US 2171382 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Rug. 29, 1939.
W. L. WETTLAUFER GOLF CLUB GRIP AND METHOD OF MAKING THE SAME Filed Sept. 8, 1958 Patented Aug. 29, 1939 UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE GOLF CLUB GRIP AND METHOD OF MAKING THE SAME This invention relates to golf clubs or like devices having hand grip portions, and it has particular reference to the provision of a resilient grip member disposed on the club shaft, and to a method of applying such member.
Heretofore, the universally customary hand grip for a golf club or the like has consisted of a spirally wound leather wrapping about the end of the club shaft. While such grips have been found as satisfactory as any heretofore proposed, it is nevertheless the experience of all players that occasionally the club will slip or turn in the hands as the stroke is made, thereby spoiling the shot. Such experience is had even by those players who, through practice and discipline, instinctively take a firm grip on the club at address, and
who avoid a loosening of the grip when the wrists are cooked at the top of the backswing.
In order to minimize as much as possible the occurrences of a slipping of the club at impact, I conceive that improvements may be obtained by providing a grip member which is sufficiently resilient to permit of a better moulding of the shaft to the hands of the player, and withal have sufficient rigidity to allow the player to obtain a firm grasp, or feel of the club. I further conceive that any such grip should be securely attached to the club shaft, and be durable, for one of the many annoyances to golfers is the unwrapping or loosening of leather grips during the course of play.
These desiderata I have realized by applying to the gripped end of the shaft a tube or stocking of soft rubber-that is, a rubber tube having a high gum content but sufficiently cured to be durable against abrasion or oxidation-which tube is slipped onto the shaft end under tension by means of a lubricant that later dries or sets to form an adhesive bonding the tube to the shaft throughout their mutual extent. Such stocking is then wrapped with a textile thread disposed in a helical fashion, which is secured at either end of the tube, and drawn under sufficient tension to indent the rubber and to force the rubber between successive convolutions outwardly into protruding compressible threads or ridges which mould themselves into the players hands.
It will thus be seen that my invention involves not only a novel and improved grip member, but also a method of forming the same, and that these several aspects of my invention are interrelated, due to the fact that it would be practically impossible to slide a rubber tube under expanding tension over a plain'steel or coated shaft, or to inject a bonding material between the inner wall of the stocking and the shaft surface after assembly. By employing the bonding material in a liquid phase as a lubricant, however, the stocking may be readily brought into its desired position, and, when the adhesive sets, or is converted to the solid phase, all portions of the tube are affixed to the shaft, and are not subsequently pulled away therefrom when the textile wrapping is applied.
The invention involves further novel and useful features of construction, which will be more readily understood as this description proceeds with reference to the embodiment shown in the accompanying drawing, wherein:
Fig. 1 is a fragmentary view of the gripped end of a shaft with a coating of adhesive just applied thereto;
Fig. 2 is a view similar to Fig. 1, showing the stop of bringing the stocking into position;
Fig. 3 is an enlarged fragmentary view of the completed grip, showing the winding applied to the stocking; and,
Fig. 4 is an enlarged fragmentary section, showing the end ferrule for the shaft and the mode of attaching the winding at the butt end.
Referring first to Fig. 1, there is shown the gripped end of a tapered shaft H), which may be regarded as the shaft for a golf club. The shaft [0 is specifically to be considered as a hollow steel tube, which is first coated over a distance of from ten to twelve inches from the butt with a wet film of shellac, cellulosic derivative cement, or like material. The butt 12 of the shaft I0 is fitted with a tapered wooden plug l3, as shown in detail in Fig. 4, which constitutes an extension of the shaft in and serves purposes hereinafter described. The taper of the shaft I0 is such that there is perhaps a ten per cent increase in diameter from the point l4, where the adhesive terminates, to the butt l2-that is to say, a use ful diameter at the point I4 is about 0.54 inch, while the diameter at the point I2 may be 0.67 inch, and the extremity of the plug 13 may have a diameter of about 0.77 inch.
To such a coated and tapered shaft is then applied, as illustrated in Fig. 2, a stocking l5 of soft rubber having a normal internal diameter of about 0.50 inch, so that, as the stocking is slipped over the shaft from the small, or head end, it is progressively expanded or placed under tension, as it moves over the grip section just described. Inasmuch as there is a high coefficient of friction between rubber and steel or other material of which the shaft may be made, and because of the increasing tension in the rubber, it would be a with a normal wall thickness of about 0.10 inch,
as the tension and friction may induce tearing of the stocking, if the lubricant is not applied.
Accordingly, the preferred operation or step of getting the stocking onto the shaft under tension is to apply first a coating of lubricant, and then to slide the stocking down the shaft from the small end to the big end, and to-interrelate the internal tube diameter and the shaft diameters so that the tension in the rubber is positive at all areas of final contact. As an auxiliary air, a split conical expander E is inserted in the stocking to spread the lower end thereof and to prevent the lubricant from being wiped off in advance of the stocking.
The lubricant coating l I is advantageously one which acts as a lubricant when the stocking I5 is first positioned, but which loses its lubricating properties, and becomes adhesive, after the stocking is brought to its intended position. As noted above, such materials as shellac and the pyroxylin cements are particularly eflicacious-the solvents evaporating within a reasonable time after the stocking I5 is drawn home, and the residual solids providing an enhanced bond between the shaft l and the tube wall.
