Title:
Upright structure with base
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention comprises a moveable upright structure. The structure can be a column having a top and a bottom, and with an outside surface. The column can have a longitudinal axis. One or more holes can extend through the column or upward from the bottom a selected amount into the column in a direction generally parallel with the longitudinal axis. The holes can be generally circular in cross-section or can be generally rim shaped. The base can have a plate for engaging the ground, and can have one or more members for mating with the one or more holes in the column. The base can alternatively or additionally engage the outside of the column. The base can further have one or more depending members that can extend into a surface below the structure. The structure can further incorporate a wedge for use on a sloped surface.



Inventors:
Koerner, Michael C. (Fond du Lac, WI, US)
Application Number:
11/118960
Publication Date:
11/02/2006
Filing Date:
04/29/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04C3/34
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
FONSECA, JESSIE T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Nicholas, Brannen A. (104 SOUTH MAIN STREET, SUITE 300, FOND DU LAC, WI, 54935, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. An upstanding structure comprising: an body having an outside surface, a top and a bottom, said body having a center of gravity near midway between said top and bottom; and a base having a member for removeably engaging said body, wherein when said body and said base are engaged, the center of gravity of said upstanding structure is below the center of gravity of said body.

2. The upstanding structure of claim 1 wherein: said body has a longitudinal axis and further comprises at least 1 hole extending into said body from said bottom of said body, said at least 1 hole having a selected diameter and being generally parallel with said longitudinal axis; and said member of said base comprises at least 1 vertical bar having a selected diameter smaller than said selected diameter of said at least 1 hole, said at least 1 bar being received within said at least 1 hole of said body, respectively.

3. The upstanding structure of claim 2 wherein: said at least 1 hole consists of a hole centrally located at said bottom of said body and extending between said bottom and said top of said body; and said at least 1 bar consists of a bar centrally located on said base and extendable a selected distance into said hole.

4. The upstanding structure of claim 3 wherein said body is a column having a height of approximately 8 feet and a diameter of approximately 2 feet, and said bar of said base extends approximately 2 feet into said hole in said body.

5. The upstanding structure of claim 3 wherein: said body has an inlet at said bottom, said inlet being generally circular in diameter and having a selected depth; and said base has a first plate for contacting said bottom of said body and a second plate for being removeably inserted into said inlet.

6. The upstanding structure of claim 2 wherein said base further comprises at least 1 downward depending bar for being inserted into the ground.

7. The upstanding structure of claim 6 wherein: said base has a bottom; and said upstanding structure further comprises a wedge having a top lying in a top plane and a bottom lying in a bottom plane, said angle between said top plane and said bottom plane being determined by the slope of the surface for which the upstanding structure will stand, said top of said wedge being substantially horizontal when said bottom of said wedge contacts a sloped surface, wherein said body is substantially vertical when said bottom of said base contacts said top of said wedge.

8. The upstanding structure of claim 1 wherein said member is a shoe that engages said outside surface of said body near said bottom of said body.

9. The upstanding structure of claim 8 wherein: said body has a longitudinal axis and further comprises at least 1 hole extending into said body from said bottom of said body, said at least 1 hole having a selected diameter and being generally parallel with said longitudinal axis; and said base further comprises at least 1 vertical bar having a selected diameter smaller than said selected diameter of said at least 1 hole, said at least 1 bar being received within said at least 1 hole of said body, respectively.

10. The upstanding structure of claim 1 wherein said body weighs approximately 50 pounds and said base weighs approximately 50 pounds.

11. An assembly comprising: a structure having a top and a bottom that define a length, an exterior surface, a longitudinal axis and at least 1 hole that is generally parallel with said longitudinal axis that extends from said bottom at least partially through said body, said bottom of said structure having being a selected size; and a base for being removeably engaged with said structure and comprising: first plate having a top for being in contact with said bottom of said structure and a bottom for contacting the ground; and at least 1 member for being inserted into said at least 1 hole in said body.

12. The assembly of claim 11 wherein: said at least 1 hole in said structure comprises at least 1 circular hole having a selected diameter; and said at least 1 member comprises at least 1 bar having a selected diameter that is smaller than said selected diameter of said at least 1 hole and having a selected length.

13. The assembly of claim 12 wherein said hole extends completely through said body from said bottom to said top.

14. The assembly of claim 12 wherein: the selected diameter of said hole in said body is approximately 1.25 inches; and the selected length of said bar of said base is approximately 2 feet.

15. The assembly of claim 12 wherein: said body has an inlet at said bottom, said inlet being generally circular in diameter and having a selected depth; and said base has a second plate for being removeably inserted into said inlet when said bar is inserted into said hole.

16. The assembly of claim 11 wherein: said at least 1 hole comprises 1 generally ring shaped hole having a selected width, a selected depth and a selected inside diameter; and said at least 1 member comprises 1 generally tube shaped member having a selected width smaller than said selected width of said ring, a selected height smaller than said selected depth of said ring and a selected inside diameter larger than said selected inside diameter of said ring.

17. The upstanding structure of claim 11 wherein said base further comprises at least 1 downward depending bar for being inserted into the ground.

