US 3843120 A
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United States Patent [191 Rice! [451 Oct. 22, 1974 1 1 MARKING APPARATUS FOR TEACHING A POOL OR BILLIARD GAME  US. Cl 273/2, 33/289, 33/332,
222/142.5, 273/18, 401/88  Int. Cl. A63d 15/00, A63d 15/16  Field of Search 273/2, l4, 17, 18,23,
3,410,555 11/1968 Murch 273/2 3,486,504 12/1969 Austin, .lr. 128/260 3,597,098 8/1971 Kellis 401/186 X Primary Examiner-George J. Marlo Assistant Examiner-R. T. Stouffer Attorney, Agent, or FirmMarl T. Basseches; Paula T. Basseches 5 7 ABSTRACT Apparatus and process for learning to play pool, billiards and similar games. Process involves the establishment of a temporary point of alignment on the table for shooting a cue ball in a position to contact properly a ball desired to be displaced to a pocket or other desired position. Apparatus for performing the  References Cited process includes structure, in general size and shape UNITED STATES PATENTS identical to a cue ball, for establishing anaiming point 233,238 10/1880 Halbert 401/186 at the point where the cue ball will be when it P P- 574,501 1/1897 Tassinari 273/18 erly engages the ball desired to be displaced. In one 635,569 10/1899 Miller 273/24 form, the apparatus is capable of leaving a chalk mark 1,222,875 4/1917 Lerch 401/263 at the aiming point 2,790,239 4/1957 Weiss.... 33/9 R 3,323,798 I 6/1967 Miller 273/18 6 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures PATENTEnumzzlsm 355343.1220.
MARKING APPARATUS FOR TEACHING A POOL OR BILLIARD GAME FIELD OF THE INVENTION The invention relates to the field of billiards, pool or similar games involving a plurality of spherical balls, one of which is utilized to impact one or more other balls and displace them to a desired position on a table.
STATE OF THE ART To the best knowledge of the inventor, there are no processes or apparatus for teaching the proper method of engaging a cue ball with a billiard ball, other than developing an eye by practice. The instant process and device, involving the use of a crib" to faciliate learning proper placement of a cue ball with respect to the ball to be impacted, has no known predecessor in the art, to the best knowledge of the inventor.
BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The invention relates to a method for teaching the playing of the game of billiards or pool or other similar game involving the use of a plurality of spherical balls, one of which, called a cue ball, is utilized to impact other balls and displace them into pockets or otherwise to displace them in predetermined patterns on a table. The method involves the establishment of a temporary point, called an aiming point, which is the vertical geometric axisof a ball, placed immediately adjacent the ball desired to be displaced, at the desired point of impact of the cue ball with the ball to be displaced, and preferably leaving a mark, after the training ball is placed, so that the learner can utilize the mark in lining up his line of sight in preparing to make a shot.
The apparatus of this invention comprises a substantially spherical object, of the same shape and dimensions as a cue ball, andhaving provision for being stably placed on a table surface, such as by having a planar face, and preferably including means for making an erasable mark, such as a chalk mark, at the geometric center of the aiming device. In one embodiment of the invention, the chalk mark can be made by utilizing a talcum powder dispenser type of construction. In another modification, the chalk mark can be made using a conventional chalk stick of the type which is utilized for chalking the ends of pool sticks. In another embodiment of the invention the mark can be made utilizing an elongated cylindrical piece of chalk, which extends through a long cylindrical aperture through the vertical axis of the aiming device. In yet another embodiment of the invention, the ball may be constructed of a clear plastic, containing a vertical marker located in the geometric center, which could be held in position and moved out of place an instant before the shot is made.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a top plan view of a corner of a pool table, showing the placement of an aiming device of the invention in practicing the method of the invention;
FIG. 2 is a view similar to FIG. 1, showing the mark made by the use of one of the embodiments of the invention, and showing the path of the cue ball and of the billiard ball after being struck by the cue ball;
FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the preferred embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 4 is a front elevational view of another embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 5 is a top plan view of yet another embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 66 of FIG. 5; and
FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view of still another embodiment of the invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION Viewing FIG. 3, the device illustrated, the preferred embodiment of the invention, comprises an aiming device, generally designated as 20, having a substantially spherical portion 22 and a substantially flat base member 24. Spherical section 22 is of identical shape and dimensions as a conventional cue ball, except for the cutout 26 at the base 28 thereof to accommodate base member 24. Spherical section 22 has a planar lower face 26 and a dished milled section 28 which seats the mating neck 30 of base member 24. Base member 24, which is of substantially inverted cylindrical T-shape, has lower base section 32 which contains a small cut out section 34 at its lower face 36.
