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Publication numberUS3668832 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 13, 1972
Filing dateJun 5, 1970
Priority dateJun 5, 1970
Publication numberUS 3668832 A, US 3668832A, US-A-3668832, US3668832 A, US3668832A
InventorsHarman James D
Original AssigneeHarman James D
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Plastic building block
US 3668832 A
Abstract
A plastic building block comprising a pair of spaced side walls, a front end wall, a rear end wall, and a bottom wall that form a rectangular box-like shape with an open top. Each side wall has a thickened reinforced layer and a thinner border area. The rear end of each side wall has a cut-away section of reduced thickness and the forward end of each side wall includes a leading section that extends beyond the front end wall. Complementary, angularly oriented tongues and grooves are defined between the leading sections of a first block and the cut-away sections of a second block. Adjacent, identical blocks are assembled into wall sections by sliding the tongues of the first block into the grooves of the second block, or vice versa, so that the thinner leading sections of the first block straddle the cut-away sections of the second block and overlap the joints formed therebetween. THe thinner border area of an upper block, which is coextensive with the exterior face of said block, straddles the border area of a lower block, said border area being coextensive with the interior face of said block. Thus, the joints formed between the upper block and the lower block are overlapped.
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I nited States Patent Harman [4 June 13, 1972 PLASTIC BUILDING BLOCK Primary Examiner-Alfred C. Perham [72] Inventor: James D. Harman, RD. #1, Hegins, Pa. Attorneyy-schenm and Hoffman 7938 57 ABSTRACT [22] Filed: June 5, 1970 App]. No.: 43,758

A plastic building block comprising a pair of spaced side walls, a front end wall, a rear end wall, and a bottom wall that form a rectangular box-like shape with an open top. Each side wall has a thickened reinforced layer and a thinner border area. The rear end of each side wall has a cut-away section of reduced thickness and the forward end of each side wall includes a leading section that extends beyond the front end wall. Complementary, angularly oriented tongues and grooves are defined between the leading sections of a first block and the cut-away sections of a second block. Adjacent, identical blocks are assembled into wall sections by sliding the tongues of the first block into the grooves of the second block, or vice versa, so that the thinner leading sections of the first block straddle the cut-away sections of the second block and overlap the joints formed therebetween. Tl-Ie thinner border area of an upper block, which is coextensive with the exterior face of said block, straddles the border area of a lower block, said border area being coextensive with the interior face of said block. Thus, the joints formed between the upper block and the lower block are overlapped.

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ATTORNEYS PLASTIC BUILDING BLOCK BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION resort to special fasteners, tie rods, mortar, and the like, and

thus could be readily utilized by unskilled laborers. One attempt at realizing these objectives is set forth in US. Pat. No. 2,209,564, issued on July 30, 1940, to Clarence Grubb. Although Grubb achieved the desired overlapped joints between assembled building blocks, the interlocking metal block proposed therein was impractical because of its reliance upon (1) spot-welding to maintain the metal sheets of each block in assembled relationship and (2) open tie-rods to prevent the assembled blocks from spreading apart. Manifestly, the expenses and the difficulties involved in fabricating and assembling such metal building block precluded wide-spread commercial acceptance of the Grubb building block.

SUMMARY Thus, with the deficiencies of the known building blocks enumerated above in mind, the instant invention contemplates an integrally formed, light-weight building block that is executed in plastic and yet possesses the desired degree of sufficient structural rigidity to function in the same manner as a concrete or metal building block. The forward end of the building block includes leading sections that extend beyond its rectangular box-like shape. The leading sections are received in the cut-away rear end sections of the adjacent block. Downwardly sloping, angularly oriented, complementary tongue and groove means are defined between the end sections of a first block and the cut-away section of an adjacent block so that a plurality of blocks can be interlocked into a continuous wall section with overlapped joints without resorting to tie rods, special fasteners, adhesives, mortar, etc. The overlapped joints, which are formed in both the horizontal and vertical planes, contribute to the formation of a continuous wall surface that is impervious to snow, rain, wind, etc.

Additionally, the building block can be reinforced by metal plates selectively positioned in its interior. Furthermore, because of its high strength to low weight ratio, the building block can also be utilized as a storage container by the addition of a lid that conforms to the shape of the open upper surface of said block.

