Title:
Apparatus for treating baseball bats
United States Patent 2105466


Abstract:
The invention relates to baseball bats and more particularly to an apparatus for treating the same, and has for its objects to provide a baseball bat impregnated with a suitable adhesive to prevent separation of the adjacent wood layers of the bat, as well as chipping, splintering or checking...



Inventors:
Beck, Charles R.
Beck, Garnett L.
Application Number:
US69767833A
Publication Date:
01/18/1938
Filing Date:
11/11/1933
Assignee:
HILLERICH & BRADSBY CO
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
118/503
International Classes:
B27K3/06
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Description:

The invention relates to baseball bats and more particularly to an apparatus for treating the same, and has for its objects to provide a baseball bat impregnated with a suitable adhesive to prevent separation of the adjacent wood layers of the bat, as well as chipping, splintering or checking of the outer wood layers, heretofore found to be prevalent in baseball bats as an incident to the use thereof.

This application is a continuation in part of our copending application, Serial No. 483,064, filed Sept. 19, 1930, for Baseball bat, etc., now Patent No. 1,936,579, issued Nov. 28, 1933.

A principal object of the invention is to provide a new and improved apparatus for individually treating and thoroughly impregnating the bats for the purpose described, while permitting of variations of the treatment with regard to individual bats, thereby obviating the necessity of treating the bats uniformly without regard for individual requirements.

A further object of the invention is to provide an apparatus for impregnating baseball bats in such manner that the entire cross sectional area of the pore rings are impregnated for any desired extent along the bat barrel, and preferably in one direction only, thereby insuring complete induration of the area between adjacent layers of wood fiber without trapping or occluding the air within said pore rings, the pressure of which would otherwise result in certain portions of the pore rings remaining free from impregnation.

A still further object is to provide an apparatus of the character described in which the impregnating fluid containing an adhesive, together with the air pressure for forcing the adhesive mixture throughout the pores of the bat, are admitted simultaneously or coincidentally through a single port into the treating chamber, thereby insuring against over-saturation of the bat with fluid with consequent swelling or undesired increase in weight; the bat is not submerged within the impregnating fluid for any appreciable time other than is required for complete impregnation of the porous area between adjacent wood layers.

A further object is to provide an apparatus for impregnating baseball bats with an adhesive mixture under pressure without requiring a preliminary vacuumizing treatment, and characterized by the fact that the bats may be handled rapidly and conveniently and without loss or reuse of the impregnating mixture, thereby obtaining obvious economies in the practice of the invention.

With such objects in view, as well as other advantages which may be incident to the use of the improvements, the invention consists in the apparatus and in the use of the parts and combinations hereinafter set forth and claimed, with the understanding that the several necessary elements constituting the same may be varied in proportions and arrangement without departing from the nature and scope of the invention.

In order to make the invention more clearly understood there are shown in the accompanying drawings means for carrying the same into practical effect, without limiting the improvements, in their useful applications, to the particular constructions which, for the purpose of explanation, have been made the subject of illustration.

In the said drawings:Figure 1 is an elevation showing a preferred form of apparatus for carrying out the invention.

Figure 2 is a side view of one of the bat treating tanks illustrated in Fig. 1.

Figure 3 is a side elevation of a baseball bat after treatment in accordance with the present invention.

Figure 4 is an enlarged detail perspective view of the barrel end of the bat illustrated in Fig. 3.

Figure 5 is an enlarged cross-sectional view through the bat shown in Fig. 3.

Figure 6 is a detail view partially in vertical section showing a modification of one of the bat treating tanks.

Figure 7 is an enlarged view partially in vertical section illustrating more in detail two of the individual bat treating tanks illustrated in Fig. 1. Figure 8 is a similar view looking from the side and showing the adjustable clamp elevated or released to permit removal or insertion of a bat within the treating tank.

Figure 9 is a horizontal section on line 9-9 of Fig. 7.

