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Publication numberUS20050076822 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/966,633
Publication dateApr 14, 2005
Filing dateOct 14, 2004
Priority dateOct 14, 2003
Publication number10966633, 966633, US 2005/0076822 A1, US 2005/076822 A1, US 20050076822 A1, US 20050076822A1, US 2005076822 A1, US 2005076822A1, US-A1-20050076822, US-A1-2005076822, US2005/0076822A1, US2005/076822A1, US20050076822 A1, US20050076822A1, US2005076822 A1, US2005076822A1
InventorsJonathan Levine
Original AssigneeTeam Products International, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Portable cone
US 20050076822 A1
Abstract
Embodiments of portable cones are disclosed herein. One disclosed embodiment, for example, comprises a resilient coil spring having successive coils of decreasing diameter. The resilient coil spring of this embodiment has a generally conical shape in its natural state and is compressible into a compressed state. This embodiment further includes a cone-body cover formed from at least one fabric. The cone-body cover is disposed about an exterior of the resilient coil spring and is pulled substantially taut against the exterior of the resilient coil spring when the coil spring extends towards its natural state. The cone-body cover further comprises a tip region and a lower edge. The portable cone further includes a base to which the lower edge of the cone-body cover is attachable, thereby defining between the base and the cone-body cover a first interior in which the resilient coil spring is housed. The base of this embodiment also defines a second interior in which one or more weights (e.g., disc-shaped weights) are located.
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Claims(30)
1. A portable cone, comprising:
a resilient coil spring having successive coils of decreasing diameter, the resilient coil spring having a generally conical shape in its natural state and being compressible into a compressed state;
a cone-body cover formed from at least one fabric, the cone-body cover being disposed about an exterior of the resilient coil spring and being pulled substantially taut against the exterior of the resilient coil spring when the coil spring extends towards its natural state, the cone-body cover further comprising a tip region and a lower edge; and
a base to which the lower edge of the cone-body cover is attachable, thereby defining between the base and the cone-body cover a first interior in which the resilient coil spring is housed,
the base further defining a second interior in which one or more weights are located.
2. The portable cone of claim 1, wherein the base is also formed from one or more fabrics.
3. The portable cone of claim 1, wherein the base and the one or more weights located in the interior of the base are disc-shaped.
4. The portable cone of claim 1, wherein the one or more weights are rubber.
5. The portable cone of claim 1, wherein the cone-body cover comprises multiple regions, at least one of the multiple regions being formed from a meshed fabric.
6. The portable cone of claim 1, wherein the cone-body cover is formed entirely from a meshed fabric.
7. The portable cone of claim 1, wherein an interior surface of the tip region of the cone-body cover comprises a first fastener, and wherein an interior surface of the base comprises a second fastener configured to engage the first fastener.
8. The portable cone of claim 1, wherein the base comprises a clam-shell cover comprising a first half and a second half, the first half and the second half being configured to couple to one another and form a third interior in which the cone-body cover and the resilient support structure can be enclosed in their compressed state.
9. A portable cone, comprising:
a support structure having a generally conical shape in an expanded state and a generally flat disc shape in a compressed state;
a flexible cover disposed about an exterior of the support structure and defining a substantially conical shape when the support structure extends towards its expanded state, the flexible cover further comprising a tip region and a lower edge;
a base to which the lower edge of the flexible cover is attachable, thereby forming with the flexible cover an enclosure in which the support structure is positioned;
one or more hook-and-loop fasteners disposed on an interior surface of the base; and
one or more opposing hook-and-loop fasteners disposed on an interior surface of the tip region of the flexible cover and along a common longitudinal axis as the hook-and-loop fasteners on the base,
the hook-and-loop fasteners and the opposing hook-and-loop fasteners being configured to engage each other and hold the resilient support structure substantially in the compressed state.
10. The portable cone of claim 9, wherein the support structure comprises a coil spring.
11. The portable cone of claim 9, wherein the cover is formed from one or more types of flexible material.
12. The portable cone of claim 9, wherein the cover comprises multiple regions, at least one of the multiple regions being formed from a meshed fabric.
13. The portable cone of claim 9, wherein the tip region comprises a flat, circular end portion that is substantially coplanar with the interior surface of the base.
14. The portable cone of claim 9, wherein the base comprises an interior compartment in which one or more weights are contained.
15. The portable cone of claim 14, wherein the base and the weights contained in the base are substantially disc-shaped.
16. The portable cone of claim 9, wherein the cover is attached to the base along a periphery of the base.
17. An apparatus, comprising:
a helical support structure having coils of decreasing diameter;
a support-structure cover disposed substantially around an exterior of the helical support structure, the support-structure cover being formed of a flexible material allowing the helical support structure to compress and expand within the support-structure cover; and
a clam-shell case comprising an upper portion and a lower portion coupled together at a hinge region, a lower edge of the support-structure cover being attached to an interior surface of the lower portion of the clam-shell case,
the upper portion and the lower portion of the clam-shell case being configured to join together to form an interior in which the support-structure cover and the helical support structure can be enclosed in a compressed state.
18. The apparatus of claim 17, wherein the clam-shell case is formed from one or more fabrics.
19. The apparatus of claim 17, wherein the support-structure cover comprises multiple regions, at least one of the multiple regions being formed from a mesh fabric.
20. The apparatus of claim 17, wherein at least one of the upper portion or the lower portion of the clam-shell case comprises an interior compartment in which one or more weights are located.
21. The apparatus of claim 20, wherein the clam-shell case and the weights contained in the clam-shell case are substantially disk-shaped.
22. The apparatus of claim 17, wherein the upper portion and the lower portion of the clam-shell case include a fastening mechanism along their respective circumferential edges configured to join the upper portion to the lower portion.
23. The apparatus of claim 22, wherein the fastening mechanism comprises one or more zippers.
24. The apparatus of claim 17, wherein the upper portion of the clam-shell case is configured to be flipped over the hinge region into an inverted position.
25. The apparatus of claim 24, wherein the upper portion and the lower portion of the clam-shell case include a fastening mechanism that joins the lower portion to the upper portion in either the inverted position or in a regular position.
26. A portable cone, comprising:
a resilient coil spring having successive coils of decreasing diameter, the resilient coil spring having a generally conical shape in its natural state and being compressible into a compressed state;
a cone-body cover formed from at least one fabric, the cone-body cover being disposed about an exterior of the resilient coil spring and being pulled substantially taut against the exterior of the resilient coil spring when the coil spring extends towards its natural state, the cone-body cover further comprising a tip region and a lower edge; and
a base to which the lower edge of the cone-body cover is selectively attachable via a one or more fasteners, the base and the cone-body cover forming an interior in which the resilient coil spring is housed when the base and cone-body cover are attached.
27. The portable cone of claim 26, wherein the base is also formed from one or more fabrics.
28. The portable cone of claim 26, wherein the one or more fasteners comprise one or more zippers.
29. The portable cone of claim 26, wherein the interior is a first interior, and wherein the base further comprises a second interior in which one or more weights are located.
30. The portable cone of claim 26, wherein the base is substantially disc shaped.
Description
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/511,172, filed on Oct. 14, 2003, which is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND

Warning cones are often used on roadways to direct traffic or warn drivers of a dangerous area or condition. Such cones can also be used for a variety of other purposes. For example, warning cones are often used as markers at sporting events (e.g., as boundary markers for a variety of different sports) or as caution markers in a pedestrian area (e.g., a supermarket or mall). Conventional warning cones, however, are typically molded from rigid plastics, making them unwieldy and difficult to store and transport. Accordingly, there is a need for a portable cone that can be selectively expanded into a cone shape or compressed into a compact state.

Although some portable cones are available, the known cones exhibit a variety of undesirable features. For example, several of the known portable cones comprise a cone body formed from rings of rigid and impermeable material, thereby adding needless weight to the body of the cone and making the cone susceptible to being blown over in its expanded state. Other known portable cones include complex support structures that make the cones difficult and costly to manufacture. Still other known portable cones include a cover or case portion that holds the cone in its compact state. This cover or case, however, can be easily separated from the cone body and lost.

To overcome these deficiencies (individually or in combination with one another), embodiments of an improved portable cone are described below.

SUMMARY

Disclosed below are representative embodiments that are not intended to be limiting in any way. Instead, the present disclosure is directed toward novel and nonobvious features, aspects, and equivalents of the embodiments of the portable cone described below. The disclosed features and aspects of the embodiments can be used alone or in various novel and nonobvious combinations and subcombinations with one another.

