Title:
Pipe clamp wire mount
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A support is provided for receiving and supporting a hot wire on a pipe fence. The support includes a wire support member having a base and an insulated wire supporting portion mounted on the base for receiving and supporting a hot wire. The wire support member has at least two fingers for receiving and supporting the hot wire. The wire support member forms two slots such that one slot of one of the fingers opens upward. The other slot of the other finger opens downward. The fingers therein form a channel for installing the hot wire. The support also has a clamp having a circular shape attached to the base of the wire support member and is configured to secure to a cylindrical pipe of a fence.



Inventors:
Berto, Joseph J. (White City, OR, US)
Application Number:
10/056784
Publication Date:
07/11/2002
Filing Date:
01/23/2002
Assignee:
BERTO JOSEPH J.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04H17/10; E04H17/16; (IPC1-7): H01B17/14
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WALKENHORST, DAVID W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BUCHANAN, INGERSOLL & ROONEY PC (ALEXANDRIA, VA, US)
Claims:
1. A support for receiving and supporting a hot wire on a pipe fence post, the support comprising: a wire support member having a base and an insulated wire supporting portion mounted on the base for receiving and supporting a hot wire, the wire support member has at least two fingers for receiving and supporting the hot wire, the wire support member forms two slots such that one slot of one of the fingers opens upward and the other slot of the other finger opens downward, and wherein the fingers form a channel for installing the hot wire; and a clamp having a circular shape attached to the base of the wire support member and configured to secure the wire support member to a cylindrical pipe of a fence.

2. The support according to claim 1, further comprising a connector, which attaches the base and the clamp.

3. The support according to claim 1, wherein the two fingers are substantially U-shaped.

4. The support according to claim 3, wherein the substantially U-shaped fingers have an about 45 degree cut in each respective finger forming a channel for accepting the hot wire.

5. The support according to claim 1, wherein the clamp has a pair of flanges for attaching and detaching the fence support member to the cylindrical pipe.

6. The support according to claim 5, wherein the clamp is secured to the cylindrical pipe by a fastener which is inserted thorough the pair of flanges.

7. The support according to claim 1, wherein the wire support member and the clamp are one piece.

8. The support according to claim 1, wherein the wire support member and the clamp are two pieces.

9. The support according to claim 8, wherein the wire support member has a circular protruding shaft having at least one tab or key for attaching the wire support member to the clamp.

10. The support according to claim 8, wherein the wire support member has a snap fit connection for attaching the wire support member to the clamp.

11. The support according to claim 10, wherein the snap fit connection has a stem having a tapered or conical shaped rim.

12. The support according to claim 11, wherein the stem comprises a plurality of spring-contact fingers which form a hollow body.

13. The support according to claim 1, wherein the support is formed of plastic.

14. The support according to claim 1, wherein the clamp has a plurality of holes for attaching the clamp to the cylindrical pipe.

15. The support according to claim 1, wherein the base and clamp are configured to offset the hot wire from the cylindrical pipe by at least 0.5 inches.

16. The support according to claim 1, wherein the base and clamp are configured to offset the hot wire from the cylindrical pipe by at least 1.0 inches.

17. An electric fence system comprising: a plurality of substantially cylindrical pipe fence posts or rails; a plurality of wire supports made of electrically insulating material, the wire supports including a wire support portion for receiving and supporting a hot wire and a clamp having a circular shape attached to the wire support portion, the circular shaped clamp securing the wire supports to the pipe fence posts or rails; and a hot wire received and supported by the plurality of wire supports.

18. The electric fence system according to claim 17, wherein the wire supports are connected to posts.

19. The electric fence system according to claim 17, wherein the wire supports are connected to rails.

20. The electric fence system according to claim 17, wherein the wire support portion has at least two fingers for receiving and supporting the hot wire.

21. The electric fence system according to claim 20, wherein the wire support portion forms two slots such that one slot of one of the fingers opens upward and the other slot of the other finger opens downward.

