Title:
Lighted hole assembly and ball projector for playboard
United States Patent 3901511


Abstract:
A playboard for a pin ball machine having a ball-receptive hole, the bottom of which is formed by a translucent wafer having a diametrical slot. A trigger member underlies the wafer having a pair of upstanding parallel fins which extend upwardly through the slot adjacent the edges thereof, the member being yieldingly mounted so that the fins depress when a ball falls into the hole. A switch responsive to the movement of the trigger member energizes a solenoid which actuates an ejection finger centered between the fins of the trigger member for prompt ejection of the ball. A source of light is provided under the hole for illuminating the wafer and trigger member including the fins. At least a portion of the surfaces are faceted to provide bright jewel-like illumination within the hole.



Inventors:
GARBARK ROMAN F
Application Number:
05/513539
Publication Date:
08/26/1975
Filing Date:
10/10/1974
Assignee:
D. GOTTLIEB & CO.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
273/123A, 273/129R
International Classes:
A63F7/06; A63D3/02; A63D13/00; A63D15/00; A63F3/00; A63F7/00; A63F7/02; A63F7/26; A63F7/30; A63D; (IPC1-7): A63F3/00
Field of Search:
273/118A,119A,12A,121A,122A,123A,124A,125A,129,94R
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3806120FOOTBALL GAMEBOARD WITH PLAY INDICATORS1974-04-23Hess
2317506Accessory for game apparatus1943-04-27Williams et al.
2308297Switch device for ball rolling games1943-01-12Moxey et al.
2209589Ball switch and bumper1940-07-30Williams et al.



Primary Examiner:
Pinkham, Richard C.
Assistant Examiner:
Browne, William R.
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Wolfe, Hubbard, Leydig, Voit & Osann, Ltd.
Claims:
I claim as my invention

1. In a pin ball machine the combination comprising a playboard with a hole therethrough, a wafer of translucent material secured to the underside of the playboard and defining a bottom for the hole, the wafer having a diametrical slot, a trigger member underlying the wafer and having a pair of fins extending upwardly through the slot adjacent the edges thereof and in position to be struck by a ball dropping into the hole, the trigger member being yieldably mounted with respect to the wafer so that it sinks downwardly upon receiving the weight of the ball, a switch responsive to the sinking movement, a solenoid connected to the switch, the trigger member having a central slot between the fins, a pivoted ejection finger mechanically coupled to the solenoid and extensible by the latter through the central slot so that a ball dropping into the hole and making contact is promptly ejected, a source of light under the hole, the wafer having an upwardly facing light emitting surface so that light received from the source is transmitted through the wafer and into the hole for maintaining the same in a normally illuminated condition.

2. The combination as claimed in claim 1 in which the trigger member is also formed of translucent material having a light-receiving surface on its underside for illuminating the fins.

3. In a pin ball machine the combination comprising a playboard with a hole therethrough, a wafer of translucent material secured to the underside of the playboard and defining a bottom for the hole, the wafer having a diametrical slot defined by spaced parallel edges, a trigger member underlying the wafer and having a pair of upstanding parallel fins extending upwardly through the slot adjacent the edges thereof and in position to be depressed by a ball dropping into the hole, the trigger member being yieldably mounted with respect to the wafer so that it sinks downwardly upon receiving the weight of a ball, a switch responsive to the yielding movement, a solenoid connected to the switch, the trigger member having a central slot between the fins, a pivoted ejection finger mechanically coupled to the solenoid and having an edge extending lengthwise in the central slot so that a ball dropping into the hole is promptly ejected therefrom by the ejection finger, a source of light under the hole, the wafer being faceted on its upper surface and the trigger member being faceted on its lower surface so that light is transmitted from the source via the trigger member and fins as well as directly through the wafer into the hole for illuminating the same.

4. The combination as claimed in claim 3 in which the fins are of symmetrical height so that a ball upon engaging and depressing the fins is supported by the fins in a centered position above the ejection finger for ejection along a consistent path.

