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Патент USA US2127873

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Aug. 23, 1938.
7 Filed June 9, 1937
5!’ {26/10
Patented Aug. 23, 1938
Yves C. Le Guillou, New York, N. Y.
Application June 9, 1937, Serial No. 147,206
25 Claims.
This invention relates to apparatus for playing
tennis and more particularly to improvements in
table tennis games, for example that known as
ping-pong and to the instrumentalities, arrange
‘I‘ment and combination of parts comprising the
The following description will be more particu
larly addressed to an embodiment of my inven
tion for playing table tennis but, it will be under
10 stood that the invention is not limited thereto.
The features to be described and claimed may be.
employed with equal advantage in other devices
where similar features are useful.
In general, table tennis devices comprise an
15 elongated table or ?at board suitably supported
by a stand or corner legs, and having a center not
which is a miniature replica of the type generally
employed in tennis. Players are positioned and
stand at opposite ends of the playing board,
20 ‘which has ?eld lines marked thereon and by
means of suitable racquets or flat bats impel a
(Cl. 273-30)
sion of sloping side nets or barriers at the oppo
site sides of the playing surface for preventing
a majority of balls in play from falling upon the
floor or ground; the provision of receiving chan
nels adjacent to the side edges of the board, 5
communicating with the side nets to receive balls
striking the nets and thus prevent their return
to the playing board; the provision of receiving
channels below the plane of the playing surface
and which are pitched su?iciently whereby balls 10
in play stopped by the side nets may roll therein
and return to one or the other of the players; the
provision of side nets connected to spring rollers
which are supported in the ball receiving chan
nels adjacent to the playing surface and whereby 15
the nets maybe wound or unwound to any de
sired length and may be slack or tight; the pro
vision of adjustable supportsfor the barrier nets
or the like; the provision of means for retrieving
balls which come to rest at the net or adjacent
thereto and which means may comprise swing
light weight pellet, generally of celluloid and sub
arms, rotatable vanes or other impacting or wind
stantially small in size, across 1e intervening
center net, to each other in accordance with the
producing devices together with means for oper
ating the same mechanically or manually from
25 ' ‘rules of the game.
During play a large percent
either end of the playing board; the provision 25
of a playing board having supports adjustable
for the height or age of the players and which
age of balls are directed outwardly from the
sides of the table and are propelled to the floor
or ground support some distance away. Such
balls must be generally retrieved by one or an
30 other of the players with the result that con
has marked upon the adjustable means suitable
tinuous play is prevented and much time is lost.
Moreover, many players physically tire of chas
ing the pellets and subsequently lose interest in
be released from one side support and manually
the game. I am aware that ?xed side nets have
35 been proposed in a Shu?le tennis game by Frowd ‘
information to enable equal adjustment of all
supports to obtain a level playing surface; the 30
provision of a detachable center-net which may
or mechanically wound upon a roll connected
with the adjacent support, both supports being so
constituted as to be readily removable or swung
et a1. 1,553,682 granted Sept. 15, 1932 but such
out of position to permit use of the playing sur
act to return balls to the playing board and also
face for other games.
interrupt play.
These and other objects of the invention relat
ing to the improved playing devices, the novel
' In addition to the foregoing no consideration
mhas heretofore been given to adapting the play
ing board to the particular needs of children or
even grownups of different heights. It will be
understoodthat age is no bar to playing table
tennis but, that a high playing board may bar
45 \the
player. Furthermore, the playing board is
quite long, about nine feet long, and it is dif?cult
for young as well as many older players to re
trieve dead balls, (ball out of play) that roll or
are stopped at the center net.
It is the general object of the present inven
tion to overcome the faults and inconveniences of
prior playing instrumentalities and to provide
suitable means for accomplishing such'ends and
provide continuous and enjoyable play.
Further objects of the invention are the provi
association of parts and the improved assembly 40
and application thereof, and all its parts and
combinations, will in part be obvious and in part
be pointed out in the subsequent detailed de
scription and the claims, and the accompanying
drawing forming a part thereof, which however
must be considered as merely illustrating a pre
ferred embodiment and in no way limiting the
invention to the embodiment shown and de
scribed. It will be understood that certain as
pects of my invention are applicable to different
forms of tennis and to other similar games and
their broad application is contemplated. It will
also be understood that all modi?cations includ
ing featuresof construction, combination of ele 55
ments and arrangement of parts as may be within
the spirit of the invention are contemplated.
