Title:
Multi-grip bowling ball
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A bowling ball including a grip for a player's hand, with the grip including an elongated finger slot for receiving all four of the player's fingers. The bowling ball may be made of a resilient yielding material which aids the player gripping the ball. A method of making a bowling ball with a plurality of grips, with at least some of the grips including an elongated finger slot for receiving all four of a player's fingers, including making the ball of a resilient yielding material which aids the player gripping the ball.



Inventors:
Traub, Barry H. (Dunwoody, GA, US)
Application Number:
11/366996
Publication Date:
09/06/2007
Filing Date:
03/01/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
473/124, 473/128
International Classes:
A63D9/00; A63B37/00; A63B43/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PIERCE, WILLIAM M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GODFREY & KAHN S.C. (Milwaukee, WI, US)
Claims:
1. A bowling ball comprising: an exterior surface and an interior material; a first elongated finger slot and a thumbhole positioned adjacent the finger slot cooperating to define a grip, the finger slot and the thumb hole each extending through the exterior surface and into the interior material; the finger slot sized to receive all four fingers of a player's hand, and the thumb hole sized to receive the player's thumb; the interior material yielding under pressure that may exerted by the player's fingers inserted within the finger slot and the player's thumb within the at least one thumbhole.

2. The bowling ball of claim 1, further comprising a pair of thumbholes positioned adjacent to and on opposite sides of the finger slot, each thumb hole cooperating with the finger slot to define a grip.

3. The bowling ball of claim 1, the thumbholes comprising a first thumb hole and a second thumb hole, the first and second thumb holes cooperating with the finger slot to define first and second grips the first and second thumbholes positioned at different distances from the finger slot, and each of the thumbholes defining a different diameter.

4. The bowling ball of claim 3, wherein the first and second grips are on a first side of the ball, the ball including a second side and further comprising a second finger slot with a third thumb hole and a fourth thumb hole positioned adjacent the second finger slot on the second side, the third and fourth thumb holes on the second side of the ball cooperating with the second finger slot to define a third grip and a fourth grip on the second side of the ball, the third and fourth thumb holes located at different distances from the second finger slot and at different distances than the first and second thumb holes are located from the first finger slot, and the third and fourth thumb holes defining different diameters than each other and different diameters than the first and second thumb holes.

5. The bowling ball of claim 4, wherein the finger slot of the first side and the second finger slot of the second side are positioned opposite from each other on the exterior of the ball.

6. The bowling ball of claim 1, further comprising a second finger slot opposite the first finger slot with a thumb hole positioned adjacent the second finger slot cooperating to define a grip.

7. A bowling ball comprising: an exterior surface and an interior material; an elongated finger slot and a thumbhole positioned adjacent the finger slot cooperating to define a grip, the finger slot and the thumb hole each extending through the exterior surface and into the interior material; the finger slot sized to receive all four fingers of a player's hand, and the thumb hole sized to receive the player's thumb; the interior material yielding under pressure that may exerted by the player's fingers inserted within the finger slot and the player's thumb within the at least one thumbhole; wherein the finger slot includes sloping side walls defining an opening which is wider adjacent the exterior of the ball and narrower within the interior of the ball.

8. The bowling ball of claim 1, wherein the thumb hole is generally circular in shape and includes a generally straight side wall extending from the exterior into the interior of the ball.

9. A method of forming a plurality of grips for a bowling ball, the method comprising: providing a bowling ball with an exterior surface material and an interior material; positioning a first elongated finger slot on the exterior surface of the bowling ball, the finger slot extending into the interior material of the bowling ball, the finger slot including a side wall in the interior material and sized to receive all four fingers of a player's hand; positioning two thumb holes on the exterior surface, one each on either side of the elongated finger slot, the thumb holes extending into the interior material of the bowling ball, each thumb hole including a side wall in the interior material and sized to receive a thumb of the player's hand, the thumb holes each defining a different diameter and each located at a different distance from the finger slot; wherein each of the thumb holes cooperates with the finger slot to define a grip, and wherein the interior material on the side walls of the finger slot and the thumbholes is resilient and yields to pressure exerted by the player's fingers and thumb within the finger slot and one of the thumb holes, respectively.

10. The method of claim 9, further comprising positioning a second finger slot on a second side of the bowling ball opposite the finger slot, and positioning two thumb holes on the exterior surface, one each on either side of the second finger slot, the second finger slot and each of the thumb holes cooperating to define first and second grips on the second side of the bowling ball, with the finger slot and thumb holes extending into the interior material, the thumb holes adjacent the second finger slot each defining a diameter different from each other and different from the thumb holes adjacent the first finger slot, and the thumb holes adjacent the second finger slot each located at a different distance from the finger slot and at different distance than the thumb holes adjacent the finger slot.