18. The upstanding structure of claim 17 wherein: said base has a bottom; and said assembly further comprises a wedge having a top lying in a top plane and a bottom lying in a bottom plane, said angle between said top plane and said bottom plane being determined by the slope of the surface for which the upstanding structure will stand, said top of said wedge being substantially horizontal when said bottom of said wedge contacts a sloped surface, wherein said structure is substantially vertical when said bottom of said base contacts said top of said wedge.

19. The assembly of claim 11 wherein said first plate has a selected size that is no larger than said selected size of said bottom of said structure.

20. A free standing column comprising: a base having: a first plate for contacting the ground and having a first plate size; a second plate connected to said first plate, said second plate having a size that is smaller than said first plate size and said second plate lying in a second plate plane; and a bar that extends from said second plate in a direction generally perpendicular to said second plate plane; and a column having: a top; a bottom; a longitudinal axis; a hole extending a selected distance into said column from said bottom, said hole being generally perpendicular to said longitudinal axis, said bar being able to receive said bar of said base; and an inlet at said bottom being able to receive said second plate of said base, wherein said base is a weighted base that enhances the ability of said free-standing column to resist tipping over.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to an upright structure with a base, and more particularly to an upright structure that is light weight and that has a removable base that engages the body of the structure to maintain the selected orientation of the structure with respect to a surface.

2. Description of the Related Art

Art can take on several forms and can show up in many places. One type of artwork is free standing structures, including free standing columns or statues. Venues for the display of free standing columns are vast, limited only be imagination. Some of the more common venues include wedding reception halls, stores, yards, gardens and movie sets.

A traditional free standing column can be made of materials such as marble or concrete. The columns of this type are generally solid in cross-section. While columns of this type can be quite aesthetically appealing, they are not without some limitations. For example, columns having a solid cross-section tend to be quite heavy. As such, any solid column that is larger than a minimal size can be difficult to move, and may require more than one person to move them. Further, as shipping costs continue to increase, the freight charged to move the columns from one venue to another tends to increase accordingly. This can limit the transport of the columns between selected venues.

Further, the traditional free standing columns made of solid material can have a relatively high center of gravity. For example, assuming that the column is symmetrical between the top half and the bottom half, the center of gravity of the column would generally be located at the midpoint of the structure. The higher the center of gravity, the more likely a free standing structure is to tip or topple over in response to a given side load or impact. Further, the heavier that a tipping object is, the more likely that occurrence of significant injury or death to anyone in the falling objects path, and the more likely that there will be significant damage to the surroundings and to the object itself. Of course, the heavier the column, the less likely it is to topple. However, the heavier the column, the more severe the consequences of the tip are likely to be.

One approach attempting to overcome these limitations is to construct the columns out of hollow fiberglass. This approach may reduce the overall weight of the column. However, the center of gravity is still located generally in the middle of the column. Further, given the weight reduction coupled with the relatively high center of gravity, and the column may still be prone to tipping.

One approach used to lower the center of gravity of a hollow column is to dump sand or the like into the bottom of the column to lower the center of gravity of the column. Such an approach may work well for its intended purpose. However, such an approach is not without limitations. For example, the lower center of gravity comes at the expense of increased overall weight. Further, it can be difficult, time consuming and messy to retrieve the sand from inside the column after it is initially put in the column.

When placing an item outdoors on the ground or in a garden on the surface of the garden, the ground may not be able to provide adequate structural integrity to support for the item. This may be especially true when the item comprises a heavy structure. Even if the structure could be supported, it could nevertheless be quite difficult to achieve or maintain a selected vertical alignment of the structure with respect to the ground. Such problems can be magnified during wet soil conditions or when the ground settles or shifts.

Still further yet, these columns will only be upright when they are placed on flat horizontal surfaces. It may be difficult use place them on sloped ground. A person can excavate the surface around the intended location of the columns to achieve a generally horizontal surface for the structure to be placed on. Yet, this approach will permanently alter the landscape.

Columns can also be constructed of cardboard material. Columns of this type are extremely light weight. However, these columns also have some limitations. For example, the durability of the cardboard columns is suspect, as best. Cardboard is susceptible to being crushed, and is not typically resistant to moisture. Further, affixing an exterior appearing surface to the cardboard may not achieve the intended aesthetic qualities. Still further, the cardboard is susceptible to being blown over or away in outdoor applications.

Thus there exists a need for an upright structure that solves these and other problems.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to an upright structure with a base, and more particularly to an upright structure that is light weight and has a removable base that engages the structure to maintain the selected orientation of the structure with respect to a surface.

According to one embodiment of the present invention, the structure can be a column having a top and a bottom, and with an outside surface. The column or other body can have a longitudinal axis. One or more holes can extend through the column upward from the bottom a selected amount in a direction generally parallel with the longitudinal axis. The holes can be generally circular in cross-section or can be generally rim shaped. The base can have a plate for engaging the ground, and can have one or more members for mating with the one or more holes in the column. The base can alternatively or additionally engage the outside of the column. The base can further have one or more depending members that can extend into a surface, such as the ground. The structure can further incorporate a wedge for being used on a sloped surface to insure that the longitudinal axis of the body is generally upright.