Other objects and advantages of the instant invention will become apparent in light of the following description of the invention when construed in connection with the accompanying sheets of drawing.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the frontal side of a building block embodying the principles of the instant invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the underside of the building block of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 depicts the manner in which a plurality of the building blocks are assembled in interlocking fashion to form a wall section;

FIG. 4 is a top plan view of the wall section of FIG. 3, such view being taken along line 44 of FIG. 3 and in the direction indicated;

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary, exploded side elevation view on an enlarged scale, illustrating the manner in which adjacent building blocks are joined together;

FIG. 6 is a view of the tongues on the upper building block of the pair of blocks of FIG. 5, such view being taken along line 6-6 in FIG. 5 and in the direction indicated;

FIG. 7 is a view of the grooves on the lower building block of the pair of blocks of FIG. 5, such view being taken along line 7 7 in FIG. 5 and in the direction indicated;

FIG. 8 is a side elevation view of the wall section of FIG. 3, such view being taken along line 8-8 in FIG. 3 and in the direction indicated, and;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a building block with a lid positioned thereon.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now in greater detail to the drawings in which similar reference numerals identify similar parts, FIG. 1 shows the unique building block indicated generally by reference numeral 10 from a vantage point at its rear right comer. FIG. 2 shows the block rotated from the position of FIG. 1, thereby revealing the configuration of the bottom of the block. Viewing FIGS. 1 and 2 together, the rectangular boxlike shape and the open top of the block can be seen.

Block 10, which is actuated in plastic, comprises right side wall 12 and left side wall 14 and spaced end walls 16 and 18 which extend parallel to each other and perpendicular to the side walls. For purposes of orientation, end wall 16 is designated as the back wall while end wall 18 is designated as the front wall. A bottom wall 20 of rectangular configuration extends between side walls 12 and 14 and end walls 16 and 18 in a plane above the lowermost edges of the side walls. The significance of the space below wall 20 will become evident at a later point in the specification.

Walls l2, 14, 16, 18 and 20 define a rectangular box-like shape with an open top surface. The forward end of right side wall 12 extends beyond front end wall 18 into an integrally formed leading section 22 and the forward end of left side wall 14 also extends beyond wall 18 into an integrally formed leading section 24. The significance of the space between leading sections 22 and 24 will also become evident at a later point in the specification.

Spaced slots 26, 28 and 30 are cut into the interior face of left side wall 14 and corresponding slots 32, 34 and 36 are cut into the interior face of right side wall 12. The major portion of wall 12 constitutes an integrally formed rectangular reinforced layer 38, and the major portion of wall 12 constitutes an identical reinforced layer 40. The thickness of the reinforced layers 38 and 40 is twice the thickness of those border areas of each side wall that are not so reinforced, as best shown in FIG. 8. The thinner border areas form overlapped joints between adjacent identical blocks, as will be explained hereinafter. Consequently, the thickness of the joints is equal to the thickness of the reinforced layers, and an unbroken, continuous wall section is realized.

As seen in FIGS. 13, the single-thickness border area on the outer surface of each side wall resemble an I resting on its leg and is defined, inter alia, by the length and height dimensions of the side walls. The length dimension of the border area on wall 12 is identified by reference character 42 and the height dimension is identified by reference character 44. The length dimension of the border area on wall 14 is identified by reference character 46, and the height dimension is identified by reference character 48. Border areas 44 and 48 are also designated as the rear cut-away sections of the block. The cutaway sections receive the leading sections of the adjacent block.

Additionally, the dotted outline in FIG. 3 reveals that a border area of a single thickness is formed on the interior of side wall 12. Such interior area resembles an L resting on its back, and is also defined by the length and height dimensions of the side walls. The length dimension of the interior border area is identified by reference character 43 and the height dimension is defined by leading section 22. The length dimension of the border area on the interior surface on wall 14 is identified by reference character 47 and the height dimension is defined by leading section 24 as shown in FIG. 5. The effect of the border areas on the interior and exterior surfaces of the side walls is to form a large central rectangular area of double thickness surrounded by a border area of single thickness.

A series of parallel grooves 50 are molded into the exterior surfaces of border area 42 and 44 on side wall 12. A similar series of parallel grooves 52 are molded into side wall 14. The dimensions of the grooves are constant along their length, and the grooves extend downwardly at an angle of 45 from the upper and rear edges of the block until terminating at the reinforced layer.

A matching series of complementary tongues 54 are molded onto the interior surfaces of border area 43 and leading section 22 on side wall 12. A similar series of tongues 56 are molded onto the interior surfaces of border areas 46 and 48 on side wall 14. Tongues 56 extend downwardly at an angle of 45 until terminating at bottom surface 20 or rear wall 18. Tongues 54 and 56 are parallel to each other and fit snugly into grooves 50 and 52 in an adjacent block. Each adjacent block is identical to the block described above, and is thus identified by reference numerals to which the numerical prefix 100" has been added; e.g., blocks I10, 210 and 310 in FIGS. 3 and 4.

FIG. 4 shows in greater detail the manner in which the front and back ends of adjacent blocks 10, 110 are interlocked. As previously noted, the frontal portions of side walls 12 and 14 extend beyond front wall 18 to define a pair of spaced leading sections 22 and 24. Sections 22 and 24 are fonned with a single thickness of plastic and the tongues 54 and 56 are molded directly into the inner faces of the leading sections.