22. The electric fence system according to claim 20, wherein the fingers form a channel for installing the hot wire.

23. An electric fence system comprising: a plurality of fence posts and rails; a plurality of wire supports made of electrically insulating material, the wire supports including a wire support portion for receiving and supporting a hot wire and a clamp configured to substantially surround and attach the wire support portion to one of the fence posts or rails; and a hot wire received and supported by the plurality of wire supports.

24. The electric fence system according to claim 23, wherein the clamp is a cylindrical clamp configured to surround a cylindrical fence post or rail.

25. The electric fence system according to claim 23, wherein the clamp is a rectangular clamp configured to substantially surround a rectangular fence post or rail.

26. The electric fence system according to claim 23, wherein the hot wire is offset from the fence posts or rails by the plurality of wire supports a distance of about 1 to about 6 inches.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This invention is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/321,698, filed May 28, 1999, which claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application Serial No. 60/109,678, filed on Nov. 24, 1998, both of which are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] The invention relates to a fencing support member for pipe fencing, and more particularly, the invention relates to a pipe fence support for connection to conventional metal pipe fences.

[0004] 2. Brief Description of the Related Art

[0005] There are many different fencing options for fencing horses and other animals such as wood, PVC, high-tensile wire, barbed wire, wire mesh, metal pipe, and others. Each of these fencing materials has different advantages and disadvantages in the areas of strength, visibility, aesthetics, and maintenance.

[0006] Wooden plank or post and rail fencing is both sturdy and attractive. Wood fencing is also quite visible to horses which discourages them from crashing into the fence. However, wood fencing also requires high maintenance in painting and replacing rotten wooden fence posts and rails. Wooden fencing is also rather costly.

[0007] Wire fencing including barbed wire and wire mesh fencing is easy to install and uses a common inexpensive metal “T” post system for supporting the fencing. However, the metal T-posts of this type of fencing are narrow and the wire is thin making the fence very difficult for animals to see particularly in poor light.

[0008] PVC fencing has been used as an alternative to wooden fencing and provides the superior aesthetics of a conventional wooden fence without the associated maintenance. However, the new PVC fencing systems are relatively expensive. In addition, animals may lean or rub against the PVC fencing causing it to crack in cold weather.

[0009] Another alternative is conventional metal pipe fencing which is one of the most versatile types of fencing on the market. Pipe fences are easy to install because the fence simply attaches to pipes driven into the ground. However, one of the drawbacks to pipe fences is the width between the rails which allows animals to reach through or over the fence causing the fence to bend or break.

[0010] However, attaching a hot wire to a pipe fence is very difficult because the pipe fence conducts the electricity. In addition, since the bars on a pipe fence run horizontally as well as vertically, it is also difficult to orient the apparatus so that the wire stays attached and is positioned correctly to prevent animals from sticking their neck through the wires causing bald spots in their manes and damage to the pipe fence.

[0011] Accordingly, it would be desirable to provide an apparatus for easily mounting an hot wire on a pipe fence post to prevent animals from leaning or rubbing on the fence. It would also be desirable to allow electric wire to be mounted to both vertical and horizontal portions of pipe fences.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0012] The present invention relates to an apparatus for use with pipe fences for attaching a hot wire to a conventional cylindrical metal fence post or rail and for attaching hot wire to other types of fence rails.

[0013] In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, a support for receiving and supporting a hot wire on a fence includes a wire support member having a base and an insulated wire supporting portion mounted on the base for receiving and supporting a hot wire, the wire support member has at least two fingers for receiving and supporting the hot wire, the wire support member forms two slots such that one slot of one of the fingers opens upward and the other slot of the other finger opens downward, and wherein the fingers form a channel for installing the hot wire; and a clamp having a circular shape attached to the base of the wire support member and configured to secure the wire support member to a cylindrical pipe of a fence.

