Title:
SLIDE-ON COLUMN CAPITAL, COLUMN ASSEMBLY, AND METHOD OF MANUFACTURE THEREOF
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A column capital includes a generally planar top surface; a generally cylindrical inner surface for receiving a column therein; and a outer decorative surface spaced away from the inner surface. The inner surface is sized to fit over a column and rest on a neck ring of the column. The capital may incorporate a cylindrical, abradable liner. A method for producing a column capital includes introducing casting material between a mold an liner, allowing the casting material to cure, and removing the casting material with the attached liner from the mold.



Inventors:
Tarleton, Matthew Alexander (Monroe, NC, US)
Tarleton, Arthur Reginald (Matthews, NC, US)
Tarleton II, Arthur Reginald (Charlotte, NC, US)
Application Number:
10/907236
Publication Date:
06/01/2006
Filing Date:
03/24/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04H12/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
LAUX, JESSICA L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
OLIFF PLC (ALEXANDRIA, VA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A column capital, comprising: a generally planar top surface; a generally cylindrical inner surface for receiving a column therein; a decorative outer surface spaced away from said inner surface; and a generally cylindrical liner which extends through said capital in a vertical direction and which defines said inner surface.

2. The column capital of claim 1 wherein said liner comprises an abradable material.

3. The column capital of claim 1 wherein said liner comprises paper.

4. The column capital of claim 1 wherein said capital comprises a polymeric resin.

5. The column capital of claim 4 wherein an absorbent filler is disposed in said resin.

6. The column capital of claim 5 wherein said absorbent filler is selected from the group consisting of pecan shells, flour, and calcium carbonate.

7. The column capital of claim 4 wherein said casting material consists essentially of a polyester resin and an absorbent filler.

8. The column capital of claim 7 wherein said casting material consists essentially of, by volume, about 30% to about 70% polyester resin and about 30% to about 70% absorbent filler.

9. The column capital of claim 1 wherein said capital is a solid casting.

10. The column capital of claim 1 wherein an interior void is disposed between said liner and said outer surface.

11. A column assembly, comprising: a generally cylindrical column having an outer wall, an annular top rim, and a radially-extending neck ring encircling said outer wall, said neck ring spaced a predetermined distance from said top rim; and a capital, comprising: a generally planar top surface; an outer decorative surface spaced away from said inner surface; and an annular lower rim which bears upon said neck ring to support said capital upon said neck ring and which receives said outer wall therein.

12. The column assembly of claim 11 further comprising a generally cylindrical, abradable liner which extends through said capital in a vertical direction and which defines an inner surface which receives said outer wall.

13. The column assembly of claim 11 wherein said capital includes a generally cylindrical liner integrally cast therewith, said liner extending through said capital in a vertical direction and defining an inner surface which receives said outer wall.

14. The column assembly of claim 13 wherein said capital comprises two joined halves each including a portion of said liner and said outer surface.

15. A method of making a capital for a column, comprising: providing a mold having a predetermined shape; placing a generally cylindrical liner into said mold; introducing a fluid casting material into said mold and around said liner; allowing said casting material to cure to form a solid; and removing said solid with the liner attached thereto from said mold.

16. The method of claim 15 wherein said liner comprises an abradable material.

17. The method of claim 15 wherein said liner comprises paper.

18. The method of claim 15 wherein said capital comprises a polymeric resin.

19. The method of claim 18 wherein an absorbent filler is disposed in said resin.

20. The method of claim 19 wherein said absorbent filler is selected from the group consisting of pecan shells, flour, and calcium carbonate.

21. The method of claim 18 wherein said casting material consists essentially of a polyester resin and an absorbent filler.

22. The method of claim 21 wherein said casting material consists essentially of, by volume, about 30% to about 70% polyester resin and about 30% to about 70% absorbent filler.

23. The method of claim 15 wherein said capital includes a hollow void between said liner and said outer surface.

24. The method of making a capital of claim 15 wherein a filler material is disposed in said void.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/626,170, filed Nov. 9, 2004.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to decorative construction elements, and more particularly to capitals for being installed on building columns.

