Play Game abstract
Articles of play for use with the game of catch including a ball
covered with VELCRO material and a multi-layer catcher's mitt with
a front layer also covered in mating VELCRO 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
of VELCRO material.
Play Game claims
1. Articles of play or sport, for use with the game of catch, comprising:
a missile having substantially all of its surface defined by a
multitude of irregular filamentary formations, and
a multi-layer mitt for use by each 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 with an inner edge of said retaining
ring extending over a portion of said front layer, whereby said
front layer is prevented from separating from said second intermediate
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
said first and second intermediate layers are comprised of polyurethane
4. Articles of play or sport, in accordance with claim 1, wherein
the distance between said rear layer and said front layer is between
one-fourth and two inches, and wherein said multilayer mitt is circular
with a radius of between six and twelve inches.
Play Game description
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates to articles of sport and play and, more
particularly, to unique articles for playing the game of catch,
which articles are particularly useful for use with young children,
as well as adult players.
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 as 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
VELCRO 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 VELCRO material, and
a mitt or glove having an outer face also covered with VELCRO 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 young children.
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, useful with adults as well.
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
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 in which:
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. 2 is a rear view of the mitt used with the instant invention;
FIG. 3 is a front view of the mitt used with the instant invention;
FIG. 4 is a first side view of a mitt used with the instant invention,
also illustrating the VELCRO layer covering on the ball; and
FIG. 5 is a second side view of the inventive mitt illustrating
use of a retaining ring in accordance with the instant invention.
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 so that the ball will
adhere to the catcher's mitt when thrown by each child.
FIGS. 2 and 3 illustrate a front and back view of the catcher's
mitt. The rear layer 50 for the mitt is 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 can have formed in the surface thereof the shape of an
actual catcher's mitt or, of course, other shapes could be utilized.
The player engages the mitt by inserting his, or her, hand under
handle 40, which handle can be adjustable to fit hands of various
sizes. FIG. 3 illustrates the front surface of the mitt which, as
described above, has a covering of VELCRO at area 35, which covers
the entire surface of the mitt. The VELCRO covering is retained
in place in a manner to be described below, with the edges of the
VELCRO being restrained by retaining ring 30.
FIG. 4 illustrates a side view of the mitt, along with ball 20.
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. 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 is preferably
polyurethane foam for both layer 90 and layer 70. 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
of the mitt 50, is in the range of between one-fourth and two inches.
Similarly, if the mitt is circular, its diameter is between six
and twelve inches.
Preferred methods of construction include layer 90 being glued
to the rear layer of mitt 10 and, thereafter, gluing cotton fabric
layer 80 over layer 90, and also gluing layer 80 to the rear layer
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. 5 illustrates a side view 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.
It should also be understood that various portions of the mitt
or ball could 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.