Figure 10 is a still further enlarged sectional view of one of the bat treating tanks or chambers illustrating more in detail the structural features thereof.

Figure 11 is a transverse section on line I -11of Fig. 10.

Figure 12 is a similar view on line 12-12 of Fig. 10.

Figure 13 is a greatly enlarged fragmentary cross section through a portion of the bat.

Referring to the drawings: Each bat is treated separately in a cylindrical vertically arranged tank I, said tanks being of any desired number, but for convenience in operation are preferably arranged in one or more rows or groups, each tank having a pipe connection 2 with a main line 3 constituting a source of supply of the treating material to the individual tanks. A valve connection 4 is disposed on each branch pipe 2 to regulate the flow of treating fluid to the individual tanks. The treating material in the desired state of fluidity is contained within a main supply tank 5, the normal high level of said treating material being indicated at 6. The tank 5 has a filling opening 7 normally tightly closed by a filler cap 8. One end of the supply tank is in communication with the pipe line 3 which is also provided with a master control valve 9. The supply tank is provided at one end with a normally sealed closure 5a to permit access to the interior of the tank for the purpose of clearing or renovating the same.

An air compressor or pump is indicated at 10 and communicates with an air pressure tank I I by means of a pipe 12 having a control valve 13. The air pressure tank is in turn communicably connected with the supply tank 5 by means of a pipe 14 having a control valve 15. An air pressure gauge 15a indicates the pressure in the interior of the tank 1I.

The treating material, preferably casein glue or gelatin, is thoroughly admixed with water and reduced to the desired state of fluidity and :0 suspension in a mixing tank 15b having a valved. discharge orifice 15c disposed above the filling opening 7 of the supply tank 5. A stirrer or agitating device for mixing the glue is indicated at 1Sd and is operated from any suitable power ':; source connected to the pulley 15e.

The individual treating tanks I are identical in construction and each comprises a cylindrical body or shell 16 of metal. The cylindrical shell of the tank is open at its upper and lower ends .0 and the lower end is exteriorly threaded to provide an air and liquid tight connection with a lower cap member or base 17. The latter is or may be centrally apertured for threaded engagement with the upper end of the branch pipe 2.

x. The upper end of the tank I is normally closed by an inwardly tapered or flared annular flexible packing member 18, preferably of strong rubber, having a circumferential flange or shoulder 19 for supporting the packing within the tank at ,0 the upper portion thereof. The rubber packing member is rigidly clamped in position -with respect to the tank by means of a steel washer or gasket 20 in turn clamped against the upper surface of the packing by means of a cap memher 21 having a fluid and liquid tight threaded connection 22 with the cylindrical wall of the tank. A secure hermetic engagement is further insured by providing a steel gasket or ring 22a superposed upon a rubber or other flexible gasket 22b, said gaskets in turn being firmly clamped with the flange 19 and gasket 20, between the cap 21 and cylindrical wall of the tank. When the cap 2 . is screwed down the pressure thereof will act to flex the rubber packing member 18 and to secure hermetic engagement between cap 21 and packing member 18.

A central aperture 23 in each cap member 21 is of sufficient diameter to permit the downward insertion of bats of varying diameters within the tank i. The lower or barrel ends of the bats 24 to be treated are adapted to be inserted downwardly into the tank through the apertures 23 in the upper cap members to a point appreciably near but preferably spaced above the bottom of the tank. The lower opening 25 of the flexible rubber packing 18 is designed to yield or expand outwardly to accommodate the lower maximum diameter of various bat barrels and will contract inwardly as the bat is lowered into the tank, said packing having sufficient resiliency and contractile properties to snugly engage the bat barrel at any point along its longitudinal extent. In this manner a fluid and air tight chamber is obtained in each tank I when the lower end of a bat to be treated is inserted in said tank. Each tank I is further preferably provided adjacent its upper end with a normally closed petcock or valve 26 communicating with the interior of the tank for releasing the accumulated pressure in said tank after the bat has been treated and is ready to be withdrawn. The opening of valve 26 also permits expulsion of displaced air within the tank as the bat is inserted.