One of the disclosed portable cone embodiments comprises a resilient coil spring having successive coils of decreasing diameter. The resilient coil spring of this embodiment has a generally conical shape in its natural state and is compressible into a compressed state. The portable cone of this embodiment further includes a cone-body cover formed from at least one fabric. The cone-body cover is disposed about an exterior of the resilient coil spring and is pulled substantially taut against the exterior of the resilient coil spring when the coil spring extends towards its natural state. The cone-body cover further comprises a tip region and a lower edge. The portable cone further includes a base to which the lower edge of the cone-body cover is attachable, thereby defining between the base and the cone-body cover a first interior in which the resilient coil spring is housed. The base further defines a second interior in which one or more weights (e.g., disc-shaped weights) are located. The base of this embodiment may also be formed from one or more fabrics. The weights can be manufactured from a variety of materials, but in one implementation are made from rubber. In certain implementations, the cone-body cover is comprised of multiple regions, including at least one region formed from a meshed fabric. In other implementations, the entire cone-body cover is formed from a meshed fabric. In some implementations, the interior surface of the tip region of the cone-body cover comprises a first fastener, and the interior surface of the base comprises a second fastener configured to engage the first fastener. The base of the portable cone may comprise a clam-shell case comprising a first half and a second half, wherein the first half and the second half are configured to couple to one another and form a third interior in which the cone-body cover and the resilient support structure can be enclosed in their compressed state.

Another of the disclosed portable cone embodiments comprises a support structure having a generally conical shape in an expanded state and a generally flat disc shape in a compressed state. In this embodiment, the portable cone further comprises a flexible cover disposed about an exterior of the support structure. The flexible cover defines a substantially conical shape when the support structure extends towards its expanded state, and further includes a tip region and a lower edge. The portable cone of this embodiment additionally comprises a base to which the lower edge of the flexible cover is attachable. When attached, the base and the flexible cover form an enclosure in which the support structure is positioned. In this embodiment, one or more hook-and-loop fasteners are disposed on an interior surface of the base, and one or more opposing hook-and-loop fasteners are disposed on an interior surface of the tip region of the flexible cover. The opposing hook-and-loop fasteners can be positioned along a common longitudinal axis as the hook-and-loop fasteners on the base so that the respective fasteners can engage each other and hold the resilient support structure substantially in the compressed state. In one particular implementation, the support structure comprises a coil spring. The flexible cover of this embodiment may be formed from one or more types of flexible material, and may comprise multiple regions, at least one of which is formed from a meshed fabric. The tip region of the portable cone may comprise a flat, circular end portion that is substantially coplanar with the interior surface of the base. The base of the portable cone may further comprise an interior compartment in which one or more weights (e.g., substantially disc-shaped weights) are contained.

Another disclosed embodiment is an apparatus comprising a helical support structure having coils of decreasing diameter. This embodiment further includes a support-structure cover disposed substantially around an exterior of the helical support structure. The support-structure cover of this embodiment is formed of a flexible material that allows the helical support structure to compress and expand within the support-structure cover. This embodiment additionally comprises a clam-shell case comprising an upper portion and a lower portion coupled together at a hinge region. A lower edge of the support-structure cover is attached to an interior surface of the lower portion of the clam-shell case. Further, the upper portion and the lower portion of the clam-shell case are configured to join together to form an interior in which the support-structure cover and the helical support structure can be enclosed in a compressed state. The clam-shell case of this embodiment may be manufactured from one or more fabrics. Additionally, the support-structure cover may comprise multiple regions, at least one of which is formed from a mesh fabric. In some implementations, at least one of the upper portion or the lower portion of the clam-shell case comprises an interior compartment in which one or more weights are located. For example, in one particular implementation, both the clam-shell case and the weights contained in the clam-shell case are substantially disk-shaped. The upper portion and the lower portion of the clam-shell case may further include a fastening mechanism (e.g., one or more zippers) located along their respective circumferential edges and configured to join the upper portion to the lower portion. The upper portion of the clam-shell case may be configured to be flipped over the hinge region into an inverted position. In such implementations, the upper portion and the lower portion of the clam-shell case may include a fastening mechanism that joins the lower portion to the upper portion in either the inverted position or in a regular position.

Another disclosed embodiment comprises a resilient coil spring having successive coils of decreasing diameter. The resilient coil spring of this embodiment has a generally conical shape in its natural state and is compressible into a compressed state. The portable cone of this embodiment further includes a cone-body cover formed from at least one fabric. The cone-body cover is disposed about an exterior of the resilient coil spring and is pulled substantially taut against the exterior of the resilient coil spring when the coil spring extends towards its natural state. The cone-body cover further comprises a tip region and a lower edge. The portable cone of this embodiment further comprises a base (e.g., a disc-shaped base) to which the lower edge of the cone-body cover is selectively attachable via a fastening mechanism (e.g., one or more zippers). The base and the cone-body cover form an interior in which the resilient coil spring is housed when the base and cone-body cover are attached. The base may be formed from one or more fabrics. Further, in certain implementations, the interior is a first interior, and the base further comprises a second interior in which one or more weights are located.

The foregoing and additional features and advantages of the disclosed embodiments will become more apparent from the following detailed description, which proceeds with reference to the following drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a first perspective view of a first exemplary embodiment of a portable cone wherein the cone is in a closed and compressed state.

FIG. 2 is a second perspective view of the cone of FIG. 1 showing the cone in an expanded state and the clam-shell case in an open configuration.

FIG. 3 is a third perspective view of the cone of FIG. 1 showing the cone in an expanded state and the clam-shell case in a base configuration.

FIG. 4 is an elevational front view of the cone of FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is a top view of the cone of FIG. 3.

FIG. 6 is a bottom view of the cone of FIG. 3.

FIG. 7 is a first perspective view of a second exemplary embodiment of a portable cone wherein the cone body is partially separated from its base.

FIG. 8 is a second perspective of the cone of FIG. 7 showing the cone in a compressed state.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Disclosed below are representative embodiments that are not intended to be limiting in any way. Instead, the present disclosure is directed toward novel and nonobvious features, aspects, and equivalents of the embodiments of the portable cone described below. The disclosed features and aspects of the embodiments can be used alone or in various novel and nonobvious combinations and sub-combinations with one another.

As used herein, the term “cone” refers to an object that is generally cone-shaped, but does not require the object to end at a point.

FIGS. 1-6 show a first exemplary embodiment of a portable cone 10 according to the disclosed technology. FIG. 1 shows a cone 10 in a compressed and closed state. In FIG. 1, a clam-shell case 20 encloses a cone body (not shown) between an upper portion 22 and a lower portion 24 of the case 20. In the illustrated embodiment, the upper portion 22 and lower portion 24 comprise a soft, clam-shell-shaped cover that is hinged at a hinge region 26 (FIG. 3). The upper portion 22 and the lower portion 24 further include a sealing mechanism 40 along respective circumferential edges 23, 25 of the upper portion 22 and lower portion 24. The edges 23, 25 can have a variety of widths, but are desirably of sufficient dimension to enclose the cone in its compressed state. The sealing mechanism 40 operates to selectively join and secure the upper portion 22 to the lower portion 24. The sealing mechanism 40 can comprise any one of a variety of suitable sealing mechanisms (e.g., buttons, hook-and-loop fasteners (such as Velcro®), tongue-and-groove mechanisms, or other such sealing mechanisms). In the illustrated embodiment, for instance, the sealing mechanism 40 comprises two two-way zippers having teeth that originate at respective opposite ends of the hinge region 26 and proceed along respective opposite sides of the edges 23, 25. The teeth of the zippers continue around the full length of the edges 23, 25, but in certain embodiments end at a fixed point on the case 20. In some embodiments, the edges 23, 25 further include flaps that cover and protect the sealing mechanism 40.

As seen in FIG. 1, the clam-shell case 20 is substantially disc-shaped when enclosing the cone body. The shape of the case 20 shown in FIG. 1, however, is not limiting, as the case can assume a variety of different shapes in its closed state (e.g., square, triangular, elliptical, and the like). Further, the case 20 can be constructed of a variety of different materials, including, for example, synthetic fabrics (e.g., nylon, polyester, lycra), natural fabrics (e.g., cotton), or any combination thereof. In certain embodiments, for example, the case 20 is manufactured of a strong, water-resistant fabric such that the case 20 is highly durable. The case 20 can be further configured to include a tougher, more durable, fabric on an exterior of the case (shown in FIG. 1) than on an interior of the case (shown in FIG. 2).

The clam-shell case 20 may further include a loop extension that serves as a handle used to carry or hang the cone 10 (e.g., on a peg in the interior of an automobile). In certain other embodiments, multiple hanging loops are included or omitted completely. In some embodiments, the case 20 is made of a bright or reflective color that draws attention to its presence. The case 20 can further include a symbol, lettering, or marking. For example, the cover might include a symbol or message indicating the function of the enclosed cone.

FIG. 2 shows the cone 10 in an expanded state and the clam-shell case 20 in an open configuration. The cone body 30 comprises a support structure 32 that is covered by a cone-body cover 34. The exemplary support structure 32 in FIG. 2 comprises a metal, coil spring having successive coils of decreasing diameter, which thereby create a generally conical shape when expanded. The support structure 32 may also comprise a helical support structure formed of a resilient material that assumes the desired shape of the cone 10. The particular shape of the support structure 32, however, is not limiting and can comprise a number of different geometries (e.g. a pyramid, a cylinder, or any other such three-dimensional shape). Likewise, the material from which the support structure 32 can be manufactured is not limited and may comprise a wide variety of materials. For example, the support structure 32 may be manufactured from a number of metals, alloys, plastics, or combinations thereof that are suitably resilient or exhibit suitable shape-memory properties. Moreover, the dimensions of the cone body 30 can vary from implementation to implementation. For example, in certain implementations, the cone body can have a height of about one foot and a diameter of nine inches, but in other implementations can be much higher or larger in diameter or much lower and smaller in diameter. In still other implementations, the cone body 30 or the cone-body cover 34 includes one or more illumination devices (e.g., flashing lights or strobe lights) at or near the tip region 36. Thus, the visibility of the cone body 30 can be enhanced.

In certain embodiments, the support structure 32 is sufficiently resilient to automatically assume its expanded state upon the opening of the clam-shell case 20. Thus, in these embodiments, a user “releases” the compressed cone body 30 upon opening the case 20, thereby causing the cone body 30 to “pop up” into its expanded shape. In these embodiments, the support structure 32 is collapsed or compressed (e.g., by a user pressing the support structure 32 against the lower portion 24 of the case 20) and held in place while the case 20 is resealed into its closed state.

In some embodiments, the case 20 and the cone body 30 further include a locking mechanism adapted to hold the cone body 30 in its collapsed or compressed state until released. Thus, even if the case 20 is opened, the cone body 30 does not expand. The locking mechanism can comprise any suitable mechanism, but in certain embodiments comprises one or more buttons or hook-and-loop fasteners (e.g., Velcro®) attached to the underside of a tip region 36 of the cone body 30 and to a central region 29 (shown in dashed lines in FIG. 2) of the interior of the lower portion 24 (e.g., a region lying along the same longitudinal axis as the tip region). Thus, when the cone body 30 is compressed, respective male and female ends of the buttons or hook-and-loop fasteners engage each other and hold the cone body 30 in its compressed state. In still other embodiments, the support structure 32 does not automatically expand and requires additional support to maintain its shape (e.g., an insertable support).

In certain embodiments of the cone 10, the tip region 36 of the cone body 30 comprises a flat, circular end piece 37 (e.g., made of material that is heavier or the same as the cone-body cover 34). The end piece 37 can be joined with the upper edge of the cone-body cover 34 through a variety of means. For example, in certain embodiments, the upper edge of the cone-body cover 34 is stitched to the periphery of the end piece 37. The end piece 37 may be dimensioned to have a diameter slightly larger than a smallest coil in the coil-spring support structure 32. In some embodiments, the end piece 37 is coupled to the smallest coil of the coil-spring support (e.g., via a tab on the end piece through which the end of the smallest coil is inserted).

In the illustrated embodiment, the cone-body cover 34 extends around the exterior of the support structure 32 and is connected (e.g., stitched) to the interior of the bottom portion 24 at a lower edge of the clam-shell case 20. Thus, the clam-shell case 20 and the cone-body cover 34 define a housing (or interior space) in which the support structure 32 is positioned. Because the clam-shell case 20 of this embodiment is attached to the cone-body cover 34, the clam-shell case 20 cannot be separated from the cone 10 and potentially lost.

The cone-body cover 34 typically comprises one or more flexible fabrics disposed around the support structure 32 and is dimensioned to form the desired shape in the cone's expanded state. For example, in certain implementations, the cone-body cover 34 is pulled substantially taut against the exterior of the support structure 32 when the support structure is in its expanded state, and has noticeable slack when the support structure is in its compressed state.

The particular material used for the cone-body cover 34 can vary widely from implementation to implementation. For example, the cone-body cover 34 can comprise a synthetic fabric (e.g., nylon, polyester, lycra), a natural fabric (e.g., cotton), or any combination thereof. The texture of the cone-body cover 34 can similarly vary. The cone-body cover 34 can further comprise multiple regions, wherein each region comprises a different fabric and/or a different texture. In the illustrated implementation, for example, the cone-body cover 34 comprises three regions: a lower region comprising a generally solid fabric, a central region comprising a meshed fabric, and an upper region comprising a generally solid fabric. In this implementation, the meshed fabric allows wind or other forced air to pass easily through the cone body 30. Consequently, the cone body 30 tends to remain in an upright position in the presence of external winds (e.g., from passing cars or naturally occurring wind gusts). In certain other embodiments, the cone-body cover 34 is comprised entirely of a solid fabric or of a meshed fabric, or is comprised of other combinations thereof.

One or more reflective indicators 35 can be further included on or as part of the cone-body cover 34. For example, in the illustrated embodiment, the reflective indicators 35 comprise two reflective stripes stitched to the cone-body cover 34. The reflective indicators 35 allow the cone 10 to be easily visible at night when illuminated (e.g., by automobile headlights). The indicators 35 can alternatively comprise other material and contain a variety of information (e.g., warning signs, caution signals, words, etc.).

FIG. 3 shows the cone 10 with the upper portion 22 of the clam-shell case 20 folded into a base configuration. In this configuration, the upper portion 22 is flipped over the hinge portion 26 such that the upper portion 22 is underneath the lower portion 24 of the case 20. Further, as shown in FIG. 3, the upper portion 22 and the lower portion 24 can be selectively secured into this configuration via the sealing mechanism 40 (e.g., in the illustrated embodiment, a pair of two-way zippers) so as to form a single, integrated base for the cone body 30.

In certain embodiments, the upper portion 22 and/or the lower portion 24 encase a weight (not shown). For example, in the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1-4, the lower portion 22 encloses a disc-shaped weight dimensioned to help maintain the lower portion in its disc shape and to provide stability to the cone 10. The weight can be located, for example, in a compartment between the exterior fabric and the interior fabric of the lower portion. The upper portion can enclose a substantially similar weight.

The weight can be formed of a semi-rigid material (e.g., a thin, hard plastic or a thick rubber) and lends support and protection to the cone body 30 when the case 20 is closed. Moreover, when the case 20 is opened and folded over into its base configuration, the weights help provide stability to the base of the cone 10 in the presence of external forces (e.g., wind, rain, etc.). The number and composition of the weights can vary widely from implementation to implementation. For example, in certain embodiments, only one of the upper portion 22 or the lower portion 24 contains a weight. Further, the material and shape of the weight can vary from implementation to implementation. For example, any suitable material that adds weight and/or provides additional structure and support to the case 20 can be used (e.g., metal, wood, polymers, ceramics, or other such materials).

FIG. 4 is an elevational side view of the exemplary cone 10 shown in FIGS. 1-3. In FIG. 4, the cone 10 is in an expanded state while the clam-shell case 20 is in a base configuration. FIG. 5 is a top view of the exemplary cone 10 shown in FIGS. 1-4 while the cone is an expanded state. FIG. 5 further illustrates the three regions of the exemplary cone 10: the lower region comprising a generally solid fabric, the central region comprising a meshed fabric, and the upper region comprising a generally solid fabric. FIG. 6 is a bottom view of the cone 10 shown in FIGS. 1-5. In FIG. 6, the cone 10 is in an expanded state while the case 20 is in a base configuration.

The cones of this embodiment, or in any embodiment described herein, do not necessarily include the clam-shell case described above with reference to FIGS. 1-6, but may instead comprise a single base portion from which the cone body extends. For example, FIG. 7 shows a perspective view of an embodiment of the interior of a cone 100 that does not comprise the clam-shell case described above. Instead, the cone 100 comprises a single base portion 110, which in FIG. 7 is shown as partially unconnected from the cone body 130. A cone-body cover 134 may be joined with the base portion 110 through a variety of means. For example, the cone body-cover 134 may be stitched to the periphery of the base portion 110 or may be selectively attached by a suitable fastening mechanism (e.g., one or more zippers). In those implementations wherein the cone-body cover 134 is attached to the base portion 110 via a fastening mechanism, a user may open the cone-body cover 134 and insert one or more additional weights (e.g., sand bags) into the interior formed between the cone-body cover 134 and the base portion 110. Thus, the overall stability of the cone 100 can be increased.

In the illustrated embodiment, the base portion 110 comprises a disc-shaped base that supports and stabilizes the cone body 130. The single base portion of this embodiment comprises a synthetic fabric (e.g., nylon, polyester, lycra) enclosing a disc-shaped weight 111 (e.g., made of plastic or rubber), as in the above-described embodiments. Also shown in FIG. 7 is a coil-spring support structure 132 over which the cone-body cover 134 is disposed. In FIG. 7, the coil-spring support structure is in an expanded state.

As shown in the illustrated embodiment, the base of the coil-spring support structure 132 can freely engage a lip 112 at the periphery of the interior of the single base portion 110. In certain embodiments, however, the base of the coil-spring support structure 132 is fixed or secured to the base portion 110. The illustrated support structure further includes a rubber tube segment 133 configured to mate an end of the coil-spring support structure 132 with a portion of the next largest loop, thereby creating a generally flat loop in the support structure 132.

As illustrated in FIG. 7, the base portion 110 can include a hook-and-loop fastener 140 (e.g., Velcro®) positioned centrally on the interior surface of the base portion. The hook-and-loop fastener 140 of the illustrated embodiment is configured to securably mate with an opposite hook-and-loop fastener 142 positioned on the interior of the tip region 136 of the cone-body cover 134. FIG. 8, for example, shows the cone 100 in a collapsed state, wherein the fasteners 140, 142 are mated to each other and hold the cone body 130 in its compressed state.

The uses of the disclosed cones can vary widely. For example, any of the cone embodiments described herein can be configured as a red or yellow traffic cone having reflective indicators on their cone body. Such cone embodiments can be stored in a closed state in a compartment of an automobile (e.g., in the trunk) and expanded for use in case of an emergency (e.g., as a warning to other vehicles on the road). The disclosed cones can also be used, for example, as a marker in a sporting event (e.g., as boundary markers for a variety of different sports) or as a caution marker in a pedestrian area (e.g., a supermarket or mall). Further, in certain embodiments, a plurality of cones may be stored within a single cover or carrying case. For example, in one embodiment, a carrying case that includes multiple sleeves or compartments (e.g., a bag manufactured from a flexible material similar to the material from which the cone body is constructed) is used to hold multiple cones in their collapsed state. In one particular implementation, for example, a set of four cones are stored in a single carry bag having multiple sleeves.

Having illustrated and described the principles of the illustrated embodiments, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that the embodiments can be modified in arrangement and detail without departing from such principles. In view of the many possible embodiments, it will be recognized that the illustrated embodiments include only examples and should not be taken as a limitation on the scope of the invention. Rather, the invention is defined by the following claims. I therefore claim as the invention all such embodiments and their equivalents that come within the scope of these claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7228813 *Jul 19, 2005Jun 12, 2007Angelo Lamar FlamingoTraffic cone system
US7677831 *Jul 24, 2007Mar 16, 2010Traffix Devices, Inc.Flexible marker device
US7731449Feb 6, 2009Jun 8, 2010Trafix Devices, Inc.Flexible marker device and methods for making same
US7811026Nov 5, 2007Oct 12, 2010Traffix Devices, Inc.Support base for flexible marker device
US7866914Oct 1, 2009Jan 11, 2011Traffix Devices, IncFlexible marker device
CN101914900A *Jul 29, 2010Dec 15, 2010徐伟成Multipurpose retractable icecream container
WO2008142688A1 *May 21, 2008Nov 27, 2008Yacov DayanA collapsible traffic marker
Classifications
U.S. Classification116/63.00C
International ClassificationE01F9/012
Cooperative ClassificationE01F9/0122
European ClassificationE01F9/012A
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Oct 14, 2004ASAssignment
Owner name: TEAM PRODUCTS INTERNATIONAL, INC., NEW JERSEY
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:LEVINE, JONATHAN;REEL/FRAME:015906/0468
Effective date: 20041012