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Патент USA US3099455

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July 30, 1963
E, w, FLOOD
3,099,445
BOWLING BALL RETURN
Filed Aug. 3, 1961
INVEN TOR:
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United States Patent 0
1
3,0§>9,445
BOWLING BALL RETURN
Elgene W. Flood, deceased, late of Chicago, 111., by
Rosalie T. Flood, administratrix, Chicago, Ill., assignor
to Rosalie T. Flood
Filed Aug. 3, 1961, Ser. No. 139,230
3 Claims. (Cl. 273-47)
This invention is directed to the game of bowling, and
especially to improved means for controlling ball move
ment and‘ positioning on its return from the pin area to
the bowler’s area.
3,099,445
aP
1C6
Patented July 30, 15363
2
FIGURE 3 is a vertical section taken along line 3--3
of FIGURE 2.
Positioned within the ball throwing area 10 of a bowl
ing establishment between two alleys or lanes 11 is the
ball return means of the improved type. It comprises a
ball lift section 12 for elevating the ball whether the ball
be returned below the tloor level as shown herein or at
floor level. The lift section 12 is of the reversing type '
wherein the ball 14 running on the return track '16 rolls
upwardly under its momentum through the ‘section 12
and onto the upper track 18, which is inclined ‘for-ward
ly downward. Here the ball rolls downwardly under the
in?uence of gravity through another inwardly facing loop
In the course of bowling, the normal setup in the
26) and continues to roll on the intermediate or storage
bowler’s area is to provide a bowling ball return that
serves a plurality of alleys on each side of the return. As 15 track 22, which is inclined rearwardly downward. The
vball will continue to roll on this track \22 until it abuts
the ball returns, it is guided onto a gently inclined trough,
another ball or reaches the end 24. Here it abuts against
where it rolls under in?uence of gravity toward one end
the snubber or stop 26 and will come to a complete rest.
of the trough, where it awaits the bowler. In the usual
installation, the trough simply extends longitudinally be
This snubber ‘26 is generally capable of absorbing the
tween two alleys or lanes, and the ball may gravitate 20 shock and stopping the rolling ball .14 from bouncing
back.
To slow down further the movement and velocity of
the returning ball .14 as it loops through the lift section
12, there is provided about its exit area 28, a restraining
second shot in that ‘frame at the opposite end, i.e., the 25 or speed reducing deceler-ator 30, against which the ball
either toward the front or the rear of the return. Thus,
in the normal course of bowling, a bowler will pick his
ball up for his ?rst shot in any frame either at the front
or the rear of the return, and will pick his ball up for his
rear or ‘front, of the return.
During this time, if no one is actively using the other
‘14 must impinge as it rolls downwardly on the track
18. In the process of impingement, the ball is slowed
down practically to a standstill. 'I‘hen under the in?uence
alley or alleys, a bowler on one alley can readily obtain
of gravity the ball rolls slowly downgrade ion the track
his ball from the front of the return and proceed with his
18 to enter the loop 20. As the ball passes through the
30
game. However, if a bowler is then using alley or lane
loop it again accelerates, and to slow the same another
two, courtesy and custom demand that the one bowler
decelerator 32 is provided at the exit end 34 of the loop.
The ball may then slowly roll down the track 22. until it
reaches either the snubber 26' or is stopped by another
longs the game on alley one, but causes irritation to the 35 ball in its path on the track.
Suitable housings 36 and 38 ornamentally conceal the
bowler on lane two who must either hurry to throw the
loop
sections 12 and 20 respectively, and a housing 40
ball or take time out to permit the bowler on lane one to
encloses the space below the track 22.
retrieve his ball. ‘Obviously in either case, there is inter
The ball return unit of the invention is suitably com
ference which can be annoying as well as cause a loss of
40 prised of pipe, rod or tube bent to desired form. Each
time. Under such conditions, it takes longer to play the
of the loops ‘12 and 20 is preferably comprised of four
game and consequently the bowling alley owner also ?nds
rods de?ning a ball con?ning circle of a diameter larger
it uneconom-ical.
than the largest ball to be handled. These tour rods may
The object of this invention is to provide an improved
bowling ball return that places the ball on both the ?rst 45 be held together at least at their ends by appropriate
collars, as shown particularly in FIGURES 2 and 3.
and second shots within the reach of the player at the
Each of the tracks 18 and 22 is preferably comprised
rear of the alley without interference to other bowlers
of
a pair of spaced parallel rods, as shown particularly
on the alleys adjacent the ball return means.
in ‘FIGURE 1. The enclosure means 36, 38 and 40 may
A further object of this invention is to accelerate the
playing of the game by eliminating the interference pre 50 be formed of any suitable material, such as sheet metal,
molded plastic, plastic sheeting, etc. Consequently, the
viously existing at the time of retrieving the balls.
entire unit is extremely simple and economical, and may
A still ‘further object of this invention is to provide
be installed in conjunction with either above the ?oor
an installation adapted for use with present conventional
or below the ?oor returns in a most expedient manner.
over or under the ?oor ball returns, whereby all bowling
Dimensionally, the unit is of a length to hold 10* balls
lanes can readily be converted to the improved ball re 55
on the lower track 22, and or a height to dispose both
turn.
of the tracks 18 and 22 at a conveniently accessible eleva
These and other objects and advantages of the inven
tion about ?oor level. In the preferred embodiment
tion will become obvious to those skilled in the art from
of the unit, the lower track 22 has a minimum elevation
the following descriptive disclosure of a preferred em
of about 15 inches and a length of about 63 inches; the
bodiment. Though for simplicity, only one preferred em 60 upper track has a maximum elevation of 35 inches; and
bodiment is illustrated and described, it is to be clearly
the overall dimensions of the unit are I10 feet long and
understood that this invention is not limited to the speci?c
42 inches high. The unit has the particular advantage that
embodiment for it obviously can be varied widely and
it is not signi?cantly wider than a ball, whereby it does
not use up valuable ?oor space or constitute an obstruc
still be within the fundamental principles as de?ned fur
65 tion to bowlers. The unit is preferably located so that
ther hereinafter.