Each tank I is provided with an adjustable clamping device generally indicated at 27 for removably maintaining the bats to be treated in inserted position within said tank. As illustrated each clamping member comprises a pair of stationary upwardly extended strap members 27a the lower ends of which are secured to the tank and the upper ends of which are provided with a series of spaced vertically aligned outwardly extending projections or lugs 28. The clamping member proper consists of a horizontally disposed guide plate or member 29 rigidly secured at its :ii opposite ends to a pair of downwardly extending movable strap members 30 having a sliding or telescoping engagement with the stationary strap members 27. Suitable guides or bearings 31 are provided to insure continuous align- :.5 ment of the strap members 27 and 30 respectively while at the same time permitting relative vertical movement therebetween. The upper ends of the movable strap members 30 of the clamp are connected together by a horizontal member 31a which may constitute an integral part of the strap. An eye 32 rigidly secured to the horizontal portion 3 ia is adapted to loosely receive therethrough a hand lever 33, the inner end of which is pivotally secured as at 34 to a bracket member 35 in turn secured to the wall or any convenient stationary fixture. The guide plate 29 is centrally provided with a semi-circular recess 36 of sufficient diameter to receive the end of the handle portion 37 of the bats 24, yet preventing go downward passage therethrough of the usual enlarged knob 38 at the end of the bat handle.

The upper end 31a of each adjustable clamping member is designed to rest upon the knob 38 or plate projection 39 of the bat after the latter has been inserted in the tank I and its handle portion inserted laterally into the recess 36 of the guide plate 29. The clamp is then drawn downwardly until the desired degree of insertion within the tank has been obtained. At this point loop members or latches 40, loosely mounted on the guide plate 29, are swung downwardly into engagement with the proper lug or projection 28 to firmly lock or clamp the bat in position against vertical movement relative to the tank I. The provision of a plurality of keepers or lugs 28 for engagement with the loop members 40 renders the apparatus flexible for the purpose of accommodating bats of various dimensions with the assurance that a bat of any length may be readily locked in engagement with the tank at the desired degree of insertion therein.

In Figure 6 a slightly modified form of chamber or tank for the individual bats is illustrated.

Said chamber comprises a cylindrical tank la having a downwardly and forwardly tapered impregnating chamber Ib. A similarly tapered or cone shaped rubber packing Ic fits closely within the impregnating chamber and is designed to snugly and resiliently engage the end of the bat barrel after the latter has been inserted to the desired degree within the impregnating chamber.

Communication with the branch pipes 2a in turn communicating with the supply line 3a is afforded by means of a threaded aperture 3b communicating with the bottom of the impregnating chamber. The described arrangement dispenses with the upper and lower cap members for the tank la and also requires the use of a somewhat differently shaped flexible rubber packing Ic.

In other respects the apparatus is substantially as described with respect to the remaining figures of the drawings.

In the operation of the apparatus the impregnating material, preferably casein glue in powdered form, or gelatin is mixed with water in the mixer 15b to obtain the desired degree of fluidity. A mixture which has been found to be practically successful in operation consists of 3 pounds of water to each pound of glue, or eight parts of water mixed with one part of gelatin.

When thoroughly mixed the preparation attains a degree of fluidity substantially that of thick cream and is then discharged into the supply tank 5. The filler opening of the tank is tightly closed by applying the cap 8 and the bats 24 to be treated are next inserted downwardly and individually into the dry treating tanks I with their barrel portions snugly engaged by the flexible packing member 18 in said tanks. Prior to being inserted in the tanks it has been found preferable to first remove from the ends of the bats the usual tapered knob 34 at the spur end, where the bat billet is engaged by the lathe spur. The clamps 27 are next adjusted into position over the upper handle ends of the bats and moved downwardly by hand lever 33 until the desired rigid and locking engagement of the loops 40 with the keepers 28 is effected. This prevents any possibility of the bats being forced by pressure out of the treating tanks.

