US 3921977 A
A method and apparatus for sealing and reinflating a dead tennis ball. A latex sealant with asbestos fibers suspended therein is injected into the tennis ball by means of a needle and a hypodermic syringe. The syringe is then disconnected from the needle and the needle is connected to a pressurizing device such as a hand pump. After pressurizing the tennis ball to approximately 15 pounds per square inch, the needle is removed from the tennis ball and the tennis ball is rotated to insure an even coating of the sealant on the inside thereof. The tennis ball is then immersed in water to determine any points through which air may be leaking from the ball. These points are then rotated to the bottom of the tennis ball to insure that sufficient sealant will stop the air leaking from the tennis ball. By the time the sealant takes effect, the pressure inside the tennis ball is approximately nine pounds per square inch. The tennis ball is then cleaned and dried.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
'United States Patent 1 Brink 1 Nov. 25, 1975.
[ TENNIS BALL SEALING AND INFLATION MEANS  Inventor: Jack Brink, San Antonio, Tex.
 Assignee: All American Maintenance, Inc., San
 Filed: Apr. 22, 1974 [211 Appl. No.: 462,946
8/1951 Quang Hsi Hu 128/218 R Primary Examiner-George J. Marlo Attorney, Agent, or FirmC0x, Smith, Smith, Hale & Guenther Incorporated  ABSTRACT A method and apparatus for sealing and reinflating a dead tennis ball. A latex sealant with asbestos fibers suspended therein is injected into the tennis ball by means of a needle and a hypodermic syringe. The syringe is then disconnected from the needle and the needle is connected to a pressurizing device such as a hand pump. After pressurizing the tennis ball to approximately 15 pounds per square inch, the needle is removed from the tennis ball and the tennis ball is r0- tated to insure an even coating of the sealant on the inside thereof. The tennis ball is then immersed in water to determine any points through which air may be leaking from the ball. These points are then rotated to the bottom of the tennis ball to insure that sufficient sealant will stop the air leaking from the tennis ball. By the time the sealant-takes effect, the pressure inside the tennis ball is approximately nine pounds per square inch. The tennis ball is then cleaned and dried.
6 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures US. Patent Nov.25, 1975 Sheet10f2 3,921,977
US. Patent Nov. 25, 1975 Sheet20f2 3,921,977
TENNIS BALL SEALING AND INFLATION MEANS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to tennis balls and, more particularly, to a means for sealing and reinflating tennis balls of insufficient pressure.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART Tennis balls being used by players should have an internal pressure of approximately nine pounds per square inch to insure adequate bounce and resiliency. Many tennis balls upon being received from the factory by their local distributors are already considerably below the nine pounds per square inch due to leaks that occur in the side of the tennis ball. Other tennis balls after being played for a short period of time will develop leaks allowing the pressure inside the tennis ball to drop considerably below the optimum 9 pounds per square inch, and after a period of time, to reach atmospheric pressure. A tennis ball that has lost its internal pressure is commonly referred to as a dead ball.
One method previously used to repressurize dead tennis balls was to take the tennis balls and insert them in a pressure chamber, and by a process of osmosis, force pressurized air back into the tennis ball. Nothing was done to seal the leaks. Upon taking the repressurized tennis ball from the pressure chamber, the pressure would again be lost through the leaks after a very short period of time, and again the tennis ball would be dead. For even the occasional tennis player a dead tennis ball is essentially worthless because if it is used for a period of time it will destroy the players control once a good or live tennis ball is used.
Manufacturers of tennis balls try to combat the problem of pressure leakage by packing the tennis balls inside a pressurized container with normally three balls being in the container and using osmosis to maintain the pressure. Upon removing from the container, if a tennis ball has a leak, the pressurized air will very soon escape.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Therefore, it is an object of the present invention to seal and reinflate dead tennis balls.
It is another object of the present invention to seal dead tennis balls by the insertion of a sealant through a syringe and, thereafter, reinflating the tennis ball by a source of pressurized air.
It is yet another object of the present invention to provide an apparatus for sealing and reinflating dead tennis balls that will consist of a needle connectable to a hypodermic syringe containing a sealant for insertion into the tennis ball and subsequently connecting the needle to a hand pump for pressurizing the tennis ball.
It is still another object of the present invention to test the pressurized tennis ball by immersing in a fluid to determine the points at which the pressurized air would leak from the tennis ball and rotate these points to the bottom thereof to insure an adequate coating of the sealant over the points of leakage.
It is even another object of the present invention to provide a method by which dead tennis balls may be sealed and reinflated.