One advantage of the present invention is that it can be aesthetically appealing and durable, while being relatively light weight. The column can be easily disengaged from the base by lifting the column off from the base, and a single person can move each component. Advantageously, the present invention is easily transportable. Being easily transportable or moveable can increase the applications for which the present invention can be used, and can increase the number of venues that will choose to temporarily display the upright structure of the present invention. For example, it may be practical to rent the present invention for a day or weekend for a special occasion. Further, a person on a movie set may easily move the present invention in accordance with the director's wishes.

A further advantage of the present invention is that is has a weighted base. Having a weighted base engage the structure effectively lowers the center of gravity of the structure while avoiding the limitations of using a heavier structure. The overall structure is resistant to tip, and is still easily portable. Further, there is no sand or liquid that needs to be removed prior to transport or that could spill and make a mess. In the event that the structure absorbs a sufficient blow to cause tipping, the light weight nature of the present invention will minimize the damage caused by the tipping.

A still further advantage of the present invention is that it is easy to vertically center the structure of the present invention. The base can be placed directly onto a horizontally flat surface to maintain the vertical orientation in common indoor applications. For outdoor applications, the base can incorporate a depending member to penetrate the ground to provide added stability. The added stability can be useful as outdoor structures can encounter soggy ground conditions subject to settling and/or high wind.

A still further advantage yet of the present invention is that it can incorporate a wedge to provide a horizontal surface for the selected upright orientation of the present invention. The wedge has a bottom designed to engage the surface, and has a top at an angle from the bottom such that the top is substantially horizontal when the bottom engages the ground. Incorporation of such a wedge allows for the present invention to be displayed on sloped surfaces without permanently altering the sloped surface.

Other advantages, benefits, and features of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon reading the detailed description of the invention and studying the drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side view of a preferred embodiment of a column of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of the preferred embodiment taken along line 2-2 in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a bottom view of the preferred embodiment shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a side view of a preferred base of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a side view of an alternative preferred base of the present invention.

FIG. 6 is an exploded side view of a preferred column and a preferred base.

FIG. 7 is an exploded side view of a preferred column and an alternative preferred base and a sleeve.

FIG. 8 is a side view of an alternative preferred base engaging a preferred wedge and being inserted into a sleeve in the ground.

FIG. 9 is a top view of a preferred wedge of the present invention.

FIG. 10 is a top view of an alternative preferred wedge of the present invention.

FIG. 11 is an exploded side view of an alternative preferred column and an alternative preferred base.

FIG. 12 is a top view of the alternative preferred base shown in FIG. 11.

FIG. 13 is an exploded side view of an alternative preferred column and an alternative preferred base.

FIG. 14 is a top view of the alternative preferred base shown in FIG. 13.

FIG. 15 is an exploded side of an alternative preferred column and an alternative preferred base and a sleeve.

FIG. 16 is an exploded side view of an alternative preferred column and an alternative preferred base.

FIG. 17 is an exploded side view of a preferred column and an alternative preferred base.

FIG. 18 is an exploded side view of an alternative preferred column and an alternative preferred base.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

While the invention will be described in connection with several preferred embodiments, it will be understood that it is not intended to limit the invention to those embodiments. On the contrary, it is intended to cover all alternatives, modifications and equivalents as may be included within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.

According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the present invention is an upright structure having a body that can have many sizes and shapes. One preferred shape is a column having a size of a between 1 and 3 feet in diameter and between 3 and 12 feet in height. Of course, shapes other than columns can be used, and the size of the columns can be larger and smaller without departing from the broad aspect of the present invention. For sake of clarity, the present invention will be illustrated with columns. However, it is understood that other structures, such as statues, could alternatively be used without departing from the broad aspects of the present invention.

The columns can be made of many materials. However, being durable, strong and light weight are desirable qualities. Expanded polystyrene is a preferred material. However, other materials such as wood, plastic, fiberglass and molding materials could be used without departing from the broad aspects of the present invention.

Turning now to one preferred embodiment of the present invention, it is shown that a column 10 is provided in FIGS. 1-3. The preferred column 10 has a longitudinal axis 11 spanning between a top 12 and a bottom 14. The top 12 and bottom 14 of the column define a length, or column height. A preferred column height is approximated 8 feet. However, the column height can be larger or smaller without departing from the broad aspects of the present invention. The column 10 has a center of gravity near the midway point along the length between the top 12 and bottom 14. A flange 13 can be at or near the top 12 of the column. The flange 13 is preferably a decorative flange. A flange 15 can be at or near the bottom 14 of the column. The flange 15 is preferably a decorative flange. The column 10 has an outside surface 16. The outside surface 16 preferably has a generally circular cross-section. In a preferred embodiment, the top flange 13 and bottom flange 15 can be integral with the outside surface 16. The outside surface 16 preferably has a diameter of approximately 18 inches along the majority of its height, and can preferably have a diameter extending to approximately 2 feet at the top 12 and bottom 14, respectively. Surface 16 is preferably finished to have a decorative finish. Examples of preferred decorative finishes include a marble appearance, a stone appearance, and a weathered appearance. A thin layer of concrete (not shown) can alternatively be applied to the outside surface to give the appearance of having a solid concrete column.