Extending through the geometric center of aiming device 22 is a cylindrical aperture 40, which extends completely from the upper edge of spherical member 22 to the lower face of base member 24, thus enabling a conventional piece of chalk of about 0.4 inches diameter to be inserted through the aperture and gently rotated to create an erasable mark at the geometric center of the aiming device. The aperture 40 is desirably of 0.44 inches diameter, in order comfortably to accommodate, without any substantial displacement, a conventional piece of chalk.
Spherical section 22 may be formed of any hard plastic material, such as a polystyrene, polybuterate or polycarbonate, and may be transparent or opaque. Base member 24 is of such dimensions that the vertical distance from the lowest edge of the base member, to the highest point on spherical member 22 is 2.25 inches, the diameter of a conventional billiard ball. The base member may be constructed of the same material as spherical section 22, and is fastened to spherical section 22 by a suitable adhesive, at the interfaces of the spherical sections 26, 28 at the base of the spherical member.
It is important to note that, in all embodiments of the invention, the over-all dimensions of the aiming device must be identical to those of a cue ball. A cue ball has a diameter of 2.25 inches for normal pool and has a diameter of 2.375 inches for carom billiards. Therefore, the aiming device of this invention will have a vertical dimension of 2.25 inches for pool and 2.375 inches for carom billiards and will have the same maximum horizontal dimensions.
Viewing FIGS. 1 and 2, the method of the invention, as practiced with the aiming device 20, illustrated in FIG. 3, will be described. Numeral l0 designates a game table, which may be a pool or billiard table of either conventional rectangular shape, or may be of round shape or any other desired shape. The table 10 illustrated is a pool table, which contains six pockets 12 located in corners thereof. Located randomly on the table is a numbered ball 14, and the cue ball 16 is placed in the shooting position as illustrated. In the example illustrated, it is desired to displace the ball 14 into the pocket 12.
In order to be able to achieve the desired result, it is necessary to hit the ball 14 gently at an edge, and at an angle with respect to the line between the axis of ball 14 and the center of pocket 12. For the novice or beginner in the game of pool, this line of impact is difficult tovisualize precisely and it is difficult to achieve the proper alignment at the desired position of impact between the cue ball and the billiard ball. This is particularly so because the point of impact between the cue ball and impacted ball is not the point at which the player usually aims. Rather, the point of aim is some distance farther away on the surface of the ball to be impacted. In order to facilitate this alignment, for the learning pool or billiard player, the process of the instant invention involves the placement of the aiming device of the invention immediately adjacent to the ball 14 desired, to be impacted at an angle such that the ball is impacted in the desired direction. The initial placement of the cue ball with respect to the ball to be impacted can be determined by laying the cue stick on the pool or billiard table, pointing in the direction in which it is desired to displace the impacted ball and touching that ball. The aiming device 22 is then placed in a position where it touches the cue stick and the ball to be impacted. After the learner has had some initial practice, it will no longer be necessary to use the cue stick to align the aiming device and ball to be impacted, and this will be done by eye.
The placement of the aiming device of the invention in proper alignment with the ball 14 to be impacted results in the presentation of a mark showing the geometric center of the aiming device for the learning player. This mark may either take the form of a removable mark on the felt or other surface of the table 10, as designated by numeral 18 in FIG. 2, or canbe an aligning device contained within the aiming device of the invention, as more fully described below with respect to the embodiment of FIG. 4. In the instance of the embodiments leaving a removable mark on the table, the aiming device would be placed on'the table, and, considering the embodiment of FIG. 3, would be placed in a non-movable position, resting on the lower surface 36 of the base member 24. In this way, the aiming device can easily stably be placed in the proper position immediately adjacent to and touching the billiard ball 14. In this position, the chalk mark 18 is made on the table.
