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Publication numberUS3642287 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication date15 Feb 1972
Filing date7 Jan 1969
Priority date7 Jan 1969
Also published asDE2000190A1, DE2000190B2, DE2000190C3
Publication numberUS 3642287 A, US 3642287A, US-A-3642287, US3642287 A, US3642287A
InventorsJoseph E Lally, Roman A Tojza
Original AssigneeBally Mfg Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Rotating reel game with masking shutter
US 3642287 A
Abstract  available in
Images(5)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Lally et al.

[ 1 Feb. 15, 1972 [54] ROTATING REEL GAME WITH MASKING SHUTTER [72] Inventors: Joseph E. Lally, McHenry; Roman A. To]- an, Chicago, both of Ill.

[58] field oISearch .273/l38 A, 138, 143

Primary Examiner-Anton O. Oechsle Assistant Examiner-Amold W. Kramer Att0rneyCollard Livingston [5 7] ABSTRACT In amusement and game apparatus of the type having a set of symbol-bearing reels and mechanism for spinning and indexing the reels in changed positions presenting various arrangements of the symbols in each operating cycle to represent different score or award conditions, with shutter means operative to mask the symbols displayed by a particular one of the reels, improvements are provided in the form of control circuitry with both optional and automatic operations under certain award conditions to cause withdrawal of the shutter in timed relation to the indexing of the particular masked reel with the object of adding variant award possibilities and conditions, as well as interest and suspense in the operation of the apparatus resulting from the mode of operation of the masking means and certain recycling conditions involving both the masked and unmasked reels and award possibilities to be determined 15 Claims, 8 Drawing Figures References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,978,395 l0/I934 Groetchen ..273/l43 2,579,241 l2/I95l Nicolaus ..273/l38 A X thereby.

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ROTATING REEL GAME WITII MASKING SHUTTER This invention pertains to permutation and combination apparatus of a kind in which symbol-bearing reels are set into rotation and caused to come to rest in variously changed relative indicating positions with the object of displaying difierent combinations of the symbols or some score indicia or the like arranged about the peripheral parts thereof, such apparatus being employed, for example, in amusement and game devices which may include a score award means controlled by sensing and selecting devices governed by the various positions of the reels.

Such apparatus commonly employs three reels and mechanism for rotating the same actuated by a manual lever means operative to set the reels into motion for a single cycle of operation subject to the necessity of first releasing some form of master control or lockout, as by operation of a switch, coin control, or the like.

In accordance with the invention, one of a set of several reels, and preferably a fourth reel added to the usual three, is provided to constitute what may be referred to as a feature reel, together with the usual mechanism for spinning all of the same and detecting resultant score or award conditions determined by the positional changes thereof, together with additional feature means in the form of a shutter and associated apparatus for normally masking from view the displayed symbols or score indicia on the fourth or feature reel and in general rendering the latter ineffective for scoring or award purposes except under certain special award conditions determined by the principal set of three (or other number of) reels in the first of two possible operating cycles, the said special award apparatus and conditions being operative to effect automatic release of the master lockout or control means in order that a second operating cycle may be initiated with the object of possibly increasing, or risk of nullifying the original award in conjunction with a release of the shutter means in a timed, interest-stimulating relationship to the coming to rest of the feature or fourth reel at the conclusion of the second cycle.

In a preferred embodiment, the apparatus may provide mechanism for spinning all of the reels at one time, whatever their number, in each operating cycle, and likewise actuating the appertaining award and score-sensing means for all reels in each cycle, subject to the condition that a master lockout or control must first be operated or released in order to initiate any first operating cycle with such lockout or control automatically conditioned to free the apparatus for a second cycle as the result of a score or like award condition achieved in the antecedent first cycle.

In those conditions in which the shutter is released in one operating cycle, the mechanism is contrived to reset and releasably latch the shutter automatically in masking position as an incident to initiation of the next cycle, an electromagnetic latch-releasing means and releasing circuit therefor being automatically effectuated for second-cycle operation through certain award or score circuit means set up in an antecedent first cycle.

It is further provided that the withdrawal of the shutter from masking position, when the latching means is released, shall have a slow rate coordinated with the rotation of the fourth reel in a way to fully reveal the reel indicia or symbol displayed by the special fourth or extra reel substantially at the moment of its coming to rest.

The novel and utilitarian features above alluded to, and others hereinafter to appear, will be more particularly described in the following specification taken in view of the annexed drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a front elevation of a four-reel mechanism of the class described;

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary elevation of the right-hand side of the machine seen in FIG. I;

FIG. 3A is a fragmentary cross section of the machine of FIG. 2 showing parts of the reel-spinning and sensing mechanism in elevation;

FIG. 3B is a view substantially identical to that of FIG. 3A but with parts shown in changed operative positions;

FIG. 4 is a side elevation, to reduced scale, of the side of the machine opposite from that seen in FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is an elevational view, with parts shown in section, of the shutter means, resetting means and releasable latch means and cooperative parts of the associated reel-actuating lever system as viewed in the direction of lines 5-5 of FIG. I;

FIG. 6 is a top plan view of the award-holding unit;

FIG. 7 is a pictorial schematic and circuit diagram illustrative of the operation of one fonn of the apparatus.

