Title:
Bamboo bowling equipment
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A variety of bowling equipment is provided incorporating the use of a non-orthotropic cellulosic material, and more particularly an aborescent grass such as bamboo. In particular, a bowling pin and a bowling lane assembly including a pin deck, approach area and lane portion disposed therebetween is provided, each of which has a body with at least a portion of the body formed from a non-orthotropic cellulosic material.



Inventors:
Kazanas, Chris (Grand Haven, MI, US)
Application Number:
10/930369
Publication Date:
03/24/2005
Filing Date:
08/31/2004
Assignee:
KAZANAS CHRIS
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
473/122, 473/123, 473/115
International Classes:
A63D1/04; A63D1/06; A63D9/00; (IPC1-7): A63D1/04; A63D9/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
PIERCE, WILLIAM M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DYKEMA GOSSETT PLLC (BLOOMFIELD HILLS, MI, US)
Claims:
1. A bowling pin, comprising: a body having a bowling pin shape wherein at least a portion of said body is comprised of a non-orthotropic cellulosic material.

2. A bowling pin in accordance with claim 1 wherein said non-orthotropic cellulosic material is an aborescent grass.

3. A bowling pin in accordance with claim 1 wherein said non-orthotropic cellulosic material is bamboo.

4. A bowling pin in accordance with claim 1 wherein said body has a post and cheek type construction.

5. A bowling pin as described in claim 4 wherein said body includes: a post; a first cheek coupled to a first side of said post; a second cheek coupled to a second side of said post wherein said second side is opposite and transverse to said first side; a third cheek coupled to a third side of said post wherein said third side is disposed between said first and second sides; and a fourth cheek coupled to a fourth side of said post wherein said fourth side is disposed between said first and second sides and is opposite and transverse to said third side.

6. A bowling pin in accordance with claim 5 wherein at least a portion of said post is comprised of a bamboo laminate.

7. A bowling pin in accordance with claim 6 wherein said bamboo laminate comprises at least one layer of horizontally-plied bamboo strips.

8. A bowling pin in accordance with claim 6 wherein said bamboo laminate comprises at least one layer of vertically plied bamboo strips.

9. A bowling pin in accordance with claim 6 wherein said bamboo laminate comprises at least one layer of angularly-plied bamboo strips.

10. A bowling pin in accordance with claim 5 wherein at least a portion of at least one of said first and second cheeks is comprised of a bamboo laminate.

11. A bowling pin in accordance with claim 10 wherein said bamboo laminate is comprised of at least one layer of vertically-plied bamboo strips.

12. A bowling pin in accordance with claim 10 wherein said bamboo laminate is comprised of at least one layer of horizontally-plied bamboo strips.

13. A bowling pin in accordance with claim 10 wherein said bamboo laminate is comprised of at least one layer of angularly-plied bamboo strips.

14. A bowling pin in accordance with claim 5 wherein at least a portion of at least one of said third and fourth cheeks are comprised of a bamboo laminate.

15. A bowling pin in accordance with claim 14 wherein said bamboo laminate is comprised of at least one layer of vertically-plied bamboo strips.

16. A bowling pin in accordance with claim 14 wherein said bamboo laminate is comprised of at least one layer of horizontally-plied bamboo strips.

17. A bowling pin in accordance with claim 14 wherein said bamboo laminate is comprised of at least one layer of angularly-plied bamboo strips.

18. A bowling pin in accordance with claim 1 wherein at least a portion of the outer surface of said body includes a coating of a polymeric material.

19. A bowling pin in accordance with claim 1, wherein said non-orthotropic material comprises a bamboo laminate.

20. A bowling pin in accordance with claim 19 wherein said laminate is comprised of at least one layer of horizontally-plied bamboo strips.

21. A bowling pin in accordance with claim 19 wherein said laminate is comprised of at least one layer of vertically-plied bamboo strips.

22. A bowling pin in accordance with claim 19 wherein said laminate is comprised of at least one layer of angularly-plied bamboo strips.

23. A bowling pin in accordance with claim 1 wherein a first portion of said body is comprised of a non-orthotropic cellulosic material and a second portion of said body is comprised of an orthotropic cellulosic material.

