Title:
Rack for hanging bats or other objects with advertising space
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention is a portable rack with an advertising space formed as a molded unit having a plurality of prongs formed in a horizontal ledge portion to support a plurality of bats or other objects in a vertical position, and a flat shelf with half circle indentations to hold a plurality of balls. The device can be affixed to the back of a wire-screen backstop, or alternatively, a wall.



Inventors:
Joannou Jr., Ronald Peter (Merrick, NY, US)
Application Number:
10/905452
Publication Date:
07/06/2006
Filing Date:
01/05/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
211/60.1, 211/70.1
International Classes:
A47F7/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MAGUIRE, LINDSAY M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FURR LAW FIRM (UTICA, OH, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A rack comprising: an elongated, rectangular vertical display plate; a horizontal bat hanger projecting perpendicularly from the bottom of said vertical display plate; and a horizontal ball platform projecting perpendicularly from the top of said vertical display plate.

2. A rack according to claim 1 where said bat hanger has a plurality of niches formed into said bat hanger, each niche comprising a neck through which an object to be stored may be inserted, and a main elliptical portion perpendicular to said neck, the diameter of said elliptical portion being small enough to contact the handle of the object to be supported.

3. A rack according to claim 1 where said ball platform has a plurality of holes in which said holes diameter is less than the diameter of the ball at its widest point.

4. A rack according to claim 1 where said rectangular vertical display plate is used to display a message.

5. A rack according to claim 4 where said message is the name of a sponsor.

6. A rack according to claim 1 where said rack has an attachment means to attach to a fence.

7. A rack according to claim 6 where said attachment means is a bracket.

8. A rack according to claim 6 where said attachment means is a hook.

9. A rack according to claim 6 where said attachment means is an adjustable clip means for tightening said rack against said links of said fence, said adjustable clip means being bolted through an opening in said mounting plate and being adjustable by wing nut means.

10. A rack according to claim 1 where said ball platform has a plurality of indentations.

11. A rack according to claim 1 where said rack holds a plurality of bats and a plurality of balls.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a method and a device for storing sporting equipment and more particularly storing of baseball or softball equipment.

1. Background

Statistics show that over 14,000 Little League injuries occur from tripping over equipment each year. The chances of injury can be reduced by eliminating the mess in the dugout.

There are also problems with advertising your team's name or sponsor as this is normally done by banners which can be difficult to attach to the fence or a wall at the ballpark and they have to be moved and serve no functional purpose.