In the drawing wherein similar parts are desig
nated by similar numerals:
Figure l is a plan view of a game board
equipped with the novel features of my inven
Figure 2 is an end elevation View of the con
struction shown in Figure 1, and showing the
10 side nets in position;
Figure 3 is a side elevation partly in section and
taken at 3-—3 of Figure 2;
Figure 4. is an enlarged section through a centre
net standard and
Figure 5 is a modi?cation of the operating
means for actuating the ball return mechanism.
Referring more particularly to Figures 1-5 of
the drawing, the objects of my invention will be
better understood from a consideration of a pre
ferred embodiment of my invention which com—
prises a playing board ID, of wood or composition
material suitable for the purposes herein de
scribed and suitably marked with a playing ?eld
of the character generally used in playing indoor
This board is usually about nine feet by
?ve feet, but, it will be understood that my inven
tion is not limited by these dimensions. This
board is provided with suitable supports for ex
ample legs l2, preferably rigidly fastened to the
30, :under side of the board at each corner thereof,
and which are preferably provided with adjust~
able telescoping extensions 14 held rigid by suit
able means, for instance, a clamp screw or other
locking means !6, located near the end of a re
» ‘duced portion l8, of the leg. The legs l2 may,
however, be hinged so that the legs may be
folded against the table to make a compact ar~
rangement for storage. The extensions are fur
thermore preferably marked with ?gures and suit
able indices to simplify setting of the board to
appropriate heights and to permit expeditious
adjustment and levelling thereof.
Also secured to the under side of the board and
serving to brace the supporting legs are channels
20, preferably extending the length of the playing
board co-extensive with the longitudinal side
edges of the board. The channels are preferably
made of sheet metal for instance aluminum or
galvanized iron which will resist corrosion in
weathering. The channel may have a ?at upper
face 22, secured against the under side of the
board, a flat vertical face 24, secured against the
legs l2, and a lower semi-circular portion 26
which is a continuation of the vertical face and
ends in an edge portion 28 directed toward the
‘under face of the board and substantially in line
with the outer edge thereof. This edge is so posi
tioned so that a considerable opening exists be
tween it and the under face of the board. As
60, above stated a channel of the character described
is located at each side of the table and serves as
a receptacle for dead balls which have been hit
out of the playing ?eld. The ends of the channel
are open but are provided near their extremities
,with suitable struck up tongues 30 or other end
stops which will prevent the balls from dropping
to the ground or floor yet will permit the insertion
of a player’s hand to retrieve the ball so deposited.
In order to accelerate or gravitate the balls re
.ceived in the channels to the stops, the channels
are slightly graded from the centre to the ends.
In this manner there will be obtained a somewhat
equal division between the players, of balls re
ceived in the channels. Attached to the lip or
obedge 2B of each channel 20 by suitable brackets
or the like is a roller 32 which may extend the
full length of the playing board or may be split in
several sections, for example two or more, to
facilitate the use of practical lengths. It will be
understood that in such instances the sections
will comprise separate rollers and the adjacent
ends of the rollers will be suitably supported in
bearings mounted against the channels it. To
this roller or rollers is secured a section of netting
or material suitable to furnish side barriers or 10
nets 34 for stopping balls in ?ight that have been
hit outside of the playing field. The netting or
the like may be in one piece but preferably con
sists of as many sections as there are rollers. The
adjacent edges of the sections are maintained as 15
close as possible together in order to bar the exit
between adjacent sections of any balls striking
the barrier. In order to employ a minimum of
supports for the outer end of the barrier the
various sections of the material if such be em— 20
ployed are preferably connected by a rod or stave
36. The member 36 is maintained in its position
in space by means of suitable arms 38 pivotally
connected to sliding collars 49 seated over the
portion “3 of the legs [2. The arms 38 are also
provided with telescoping sections 42 at their
outer end which connect directly to the bar 36.
