|Publication number||US20020083657 A1|
|Application number||US 09/753,104|
|Publication date||Jul 4, 2002|
|Filing date||Jan 2, 2001|
|Priority date||Jan 2, 2001|
|Publication number||09753104, 753104, US 2002/0083657 A1, US 2002/083657 A1, US 20020083657 A1, US 20020083657A1, US 2002083657 A1, US 2002083657A1, US-A1-20020083657, US-A1-2002083657, US2002/0083657A1, US2002/083657A1, US20020083657 A1, US20020083657A1, US2002083657 A1, US2002083657A1|
|Inventors||Jeffrey Mattox, Jeffrey Dean, Jeffrey Williams|
|Original Assignee||Matt Stone, Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Referenced by (13), Classifications (14), Legal Events (1)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
 1. Field of the Invention
 The current invention relates generally to masonry blocks that may be used in construction of block walls. These masonry blocks are particularly useful for constructing retaining walls for retaining soil and preventing soil erosion.
 2. Description of the Prior Art
 Masonry blocks that are used to construct walls are well-known for both commercial and residential construction. Often during construction of homes, buildings, bridges or other residential and commercial structures, the existing soil levels must be cut vertically or to sharp slopes which cannot be naturally maintained. Varied structural elements have been used to construct retaining walls to retain the soil therebehind and thus prevent erosion.
 The strength of the retaining walls depends upon the height of the soil cut, the slope of the cut and the type of soil being retained, whether sandy, loam or clay. Certainly walls of solid concrete with extensive footers and dead man anchors would be able to withstand significant soil pressures. The same wall could be constructed of concrete block that is cemented in place; however, this type wall would not be as strong and could not withstand the same pressures as the solid concrete wall. For smaller jobs, for example landscaping where only two or three layers of blocks may be required, it is usually not necessary to cement the blocks in place as their weight and the friction between the blocks is sufficient to withstand the soil pressures. Additional strength may be obtained by setting back each course of block so that the block wall itself is angled or sloped toward the retained soil.
 Retaining wall blocks must be heavy to accomplish their purpose, and are therefore difficult to lift, carry and place in the selected location. In order to carry the blocks it is necessary to place the fingers underneath the blocks, which means the block must be lifted in order to grip them from underneath, which is difficult and awkward. Also, by carrying the blocks in this way the fingers are between the block and the previous course of blocks which makes placing the blocks difficult and can readily cause injury to the fingers.
 A number of inventions have attempted to overcome this deficiency by forming holes in the tops of a blocks so that the builder can reach into the hole and grasp a web that is formed across the hole. These designs are difficult and expensive to mold. In addition, it is preferred to use solid blocks for retaining walls to provide the maximum weight, to prevent the back fill soil from being washed out through open cavities and to eliminate the need to fill such open cavities with gravel or grout.
 Most retaining walls are not straight as they preferably flow with the landscape design. Square blocks are difficult to use for curved walls as the corners and edges of the square blocks will project outwardly in convex curves. What is needed are blocks that are constructed so that they may be placed side by side for straight square walls and also capable of being easily broken so that the blocks may be placed side-by-side to form a convex wall, for example for placement around trees to protect tree roots.
 Builders and masons are skilled in the art of breaking bricks and blocks to fit in tight spaces or to form curved walls; however, those less skilled find it difficult to break the blocks in a uniform manner. What are needed are guides to assist landscapers and other less skilled parties to consistently create a selection of shapes.
 Notwithstanding the existence of such prior art masonry blocks, it remains clear that there is a need for solid masonry blocks that are easy to handle, shape and place at the construction site, particularly for the unskilled, like a landscaper or homeowner.
 The present invention relates to a retaining wall masonry block having at least one body. The body of the block has a front face and a back face which are joined by a pair of sides extending therebetween. One side extends from one end of the front face to a corresponding end of the back face and the other side of said pair of sides extends from the other end of the front face to the corresponding other end of the back face. A top face joins the top edges of the front face, back face, first side and second side. A bottom face joins the bottom edges of the front face, back face, first side and second side completing a block having six major surfaces, the top face, bottom face, front face, back face, and a pair of sides.
 One of said sides has an opening therethrough that is in communication with a cavity extending inwardly in relation to the body to provide a handhold to aid in grasping the block for lifting and carrying it. The centerline of the cavity forms an acute angle with the portion of the side of the block that is adjacent the opeining for reception of the cupped fingers of a user therein.
