Title:
GRAVE SITE PROTECTION AND MARKING APPARATUS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A grave site protection and marking apparatus comprising two longitudinal frame members and two lateral frame members; wherein each end of the lateral frame member is connected to a longitudinal frame member at one end of the longitudinal frame member, thereby forming a rectangular frame; wherein each longitudinal frame member comprises a top panel and two side panels that are perpendicular to the top panel and that extend downward; and wherein the top panel and side panels of each longitudinal frame member form an anchoring channel that anchors the frame to the ground when the apparatus is installed on a grave site. The frame formed by the longitudinal and lateral frame members lies nearly flush with the ground surface when the frame is installed on the grave site.



Inventors:
Myers, Charles (Billings, MT, US)
Application Number:
11/838990
Publication Date:
02/19/2009
Filing Date:
08/15/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04H13/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
SPAHN, GAY
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Antoinette M. Tease, P.L.L.C. (Billings, MT, US)
Claims:
1. A grave site protection and marking apparatus comprising: (a) a first longitudinal frame member; (b) a second longitudinal frame member; (c) a first lateral frame member; and (d) a second lateral frame member; wherein each lateral frame members comprises a first end and a second end; wherein each longitudinal frame member comprises a first end and a second end; wherein the first end of the first lateral frame member is connected to the first end of the first longitudinal frame member, the second end of the first lateral frame member is connected to the first end of the second longitudinal frame member, the first end of the second lateral frame member is connected to the second end of the first longitudinal frame member, and the second end of the second lateral frame member is connected to the second end of the second longitudinal frame member, thereby forming a rectangular frame; wherein each longitudinal frame member is a metal channel comprising a web and two flanges that are perpendicular to the web; wherein the flanges extend downward from the web; wherein the web and flanges of each longitudinal frame member form a rigid and non-flexible anchoring channel that anchors the frame to the ground when the apparatus is installed on a grave site; wherein the first end of the first lateral frame member lies on top of the first end of the first longitudinal frame member, the second end of the first lateral frame member lies on top of the first end of the second longitudinal frame member, the first end of the second lateral frame member lies on top of the second end of the first longitudinal frame member, and the second end of the second lateral frame member lies on top of the second end of the second longitudinal frame member to form four corner joints; wherein each corner joint comprises two bolts and an anchoring stake; and wherein each anchoring stake is driven through the corner joint and into the ground; and wherein the first lateral frame member, the second lateral frame member, the first longitudinal frame member and the second longitudinal frame member are separate pieces of metal that are held together by the bolts at the corner joints.

2. The grave site protection and marking apparatus of claim 1, wherein the frame formed by the longitudinal and lateral frame members is situated on top of a grave site, wherein the grave site comprises a ground surface, and wherein the frame lies newly flush with the ground surface when the frame is installed on the grave site.

3. (canceled)

4. (canceled)

5. (canceled)

6. (canceled)

7. (canceled)

8. (canceled)

9. (canceled)

10. (canceled)

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to the field of grave site protection and/or marking devices, and more specifically, to a grave site protection and marking apparatus that delineates the boundaries of the grave site, has a flat profile relative to the ground, and is anchored to the ground with anchoring channels that extend the length of the apparatus.

2. Description of the Related Art

There are a number of grave site markers and/or protection devices that have been patented or are the subject of pending patent applications. For example, U.S. Pat. No. D55,064 (Lutz, 1920) is a design for a cemetery lot coping or marker. The marker is rectangular in shape, but it appears to simply lie on top of the grave site and is not anchored to the grave site in any manner.

U.S. Pat. Nos. D132,854 and D132,855 (Harer, 1942) are ornamental designs for a memorial grave marker that looks like a picture frame. The '854 patent covers a frame with an acorn design, and the '855 patent covers a frame that looks like it is made out of tree bark. The marker is not anchored to the ground in any manner, and it does not allow for any words to be engraved or embossed on the marker.