[0014] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, an electric fence supporting system includes a plurality of substantially cylindrical pipe fence posts or rails; a plurality of wire supports made of electrically insulating material, the wire supports including a wire support portion for receiving and supporting a hot wire and a clamp having a circular shape attached to the base of the wire support portion, the circular shaped clamp securing the wire support to the pipe fence posts or rails; and a hot wire received and supported by the plurality of wire supports.

[0015] In accordance with a further aspect of the present invention, an electric fence system comprising a plurality of fence posts and rails; a plurality of wire supports made of electrically insulating material, the wire supports including a wire support portion for receiving and supporting a hot wire and a clamp configured to substantially surround and attach the wire support portion to one of the fence posts or rails; and a hot wire received and supported by the plurality of wire supports.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0016] The invention will now be described in greater detail with reference to the preferred embodiments illustrated in the accompanying drawings, in which like elements bear like reference numerals, and wherein:

[0017] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a fencing system according to the present invention;

[0018] FIG. 2 is a top view of the fence rail holder and fence rails according to the present invention;

[0019] FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the fence rail holder and fence rails of FIG. 2 taken along line 3-3 of FIG. 2;

[0020] FIG. 4 is a side view of the fence rail holder;

[0021] FIG. 5 is a front view of one embodiment of a wire support member;

[0022] FIG. 6 is a rear view of the wire support member of FIG. 5;

[0023] FIG. 7 is a rear view of an alternative embodiment of a wire support member;

[0024] FIG. 8 is a side view of the wire support member of FIG.7;

[0025] FIG. 9 is a top view of a PVC fence post, fence rail, and the wire support member of FIGS. 7 and 8;

[0026] FIG. 10 is a side view of an adaptor and the wire support member of FIGS. 7 and 8;

[0027] FIG. 11 is a front view of the adaptor of FIG. 10;

[0028] FIG. 12 is a top view of the adaptor and wire support member of FIG. 10;

[0029] FIGS. 13, 14, and 15 are front, side, and top views of an alternative clip for fastening the fence rail holder to a wood fence post;

[0030] FIG. 16 is a side view of a fence post cap for fastening the fence rail holder to a fence post;

[0031] FIG. 17 is a cross-sectional view of the fence post cap of FIG. 16 and a fence post, taken along line 17-17 of FIG. 16;

[0032] FIG. 18 is a side view of an alternative embodiment of a fence post cap; and

[0033] FIG. 19 is a cross-sectional view of the fence post cap of FIG. 18, taken along line 19-19.

[0034] FIG. 20 is a top view of a pipe fence support according to the present invention;

[0035] FIG. 21 is a side view of the pipe fence support according to the present invention;

[0036] FIG. 22 is a side view of the pipe fence support according to the present invention secured to pipe fence post according to the present invention;

[0037] FIG. 23 is a front view of one embodiment of a wire support member according to the present invention;

[0038] FIG. 24 is a rear view of another embodiment of a wire support member according to the present invention;

[0039] FIG. 25 is a rear view of an alternative embodiment of a wire support member according to the present invention;

[0040] FIG. 26 is a side view of the wire support member of FIG. 25;

[0041] FIG. 27 is a top view of an alternative embodiment of a pipe fence support according to the present invention;

[0042] FIG. 28 is a side view of the alternative embodiment of the pipe fence support according to the present invention;

[0043] FIG. 29 is a side view of the alternative embodiment of the pipe fence support according to the present invention secured to pipe fence according to the present invention;

[0044] FIG. 30 is a perspective view of the pipe fence support according to the present invention secured to a vertical pipe fence; and

[0045] FIG. 31 is a perspective view of the pipe fence support according to the present invention secured to a horizontal pipe fence.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0046] The fencing system according to the present invention provides the advantages of easy installation, low cost, durability, and visibility. The fencing system also allows the incorporation of an electric wire or barbed wire onto the front or back face of a pipe fence post or rail.

[0047] The fence rail holder 10 according to the present invention provides the visibility of a wooden or PVC fence at a lower cost because it enables a PVC fence rail to be connected to the inexpensive metal posts commonly used to install barbed wire and wire mesh fences. The fencing system of the present invention also provides a way to attach an electric fence or hot wire to PVC fencing.