 The invention accordingly comprises an article of manufacturer possessing the features, properties, and the relation to elements which will be exemplified in the article hereinafter described, and the scope of the invention will be indicated in the claims.
 For a fuller understanding of the nature and objects of the invention, reference should be had to the following detailed description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is an isometric view illustrating the construction of one embodiment of a retaining wall from a plurality of the blocks of this invention;
FIG. 2 is an isometric bottom view of a masonry block of this invention, illustrating an embodiment of the masonry block having two bodies;
FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the masonry block of this invention, illustrating the separation of said masonry block of FIG. 2 into two masonry blocks, each having one body;
FIG. 4 is a left side elevational view of a masonry block of FIG. 1;
FIG. 5 is a right side elevational view of the masonry block of FIG. 4;
FIG. 6 is a bottom plan view FIG. 3;
FIG. 7 is a detailed bottom view of a portion of a second embodiment of the masonry block of this invention;
FIG. 8 is a detailed cross-sectional view of the cavity taken a long line 8-8 of FIG. 6;
FIG. 9 is a detailed bottom plan view of the cavity of the masonry block of this invention;
FIG. 10 is a rear elevational view of the masonry block of FIG. 4;
FIG. 11 is a front elevational view of the masonry block of FIG. 4; and
FIG. 12 is a bottom plan view of the masonry block illustrating the separation of the masonry block into a plurality of components by breakage of the masonry block along its various grooves.
 Similar reference characters refer to similar parts throughout the several views of the drawings and additional embodiments are identified by reference characters increased in increments of 100.
 A preferred embodiment for the masonry block of this invention is illustrated in the drawing FIGS. 1, 3-6, and 10-12 and is generally indicated as 10. As shown in FIG. 2 and FIG. 3,a masonry block 10 comprises at least one body 12. As shown in FIG. 3 and FIG. 4, each body is defined by a front face 14, a back face 16, a pair of sides 18 and 20 that extend between the front face and the back face, a top face 22 and a bottom face 24.
 As shown in FIG. 2, in one preferred embodiment the masonry block 10 is comprised of two bodies 12 that are identical to one another, but are formed together along the common front face 114 as a single masonry block 110. The bodies 112 are then separated for individual use as shown in FIG. 3. The separation of the two bodies provides a roughened surface creating architectural interest. In another preferred embodiment, the masonry block 10 may be constructed with a single body 12. The embodiment discussed below will be primarily a masonry block 10 having a single body 12.
 The body 12 further comprises a first opening 26 in one of the pair of sides 18 and 20. For convenience, the first opening 26 will be shown in the drawings as passing through side 20, as shown in FIG. 5 and FIG. 6. A first cavity 28 is formed so that it extends inwardly into the body 12 so that it is in communication with the opening 26. The first cavity 28 is sized and configured to receive at least a portion of a user's hand through the opening 26 and into the first cavity 28. As seen in FIG. 6, the centerline A of the first cavity 28 extends from the first opening 26 inwardly from the side 20 and angles toward the front face 14. The angle B, between the centerline A and a portion of the side 20 that is adjacent to the first opening 26, is less than 90 degrees. This permits the fingers of a user, when inserted through the first opening 26 and into the first cavity 28, to be cupped while holding the body 12 of the block 10, providing an improved grip. For the purposes of this application, fingers are defined to be cupped when a plane passing through the finger joints closest to the fingertips lies at an angle less than 90 degrees to a plane passing through the palm.
 As seen in FIG. 6 and 8, the first cavity 28 is comprised of at least one wall 30 that is arcuate. In other embodiments, the wall 30 of the cavity 28 may be subdivided into additional walls in which some are straight and others are arcuate. A longitudinal axis C extends the length of the first cavity 28. In a preferred embodiment, as seen in FIG. 6., the bottom face 24 comprises a plane that is generally at right angles to the longitudinal axis C. Therefore, in FIG. 6 the view of the wall 30 of the cavity 28 as it penetrates the bottom face 24 defines a planar shape 32. At least one-half of this planar shape is arcuate.