The telescoping sections are maintained in posi
tion by clamp screws 44 and are suitably marked
to permit accurate adjustment for length. It will
be noted that the arms 38 depend for their sup
port upon tension springs 46 which are connected
to the arms 38 and to the leg portions I2 and pull
the extending arms against the channel pieces 23.
It will furthermore be noted that the collar 40 is 35-1
provided with a suitable clamp screw 48 enabling
the adjustment of this member up and down on
the leg portion l8 to obtain the desired angle for
the arm 38.
The rollers 32 are preferably pro
vided with suitable friction bearings so that the 40
nets 34 may be readily rolled up’ when not in use.
It is preferred, however, that the rollers be of a
spring type such as is customarily employed for
shade rollers so that the net or barrier may be
unwound under tension and connected to the ex— 45
tremities of the arms 38. It will be understood
that in such instances the nets will exert a slight
upward pull against the arms 38 and will assist
the spring 46 in maintaining the arms 38 against
the channels. It will be observed that by the
described means the side nets are capable of con
siderable adjustment and may be set to almost
any angle and to various distances out from the
board making a ?exible arrangement that will
enable its accommodation to indoor playing where 55
space is at a premium as well as to the needs of
individual players. It will be appreciated that
balls striking the nets 34 will roll downwardly
into the channel members 20 and thence to the
stops 30 where they may be picked up by the 60
players without the necessity of chasing such mis~
siles. Furthermore it will be recognized that the
parts may readily be disassembled, the nets being
unhooked from the extension 42 and permitted to
wind up on their respective rollers 32 and the 65
arms 38 being collapsed and unhooked from the
springs 46 and then be permitted to hang verti
cally, to create a compact assembly. Where the
legs 24 are hinged the dropped arms 38 may be
folded into a compact assembly with the legs.
It will be appreciated that the usual table pro
vided for the instant game is too long to enable
many players to retrieve balls which have be
come dead at the centre net and it is a further
feature of my invention to provide means which 75
will enable the delivery of such dead balls to the
respective player without necessity for the player
altering his position of play. I accomplish this
by a unique structure which may also serve as
,the center net, post supports. On each side of
the board midway its length, and near a side edge
thereof, I mount a vertical shaft 50, having an
upper hollowed end. The upper end is also pro
vided with a shoulder 52 which rests upon the
'10 face of the board. Adjacent the shoulder 52
is a reduced annular portion 54, passing through
a suitable opening in the board and having a free
?t therewith. The lower end of the shaft pro~
jects from the lower face of the board and is
15 further reduced in size as at 56. Over the reduced
portion is pressed or clamped a lever arm 58.
Preferably the arms 58 attached to the vertical
shafts 50 are positioned normally to be substan
tially perpendicular to the longitudinal sides of
the board, and with their ends projecting in
wardly. Attached to the ends of the lever arms
58 are spring posts 60 to which are connected
suitable tension springs 62 of proper length. The
other ends of the ‘springs are connected to suit
able spring posts 64 secured to the under side
of the board. The posts 64, are preferably located
on a median line through the centers of the
shafts 58, and so as to place the springs 62 under
sufficient tension to hold the lever arms 58 in
30 normal position. It will be understood that ?xed
ferrules may be mounted in the board openings
to provide bearings for the shafts 58.
The hollowed upper end 66 of the vertical shafts
It will be noted from Fig. 1 of the drawing, that
the opposite spring arms 58 are connected by a
closed cable system. A cable 80 which may be a
flexible cord is connected to a pin post 82, passes
over a roller 84, at one end of the board, passes 5..
over a second roller 86 and is thereafter connected
to the pin 82, of the opposite arm. Between the
rollers 84 and 8B the cable is made slack and is
weighted down by a mass 88. It is preferred that
sufficient slack be permitted at each end of the
board so that the cable may be readily grasped
by the players at the respective ends.
Should a ball come to rest at the net or nearby,
it is merely necessary for the player at the side
of the net where the ball is grounded, to exert a
pull on the cable, whereupon the lever arms 58
are actuated toward the player and cause the
rods 18 to swing in a similar direction. It will
be noted that each set of rods or fingers ‘l8 sweeps
out a considerable similar sector of the board 205::
surface and that the two sets of arms assume
positions similar to the open arms of a scissor
until they separate from each other.
