Title:
Telescoping pool and billiard cue bridge
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A bridgestick having a telescoping handle and a quick disconnect bridge. The handle incorporates internal locking elements to prevent separation of the telescoping segments. Each joint between segments includes an internal stiffener that minimizes deflection of the handle when fully extended. The bridge includes a hollow receptacle for receiving an end of the handle. The receptacle and handle utilize a pin and socket arrangement to removably connect the bridge to the handle.



Inventors:
Light, Albert James (Winter Springs, FL, US)
Application Number:
11/190783
Publication Date:
02/02/2006
Filing Date:
07/27/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63D15/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ARYANPOUR, MITRA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BEUSSE WOLTER SANKS & MAIRE, PLLC (390 NORTH ORANGE AVENUE SUITE 2500, ORLANDO, FL, 32801, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A bridgestick having a telescoping handle comprising a plurality of telescoping hollow tubes characterized by relative sliding stiffness between each of the tubes and having a similar resistance to rotation, the handle comprising a holding mechanism comprising a one piece partial sleeve sized to fit snugly about a respective one of the telescoping tubes, the sleeve having a crimped portion extending radially inward over an axial extent of the sleeve intermediate opposite circumferential ends thereof, the one of the tubes having an axially extending first slot adjacent a first end thereof, the first slot having axial and circumferential dimensions corresponding to the crimped portion of the sleeve for receiving the crimped portion when the sleeve is positioned on the one of the tubes; another of the telescoping tubes positioned in sliding engagement over the one of the tubes and having one end terminating in a necked down portion having an inner diameter larger than an outer diameter of the one of the tubes and smaller than a diameter of the sleeve when the sleeve is positioned on the one of the tubes whereby the one end of the another one of the tubes cannot pass over the sleeve on the one of the tubes; a plurality of stiffeners having an outside diameter sized to fit snugly within an inside diameter of an associated tube, each stiffener positioned in an end of the associated tube remaining within an adjacent larger diameter tube when in an extended state and having an axial length at least as long as an overlap length of the associated tube and the adjacent larger diameter tube when in the extended state; and a bridge removeably coupled to an end of the handle.

2. The bridgestick of claim 1 wherein the stiffener further comprises a second axially extending slot having axial and circumferential dimensions corresponding to the crimped portion of the sleeve for receiving the crimped portion when the stiffener is positioned in the one of the tubes and the sleeve is positioned on the one of the tubes with the crimped portion extending through the first slot.

3. The bridgestick of claim 2 wherein the axial length of the stiffener is greater than the overlap length.

4. The bridgestick of claim 3 wherein the stiffener includes a cap having an outside diameter substantially the same as the associated tube outside diameter to prevent the stiffener from slipping further into the end of the associated tube.

5. The bridgestick of claim 4 wherein the stiffener is formed from a polymer.

6. The bridgestick of claim 1 wherein the bridge has a central hollow extension adapted for receiving an end of the handle, the extension having at least one L-shaped slot, the end of the handle including at least one radially extending pin adapted for fitting in to the slot and for locking the handle to the bridge when the handle is rotated to position the pin in a circumferential portion of the L-shaped slot.

7. The bridgestick of claim 6 and including a spring positioned in the hollow extension for reacting against the end of the handle.

8. A bridgestick comprising a telescoping handle and a releasable bridge, the handle having one end adapted for coupling to the bridge, including a radially extending pin fixed to the one end of the handle, the bridge having a central hollow extension adapted for receiving an end of the handle, the extension having at least one L-shaped slot for receiving the radially extending pin, the pin being adapted for sliding into the slot and for locking the handle to the bridge when the handle is rotated to position the pin in a circumferential portion of the L-shaped slot.

9. The bridgestick of claim 8 and including a spring positioned in the hollow extension for reacting against the end of the handle.

10. The bridgestick of claim 9 wherein the spring comprises a coil spring.

Description:

SPECIFIC DATA RELATED TO THE INVENTION

This invention claims the priority of U.S. provisional application No. 60/592,680 filed Jul. 30, 2004.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to the game of pool or billiards and, more particularly, to a telescoping bridge for such game.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

U.S. Pat. No. 5,908,214 issued to the assignee of the present invention describes a telescoping handle for a golf ball retriever that has an improved method for preventing separation of the multiple sections forming the retriever handle. While this handle has been found to be very practical for the average golf ball retriever, it has been found that the weight of the retriever handle causes the retriever to assume a bent or arcuate shape making it difficult to accurately position the end of the retriever containing the golf ball gathering device onto a golf ball that is being retrieved. U.S. Pat. No. 4,907,799 describes a telescoping bridge for billiards using a special bridge support and which is believed to have the same bending attributes as the above described retriever handle.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For a better understanding of the present invention, reference may be had to the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is simplified view of a telescoping bridge in accordance with one form of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of one tubular section of the handle of the bridge of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an end view of a sleeve used in the bridge handle;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the sleeve of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a partial cross-sectional view of a joint in the telescoping bridge handle;

FIG. 6 us a rear view of the bridge support of FIG. 1; and

FIG. 7 is an exploded side view of the support of FIG. 6 with adjacent handle details.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Applicant has found that telescoping handles, when positioned in an extended state, could be made stiffer and avoid many of the bending problems associated with prior telescoping handles using a small stiffener, or plug, at the juncture of each joint of the handle.

