Title:
Modular, Stackable Pillar
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A modular, stackable pillar having at least one hollow stackable section and at least one hollow crown section with a projection on the top of each stackable section, a mating depression on the bottom of each stackable section, and a mating depression on the bottom of the crown section with the projections and depressions being of such a cross section and shape that two or more stackable sections can be stacked on each other with a crown section on the uppermost stackable section such that the stackable sections cannot be rotated with respect to one another and the crown section cannot be rotated with respect to the uppermost stackable section. Each section has at least one side with a decorative surface. Optionally, the crown section can be eliminated. And a cap is placed on the crown section when it is present and, otherwise, on the uppermost stackable section.



Inventors:
Hoggan, Steven C. (Smithfield, UT, US)
Hoggan, Patrick R. (North Logan, UT, US)
Application Number:
11/937489
Publication Date:
05/14/2009
Filing Date:
11/08/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04H12/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BARLOW, ADAM G
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Steven C. Hoggan (Smithfield, UT, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A modular, stackable pillar, which comprises: at least one hollow plastic stackable section with all of said stackable sections stacked on one another, each of which at least one stackable sections comprises: one or more sides, with at least one side having a decorative outer surface; a top having a substantially centrally located projection containing a substantially centered aperture; a bottom having a substantially centrally located depression containing a substantially centered aperture, with the projection on said stackable section and the depression in said stackable section each having such a shape and cross section as would permit mating of the bottom of said stackable section with the projection on the top of said stackable section were such bottom of said stackable section immediately above the top of said stackable section but would preclude rotation of the bottom with respect to the top were the top and bottom to be mated; a hollow plastic crown section on top of the uppermost of any of said at least one stackable sections, which comprises: one or more sides, with at least one side having a decorative outer surface; and a bottom having a substantially centrally located depression containing a substantially centered aperture and having such a shape and cross section as permits such depression to be mated with the projection of the top of an immediately lower one of said at least one stackable section but precludes rotation of the bottom of said hollow plastic crown section with respect to the top of the mated projection from the top of the immediately lower one of said at least one stackable section; a plastic cap inserted into said hollow plastic crown section from above; and mechanical fasteners connecting each stackable section adjacent to another stackable section to said other stackable section and also connecting said crown section to said stackable section that is adjacent to said crown section.

2. The modular, stackable pillar as recited in claim 1, wherein: said mechanical fasteners are bolts and nuts.

3. The modular, stackable pillar as recited in claim 2, wherein: each projection has at least one straight side; and each mating depression has at least one straight side.

4. The modular, stackable pillar as recited in claim 1, wherein: each projection has at least one straight side; and each mating depression has at least one straight side.

5. The modular, stackable pillar as recited in claim 1, wherein: the substantially centered apertures in the top of each said stackable section, in the bottom of each said stackable section, and in the bottom of said crown section are all extended in the same direction; and further comprising: a support placed in the extended portion of the substantially centered apertures in the top of each said stackable section, in the bottom of each said stackable section, and in the bottom of said crown section; and hinges for a gate attached to said support and extending through at least two apertures in sides of at least one section selected from the group consisting of the stackable sections and the crown section.

6. The modular, stackable pillar as recited in claim 5, wherein: said mechanical fasteners are bolts and nuts.

7. The modular, stackable pillar as recited in claim 6, wherein: each projection has at least one straight side; and each mating depression has at least one straight side.

8. The modular, stackable pillar as recited in claim 5, wherein: each projection has at least one straight side; and each mating depression has at least one straight side.

9. A modular, stackable pillar, which comprises: at least two hollow plastic stackable sections stacked on top of one another, each of which sections comprises: one or more sides, with at least one side having a decorative outer surface; a top having a substantially centrally located projection containing a substantially centered aperture; a bottom having a substantially centrally located depression containing a substantially centered aperture, with the projection and the depression each having such a shape and cross section as permits mating with the projection on the top of any of the other said stackable sections that is immediately below said stackable section but precludes rotation of the bottom with respect to the top were the top and bottom to be mated; and a cap on top of the uppermost of said at least two hollow plastic stackable sections, said cap having a bottom containing a depression of such a cross section and shape that the depression can be mated with the projection of the uppermost of said at least two plastic stackable sections but that said cap cannot be rotated with respect to the uppermost of said at least two plastic stackable sections.

10. The modular, stackable pillar as recited in claim 9, wherein: said mechanical fasteners are bolts and nuts.

11. The modular, stackable pillar as recited in claim 10, wherein: each projection has at least one straight side; and each mating depression has at least one straight side.