5. In a pin ball machine the combination comprising a playboard with a hole therethrough, a wafer secured to the underside of the playboard and defining a bottom for the hole, a trigger member underlying the wafer, the trigger member being pivoted at one end to the wafer and having a body portion which lies flatly against the underside of the wafer, a source of light under the hole, the wafer and trigger member both being formed of translucent material for collection of light and transmission thereof into the hole, means including a switch for biasing the trigger member upwardly into a normal position against the wafer, a trigger finger on the trigger member extending upwardly into the hole so that when a ball drops into the hole the trigger member is depressed to close the switch, a pivoted ejection finger extendable upwardly through the hole, a solenoid connected to the switch and mechanically coupled to the ejection finger so that upon closure of a switch the ejection finger is operated by the solenoid to eject a ball from the hole.

6. The combination as claimed in claim 4 in which at least the wafer has light transmitting facets formed on the surface thereof.

7. In a pin ball machine the combination comprising a playboard with a hole therethrough, a wafer secured to the underside of the playboard and defining a bottom for the hole, the wafer having a diametrical slot, a trigger member underlying the wafer, the trigger member having a central slot registering with the slot in the wafer, the trigger member being pivoted to the wafer at one end, the trigger member having a flat portion which occupies a normal position against the underside of the wafer, the trigger member including a trigger finger which projects upwardly through the slot in the wafer, means for biasing the trigger member upwardly into its normal position, a switch coupled to the trigger member for making contact when the finger is engaged by a ball dropping into the hole, a pivoted ejection finger extending through the center of the registering slots, a solenoid coupled to the switch and mechanically connected to the ejection finger for ejecting the ball from the hole, a source of light under the wafer, the wafer being translucent and substantially the entire upper surface thereof being formed in facets to provide jewel-like illumination in the hole.

8. The combination as claimed in claim 7 in which the trigger finger is in the form of a plate presenting a narrow elongated ball-engaging edge and in which the source of light is a bulb alined with the plate for illuminating the wafer and trigger member on both sides of the plate.

Description:
It is an object of the invention to provide a ball-receptive obstacle on the playboard of a pin ball machine in the form of a hole in the board which is attractively illuminated and which has sensing and ejecting means so that a ball dropping into the hole is promptly and automatically ejected along a predetermined path back into a playing position.

It is a more general object to provide an illuminated, self-ejecting hole assembly for a playboard which is attractive, which adds excitement and interest to the game in which it is used, which is reliable and free of service problems and which is of general utility, but which may economically be constructed so that a number of the assemblies may be included in a new or existing design of a pin ball machine to add interest to the play without appreciably adding to the cost.

Other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent upon reading the attached detailed description and upon reference to the drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a fragmentary vertical section taken through a playboard and showing an illuminated hole assembly constructed in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 2 is a plan view of the wafer employed in FIG. 1 with the trigger member shown in phantom;

FIG. 3 is a right-hand elevation of the wafer shown in FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a longitudinal section taken along line 4--4 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4a is a vertical section showing the wafer and trigger member in assembled relation looking along line 4a--4a in FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a top view of the trigger member forming a part of the assembly;

FIG. 6 is a right-hand end view of the member of FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is a longitudinal section looking along lines 7--7 in FIG. 5;

FIG. 8 is a transverse section looking along line 8--8 in FIG. 5 with the wafer, ejection finger and ball shown in phantom; and

FIG. 9 is an enlarged section showing typical transmission of light between oppositely facing facets.

While the invention has been described in connection with the preferred embodiment, it will be understood that I do not intend to be limited to the particular embodiment shown but intend, on the contrary, to cover the various alternative and equivalent constructions included within the spirit and scope of the appended claims.

Turning now to FIG. 1, a playboard 10 is shown having a playing surface 11 with a hole 12 into which ball 13 may drop during course of play. The hole is lined by a ferrule 14. Secured under the playboard by screws 15 or the like is a wafer 20 of plastic material having a diametrically extending slot 21 defined by edges 22, 23 and integrally formed with a pattern of upwardly facing facets 24 conforming in outline to the dimensions of the hole. At the right hand end of the slot 21 are a pair of recesses 25 having adjacent clearance openings 26.

Mounted on the underside of the wafer 20 is a trigger member 30 having flat parallel body portions 31, 32 which engage the underside of the wafer and which are formed with integral upstanding fins 33, 34. The fins are parallel to one another and extend upwardly through the wafer adjacent the edges 22, 23 thereon. As will be seen, the fins 33, 34, upon engagement by the ball, perform the function of a trigger.