Before describing the particular invention disclosed herein, it should be noted that the entire disclosure of U.S. Pat. No. 5,908,214 is incorporated herein by reference and that some of the drawings of the '214 patent are utilized to illustrate the present invention.

Referring to FIG. 1, the bridge 10 includes a grip portion 16, a telescoping extension 12 and a cue support 14. The handle 12 comprises a plurality of telescope segments or tubes 18, each of which has a sequentially smaller diameter and sequentially shorter length. The diameter may be about 0.75 inch for the outermost tube 18 (C in FIG. 1) and about 0.375 inch for the innermost tube 18 (A in FIG. 1). The tube 18 lengths may vary from about 24 inches to about 12 inches. Since each section may have less than one inch of overlap, the extended handle tends to exhibit substantial flexing. Accordingly, referring to FIGS. 2 and 5, it can be seen that the handle 12 is modified by incorporating a stiffener, or a plug 11, which extends into an end portion of each section or tube 18 of the handle. The plug 11 is positioned in an end 20 of the associated tube 18, such as tube A, remaining within an adjacent larger diameter tube, such as tube B, when extended, for example, as shown in FIG. 1. Each of the plugs 11 has an outside diameter which fits snugly within the inside diameter of the associated tube 18. As shown in FIG. 5, the length 31 of the plug 11 is at least as long as, and may be greater than, an overlap length 33 of the associated tube A and the adjacent larger diameter tube B when in the extended state. In a preferred embodiment, the plug 11 has a length of about 1.25 inches. However, different length plugs 11 may be used at the different intersections depending on the diameter of the handle section or tube 18.

The plug 11 may further include a cap 13 which has an outside diameter 21 that is approximately the same as the outside diameter 23 of the associated tube 18 so that the plug 11 fits into the tube 18 but is stopped from slipping further into the tube 18 by means of the edges of the cap 13 contacting the edges of the tube 18 at the end 20 when the plug 11 is inserted into the tube 18. FIG. 5 shows how the cap 13 has a diameter 21 sufficient to prevent the plug 11 from penetrating or slipping into the tube 18.

Each plug 11 is also provided with a small slot 15 for receiving the bent element 32, or crimped portion, in each of the associated sleeves, or C-clips 30. The slot 15 is necessary to allow the element 32 to penetrate through the slot 34 in the tube 18 so that the C-clip 30 is not able to move with respect to the tube 18 once the multiple tubes have been assembled into a single telescoping handle 12 as shown in FIG. 1.

In an aspect of the invention, the plug 11 is formed from a polymer, such as plastic or nylon. The material of the plug 11 is not critical but should be of a type that will provide rigidity so that the plug 11 itself cannot be deformed. What applicant has found is that by using a short plug 11 at each joint 17, the handle 12 acquires a high degree of stiffness.

FIG. 6 illustrates a rear view of one form of cue support 14 commonly referred to as a bridge, that may be used in the present invention. The particular shape or design of the support 14 may be varied but typically incorporates a plurality of slots 40 that are used to support a cue stick at different heights. The support 14 also has openings 42 for weight reduction. The combination of telescoping handle 12 and cue support 14 is referred to herein as a bridgestick.

Combining FIG. 6 with the exploded edge view of FIG. 7, the support 14 has a hollow receptacle 44 for receiving an end 46 of handle 12. The end 46 includes a pair of opposing pins 48 which fit into mating axially oriented slots 50 of receptacle 44. The support 14 is latched to handle 12 by rotating end 46 so that pins 48 are positioned in circumferential recesses 52 on opposite sides of receptacle 44. A spring 54 inserted in receptacle 44 exerts a force to maintain pins 48 in recesses 52 to prevent separation of the support 14 from handle 12. The slots 50 and recesses 52 form an L-shaped receptacle for the pins 48. While this arrangement provides for a secure and quick connection between handle 12 and support 14, it will be recognized that other connection means may be used such as, for example, spring loaded pins 48 and mating holes in receptacle 44.

The handle grip 16 is preferably tapered and formed of a polished material such as wood but may be of a polymer. However, the preference is to have a grip of a size, shape and material comparable to a conventional cue stick grip area with one of the handle sections 18 seated within the grip 16.