Title:
Interlocking privacy fence
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An interlocking privacy fence is made up of a series of molded panels with simulated paneling and lattice in relief bounded on each lateral side by a leg. One leg has a plurality of brackets along the length thereof. The other leg has a plurality of pintles along the length thereof. Each of the brackets has an aperture therethrough for receiving a prong of a pintle. In assembly, the brackets of different panels are aligned with the pintles of other panels and the pintles are inserted through the apertures such that each leg is interlocked. The bottom of the legs are formed as a sharpened spade for insertion into the ground to fix the fence in place.



Inventors:
Stein, Robert (Aurora, IL, US)
Anderson, Torrence (Overland Park, KS, US)
Kopp, Robert (Wheaton, IL, US)
Application Number:
11/003754
Publication Date:
06/08/2006
Filing Date:
12/02/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04H17/16
View Patent Images:
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20090302290HIGH IMPACT PROTECTION SYSTEMDecember, 2009Appelman et al.



Primary Examiner:
KENNEDY, JOSHUA T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MCHALE & SLAVIN, P.A. (PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An interlocking privacy fence for providing an enclosure and visual barrier comprising an integral panel having a plate with a width from one side to a second side, a leg formed at one side, a second leg formed at said second side, said leg including a first bracket extending outwardly therefrom, said first bracket having a first aperture therethrough perpendicular to said width, a pintle on said second leg extending outwardly therefrom, said pintle having a prong extending parallel to said first aperture.

2. An interlocking privacy fence of claim 1 further comprising said leg and said second leg extending below said plate and each terminating in a spade, each said spade adapted to anchor said panel.

3. An interlocking privacy fence of claim 1 further comprising said plate having vertical siding in a lower portion and a lattice in an upper portion.

4. An interlocking privacy fence of claim 1 further comprising a cap on said leg and said second leg, said cap closing the top of said leg and said second leg.

5. An interlocking privacy fence of claim 1 further comprising said integral panel molded from a polymer.

6. An interlocking privacy fence of claim 5 further comprising said siding and said lattice formed in relief on said plate.

7. An interlocking privacy fence of claim 6 further comprising said lattice formed with vertical pieces and horizontal pieces, said vertical pieces and said horizontal pieces forming boundaries about openings through said plate.

8. An interlocking privacy fence of claim 7 further comprising said vertical siding having vertical spaces adapted for air circulation.

9. An interlocking privacy fence providing an enclosure and visual barrier comprising at least a first and a second like molded panels, said panels including a plate having an upper portion and a lower portion, a first leg extending along one side of said plate, a second leg extending along a second side of said plate, said first leg and said second leg adapted to anchor said panels, said first leg having a plurality of brackets opposite said plate, said second leg having a plurality of pintles opposite said plate, said panels juxtaposed with said brackets on said first leg of said first panel registered with said pintles on said second leg of said second panel, said pintles and said brackets interlocking said first and said second panels.

10. An interlocking privacy fence of claim 9 further comprising an aperture through each of said brackets, said pintles having an upper prong and a lower prong of lesser diameter than said aperture, said prongs disposed in said apertures, said first and said second panels adapted to pivot independently.

11. An interlocking privacy fence of claim 9 further comprising said lower portion of said plate including vertical siding forming a visual barrier, said upper portion of said plate formed as a lattice.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to prefabricated panels that are assembled to form a decorative privacy fence.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

There are numerous examples of prefabricated fence sections that can be assembled to form a continuous structure. Earlier prefabricated fences were assembled from individual sections made of wood. Usually, each section had a separate fence post at each end for anchoring in the ground. Other fence sections were made with pilings or panels attached to supporting frame members and the frame members were assembled to pre-set fence posts

More recently, wood has been replaced with man-made materials such as aluminum, steel, polymers, pressed board, fiberglass, etc. These materials offer advantages in uniformity of shape, ease of assembly, upkeep, and longevity. One such prefabricated fence is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,772,998.

Included in the broad field of prefabricated fencing, lattice screens are well known for decorative use, as well as, for providing a barrier. One advantage of this structure is the lessened wind resistance. The lattice is usually mass produced of a series of small thin longitudinal pieces laid over a series of small thin lateral pieces at a ninety degree angle and fastened together leaving interstices of varying sizes. Again, the traditional wooden construction has given way to plastics and other synthetic materials. Examples of such structure is found in U.S. Pat. No. 6,398,193, U.S. Pat. No. 6,308,487 and U.S. Pat. No. 6,286,284.