U.S. Pat. No. 1,919,530 (Rieck, 1933) provides a memorial marker that is a slab extending horizontally over the grave with inlay elements in the top surface of the slab. The slab either lies flat on the ground or is supported by posts that are embedded in the ground adjacent to but not directly underneath the slab, with the slab resting on cross bars with toes that extend into the tops of the posts.

U.S. Pat. No. 1,951,132 (Cox, 1932) describes a method of making memorial markers that comprises placing a number of tiles on a supporting surface with their adjacent edges spaced apart, heating the support and tile to a temperature roughly equal to that of molten lead, filling the spaces between the tiles with molten lead, permitting the support and tiles to cool, pouring a concrete mixture onto the tiles to form a backing, and permitting the concrete to set.

U.S. Pat. No. 2,383,787 (Guenther, 1945) provides a grave marker in the form of a frame that is anchored into the ground by pointed anchor members that extend vertically into the ground. The frame is comprised of tubular side and end members that are split along their inner sides, and a flat body supported by the frame and engaging the split portions of the side and end members. The frame further comprises right angular corner connecting members with openings for the anchoring members. The purpose of this design is to hold the flat body above the ground so that the surface below the flat body may be aerated.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,437,127 (Ha, 1995) describes a stone surround for a grave site, the stone surround comprising a rectangular stone wall structure, a stone front plate, and a pair of stone plates with holes for growing plants through the plates from the ground.

U.S. Pat. No. 7,181,815 (Hunter, 2007) and U.S. Patent Application Pub. No. 2005/0155197 (Hunter) provide a grave site cover comprised of a snap-together heavy plastic tube frame, fittings and couplings, an artificial turf cover, a transparent identification insert, and anchor stakes. The artificial turf cover is rolled over and along the outside frame edge and attached with self-tapping stainless steel flange head screws. Fittings are provided at all four corners and at the center point and head marker for inserting the ground anchor stakes.

The present invention is distinguishable from the above designs in that it incorporates longitudinal anchoring channels that secure the apparatus to the ground. This design is easier to manufacture, easier to install, and secures the apparatus to the ground more stably over time than the devices described above.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is a grave site protection and marking apparatus comprising: two longitudinal frame members; and two lateral frame members; wherein each lateral frame members comprises two ends; wherein each longitudinal frame member comprises two ends; wherein each end of the lateral frame member is connected to a longitudinal frame member at one end of the longitudinal frame member, thereby forming a rectangular frame; wherein each longitudinal frame member comprises a top panel and two side panels that are perpendicular to the top panel and that extend downward; and wherein the top panel and side panels of each longitudinal frame member form an anchoring channel that anchors the frame to the ground when the apparatus is installed on a grave site. The frame formed by the longitudinal and lateral frame members lies nearly flush with the ground surface when the frame is installed on the grave site.

In a preferred embodiment, each end of a lateral frame member lies on top of one end of a longitudinal frame member to form a corner joint. An anchoring stake is preferably driven through the end of the lateral frame member and the end of the longitudinal frame member and into the ground at the corner joint. The anchoring stakes are preferably nine inches long.

In a preferred embodiment, the anchoring channels are formed by bending a piece of steel to form the top and side panels. The longitudinal frame members are preferably up to seventy-two inches long and up to twelve inches wide and are bent to form up to three-inch anchoring channels. The lateral frame members are preferably up to eight inches wide and up to thirty inches long. The longitudinal and lateral frame members are preferably constructed from ⅛-inch-thick sheets of steel.

Optionally, the longitudinal and/or lateral frame members are decorated with one or more graphic designs.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a top perspective view of the present invention installed on a grave site.

FIG. 2 is a bottom perspective view of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is an exploded view of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a detail view of a corner joint of the present invention.

