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United States Patent 3,751,056
Wightman August 7, 1973

CONNECTOR FOR SKI TRAINING

Abstract

An improved connector releasably secures the ends of a ski training rod to a pair of skis. The connector includes heads on the ends of the rod adjacent shank portions of the rod and an elastomeric receptacle on each ski to receive the head and shank ends of the rod. The receptacle has a hollow interior and its upper region has a gripping sleeve with a through opening approximatley the diameter of the shank and extending downward into the hollow interior of the receptacle. The head of the rod can be forced down through the opening to interlock with the bottom of the sleeve and can be pulled straight up through the opening, but in use, the receptacle holds the shank securely and resists any force tending to alter the distance between the other end of the rod and the receptacle, even as the shank inclines relative to the receptacle.


Inventors: Wightman; Warren J. (Fairport, NY)
Appl. No.: 05/185,693
Filed: October 1, 1971


Current U.S. Class: 280/818 ; 24/662; 24/694; 403/192; 403/223
Current International Class: A63C 5/00 (20060101); A63C 5/16 (20060101); A63c 011/00 ()
Field of Search: 280/11.37E,21A,11.13T,11.37J 287/23,21,85A,85R,53H,20.5 24/217,216,28A

References Cited

U.S. Patent Documents
3171667 March 1965 Wightman
3551963 January 1971 Mosher, Jr. et al.
2954251 September 1960 Reuter et al.
Primary Examiner: Hersh; Benjamin
Assistant Examiner: Smith; Milton L.

Claims



I claim:

1. In a ski-training device having a U-shaped rod with headed ends for movably connecting a pair of skis, an improved connector for releasably securing the head ends of said rod to each of said skis, said improved connector comprising:

a. a receptacle formed of a single piece of elastomeric material mounted on top of each of said skis;

b. said receptacle having an outside wall, a top and a hollow interior;

c. the upper region of said receptacle having a gripping sleeve with a through opening approximately the size of the shank of said rod adjacent said head;

d. said gripping sleeve extending from said top of said receptacle downward a substantial distance into said hollow interior of said receptacle;

e. said head being insertable in said sleeve to interlock with the lower end of said sleeve so said shank is retained in said receptacle and said receptacle resists any force tending to alter the distance between the other end of said rod and said receptacle;

f. said outside wall, top and sleeve of said receptacle being sufficiently deformable so said shank can tilt through a substantial range of angles as said skis move relative to each other with said head remaining interlocked with said sleeve throughout said range of angles; and

g. said hollow interior extending around said sleeve to afford clearance for said head to move up under said top as said sleeve and shank tilt.

2. The connector of claim 1 wherein said receptacle is formed of solid polyurethane.

3. The connector of claim 1 wherein said head is formed as a planar annulus concentric with said shank.

4. The connector of claim 1 wherein the diameter of said head is larger than the outer diameter of said lower end of said gripping sleeve.

5. The connector of claim 1 wherein said receptacle is mounted on bindings secured to said skis.

6. The connector of claim 1 wherein said shank has a downward taper.

7. The connector of claim 1 wherein said lower region of said gripping sleeve extending into said hollow interior is tapered down to said lower end of said gripping sleeve.

8. The connector of claim 1 wherein said head is formed as a planar annulus concentric with said shank and having a diameter larger than said lower end of said gripping sleeve.

9. The connector of claim 8 wherein said receptacle is formed of solid polyurethane.

10. The connector of claim 9 wherein said lower region of said gripping sleeve extending into said hollow interior is tapered down to said lower end of said gripping sleeve.
Description



THE INVENTIVE IMPROVEMENT

My U. S. Pat. No. 3,171,667 shows a ski training device including rods releasably connectable to a pair of skis to train the skier to keep his skis parallel. The connector or coupling between the ends of the rod and the skis has been troublesome. Several different connections were shown in my U.S. patent, and these and other connections are workable, but they all suffer disadvantages. They tend to be cumbersome, unattractive, expensive, difficult to connect, easily clogged with snow or ice, or to lack sufficiently universal motion or to come uncoupled accidentally during use.