As indicated by the dotted lines in Fig. 2, the stocking IS, with the applied expander E, is slipped along the shaft l0 until its extremity pro- J'ects beyond the end of the plug it slightly, and after the expander is removed the end of the stocking thereupon curls over the end of the plug.
This feature is more clearly illustrated in Fig. 4, in which the end of the tapered plug I3 is overlapped slightly by the end l5a of the stocking IS.
The plug l3 not only serves to finish off the end of the shaft Ill, but it also provides an anchorage for the wrapping twine or textile cord next to be applied. Thus, as shown in Fig. 4, the plug I3 is formed with a bore Ii into which is stuck the end of a length of twine ll-cement or the like being applied to secure the end. When the end I511 of the stocking overlaps the plug ii, the cord is then drawn out around the overlapping end, and a metal ferrule I 8 having a depressed central aperture I 9 is then positioned over the end to provide a securing cap, being held in place by a screw 2|. If desired, the ends of the stocking are skived or bevelled to present a smoother finish.
The twine .l! is then wrapped around the smooth portion of the stocking under appreciable tension-this tension being enough to cause the outer surface of the stocking to bulge outwardly into convolutions 22, which, in cross section, as shown in Fig. 4, are substantially circular in shape. It will be noted that the twine lies wholly within the trace of these convolutions, or is em- ,bedded in the rubber, and that the pitch of the winding is such that it is approximately three times the normal wallthickness of the tube l5. This relationship has been found to be a practical one for providing a grip which adapts itself readenhance the appearance and to prevent the winding from unwrapping.
2,171,888 I Club grips made as just described have been found to be entirely practical, and to reduce the number of shots spoiled by .a slipping of the hands on the club at the moment of impact. A player grasping the club notices a sensation of softness and pliability, due to the molding of the resilient convolutions 22 into his hands. As the grip is tightened, however, the additional pressure on the rubber produces a sensation of firmness in the grip, as the rubber cannot be compressed by hand below the zone of the textile winding 11. Thus, the player is conscious of having a firm grip on the club, and as the grip is instinctively tightened to a point where this solidity is experienced, the normal playing grip is that best suited for firmness without undue muscular. tension.
Repeated use of the grip does not readily lead to any change in its properties, because the rubber is in full contact with the shaft, thus presenting a maximum area for frictional resistance to relative movement, which resistance is further increased by the bonding material ll interposed therebetween. Accordingly, the grip is relatively free from the necessity of repair or replacement, and is not likely'to work loose during a playing round.
I am, of course, aware that grips for golf clubs and the like have heretofore been made, and I am aware that it has been proposed to employ preformed rubber stockings for such grips. Such proposals, however, as far as I have been advised, have not been practical, and I therefore desire to point out in the appended claims those features of novel utility which define my invention in the broadest possible scope.
1. A grip portion for a shaft comprising a soft rubber tube resiliently engaging one end of the shaft, said tube being cemented to the shaft, and
a cord wound under tension upon the tube in the form of a helix, the pitch of the helix being substantially three times the unwound normal wall thickness of the tube.
2. The method of forming a hand and finger grip on a shaft which comprises coating the lower portion of the grip area of the shaft with a liquid material susceptible of solidification and having lubricating properties in the liquid phase and adhesive properties in the solid phase, sliding a hollow rubber tube of high gum content and of less diameter than the coated portion of the shaft up and around said shaft and said coating while the coating is still wet, thereby positioning said tube on said coated portion under tension and in uniform contact with the wall of said shaft, converting the coating from the liquid phase to the solid phase, andthereafter applying to the exterior of the tube a helical winding of cord under suflicient tension to embed the cord in the rubber and to compress and protrude the rubber between the convolutions of said cord into a spiral conformation substantiallysemi-circular in cross section whereby said cross section is provided with a diameter greater than the normal unwound wall thickness of said tube.,
3. The method offorming a hand and finger grip on ashaft for golf clubs and the like which comprises coating the lower portion of the grip area of the shaft with a liquid material susceptible of solidification and having lubricating properties in the liquid phase and adhesive properties in the solid phase, sliding a hollow rubber tube of high gum content and of less diameter than the tested portion of the shaft over said shaft and said coating while the coating is still wet, thereby positioning said tube on said coated portion under tension and inuniform contact with the wall of said shaft, converting the coating from the liquid phase to the solid phase, and thereafter applying to the exterior of the tube a helical winding of cord under sufficient tension to embed the cord in the rubber tube and to compress and protrude said tube between the convolutions of said cord into a spiral conformation substantially semi-circular in cross section and of a pitch approximate- 1y three times the normal unwound wall thickness of said tube.
4. A hand and finger grip portion for a shaft that includes in combination: a soft resilient cover afllxed to said shaft and having in general the physical properties of high gum content rubber; a relatively unyielding winding element spirally wound and embedded into said cover under sumcient tension to compress and protrude said cover between the convolutions of said winding element into a spiral conformation substantially semi-circular in cross section and of a pitch approximately three times the normal unwound wall thickness of said cover.
5. A hand and finger grip portion for a shaft that includes in combination: a soft resilient cover afiixed to said shaft and having in general the physical properties of high gum contentirubher; a relatively unyielding winding element spirally wound and embedded into said cover under sufficient tension to compress and protrude said cover between the convolutions of said winding element into a spiral conformation substantially semi-circular in cross section, said cross section having a diameter greater than the normal unwound wall thickness of said cover.