US 3501874 A
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March 24, 1970 w. B. HAHNE SELF-CLEANING LEDGE CONSTRUCTION FOR METER BOXES AND THE LIKE 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Nov. 22, 1967 INVENTOR. WHL TE? 5 HHHNE ATTORNEYS March 24, 1970 w. B. HAHNE 3,501,874
SELF-CLEANING LEDGE CONSTRUCTION FOR METER BOXES AND THE LIKE Filed Nov. 22, 1967 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR. Wm. TE? 5. HAHNE B Y gmW ATTORNEYS March 24, 1970 w. HAH 3,501,874
SE LE R LF-CLEANING CONST U N FOR METE BOXES AND THE LI Filed Nov. 22, 1967 3 Sheets-Sheet 5 INVENTOR. W/u TEA B HHHNE v By ATTORNEY-5' United States Patent 3,501,874 SELF-CLEANING LEDGE CONSTRUCTION FOR METER BOXES AND THE LIKE Walter B. Hahne, Costa Mesa, Califl, assignor to Pre-Cast Concrete Products, Limited, a partnership Filed Nov. 22, 1967, Ser. No. 685,187 Int. Cl. E02d 29/14 U.S. Cl. 52-20 8 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A self-cleaning lid supporting ledge structure for access openings in meter boxes and the like, designed to avoid lid damage or breakage, wherein the ledge is formed by a plurality of generally triangular, inwardly projecting, spaced bosses, each boss preferably having a rounded apex or top surface, and downwardly diverging side surfaces, the horizontal depth of the space between the bosses gradually diminishing from a maximum at the top of the bosses to zero at the bottom whereby any debris falling on the bosses while the lid is open, or removed, will slide off the rounded top surface onto a sloping boss side surface and fall through the space between the bosses and into the box. The ledge structure is of generally saw-tooth configuration and can be made an integral part of the box or be formed on a separate cover for the box, and support a hinged or removable lid associated with the cover or box.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Field of the invention The present invention relates generally to meter boxes, utility vaults and the like, and to covers for such boxes and vaults, wherein a lid opening therein may be exposed at times so that pebbles, dirt, rocks and other debris can enter thereinto as when the lid for the opening is raised or removed. More particularly, the invention relates to a self-cleaning ledge for supporting a lid within an opening, designed so that any debris falling into the opening cannot rest or accumulate on the ledge.
Description of the prior art Meter boxes and the like of the type with which this invention is concerned are usually installed in the ground, and have an access opening that is fitted with a lid that can be opened or removed to provide access to the interior of the box for reading a water or electric meter or manipulating a valve or other device. The lids of present meter boxes are conventionally supported by a continuous flat ledge formed within the access opening. Such ledge forms a shelf that will retain small stones, pebbles, dirt and other debris that has fallen into the opening while the lid is removed or raised. The shelf must be cleaned of all such debris before the lid is replaced or lowered, or else the lid will not fit properly. It is especially important that the shelf be cleaned of all debris when a light cast iron or concrete lid is utilized, since a single pebble remaining between the shelf and lid will form a fulcrum for the lid, in which instance the lid may be broken or cracked by the weight of a person standing thereon with his feet placed on opposite sides of the fulcrum point, or if a hinged lid is used by standing on the end of the lid remote from the hinge.
The cleaning of debris from the conventional lid-supporting shelf is time consuming, and unless extreme care is exercised there is always the danger that one or more small stones or pebbles will be overlooked, or that after cleaning, a pebble will fall into the access opening and onto the shelf while the lid is being closed or replaced. Thus, there is need for a lid-supporting ledge construction that is self-cleaning; one that automatically ensures that no debris will be present between the lid and its supporting ledge after the lid has been replaced, and which will eliminate the time now wasted in cleaning a conventional shelf.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The self-cleaning ledge construction of the invention is designed for use with meter boxes and the like which have access openings that are commonly positioned at ground level, or elsewhere, where debris might fall into the opening while the lid therefor is removed or open. The ledge of the invention comprises a plurality of generally triangular, spaced bosses positioned within the access opening of a meter box cover or an integral meter box, the apex or top surface of all the bosses being preferably rounded and lying tangent to a common plane to define a ledge for supporting a lid. The side surfaces of each boss slope sharply downwardly and diverge from the rounded top surface thereof, and because of the rounded and sloping boss surfaces any pebbles or other deris falling thereon will slide by gravity into the space between bosses. The space between the bosses varies in depth from a maximum at the top of the bosses to zero at the bottom thereof, whereby no shoulders or the like are formed whereon debris sliding off the rounded boss surfaces can catch and accumulate.
