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Publication numberUS20020070377 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 09/941,464
Publication dateJun 13, 2002
Filing dateAug 29, 2001
Priority dateAug 29, 2000
Publication number09941464, 941464, US 2002/0070377 A1, US 2002/070377 A1, US 20020070377 A1, US 20020070377A1, US 2002070377 A1, US 2002070377A1, US-A1-20020070377, US-A1-2002070377, US2002/0070377A1, US2002/070377A1, US20020070377 A1, US20020070377A1, US2002070377 A1, US2002070377A1
InventorsRonald Erwin
Original AssigneeErwin Ronald D.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Fence insert and combination thereof
US 20020070377 A1
Abstract
A decorative insert body, upper and lower connecting arm sets extending from the body, and upper and lower mounting feet extend from the connecting arms for attachment to upper and lower lateral fence rails. The decorative body has a U-shaped upper section, a U-shaped lower section, and a middle section. The upper connecting arms form a U-shape that is inverted from the U-shaped upper section, and the lower connecting arms form a U-shape that is inverted from the U-shaped lower section. Additionally, side mounting feet can extend from the middle section for attachment to fence vertical spindles.
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Claims(18)
What is claimed is:
1. An insert for use with a fence having an upper rail, a lower rail, and a plurality of spindles extending therebetween, said insert comprising:
a decorative body; and
a plurality of mounting feet extending from said decorative body and adapted to attach to the upper rail, the lower rail, or one of the spindles.
2. The insert of claim 1 wherein said decorative body comprises an upper section, a lower section, and a middle section therebetween, and wherein said plurality of mounting feet comprises at least one upper mounting foot extending upward from said upper section for attachment to the upper rail and at least one lower mounting foot extending downward from said lower section for attachment to the lower rail.
3. The insert of claim 2 wherein said at least one upper mounting foot comprises two upper mounting feet, each foot linked to an upper connecting arm extending from said upper section of said body, said upper connecting arms cooperating to form an upper U-shaped mounting structure, and wherein said at least one lower mounting foot also comprises two lower mounting feet, each foot linked to a lower connecting arm extending from said lower section of said body, said lower connecting arms cooperating to form a lower U-shaped mounting structure.
4. The insert of claim 3 wherein said upper section of said decorative body is generally U-shaped, and is connected to and inverted from said upper U-shaped mounting structure, and said lower section of decorative body is generally U-shaped and is connected to and inverted from said U-shaped lower mounting structure.
5. The insert of claim 2 wherein said plurality of mounting feet further comprises at least two side mounting feet, with one of said side mounting feet extending laterally from one side of said middle section for attachment to one of the spindles and with another one of said side mounting feet extending laterally and oppositely from the other side of said middle section for attachment to another spindle.
6. The insert of claim 4 wherein said plurality of mounting feet further comprises at least two side mounting feet, with one of said side mounting feet extending laterally from one side of said middle section for attachment to one of the spindles and with another one of said side mounting feet extending laterally and oppositely from the other side of said middle section for attachment to another spindle.
7. The insert of claim 2 wherein each of said mounting feet is generally T-shaped.
8. An insert for use with a fence having an upper rail, a lower rail, and a plurality of spindles extending therebetween, said insert comprising:
a decorative body having a U-shaped upper section, a U-shaped lower section, and a middle section therebetween;
two upper connecting arms extending upward from said upper section and cooperating to form an upper U-shaped mounting structure that is inverted relative to said U-shaped upper section;
two lower connecting arms extending downward from said lower section and cooperating to form a generally U-shaped lower mounting structure that is inverted relative to said U-shaped lower section; and
two upper mounting feet with one foot attached to each of said upper connecting arms for attaching to the upper rail;
two lower mounting feet with one foot attached to each of said lower connecting arms for attaching to the lower rail; and
two side mounting feet extending laterally from said middle section, with one of said side mounting members extending from one side of said middle section for attachment to one of the spindles and with the other one of said side mounting members extending from the opposite side of said middle section for attachment to another one of the spindles.
9. The insert of claim 8 wherein said upper U-shaped mounting structure and said U-shaped lower section each have an open side facing upward, and said lower U-shaped mounting structure and said U-shaped upper section each have an open side facing downward.
10. The insert of claim 8 wherein each of said upper, lower, and side mounting feet includes at least two mounting feet.
11. The insert of claim 10 wherein each of said mounting feet is generally T-shaped.
12. The insert of claim 8 wherein each of said mounting feet have at least one hole defined therein for receiving a fastener.
13. The insert of claim 8 wherein said decorative body is made of plastic.
14. The insert of claim 8 wherein said decorative body has the appearance of wrought iron.
15. A fence, comprising:
an upper rail;
a lower rail;
a plurality of spindles extending between said upper rail and said lower rail;
a fence insert comprising a decorative body and two upper mounting feet, two lower mounting feet, and at least two side mounting feet extending therefrom;
said decorative body having an upper section, a lower section, a middle section therebetween, two upper connecting arms extending upward from said upper section and cooperating to form a generally U-shaped upper mounting structure, and two lower connecting arms extending downward from said lower section and cooperating to form a generally U-shaped lower mounting structure, said upper section being generally U-shaped and inverted relative to said U-shaped upper mounting structure, and said lower section being generally U-shaped and inverted relative to said U-shaped lower mounting structure;
said two upper mounting feet attached to said upper connecting arms for attachment to the upper rail;
said two lower mounting feet attached to said lower connecting arms for attachment to the lower rail; and
said side mounting feet each extending laterally from said middle section, with one of said side mounting members extending from one side of said middle section for attachment to one of the spindles, and with another one of said side mounting members extending from the opposite side of said middle section for attachment to another one of the spindles.
16. The fence of claim 15 wherein said upper U-shaped mounting structure and said U-shaped lower section each have an open side facing upward, and said lower U-shaped mounting structure and said U-shaped upper section each have an open side facing downward.
17. The fence of claim 15 wherein each of said upper, lower, and side mounting feet is generally T-shaped.
18. The fence of claim 15 wherein said decorative body is made of plastic and has the appearance of wrought iron.
Description
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] This application claims the priority benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/228,703, filed Aug. 29, 2000, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0002] The present invention relates generally to railing and fencing and, more specifically, to an insert for a railing or fence.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] Outdoor decks are extremely popular in residential home construction. Homes and apartments, as well as a variety of other buildings, often incorporate exterior decks into their design. These decks provide convenient spaces for a variety of outdoor activities, including cookouts, dining and sunbathing, as well as other leisure activities. Moreover, decks typically are provided with a railing or perimeter fence to keep people from falling over the edge of the deck. Additionally, perimeter and accent fencing is commonly added onto landscapes, creating a boundary for foliage displays and garden areas.