24. A bowling pin in accordance with claim 23 wherein said orthotropic cellulosic material comprises maple wood and said non-orthotropic material comprises bamboo.

25. A bowling pin in accordance with claim 23 wherein said body has a post and cheek construction.

26. A bowling pin in accordance with claim 1 wherein said body includes at least one sound chamber therein.

27. A bowling pin in accordance with claim 1 further comprising a base ring positioned around the base of said body.

28. A pin deck for a bowling lane assembly, comprising: a body wherein at least a portion of said body is comprised of a non-orthotropic cellulosic material.

29. A pin deck in accordance with claim 28 wherein said non-orthotropic cellulosic material comprises an aborescent grass.

30. A pin deck in accordance with claim 28 wherein said non-orthotropic cellulosic material comprises bamboo.

31. A pin deck in accordance with claim 28 wherein said at least a portion of said body comprises a laminate formed of bamboo.

32. A pin deck in accordance with claim 31 wherein said laminate is comprised of at least one layer of vertically-plied bamboo strips.

33. A pin deck in accordance with claim 31 wherein said laminate is comprised of at least one layer of horizontally-plied bamboo strips.

34. A pin deck in accordance with claim 31 wherein said laminate is comprised of at least one layer of angularly-plied bamboo strips.

35. A pin deck in accordance with claim 28 wherein a first portion of said body is comprised of non-orthotropic material and a second portion of said body is comprised of an orthotropic material.

36. An approach area for a bowling lane assembly, comprising: a body wherein at least a portion of said body is comprised of a non-orthotropic cellulosic material.

37. An approach area in accordance with claim 36 wherein said non-orthotropic cellulosic material comprises an aborescent grass.

38. An approach area in accordance with claim 36 wherein said non-orthotropic cellulosic material comprises bamboo.

39. An approach area in accordance with claim 36 wherein said at least a portion of said body comprises a laminate formed of bamboo.

40. An approach area in accordance with claim 39 wherein said laminate is comprised of at least one layer of vertically-plied bamboo strips.

41. An approach area in accordance with claim 39 wherein said laminate is comprised of at least one layer of horizontally-plied bamboo strips.

42. An approach area in accordance with claim 39 wherein said laminate is comprised of at least one layer of angularly-plied bamboo strips.

43. An approach area in accordance with claim 36 wherein a first portion of said body is comprised of non-orthotropic material and a second portion of said body is comprised of an orthotropic material.

44. A lane portion for a bowling lane assembly, comprising: a body wherein at least a portion of said body is comprised of a non-orthotropic cellulosic material.

45. A lane portion in accordance with claim 44 wherein said non-orthotropic cellulosic material comprises an aborescent grass.

46. A lane portion in accordance with claim 44 wherein said non-orthotropic cellulosic material comprises bamboo.

47. A lane portion in accordance with claim 44 wherein said at least a portion of said body comprises a laminate formed of bamboo.

48. A lane portion in accordance with claim 47 wherein said laminate is comprised of at least one layer of vertically-plied bamboo strips.

49. A lane portion in accordance with claim 47 wherein said laminate is comprised of at least one layer of horizontally-plied bamboo strips.

50. A lane portion in accordance with claim 47 wherein said laminate is comprised of at least one layer of angularly-plied bamboo strips.

51. A lane portion in accordance with claim 44 wherein a first portion of said body is comprised of non-orthotropic material and a second portion of said body is comprised of an orthotropic material.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/499,753 filed Sep. 2, 2003, and U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/500,002 filed Sep. 4, 2003, both of which are hereby incorporated by reference in their entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The field of the present invention is that of bowling equipment. More particularly, the present invention relates to bowling pins and bowling lane assemblies including the approach area, lane portion and pin deck thereof.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Conventional bowling pins and bowling lane assemblies are typically fabricated from hardwood, such as, for example, maple. Maple is used for fabricating bowling pins and bowling lane assemblies because of its strength and durability, as both the pins and lane assemblies are subjected to quite a bit of wear and tear over the course of time from bowling balls, bowling pin action and bowlers themselves. However, while maple and other hardwoods have some beneficial attributes, using these materials for the fabrication of bowling pins and bowling lane assemblies is not without its disadvantages.