Thus the
entire area adjacent the center net for a consid
erable distance back from the net is passed over 25.1,;
by one or more of the swinging arms and any
ball resting in this area is propelled toward the
Due to the scissorlike action of the rod 18 the
ball is directed to the player in the general direc
tion of the center of the board. In actuating the
rod 18 the springs 62 of the operating mechanism
are further extended and assume‘ angular posi
50 is preferably square shaped in section. Into tions with respect to the arms 58. Upon release
35 .this square shaped recess of each shaft 58 is ?tted of the cable at the end where it is operated the
a similar shaped extension of a hub 68, the func
spring 52 returns the arms 58, and thus the kicker
tion of which will be hereinafter described. The rods 18 to normal position. It will be observed
hub is mounted to be a push ?t with the shaft that when one side of the cable is actuated the
58 and as to respond to any rotation of the slack at the other end is reduced. Upon release,
40 lower spring arm 58. The recess 88 may be cir
the short side regains its length by reason of the
cular if desired, whereupon suitable flat keys will weight 88 which returns the cable on the slack
preferably be provided to obtain simultaneous ' side to its original position.
operation of the levers 58 and the hubs 58.
A feature of the invention resides in the func
The hubs 68 are provided on their rotational tioning of the same set of rods 18 and arms 58
46 axes with suitable bored openings into which are‘ upon either side of the center net in response to
pressed net posts ‘Ill provided with suitable rings the pull of the cable by the player on such side,
12 for attachment to the ends of the center net
and with equal effect. In other words, the player
14. One of these posts may carry a friction roller on whose side of the net the dead ball lies oper
or spring roller ‘I6 of the character provided for ates the cable, and the ball is returned to him.
50, the side nets, so that the center net may be
It will be understood that the spacerequired in 50
wound or unwound with respect to the same elevation for the operating ?ngers or rods 18 do
under tension and removed when the board is not not in any way effect the game, since a ball which
in use. It will be noted that the lower edge of has hit the net at any point as low as the rod
the center net is spaced from the face of the board 18 is in any case out of play. The rod 18 should
by the height of the hub 68. It is preferred in however be positioned in proper-relation to the 65
such case to provide a sleeve not shown between
size of the ball.
the roller 18 and post 18. The sleeve is main
An alternative and simple means of operating
tained in a ?xed position by means also not shown the kicker rods or ?ngers ‘I8 is illustrated in Fig.
whereby rotation of the roller 16 will be inde
5. According to this mode of operation the two
pendent of any rotation of the post 10.
springs 62 of the previously described system may
It has been previously described that hub 68 be replaced by a single spring 90, the ends of which
is ?tted in the recess 66 of the shaft 50. Each are connected to the spring posts 68 of the arms
hub has preferably ?xed to it two parallel rods 58. If desired springs 62 may be used, where
18, preferably tubular and of light weight, one upon the inner ends of the respective springs are
positioned above the other and both extending connected by a tie rod 92. Connected to the 65substantially the full length of thenet and par
center of the spring 98 or connecting link 92 as the
allel to the lever arms 58 in their normal posi
tion. The extending rods or ?ngers on each hub
are also so positioned in elevation, with respect
70. to the face of the board, that when the hubs 88
are rotated by the lever arms 58 the rods or ?nger
18 on the opposite hubs will pass each other
without interference. It is preferred that the
lowest rod or ?nger be on one hub, the next on
75 ,the opposite hub and so on.
case may be, is a straight cable or ?exible cord
94 extending along the longitudinal center of the
board. The opposite ends of the cable pass over
rollers 96 and the cable ends carry weights 88.
It will be seen that operation of the kicker rods is
accomplished by pulling the cable in the manner
previously recited.
It will be understood that a kicker system such
as described can be made effective for table tennis 75..
boards or tennis playing grounds of considerable
area, it being merely necessary to design the oper
ating parts to suit the particular character of
?eld to which the mechanism is to be adapted.
