Anticipate This!™ | Patent and Trademark Law Blog

They Invented What? (No. 176)

Posted in They Invented What? by Jake Ward on July 14, 2010

U.S. Pat. No. 4,170,357:  Golf club.

I claim:

1. In an athletic club having a shaft portion extending between a handle portion and a head portion which includes a ball-striking face, the improvement wherein said head portion comprises:
          propulsion means including a charge receiving means for holding and positioning a propellant charge such that when said charge is detonated, said heat portion is accelerated in the direction of said ball-striking face; and
           means for detonating a propellant charge held by said charge receiving means, when said ball-striking face comes into contact with a ball, to accelerate said head portion toward said ball.

2. The improvement of claim 1 wherein:
          said charge receiving means includes a barrel means adapted to receive a cartridge containing such a propellant charge and to direct gases rearwardly away from said cartridge so that when such a cartridge is received by said barrel means, gases produced by the detonation of a propellant charge therein are directed substantially perpendicularly away from said ball-striking face to generate a propulsive force which urges said head portion in the direction of said ball-striking face; and
          said detonating means comprises a firing pin mechanism which, when said head contacts a ball with sufficient energy, strikes said cartridge to detonate said propellant charge.

3. The improvement of claim 2 wherein said barrel means comprises a substantially tubular barrel member having an open muzzle end which faces oppositely of said ball-striking face and a breech end adjacent said face, said barrel member defining a chamber to receive and retain said cartridge such that gases produced by the ignition of a propellant charge in such a cartridge are discharged through said muzzle end of said barrel.

4. The improvement of claim 3 wherein said barrel extends completely through said head substantially perpendiculary to said face.

5. The improvement of claim 3 wherein:
          the interior of said barrel increases in size at its breech end to define an opening; and
          said propulsion means further comprises a breech block securable in said opening to abut a cartridge in said chamber and thereby retain said cartridge in a firing position.

6. The improvement of claim 5 wherein said firing pin mechanism comprises a firing pin which slidably extends through said breech block and which includes a central shaft and inner and outer end portions, said pin being positioned in said block such that, when said breech block is secured in said opening against a cartridge in said chamber, said shaft is axially aligned with said barrel, said inner portion is positioned to contact a primer cap on the cartridge and said outer end portion extends outwardly of said ball-striking face, whereby an impact of predetermined minimum energy between a ball and said outer end portion will cause said inner portion to strike and thus detonate said primer cap.

7. In an athletic club having a shaft portion extending between a handle portion and a head portion which include a ball-striking face, the improvement comprising:
          a barrel member having a breech end and a muzzle end, said barrel member extending entirely through said head portion substantially perpendicularly to said face, said breech end being located at said ball-striking face and said muzzle end being located at a position on said head opposite said ball-striking face, said barrel defining a. a chamber of proper dimensions for receiving and retaining a cartridge containing a propelling charge and b. a cylindrical opening of larger dimensions located between said chamber and said breech end, the portion of said barrel defining said opening being internally threaded;
          a cylindrical breech block threaded externally to mate with the interior threads of said opening so that said breech block can be screwed into said opening to retain a cartridge in said chamber; and
           a firing pin slidably extending through said breech block and including a central shaft and inner and outer end portions, said pin being positioned in said block such that, when said breech block is located in said opening and a cartridge is in said chamber, said shaft is axially aligned with said barrel, said inner end portion is positioned to contact a primer cap on the cartridge and said outer end portion extends outwardly of said ball-striking face, whereby an impact of predetermined energy between a ball and said outer end portion will cause said inner end portion to strike and thus detonate said primer cap.

8. The improvement of claim 1 wherein said charge receiving means comprises a rearwardly opening barrel which is substantially perpendicular to said face.

9. The improvement of claim 1 wherein all portions of said ball-striking face are substantially flat and made of a rigid material.

10. The improvement of claim 2 wherein:
          said firing pin mechanism comprises a firing pin which slidably extends between said ball-striking face and said charge receiving means; and
           said barrel means is substantially straight and axially aligned with said firing pin in such a manner that, when a cartridge is received in said charge receiving means, said cartridge, said barrel means and said firing pin are aligned tangentially to the arc through which they move as said club is swung so that detonation of the propellant charge in said cartridge will cause said head portion to be accelerated along said arc.

11. In an athletic club having a shaft portion extending between a handle portion and a head portion which includes a ball-striking face, the improvement wherein said head portion comprises:
           a generally straight barrel which extends at least partially through said club substantially perpendicularly to said face and has a rearwardly opening muzzle end;
          a breech block portion located between said barrel and said face; and
          an unbiased, unitary firing pin slidably extending through said breech block portion, said pin having an outer end located adjacent said face and an inner end located adjacent said barrel,
          said barrel being constructed to receive and retain, at a fixed location relative to said head portion and adjacent said inner end of said firing pin, a cartridge of the type which contains a percussion detonatable propellant charge and has an openable end for the discharge of propellant gases, so that, when such a cartridge is received by said barrel with said openable end facing into said barrel and away from said firing pin and said outer end of said firing pin is impacted against a ball, said inner end of said pin strikes said cartridge and detonates said charge to create propellant gases which escape through said openable end and said rearwardly opening barrel to accelerate said head portion toward said ball.

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