US 3335645 A
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A\1g 15 1967 l. K. Elsl-:NBERG 3,335,645
SNOW AND ICE COVERING Filed Jan. l2, 1965 ATTORNEYS United States APatent O 3,335,645 SNOW AND ICE COVERING Isidor K. Eisenberg, 121 Yale Terrace, Linden, NJ. 07036 Filed Jan. 12, 1965, Ser. No. 424,958 3 Claims. (Cl. 94--3) The present invention relates to methods and devices for providing a frictional surface on ice and snow-covered sidewalks, stairways, paths and the like, to prevent harmful injury to Ipedestrians using such areas for passage, and to eliminate the need f-or snow and ice removal in such areas.
In the prior art, various methods have been employed to remove ice and snow from walks accommodating pedestrian traffic to prevent injury to persons using such walks and to permit free flow of traliic thereon. As is wellknown, ice and snow-covered walks and stairs present a significant danger to pedestrians because of the slippery surface produced thereby, and, when the snow is soft, because of the physical exertion to older and inrmed persons who may be required to use such walks. Generally, such prior art methods involve the physical removal of the snow and ice by chopping and shoveling, or by use of salt, sand or chemicals, and other similar means. Shoveling and chopping of the snow and ice obviously involves extereme physical exertion which can, and often do, result in heart attacks or other less serious physical ailments to the worker, whether young or old. Moreover, there is great likelihood of Idamage to walks and brickwork when ice chopping is performed. The use of salt, sand or chemicals involves somewhat less physical exertion because only spreading of the materials is involved, but has other overriding disadvantages and consideratins, such as availability and cost of the materials: damage to lawns; and retention of harmful chemicals on the soles of the shoes of the pedestrian whereby the chemicals are readily carried into the home and deposited on rugs, carpets, iloors, and so forth.
It is accordingly a principal object of the present invention to provide methods and devices which will readily permit the navigation of snow and ice-covered walkways by pedestrians in a safe manner, without need for removal of the snow and ice therefrom.
There are other reasons which will be readily apparent to home owners and other property owners, for the provision of safe walkways in and about ones property. First, in many geographical areas local ordinances provide for fines and other penalties to be assessed against a property owner who fails to provide safe passages for foot traffic on public walks immediately adjacent his property, usually within a prescribed period of time following a snowfall, Secondly, the presence of ice and/ or snow on a private or public walkway in and adjacent -his property presents to the owner potential cause for institution of cost-ly litigation by persons who may sustain injury through falls thereon.
In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, a covering or carpet is provided which itself provides surface traction for pedestrians when laid upon the snow or ice-covered walkway or stairway. To this end a piece of heavy fabric or cloth, of sufficient length and width to accommodate pedestrian traffic in the area in question, is impregnated with petroleum wax. When the wax-impregnated carpet, hereinafter sometimes referred to as an ice carpet, is placed upon a snow or ice covered walkway or stairway, its subjection to the low temperatures under which such conditions obtain causes the wax impregnated therein to become extremely brittle. Any pedestrian traffic will therefore cause crushing of the wax into numerous extremely small bits, which, however, Will be substantially retained in and on the fibers of which the 3,335,645 Patented Aug. 15', 1967 fabric is composed. The crushing of the brittle wax thereby produces a frictional surface which provides safe and sure traction to persons walking therealong, without any of the disadvantages which accompany the aforementioned prior art methods for providing safe passageways.
It is, therefore, a further object of the present invention to provide a wax-impregnated carpet or covering suitable for covering ice and snow on walkways and stairways to permit suicient traction for safe traverse Iby pedestrians.
The above and still further objects, features and attendant advantages of the present invention will become apparent from a consideration `of the following detailed description of a specific embodiment thereof, especially when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing in which:
FIGURE 1 is aperspective view of an ice carpet in accordance with the present invention; and
FIGURE 2 is a cross sectional view of the carpet taken thru 2 2 of FIGURE l.
Referring now to the drawings, an ice and/-or snow covering or carpet 10 in accordance with the present invention comprises a strip of fabric 12, preferably having a coarse fiber texture, such as burlap, of sufficient length and width for the purposes for which it iis to be used as will hereinafter be more fully described. For purely illustrative purposes, `such fabric may be icut in 24-inch strips, several feet in length, although any physical dimensions appropriate to the area to be covered may be employed, as desired. Moreover, several strips of the fabric may, after the processing to which it is tobe subjected, be pinned or stitched together to provide a safety mat or covering of the desired width and length.
In accordance with the present invention, each Vstrip of fabric, or several strips simultaneously, is immersed in a vat or other container of liquied petroleum Wax. To this end, the wax is heated to a temperature sufficient to render it liquied or molten in state prior to immersion of the fabric therein, so that the wax will impregnate to the fullest extent possible the interior portions and pores of the fabric and will adhere to the fabric fibers.
For :the purposes lwhich have been, and will be more fully discussed, any wax may be employed to produce the ice carpet subject to the limitations that it is not overly adherent to footwear at .temperatures in which it is to be employed. Preferably, a petroleum Wax iis employed in the process, such as a fully refined paraffin wax. Essowax 2210, for example, manufactured and distributed by the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey, has been used with excellent results. Such wax has a ymelting point of approximately 123 F. which permits its ready liquefaction at a reasonable temperature although it is hard at room temperature. As another example, Essowax 4650, having a melting point of approximately F. will also provide very suitable results.
