The present invention relates to apparatus for controlling a starting signal employed in giving an indication that the contestants may begin a race. More specifically, the invention pertains to such apparatus which will prevent a "thief start" of any contestant.
By the term "thief start" is understood a start wherein one of the runners, at a start of several runners on signal, starts before the signal has been made and thereby steals for himself an advantage. An object of the present invention is to provide a controlling device, whereby among other things this drawback may be avoided.
The invention is based on the fact that the runners before the start are in a definite position, each of them in his place on the starting line. This applies particularly to the hands which are held in contact with th e race course exactly on the start line.
The problem is solved according to the present invention by reason of the fact that the function of the start signal is made dependent upon the condition that all runners, at the signaling moment, are in a prescribed position and place, preferably with respect to the position of the hands. This is obtained by arranging a member in such a position as to be engaged by each hand of each runner eahch of which in the free state prevents the signal device from operating and permits a starting signal only when each member is under influence of the runner being in a correct start position. These members may be arranged in a series or parallel electrical circuit, so that all of them at a time must be under correct influence, in order not to bar the function of the signal device.
The simplest and most satisfactory arrangement is obtained, when the function of the signal device is made dependent upon closing or interruption of an electric circuit under control of the runners. The members are then made in the form of contacts which are connected in series with the circuit, so that the latter may be closed only when all contact members are pressed by the hands of the runners. The circuit also includes a contact which is under control of the starter, so that the signal may be given only when the starter closes his contact and when the contact members of all the runners are in closed positions. The signal device may take the form of a pistol with an electrically operated trigger.
The invention is illustrated diagrammatically in the drawing. Fig 1 shows the complete arrangement. Fig. 2 is a sectional view of a contact member. Fig. 3 illustrates a modified signal device. Fig. 4 shows a diagram of a modified arrangement. Fig. 5 is a sectional view of one of the contact members utilized in Fig. 4.
In Fig. 1 a starting position is indicated at I and 2 for two runners who for starting are crouched in an ordinary manner with their hands resting upon the earth at vi, hi and V2, h2 respectively. At such points contact members 3 are arranged, one for each hand of the runners. All members 3 are connected in series with electric conductors 4 and 5, with conductors 6, 7, 8 and a battery 9. The two conductors 7 and 8 may be connected together by a removable connection 27 bridging the terminals 10 and II. Between the conductor 6 and battery 9 a push-button contact 12 and a coil 13 having an iron core 14 are inserted, which form an electromagnet cooperating with an armature 15 pivotally mounted on a shaft 28 and provided with a small firing pin 29.
When the armature moves against the bored core 14 containing a cartridge, the pin 29 engages the priming cap to explode t ee the cartridge and fire a signal shot.
If the members 3 are contact devices with contacts 17 and 18 (Fig. 2) then in a free state the contacts 17 and 18 are held apart by a spring 19. The pivoted arms carrying the contacts 17 are pressed down by the hands of the runners and the contacts are closed. Thus it will be seen that by closing the circuit at 12 current will flow through the coil 13 if all contacts 17 and 18 of the members 3 are closed. Consequently, if the starter wishes to give a starting signal by pressing in the button 20, no signal will occur if one hand of a runner is lifted from the apertaining contact member 3. Thereby any thief start is prevented.
Instead of making the pistol 16 with an electrically operated trigger, an ordinary pistol may be used having the trigger mechanism altered as illustrated in Fig. 3. The trigger mechanism 21, 22, 23 is provided with a transmitting member 24 which enters into a position between 22 and the pistol hammer-releasing member 23 only by the closing of the circuit to the coil 13. The pistol 45 is indicated diagrammatically at 30.
The contact devices 3 are preferably provided with spikes 25 so that when pressed into the earth the spikes hold the members 3 in a fixed position.
The contact members may also be connected across the conductors 6 and 8, or in a parallel relation with each other as shown in Fig. 4. Thus by constructing the pistol 30' so that the signal may be given as long as no current flows in the coil 13' the contact members 3' take the form shown in 65 Fig. 5 and maintain the circuit, which is interrupted by the hands of the runners being pressed down. Then if one of the members 3' is released, the circuit 6, 8, 9 is closed, whereby a barring of the pistol or its trigger takes place. The arrangement may also be made in other manners in combination with parallel connection of the members 3'.
The arrangement may be used for the control of each sort of start on race courses, such as in swimming races and the like. It may also be combined with a time measuring device 26 which may be inserted in the circuit in order to register the moment at which the signal is given.
The time-measuring device 26 illustrated in Figure 1 may be of conventional desigi and of the type adapted to be started by the establishment of an electrical circuit therethrough.
We claim: S1. An arrangement for controlling the start in race courses comprising, a device for producing a start signal, a member operable by each runner, and means controlling the operable condition of said device and so arranged with regard to the said operable members that the signal device is in condition for producing the signal only when all runners are operating their members.
2. An arrangement for controlling the start in Srace courses comprising, a device for producing a start signal, a member for each hand of each runner and operable thereby, and means controlling the operable condition of the signal device and so arranged with regard to the said operable 5 members that the signal device is in condition for producing the signal only when all runners are operating their hand-operable members.
3. An arrangement according to claim 2, wherein each hand-operable member is an elec5 tric switch, each switch including contacts and all switches being connected in series with an electric circuit forming part of the means controlling the operable condition of the signal device so that said device is in operable condition only when the 5 contacts in all switches are operated by the hands of the runners, said circuit containing a contact which is under control of a starter, so that the signal may be given only when the starter closes his contact and when simultaneously the contact 0 members for all runners are in a closed position.
4. An arrangement according to claim 1, wherein the operable members are provided with means adapted to maintain said members in a fixed position with respect to the race course when operated by the runners. 5. An arrangement according to claim 1, wherein the operable members are provided with spikes so as to maintain said members in a fixed position on the ground when operated by the hands of the runners. 6. An arrangement according to claim 1, wherein a time-measuring device is so combined with the signal device that it is brought in function simultaneously with the signal being given.
7. An arrangement for controlling the start of a race comprising a starting signal and means controlled by the contestants in the race for placing said signal device in condition for producing a signal only when all of the contestants are in their respective starting positions. 8. An arrangement for controlling the start of a race comprising an electrical device for producing a starting signal for the race, separate contact means operable to the closed position by each contestant, said contact means being connected in series with said signal device, whereby the signal device is capable of producing a signal only when all of the said contacts are closed under the control of their corresponding contestants.
9. An arrangement according to claim 1, where- :;) in the signal device contains a member which is under the control of a starter, so that the signal may be given only, when the starter operates said member simultaneously with all runners operating their members. ;.1 10. An arrangement for controlling the start in race courses comprising, a device for producing a start signal, an electric switch operable by each runner, means including an electric circuit so controlling the operable condition of the signal device that the operable condition is present only when said circuit is interrupted, the switches including contacts being so connected in parallel with respect to said electric circuit as to maintain the same interrupted only when all switches are being operated by the runners but to close the circuit as soon as one of the switches is released.
TRYGVE HENRY ENGHOLM.