As depicted in FIG. 1, the reel apparatus may comprise the conventional set of three reels I0, II and I2 modified, however, to include a fourth or feature reel 13, all arranged to spin about a common axis on a shaft 14 removably seated atop a chassis structure I5. All four reels, as well as the mechanism for spinning, arresting, and sensing the same, may be substantially in the known form disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 2,579,24l to Nicolaus, only so much of which is reproduced and described herein as is deemed necessary to an understanding of the purposes, construction, and mode of operation of the novel fourth reel features and associated award control and circuit means comprising the present invention.

A reel-spinning or operating cycle of the device may be effected upon release of some form of a master control and lockout means (hereinafter described) and actuation of the manual lever 16, in consequence of which mechanism such as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3 will activate the reel system beginning (FIG. 2) with a counterclockwise motion of gear sector 30 transmitting effort through gear sector 3I and rod means 32 to a cooking lever 33 floating on cross-shaft 22, the latter shaft being tSrned clockwise as the result of rocking of an associated trip lever 34 fixed on said shaft and coupled to lever 33 by a trip-out cam 33A on lever 33 and abutting lever 34 until the shaft has turned far enough to cause the tail of the cam to strike a tripping lug 35 on the chassis.

During initial (clockwise) or cocking motion of trip lever 34 (toward the dotted-line position) its spring 37 is tensioned, and when the coupling cam is tripped out, lever 34 abruptly reverses and begins its return working counterclockwise stroke to turn the shaft 22, on which it is secured, independently of the cocking lever 33, the latter returning to its start ing position slowly under restraint of the air dashpot 36.

As a result of the aforesaid cocking and turning of shaft 22, the lever systems of FIG. 3A are activated to cause a spinning lever 17C to project its upper end into one of the variabledepth selector slots 19 on selector discs 18, each coaxially rotatable with an associated reel, which action turns the reel slightly by reason of the pitch of the slot so that when the lever is rapidly withdrawn thereafter the reel will be caused to spin. At the same time the corresponding selector or detecting lever 42C is turned clockwise to withdraw its detecting finger 4IC from the particular reel slot 198 in which it happens to be engaged at the moment in order that the reel may be free to spin, these movements being a phase in the cocking operation before the trip lever 34 begins its return or working stroke.

The sensing lever 42C will be momentarily held in the aforesaid withdrawn condition by a corresponding holding toggle lever system including toggle levers 20 and 21, FIG. 3A, which straighten out in substantial horizontal toggle alignment and are so held by a corresponding trigger lever 50 having a notched end which engages beneath the end 21A of the appertaining toggle lever 21 for this purpose, FIG. 3B also.

Meanwhile, as lever 34 trips out, the spinning lever 17C rocks reversely (clockwise) to disengage the slot I9A abruptly, and in doing so imparts a moderate spinning impetus to the disc and associated reel; and after a short delay the toggle trigger 50 will be rocked to break the holding toggle and free the detecting finger means 41C for entry into some one of the disc slots 19 to stop the disc (as at 193, FIG. 3A) and thereby determine the resting position of the associated movable selector contact means 46C on the corresponding contact bank 45C.

A delayed action of the toggle trigger means is achieved through the mechanism shown to reduced scale in FIG. 4 (depicting the opposite side of the chassis from that seen in FIG.

2) at which the opposite end of the cocking shaft 22 is seen to be joined to a lever 24 connecting through along drive link 25 to another lever 26 fast on timer shaft 27 to which is also aft'ixed one of the timing gears 28 of a known type of unidirectionally effective timer unit 29 operative to maintain the return or counterclockwise motion (as seen in FIGS. 3A, 3B) of shaft 27 at a slow rate in order to provide a short spinning interval for the reels.

As timer shaft 27 turns slowly, a coupling lever 38 afi'lxed thereto (there being one of these levers for each reel). FIG. 38, moves its offset coupling flange 38A ahead of the timing lever 39 thereby permitting the latter and the associated drive bar 40 to move slowly back toward the right in FIG. 3 or 38 until the end of the long slot 40A engages and moves a trip pin 52 on the toggle lever to break the toggle and permit the corresponding sensing lever 42C to advance rapidly into a slot 19 in the associated selector disc and stop the reel at a position of rest as aforesaid.

It is to be understood that each of the four reels has associated therewith one of the selector discs 18 as well as a corresponding triggering and sensing lever means 17C, 20, 21, 50 etc., such as just described in view of FIGS. 3A and 38, it being observed here that by the simple device of having the respective long trigger slots 40A in the several timer link bars made in successively increasing length, the release of the four sensing levers 42A...42D, and therefore the resultant stoppage of the respective reels, is caused to occur in sequence from left to right, the reel stopping first, and so on with the fourth reel 13 being the last to come to rest.

In accordance with the preferred mode of operation, the fourth reel may always be set spinning along with the other three, although it will normally be rendered nonindicating and relatively ineffective so far as display and scoring possibilities are concerned, except in the special case where the first three reels happen to set up certain special award conditions and circuits which will condition the fourth reel means for viewing and effective scoring operation in an ensuing "second" or awar cycle operation.

Referring to FIG. I, the indicia symbols carried by the respective reels will be of any desired character suitable to whatever amusement, game or functional purpose may be involved, such symbols being read or viewed from left to right horizontally at a particular position referred to as the viewing or index position. Usually the apparatus will be housed in some form of cabinet (not shown) concealing the mechanisms but provided with a window or sight opening aligned with said index position and represented in FIG. I by the field of view 48 enclosed by dash-dot lines, it being observed that the indicia on the fourth reel I3 is obscured from view by a masking means in the preferred form of a curved plate 60 constituting a shutter which is carried at the end of a radial shutter arm 61 pivotally supported on the common reel shaft 14 at a position in between the third and fourth reels.