The present invention involves an analysis of the desirable characteristics and functions of an optimum connector and proposes such a connector that is both simple, economical, reliable, easy to install and use, attractive, and dependable. It overcomes the disadvantages of previous connectors for ski training devices.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The inventive connector is for releasably securing the ends of a rod to a pair of skis. It includes head portions on the ends of the rod having a larger diameter than adjacent shank portions and an elastomeric receptacle mounted on top of each of the skis. The receptacle has a hollow interior, and its upper region has a gripping sleeve with a through opening approximately the size of the shank. The lower region of the gripping sleeve extends down into the hollow interior, and the elastomeric material is sufficiently deformable so that the head of the rod can be moved up or down through the opening in the gripping sleeve and interlock with the lower end of the gripping sleeve and the receptacle allows the shank to tilt through a substantial range of angles accommodated by the clearance in the hollow interior.

DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a fragmentary perspective view of a preferred embodiment of the inventive connector securing a rod to each of a pair of skis;

FIG. 2 is a vertical, cross-sectional view of a preferred embodiment of the inventive connector;

FIGS. 3 & 4 are views of the release of the preferred connector;

FIG. 5 is a view showing tilting of the rod in the receptacle of the inventive connector;

FIGS. 6 & 7 are views of alternative configurations of the inventive connector; and

FIG. 8 shows the inventive connector mounted on ski bindings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIG. 1 schematically shows a ski-training device explained more fully in my U.S. Pat. No. 3,171,667. A training rod 10 movably connects skis 11 and 12 for parallel skiing and the ends of rod 10 are releasably secured in receptacles 13 in an improved connection best shown in FIGS. 2 - 7.

The ends of rod 10 have heads 14 of larger diameter than adjacent shanks 15. Heads 14 are preferably shaped as illustrated with a planar annular region 16 adjacent shank 15, but other head shapes are workable. Shank 15 can be tapered as shown in FIG. 2, or cylindrical as shown in FIG. 6.

Receptacle 13 is formed of an elastomeric material such as rubber or a synthetic polymer. The best elastomeric material discovered so far and preferred for receptacles 13 in solid polyurethane.

Receptacles 13 have a generally hollow interior and are mounted on the tops of skis in any desired location along the length of the skis. An adhesive 17, preferably silicone rubber cement is preferred for securing receptacles 13 to skis but many different adhesives and mechanical mountings are possible within the spirit of the invention. As shown in FIG. 2, receptacle 13 has an outer rim 18 to retain adhesive 17 and grooves 19 for a better union with adhesive 17, and any excess adhesive flows into the hollow interior of receptacle 13 where it is not visible or in the way.

The working connection or coupling between receptacle 13 and head 14 and shank 15 of rod 10 is in the configuration of the upper region of receptacle 13. This region is formed to have a gripping sleeve 20 having a through opening 21 approximately the diameter of shank 15. Gripping sleeve 20 extends downward into the hollow interior of receptacle 13 as illustrated, so that there is open space around the outside of gripping sleeve 20. Also, sleeve 20 is preferably tapered down to a minimum diameter at its lower end 22. Annular surface 16 of head 14 engages and interlocks with the lower end 22 of gripping sleeve 20 as shown in FIG. 2.

The elastomeric material of receptacle 13 is sufficiently deformable so that head 14 can be pressed down through opening 21 into the hollow interior of receptacle 13 to the position illustrated in FIG. 2 to provide a releasable interlock between rod 10 and receptacle 13. Head 14 merely deforms gripping sleeve 20 and expands its opening 21 as it is pushed down through opening 21 to the position shown in FIG. 2. Preferably an opening 23 extends through the outer wall of receptacle 13 to provide a passageway from the hollow interior to the outside for draining off any water from melted snow.