In one embodiment of the invention the bottom wall of the space between the bosses slopes downwardly and inwardly toward the center of the access opening, whereby debris falling off the boss surfaces will slide downwardly thereon to be discharged into the space below the access opening. In a second embodiment the bottom wall of the spaces slopes downwardly and outwardly away from the center of the access opening, so that said bottom wall is never touched by debris sliding ofi the boss surfaces. The bosses in both embodiments can be extended completely about the periphery of the access opening, or about any portion thereof that is desired.
It is the principal object of this invention to provide a self-cleaning ledge for supporting a lid within an access opening, designed so that stones, pebbles, dirt and other debris falling into the opening cannot remain or accumulate on the ledge.
Another object is to provide a self-cleaning ledge that can be adapted to support either a hinged lid or a removable lid.
A further object is to provide a self-cleaning ledge that can be easily cast into a concrete cover for a utility box or into the utility box itself.
Still another object is to provide a self-cleaning ledge for a hinged lid opening, combined with a hinge-mounted lid arranged to open to less than so that it is selfclosing.
Other objects and many of the attendant advantages of the invention will become readily apparent from the following description of the preferred embodiments, when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a concrete utility vault cover having an access opening provided with the selfcleaning ledge of the invention, the cover being shown in place on a utility box indicated in dot-and-dash lines, and having a cast iron lid pivotally mounted within the access opening in the cover;
FIG. 2 is a plan view of the vault cover and lid of FIG. 1, with the pivoted lid being partially broken away to show in plan view the configuration of the ledgeforming bosses;
FIG. 3 is a longitudinal vertical sectional view taken on the line 3-3 in FIG. 2, showing the front and side profiles of the rounded bosses which form the self-cleaning ledge, and further showing how the bottom wall of the space between bosses slopes downwardly and inwardly toward the center of the access opening;
FIG. 4 is a transverse, staggered sectional view taken on the line 4-4 in FIG. 2, showing the hinge pin for pivotally mounting the metal lid, and the stop pins for limiting the extent to which the metal lid can be opened to less than 90;
FIG. 5 is a plan view of a concrete meter box having an access opening for receiving a concrete lid, the meter box having the self-cleaning ledge of the invention formed integral therewith;
FIG. 6 is a vertical sectional view taken along the line 6-6 in FIG. 5, showing the cover resting upon the ledge and further showing the bottom wall of the space between the bosses sloping downwardly and outwardly away from the center of the access opening, so that vertically falling debris from the bosses does not come into lodging engagement therewith;
FIG. 7 is a fragmentary, partially broken-away perspective view of the meter box of FIG. 5, particularly showing the self-cleaning ledge; and
FIG. 8 is a fragmentary view of a modification showing relatively sharp edges on the bosses comprising the lid supporting ledge.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring to the embodiment of FIGS. 1 to 4, there is shown a cast concrete cover 2, which is secured to a utility box or vault 4 by mortar 5 to close the top thereof, the mortar and utility box portion 4 being shown in dotand-dash lines. The utility box 4 has notches 6 in the bottom edge of its end walls for receiving conduits and the like over which the utility box is installed. The box portion 4 can be of any suitable design, and itself forms no part of the invention.
The cover 2 is generally rectangular with rounded corners, and is cast with steel reinforcing members 8 embedded therein and with a non-skid area 10 on its top surface. For-med centrally in the cover 2 is an access opening 12 defined by a rear wall 14, side walls 16 and 18, and a front wall 20, the side walls 16 and 18 being merged with the front wall 20 by rounded corners 22 and 24, respectively. The side walls 16 and 18 define right angles with the rear wall 14.
Formed on the side walls 16 and 18 and on the front wall 20 are spaced, identical bosses 26, each including a rounded top surface 28, and side surfaces 30 that slope sharply and diverge downwardly from the rounded top surface 30. Typically, the rounded top surface 28 will be formed on a radius of about and the side surfaces 30 will slope downwardly at an angle of about 60 to the horizontal, i.e. will diverge from each other on a 60 angle. All of the top surfaces 28 lie tangent to a common horizontal plane, whereby when taken together they define a ledge for supporting a cast iron lid 32. The top of the bosses 26 is disposed below the top surface of the cover 2 a distance equal to the thickness of the lid 32, whereby when the lid is in place the top surface thereof will lie flush with the top surface of the cover 2. It will be noted from FIGS. 2 and 3 that the bosses 26 at the rounded corners 22 and 24 have an inner face 34 disposed diagonally relative to said corners.