It is still another object of the present invention to provide a method for inserting a sealant into a dead tennis ball, repressurizing the tennis ball and testing the tennis ball to insure that the seal is adequate.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the apparatus used in the sealing and reinflation of dead tennis balls.
FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of the apparatus used to seal and reinflate dead tennis balls.
FIG. 3 illustrates the insertion of the needle and sealant into the dead tennis ball.
FIG. 4 illustrates the removal of the needle from the repressurized tennis ball.
FIG. 5 is a sectional view of a tennis ball illustrating the checking for leaks therein.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2 in combination, there is shown the apparatus used for the sealing and reinflation of the dead tennis ball 10. A hypodermic syringe 12 consisting of a graduated cylinder 14 and a plunger 16 is filled with a suitable sealant. The graduated cylinder 14 is connected to needle 18 by means of cone 20 and tabs 22 that threadably connect to threads 24 of graduated cylinder 14. A cover 26 is provided to pro- .tect the needle 18 when not in use. The hypodermic syringe 12, needle 18 and cover 26 are of the type commonly used in the medical professional for giving shots. The graduation on the graduated cylinder 14, for the purposes of illustration only, is in cubic centimeters because that is the measurement commonly used in the medical profession.
With the syringe and the needle connected together, approximately 1% cubic centimeters of sealant should be put in the graduated cylinder 14 of the hypodermic syringe l2. Thereafter, plunger 16 and rubber seal 28 should be inserted in graduated cylinder 14 with two fingers pulling against tabs 30 and the thumb pressing against plate 32in much the same manneras a doctor ornurs'e would prepare to give a shot to a patient by holding the needle upward and pressing the plunger 16 therein until all air is removed from the graduated cylinder l4.
Insert the needle 18 in the dead tennis ball in the manner illustrated in FIG. 3, with the needle 18 being inserted through the side of the tennis ball 10 at an angle A of approximately thirty degrees with the surface thereof. The point of insertion of the needle 18 in the tennis ball 10 should be in the upper portion of the tennis ball 10 to insure that the sealant would now blow back out of the needle 18.
1 After the insertion of the sealant into the tennis ball 10, grasp the cone portion of the needle 18 and rotate the graduated cylinder 14 in the counterclockwise direction with respect thereto to remove the hypodermic syringe 12 from the needle portion 18. Do not withdraw the needle 18 from the tennis ball 10 and maintain the needle 18 at the top of the tennis ball 10.
An inflation hose 34 is now connected to needle 18 by means of a threaded cylinder 36 connected thereto. The threaded cylinder 36 may be identical to the graduated cylinder 14 or any other suitable means to provide for the connection of inflation hose 34 to cone 20 and needle 18. The threaded cylinder 36 has internal threads 38 that mate with tabs 22 of cone 20. By rotating needle 18, cone 20 and tabs 22 in the clockwise direction,:tabs 22 will mate with threads 38 and attach needle 18 through threaded cylinder 36 to inflation nos: 34.
The inflation hose 34 is connected to any suitable means of pressurized air with a hand pump 40 being shown for the purposes of illustrating this invention. The hand pump 40 is connected to inflation hose 34 by means of coupling 42. Also on coupling 42 is a pressure gauge 44 that is used to determine the pressure inside of tennis ball 10. By operating the lever 46 of the hand pump 40, the pressurized air inside of hand pump 40 will be discharged through coupling 42, hose 34, threaded cylinder 36, needle 18 into tennis ball 10. The handle 46 should be pushed down very slowly until pounds pressure is recorded on pressure gauge 44. The handle 46 should be held momentarily to allow a spring and ball bearing check valve (not shown) located internal between coupling 42 and hand pump 40 to seat, thereby preventing pressure from flowing back from tennis ball 10 into hand pump 40. It should be understood that a relief valve could be used instead of pressure gauge 44. I
Rotate the tennis ball so that the point of insertion of the needle'is on the bottom side. (See FIG. 4). Grasp the needle by the cone and extract it from the tennis ball 10. The hole caused by needle 18 will be sealed by the sealant previously injected into the tennis ball. If the needle 18 is going to be used repeatedly, cover 26 should be pushed firmly over the needle to prevent the sealant from hardening therein to allow a subsequent use of the needle after the following has been .completed.