[0048] As shown in FIGS. 1-4, the fence rail holder 10 includes a hollow body which defines rectangular openings 12 at opposite sides, configured to receive a commonly available fence rail 100. The fence rails 100 are easily visible and the cross-sectional area of each rail is in the range of about ½by about 1 inch, to about 5 by about 8 inches. The fence rails may also be square in cross section. In one embodiment, the PVC fence rail is about 1½by about 5½inches.

[0049] Two clips 16, 18 including a fixed upper clip 16 and a slidable lower clip 18 are positioned on a rear surface of the fence rail holder 10, as shown in FIGS. 2-4. These clips 16, 18 have somewhat U-shaped portions which are substantially the same size and shape and are configured to be received on the conventional “T” shaped fence posts. The clips 16, 18 have a configuration which allows the fence rail holder 10 to be easily snapped onto the “T” posts and to be removed from the posts by pressing on the elongated lever end 14 of the clip. Attaching the fence rail holder 10 to a “T” post allows the addition of a very visible, white or other colored PVC, or other rail to a conventional barbed wire or wire mesh fence. The PVC rail may be placed along the top of the fence in place of or in addition to a top strand of barbed wire.

[0050] As illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 4, each clip has a mounting portion 46 which can be received in an opening 26 in the rear surface of the fence rail holder 10. In one embodiment, the mounting portion 46 has a groove 48 disposed about an edge of the mounting portion. When the clip 16, 18 is inserted in the fence rail holder 10, the groove 48 engages the side surfaces of the opening 26. The mounting portion 46 has an optional locking mechanism 62 which secures the clips 16, 18 in place when inserted in the fence rail holder 10. The locking mechanism 62 includes a tail which extends downward from the clips 16, 18 and snaps into the opening 26 and prevents clips from sliding out of the opening.

[0051] The conventional metal “T” posts 110 have a plurality of protrusions 112, shown in FIG. 1, along a front face which prevent the wire 114 from slipping along the post. Since there is no industry standard for these metal fence posts 110, the spacing between the protrusions 112 varies widely between manufacturers. The slidable lower clip 18 which slides in the elongated lower opening 26 allows the fence rail holder 10 to be mounted on posts from different manufacturers. Generally, the upper clip 16 will be snapped onto the fence post between the top two protrusions 112 and the lower clip 18 will be adjusted by sliding the clip vertically in the lower opening 26 in the fence rail holder 10 so that the lower clip can be received on the fence post without obstruction from the protrusions.

[0052] The fence rail holder 10 is preferably constructed of plastic, such as PVC, and includes a wire support member 20 on a front surface which allows the mounting of an electric wire 116, barbed wire, electric tape, electric rope, or other wire along a front face of the fence rails 100. The wire support member 20 is fabricated from an electrically insulating material and may be integral with or separate from the fence rail holder 10. Examples of wire support members will be described in further detail below with respect to FIGS. 5-9.

[0053] The fence rails 100 are inserted into the openings 12 on either side of the fence rail holder 10 and may be held in place by tangs on the rail or by other fasteners. For example, the fence rail holder 10 may be provided with a plurality of holes 24 in the front or rear surface. After the fence rails are inserted into the openings 12 in the sides of the fence rail holder 10, a hole may be drilled in the fence rail through the holes 24 in the fence rail holder 10 and a pin 64 or tab is inserted into the hole. The fence rail 100 is prevented from being removed from the fence rail holder 10 by the ends of the pin 64. This provides an easy attachment system for attaching the fence rails 100 to the fence rail holder 10 in a removable manner which prevents the fence rails from falling out of the fence rail holder if the posts shift. The attachment system also allows some amount of give between the fence rail holder 10 and the rails 100.

[0054] FIGS. 5-9 illustrate two embodiments of wire support members 20A, 20B having two different connections for connecting to a PVC fence post, rail, or to the fence rail holder 10.