As will appear more fully hereinafter, the shutter 60, at the beginning of each operating cycle is automatically urged to move for restoration to the elevated, full-line masking position seen in FIG. 1 through a linkage which is impositive in case the shutter has not been released; but under the special award or scoring conditions previously alluded to and in which the fourth reel becomes involved the shutter will be caused to drop slowly to the nonobscuring or nonmasking reading position shown in dotted lines in FIG. 5 to reveal the indicia displayed by the fourth reel at the index position, along with that displayed by the other three reels.

The aforesaid shutter mechanism is shown in greater detail in FIG. 5, wherein the shutter carrier lever 61 is seen to be pivotally supported on reel shaft 14 in a preferred location in between the third and fourth reels (FIG. I) said carrier being adapted to rock freely up and down in the vertical plane between said reels.

Extending at right angles to the body of the shutter lever or carrier, and attached to the latter as by rivets 60A, the shutter lies closely across the face of the fourth reel to mask the indicia thereon, the carrier being normally maintained in this blocking or masking condition at the index position, as aforesaid, by an electromagnetically releasable latch means which may take the form of a keeper member 62 of nylon or the like, FIG. 5, riveted to the lower arc of the shutter lever and having a latching projection 62A extending radially toward the offset end portion 63A of a latching armature 63 forming part of an electromagnet in which said armature is normally pulled by spring 64 to thrust said end 63A into the path of the shutter latching projection and prevent the shutter lever from being pivoted downwardly by a force, such as gravity, or a spring means (the former being utilized in the illustrative embodiment) and into the withdrawn, dotted-line, release position indicated, it being evident that energization of the coil 65 will attract the latching armature and free the shutter lever for such movement.

Also floating freely on the main reel shaft I4 adjacent the shutter carrier lever is a reset pawl 66 having an offset end portion providing a pawl 66A aligned with a like offset tappet formation 61T on the shutter carrier lever such that the two opposing offset pawl and tappet portions will be brought into abutment when the reset lever is pivoted clockwise, as by an upward movement of the long reset link 67 which is pivotally connected to said reset lever at 67A, and having a keyhole slot 678 at its lower end removably engageable with a stud 388 on the timer coupling lever 38 for the fourth reel (FIG. 38 also).

When the shutter 60 is latched in the normally elevated masking condition of FIG. 5, the reset pawl 66 stands displaced downwardly owing to the normal position of the timer coupling lever 38 and lowered condition of link 67, as seen in full lines in this view; but importantly the reset link will move upwardly, and the reset pawl will pivot clockwise, at the beginning of each operating cycle to bring the pawl portion 66A into downwardly pushing engagement with the carrier tappet portion MT and thereby elevate the carrier and shutter to masking position in which the same are automatically latched as aforesaid, this resetting operation occurring during the first portion or cocking phase of the cycle, and it being important at this juncture to recall that during the terminal or spinning portion of the cycle the timer shaft 27, and therefore the timer coupling lever 38 and the reset link 67, moves only slowly back to starting position with the result that the reset pawl 66 likewise withdraws only slowly from the latched up shutter tappet during this latter phase of the cycle, in consequence of which it will be appreciated that if the latch release coil 65 is energized about the time the reset pawl begins its slow descent, the shutter will be released, but will be permitted to move toward withdrawn or nonmasking position only slowly; and since it is during this latter phase of the operating cycle that the reels are set rotating, the total effect to the person observing the index viewing window 48 is that of the fourth reel and its symbols turning past and beginning to come to rest while the shutter slowly withdraws, the timing being desirably such that the shutter finally exposes the full view substantially at the moment the reel stops and displays a symbol at the reading position, all in a manner to afford an air of suspense and anticipation as to what the fourth-reel score or award will be.

Owing to the normally counterclockwise lowered condition of timer levers 38, FIG. 5, it will be apparent that the reset pawl 66, and therefore the shutter, will remain in lowered condition at the conclusion of any operating cycle in which it has been released, and will continue in this condition until such time as a new cycle is initiated, and be restored to masking position as a function of the initial or cocking phase of such new cycle.

In accordance with another known aspect of the conventional three-reel type of machine disclosed in the aforesaid Nicolaus patent, a means is provided for holding the award of any particular one of the three reels by actuating a switch to energize any of the three holding coils 54A, 54B, 54C, one of which is associated with each of the first three selecting switch arms 42, for example, the arm 42C, as seen in FIGS. 38 and 6,

for example, the latter view showing all of the contact panels and the holding coils and mechanism for all three principal reels, it being observed that the fourth reel selector switch lever is not equipped with any holding means.

The operation of the holding means for any of the first three reels is such that whenever one of the holding coils, for example the coil 54C associated with the third reel, is energized its plunger 53C will be attracted to move the corresponding blocking lever 56C clockwise, FIG. 6, and dispose its blocking end portion 56C across the selector guide slot 57C in a subassembly chassis plate on which the entire array of selector switches is mounted, in consequence of which the associated selector lever 42C will be blocked from returning to its starting position from any advanced awardaletecting position it may occupy on the stationary contacts. Each blocking lever 56C, etc., thus displaced, will be retained in holding position by the end 58C of a corresponding bell crank which has an opposite end portion disposed for engagement by a pin 59C on a common reset bar 59 which will be shifted toward the left, FIGS. 3B and 6, responsive to energization of its resetting solenoid 53, shown in dotted lines in FIG. 6 and in full lines in FIG. 3B, situated beneath the subassembly chassis plate and reset bar 59.