An interior hole 21 extends upward from the bottom 12 of the column, and preferably extends through the entire column 10. The hole 21 preferably is a circular hole and preferably has a diameter of between 1 and 3 inches, and most preferably approximately 1.25 inches. The hole 21 is preferably centrally located in the column 10. An inlet 24 is preferably formed into the bottom 14 of the column. The inlet 24 has a first step 25 preferably having a generally circular cross-section. The inlet 24 also has a second step 26 above the first step 25. The second step has a generally circular cross-section with a diameter smaller than the first step 24. The column 10 preferably has a weight of approximately between 20 and 80 pounds, and more preferably between 40 and 50 pounds.

Turning now to FIG. 4, a preferred base 130 is provided. The base 130 has a first plate 131 and a second plate 132. The first plate 131 is preferably generally circular shaped. The second plate 132 is preferably circular shaped as well, and has a diameter that is larger than the diameter of the first plate 131. The diameter of the second plate 132 is preferably no larger than the diameter of flange 15. The first plate 131 and second plate 132 are preferably steel plates. However, other materials can be used without departing from the broad aspects of the present invention. The first plate 131 has a top and a bottom. The second plate 132 also has a top and a bottom. The bottom of the first plate 131 is in contact with the top of the second plate 132, and the two plates are preferably welded together. Base 130 further has a member. The member is preferably an arm 141. The arm 141 is preferably a bar of metal having a longitudinal axis 142, a top 143 and a bottom 144. The arm 141 is preferably a solid piece of steel having a generally circular cross-section, and having a length of approximately 2 feet between the bottom 144 and the top 143. The bottom 144 is preferably welded to the first plate 131. It will be understood that other types of attachments, such as screwing or bolting, can be used to secure the bar 141 to the plate 131 without departing from the broad aspects of the present invention. The longitudinal axis 142 is generally upright, or vertical, when the bottom of the second plate 132 lies on a flat horizontal surface. The base 130 preferably weighs approximately between 20 and 80 pounds, and more preferably between 40 and 55 pounds.

FIG. 6 shows an exploded view of the alignment of column 10 and base 130. Column 10 can selectably be placed in removeable engagement with base 130. The longitudinal axis 11 of the base generally parallel to and alignable with the longitudinal axis 142 of the base 130. The top end 143 of the arm 141 of the base 130 is extendable into the hole 21 in the column 10. Plate 131 can be mated with, or engage, the second step 26. Plate 132 can be mated with, or engage, the first step 25. When the base 130 and column 10 are engaged, or in a mating position, the center of gravity of the structure is lower than the center of gravity of the column 10. The longitudinal axis 11 of the column is preferably in an upright or vertical orientation when the base 130 lies on a flat horizontal surface.

Turning now to FIG. 5, an alternative preferred base 160 is provided. The base 160 has a first plate 161 and a second plate 162. The first plate 161 is preferably generally circular shaped. The second plate 162 is preferably circular shaped as well, and has a diameter that is larger than the diameter of the first plate 161. The diameter of the second plate 162 is preferably no larger than the diameter of flange 15. The first plate 161 and second plate 162 are preferably steel plates. However, other materials can be used without departing from the broad aspects of the present invention. The first plate 161 has a top and a bottom. The second plate 162 also has a top and a bottom. The bottom of the first plate 161 is in contact with the top of the second plate 162, and the two plates are preferably welded together. Base 160 further has an upstanding member. The upstanding member is preferably an arm 171. The arm 171 is preferably a bar of metal having a longitudinal axis 172, a top 173 and a bottom 174. The arm 171 is preferably a solid piece of steel having a generally circular cross-section. Arm 171 preferably has a length of approximately 2 feet between the top 173 and bottom 174. The bottom 174 is preferably welded to the first plate 161. It will be understood that other types of attachments, such as screwing or bolting, can be used to secure the bar 171 to the plate 161 without departing from the broad aspects of the present invention. The longitudinal axis 172 is generally upright. Base 160 further has a depending member. The depending member is preferably an arm 181. The arm 181 is preferably a bar of metal having a longitudinal axis 182, a top 183 and a bottom 184. The arm 181 is preferably a solid piece of steel having a generally circular cross-section. The top 183 is preferably welded to the second plate 162. It will be understood that other types of attachments, such as screwing or bolting, can be used to secure the bar 181 to the plate 162 without departing from the broad aspects of the present invention. The longitudinal axis 182 is generally upright parallel to the longitudinal axis 172 of arm 171. Arms 171 and 181 can be made of a single arm passing through the plates 161 and 162. The base 130 preferably weighs approximately between 20 and 80 pounds, and more preferably between 40 and 55 pounds.

FIG. 7 shows an exploded view of the alignment of column 10 and base 160. Column 10 can selectably be placed in removeable engagement with base 160. The longitudinal axis 11 of the base generally parallel to and alignable with the longitudinal axis 172 of the base 160. The top end 173 of the arm 171 of the base 160 is extendable into the hole 21 in the column 10. Plate 161 can be mated with, or engage, the second step 26. Plate 162 can be mated with, or engage, the first step 25. When the base 160 and column 10 are engaged, or in a mating position, the center of gravity of the structure is lower than the center of gravity of the column 10. The longitudinal axis 11 of the column is preferably in an upright or vertical orientation. The depending arm 181 can penetrate into a surface to provide additional support to maintain the vertical orientation of the column 10.

