Title:
Artificial pumpkin stem assembly and method of attachment
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention relates to an artificial pumpkin stem assembly that includes a stem portion, an attachment portion and a removable fastener portion for securing the artificial stem to a pumpkin. Secondary fasteners may also be attached to provide a versatile and secure fastening system for many environments and applications. The artificial pumpkin stem assembly is attached to a pumpkin that has had it natural stem removed and is attached to the top of the pumpkin by treading the artificial stem portion onto the top of the pumpkin where the natural stem has been removed. Alternatively, an aperture is formed in the top of the pumpkin and the artificial stem portion including a secondary fastener is inserted through the aperture and treaded into locking position to replace the natural stem.



Inventors:
Bara, Donald (Prospect Heights, IL, US)
Application Number:
10/166790
Publication Date:
12/11/2003
Filing Date:
06/11/2002
Assignee:
BARA DONALD
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41G1/00; (IPC1-7): A47B95/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BOSWELL, CHRISTOPHER J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Steven M. Shape (Northbrook, IL, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. An artificial pumpkin stem assembly to replace the natural stem of a pumpkin comprising an artificial stem portion, an attachment portion associated with said artificial stem portion, a fastener portion having a first end connected to said attachment portion and a second end for connecting said artificial stem portion to said pumpkin.

2. The artificial pumpkin stem assembly of claim 1 wherein said fastener portion is releasably securable to said attachment portion.

3. The artificial pumpkin stem assembly of claim 1 wherein said fastener portion is permanently secured to said attachment portion associated with said artificial stem portion.

4. The artificial pumpkin stem assembly of claim 1 wherein said fastener portion has threads formed thereon and includes a tip for boring into said pumpkin.

5. The artificial pumpkin stem assembly of claim 1 wherein said fastener portion has threads formed thereon, includes a tip for boring into said pumpkin and includes a group of friable segments thereon for shortening said fastener portion after threading into said pumpkin.

6. The artificial pumpkin stem assembly of claim 1 wherein said fastener portion includes a flexible fastener attached to the second end thereof for securing said artificial stem portion to said pumpkin.

7. The artificial pumpkin stem assembly of claim 1 wherein said fastener portion includes a deformable fastener attached to the second end thereof for securing said artificial stem portion to said pumpkin.

8. The artificial pumpkin stem assembly of claim 6 wherein said pumpkin has its natural stem removed and includes an aperture bored in the top of said pumpkin through which said fastener portion with said flexible fastener attached is placed there through for securing said artificial stem portion to said pumpkin.

9. The artificial pumpkin stem assembly of claim 7 wherein said pumpkin has its natural stem removed and includes an aperture bored in the top of said pumpkin through which said fastener portion with said deformable fastener attached is placed for securing said artificial stem portion to said pumpkin.

10. The artificial pumpkin stem assembly of claim 1 wherein said fastener portion includes a self-boring fastener attached to the second end thereof for securing said artificial stem portion to said pumpkin.

11. The artificial pumpkin stem assembly of claim 10 wherein said pumpkin has its natural stem removed and said self-boring fastener includes threads thereon to bore through the top of said pumpkin through which said self-boring fattener is threaded for securing said artificial stem portion to said pumpkin.

12. A method of attaching an artificial pumpkin stem assembly to a pumpkin that has lost a natural stem on top of the pumpkin, including the steps of forming an artificial stem portion, attaching a shaft to said artificial stem portion having a first end connected to said artificial stem portion and a second end thereon, connecting said artificial stem portion to said pumpkin.

13. The method of claim 12 wherein the step of forming the artificial stem portion includes molding a releasable attachment portion into the artificial stem portion for removably securing said shaft to said artificial stem portion.

14. The method of claim 12 wherein the step of attaching said shaft to said artificial stem portion includes forming threads into said shaft and threading one end of said shaft onto said artificial stem portion, and said step of connecting said artificial stem portion to said pumpkin includes threading said shaft into the artificial stem portion and threading said shaft into the top of the pumpkin where the natural stem has been lost.

15. The method of claim 12 further including the steps of connecting a fastener to the second end of the shaft, drilling an aperture in the top of the pumpkin where the natural stem has been removed, inserting said shaft and attached fastener into said aperture, and rotating said shaft such that said fastener is tightened to secure said artificial stem in place.

16. The method of claim 12 further including the steps of connecting a self-boring fastener to said second end of said shaft, rotating said shaft such that said self-boring fastener forms an aperture in the top of said pumpkin and continuing to rotate said shaft such that said self-boring fastener is tightened to secure said artificial stem in place.