Control valve 9 may normally remain open.

The individual valves 4 on each tank having an inserted bat are next opened. Air or other gaseous medium under pressure is admitted into the supply tank 5 by opening valve 15 leading to pressure tank 1I, which has been previously charged with air or gas under pressure from compressor 10. A satisfactory pressure for this 3i purpose has been found to be 200 pounds per square inch within the pressure tank. The liquid glue or gelatin is propelled under this pressure into the supply line 3 and thence is forced upwardly into each of the treating tanks I until the latter are filled. Leakage of the treating material from the tanks is prevented by the described sealing members and it will be further noted that increasing pressure of the fluid within the tanks I serves to augment and reinforce the resilient and snug engagement of the rubber packing members 18 with the bat barrels due to the inwardly flared construction of said packing.

When the desired pressure of 200 pounds has been attained within the tanks 1, the liquid glue or adhesive enters the pores of the wood of the bats and is forced longitudinally therethrough until the entire lower portion of the bat barrel has been permeated. Usually a thorough impregnation from 12 to 14 inches from the end of the bat barrel has been found sufficient to properly treat the bats for the purposes of the invention. The time of treatment varies according to the degree of porosity, dryness and nature of the wood, as well as the consistency of the fluid. In practical operation it has been found that the time of treatment of the bats at a pressure of substantially 200 pounds per square inch in order to thoroughly permeate the pores of the bat, requires about 1 /2 minutes. (By a similar treatment at reduced pressure this period may be extended to a maximum time of three-quarters of an hour.) At the expiration of this time, the glue or adhesive material in suspension may be observed exuding from the bat barrels above certain of the tanks I indicating that the portion of the bat within such tank has been thoroughly saturated. At this time the pressure is shut off by closing the individual control valves 4 leading to the tanks 1. Pressure within each individual tank I is relieved by opening the petcocks 26. The clamps 27 are then loosened and elevated to permit the bats to be tilted laterally from engagement with the parts 29 and 31a of the clamps and lifted from the tanks. Any surplus glue on the surface of the bat is wiped off cleanly and smoothly by the constricting peripheral edge 25 of the rubber packing 18.

During the time of treatment it has been found that the impregnating fluid forced into the pores of the wood increases the weight of the bat in proportion to the time of treatment as well as the degree of porosity of the wood. It may be stated that under ordinary conditions the bat will increase in weight 3 or more ounces but is usually in the neighborhood of 3 ounces. This increase in weight of course represents the actual weight of the liquid preparation with which the entire lower portion of the bat barrel is impregnated.

The treated bats are placed on a rack or otherwise stored and permitted to dry for about a week. It has been found that this is sufficient time to result in all moisture content of the preparation to be entirely evaporated and absorbed by the wood. The drying period appreciably reduces the added weight of the bat to approximately 1/4 of an ounce. This represents the actual weight of the glue forced within the bat and is a negligible factor in the bat specifications.

When treated and dried in the manner de- 5o scribed the bats are stained and finished and are ready for use. The entrained glue in the bat pores serves to securely bind the adjacent denser cells or strata together to effectually prevent chipping or splintering heretofore commonly en- .5 countered and which prematurely destroys the life, value and efficiency of the bat.

In accordance with the invention as above practiced it will be observed that there is no compression of entrained air within the pores of the wood and which entrained air might exert a back pressure and seep back out of the wood thereby forcing out much of the adhesive fluid which has been admitted. This object is obtained by offering no resistance at the upper end of the bat i5 barrel to the penetration of the impregnating mixture.

From the foregoing it will be noted that it is not necessary to employ a vacuum to first evacuate the pores of the wood of entrained air prior to introducing the treating fluid under pressure.