Usually, the prior art fence sections are anchored to each other and in the ground by fence posts that are designed for joining in straight lines or right angles. For example, some posts have bores extending through the posts at right angles to each other allowing the panel supports to be aligned or oriented normal to each other. Any other angular relationship may require some modification of the posts or the panel sections or both.

Prior art fences are semi-permanent in that placement of the fence posts usually results in a post fixed in a filled hole in the ground. Adjustment of the fence line then requires substantial labor of digging new fence post holes and filling the old ones.

Tisbo et al, U.S. Pat. No. 4,357,000 discloses an improved ornamental integrally molded plastic fence section. The fence section generally includes a pair of substantially parallel stringers with a plurality of pickets formed integral with the stringers. Each stringer has a plurality of identical spaced ears formed integral with one end. Each of the ears has a rod aperture extending therethrough. The rod apertures in the ears on one end of a stringer are aligned with rod apertures in ears on the other stringer. A slot is formed in each ear extending from the exterior of the respective ear to the respective aperture. Each slot in each ear on one end of the section is aligned with the other slots in the other ears on that end of the section. A second plurality of supports is formed integral with the other end of each of the stringers. A cylindrical rod is formed integral with the supports on the end of the stringer. Each rod has a diameter slightly less than the diameter of the rod aperture to fit snugly into the respective aligned rod apertures in the ears. The cylindrical rods fit into the ears and the supports pass through the slots to lock adjacent sections to each other by rotating the section relative to each other after each rod has been positioned in its respective rod apertures.

Emmie, U.S. Pat. No. 4,130,272 discloses a picket fence comprising a plurality of parallel and laterally spaced metal pickets which are interconnected by a plurality of parallel pairs of stringers. The stringers are made from a metal material and have opposite ends shaped in a tubular configuration which are received in mating recesses on adjacent, parallel pickets such that the pickets are rotatable about the tubular configurations of the stringers whereby the pickets and their associated stringers are movable with respect to each other in such a manner that the pickets may be disposed along a curved path.

Harden, U.S. Pat. No. 4,911,339 discloses a hay enclosure including two end sections and two sections along each side. Diagonally opposite side sections are equal in length, although the two sections on each side have different lengths. The enclosure is pivotally movable to a second position wherein two triangular-in-shape enclosures are formed having an area smaller than the rectangular enclosure area. Adjacent sections are pivotally interconnected by vertically spaced apart hinges, with the upper hinge including a downwardly extending pin received in a sleeve, and the lower hinge including a pair of abutting vertically aligned sleeves in which a movable pin is received.

Reppert, U.S. Pat. No. 5,445,362 discloses a fence assembly including modules of two-foot width. The modules are easily assembled in four-module sections to achieve whatever cumulative length of fencing is desired. A module is joined to an adjacent module by insertion of a clip into vertical, T-shaped slots formed in an adjacent module. Sections are anchored in the ground by pipes having downwardly projecting stakes. These pipe and stake assemblies are located concealed within the first and fourth module of each section. Upper and lower horizontal reinforcing members are attached along the sections. Resilient expanding anchors are used to connect the pipes, extensions, and horizontal members, there being alignable bores formed therein which receive these anchors. In one embodiment, intended for use on flat terrain, the lower reinforcing member is extended through and concealed in longitudinal bores extending through each module. Only one horizontal member is external to and visible from the finished fence of the first embodiment, which has as an important object to present an attractive, uncluttered appearance.

Niemiec, U.S. Pat. No. 3,711,066 discloses an integral plastic fence section having an expansive main body with a plurality of stake members projecting downwardly from a lower edge and adapted to be driven into the ground. The opposite side edges of the section have hinge members that releasably snap together and that cooperate with each other to provide for rotational movement of adjacent interconnected fence sections about the hinge axis to provide for a variety of alignments.

Bermudez, U.S. Pat. No. 4,073,478 discloses an improved fence structure composed of aligned and interconnected fence sections, which are of two types, and which are arranged in staggered relation. In assembly, the fence sections of the first type, which have downwardly extending end posts, are received in male/female relation in recesses provided in a support surface along a fence line and, thereafter, the fence sections of the second type are connected to the installed fence sections of the first type.