 As seen in FIG. 8 and FIG. 5, first cavity 28 extends through the bottom face 24 of the body 12 so that it is open. An end wall 34 intersects the longitudinal axis C and the cavity wall 30 proximal the top face 22 such that the first cavity is closed in relation to the top face 22 of the body 12. The end wall 34 extends inwardly from the side 20 to form an oblique angle with the wall 30, the end wall 34 also being angled away from the top face 22 of the body 12.
 As seen in FIG. 9, the width of the cavity 28 is defined as the dimensions taken between opposing sides of the wall 30 in a plane that is perpendicular to the longitudinal axis C. The width dimension lines D and E being perpendicular to said centerline A. In a preferred embodiment, the width D of the cavity proximal to the first opening 26 is less than the width E proximal the longitudinal axis C.
 In a preferred embodiment, to make the block easier to lift, carry, and put in place, a second opening 36 is formed through the other side of the pair of sides, conveniently side 18. A second cavity 38 is formed in the body 12 so that it is in communication with the second opening 32. This second opening 36 and cavity 38 is identical in structure to the first opening 26 and the first cavity 28, and is a mirror image thereof.
 In a third embodiment, illustrated in FIG. 7, the centerline A′ of the second cavity 238 of the body 212 extends inwardly from the side 218 and angles toward the back face 216. The angle B′, between the centerline A′ and a portion of the side 218 that is adjacent to the second opening 236 is less than 90 degrees. In this embodiment, the first cavity 228 remains as a mirror image of the second cavity 238.
 As can be seen in FIG. 6, the bottom face 24 of the body 12 has a plurality of grooves formed therein. There is a least one groove 40 extending along a portion of the bottom face 24 generally perpendicular to the front face 14 and perpendicular to the back face 16. In the embodiment illustrated there are three such grooves spaced apart from one another. There is also a groove 42 extending along the bottom face 24 that is generally parallel with and proximal to the back face 16. As seen in FIG. 4 and FIG. 5, a groove 44 is formed in side wall 18 and side wall 20, which is proximal the front face 14 and parallel thereto. As seen in FIG. 6 and FIG. 10, at least one groove 46 is formed in the back face 16. In a preferred embodiment, this groove lies in the same plane as a corresponding groove 40 in the bottom face 24. Also, in a preferred embodiment, as illustrated, there are three grooves 46, each lying in a plane with a corresponding groove 40 in the bottom face 24. In the embodiment 110, as illustrated in FIG. 2, a groove 148 is formed across the bottom face 124 along a plane extending between the front face (not shown) of each block 112.
 As can be seen in FIG. 12 and FIG. 2, the block 10 and the block 110 may be separated into separate portions by breaking the block along various planes. The grooves 40, 42, 44, 46 and 148 are used as guides for breaking the blocks. For example, the masonry block 110 is split into two separate bodies by breaking the block along groove 148. The user scores the block on the top face 22 opposite the groove 148 to weaken the block so that the crack splitting the block into two portions will generally lie along a plane passing through the groove 148 and the scored line. In the same fashion, as shown in FIG. 12, the block 10 may be separated into many different sized blocks by scoring the side opposite the groove. In some cases, for example when breaking off a corner piece 12 a or 12 b, it may be necessary to score along the top face and bottom face along a plane that passes through the groove 44 and the break line 50 to provide a generally clean break.
 The body 12 further comprises a first wing 52 extending outwardly from the first side 18 proximal the back face 16. On an opposite end of the back face a second wing 54 extends outwardly from the second side 20 proximal the back face 16. In a preferred embodiment, as disclosed in FIG. 6, each wing 52 and 54 includes a portion of the back face 16 as a part of the wing. A longitudinally extending channel 56 that has a hemispherical cross-section is formed in each wing 52 and 54 along the line of juncture between the wings 52 and 54 and the body 12. This hemispherical channel strengthens the joint between the wings 52 and 54 and the body 12, preventing unwanted breakage of the wings. A pair of protrusions 58 extend outwardly from the bottom face 24. The protrusions 58 comprise truncated pyramids having the sides of the pyramid that run parallel to the back face 16 being longer than the other sides of the pyramid.
 Having thus set forth a preferred construction for the current invention, is to the remembered that these are but preferred embodiments. Attention is now invited to a description of the use of the masonry block 10.
 The block 10 is normally sold with a single body 12, as the block 110 having two bodies 12 is split in the factory using equipment that easily breaks the blocks along the desired planes. By breaking the block, as shown in FIG. 1, a roughened surface is created for architectural interest. To increase the architectural interest, the corners 12 a and 12 b, as shown in FIG. 12, may also be removed from the body 12 of the block 10 prior to sale.