The trigger member 30 is mounted on the wafer for yielding or sinking movement under the weight of the ball. Thus at the right hand end of the trigger member I provide (FIG. 5) a pair of pintles 35 which are dimensioned to be received in the recesses 25 in the wafer. At the left hand end there is provided, as an integral part of the construction, a downwardly projecting edge 36. Centered within the structure is a slot 37.

For the purpose of biasing the trigger member upwardly against the wafer and for making electrical contact I provide a switch 40 having leaf springs 41, 42 and a set of contacts 43. The contacts, by means of wiring 44, serve to energize a solenoid 50 having a coil 51 secured to a frame 52. Mounted for reciprocation in the coil is a magnetic armature 53 which is upwardly biased by a light coil spring 54.

In carrying out the invention a pivoted ejection finger is connected to the solenoid armature and presents an edge which extends through the slot 37 in the trigger member, centered between the fins 33, 34. The ejection finger, generally indicated at 60 in the present instance is formed into portions 61, 62 which are mounted upon a common pivot 63 and which have provision for scissoring movement, the portion 61 having a slot 64 while the portion 62 has a pin 65 which rides in the slot. The pin is maintained bottomed at one end of the slot by means of an energy absorbing coil spring 66.

The right hand end of the ejector finger, as shown in FIG. 1, is coupled to the solenoid armature by means of a link 67. At the opposite or left hand end the ejection finger presents a curved edge 68 centered between fins 33, 34.

In operation, then, the ball 13, rolling upon the playing field, will, on occasion, drop into the hole 12 engaging the fins 33, 34 which serve as a trigger thereby depressing the trigger member 30 so that it closes contacts 43. The solenoid armature 53 is immediately sucked into the coil, but because of the inertia of the ball the portion 62 of the ejection finger provides sufficient resistance to stretch the spring 66. Thus the ball is evenly accelerated by a combination of gross movement of the ejection finger plus relative movement of the finger sections utilizing the energy stored in spring 66.

The fins 33, 34 which are engaged by the ball are not only parallel to one another but are of symmetrical height so that the ball falling into the hole tends to be centered on the fins as illustrated in FIG. 8 in a position directly over, and centered with, the edge 68 on the ejection finger so that the ball is always ejected, not only with predetermined velocity, but along a predetermined arcuate path regardless of the direction that the ball may have approached the hole. By strategically combining a number of the hole assemblies with other playboard elements, interest and action are increased.

It is one of the important features of the present invention that novel illumination aspects are included in the structure, causing the hole to be brightly and attractively illuminated. Thus I provide a lamp 70 which is located under the hole 12 and in a position which is aligned with the section 62 of the ejection finger for illuminating the structure on both sides of the finger. As has been previously noted, the wafer 20 is formed on its upper surface with an integral pattern of facets 24. Light striking the underside of the wafer is transmitted through the plastic, preferably transparent, of which the wafer is formed and emitted in the hole in any desired color and with a bright jewel-like display. In addition, the trigger member is preferably formed of transparent plastic having on its underside integrally formed sets of facets 71, 72 which pick up the light from the lamp 70 and transmit it upwardly in three separate ways. In the first place the light picked up by the facets 71, 72 is transferred upwardly into the fins 33, 34 so that the fins themselves are brightly lighted. Secondly, portions of the wafer 20 and trigger member 30 are normally back-to-back as illustrated in FIG. 9 so that light travels from the source into the trigger member and illuminating the wafer along paths, a typical one of which is illustrated at 73 in FIG. 9. Thirdly, there is a lateral path for the light between the trigger member and the wafer by reason of the fact that the facets 72 on the trigger member are substantially at wafer level, with light transmission between the fins 33, 34 and the closely adjacent inner edges 22, 23 of the facet pattern on the wafer. Moreover, the ferrule 14 which lines the hole 12 is preferably of polished metal to produce multiple reflections within the hole so that a series of hole assemblies constructed in accordance with the invention show up as a pattern of brightly lighted jewels ornamenting the surface of the board.