Pettit et al, U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,637,728 and D463,036 discloses a plastic fence section including a series of connected hollow chambers with at least upper and lower horizontal chambers extending the length of the fence section for receiving reinforcing members. The fence section is made of plastic material. The hollow chambers are separated by pinch off regions. The fence section provides a visual block and has a similar appearance on either side of the fence section. The fence section has a post edge and a panel joining edge. The panel joining edge is adapted to engage and overlap with a second fence panel section.

Simpson et al., U.S. Pat. No. 5,078,367 discloses a panel system comprising a plurality of posts and at least one panel for securing between a pair of adjacent posts, in which each post is formed from plastic material and has a channel in at least one edge to receive an edge portion of a panel, and each panel is formed from plastics material and comprises a plurality of sub-panels and a frame formed from a plurality of side members having similar cross-section secured together at corners of the frame. The plurality of sub-panels secured within the frame wherein each panel frame side member is formed with a channel open to one edge of the side member to receive edge portions of the sub-panels making up the panel.

Lappen, U.S. Publication No. 2004/0140461 discloses flexible fence and gate systems, which are flexible to alterations, have common parts, are easy to assembly, durable, and have long service life. The frame can be made of pre-coated galvanized steel parts. The panel is held in a U-shaped slotted rectangular fence frame formed by a parallel pair of L-shaped retainer angles mounted back-to-back or face-to-face on the stringers to accommodate a wide choice of panel styles, materials and thicknesses without adding any new components. Another feature provides a panel insert which can be sandwiched between two panels to further suppress noise. Another feature relates to adjustable post angle adapters. Another feature relates to a gate width opening adjustment member using a sliding rail at the far end.

Stusser, U.S. Publication No. 2002/0020834 discloses a durable, low-maintenance and easy to install fence incorporating a combination of materials that includes at least two posts, a casement structure maintained between the two posts, a lattice structure supported within the casement structure, and a shield structure supported within the casement structure. The posts and casement structure are made of weather treated wood and the lattice and shield structures are made of a synthetic material such as vinyl. Both the lattice and shield structures are supported within the casement structure by a plurality of wood supports.

Cuzzocrea, U.S. Publication No. 2003/0107031 discloses a modular-grid fence system that comprises integral connectors on each end that allows each respective grid to be connected to each other grid and form a fence. The connectors also provide that the modular-grid fence system may be utilized in angles from near zero degrees, to an in-line angle of 180 degrees. This connecting feature provides that the modular-grid fence system may be used to augment and provide additional restriction to an existing fence, or be used as a freestanding fence.

What is needed in the art is a fencing system that provides secure privacy, adaptability in layout, and ease of changing the fence line.

SUMMARY OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

Disclosed is an interlocking privacy fence formed from a series of molded panels with simulated paneling and lattice in relief bounded on each lateral side by a leg. The bottom of the legs are formed as a sharpened spade for insertion into the ground to fix the fence in place. The bottom of the legs are formed as a sharpened spade for insertion into the ground to fix the fence in place.

Each of the legs have brackets for coupled to pintles placed on a leg to be adjoined. Each bracket includes an aperture therethrough for receiving a prong of a pintle. In assembly, the brackets of different panels are aligned with the pintles of other panels, and the pintles are inserted through the apertures such that each leg is interlocked. Therefore, an object of this invention is to provide a fence that provides a visual barrier to screen the interior from view.

Another object of this invention is to provide identical panels with integral brackets on each end disposed to interlock with each other such that a series of panels can be engaged by the brackets.

A further object of this invention is to provide fence posts cooperating with the interlocking brackets to link the panels together.

Yet another object of this invention is to provide the brackets with complementary shape permitting the panels to be assembled in an infinite angular array.

A still further object of this invention is to provide legs at each end of each panel extending below the lower margin for ground clearance and shaped to easily penetrate the supporting surface.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective of the interlocking privacy fence of this invention showing an enclosure;

FIG. 2 is a front perspective in positive relief of a panel of the interlocking privacy fence of this invention;

FIG. 3 is a back perspective in negative relief of a panel of the interlocking privacy fence of this invention;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a pintle;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a bracket used to receive a pintle; and

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the pintle of FIG. 4 interlocked with the bracket of FIG. 5.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The interlocking privacy fence 10, shown in FIG. 1, is composed of four panels 11, 12, 13 and 14, though the number of panels is a matter of choice. As shown, each panel is oriented at a perpendicular angle to the other two panels at each end. Each of the panels has the same components which are given the same reference numbers for simplicity.

