Title:
Decorative fence insert for the prevention of insect infestation
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A resiliently deformable insert member having a girth slightly greater than the cross section of the U-shaped channel of a rail member of an ornamental aluminum picket fence, the resiliently deformable insert member being cut to the distance between adjacent picket members and picket members and posts of the ornamental aluminum picket fence, and insertable into the U-shaped channel of the rail member of the ornamental aluminum picket fence so as to deny the U-shaped channel of the rail member of the ornamental aluminum picket fence and the post member of the ornamental aluminum picket fence as a habitat for nesting insects, such as flying, stinging insects, such as wasps.



Inventors:
Masterson, James (Brick, NJ, US)
Application Number:
11/406872
Publication Date:
11/30/2006
Filing Date:
04/20/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04H17/14
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GARCIA, ERNESTO
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CLIFFORD G. FRAYNE (BRICK, NJ, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A resiliently deformable insert member for frictional insertion into a channel of a U-shaped rail section member of a decorative fence in order to deny access to said U-shaped channel by nesting insects, particularly of the wasp variety.

2. The resiliently deformable insert member in accordance with claim 1 wherein said insert member is inserted in said channel of said U-shaped in cross section rail member between a vertical post and a vertical depending picket.

3. The resiliently deformable insert member in accordance with claim 1 wherein said deformable insert member is inserted in said channel of said U-shaped in cross section rail member between adjacent picket members.

4. The resiliently deformable insert member in accordance with claim 1 wherein said deformable insert member is circular in cross section.

5. The resiliently deformable insert member in accordance with claim 1 wherein said insert member is tubular in cross section.

6. The resiliently deformable insert member in accordance with claim 1 wherein said deformable insert member has a geometric cross section sufficient to frictionally engage said channel of said U-shaped and cross section rail member.

7. The resiliently deformable insert member in accordance with claim 1 wherein said insert member is an expandable foam.

8. A resiliently deformable insert member for a decorative fence, said decorative fence having a plurality of vertical hollow support post members defined by four vertical side walls, a top cap end and a lower end secured in a substrate thereby defining a chamber; a plurality of horizontal rail members extending between adjacent vertical support post members and secured thereto by means of aligned apertures in adjacent vertical support post members, said horizontal rail members being U-shaped in cross section having a top wall and two depending side walls defining a channel; a plurality of vertical picket members secured through said channels of said rail members; a resiliently deformable insert member frictionally insertable and secured into said channel of said U-shaped in cross section rail members between said vertical support posts and adjacent picket members and between said adjacent picket members, said deformable insert member denying access to said channel to insects of the nesting variety and in particular wasps.

9. The resiliently deformable insert member in accordance with claim 8 wherein said insert member is circular in cross section.

10. The resiliently deformable insert member in accordance with claim 8 wherein said insert member is tubular in cross section.

11. The resiliently deformable insert member in accordance with claim 8 wherein said insert member is an expandable foam.

12. An insert member for a decorative fence, said decorative fence having a plurality of vertical hollow support post members defined by four vertical side walls, a top cap end and a lower end secured in a substrate, thereby defining a chamber; a plurality of horizontal rail members extending between adjacent vertical support post members and secured there to by means of aligned apertures in adjacent vertical support members, said horizontal rail members being U-shaped in cross section having a top wall and two depending side walls and inwardly depending fingers from said side walls thereby defining a channel; a plurality of vertical picket members secured through said channels in said rail members; an insert member frictionally insertable and secured into said channel of said U-shaped in cross section rail members between said vertical support posts and adjacent picket members between adjacent picket members, said insert member resting on said inwardly depending fingers of said depending side walls of said rail, said insert member denying access to said channel of said rails and said chamber of said vertical hollow support post members to insects of the nesting variety, and in particular, wasps.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

Applicant claims the benefit of provisional application Ser. No. 60/683,890, filed May 25, 2005.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to decorative fences of the type having posts, rails and pickets disposed between the rails, the invention relating to an insert member slidably insertable and frictionally held within the channels of the rails to prevent insect infestation.