The inner faces 34 of the bosses 26 are all vertical, and extend downwardly to the bottom face 36 of the cover 2. The portions of the side walls 16, 18 and the front wall 20 extending above the bosses 26 are also vertical. Located between each pair of bosses 26 is a space, the bottom wall 38 of which is on an angle of about 5 from the vertical, as shown in FIG. 2, and slopes downwardly and inwardly toward the center of the access opening 12. This angle may be increased to 30 or more, provided it is such that debris cannot collect on .4 the bottom wall 38. Thus, the depth of each space decreases uniformly from a maximum at the top of the bosses 26 to zero at the bottom of said bosses, whereby no shoulders or the like on which debris might accumulate are present in the spaces between the bosses. As is shown in FIG. 3, the side walls 30 terminate at a point short of the bottom face 36.
The lid 32 has a configuration corresponding to that of the access opening 12, and comprises a fiat plate 40 having a peripheral, downwardly projecting rim 42 thereon. The undersurface of the plate 40 is reinforced by ribs 44, and said plate has a non-skid surface 46 and a finger-hole opening 48 in its forward end. Formed on the rim 42 near the rear end of the lid are oppositely disposed ears 50, having aligned bores 52 therethrough.
The lid 32 is pivotally connected to the cover 2 by a hinge or pivot rod 54 passing through the bores 52, the opposite ends of said rod being embedded in the concrete of which the cover 2 is made. The bosses 26 terminate short of the rod 54, and the rear wall 14 of the access opening 12 is vertical and devoid of bosses. Thus, the lid 2 can be raised and lowered without any interference. However, a lip 56 (FIG. 3) extends inwardly from the upper edge of the rear wall 14, to provide a closer fit about the lid 32.
The hinge rod 54 is spaced forwardly from the rear edge 58 of the cover 32, and the sidewalls 16 and 18 have one end of a pair of stop pins 60 embedded therein. The inwardly projecting ends of the pins 60 are arranged so that the rear end 58 of the cover will strike thereagainst to limit the extent to which the lid 32 can be opened. The pins 60 are positioned so that the lid can only be opened to about whereby the lid will close by itself of its own weight when released.
The cover 2 will normally be installed horizontally at ground level and thus, when the lid 32 is raised, stones, pebbles, dirt and other debris overlying the cover may fall or be accidentally pushed into the opening 12. Any such debris falling onto the rounded top surface 28 of the bosses 26 will immediately slide thereotf, as is also true of any debris falling on the boss side surfaces 30. Should a stone or pebble accidentally balance on the crest of the rounded surface 28 it will be automatically dislodged by the closing of the lid 32. All debris falling from the bosses 26 passes through the decreasing-in-depth space between the bosses, into the utility box 4. In actuality, then, the ledge formed by the bosses 26 is selfcleaning, and presents no surfaces that would make possible an accumulation of debris.
Referring now to FIGS. 5 to 7, a concrete utility meter box is shown at 62 and includes a pair of vertical end walls 64 connected to a pair of vertical side walls 66 by rounded corner wall portions 68. The lower edge of each end wall 64 has a notch 70 therein, so that the meter box can bet set over an installed pipe line or conduit.
The meter box 62 is open at top and bottom and the upper end thereof has a peripheral ring 72 formed thereon that is substantially greater in transverse thickness than the walls 64 and 66. The ring 72 is integrally joined to the side and end walls 64 and 66 by a downwardly converging or tapered wall section 74, the inner surface of the walls 76 and end walls 78 of said wall section 74 tapering outwardly and downwardly from the ring 72 to the end and side walls 64 and 66, respectively, of the meter box 62.
The ring 72 has an access opening 79 defined by inner vertical side and end wall surfaces 80 and 82 that are of a height corresponding to the thickness of a cast concrete lid 86 to be received within said opening. Formed .on the outwardly and downwardly tapering side and end walls 76 and 78, respectively of the tapered portion 74 are identical spaced bosses 88, each including an apex or rounded top surface and downwardly diverging or sloping side surfaces 92. The top surfaces 90 of all of the bosses 88 lie tangent to a common horizontal plane passing approximately through the juncture of the ring portion 72 with the wall portion 74 to thus form a serrated ledge for supporting the lid 86. The front face 94 of each of the bosses 88 is fiat and slopes outwardly and downwardly at an angle .of inclination greater from the vertical than that of the wall portions 76 and 78. For example, the walls 76 and 78 may have about a inclination and the faces 94 a 25 inclination, as shown in FIG. 6. The wall portions 76 and 78 define the bottom wall 79 of the spaces between the bosses 88, and said spaces and bosses gradually decrease in horizontal depth from a maximum at the top of the bosses to zero at the bottom of the bosses.
