US 3851615 A
A road marker for reflective devices employed on the sides of highways is disclosed. The road marker is readily adjustable for angle and height and is readily severable to prevent substantial damage to a vehicle coming into contact therewith.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
nited States Patent 1191 Grundvig et a1.
Dec. 3, 1974 ROAD MARKER Inventors: C. Grundvig; B. Thorvaldsen, both of Fredrikstad, Norway  Assignees: Moller Coates A/S; Presisjon Mel r.
Verksted A/S, both of Oslo, Norway Filed: July 13, 1973 Appl. No): 379,086
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,625,736 l/1953 Klages 403/128 X Field of Search 116/63 R, 63 P; 40/125 N,
2,949,324 8/1960 Birge et a1 40/145 R X 3,308,584 3/1967 Graham 40/145 R X 3,575,369 4/1971 Tetlow 248/181 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 12/1964 France 116/63 P Primary Examiner-Louis .1 Capozi Attorney, Agent, or FirmEyre, Mann & Lucas ABSTRACT A road marker for reflective devices employed on the sides of highways is disclosed. The road marker is readily adjustable for angle and height and is readily severable to prevent substantial damage to a vehicle coming into contact therewith.
12 Claims, 12 Drawing Figures PATENTEL 31974 3.851.615
' v sum 20F 2 20 HIIIIIH 20 FIG. 6A FIG. 6B
. F/G. 5A FIG. 55 FIG. 60
1 ROAD MARKER The present invention relates to a road marker for use on the side of a highway.
Road markers are in common use in this country to indicate where the side of the road is as for example with a reflective device. They are also frequently used as mileage indicators and for other similar purposes.
Most road markers today comprise an integral pole with the reflective or other device affixed to the top thereof. The integral pole is usually a piece of wood or a C-shaped metal stake. The disadvantage of these unitary pole structures is that they are quite difficult to exactly position and they tend to cause a considerable amount of damage to motor vehicles which come in contact with them. These devices are usually required to be set at a certain angle (usually absolute vertical) and at a certain height. No allowance is generally made for variances in the terrain such as rocks or other obstacles which might be encountered in driving in the road marker. As a result of this, the road markers are frequently difficult to position both in terms of angle and in terms of height, the latter being especially true if the position for the device happens to fall in a gully. Additionally, because of the rigidity of the structure, substantial damage can be caused to motor vehicles which for one reason or another happen to come into contact with them. Especially serious is the fact that a road marker will frequently reflect an automobile just enough to drive it into some other and far more damaging structure.
In accordance with the present invention, these disadvantages of prior art road markers are overcome by making the road marker adjustable both with respect to height and with respect to angle of installation. Height adjustment is accomplished by having telescopic sections coupled together for that part of the device which will be above the ground. These telescopic sections will normally comprise tubes of varying diameter but it will be understood that the invention is not limited to this lation of the road marker is a ball joint. The ball joint is preferably made of plastic so that it is easily severed when an automobile or other motor vehicle comes into contact with it.
These and other advantages of the present invention may be more fully understood with reference to the drawings wherein:
FIGS. 1A, B, and C, show views of the road marker of the present invention from the front, the back and the side respectively;
FIGS. 2A and 2B show suitable construction for the telescopic mounting;
FIG. 3 shows the lower part of the road marker which will be embedded in the ground;
FIG. 4 shows the preferred embodiment of a ball joint for use in the present invention;
FIGS. 5A and 5B show a suitable means for fixing the position of the ball joint; and
FIGS. 6A, 6B and 6C show a side, back and top view of the preferred embodiment of a reflective marker.
Referring now to FIG. 1 views A, B, and C, there is shown the preferred embodiment of the road marker according to the present invention. The road marker comprises telescoping sections 1 and 2 which permit adjustment of height of the road marker. Means are provided for fixedly positioning elements 1 and 2 with respect to each other. For example, there could be spaced holes travelling through both tubes in a direction perpendicular to the center line for ready adjustment of the road marker by insertion of a pin or bolt. Alternatively, tube 1 can be provided with grooves for receiving a C-shaped spring clip. Other means for fixedly positioning elements 1 and 2 will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art. It is pointed out that where there are more than two telescoping elements, means must be provided for fixedly positioning each element with respect to the element adjacent thereto.
Member 7 is adapted to be driven to the ground and is provided with an irregular surface for better frictional engagement with the ground. A ball joint is provided between the member 7 and the telescoping elements 1 and 2. The ball joint comprises an upper member 10, a lower member 9 and retaining means 11. Shown on the top of the telescoping member is a reflective device 3. On its front surface the reflective device has a square reflector 4 and on each side thereof are provided circular reflectors 5 and 6. No reflective device is provided on the back portion shown in FIG. 1B.
In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, member 7 is made of a hard metallic material such as cam-steel. The remainder of the device such as the ball joint and the telescoping sections are made of plastic since plastic is considerably less resilient and will cause less damage to automobiles.
Referring now to FIG. 2 there is shown the preferred embodiment of the telescoping members of the present invention comprising telescoping tubes 1 and 2. The outside diameter of the tube 1 is preferably approximately the same as the inside diameter of the tube 2 so that there is a tight yet sliding relationship between the two members when the tube 1 is inserted into the tube 2.
FIG. 3 shows an enlarged view of member 7. As there shown, the protrusions on the surface of the member to be driven into the ground are helically arranged on the surface thereof. This helical arrangement not only increases frictional engagement between the ground member 7 and the ground but also tends to make the device screw" into the ground as it is driven with a sledgehammer or other suitable device.