17. An artificial pumpkin stem assembly to replace the natural stem of a pumpkin comprising an artificial stem, an attachment portion positioned within said artificial stem, a threaded shaft having a first end connected to said attachment portion and a second end for threading said artificial stem portion directly into said pumpkin.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The invention relates to artificial pumpkin stem assemblies and methods for attachment of such assemblies to pumpkins, which do not have natural stems.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The celebration of Halloween is common in the United States and throughout the world. A common problem associated with the ability to sell pumpkins and subsequently carving pumpkins includes having the natural stem of the pumpkin break off. This makes removal of the lid to carve and illuminate the interior of the pumpkin more difficult, and diminishes the value of the pumpkin. Another common problem associated with artificial pumpkin stem assemblies is the manner in which they are affixed to the pumpkin. Previous devices and methods are complicated and do not remain attached to accomplish their intended goals. The use of an artificial stem assembly that would remain in tact and attached to the pumpkin when the stem is grasped would increase the value of the pumpkin, alleviate the problem of lid removal, and allow the pumpkin to be easily prepared for carving.

[0003] In addition, an artificial pumpkin stem assembly that includes a toggle fastener for fastening the artificial pumpkin stem blindly to the pumpkin prior to opening the pumpkin for carving would be beneficial. Furthermore, an artificial pumpkin stem assembly that includes a self-boring fastener for drilling a hole in the top of the pumpkin while simultaneously fastening the artificial pumpkin stem blindly to the pumpkin prior to opening the pumpkin for carving would also be advantageous. A further benefit of the present invention is to provide an artificial pumpkin stem assembly that includes a friable threaded fastener, which may be shortened after installation to avoid injury.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0004] It is therefore an object of the present invention to cure those deficiencies outlined above and provide an artificial pumpkin stem assembly and method of attachment that is both safe and economical.

[0005] The present invention concerns an artificial pumpkin stem assembly that includes an artificial stem portion and an attachment portion connected thereto. The assembly also includes a fastener portion having a first end connected to the attachment portion and a second end that is connected the pumpkin. The fastener portion may be releasably securable or permanently attached to the attachment portion, depending on the specific use of the assembly. The fastener portion may also include a threaded shaft that has a boring tip formed thereon for boring the threaded shaft into the pumpkin.

[0006] To improve the ease of attachment, the threaded shaft may also include a flexible fastener attached to the second end thereof. An aperture may be drilled or otherwise formed in the top of the pumpkin, the flexible fastener collapsed and then placed through the aperture. The shaft may thereafter be threaded into the flexible fastener thereby drawing the flexible fastener up against the inside of the pumpkin for securing the artificial stem assembly in place on the pumpkin. This allows the artificial stem assembly to be attached to the pumpkin in a blind fastening condition so that access to the inside of the pumpkin is not necessary to secure the artificial stem to the pumpkin.

[0007] Alternately, the threaded shaft may include a self-boring tip thereon for boring a hole into the pumpkin while simultaneously threading the threaded shaft into the pumpkin. Further the threaded shaft may include a group of friable segments which allow the threaded shaft to be shortened after the shaft is threaded and installed into the pumpkin. The flexible fastener may be deformable for more secure attachment of the artificial stem assembly to the pumpkin.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0008] Advantages of the present invention will be readily understood, by reference to the following detailed description, when considered in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein:

[0009] FIG. 1 is a front view of a pumpkin with a top in partial cross-section showing an artificial pumpkin stem assembly of the present invention.

[0010] FIG. 2 is a front partial cross-sectional view the artificial pumpkin stem assembly of FIG. 1, showing a self-boring fastener being threaded into the pumpkin.

[0011] FIG. 3 is a front partial cross-sectional view of the artificial pumpkin stem assembly of FIG. 1 showing a self-boring fastener in its secured position.

[0012] FIG. 4 is a front partial cross-sectional view of the artificial pumpkin stem assembly of FIG. 1 showing a flexible fastener being installed into the pumpkin.

[0013] FIG. 5 is a front partial cross-sectional view of the artificial pumpkin stem assembly of FIG. 1 showing a flexible fastener in its secured position.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0014] The artificial pumpkin stem assembly of the present invention is illustrated in the attached drawings, wherein like numerals indicate corresponding elements throughout the several views. Specifically referring to FIG. 1, the artificial pumpkin stem assembly is configured to replace the natural stem of a pumpkin, such as pumpkin 1, when the natural stem has been lost or otherwise removed. Such an artificial pumpkin stem assembly is particularly valuable when carving a pumpkin as is typical during the Halloween season. The carving process includes opening the pumpkin by cutting the pumpkin shell around the top of the pumpkin at separating line 2, removing the lid by grasping the stem and cleaning the interior of the pumpkin to prepare the pumpkin for further carving. Further carving may include cutting the pumpkin shell to form openings 3A and 3B for eyes, an opening 3C to form a nose and an opening 4 to form a mouth. Any variety of sizes and shapes of decorative openings may be formed to add uniqueness to the pumpkin for display and artistic purposes.