As best shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, rod 10 can be withdrawn from receptacle 13 by pulling straight up. Such ready release allows the skier to disconnect his skis when he desires. In the process of vertically pulling on rod 10, the top of receptacle 13 is deformed upward, and head 14 enlarges opening 21 to accomplish a release similar to its entry.

Rod 10 does not unintentionally release from receptacle 13, during use, however, because skiing does not cause any straight-up pull between rod 10 and receptacle 13 of sufficient force to accomplish such a disconnection. Most of the pulling force between rod 10 and receptacle 13 during skiing is lateral from forces tending to alter the distance between the skis; at the same time, the skis must be free to tilt or incline relative to each other and take higher or lower positions relative to each other, and this tilts rod 10 as shown in FIG. 5 to incline shank 15 relative to receptacle 13.

A ski on one end of rod 10 cannot exert a straight-up vertical pull on the other end of rod 10 such as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4 to accomplish a release. Any movement of one ski relative to the other during skiing applies forces to the ends of rod 10 relative to receptacles 13, but so long as heads 14 remain in receptacles 13, the forces are resisted by receptacles. Relative ski movements can incline shanks 15 and this moves head 14 up under the top of the receptacle as illustrated. However, head 14 still engages and interlocks with a portion of sleeve 20 so that shank 15 is retained in receptacle 13 which resists any separating of conveying force between the skis. Inclination of shank 15 deforms the top and upper side wall of receptacle 13 as best shown on FIG. 5, and compresses and deforms sleeve 20 as sleeve 20 and shank 15 tilt. Head 14 moves freely about in the clearance provided by the hollow interior or receptacle 13 and can engage the underside of the top of the receptacle so that shank 15 can tilt through a wide range of angles. At any inclined angle, forces far in excess of those usually encountered in skiing would be necessary to separate rod 10 from receptacle 13 for any force tending to move the other end of rod 10, and is yet releasable in response to a straight-up pull applied to shank 15 for deliberate disconnection when desired.

FIG. 6 shows one of the many alternative shapes for receptacle 13 with a flexible adhesive the outer surface of which tapers inward as it rises. Receptacle 13 can also be rounded, flanged, lipped, grooved, or formed in any attractive shape.

In addition to gluing down receptacles 13 with a flexible adhesive as shown in FIG. 2, which has the advantage of not interfering with the inherent flex characteristics of the skiis many mechanical mountings of receptacle 13. Hence, rod 10 is practically unreleasable from receptacle 13 are possible, and one of these is shown in FIG. 7. A stud 25 tapered to fit the interior of receptacle 13 is arranged inside receptacle 13, and then a metal rim 24 is fitted around the outside of receptacle 13 to prevent any outward expansion of its elastomeric material. The base of receptacle 13 is then trapped between stud 25 and rim 24 so that when screw 26 is driven into ski 11, receptacle 13 is held securely in place. Many other mechanical interlocks for fastening receptacles 13 in place are possible, and these include trapping an interned lip under a mounting block screwed in place, adhering the receptacle to a support plate that is screwed into a threaded anchorage in the ski, and many others.

Another convenient mounting for receptacles 13 is shown in FIG. 8 where receptacles 13 are mounted on the toe binding 27 and heel binding 28 for a boot 29 bound to ski 11. Receptacles 13 can then be integrated with bindings that are necessarily secured to the skis to place connector rods 20 within easy reach of the user. This is attractive in appearance and eliminates the need for separate means of attachment.

Persons wishing to practice the invention should remember that other embodiments and variations can be adapted to particular circumstances. Even though one point of view is necessarily chosen in describing and defining the invention, this should not inhibit broader or related embodiments going beyond the semantic orientation of this application but falling within the spirit of the invention. For example, those skilled in molding, mounting, and design arts, and familiar with skis and their accessories, will find many shapes, mounting arrangements, and locations for receptacle and rod connections according to the invention.

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