For instance, maple is a orthotropic material, and therefore, has different mechanical properties in each of its three axes of orientation. Because of this, a significant amount of processing and costs are involved in the manufacturing of the pins and lane assemblies. Maple is also subject to all of the structural defects common to hardwoods (i.e., knots, holes, bark, graining, etc.), so careful selection of materials through what can be a relatively expensive and time consuming sorting process is required. Further, these structural defects and imperfections, as well as the differing mechanical properties of each axes of orientation, results in the discarding of a significant amount of material when fabricating the equipment. Additionally, the procurement and use of maple and other suitable hardwoods can be relatively expensive, thereby increasing costs to the manufacturer, and therefore, potentially resulting in that increased cost being passed on to the consumer. Moreover, hardwoods are not easily renewable resources.

Accordingly, it is desirable to provide bowling pins and/or bowling lane assemblies that will minimize and/or eliminate one or more of the above-identified deficiencies.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

A bowling pin and a bowling lane assembly fabricated with bamboo is presented. A bowling pin in accordance with the present invention includes a body having a bowling pin shape wherein at least a portion of the body is comprised of a non-orthotropic cellulosic material.

A bowling lane assembly in accordance with the present invention includes a pin deck, an approach area and a lane portion wherein at least a portion of at least one of the pin deck, approach area and lane portion is comprised of a non-orthotropic cellulosic material.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a partial perspective view of a post assembly utilized in the manufacturing of a bowling pin in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a partial perspective view of a wide cheek utilized in the fabrication of a bowling pin in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a partial perspective view similar to that of FIG. 2 of a narrow cheek utilized in the fabrication of a bowling pin in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 4 is an assembly view illustrating partial fabrication of the bowling pin in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a subsequent assembly view illustrating partial fabrication of a bowling pin in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 6 illustrates the bowling pin in FIG. 5 after it has been turned on a lathe to form it in the shape of a bowling pin;

FIGS. 7 is a sectional view of the bowling pin shown in FIG. 6 illustrating an injection molded polymeric cover placed thereon;

FIG. 8 is a side elevational view of an alternate preferred embodiment of a bowling pin in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 9 is a cross-section view of the bowling pin of FIG. 8 taken along line 9-9 of FIG. 8;

FIGS. 10 and 11 are cross-section views of the bowling pin of FIG. 8 taken along lines 10-10 and 11-11, respectively, of FIG. 9;

FIG. 12 is a top elevational view of a bowling lane assembly according to the present invention; and

FIG. 13 is a cross-section view of the bowling lane assembly of FIG. 12 view taken along line 13-13 of FIG. 12.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Referring to FIGS. 1-7 wherein like reference numerals are used to identify identical components in the various views, a bowling pin 10 in accordance with the present invention is provided. With particular reference to FIGS. 6-7, bowling pin 10 has a body 12 including top end 14 and a base end 16. In accordance with the present invention, at least a portion of body 12 of pin 10 is fabricated from a non-orthotropic cellulosic material. The non-orthotropic cellulosic material may comprise an aborescent grass and, preferably, comprises bamboo. Bamboo is a material having mechanical properties that are the same in two of its three axes of orientation, which is a benefit over hardwoods such as maple wherein the mechanical properties are different in all three axes of orientation. Additionally, bamboo does not have all of the structural defects common to hardwoods (i.e, knots, holes, bark, graining, etc.), therefore, more of the bamboo material can be utilized as compared to hardwoods where a significant portion of the material has to be discarded due to these defects.

With continued reference to FIGS. 1-7, and FIGS. 4 and 5 in particular, bowling pin 10 as shown has a post and cheek type construction wherein pin 10 is formed of a post 18 and a compliment of narrow cheeks 20 and wide checks 22. When arranged as shown in FIG. 4 (i.e., pre-formed pin 10 is on its side rather than upright), post 18 typically has a height 24 of two-and-three-quarters (2¾) inches, a width 26 of two-and-three-quarters (2¾) inches, and a length 28 of sixteen (16) inches, and accordingly is typically rectangular in shape. It should be noted, however, that these dimensions are provided for exemplary purposes only and are not meant to be limiting in nature. Post 18 may have dimensions that are greater or lesser than those provided above, these posts having greater or lesser dimensions remain within the spirit and scope of the present invention.