2. Description of the Prior Art

Ornamental or decorative fences are widely used both in industrial, commercial and residential areas. These fences are fabricated from metal, primarily aluminum, having a heat baked finish thereon. They are used in residential areas to surround yards, and in particularly, to surround a swimming pool area. They are also designed to define the perimeter of the residential property. Still further, they are used in playground areas and garden areas. The typical construction of the decorative or ornamental picket fence includes vertical post members which are formed usually with four sides and which are defined by four longitudinal perpendicular side surfaces and a hollow interior. The post members are normally provided with a cap member for its upper end, the lower end of the post member being embedded into a substrate, normally a concrete footing. The fence members, comprising two or more horizontal rail members with perpendicularly disposed picket members are fabricated in predetermined lengths and are fitted into preformed apertures in the side walls of the post members and secured. In this manner, the post members can be embedded into the substrate at the desired distance apart with the fence member then being positioned between adjacent post members allowing for the quick and easy installation and erection of the fence. The gate members for the fenced in area are fabricated in the same manner, but include hinge members for securing the gate member to an adjacent post member.

The fences are primarily fabricated in aluminum with a baked on finish of a desired color. The fence members of the type described, include the post member, which is formed with four longitudinal side walls and a cap member thereby defining a hollow tubular chamber. Apertures are formed in the side walls of the post members proximate the upper end and proximate the lower end above the substrate for the receipt and securing of at least two rail members. The fences include at least one upper rail member and one lower rail member, however, due to the decorative nature of the fence members, there may be additional rail members extending between adjacent post members. Extending between the upper and lower rail members are the picket members. The picket members are formed with four perpendicular side walls thereby defining a tubular chamber albeit smaller than the tubular chamber of the post members. The upper end of the post member would normally terminate flush with an upper rail member and the lower end of a picket member would terminate either flush with the lower rail member or extend through the lower rail member by means of preformed apertures there through and be partially embedded in the substrate. The pickets are normally secured to the rails by a threaded fastener at the intersection of the rail and picket. The rail members, for ease of fabrication, are fabricated as U-shaped channels having upper longitudinal wall and two longitudinal vertical side walls depending from the upper horizontal wall. The U-shaped channels of the rail members face downwardly in the constructed fence and the ends thereof extend into the post members by means of the preformed apertures.

The downwardly facing U-shaped channel of the rail member provides a passageway from the U-shaped channel into the tubular chamber defined by the post member. A serious problem that has arisen with respect to this type of construction of fencing is that the U-shaped channel of the reail member is in communication with the chamber and the interior tubular chamber of the post member via the apertures in the post member which accommodate the rail member. The air passageway formed by the U-shaped rail member as it is secured to the post member provides a habitat for insects, particularly flying insects of the stinging variety, such as wasps. The wasp will form their nest in the downwardly facing U-shaped channel defined by the rail member and will also ingress into the tubular post member by means of the downwardly facing U-shaped channel of the rail member and build a nest within the tubular post member. The nest within the tubular post member is protected by the cap member on the post member and the nests built in the U-shaped channel are protected from the top and the sides by the rail member.

A fenced in pool area, perimeter of a yard, or playground will most certainly have a gate for ingress and egress and every time this gate is opened or closed, a vibration will extend through the fence members, agitate the nests of the wasps, and cause the wasp population to become airborne. This is an undesirable situation, particularly in a pool area or playground area where children may be present, or anywhere where an individual may be subject to being stung. It should further be noted that many people are severely allergic to insect stings, and particularly wasp stings.

A simple solution would be to change the manner of fabrication of fences of this type to alleviate the U-shaped channel of the rails and to alleviate the passageway of from the U-shaped channel of the rails into the post member. However, fences have been fabricated in the manner previously described for many many years, and these fences are still installed in residential, commercial and industrial areas. Still further, despite knowledge of the problem, there has been no steps taken to redesign the fence construction because of the ease in which the manner in which the various elements can now be fabricated, erected and installed.