12. The modular, stackable pillar as recited in claim 9, wherein: each projection has at least one straight side; and each mating depression has at least one straight side.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to a pillar which is constructed of plastic; has a decorative surface resembling brick, stone, stucco, or the like; and is comprised of stackable sections. Such a pillar can be used alone, with a fence, with a gate, to hold a mailbox, to hold a lamp, or the like.

2. Description of the Related Art

The closest patent to the present invention of which the inventors are aware is U.S. Pat. No. 5,934,035, which involves the stacking of “precast brick layers.”

The basic explanation for the invention of U.S. Pat. No. 5,934,035 is given within lines 26 through 39 in column 4: “The brick body of modular pillar 10 is made up of a plurality of brick layers 12. These layers may be made of standard fired clay bricks and concrete. Each layer is shaped like a square doughnut. Where interior reinforcing is accomplished by PVC pipe 16, each successive layer 12 is stacked over PVC pipe 16 so as to journal pipe 16 through cavity 18. Each layer 12 interlocks with the previous layer so as to vertically align and strengthen the pillar. Layers 12 interlock by means of raised male mating elevation 20, raised above upper surface 22, into snug mating engagement with a correspondingly-sized depression 21 (shown in dotted outline within mortar simulating layer 26 in FIG. 4 and formed by form 25 seen in FIG. 12) in the underside of the layer 12, that is, in the side opposite upper surface 22.”

Significantly, the preceding patent, in lines 20 through 31 of column 2, further clarifies that the technology of that patent involves only (1) single layers with (2) such single layers being formed from “precast brick layers,” the examples for which are: “The brick layers are preassembled by moulding, as for example casting of concrete, which may be colorized on the exterior surface, or by other moulding or assembly means such as cementing a layer of bricks within a form. It is within the scope of the invention that each layer be cast as a block or slab in such a fashion so as to, firstly, simulate the appearance of brick and mortar on the exterior surface and so as to, secondly, result in a block of solid construction, with the exception of a central cavity extending between corresponding apertures on upper and lower opposite generally horizontal surfaces of the block or slab . . . .”

Additionally, lines 47 through 48 in column 3 of U.S. Pat. No. 5,934,035 provide, “Caulking may be applied between adjacent the [sic] simulated brick layers.”

Published European patent application no. 0030510 has a concrete cast similar to the option mentioned in U.S. Pat. No. 5,934,035.

And published Canadian patent application no. 2,106,545 describes a framework constructed about a post with cladding panels eventually covering the framework.

The inventors have, moreover, publicly sold a non-stackable pillar made of medium-density polyethylene (MDPE) with an outer surface simulating brick or stone that is bolted to a pedestal.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present Modular, Stackable Pillar is, similarly to the previously sold pillar constructed of plastic, preferably MDPE; and has a decorative outer surface (meaning herein that the surface simulates brick, stone, stucco, or the like); and optionally employs an crown section having a cap on top.

Unlike the previously sold pillar, however, the present Modular, Stackable Pillar is, as its name implies, stackable. This is accomplished by having a substantially centrally located projection on the top of each stackable section, preferably covering at least fifty percent of the top of each stackable section; by having a mating substantially centrally located depression in the bottom of each stackable section, preferably covering at least fifty percent of the bottom of each stackable section; and preferably by having the cross section of the projection and the mating depression shaped such that adjoining sections cannot be rotated.

The Modular, Stackable Pillar is, in use placed around a vertical support placed in gravel or concrete. By having this support near a side of the Modular, Stackable Pillar, it can be used to support a gate.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING

FIG. 1 is a view from the front of the Modular, Stackable Pillar having fence rails attached to it and being shown, for purposes of illustration, with the crown section raised above a stackable section.

FIG. 2 shows, in cutaway, an installed Modular, Stackable Pillar.

FIG. 3 illustrates the cap on the crown section of the Modular, Stackable Pillar after manufacture by a preferred rotational molding process but prior to separation of the cap from the crown section.

FIG. 4 portrays the cap installed in the crown section of the Modular, Stackable Pillar after such cap has been initially separated from the crown section in order to permit concrete or gravel to be inserted within at least a portion of the crown section.

FIG. 5 demonstrates a cap being placed upon a series of stacked stackable sections.

FIG. 6A is a perspective view of a stackable section showing the top of the stackable section with an aperture in the top of the projection.

FIG. 6B is a perspective view of a stackable section showing the top of the stackable section without an aperture in the top of the projection.

FIG. 7 illustrates to stackable sections with the upper stackable section raised, for purposes of illustration, above the lower stackable section and with the upper stackable having fence rails extending from it.

FIG. 8 portrays an installed Modular, Stackable Pillar having a gate attached to the support in the Modular, Stackable Pillar.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

A significant feature of the Modular, Stackable Pillar 1 is a stackable section 2 shown in FIGS. 1, 2, 5, 6A, 6B, 7, and 8.