the rearward ends of the tracks .18 and 22 are just rear
In the drawings:
wardly of the bowleris starting position on the alley ap
‘FIGURE 1 is a perspective view showing the preferred
proach.
embodiment of the improved ball return of this inven
wait until the bowler in lane two has the opportunity of
throwing his ball before bowler one attempts to retrieve
his ball [from the \front of the return. This not only pro
tion;
FIGURE 2 is a longitudinal section taken substantially
on line 2-—2 of FIGURE ‘1; and
In use, a ?rst bowler may secure his ball from the
rearward end of the lower track 22 and step up to his
starting position on one alley 11. As he removes his
8,099,445
3
second shot without interfering with bowler two. Bowler
Al.
communicating at its upper end ‘with the forward end of
said upper track to lower balls therefrom, ball decelerat
ing means adjacent the lower end of said second loop for
decelerating each ball as it exits from said second loop,
a holding track sloping downwardly and rearwardly at
a slight inclination from the lower end of said second
loop between said upper track and the ball returning
track, said holding track terminating adjacent an inter
mediate portion of said ?rst loop, and a snubber at the
lower rearward end of said holding track, the entire return
being of a width not substantially in excess of the
diameter of a bowling ball.
2. A bowling ball return of 1a width not substantially
in ‘excess of the diameter of a bowling ball, comprising a
one can then assume a ready position while bowler two 15
pair of longitudinally spaced inwardly facing upright semi
ball, the remainder gravitate rearwardly on the track 22
so that a second bowler may pick up his ball at the rear
ward end of the track 22‘ and assume a waiting position
on the second lane or alley without in any way interfering
with the ?rst bowler. As soon as bowler one has thrown
his ball on lane one, bowler two may prepare to roll his
ball on lane two. In the meantime, ‘bowler one, assuming
he did not make a strike, may Walk to the rear of the
return unit, where he does not interfere with bowler two
and await return of his ball while bowler two is rolling.
When the ball of bowler one is returned, it will roll slowly
out of the housing 36 at the rear of the unit onto track 18,
at which point bowler one may retrieve his ball for his
completes his ?rst shot. Then, bowler one can complete
his second shot without interference or distraction while
bowler two awaits return of his ‘ball and his second shot at
the rear of the return unit, and even while a third bowler
approaches the rear of the unit and secures his ball from
circular ball guiding loops, one larger than the other,
an upper ball carrying track sloping downwardly at a
slight inclination from the upper end of said one loop to
the upper end of the other loop and having a maximum
elevation of about thirty-?ve inches, a storage track
sloping downwardly at a slight inclination in the reverse
Bowler two will of course retrieve his ball for his second
direction from the lower end of said other loop to ad
shot 'from the rearward end of track 18. When bowler
jacent the intermediate portions of said one loop and hav
one has taken his second shot and returns to his seat,
ing a minimum elevation of about ?fteen inches, and a
his ball when it is returned :will roll through the entire 25 ball stop at the lower end of said storage track, both of
return unit and back onto the track 22 at the tor-ward end
said tracks being readily accessible ‘for removal of balls
of the track. As bowling proceeds in rotation, bowler
therefrom.
one’s ball will gradually be returned in sequence to the
3. A bowling ball return of a width not substantially
rearward end of the track 22 where it will be located
in excess of the diameter of a bowling ball comprising a
when it is again his turn to bowl. Thus, he may retrieve
pair of longitudinally spaced, inwandly facing upright
his ball from the rear of the alley without distractinglother
semi-circular ball guiding loops, one larger than the other,
the lower track to follow bowler one on lane one.
bowlers.
"
a pair of longitudinally extending ball carrying tracks
Though the invention as described hereinabove and
overlying one another in the space between said loops, the
further illustrated in the annexed drawing is directed to
higher level track being connected at its ends to the upper
a speci?c embodiment, nevertheless, it is not intended to 35 levels of said loops and sloping downwardly at a slight
be limited to the speci?c embodiment for obviously
inclination trom- said one loop to said other loop, the
it can be modi?ed considerably and still be included
lower level track being connected at one end to the lower
within the fundamental principles underlying this inven
end of said other loop and sloping downwardly at a slight
tion as de?ned by the hereunto appended claims.
inclination from said other loop to adjacent the intermedi
Accordingly, it is claimed:
40 ate pontions of said one loop, and a ball stop on the oppo
1. A bowling ball return adapted to provide ready
site end of said lower level track, said tracks being spaced
accessibility for balls near the end Otf bowling lanes having
vertically from one another and both being readily ac
a ball returning track, comp-rising a ?rst upright generally
cessible for removal of balls therefrom.
semi-circular ball loop communicating at its lower end
with the ball returning track ‘for receiving returning balls 45
References Cited in the ?le of this patent
and elevating the same, ball decelerating means adjacent
UNITED STATES PATENTS
the upper end of said ?rst ball loop for decelerating each
ball as it exits from said ?rst loop, an upper track
642,801
Mclntire ______________ __ Feb. 6, 1900
sloping downwardly and ‘forwardly at a slight inclination
from the upper end of said ?rst loop, a second upright 5 0
1,857,881
2,597,072
Scott et al _____________ __ May 10, 1932
Cowgill ______________ __ May 20’, 1952
generally semi-circular ball loop smaller than the ?rst
2,796,261
Turner ______________ __ June 18, 1957
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