US 3853316 A
A table tennis ball holder, for attachment to the undersurface of a table tennis table, characterized by material forming a tubular shape container, assembled in various manners, which is squeezed to release a ball from a stored position.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1191 [111 3,853,316
Smith Dec. 10, 1974  TABLE TENNIS BALL HOLDER 2,640,697 6/1953 Elersich 273/3 R X  Inventor: Max D. Smith, Evansville, ind. 3330559 7/1967 Escher at  Assignee: Indian Industries, Inc., Evansville, Primary Examiner seorge J. Marlo Assistant Examiner-Theatrice Brown 22 Filed; 22, 1972 Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Woodard, Weikart,
Emhardt & Naughton  Appl. No.: 317,419
521 U.S. Cl. 273/30, 221/64 [571 ABSTRACT A tennis holder for attachment to the un-  Field of Search 273/30 1 10, H dersurface of a table tennis table, characterized by 273/14; 124/41, 45, 1 R material forming a tubular shape container, assembled in various manners, which is squeezed to release a ball References cued from a stored position.
' UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,569,007 9/1951 Klyce 273/30 ux 3 Chums 5 Draw; F'gures TABLE TENNIS BALL HOLDER As is known, it is convenient to have a supply of table tennis balls close at hand, either during the playing of the game or as a matter of storage, i.e., where a collapsible table tennis table is employed and where the table tennis balls are likely to be separated therefrom. In other words, the invention overcomes the past annoying problem of locating a table tennis ball, either during a game for replacement purposes, or when the table tennis table is removed from storage and a search for a table tennis ball, for use, commences.
Briefly, the invention satisfies the need for a table tennis ball holder, in this instance, and typically, being made from flexible thin plastic sheeting and variously arranged for receiving the table tennis ball. In this connection, a series of table tennis balls may be stored in the holder, where the latter is typically secured, also in different ways, to the undersurface of the top of the table tennis table or to any other desired supporting surface. The fact that the plastic sheeting material defining the holder is flexible, and considering the desired geometry, or dimension, of the table tennis ball with respect to the diameter of the holder, it is a simple procedure to squeeze the holder and force the table tennis ball therefrom, overcoming the retaining force.
The table tennis ball holder of the invention may be secured to the undersurface of the table tennis table in a horizontal or a vertical position, i.e., where either the table tennis balls are side by side during storage or where the table tennis balls lie one on top of the other. In that, as stated, the table tennis balls are loosely stored within the holder, but yet are incapable of slipping th'erefrom without urging by the user, a positive arrangement for storage is provided, i.e., there is no necessity or fear that the table tennis balls will move from the holder unless such action is desired and initiated by the user.
A better understanding of the present invention will become more apparent from the following description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing, wherein FIG. I is a view in front elevation showing the table tennis ball holder of the invention disposed in a generally horizontal position, with portions of the supporting surface therefor being in vertical section;
FIG. 2 is a view in end elevation, also partly in vertical section, generally comparing to the arrangement of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a view in end elevation, also partly in vertical section, showing an alternative embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 4 is a view in end elevation, also partly in vertical section, showing yet another embodiment of the invention; and,
FIG. 5 is a view in front elevation, also partly in verticalsection, showing still a further embodiment of the invention.
For the purposes of promoting an understanding of the principles of the invention, reference will now be made to the embodiments illustrated in the drawing and specific language will be used to describe the same. It will nevertheless be understood that no limitation of the scope of the invention is thereby intended, such alterations and further modifications in the illustrated devices, and such further applications of the principles of the invention as illustrated therein being contemplated as would normally occur to one skilled in the art to which the invention relates.
At the outset, and with respect to the various invention embodiments of the drawing, a plastic material is typically employed for each, either in sheet or tube form and generally having clear physical properties. As a matter of example, the material may be 5 mil. polyethylene or, as a matter of further example, vinyl. Accordingly, a principal difference of the invention embodiments lies in the particular orientation thereof in regard to a table tennis table top, and the physical arrangements of the material forming the holder per se, i.e., the manner in which such material is assembled for holding purposes.
With reference now to the embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 2, the table tennis ball holder defining the invention employs a sheet of plastic material 12, the free longitudinal edges 12a of which overlap and are stapled therealong, at 14, to the undersurface 16a of a table tennis table top 16, the latter including a downwardly projecting rim 16b. A decorative feature which also protects the fingers of the user is an adhesive strip 15 extending over the aforesaid stapled overlap of the edges of the material, as evident in the figures. The table tennis balls 20 are introduced and firmly retained within the resulting tubular configuration, as in all invention embodiments.
In another embodiment of the invention, as shown in FIG. 3, the material 22 of the holder may come in two strips or portions 22a and 22b, where one pair of longitudinal edges 22c are heat sealed together and where the other pair of longitudinal edges 22c are stapled, at 24, to the undersurface 16a of the table tennis table top 16. Again, a decorative or protective strip 26, typically having an adhesive surface, is used to cover the stapled length.
FIG. 4 illustrates a further embodiment of the invention, where tubular material 32 is used and one portion 32a thereof caused to overlap, creating a stapling area 34. Again, an adhesive strip 36 may be used for attractiveness and safety for the user.
Another embodiment of the invention is shown in FIG. 5 where, in this instance, instead of being oriented in a horizontal direction, the table tennis ball holder 42 is oriented vertically. However, the same overall effect is achieved, i.e., by squeezing action the table tennis balls 20 can be readily and selectively removed from the holder. More specifically, the open end of the material 44 may be folded back on itself to create a stapling area, where staples 46 extend therethrough for assembly with the undersurface 16a of the table tennis table top 16.
In other words, the invention is quite versatile, in providing a table tennis ball holder which may be disposed either horizontally or vertically, as desired, by the purchaser and/or user. The holder is readily secured to the undersurface of the table tennis table, being not readily' visible, but being easily available to the user for the removal of a table tennis ball. At the same time, other variations of the invention are achievable, i.e., as long as the material defining the holder is generally flexible or squeezable in nature so that each ball may be readily removed therefrom by urging action, but yet where enough force is exerted thereon to properly retain the ball in its desired stored position.
Thus, it should be understood that the table tennis ball holder of the invention can be modified, such as reproportioned, and other means utilized for affixing such to the undersurface of the table tennis table, or to any other desired supporting surface. Accordingly, the aforesaid description should be considered illustrative and not as limiting the scope of the following claims.
ll. The combination of:
a table tennis board having a peripheral edge, a top horizontal playing surface and a bottom horizontal surface beneath said playing surface;
a table tennis ball holder mounted to said table at said edge, said holder being sheet material of flexible plastic shaped to form a tube with an open end through which one table tennis ball at a time is forceably moved as said tube is manually compressed, said tube being cylindrical with an inside diameter of a dimension to snugly hold a conventional table tennis ball with said sheet including a pair of horizontally extending edge portions projecting outwardly from said tube; said edge portions including a first pair of adjacent longitudinally extending edge portions in overlapping relationship, and means securing both edge portions to said board.
2. The combination of claim 1 wherein:
said edge portions are heat sealed together.
3. The combination of claim 2 wherein:
said sheet material includes a second pair of adjacent longitudinally extending edge portions opposite said first pair with said second pair of edge portions being heat sealed together and wherein said means includes a plurality of staple fasteners and further comprising a decorative cover mounted to said first pair of edge portions concealing said fasteners.