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Numéro de publicationUS2696985 A
Type de publicationOctroi
Date de publication14 déc. 1954
Date de dépôt21 juin 1948
Date de priorité21 juin 1948
Numéro de publicationUS 2696985 A, US 2696985A, US-A-2696985, US2696985 A, US2696985A
InventeursHogeberg Bart A
Cessionnaire d'origineHogeberg Bart A
Exporter la citationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
Liens externes: USPTO, Cession USPTO, Espacenet
Solenoid golf tee
US 2696985 A
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Description  (Le texte OCR peut contenir des erreurs.)

3 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed June 21, 1948 m u! 1 u an (I! 1 04 m my u u um m u I ulunmwmtmuuylw mum tuullqunll m (1 I Hum 41 w 6 6 m ma 5 6 4 G 1 1 6 M 2 0 M0 c i. M m m 4 x 4 MW M w m A I T I I I .lll 1 R 7 1 I m l l 1' I III I'll! I a w 2 H 2 m .y a .1 w 70 I m) w 2 z 5 W W A W ,U M w w //I /////r z m |l||.| 1 I w W 9 1 1 {J w m I: F I I, fia a 6 w {J 1 6 .k I m m M 3 1 ATTORNEYS B. A. HOGEBERG 2,696,985

SOLENOID GOLF TEE 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 Dec. 14, 1954 Filed June 21, 1948 R. m M m m mm PM. YW

llllllllllll I! ATTORNEYS Dec. 14, 1954 B. A. HOGEBERG SOLENOID GOLF TEE 3 Sheets-Sheet 3 Filed June 21, 1948 vlil'lli INVENTOR.

BART A. HOGEBERG ATTORNEYS United States Patent Ofifice 2,696,985 Patented Dec. 14, 1954 This invention relates to automatic golf ball teeing machines for use in practice driving ranges, and its principal ob ect is to provide an automatic teeing machine which 1s simpler, yet more durable and reliable than those previously used. A further object of the invention is to reduce considerably the cost of manufacture and maintenance of such machines.

Heretofore, automatic teeing machines relied generally for their operation upon electric motors or similar power means, and more or less complex mechanism to convert the comparatlvely high-speed rotation of the motor into the desired deliberate reciprocative movements of a teeing arm or plunger operative intermittently as necessary to tee the balls. If the motor ran continuously, as where it drove a main shaft delivering mechanical power to one or more of such machines, there was a considerable wastage of electric power, and clutching mechanism was necessary. On the other hand, where each machine was driven directly by an electric motor unit, the starting and stopping of the motor for each teeing operation was relatively slow and entailed excessive wear on the motor mechanism. Their initial manufacturing cost was considerable, and it was more expensive to maintain them in satisfactory operating condition.

In accordance with the present invention, such prior disadvantages as the large number of moving parts, their complexity, the electric power expended in operating the machine, and the costs of manufacture and maintenance are greatly minimized, and at the same time an increase in reliability of operation is realized. A feature of such a machine resides in a teeing element guided for movement between teeing and ball reloading positions which is held normally in teeing position, such as by a spring, and moved from teeing position by solenoid or electromagnet means energized selectively and automatically by suitable control means. The control means may be of the type responsive to the removal of a golf ball from the tee, a switch controlled either photoelectrically by the restoration of a beam of light interrupted by a teed golf ball, or by movement of the tee member upon being relieved of the weight of the golf ball as the ball is driven from the tee.

Another feature of the invention relates to the golf ball reloading means coacting with the downward movement of the teeing means, and coordinated in its operation with the solenoid control means. Preferably the teeing means comprises a plunger depressed magnetically by controlled energization of the solenoid, at which time another ball is deposited in the tee and the solenoid deenergized, whereupon expansion of a compression spring elevates the reloaded plunger into teeing position.

Other variations of ball reloading means and plunger solenoid control coordinating mechanisms will be found in the several illustrative embodiments of the invention shown in the drawings. These differences and the various features, objects and advantages of the invention will become more fully apparent from the following description considered with the accompanying drawings.

Figure l is a vertical sectional view through my improved teeing mechanism, shown in golf ball teed position, and Figure 2 is a similar view of the same mechanism with its parts positioned for reloading the tee.

Figure 3 is a detail side elevation view of an element of the teeing plunger actuating mechanism shown in Figures l and 2, with parts broken away to show damping or snubbing means operable to prevent the tee element,

er lifted by the action of the plunger elevating spring, from being stopped so abruptly at its elevated position as to toss the golf ball from the tee into the air.

Figure 4 is a plan view of the machine of Figures 1 and 2, showing solenoid control switching means.

Figure 5 is an elevation view, with parts broken away, of a modification of the machine of Figures 1 and 2 taken at right angles to these figures.

Figure 6 is a schematic diagram showing a control circuit for the machine of Figures 1, 2 and 4.

Figure 7 is a side elevation view of a modified form of the machine, with parts broken away, in which the coordinating means between the reloading means and the teeing plunger, and the reloading means itself, are largely mechanical, and Figure 8 is a schematic diagram of such a machine.

Figure 9 is a schematic diagram of a golf ball teeing machine of the type illustrated structurally in Figure 5 in which the control is primarily photoelectric.

Figure 10 is a vertical sectional view of an alternative form of solenoid controlled teeing mechanism embodying features of the invention.

For purposes of this description it will be expedient to refer first to the details of construction of the solenoidactuated golf ball teeing mechanism which is common to all of the illustrated forms of the invention, in conjunction with a selected reloading mechanism, and then subsequently digress to the particular forms of control and other modifications of the illustrated embodiments of the invention.

The teeing mechanism appears most clearly in Figures l and 2 wherein certain of the components and arrangements of such components shown are illustrative only. The machine, shown generally in Figures 1 and 5, is housed within a box or cabinet 10 which is set into the floor or platform on which the practicing player stands, with its top generally flush with the level of the door. The top itself may be sufficiently sturdy to form a continuation of the floor and to support the weight of a person standing on it. A suitable driving mat 12 may be laid over the machine, with an aperture at 14 through which a golf ball 15 may be elevated by the machine from beneath 'the level of the floor into teed position above the level of the mat. Such aperture 14 preferably is located directly over the opening of a vertical golf ball guide tube 16 supported at its opposite ends by the top and bottom, respectively, of the housing 10. The lower end of the tee guide tube fits in the annular shoulder of a base plate 32 on the bottom of the machine housing.

The tee guide tube 16 serves to encase and to guide for vertical reciprocation the golf ball teeing plunger 18 which is formed of tubing 20 held spaced concentrically inwardly from the tube 16 by the plunger head 22 secured to the top of tube 20 and slidably engaging the inner wall of guide tube 16. A pneumatic-sealing cap 24 closes the lower end of plunger tube 20. The plunger head 22 carries a tubular rubber tee 28, which is secured by a screw 30 threaded axially directly into the tee head, as shown in Figure 5, or into the upper end of a pin 26. Such pin is slidably mounted in the tee head as shown in Figure l, for a reason to be described hereafter. The head. of the screw is accessible at the bottom of the upwardly opening recess in the tee.

A piston 34 is received in the tubular section 20 of the teeing plunger and is supported therein by a stationary piston rod 36, having its lower end anchored in the base 32 of the teeing mechanism, projecting upwardly within the tube 16, and passing through an aperture in the cap 24 closing the lower end of the teeing plunger. In the construction shown in Figure l the piston and the upper end of rod 36 are recessed at 25, as shown in the detail of Figure 3, to receive the tee-supporting pin 26 when the plunger is in the depressed position shown in Figure 2. Where no tee-supporting pin is used, as in the construction shown in Figure 5, no recess in the piston and its rod is required.

The aperture of cap 24 should fit the rod 36 sufiiciently snugly to afiord an effective guide for the lower end of the teeing plunger 18 as it moves vertically, without being so snug as to cause any appreciable binding during such movement. Suitable packing is provided, however, to make the fit reasonably airtight. Engagethe ball rolls to the tee tube aperture.

from the tee.

:3 ment of the cap 24 with the piston 34 when the plunger 18 has reached its uppermost position as shown in Figure 1 will serve to limit the upward movement of the plunger, such elements cooperating to constitute .stop

means, but the piston'34 has a further function of snub- .bing upward movement of the plunger as will be ex- .ing a golf ball 15, yet it should be no stronger than necessary to accomplish that result, so that the force required to compress the spring in order to lower the'tee into a position for receiving another golf ball .will be minimizedas far as possible. When the tee has been raised by the spring 38 such spring will, of course, act to hold theplunger .18 in its uppermost position.

To apply'to the plunger 18 the force required to depress it into reloading position a solenoid 40 is employed which, when energized, produces a fiux which will attract magnetically the plunger tube 18, of magnetic material, and draw the plunger downward axially of the coil. Such plunger tube thus constitutes the armature for the solenoid, and the magnetic force which must be exerted upon this plunger in order to move it sufiiciently far downward against the lifting force produced by spring 38 will determine the number of ampere-turns required for the solenoid.

The structure of the solenoid coil 40 may be conventional and may include a number of coil layers wound around the lower end of the guide tube 16, which should be of nonmagnetic material, and the periphery of the coil may beenclosed by a tubular jacket 42 encircling the 'rib of base 32. The upper .end of this jacket may be closed by an annular plug 44 inserted between the casingtube 42 and the teeing tube outer wall. This plug, the casing tube 42, and the base plate 32 may be of ferromagnetic material to form a partial magnetic circuit for the solenoid, which circuit is completed through the space within teeing tube 16 containing the teeing-plunger armature. The magnetic field created by the solenoid is intensified by the high-permeability path thus provided for the external flux, to render the interior flux passing through the body of the plunger, at least a part of which is of ferromagnetic material, of maximum effectiveness and capable of producing sufficient retractile force to teeing plunger being sufficiently long that in its lowered position its effective magnetic center is still sufficiently above the mid-plane of the solenoid coil, so that a sulficient magnetic force for the purpose is still exerted on the plunger. Because the teeing tube 16 is of nonmagnetic material (perhaps even nonmetallic material) it cannot by-pass the magnetic field around the plunger effectively to shield it. The pneumatic piston 34 and piston shaft 36 may or may not be of magnetic material.

When the teeing plunger is lowered by energizing the solenoid. the top of the tee '28 is below the level of the discharge end of the golf ball delivery 'chute'46 affixed to the side of the teeing tube, asshown in Figure 2. Golf ball 15 in the chute may.then :be :injected intothe teeing tube through an opening 48 by the reloading plunger 52 which may be reciprocated lengthwise by 'a solenoid 50. The plunger pushes thegolf ball in over the top of the inner track 47 of the delivery chute along which After the ball rests on the tee the plunger-depressing solenoid 40 is deenergized and the teeing plunger with the ball is raised by extension of the spring 38.

To insure that the spring 38 has sufficient power it should be capable of raising the tee mechanism so-rapidly to ball-teed position that the resulting abrupt halt of the plunger upon arrival there would dislodge the ball Such a contingency -.is prevented by the pneumatic retarding action of piston .34 coacting with the tube 20, as a cylinder, forming a dash pot. The piston has a relatively small aperture 53 extending through it between its upper and lower surfaces, and a similar, 'relatively large aperture 54 having 'its lower end counterbored to receive a ball valve 56. The ball is pressed against the'base of the counter-bore to close off the aperture 54, by a light valve spring 58. The spring is retained in the counter-bore by a threaded plug 60 which is also apertured for escape of air.

On the downward movement of the teeing plunger 18 the column of air in its .tubular section 20 above piston 34, under compression at that time between the plunger head and the piston, escapes freely through the aperture 54 because a slight accumulated air pressure above the ball valve .56 opens it. During upward movement of the teeing plunger, however, the column of air in the tube 20 isteompressed fbetween thelower cap 240i such tube and the underside of the piston, and the resulting pressure of air 'keepsthe 'ball valve closed, the air being transferred only through the relatively small or bleed aperture 53 in the piston, thus materially retarding the movement of the teeing plunger and causing the tee to .be-eased gently into ball-teeing position. Since the retardation takes :placeonly on the upward movement of the teeing plunger, rapidity of reloading the machine is not hampered. The increasing compressionof the spring 38 preventsexcessive shock at the bottom of the down stroke of the plunger.

Keeping in view the general purposes, construction and operation-of the ball teeingmechanism proper just described, which, with the principal exception of the particulartee reloading means, are common to the sever-al herein illustrated forms of my improved teeing machine, the particular forms of automatic control for such mechanism can now more readily be appreciated. These include, in order of their description, first the form shown in Figure:6, next that of Figure 8, and finally that of Figure 9.

Two principal types of systems for controlling energization-of'the golf ball .teeing mechanism are illustrated in the several modifications of devices shown in the drawings. in the device of Figures 1, 2 and 6, the con- -'trol mechanism for the solenoid 40 is actuated by slight reciprocation of the tee member 28 relative to the plunger 18,resulting from the force produced in a downward direction ontthe tee "by the weight of the golf ball 15, and in the upper direction by the pressure of spring 27 when'the'teezmember is relieved from the weight of the ball. 'In the golf ball teeing machine shown in Figures 1, 2.and 6, the solenoid control switch actuated by this relative movement of the golf tee and plunger is a stationary switch mounted independently of the plunger 18, whereas in-the form of device-shown in Figures 7 and 8 such control switch iscarried by-the plunger.

The second type of control mechanism for the teeoperating solenoid illustrated is incorporated in the device shown in Figure 9, and utilizes a photosensitive device.

In the type of control mechanism shown in Figures 1, 2 and 6, the control switch 112, being mounted stationarily, is less vulnerable'to the shock of the golf club striking'the ball and tee than is switch 94 shown in Figure 8 which is carried 'by the plunger 18 as it reciprocates up and down.

For the purposes of the ball-weight control the tee 28 is supported on the slide pin 26 to enable its displacement vertically with respect to the plunger head 22. Between the tee and the plunger head a small spring 27 encirclingthe slide pin 26 (Figures 1 and 2) supports the tee, which thereby assumes a greater spacing relative to the plunger head with the weight of the ball removed 'from the tee than it does otherwise.

As shown in Figures 1 and 2, switch 112 is mounted outside the teeing tube near the base of the tee element 28 in its elevated position, and may be of the micro type which is opened or closed by very short movements of its actuating member, although usually such member is capable of considerable additional movement. In this instance an arm 114 carried by and projecting outward from the tee element 28 through a slot in the tube 16 is engageable with the switch arm 112 only when the tee is in its uppermost position, to which it is raised by spring 27 when the plunger 18 has been raised to its uppermost position and the ball 15 has been removed from the tee. Spring 27 must be light enough so that the weight of a ball upon the tee will depress it relative to plunger head 22 sufficiently against the force of the spring to move or hold arm 114 down below switch-closing position when the teeing plunger is fully raised. The tee is guided for such movement, of course, by pin 26 which is slidable through head 22 of the plunger.

As shown in the wiring diagram of Figure 6, closing of switch 112 effected by arm 114, as the tee 28 is moved upward by spring 27 upon removal of a golf ball from the tee when the plunger 18 is at the top of its stroke, effects energization of the solenoid 40 which, as previously explained, will attract and draw downward plunger 18 for reloading of the tee. Because switch 112 will open automatically as arm 114 is withdrawn from it by downward movement of the plunger, a holding relay 116 is incorporated in the solenoid circuit to maintain the solenoid 40 energized after its energization has been initiated by closing of switch 112 and this switch has again opened following retraction of arm 114 because of the self-opening character of the switch.

It will therefore be evident that the tee plunger depressing solenoid would remain energized indefinitely through the action of the holding solenoid 116 unless supplementary control mechanism were provided to interrupt the circuit through this relay. The tee plunger is depressed, of course, for the purpose of supplying another ball to the tee, whereupon the solenoid can be deenergized to enable spring 38 to raise the tee plunger again to ball teeing position. It is convenient, therefore, to provide relay deenergizing means which is actuated by the ball supply mechanism.

Ball loading mechanism for supplying balls to the tee 28 when it is in its lowered position comprises a reciprocable plunger, 52 in the device of Figure l and 64 in the device of Figure 7, operable to drive the lower golf ball in a ball-supply chute 46 from such chute into the teeing tube and onto the lowered tee. Reciprocation of this plunger is coordinated with the downward movement of the ball teeing plunger 18 effected by energization of solenoid 40, but the ball loading plunger may be operated either by a further solenoid 50, as shown in Figures 1 and 2, or purely mechanically by a mechanism such as shown in Figure 7. In either event reciprocation of the ball-loading plunger inward to feed a golf ball onto the tee member 28 can be arranged to open a normally closed switch 118, shown in Figure 6, for the purpose of deenergizing the holding relay 116 to interrupt the flow of current to the plunger-retracting solenoid 40 thus to enable the teeing plunger to be raised by its spring.

In its normal position the ball loading plunger is withdrawn, with its enlarged end received, clear of the golf ball chute, into a recess formed in a bushing 66 mounted in the wall of the delivery chute, held there by a lock nut 68, and apertured to receive the plunger 52 or 64 and to guide it for reciprocation. The threaded plug 66 projects outwardly from the delivery chute and has a reduced por tion encircled by a plunger-retracting compression spring 70 (Figures 4 and 7). This spring reacts between the shoulder of the plug 66 and a washer 72 secured on the plunger rod by a cotter pin 74. In Figure 7 the plunger appears in its ball delivering position projecting well into the delivery chute, whereas in Figures 1, 2 and 4 the plunger is shown retracted.

To eifect coordination between downward reciprocation of the ball-teeing plunger 18 and the ball-feeding mechanism where the ball-feeding plunger 52 is moved inward by a solenoid 50, a loading switch 104, as shown in Figures 1, 2 and 6, is actuated by the descending ballteeing plunger 20 to energize relay 50. The loading switch comprises a stationary contact 106 and a movable contact 108 which may be pressed downward by reciprocation of a slide pin 110. This slide pin is guided for reciprocation in a hole in the base 32 of the device, and is shifted downward upon being engaged by the downwardly moving teeing plunger. In this fashion the switch 104 is closed as soon as the ball-teeing plunger reaches its fully-depressed ball-receiving position, so that the solenoid 50 is energized immediately to reciprocate plunger 52 in the ball-feeding direction. When this plunger has completed its ball-feeding movement. washer 72 will engage switch 118 to open it, which deener izes both the circuit through the feeding plunger solenoid 50. so that the plunger may be returned by its spring 70, and that through the holding relay 116 so that the solenoid 40 will be deenergized to enable the teeing plunger to be raised by its spring 38.

Following through an operating cycle of this mechanism, beginning with the operation of this circuit, assuming the golf ball in teed position, all of the switches including the holding relay 116 are open, except release switch 118 which is then closed. The moment the golf ball is driven from the tee the arm 114 rises, closing switch 112, and immediately thereafter the holding relay 116 closes and so remains. The instant switch 112 is closed. and during the continuing energization and closure of the holding relay 116, the solenoid 40 is energized, drawing the teeing plunger downward. When the teeing plunger descends to its reloading position, it closes loading switch 104, which energizes the loading relay 50 by current flowing through a circuit including release switch 118 and the supply leads 120.

As the loading solenoid plunger 52 pushes a ball into the teeing tube from the delivery chute, the washer 72 of the plunger engages and opens release switch 118. This opens the entire circuit, deenergizing both solenoids, 40 and 50, and the newly loaded golf ball plunger is lifted by spring 38 into teed position. If for any reason the tee is not loaded, such as when the delivery chute is emptied, the teeing plunger will continue to rise and fall until more balls are supplied or a master switch 123, controlling the power supply, is opened.

In the device of Figure 7, the control for which is shown in Figure 8, the operation is more fully mechanical in nature, as distinguished from electrical, than in the other forms, particularly with respect to the means for loading the ball onto the tee, and coordinating such loading with movement of the teeing plunger.

In Figure 7 plunger 64 is reciprocated inwardly by a bell crank 76 supported on a pivot 78 carried in a mounting bracket 80 at the base of the machine. The machine base is slotted at 82 to accommodate the lower and shorter crank arm 84, which is generally horizontal, for swinging in a vertical plane. The upper end of the upright longer arm 86 of the bell crank carries an abutment for contacting plunger 64, preferably in the form of an adjustable screw 88 threaded through the end of the arm and locked in its desired adjusted position by the force nut 90. The end of the lower arm 84 is flat and lies beneath a vertical pin 92 slidably received in an aperture in the base plate 32. This pin extends upward into the bottom portion of the teeing tube 16 for engagement by the lower end of the teeing plunger 18 as the latter is depressed to its lowermost position, as shown in Figure 7. The lower end of this pin bears against arm 84.

When the teeing plunger is raised, the upright arm 86 of the bell crank is held away from the ball support tube by the expanded return spring 70 reacting against the washer 72 on the plunger 64. Slide pin 92 is consequently raised to project well up into the bottom of the teeing tube. However, upon energization of the plungerdepressing solenoid, the descending teeing plunger engages the pin 92 and presses it downwardly, thus swinging the bell crank in a counterclockwise direction, as viewed in Figure 7, by pressure of the pin on the lever 84 of the bell crank to swing the upright lever 86 toward the ball supply tube 46. The upper end of such lever thus is pressed against the loading plunger 64 and reciprocates it to deliver another golf ball into the teeing tube 16 and onto the then empty tee 28 ready for teeing.

While reloading of the teeing plunger as described oc curs directly as a result of its movement in the teeing tube, such movement is itself determined by controlling energization and deenergization of solenoid 40. The solenoid circuit, as shown in Figure 8, includes current supply leads 102 and a control switch 94 adapted to interrupt the circuit to deenergize the solenoid. This switch, unlike the switch 112 shown in Figure l and described above, is mounted on an arm 98 carried by the plunger 18. so that it rises and falls with the plunger. The switch-supporting arm extends through a suitable vertical slot in the side of the teeing tube, as shown schematically in Figure 8.

The switch contacts are closed whenever there is no golf ball resting on the tee 28 by a switch-contacting arm 100, carried by the tee itself and projecting through the same slot in the wall of tee-guide tube 16 as arm 98. The spring 27, as has been explained previously in connection with the structure shown in Figure l, raises' the tee member 28 relative to plunger 18 when relieved of the weight of the golf ball, and with it arm 100. When a golf ball is resting on the tee, however, the tee is depressed relative to plunger 18 sufficiently to move the arm 100 out :moved by=upwardmovement of such plunger.

:of ccontact with lthfi'fll'm ;of switch -94;to enable it to open, asuchzswitch being :of thenormally open type.

The instant switch 94 is closed by upward movement -.of:tee,28 relative .to plunger 18 when the ball is driven :from the tee, solenoid 40 is energized and depresses the teeing plunger 18. Because tee 28 remains extended .abovezplunger 18 during its downward movement, so that .arm =100 holds switch 94 closed, solenoid 40 remains enerdelivering another ball to the tee, as has been explained .above, the solenoid'40 normally will be deenergized very shortly after the'teeing plungerreaches its lowermost'position. The weight of-the golf ball delivered to the tee will :move itdownwardly relative to plunger 18 against the force of spring 27, thus lowering switch-actuating arm 180 to enable switch 94 to open andzdeenergize the solenoid.

iliherplunger 18, :being'thus released, will be raised again to :tee'ing position :by spring 38 while bell crank 76 will be returned in a clockwisetdirection, as seen in Figure 7,

.by springm which moves plunger .64 to'the right, since 't heipressure of'the teeing plunger on-pin'92 has been re- If there is no ball in the delivery chute 46 to be pushed onto the tee member, the tee will not be depressed to effect-opening of switch 94, of course, and=the solenoid 40 will remain energized until a fresh charge of balls has been supplied. -In the third illustrated form of the invention (Figure '9) energization of the solenoid is controlled photoelectrically and the timing of the re-teeing operations of the machine is controlled differently than in the forms discussed above, the interval during which the teeing plunger remains depressed by continued energization of lens 124, which otherwise would be received by a photoelectric cell 126 through a condensing lens 126. When the golf ball is driven from the tee the light beam is restored. resulting in the generation of an electric signal by the photoelectric cell, which is applied as a positive bias to a photocell amplifier circuit including the amplifier vacuum tube 128. The resulting anode current of the tube flows through the winding of a solenoid control relay 130, closing an energizing circuit for the plunger-depressing solenoid 40. Both the amplifier anode circuit and the solenoid energizing circuit are supplied with power from the secondary winding of transformer 132. the primary of which is connected to the supply lines 134 through a master control switch 136.

in the operation of the solenoid energizing circuit just referred to, the photocell circuit controlling conduction in amplifier 128 is connected directly across supply leads 134 on the primary side of the power transformer 132. The photocell circuit includes the field coil of relay 130 by-passed bv-filter condenser 137. the series condenser 138 bv-passed by resistor 140, the photoelectric cell 126. resistor 141 connected between control grid and cathode of tube 128. and the portion of potentiometer Winding 142 between the potentiometer tap 144 and the end of such winding remote from the cathode of tube 128.

Wi h the recepti n of a li ht signal by photo electric cell 126, the resulting increase in current passing through the photoelectric cell and its circuit produces an increased voltage drop in resistor 141 which is applied with positive polarity to the control grid f amplifier tube 128. Driven positi e. amplifier tube 128 becomes conductive, causing energizing current to flow in the field coil of relay 130 to close its switch 131 in the circuit of solenoid 40. By this means the solenoid is energized to retract the teeing plunger for reloading.

As in-the form of device shown in Figures 1 and 2, the reloading solenoid 50 is energized by closure of the switch 104 effected by descent of the teeing plunger. Instead of the loading solenoid plunger 52 actuating a switch to deenergize the plunger-depressing slen0id 40 at the. end of the ball-loading operation, however, so that the teetom of the .teeing plunger.

ing:plunger can again be-elevated 'by its spring, the :SQ1 noid 40 in this instance remains energized for a period of time which is determined by timing characteristics of the photocell amplifier circuit, or other suitable timing mechanism for switch 13.1. Thus, when the light .beam is first restored to the photoelectric cell a comparatively large current flows initially in the photocell circuit, through series condenser 138, but as the photocell .current continues to flow, such condenser graduallyrcharges, increasingly blocking such flow, until finally POSllIiVfi grid voltage applied'to the amplifier 128 is reducedtothepoint where the amplifier current is no longer sufficient to hold relay 130 closed. At such time the solenoid 40 is dcenergized and the teeing plunger can rise to tee ithcgolf ball. in the ensuing period, the charge on condenser 138 dissipates in resistor 140 and the photocell circuit is prepared for a subsequent cycle of operation when the teed ,golf ball is struck from the tee.

If at any time the tee does not carry a ball as :it rises, the device can be made to reoperate to load a ball simply by obstructing the light beam with .the head of a golf club for a short time while condenser -138 discharges, or the master switch 136 could be-opened temporarily, or a manually operable switch in parallclwith switch .131may be provided. Alternatively condenser 138 could be bypassed by a push-button switch to discharge it instantly by pressing such switch, in which event the resulting photocell current would render amplifier .12-8 again :conductive. Any of these expedients could be:employedto initiate energization ofsolenoid 40 where the device .had been left standing for sometime with the light beam turned on and no teed golf ball or other light obstructing means present.

The alternative form of teeing mechanism of Figure 10, designed to employ photoelectric control mechanism of the type shown in Figure 9, and ball reloading mechanism .of the type shown in Figure 7, differs principally .from

the mechanism described previously with reference-to the construction of the teeing plunger and coacting .pneumatic retarding means for preventing the teeing plunger from rising too rapidly and halting so-abruptly as to throw the ball from the tee. Here the teeing plunger tube comprises an inverted cylindrical .cup. The tee .28 ,is mounted centrally on the closed end of the ,plunger pop by a screw, and the plunger sides are .guided .for vertical reciprocation of the plunger within teeing tube 16. A, plate 152 stationary during upward movement of the plunger to seal the lower end of the chamber within the plunger 150, is positioned overthe lower teeing tube opening,'but is movable as a valve to uncover such opening partially as the plunger moves downward for venting the ,air rapidly from the interior of the plunger.

The valve plate 152 is normally urged upwardlyagainst the end of the teeing tube to close off such tube by the lifting arm 84', which is the equivalent of the lower bell crank arm 84 of Figure 7, urged in clockwise direction by a spring 70 of the golf ball loading mechanism. In the closed position of the valve plate the tecing plunger is extended upwardly in teeing position by a-coiled spring 38 which reacts upwardly from such plate. Such spring is received in the teeing tube 16 and is closely encircled by the inner peripheral wall of the teeing plunger 150 against the closed end of which it bears to lift the lunger. The plate 152 is carried at the lower end of a tube 156, extending upwardly into the hollow of spring 38, the spring serving as a guide for the tube.

When the solenoid 40 is first energized toeffect reloading of the tee, the valve plate 152 is held against the bottom of tee tube 16 by thearm 84, which is urged upwardly by the force of the spring 70. As the magnetic field of the solenoid draws the teeing plunger 150 downward in the tube, there are two increasing forces on the valve plate 152 which tend to press it downward out of contact with the teeing tube against the resistance presented by the spring-urged arm 84'. The first of these forces isthe progressive force of compression of the spring 38 between-the valve plate and the teeing plunger 150. This force alone, however, even in .the extreme depressed position of the teeing plunger, as shown in Figure v10, preferably is not of itself sulficient to overcome the inherent stiffness of spring 70 as applied through th arm 84. The second of the two forces mentioned, however, is that produced by compression of the column .of trapped air contained in the space between the platcand .the.bQ.t- The combination of .these forces is sufiicient to depress the valve plate downward out of contact with the bottom of the teeing tube a short but sufficient distance to permit cape of such entrapped air, permitting rapid descent of ..re teeing plunger when the solenoid is energized. Of course, when the plunger approaches its fully descended position, it strikes the valve plate, hence swings the arm 84 downward through an appreciable angle and thereby actuates the loading plunger 64. It will be seen, therefore, that the loading operation which is initiated by energization of the solenoid is executed rapidly.

When the solenoid is deenergized, the spring 38 is permitted to expand and thereby elevate the teeing plunger 150 into ball-teed position. If no retarding force were applied to the teeing plunger during its upward movement elfected by recoil of the spring, it would reach its elevated position quickly and stop so abruptly that a golf ball on the tee 28 would be thrown from such tee. In order to avoid excessive deceleration of the teeing plunger, at the end of its upward movement, use is made of the plate 152 as a valve which automatically closes oif the bottom of the teeing tube 150 when the solenoid is deenergized, such closure being accomplished by spring 70 through the arm 84'. As the plunger 150 rises under expansion of spring 38 when the valve plate 152 closes off the bottom of teeing tube 16, the column of air between the plunger and the plate expands. As this air expands its pressure against the bottom side of the teeing plunger 150 decreases. Accordingly, spring 38 works against a progressively increasing component of atmospheric pressure acting on the top side of the plunger 150 and a retarding force is thereby applied by this pneumatic action to the plunger 150, which prevents it moving too rapidly and stopping with excessive abruptness in its elevated position to unseat a golf ball on the tee 28.

A small vent or port 157 in the valve plate 152 permits escape of air from the space between plunger 150 and plate 152 rapidly enough that the time required for the teeing plunger to move into elevated position under force of spring 38 is not unduly prolonged.

I claim as my invention:

1. A golf ball teeing machine, comprising a teeing plunger and a tee carried thereby, an upright teeing tube operable to guide said teeing plunger for vertical reciprocation therein between elevated ball teeing and depressed ball reloading positions, a ball receiving opening in the side of said tube adjacent to said teeing plunger in ball reloading position thereof, a ball delivery chute extending alongside and substantially tangential to the side of said teeing tube having the ballreceiving opening therein, for delivery of golf balls into loading position immediately adjacent to said opening, a ball striker, means guiding said ball striker for movement through said chute transversely of the chute and radially of said upright teeing tube toward said tube opening and into engagement with a ball in said chute to push it therefrom through said tube opening into said tube and then retract, lever means operable thus to move said ball striker, spring means within said teeing tube operable to urge said teeing plunger into ball teeing position, solenoid means encircling said teeing tube, coacting magnetically with said teeing plunger and energizable to draw said teeing plunger in-to ball reloading position in said tube, a movable member disposed in position to be struck automatically by said teeing plunger moving into ball reloading position and operable to swing said lever means to move said ball striker for pushing a ball from said chute through said tube opening, and means operable thereafter to deenergize said solenoid and thereby release said teeing plunger to be lifted by force of said spring means.

2. The golf ball teeing machine defined in claim 1, in which the movable member comprises a slide pin projecting up into the teeing tube from the base thereof, and the lever means comprises a bell crank having a generally horizontal arm arranged, below the teeing tube, to be swung downward by depression of said pin, and a generally upright arm having an upper end portion swung toward the teeing tube opening to actuate the ball striker by downward swinging of said generally horizontal arm, and return-spring means operable to return the striker into retracted position and swing the bell crank oppositely upon ascent of the teeing plunger in the teeing tube to release the slide pin thereby.

3. In a golf ball teeing machine, the combination comprising a vertical tube, a plunger guided to reciprocate vertically in such tube and having a tubular depending portion, a tee carried by said plunger, a return spring within said tube, concentric with said plunger and reacting upwardly on such plunger from the base of said tube, and pneumatic dash pot means comprising a piston member projecting upward from the base of said tube and into cooperative engagement with the inside of said tubular depending portion as a pneumatic cylinder, and means closing said tubular depending portion above and below said piston member against ready escape of air from said tubular depending portion to inhibit rapid upward movement of said plunger relative to said tube, said dash pot means further comprising relief valve means operable to vent said tubular depending portion automatically in response to initiation of downward movement of said plunger, thereby to minimize retardation of such movement imposed by said pneumatic dash pot means.

4. A golf ball teeing machine comprising an upright guide tube, an elongated plunger armature received within and slidably guided by said guide tube for upward movement into ball teeing position and downward movement into ball reloading position, a golf ball tee can ried by said plunger armature, a helical spring concentric with and received within said upright tube of a diameter only slightly smaller than the diameter of said upright tube, a seat on the upper portion of said plunger armature engaged by the upper end of said spring to dispose the major portion of the length of said plunger armature in overlapping relation to said spring, and solenoid means encircling said upright tube at a location substantially below its top and operable to attract magnetically and thereby drive downward said plunger armature into ball-reloading position.

5. A golf ball teeing machine comprising an upright guide tube, an elongated plunger tube armature having a closed upper end and fitting closely in and slidably guided by said guide tube for upward movement into ball teeing position and downward movement into ball reloading position, a golf ball tee carried by said plunger tube armature, a helical spring concentric with and received within said upright tube and said plunger tube armature, of a diameter only slightly smaller than the diameter of said plunger tube armature and having its upper end seating on the under side of said closed upper end of said plunger tube armature to dispose a major portion of the length of said plunger tube armature in overlapping relation to said spring, means closing the lower end of said upright tube and thereby confining within said plunger tube armature and the lower portion of said upright tube a pneumatic dashpot space, means operable to bleed air into such dashpot space during upward movement of said plunger tube armature to regulate the speed of the upward movement of said plunger tube armature toward teeing position effected by said spring, and solenoid means encircling said upright tube at a location substantially below its top and operable to attract magnetically and thereby drive downward said plunger tube armature into ball reloading position.

6. The golf ball teeing machine defined in claim 4, including a light source disposed at one side of the position of a golf ball carried by the tee when the plunger armature is in ball teeing position, a photoelectric cell disposed effectively in alignment with said light source and the position of a golf ball carried by the tee when the plunger armature is in ball teeing position but at the other side of such ball position, photoelectric cell amplifier means operable to amplify the electric cell created by the action of said light source thereon upon removal of a ball from the golf ball tee in ball teeing position, and control means operatively connected to the solenoid means and operable by said photoelectric cell amplifier means amplifying the photoelectric cell signal to effect energization of the solenoid means for attracting the plunger armature.

7. A golf ball teeing machine, comprising a teeing plunger and a tee carried thereby, an upright teeing tube operable to guide said teeing plunger for vertical reciprocation therein between elevated ball teeing and depressed ball reloading positions, an elongated ball delivery chute extending alongside said tee and with its length out of alignment with said tee but off-set therefrom transversely of the chutes length for delivery of golf balls into loading position immediately adjacent to said tee, a ball striker,

signal of said photomeans guiding said ball striker for movement through said chute transversely of the chute toward said tee and 1 1 into engagement with a ball insaid-cliute to push it therefrom onto said tee and then retract, means operable thus to move said ball striker, spring means operable to urge said teeing plunger into ball teeing position, solenoidmeans encircling said teeing tube, coacting magnetically with said teeing plunger and energizable to draw said teeing plunger downward into ball reloading position, a movable member disposed in position to be struck automatically by said teeing plunger moving into ballreloading position and operable to effect movement of said ball striker moving means for pushing a ballfrom said chute onto said tee, and means operable thereafter to deenergize said solenoid and thereby release said teeing plunger to be lifted by force of said spring means.

8. A golf ball teeing machine, comprising a teeing plunger and a tee carried thereby, an upright teeing tube operable to guide said teeing plunger for vertical recipro cation therein between elevated ballteeing and depressed ball reloading positions, a ball' receiving opening in' the side of said tube adjacent to said teeing plunger in ball reloading position thereof, aball delivery chute extending alongside and substantially tangential to the side of said teeing tube having the ball -receiving opening therein, for delivery of golf balls into loading position immediately adjacent to said opening, a ball striker, means guiding said ball striker for movement through said chute transversely of the chute and radially of said upright teeing tube toward said tube'opening and intoengagement with a ball insaid chute to push it therefrom through said tube opening into' said tube and then retract, drive means operable thus to" move said ball striker, means operabl e to move said teeingplunger between ball teeing position and ball reloading position, and means operable auto matically by said teeing plunger moving into ball reloadin'giposition to actuate said drive means to move saidball striker for pushing a ball: from said chute through said tube opening.

93 A golf ball teeing machine, comprising a teeing plunger and a tee carried thereby, anupright teeing tubeoperable to guide said teeing plunger for vertical reciprocation therein between elevated ball teeing and depressed ball reloading positions, a ball receiving opening in the side of said tube adjacent to said teeing plunger in' ball reloading position thereof, a' ball delivery chute extending alongside and substantially tangential to theside of said teeing tube having the ball-receiving opening therein, for delivery of golf balls into loading position immediately adjacent" to said opening, a ball striker, means guiding said ball striker for movement through said chute transversely of the chute and radially of said upa right teeing tube toward said tube opening and into engagement with a ball in said chute to push it therefrom through said tube opening into said tube and then retract, means operable to move said teeing plunger between ball teeing position and ball reloading position, a slide pin' projecting upward into said teeing tube from the basethereof in position to be struck automatically by said teeing plunger moving into ball reloading position, and a bell crank having an upright arm engageable with said ball striker to reciprocate the same and having a generally horizontal arm arranged. below the teeing tube and engageab'le by said slide pin as it moves downward to depress said horizontal arm and thereby swing said upright arm toward the teeing tube opening to actuate said ball striker for pushing a ball from said chute through said tube opening into said tube. 1

In a golf ball teeing machine, the combination comprising an upright tube, a plunger tube armature guided to reciprocate vertically in said upright tube, a tee carried by said plunger tube armature, a spring within said upright tube, concentric with and acting upwardly on said plunger tube armature, said plunger tube armature having a closed end defining one end of an air-filled dashpot chamber, and a closure member defining the opposite end of such dashpot chamber and having therethrough a bleed port for slow flow of air therethrough as the volume of such dashpot chamber is changed progressively by upward movement of said plunger tube armature to inhibit rapid upward spring-urged movement of said plunger tube armature relative to said upright tube, and a solenoid encircling said upright tube at a location substantially below its top and operable to attract magnetically and thereby drive downward said plunger tube armature.

11. In a golf ball teeingma'chine, the combination com- 1-2 prising a vertical" tube; a plunger." guided toreciprocate verticallyin such: tube and having a tubular dependingportion, a tee carried by said plunger, areturn' spring within said tube, concentric with and acting upwardly on said'plunger, a piston member projecting upward fromthe base of said tube' and into cooperative engagement with the inside of said tubular depending portion as a. pneumatic cylinder, means closing said tubular depending portion below said piston member against ready es cape of airfrom the par-t of saidtubular depending por tion below said piston member to inhibit rapid upward movement of said plunger relative to'sa'id' tube, and relief valve means operable toventthe part of said tubular" depending portion below said piston member antomati cally in response to initiationof downward movement of said' plunger.

12. The golfball'" teeing machine defined in claim- 10} in which the closure member defining the opposite end of the dashpot chamber is a movable cover member disposed over the lower endof the upright tube and the up per end of the plunger tube armature is the closed end, and spring means urging said cover member upwardly toward closedposition to close the lower end of the-up right tube, the spring within the upright tubebearing upon and reacting upwardly from saidcover member and, by itscompression resulting from downward move= ment of the plunger tube armature, tendingto move said cover member downward from the lower end of the tube to permit escape ofair from the dashpot'chamber:

13. The golf ball teeing machinedefined in claim 4, aball deliverychute adjacent tothe golf ball tee in b'a'll' reloading position, aloading member" operable to eifect movement of a golf ball from said chute onto the tee in ballreloading position; and switch means coacti'ng' withsaid loadingmemjber to' effect deenergization of the solenoid means by ball loading movement of said loading member toenable the plunger to raise the loaded" golf ball tee into'ball teeing position;

14; The golf ball teeing machine defined in: claim 8, in which the ball striker drive means includes loading solenoid means operable to move the ball striker through the chute, the means operable automatically bythe teeng plunger moving intoball reloading position including loading solenoidmeans energizing switch means closed by movement of the teeing plunger into ball" relo'ading position.

15. A golf ball t'eeingi machine; comprising a teeing plunger and a tee carried thereby, an upright teeingtube' operable to guide said teeing; plunger for vertical reciprocation therein between elevated ball teeing and dcpressed ball reloading positions, a ball receiving opening in the side of said tube adjacent to saidteeing plunger in ball reloading position thereof, a ball delivery chute ex tending alongside and substantially tangentialto the side of said teeing tube having the" ball-receiving opening therein, for delivery of golf balls-into loading position" immediately adjacent to said opening, aball striker, means guiding said ball striker for movement through said chute transverselyot the chute and radially of'said' up-- right teeing tube toward said tube opening and. into en.- gagement with a ball in said chute topush. it. therefrom through. said tube opening. into said tube and then re tract, means operable to move said teeing. plunger be" tween ball teeing position and ball: reloading, position-,- and a bell crank including a generally horizontal arm hav ing its free end depressible' by said teeing plunger moving? downward and an upright arm extending therefrom upward for engagement with said ball striker to' reciprocate the same for pushing a ball from said chutethrough said tube opening into said tube.

References Cited in the file of this patent

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Classifications
Classification aux États-Unis473/136, 124/51.1, 312/49
Classification internationaleA63B57/00
Classification coopérativeA63B57/0006
Classification européenneA63B57/00A