Panel 11 has a plate 15 formed synthetic materials in any conventional method including molding, casting, fabricating and assembly, etc. The plate 15 is formed with a leg 16 at one end and a leg 17 at the other end. The plate 15, as shown, has a simulated vertical siding 20 with vertical siding in the bottom portion and a simulated lattice 21 with longitudinal pieces 22 and vertical pieces 23 forming openings 24 in the top portion. The vertical siding is spaced apart providing an open slot for air circulation. The siding is oriented at an angle to prevent a direct view of the interior of the enclosed area. A frame rail 25 extends between the leg 16 and the leg 17 at the top of the panel. An intermediate frame 26 rail extends between the posts at the boundary between the vertical siding and the lattice. Another frame rail 27 extends between the legs at the bottom of the panel. This design may be reversed or other designs may be substituted therefore. The siding 20 and the lattice 21 may be imperforate, if desired.

The legs 16, 17 extend above and below the plate 15. The spade 28 of the leg 16 penetrates the ground or other surface and supports the weight of the panel 11 along with the spade 29 of leg 17. The space 30 between the ground and the bottom frame rail 27, along with the openings in the vertical siding and lattice, allow air to circulate through the interlocking privacy fence 10.

The panels 11, 12, 13 and 14 are molded as a sheet with a three dimensional form presenting the front, positive, side of the vertical paneling lattice and legs in relief, in FIG. 2, with a back, negative, side shown in FIG. 3. The top end of leg 16 and leg 17 each with an end cap 18 and 19. The end caps 18, 19 close the interior of the legs and add rigidity to the panel.

The outer surface of leg 16 is formed with three brackets 31 projecting outwardly, as shown in FIG. 3. The brackets 31 each have a top wall 32, a bottom wall 33 and a sidewall 34 connecting the top and bottom walls. The top wall has an aperture 35 and the bottom wall has an aperture 36 aligned therewith. The sidewalls 34 have a groove 37 extending from the edge of the bracket partially around the sidewall.

The leg 17 has three pintles 38 spaced vertically apart along the leg, as shown in FIG. 2. Each pintle has a top prong 39, and a bottom prong 40 extending in opposite directions from a shaft 41 attached to the leg.

The brackets 31 and pintles 37 are evenly spaced along the length of each leg in a manner that each bracket 31 is positioned opposite a pintle 37. This results in alignment of the brackets and pintles when separate panels are joined, as shown in FIG. 1. The prongs 39 and 40 are longer than the distance between the top wall and bottom wall of the brackets permitting the angular insertion of the prongs into the apertures.

To assemble the interlocking privacy fence 10, a leg 16 of one panel 11 is juxtaposed with a leg 17 of another panel 12. The shaft 41 of the pintles 38 are inserted in the grooves 37 of the brackets 31 and the prongs 39 and 40 are passed through the apertures of the brackets 31 interlocking the separate panels 11, 12, 13 and 14 together.

The legs 16 and 17 extend below the bottom rail 27 and are sharpened into a blade 42. Because of the three dimensional relief of the panels, the spades 28 have sidewalls 43, 44 connected by a front wall 45. The three sided spade 28 is driven into the ground or other surface and anchors the fence to the ground. In this manner the fence may be erected with the panels at any angle from each other for aesthetics, as well as stability, and to form various shaped enclosures.

FIG. 4 illustrates pintle 38 having a top prong 39, bottom prong 40 extending in opposite directions from a shaft 41 extending from the leg 17. In the preferred embodiment, each prong is cylindrical providing for ease positioning exceeding 180 degrees of position rotation. FIG. 5 illustrates bracket 31 having a top wall 32, a bottom wall 33 and a sidewall 34 connecting the top and bottom walls. The top wall has an aperture 35 and the bottom wall has an aperture 36 aligned therewith. The sidewalls 34 have a groove 37 extending from the edge of the bracket partially around the sidewall. As shown in FIGS. 4-6, the shaft 41 of the pintles 38 is available for insertion along groove 37 of bracket 31 wherein prongs 39 and 40 are passed inside of sidewalls 32 and 33 and into the apertures 35 and 36. The brackets 31 interlocking the pintles 41 and thus the separate panels together. Groove 37 allows for positional rotation of the pintle permitting the panels to be located at any position necessary to accomplish the privacy needs of the consumer.

While a number of embodiments of the present invention are described, it is understood that various modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, it is to be understood that the invention is not to be limited by the specific illustrated embodiment but only by the scope of the appended claims.