It may also be desired, and is contemplated by the present invention, to add a gritty substance such as sand to the liquified wax, although this is not necessary or critical to provision or retention of the qualities and proper function of the final covering.
The strips of fabric, with the wax impregnated therein, are withdrawn from the vats of heated wax after a period of time suicient to allow the wax to penetrate the interior open areas of the fabric so that it substantially adheres fto every piece of fiber therein. The Wax impregnated strips of fabric may then be conveyed in any suitable manner through Wringer-type rollers of the size sufcient to accommodate the strips without foldover, although this is not critical, to apply pressure adequate to remove any excess of wax from the fabric.
In the drawing, the thickness of wax 1S in the final carpet is somewhat exaggerated for purposes of clarity.
It will be understood that even a relatively light wax coating of the fabric fibers may lbe sufficient, depending upon the type of fabric and wax which is used. In general, however, it is desirable that the wax fully impregnate and cover the fabric 12.
Petroleum waxes of the type contemplated for use in coverings or carpets according to the present invention will harden i.e. solidify, at room temperature, or approximately 27 degrees C. The wax-impregnated fabric is, in this form, ready for use as an ice and/or snow covering, and may be packaged in any convenient manner for distribution and sale. Each strip of carpet may ybe folded or rolled into a convenient size for this purpose, or for subsequent storage in home or business use, without any damage thereto, and without loss of its traction-providing qualities. The completed covering is, moreover, undamaged and undiluted by its exposure to the elements when in use, and its performance is unaffected by the depth or amount of snow and ice on which it is placed.
When the ice carpet is rea-dy for use it may readily be unfolded or unrolled and placed in position on top of the snow or ice 18 covering the walkway, stairway or other passageway which is to be subjected to pedestrian traffic. This is assuming, of course, in the case of snow that the snow is either packed, or if soft, is not so deep as to permit substantial sinking of the carpet into the snow under the weight of the occupant. At the low temperatures involved, for example 35 F. or less, the impregnated wax will become extremely brittle and will, when subjected to foot traffic, become crushed, as illustrated at 20, into numerous extremely small bits and pieces. These small bits of wax will substantially adh-ere, however, to the fibers of the fabric. The crushing of .the wax in the fabric thus provides the desired surface traction for pedestrian traffic without need for removal of the snow or ice, and despite the relatively frictionless surface on which the carpet is placed.
It will readily be lunderstood and observed that such an ice and snow covering will provide the desired functions w'hich have hereinbefore been set forth while overcoming the several disadvantages otherwise attendant to prior art methods. Ice carpets or coverings in accordance with the present invention may be reused several times over without significant or substantial loss of their desirable quantities. Thus, such coverings present an economical and simple method for providing pedestrian walkways having sufiicient traction to permit easy navigation thereof. It will also be recognized that coverings in accordance with the present invention eliminate the time-consuming operation of snow removal and the generally short-lived effect of such removal.
It is within the scope of this invention for coverings as described herein to be employed in ice o r snow covered areas of any size where its qualities of friction and traction are or would be desirable.
The snow carpet or covering need not, when used, be stretched or laid in a taut manner on the snow or ice. Moreover, if, after the carpet has been placed into the desired position on the walkway it is subjected to freshly falling snow, or to snow and/ or ice `which has `been swept thereon by wind or otherwise, the carpet need merely be lifted at one end and shaken to remove the snow or ice accumulating thereon, or to break up ice or packed snow thereon. The covering may, of course, vbe placed on the walkway in advance of any snow or ice accumulation, as advised by local `weather reports, to facilitate its removal therefrom after the accumulation has occurred. The covering remains completely iiexible and retains its desirable frictional qualities even under the -most severe low temperature conditions which may normally be encountered during the winter season. The covering may be contrasted from the snow by appropriate dying or coloring of the fabric or wax to indicate -a path marker.
While I have described and illustrated one specific ernbodiment of my invention, it will be apparent that various changes and modifications in the particular details of construction and function may be resorted =to without departing from the true spirit and scope of the invention. It is therefore desired that the present invention be limited only by the appended claims.
1. A carpet for covering snowand ice-covered walkways or stairways to provide traction for pedestrian traffic, said carpet comprising fabric having a coarse fiber texture, and wax impregnated in said fabric and substantially adherent to the fiber thereof, said wax being brittle at temperatures of less than approximately 35 F. and substantially maintaining said adherency to said fibers when crushed, and wherein a gritty substance is incorporated in said wax.
2. A carpet according to claim 1 wherein said `gritty substance is sand.
3. A material for providing traction for foot traffic on snow and ice, said material comprising a cloth fabric, said cloth fabric impregnated with a petroleum wax substantially adherent to the fibers thereof, said wax being brittle at `temperatures below 35 F. and including grit to enhance said traction.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 89,095 4/1869 Toppan 177-168 728,234 5/1903 Hoy-t 117-168 1,286,057 11/1918 Moore 117-168 3,202,358 8/1965 Griswold 23S-14 JACOB L. NACKENOFF, Primary Examiner.