According to another aspect of the present invention, a sleeve 390 can be provided. The sleeve 390 has a top 391 with an opening 392, and a bottom 393 which is closed. The bottom 393 can be driven into the surface. A level can be used to insure that the sleeve enters the surface in a vertical orientation. In this regard, the bottom 184 of the depending arm 181 can be removeably inserted into the sleeve 390 for temporarily anchoring the column in a selected position.

According to yet another aspect of the present invention, a wedge 370 can be provided. A preferred wedge 370 is shown in FIGS. 8 and 9. The wedge 370 has a top 371 lying in a top plane and a bottom 372 lying in a bottom plane. The top 371 is preferably generally square. The top 371 could have a different shape without departing from the broad aspects of the present invention. The top plane and bottom plane are preferably offset be a selected angle. The angle is determined by the slope of an intended surface 5. In this regard, the wedge is customizable for a given application. Wedge 370 has opposed sides 373 and 374, a front 375 and a rear 376. A slot 377 is formed through the wedge 370 between the top 371 and bottom 371 starting centrally at the front 375 and extending to the middle of the wedge 370.

The wedge 370 can be used in connection with base 160. In this regard, the slope of the surface 5 is first determined. Next, the wedge 370 is customized so that the top plane is offset from the bottom plane by an amount equal fo the slope of the surface 5. The top 371 lies in a generally horizontal plane when the bottom 372 lies on the sloped surface 5. A sleeve 390 can be used with the wedge 370. The bottom of the second plate 162 of base 130 can contact the top 371 of the wedge 370 and be centrally aligned thereon. The depending arm 181 of the base 160 can extend through the slot 377 in the wedge 370 and be received within the sleeve 390.

An alternative preferred wedge 380 is shown in FIG. 10. The wedge 380 has a top 381 lying in a top plane and a bottom lying in a bottom plane. The top 381 is preferably generally square. However, the top 381 could have a different shape without departing from the broad aspects of the present invention. The top plane and bottom plane are preferably offset be a selected angle. The angle is determined by the slope of an intended surface 5. In this regard, the wedge is customizable for a given application. Wedge 380 has opposed sides 383 and 384, a front 385 and a rear 386. A slot 387 is formed through the wedge 380 between the top 381 and bottom starting slightly offset at the front 385 and extending rearward into the wedge 380. The slot 387 can have a leg 388 that is offset from the remainder of the slot 387. The leg 388 can terminate at the center of the wedge 380.

Turning now to FIG. 11, an alternative preferred column 30 is shown. The preferred column 30 has a longitudinal axis 31 spanning between a top 32 and a bottom 34. The top 32 and bottom 34 of the column define a length, or column height. A preferred column height is approximated 8 feet. However, the column height can be larger or smaller without departing from the broad aspects of the present invention. The column 30 has a center of gravity near the midway point along the length between the top 32 and bottom 34. A flange 33 can be at or near the top 32 of the column. The flange 33 is preferably a decorative flange. A flange 35 can be at or near the bottom 34 of the column. The flange 35 is preferably a decorative flange. The column 30 has an outside surface 36. The outside surface 36 preferably has a generally circular cross-section. In a preferred embodiment, the top flange 33 and bottom flange 35 can be integral with the outside surface 36. The outside surface 36 preferably has a diameter of approximately 18 inches along the majority of its height, and can preferably have a diameter extending to approximately 2 feet at the top 32 and bottom 34, respectively. Surface 36 is preferably finished to have a decorative finish.

A first interior hole 41 extends upward from the bottom 32 of the column, and preferably extends through the entire column 30. The hole 41 preferably is a circular hole and preferably has a diameter of between 1 and 3 inches, and most preferably approximately 1.25 inches. A second interior hole 42 and a third interior hole 43 are also provided. Holes 42 and 43 are similar in size and dimension as hole 41. The holes 41, 42 and 43, respectively, are generally aligned in a triangular pattern.

An inlet 44 is preferably formed into the bottom 34 of the column. The inlet 44 has a first step 45 preferably having a generally circular cross-section. The inlet 44 also has a second step 46 above the first step 45. The second step has a generally circular cross-section with a diameter smaller than the first step 44. The column 30 preferably has a weight of approximately between 20 and 80 pounds, and more preferably between 40 and 50 pounds.

Still referring to FIG. 11, and also referring to FIG. 12, an alternative preferred base 190 is provided. The base 190 has a first plate 191 and a second plate 192. The first plate 191 is preferably generally circular shaped. The second plate 192 is preferably circular shaped as well, and has a diameter that is larger than the diameter of the first plate 191. The diameter of the second plate 192 is preferably no larger than the diameter of flange 35. The first plate 191 and second plate 192 are preferably steel plates. However, other materials can be used without departing from the broad aspects of the present invention. The first plate 191 has a top and a bottom. The second plate 192 also has a top and a bottom. The bottom of the first plate 191 is in contact with the top of the second plate 192, and the two plates are preferably welded together.

Base 190 further has three upstanding members. The members are preferably upstanding arms 201, 205 and 209. The arms are generally arranged in a generally triangular pattern, as best shown in FIG. 12. Arm 201 is preferably a bar of metal having a longitudinal axis 202, a top 203 and a bottom 204. The arm 201 is preferably a solid piece of steel having a generally circular cross-section, and having a length of approximately 2 feet between the bottom 204 and the top 203. The bottom 204 is preferably welded to the first plate 191. The longitudinal axis 202 is generally upright, or vertical, when the bottom of the second plate 192 lies on a flat horizontal surface. Arm 205 is preferably a bar of metal having a longitudinal axis 206, a top 207 and a bottom 208. The arm 205 is preferably a solid piece of steel having a generally circular cross-section, and having a length of approximately 2 feet between the bottom 208 and the top 207. The bottom 208 is preferably welded to the first plate 191. The longitudinal axis 206 is generally upright, or vertical, when the bottom of the second plate 192 lies on a flat horizontal surface. Arm 209 is preferably a bar of metal having a longitudinal axis 210, a top 211 and a bottom 212. The arm 209 is preferably a solid piece of steel having a generally circular cross-section, and having a length of approximately 2 feet between the bottom 212 and the top 211. The bottom 212 is preferably welded to the first plate 191. The longitudinal axis 210 is generally upright, or vertical, when the bottom of the second plate 192 lies on a flat horizontal surface. The base 190 preferably weighs approximately between 20 and 80 pounds, and more preferably between 40 and 55 pounds.

Column 30 can selectably be placed in removeable engagement with base 190. The longitudinal axis 31 of the base generally parallel to and alignable with the longitudinal axis 202 of the base 190. The top end 203 of arm 201 of the base is extendable into the hole 41 in column 30. The top end 207 of arm 205 of the base is extendable into the hole 42 in column 30. The top end 211 of arm 209 of the base is extendable into the hole 43 in column 30. Plate 191 can be mated with, or engage, the second step 46. Plate 192 can be mated with, or engage, the first step 45. When the base 190 and column 30 are engaged, or in a mating position, the center of gravity of the structure is lower than the center of gravity of the column 30. The longitudinal axis 31 of the column is preferably in an upright or vertical orientation when the base 190 lies on a flat horizontal surface.

A further alternative preferred embodiment is shown in FIGS. 13 and 14. In this regard, a column 50 is provided. The column 50 has a longitudinal axis 51 spanning between a top 52 and a bottom 54. The top 52 and bottom 54 of the column define a length, or column height. A preferred column height is approximated 8 feet. However, the column height can be larger or smaller without departing from the broad aspects of the present invention. The column 50 has a center of gravity near the midway point along the length between the top 52 and bottom 54. The column 50 has an outside surface 56. The outside surface 56 preferably has a generally circular cross-section. The outside surface 56 preferably has a diameter of approximately 18 inches along the majority of its height. Surface 56 is preferably finished to have a decorative finish.

An inlet 64 is preferably formed into the bottom 54 of the column. The inlet 64 has a first step 65 preferably having a generally circular cross-section. The inlet 64 also has a second step 66 above the first step 65. The second step has a generally circular cross-section with a diameter smaller than the first step 64. The column 50 preferably has a weight of approximately between 20 and 80 pounds, and more preferably between 40 and 50 pounds.

A further alternative preferred base 220 is provided. The base 220 has a first plate 221 and a second plate 222. The first plate 221 is preferably generally circular shaped. The second plate 222 is preferably circular shaped as well, and has a diameter that is larger than the diameter of the first plate 221. The diameter of the second plate 222 is preferably no larger than the column 50. The first plate 221 and second plate 222 are preferably steel plates. However, other materials can be used without departing from the broad aspects of the present invention. The first plate 221 has a top and a bottom. The second plate 222 also has a top and a bottom. The bottom of the first plate 221 is in contact with the top of the second plate 222, and the two plates are preferably welded together. Base 220 further has a third plate 223 connected to the bottom of plate 222. Base 220 further has a member. The member is preferably a shoe 231. The shoe has a bottom 234 that is preferably connected to the third plate 223, a top 233, an interior surface 235 and an exterior surface 236. The exterior surface 236 can be a finished surface. The interior surface 235 preferably has a generally circular cross-sectional area and is preferably has a diameter that is slightly larger than the diameter of the outside surface 56 of column 50. The base 220 preferably weighs approximately between 20 and 80 pounds, and more preferably between 40 and 55 pounds.

Column 50 can selectably be placed in removeable engagement with base 220. The bottom 54 of column 50 can be received with the shoe 231 of the base 230. Plate 221 can be mated with, or engage, the second step 66. Plate 222 can be mated with, or engage, the first step 65. When the base 220 and column 50 are engaged, or in a mating position, the center of gravity of the structure is lower than the center of gravity of the column 50. The longitudinal axis 51 of the column is preferably in an upright or vertical orientation when the base 220 lies on a flat horizontal surface.