It has been found that the cells of the wood are sufficiently porous to permit the fluid to be driven through in the manner described thereby driving before it and out of the bat above the zone of treatment any and all entrained air. This is permitted by enclosing only the portion of the bat to be treated within the individual pressure tanks I and leaving free and exposed the upper portion of the bat to permit the escape of entrained air under pressure applied from within said tank. This entrained air is or may be chiefly present in the pores or spring growth of the bat which is of appreciably greater porosity than the adjacent cells of the bat strata, commonly called the meat or substance of the wood.

The invention however contemplates the use of a vacuum within the tanks I prior to introducing the impregnating fluid, should such additional step be advisable under certain conditions.

The described treatment is a decided advantage over placing the entire bat within a sealed tank or impregnating chamber for the reason that in the latter instance the fluid under pressure is forced into the pores of the bat adjacent the surface thereof at a plurality of points along the bat barrel, which frequently results in trapping a portion of the air between the fluid advancing under pressure within a particular stratum or strata from opposed directions. This condition would deter or prevent the thorough impregnation of the bat barrel at the point where such entrained air is trapped and which point is subject to the greatest strain and use, thereby requiring more thorough permeation for protection.

The removal of the tapered spur 34 at the end of the bat barrel prior to the treatment effectually aids the complete penetration of the impregnating fluid throughout the center or core of the bat barrel. The presence of such spur end 38 acts to prevent the impregnation of the fluid at this point and this is not so much because of the additional material but for the reason that the spur marks of the lathe compress the wood at the end of the billet to seal the pores thereby preventing access of the glue to the bat at this area.

By treating the bats individually in the tanks I in accordance with the invention above described varied and individual requirements may be satisfactorily served as to certain bats, as it may be desirable to effect a more thorough impregnation in certain instances than in others due to the material of which the bat is made and the degree of porosity of the wood or for other considerations. In these respects the invention affords distinct advantages over treatment of a plurality of bats in a single sealed container which does not permit of variation as to one or more selected bats.

The invention presents further advantages over existing methods in that the impregnating fluid and air pressure are admitted simultaneously to the treating chambers I, through a single port 2 thereby dispensing with the necessity of separate valves, tanks and connections for the air and treating fluid respectively.

Due to the thorough and complete impregnation of the bat barrel including the core portion thereof it is possible to store the treated bats indefinitely. When a bat of certain specifications is required, which might necessitate an appreciable reduction in diameter, it is possible to turn down the barrel to any required diameter without reaching a portion of the barrel which has not been impregnated.

In accordance with the present invention the bat is impregnated from the bottom end only through the grain to about 12 or 14 inches along the barrel. This prevents any possibility of air pockets left unpermeated, and it will be further obvious that the bat barrel may be impregnated for any desired portion of or along its entire extent by varying the time of treatment and the depth of the tanks I. The practice of the invention as above described permits of very rapid penetration of the wood thereby resulting in economies in operation and increased production. The treatment does not discolor the wood or otherwise render the same difficult to stain or finish in any color. Individual bat treatment insures uniform penetration of the barrel portion and permits of adjusting the degree and time of penetration to accommodate bats having different degrees of hardness. There is no core left of untreated wood and a stronger and more solidly permeated barrel is obtained.

It will be understood that when one set of bats have been impregnated in the tank I and removed and placed on the usual drying racks, another set of bats is immediately placed and locked individually within the tanks and the proper control valves manipulated to permeate and impregnate the bats with the adhesive in accordance with the method above described.

This arrangement permits convenient and rapid handling of the bats to treat a considerable number of the same within a comparatively short space of time. There is no soaking of the bats with consequent serious gain in weight, and the method is further attended by little or no waste of impregnating material.

The submerging of the first assortment of bats to be treated in the empty tanks I and except for a few minutes of treating, as to subsequent assortments, reduces the possibility of swelling to a minimum and enables the bats ordinarily to be thoroughly and completely dried in seven days. The swelling of the bats, a disadvantage which is obviated by the invention, causes enlargement of the grain which in the act of drying would result in cracks due to uneven contraction or expansion.

The penetration of the pores of the wood by means of the glue renders the finished bat waterproof and not susceptible to moisture absorption. This is an advantage for the reason that the penetration of moisture softens the wood and renders the bat incapable of driving the ball as far as a dry-moisture-proof article.

Fig. 13 indicates an enlalged fragmentary portion of the bat barrel to illustrate the varying diameters of the individual porous cells in the alternate layers of spring growth. Depending upon the degree of fluidity of the impregnating material, these porous cells, indicated at A will be filled or lined with the material. With a substantially heavy or thick solution the porous cells B of smaller diameter will be substantially filled with the impregnating material such as casein glue or gelatin and this may be also true to a considerable extent at least as to the porous cells of intermediate or larger diameter. When the impregnating fluid is of relatively thin consistency, such as one part of adhesive to eight parts of water, only the walls of the porous cells of larger diameter will be lined with the adhesive as indicated at C in Fig. 13. This may also be true as to certain of the smaller porous cells B present in the wood. Fig. 13 graphically illustrates that the impregnating material does not necessarily fill the porous cells with adhesive with consequent material increase of the weight of the bat, especially when the adhesive contains a higher proportion of water or other mixing fluid. Nevertheless a sufficient amount of adhesive is present in all instances to secure the desired binding together of the adjacent wood layers, even though certain of the larger porous cells may riot be completely filled with the fluid. This is an obvious r advantage resulting from the invention and does not materially add to the weight of the bat.

What is claimed is: 1. In a treating tank for baseball bats the combination of a chamber open at one end for the insertion of a bat to be treated, resilient means supported by said chamber and adapted to yieldingly engage the surface of the bat to prevent the escape of fluid from said chamber, means mounted on said tank and vertically adjustable relative thereto for removably locking a bat in position against movement within said tank, said adjustable locking means extending over and engaging the exposed end of said bat, and means for admitting fluid under pressure into said tank to permeate the pores of said bat.

2. In a treating tank for baseball bats the combination of a chamber open at one end for the insertion of a bat to be treated, resilient means projecting into said chamber and adapted to yieldingly engage the surface of the bat at any degree of insertion thereof to prevent the escape of fluid from said chamber, means for securing said resilient means in position to augment its engagement with the bat surface, vertically adjustable clamping means secured to and projecting above said tank for removably locking a bat in various degrees of insertion within said tank and against movement relative thereto, said adjustable clamping means extending over and engaging the opposite exposed end of said bat, means for admitting fluid under pressure into said tank to permeate the pores of said bat, means for controlling the admission of said fluid and means on said tank for relieving pressure within the same.

3. In a treating tank for baseball bats the combination of a chamber open at one end for the insertion of a bat to be treated, a resilient annular rubber gasket supported by and projecting into said chamber and adapted to yieldingly engage the surface of the bat at any degree of insertion thereof to seal said chamber, a cap having threaded engagement with the open end of said chamber for securing said gasket in position and adapted when screwed down to augment the pressure of the gasket against the bat surface, a vertically adjustable clamp arranged above and secured to said tank for removably locking a bat in position within said tank against movement relative therefo, said vertically adjustable clamp extending over and engaging the opposite exposed end of said bat, means for admitting fluid under pressure into said tank to permeate the pores of said bat, and a pet cock for relieving pressure within said tank. 4. In an apparatus for treating baseball bats the combination of a plurality of tanks each constituting a chamber open at one end for the insertion of a bat to be treated, means for sealing each of said tanks after insertion of the bats and including resilient means supported by a said chamber and adapted to yieldably engage the surface of the bat to prevent the escape of fluid from said chamber, means mounted on each of said tanks and vertically adjustable relative thereto for removably locking a bat in position against movement within said tank, said adjustable locking means extending over and engaging the exposed end of said bat, and means for admitting fluid under pressure into each of said tanks to permeate the pores of said bats, whereby varying and individual treatment may be imparted to said bats while contained within said tanks.

CHARLES R. BECK.

GARNETT L. BECK.