The supporting frame means 10 is constructed'of a number of tubular elements interconnectedtogether to form a substantially rectangular frame means. The tubular elements include a pair of U-shaped members 11, 12. Each of the U-shaped members includes a base and two parallel oriented leg members. The U-shaped frame members 11, 12 are connected together by a pair of elongated tubular elements 13, 14 which include reduced end portions 15 (FIG. 2) that are inserted in the extended ends of the legs of the U-shaped frame members 11, 12. The supporting frame means 10 is held in a substantially upright position by a pair of rearwardly inclined leg members 16, 17 which are secured adjacent their upper end by a connecting bolt means 18, to the elongated tubular elements 13, 14. A pair of brace members 19, 20 are secured to an intermediate portion of the leg members 16, 17, respectively, with conventional bolt connecting means 21. The opposite ends of brace members 19, 20 are secured to the elongated tubular elements 13, 14 at a position spaced below the connection of the upper connected end of legs l6, l7. Brace members 19, 20 are connected to the elongated tubular members 13, 14 by conventional connecting bolts 22.
The support frame elements 11-14 and leg structure 16, 17 are constructed of conventional metal stock material. The telescoping connection of the elongated elements 13, 14 within the legs of the U-shaped members 11, 12 are detailed such that the elongated members 13, 14 with the connected legs 16, 17 can be rotated relative to the U-shaped supporting members whereby the legs can be moved from a rearwardly extending position, shown in FIG. 1 to a position lying against the rear of the net whereby the apparatus can be conveniently stored in a reduced area when not in use.
Referring now particularly to FIG. 2, the net member is constructed of a plurality of vertical thread members 26, a plurality of horizontal thread members 27 connected together by conventional means in spaced apart relationship to form a series of substantially rectangular openings therebetween. The extended ends of threads 26, 27 are connected to a border member 28 which extends around the peripheral edge of net 25. Net 25 is constructed of a nylon material to provide the required strength and resiliency for rebounding a ball or similar object thrown into engagement therewith. However, the net 25 could be constructed of still other suitable material which would provide the required strength and resilient characteristics.
As shown in FIG. 2, the net is connected to the supporting frame by a plurality of attachment elements 30 which are secured to the tubular frame members in spaced apart relationship around the border of the net 25. Each of .the connecting elements includes hooks and or ring members 31 secured around the tubular frame means and has connected thereto a substantially S-shaped connecting clip 32. The attachment elements 30 including ring 31 and S-shaped clip 32 are supported on the tubular frame means such that two of the rings and S-shaped clips are connected to the net border 28 adjacent each of the corners of the net, substantially as shown in FIG. 2. A number of attachment elements 30 are spaced along the tubular support frame members between the corners and are secured to the net 25 by an elongated nylon cord element 33. The
'nylon cord element 33 is interlaced within the net adjacent the border 28 whereby the nylon cord is'inserted in an opening formed between the vertical and horizontal threads on one side thereof and extends through an opening on an opposite side of the next adjacent thread element substantially as shown in FIG. 2. The S-shaped clips of the connecting elements spaced from the corners are connected only to the nylon cord connecting member 33. Cord 33 includes opposite end portions which are adapted to be secured together by a conventional releasable connecting knot 34, as shown in FIG. 1. The releasable connecting knot 34 is adapted to be secured in a number of positions whereby the length of the nylon cord 33 can be either increased or decreased to vary the tension on the net member 25. Cord 33 could be constructed of a material which would offer similar characteristics to a nylon cord.
OPERATION In assembling the above described illustrative embodiment of the ball rebounding apparatus, the required number of attachment clips are inserted on the tubular members 11-14 before they are connected together in an assembled relationship. After the required number of attachment elements 30 have been secured in place, opposite ends 15 of the elongated tubular elements 13, 14 are inserted within the legs of the U-shaped support members l1, 12, substantially as shown in FIG. 1. With the U-shaped members l1, l2 and elongated elements 13, 14 connected in assembled relationship, the legs 16, 17 are then connected to the elongated members 13, 14 by effecting connection of the bolts 18 to the upper extended end of the legs and to the tubular elements 13, 14. After the upper ends of the legs have been secured in place, brace members 19, 20 are secured between the legs 16, 17 and the tubular elements 13, 14, substantially as shown in FIG. 1, by inserting conventional connecting bolts 21, 22 through opposite ends of the brace members.
With the support frame member properly assembled as described above, the net 25 is secured in place by connecting the four corners of the net to two of the attachment clips 30 as shown in FIG. 2. After the four corners of the net have been secured in place, the elongated nylon connecting cord 33 is interlaced around the vertical and horizontal thread members 26, 27 adjacent the border. A number of attachment elements 30 are then secured to the nylon cord 33 by the S- shaped clip 32. With the nylon cord 33 secured to the attachment elements 30, the opposite ends of the cord are pulled together with a predetermined amount of tension and then the opposite ends are secured by tying a conventional releasable knot 34.
The tension on net 25 is varied by releasing knot 34 and either increasing or decreasing, as desired, the tension on cord 33 and then retying knot 34. An adjustable means could be connected to opposite ends of cord 33 in place of knot 34 for use in varying the tension.