The rear edges of side walls 12 and 14 are flush with rear wall 16 and are formed with a single thickness of plastic in the border areas indicated by reference characters 44 and 48. Grooves 50 and 52 are molded onto the outer faces of the side walls and extend downwardly and forwardly until terminating at the shoulders formed by the double thicknesses of the reinforced layers 38 and 40. The length dimension of leading sections 22 and 24 is equal to the length dimension of border areas 44 and 48. Consequently, tongues 54, 56 on the inner surface of the leading sections 22,24 of block 10 slide within the grooves on the outer surfaces of forward block 110 until a double thickness continuous wall surface is formed. The leading sections of the rear block thus straddle the reduced thickness border areas 44 and 48 of block 110 and front wall 18 of block 10 abuts against rear wall I16 of block 110. Such straddling arrangement," with overlapped and interlocked joints, is repeated in the horizontal and vertical planes of the interlocking building blocks.

While the tongues 54 and 56 on the leading sections 22 and 24 of block 10 are engaging the corresponding grooves in block 110, the tongues 54 and 56 on the interior faces of the lower border areas of block 10 are simultaneously engaging corresponding grooves 350 and 354 in the cut-away upper sections of lower block 310. Block 10 moves downwardly within the grooves of block 310 until the single thicknesses of the depending border areas abut against the upper edge of the reinforced layers 338 and 340 of block 310. Consequently, the depending border areas of block 10 are interlocked in the upper border areas 342 and 346 of block 310 and bottom surface of block 10 covers the open end of the lower block (see FIG. 8). Thus, the horizontal joints formed between the blocks are overlapped are also impervious to rain, snow, moisture accumulation, etc.

Although block 10 possesses sufficient structural integrity to be employed in many building applications, additional strength can be imparted to the block when heavy loads must be supported. Reinforcing plates 58 of plastic or metal can be inserted into slots 26, 28, and 32, 34 and 36 in the side walls of each block. Plates 58 are indicated in phantom lines in FIG. 4 to emphasize their optional use.

FIGS. 57 more fully illustrate, on an enlarged scale, the details of the interlocking tongues 54, 56 and grooves 50, 52.

Upper and rear-most block 10 in FIG. 5 reveals tongues 56 formed on the interior surface of the lower right hand corner of left side wall 14 of the upper block. Forward block shows grooves molded into the exterior surface of the upper left hand corner of right side wall 12 of lower block 110. Lower block 310 shows grooves 350 which simultaneously receive tongues formed on the depending interior faces of the border areas of block 10. FIG. 5 also shows the manner in the tongues and grooves slope downwardly to form an acute angle with a horizontal plane parallel to the bottom edges of the block.

FIG. 6 illustrates the configuration of tongues 56; tongues 54 are identical in shape. The tongues are fonned with a broad base 56a and a pair of inwardly tapered walls 56b and 56c.

FIG. 7 illustrates the complementary shape of grooves 50; grooves 52 are identical in shape. The grooves are defined by a narrow opening that is widened by a pair of tapering side walls 50a and 50b that terminate in a broad base 500. This particular configuration of the interlocking tongue and groove is easier to execute with close tolerances with known plastic molding techniques and yet is easy to put together with a minimum of binding between the components of the assembly.

FIGS. 1, 3 and 5 show that a small rectangular area in each of the four corners of side walls 12 and 14 is distinguishable from the remainder of the border areas. Such rectangular areas, which are indicated by reference numerals 60, 62, 64 and 66 on side wall 12 of block 10, are formed with a thickness approximately one-half the thickness of the border areas 42, 44, 46 and 48, or approximately one-quarter the thickness of reinforced layers 38 and 40. The corner areas on side wall 14 are identical in configuration; however, only the upper corner 168 or block 110 and the lower rear comer 70 on block 10 are visible in the drawings. These corner areas are devoid of the tongues and grooves that characterize the remainder of the border areas of the instant building blocks. The reduced thickness of the corners prevents binding when blocks are assembled into a wall section.

FIG. 9 sets forth the manner in which the unique building block 10 may be utilized as a heavy duty packing carton. A lid 72 which conforms in shape to the outline of the open top of block 10 fits atop the building block and effectively seals same. Plates 58 may be inserted in the block.

Since many modifications may be made to the basic configuration of the above-described building block and grooves, such as in the location and orientation of the complementary tongues above-described building block, it is to be understood that all matter herein set forth or shown in the accompanying drawings is to be interpreted as illustrative in nature and not in a limiting sense.

