Title:
Barrel liner rim retention method and apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A plurality of arcuate rim retention elements adapted for installation over the rim of a barrel in an end-to-end relationship so as to capture and retain a fluid containing liner installed in the barrel. Each of the rim retention elements has an upper portion, and inner and outer side portions depending downwardly from the top portion. The configuration provides for a tight fit over a barrel rim and thus captures the liner interposed between rim retention elements and the sides of a barrel rim.



Inventors:
Turkel, Marilyn (Santa Rosa, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/378143
Publication Date:
09/21/2006
Filing Date:
03/16/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D25/14
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HICKS, ROBERT J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
STAINBROOK & STAINBROOK, LLP (412 AVIATION BOULEVARD SUITE H, SANTA ROSA, CA, 95403, US)
Claims:
What is claimed as invention is:

1. A barrel liner rim retention system, comprising: a plurality of arcuate rim retention elements adapted for installation over the rim of a barrel in an end-to-end relationship, each of said rim retention elements having an upper portion, an inner side portion, and an outer side portion, and configured so as to fit over and capture a waterproof liner interposed between said rim retention elements and the sides of a barrel rim.

2. The system of claim 1, wherein said top portion of said rim retention elements is rounded.

3. The system of claim 1, wherein said top portion of said rim retention elements is substantially flat.

4. The system of claim 1, wherein said inner side portion and said outer side portions of said rim retention elements are substantially flat.

5. The system of claim 4, wherein said inner side portion and said outer side portion of said rim retention elements are generally parallel to one another.

6. The system of claim 1, wherein said inner side portion and said outer side portion depend downwardly from said top portion.

7. The system of claim 1, wherein one or more of said rim retention elements includes a through hole such that a fastener can be driven or threadably inserted through the hole and into the barrel.

8. The system of claim 1, wherein at least one of said rim retention elements includes an integral channel.

9. The system of claim 8, wherein said integral channels are disposed substantially medially in said rim retention elements.

10. The system of claim 1, wherein at least one of said rim retention elements is provided with attachment means to secure an article on said upper portion.

11. The system of claim 11, wherein said attachment means comprises a boss.

12. The system of claim 1, wherein said boss includes a threaded hole.

13. A method of retaining a liner in a barrel, comprising the steps of: providing a plurality of arcuate rim retention elements adapted for installation over the rim of a barrel in an end-to-end relationship, each of said rim retention elements having an upper portion, an inner side portion, an outer side portion, and configured to fit over and capture a waterproof liner interposed between the barrel and the outer side portion, inner side portion, and top portion of the rim retention element; lining the barrel with a flexible liner material; folding the upper edge of the liner so that it is draped over the upper rim perimeter of the barrel; and installing the rim retention elements in an end-to-end array so that the liner is interposed between the top portion, inner side portion, and outer side portion of the rim element and the upper rim and sides of the barrel, such that the liner is covered and captured by the rim elements.

14. The method of claim 13, further including the step of providing through holes in one or more of the rim retention elements.

15. The method of claim 14, further including the step of driving a fastener through the through holes in the rim retention elements and into the side of the barrel.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to landscape materials, and more particularly to landscape and garden pond liners, and more particularly still to a barrel liner rim retention system for securing barrel liners in oak barrels reclaimed for use in the garden, landscape, and/or recreational setting.

2. Discussion of Related Art Including Information Disclosed Under 37 CFR §§1.97, 1.98

Coopers construct oak barrels to serve in the storage and aging of wine, beer, whiskey, bourbon, and other spirits (referred to collectively herein as “wine barrels”). Most are made through material selection and construction practices to be substantially, though not entirely, airtight and watertight. Thus, although there is almost invariably some ullage (evaporation and leakage of barrel content), the barrels do a remarkable job of interacting dynamically with the atmosphere to provide for slow and gentle aging while simultaneously imparting desirable flavor characteristics to the liquid content.

