Title:
Apparatus for making snow
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A snow making tower comprising an upright elongated tower conduit having air and water supply connections at the bottom end and at least one fluid discharge nozzle at the upper end for making snow in freezing ambient conditions, and an upright support pole having a bottom end anchored in the ground surface for supporting the tower conduit. Spaced upper and lower tower supports protrude in the same direction from a side of the support pole for supporting the tower conduit. The upper support includes a hoop laterally extending from the pole and having a minimum inner diameter which is sufficient whereby the tower conduit may be readily slid upwardly through the hoop with clearance, and the lower support includes a support arm laterally extending from the pole and supports the tower conduit for axial rotation thereon. The lower support includes an upturned L-bracket protruding from the support pole and a downturned L-pipe protruding from the tower conduit and having a downturned portion which is coaxially received over the upturned portion of the upturned L-bracket for axial rotation of the downturned pipe portion on this upturned bracket portion.



Inventors:
Dupre, Herman K. (Champion, PA, US)
Application Number:
10/952693
Publication Date:
03/30/2006
Filing Date:
09/29/2004
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
239/2.2
International Classes:
F25C3/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MCGRAW, TREVOR EDWIN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Carothers And, Carothers Suite 500 (445 Fort Pitt Blvd., Pittsburgh, PA, 15219, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A snow making tower comprising: upright elongated tower conduit means having air and water supply connections at a bottom end thereof and at least one fluid discharge nozzle at an upper end thereof for making snow in freezing ambient conditions; an upright support pole having a bottom end anchored in a ground surface; spaced upper and lower tower supports protruding in the same direction from a side of said support pole for supporting said conduit means, said upper support comprised of a hoop laterally extending from said pole and having a minimum inner diameter which is sufficient whereby said conduit means may be readily slid upwardly through said hoop with clearance, and said lower support comprised of a support arm laterally extending from said pole and supporting said conduit means for axial rotation thereon; said lower support comprised of an upturned L-bracket protruding from said support pole and a downturned L-pipe protruding from said tower conduit means and having the downturned portion thereof coaxially received over the upturned portion of said upturned L-bracket for axial rotation of said downturned pipe portion on said upturned bracket portion.

2. The snow making tower of claim 1, including stop means for selectively preventing further axial rotation of said downturned pipe portion on said upturned bracket portion.

3. The snow making tower of claim 1, including detent means in said lower support for selectively retaining said downturned pipe portion at a desired position of axial rotation relative to said upturned bracket portion.

4. The snow making tower of claim 1, wherein said hoop for said upper support is connected to said support pole with a pivotal connection whereby said hoop is permitted to pivot about a horizontal axis.

5. The snow making tower of claim 1, wherein said support pole includes a support pipe slidably received over a ground support pole for axial rotation thereon, and said upper and lower supports secured to said support pipe.

6. The snow making tower of claim 5, including air and water hydrants protruding from a ground surface adjacent said support pole with hoses respectively connecting said hydrants to air and water supply connections whereby said hoses have no portions thereof sagging to form a water trap.

7. The snow making tower of claim 6, wherein all exposed portions of said air hydrant, air hose and air supply connection are insulated.

8. The snow making tower of claim 1, wherein said tower conduit means has at least one bend above said upper support.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to art of fluid sprinkling and more particularly to the art of snow making and improved apparatus for installing and supporting a snow tower.

The present invention pertains particularly to a support system for snow making towers which incorporate an upright elongated tower conduit, usually at least 20 feet long and having air and water supply connections at its bottom end and at least one fluid discharge nozzle at the upper end for making snow in freezing ambient conditions. A problem encountered with present day support systems for such towers is that it is difficult to install and uninstall a tower on its ground support, particularly in freezing winter conditions. Also, it normally takes more than one attendant to install and uninstall the tower conduit. In addition to providing a mounting system wherein the tower conduit can be easily raised, it is also desirable to have a mounting system which further permits the tower to be rotated axially through a considerable range and then be fixed at a desired angle of rotation.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The snow making tower of the present invention is comprised of an upright elongated tower conduit member which generally has two or more conduit channels therein and therealong for the passage therethrough of air or water or a mixture thereof. An example of such a tower conduit is illustrated in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,823,427 and 6,543,699. This elongated conduit member is provided with air and water supply connections at its bottom end and is further provided with at least one fluid discharge nozzle at the upper end for discharging air or water or a mixture thereof in freezing ambient conditions for making snow. The elongated conduit member is supported from an upright support pole which has a bottom end thereof anchored into a ground surface.