Furthermore, while I have described my pre
ferred kicker mechanism I contemplate as a fur
ther feature of the invention, and particularly
for table tennis boards, a ball returning mecha
nism comprising rotating vanes, not disclosed in
10 the drawing, which may be caused to be operated
by either player, either manually by means of a
wound cord, or mechanically by means of a motor,
controlled from either end of the board. If the
ball is at the center net or nearby it will be either
impelled by the vanes or blown within reach of
the player by the air currents set up by the rotat
ing vanes. It will be understood that the ball
employed for table tennis is a very light weight
From a consideration of the foregoing preferred
embodiments of my invention it will be seen that
I have provided novel and improved mechanisms
for playing tennis, particularly indoor tennis or
board tennis embodying features that constitute
.a distinct improvement over the prior art, and
which embody many novel features of construc
tion and assembly. It will be evident that where
the mechanism is used in connection with a play
ing board that the surface of the board may be
.cleared of all apparatus readily, and quickly to
permit its use for other games or to protect the
parts from the weather if the board is used out
doors. It will be understood by those skilled in
the art to which the invention 'appertains that
, the disclosed embodiments may be varied and or
combined in numerous ways without departing
from the spirit of the basic features I have pre
sented. I therefore desire to secure for myself
and alternative constructions
spirit and scope of the inven
in the foregoing speci?cation,
the invention be construed to
cover all equivalents and as broadly as the claims
taken in conjunction with the prior art may allow.
I claim:
1. A game device adapted for use in games in
volving a bounding ball, comprising an elongated
playing board, and sloping side barriers having
channel-like ball receiving means adjacent the
lower portion thereof, positioned adjacent the lon
gitudinal sides of said board, said barriers being
adjustable as to height and position with respect
to the playing surface of said board.
2. A game device adapted for use in games in
volving a bounding ball, comprising a playing
board, a side barrier for stopping balls in ?ight,
positioned adjacent a side edge of said board, said
barrier being spaced from said side edge and a
ball collecting receptacle adjacent said side edge
communicating with said barrier.
3. A game device adapted for use in games in
volving a bounding ball, comprising a playing
board and sloping side barriers mounted in spaced
relation to certain sides of said board, the upper
65 end of said barriers being above and outwardly
of the playing surface of said board and the lower
ends of said barriers having channel-like ball re
ceiving means adjacent thereto and being below
ball receiving channel.
5. A game device adapted for use in games in
volving a bounding ball, comprising an elongated
playing board, ball receiving channels adjacent
the longitudinal sides of said board, ball intercept
ing barriers extending upwardly and outwardly
from said channels and means to support said
barriers in their relative positions.
6. A game device as claimed in claim 4 including 10’
barrier supporting means and resilient means to
maintain the barrier in position.
7. A game device adapted for use in games in
volving a bounding ball, comprising a playing
board, board supporting means adjacent a pair 15'
of opposite sides of the board, ball receiving chan
nels adjacent said opposite sides and below the
playing surface of said board, ball intercepting
barriers, extending upwardly and outwardly from
all modi?cations
falling within the
tion as expressed
and I desire that
said playing board and communicating with said
said playing surface.
4. A game device adapted for use in games in
volving a bounding ball, comprising a playing
board, a ball receiving channel below the playing
surface of said board and a barrier for stopping
balls in ?ight, said barrier spaced from a side of
said channels and barrier supporting means ex
tending outwardly from said board supporting
means and connected with said barriers.
8. A game device adapted for use in games in
volving a bounding ball, comprising a playing
board, a ?exible ball intercepting barrier, means 25
to support said barrier outwardly of the playing
surface of said board, and roller means upon
which to wind said barrier.
9. A game device adapted for use in games in
volving a bounding ball, comprising a playing 30
board, supports for said playing board, ball re
ceiving channels adjacent certain sides of said
board, a spring roller secured to each channel, a
?exible ball intercepting barrier connected to each
roller and windable thereon, barrier supporting
arms adjustably secured to said board supports
and having end extensions, said extension being
connectable with the ends of said barriers when
said barriers are unwound and in position for
10. A game device adapted for use in games in
volving a resilient ball and a barrier out of reach
of a player whereat a ball is likely to become dead
in play, comprising a playing surface, a ball bar
rier at an angle to said surface and means between 45
the lower end of said barrier, and the playing sur
face adapted to put dead balls adjacent the bar
rier into motion and return said balls to the
11. A game device as claimed in claim 10 where
in the ball actuating means comprises a kicker
arm operable in a plane substantially paralleling
the playing surface.