Columns, both structural and decorative, are common construction elements. Often these columns will include a decorative capital at an upper end thereof. Many of the designs of such capitals originated in ancient times and often include complex features, such as curves, scrolls, flowers, etc., which would be expensive to reproduce directly on a column (i.e. by carving). Furthermore, commercially-available columns are made in many different lengths. Therefore, capitals are usually made as a separate component, for example, by carving or molding. The separate capital is then attached to the top of the column.

In the prior art, capitals are typically attached by inserting a plug with a downwardly-extending post into the interior of the capital. The capital is then manually aligned with the column and attached thereto with screws or other fasteners. This process requires a substantial amount of time and skilled labor, and is therefore expensive.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, it is an object of the invention to provide a column capital which is simple to install.

It is another object of the invention to provide a column capital which accommodates manufacturing variations in the column to which it is attached.

These and other objects are met by the present invention, which according to one embodiment provides a column capital having a generally planar top surface; a generally cylindrical inner surface for receiving a column therein; a decorative outer surface spaced away from the inner surface; and a generally cylindrical liner which extends through the capital in a vertical direction and which defines the inner surface.

According to another embodiment of the invention, the liner is an abradable material.

According to another embodiment of the invention, the liner is paper.

According to another embodiment of the invention, the capital is made from a polymeric resin.

According to another embodiment of the invention, an absorbent filler is disposed in the resin.

According to another embodiment of the invention, the absorbent filler is selected from the group consisting of pecan shells, flour, and calcium carbonate.

According to another embodiment of the invention, the casting material consists essentially of a polyester resin and an absorbent filler.

According to another embodiment of the invention, the casting material consists essentially of, by volume, about 30% to about 70% polyester resin and about 30% to about 70% absorbent filler.

According to another embodiment of the invention, the capital is a solid casting.

According to another embodiment of the invention, an interior void is disposed between the liner and the outer surface.

According to another embodiment of the invention a column assembly includes a generally cylindrical column having an outer wall, an annular top rim, and a radially-extending neck ring encircling the outer wall, the neck ring spaced a predetermined distance from the top rim; and a capital. The capital includes a generally planar top surface; a outer decorative surface spaced away from the inner surface; and an annular lower rim which bears upon the neck ring to support the capital upon the neck ring and which receives the outer wall therein.

According to another embodiment of the invention, the column assembly further includes a generally cylindrical, abradable liner which extends through the capital in a vertical direction and which defines an inner surface which receives the outer wall.

According to another embodiment of the invention, the capital includes a generally cylindrical liner integrally cast therewith, the liner extending through the capital in a vertical direction and defining an inner surface which receives the outer wall.

According to another embodiment of the invention, the capital is made from two joined halves each including a portion of the liner and the outer surface.

According to another embodiment of the invention, a method of making a capital for a column includes providing a mold having a predetermined shape; placing a generally cylindrical liner into the mold; introducing a fluid casting material into the mold and around the liner; allowing the casting material to cure to form a solid; and removing the solid with the liner attached thereto from the mold.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention may be best understood by reference to the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing figures in which:

FIG. 1 is a cross-sectional view of a prior art capital attached to a column;

FIG. 2 is a side view of a capital constructed according to the present invention;

FIG. 3 is bottom view of the capital of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is view taken along lines 4-4 of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of a portion of a column prior to installation of a capital;

FIG. 6 is a top view of the capital of FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is cross-sectional view of the capital of FIG. 2 attached to the column of FIG. 5;

FIG. 8 is another view of the column and capital shown in FIG. 7;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a capital and a structural liner therefor;

FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional view of an alternative capital;

FIG. 11 is a cross-sectional view of the capital of FIG. 10 with a liner disposed therein;

FIG. 12 is a perspective view of another alternative capital;

FIG. 13 is a front view of a variation of the capital shown in FIG. 2;

FIG. 14 is a side view of the capital of FIG. 13; and

FIG. 15 is a bottom view of the capital of FIG. 13.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to the drawings wherein identical reference numerals denote the same elements throughout the various views, FIG. 1 illustrates a prior art capital 10 attached to a column 12. The column 12 is a known cylindrical structure having an inner wall 14, an outer wall 16, a top rim 18, and a neck ring 20 (only the upper portion of the column 12 is shown in FIG. 1). The column 12 is formed from glass-reinforced plastic or a similar material and is available in various standardized lengths and diameters from numerous manufacturers.