FIG. 4 shows the preferred construction of the ball joint of the present invention. The upper part of the ball joint 10 comprises a cylindrical member 13 for insertion into element 1 of the telescoping member. The member 10 is preferably made of plastic and the member 13 is preferably made with a slightly larger outside diameter than the inside diameter of tube 1 so that they can be joined and will be held together by frictional engagement. Alternatively, where the plastic does not admit of such joining because of low stress strength, the upper member of the ball joint and the lower member of the telescoping section can be affixed with adhesives, screws, or other similar means. It will also be understood that where desired the upper part of the ball joint 10 and the lower part of the telescoping member 1 can be formed as an integral unit as for example by compression molding.
The lower part of the ball joint 9 comprises a partly spherical member 14 and a cylinder 18 adapted to receive ground member 7. The affixing of ground member 7 to lower ball joint member 9 can be by any of the means described with respect to affixment of upper ball joint to lower telescopic member 1. in light of this, it will be understood that lower ball joint member 9 could be made of a metallic material if desired. The purpose for having cylinder 18 extend above the top spherical surface 14 is to facilitate driving of the ground member 7.
It will be appreciated that the outside dimension of spherical member 14 corresponds to the inside dimension of,spherical member so that the two, when joined together, form a standard ball joint. To facilitate joining of the two members, slits are preferably provided in the lower part of spherical member 12. The slits allow the upper ball joint member 10 to be slid over the lower ball joint member 9. When the two parts have thus been brought into overlapping relationship, they are joined together by suitable means such as O- clamp 11 shown in FIG. 5. The O-clamp comprises two half circles hingedly connected and joined by a bolt 17. It will be appreciated that there are many different constructions for O-clamps and that, in fact, means other than O-clamps can be used for joining the upper and lower ball joint members.
The upper ball joint member 10 .is preferably provided with a flange 16 which increases the structural rigidity of the member, especially where slits 15 are employed. The flange 16 also serves to retain the O- clamp 11 in position where the O-clamp is employed.
A lower shoulder 19 is preferably provided on the base of the lower ball joint member. When pressure is applied to the upper ball joint member as for example by a vehicle hitting it, the two members will become axially displaced due to the force of the impact and flange 16 will progress down spherical member 14. When the flange comes in contact with the shoulder 19 the ball joint elements 9 and 10 will become separated by a relatively small force because of the relatively low moment of force required to separate the two because of the fixed position of the flange l6 and the shoulder 19. It will be appreciated that elements 9 and 10 in cooperation with member 11 can be constructed to break apart when struck without damage to the parts so that reassembly of the road marker requires nothing more than loosening screw 17 and again placing member 10 on member 9 and tightening the O-clamp. Specific dimension of such a device are well within the skill of the art.
While the preferred form of construction is to have the inside ball joint member affixed to the ground member 7, it will be appreciated that the ball joint members could be reversed from the position shown in the drawings, if desired.
FIG. 6 shows the preferred embodiment of the configuration of a top reflective marker in accordance with the present invention. Member 3 is preferably made of a trapezoidal cross section with the long parallel side forming the front face and the shorter parallel side the rear face. As mentioned hereinbefore, circular markers 5 and 6 are preferably provided on the side of the marker while a rectangular marker 4 is preferably provided on the front portion thereof.
For maximum safety, everything except for the ground member 7 is made of a relatively non-resilient material such as plastic as compared to the resiliency of steel or wood. Suitable materials are rigid plastics such as polyethylene. It will be understood, however,
that where the ball joint is made separable by impact then the resiliency of the other materials is not so critical.
From the foregoing, it will be readily understood that the road marker of the present invention has significant advantages in terms of mounting, maintenance and safety. The marker may be driven into the side of the roadway without concern for height and angle and then height and angle can be set later. Additionally, if height or angle is later found to be incorrect, either can be readily adjusted. The safety aspects of the present invention are typified by the separable ball joint and also include construction of the marker of a relatively soft material with respect to the hardness of steel.
It will be understood that the claims are intended to cover all changes and modifications of the preferred embodiments of the invention, herein chosen for the purpose of illustration, which do not constitute departures from the spirit and scope of the invention.
What is claimed is:
l. A road marker comprising:
a. an upper portion comprising at least two' member sections which are telescopically movable with respect to each other;
b. means for fixedly positioning each telescopic section with respect to each adjacent telescopic section;
c. a lower portion comprising an elongated member of sufficient strength to be driven into the ground;
d. a ball joint joining said upper and lower portions, said ball joint comprising two spherically shaped members, one of which is spherically shaped on its interior and the other of which is spherically shaped on its exterior, said members being separable but being adapted to be coupled together in cooperative relationship for axial movement of said upper and lower portions, one of said spherical ball joint members being rigidly affixed to the upper portion of the road marker and the other of said spherical ball joint members being rigidly affixed to the lower portion of said road marker;
e. means for fixedly positioning the ball joint members with respect to each other; and
f. a member affixed to the other end of said upper portion from the ball joint end, said member being the marker.
2. The road marker of claim 1 wherein the elongated member is made of steel.
3. The road marker of claim 2 wherein the elongated member has helically positioned protrusions on the surface thereof.
4. The road marker of claim 1 wherein the telescoping members are plastic.
5. The road marker of claim 4 wherein the telescoping members are polyethylene.
6. The road marker of claim 1 wherein the upper ball joint member is plastic.
7. The road marker of claim 6 wherein the lower ball joint member is plastic.
8. The road marker of claim 1 wherein one of the spherical members has a shoulder to aid in severability of the ball joint.
9. The road marker of claim 1 wherein one of the spherical ball joint members has slits to facilitate joining of the ball joint members.
10. The road marker of claim 1 wherein the means of part (f) is trapezoidal in cross section. for joining the upper and lower ball joint members 12. The road marker of claim 1 wherein the telescopcomprises an O-clamp. ing sections comprise tubes.
11. The road marker of claim 1-wherein the member