SCORE AWARD OPERATIONS For the purpose of illustrating one mode of operation of the novel shutter means in conjunction with reel apparatus such as disclosed in the aforesaid Nicolaus patent, the schematic diagram of FIG. 7 depicts a simplified control circuit in view of which three basic award conditions will be described, namely, no award whatever; a nominal award resultant from the operation of the three principal reels; and the special or feature award by which the machine is automatically conditioned for operation a second time, without necessity of actuating the master control means, whatever its character, for the purpose of spinning the special fourth reel.

Assuming with reference to FIG. 7 that a normal cycle of operation is initiated by actuating the master control switch, either directly or by the intermediary of a token or coin element, with resultant closure of contacts 70 to energize the coil 71 of a start relay from powerline terminal L-2, with simultaneous energization of coil 73 of the lockout release means, as the result of completing, by relay contacts 72, a master power circuit from power supply terminals L-l, 11-2 to the general circuit terminals 78 and 79, the latter being represented by conventional negative and positive polarity symbols merely as a diagrammatic convenience to indicate a current source, whether alternating or direct current.

The start relay will hold up throughout the operation until dropped by a resetting pulse, but the actuating lever 16 can be operated only once for each operation of the master control, owing to a holding circuit for coil 73 set up at contacts 77 when the pawl 74 is released, this circuit being broken at supervisory switch contacts 76 by movement of the drive rod 32 or other member of the reel-spinning mechanism.

As a result of pulling the lever 16 a first time in such a master-released" cycle, all of the reels and 13 will be caused to spin and thereafter be indexed in their respective indicating positions with the respective symbols or score indicia thereof arranged in any of the many permutations and combinations possible where, for example, each reel may have as many as symbols about its periphery, such spinning and indexing action being effected through the operation of the spinning lever means such as 17C and indexing and detecting means 41C, and selecting-switch means 45C, 46C, as previously described.

The initiation of any spinning operation, as aforesaid, automatically causes the shutter means 60 to be moved by timer shaft link means 67 and releasably latched by armature 63 and catch 62 in masking position (should it be in released condition at the time) before the reels are set into motion by trigger means 50 as the result of the operation of the spinning and indexing mechanisms described in view of FIGS. 2 to 4. At the conclusion of the spinning action, when the last of the four or other number of reels is indexed in the new display position, only the symbols on the principal set of three reels 10, 11 and 12 will be exposed to view, it being understood that at this stage not only is the displayed symbol of the special fourth reel 13 obscured or masked, but the appertaining selector switch means 45D, 46D is in effect disabled and takes no part in the normal score-evaluating and determining operation of this first mastenreleased cycle.

Illustrative of the case in which no award or score whatever results from such a cycle, it will be assumed that, as the result of the aforesaid indexing of the three principal reels and the associated value-sensing means, the appertaining selector switch wipers 46A, 46B, 46C fail to lodge upon any combination of stationary contacts on panels 45A, 45B, 45C capable of completing any award circuit whatever, in consequence of which it may be said that such operation or cycle is in effect terminated when the last of the three reels of the principal set comes to rest, the fourth or feature reel (or whatever its number in the total array) continuing inoperative in the absence of any award determined by the other reels, and ac' cordingly any further operation of the apparatus would necessitate another actuation of the switch 70 or other master control means.

The start relay is of the self-locking or holding type and, when pulsed by the master control switch 70 will hold the lockout release coil 73 energized until the operating lever 16 is actuated and effects closure of switch contacts 76 to energize the usual release coil 75 and drop out the relay and lockout release coil 73, thus permitting the pawl 74 to return to lockout position.

Every reel-spinning cycle concludes with an operation of an end-cycle switch means 80 which will trigger a cycle of operation of a score motor switch means 83, 86, 87, 88, 89, to totalize or effectuate any score awarded, as by operating a score register or the like. In the case of every normal or ordinary award, the score motor means operates, as in the illustrative embodiment of FIG. 7, to pulse a score register means a number of times dependent upon the value of the score or award. However, when the special feature is awarded, the operation of the score motor means is suspended and permitted to go forward only at the conclusion of the second reel cycle, unless the player elects to reject the feature and accepts the original award.

Considering next the case of an ordinary or nominal award, again assumed to result from a normal reel cycle involving operation of the master control means 70, as in the preceding example, but with the difference now that an awardoetermining chain circuit will be set up from a master power transfer terminal 79 at 101 conductors 79A, 79B and 79C and interconnections variously effected by the selector switch wipers 46A, 46B and 46C lodging on appropriately connected stationary contacts in the banks on panels 45A, 45B and 45C, whereby to provide power connections at award terminals such as 81A, 81B, 81C and 81D on the third panel. Every award, including that presently described, will provide power on terminal 81A for operation of the coil 84 of a master award relay -A- and one or more value" or pulsing relays B-, C, X-, etc.

Award tenninals 81B and 81C are respectively connected to energize the coils 82B and 82C of two of the "value or pulsing relays -B- and -C- (of which there will usually be a larger number than shown to afford a wide range of score values), each relay when selected being effective to connect a pulsing switch means of certain pulse value to a score register.