Immediately after removing the needle from the tennis ball 10, submerse the tennis ball 10 in a pan of warm water 58 and saturate the covering of the ball to remove air bubbles from the cloth fiber 48 forming the outer covering of the tennis ball 10. (See FIG. 5). Any leaks in the tennis ball will be indicated by air bubbles flowing up through the water 58. Turn these leaks to the lower portion of the tennis ball 10 so that the sealant 50 may flow to the lower portion of the ball and seal the leaks illustrated by bubbles 52 and holes 54. This process should be continued until all leaks in the tennis ball 10 have been stopped. Then rotate the tennis ball 10 to allow the sealant 50 to coat the entire inside of the ball. Thereafter, dry the tennis ball 10 by any suitable means'such as allowing to dry in a well ventilated area or by insertion in a clothes dryer for approximately 2 minutes. If the tennis ball 10 is extremely dirty, it-may be cleaned before it is dried.
It should be realized that the above described method is not intended for useon only one tennis ball but on a whole series that need to be sealed and reinflated to the proper internal pressure. It should be understood that most tennis balls have a fairly resilient synthetic rubber shell 56 as seen in FIG. 5 when immersed in water 58. The holes 54 that occur in the synthetic rubber shell may be createdfor any number of reasons including the breaking down process of the synthetic rubber 56'. The cloth fiber 48 is simply glued to the synthetic rubber shell 56. Once the cloth fiber 48 wears down on the tennis ball, it can no longer be reinflated because the tennis ball would not have a sufficient amount of friction with the surface of the tennis court to justify reinflation. As an example, a backspin on the tennis ball would have essentially no effect when it hits the surface on the opponents side of the tennis court. v
The entire apparatus used for the sealing and reinflation of tennis balls maybe combined in' one package that would consist of hand pump 40, hypodermic syringe 12 and needle 18, a bottle of sealant 50 and a 4 means such as another hypodermic syringe for attaching pump 40 to needle 18. A typical hand pump 40 that can be used is the delux inflator manufactured by Schult Manufacturing Company of Litchfield, Ill., Model Number 6P.
The sealant 50, that is inserted into the tennis ball 10 through syringe l2 and needle 18, is a latex solution with asbestos fiber suspended therein. The sealant 50, which is'initially in the liquid form, hardens to a semirigid rubberylike substance after a short period of exposure to the air inside tennis ball 10. Therefore, when.
hitting the tennis ball 10 with the tennis racket for a hard driving shot, the latex sealant inside tennis ball 10 will simply flex with the synthetic rubber shell 56.
Though a tennis ball may be rescaled and reinflated a number of times, it may be impractical to repeat the procedure over one or two times due to wear and tear on the tennis ball 10.
METHOD OF OPERATION Insert sealant 50 into syringe 12 and remove the air from the cylinder 14 by means of plunger 16 while holding the needle 18 in the upright position. Insert the needle 18 into the tennis ball 10 at an angle of approximately 30 to the surface of the tennis ball 10 near the uppermost portion of the tennis ball. Inject the sealant 50 inside the tennis ball 10. Disconnect cylinder 14 from tabs 22 of cone 20 and connect pump 40 thereto via threaded cylinder 36. Threaded cylinder 36 may again be identical to graduated cylinder 14 only connected to inflation hose 34. Operate the hand pump 40 in a manner so that the tennis ball 10 is slowly pumped to l5 pounds per square inch and hold at that pressure for a sufflcient amount of time to allow the check valve (not shown) to seat to prevent flow of pressurized air out of tennis ball 10. Thereaften rotate the'tennis ball 10 so that the needle is on the underside thereof and remove the needle from the tennis ball. Immediately cover the needle with cover 26 to protect it for subsequent use. Also, immediately thereafter insert the tennis ball 10 into water 58 to discover holes 54 therein. Locate the holes at the bottom of the tennis ball 10 until the leaks have stopped due to the flow of the sealant 50 into and over the holes 54. Thereafter remove the tennis ball 10 from the water 58 and rotateto insure an even coating of the sealant 50 over the inside of synthetic rubber shell 56 to help prevent against further leaks. Thereafter wash and dry the tennis ball in a conventional manner.
'What'is claimed is:
1. An apparatus for sealing and reinflating a dead ball, said apparatus comprises:
. a sealant;
a hollow needle having a sharpened end for penetrating the wall of said ball; means detachably connectable to said needle for injecting said sealant through said hollow needle into said ball; a source of pressurized air;
a conduit having one end thereto connected to said side said tennis ball before removing said hollow needle.
5. The apparatus as recited in claim 4 further comprises a fluid for submerging said tennis ball to determine the point ofleaks therein so that said leaks may be coated with said sealant by rotating the point of said leaks to the bottom of said tennis ball 6. The apparatus as recited in claim 1 wherein said sealant is a latex substance with an asbestos fiber suspended therein.