Post 18, in one embodiment of the present invention, is fabricated from a non-orthotropic material such as bamboo, for example. In this embodiment, as shown in FIG. 1, post 18 is comprised of a horizontally-plied bamboo laminate. The bamboo laminate is made up of a plurality of layers 30 of individual strips of bamboo 32 that are held together by a polymeric resin or other suitable alternatives. For the sake of background, in order to use bamboo, a bamboo culm is split length wise into strips. The strips are then treated and planed to form a rectangular shape. The strips are then adhesively joined together to form a sheet or layer, and then the layers are adhesively joined together. Once the layers are formed, they are adhesively joined to one another by a polymeric resin or other suitable alternatives, and then milled to provide an appropriate outer dimension for post 18. Alternatively, post 18 may be made from a vertically-plied or angularly-plied laminate. In an angularly-plied embodiment, bamboo strips 32 are disposed at any predetermined angle between zero and 360 degrees and are joined together to form a layer or layers. Additionally, post 18 may be fabricated using the same structural arrangements described above except that instead of using bamboo or another non-orthotropic material throughout, an orthotropic cellulosic material such as maple wood, or a laminate comprised of a combination of non-orthotropic and orthotropic cellulosic materials such as bamboo and maple wood can be used. With reference to FIG. 4, post 18 can also be fabricated in such a manner to have a single or plurality of sound chambers 38 to help ensure that bowling pin 10 has a sound similar to that of a traditional bowling pin fabricated from an orthotropic cellulosic material such as maple wood when the pin is struck by a ball or otherwise is knocked down, or makes contact with the pin deck or other pins.

With reference to FIGS. 2-5, a pair of narrow cheeks 20 are connected to post 18 by an adhesive or other suitable fastening means. Narrow cheeks 20 are connected to first and second sides of post 18 that are opposite each other. Also connected with post 18 by a polymeric resin adhesive or by other suitable fastening means, are a pair of wide cheeks 22. Wide cheeks 22 are connected to third and fourth sides of post 18, wherein the third and fourth sides are disposed between the first and second sides and are also opposite each other. As illustrated, each of wide cheeks 22 extends along post 18 beyond the terminal edges of the respective third and fourth sides of post 18. Narrow cheeks 20 are smaller than wide cheeks 22, and when assembled, are disposed between the outer edges of wide cheeks 22 such that narrow cheeks 20 and wide cheeks 22 surround post 18 (best shown in FIG. 5).

With particular reference to FIG. 4 wherein pre-formed pin 10 is laid on one of its sides, in an exemplary embodiment, narrow cheeks 20 each have a width 40 of one-and-one-eighth (1⅛) inches, a height 42 of two-and-three-quarters (2¾) inches and a length 44 of eight (8) inches. With particular reference to FIG. 5 wherein pre-formed pin 10 is laid on one of its sides, in an exemplary embodiment, wide cheeks 22 have a width 46 of five (5) inches, a height 48 of one-and-one-eighth (1⅛) inches and a length 50 of eight (8) inches. It should be noted however, that these dimensions are provided for exemplary purposes only and are not meant to be limiting in nature. Both narrow and wide cheeks having greater or lesser dimensions remain within the spirit and scope of the present invention.

As described above with respect to post 18, in one embodiment of the invention, one or both of the narrow cheeks 20 and/or one or both of wide cheeks 22 may be fabricated from bamboo (or another non-orthotropic cellulosic material). In one embodiment shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, narrow cheeks 20 and wide cheeks 22 are each comprised of a vertically-plied bamboo laminate. The laminate is made up of one or more adhesively joined layers 52 of vertically oriented bamboo strips 32 that are adhesively joined to adjacent strips 32 by a polymeric resin or other suitable alternatives, and then milled to the proper dimension. Additionally, with reference to FIGS. 2 and 3, in an exemplary embodiment, each layer 52 of bamboo strips 32 has a height 54 of approximately one-half (½) to five-eighths (⅝) of an inch. Accordingly, when three of layers 52 are adjoined, the laminate has a height of approximately one-and-one-eighth (1⅛) inches.