Turning now to FIG. 15, a further alternative preferred column 70 is provided. Column 70 has a longitudinal axis 71 spanning between a top 72 and a bottom 74. The top 72 and bottom 74 of the column define a length, or column height. A preferred column height is approximated 8 feet. However, the column height can be larger or smaller without departing from the broad aspects of the present invention. The column 70 has a center of gravity near the midway point along the length between the top 72 and bottom 74. A flange 73 can be at or near the top 72 of the column. The flange 73 is preferably a decorative flange. A flange 75 can be at or near the bottom 74 of the column. The flange 75 is preferably a decorative flange. The column 70 has an outside surface 76. The outside surface 76 preferably has a generally circular cross-section. In a preferred embodiment, the top flange 73 and bottom flange 75 can be integral with the outside surface 76. The outside surface 76 preferably has a diameter of approximately 18 inches along the majority of its height, and can preferably have a diameter extending to approximately 2 feet at the top 72 and bottom 74, respectively. Surface 76 is preferably finished to have a decorative finish.

An interior hole 81 extends upward from the bottom 72 of the column, and preferably extends through the entire column 70. The hole 81 preferably is a circular hole and preferably has a diameter of between 1 and 3 inches, and most preferably approximately 1.25 inches. A threaded receiver 85 is preferably formed into the bottom 74 of the column. The threaded receiver 85 has threads 86. An inlet 87 is also provided at the bottom 74 of the column 70. The column 70 preferably has a weight of approximately between 20 and 80 pounds, and more preferably between 40 and 50 pounds.

An alternative preferred base 250 is also provided. Base 250 has a first plate 251, which is preferably circular shaped. The diameter of the plate 251 is preferably no larger than the diameter of flange 75. Base 250 further has a member. The member can be a screw 261 that is connected to the plate 251 and be upstanding there from. The screw 261 has threads 262. The base may further have a depending member. The depending member is preferably an arm 271. The arm 271 is preferably a bar of metal having a longitudinal axis 272, a top 273 and a bottom 274. The arm 271 is preferably a solid piece of steel having a generally circular cross-section. The top 273 is preferably welded to the plate 251. The base 250 preferably weighs approximately between 20 and 80 pounds, and more preferably between 40 and 55 pounds.

Column 70 can selectably be placed in removeable engagement with base 250. The longitudinal axis 71 of the base generally parallel to and alignable with the longitudinal axis 272 of the depending arm 271 of the base 250. The screw 261 can be in threadable engagement with the treaded receiver 85 of the column 70. Plate 251 engages, or mates with, inlet 87 when the screw 261 is engaged with the threaded receiver 85. The center of gravity of the structure is lower than the center of gravity of the column 70.

A further alternative preferred embodiment is shown in FIG. 16. In this regard, a column 90 is provided. The column 90 has a longitudinal axis 91 spanning between a top 92 and a bottom 94. The top 92 and bottom 94 of the column define a length, or column height. A preferred column height is approximated 8 feet. However, the column height can be larger or smaller without departing from the broad aspects of the present invention. The column 90 has a center of gravity near the midway point along the length between the top 92 and bottom 94. The column 90 has an outside surface 96. The outside surface 96 preferably has a generally circular cross-section. The outside surface 96 preferably has a diameter of approximately 18 inches along the majority of its height. Surface 96 is preferably finished to have a decorative finish.

An interior hole 101 extends upward from the bottom 94 of the column, and preferably extends through the entire column 90. The hole 101 preferably is a circular hole and preferably has a diameter of between 1 and 3 inches, and most preferably approximately 1.25 inches. Hole 101 is preferably centrally located in the column 90. An inlet 104 is preferably formed into the bottom 94 of the column. The inlet 104 has a first step 105 preferably having a generally circular cross-section. The inlet 104 also has a second step 106 above the first step 105. The second step has a generally circular cross-section with a diameter smaller than the first step 104. The column 90 preferably has a weight of approximately between 20 and 80 pounds, and more preferably between 40 and 50 pounds.

A further alternative preferred base 280 is provided. The base 280 has a first plate 281 and a second plate 282. The first plate 281 is preferably generally circular shaped. The second plate 282 is preferably circular shaped as well, and has a diameter that is larger than the diameter of the first plate 281. The diameter of the second plate 282 is preferably no larger than the column 90. The first plate 281 and second plate 282 are preferably steel plates. However, other materials can be used without departing from the broad aspects of the present invention. The first plate 281 has a top and a bottom. The second plate 282 also has a top and a bottom. The bottom of the first plate 281 is in contact with the top of the second plate 282, and the two plates are preferably welded together. Base 280 further has a third plate 283 connected to the bottom of plate 282. Base 280 further has a member. The member can be an upstanding arm 291. The arm 291 has a longitudinal axis 292, a top 293 and a bottom 294. The member can also be a shoe 301. The shoe 301 has a bottom 304 that is preferably connected to the third plate 283, a top 303, an interior surface 305 and an exterior surface 306. The exterior surface 306 can be a finished surface. The interior surface 305 preferably has a generally circular cross-sectional area and is preferably has a diameter that is slightly larger than the diameter of the outside surface 96 of column 90. The base 280 preferably weighs approximately between 20 and 80 pounds, and more preferably between 40 and 55 pounds.

Column 90 can selectably be placed in removeable engagement with base 280. The bottom 94 of column 90 can be received with the shoe 281 of the base 280. Plate 281 can be mated with, or engage, the second step 96. Plate 282 can be mated with, or engage, the first step 95. Arm 291 can extend into hole 101 of the column 90. When the base 280 and column 90 are engaged, or in a mating position, the center of gravity of the structure is lower than the center of gravity of the column 90. The longitudinal axis 91 of the column is preferably in an upright or vertical orientation when the base 280 lies on a flat horizontal surface.

Calling attention now to FIG. 17, a further alternative preferred base 310 is provided. The base 310 has a first plate 311 and a second plate 312. The first plate 311 is preferably generally circular shaped. The second plate 312 is preferably circular shaped as well, and has a diameter that is larger than the diameter of the first plate 311. The diameter of the second plate 312 is preferably no larger than the diameter of flange 15 of column 10. The first plate 311 and second plate 312 are preferably steel plates. However, other materials can be used without departing from the broad aspects of the present invention. The first plate 311 has a top and a bottom. The second plate 312 also has a top and a bottom. The bottom of the first plate 311 is in contact with the top of the second plate 312, and the two plates are preferably welded together. Base 310 further has an upstanding member. The member is preferably an arm 321. The arm 321 is preferably a bar of metal having a longitudinal axis 322, a top 323 and a bottom 324. The arm 321 is preferably a solid piece of steel having a generally circular cross-section, and having a length of approximately 2 feet between the bottom 324 and the top 323. The bottom 324 is preferably welded to the first plate 311. Base 310 also has three depending members. Arm 331 has a longitudinal axis 332, a top 333 connected to the bottom of the first plate 311, and a bottom 334. Arm 335 has a longitudinal axis 336, a top 337 connected to the bottom of the first plate 311, and a bottom 338. Arm 339 has a longitudinal axis 340, a top 341 connected to the bottom of the first plate 311, and a bottom 342. The arms are generally positioned in a triangular pattern. Longitudinal axis 332 is preferably generally parallel with longitudinal axis 336 and longitudinal axis 340. The base 310 preferably weighs approximately between 20 and 80 pounds, and more preferably between 40 and 55 pounds.

Column 10 can selectably be placed in removeable engagement with base 310. The longitudinal axis 11 of the base generally parallel to and alignable with the longitudinal axis of the base 310. The top end 323 of the arm 321 of the base 310 is extendable into the hole 21 in the column 10. Plate 311 can be mated with, or engage, the second step 26. Plate 312 can be mated with, or engage, the first step 25. Arms 331, 335 and 339 can be removeably inserted into sleeves. When the base 310 and column 10 are engaged, or in a mating position, the center of gravity of the structure is lower than the center of gravity of the column 10.

Looking now to FIG. 18, it is seen that a still further preferred base 110 is provided. Base 110 has a longitudinal axis 111 spanning between a top 112 and a bottom 114. The top 112 and bottom 114 of the column define a length, or column height. A preferred column height is approximated 8 feet. However, the column height can be larger or smaller without departing from the broad aspects of the present invention. The column 110 has a center of gravity near the midway point along the length between the top 112 and bottom 114. A flange 113 can be at or near the top 112 of the column. The flange 113 is preferably a decorative flange. A flange 115 can be at or near the bottom 114 of the column. The flange 115 is preferably a decorative flange. The column 110 has an outside surface 116. The outside surface 116 preferably has a generally circular cross-section. In a preferred embodiment, the top flange 113 and bottom flange 115 can be integral with the outside surface 116. The outside surface 116 preferably has a diameter of approximately 18 inches along the majority of its height, and can preferably have a diameter extending to approximately 2 feet at the top 112 and bottom 114, respectively. Surface 116 is preferably finished to have a decorative finish

An interior rim 121 extends upward from the bottom 112 of the column a predetermined amount. The rim 121 has an interior side 122 and an exterior side 123. The interior side 122 preferably has a generally circular cross-section. An inlet 124 is preferably formed into the bottom 114 of the column. The inlet 24 has a generally circular cross-section. The column 110 preferably has a weight of approximately between 20 and 80 pounds, and more preferably between 40 and 50 pounds.

An alternative preferred base 350 is provided. The base 350 has a plate 351. The plate 351 is preferably generally circular shaped. The diameter of the plate 351 is preferably no larger than the diameter of flange 115. Base 350 further has a member. The member is preferably a tube 261. The tube 361 has a top 362 and a bottom 363. The tube 361 has an interior 364 and an exterior 354. The bottom 363 is preferably welded to the plate 351. The base 130 preferably weighs approximately between 20 and 80 pounds, and more preferably between 40 and 55 pounds.

Column 110 can be selectably placed in removeable engagement with base 350. The top end 362 of the tube 361 of the base 350 is extendable into the rim 121 in the column 110. Plate 351 can be mated with, or engage, the inlet 124. When the base 350 and column 110 are engaged, or in a mating position, the center of gravity of the structure is lower than the center of gravity of the column 110. The longitudinal axis 111 of the column 110 is preferably in an upright or vertical orientation when the base 350 lies on a flat horizontal surface.

Thus it is apparent that there has been provided, in accordance with the invention, an upstanding column that fully satisfies the objects, aims and advantages as set forth above. While the invention has been described in conjunction with specific embodiments thereof, it is evident that many alternatives, modifications, and variations will be apparent to those skilled in the art in light of the foregoing description. Accordingly, it is intended to embrace all such alternatives, modifications, and variations as fall within the spirit and broad scope of the appended claims.