The capital 10 is a decorative element which has a cylindrical inner surface 22 and a outer surface 24 that is formed into a desired decorative shape. A plug 26 of wood or other material is secured in the interior of the capital 10, and a cylindrical post 28 extends downward from the plug 26. A vent tube 30 extends through the post 28 and the plug 26, to relieve any differential pressure between the interior of the vent tube 30 and the outside environment.

The capital 10 is secured to the column 12 by first severing the portion of the column 12 above the neck ring 20 (see FIG. 5). The capital 10 is then placed on the top rim 18 thereof so that the post 28 extends into the interior of the column 12. As shown in FIG. 6, the column 12, while it is intended to be circular, is often substantially out-of-round, as shown by the dashed line labeled “A”, because of variations in the manufacturing process. Therefore, the post 28 cannot be made large enough to self-center the capital 10 against the inner wall 14. Accordingly, the capital 10 is manually centered on the column 12 by carefully driving multiple fasteners 32 through the column 12 into the post 28 from different directions, and adjusting the depth of each fastener 32 until the desired alignment is achieved. The capital 10 may be further secured with adhesives if desired. This installation process often requires as much as forty-five minutes. As this type of installation is usually done by a skilled finish carpenter charging a high hourly labor rate, the installation cost can be very high, especially in a building which uses multiple columns 12.

FIGS. 2-4 illustrate an exemplary capital 110 constructed according to the present invention. The capital 110 includes a bottom rim 114, a top surface 116, a cylindrical inner surface 118, and a outer surface 120 which is formed into a selected decorative shape. In the illustrated example the decorative form is a known type of Roman Doric design; however the exterior design is merely an aesthetic feature. For example, FIGS. 13-15 illustrate a capital 110′ which is substantially identical in overall construction to the capital 110 except for the outer surface 120′, which is formed in the shape of a known Roman Ionic pattern. Thus, the outer surface 120 may be any shape or form desired.

The inner surface 118 of the capital 110 has an inside diameter “D1”. The diameter “D1” is selected to be generously larger than an outside diameter “D2” of the portion of column 12 above the neck ring 20 (see FIG. 5) so as to account for any possible out-of-round condition. For example, the diameter D1 may be about 12.8 mm (½ in.) larger than the diameter D2, where D2 is nominally about 25.4 cm (10 in.) This diameter D1 plus the wall thickness of the capital 110 required for adequate strength, which in the illustrated example is about 6.4 mm (¼ in.), requires that a base diameter “BD” of the capital 110 be increased relative to the prior art capital 10. To accommodate this increase, one or more major dimensions of the capital 110, such as the outside diameter “OD”, overall height “H”, and base diameter “BD” are increased so that their relative proportions are the same as those of the prior art capital 10 having the same exterior design. It has been found that, when the major dimensions are changed in this way, observers do not perceive the change in dimensions of the capital 110 even though the absolute values are different. That is, the capital 110 has an acceptable appearance so long as its proportions are preserved.

The capital 110 may be constructed from any material which will retain the desired features. Examples of suitable materials include wood, plaster, stone, and plastics. The capital 110 may be formed by any known methods, for example machining a blank of material, cold casting, injection molding, rotational molding, and the like.

A cylindrical liner 122 may be disposed inside the capital 110 so that it defines the inner surface 118. The liner 122 may be made from an abradable material, that is a material which may be easily cut, machined away, or otherwise removed. This is helpful in cases where the column 12 is severely out-of round, as described in more detail below. In the illustrated example, the liner 122 is a formed paper tube with a wall thickness of about 2.4 mm ( 3/32 in.) to about 3.2 mm (⅛ in.)

In one exemplary manufacturing process, the capital is formed by introducing fluid casting material into a permanent mold and allowing it to cure through an exothermic reaction. It has been found that using a casting material with a filler, especially an absorbent filler that takes up the base resin, results in a finished product which is easy to machine, relatively lightweight, and which has good surface finish and the ability to “hold” delicate, sharp decorative features without crumbling. Examples of suitable absorbent fillers include ground pecan shells, flour, and calcium carbonate (often referred to as “marble dust”). Any base resin which is compatible with the filler may be used, for example polyester or polyurethane resins. One exemplary casting material composition includes about 30% to about 70% by volume percent polyester resin, about 30% to about 70% by volume absorbent filler, and a quantity of a catalyst effective to promote an exothermic reaction, for example about 1.25% by volume methyl-ethyl-ketone (MEK) peroxide.

