Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 89.djvu/71

This page needs to be proofread.


�"The automatic umpire," as the inventor of this contrivance for training pitchers has christened it, has a target the exact size of the "strike" area. If the pitcher makes a "strike," the target is driven back a little— enough, as shown in the insert, to complete an electric circuit and operate a "strike" indicator. If the pitcher fails to hit the target, the indicator is not operated. In either case the ball is returned by a trough. Black silhouettes of batters are painted on either side of the target. Either of them can be concealed by pulling a cord which operates a swinging panel. Thus the pitcher is trained to cope with both right and left-handed batters. In the illustration the concealed batter is shown faintly behind the swinging panel, although the figure is not actually seen by the pitcher — this for the sake of making the invention clearer

Playing Baseball by Machine

��EVERY subject of popular interest is an inspiration for the inventor. It is, therefore, natural to expect that baseball would spur the man of wheels and springs, cogs, levers and gears, to many efforts, resulting in a large nunilier of inventions relating to the (ireat American dame.

Outside of those which relate specifi- cally to the sport as practiced — patents on balls, gloves, protectors, masks, spikes, bags, marking apparatus and similar things, mechanical baseball in- ventions divide themselves roughly into three classes. These are — games which simulate the great game itself, and which are supposetl to pro\ide at least a modicum of the thrills of the real

��diamond, and which can be played upon lawn or in parlor — games or sports based on baselaall which are suitable for country fairs, circuses, midways and -similar places, in which the public participates either as batter or as pitcher, and finally, inventions designed to aid in the actual training of ball players, by making their practice easy, or providing them with mechanism by which they can tell when their practice approaches perfection.

Considerable ingenuity is displayed in several such patented games in the construction of a "pitcher" which (should one say "who?") delivers the little rubber ball at various speeds and angles.

�� �