Except for exotic large barrels, barrel sizes generally range from a small 40-gallon (180 liter) size (which is approximately 35″ (88 cm) high, and approximately 24-25″ (60-62 cm) diameter in the middle), to 25″ (62 cm), to a more typical 56-gallon (250 liter) barrel, which is approximately 37″ (92 cm) high, and 27-29″ (68-73 cm) diameter at the middle. Larger sizes, such as a 100-gallon (450 liter) barrel is also used, though much less frequently.

Good quality wine barrels in these sizes are expensive. Strangely, however, the useful life of a wine barrel is not long, and after a barrel has been used for only a few vintages, and possibly re-toasted and used again (by the more economical vintners), it becomes effectively exhausted. Even so, a wine barrel remains a specimen of fine craftsmanship even after it has lost its capacity to make an appealing contribution to the flavor of wine, spirits, beer, or other fermented or distilled product. It is therefore not at all uncommon for a barrel to be reclaimed and put to other uses after its tenure in the beverage industry has come to an end. Among other things, it is known to employ oak barrels for landscaping and garden uses, for instances as plant containers, fountains, freestanding ponds, and the like.

Unfortunately, the very slight leakage and air exposure that makes for an ideal wine barrel also makes an unprotected barrel unsuited for a pond or tub. Accordingly, when a barrel is to be used for a pond, a fountain, a birdbath, or perhaps a hot tub, it must be lined to prevent the wholesale (albeit slow) loss of all of its water.

In the field of gardening, ponds, and tubs, liners are often fabricated from flexible material, most commonly 10-30 millimeter thickness ethylene propylene diene monomer, polyvinyl chloride, vinyl, polypropylene, or standard reinforced or woven polyethylene, among other flexible watertight materials. When used to line a wine barrel, or a truncated wine barrel—which is a barrel stood on end and cut somewhere alone its height—it is also common to secure the flexible liner material to the side of the barrel to prevent the liner from slipping into the barrel interior.

It is well known to line swimming pools with vinyl to prevent leakage. The process of making a lined pool generally entails laying vinyl sheets over a fiber blanket covering the pool walls. The fiber blanket allows for contraction and expansion of the vinyl liner. Vinyl sheets are then installed in an overlapping and side-by-side relationship and fastened to one another with an adhesive. The liner exposed and folder over the top of the pool, or pulled to the upper edge of the pool, are frequently secured with a coping or liner retention apparatus of some kind.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,675,402, to Maurer, discloses a swimming pool coping for installation around the perimeter of a swimming pool. Elongate coping members a laid end to end to form a perimeter retention system Each coping member is a solid molded body composed of solid surfacing material having one or more additives or fillers incorporated to increase durability and attractiveness.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,158,244, to Stefan, shows a pool liner retainer for holding or retaining the top peripheral edge portion or liner bead of a watertight pool liner, typically for use in swimming pool construction. The liner retainer includes an elongate retaining element defining a holding channel for accommodating the liner bead, a longitudinal outward slot communicating with the holding channel, and a longitudinal hinge channel located adjacent to the slot. An elongate closing element depends from the hinge channel to partially close the slot to retain the liner bead therebehind. The closing element is hinged for transverse inward movement to open the slot for insertion of the liner bead, and is biased for transverse outward movement to close the slot. Stop means are provided for preventing outward movement of the closing element into the slot by outward movement of the liner bead located in the holding channel. It will be immediately appreciated that the elements require a bead on the pool liner, which entails that the liner be a predetermined size and does not provide means for stretching or adjusting the liner shape within the fluid container portion of the pool.

Methods of securing lightweight container liners are also well known. Exemplary patents include U.S. Pat. No. 6,537,408, to Rossiter, which shows a method and apparatus to secure a reinforced flexible material about the open end of a container, which includes The securing mechanism is a single-sided adhesive tape having a portion pre-attached to a folded portion of the flexible material. The remaining unattached portion of the single-sided adhesive tape has a protective covering, which is removed and adjoined to the un-folded portion of the flexible material. The single user securing the flexible material about the open end of the container has the securing mechanism in view during the securing operation. Similarly, U.S. Pat. No. 6,839,158, to Tipp et al., discloses a disposable and flexible elongated adhesive attachable to the upper portion of folded upper section of container liner for stretching and constricting the folded upper section of the liner tightly around the top of a waste container.

Similarly, U.S. Pat. No. 6,728,996, to Roscow, teaches an adjustable liner retainer system an adjustable liner retainer tensioned around an upper end of a container having a liner folded over the upper rim of the container and pressing the hanging upper portion against the outer surface of the container. Each of the three foregoing patents disclose liner retention systems suitable for use only with lightweight liners.

The foregoing patents reflect the current state of the art of which the present inventor is aware. Reference to, and discussion of, these patents is intended to aid in discharging Applicant's acknowledged duty of candor in disclosing information that may be relevant to the examination of claims to the present invention. However, it is respectfully submitted that none of the above-indicated patents disclose, teach, suggest, show, or otherwise render obvious, either singly or when considered in combination, the invention described and claimed herein.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a new and improved means of securing liners heavier than those employed in trash containers, yet lighter than those typically employed in swimming pools. More specifically, the barrel liner retention apparatus of the present invention is adapted for use in securing liners for reclaimed and modified oak barrels employed for garden or recreational use.

It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a new and improved barrel liner retention system and apparatus that is installed on the rim of an open wood stave barrel.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a new and improved barrel liner retention apparatus that is inexpensive and simple to manufacture.

A further object or feature of the present invention is a new and improved barrel liner retention apparatus that allows for decorative embellishment, where desired.

An even further object of the present invention is to provide a novel barrel liner retention apparatus that requires no technical expertise or special tools for installation.

A still further object of the present invention is to provide a barrel liner retention apparatus that offers mounting apparatus for other decorative or functional articles on the upper rim of the lined barrel.

Other novel features which are characteristic of the invention, as to organization and method of operation, together with further objects and advantages thereof will be better understood from the following description considered in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which preferred embodiments of the invention are illustrated by way of example. It is to be expressly understood, however, that the drawings are for illustration and description only and are not intended as a definition of the limits of the invention. The various features of novelty that characterize the invention are pointed out with particularity in the claims annexed to and forming part of this disclosure. The invention does not reside in any one of these features taken alone, but rather in the particular combination of all of its structures for the functions specified.

There has thus been broadly outlined the more important features of the invention in order that the detailed description thereof that follows may be better understood, and in order that the present contribution to the art may be better appreciated. There are, of course, additional features of the invention that will be described hereinafter and which will form additional subject matter of the claims appended hereto. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the conception upon which this disclosure is based readily may be utilized as a basis for the designing of other structures, methods and systems for carrying out the several purposes of the present invention. It is important, therefore, that the claims be regarded as including such equivalent constructions insofar as they do not depart from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention will be better understood and objects other than those set forth above will become apparent when consideration is given to the following detailed description thereof. Such description makes reference to the annexed drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is an perspective view of the barrel liner rim retention apparatus of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an exploded view of the apparatus of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view showing a rim retention element of the inventive apparatus;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view showing a rim retention element having a through hole for insertion of a fastener;

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional side view in elevation showing the element of FIG. 4 installed on the rim of a barrel with a fastener inserted;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of another rim retention element including means for installing other apparatus or ornaments;

FIG. 7A is an upper perspective view of a rim element having a channel to accommodate electrical cord transversely; and

FIG. 7B is a bottom perspective view of the element of FIG. 7A, shown inverted.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to FIGS. 1 through 7B, wherein like reference numerals refer to like components in the various views, there is illustrated therein a new and improved barrel liner rim retention method and apparatus. An element of the inventive apparatus is generally denominated 100 herein and comprises one of a plurality of rim retention elements 110, a number of which can be installed in an end-to-end contiguous relationship to provide a continuous coping or rim cap 120 for the upper perimeter of the rim of a barrel 130. When a liner 140 is installed in the interior portion of a barrel and with the liner edge 150 draped up and over the upper rim 160 of the barrel so that at least a portion 170 of the liner extends down the exterior side 180 of the barrel, the inventive barrel liner rim cap functions to hold the liner in place and prevents migration of the liner into the barrel. During installation, it also provides a means to secure the liner temporarily while liner is secured in other portions of the barrel rim so that adjustments and tightening of the liner can more easily be accomplished.

Each of the rim retention elements is slightly arcuate; it has a curvature 190 having a radius predetermined and established at the time of manufacture to match the curvature of the upper rim of the barrel and the thickness of the barrel. Each rim retention element includes an upper portion 200, preferably slight rounded, an inner side portion 210, and an outer side portion 220. The top portion may be any of a number of suitable shapes when viewed on end. However, most applications will dictate a generally flat or slightly arcuate shape, as shown. The side portions are substantially flat and generally parallel to one another and depend downwardly from the top portion. The outer side portion of each rim retention element includes a through hole 230 such that a fastener 240 can be driven or threadably inserted through the hole and into the exterior side 180 of the barrel 130. The configuration of the rim retention elements creates an arcuate channel which fits over and captures the rim of the cut barrel between the inner side portion, the outer side portion, and the upper portion, such that the upper portion rests, in part, on the barrel rim, and the inner and outer side portions firmly grip the barrel sides, or, more accurately, the liner interposed between the rim retention element and the barrel sides.

Installation of the inventive apparatus is simple. Firstly, the barrel is lined with a flexible material liner and the edge 150 and portion 170 proximate the edge of the liner is draped up and folder over the upper rim 160 of the barrel. Excess liner, folds, and wrinkles are smoothed as possible and cut where necessary. Next, the rim retention elements are installed in an end-to-end fashion over the liner and upper rim of the barrel so that the liner 140 is interposed between the top portion of the rim element and the upper rim of the barrel, such that the liner is covered and captured by the rim elements. Fasteners are then driven through the through holes in the outer side portions of some (though not necessarily all) of the rim elements, and the liner is thus entirely secured.

FIG. 6 shows that in a second preferred embodiment 310, a rim retention element may be provided with a threaded hole 320 or a boss 330 having a threaded hole so that ornaments, lights, or other functional or decorative articles may be installed on the top portion of the rim. Such articles would, of course, be provided with a threaded male bolt or screw adapted for threadable insertion into hole 320.

Additionally, as shown in FIGS. 7A and 7B, in a third preferred embodiment 410 a rim retention element can be fabricated with a medially disposed integral channel 420 to accommodate electrical cord for pumps, filters, heaters, lights, aerators, chemical dispensers, or other electrical aquatic apparatus operating in the bottom of the barrel. When installed, such a rim retention element includes a portion which does not engage the liner or the edge of the barrel, but is instead elevated a slight amount from the barrel rim and the liner so as to create a space through which a cord may pass.

As will be readily appreciated, the rim elements of the present invention may be fabricated from any of a number of suitable materials, ranging from plastics to ceramics, from glass to metals. Preferably, the selected material would be easily molded and amenable to mass production and, after installation, will resist degradation by exposure to sun and either natural rain water or water containing water treatment chemicals.

The above disclosure is sufficient to enable one of ordinary skill in the art to practice the invention, and provides the best mode of practicing the invention presently contemplated by the inventor. While there is provided herein a full and complete disclosure of the preferred embodiments of this invention, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction, dimensional relationships, and operation shown and described. Various modifications, alternative constructions, changes and equivalents will readily occur to those skilled in the art and may be employed, as suitable, without departing from the true spirit and scope of the invention. Such changes might involve alternative materials, components, structural arrangements, sizes, shapes, forms, functions, operational features or the like.

Therefore, the above description and illustrations should not be construed as limiting the scope of the invention, which is defined by the appended claims.