Although it is possible to produce the capital 110 as a fully solid casting and then to machine away material to form the inner surface 118, this is time-consuming and wasteful of material. Accordingly, the casting process may be carried out in such a way that a central opening 124 (see FIG. 4) is formed during the casting process. This may be done by providing a cylindrical plug or mandrel (not shown) as part of the mold. To facilitate manufacture and avoid removal of a mandrel, the capital 110 may be cast with a liner 122 fixtured in place in the mold, serving as a mandrel. Especially if paper or other absorbent material is used, the liner 122 will tend to become bonded to the remainder of the capital 110 as the casting material cures. The capital 110 with the attached liner 122 may then be removed from the mold.

FIGS. 5-7 illustrate the steps in installation of the capital 110 onto a column 12. In contrast to the installation of the prior art capital 10, the upper portion of the column 12 need not be removed. The capital 110 is simply slipped over the top of the column 12. The weight of the capital 110 bears on the protruding neck ring 20 rather than the top rim 18. If the column 12 is severely out-of-round, the liner 122 may be cut, abraded, machined, or otherwise partially or wholly removed to provide sufficient clearance. An adhesive 126 of a known type such as carpenter's glue may be applied to the outer wall 16 of the column 12 and the inner surface 118 of the capital, resulting in a finished column assembly 127. If desired, the capital 110 may be wedged into a centered position by selectively inserting carpenter's wedges 128 or the like between the top rim 18 of the column 12 and the inner surface 118 of the capital 110 (see FIG. 8). If desired, the capital 110 may be further secured by driving fasteners 130 such as the illustrated screws through the capital 110 into the column 12.

The configuration shown in FIGS. 7 and 8 is adequate for a non-structural column assembly. In some situations the column 12 is expected to support loads from a roof or ceiling. In these instances an optional structural insert 132 (shown in FIG. 9) capable of supporting the intended loads may be inserted into the capital 110. The structural insert 132 bears against the top rim 18 of the column 12 and is tall enough in the vertical direction that any compressive loads are transferred directly to the column 12 through the structural insert 132, rather than the top surface 116 of the capital 110. The structural insert 132 may be made from a material similar to the column 12, such as glass-reinforced plastic.

FIGS. 10 and 11 depict an alternative capital 210. The capital 210 includes a bottom rim 214 defining an annular opening, a top surface 216, and a outer surface 220 which is formed into a selected decorative shape. In the illustrated example the decorative form is a known type of Roman Doric design. The capital 210 is essentially a thin-walled hollow structure which may be formed, for example, by injection molding, rotational molding, or stamping. An upper opening 224 is formed through the top surface 216 to accommodate installation onto a column 10 as described above. As shown in FIG. 11, a cylindrical liner 222, similar in construction to the liner 122 described above, may be disposed in the capital 210. If desired, the void 226 between the outer wall 220 and the liner 222 may be filled with a material such as expanding foam (not shown) to add rigidity to the capital 210.

FIG. 12 illustrates yet another alternative capital 310. The capital 310 is a hollow structure which includes a bottom rim 314, a top surface 316, and a outer wall 320 which is formed into a selected decorative shape. In the illustrated example the decorative form is a known type of Roman Doric design. The capital 310 may be formed, for example, by injection molding. A cylindrical liner 322 defining an inner surface 318 is integrally cast with the outer wall 320. To facilitate production, the capital 310 may be molded in two separate halves 324A and 324B which are subsequently attached together, for example using adhesives, heat welding, sonic welding, or fasteners. If desired, the void 326 between the outer wall 320 and the liner 322 may be filled with a material such as expanding foam (not shown) to add rigidity to the capital 310.

The foregoing has described a column capital. While specific embodiments of the present invention have been described, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications thereto can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. For example, Accordingly, the foregoing description of the preferred embodiment of the invention and the best mode for practicing the invention are provided for the purpose of illustration only and not for the purpose of limitation, the invention being defined by the claims.