11. A bowling ball for use by a bowler, the bowling ball comprising: an exterior surface material and an interior material; an elongated first finger slot and a pair of thumb holes positioned adjacent the finger slot and on opposite sides of the finger slot, each thumb hole and the finger slot cooperating to define a grip, the finger slot and the thumb holes each extending through the exterior surface material and into the interior material; the finger slot sized to receive two or more fingers of a player's hand, and each thumb hole sized to receive the player's thumb, the thumb holes each sized to receive a different sized thumb and located at different distances from the finger slot; the interior material being softer than the exterior surface material and capable of yielding under pressure that may exerted by the player's fingers inserted within the finger slot.

12. The bowling ball of claim 11, further comprising a second finger slot opposite the first finger slot, and a second pair of thumb holes positioned adjacent to and on opposite sides of the second finger slot, the finger slot and the thumb holes each extending through the exterior surface and into the interior material, the second finger slot sized to receive two or more fingers of the player's hand, and each thumb hole sized to receive the player's thumb, the thumb holes adjacent the second slot each sized to receive a different sized thumb and located at different distances from the second finger slot.

13. The bowling ball of claim 12, wherein each of the thumb holes defines a different diameter and each is located at a different distance from its adjacent finger slot.

14. The bowling ball of claim 13, further comprising each thumb hole being marked with indicia corresponding to the size of the thumb hole.

15. The bowling ball of claim 14, wherein each thumb hole is color coded.

16. The bowling ball of claim 4, further comprising each thumb hole being marked with indicia corresponding to the size of the thumb hole.

17. The bowing ball of claim 4, wherein each thumb hole is color coded.

18. The method of claim 10, further comprising marking each of the thumb holes with indicia corresponding to the size of the thumb hole.

19. The method of claim 18, wherein each thumb hole is color coded.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Bowling balls are conventionally held with a combination of a bowler's thumb and one or two additional fingers inserted within openings in the ball. Bowling balls are also conventionally formed of one or more relative high durometer or non-yielding materials, which may be resistant to deformation at the level of pressure that can be applied by the player's fingers.

The combination of only one or two fingers opposing the thumb and a non-yielding material can make a bowling ball difficult to grip for a player who may have limited strength or manual dexterity. Control over the direction of roll and the release of the ball can also be difficult with only one or two fingers inserted into the ball. Such lack of strength or control may result from an accident or some form of physical or mental disability or developmental issues.

Improvements to conventional bowling balls are desirable to permit players of limited strength or manual dexterity to participate in bowling.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to a bowling ball with at least one grip formed on an outer surface of the bowling ball. The grip includes an elongated finger slot sized to receive all four of the player's fingers and a thumb hole adjacent the finger slot, the finger slot and each thumb hole cooperating to define a grip. The bowling ball may be made of a resilient yielding material which the grip of the player may deform within the finger slot and the thumb holes, providing an improved grip for grasping and using the bowling ball. The present invention also relates to a method of forming a bowling ball with a plurality of grips for a player to grasp. Each grip includes an elongated finger slot for receiving all four of the player's fingers and an adjacent thumb hole. The side walls of the finger slot and thumb holes extend into an interior material of the bowling ball and the interior material yields under the player's fingers and thumb to provide a secure grip.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and constitute a part of the description, illustrate several aspects of the invention and together with the description, serve to explain the principles of the invention. A brief description of the drawings is as follows:

FIG. 1 is a first view of a bowling ball according to the present invention, showing a first set of grip openings on a first side of the ball.

FIG. 2 is a second view of a bowling ball of FIG. 1, showing a second set of grip openings on a second side of the ball.

FIG. 3 is a third view of the ball of FIG. 1, showing the arrangement of the grip openings on the ball.

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of the ball of FIG. 1, taken through the center of the thumb holes of the grip openings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Reference will now be made in detail to the exemplary aspects of the present invention that are illustrated in the accompanying drawings. Wherever possible, the same reference numbers will be used throughout the drawings to refer to the same or like parts.