[0004] Wood products traditionally have been the primary source of materials for use in decking and fence construction. However, wood products are becoming increasingly scarce due to the harvesting of trees at ever faster rates and the rather limited rate at which timber resources can be replenished. Also, environmental concerns and regulations directed to conservation or preservation of forests tend to restrict the availability of wood products. With the diminishing availability of timber resources, wood products are becoming increasingly expensive. There is, therefore, a substantial need for long-lasting substitute construction materials that can lessen the need to harvest timber resources.

[0005] One potential approach to addressing the above need is to provide substitute fence and decking products made of plastic, rather than wood. Plastic fence products provide a long-lasting alternative to wood. In addition, plastic fence products alleviate the need for costly painting and repainting. A variety of plastic building products are known. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,045,603 describes a three-layer synthetic construction material made from recycled waste thermoplastic synthetic resin material and cellulose fiber aggregate. This material includes face surfaces consisting essentially of re-hardened fused and rolled thermoplastic synthetic resin material bits, and an intervening core material consisting essentially of a compressed non-homogenous mixture of cellulose aggregate material bits and re-hardened fused thermoplastic synthetic resin material bits. Such plastic material can be used to create fencing elements.

[0006] Fences made of plastic have certain advantages over wood ones, however, the use of plastic introduces several drawbacks. For example, plastic fences tend to be relatively inexpensive, but often are somewhat plain in appearance. By contrast, wrought iron fences are often highly decorative, but at substantial cost. Also, plastic fence components cannot be assembled using the traditional construction methods of nailing (for wood), or welding (for metal) and still maintain structural integrity.