[0055] FIGS. 5 and 6 illustrate one example of a wire support member 20A having two fingers 38, 40 for receiving and supporting a hot wire or other wire. The fingers 38, 40 are generally U-shaped and have a wire receiving slot 42. One slot 42 of one of the fingers 38 opens upward and the other slot of the other finger 40 opens downward so that one finger 38 limits vertical upward movement of a wire (not shown) resting in the slot 42 while the other finger 40 limits vertical downward movement of the wire.

[0056] FIG. 6 illustrates a rear view of the first embodiment of the wire support member 20A. According to this embodiment, the wire support member 20A is provided with a circular protruding shaft 68 having two tabs 70 or key members which extend from the shaft for locking the member into place. In use, an opening is formed in the fence rail holder 10 or other fencing member which is configured to receive the shaft 68 and the tabs 70. The wire support member 20A is inserted into the opening and rotated 90 degrees to lock the member in place.

[0057] An alternative embodiment of a wire support member 20B, as shown in FIGS. 7-9, has a snap fit connection for quick mounting the member into a fencing system. The snap fit connection includes a stem 44 having a tapered or conical shaped rim 72. The stem 44 mounts the wire support member 20 on the fence rail holder 10. As shown in FIG. 8, the stem 44 is provided with at least one longitudinal slot 50 which the slot allows the stem 44 to be compressed to a smaller diameter to snap into an opening in a fencing member. The opening in the fencing member has a smaller diameter than the rim 72 such that when the stem 44 is inserted in the opening, the stem and rim compress to create a close fit between the fencing member and stem. FIG. 9 is a top view of a conventional PVC post 120 and PVC rail 100 system having a circular opening 28 drilled in the post for attaching the wire support member 20B in a snap fit arrangement.

[0058] In an alternative embodiment, the stem 44 comprises a plurality of spring-contact fingers which form a hollow body. When inserting the stem 44 in the opening, the spring-contact fingers deflect and allow the stem to pass through the opening. Examples of the attachment means for attaching the wire support member 20 to a fence member have been described. Other examples of attachment means include but are not limited to clamping, snap fitting mechanisms, turn-keys, lipped surfaces, and welding.

[0059] FIGS. 10-12 show the construction of another embodiment of the fencing system having an adaptor 52 for mounting the wire support member 20B to a fence rail. The adaptor 52 is received on a fence rail and supports the wire support member 20. The adaptor 52 may be used when an owner does not wish to drill holes directly into the PVC fence rails 100 or when it is desirable to offset the electric wire a distance from the fence rails. The adaptor is particularly useful when a spacing between adjacent “T” posts 110 becomes longer than a suggested 8 foot interval. The adaptor 52 clips on to the fence rail 100 so that a wire support member 20 can be installed mid span to ensure that the electric wire does not sag against the fence wire 114. The adaptor 52 includes a bracket 60, which is adapted to be positioned around at least a portion of the fence rail 100, and a connector 58 supported by the bracket. The bracket 60 may be provided with a roughened and/or tacky surface to facilitate gripping the fence rail. The roughened surface enhances the friction between the surfaces and may comprise any suitable means, including but not limited to grooves, ridges, ribs, or the like. The bracket 52 may be adapted to be mounted on rectangular, circular, square fence rails, or fence rails set at an angle. Further, the adaptor 52 allows electric wire mounting on fence rails without drilling holes in the fence rail.

[0060] The connector 58 forms a cavity 56 with an opening 54 for receiving the stem 44 of the wire support member 20B in a snap fit connection. In combination, the fence rail holder 10 and the adaptor 52 allow the fencing system to support a wire at the fence posts and along fence rails. The connector 58 extends from the bracket 60 a distance such that a wire held by the wire support member 20 does not contact the fence post, fence rail, or wire fencing.