Once assembled, narrow cheeks 20 and wide cheeks 22 are arranged with post 18 such that the ends of the bamboo strips 32 in cheeks 20, 22 are disposed such that one end of each strip 32 faces outward to absorb the impact of the ball, bowling lane or other pins. It should be noted that while a vertically-plied laminate is preferred for cheeks 20, 22 because of its durability, horizontally-plied and angularly-plied laminates may be used in alternate embodiments to form cheeks 20, 22. Additionally, instead of non-orthotropic material, one or more of narrow cheeks 20 and/or one or more of wide cheeks 22 may be fabricated from an orthotropic cellulosic material such as maple wood, or from a laminate comprised of a combination of non-orthotropic and orthotropic cellulosic materials, such as bamboo and maple wood, for example, having the same structural arrangements as those discussed above. Once joined together, as shown in FIG. 5, the combination of post 18, narrow cheeks 20 and wide cheeks 22 are shaped until body 12 of pin 10 assumes a bowling pin shape as shown in FIGS. 6 and 7. This shaping, in one embodiment, can be accomplished using known methods such as, for example, turning pin 10 on a lathe. The shape may be determined with reference to the dimensions set forth by the American Bowling Congress or another bowling pin standards setting organization. In general and as presently contemplated, the shape of a bowling pin is as shown in FIGS. 6 and 7 wherein pin 10 is generally round and has a diameter that initially increases moving vertically from its bottom or base 16 until reaching a maximum diameter of the pin, then decreases until reaching a minimum diameter of the pin at a neck 56 before increasing again to form a rounded head 58 and finally narrowing again at top end 14 distant from the base 16. Allowance may be made due to the thickness of any coating. For example, all or a portion of the bowling pin 10 as shown in FIG. 7, may be encapsulated with a polymeric material such as plastic, for example, to form a cover 60. In an exemplary embodiment, an injection molding process is used to apply cover 60 to pin 10. Pin 10 will also typically have a metallic or polymeric base ring 62 attached at its lower end or base 16.

It should be noted that while the above description focuses on a post and cheek fabrication configuration, the present invention is not so limited. Rather, this particular configuration was provided for exemplary purposes only and was not meant to be limiting in nature. Any conventional fabrication technique or configuration wherein bamboo or other non-orthotropic materials are used alone or in combination with other materials remain within the spirit and scope of this invention.

Referring to FIGS. 8 through 11 an alternative embodiment of a bowling pin 64 in accordance with the present invention is provided. In this embodiment, bowling pin 64 has a top plug 66 to plug an opening 68, which is provided to facilitate rotation of the body 70 of pin 64 as it is turned on a lathe or similar device to be shaped. The body 70 also has a bottom lathe mounting hole opening 72. In the exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 9, pin 64 also includes two sound chambers 74 and 76 and a polymeric or metallic base ring 78. It should be noted, however, that pin 64 including more or less than two sound chambers remains within the spirit and scope of the present invention. Accordingly, the illustrated embodiment is provided for exemplary purposes only and is not meant to be limiting in nature.

In the illustrated embodiment, pin 64 is formed of a non-orthothropic material such as a bamboo laminate. The laminate in this embodiment is comprised of a plurality of vertically-plied layers 80, wherein each layer 80 is formed of angularly-plied strips of bamboo 82. In an exemplary embodiment, each strip 82 has a height 84 of approximately one-half (½) to five-eighths (⅝) of an inch. In the illustrated embodiment, the strips of bamboo 82 in every other layer (801, 803, . . . ) are angularly plied in one direction at a predetermined angle between zero and 360 degrees, while the strips of bamboo 82 in the intervening layers (802, 804, . . . ) are angularly-plied in the opposite direction at the same or different angle. In this embodiment, both the strips 82 and the layers 80, respectively, are adhesively joined together by a polymeric resin or other suitable alternatives.

