Title:
Decorative lug nut
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A decorative lug nut comprises a threaded metal portion for attaching a wheel to a vehicle with an outer exposed end of the nut formed with a recess for receiving a gem stone. The gem stone may be a synthetic stone such as cubic zirconia having a tapered base that fits into the recess. A resilient liner is attached to cover the base of the stone to isolate the stone from the metal of the nut.



Inventors:
Gouda, Michael (Winter Park, FL, US)
Application Number:
11/205389
Publication Date:
02/22/2007
Filing Date:
08/17/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47G3/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
REESE, DAVID C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Terry M. Sanks (Winter Park, FL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A decorative lug nut comprising an elongate metal member having a first end adapted for engagement with a wheel of a vehicle and having a second end adapted for receiving and retaining a gem stone.

2. The lug nut of claim 1 wherein the gem stone is seated in a recess formed in the second end of the metal member.

3. The lug nut of claim 2 wherein the gem stone is a cut stone having a tapered rear segment for seating in the recess in the second end of the metal member.

4. The lug nut of claim 3 and including a resilient sheet material surrounding the tapered rear segment of the gem stone.

5. The lug nut of claim 4 wherein the recess in the metal member is shaped to conform to the general configuration of the tapered rear segment of the gem stone whereby the gem stone presses against inner walls of the recess through the resilient sheet member.

6. The lug nut of claim 5 wherein gem stone is retained in the recess by a retaining ring circumscribing the gem stone at an outer rim of the stone, the ring being positioned about an inner diameter of the recess.

7. The lug nut of claim 6 wherein the resilient sheet material reacts against the inner walls of the recess to maintain the gem stone in pressing engagement with the retaining ring.

8. The lug nut of claim 7 wherein the retaining ring comprises a deformation of the outer edge of the metal member circumscribing the gem stone.

9. The lug nut of claim 7 wherein the retaining ring comprises a ring compressed into a slot formed in the recess.

10. The lug nut of claim 5 and including a reflective foil coating on the tapered rear segment of the gem stone.

Description:

The present invention relates to lug nuts for holding wheels onto vehicles and, more particularly, to a lug nut in which a gem stone such as a cubic zirconia is mounted in the outwardly projected end of the lug.

Considerable interest has been generated in providing decorative effects for wheels and undercarriage of automobiles. Generally, these decorative effects on wheels are provided by lights that are attached to the vehicle and arranged to create reflected light effects off of the hubs of wheels. In some vehicles, the decorative effects are created by lights that are mounted on the wheel hub for rotation with the wheel. The reflected light is generally produced by reflections off of polished surfaces of the hub.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to lug nuts that may be used on wheels of vehicles such as automobiles and are enhanced by the addition of a reflective gem stone mounted in the outwardly projected ends of the lug nuts. The term gem stone is used to refer to any type stone that can be mounted to a lug nut and create a pattern of reflected light. In generally, such stones are synthetic stones such as cubic zirconia but could be other types of inexpensive stones that have been faceted are polished to create a reflective pattern. In an illustrative form, a faceted stone is mounted in a recess formed in the end of an elongate lug nut. Preferrably, the stone is mounted by press fit in the recess using a resilient liner to exert a uniform force onto the base of the stone which reacts against an outer ring. The base of the stone may also be provided with a foil liner to enhance the reflective effect of the stone.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a top plan view of a lug nut in accordance with one implementation of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a bottom plan view of the lug nut of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the lug nut of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is another embodiment of the lug nut of the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of still another embodiment of the lug nut of the present invention; and

FIGS. 6 and 6A illustrate an alternate method for mounting the gem stone in the lug nut of FIG. 5.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIG. 1 is a top plan view of lug nut 10 in one form of the present invention. The nut 10 has a standard lug nut configuration with a threaded opening 12 formed in the bottom end as shown in FIG. 2. The top end shown in FIG. 1 has a recess for receiving a gem stone 14. As shown in the perspective view of FIG. 3, the gem stone 14 preferrably is arranged to protrude above the top or outer end of the nut 10. The body of the nut is preferrably formed of a stainless steel construction to prevent rusting although other metals can be used, including metals that could be provided with an outer non-rusting coating.

FIG. 4 illustrates another embodiment of the lug nut 10 which differs from the embodiment of FIG. 1 by having a special shaped upper portion 16 requiring a special wrench to install or remove the nut 10 without damaging the surface thereof. The nut portion 16 is essentially round with spaced grooves 18. The nut therefore requires a socket type wrench having a size to fit over the portion 16 and further having a plurality of uniquely spaced tongues to engage the grooves 18. Other embodiments having unique configurations will become apparent to those skilled in the art.

Turning now to FIG. 5, there is shown a cross-sectional view of still another embodiment of the nut 10 which includes a threaded extension 20 rather than having a threaded opening. Some vehicles are known to use this type of lug nut rather than the conventional nut of the type shown in FIG. 2. FIG. 5 also illustrates how the gem stone 14 is mounted into end of the lug nut 10. The stone 14, after being sized to fit the nut 10 using conventional means, has a tapered rear portion 22 which fits snugly into a recess 24 in the end of the nut. The stone 14 is protected by a resilient sheet of material 26 which is placed in the recess 24 and forms a lining isolating the stone from the metal of the nut. The resilient material 26 also acts as an elastic spring that can be depressed to push the stone 14 downward into the recess 24 so that a rolled edge 28 can be formed on the top of the nut 10 to hold the stone in the recess. The material 26 may be any of numerous types of elastomeric materials, such as, by way of example and not intending to be limiting, neoprene or polyurethane. Once the rolled edge is formed, the downward pressure on the stone can be released allowing the material 26 to push the stone upward against the newly formed rolled edge 28. Alternately, as shown in FIG. 6 and in the enlarge partial sectional view of FIG. 6A, the top of the nut 10 can be machined a circumferential flange 30 defining a circumferential flange 31 and an expanding ring 32 inserted while the stone is pressed downward into the recess 24. Upon releasing the stone, it will again be pushed upward to engage the ring which will react against the flange 30 to hold the stone in the recess 24. An advantage of using the ring 32 is that it could be formed of a plastic or softer metal material than the metal of the nut and reduce the stress applied to the stone.

In order to improve light reflectivity from the gem stone 14, the rear portion 22 may be covered with a reflective foil. The foil may be adhesively bonded to the stone.

While the invention has been described in what is presently considered to be a preferred embodiment, various modifications and adaptations will become apparent to those skilled in the art. It is intended therefore that the invention not be limited to the specific disclosed embodiment but be interpreted within the full spirit and scope of the appended claims.





 
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