One stackable sections 2 may be used with a crown section 3, as illustrated in FIG. 1, 2, and 8, to create a Modular, Stackable Pillar 1; or, alternatively, two or more stackable sections 2 may be used without the crown section, as illustrated in FIG. 5, to create a Modular, Stackable Pillar 1.

A cap 4 is placed upon the crown section 3, when the crown section 3, is utilized or upon the uppermost stackable section 2 when the crown section 3 is not employed.

Each stackable section 2, crown section 3, and cap 4 is composed of plastic, preferable medium-density polyethylene (MDPE).

On the top 5 of each stackable section 2 is, as seen in FIGS. 1, 2, 5, 6A, 6B, 7, and 8, a substantially centrally located a projection 6, which, as observed above, preferably covers at least fifty percent of the top 5 of each stackable section 2; and on the bottom 7 of each stackable section is, as viewed in FIGS. 1, 2, 5, 7, and 8, a substantially centrally located depression 8 for mating with the projection 6 of an adjoining, lower stackable section 2. Preferably, the cross section 9 of the projection 6 and the cross section 10 of the depression 8 are shaped such that adjoining stackable sections 2 cannot be rotated. (This can be accomplished, for example, by having at least one straight side 11 on the perimeter 12 of the projection 6 and on the perimeter 13 of the depression 8, although any technique well known in the art for preventing rotation can be utilized.) Similarly, as shown in FIGS. 1, 2, and 8, a depression 14 shaped and sized substantially the same as the depression 8 in the bottom 7 of each stackable section 2 is located in the bottom 15 of the crown section 3. And, when a crown section 3 is not employed, a depression 16 shaped and sized substantially the same as the depression 8 in the bottom 7 of each stackable section is, as illustrated in FIG. 5, is located in the bottom 17 of the cap 4.

Each stackable section 2 and the crown section 3 have a decorative outer surface 18 on at least one side 27, but, preferably, on all sides 27, as defined above. These sections are constructed of plastic, preferably MDPE, although a composite material could alternatively be employed. Adjacent sections 2, 3 (two stackable sections 2 or a stackable section 2 and a crown section 3) are joined to each other with mechanical fasteners 19, preferably bolts and nuts, as portrayed in FIGS. 2 and 8.

When installed, the sections 2, 3 are, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 8, placed around a support 20. The support 20 can be a wooden post, a pipe, or the like. The lower portion 21 of the support 20 is placed in the ground 22 and surrounded by a filler 23 such as gravel or cement. Preferably, the filler 23 is also placed in at least a part of the interior 31, 32 of each section 2, 3, which is hollow. In order to facilitate such placement the top 5 of each stackable section 2, the bottom 7 of each stackable section, and the bottom 15 of the crown section 3 contains, as illustrated in FIGS. 2, 6A, 7, and 8, a, preferably substantially centered aperture 24 through which the filler 23 may be added and through at least some of which apertures 24 the support 20 extends.

Because the preferred technique for manufacturing the sections 2, 3 and the cap 4 is rotational molding and because rotational molding does not lend itself to creating apertures 24, when such preferred method is utilized, the apertures 24 must be cut into the sections 2, 3 after such sections 2, 3 have been manufactured. Also when rotational molding is utilized, the crown section 3 and the cap 4 are created as a unitary structure, which is shown in FIG. 3 and must be cut along the lines 1-1 and 2-2 to allow filler 23 to be inserted through the crown section 3 and the cap 4 subsequently to be installed in the crown section 3, as demonstrated in FIG. 4.

Similarly when rotational molding is used, apertures 25 must be cut into the sections 2, 3 to accommodate fence rails 26, when desired, as portrayed in FIGS. 1 and 7. If such fence rails 26 are heavy, they can be attached to the support 20 using any technique that is well known in the art; otherwise the sides 27 of the sections 2, 3 can support the fence rails 26.

And when it is desired to have the Modular, Stackable Pillar 1 support a gate 28, as depicted in FIG. 8, the apertures 24 in the top 5 of each stackable section 2, the bottom 7 of each stackable section, and the bottom 15 of the crown section 3, when the crown section is employed, are extended to near a side 27 of the sections 2, 3; and any technique that is well known in the art can be utilized to connect hinges 29 of the gate 28 to the support 20 through apertures 30 in the side 27 of the sections 2, 3.

As used herein, the term “substantially” indicates that one skilled in the art would consider the value modified by such terms to be within acceptable limits for the stated value. Also as used herein the term “preferable” or “preferably” means that a specified element or technique is more acceptable than another but not that such specified element or technique is a necessity.