The bosses 88 are thus similar to the bosses 26, except that the front faces 94 thereof and the bottom wall of the spaces between bosses are undercut or slope downwardly and outwardly away from the center of the access opening 84. The rounded top 90 of the bosses 88 prevents any debris that falls into the access opening 79 from coming to rest thereon. Because of the direction of slope of the wall surfaces 76 and 78, and 0f the boss faces 94, any debris sliding off the boss tops 90 or falling into the space between the bosses 88 will not come in contact therewith. Thus, debris cannot collect on the lid-supporting ledge.
The lid 86, FIG. 5, is cast of concrete, and has a roughened non-skid surface 96 thereon and a finger-hole 98 formed therein. Any suitable legend such as WATER METER can also be found thereon. The ledge formed by the bosses is self-cleaning like the ledge of FIGS. 1 to 4, and thus no debris will be present between said ledge and the lid 86 when the latter is in closed position.
The bosses 26 and 88 have a generally saw-tooth like configuration although the top edge of the bosses is rounded as a preferred embodiment instead of being sharp. A sharp-pointed boss would be less resistant to chipping than a rounded boss but would have the advantage of precluding even minute debris from resting on its edge. Accordingly, as is shown in the modification of FIG. 8, bosses similar to the bosses 26 and 88, are designated 95 and have a relatively sharp apex or edge 97 and can be incorporated in a cover or a box, similar to the cover 2 and box 62.
I claim: 7
1. Apparatus having an access opening to be closed by a lid having plain lower surface portions and being receivable within said opening, said access opening being defined by side walls and end walls that are substantially thicker at the upper portion thereof than at the lower portion thereof; a self-cleaning ledge for supporting said lid comprising a plurality of generally saw-tooth-shaped, spaced bosses formed on the thicker portions of at least two of the opposed walls defining said access opening and projecting inwardly therefrom, each of said bosses including an apex having side surfaces that diverge downwardly from the apex, the bottom wall of the spaces between the bosses being inclined from the vertical so that the thickness of the bosses gradually decreases in a downward direction, the apices of said bosses being engageable by said plain lower surface portions of said lid and lying in a common plane below the top edge of said access opening, whereby foreign matter cannot become lodged between the apex of said bosses and said plain lower portions of said lid.
2. Apparatus, as recited in claim 1, wherein the apex of the bosses is formed on a radius of about and wherein the side surfaces of the bosses taper at an angle of about 60 to the vertical, and wherein the bottom wall of the spaces between the bosses is inclinded 5 to 10 from the vertical.
3. Apparatus, as recited in claim 1, wherein the bosses project inwardly from the inner face of the opposed walls and wherein the inner face of the bosses taper downward ly and outwardly away from the center of the access openmg.
4. Apparatus, as recited in claim 1, wherein the bottom Wall of the space between the bosses tapers outwardly and downwardly away from the center of the access opening.
5. Apparatus, as recited in claim 1, wherein the inner face of the bosses and the bottom wall of the space between the bosses are both inclined downwardly and outwardly away from the center of the access opening.
6. Apparatus, as recited in claim 1, wherein a hinge rod has its opposite ends mounted in and extends between the opposed walls adjacent one end of the access opening, and wherein a lid is mounted on the hinge rod between said opposed walls so that it is freely, pivotally movable between an open and a closed position.
7. Apparatus, as recited in claim 6, including stop pin means mounted to project inwardly from at least one of the opposed walls engageable by the lower surface of the lid and arranged to limit opening of the lid to a little less than 8. Appaartus as recited in claim 1, wherein the bosses include a rounded apex and have side surfaces that diverge downwardly from the apex on an angle of about 60 to the vertical, the horizontal depth of the space between the bosses decreasing from a maximum at the apex of said bosses to substantially zero at the bottom of said bosses, the bottom wall of said spaces being inclined 5 to 10 from the vertical.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,087,366 2/1914 Haase 522O X 1,326,333 12/1919 Frank 16-191 2,883,853 4/1959 Forni 5221 8,871 8/1879 Graham 94-34 X FOREIGN PATENTS 224,981 ll/ 1924 Great Britain. 357,163 9/ 1931 Great Britain. 415,075 8/1934 Great Britain. 445,363 4/ 1936 Great Britain. 535,177 4/1941 Great Britain.
HENRY C. SUTHERLAND, Primary Examiner SAM D. BURKE III, Assistant Examiner US. Cl. X.Rv 9436