[0061] The fence rail holder 10 according to the present invention may also be used with other types of fence posts such as round or square wooden posts. FIGS. 13-15 illustrate an alternative embodiment of a clip 30 which is configured to allow the fence rail holder 10 to be attached to round or square fence posts. The clip 30 includes holes 32 which allow the clip to be nailed to a round, square, or other shaped wooden fence post or screwed or riveted to a square, round, or other shaped metal fence post. The clip 30 takes the place of the clips 16, 18 for supporting the fence rail holder 10 on the post.

[0062] FIGS. 16-19 illustrate two embodiments of a fence post cap for fastening a fence rail holder 10 to a top of a fence post. The fence post cap 80A of FIGS. 16 and 17 has a D-shaped cross section, a domed top 82, and a mounting portion 86 to be received in a top opening 26 of the fence rail holder 10. An interior of the cap 80A includes two pairs of ribs 88 for contacting the front and back of the T-post 110. The fence post cap 80B of FIGS. 18 and 19 has a circular cross section. Other shaped fence post caps may also be used.

[0063] The fence post caps 80A, 80B support the fence rail holder 10 at a top of the fence post. The caps 80A, 80B prevent animals from injuring themselves on the tops of the fence posts. The caps also prevent animals from being able to push the fence rail holder 10 down on the post 110. The fence post caps may be integral with the fence rail holder 10 or separated as shown.

[0064] Several fence rail holders 10 may be used on a single post to form a multi-rail fence. The fence system of the present invention may be used with or without a wire mesh fence.

[0065] The fencing system according to the present invention provides the advantages of easy installation, low cost, durability, and visibility. In addition, the fencing system helps to shield the dangerous exposed top of the metal post. The fencing system also allows the incorporation of an electric wire or barbed wire onto the front face of the fence rail holders and fence rails.

[0066] The wire support members 20 according to the present invention provide a simple low cost manner of attaching an electric wire to PVC fencing systems. Animals tend to lose “respect” for vinyl fencing without electric wire and cause damage to the fence by leaning, scratching, kicking, or reaching through the fence. The wire support members 20 provide a way to attach an electric wire to the PVC fencing system.

[0067] In accordance with an alternative embodiment, FIG. 20 illustrates a support 200 for receiving and supporting a hot wire on a pipe fence post. The support 200 includes a wire support member 220, having an insulated wire supporting portion 210 mounted on a base 230 for receiving and supporting a hot wire (not shown), and a clamp 280 attached to the base 230 of the wire support member 220 and configured to secure the wire support member 220 to a cylindrical pipe of a fence.

[0068] As shown in FIG. 20, the wire support member 220 has at least two fingers 238, 240 for receiving and supporting a hot wire. Each of the fingers 238, 240 is generally U-shaped and is provided with a wire receiving slot 242. The fingers 238, 240 open upwardly and downwardly so that one finger limits vertical downward movement of a wire resting in the slot and the other finger limits vertical upward movement of the wire. Each of the fingers 238, 240 are provided with an upper groove 250 and a lower groove 252. The upper groove 250 and lower groove 252 on the fingers 238, 240 are aligned with each other and serve to hold a wire which may be wound around a pair of fingers rather than inserting the wire in the grooves or slots. The spacing of the fingers 238, 240 is at a distance to receive a section of wire vertically which is then turned to a horizontal position which will hold the wire in the slots 242 of the fingers 238, 240. It can be appreciated that the support 200 can be used both horizontally and vertically, such that the terms upward and downward are not intended to limit the use of the support 200 and is merely for illustrative purposes only.

[0069] The base 230 is a rectangular plate which is attached to the wire supporting portion 210. It can be appreciated, however, that the base 230 may be circular, rectangular or any other shape.