2. Prior Art

U.S. Pat. No. 6,138,841 by Klein, et al. and issued on Oct. 31, 2000, is for a hanging rack for sports equipment. It discloses a sports equipment rack for supporting sports equipment in an angular manner with apair of side frame members having an elongated main body section and a plurality of support arms projecting outwardly and upwardly from each main body section.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,089,383 by Heneveld and issued on Jul. 18, 2000, is for a multiple use storage shelf for organizing and storing sporting equipment or other articles. It discloses a multiple use storage shelf for efficiently organizing and storing a variety of different sized items such as balls, ranging from golf balls to basketballs, and containers, ranging from a small box of nails to a larger paint can.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,053,340 by Cameron and issued on Apr. 25, 2000, is for a sports equipment storage rack. It discloses a rack for organizing, protecting, and storing various sports equipment. It has a backboard, a receptacle for holding a beverage container, at least one equipment hook, a bat holder hook, at least one flexible member such as a securing strap, an optional hanging hole, and a decorative area.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,871,105 by Whitehead, et al. and issued on Feb. 16, 1999, is for a storage apparatus for sporting goods. It discloses a storage apparatus for holding a large variety of sports paraphernalia. It has rod members between opposing frame members with upper and middle shelves formed by upper and middle rod members with some of the rod members adjustable in a horizontal plane to hold and keep various sized balls or other sporting goods away from the wall of which the frame members are secured.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,706,737 by Whitehead, et al. and issued on Jan. 13, 1998, is for a multi-purpose sport shelf. It discloses a multi-purpose storage apparatus having interchangeable shelving for use in storage of sporting goods.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,626,244 by Mesna, et al. and issued on May 6, 1997 and U.S. Pat. No. 5,509,632 by Mesna, et al. and issued on Apr. 23, 1996 are for bat racks for chain link fence. They disclose a bat rack having a generally L-shaped elongated member with a series of recesses adapted to receive the handles of baseball bats.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,335,794 by Reedy and issued on Aug. 9, 1994, is for a sports equipment support rack. It discloses a sports equipment support rack which is a combination of a fixed main frame, a basket, and a hoop and hook assembly.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,294,005 by Hedges and issued on Mar. 15, 1994, is for a portable modular sports equipment rack especially suited for use at games. It discloses a portable modular sports equipment rack including elongated telescoping tubular mounting members for accommodating a number of different types of hooks specifically adapted to receive different types of softball or baseball equipment, including at least fielding gloves, batting helmets and bats. Tubular spacer elements maintain a desired space between different pieces of equipment.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,273,298 by Brown, Sr. and issued on Dec. 28, 1993, is for a combined carrier and storage device for baseball or softball team equipment having playing field lining capability. It discloses an improved compartmentalized carrier and storage device for baseball and softball team equipment for its easy transport and use.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,085,327 by Mercer, Jr., et al. and issued on Feb. 4, 1992, is for a sports equipment organizer. It discloses a sports equipment organizer providing a frame of rectangular elements including parallel top and bottom elements parallel left and right vertical elements joining the top and bottom elements.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,968,048 by Lortie and issued on Nov. 6, 1990, is for a caddy for baseball and softball bats. It discloses a cart for carrying baseball equipment featuring a protective cover.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,936,467 by Bobeczko and issued on Jun. 26, 1990, is for a sports equipment rack. It discloses a sports equipment rack that includes a pair of spaced frame members connected to, and projecting from, a vertically extending wall.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,854,456 by Lee and issued on Aug. 8, 1989, is for a rack structure for balls and related equipment. It discloses a rack structure for storing balls and related equipment with the rack structure mainly comprised of two frame plates, several horizontal rods, two side plates, and several hooks.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,583,647 by Schinzing and issued on Apr. 22, 1986, is for a rack for hanging bats or other objects. It discloses a portable rack formed as a molded unit which has a plurality of niches formed in a horizontal ledge portion to support a plurality of bats or other objects in a vertical position, and guide arms and adjustable clip means affixed to the back of a vertical mounting plate to enable the device to be mounted on a wire-screen backstop, or alternatively, screw disposed through openings in the vertical mounting plate to enable the device to be mounted on an interior building wall.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,049,126 by Halverson and issued on Sept. 20, 1977, is for a weight equalized foldable bat rack. It discloses a portable bat rack having a first configuration attachable to a fence for the storage of baseball bats and a more compact second configuration of smaller dimensions for transporting the bat rack.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,002,241 by Parrilla, Sr. and issued on Jan. 11, 1977, is for a rack for sporting equipment. It discloses a rack that is mountable upon a vertical wall, the rack being made from a plastic sheet that is vacuum-drawn to form a rigid, three dimensional back panel to a front side of which several trays are fitted, each tray likewise being similarly made of plastic; the trays serving to hold a basketball, football and several baseballs; the back panel also supports a row of forward extending pegs on which sports uniforms and caps can be hung, and a pair of yoke-shaped fittings, also secured to the rack, serve to hold baseball bats.

There is still room for improvement in the art.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a device to hold sports equipment and balls that consists of a base with a shelf with half circle indentations to hold the balls, connecting means to connect it to a fence or wall, a plurality of prongs to hold bats and a flat advertising surface that is perpendicular to said base.

It is the object of this patent to develop a bat rack that can hold sports equipment and provide an advertising space.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

Without restricting the full scope of this invention, the preferred form of this invention is illustrated in the following drawings:

FIG. 1 shows the front of the device with bats and balls;

FIG. 2 shows the back of the device with bats and balls;

FIG. 3 displays a front view of the device with a cross cut;

FIG. 4 displays a top view of the device with a cross cut;

FIG. 5 displays a side view of the device with bats and balls;

FIG. 6 displays a bottom view of the device with a cross cut; and

FIG. 7 shows a hanging means of the device.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The following description is demonstrative in nature and is not intended to limit the scope of the invention or its application of uses.

There are a number of significant design features and improvements incorporated within the invention.