[0015] In the instance where the natural stem of the pumpkin has been removed, it is preferable and advantageous to provide the artificial stem assembly of the present invention. As can be seen in FIG. 1, an artificial stem 5 is included which has a connector 6 to which shaft 7 is attached on one end. In the embodiment of FIG. 1, shaft 7 includes threads 8 and a tip 9 for penetrating and subsequently making threaded engagement with the top portion of the pumpkin 10, where the natural stem of the pumpkin has been removed. The shaft 7 may be permanently attached to connector 6 or directly molded into the artificial stem 5. In the case where connector 6 is preferred, connector 6 may include complementary threads for receiving shaft 7, thereby allowing the shaft to be removable form the stem and replaceable with another fastener for longevity of, or an alternate, use.

[0016] Tip 9 of shaft 7 may be form such that the tip is self-boring and is capable of threading through and maintaining engagement with the top portion 10 of the pumpkin. In addition, the shaft 7 may be comprised of a threaded fastener that has one or more friable portions for shortening the fastener and removing the pointed tip of shaft 7 after engagement with top 10 of pumpkin 1. An example of such a friable portion 11 is shown in FIG. 1 and provides a safe assembly that eliminates any danger associated with the tip or any other portion of shaft 7 protruding beyond the shell of the pumpkin when the artificial pumpkin stem assembly is installed for use.

[0017] Referring to FIGS. 2 and 3, another embodiment of the artificial pumpkin stem assembly of the present invention is shown with a self-boring toggle fastener 12 to secure the artificial stem 5 to the top 10 of pumpkin 1. As illustrated in FIG. 2, self-boring fastener 12 includes a shaft 14, a threaded boring tip 13 and a head portion 15. In addition, the self-boring toggle fastener includes a threaded central fastener 16 that is engageable with connector 6 for attaching artificial stem 5 to the self-boring toggle fastener 12. Central fastener 16 may be releasably secured so that the self-boring toggle fastener may be replaced or changed, depending on how the artificial pumpkin stem assembly is to be used in operation. As illustrated in FIG. 3, the self-boring toggle fastener operates by rotating artificial stem 5 clockwise thereby turning head portion 15, shaft 14 and boring tip 13 to bore a hole in the top 10 of pumpkin 1. Such rotation causes the self-boring toggle fastener to be threaded into the top 10 of pumpkin 1 and to be further secured by continuing to rotate artificial stem 5 in conjunction with threaded central fastener 16. This further rotation causes tip 13 to pivot and be pulled up and drawn into position securely against the top 10 of pumpkin 1. This further movement of tip 13 provides secure placement and positioning of the artificial stem assembly in the top 10 of pumpkin 1.

[0018] FIGS. 4 and 5 illustrate another embodiment of the artificial pumpkin stem assembly of the present invention showing toggle fastener that provides an economical and secure way to attach the artificial stem 5 to the top 10 of pumpkin 1. In use, a toggle fastener 18 is placed in an aperture 17 to form the engaging surface for the artificial stem 5. The toggle fastener 18 includes a head portion 19 and one or more flexible arms 20 that are positioned on the interior of the pumpkin 1 to engage the interior shell of the pumpkin to hold the artificial stem assembly in place.

[0019] In operation, the toggle fastener is placed through aperture 17 such that arms 20 protrude through the pumpkin shell. Stem 5 is positioned within the channel formed by posts 21 and rotated to thread the central fastener 16 into engagement with arms 20. Posts 21 include flanges or other protrusions to help secure the toggle fastener 18 in place during the rotation of central fastener 16. Accordingly, as arms 20 are pushed further into the interior of pumpkin 1 through the further rotation of central fastener 16, arms 20 pivot outward and expand to more securely hold stem 5 in place. An aperture 22 is formed at the center junction of arms 20, which forms a pivot point to allow expansion of arms 20 when central fastener 16 is threaded into position to connect stem 5 with toggle fastener 18.

[0020] As may be appreciated by those of skill in the art, a variety of materials may be used to form stem 5 such as plastic, wood, ceramic or similar moldable or castable material, which allows the stem to simulate the appearance of a natural pumpkin stem. Such molding or casting operations may include adding coloring or dye to the material used to form the stem increasing its realistic appearance. In addition, it may be desirable to coat the stem with paint, stain or another type of coloring to achieve the same result.

[0021] The foregoing description illustrates the preferred embodiments of the invention. Numerous alterations of the structure disclosed herein will suggest themselves to those skilled in the art. It is to be understood that the present disclosure relates to the preferred embodiments of the invention, which are for purposes of illustration only and are not to be construed as limitations of the invention. The following claims are intended to protect the invention broadly, as well as in the specific forms shown herein.