[0070] The clamp 280 attaches to the base 230 of the wire support member 220. As shown in FIG. 20, the clamp has a circular shape having a pair of flanges 282, 284 which defines an open end 286. The flanges 282, 284 allow the clamp 280 to be positioned around the cylindrical pipe with minimal effort. The clamp 280 attaches to the cylindrical pipe by tightening a screw or other fastener 290 which clamps the flanges 282, 284 together. Each of the flanges 282, 284 have a hole 292, 294 designed to accept the screw 290. Each of the holes 292, 294 have a diameter 296 for flange 282, and a diameter 298 for flange 284 to assist the screw 290 in attaching or detaching the clamp 280 to the cylindrical pipe post. The diameter 296 of flange 282 is greater than or equal to the diameter 298 of flange 284 for ease of tightening the screw 290. The clamp 280 preferably has an internal diameter of about 1 inch to 4 inches, depending on the type of cylindrical pipe rail. It can be appreciated, however, that the clamp 280 is not limited to cylindrical pipes. For example, the clamp 280 can be configured to allow the wire support member 220 to be attached to a rectangular or a square fence post or rail as described above with respect to FIGS. 10-12.

[0071] In an alternative embodiment, as shown in FIG. 21, the clamp 280 includes a plurality of holes 288 which allow the clamp to be screwed or riveted to a square, round, or other shaped metal fence post or nailed to a round, square, or other shaped wooden fence post or rail to further secure the clamp to the post or rail.

[0072] In a preferred embodiment as shown in FIGS. 20-22, the pipe fence post support 200 has a connector 260 between the base 230 of wire support member 220, and the clamp 280. The connector 260 extends the wire support member 220 a distance such that the wire held by the wire support member 220 does not contact the pipe fence posts or rails causing a short. The connector 260 can be from about 0 inches to about 10 inches in length depending on the distance that the wire needs to be offset from the pipe fence post or rail. The offset distance between the wire and the cylindrical pipe is at least 0.5 inches, and preferably about 1 inch to about 6 inches.

[0073] FIG. 22 illustrates the support 200 as shown in FIG. 20 secured to a cylindrical pipe 295. In use, the support 200 is secured to the cylindrical pipe 295 by sliding the open end 284 of the support 210 around the cylindrical pipe 295 and sliding the support 210 to a desired location along the pipe fence system. The support 210 is then secured to the cylindrical pipe 295 by tightening of the screw 290.

[0074] In the preferred embodiment, the wire support member 220 and clamp 280 are one piece. However, it can be appreciated that the clamp 280 and the wire support member 220 can be two pieces.

[0075] FIG. 23 illustrates a front view one example of a wire support member 220 having two fingers 238, 240 for receiving and supporting a hot wire. The fingers 238, 240 are generally U-shaped and have a wire receiving slot 242. One slot 242 of one of the fingers 238 opens upward and the other slot of the other finger 240 opens downward so that one finger 238 limits vertical upward movement of a wire (not shown) resting in the slot 242 while the other finger 240 limits vertical downward movement of the wire. As shown in FIG. 23, the substantially U-shaped fingers 238, 240 have a 45 degree cut in each respective finger 238, 240 forming a channel for accepting the hot wire.

[0076] FIG. 24 illustrates a rear view of another embodiment of the wire support member 320. According to this embodiment, the wire support member 320 is provided with a circular protruding shaft 368 having two tabs 370 or key members which extend from the shaft for locking the member into place. In use, an opening is formed in the pipe fence post clamp which is configured to receive the shaft 368 and the tabs 370. The wire support member 320 is inserted into the opening and rotated 90 degrees to lock the wire support member 320 in place.

[0077] In an alternative embodiment of a wire support member 320, as shown in FIGS. 25-29, the wire support member 320 has a snap fit connection 350 for quick mounting the wire support member 320 onto a clamp 380 of a fencing system. The snap fit connection 350 includes a stem 344 having a tapered or conical shaped rim 372. The stem 344 mounts the wire support member 320 on the clamp 380. As shown in FIG. 26, the stem 344 is provided with at least one longitudinal slot 350 wherein the slot allows the stem 344 to be compressed to a smaller diameter to snap into an opening 328 in the clamp 380. The opening 328 in the clamp 380 has a smaller diameter than the rim 372 such that when the stem 344 is inserted in the opening, the stem 344 and rim 372 compress to create a close fit between the post clamp 380 and stem 374.