Iclaim:

l. A plastic, integrally molded building block comprising:

a. a pair of spaced side walls,

b. a front end wall, a rear end wall disposed perpendicular to said side walls, and a bottom wall joining said walls together to form a substantially rectangular box-like shape that is sealed at its bottom and open at its top,

c. each of said side walls including a leading section that extends forwardly beyond the junction of said front wall, said bottom wall and said side walls,

. each of said side walls further including a central rectangular reinforced layer and a cut-away section located just forwardly of the junction between the junction of said rear wall and said side walls,

e. said reinforced layer being surrounded on all sides by a border area, said border area having a thickness that is approximately one-half the thickness of said reinforced layer,

f. the length and height dimensions of the cut-way section being equal to the length and height dimensions of the leading sections, and

g. downwardly sloping complementary tongues and grooves located within said border area and defined between said leading sections of a first block and said cut-away sections of a second block, so that the leading sections of a first block can be slid into straddling and locking engagement with the cut-away sections of a second block.

2. The building block as defined in claim 1 wherein said tongues are formed on the interior surfaces of said leading sections and said grooves are formed on the exterior surfaces of said cut-away sections.

3. The building block as defined in claim 1 wherein the interior surface of each side wall has slots formed therein and support plates are inserted therein for enhancing the structural rigidity of said block.

4. The building block as defined in claim 1 wherein the walls defining the grooves taper outwardly so that the grooves are widest at their bottoms and the tapered walls forming the tongues are narrowest at their bottoms.

5. The building block as defined in claim 1 wherein the corners of the border area are approximately one-half the thickness of the remainder of said border area.

6. A plastic, integrally molded building block comprising:

a. a pair of spaced side walls,

b. a front end wall and a rear end wall disposed perpendicular to said side walls and joining said walls together,

c. a bottom wall secured to said side walls, said front end wall and said rear end wall to form a substantially rectangular box-like shape with an open top,

d. said bottom wall being spaced above the lower edges of said side walls so that depending sections are formed on said side walls,

e. a leading section formed on each of said side walls that extends forwardly from the junction of said front wall and said side walls,

f. said leading sections being equal in height to the height of said side walls,

g. said leading sections and said depending sections being formed with a thickness approximately one-half of that of the remainder of said side walls,

h. a border area of reduced thickness located just forwardly of the junction between said rear wall and said side walls,

i. said border area being equal in thickness to said leading sections and said depending sections,

j. the height dimension of said border area being equal to the height of said side walls and the length dimension of said border area being equal to the length of said side walls,

k. tongues formed on the interior surfaces of said leading sections and said depending sections,

1. grooves formed on the exterior surfaces of said border area, and

m. said tongues and grooves being complementary in shape and downwardly sloping whereby the leading sections of a rear block can be slid into straddling and locking engagement with the border areas of a forward block and the depending sections of an upper block can be simultaneously slid into straddling and locking engagement with the border areas of an identical lower block.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2209564 *Jun 22, 1939Jul 30, 1940Grubb ClarenceMetallic building block
US3438165 *Dec 15, 1967Apr 15, 1969Morawski JanuszPlastic moulded building member
US3440788 *Jun 11, 1965Apr 29, 1969Merget Arthur BBuilding blocks with a shell containing a filler and having projections and depressions connected by tubes
CH200583A * Title not available
GB585506A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3834100 *Jan 5, 1972Sep 10, 1974Harvard Ind Dev Pty LtdBuilding block
US5014480 *Jun 21, 1990May 14, 1991Ron ArdesPlastic forms for poured concrete
US5311718 *Jul 2, 1992May 17, 1994Trousilek Jan P VForm for use in fabricating wall structures and a wall structure fabrication system employing said form
US5465545 *Jan 12, 1994Nov 14, 1995Trousilek; Jan P. V.Wall structure fabricating system and prefabricated form for use therein
US5765970 *Jun 17, 1996Jun 16, 1998Fox; James C.Plastic retaining wall construction
US5775046 *May 10, 1996Jul 7, 1998Massachusetts Institute Of TechnologyModular construction member
US6571525Aug 1, 2001Jun 3, 2003J. David ColemanConstruction block
US6758020Jun 8, 2001Jul 6, 2004Cercorp Initiatives IncorporatedFlexible interlocking wall system
US8181415Oct 19, 2009May 22, 2012Mancine Steven JModular construction block
EP1036240A1 *Sep 8, 1998Sep 20, 2000Dominic CerratoFlexible interlocking wall system
WO1991019865A1 *Jun 19, 1991Dec 22, 1991Reddi Form IncImprovements in plastic forms for poured concrete
Classifications
U.S. Classification52/591.2
International ClassificationE04B2/14, E04B2/18, E04B2/02
Cooperative ClassificationE04B2002/0234, E04B2/18
European ClassificationE04B2/18