ALTERNATE EMBODIMENT Referring now particularly to FIG. 3, an alternate embodiment of the improved ball rebounding apparatus is shown. The alternative embodiment includes length of material bent to form outwardly directing support leg members 41, 42. Leg member 41, 42 extend outwardly from the generally rectangular frame in substantially parallel relationship to each other and are supported by complementary socket receiving means 43, 44 formed on a handle support member 45. Legs 41, 42 are maintained in a locked position within sockets 43, 44 by means of conventional connecting bolts 46, 47, which are inserted through complementary openings formed in the sockets 43, 44 and legs 41, 42. An extended end of handle support member 45 is provided with an end cap member 48. Cap member 48 is constructed of a rubber or synthetic material which will allow the outer end of handle 45 to be sealed.
As shown in FIG. 3, a net member 50 is supported under tension in substantially coplanar relationship with frame member 40. Net 50 is constructed of a number of parallel arranged thread members 51 which are connected by conventional means to a number of parallel arranged thread members 52. Thread members 52 are connected to thread members 51 in substantially right angular relationship to form a number of squareshaped openings between adjacent thread members 51, 52. Net 50 is provided with a border member 53 connected to the extended ends of threads 51, 52. Net 50 can be constructed of a nylon material or a similar synthetic material which will provide the required strength and flexibility characteristics.
Net 50 is connected to the framework 40 by means of a number of S-shaped clips 49, having one of the S- shaped bends inserted around the tubular member 49 with the second S-shaped bend extending inwardly of the frame member 40. Net 40 is supported on the frame member 40 by connecting two of the S-shaped clips in each of the four corners of the net member 50 as shown in FIG. 3. A length of nylon cord 55 is interlaced within threads 51, 52 adjacent border 53 and connected to the S-shaped clips to provide additional support means and to provide tension adjusting means thereto. The nylon cord 55 is inserted around the S-shaped clips which are connected to the corners of the net and cord 55 is independently connected to the S-shaped clips spaced intermediate the corners thereof. Cord 55 is provided with a conventional adjusting knot 56 whereby the length of the nylon cord can be adjusted to a number of selectively set positions to vary the tension on the supported net member 50. As shown in FIG. 3, a pair of S- shaped clip members 49 are connected together with one end of one of the S-shaped clips being connected to the nylon cord 55 and an opposite end of the second clip 49 being connected within an aperture formed within the handle support member 45, to provide the required intermediate support for net 50 between the two corners of the framework support means adjacent handle 45.
OPERATION After the framework has been properly assembled, the
net 50 is connected thereto by inserting two of the S- shaped clips 49 in each of the four corners of the net and connecting the S-shaped clips to the framework 40.
After the net 50 has been connected with the pair of clips in each corner, additional connecting means is provided by interlacing the nylon cord 55 within thread members 51, 52 adjacent border 53 and connecting the cord 55 to each of the S-shaped clips 49. The nylon cord 55 is detailed in connecting relationship with frame 40 and S-shaped clips 49 whereby the border 53 and cord 55 are both connected to the clips 49 adjacent the corners with only the nylon cord 55 being connected to the intermediate clips.
After the nylon cord 55 has been properly interlaced around the border 53 and connected to clip 49, the opposite ends of cord 55 are brought together under a predetermined amount of tension and tied into a conventional connecting knot 56. The tension on net 50 can be varied by untying knot 56, varying the amount of tension on cord 55 and retying knot 56 to secure the net 50 under the desired amount of tension.
in utilizing the above described hand controlled ball rebounding means, an operator will grasp the handle 45 adjacent an extended end thereof and maneuver the ball rebounding apparatus in a manner similar to a tennis racket. The hand controlled ball rebounding apparatus as shown in FIG. 3 and as described herein above can be used to rebound a ball in a desired direction for playing a number of recreational games.
The tubular frame member 40 and handle 45 are constructed of conventional aluminum metal stock material. However, other types of metal stock material or synthetic material could be utilized which would provide the required rigid characteristics with lightweight construction. The configuration of frame member 40 will include rectangular, round and oval shapes.
It now becomes apparent that the above described illustrative embodiment is capable of obtaining the above stated objects and advantages. It is obvious that those skilled in the art may make modifications in the details of construction without departing from the spirit of the invention which is to be limited only by the scope of the appended claims.
What is claimed is:
1. An apparatus for rebounding balls or similar objects brought into engagement therewith comprising a generally rectangular frame, supporting means adjacent each corner of said frame, additional supporting means on each side of said frame intermediate the corners thereof, a net having a shape corresponding to but slightly smaller than that of said frame, said net being supportingly engaged adjacent each corner by said supporting means but being free of engagement by said intermediate supporting means, and means for adjusting the tension of said net with respect to said frame means comprising an elongated member slidably passing through each of said supporting means and interlaced with the outer marginal portion of said net between each two corners, the ends of said elongated member being adjustably secured together, whereby tightening of said elongated member will tend to straighten the edges of the net between the corners thereof and to increase the tension around the border of the net.
2. An apparatus as in claim 1 wherein said elongated member is a nylon cord.
3. An apparatus as in claim 2 wherein the ends of said cord are secured together by a releasable connecting knot.
wherein inclined leg members are secured to said elongated tubular members, whereby rotation of said lastmentioned members in their engagement with the legs of the U-shaped sections will permit the legs to be placed flat against said net or extended outwardly therefrom into frame-supporting position.