US 2687303 A
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Allg 24, 1954 R. B. HENDERSON 2,687,303
MOLDED RUBBER BALL WITH LACING Filed June 20, 1949 Patented Aug. 24, 1954 UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE MOLDED RUBBER BALL WITH LACING Robert Bruce Henderson, Whittier, Calif., as-
signor to W. J. Voit Rubber Corporation, Los Angeles, Calif., a, corporation of California Application June 20, 1949, Serial No. 100,222
3 Claims. l
The invention relates in general to molded rubberarticles and, more particularly, to athletic balls of molded rubber. The term moldabley materia, as used therein, is intended to include not only natural rubber but any synthetic materials, such as the so-called synthetic rubbers, thermoplastics, and thermosetting resins.
The invention is of particular utility in athletic or game balls which are inatable, and I prefer to consider the invention in this connection herein for convenience in disclosing same. An inflatable game ballof the type under con- Sider-ation is of laminated construction, several layers or laminae of rubber and fibrous material customarily being employed. The usual practice is to use an inner, gas-retaining layer or bladder of rubber, one or more intermediate, reinforcing layers of fibrous material, and an outer, wear-resisting layer which serves as a cover. The reinforcing layer, or layers if more than one are employed, may consist of pieces of rubberized fabric bonded to the bladder, or may consist of fibrous thread or cord wound around the bladder and bonded thereto. The covermay be formed ofv any suitable wear-resisting material and may be bonded to the reinforcing material. The cover may be formed of leather, for example, although I prefer to provide a cover of moldable material, and a ball having a cover of the latter material will' be considered herein for conven-ienee in disclosing the invention.
Heretofore, in making balls with molded rubber' balls, the imitation lacing being molded directlyy into the cover and forming an integral part thereof. The purpose of doing this is,I of course, to simulate the surface characteristics of conventional leather-covered balls, such. simulation being particularlydesirable in footballs, for eX- ample, wherein the lacing m customarily gripped by ther fingers of' a player passing the ball.
However, molding an imitation lacing on the cover ofthe ball in this manner does not simulate anactual lacing with sufficient exactitude to m-ake the resultingl ball universallyl acceptable, and it is, therefore, a primary object of the invention to provide a molded ball, having a separate, removable lacing so that its surface characteristics more nearly simulate those of; a conventional leather-covered1 ball.
One, object ofl the invention is to provide a molded ballA of laminated' construction wherein twoof the laminae forming the wall of the ball are bonded together throughout only part of the surface area of the ball, the two laminae referred to being unbonded throughout a relatively small surface area of the ball to provide a pocket therebetween. The portion of the wall of the ball overlying this pocket isprovided with two rows of holes through which a lacing is threaded. The pocket may, as desired, be formed between the outer cover and the outer fabric reinforcing layer, where the cover is bonded to the outer reinforcing layer, or between two of the reinforcing layers which are bonded together, or between the bladder and the inner reinforcing layer when the bladder is bonded to the inner reinforcing layer.
Another object of the invention is to provide a ball of theforegoing character whereinr a layer of moldable material of substantially the same size and shape as the pocket is bonded, to the layer inwardly of and registering with the pocket so as to form the inner wall thereof. This additional layer serves to reinforce the bladderin the vicinity of the pocket in the wall of the ball', which is a feature of the invention. Also,l this additional layer provides a somewhat greater over-all wall' thickness in the vicinity of the lacing, and thus provides somewhat more bulk in` the vicinity thereof, whereby to simulate more closely the characteristics of a conventional leather-covered ball', which is another feature of the invention.
Another object of the invention is to provide a ball of the foregoing character which in its manufacture has placed intermediate the two layers between which the desired pocket is to, be
formed a layer of. separating material of a size and shape corresponding to the desired size and shape of the pocket, such separating layer being placed between the two layers mentioned before bonding. them together. The separating layer comprises a material, such as paper or fabric for example, which is. not bondable to the two layers between which it is disposed and its function is to prevent bonding of the two layers to be separated so as to provide the desiredy pocket. Also, certain thermoplastic cements may be used to form such separating layer, which cements.
will prevent the walls of the pocket from bond'- ing together during the cure but which will release after av normal cure of the ball. Also, a conventional animal glue solution can alternatively be used for this, purpose.
I'he foregoing objects and advantages of the invention, together with. various other objects and'- advantages thereof which will become apparent, may be obtained through the utilization of the exemplary embodiments which are illustrated in the accompanying drawing and which are described in detail hereinafter. Referring to the drawing:
Fig. 1 is a side elevational View, partly in section, illustrating a football which embodies the invention and illustrating one step in the manufacture of the ball;
Fig. 2 is an enlarged, fragmentary sectional view taken along the broken line 2 2 of Fig. 1;
Fig. 3 is a plan view of the ball prior to incorporating a lacing therein;
Fig. 4 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional View taken along the broken line 4-4 of Fig. 3;
Fig. 5 is a perspective view of a completed football which embodies the invention;
Fig. 6 is a view which is similar to Fig. 2, but which illustrates an alternative structure and an alternative venting method;
Fig. 7 is a view similar to Figs. 2 and 6, but illustrating an alternative method of forming the desired slit in the outer layer of the ball and illustrating still another venting method; and
Fig. 8 is a view similar to Fig. 4 which illustrates another embodiment of the invention.
Referring to Figs. 1 to 5 of the drawing, I show a ball I of molded construction which is provided with a removable lacing I l, shown in Fig. of the drawing. The ball II) is inflatable and deflatable and includes a wall structure I3 which defines a space I4 for an inating gas such as air.
As best shown in Figs. 1, 2, and 4. of the drawing, the wall structure I3 of the ball is of laminated construction, and for illustration, includes three layers or laminae in the particular construction illustrated, these laminae being identied by the numerals Il, I8, and IS. The innermost lamina II is preferably formed of a moldable material and is adapted to retain air or other gas in the space III, a suitable iniiating valve 2) being permanently secured to the lamina I'I and extending through the laminae I3 and I9 in a manner not specifically shown but well known in the art. The lamina II is, in effect, a bladder and will be referred to as such hereinafter.
The lamina I8 is disposed intermediate the bladder II and the outermost lamina I9 and is preferably bonded thereto so that, in effect, the
wall structure I3 is of integral construction. The r intermediate lamina I8 reinforces the wall structure of the ball and may be formed of any suitable material, although a material of a fibrous nature is preferred. For example, the reinforcing lamina or layer I8 may be formed of rubberized fabric bonded to the laminae I I and I9, or may be formed of thread or cord wound around the bladder II and bonded to the bladder and the lamina I9. Although I have shown but a single reinforcing layer I8, it will be understood that more than one may be employed if desired.
The outer lamina I9 constitutes a cover for the ball and may be formed of any suitable wearresisting material. For example, the cover I9 may comprise leather bonded to the reinforcing layer I8, although I prefer to provide a ball wherein the cover is formed of a moldable material.
As is well known in the art, in making a ball of the foregoing character, the rst step is to F take a bladder I'I of rubber and partially inflate it to a size somewhat less than the desired size of the finished ball. A coating of a vulcanizable material, such as latex or rubber cement, may then be applied to the bladder I'I, as by dipping or spraying, for example. Subsequently, the reinforcing layer I8 is applied to the coated bladder, pieces of fabric being placed on the bladder if a fabric reinforcing layer is used, and thread or cord being wound thereon if a wound reinforcing layer is used.
Another coating of vulcanizable rubber material is then applied to the reinforcing layer I8, the cover I9 subsequently being placed on the reinforcing layer. Thereafter, the ball is placed in a suitable mold, such as a mold 24, having a cavity 25 corresponding in size and shape to the size and shape desired for the finished ball. If a rubber cover I9 is used, the wall of the mold cavity 25 may be provided with ridges, or the like, to produce any desired design on the surface of the finished ball. In the particular construction illustrated wherein the invention is embodied in a football, the wall of the mold cavity 25 is preferably provided with ridges which produce grooves 26 in the outer surface of the ball I0 to simulate the grooves obtaining at the seams of a conventional leather-covered football. Also, the wall of the mold cavity may be formed to produce imitation stitching 2 around the removable lacing II and to produce imitation pebbling.
After the ball has been placed in the mold cavity 25, it is further inflated to press the cover I9 into intimate contact with the wall of the mold cavity and to press the laminae i7, I8 and'IS into intimate contact with each other. Subsequently, the mold 24 is heated in any suitable manner to vulcanize the various rubber components of the ball, thereby bonding the laminae Il, I3 and I9 together so that the wall structure I3 of the ball is, in effect, of integral construction. Subsequently, the finished ball III is deflated and removed from the mold.
The ball II), as thus far described, is conventional, and it will be understood that the hereinbefore-described wall structure I3 and method of making it per se form no part of the present invention, the invention residing in the provision of a molded ball having means for attachment of the removable lacing I I.
As best shown in Figs. 3 and 4 of the drawing, the wall structure I3 of the ball IIJ is provided with a pocket 3u intermediate the laminae Ii and I3. In the particular construction illustrated in Fig. 4 of the drawing, the pocket 3Q is disposed between the bladder I'I and the reinforcing layer I3, although it may be located between the reinforcing layer I8 and the cover I9 as indicated in Fig. 7.
Also, if more than one reinforcing layer is employed, the pocket 3E may be formed between adjacent ones of such reinforcing layers. This construction is illustrated in Fig. 8 of the drawings, two fabric reinforcing layers Ia and Ib being interposed between the bladder I'I and the cover I9. The pocket 3l! is disposed between the reinforcing layers IBd and Ib.
That portion of the wall structure I3 of the ball IG which overlies the pocket 39 therein is provided with an opening therethrough, such opening preferably being a slit 3I which communicates with the pocket and which extends substantially from one end thereof to the other, stop holes 32 being provided at the ends of the slit. The portion of the wall structure overlying the pocket is provided with a row of holes 33 on each side of the slit 3l, the holes 33 communicating with the pocket 30. The lacing II is threaded through the holes 33 and across the slit 3| in the usual manner.
The slit 3| is provided primarily.
to facilitate punching ot the holes: ll' and. ebrieously, it may be omitted-.it theholes-i |zl are formed otherwise than; by a conventional punching operation.
I. prefertof locate the pocket I-lill between the: bladder H: and the reiniorci-ng; layer I8; when only: one reinforcing; layer is used, the reason for thisy being that the reinforcing layerA thus reinforces: the holes 33 throughwhich the lacing il: is threaded.
of the: slit 3:| in the reinforcing layer |131, I prefer' toa provide another layerv or insert 311 of fabric or other suitable material of substantially the same.-
size and shape as the pocket Bil and bond this insert to the reinforcinglayer i8; outwardly of the pocket so that it forms-the outer wall thereof-,
thereby further rein-forcing the wall of the ball at this, point.. Also the fabric insert. 34 provides,y somewhatl more bulk in the vicinity of' the lacing.
thereby simulating more closely the charac.- teristics.y of a conventional leatherecovered ball with. removable bladder. The insert 34', however, maybe omitted if desired.. For example, the insert. 34 may be omitted in the embodiment of Fig., 8- where the pocket 3:11 is disposed. between the twofreinforcing layersA |8a and. lilla.v In construction,- the outer reinforcing, layerb th serves to reinforce the holes 3131.' through which.
the. lacing is threaded.
Considering the method of. the invention, after the partially inated bladder H- hasbeen. formed, the fabric insert 35e isy placed thereon at the point where: the.4 pocket 30 is to be form-ed. A layer at; of separating material, such as fabric or paper; for example-, is placed between the insert. 34 and' the bladder t7 to prevent bonding; ofV the insert to the. bladder so.` asta-.formthe pocket Si); After. thea separating layerl 3E. and the insert 3.4 haveI been. applied toi the; bladder. |11, the reinforcing. layer |18: and. cover t9; are applied: thereto. @f course, alternatively.. if no insert 3A is; used the layer 3e' is placed directly upon the bladder tt the. desired position before adding. the layer litt andcover- I9. Also,.in the embodiment-of Figa, they separating layer is placed between the rein-- forcingb layers. |811.' and iadb..
Subsequently, the.` ball isk placed in the mold cavity 25; and heated to curethe components ofi the ball. so as tofbond the layers tlf., t8 and |e31to gether. Simultaneously, the fabric insert 34@ is bonded tothe rein-forcing layer |18. The. separat-- ing layer 3a prevents. bonding in the. area. occupied thereby so as to provide the desired. pocket 30. y
After curing', the bali is deflated and removed from the mold',A and the: slit` 3ft, or.' other" opening, the stop. holes 32, and the lacing holes 33 are formed in the portion of the wall structure of. the. ball which overli'es the pocket 3.`the lacingz holes being formed by a punch, for example, inserted into the pocket through the slit 3|. Subsequently, the lacing is threaded through the holes 33- and. across the. slit 3l in the usual manner.
As hereinbefore indicated, providing the ball IIJ with the removable lacing Il in the foregoing manner results in surface characteristics closely simulatingr those of a conventional leather-covered ball so that the handling characteristics of the ball l0 more nearly duplicate those to which skilled players are accustomed.
It will be apparent that some air may be trapped in the pocket 3B when the reinforcing layer I8 and cover I9 are placed over the sepa- In order to avoid. weakening the: Wallzstructure of the-.balli because of the presence acer/,soa
, rating layer 3.6i: Subsequently; when theballi t isl cured in.. the. mold 254 by the application. ofheat theretv, the pressure of the air trapped: iir thev pocket. 311I Will increase so that., upon. removal; ofl the ball from the mold, such increased"` pressure.- of the air in the pocket. tends to.- cause the por*- tion of the reinforcing. layer |`8 and cover |.9 over'- lying. the pocket to bulge outwardly.. In. order. to avoid such bulging' upon removal of. the from the mol'd-, and in order to. avoid possible'.l separation of' the reinforcing layer |85 from the bladder |21' as. a resultv thereof, the pocket. 30.: is preferably vented to the atmosphere before. removing the ball. from the mold. The. preferred vmethod of doing this is illustrated best. in. Figs.. 1'.
and 2. ofv the drawing, and' will. now be. described..
Before the. bal-l is `placed in the mold' to. be;l cured, a vent hole 3:-1 is formed throughr the refinforcing layer |382 andiv the cover I9. in the area` 'occupied by the pocketl 3u'. A. piece 38 of' gas.-
pervi'ous material', such as paper or string, forexample, is then insertedv int thevent hole; before! the ball is placed in the mold and cured; The mold? isv provided with an opening 39 to, receive the piece 323-2 of gas-pervious material. rEhe gas'- pervi'ousmaterial prevents closingl of thevent hole; 375 as the ball' i's vulcanized and' conducts. any air.v trapped in the pocket 31| outwardly to prevent the development of an excessive: pressure.` irr the pocket, which is.l a feature. of the: invention..
In 6 ofl the drawing, l'. show an alternative. method off venting thevpocl'ret` 3.0. in thisniethods. no opening: suchi as: the. vent hole 3ft is initially provided, the reinforcing layer t8 and'. come.: Izar being punctured with a holiow needle, Ml; which may be. inserted through the. opening. 39; inl. the mold, after curing and prior to removal of `the ball therefrom so. as. to.I permit any trapped?, in'l the pocket under sup'eratrnospherict pressure to escape therefrom-r Ai furtherlr alternative: method of relievingv errcess-gae pressure in the pocket, 3E after curing of the-balli it? is to. circulate. a cooling: fluid, such as-,. for example, cold water, through the mold 2d the ball. til. is stili therein. This; reduces the temperature of any gas or vaporin the pocket, with aV corresponding` drop in fluid pressure: exertedl` by the trapped gas. or vapor toI a value at it. will. not. cause.- separation. of. the laminae when the-balli is removed from the mold...
En Fig; or? the drawing, I. show' alternartive embodiment. wherein the. pocket 3d' is formed between the reinforcing' layer: mi and. the cover I9, instead of being formed; between the;A bladder Il and the reinforcing layer |18'. In. this. embodiment theseparating layer 35S is. placed oni the reintere-ing layer |562, instead or' on the bladder lf'ie Also, in the embodiment'. illustrated Fig.. the slit @t is;v formed by providing a fold in.
Aseparating layer Stil which extends. outwardly through the cover t9; this fold preventing bond ing of theaedges of? thexslittcgether'when the ball is cured.
The fold? M1 in the. separating layer' 36 performs; another function that it serves: to. vent. the pocket" 3i] a gas-perviene mate-rial; is used for the separating layer. A. gasa-impervious: material. may also be used by providing openings ,at the outer end of the fold il for venting purposes. In the construction illustrated in Fig. 7, the fabric insert 3d has been omitted.
It will also be apparent that the separating layer 36 of the form of the invention shown in Figs. 1, 3 and 4 may be formed to provide a fold similar to the fold 4I, in which case such fold would extend up through the layers IB and I9.
It is also to be noted that separation of the layers between which the pocket is provided, due to an increase in gas pressure in the pocket during molding, can be eliminated or substantially reduced by providing thread stitching around the pocket through the layers forming the same. If the construction is as shown in Fig. 7, in which the pocket is formed between the cover I9 and the reinforcing layer I8, the stitching would be through the cover and reinforcing layer and could be in the design of the stitching 21 shown in Fig. 5, or otherwise as desired.
Also, I have found that certain moldable materials may be used for the cover I9 with sufiicient inherent strength to permit the lacing H to be threaded only through the holes 33 in the cover, and, consequently, I do not desire to be limited to a construction in which the lacing is threaded through holes in two or more layers of the wall i3. It is also to be understood that although I have described the bladder Il as bonded to the reinforcing layer I8, in the form of the invention disposing the pocket 30 between other layers the bladder may be a conventional, separate, replaceable bladder insertable through a suitable opening in the wall of the ball, as is Well known in the art. l
It is further to be noted that although I prefer to form the pocket 30 as an integral part of the ball I0, it may be formed as a separate, relatively small piece of wall construction which is then bonded to the exterior of the ball I0. In this embodiment, a small section composed of two layers, such as the layers I8 and I9 as shown in Fig. 7, with the pocket 39 and separating layer 3B therebetween, may be bonded together and the resulting unit being bonded to the exterior of a conventional ball, or such layers with the pocket and separating material therebetween can merely be laid on the exterior of a conventional ball before it is given its nal cure, curing the ball and bonding the additional layers thereon and together.
Although I have disclosed various exemplary embodiments of my invention for purposes of illustration, it will be understood that the invention is not necessarily limited thereto since various changes, modifications, and substitutions may be incorporated in such embodiments without departing from the spirit of the invention. Consequently, I hereby reserve the right to all such changes, modifications, and substitutions as come within the scope of the invention.
I claim as my invention:
1. In a wall construction for a game ball, the combination of: a bladder; a reinforcing layer of fibrous material on and bonded to the outer surface of said bladder; and an outer layer of formed and vulcanized material substantially coextensive with said bladder and surrounding said reinforcing layer, said outer layer being bonded directly to said reinforcing layer but being unbonded to said reinforcing layer over a portion thereof to form a pocket therebetween, said outer layer being provided with two parallel rows of lacing holes and a slit therebetween parallel to said rows of holes and of a length substantially equal to the length of said rows, said holes and said slit throughout its length communicating with said pocket and adapted to have a lacing threaded through said holes and spanning said slit, said reinforcing layer being continuous and imperforate within the boundaries of said pocket.
2. In a game ball, the combination of z an inner carcass of formed and vulcanized material; an outer cover coextensive with said carcass and enclosing` the same, said cover being bonded directly to said carcass except for an area which is small as compared to the total area of the ball and which forms a pocket between the cover and the carcass, said carcass being continuous and imperforate within the area of said pocket, said cover being provided with two parallel rows of lacing holes therethrough and being provided with a slit therethrough which is located between and parallel to said rows of holes and of a length substantially equal to the length of said rows of holes, said holes and said slit throughout its length all communicating with said pocket, said cover defining the outer Wall of said pocket; a removable lacing threaded through said holes and spanning said slit; and a valve extending through said carcass and said cover at a point spaced from said pocket and communicating with the interior of said carcass.
3. In a game ball, the combination of a bladder; a carcass of a plurality of layers of fibrous material surrounding said bladder; an outer layer coextensive with said carcass and enclosing the same, said outer layer being bonded directly to said carcass over the entire outer surface thereof, the layers of said carcass being bonded together except for an area which is small as compared to the total area of the ball and forming a pocket within the carcass, said carcass being continuous and imperfo'rate within the area under said pocket, and said outer layer and at least one layer of said carcass overlying said pocket and dening a reinforced outer wall for said pocket, said outer wall being provided with two parallel rows of lacing holes and a slit which is located between and parallel to said rows of holes and of a length substantially equal to the length of said rows of holes, said holes and said slit throughout its length all communicating with said pocket; a removable lacing threaded through said holes and spanning said slit; and a valve on the bladder extending through said carcass and said outer layer at a point spaced from said pocket.
References Cited in the ille of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS Number Name Date Re. 17,057 Voit July 31, 1928 985,893 Gamble May '7, 1911 1,917,534 Maynard July 11, 1933 2,149,465 Riddell Mar. 7, 1939 2,194,132 Voit et al ,Main 19, 1940 2,287,171 Goldsmith June 23, 1942 2,352,872 Voit et al July 4, 1944 2,575,414 Gow et al Nov. 20, 1951
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