Therefore, there has been a need for a solution to eliminate the safe habitat or safe haven that has existed for stinging insects, and in particular wasps, to build their nests and to cause the home owner concern for the safety of people and children in the immediate area when the wasp nest is disturbed. Applicant has achieved a solution to the problem.

OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION

An object of the present invention is to provide for a novel insert member which is preformed and which can be quickly and easily manually inserted into the U-shaped channel of a rail member of an ornamental aluminum picket fence to deny insects access to the area for nesting.

A further object of the present invention is to provide for a novel insert member which is preformed and which can be manually inserted into the U-shaped channel of an ornamental aluminum picket fence to simultaneously fill the U-shaped channel of the rail of the ornamental aluminum picket fence, and the opening or air passageway from the U-shaped channel into the tubular chamber of the post member and thus deny those areas as a habitat for a flying, stinging insect, such as a wasp.

A still further object of the present invention is to provide for a novel insert member that can be inserted into the downwardly facing U-shaped channel of the rail members of an ornamental aluminum picket fence either during the fabrication of the fence or as an after market item, so as to deny that area as a habitat for flying, stinging insects, such as wasps.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A semi-resilient insert member having a girth slightly greater than the cross section of the U-shaped channel of a rail member of an ornamental aluminum picket fence, the insert member being precut to the distance between adjacent picket members of the ornamental aluminum picket fence, and insertable into the U-shaped channel of the rail member of the ornamental aluminum picket fence so as to deny the U-shaped channel of the rail member of the ornamental aluminum picket fence and the post member of the ornamental aluminum picket fence as a habitat for flying, stinging insects, such as wasps.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other objects of the present invention will become apparent, particularly when taken in light of the following illustrations wherein:

FIG. 1 is a front view of a typical section of ornamental aluminum picket fence;

FIG. 2 is an end view of a typical rail member of the ornamental aluminum picket fence of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a cutaway view along plane 3-3 of FIG. 1 which illustrates the manner in which the U-shaped rail member is cooperative with the vertical post member so as to provide an air passageway from the U-shaped channel into the post member, thus allowing the post member to serve as a habitat for flying, stinging insects, such as wasps;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a first embodiment of an insert member cooperative with the U-shaped channel of the rail member of an ornamental aluminum picket fence to deny the fence as a habitat for flying, stinging insects, such as wasps;

FIG. 4A is a perspective view of a second embodiment of an insert member cooperative with the U-shaped channel of the rail member of an ornamental aluminum picket fence to deny the fence as a habitat for flying, stinging insets, such as wasps;

FIG. 5 is a cross section view along plane 5-5 of FIG. 1 illustrating a typical rail member of an ornamental aluminum picket fence with Applicant's insert member secured thereto;

FIG. 6 is a partial underside view of a rail illustrating the positioning of an insert member between adjacent pickets;

FIG. 7 is a cutaway view of a vertical support post member 12 along plane 7-7 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 8 is an end view of a rail with a second embodiment of Applicant's insert; and

FIG. 9 is a prospective view of the second embodiment of Applicant's insert.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIG. 1 is a partial front view of a fence system 10. Fence system 10 comprises a plurality of spaced apart vertical support post members 12 having upper end caps 13, the lower ends 15 being embedded in a substrate 14, normally a concrete footing for support.

A plurality of horizontal rail members 16 extend between adjacent vertical support post members 12. There would normally be a minimum of two horizontal rail members 16A and 16B, one proximate the upper end of vertical support post 12 and one proximate the lower end of vertical support post 12, but spaced above the underlying substrate 14. Some decorative fences may also have an intermediate rail member 16C.

Disposed between horizontal rail member 16 would be a plurality of vertical picket members 18 in spaced apart relationship and in perpendicular relationship with the horizontal rail members 16 and in parallel vertical relationship with vertical support post members 12. The vertical picket members 18 terminate with the upper horizontal rail member 16A and with lower horizontal rail member 16B.

Vertical support post members 12 are normally four sided having longitudinal side walls 20, 22, 24, and 26 as illustrated in FIG. 7 thereby defining an enclosed tubular chamber 28 between upper end cap 13 and the substrate 14.