The principal embodiment of the invention is a portable bat rack which can be mounted onto a chain-link fence or backstop to store baseball or softball bats conveniently, but out of the field of play, during a game.

As shown in FIGS. 1-7, the rack 1 is molded as a single unit from high-impact ABS plastic so that the rack 1 is weatherproof and virtually indestructible.

The vertical display plate 10 rests flat against the backstop upon which the rack 1 is to be mounted. The horizontal bat hanger 20 is a ledge that projects perpendicularly from the front of the vertical display plate 10 and is connected at a right angle at the bottom of the vertical display plate 10, and parallel to the plane of the ground.

The hanger 20 defines a plurality (ten in the preferred embodiment) of niches 24, each capable of supporting a bat. Each niche 24 has a neck portion 25 through which the handle of a bat 80 is inserted, and a main portion 26 which is elliptical and has a diameter slightly smaller than the knob at the end of a bat handle, thus allowing the bat to be supported in an upside-down position.

The horizontal bat hanger 20 is a ledge that projects perpendicularly from the front of the vertical display 10 and is connected at a right angle at the bottom of the vertical display plate 10, and parallel to the plane of the ground.

The ball platform 30 is a ledge that projects perpendicularly from the front of the vertical display 10 and is connected at a right angle at the top of the vertical display plate 10, and parallel to the plane of the ground. The ball platform 30 has a plurality of circular openings or holes 35. These holes 35 are used to hold the balls 85 in place. These holes 35 have the proper diameter to hold the balls 65 in place but not too great of a diameter so that the balls 65 would fall through the hole. In an alternative, indentions in the ball platform can be used. The ball platform can hold up to 9 balls 65, either softballs or hardballs in the preferred embodiment.

The vertical display plate 10 is used in the preferred embodiment as a display area. It is a location that a team can display that team name or the team sponsor. It can also be used as a place that a team can sell advertisement to counter the expenses of the team. The vertical display plate 10 consists of a large flat surface, large enough so that the message that is displayed on it can be seen by the players and spectators. The vertical display plate 10 also adds stability to the rack 1. In the preferred embodiment the vertical display plate 10 is approximately 7.5″ wide×36″ long.

FIG. 6 displays a front view of the rack 1 holding balls and bats.

As shown in FIG. 7, the rack 1 is attached to a fence through the use of an attaching means. The attaching means in the preferred embodiment are easily attached brackets 65. These brackets clamp and remove easily from fence. The fence is inserted between a clip and the back of the vertical display plate 10, and the wing nut is tightened to hold the rack 1 in position.

Another embodiment is for the rack to use hooks such as an eyehook that are connected to the vertical display plate 10. These hooks 70 latch on to the fence to hold the rack 1 up.

ALTERNATIVE EMBODIMENT

An alternative embodiment of the invention can be mounted on a wall in a garage, basement, or the like, and can be used to store sporting goods, tools, garden supplies, and miscellaneous items. The rack 1 can be mounted on the wall by means of two screws which are inserted into openings sixteen inches apart in the vertical display plate 10 and are screwed into the wall studs to hold the rack onto the wall.

It is intended that the scope of the invention encompass additional minor variations, for example, where the rack is to be mounted onto a wall which has studs at intervals other than the standard sixteen inches, the screws could be positioned at intervals other than sixteen inches, corresponding to the intervals between studs, or as another example, bat racks with a greater or lesser number of niches, which do not depart from the spirit of the invention.

CONCLUSION

The rack is a great and easy way to store sports equipment so it is out of the way, in order to reduce tripping risk while still being easily accessible and easy to use.

Although the present invention has been described in considerable detail with reference to certain preferred versions thereof, other versions are possible. Therefore, the point and scope of the appended claims should not be limited to the description of the preferred versions contained herein.

As to a further discussion of the manner of usage and operation of the present invention, the same should be apparent from the above description. Accordingly, no further discussion relating to the manner of usage and operation will be provided.

With respect to the above description, it is to be realized that the optimum dimensional relationships for the parts of the invention, to include variations in size, materials, shape, form, function and manner of operation, assembly and use, are deemed readily apparent and obvious to one skilled in the art, and all equivalent relationships to those illustrated in the drawings and described in the specification are intended to be encompassed by the present invention.

Therefore, the foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described, and accordingly, all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention.