Play Game abstract
Articles of play for use with the game of catch including a ball
covered with VELCRO and a multi-layer catcher's mitt with a front
layer also covered in mating VELCRO like material. The multi-layer
mitt includes a rigid concave rear layer, a first intermediate flexible
layer, a second intermediate flexible layer, and said front layer
Play Game claims
What is claimed is:
1. Articles of play or sport, for use with the game of catch, comprising:
(a) a missile having substantially all of its surface defined by
a multitude of irregular filamentary formations, and
(b) a multi-layer mitt for use by a participant in the game of
catching said missile, said multi-layer mitt including a rigid concave
rear layer, a first intermediate flexible layer, a second intermediate
flexible layer, and a front layer having substantially all of its
front surface defined by a multitude of irregular filamentary formations,
said first intermediate flexible layer occupying a surface area
less than the surface area of said rear layer, and said second intermediate
flexible layer occupying a surface area substantially equal to the
surface area of said rear layer, said front layer being retained
in place by a retaining ring having an inner edge, the inner edge
including a plurality of teeth which contact a portion of said front
layer, to prevent said front layer from separating from said second
intermediate flexible layer.
2. Articles of play or sport, in accordance with claim 1, wherein
said multi-layer mitt has means incorporated into said concave rear
layer for enabling each participant in the game of catch to grab
said mitt in one of said participant's hands.
3. Articles of play or sport, in accordance with claim 2, wherein
the means for enabling each participant to grab said mitt comprises
4. Articles of play or sport, in accordance with claim 3, wherein
the strap is adjustable.
5. Articles of play or sport, in accordance with claim 4, wherein
the strap is adjusted using a multitude of interlocking filamentary
6. Articles of play or sport, in accordance with claim 3, wherein
the strap is attached to the mitt by passing through a void in the
rigid concave rear layer.
7. Articles of play or sport, in accordance with claim 6, wherein
the strap passes through a void in the rigid concave rear layer
and is further anchored to the front layer.
8. Articles of play or sport, in accordance with claim 1, wherein
said first and second intermediate layers are comprised of polyurethane
9. Articles of play or sport, in accordance with claim 1, wherein
the distance between said rear layer and said front layer is between
about one-fourth and about two inches, and wherein said multi-layer
mitt is circular with a radius of between about six and about twelve
10. Articles of play or sport, in accordance with claim 1, wherein
selected portions of said mitt and said ball are phosphorescent.
11. Articles of play or sport, in accordance with claim 1 further
comprising a strip of material having a multitude of irregular filamentary
formations attached to an area at the perimeter of the front layer.
12. Articles of play or sport, in accordance with claim 1, wherein
the rigid concave rear layer comprises a plurality of raised protrusions.
13. Articles of play or sport, in accordance with claim 12, wherein
the raised protrusions are arranged in a pattern conforming to the
inner edge of the retaining ring, but defining a sightly larger
14. A multi-layer mitt for use by a participant in the game of
catch which comprises: a rigid concave rear layer, a flexible layer,
and a front layer having substantially all of its front surface
defined by a multitude of irregular filamentary formations, the
flexible layer occupying a surface area less than the surface area
of the rear layer, the front layer being retained in place by a
retaining ring having an inner edge which extends over a portion
of the front layer to prevent the front layer from separating from
the intermediate flexible layer, the inner edge having a plurality
of teeth which contact a portion of the front layer.
15. A multi-layer mitt of claim 14, wherein the rear layer includes
means for enabling in the participant to grasp the mitt.
16. A multi-layer mitt of claim 15, wherein the means for enabling
the participant to grab the mitt comprise a strap.
17. A multi-layer mitt of claim 16, wherein the strap is adjustable.
Play Game description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The game of catch has been played since antiquity, both as a form
of play and, in more recent times, as part of a sport such as baseball,
etc. As is well known, the game is played by tossing a ball (or
any similar article) back and forth between two or more players,
which players may catch the ball with their bare hands, or with
the aid of a baseball glove, or the like.
Although throwing and catching an object, such as a ball, is enjoyable
and quite easy for older children or adults, a surprising amount
of coordination is required to successfully play the game, which
coordination is sometimes lacking in younger children still in the
early stages of physical development Therefore, although younger
children are generally quite eager to attempt playing the game of
catch or related sports activities, they may soon become frustrated
in their efforts due to their inability to successfully catch the
It is, therefore, an object of the instant invention to simplify
the game of catch so that the game is easily played by younger children.
It is another object of the instant invention to simplify the game
of catch by providing play articles which permit a young child to
easily catch a thrown object, such as a ball, through use of a unique
In accordance with one aspect and feature of the instant invention,
unique play articles are provided for playing the game of catch,
which play articles include a catcher's aid, such as a glove type
article, with a front surface covered in a hook and loop type fastening
material such a VELCRO (registered trademark of The Velcro Manufacturing
Co.), along with a ball whose entire surface area may also be covered
in similar material whereby the ball is easily caught by the catcher's
glove due to the attachment action of the hook and loop type fastening
Prior art patents exist in which mating sections of VELCRO, or
hook and loop fastening means material, are used to facilitate adherence
of an object to the front surface of a play article.
One of the earliest of said patents is U.S. Pat. No. 3,032,345,
issued on May 1, 1962 to Jerome H. Lemelson. The '345 Lemelson patent
was directed to a dart game in which the front surface of the dart,
and the front surface of the target, were covered with VELCRO material.
Therefore, when the dart was thrown at the target, the dart would
attach to the target, simulating play as with an actual game of
darts, but without the danger of using steel tipped darts.
A second Lemelson patent, U.S. Pat. No. 3,857,566, was issued on
Dec. 31, 1974, and is directed to solving the problem of the dart
disengaging from the target area due to the inherent bounce of the
dart upon impact on the target. The "bounce problem" was
addressed in the '566 patent by stretching VELCRO material over
a frame, which frame maintained a predetermined distance between
the VELCRO material and the wall on which the frame was to be hung.
Therefore, during the initial impact stage of the head of the dart
against the flexible VELCRO material, the dart decelerates, without
bounce, thereby preventing disengagement between the dart and the
Although the '566 patent addressed the "bounce problem",
it did so by providing a frame structure over which the VELCRO material
was stretched. Such a solution is clearly unsatisfactory for play
articles to be used in the game of catch or other baseball like
A similar patent directed specifically to the game of catch is
U.S. Pat. No. 3,999,748, issued to William A. Clarke on Dec. 28,
1976. This reference is directed to play articles useful in the
game of catch, comprising a ball coated with hook and loop fastening
means material, and a mitt or glove having an outer face also covered
with a hook and loop fastening means material. The mitt or glove
is a multi-layer device, consisting of a facing layer of VELCRO
material, a flexible textile backing layer, and an intermediate
plastic foam layer sandwiched between the backing layer and the
facing layer. The entire multi-layer device is flexible in nature,
without rigid parts, which construction, although not mentioned
in the '748 patent, might tend to somewhat reduce the "bounce
problem". However, it is clear that the flimsy construction
of the mitt described in the '748 patent would prohibit any "hard
thrown" balls due to inadequate padding and, moreover, the
flexible nature of the entire glove would result in constant movement
on the hand, which would make the glove very difficult for use with
It is, therefore, an object of the instant invention to provide
articles of play for use with the game of catch, which articles
are somewhat rigid and, thus, easily used with young children, while
at the same time completely eliminating the "bounce problem".
It is a further object of the instant invention to provide articles
of play for use in the game of catch, which articles of play can
be used with young children, but also capable of absorbing the high
energy of hard thrown balls without bounce or injury to the hand
and, therefore, is useful with adults as well as children.
Lastly, it is an object of the instant invention to provide a game
of catch which is simple and economical to manufacture.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
In accordance with a first aspect and feature of the instant invention,
articles of play for use with the game of catch comprise a ball
having at least a portion of its surface defined by a multitude
of irregular filamentary formations, such as, for example, being
provided by VELCRO material.
In accordance with another feature of the instant invention, a
multi-layer mitt is provided for each participant in the game of
catch, the mitt including a rigid concave rear layer, a first intermediate
flexible layer, a second intermediate flexible layer, and a front
layer having at least a portion of its front surface covered with
a VELCRO material.
It is another feature of the invention that the adhesive qualities
of the VELCRO material present both on the ball and the multi-layer
mitt, permit the game of catch to be readily played by very young
individuals lacking advanced physical coordination.
It is a still further feature of the invention that the use of
said first and second intermediate flexible layers completely eliminate
"bounce" when the ball strikes the mitt and also provides,
in conjunction with the rigid rear layer, extensive hand protection,
thereby allowing adults to play the game of catch wherein the ball
can be thrown with great force and easily caught.
These and other objects and features of the invention will be more
fully appreciated from the following detailed description when taken
in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 illustrates use of the instant invention while being utilized
by children for playing the game of catch;
FIG. 2A is a rear view of a mitt used with the instant invention
showing a non-adjustable handle;
FIG. 2B is a rear view of a mitt used with the instant invention
showing an adjustable handle;
FIG. 3A is a front view of a mitt used with the instant invention;
FIG. 3B is an alternative front view of a mitt used with the instant
FIG. 4A is a front view of a ball used with instant invention;
FIG. 4B is a cross-sectional view along line A--A' of a ball used
with the subject invention showing a weighted center surrounded
by a layer of foam;
FIG. 4C is a cut-away view along line B--B' of a ball used with
the subject invention wherein a semi-hemisphere has been removed
while the weighted center has been left intact;
FIG. 5A is a cross-sectional side view of an embodiment of the
mitt used with the instant invention;
FIG. 5B is a cross-sectional side view of an second embodiment
of the mitt used with the instant invention;
FIG. 6 is a top view of a mitt used with the instant invention
wherein the layers of VELCRO, foam, cloth, and foam have been exposed;
FIG. 7A is a side view of an embodiment of the mitt of the instant
invention showing the retaining ring removed;
FIG. 7B is a side view of a second embodiment of the mitt of the
instant invention showing the retaining ring removed;
FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the top portion of a retaining
FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the bottom of a retaining ring.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
Referring now to FIG. 1, there is shown two young children engaging
in a game of catch, while using articles of play in accordance with
the instant invention. Each child has on his left hand the "catcher's
mitt" 10 which, as described above, has a front surface covered
with a multitude of irregular filamentary formations such as VELCRO
material. Ball 20 is also covered with a mating surface of irregular
filamentary formations, such as VELCRO strips or, preferably, an
entire VELCRO covering so that the ball will adhere to the catcher's
mitt when thrown by each child.
FIGS. 2A, 2B and 3A, 3B illustrate a front and back view of the
catcher's mitt. FIGS. 2A, 3A, 5A, and 7A refer to a first embodiment
of the subject mitt and FIGS. 2B, 3B, 5B, 6, 7B, 8 and 9 refer to
a second embodiment of the subject mitt. The rear layer 50 of the
mitt is preferably made of a polyethylene material, which is very
strong and makes the mitt nearly impossible to break under strong
impacts. It is to be understood that the polyurethane material may
have formed in the surface thereof the shape of an actual catcher's
mitt or, of course, other shapes may be utilized.
The player engages the mitt by inserting his, or her, hand under
the handle 40. Preferably, the handle is adjustable to fit hands
of various sizes. In a preferred embodiment, the handle comprises
a strap which passes through the rigid rear layer and attaches to
the cotton fabric layer 80 to further secure the VELCRO-cotton fabric
layer in its center. The handle is typically adjusted by a VELCRO
or other type closure. FIGS. 3A and 3B illustrate the front surface
of the mitt which, as described above, has a covering of VELCRO
at area 35 covering the entire surface of the mitt. The VELCRO covering
is retained in place in a manner described below, with the edges
of the VELCRO being restrained by retaining ring 30.
FIG. 4A illustrates a preferred embodiment of ball 20 having an
outer surface 21 substantially covered with irregular filamentary
formations, such as a nappy VELCRO surface. It is to be understood,
however, that almost any type of ball having a surface covered with
irregular filamentary formations may be utilized. This VELCRO type
surface allows for adhesion of the ball to the front surface of
the mitt. As illustrated in FIGS. 4B and 4C, the ball may contain
a weighted center to provide ballast for increasing the distance
that the ball can be thrown and for minimizing the effect of wind
upon the ball. The weighted center 23 may be surrounded by any suitable
material. However, it is preferred that the weighted center layer
be surround by a foam layer 22.
FIG. 5A and 5B illustrate cross-sectional side view of the mitt.
As described, ball 20 is completely covered with a VELCRO layer
for adhesion to the VELCRO front surface of the catcher's mitt.
The VELCRO front surface consists of a layer of VELCRO material
60 behind which is inserted a foam layer 70, preferably of a thickness
approximating one-third inch, which foam layer is backed by a cotton
fabric layer 80. It is to be understood, however, that any suitable
fabric may be employed. For example, fabrics such as nylon, polyester
or silk may be utilized instead of cotton. Beneath the cotton fabric
layer 80 is a second flexible foam layer 90, which preferably occupies
an area approximately 3.5 inches square, and is arranged to lie
within the approximate center of the catcher's mitt. The foam material
utilized for both layer 90 and layer 70 is preferably a polyurethane
foam. It is, of course, understood that layers 70 and 90 could be
combined into a single foam layer. The total distance between layer
60 and the rear layer 50 of the mitt, is typically in the range
of between about one-fourth and about two inches. Similarly, if
the mitt is circular, its diameter is typically between about six
and about twelve inches.
The second embodiment of the subject invention (depicted in FIGS.
2B, 3B, 5B, 6, 7B, 8 and 9) shows the preferred manufacture of the
subject invention. In this embodiment, the mitt 10 is constructed
so as to eliminate the use of glue to adhere the layers both to
each other and to the rigid rear layer 50. This improvement results
in a substantial savings in both time and material over the construction
described in the parent patent application, U.S. Ser. No. 490,301,
filed Mar. 8, 1990.
In the second embodiment, foam layer 90, fabric layer 80, foam
layer 70 and VELCRO layer 60 are stacked in the rigid rear layer
50 of mitt 10. The layers may optionally be sewn to handle 40 to
support them in place. Most preferably, the handle is an adjustable
strap which loops above foam layer 90 thereby holding it in place.
Fabric layer 80, foam layer 70 and VELCRO layer 60 are then sewn
to the handle.
The layers of mitt 10 are held in place by retaining ring 30. Preferably,
retaining ring 30 has a plurality of teeth 31 which grip VELCRO
layer 60 securely. To further assist the retaining ring in securing
the layers in place, rigid rear layer 50 has a plurality of raised
protrusions 51 that are preferably arranged in a pattern conforming
to that of the inner edge of retaining ring 30, but defining a slightly
larger perimeter. For example, if the inner edge of retaining ring
30 is circular and has a radius of three and one-quarter inches,
then the arrangement of raised protrusions 51 is also circular with
the inner edge of the raised protrusions 51 defining a radius of
three and three-eights inches. By having this configuration, the
layers are further secured between the inner edges of retaining
ring 30 and the raised protrusions 51.
To further aid in securing the layers, nappy VELCRO strips 61 may
be attached to the perimeter of VELCRO layer 60. Preferably, these
nappy VELCRO strips 61 are of a width that fits between the inner
edge of the retaining ring and the edge of the rigid rear layer
Accordingly, the preferred method of manufacture comprises the
(a) placing foam layer 90 into the concave portion of rigid rear
(b) attaching handle 40 through the openings in rigid rear layer
50 so that the handle passes over foam layer 90;
(c) placing fabric layer 80 on top of handle 40 and foam layer
(d) placing foam layer 70 on top of fabric layer 80;
(e) placing VELCRO layer 60 on top of foam layer 70;
(f) sewing layers 80, 70, and 60 to handle 40;
(g) attaching nappy VELCRO strips 61 to the periphery of VELCRO
layer 60; and
(h) snapping retaining ring 30 upon the top of VELCRO layer 60
and onto the rigid rear layer 50 so as to secure all the layers
to the rigid rear layer 50 thereby forming mitt 10.
It should be noted that the above method of manufacture is only
a guideline and that various steps may be combined or carried out
in a different order. For example, steps c, d, e and f may be combined
i.e., fabric layer 80, foam layer 70 VELCRO strip 61 may be combined
and attached as a single unit after step b. Also as an example,
step g may occur before step f.
An alternative method of construction includes layer 9 being glued
to rear layer 50 of mitt 10 and, thereafter, gluing cotton fabric
layer 80 over layer 90, and also gluing layer 80 to the rear layer
50 of mitt 10. Foam layer 70 is sewed to cotton layer 80 and, thereafter,
VELCRO layer 60 is sewed to foam layer 70. Use of the cotton fabric
substantially prevents the foam layers from separation, and makes
the foam layers much more durable under repeated impacts from ball
FIG. 6 illustrates a top view of a mitt in which the layers of
VELCRO 60, foam 70, cloth 80 and foam 90 have been exposed. Around
the inner circumference of the rigid rear layer 50 is a series of
raised protrusions 51 which aid in holding the upper cloth, foam
and VELCRO layers in place.
FIGS. 7A and 7B illustrate side views of the catcher's mitt illustrating
handle 40, mitt 10 and retaining ring 30. The purpose of retaining
ring 30 is to ensure that the VELCRO layer does not separate when
ball 20 is removed from mitt 10. The preferred retaining ring 30
(See FIGS. 7B, 8 and 9) has a plurality of teeth 31 which are on
the portion of the ring that contacts the VELCRO layer. These teeth
function to further secure the VELCRO layer.
In the preferred embodiment a series of nappy VELCRO strips 61
are affixed to the perimeter of the VELCRO layer 60 to augment the
holding ability of the retaining ring 30.
It should also be understood that various portions of the mitt
or ball may be made of various colors, and/or made of phosphorescent
material for exciting night-time play.
The advantage of the instant invention is the use of foam layers
70 and/or 90, which layer, or layers, are designed to substantially
absorb any impact by the ball during the game of catch, and thus
prevent disengagement between the ball and the mitt. Due to the
fact that the foam layer(s) absorb approximately 60% of the impact
of the ball, the ball will consistently adhere to the VELCRO front
layer of the catcher's mitt, thereby insuring a successful game
of catch for young children and other relatively uncoordinated individuals.
In addition, the foam layer(s) completely eliminate any "bounce
problem", as well as providing adequate hand protection so
that the inventive articles of play can accommodate hard thrown
balls fielded by adult players.
The foregoing disclosure and description of the invention is illustrative
and explanatory thereof and various changes in the size, shape and
materials, as well as in the details of the illustrated constructions,
may be made within the scope of the appended claims without departing
from the spirit in the invention.