REFERENCE NUMBERS

    • 1 Longitudinal frame member
    • 2 Lateral frame member
    • 3 Bolt
    • 4 Anchoring stake
    • 5a Top panel (of longitudinal frame member)
    • 5b Side panel (of longitudinal frame member)
    • 6 Graphic design
    • 7 Aperture (for bolt)
    • 8 Aperture (for anchoring stake)
    • 9 Nut
    • 10 Anchoring channel

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF INVENTION

The present invention is a grave site protection and marking apparatus that differs from prior art in that it lies nearly flush with the ground, thereby allowing grounds-keeping equipment to pass over it, and is anchored to the ground by anchoring channels formed by bending the longitudinal frame members to form side panels that are perpendicular to the top panel of each longitudinal frame member. The function of the present invention is to serve as a subtle and enduring reminder not to walk on a person's grave site.

FIG. 1 is a top perspective view of the present invention installed on a grave site. The present invention is comprised of two longitudinal frame members 1, which are connected to two lateral frame members 2, preferably by bolts 3. The longitudinal and later frame members 1, 2 comprise apertures 7 (see FIG. 3) through which the bolts extend. Each lateral frame member 2 comprises two ends and is connected to a longitudinal frame member 1 at each end. Each longitudinal frame member 1 comprises two ends and is connected to a lateral frame member 1 at each end. In this manner, the longitudinal and lateral frame members 1, 2 comprise a rectangle that frames the grave site. When installed on a grave site, the present invention is nearly flush with the ground.

The lateral frame members 2 preferably lie on top of the longitudinal frame members 1, such that the bolts 3 extend first through the lateral frame members 2 and then through the longitudinal frame members 1. The area where a lateral frame member 2 lies on top of a longitudinal frame member 1 is referred to as the corner joint. Anchoring stakes 4 are driven through the lateral and longitudinal frame members 2, 1 at each corner joint. The longitudinal and later frame members 1, 2 comprise apertures 8 (see FIG. 2) through which the anchoring stakes extend.

One or both lateral frame members 2 optionally comprise a graphic design 6 that is engraved, embossed, inlaid or otherwise juxtaposed on the lateral frame member 2. The longitudinal frame members 1 may also be decorated with graphic designs. The graphic design may be lettering, graphics, or a combination of lettering and graphics.

FIG. 2 is a bottom perspective view of the present invention. As shown in this figure, each longitudinal frame member 1 comprises a top panel 5a and two side panels 5b. The side panels 5b extend the length of the longitudinal frame member 1 and are perpendicular to the top panel 5a. The side panels 5b and top panel 5a form an anchoring channel 10 that anchors the frame to the ground when the present invention is installed on a grave site. The bolts 3 are preferably held in place by nuts 9 on the underside of the top panel 5a of the longitudinal frame member 1.

FIG. 3 is an exploded view of the present invention. This figure shows how the present invention is assembled. The longitudinal and lateral frame members 1, 2, bolts 3, nuts 9 and anchoring stakes 4 may be constructed of any suitable material, preferably a material that will not deteriorate under various weather conditions. In a preferred embodiment, the longitudinal and lateral frame members 1, 2, bolts 3, nuts 9 and anchoring stakes 4 are constructed of metal and powder-coated so as to provide an aesthetic finish and prevent rusting over time. The powder-coating also protects the various components of the present invention from contact with grounds-keeping chemicals and/or groundwater minerals and provides extra protection against normal wear and tear.

In a preferred embodiment, the longitudinal frame members 1 are up to seventy-two (72) inches long and up to twelve (12) inches wide and are bent to form up to three (3)-inch anchoring channels on each side that run the full length of each longitudinal frame member 1. The lateral frame members 2 are preferably up to eight (8) inches wide and thirty (30) inches long. The longitudinal and lateral frame members 1, 2 are preferably constructed out of ⅛-inch-thick steel, which allows heavy equipment to travel over the frame when it is installed on a grave site without damage, thereby allowing normal mowing, watering and fertilizing activities. The anchoring stakes 4 are preferably nine (9) inches long.

FIG. 4 is a detail view of a corner joint of the present invention.

Although the preferred embodiment of the present invention has been shown and described, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that many changes and modifications may be made without departing from the invention in its broader aspects. The appended claims are therefore intended to cover all such changes and modifications as fall within the true spirit and scope of the invention.