It will be assumed that the award in this instance is such as to connect selector terminal 81B to actuate the nominal relay B-. When the power circuits are finally completed in what may be termed the totalizing phase of the cycle, which is to say when the timer link bar 25 returns (towards the right, FIG. 7) to its home position, substantially at the time the last reel is indexed, so that cam formation 25A will actuate a one-way "end cycle switch means to close its con acts 80 and thereby start the score motor by connecting power via selector-switch interconnections and conductors 79A, 79B and 79C, terminal 81A, and thence through motor cam switch contacts 83, closed, to the coil 84 of said A-relay, the latter pulling in immediately upon initial motion of cam 86 when the motor starting pulse from the end-cycle switch 80 is applied to motor winding 88, the latter being energized for the full cycle of said cam owing to closure of cam switch contacts 87, which will also stop the motor when the cam completes onerevolution.

Thus, as the result of a particular chain award circuit set up by the selector switch means 45A, 45B, 45C; 46A, 46B, 46C, the master award relay -A- (which must operate for any award) is actuated under the control of the motor cam switch at the end of the spinning cycle as determined by the operation of the end-cycle switch means, and in this particular example will cause the nominal award relay -B- to pull in.

As a result of closure of contacts 85 on the A-relay, the coil 82B or the B-relay will be energized for the duration of the motor cam switch cycle and will hold closed its relay contacts 90 to connect the pulse switch contacts 9 I via conductor 91A to the step-up coil 92 of a known type of score register having a rotary ratchet disc 93 advanced from a spring-retumed starting position by a ratchet pawl actuated by coil 92 in the known manner.

The score register means may also include a rotary switch means 94 for actuating any desired collateral award device, for example to illuminate score or value lamps 95 or the like, this register means being restored to starting position respon sive to energization of a reset coil 96, in a known manner.

The score register stepping coil will be pulsed through contacts 91 when the motor cam switch is cycled to cause the B- relay to pull in as aforesaid, and it may be assumed in this instance that the concurrently rotating pulse disc PB of this appertaining pulse unit will provide five pulses, thus advancing the score register ratchet disc (and switch, if employed) five steps to indicate or effectuate the particular score achieved, at whichjuncture the described operating cycle producing only a nominal award may be considered at an end, it being understood that the score register means may be restored to a zero or starting condition by energization of the appertaining reset coil 96, this being done preferably in the present form of the apparatus by closure of master reset contacts 125 to connect power via conductor I26 to said register reset coil. The same resetting pulse may be employed to energize the resetting solenoid S3 for the hold coils and the release coil 115 for the recycle relay.

When a normal operating cycle of the reel apparatus results in a nominal award accompanied by award of the special fourth-reel feature, the operation of the award circuit means, including the selecting-switch means, cam-cycle switch means, score motor and pulsing switch means, will be exactly the same as in the preceding description of the nominal ordinary award operation up to the point at which the A-relay is pulled in, at which juncture a special feature SF relay will also be simultaneously operated by power applied through the selector-switch master award terminal 810 to coil 100 of the SF relay, normal contacts 101 of which open to disconnect power terminal 79 from the common transfer ground -G-, the principal effect of which is to disable temporarily the endcycle switch 80 which also connects to this transfer ground -G- Under the latter conditions, it will be evident that as the result of this special award the score motor, ordinarily triggered by switch 80 at the end of a normal reel cycle, will not be cycled, and the totalizing or score effectuating operations will be suspended pending the players's decision to accept the nominal award or try to improve the award by a second-cycle operation.

Another result of operation of the SF relay, as aforesaid, is the enabling of the option switch circuits by closure of SF relay contacts 103 to connect power via conductor 103A to the "accept" and recycle option switches, via certain contacts on cutout relay contacts 106.

Assuming that the player elects to accept the nominal award and forego the feature, he will push the "accept" switch button to close its contacts 104 and thereby apply, via conductor 104A, a starting pulse directly to the score motor winding 88, thereby effectuating the suspended totalizing cycle, causing the A-relay to pull in with closure of contacts of the latter applying power via conductor 85A to complete a power circuit for such of the pulse relays as may be enabled by the selector-switch award, in this example, again, the B-relay, with resultant closure of relay contacts and application of the award pulses from contacts 91 applied via conductor 9lA to the stepping coil 92 of the score award register means 93, 94, 95, etc., or such other utilization means as may be desired.

However, if the player, instead, elects to actuate the recycle switch means, closure of contacts "0 thereof will, via conductors "0A, 0B pulse all three of the selectorswitch hold coils S4A..B..C to lock up the respective award positions occupied at this time by the sensing fingers and selector switch wipers of the first three reels and hold this original award in abeyance.

The same pulse on conductor A will energize the coil I12 of the recycle relay, which is of the self-locking type (and which may be released by means such as the release coil thereby closing contacts "4 to complete one leg of an operating circuit, via conductor ll4A to the shutter switch "3, the remaining leg being completed via conductor 65A to the shutter release coil 65. Thus, just prior to the indexing of the fourth reel, shutter switch [13 will be closed by a pin on the timer link 25 to release the shutter, which will complete its descent from normal masking position just as the fourth reel is indexed in symbol-displaying position.

Still another result of the actuation of the recycle switch is closure of contacts 11] thereof to pulse, via conductor 111A the coil 106 of a cutout relay whose normal contacts 107, via conductor 107A, completes an enabling circuit from the SF relay contacts 103, conductor 103A, to the "recycle" and "accept switches of the option circuit by which the player is to be given the choice of accepting or rejecting the primary and feature awards. Once either option switch is operated, the option circuit is thereafter cut off or disabled until the machine is next wholly recycled by the master switch means to provide a master resetting pulse on conductor 126, as will appear more fully hereafter.