Horizontal rail members 16 are U-shaped in cross section having an upper wall 30 and two depending side walls 32 and 34 defining a horizontal channel 36. See FIG. 2. Intermediate horizontal rail member 16C and lower horizontal member 16B are formed with a plurality of apertures 38 dimensioned to the outer periphery of picket members 18 so as to allow picket members 18 to pass there through. A threaded fastener 40 is utilized to secure the picket member 18 to the horizontal rail member 16. The picket members 18 are normally fabricated of four sided tubing, each side perpendicular to the adjacent side. The horizontal rail members 16 are formed with apertures 42 for receipt of a threaded fastener 46 to secure the horizontal rail members to the vertical support post 12.

FIG. 3 is a view from plane 3-3 of FIG. 1 illustrating a vertical support post 12, a horizontal rail member 16A and an aperture 48 into which horizontal rail member 16A is inserted to be secured by a threaded fastener 46. It is evident that the U-shaped horizontal channel 36 of horizontal rail member 16 provides a passageway into tubular chamber 28 of vertical support post 12. It is within tubular chamber 28 of vertical support post 12 and in the U-shaped channel 36 of horizontal rail member 16 that insect infestation in the form of flying, stinging insects, such as wasps, choose to habitat in the form of building nests.

FIG. 4 and FIG. 4A are perspective views of an insert member 60 and 60A of the present invention. Insert member 60 or 60A is formed of a resilient deformable rubber or plastic material of tubular 60 or cylindrical 60A shape having a girth slightly greater than the cross section of U-shaped channel 36. Insert member 60 or 60A is cut to a length which fills the U-shaped channel 36 between adjacent picket members 18 thereby denying a nesting habitat to flying, stinging insects, such as wasps. See FIG. 6. The same insert member 60 or 60A deny habitating access to tubular chamber 28 in vertical support post 12 when positioned between a picket member 18 and the adjacent vertical support post 12. See FIG. 5.

It should be noted that the space or distance between picket members 18 is often set by legislation for safety concerns, such as small children in a pool area. Therefore, in most instances, the distances are fixed and well known between pickets and between pickets and support posts.

Still further, the insert member 60 and 60A are illustrated as being circular in cross sectional area, but could be fabricated from another suitable geometric shape, e.g. square or rectangular cross section which would still allow their deformability to be press fit into U-shaped channel 36.

Still further, the method described herein could be utilized as an aftermarket addition to an already existing and installed fence, or it could be incorporated into the original fabrication of the fence.

Still further, the insert member 60 or 60A could be a polymeric expandable foam applied in the aftermarket to an already existing and erected fence, or could be applied at the time of fabrication of the fence to fill the U-shaped horizontal channel 36 so as to deny habitat to the flying, stinging insects, such as wasps.

A second embodiment of Applicant's insert member is illustrated in FIGS. 8 and 9. FIG. 8 is an end view of a rail member 16 defining a U-shaped channel. It will be noted that rail member 16 is formed with inwardly depending longitudinal fingers, 17 and 19. In this embodiment, a transparent plastic insert member 70 is snap fit within the U-shaped channel and rests under the influence of gravity on the inwardly depending longitudinal FIGS. 17 and 19. Preferably the plastic would be transparent so as to be adaptable with railing systems of varying colors. Plastic insert member 70 would be of such a weight and dimension that it would span the distance between pickets and between the picket and the adjacent post. In this manner, flying, stinging insects such as wasps, are denied access to the U-shaped channel 36 and to tubular chamber 28 and vertical support post 12. FIG. 9 is illustrative of the plastic insert member 70 having a width 72 approximating the distance between the depending side walls 32 and 34 such that it would snap fit and rest on the inwardly depending FIGS. 17 and 19. The insert member when so resting, would present a weight sufficient such that an insect could not displace it in order to gain access into the U-shaped rail or post.

While the present invention has been described with respect to the exemplary embodiments thereof, it will be recognized by those of ordinary skill in the art that many modifications or changes can be achieved without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Therefore it is manifestly intended that the invention be limited only by the scope of the claims and the equivalence thereof.