Utilizing the embodiment of FIG. 3, the chalk mark would be made by rotating a conventional piece of blackboard chalk (not shown) in the aperture 40 in the aiming device 20. The chalk would leave the mark 18 in the geometric center of the aiming device, and could easily be removed by being brushed away after the shot has been made, or else could be left in place to be removed by ordinary use of the billiard or pool table. If one of the other embodiments of'the invention, more fully described below, were to be utilized for the purpose of making a chalk mark or other removable mark, they would function in the manner to be described to leave a similar removable mark 18 on the table top. The beginner would then aim the center of the cue ball directly at the point 18, when aiming his shot. In this way, if the shot is correctly made, the cue ball will impact the ball 14 in the proper position to displace the ball 14 into the pocket 12.
Although the invention has been described with respect to the displacement of a ball directly into a pocket, it is within the purview of the invention for the device and apparatus of the invention to be used for the purpose of perfecting other forms of shots, such as cushion shots," in which the cushions of the table are utilized for making the shots, in a well-known manner. Of course, a billiard table has no pockets, and the device of this invention can be used in teaching cushion and other shots in the same manner as with respect to a pool table. In this way the device and method of the invention can also be used for the purpose of teaching a novice that the proper way to make a shot properly to place the ball 14 in the desired position, by pointing out the proper aiming of the cue ball in order to achieve the proper impact between the cue ball and the ball to be displaced.
Viewing FIG. 4, a second embodiment of the invention is illustrated. The embodiment of FIG. 4 is a transparent spherical aiming device, designated by numeral 120, which contains a guide member 122 mounted therein. The guide member 122 is located at the geometric center of the ball, and includes two elongated aligned members 124 attached at their proximate ends to a circular outline aiming member 126 having. a rounded square cutout 128 at its center. Aiming inserts 124 and 126 are of an easily visible and contrasting color, such as by having members 124 of a white color and 128 of a red color, all of the particular colors are not critical. Since ball is transparent, aiming member 126, located at the geometric center of the ball, can easily be viewed. In use, aiming device 120 would be placed in the position shown in phantom in FIG. 1, with the aiming elements 124 extending vertically. The ball would be rotated so that the center sight of the aiming device would directly be facing the person making the shot. The second player would place the ball in position, and the person making the shot would shoot. At the moment at which the shot was made, the second player would remove the aiming device 120 from position, so that it would not interfere with the shot. If desired, the embodiment of FIG. 4 can be formed with a flat base, such as shown in FIG. 3, to allow the device to be placed with the aligning members in accurate vertical position.
Considering the embodiment of FIGS. 5 and 6, the aiming device 220 comprises an upper heimspherical section 222 and a lower base section 224. The base section has a portion 226 which is frusto-spherical in configuration and extends into a neck portion 228 which ends in a depending skirt 230, which serves as the base for the aiming device. The cross section of the base section 224 is circular at all points. Formed within the base member is a horizontal ledge 232 which serves as a support for the chalk holder 246 as described below. The internal portion 234 of the base member is hollow, to accommodate the chalk stick 240, and to allow it to be rotated within the opening 234.
Hemispherical member 222 terminates at its lower end in a lip section 242 which engages the inner surface of base section 224. This engagement is a slight frictional engagement, allowing upper member 222 easily to be removed. The chalk holder 246 comprises a disk shaped member 248 having an upstanding cylindrical handle portion 250 formed at the center thereof and having four upstanding structural spines 252 formed at the upper surface thereof. A cutout section 256 is formed at the lower face of the chalk holder. Cutout 256 is circular in cross section and seats the elongated spring clips 260, four of which are utilized and are best seen in FIG. 5, which engage the four faces of the chalk member. The chalk clips are fastened to the rotating member 246 either by being adhered thereto or by having mounting prongs or spines (not shown) molded into the plastic material of chalk holder 246. A conventional piece of cue chalk 240 is frictionally engaged by the four chalk holder members 260 in the manner shown in FIG. 6.
In use, the embodiment 220 is placed in position in the identical manner as described above with respect to aiming device 20. After the aiming device is placed in the proper position for use, cover member 222 would be removed to allow access to handle 250. After the device has been placed in the proper position, and cover 222 isremoved, the handle 250 would be rotated in order that the lower horizontal face of chalk stick 240 would engage the surface of the table top and would leave a mark thereon. When the mark is made, it would be similar to the mark 18 shown in FIG. 2, and would be utilized in the manner described above with respect to embodiment 20, after the aiming device 220 has been removed. The aiming device 220, with the spherical cap 222 in position, serves as a convenient chalk holder, for the purpose of chalking the end of a cue stick, in a manner which is well-known.