The tower mount of the present invention includes spaced upper and lower tower supports protruding in the same direction from a side of the support pole for supporting the tower conduit member. The upper support includes a hoop which laterally extends from the pole and has a minimum inner diameter which is sufficient whereby the tower conduit member may be readily slid upwardly through the hoop with clearance, even though the conduit member may have multiple bends and protruding nozzles at the upper end thereof. The lower support is comprised of a support arm which laterally extends from the pole and supports the conduit member for axially rotation thereon. The lower support is comprised of an upturned L-bracket protruding from the support pole and a downturned L-pipe protruding from the conduit member and which further has the downturned portion thereof coaxially received over the upturned portion of the L-bracket for axial rotation of the downturned pipe portion on the upturned bracket portion. This permits supported rotation of the tower conduit member about the lower bracket axial rotation connection for almost a full 360°. A stop mechanism is provided for selectively preventing further axial rotation of the downturned pipe portion of the lower support relative to the upturned bracket portion thereof to fix the angle of rotation as desired.

Additionally a detent mechanism is provided in the lower support for selectively retaining the downturned pipe portion at a desired position of axially rotation relative to the upturned bracket portion without or prior to engaging the aforedescribed stop mechanism. Also, it is preferable that the hoop for the upper support is connected to the support pole with a pivotal connection whereby the hoop is permitted to pivot about a horizontal axis. This permits rotation of the hoop as the elongated tower conduit member with multiple bends is being slid upwardly through the hoop by the attendant for mounting on the pole and it further permits rotation of the hoop as the tower conduit member is being rotated axially on the lower support.

The upright support pole may be any preexisting support pole. For example, the support pole might consist of a wooden pole, such as a wooden telephone pole. Some existing tower supports have the tower supported on an arm that rotates in a vertical plane on the top of the support pole. For example, see U.S. Pat. No. 6,152,380. Such a preexisting support pole may be utilized for the mount of the present invention by positioning the support arm to vertical and then attaching the mount of the present invention thereto. In another embodiment of the present invention, the support pole may include a support pipe slidably received over the ground support pole for axial rotation thereon and the upper and lower supports are secured to this support pipe. This permits 360° rotations of the supports.

Air and water hydrants protrude from the ground surface adjacent the support pole with hoses respectively connecting the hydrants to air and water supply connections at the bottom of the tower conduit member whereby the hoses have no portions which sag to form a water trap. This permits full rotation of the tower yet also prevents any accumulation of water within the hoses which may freeze when the tower is turned off. Also, it is desirable to insulate all exposed portions of the air hydrant, air hose and air supply connection in order to prevent freezeup of the moisture within the air line.

The result of the present invention is that a single installation person can easily mount the light weight aluminum tower conduit member to the support of the present invention without assistance, even in severely cold weather. The attendant accomplishes this first of all, because the elongated tower conduit member is preferably constructed of lightweight aluminum and secondly, the attendant permits the bottom end of the tower conduit member to drag on the ground surface and inserts the upper end of the tower conduit member through the upper support hoop. The attendant then continuously feeds the tower conduit member upwardly through the hoop of the upper support, dragging the bottom end of the conduit member along the ground until the final stages. At this point the attendant lifts the bottom end of the tower upwardly further feeding the tower member through the hoop and then drops the downturned L-pipe protruding from the conduit member down over the upturned L-bracket protruding from the support pole. The attendant then rotates the tower conduit member to the desired attitude and then locks the downturned L-pipe to the upturned L-bracket.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Other objects and advantages appear hereinafter in the following description and claims. The accompanying drawings show, for the purpose of exemplification, without limiting the scope of the invention or the appended claims, certain practical embodiments illustrating the principals of the invention wherein:

FIG. 1 is a view in side elevation of the snow making tower of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged view of the support mechanism at the base of the snow making tower shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged plan view of the upper support for the elongated tower conduit shown in FIGS. 1 and 2;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged view in partial vertical mid section of the lower tower support shown in FIGS. 1 and 2; and

FIG. 5 is a top view of the upturned L-bracket portion of the lower tower support shown in FIG. 4 as seen along section line A-A.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring to the drawings, the snow making tower 10 of the present invention is comprised of an upright elongated tower conduit member 11 having air and water supply connections 12 and 13 at the bottom end 14 thereof and multiple fluid discharge nozzles 15 at the upper end 16 thereof for making snow in freezing ambient conditions. For an understanding as to exactly how the tower might operate, reference may be had to the previously identified patents, and for that purpose, these references are incorporated herein by reference.

An upright support pole 17 has its bottom end 18 anchored in ground surface 19. Spaced upper and lower tower supports 20 and 21 respectively protrude in the same direction from side 22 of support pole 17 for supporting the tower conduit 11 on pole 17. Upper support 20 is comprised of a hoop 21 laterally extending from pole 17 and having a minimum inner diameter 22 which is sufficient whereby the tower conduit 11, with all of its bends (bends 23 and 24) and protruding nozzles 15 may be readily slid upwardly through hoop 21 with clearance. Lower support 23 provides a support arm laterally extending from support pole 17 and supports the tower conduit 11 for axial rotation thereon.

Specifically lower support 23 is comprised of an upturned L-bracket 24 (see the detail in FIGS. 4 and 5) protruding from support pole 17 and a downturned L-pipe 25 protruding from the tower conduit member 11 and having a downturned portion 26 coaxially received over the upturned portion 27 of upturned L-bracket 24 for axial rotation of the downturned pipe portion 26 on the upturned bracket portion 27.

The upper end 28 of upturned portion 23 of lower bracket portion 24 is provided with radially and annularly set detents for selectively retaining the through bolt 30 diametrically secured through downturned portion 26 of upper bracket portion 25 in order to selectively retain downturned pipe portion 26 at a desired position of axial rotation relative to the upturned bracket portion 27. Once the desired angle of axial rotation of this bracket member has been attained then lock bolt 31 may be secured to provide a stop means for selectively preventing further axial rotation of the downturned pipe portion 26 on the upturned bracket portion 27.

Hoop 21 of upper support 20 is connected to support pole 17 with a pivotal connection 32 whereby hoop 21 is permitted to pivot about a horizontal axis provided by pivot connection 32.

While the support pole 17 may be a single pole, it is nevertheless herein illustrated as including support pipe 34 slidably received over the ground support pole 35 for axial rotation thereon and the upper and lower supports 20 and 23 are secured to this support pipe 34. This permits 360° rotation of the support pipe 34 together with tower conduit member 11 about ground support pipe 35 and when the desired position is attained support pipe 34 is secured to ground support pole 35 by rotating screw stop 36.

As may be best seen in FIG. 2, a through bolt 38 passes through support pipe 34 and is provided with tubular roller sleeves 39 which act as bearings for riding on top of ground support pipe or pole 35.

Air and water hydrants 40 and 41 respectively protrude from the ground surface 19 adjacent support pole 17 with hoses 42 and 43 respectively connecting hydrants 40 and 41 to air and water supply connections 12 and 13 whereby the hoses 42 and 43 have no sagging portions therein which would form water traps. This prevents collection and freeze-up of water within the hoses when the tower is off. All exposed portions of air hydrant 40, air hose 42 and air supply connection 12 are insulated to prevent freeze-up as indicated by the broken line 45.

The tower conduit member 11 is preferably constructed of aluminum so that it is minimum weight and with the structure of the present invention the member 11 may be easily installed as illustrated by a single attendant in the manner previously described herein.