A further result of the aforesaid actuation of the recycle switch means and closure of its contacts 111 and H0 is the pulsing via conductor 110C of the handle lockout coil 73 to free the latter for a second-chance operation.

Assuming now that the actuating handle 16 has been manipulated in the second-cycle operation, and that the feature reel l3 has been indexed, any of three basic award conditions may result in that the nominal award of the first cycle may be lost, or it may be retained or it may be increased, these situations being next described in like order.

The entire award is lost whenever the fourth-reel selector switch wiper 46D fails to lodge upon any of the several possible combinations of contacts on its panel 45D to complete a circuit to a master award contact 118 thereon with consequent failure to pull in a transfer relay -T-, otherwise required to restore the connection, at SF relay normal contacts 101 of power from terminal 79 to the "ground terminal -G-, which in turn disables the end-cycle switch 80 from initiating a score motor totalizing cycle, so that even though the fourth-reel selector wiper may also have lodged upon additional award contacts, neither the original award being held on the three principal reels, nor any additional award detected on the fourth reel unit, could be efl'ectuated or registered due to the lifting of the transfer ground -G- by the SF relay and consequent inability of the end-cycle switch to start a score motor cycle; and in this sense the entire award, whether original only or possibly enlarged, may be said to have been cancelled or lost.

Let it be supposed, however, that in the latter situation, the fourth-reel selector switch wiper lodges upon the necessary combination of contacts to complete a power connection to the master award terminal "7, but it does not set up any supplemental or multiplied award whatever to other award terminals, such as "8; under such conditions the coil I20 of the transfer relay -T- will be energized from said master award terminal 117 to close its contacts I21 and reconnect power terminal 79 with the transfer ground -G-, so that when the endcycle switch 80 is actuated near the end of the second reel cycle, a starting pulse will be applied to the score motor winding 88, and the A-relay will pull in to actuate whatever pulse relays may be selected by the existing award held by the first three selector switches.

In the present example, an award circuit is held on terminal 818 on the third panel, but none exists on the fourth panel (except at the master terminal); thus, when the score motor is cycled, pulse relay winding 815 will be energized to connect the PB pulse switch contacts 9] to conductor 91A and apply five stepping pulses to the score register coil 92, which is the same award that would have been effectuated had the player accepted the original award instead of recycling for the feature reel operation. Lastly, an example of an increased score award is given wherein it will be assumed that as the result of the first or original reel cycle score award, terminals MA, 81B, 81C, and the master terminal 8lD on the third panel are all connected in award circuits; and further, that the fourth reel selector switch means enables the master terminal 117 and another award terminal 118, so that when the end-cycle switch triggers the score motor cycle, award relay -A- and pulse relays -B- and -C- and still another award'multiplying relay -X- are all pulled in to connect their corresponding pulse switches 91, 98 and 99 to apply the number of pulses determined by the appertaining pulse cam discs to the conductor 91A and advance the step-up score register means accordingly.

In the illustrative embodiment, the several pulse switch cam discs 'PB-, -PC-, -PX- have their respective pulse lobes in such numbers and relative angular spacing as to produce pulses occurring in relatively interspersed sequence. Thus the -PB- pulse switch produces five relatively widely spaced pulses; the -PC- switch produces five more less widely spaced pulses which will be interspersed with the five produced by the -PB- unit, making a total of ten pulses provided the corresponding relays -B- and -C- are operated at the same time. The -PX- pulse switch, alone, will produce 10 pulses; but if concurrently operated with either the -PB- or -PC' units can contribute to a total of pulses; or is operated concurrently with both -PB- and -PC- would produce a total of pulses. Such an arrangement can be varied and expanded and makes possible a flexi' ble selection of large award values by combining pulse units instead of having a single unit used alone to provide a certain number of pulses only, it being observed that only a simplified example is given here.

In order to reset the circuit means in the special situation wherein the entire score award is lost in the second-cycle operation with no transfer ground to terminal 79 existing anywhere, and the motor starting circuit disabled at end-cycle switch contacts 80, a special resetting circuit is established by the recycle relay at contacts 116 when the feature option is taken by the player, with the result that motor starting power is now again rendered available at the end-cycle switch means via said contacts and conductor 116A through another set of contacts 80X, such that at the end of the second cycle said contacts will be transiently closed by the homing movement of the timer link bar to pulse and start the score motor via conductor 104A, and the resultant cycling of said motor will produce no award pulses since the transfer ground at selector switch panels 45A.,B..C and D is ineffective owing to the operated condition of transfer relay -T-; but at the end of the motor cycle, the resetting cam switch contacts I25 will close to pulse all resetting coils in the manner previously explained and thereby cut off the power supply at the start relay in readiness for the next cycling operation under control of the master switch means.

It will now be understood that in every "second-cycle or fourth-reel" feature operation of the apparatus, the shutter means will be tripped out or released by the trip switch H3, actuated effectively in only one direction by a pin on the timer link 25 during the slow return of this member to its home position, as governed by the timer means 29; and the movement of the shutter toward nonmasking or withdrawn position will be correspondingly slow and coordinated with the stopping of the masked reel, the indexing of which is also governed by such timer means.

