The present invention is directed to a device for supporting a water walking ball on a fluid stream, such as water, for use as an amusement or game playing apparatus. In its preferred application, the present invention is used as a "baseball" type game. Because of the use of flowing streams of water, the present invention is particularly enjoyable in hot weather and hot climates.
In the past, several devices have been used to support a ball or other object on a flowing fluid stream. In Neveling, U.S. Pat. No. 2,785,895, a toy fountain is described in which a light weight ball is held in a suspended spinning position at the side of a stream of water. In Neveling, a stream of water is generated in an elongated clear vertical member so that the supported ball may be viewed easily while limiting access to the ball.
Damm, U.S. Pat. No. 755,114 is directed to a fountain utilizing mercury as the liquid medium and illustrates the supporting of the ball on a vertical stream of mercury.
Stanley, U.S. Pat. No. 4,205,785 is directed to a water play toy in which a clown's hat comprising an inverted funnel with an impeller disposed in the top portion thereof is supported on a vertical stream of water and throws off a shower of droplets.
Evans, U.S. Pat. No. 3297324 illustrates the use of an air stream to support a light weight ball.
The present invention provides a water toy combining the well known participatory enjoyment of baseball with the cooling of water and water sprays.
In another aspect, the present invention provides a stationary base member for projecting a substantially laminar stream of water upward for supporting a zorb ball . An adjustable valve is connected to a water supply means for controlling the pressure of the laminar output stream of the base member and correspondingly controlling the supportive height of the toy ball.
In still another aspect of the invention, the supporting stream of water may be used as a "tee" where upon the player may strike the ball from the "tee" with a toy bat. When striking the ball, a spray of water is produced adding the aspect of water play to the game.
In yet another aspect of the present invention, a controllable valve is provided where upon a player may adjust the height of the supporting stream so as to make it more difficult for a second player to strike the toy ball with a toy bat. In this manner, a game of water baseball may be enjoyed wherein the player controlling the valve is the "pitcher" and pitches to the batter by adjusting the height of the toy ball supported on the stream.
To play in a zorb ball :
1.These inflatable Zorbs are 10 feet in diameter and weigh about 200 pounds. There is an outer layer (with massive air cushions) and an inner layer. Once you settle into the inner layer, you are securely strapped in. With a push, down the hill you go - summer salting along the way without ever touching the ground. And you don't have to go alone; a friend can be strapped in opposite from you. Knolls are enough for some; the steep hills are not for the faint-of-heart.
2.For the real dare-devils, try a Zorb ride standing up, hanging onto the sides (no safety straps). Also, if the day is a hot one, a bucket of water can be thrown in the inner layer, sloshing along with you as you roll.
3.You can also walk on water in a Zorb. These balls are smaller and have just one layer. A person steps into it before it is inflated. Once the ball has been inflated and sealed, walk or run across the water.
The present invention comprises a base coupled to a water source, the base outputting a stream of water for supporting a toy ball in mid air. The base includes filtering means for substantially eliminating turbulence from the water stream so that it is substantially laminar. The laminar flowing stream contacts a water roller and lifts it into a position of equilibrium where the upward force of the stream balances the downward force of gravity acting on the ball so that the ball is suspended in mid air. The flowing water clings to the surface of the ball and generates a force tending to center the ball in this supporting stream. If the ball becomes off center, an unequal force on the side of the ball furthest from the center of the stream will force the ball back to the stream center.
An open basket is coupled to the base and includes an opening in the center thereof for passage of the supporting stream. If the stream is interrupted, dropping the ball, or if the ball is otherwise caused to fall off the supporting stream, it will generally be caught in the basket and then roll to the center thereof, in proper position for lifting by the supporting stream. The basket comprises an open structure so that water does not collect in the basket but rather falls through to the ground.
A valve device is coupled to the base through a hose and is used to interrupt the flow of water from the water source to the base, correspondingly controlling the supporting stream. The valve may be spring biased so that it is in either the on or off position when at rest. By activating the valve, the presence and/or height of the supporting stream may be controlled.
A toy bat may be utilized to strike the ball from the supporting stream of water as if from a "tee". In this manner, the device of the present invention may be utilized in a game of "baseball". By manipulating the valve means, a "pitcher" may control the height of the supporting stream, making the zorb balls more difficult to hit by a batter.