[0007] Accordingly, a need yet remains in the art for an inexpensive, decorative insert that can be easily attached and supported within plastic or wood fencing, and that is made from a light-weight, weather-resistant material. It is to the provision of such an insert that the present invention is primarily directed.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0008] The present invention both overcomes the above-mentioned disadvantages and meets the recognized need for such a product by providing a fence insert that can be used to produce a low cost fence (or railing) with an improved overall decorative appearance. Generally described, the fence insert includes a decorative body with mounting feet for mounting to the fence rails or spindles. The insert can be injection molded, extrusion blow molded, injection blow molded, vacuum molded, or rotary molded from a weatherable plastic material.

[0009] In a preferred form, the fence insert has two upper mounting feet, four side mounting feet, and two lower mounting feet, each integrally formed on the perimeter of the decorative insert body. The mounting feet can be generally T-shaped with two angled throughholes for receiving a fastener such as a nail or screw.

[0010] In another aspect of the invention, the insert body may have an upper U-shaped mounting structure, an upper section, a middle section, a lower section, and a lower U-shaped mounting structure. The upper U-shaped mounting structure is formed by two upper connecting arms extending between the upper mounting feet and the upper section. Similarly, the lower U-shaped mounting structure is formed by two lower connecting arms extending between the lower mounting feet and the lower section. The upper and lower sections each are generally U-shaped, with the U-shaped upper section inverted from the upper U-shaped mounting structure and the U-shaped lower section inverted from the lower U-shaped mounting structure. In this way, the U-shaped upper mounting structure and upper section are symmetrical, and the U-shaped lower mounting structure and lower section are symmetrical, so that the mounting structures tend to blend into the design of the decorative body.

[0011] In an alternative embodiment of the invention, the mounting feet may be provided without the holes but can be adhesively or otherwise affixed to the respective fence or rail members. In this way, the decorative fence insert can be quickly and easily installed, without sacrificing the structural integrity of the insert.

[0012] Typically, the decorative insert takes the place of at least one vertical spindle in the fence. In this way, the insert provides a decorative element for an improved overall appearance of the fence. Advantageously, the insert can be provided with the appearance of wrought iron, but made from plastic.

[0013] Accordingly, an object of the present invention is to provide a decorative insert for plastic or wood fencing that is durable and inexpensive to make.

[0014] A further object is to provide a decorative insert that quickly and easily mounts to a fence.

[0015] Still another object of the invention is to provide a decorative fence insert body and mounting members that blend into the design of the decorative insert body to give an overall aesthetic appearance.

[0016] These objects, advantages and features of the present invention will become more apparent upon reading the following specification in conjunction with the accompanying drawing figures.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIGURES

[0017] The present invention will be better understood by reading the Detailed Description of the preferred embodiment with reference to the accompanying drawing figures, in which:

[0018]FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the present insert shown attached within a fence section of typical style according to a preferred embodiment of the invention.

[0019]FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the present insert shown attached within a fence section of an alternative style according to a preferred embodiment of the invention.

[0020]FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the present insert shown attached within a fence section of an alternative style according to a preferred embodiment of the invention.

[0021]FIG. 4 is a detailed elevational view of the present insert of FIG. 1.

[0022]FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a mounting foot of the present insert of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0023] In describing the preferred and alternate embodiments of the present invention, specific terminology is employed for the sake of clarity. The invention, however, is not intended to be limited to the specific terminology so selected.

[0024] Referring now in detail to the drawing figures, wherein like reference numerals represent like parts throughout the several views, FIG. 1 shows a one-piece decorative insert 10 according to a preferred form of the invention, installed in a fence section. The insert 10 is typically used in fences having upright posts A, lateral rails B and C extending between the posts, and vertical spindles D and E extending between the rails. The insert 10 may be utilized in a multitude of fence styles. For instance, FIG. 1 shows a plurality of the inserts 10 mounted in a fence section of a well-known type, FIG. 2 shows a plurality of inserts 10 as mounted in another style fence section having different rails and posts, and FIG. 3 shows a plurality of inserts 10 mounted in a double-sectioned fence with intermediate lateral rail E.

[0025] Referring now to FIG. 4, the insert 10 generally comprises a decorative insert body with mounting feet 26, 28, 42, 44, 46, 48, 66, and 68 extending from the body for mounting to the fence. The insert body includes an upper U-shaped mounting structure 20, an upper section 30, a middle section 40, a lower section 50, and a lower U-shaped mounting structure 60.

[0026] More specifically, the upper section 30 is generally U-shaped and inverted relative to the upper U-shaped mounting structure 20, and the lower section 50 is generally U-shaped and inverted relative to and the lower U-shaped mounting structure 60. The upper U-shaped mounting structure 20 extends between upper section 30 and upper rail C. The upper U-shaped mounting structure 20 is formed by an upper left connecting arm 22 and an upper right connecting arm 24. The upper left connecting arm 22 connects to mounting foot 26 which connects to the upper rail C, and upper right connecting arm 24 connects to mounting foot 28 which connects to the upper rail C. Similarly, the lower U-shaped mounting structure 60 is formed by a lower left connecting arm 62 and a lower right connecting arm 64. The lower left connecting arm 62 connects to mounting foot 66 which connects to the lower rail B, and lower right connecting arm 64 connects to mounting foot 68 which connects to the lower rail B.

[0027] The middle section 40 extends between lower section 50 and upper section 30. The middle section 40 is highly decorative, and has the four side mounting feet 42, 44, 46, and 48 that attach to spindles D and E. Mounting foot 42 extends from the lower left of middle section 40 and attaches to left spindle D. Mounting foot 44 extends from the upper left of middle section 40 and attaches to left spindle D. Mounting foot 46 extends from the upper right of middle section 40 and attaches to right spindle E. Mounting foot 48 extends from the lower right of middle section 40 and attaches to right spindle E.

[0028] Now referring to FIG. 5, each mounting foot 26, 28, 42, 44, 46, 48, 66, 68 has a generally rectangular shape and has a substantially flat mounting surface. Although only mounting foot 46 is shown in FIG. 5, the other mounting feet 26,28,42,44,48,66, 68 are identical in shape and function, and thus, FIG. 5 is representative of all of the mounting feet 26, 28,42, 44,46, 48, 66, 68. Throughholes 47 a and 47 b are formed in mounting foot 46, preferably at an angle toward the center of the mounting foot 46 such that a nail F or other fastening means may be easily be attached without interfering with the body of the insert.

[0029] In an alternative embodiment, the mounting feet 26, 28, 42, 44, 46, 48, 66, 68 of insert 10 could be formed without throughholes and be attached to the respective fence members via adhesive or some other known attaching means.

[0030] It should be noted that the preferred material for said insert 10 is weatherable plastic that is fabricated to provide the above-discussed decorative features of wrought iron but is made from a low-cost, light-weight material.

[0031] It will be understood that, as used herein, the term “fence” is intended to include railings and other similar structures. Also, “U-shaped” as used herein is intended to include other linear or curved two-dimensional shapes with an open side such as a “V,” “W,” “X,” sideways “S,” and combinations thereof.

[0032] Having thus described the preferred forms of the present invention, those skilled in the art will additionally recognize that the within disclosures are exemplary only, and that various other alternatives, adaptations, and modifications may be made within the spirit and scope of the present invention as set forth in the following claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7032891Jan 21, 2003Apr 25, 2006On The Fence Technologies, Llc CorporationMethods and apparatus for fencing and other structures
US7389975Dec 2, 2005Jun 24, 2008On The Fence Technologies, Llc CorporationMethods and apparatus for fencing and other structures
US20090146122 *Nov 26, 2008Jun 11, 2009Fortress Iron, LpInstallable top accent panels for a barrier system
WO2009025626A1 *Aug 20, 2007Feb 26, 2009Vahit UyanikModular garden fence
Classifications
U.S. Classification256/1
International ClassificationE04H17/16, E04H17/14
Cooperative ClassificationE04H17/1417, E04H2017/1452, E04H17/16
European ClassificationE04H17/16, E04H17/14D
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Sep 20, 2001ASAssignment
Owner name: ERWIN INDUSTRIES, INC., GEORGIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:ERWIN, RONALD D.;REEL/FRAME:012180/0687
Effective date: 20010831