Whether the lockout means for the actuating handle is freed by the master control means or by the feature recycling operations, every operating cycle concludes with a resetting operation effected by reset means including a reset cam 89 rotated by the score totalizing motor means along with the cycling cam 86 and the several pulsing cams, said cam 89 having a lobe calculated to close contacts I25 of a reset switch substantially concurrently with the deenergization of the score motor by cycle switch means 86, 87, thereby applying a resetting pulse to conductor I26 and the several resetting coils 53, 75, 96, N19 (for resetting cutout relay 106) and "5, to reset or trip out respectively the selector switch holding mechanism, score register, start relay, cutout relay, and recycle relay.

The novel reel-masking shutter structure, and means coor dinating the release and resetting thereof to the movements of a particular reel in a set, has been shown in conjunction with only one control and utilization circuit means, comprising connections and instrumentalities specifically described by way of example and for purposes of illustration, it being un derstood that such circuit means may be modified and varied within the scope of the invention, and such exemplary arrangements are not intended to be limiting except as may be required by the appended claims.

What we claim is:

l. Amusement and game apparatus of the type having a set of symbol-bearing and score-award-determining reels and score-award selector switch means cooperative therewith, together with reeLspinning mechanism operative in cycles and control circuit means including master control means operative to free the mechanism for one cycle of operation to spin the reels and index the same in various symbohdisplaying and score-award-determining positions in which different possible award circuits are established through said selector switch means in correspondence with certain of said index positions; and score award means governed by said award circuits for actuating an award counter or register, characterized in that said apparatus further includes shutter means movable to and from a normal symbol-masking position relative to at least one particular reel of the set and biased yieldingly to move from said normal position to a released nonmasking position; shutter reset means cooperable with said spinning mechanism operative to reset the shutter means automatically from released to normal position during an initial phase of each operating cycle to restore the shutter if previously released; releasable latch means automatically operative to latch the shutter means in normal position on resetting thereof; and shutter release means operative under control of a said award circuit to free the shutter means for movement from normal to released position as aforesaid.

2. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said shutter means is pivoted on a common shaft supporting said set of reels for rotation, and said resetting means comprises lever means operated at the beginning of each operating cycle of the apparatus to restore the shutter to normal position as aforesaid, and having impositive driving relation with said lever means such that the latter is free to move when the shutter remains in normal position, and the shutter is free of influence by the lever means when moving from normal posi tion.

3. Apparatus according to claim 2 wherein said lever means comprises a resetting pawl pivoted adjacent said shutter means on said common shaft to move to and from resetting engagement with a part of the shutter means and said resetting pawl is withdrawn by said reel-spinning mechanism in each cycle from engagement with said part subsequent to latching of the shutter in normal position as aforesaid.

4. Apparatus according to claim 3 wherein said reelspinning mechanism includes a timing means cooperable therewith to regulate the rate at which said reels are indexed and the withdrawal of said resetting pawl from engagement with said shutter part is thereby coordinated with the indexing of said particular reel such that the shutter is substantially fully withdrawn from masking position at the time said particular reel is indexed in symbol-displaying position.

5. Apparatus according to claim I wherein the latch means includes a latching part moved from latching engagement with a member on said shutter by the armature of an electromagnet, and said release means includes a shutter switch operated under control of said reel-spinning mechanism and control circuit means in a predetermined timed relation in advance of the coming to rest of said particular reel in any indexing thereof.

6. Apparatus according to claim 5 further including circuit means jointly controlled by one of said award circuits in a first operating cycle of the apparatus initiated by operation of the master control means and establishing a special award circuit and circuit means controlled thereby enabling operation of the spinning mechanism in a second cycle without operating the master control means and also enabling said selector switch means to establish further award circuits under control of score award determining movement of the particular reel in said second cycle; and further circuit means controlled by said special award circuit for enabling said shutter switch to effect operation of the shutter release means prior to indexing of the particular reel in said second operating cycle.

7. Apparatus according to claim I wherein said reelspinning mechanism includes a manual operating lever, lockout means normally rendering said lever inoperative, electromagnetic release means operative to disable said lockout means; and said master control means includes a lockoutrelease switch operative to actuate the electromagnetic release means to free the operating lever for a single actuation to initiate one cycle of operation as aforesaid.

8. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said reelspinning mechanism includes timing means cooperable therewith and effective to regulate the order and rate at which said reels are indexed and further cooperable therewith to regulate the release movement of the shutter from normal position to fully reveal the symbol on said particular reel sub stantially at the moment of its being indexed into a position of rest, the said apparatus being further characterized in that said latch release means is electrically actuated to release the shutter and said shutter release means is a shutter switch con nected in an operating circuit with said latch release means under control of at least one of said award circuits.

9. Apparatus according to claim 8 wherein the operating circuit named therein is enabled for operation of said shutter switch only by circuit connections established by said selector switch means as the result of two consecutive cycles of operation of the apparatus involving an award circuit carried over from the first to the second of such cycles.

l0 Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said reelspinning mechanism includes timing means cooperable therewith to regulate the indexing of the set of reels and the release movement of the shutter means from normal position to fully reveal the symbol displayed on said particular reel substantially at the moment of its being indexed into a position of rest, the said apparatus being further characterized in that said shutter release means is electrically actuated under control of a shutter release circuit including a shutter switch operated by a member moved by the spinning mechanism, in the second of two consecutive spinning cycles in which the second cycle is enabled by circuit means controlled by at least one certain award circuit established in the first of said cycles.

