Title:
Universal post top cap
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A universal post top cap for street signs and traffic signs. The cap has a threaded central opening that allows threaded bar stock of different lengths to be inserted into the opening and to be locked into position by a threaded locking nut. Thus allowing the cap to be used interchangeably for different signs.



Inventors:
Smith, Bradner J. (St. Paul, MN, US)
Application Number:
11/729493
Publication Date:
08/09/2007
Filing Date:
03/29/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04H12/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CAJILIG, CHRISTINE T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PATTERSON THUENTE PEDERSEN, P.A. (MINNEAPOLIS, MN, US)
Claims:
1. A universal post top cap for street signs and traffic signs, and post top cap comprising: a generally cylindrical side wall and a generally frusto-conical top formed integrally with said side wall, said post top cap being open at its bottom end; a plurality of reinforcement ribs formed as an integral part of said post top cap, said ribs being positioned on the interior surface of said side wall, at least some of said ribs being provided with threaded holes therethrough; a threaded central opening formed vertically through said top, said opening being adapted to receive threaded bar stock therethrough; a taper formed into said top surrounding said threaded central opening; at least two drain channels formed into said top, said drain channels being positioned on opposite sides of said threaded central openings; a flange formed as an integral part of said post top cap on the underside of said top, said flange surrounding said threaded central opening; a threaded jam nut adapted to fit around said threaded bar stock and to tighten flush against said flange to hold said threaded bar stock in position.

2. The post top cap of claim 1 wherein said post top cap is comprised of die-cast zinc.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATION

This application is a Continuation of application Ser. No. 11/044,451, filed Jan. 28, 2005, which is incorporated herein in its entirety by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The field of the invention is post top caps, particularly those used in street signs and traffic signs.

A post top cap is a cup-like structure that fits over the top of the support pole which is mounted into the ground. The post top cap supports the rod which extends upwardly from the cap, the rod being the structure to which the sign is bracketed. In a conventional sign structure, the post top cap is made of case iron, and the steel rod is welded into the cast iron cap. Because the cap and the rod are permanently attached to each other, if the cap rusts or otherwise becomes deteriorated, the entire top assembly must be replaced.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention is a post top cap that has a threaded opening into which threaded bar stock such as a rod, a flat blade double-faced street sign, or an ornamental top can be inserted and held in position by a threaded locking nut. Thus the cap is a universal post top cap that can be used interchangeably with any sign. The cap is made of a rustproof and corrosion-resistant material, preferably die-cast zinc.

An advantage of the invention is that a street sign can be changed from a two-way to a four-way to a six-way sign by changing the length of the rod to be inserted into the post top cap. It is not necessary to change the cap itself as it is with conventional sign structures. Therefore the city or other governmental body responsible for installing and maintaining the sign can mix and match different components as needed in mounting signs.

Another advantage of the invention is that, because it resists rust and corrosion, it is more durable than conventional caps, and if it does need to be replaced, it can be replaced more easily and cheaply.

Still another advantage of the invention is that the cap and the rod can be shipped disassembled in a smaller box than conventional post top cap assemblies, and can be assembled at the site where the sign is to be installed, thus saving money on shipping costs and allowing for easy installation.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the top and side of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a bottom perspective view.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The post top cap is a generally cup-shaped structure. In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the cap is made of galvanized zinc and is manufactured by a conventional die-casting process. The cap has a generally cylindrical side wall 1 and a generally frusto-conical top 2 formed integrally with the side wall 1. The cap is open at its bottom end, which is of sufficient size to allow the cap to fit over the top end of a pipe-like support post (not shown) mounted into the ground. The conventional size for these support posts is two and three-eighths inches outside diameter. A plurality of (preferably six, alternating rectangular and semi-circular) reinforcement ribs 3 are formed as an integral part of the interior surface of the side wall 1, and the ribs 3 grip onto the support post. Small threaded holes 4 are formed into the side wall 11 through at least some of the ribs 3, preferably one hole 4 through every other rib 3 (preferably the rectangular ribs). Set screws (not shown) fit into each of these holes 4 in order to hold the cap onto the support post.

A threaded opening 5 is formed into and vertically through the center of the top 2 of the cap. Central opening 5 preferably has five-eighths inch National Fine threads which are suitable to receive threaded bar stock (for example, the rod 15) that has five-eighths inch National Fine threads at its generally cylindrical bottom end. The rod 15 has a different type of threads, preferably three-quarter inch National Coarse threads, at its top end (upon which a ball, finial, or other topper can be mounted) so that it is easy to assemble the parts correctly.

A taper 7 is countersunk into the flat part of the top 2 of the cap and surrounds the threaded opening 5. The taper 7 accepts the corners (saddles) of four-sided threaded bar stock such as rod 15 to ensure a snug fit. On the underside of the top 2 of the cap and formed as an integral part of the top 2 is a flange-like protuberance 11 that surrounds the threaded opening 5. The threaded bottom end of the rod 15 penetrates the threaded central opening 5 and extends beyond the flange 11. A threaded jam nut (also called a stop nut or a self-locking nut) fits over the threaded bottom end of the rod 15 and tightens flush against the flange 11. The jam nut 12 prevents the cap from being unscrewed by high winds or vandalism. The jam nut 12 has nylon inserts between its threads for a better grip.

At least two grooves 14 are formed into the top 2 of the cap. On opposite sides of the threaded opening 5. The grooves 14 serve as drain channels to prevent the buildup of moisture on the cap.