In alternative embodiments, pin 64 may be fabricated using the same structure and arrangement except that instead of using bamboo throughout, alternating layers of non-orthotropic and orthotropic materials such as bamboo and hardwood (such as maple), respectively, can be used. Additionally, each layer may be comprised of angularly-plied strips of both non-orthotropic and orthotropic material, such as, for example, bamboo and maple. As with the embodiments discussed above, pin 64 may also include a polymeric cover 86 that may cover the entirety of the outer surface of pin 64, or portions thereof, and in an exemplary embodiment is applied to the surface of pin 64 using an injection molding process.

Referring now to FIG. 12, in accordance with another aspect of the present invention, a bowling lane assembly is illustrated. FIG. 12 depicts a two bowling lane assembly arrangement, however, it is recognized that typical bowling centers have a large number of lane assemblies and the lane assemblies are usually arranged in pairs as illustrated. The exemplary embodiment depicted in FIG. 12 includes two linear elongated lane assemblies 88, 90, each lane assembly being saddled by a pair of gutters 92, 94. Each lane assembly 88, 90 includes a pin deck 96 located at one end of each lane assembly 88, 90, an approach area 98 located at a second end of each lane assembly 88, 90 opposite the end having pin deck 96, and an elongated linear body (hereinafter referred to as lane portion 100) disposed intermediate pin deck 96 and approach area 98 and having an upper lane surface adapted to roll a bowling ball thereon. Additionally, between the two lane assemblies 88, 90 is a ball return capping 102, which is above a typical ball return channel. At sides of each lane assembly 88, 90 opposite ball return capping 102 are lane dividers 104 of a typical type. In an exemplary embodiment, each lane portion 100 is of a standard length (i.e., sixty (60) feet plus or minus {fraction (1/2)} inch as measured from a foul line 106 of lane assemblies 88, 90 to the center of the number one pin 108 on the pin deck 96) and of standard width (i.e., forty-one-and-one-half (41½) inches plus or minus one-half (½) inch from gutter 92 to gutter 94), in accordance with the standard of the American Bowling Congress. The approach 98 of each lane assembly 88, 90 includes an elongated linear body adjacent lane portion 100 of each respective lane assembly 88, 90 and has an upper surface adapted to be advanced upon by a bowler in the direction toward the pin deck 96 with a ball in hand in order to bowl the ball down the lane portion 100 toward the pins on the pin deck 96. The pin deck 96 includes a body having an upper surface adapted for placement of a compliment of bowling pins thereon. The pins are graphically illustrated as ten pins in the typical triangular configuration with a number one pin 108 being at a front apex of the triangle and a number seven and ten pins 110, 112 being at the rear apex's or corners of the triangle.

In accordance with the present invention, at least a portion of one or more of pin deck 96, approach area 98 and lane portion 100 forming lane assemblies 88, 90 is comprised of a non-orthotropic cellulosic material. The non-orthotropic cellulosic material may comprise an aborescent grass and, preferably comprises bamboo. As with pin 10 discussed above, the portion of lane assemblies 88, 90 made of bamboo is comprised of a bamboo laminate that, in a preferred embodiment, is a vertically-plied laminate.

With reference to FIG. 13, the laminate is made up of one or more layers 114 of bamboo strips 116 each having a thickness or width 118 of one-half (½) to five-eighths (⅝) of an inch, for example, with the strips 116 of bamboo running along the length of the portion of lane assemblies 88, 90 made up of the bamboo laminate. In an alternate embodiment, the bamboo laminate is a horizontally-plied or angularly-plied laminate. In an embodiment wherein the laminate is angularly-plied, the bamboo strips may be disposed at an angle between zero and 360 degrees. In an alternate embodiment the laminate may further be comprised of both non-orthotropic and orthotropic material, such as, for example, bamboo and maple. In a preferred embodiment, a polymeric cover material such as urethane or a melamine covering, for example, can be applied to the surface of the laminate in order to protect the lane from excessive wear.

While the invention has been shown and described with reference to one or more particular embodiments thereof, it will be understood by those of skill in the art that various changes and modifications can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.