The materials of choice for the embodiment 220 would be clear polystyrene or polybuterate, for example for member 222, and opaque polystyrene or polybuterate for base member 224 for holder member 246. The spring clips 260are preferably formed of polypropylene.
The dimensions of aiming member 220 are such that the vertical distance from the base of the aiming member at the lower face of skirt 230 to the upper vertical face of the spherical cover 220 is identical to the diameter of a cue ball.
Viewing FIG. 7, another embodiment ofthe invention is illustrated. In this embodiment, the aiming decross-section as a chalk stick, so that a chalk stick, designated by numeral 340, may be inserted in the container section 324, and may be utilized for the purpose of chalking the end of a cue stick. The device FIG. 7 utilizes a powdered material, such as a chalk powder or similar powder, generally designated by numeral 328, to provide the table top marking 18. The lower end 330 is formed with a flat base 332 and a slightly enlarged neck 334. The base 332 contains a plurality of vertically extending apertures 336. A cover member 340 has a horizontal face 342 containing a plurality of apertures 346 which correspond with the apertures 336. Cover member 340 has an inwardly extending flange 350 which engages behind the enlarged portion 334 of base member 330. In this fashion, the cover member 340 is fixed to the base of the spherical member 322 and can be rotated with respect thereto to bring the apertures 346 and 336 into and out of vertical alignment. When the apertures 336 and 346 are out of vertical alignment, no chalk or other powder 328 can be dispensed from the aiming device. When the apertures are in alignment, achieved by rotation of the cover member 340, chalk or other powder can be dispensed from the device by slight depression of the sides 322 of the spherical member, in the manner of a conventional powder dispenser. The device 320 would be used in the identical manner as the device 20, as described above, and would be placed in the manner illustrated in FIG. 1. Once it has been placed, the sides of the spherical member 322 would be squeezed gently, leaving a chalk powder in the position shown in FIG. 2. The aiming device would then be removed, and the powder mark would be used as the guide for the novice to aim.
In the embodiments of FIG. 7, the materials of choice for the spherical member 322 and the materials of choice for cover 340 are the same materials as are currently used for squeeze type talcum powder containers.
It will be apparent that many variations in the process and apparatus of the invention can be made without departing from the spirit and scope thereof. For example, the invention could be modified to dispense a mark consisting of an opaque, volatile liquid, which would quickly evaporate within a reasonable time after the shot had been made.
What is claimed is:
1. Apparatus for teaching a pool or billiard game wherein a cue ball is propelled against an object ball comprising a generally spherical target member having the general size and configuration of said cue ball, support base means formed on said member for stabilizing the target member on the surface of a pool table, said base means being so dimensioned that the equator of said target is spaced from said surface a distance equal to the radius of said cue ball, no portion of said apparatus projecting outwardly in a horizontal direction from the geometric center thereof a distance greater than the radius of said cue ball, a powder receiver chamber formed in said member, depending powder dispenser orifice means formed on the under surface of said target member in predetermined relation to the vertical center thereof, and means for conveying powder from said chamber to said orifice responsive to manipulation of said member while the latter is supported on said surface, thus to form powder marks on said surface in registry with said orifice means.
2. Apparatus for teaching a pool or billiard game wherein a cue ball is propelled against an object ball, comprising a substantially spherical member having the general dimensions and configuration of said cue ball and having a base adapted to support said apparatus on a horizontal surface with its maximum horizontal dimension spaced from said surface a distance corresponding with the spacing of the equator of said cue ball from said surface, no portion of said apparatus projecting outwardly in a horizontal direction from the geometric center thereof a distance greater than the radius of said cue ball, and marking means interiorly of said spherical member positioned at said base for effecting a mark on said surface at a position corresponding to the geometric center of said member for assistance in aiming a cue ball, said mark being readily observable to the unaided eye of a participant.
3. Apparatus as set forth in claim 2, including a vertical aperture defined in said apparatus, said aperture adapted to hold a cylindrical shaped piece of chalk and extending from top to bottom through the geometric center of the apparatus.
apparatus, and said engaging means being mounted on said rotating member.
6. Apparatus as set forth in claim 5, wherein said spherical member includes a removable upper section opposite said base, thereby to provide access to said r0- tating member.