 Once the blocks 10 have been delivered to the work site, they may be easily carried by inserting the fingers of one hand into the first cavity 28 and the fingers of the other hand into the second cavity 38. With the palms of the hands lying along the corresponding sides 20 and 18, the fingers must be curled toward the palm of the hand so that they are cupped permitting an easier grip of the block 10. To construct a wall as shown in FIG. 1, a first row of blocks is laid along a straight line on the subgrade so they are side-by-side. The next row of blocks is staggered so that the second layer of blocks are centered over the gap between two lower blocks. A stronger wall is created by offsetting the blocks so the front face of the wall slopes backward into the soil being retained. To easily do this with the blocks 10, the second row of the blocks 10 are placed so that the protrusions 56 extend over and beyond the back face 16 of the lower row of blocks. Soil is back filled behind the blocks as each layer is raised to prevent the block wall from tipping.
 Frequently walls must be curved to fit the landscape requirements. To do this one or more of the wings of each block may be removed so that the sides of adjacent blocks may lay closely together and yet angled to form a wall having a curved front face. The greater the taper, from the front face 14 to the back face 16 formed in the blocks, the sharper the convex curve that can be formed in the wall. The wings 52 and 54 provide stability to the blocks and the wall when the wall portion is straight. Frequently, there is a need for smaller portions of block 10 to finish out a wall, these can be obtained by breaking the block 10 along a selected groove. If the block is broken along groove 42 to remove the wings and the back face 16, the portion 12 c of the block 10 may be used as a wall cap to finish the top of the wall.
 While the foregoing describes a particularly preferred embodiment of the present invention, it is to be understood that numerous variations and modifications of the structure will occur to those skilled in the art. Accordingly, the foregoing description is to be considered illustrative only of the principles of this invention and is not to be considered limitative thereof, the scope of the invention being determined solely by the claims appended hereto.
|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US6907705||Feb 21, 2003||Jun 21, 2005||Innovative Concrete Solutions, Inc.||Reversible wall block, block wall, and method of wall construction|
|US6978580 *||Nov 8, 2002||Dec 27, 2005||Ryan Clark||Solid core concrete block and method of making a concrete block retaining wall|
|US7328537 *||Oct 18, 2002||Feb 12, 2008||Westblock Systems, Inc.||Wall block, system and method|
|US7536825||Jan 13, 2006||May 26, 2009||Joan Perotti||Interlocking landscape edging block|
|US7591447||Aug 31, 2004||Sep 22, 2009||Westblock Systems, Inc.||Wall block, system and mold for making the same|
|US8127490||Jan 12, 2007||Mar 6, 2012||Perotti Joan M||Block used for landscape and related applications|
|US8490359||Aug 5, 2011||Jul 23, 2013||Joan M. Perotti||Landscape edging block system|
|US8667759||Mar 14, 2012||Mar 11, 2014||Westblock Systems, Inc.||Wall block system|
|US20050108973 *||Aug 31, 2004||May 26, 2005||Westblock Systems, Inc.||Wall block, system and mold for making the same|
|US20110045236 *||Aug 10, 2010||Feb 24, 2011||Mark Thomas Fisher||Building board for handling and use|
|US20120288668 *||Jan 15, 2010||Nov 15, 2012||Barrie Peter Moore||Bricks|
|US20140270989 *||Mar 14, 2014||Sep 18, 2014||2223963 Ontario Inc.||Block for use in constructing a retaining wall with improved features|
|EP1751355A2 *||Apr 29, 2005||Feb 14, 2007||Rockwood Retaining Walls Inc.||Asymmetric retaining wall block|
|U.S. Classification||52/125.2, 52/605, 52/604, 52/606, 405/286|
|International Classification||E04C1/39, E02D29/02, E04B2/02|
|Cooperative Classification||E04C1/395, E04B2002/026, E04B2002/0258, E02D29/025|
|European Classification||E02D29/02E, E04C1/39B|
|Jan 2, 2001||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: MATT STONE, INC., FLORIDA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:DEAN, JEFFREY M.;MATTOX, JEFFREY A.;WILLIAMS, JEFFREY S.;REEL/FRAME:011422/0241
Effective date: 20001229