[0078] In an alternative embodiment, the stem 344 comprises a plurality of spring-contact fingers which form a hollow body. When inserting the stem 344 in the opening, the spring-contact fingers deflect and allow the stem to pass through the opening. Examples of the attachment means for attaching the wire support member 320 to a fence member have been described. Other examples of attachment means include but are not limited to clamping, snap fitting mechanisms, turn-keys, lipped surfaces, and welding.

[0079] FIG. 27 is a top view of a support 300 formed from two pieces. The support 300 has a wire support member 320 having a snap fit connection 350 and a clamp 380. The clamp 380 has a circular opening 328 for receiving the wire support member 320 into the snap fit connection 350. The clamp 380 also has two flanges 382, 384 which defines an open end 386. The flanges 382, 384 allow the clamp 380 to be positioned around the pipe fence post with minimal effort. The clamp 380 attaches to the pipe fence by tightening a screw 390 which clamps the flanges 382, 384 together. Each of the flanges 382, 384 have a hole 392, 394. Each hole 392, 394 has a diameter 396 for hole 392, and a diameter 398 for hole 394 to assist the screw 390 in attaching the clamp 380 to the pipe fence post or rail. The diameter 396 of flange 382 is greater than or equal to the diameter 398 of flange 384 for ease of tightening the screw. The clamp 380 preferably has an inner diameter of approximately 1 inch to 4 inches depending on the type of pipe fence posts and rails.

[0080] The two piece support 300 illustrated in FIGS. 27 and 28 allows the installation of the wire support member 320 at different orientations with respect to the clamp 380. The variable orientation of the wire support member 320 allows a hot wire to be supported on vertical, horizontal or even angled fence members.

[0081] FIG. 28 is a side view of a wire support member 320 having a snap fit connection 350 and clamp 380. As shown in FIG. 9, the clamp 380 has a plurality of holes 388 for securing the clamp 380 to a pipe fence or wooden fence post or rail.

[0082] FIG. 29 illustrates the pipe fence support 300 secured to a cylindrical pipe 395. In use the support 300 is secured to the cylindrical pipe 395 by sliding the open end 386 of the clamp 380 around the cylindrical pipe 395 and sliding the support 300 to a desired location along the pipe fence system. The support 300 is then secured to the cylindrical pipe 395 by tightening of the screw 390.

[0083] The pipe fence support 200 (or 300) according to the present invention may also be used with other types of fence posts such as round or square wooden posts. In order to accommodate other types of fence posts, the clamp 280 (or 380) is preferably shaped to accommodate the shape of the fence post. Accordingly, the clamp 280 (or 380) can be rectangular, triangular or any other shape.

[0084] In the preferred embodiment, the wire support member has an overall length of about 1 inch to 6 inches depending on the type of pipe fencing and the desires of a consumer. However, it can be appreciated that the overall length of the wire support member will depend on the diameter of the pipe fence post and distance that the wire support member extends out from the pipe fence post.

[0085] As shown in FIGS. 29 and 30, the support 200 easily attaches to a vertical cylindrical pipe 400 or a horizontal cylindrical pipe rail 500. The term hot wire as used herein means all types of electric fencing including electric wire, electric tape and electric rope. However, it can be appreciated that the support may also be used for supporting barbed wire or any other type of wire which prevents animals from reaching through the fence posts or rails.

[0086] The support 200 (or 300) is preferably constructed of plastic, such as PVC, and includes the wire support member 220 on a front surface which allows the mounting of an electric wire, barbed wire, electric tape, electric rope, or other wire along a front face of the fence posts or rails. The wire support member 220 is fabricated from an electrically insulating material and may be integral with or separate from the fence rail. It can also be appreciated that the support 200 can be attached on either side of the fence post or rail.

[0087] While the invention has been described in detail with reference to the preferred embodiments thereof, it will be apparent to one skilled in the art that various changes and modifications can be made and equivalents employed, without departing from the present invention.