11. In rotating reel game apparatus of the type including at least one rotatable reel-bearing display indicia spaced about its periphery and spindle means supporting said reel for rotation, and reel-actuating mechanism operative to rotate the reel and index the same in various indicia-displaying positions in relation to a particular viewing position. the combination with said reel and spindle means of improvements comprising: a shutter structure including a shutter member, said structure mounted to pivot about said spindle means coaxially of the rotative axis with the said reel for movement thereabout into normal and released positions and to dispose the shutter member in view obstructing relation to the indicium displayed in said normal position, and to reveal said displayed indicium in said released position, means subjecting said shutter struc ture to a force yieldingly urging the same from normal to released position; releasable latching means automatically operative to latch the shutter structure with said shutter member in said normal position; and shutter resetting means including a resetting member and means mounting the same to pivot upon said spindle means adjacent said shutter structure for movement to and from operative resetting engagement with the shutter structure, the said resetting movement being effective to pivot the shutter structure to dispose the shutter member in normal position and in latched condition as aforesaid; and drive means moved reversely by said actuating mechanism in each reel-rotating operation thereof to move said resetting member into and reversely from such operative resetting engagement with the shutter structure.

12. The combination set forth in claim ll further characterized by inclusion as a part thereof of timing means operatively associated with said actuating mechanism and efiective to cause said drive means to move said resetting member in said reverse direction and at a predetermined slow rate relative to the indexing of the reel as aforesaid in a manner to maintain operative engagement with the shutter structure and to cause the shutter member to recede slowly from normal position and display the reel indicium fully approximately at the moment the reel is indexed into a position of rest.

13. In a rotating reel game apparatus of the type comprising a set of symbol-bearing reels and means mounting the same for rotation in operating cycles about a common axis into and from various indexed positions relative to a viewing position in which each reel displays a symbol indicative of a score or like award; reel-actuating mechanism operative to rotate the reels in cycles as aforesaid. said reels having respectively associated therewith selector switch means operatively controlled thereby to determine various value conditions depending upon the particular indexed position occupied by each reel from time to time as a function of the rotation thereof said apparatus further including circuit means controlled by said selector switch means to establish any of a plurality of possible award circuits in each operating cycle of the set of reels from and back into said indexed positions; improvements comprising the combination with said apparatus of shutter means mounted for movement to and from normal and released positions relative to a particular one of said reels, said normal position being one in which the shutter means obscures the symbol displayed by said particular reel at said viewing position, and said released position being one in which the shutter means reveals the said last-mentioned symbol; means operative in each reel-rotating cycle to reset the shutter means from released to normal position; releasable latch means operative on movement of the shutter means into normal position to latch the same releasably for movement therefrom; electrically actuated release means operative to effect release operation of the latch means; and release circuit means controlled jointly by at least one of said award circuits and means coacting with said actuating mechanism for energizing said release means in shutter-releasing action on a subsequent actuation of the reel-actuating mechanism.

14. ln amusement apparatus of the type having a rotatable score indicia reel and means for spinning the same; scoredetermining means operative responsive to certain positions of the reel, the improvement which comprises: a shutter movable to and from a masking position relative to indicia on the reel and means cooperative with said reel-spinning means for automatically moving the shutter into masking position as an incident to each spinning operation thereof; releasable means automatically latching the shutter means in masking position; means operative to release said latch means; said shutter being urged normally to move from masking to nonmasking position; and means operatively controlled by said spinning means for regulating the movement of the shutter into nonmasking position substantially concurrently with the coming to rest of the reel as a function of a spinning operation thereof.

l5. In combination: a plurality of symbol-displaying spinning reels; drive means operative to spin said reels in operating cycles seeking to change the display positions thereof upon coming to rest at the conclusion of each such cycle; award circuit means controlled by the reels in certain display positions thereof to set up possible award values subject to totalization; totalizing means normally operative at the conclusion of each reel cycle to totalize any award values set up as aforesaid; normally locked-out actuating means operable to activate the drive means to effect a reel-spinning cycle; master control means operable to release the locked-out condition of said actuating means for operation to effect one spinning cycle by the drive means as aforesaid; shutter means movable to and from symbol-masking relation to at least one of said reels; shutter release means operative to cause the shutter means to move to nonmasking position; shutter-resetting means cooperative with said drive means and effective during the initial phase of each said cycle to restore the shutter means. if released, to masking position; together with control circuit means comprising circuit components and connections operative to actuate said master control means a first time to initiate the first of two possibly sequential reel-spinning cycles, the second of which will be free of the master control means; first option circuit means controlled by said award circuit means in the first of said sequential cycles to condition said reel-actuating means for the second of said possibly sequential cycles free of lockout and necessity of operation of said master control means; second option circuit means including recycling switch means and acceptance switch means respectively rendered operative under control of said first option circuit means and effective in the case where said recycling switch means is operated to condition said first option circuit means for opera tion as aforesaid; said acceptance switch means when actuated being effective to actuate said totalizing means and conclude the permitted operating cycle without recourse to said second sequential cycle; means causing said totalizing means to operate at the conclusion of any second successive cycle which has been free of lockout as aforesaid, at the conclusion of any said second sequential cycle; and a shutter release circuit operative responsive to actuation of said recycling switch means to actuate said shutter release means.

i I i i i

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Classifications
U.S. Classification273/143.00R
International ClassificationG07F17/32
Cooperative ClassificationG07F17/3211
European ClassificationG07F17/32C2F