FIG. 1 illustrates a bowling ball 10 which includes a first finger slot 12 and a pair of thumb holes 14 and 16 each adjacent first finger slot 12, and preferably on opposite sides thereof. Thumb holes 14 and 16 may be of different diameters to provide multiple grip options for a player based on the size of the player's thumb. Further, thumb holes 14 and 16 may be spaced apart from finger slot 12 by different distances, to permit a player to choose the most appropriate width for their grip. The combination of finger slot 12 and thumb hole 14 cooperate to define a first grip 22, while the combination of finger slot 12 and thumb hole 16 cooperate to define a second grip 24. Both of these grip areas may be positioned on a first side 26 of ball 10.

Ball 10 has an exterior surface material 18, and an interior material 20 which is reachable within each of the finger slot and thumb holes. Materials 18. and 20 may be of different hardnesses or durometers to permit a user to have a yielding grip in material 20 within finger slot 12 and thumb holes 14 or 16 while providing a more durable outer layer of material 18 to resist abrasion and provide a better surface for striking pins or other items at which ball 10 may be directed. Materials 18 and 20 may be the same, with ball 10 being molded or otherwise formed of a single material which is both suitably yielding to aid in a player's grip and sufficiently durable to provide a reasonable usable life.

FIG. 2 illustrates a second side 28 of ball 10 where a second finger slot 32 and a second pair of thumb holes 34 and 34 are positioned. Thumb holes 34 and 36 may be of different or similar diameters and may be spaced apart from finger slot 32 at the same or different distances. Finger slot 32 and thumb hole 34 may cooperate to define a third grip 38, while finger slot 32 and thumb hole 36 may cooperate to define a third grip 40.

Finger slots 12 and 32 may be the same size or may vary to provide distinct differences between grips 22 and 24, and grips 38 and 40. Such differences in finger slot size may permit ball 10 to accommodate a broader range of player hand sizes. Alternatively, it may be desirable to provide finger slots 12 and 32 in the same size and rely on spacing and size of thumb holes 14, 16, 34 and 36 to provide different grip options for the player. It may be desirable to adapt the slot and hole sizes of a first ball 10 to accommodate relatively small hand sizes and adapt the slot and holes sizes of a second ball 10 to accommodate relatively larger hand sizes.

If different thumb hole sizes or spacings and/or finger slot sizes are used, it may be desirable to provide an easily visible indication of the distinct grips 22, 24, 38 and 40, respectively. In the embodiment shown, a color coded ring 42 is provided about each of the thumb holes 14, 16, 34 and 36. Such visual indicia may also be used to distinguish any different spacings between the thumb holes and the finger slots. Other visible indication may also be used, such as a numbering system.

As can be seen in FIG. 3, it may be desirable to have sides 26 and 28 be opposite one another on ball 10. Such placement may be desirable to provide better balance for ball 10 and may also provide better production efficiencies.

FIG. 4 shows a cross-section of ball 10 taken through the center of the thumb holes. FIG. 4 shows each of the thumb holes 14, 16, 34 and 36 on the same plane about ball 10. However, thumb holes 14, 16, 34 and 36 may be arranged as needed about the surface of the ball and the location and orientation of finger slots 12 and 32 altered to match the thumb holes to define the desired grips 22, 24, 38 and 40.

Within each thumb hole 14, 16, 34 and 36 and finger slot 12 and 32, a player's fingers or thumb may be in contact with interior material 20, which may provide a resilient and yielding grip surface. Finger slots 12 and 32 are illustrated with sloping side walls 44 tapering to a base 46 which is narrower than the entry into slot 12 or 32. Thumb holes 14, 16, 34 and 36 are shown with generally straight side walls 48 defining a generally constant diameter hole. It is anticipated that finger slots 12 and 32 could be configured with generally straight side walls. It is also anticipated that thumb holes 14, 16, 34 and 36 may be configured with tapering side walls. As shown, finger slots 12 and 32 extend radially into ball 10 while thumb holes 14, 16, 34 and 36 are splayed slightly from radial as may be desired to provide an appropriate grip. It is anticipated that thumb holes 14, 16, 34 and 36 may also be radial openings. It is also anticipated that finger slots 12 and 32 may be angled away from radial if desired to provide an appropriate grip.

The embodiments of the inventions disclosed herein have been discussed for the purpose of familiarizing the reader with novel aspects of the present invention. Although preferred embodiments have been shown and described, many changes, modifications, and substitutions may be made by one having skill in the art without unnecessarily departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. Having described preferred aspects and embodiments of the present invention, modifications and equivalents of the disclosed concepts may readily occur to one skilled in the art. However, it is intended that such modifications and equivalents be included within the scope of the claims which are appended hereto.