12. A game device as claimed in claim 10 where
in the ball actuating means comprises a rotating 55
13. A game device as claimed in claim 10 in
cluding means to operate the ball actuating means
from the normal position of the player.
14. A game device for tennis and the like com
prising a playing surface having opposite ends, a
center ball intercepting barrier, an elongated arm
hinged at one end and movable in a plane sub
stantially paralleling the playing surface, said
hinged end located adjacent a side of the playing
surface at one end of said barrier and means to
operate said hinged arm.
15. A game device as claimed in claim 14 where
in a second arm is operable in a plane above the
?rst arm and is hinged at the opposite end of said 70
16. A game device for table tennis and the like,
comprising a playing board, a net extending
transversely thereof and substantially normal to
the playing ?eld of said board, a pair of swingable
said kicker arms to sweep out a considerable area
tion, and a ?exible ball intercepting facing con
nected between each pair of said arms.
21. A game device adapted for use in games in
volving a bounding ball, comprising a playing
board, a ?exible ball intercepting barrier adjacent
a side of said board, means to support said bar
rier and an elongated pocket adjacent the lower
portion of the barrier to receive balls striking said
barrier without permitting return of said balls to
the board.
22. A game device adapted for use in games in
volving a bounding ball, comprising a playing
of the playing ?eld adjacent said net.
board, a ball receiving means adjacent a side of
kicker arms each having a length in the order of
the transverse dimension of said playing ?eld, and
having their axes of rotation at opposite ends of
said net, and said arms lying in different planes
and between the lower edge of said net and the
plane of said playing ?eld, a lever arm rigidly
connected to each kicker arm, and having resilient
means connected thereto adapted to normally
maintain said kicker arms in a ?xed relation to
10 said net, and means connected to said lever arms
whereby to operate said kicker arms and cause
17. A game device as claimed in claim 16 where
15 in the board has opposite ends and wherein the
kicker arm mechanism includes means to actuate
extending upwardly and outwardly of said board.
move said arms in a direction toward the actuat
23. A dead ball return device adapted for use in
games involving a bounding ball and having a
playing surface including an area in which balls
are likely to come to rest and out of reach of the
player, comprising a pivoted arm operable in a
in the net supports are coincident with the axes
of rotation of said kicker arms and wherein said
playing board has sloping ball intercepting bar
plane substantially paralleling said playing sur
riers adjacent its longitudinal sides and ball re
face and in proximity thereto and adapted to
25 ceiving channels communicating with said bar
19. A game device adapted for use in games in
volving a bounding ball, comprising a playing
board and a sloping barrier positioned adjacent a
30 side of said board, said barrier comprising a
?exible facing, hinged supporting means and re
silient means between the barrier and board
structure to maintain said barrier in its sloping
20. A game device adapted for use in games in
volving a bounding ball, comprising a playing
board, a pair of vertical supports at opposite ends
of said board, slide members on said supports ad
justable as to height, means to lock said slides in
said board and sloped toward the opposite ends of
said board and ball intercepting means adapted
to communicate with said receiving means and
said arms from either end of the board and to
ing end.
18. A game device as claimed in claim 16 where
predetermined position, ball intercepting barrier
arms carried by said slides and pivoted thereon
said arms extending outwardly of the board and
having an adjustable section to vary their length,
means to lock the sections in predetermined posi
sweep out a considerable area of said playing sur
face and strike dead balls in said area and move
said balls toward the player, and means to op
erate said arm.
24. A game device adapted for use in games in
volving a bounding ball on a playing board com 30
prising side barriers for positioning adjacent the
playing board surface and means to provide ball
receiving channels at the lower portion of the
25. A game device adapted for use in games in 35
volving a bounding ball on a playing board, com
prising a side barrier to be positioned adjacent
said playing board surface, means to adjust the
height and position of the barrier with respect to
the said surface and means to provide channel 40
like ball receiving pockets adjacent the lower por
tion of the barriers.
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